Best Dental Chews For Dogs: Teeth Cleaning Treats For Bad Breath & Are Greenies Good For Dogs?


Last Updated: May 22, 2024 | 13 min read | 62 Comments

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The moment I walk in the door, my dog jumps on me and gives me all the puppy kisses in the world. How sweet, but wow, her breath stinks! My pup is trying to show me how much she misses me, but I’m not enjoying the affection because it’s so smelly. Thankfully, I’ve found the best dental chews for dogs to help with this stinky situation. Not only can they freshen your pup’s breath, but they can also help with gum health and reduce plaque and tartar build-up.

A word of warning: Chronic bad breath in dogs is NOT normal. If your furry friend’s breath is usually stinky, it’s most likely a sign that she has dental disease. This requires a consultation with your vet to get her dental health evaluated and any necessary treatment to help prevent disease progression.

OverallSensitive TummiesBudgetSubscriptionVeganPlaque Removal
Zesty Paws dental sticksGreeniesDentastixBark Bright chews and toothpastev dog dental sticksMinties Dental Treats
Zesty PawsGreeniesDentastixBARK Brightv-dogMinties
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Before You Give Dental Chews For Dogs

Make sure fresh drinking water is always available when you give your dog one of these treats. Also, monitor your dog and don’t leave her alone while she’s eating a treat in case she bites off too large of a chunk and has difficulties.

Dog Dental Chew Chart Comparison

three kinds of dental sticks for dogs side by side jpg

The comparison table below can help you find the best dental treat for your dog based on dietary needs and preferred flavors.

Best Overall: Zesty PawsSensitive Tummies: GreeniesBudget: DentastixSubscription: BARK BrightVegan: v-dogPlaque Removal: MintiesBlue BuffaloVirbacWhimzees
Natural Breath FreshenersMintParsley, MintParsley, Alfalfa, Mint, Alfalfa, Fennel, Dill, ParsleyParsley, AlfalfaAlfalfa
Soy Freecheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
Corn Freecheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
Wheat Freecheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
No Added Sugarscheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
No Added Saltscheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
No Artificial Colorscheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
Omega Fatty Acids*checkmarkcheckmark
Made In The USAcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmarkcheckmark
FlavorsCinnamonBlueberry, Chicken, Fresh, Gingerbread, Mint, Original, Sweet PotatoOriginal, Fresh, BeefChickenMintMintRegularOriginalRegular
*Omegas support skin, coat, and joint health
**Inulin supports gut health

Best Dental Chews For Dogs

What are the best dog dental chews? It really depends on your dog’s preference, dietary restrictions, eating habits, and dental needs. Our team has used nearly every product in this review to provide you with first-hand experience.

Best Overall: Zesty Paws Dental Bones Review

Zesty Paws dental sticks

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I chose Zesty Paws as the best dental treat for dogs because they have no corn, soy, or wheat (three common food allergens in dogs), no added salt or sugar, and they have added omegas and inulin to support skin, coat, joint, and gut health.

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the Zesty Paws dental treats bag, and there was no scent. Typically, dog treats are very fragrant but not these.

The treats have a smooth texture and leave no mess. My dog, Sally, isn’t a stereotypical dog that cleans up every tiny remnant of food left behind. She’s been known to leave crumbs and messes, but the Zesty Paws dental chews don’t crumble apart, so there’s no mess left behind.

Overall, Sally loves these treats. Any time I open a bag of them she’s eager for one. She’s typically a very gentle, dainty eater, but when I was trying to get a picture of her taking the treat out of my hand she accidentally bit down on my finger because I was taking too long to take the photo.

bag of Zesty Paws dental sticks with sally using them.
Available in small, medium, and largeNot for dogs under 12 pounds
Helps fight plaque and tartar build-upOnly one flavor (cinnamon)
No scent
No corn, wheat, or soy
No added sugar, salt, or artificial colors
Made in the U.S.A.


In-Depth Zesty Paws Review

Be sure to read our full review of Zesty Paws for more details.

Best For Sensitive Tummies: Greenies Dental Dog Treats & Dog Chew Review

Greenies Dental Dog Treats

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These Greenies dental sticks for dogs help fight plaque and tartar build-up to keep your dog’s oral hygiene in check. If your dog loves to give you lots of kisses, you’ll like these too since they help with bad breath. These natural dog chews are low-fat and include vitamins to keep your pup healthy.

Are Greenies good for dogs? Yes, they can help maintain healthy teeth and gums when used correctly. However, if dogs eat them too quickly, they can swallow sharp pieces and hurt their throat or internal organs. So it’s crucial to keep an eye on your pet while enjoying this or any chew or toy.

