Dental hygiene and health is an incredibly important part of dog ownership. While dogs are not as prone to cavities as human beings, they can still develop a range of problems from tartar and plaque build-up and gingivitis. Bad breath and yellow teeth shouldn’t be your main concern however; canine dental problems can lead to life-threatening infections. It can also lead to problems surrounding vital organs like the heart, liver and kidney, so it is best to keep your dog’s teeth in good order.
There are a number of ways to clean your dog’s teeth clean from brushing, to different food types and trips to the vets, but today we are going to be talking about using toys to keep your dog’s canines pearly white.
What to look out for
Before we run you through what toys are going to be the best teeth cleaners, we want to tell you the signs of bad dental health. We have listed these below and if you notice any signs of these it may be worth taking a trip to the vets.
- Excessive drooling or dribbling
- Missing or misaligned teeth
- Crooked, broken or discoloured teeth
- Bad breath
- Change in eating habits
- Pawing at the face or mouth
- Bumps or growths around or within the mouth
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Pain when touching the gums
- Yellow/brown tartar crust along the gum line
PetMD has some more excellent information on dog dental care.
When should you see a Vet
As we said, if you notice any of the problems above it may be worth it to visit the vets, especially if it is something serious like a broken tooth or loss of eating habit. Your vet should also check your dog’s teeth with a normal check-up and ask if they don’t.
Proper dental maintenance can be a real money saver in the long run and in some cases can even save your dog’s life. Letting it go past a certain point can lead to costly and painful visits to the vet, and could lead to lifelong damage.
Best Dental Dog Toys
There are many dental dog toys on the market to help keep your dog’s teeth in perfect working order. These toys are specifically designed to strengthen your dog’s teeth and gums, while removing plaque and tartar build up. If your giving your dog a toy, just remember that you are providing them safe ones and replace when they are worn.
Benebone Real Flavor Dental Chew Toy
Benebone’s Dental Chew Toy is one of the best dental dog toys out there. The Chew will keep your dog entertained while cleaning their teeth and is one of the best reviewed dog toys on Amazon.
A number of ridges are featured along the length of the Benebone Chew, which help to remove unwanted tartar and plaque from your dog’s teeth. To make the toy attractive to dogs they have then infused 100% real food ingredients into the bone.
Benebone offers the Dental Chew in three different flavours; Bacon, Chicken and Peanut. The toy also comes in various different sizes and is manufactured in New York from materials sourced in the United States.
We have found Benebone’s products to be some of the most durable toys we have owned and have no doubt that you and your dog will love them to.
KONG Dental Dog Toy
KONG is one of the best names in the dog toy business and their ‘classic’ toy is arguably one of the most popular toys on the market. The company manufactures a number of different styles of toys for different purposes, including the excellent ‘Dental Dog Toy’.
The KONG Dental has been designed with special grooves that will clean your dog’s teeth and gums as they chew. KONG also suggests using their Easy Treat product inside the grooves of the toy to get your dog chewing, or by placing treats inside of it.
The Dental toy is manufactured from KONG’s durable and tough classic rubber formula and is manufactured in the United States. It is available in a couple of different sizes and will be ideal for most dogs.
Reviews of the KONG Dental are very positive overall and many dog owners say it is one of strongest dog toys they own.
Nylabone Dura Chew Ring Dog Toy
Nylabone’s Dura Chew Ring Dog Toy is offered in either a smooth ring or textured ring shape. Both will be great for cleaning your dog’s teeth, but we feel the textured one might be slightly more effective. Nylabone has infused a chicken flavour into the bone and recommend it for large breeds of dog.
Our two black labs – Daisy and Winston – have both been giving the Nylabone a good chew for over a year now and there are little signs on wear on the toy. Reviews on Amazon are excellent, however, we have found that our dogs aren’t as interested in the Dura Chew as the likes of the Benebone product earlier in this piece.
Dogs love to eat and stuffing treats inside of toys is probably the best way to get them to interact with them. KONG’s Stuff-a-Ball combines the best of all worlds when it comes to dog toys. It is not only a great treat dispenser and a bouncy fetch ball, but it is also excellent at removing that nasty tartar and plaque build-up on your pooch’s teeth.
KONG manufactures the Stuff-a-Ball from their super-durable, non-toxic rubber that is used on many of their toys. It features rigged exterior grooves that clean your dog’s teeth and gums. To make your dog’s teeth shine even brighter, KONG recommends that you smear doggy toothpaste into the exterior grooves.
The Stuff-a-Ball is three and a half inches in diameter and is designed for medium to large breed dogs, ranging from dachshunds to boxers and poodles. The irregular shape of it also makes it an excellent fetch ball that your dog will love.
Reviews seem to be excellent for the KONG Stuff-a-Ball and we think your dog will love it to. If you are looking for a do it all toy, the Stuff-a-Ball is a good bet!
Hartz Dental Duo Dog Chew
Most of the toys on this list have been for larger dogs, so now it’s time to show you something that might be a little more suited to smaller dogs or puppies. The Hartz Dental Duo toy is an interesting one as it has a bacon flavoured edible centre that entices your dog to chew on it.
The Dental Duo is shaped like a small paw and the edible centre is surrounded by a hard nylon shell. Hartz claims that the toy will gently massage your dog’s gums, while removing excess tartar and plaque.
From reviews it seems like the edible centre of the toy will last about 10 to 15 days, but this will certainly vary depending on the size of your dog. As it is a bit smaller and the edible nature of the toy, we don’t recommend this for larger dogs or tough chewers who might eat the nylon shell.
Nylabone Dura Chew Flavoured Dog Dental Bone
Dental dog bones are your classic dental toys for dogs and there is no better than Nylabone’s Dura Chew range. The Dura Chew Bone is made from tough and durable nylon, and features a textured surface that increases chewing appeal while cleaning your dog’s teeth.
The Nylabone is offered in a range of different sizes so no dog will feel left out and bristles raised during chewing of the toy will help control plaque and tartar.
If you are looking for the classic dental dog bone the Nylabone Dura Chew is the product to go for.
JW Chompion Rubber Dog Chew
Our last toy on this list is the JW Chompion Rubber Dog Chew that is designed to meet the demanding chewing of your dog. It is offered in three different sizes; lightweight, heavyweight and middleweight, so there is one for every kind of dog.
The Chompion toy exercises the jaws, while giving your dog’s teeth and gums a good old clean. Nubbins designed onto the bone help remove plaque and tartar and the toy is made from an ultra-durable rubber compound.
The JW Chompion chew toy seems to be great for those who want a durable toy that will clean their dog’s teeth. Compared to the likes of KONG’s products, we feel that the Chompion probably won’t hold up as well, but it is still an excellent choice for those looking for a dental toy.
Summing Up Dog Teeth Cleaning Toys
This is just a selection of some of the great dental dog toys out there. Remember that dental toys aren’t the only answer to healthy teeth and you will need to use them in conjunction with other teeth cleaning methods to keep your dog’s dental hygiene in great order. Some of the other great ways of keeping your dog’s teeth clean are giving them dental dog chews and treats.
Another important factor when dealing with your canine companion’s teeth is food. Quality food is a vital part of your dog’s health and dental dog food can be an excellent way of controlling plaque and tartar build up.
If your dog is showing signs of any dental health problems, we recommend seeing a qualified vet to diagnose what the problem is. It could be something simple or something much more serious and getting it sorted soon will save you headaches and expensive bills later down the track.