The Best Treats For Healthy Teeth: Preventing Tooth Issues In Your Pups

Afraid of an expensive doggy dental bill? Try offering them some healthy treats. Not only do chew treats keep a dog's teeth and gums healthy, but it also removes anything they have stuck in their teeth (such as fragments of food). Additionally, chew treats can stave off doggy boredom, which can ultimately lead to frustration and even destructive tendencies. Here are some of the healthiest options for your pet.

Fresh Vegetables

There are many fresh vegetables that can be safely fed to dogs -- as long as you do so in moderation. Carrots are one of the best options, because they are hard enough to clean your dog's teeth but not hard enough to present any potential problems for them. Just make sure you ask your vet first, because you may be surprised about which vegetables can be toxic to dogs. Onions, for instance, can cause serious gastric distress.

Dried Vegetables

If you want to make some long-lasting treats for your dog, you can simply bake slices of sweet potato at a low temperature for a few hours. This will create a chewy, crispy treat that's healthy for your dog. The spongy texture of sweet potato will clean off your dog's teeth while also giving their jaws a workout. Most vegetables can be dried this way to create a longer lasting chew.

Cow and Pig Ears

Cow and pig ears are essentially dried cartilage. They are fairly empty nutritionally, which means that dogs usually won't gain any weight from eating them -- they mostly just pass right through. When purchasing these, however, you need to be careful about the source. Products that are not made in North America may contain dangerous chemicals. Cow and pig ears can often be safely sourced from a butcher or local farm.

Bully Sticks

Like pig ears, bully sticks are 100% all natural. They are hard enough to give your pet a workout while not being hard enough to potentially hurt them. But also like cow and pig ears, they should usually be sourced in North America. 

In addition to the above, there are some things you don't want to feed your pets. Both cooked and raw bones can be dangerous to dogs, though cooked bones are much more dangerous because they can splinter. Rawhide treats are also considered to be dangerous in larger quantities: they can get stuck in a dog's digestive tract and are sometimes made with potentially harmful chemicals. When in doubt, ask your vet, such as at Coastal Carolina Animal Hospital.