Our First-Hand Experience With Greenies

Greenies are pricier than Dentastix, but we found they work slightly better for our dog Lexie. They are harder and thus last a little longer. She goes crazy over these things, but it’s only effective (and safe) when she takes her time versus swallowing it quickly.

Sadie Cornelius, Parent To A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel & Graphic Designer For Canine Journal
Available in teenie, petite, regular, large, and jumboNot for dogs under 5 pounds
Helps fight plaque and tartar build-upContains gluten (if your dog is gluten intolerant)
Mint is an ingredient as a natural breath freshener
No soy or corn
No added sugar, salt, or artificial colors
Made in the U.S.A.


Budget-Friendly: Pedigree Dentastix Dental Dog Treats Review

Pedigree Dentastix Dental Dog Treats

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Pedigree Dentastix has a patented x shape to help with plaque and tartar build-up. They are available in multiple flavors, so you can find one that your dog loves. Give your dog one treat daily to get that pearly white smile for maximum effectiveness.

Dentastix is a go-to for my dog because they’re easily available at most stores. She can get some gnarly breath, and these have helped drastically reduce the smell. Our vet always comments on how great her teeth are, too. We like the Fresh ones instead of the Original or Beef Flavor because we find the mint smell more pleasing than the others. However, Sally gobbles down any of them within seconds!

A bag of Dentastix dental chews with dog chewing one.

These treats don’t take long for Sally to inhale, they’re typically gone in less than one minute. Others, like the Minties, took several minutes for her to eat, making them more effective at removing plaque/tartar build-up than Dentastix.

Available in small, medium, and largeNot for dogs under 5 pounds
Reduces plaque and tartar build-upContains gluten (if your dog is gluten intolerant)
Parsley and mint are ingredients as natural breath freshenersHas added salt and artificial colors
No soy or corn
No added sugar
Made in the U.S.A.


Best Subscription: BARK Bright Dental Chews Review

BARK Bright Dental Chews

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Ensure you always have your dog’s daily dental needs on hand with the BARK Bright Dental Kit. This subscription-based service delivers high-quality doggy toothpaste and grain-free dental chews to your door every month so you always stay supplied. Even better, the toothpaste requires no brushing; you squeeze it into a groove on each chew, and your pup’s chewing will do the job for you.

Although the chews only come in chicken flavor, I love that they offer durable, long-lasting dental sticks for aggressive chewers in addition to regular dental sticks. And you can add the BARK Bright Dental Kit to the company’s BarkBox or Super Chewer subscription for a regular delivery of dog toys.

BARK sent me some for Sally to test out. The kit included 30 daily chews and one tube of triple enzymatic toothpaste. Unlike the other chews, these are used with toothpaste on them. After the 30 days, Sally’s breath was unnoticeable, which is precisely what I like. She loved the treats and I enjoyed her kisses more.

Our Personal Experience With BARK Bright Dental Sticks & Toothpaste

Bark Brite durable without toothpaste

Daisy loves the taste of Durable Chews with the chicken toothpaste. She happily gobbles them down, and we noticed a significant change in her breath. The effects on her breath last, even after just a few days of use. Unlike other dental chews, it does not feel like the product is simply covering up bad breath. Overall, her mouth seems much cleaner. Daisy has also tried the Original Chews and chicken toothpaste, but she likes the flavor of the Durable Chew better. However, my smaller dog, Falkor, a Poodle Beagle mix, enjoys the Original Chew, which has a different smell. I have also not noticed as much improvement with the breath as the Durable Chew.

Danielle DeGroot, Rescue Dog Parent & Writer For Canine Journal
Get automatic deliveries of toothpaste and dental chewsNot for dogs under 15 pounds
Available in small, medium, and largeOnly one flavor (chicken)
Reduces plaque and tartar build-up and freshens breath
No corn, wheat, or soy
No added sugar, salt, or artificial colors
Option for super chewers
Made in the U.S.A.


You can sign up for a month-to-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription. All products are the same price regardless of the size your dog needs.

In-Depth BARK Brite Review

Be sure to read our full review of BARK Bright for more details, including before and after photos and video of our experience.

Vegan-Friendly: v-dog Breath Bones Review

v-dog Breath Bones

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If your dog is on a special vegan diet or you are just looking for an eco-friendly alternative, v-dog’s breath bones might be a good option for you. Their chewy sticks are made with brown rice flour, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, cinnamon, chia seeds, broccoli, parsley, spinach, alfalfa, and natural sources of DHA from alga. They offer regular 4″ bones and mini 3″ bones for smaller dogs. Keep your dog’s mouth clean and smelling fresh with peace of mind for their well-being (and the planet).

Our Personal Experience With v-dog Breath Bones

Dog with vdog jerky and breath bones.

