Dental Treats You Can Make for Your Pets this Summer

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

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Keeping your pet’s teeth healthy is extremely important. As well as being vital for helping your animal hold, bite, and chew her food, teeth are also part of your pet’s natural defenses, and she may feel vulnerable if they are in poor condition.

In addition to this, dental health has been proven to be directly linked to the development of a number of medical conditions, some of which can be serious or even deadly. Diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart problems, kidney, and liver disorders and oral cancers are more likely to affect and animals with poor dental hygiene and who are suffering from problems including cavities, decay, and periodontal disease. Fortunately, dental treats are a great way you can help keep your pets teeth and gums healthy.

dog treats

Why give dental treats to dogs?

While brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way to keep dental problems at bay, dental treats can be an invaluable addition to your furball’s oral care routine. These simple snacks can be given as part of a training routine or as a standalone treat, yet rather than being damaging for her dental health they actually benefit the longevity of her teeth.

Dental treats work in several ways. Firstly, they stimulate your pet’s mouth to produce more saliva. This is beneficial since saliva helps to neutralize decay-causing acids and washes away bacteria and food debris. Secondly, some types of dental treats are mildly abrasive and when they come into contact with your pet’s teeth they essentially brush them, clearing some of the bacteria clinging to her teeth away.

Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to spend a fortune on dental treats during the summer months. There are some that you can make yourself, provided of course that your pet isn’t intolerant to any of the ingredients. This gives you the added benefit of knowing exactly what is going into what your beloved furbaby is eating.

Doggy Ice Treats

During the summer, rising temperatures can make things very unpleasant for your canine pal who can get hot extremely quickly. Some dogs have extremely thick coats, and this can make it even harder for them to cool down when they need to.

Doggy ice treats are a great way to cool your pet down during the hot and sticky summer months. They are also beneficial for her teeth since they are very hydrating and can help wash away some of the bacteria on her teeth.

Ice treats can be made in a variety of ways, but the healthiest ones are primarily water based with a touch of natural flavoring such as banana or blueberry. Avoid adding fruit juices as these are packed full of sugar which does no favors for your pet’s teeth.

Homemade ‘Greenies’

Greenies are a popular brand of dental treat, but it is possible to replicate the chews yourself at home with a few, fairly simple ingredients. The items you will need include:

  • 3 ½ cups of organic brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon of Activated Charcoal
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup of packed fresh mint
  • ½ cup of fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of Liquid Chlorophyll

Pop the parsley, mint, oil and around ½ of your cup of water into your food processor. Process down until very finely chopped then add the chlorophyll and mix again.

Put the rice flour and charcoal into a mixing bowl and stir well. Add the mixture from your food processor and stir in. Finally, beat the egg lightly and add this to the bowl too. Knead into a sticky ball, adding the remainder of the water. Then dust the surface of your worktop with more rice flour, roll the mixture out and cut into your desired shapes just as you would cookies. Bake for 15-20 minutes on 400F. Once cooled, store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Because it’s homemade and organic, this treat is a good addition to your pet’s diet for good dental health.

Breath freshening mint treats

Dog-breath isn’t much fun when your pet likes to get up close and personal to you. Fortunately, some DIY dental treats can sweeten your beloved furball’s breath and help prevent bacteria developing in her mouth.

Take a cup of plain or Greek yogurt, a small handful of fresh parsley and another of mint and pop them all in the blender. Blend until the herbs are evenly distributed through the mixture then pour it into ice cube trays. Pop in the freezer and a few hours later, these tasty treats will be ready to go!

Dog-friendly s’mores

S’mores are one of the best things about a summer bonfire, but since chocolate is toxic to dogs, it is something that your dog usually has to miss out on. Well, not any more thanks to this awesome recipe for dog-friendly s’mores! Instead of chocolate, they use carob chips or powder, which is very similar in taste and texture but has none of the toxicity. When combined with fairly hardy dental biscuits it is a cool twist on a regular dental treat.

Grab some plain but abrasive dental dog biscuits, a cup of plain or Greek yogurt and a cup of carob chips or tablespoon of carob powder. If you are using chips you will need to melt them down while powder can be added straight to the yoghurt. Dip one side of each biscuit into the mixture and place onto a baking sheet. Then put another biscuit on top to make the ‘sandwich’. Once you have filled your tray with s’mores, pop it into the freezer to harden. It is then ready to serve to your pooch!