Dog Dental Chews: Reviews, Comparisons and Ratings
Q: Why is a dental chew like a smart phone?
A: Because they’re both multi-functional
Just as call-only mobiles are museum pieces, so the humble dog chew has evolved. We all know chewing is good for our pet’s teeth, so the logical progression is to make dog chews that enhance dental health. After all it’s much easier to give a dog a chew than to brush his teeth twice a day.
Chews also have other benefits including:
- An outlet for natural chewing behaviour. The dog that quenches his natural urge to chew is less like to destroy those new kitchen cabinets.
- Calming and soothing. A satisfying chew helps to calm and settle most dogs, which is especially useful for anxious pets.
- A welcome diversion. A dog occupied with a tasty chew is less likely to get up to other mischief.
- Improved dental health: Chewing conditions the gums and rubs plaque off the teeth.
If you quickly want our top dental chew picks, here they are:
- Whiter teeth
- Healthier gums
- Fresher breath
- Contains a multi-enzyme and antibacterial complex that actively removes plaque
- Low calorie and palatable
- Rawhide and collagen based chews for long lasting effect
OK, so we’re all decided dog chews are a good thing, but are some better than others? We road tested some of the market leaders so you don’t have to.
We looked at teeth cleaning characteristics, how long the chews last, plus over-all value for money…and the results were surprising.
Two products stood head and shoulders above the rest, while some fell dangerously short…but more of this later.
Our ‘guinea pig’ belongs to our resident vet, and is a seven-month old puggle called Pog. If chewing were an Olympic sport then Pog would win gold every time and be a Dame by now.
For this road test how long each chew lasted was timed, and Pog observed to see how well (or not) she chewed the product. (All products were purchased in the regular way, with no inducements from the manufacturers.)
So let’s skip sniffing around and fetch those results.
REVIEW AND COMPARISON CHART ON THE BEST DENTAL CHEWS FOR DOGS
All chews are a potential choking hazard. Sadly there are some reports of fatalities or serious choking episodes as a result of swallowing chews.
We would advise against leaving any dog unsupervised with a chew, and always remove the chew once it reaches a swallow able size.
Now let’s dig down and look at each product in detail.
8in1 Twist Dental Sticks
The 8in1 Twist Dental stick consists of rawhide twisted around a dried chicken core in a bizarre take on a candy cane. This treat got Pog’s attention straight away, and indeed Amazon reviews show the chicken filling makes the 8in1 product attractive to dogs that rarely go for rawhide alone.
This product is also free from artificial flavours and colours, and is low-fat.
The chicken twist makes them attractive to non-rawhide addicts.
Some cleaning action for incisors.
Not a particular robust chew.
Twist Dental Sticks Dental Chew Value (as reviewed by our in house vet)
Pog chewed on the 8in1 Dental Twist for seven minutes before swallowing the remaining
end whole. It was noticeable how she held the treat in her paws and gnawed on this chew with her incisors (the little row of teeth at the front) which was pleasing, as it’s normally her molars (the big teeth at the back) that get the biggest work out.
This would work best for smaller dogs (under 15kg) as larger dogs will make short work of it.
The multipack offers reasonable value for money per chew. But if you want a chew to occupy your dog for an age, you may be disappointed.
Greenies are shaped like a toothbrush and have a distinctive green colour. One of the earliest dental chews on the market; they were originally available solely through vet clinics, before being made more widely available. They contain chlorophyll (for its plaque fighting properties) with added vitamins, minerals, and taurine.
The original Greenies formulation was linked to cases of serious bowel obstruction. However, the manufacturer has changed the recipe to be more easily digested in order to reduce this risk.
The determined chewer easily bites it into large pieces.
Greenies Dental Chew Value
Please note: Pog weighs less than 10kg but she was given the medium sized treat (for 11-22kg dogs) as I was fearful she would swallow the petite size whole.
Pog was excited by the Greenie and it disappeared in seconds. She bit down three times and swallowed the resulting pieces whole. I then spent an anxious couple of days, monitoring her for vomiting in case of a stomach obstruction. I decided against giving her another one.
The soft texture is ideal for massaging gums and cleaning plaque, but if the dog doesn’t chew this benefit is lost. I was concerned about large pieces going down without being chewed and for this reason they are not an appropriate dental chew for Pog. However, for the more thoughtful chewer, who doesn’t inhale food rather than chew it, these are ideal dental treat with proven benefits.
