WestPark-_-Leon_iStock_000031982520_Large.jpgThe over-the-counter pet supply market is big business. Pet owners spend millions of dollars every year on toys, accessories, and health care products for their beloved furry family friends.

We have all heard how important dental care is for our pets, so it is no wonder that the market is flooded with pet dental chews, treats, rinses, and foods. But before you get lost in this plethora of oral care products for pets, take a step back and learn about if they are really worth the cost.

Do Pet Dental Chews Work?

Do pet dental chews work? That is a little bit of a tricky question because the answer is yes… and no.

Despite our best efforts, most dogs and cats are not very appreciative of our attempts to brush their teeth. Tooth brushing is one of the most effective things that pet owners can do to maintain their pet’s oral health, but if it isn’t getting done, it is not helping.

Dental treats and chews, if properly designed, do have the potential to help keep plaque and tartar buildup to a minimum. They are not, however, a substitute for regular dental cleanings. After all, you wouldn’t consider eating a few crunchy chips a day a good replacement for visiting your dentist, would you?

Pet Dental Care Points to Ponder

When purchasing dental care products for your pet, it is important to remember a few important points. Before spending your hard-earned money, take the following into consideration:

  • Just because a product claims to be supportive of dental health doesn’t mean that it is. The Veterinary Oral Health Council maintains a list of product that actually do what they claim.
  • Too hard treats and chews can fracture teeth. Stay away from hooves, antlers, and bones.
  • Dental treats have calories, too. If you pet is watching his or her figure it is important to consider how they fit into the plan.
  • All pets need oral exams and dental cleanings under anesthesia on a routine basis. Even if you brush your teeth, you still visit your dentist, right?
  • Billings Animal Family Hospital is dedicated to helping our pet owning clients provide excellent dental care for their animals both in our hospital and at home. We are always happy to help you determine which products fit best into your pet’s dental care routine. It is easy to spend a lot of money on lotions and potions claiming to solve all of your problems, but sometimes a good old fashioned dental cleaning is the best use of your resources.