Your pet’s dental care is an important part of their health. We know that many pets suffer from some type of dental disease by the age of three and that, untreated, dental disease can lead to pain, tooth loss, infection, and even systemic health problems.

Dickinson Animal Hospital & Pet Wellness Center is a big advocate for good dental care for our patients, but the burden doesn’t fall solely on our shoulders. Home dental care is paramount to success, and for many of our clients that involves dental treats for pets. 

Do Dental Treats for Pets Work?

The answer to whether or not dental treats for pets work or not is yes… Well, maybe… Kind of.


Things aren’t so black and white when it comes to dental treats. Toothbrushing remains the most effective way to maintain dental health in humans and our pet patients alike. That said, our furry family members are not always cooperative when it comes to opening wide and allowing effective brushing.

Dental treats and chews can possess the ability to help decrease plaque and tartar build up. Many are specially designed to have a scrubbing effect and others contain enzymatic additives that can help to break down plaque.

While dental treats for pets can have value in your home dental care routine, they are no substitute for regular dental examinations and cleanings under anesthesia. Think of them as chewing some Trident in between your dental cleanings.

Choose Wisely

If you want to incorporate dental treats into your pet’s oral health care, there are some things to consider. Not all dental treats for pets are created equal, and you want to be sure that you select wisely. 

Be sure to consider:

  • If your pet has any health concerns that may make dental treats a poor option (watching calorie intake, advanced dental disease, history of pancreatitis, etc. – and if you aren’t sure, call us and ask)
  • Whether or not the product has been demonstrated to be efficacious by an independent organization like the Veterinary Oral Health Council (you can look for their seal on the packaging)
  • If the product is tooth-friendly; often things like antlers, hooves, and bones are hard enough to fracture teeth, resulting in the need for a different kind of dental care

Many pets enjoy their dental chews, and if they are doing something to help with dental health, we think that they are great. It is very important to remember, though, that they are no substitute for real dental care from a professional. Advanced dental disease, disease below the gum line, fractured teeth and the like can’t be fixed with a dental chew. 
Don’t worry, though, that’s what our expert team is for!