The Smartbone is rawhide free, despite being in the classic knotted-bone shape. It is made from vegetables and contains 20% chicken. The green colour is down to chlorophyll, which discourages plaque formation. The chews have a nice, fresh smell.
Minty fresh breath post chew.
Good chew-ability and cleaning power.
A little on the pricey side.
The manufacturer recommends feeding up to three a day, which would be heavy on the pocket.
Smartbones Dental Chew Value
[Pog’s trialled the medium-sized Smartbone] – The Smartbone smelt nice and lasted a respectable 15 minutes of determined chewing. She chomped down with her molars, which makes for a good scrubbing action on the enamel and massages the gums. Her kisses were pleasantly minty after this chew.
The Smartbone dental is a good compromise for a chew that promotes dental health whilst occupying the dog for a reasonable amount of time.
Pedigree Jumbone is described as “a complementary pet food” and “longer lasting treat.” It combines a chewy outer layer with a meat flavoured core. It is not specifically marketed as a dental product, but the packaging is very similar to Dentastix which was a little confusing.
Gave a respectable six minutes of chewing.
This is really a hyped up dog biscuit with benefits.
Pedigree Jumbone Dental Chew Value
In fairness, Pedigree market this as a complementary food source rather than a dental chew, and make no claims about it promoting dental health. However, I purchased the product believing the ‘longer lasting treat’ claim on the package implied it was a chew (my mistake!)
I gave this to Pog in place of part of her meal and it took her six minutes to eat. This is a good product at what it does (making dinner time last a little longer) and she did chew it well, which has benefit, and carries no risk of bowel obstruction – always good news.
Because the Jumbone is basically a food, be sure to reduce the dog’s meal size that day, or risk piling on the pounds.
Pedigree Dentastix is a market leader, developed by vets and carrying a vet seal of approval on the packaging. Clinically tested, the X-shape of this chew plus active ingredients combine to reduce plaque formation by up to 80%. The manufacturer recommends one Dentastix per day, and the product is low fat and free from artificial colours and flavours.
Good science behind the cleaning action.
Soft texture, less worry about big chunks causing a gut blockage.
Stood up poorly to ferocious chewing and gone in less than 3 minutes.
Pedigree Dentastix Dental Chew Value
Pog enjoyed the Dentastix and actually chewed it, rather than biting lumps off and swallowing them. The softer texture was ideal for chomping on and I was less concerned about swallowed pieces potentially causing bowel blockages.
The research behind Dentastix is impressive and the manufacturer has proven claims that the product reduces plaque by up to 80%. At this price and one Dentastix per day, this seems an excellent option to promote dental health (but cut meal size to compensate for the extra calories.)
Hollings Rawhide Braided Ringtreat
Made from thick rawhide sourced from Brazil, Hollings manufacture a range of rawhide chews. This braided ring forms a continuous circle which encourages chewing but with less risk of being left with a small end which could be swallowed.
Extremely long lasting chew.
Made of rawhide.
Hollings Rawhide Braided Ringtreat Dental Chew Rating
This Hollings Braided Ringtreat was definitely a longer lasting chews for Pog, lasting a marathon 80 minutes at which point she fell asleep, with half of it left. The purchase price makes this is a considered purchase, but it is worthwhile for those times when you need to know the dog is appropriately occupied.
This chew is made from good quality raw hide sourced from Brazil. Chewing on rawhide massages the gums and rubs away plaque, promoting dental health. The product is not impregnated with any enzymes that reduce plaque, such as the CEVA Dental chew, and relies solely on abrasive chewing action to clean the teeth.
Antos Mixed Brushes
The vegetable based chews are brush shaped in order to promote massaging of the gums as the dog chews down on them. They have a firm, but not rock hard texture, and soften slightly when chewed.
A vegetable based chew.
Definitely encouraged thorough chewing.
Would be nice if each one lasted longer.
Being too small and a potential choking hazard.
Antos Mixed Brushes Dental Chew Rating
Pog held this between her front paws and chewed for a good 20 minutes. As the chew softened she gnawed off small pieces which she swallowed easily without choking. I like that this is vegetable based and provided a good workout for her teeth.
ProDen Dental Treat for Dogs
These are a small bite sized biscuit, designed to be given as a treat.
Surprisingly crunchy for a small biscuit.
