The Best Bones to Clean Dogs' Teeth

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Bones help clean your pet's teeth and prevent periodontal disease.
Bones help clean your pet's teeth and prevent periodontal disease. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Dental bones are an important part of your dog's health regimen, but not all bones are created equal. By the age of 3, most dogs show signs of periodontal disease. Very hard chew bones can cause a dog with diseased gums to break a tooth, and chew bones can be swallowed in large chunks, causing a blockage. Choose dental bones with care and your pet will enjoy both a tasty treat and great dental health.

Dental Chew Bones and Treats

Look for dental bones in your pet store or at the grocer. You will find a variety of chews that clean teeth while providing a treat. Dental bones are formulated to encourage healthy chewing and are safe. One drawback of any type of bone is that they only clean above the gum line. A dog toothbrush or professional cleaning by a veterinarian is the only way to get a thorough cleaning. In the meantime, dental bones are an excellent way to maintain your pet's oral hygiene.

Real Bones

Give your dog a real bone. It's true they are messy, so if you are going to do this it is best to give it to your dog outside. Make certain it is the type of bone that won't splinter easily, creating a choking hazard. Beef bones are a good choice. Always supervise your dog when you give it a bone just in case. You can also purchase marrow bones. These are natural alternatives to real bones, they have been sterilized, and some are filled with treats.

Rope Bones

Purchase rope bones at your pet shop. They are fun toys in addition to providing a good dental workout. Rope bones have the reputation of being able to actually floss the dog's teeth. While this is not really the case, the soft fibers are gentler on the teeth than hard bones and may be the best option for a puppy or an older dog with bad teeth. There are also sprays you can apply to the rope bone to make chewing even more fun for your dog.

Natural Rawhide Bones and Strips

Try natural rawhide bones or strips. They can be found at your veterinarian's office, a pet specialty shop or on-line. Rawhide strips and bones effectively clean your dog's teeth and are edible. They can't "ribbon" like the old-style bones and cause a choking hazard. Their baked taste is appealing and they are easily digestible. Natural rawhide chews can also be found containing no byproducts for the pet owner who is very health conscious.

Rubber Bones

Select from a number of rubber bones for your pet. They come in a number of sizes, so be sure to take that into consideration when choosing one. Some rubber bones can be filled with healthy treats to encourage longer chewing sessions. Others have special grooves that enhance their cleaning action. Rubber bones can also be found in combination with rope bones. Try coating it with some dog toothpaste to make it into a tasty treat.

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