A 2005 study (J. Vet. Dent. 2005, 22, 16-19) was conducted to measure the severity of gingivitis and dental plaque in two groups of dogs. Both groups received the same diet for four weeks with only ONE group receiving dental chews. They concluded “significantly less gingivitis, plaque and calculus” in the group given dental chews. So yes, they work.
So I went to Petsmart, bought a bunch of dog dental chews that they carried and then conducted several closely watched experiments with JoJo (my happy little guinea pig!).
Bully sticks: We started out with bully sticks because our friends dog was totally obsessed with the darn thing. And so was JoJo. The only problem was the smell...then we found out what it really was [link]! No thank you, but impressive.
Greenies: This was next on our list. Nice little bumps to clean that teeth (check), not an animal organ (check), no nasty smell (check). BUT, it was gone in 5 minutes. Hmmm. Those things must be edible...2 days later and lots of diarrhea, her comes the Greenie. OMG! F@#k! Poor dog could barely run...Greenies are out!
Nylabone: For a very long time, the Nylabone was the best choice. JoJo loved it and there was no way she could crack the bone. It is ridiculously hard and durable. BUT, what she could crack was her tooth! Needless to say, that cost a pretty penny (luckily covered by insurance [link]). Nylabone is out!!
We finally settled on a few soft rubber chew toys like Petstages Mini Barbell Chew Dog Toy and the American Kennel Club, see below.