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8 Best Dental Chews for Dogs of 2019

by dogtoysadvisor | Last updated on January 30, 2019

We only review products we tested ourselves. We have affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

Most people believe chews to be nothing more than snacks for your dog, unhealthy snacks at that.

And, while most of what we see out there would fit this description, there are more and more dog chews that have actual benefit for our dogs.

Chews are, for sure, the best dog treats you can give your pooch. They help with that oh-so-pungent doggy breath we all know and love (not!) and are a great ally in controlling teeth and gum disease, particularly plaque and tartar.

Also, you’ll find them particularly helpful with teething puppies. Yes, toys help too, but if you can add a bit of taste to what your puppy chews, we can guarantee he’ll prefer it.

Best Dog Chews And Treats

Best For Tartar Control

We first heard about VeggieDent Dental Chews at our dog’s vet. With a rough start to life, he needed teeth surgery due to severe tartar that actually caused him to lose two teeth at the age of six!

After his surgery, the vet recommended these chews as the best dog chews available to clean the dog’s teeth as well as keep tartar in check, while removing plaque and calculus. A brilliant side effect is the fresh breath that lasts longer than with most dental chews.

It’s from Virbac and it’s made from beef hide. It has a bit of a Z shape that makes it easy for dogs to hold and you can give it to your dog every day, we noticed no gastrointestinal reaction to it, even though our dogs are a bit sensitive.

It comes in several different sizes, from XS to L size and once you start using it, you’ll notice an immediate change in your dog’s breath. Plus, they love the taste.

The time your dog will take to eat it really depends on the dog. If you have seriously committed chewers like we do, it will take about 7 minutes if you give him his weight-according size. About 10 to 15 minutes if you upgrade to a larger size.

It was a bit hit with our dogs and with us. We will say it does not replace a visit to the vet, particularly if your dog already has a gum or teeth condition, but if we’re talking hygiene maintenance, this is our top pick as best dog treat AND best dog chew for our dogs.

   Pros

  • Helps with controlling plaque and calculus
  • Reduces tartar
  • Keeps the breath fresh
  • Has a great shape
  • Dogs love the taste

Best For Bad Breath

When it smells like something crawled in your dog’s mouth and died every time he comes near you and opens his mouth, it’s time to take urgent action!

As far as bad breath goes, the Milk-Bone will be your best ally, it is the best chew for great results. They come in different sizes, from mini to large breeds so you can pick the right size for your pooch.

Along with freshening your dog’s breath, its nubs and ridges are formulated to help clean your dog’s teeth even in those hard spots in order to maintain great oral hygiene and make sure your dog’s breath remains decent-smelling long after the Milk-Bone is gone.

In terms of taste, it’s been approved by our experts (aka our dogs) and the 12 minerals and vitamins included in its composition also add to your dog’s health. Tasty and good for your dog’s health, what more can you ask for?

So if you’re keeping your dog away from your nose because of his bad doggy-breath, try the Milk-Bone and give him all the Eskimo kisses he deserves!

   Pros

  • Very effective in freshening your dog’s breath
  • Its grooves and ridges are great for cleaning dog’s teeth
  • Great texture and taste, dogs are big fans
  • Great price

Best For Heavy Chewers

Bully sticks are the talk of the town right now, some considering it the best dog treats out there. They’re safer than rawhide but mostly because they provide a great challenge even for the most aggressive chewers.

The Pawstruck is ingeniously made, eight bully sticks braided together into one very resistant, tasty and intricate chew.

And the ingredients aren’t bad either, it’s high protein and low fat, very easy to digest even for the most sensitive dog.

Our dogs are little hyenas and take about one or two hours to chew it. So, if your dog is a committed chewer like ours who can’t finish a chew fast enough, this is the dog treat for you.

Read also: best chew toys for dogs

   Pros

  • Will last for hours
  • Easy to digest
  • High on protein and low fat
  • Great taste and no odor

Best For Joint Health

If you have a senior dog or one close to getting there, you’ll find the SmartBones Dog Chew the perfect choice for your pooch.

