a 4 reasons, Dental chews vs Teeth brushing in DOGS, which is better? - The Happy Puppers (Dog care, grooming, behavior and training)

Monday, November 25, 2019

4 reasons, Dental chews vs Teeth brushing in DOGS, which is better?

 We always want what is best for our fur baby. The best diet, the best shampoo, the best harness etc. We are and should never be ready to settle for anything less.

One of the challenges of having a canine companion is to keep their teeth clean. Yes! Like us, they too need oral hygiene. When you go for a walk with your furry friend, you must have observed the different kinds of stimulants which they come across and the different things which they put in their mouths. Like my boy, Delta absolutely loves grass. I know dogs are carnivorous, but he eats grass like he is a vegan! But is it only grass, he eats? That grass he eats in the park has got God knows how many germs in it. Even at home, most of the things he wishes to steal or carry will be done by his mouth. Thus, oral hygiene is of utmost relevance.

Dogs suffer from periodontal (gum) disease just like us. However, dental problems in our furry friends can lead to a lot of damage like broken teeth or tooth falling off. The dire consequences observed have been organ damage by the entry of gum bacteria into the bloodstream.  Thus, I take oral hygiene very very seriously.

Now, in the current market scenario we have multiple choices for our doggos oral health. You can opt for the traditional (brushing your dog’s teeth daily) or you can go for dental chews. The question that is perplexing here is that, WHICH is better??


Let’s examine both scenarios according to the current research.

DENTAL CHEWS:                                                                                              
Dental chews come in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavours and brands.

. The main advantage of dental chews are as follows:

  • Less plaque build-up (some have shown to reduce plaque build-up by 70%!!)
  • Reduces bad breath.
  • Reduces calculus formation.
  • Reduces anxiety and provides mental stimulation
  • Don’t have to run behind your pup with the toothbrush...!!
  • Keeps your pupper busy for a long time, prevents him/her from chewing your house down…!!

A study done on the long-term effects of dental chew showed that after 21 months of regular dental chew use (6 days a week use), the calculus as well as plaque scores were significantly less and it prevented bad breath in dogs enrolled in the study.

Overall, it seems like a good optiondoesn’t it?

Now, lets have a look at the traditional method


OKso this is the hard part for me. It’s not that he hates the act of brushing. He just thinks that brushing is play time. I have to run around the room, chase Delta. When I have him, I need to lock him in using my knees and get to the task at hand, teeth brushing. I read somewhere that its better if dogs learn the act of brushing at an early age. So, Delta has been made to brush since he was about 4 months old. Now he is a year old, but something’s
never change I guess..!

Coming to the point:

Advantages of teeth brushing:
  • Removes tartar and plaque
  • Prevents bacteria from building castles in your dog’s mouth by removing the food particles lurking in the shadow.
  • Prevents bad odour development.
  • Its also playtime! Like in case of my little boy…
  • You get to look inside you doggo’s mouth everyday. Bonus point: you can find out if there is any discoloration in the gums, thus save valuable time by going to the vet and stopping disease progression.

The main question: WHICH IS BETTER?

Well, there are pros and cons to everything…




Don’t have to chase them around the house to get that toothbrush in
their mouth

Get to look in your dog’s mouth regularly, you can figure out if there
is a tooth problem early

Keeps your pup busy for a long period of time

Can reach into the pockets of the mouth which may or may not be
accessible by the chew toy

Very enjoyable for the pupper, also known to reduce anxiety

Removes even the tiniest food particlekeeps that cute mouth super clean


May not reach the tiny pockets where food accumulation can cause
tarter build-up over time.

Requires time and commitment

If not closely monitored, the used dental chew in time can become a choking

Gotta chase them sometimesdepends on your fur baby

Depending on the material used, some chews can cause dental trauma or
have harmful chemicals

May/may not be enjoyable for your pupper

Raw bones can provide a nice environment for bacterial growth which
can transfer to the dog’s mouth on chewing the bone

Thus, no guesses as to who wins this challenge. Brushing is the 100% effective way to keep your fur baby’s mouth clean. Regular brushing is the best option. However, if everyday brushing is not possible, you can do it on alternate days or 2 days a week. Dental chews can also be used, but under strict supervision.

Let me know what your views are on your pupper’s dental hygiene in the comment section below. You can also mention if you want me to write about a specific topic.


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  2. I wear an exfoliating glove (normally used for skin exfoliating while showering) to clean my pups teeth. It’s abrasive enough to remove tartar, plus I have better control over cleaning. She seems to prefer that method over a toothbrush... she hates the toothbrush. 😁

    1. I understand..:) My boy likes to chew the toothbrush itself..:). Since I have been brushing his teeth on regular basis since childhood, he is used to it now. One bonus point of brushing is that the toothpaste makes his mouth smell amazing afterwards...so he gets more kisses :)

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