What are good examples of effective dental chews and treats?
There are many kinds of these products, and all have slightly different uses, so the answer depends upon whether you’ll be using them as rewards in training or as dental aids.
First, you should know that pig’s ears and snouts are almost never a good treat, because of the high fat content. Obesity among pets has now reached massive proportions; and snacks should only be five or 10 percent of the daily caloric allotment, which is 20 to 25 calories per pound of body weight, adjusted up or down for activity and metabolic levels, life stage (pregnant animals require more calories), gender, spayed or neutered, etc.
Tiny, soft chews are ideal. In fact, there are treats especially developed for use as training rewards and some even come in bright colors for easier spotting when laid out on the ground, if you’re training a dog who is required to follow a particular route or course. Despite popular opinion, cats can be trained, so they’ll need a treat as well.
NOTE: If your pet has trouble chewing because of age or broken/missing teeth, a soft chew will also be ideal.
Veterinarians sometimes advise using targeted dental chews to reduce plaque and tartar build up, bad breath and gum irritation. These chews often have a ‘knobbly’ texture and are resistant to crumbling, which causes a scrubbing action on your pet’s gnashes.
Not only do all pets love chewing (especially teething kittens and puppies), but this sort of treat is often longer lasting and because it takes a while to get through, it will keep dogs entertained as well as being of benefit orally. There are natural snacks available which help to clean a pet’s teeth. Tthese are vegetable based and have a very low fat content. This means that owners can keep caring for teeth without worrying about health problems associated with feeding lots of snacks.
These are similar to bones, so there is an associated risk of choking, gastrointestinal blockage and irritation. Dogs should always be supervised when eating this sort of snack to ensure that they are not harmed. Cats seem to love anything leather, and sometimes even steal the dog’s rawhide, but it’s never a good idea to give these objects, because they’ll usually splinter and cause harm to these very small mouths.