With glucosamine and chondroitin, this dog treat is great for warding off arthritis and helping with joint health while being rawhide-free for an easy digestion.

Aside from these components, the Smartbone Functional Dog Chew also adds chicken and vegetables to the mix, assuring your dog will love chewing on them.

If your dog’s breed is prone to hip and joint problems or if these issues are a concern due to age or injury, the SmartBones are the best dog treats you’ll find.

   Pros

  • Wards off arthritis
  • Keeps joint health
  • Easy to digest
  • Tasty

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Best For Training

Training your dog can be a fun way to tightened your bond with him, but you’ll find they cooperate better if the rewards are tasty and plenty.

This can be a problem, because you can end up overfeeding your pooch, which can lead to overweight and health problems.

With that in mind, our suggestion is Zuke’s Mini Natural Dog Treats. They’re low calorie, healthy and come at a very affordable price.

Also, you can pick from a number of different flavors to keep your dog from getting bored with them or if he just happens to be very picky with his food (which makes him more of a cat, really).

There’s chicken, salmon and even peanut butter – Mixing up flavors has never been easier!

Inside, you’ll find real ingredients like meat and vegetables and none of wheat, corn or soy.

And, with less than three calories per treat, you can reward your dog as often as you’d like which, let’s face it, if you like to spoil him as often as we do, will be a lot!

   Pros

  • Great variety of flavors
  • Great taste
  • Low Calorie
  • Healthy ingredients
  • Small pieces that fit your pocket

Best For Healthy Teeth

Dental and gum healthcare is much more important than just preventing bad breath.

Plaque and tartar can rotten teeth and mouth infections are known for causing serious health problems for dogs with life threatening consequences.

GREENIES Dog Chews are particularly effective in teeth and gum line cleansing.

With its toothbrush shape and unique texture, this chew is great for reaching places in your dog’s mouth most other dental dog treats wont.

Also, you can count on fresh and easily digestible ingredients to make sure your dog will love each and every bite.

Our dogs loved chewing on them and we loved the freshness of their breaths afterwards. Overall a winning combination.

   Pros

  • Helps with bad breath
  • Great for cleaning teeth and gums
  • Fresh ingredients
  • Dogs love the taste

Best For Puppies

Puppies need chews toys even more than adults do because they go through the awful teething phase. You can also give them treats to soothe their achy gums.

While all chews we mentioned here can be given to puppies, the Wellness Natural Puppy Training Treats are our top pick for them.

These dog treats are perfect in size for small dogs or puppies, they are also soft and chewy. Oh, and did we mention delicious? (A friend told us, of course, we would never try dog biscuits!!!)

Flavor-wise, you’ll find lamb and salmon are a great hit with dogs in general, puppies in particular.

Also, they are very healthy, made with fresh ingredients and grain-free and low calorie, just what you need to give your puppy a great start to life.

   Pros

  • Fresh ingredients
  • Grain free
  • Perfect sized for puppies in training
  • Very tasty (again, we’ve been told!)
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Best Grain Free

In this day and age, the number of people choosing to feed their pets grain-free diets. With this in mind, we see more and more grain-free dog treats add to the mix.

A great option for that end is Blue Buffalo Dog Treats. It’s 100% grain-free with no byproducts whatsoever and all fresh ingredients, created particularly with your dog’s health in mind.

You might think that healthy doesn’t mean tasty, but you would be wrong. The crunch is still there and so is the taste, you can actually chose from different flavors that include turkey, salmon and venison.

Personally, we’ve been feeding our dogs grain-free food for a while and see a real difference in their energy levels (that part we could probably do without, they were pretty energetic to begin with), their shiny fur and their overall improved health.

One of them was developing a food allergy that disappeared completely with this change. So, for us, it made total sense to add these grain-free treats to their diets. Plus they love the flavor!

