What should I look for in choosing dental treats that are effective in oral health?

Look for the Seal of Approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), an organization led by veterinary dentists that evaluates pet products to see if they meet standards for reducing plaque or tartar.

Approved foods, treats, and chews must reduce plaque or tartar by at least 10 percent to achieve the VOHC seal of approval. If a chemical anti-plaque agent is used, it needs to reduce plaque or tartar by at least 20 percent.

Regularly check your dog’s chew toy, because if chunks of plastic break off, your dog could potentially choke. Replace the toy when it starts to show a lot of wear and tear. Be mindful of portion control and not cause your dog to become overweight from eating too many dental treats

Some tyoes of products include:

• Rawhide chews: These are made from cows or horses and can reduce plaque and tarter; they come in different sizes. Monitor carefully to be sure they don’t splinter and cause possible choking.
• Nylabones
• Ropes: The strings that make up the rope act as dental floss!
• Greenies
• Dog biscuits
• Chew toys, such as Kongs or Plaque Attackers
Dog dental diets. Some dog food formulations help reduce plaque and tartar. They do this in a variety of ways. Some are made into larger kibble or a texture that resists crumbling, which creates a scrubbing action. Others have a special coating that helps prevent bacteria, reduce plaque, or discourage the formation of tartar. Ask your vet about these and special dental diets available only through the veterinary market.

Some people do insist on homemade and, if you’re one of them, you can make a dental biscuit by combining: one and a half cups of wheat flour, one and a half cups of baking mix, a half cup of finely chopped mint leaves, a quarter cup of milk, four tablespoons of margarine, one egg, and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Mix the ingredients and roll them onto a cookie sheet, then bake them for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. These biscuits contain ingredients that your dog will find extremely tasty, but they are hard, so the chewing action will help remove plaque.

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