Pet Talk: Brushing is Best for Dog’s Teeth


Q: My dog doesn’t like getting his teeth brushed. I see that Milk-Bone has a treat to clean a dog’s teeth. Do you think they really work?


A: I have seen the product advertised and wondered that myself. Looking up the product, below are its claims.

“Milk-Bone Brushing Chews help provide an easy and effective way to take care of your dog’s teeth. These daily dental treats are clinically proven to reduce tartar and fight bad breath. The revolutionary dental twist bone is designed to help clean even hard to reach back teeth and down to the gumline. Dogs love the irresistible chicken taste of Milk-Bone Brushing Chews and you’ll love giving them a daily dental treat that’s fortified with 12 essential vitamins and minerals including calcium for strong bones and teeth.”

Most of the product reviews on the internet seem favorable. Dogs seem to love them, but there are some dogs who get ill from swallowing big pieces or the ingredients don’t agree with them, causing vomiting and diarrhea.

The chews have received the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance. This is awarded to home oral hygiene products for pets that meet or exceed the VOHC standard for retarding accumulation of dental plaque or dental tartar. If you go to their website,, there is a list of products awarded the seal along with information on dental disease in pets.

When giving any a dog a treat like this it is important to supervise them. If your canine is a gulper, this is probably not the product to use. Swallowing a piece that’s too big could cause serious internal problems such as a blockage. They would also not be getting the benefit of the chew doing the job of cleaning off plaque by gnawing on it.

I would research the ingredients in these chews to make sure it is something you are comfortable giving your dog and he can tolerate them. If your canine is not a gulper and will chew it into small pieces you may consider giving it to him as part of his oral care. It will probably not remove existing tartar, that will need to be done by your veterinarian, but it should cut down on more accumulation. Milk-Bone claims that when fed daily they are as effective as brushing a dog’s teeth twice a week. The Veterinary Oral Council recommends daily tooth brushing for optimal effectiveness. So with this information, I would still try to get your dog accustomed to getting his teeth brushed, which is by far the best choice for a canine’s oral hygiene.


Sally Salopek is the owner and operator of Attend-A-Pet pet sitting services in northern Door County. She has also worked professionally with animals in health care, pet grooming, training, wildlife rehab and rescue. Send your pet-related questions to her at [email protected].

Article Comments