In humans the bacteria that forms on our teeth can cause us to get Alzheimer’s. It travels from our gums to our brains and causes inflammation.
That’s one of the reasons that brushing and flossing is so important.
Dogs can also get tooth problems.
Note: If you are in a hurry or just want to go straight to my number one pick for the best chew toy for cleaning dog’s teeth click here to find it on Amazon.
If you’ve ever been around an older dog that hasn’t had it’s teeth taken care of, you probably know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
It’s important to help your dog have good dental hygiene because when they do:
- They live longer.
- They’re less prone to illnesses.
- They have fewer problems eating & staying nourished.
- And they tend to have BETTER BREATH!
And while you should always brush your dog’s teeth and get regular vet checks that include teeth cleanings – the toys you give your dog can really help to keep their teeth CLEAN. Because if you don’t keep your dog’s teeth clean you can end up with tooth extraction, especially in senior dogs.
Here are my top 13 picks for the best toys to clean dog’s teeth!
Dog Toys For Teeth Cleaning
When I went looking for toys that would help keep my dog’s teeth clean, I realized there were A LOT of choices on the market. Some do the job better than others.
I’ve curated a selection based on my experience with different types of toys, customer reviews, and overall quality.
Knobby Dog Ball
The nubs on this ball help to dislodge any food that’s stuck in your dog’s teeth and massage their gums to help keep them healthy.
The ball also floats and has a fun squeaker.
What people are saying – “Favorite Go To Toy”
I have two German Shepard dogs and they love these balls. They are their favorite go to toy when they start their day. They are light weight and bounce really well. When I’m not playing fetch and catch with them they amuse themselves bouncing and rolling them. They have had them for more then two months and are indestructible. They are the same now as when I got them. I strongly urge large dog pet owners to get your dog this ball. You will not be dissatisfied.Mary G.
Suitable for: All size dogs – comes in three different sizes
You can find this ball on Amazon by clicking here.
Nylabone Textured Ring
I’m a big fan of dog toys that HOLD up to heavy chewers.
This textured ring by Nylabone does just that. With large dog breed owners reporting that it doesn’t break apart under heavy chewing.
What people are saying – “No broken off pieces at all”
I have two large breed dogs that run through toys labeled as indestructible. Sometimes I’ll buy them toys and have to throw the toys in the trash on the same day that I bought them. My dogs both chew on this Nylabone Ring and we’ve had it now for months. The ring is only scratched up from the rough chewing. No broken off pieces at all. This ring seems to keep their teeth cleaner too which is great. I’d buy this again for my dogs if I ever have to. If this review was at all helpful to you please let me know by clicking on helpful. Thanks!!!-PhillyGirl
The nubs and ridges also help to remove food and plaque from dog’s teeth.
Suitable for: All size dogs
You can find this textured ring on Amazon by clicking here.
Giant Dog Rope Toy
This SEEMS like a rope toy for a BIG dog. But I’ve seen plenty of small dogs play with giant toys like this as well.
Use your judgement when you are looking for a rope toy, to determine if this one will work for your job.
Rope toys are GREAT teeth cleaners. The fibers of the rope act like toothbrush bristles, and this one does a great job of that.
What people are saying – “helps keep his teeth clean”
Chewing these ropes seems to help keep his teeth clean. His equally large brother is not a rope chewer and his teeth do not look as white even they eat the same food and had their teeth cleaned at the same time.Judy S
Overall this type of rope toy with it’s knots and fibers is great at cleaning teeth.
Suitable for: Medium to Large dogs (although some small dogs LOVE these)
You can find this ginormous rope toy on Amazon by clicking here.
And if you’d rather make your own rope toy check out my instructions for a DIY monkey fist dog toy.
Dog Dental Stick Toy
This is my number two pick for overall quality and usefulness.
This is an unusual and innovative dog toy for teeth cleaning, because you can squeegee dog toothpaste directly into the toy so that your dog self cleans her teeth.
When using with doggie toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) you should ALWAYS supervise your dog using this toy when it has dog toothpaste in it and give it to them for 3 to 5 minutes a day.
If it doesn’t have toothpaste in it they can play with it as much as they like.
This toy comes in two different sizes, depending on the size breed you have and is VERY effective at reducing bad breath.