Our dog is obsessed with the v-dog jerky, he goes crazy every time we give it to him. We usually put it inside a Kong to make it a challenge to eat since he devours it so quickly. It doesn’t have any odor and is soft but not messy. We also recently started using v-dog’s breath bones to help with his bad breath. A bit skeptical at first, he warmed up and was a big fan. We are too, since it lasted a good 30 minutes. We noticed a bit better-smelling mouth afterward and plan to give him one daily now at the end of the day. The regular sized were a bit big for him, but he managed to carry it around and hold it with his paws. It didn’t smell, and love that we found a solution that is natural and meat-free for him to help combat tartar and smelly teeth.

– Sadie Cornelius, Parent To A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel & Graphic Designer For Canine Journal
Available in mini and regularOnly one flavor
Vegan, plant-powered ingredients
No corn, wheat, or soy
No added sugar, salt, or artificial colors
Parsley and alfalfa are ingredients as natural breath fresheners
Sustainable sourcing
Good for the planet, using less carbon emissions
Made in the U.S.A.


Best At Plaque Removal: Minties Dental Treats Review

Minties Dental Treats

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If your dog struggles with plaque and tartar build-up, I recommend trying Minties dental chews. Minties have a bumpy texture, and they took the longest for my dog to eat.

I like that Minties has the most natural breath fresheners in its ingredients, which helps in eliminating that unwanted dog breath. The treats have a pleasant minty smell to them, too.

Be sure to monitor your dog while eating these. Because they’re harder than other dental treats (similar to Greenies in texture) you’ll want to ensure your dog doesn’t swallow any larger pieces or sharp pieces. My dog has ingested a larger piece of a treat before (not Minties), which caused her to throw up so I wanted to give you a heads up.

A bag of Minties dental sticks with dog chewing on one next to it.
Available in small, medium, and largeNot for dogs under 5 pounds
Removes plaque and tartar build-upOnly one flavor (mint)
Mint, alfalfa, fennel, dill, and parsley are ingredients as natural breath freshenersHas artificial colors
No corn, wheat, or soy
No added sugar or salt
Made in the U.S.A.


Blue Buffalo Dental Bones Review

Blue Buffalo Dental Bones

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The Blue Buffalo dog dental bones are available in different sizes, from small to jumbo. The treats are textured to help soothe your dog’s sore gums, which are great for when she is teething. They only come in one flavor, but their product is gluten-free, unlike Greenies and Dentastix. So if your dog has a wheat allergy, this could be a good option for you.

Included is DHA to help with cognitive development, Taurine for a healthy heart, and vitamins for her immune system. Like most dental chews, these will clean your dog’s teeth and give them fresh breath.

Our Personal Experience With Blue Buffalo Dental Bones

We tried these with our two rescue dogs when Barley was diagnosed with a chicken allergy (these are poultry-free). While they liked them, they were gone with our super chewer in the blink of an eye. So, if your dog can chew up anything quickly, you might want to consider another option. We are now using Whimsies, which are also chicken-free but last longer.

Michelle Schenker, Pet Parent To Two Rescue Dogs & Co-Founder Of Canine Journal
Available in mini, small, regular, and large sizesNot for dogs under 5 pounds
Parsley and alfalfa are ingredients as natural breath freshenersOnly one flavor
No soy, corn, or wheat
No added sugar, salt, or artifical colors
Made in the U.S.A.


Virbac C.E.T. Veggiedent FR3SH Chews Review

Virbac C.E.T. Veggiedent FR3SH Chews

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Virbac’s tartar control chews for dogs help eliminate and control plaque using select plant-based ingredients. They are gluten-free and have a probiotic that aids in digestion and intestinal health. They come in a unique Z-shape design that scrapes the tartar off teeth while chewing.

Available in small, medium, large, and x-largeNot made in the U.S.A.
Reduces plaque build-upIncludes soy and corn
Contains probioticsOnly one flavor
No added sugars, salt, artificial colors, or wheat
Vegan, plant-powered ingredients


Whimzees Toothbrush Dental Treats Review

Whimzees Toothbrush Dental Treats

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Whimzees dog teeth cleaning treats are toothbrush-shaped and made of vegetables with no added chemicals. They help freshen your dog’s breath while fighting plaque and tartar build-up. These treats are low-fat and high in fiber. They come in a variety of flavors, including a variety pack

Our Personal Experience With Whimzees Dental Treats

A tub of Whimzees dental sticks with 3 kinds of variety pack and dog chewing on one next to it.

We love these Whimzees chews that our dog’s dentist gave us to try out after Barley’s last dental cleaning. They last longer than others we have tried, so they’re a bit more like a bone than a treat. Barley goes through other dental chews in less than two minutes, but these take him more like 4-5 minutes!

