Dental diseases are a common problem for dogs:
According to the VIN (Veterinary Information Network) reports, up to 85% of canines develop periodontitis by the age of three. If not prevented and treated, the consequences go far beyond gum inflammation or bad breath from a dog’s mouth: missing teeth, bone loss, problems with kidneys, liver, and heart are just a few.
The best option to control a dog’s oral health is everyday toothbrushing, but not many owners do that. (Most dogs don’t enjoy the process, and owners don’t want to traumatize their four-legged friends.) And yet, understanding the need for teeth hygiene in dogs, they look for alternative options. Dental chews and water additives are two of them.
Both have been a source of controversy among vets and pet owners alike. Let’s dig deeper to figure out the pros and cons of these dental treats and understand if they are worth buying.
Dental chews: What’s the problem?
Dental chews are specially designed treats for dogs, molded into shapes for more natural chewing, cleaning between teeth, and gums massaging. Thanks to specific components inside, they clean a dog’s teeth and provide it with fresher breath.
The benefits are many:
- Clean teeth
- Fresh breath
- Preventing a dog from chewing other items in a house
- Strong jaw muscles
- Reduced anxiety
- Rewarding a dog while training
- Alleviating teeth pain in puppies
At the same time, dental chews may cause problems with digestion for dogs. The reason is low-quality ingredients some manufacturers use to produce these treats. So please check the label with the components before buying, and monitor a dog’s condition after giving dental chews to it. In case of diarrhea, gas, or other signs of gastro issues, stop giving the treats.
Another point to consider is the size of a treat. Make sure it’s firm enough for a dog to chew it rigorously, as some can break and cause a choke. Also, if you give a big treat to a small dog, it won’t be as effective as cleaning with an appropriately sized product.
Water additives: Worth trying?
A dental water additive is an antiseptic agent in the form of liquid, safe for a dog to consume. As an addition to water, this product becomes a brushless oral solution to clean a dog’s mouth.
The pros of water additives:
- Cleaner teeth
- Fresher breath
- Reduced plaque and tartar buildup
- Fewer plaque-causing bacteria in the bowl
However, some ingredients in water additives may affect dogs with allergies or stomach sensitivities. Also, a dog may dislike the flavor and refuse to drink fresh water after that. Plus, this product is not as effective as brushing with a dog toothpaste or regular cleanings at vet clinics.
Neither dental chews nor water additives can be a 100% substitute for regular toothbrushing. And yet, they are an excellent addition to a dog’s oral hygiene. Just pay attention to their ingredients, and choose and use them wisely so a dog wouldn’t have allergies and intestinal problems.
Jimmie O’Chutt is an experienced cat owner who can’t imagine his life without his black feline friend Ronnie. Jimmie is CEO of CatPet.club, an online magazine that provides high-quality guides and tips about cat nutrition and wellbeing.