What people are saying – “Breath 50% Less Stinky”
After the first time “using” her toothbrush our lab’s breath was 50% less stinky! I may order one size smaller as she has a smaller mouth.Colleen Mills
Suitable for: All size dogs (comes in two sizes – check the product description for weights)
You can get this dog toothbrush stick on Amazon by clicking here.
Dog Teeth Cleaning Ball
I own this ball, and find that it works fantastic for teeth cleaning. My dogs particularly love it when I put hard food in between the teeth of the ball.
It really keeps them occupied.
And the nubs where they have to work at the food do a great job of scrubbing their teeth.
What people are saying – “No Signs of Wear”
So far so great! Our office dog had had this everyday for a week and she has actually given up chewing a few times and just tries to bounce the treats out. (very cute) She has not destroyed it, and i see no signs of wear even which is amazing as she is quite a chewer. It keeps her busy and most importantly quiet during conference calls where she used to bark for treats, knowing he dad would comply to keep her calm.-Sara
Suitable for: Small to most large size dogs. This toy may not work for particularly large and powerful dogs.
You can get this fun teeth cleaning ball from Amazon here.
Nylabone Wishbone – Small, Medium & Large
This is my NUMBER one pick for overall quality and usefulness.
This is a toy that doesn’t look like a dental toy with raised nubs or soft spikes, but it is.
It has bristles that raise during chewing to create the teeth cleaning effect. And it’s one of the most well rated chew toys on the market with 4.5 stars and over 2300 reviews on Amazon!
What people are saying – “Hours of Fun Chew Time”.
I get the “wolf” size wishbone for my 12lb shih-tzu/terrier mix. It’s obviously, hilariously too big for her, but she loves it soooo much and she can still carry it around and manipulate it with her paws while chewing it on the ends. I like getting the extra big nylabone because it’s easier for me to supervise her chewing and make sure she doesn’t choke on little pieces, which worried me with smaller bones. The bigger bone lasts much longer since she’s not a strong enough chewer. After about 6-12 months when I notice the little ends beginning to fray and lift, risking to break off and cause choking, I know it’s time for a new one. The time for a new one just depends on how much she’s been chewing! She’s on her fourth one now, and I’ll happily buy her more on the future. She loves them! Hours of fun chew time! Very happy dog, very happy owner.-Kassie and Alex
Suitable for: Small, medium, and large dogs – comes in three sizes
You can get the Nylabone Wishbone from Amazon by clicking here.
Benebone Maplestick Dog Chew Toy
Like the wishbone above, the Benebone maple dog chew has bristles that raise when your dog chews on it, creating an excellent teeth cleaning experience.
This is also an extremely durable toy with flavors that are made from all natural ingredients.
What people are saying: “It’s a Huge Hit”
I have a Labrador who loves to chew sticks and Benebones. When I saw they came out with a stick flavored bone I knew she had to have it. As expected, it’s a huge hit! She’s been chewing for the past hour! I highly recomend all Benebone products.-Haley
Suitable for: small, medium and large size dogs – it comes in three sizes
You can get the maplestick from Amazon here.
Are Dental Chew Toys for Dogs Safe?
First, let me say that I’m not a vet, and this advice is not meant to replace veterinary advice. It comes from years of experience with dogs and tons of research.
If you go with a reputable brand (or one that has a ton of reviews) then dental chew toys are safe for most dogs.
But like most things there are exceptions.
Anytime you give your dog a new toy you should watch to make sure he is not tearing it apart and swallowing bits and pieces.
For most dogs the normal wear and tear is fine and anything they swallow will just pass through, but if they are tearing off large chunks of nylon bone and swallowing it, then you should take the bone away.
Also, if your dog is old and/or has week teeth these toys can cause tooth breakage. You should use your best judgement.
As long as you take those things into consideration, teeth cleaning toys are a great choice for most dogs.
Summary: The Bottom Line on Dog Toys for Teeth Cleaning
My personal favorite of this bunch is the Nylabone Wishbone for Dogs (Available on Amazon). It’s durable, get’s good reviews, and is available in three sizes.
But the reality is that a dental chew toys is only good if your dog actually WANTS to use it. So, it’s worth trying out a few different varieties to make sure that your dog will use the toy you buy them.
You can also make toys for your dog (although they aren’t good teeth cleaning toys) like these sock toys for dogs.
Once you find a toy they like, keep an eye on it for wear and tear and replace it regularly to get the best teeth cleaning effect and to keep things safe for your dog.