ProDen Dental Treat for Dogs Dental Chew Value
These have a faint seaweed odour but this didn’t deter Pog. The treat is tiny, so I expected her to swallow it without chewing, but to my surprise she crunched each one with great enthusiasm. I substituted Pro-Den for her regular training treat, and she continued to work with undiminished energy.
These treats are designed to make a difference from the inside-out, and to be used for at least three months, (4 – 8 treats a day for a medium-sized dog), and so it’s impossible to make a dental judgement based on a single bag. However, given the claimed benefits, this is an intriguing way of improving a dog’s dental health for minimal effort. The cost however, does seem a little pricey for a relatively small bag.
HiLife Special Care Dog Dental Chews
Another rawhide product, HiLife Dental Chews are flat, hard, and rectangular- a bit like a prawn cracker made of iron. The packaging claims “Whiter teeth, healthier gums, fresher breath”, and recommends feeding one to three chews a day.
It should be noted that the packaging recommends not giving to dogs under 9 months of age for smaller breeds.
Seemed almost indestructible.
Stimulated many happy hours of chewing
Potential choking when dogs swallow large pieces.
HiLife Special Care Dog Dental Chew Value
Wow! Pog’s attacked this and chewed and chewed and chewed some more. She targeted one corner and gnawed for a whole evening before eventually falling asleep. When offered the same treat the next evening, she resumed where she’d left off.
Another consideration is the dental benefit seems entirely down to the chewing action. There are no added ingredients that destroy bacteria or discourage plaque deposition.
CEVA Logic Orozyme Chews – Medium Dog
CEVA have long been respected by vets for making oral health products for animals. Their Logic Orozyme chew is based on rawhide, impregnated with enzymes that reduce plaque formation and kill the bacteria that causes tartar to form.
Good longevity as a chew.
Active ingredients that work to reduce plaque formation.
CEVA Logic Orozyme Chews Dental Chew Value
Pog’s chewed this with enthusiasm and it lasted well over an hour. I would however suggest supervising your dog with any chew, and remove it should the dog try to swallow large pieces.
I found this an impressive product. Plaque is a slimy layer deposited on the teeth’s enamel. The rubbing action of chewing helps clean the teeth, but the Orozyme product goes one step further in containing ingredients that kill the bacteria which harden the plaque to tartar.
Whimzees are named for the whimsical appearance of these chews, which are alligator shaped. They are rawhide free and gluten free, made from all natural ingredients. They promote good dental health by massaging the gums and gently rubbing away plaque.
The manufacturer states this product is not suitable for dogs under 9 months of age, and advises carefully selecting the correct size chew for your dog.
Natural ingredients and a reasonable chewing time.
Relatively expensive for a 10 minute treat.
Whimzees Dental Chew Value
This seemed part food product and part chew. It provided 10 minutes of chewing that left Pog looking for more.
On the plus side, it contains all-natural ingredients, on the minus, there seems no scientifically backed up dental benefit other than the chewing action massaging the gums and teeth.
Paws for Thought…In Conclusion
Top dog for dental chews, two products were well ahead of the pack. A big gleaming smile and a paw-shake of congratulations goes to HiLife Special Care Dog Dental Chews and CEVA Logic Orozyme Chews. These represented chew-tastic value for both dental care and long-lasting chew-ability.
An intriguing option for long term dental care was the ProDen Dental Treat for Dogs. A crunchy treat rather than a chew, these are low calorie and could easily be substituted as a training treat. This has the benefit of rewarding the dog with a treat providing plaque protection from the inside out, by the changing the dog’s saliva to stop plaque sticking.
For those wishing to avoid rawhide, then Pedigree Dentastix get an honourable mention. These are a satisfying chew, low risk for bowel blockages, and with proven dental benefits.
For novelty value Whimzees are an excellent choice, made from natural vegetable ingredients and free from artificial flavours and colours.
The prize for outstanding value for money is jointly awarded to Pedigree Dentastix and HiLife Special Care Dog Dental Chews so if your dog wants their paw-ket money to go further, invest in their dental health with these products.
The Safe Use of Chews.
For a tiny percentage of dogs giving a chew or dental chew can be risky to their health and pose a choking hazard. Be vigilant whilst your dog chews, because large pieces of chew when swallowed can block the airway or obstruct the bowel. With this in mind always supervise the dog, never leave them unattended with a chew, and remove pieces once they are a size that can be swallowed.
As for white teeth and fresh breath, of course the gold standard is tooth brushing… but for those times when real life gets in the way, some excellent dog dental chews are available.