   Pros

  • Grain-free
  • Fresh ingredients, no by-products
  • Great taste and crunchiness
  • Good flavor variety

Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising and iStock

24 Comments

  1. Carolann

    My staffie puppy had 1of these when she was 4months old chewed it to bits, no toy or chewiw lasts more than 2mins😁

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hello,

      Which toy do you mean?

      For aggressive chewers toys made of nylon are your best choice and they’re safe, like the Tastybone.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  2. Annette

    What can i give my dog teeth are brown.

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Annette.

      Thank you for reaching out.
      You could start with the dog tooth paste as soon as possible, preferably using your fingers or a soft brush to really get everywhere, if your dog will allow it. If not, an enzimatic tooth paste will still help, just let him lick it of your finger.
      The second thing we advise is getting him to chew something that helps. We use VeggieDent and lots of chew toys.
      Try these for a while and see what happens.
      If you don’t see results, it might be time for a cleaning, ask your vet for more information. After that, using these tips will help to prevent it.

      Good luck, let us know how it went,
      Sandy and Mike

      Reply
    • Kathy

      Doesn’t Milkbone Dog Biscuits contain both BHA and BHT (I was told those letters) which causes cancer in dogs?? Thank you for your response.

      Reply
      • dogtoysadvisor

        Hi Kathy,
        Thank you for reaching out. We weren’t aware of that claim, so we searched for answers regarding that issue.
        According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration, BHA and BHT haven’t been linked to cancer and are safe for both dogs and humans. Being a preservative, we can’t state that it’s healhty, what we’ve learned is that is isn’t more dangerous than all other FDA approved preservatives.

        Have a great weekend,
        Mike and Sandy

        Reply
      • Teresa

        Hi my name is Teresa l heard that milkbones were painted with paint true or not .

        Reply
        • dogtoysadvisor

          Hi Teresa.

          Thank you for your question. We’ve searched online for that information and haven’t found anything that suggests that it is true. There are a lot of unreliable information online, so we tend to search for official information and FDA reports and none confirm that statement.

          Have a great weekend,
          Mike and Sandy

          Reply
  3. Kadi

    Hi Sandy and Mike! I have a question, but not sure if y’all will know. Figured it would be worth a shot. What do y’all suggest for a 7yo dachshund that isn’t a chewer? Her teeth are getting bad and she needs more than the enzyme gel. But she is super super picky! I’ve tried the greenies and the denta sticks and she takes them from me, but just leaves them in a corner. Thank y’all so much for the post and for your time!

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Kadi.

      Thank you for reaching out.
      There are a couple of things you can try.
      Do you think she would like it more if you rubbed something on the chew toys or denta sticks? Like peanut butter, for example? Is there something she does like?
      Also, are you able to brush her teeth with tooth paste? If so, we would recommend doing it as often as possible to try and make her teeth better.
      If nothing works, we think the best choice would be to have a dental cleanup. Ask your vet about it, it’s a quick procedure and, if you use the dog tooth paste after that and watch out for what you feed her (starchy food are a big nono), her teeth should be healthy for the rest of her life.

      Let us know how it went. Good luck!
      Mike and Sandy

      Reply
    • RosieVeg

      I would suggest Fidobones,they have a Yogurt one and a dental one! My dog loves them!!

      Reply
  4. Verna

    I use the Zukes my dog has glaucoma and needs 3 eye drops 2 x a day. and the Zukes are the perfect size she doesn’t fight me and waits for her treat. I also use the greenies for when we go to work to keep her busy for awhile.

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Verna.

      Thank you so much for letting us know, we really appreciate it!
      Best of luck to you and your lovely dog.

      Reply
  5. Cindy Tyson

    I have a 9 year old toy chihuahua that hates chew toys, dog biscuits, rawhide chews, etc. I try to brush her teeth a few times a week but it is a real battle. I use a very small toothbrush if she will allow it otherwise I use the dental wipes. I also add a dental additive to her water. She gets an annual teeth cleaning at the vet’s. I would like to find something that would help keep her teeth cleaner, any suggestions?

