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Canine Dental Care and Chewing | CanadaVet

To properly care for your pet’s teeth, you should be brushing them regularly. But, many pet owners don’t have the time or the desire to perform this time-consuming task. In this case, you should be encouraging your dog to chew in order to keep its mouth healthy and smelling fresh. Even if you do brush your dog’s teeth, chewing can help keep the teeth cleaner and stronger because the chewing action rubs against the teeth removing plaque and tartar.

A small white dog has it's teeth brushed while it's owner looks on

Chewing on Bones

When most people think about giving their dog something to chew on, they probably think about bones. They do require a great deal of chewing and can be quite helpful in keeping your dog’s mouth clean. You should, however, exercise caution when feeding bones to your dog. A dog that eats many bones can develop constipation. This is especially true with older dogs. Bones can also splinter or be swallowed whole, which can punch holes in the mouth, esophagus or intestine, or a piece of bone can become lodged in the teeth. Old, dry bones are particularly prone to fracturing and you should only allow your dog to chew on a bone for three to four days before disposing of the bone. In addition, spoiled bones can cause food poisoning in your pet. Fresh, raw bones are the best kind for your dog to chew and you should never give your dog cooked bones or the bones from poultry or pork products.

A long-haired dachshund holds a toothbrush in its mouth and is sitting next to a holder with a bone and another toothbrush in it

Chewing Rawhide Chews

A great alternative to bones is rawhide chews, particularly if you are worried about the bone splintering and causing internal injuries. You need to be careful, however, to select a chew that is tough and requires a great deal of chewing to get the full benefits. A chew that can be consumed quickly does little good for the teeth and only adds unnecessary calories to your dog’s diet. Because chews are so fattening, they should be used in moderation and avoided altogether in overweight dogs.

A brown and white dog chews on a rawhide bone it holds between its front paws

Chewing Dog Biscuits

Some pet owners choose to give their dogs biscuits to chew on. It is important, however, to make sure the dog biscuit is large enough for your dog because a large biscuit forces the dog to chew with both sides of its mouth. Small biscuits do not help keep the teeth clean and, like rawhide chews, can be fattening. If you are going to feed your dog biscuits, you need to adjust the amount of food you feed your dog in order to compensate for the extra calories in the biscuit.

A close up shot of a white dog with pale blue eyes accepting a treat from a hand

Chewing on Toys

The best way to encourage chewing is with toys. Chew toys are safe, calorie free, and long lasting. In fact, toys such as the Kong Dental Stick are specially designed to help keep teeth clean and also make a great treat dispenser or fetch stick. Toothpastes such as Dentipet Flavored Toothpaste can also be added to chewing toys to increase the cleansing action of chewing the toy. That way, your dog has fun while keeping their mouth healthy!

A Golden Retriever holds a special dental chew toy in its mouth

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