– Michelle Schenker, Pet Parent To Two Rescue Dogs & Co-Founder Of Canine Journal
Available in x-small, small, medium, large, and x-largeMade in Holland (if you are looking for American-made)
Vegan, plant-powered ingredientsNot for dogs under 5 pounds
Alfalfa is an ingredient as a natural breath freshener
Fights plaque and tartar
Combats bad breath
No soy or corn
No added sugar, salt, or artificial colors


Water Additive Options

If dental sticks are not working or you want extra protection, try these products that you add to your dog’s water bowl.

Oxyfresh Water Additive Pet Dental Care Review

Oxyfresh Water Additive

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Oxyfresh claims to fight tartar, plaque, and gum disease. This is another easy way to clean your dog’s teeth between brushing (like mouthwash for humans). All you do is add a capful to your dog’s drinking water each day. The liquid is odorless and tasteless, so your dog won’t notice it’s there.

I suggest you check with your vet before giving this to your dog to ensure it won’t conflict with any other health issues.

Our Personal Experience With Oxyfresh Water Additive

A dog sniffing bottle of Oxyfresh water additive.

We purchased Oxyfresh for our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel after hearing good things about it. We use it daily with our dog’s water, and it only takes a little droplet in each bowl of water. Georgie doesn’t even notice it’s in there! We do it more as a preventative measure, along with regular brushing and wipes.

– Sadie Cornelius, Parent To A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel & Graphic Designer For Canine Journal
Helps fight plaque and tartar build-upDoesn’t scrape plaque and tartar off teeth as effectively as chews do
Minimizes bad breath
Made in the U.S.A.


TEEF for Life Protektin42 Review

TEEF for Life Protektin42

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TEEF for Life sent me some of their products, including the Protektin42 and Protektin42+K water additives. I’m impressed by the reusable glass jar packaging for the water additives. They come with a pre-measured scoop and you can reorder refill powder packets at up to 20% off. I like that the product is made in the U.S. and the company is conscious of its carbon footprint.

The Protektin42+K aids in dental and kidney care. Products are created by microbiologists and made with 100% human-grade, prebiotic ingredients. After about three days of using the Protektin42+K, Sally started having a lot of GI issues. She needed to go potty frequently and was having diarrhea multiple times a day. She even went poop on our door rug in the middle of the night, which she had never done before. We stopped using the water additive immediately. I can’t guarantee that this is what caused the issues for Sally, but it is the only change we made in her diet, and she didn’t get into anything she shouldn’t have.

However, all dogs respond differently to products, and this is just one experience. I tried to find additional customer testimonials and found fewer than ten listed on any websites that had TEEF products for sale. Of those testimonials, the majority of them were positive. I saw no mention of GI issues for dogs who used TEEF.

TEEF powder for dogs packet and jar products side by side showing use and personal experience.
Prevents plaque and tartar build-upMy dog had diarrhea while using Protektin42+K
Cures bad breath in less than 1 week
Strengthens teeth
Plant-derived, vegan
Chemical free
Made in the U.S.A.


Dog Dental Health Matters

While dental chews can help to keep plaque at bay, they’re no substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth to prevent infections and gum disease. And most vets recommend daily brushing. I know it can be hard to convince your dog of the value of this activity, so our team put together a dog teeth-brushing guide to help guide you through this sticky situation.

This video from Greenies has some stats that show us why it’s important to give our dogs dental chews and keep their teeth clean.

Best Pet Insurance For Dental Needs

If your dog is predisposed to dental issues, you may want to consider pet insurance. However, not all pet insurance covers the same dental conditions. You can learn all about which company we recommend for pet dental insurance. If you want to dive in deep, you can read our comparison article, including detailed information for multiple pet insurance companies.

Are Dogs’ Mouths Cleaner Than Humans’ Mouths?

We’ve all heard it. Dogs’ mouths are cleaner than ours. Some of us believe this, while others think it’s a bunch of malarkey. Is their saliva “cleaner” than ours? It can be hard to believe since they get into, lick, and sometimes eat some not-so-good things.

Some veterinarians say it’s not true that dogs’ mouths are cleaner, but most of the bacteria found in a dog’s mouth won’t harm humans. So, if you want to kiss your pup — go ahead! Just make sure they are up to date on all their shots and parasite control medications.

Check this out if you are looking for other ways to get rid of your dog’s bad breath or if you’re curious about how many teeth your dog has. If you’re looking for treats to reward your dog, we have you covered as well.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Kimberly has written about many dog health issues and has first-hand experience with dog dental issues. Since adopting her dog, Sally, she has been diligent in giving her a dental chew daily and providing adequate dental care. Kimberly has given Sally many different dental chews, which is how she can provide the best dental treat rankings. Kimberly spent more than 15 hours researching and writing this article.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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