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Cindy.

      She’s a tough customer! Heheh. From what you’ve said, you’re doing everything right, the thing is some dogs are genetically more prone to dental problems than others, from what our vet told us it has to do with their saliva.

      The only thing we can think of, aside from everything you’re already doing, is watching what she eats. Anything with flour, yeast or starch will attach itself to teeth and are hard to clean, so try and avoid that, if you aren’t doing that already.

      Other than that, keep up the good work!
      Mike and Sandy

      Reply
  6. Cheryl A

    Sophie may be just 20 lbs but she LOVES the monster Bully braids. I don’t let her finish them all at once as I feel that would be too much. One of the braids usually lasts 3 sessions. Just ordered Veggiedent chews for her and a related chew for our cat Moxie.
    Sophie had her first home cleaning last December just before her 8th birthday.

    O order extra and share some at our rescue with our long term border dogs.

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Cheryl.

      Thank you for your feedback, the rescued dogs will be soooo pleased with that 😀

      Reply
      • Cheryl

        They sure are!

        Reply
  7. Bonnie J Tufts

    My 7 year old Dachshund, Tuffy is about to have his 3rd or 4th cleaning. He uses Vibrac, Half once a day, Royal Canin dry kibble ,and the last year he’s been been using canned Royal Canin Hydro Protein for small dogs. Tell me how to brush his teeth myself? He’s going for another cleaning at the end of the month?

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hi Bonnie.

      Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately, some dogs have such a genetic predisposition for dental issues that no matter how careful we are, their salive alone will cause buildup.

      You can find more detailed information on this post: 3 Tips for Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth

      As for brushing his teeth, there are some things you can try. For us, we started by using our fingers with some canned food and letting him lick it off, before repeating it and placing our finger inside his mouth. Then, the next day, we used the canned food again and touched the sides of his gum with our finger.
      Now, without the food, we gently rubbed our finger on his gums and teeth and gradually increased time and pressure. Lastly, we placed the tooth paste on the finger and did it all over again.

      This meant he accepted it easily. Then is was time to add a rubber toothbrush that fits your finger for a better access.
      If with these tips you’re still unable to brush your dog’s teeth, we advise just giving him the tooth paste, because it has enzymes that really help fight tartar and plaque and that act just by being in his mouth.

      Let us know how it went.
      Mike & Sandy

      Reply
      • Carolyn Zahnow

        That’s a great idea! Our dog is 16 yo and will not let me brush her teeth – No way! We won’t let the vet put her under again for teeth cleaning so I’ve got to do something to keep her teeth healthy. Thanks I’m gonna try your tips!!

        Reply
        • dogtoysadvisor

          Hi Carolyn.

          Thank you for your feedback. Yes, teeth cleaning can be a risk with her lovely age. Try the chews, but you may also want to try an enzymatic tooth paste, you don’t need to brush her teeth with it, just let her lick it off your finger or put it in her food or treats. The enzymes mix with her saliva and are a great help with plaque. Here is a link to our post on that.

          Good luck!

          Reply
  8. Healthy Dogs

    Most dogs will not allow you to brush their teeth so it is best to start when they are puppies. I have done a lot of research and found that at any age your dog will allow you to brush their teeth if you start with a very very small amount of extra virgin coconut oil on the brush with the tooth paste. All dogs love coconut oil and it has antibacterial properties in it that are very beneficial and healthy for your dog. Please start with a very small amount at first so your dog gets used to the coconut oil or it will have loose stools. After a week you can start adding more on the toothbrush. I promise your dog will love the coconut oil and it will make brushing their teeth a breeze.

    Reply
    • dogtoysadvisor

      Hello.

      Thank you for your input. We’ve never tried coconut oil but will make sure to look into it.

      Have a great weekend,
      Mike and Sandy

      Reply

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