The 8 Best Dog Dental Sticks Australia: Tested & Evaluated 2023
In recent years, we’ve been hearing more and more about the importance of dental care for dogs. Even though dental care was an aspect of canine health that has been very much neglected for a long time, responsible pet parents these days want to keep their dog’s teeth healthy.
But what is the best way to keep those teeth clean? There is no one simple answer that works for everyone. But, one thing is for sure, dental sticks for dogs are a step in the right direction and practically every dog will love them.
Today’s guide is here to help you find the best dental chew for your dog. To help you find the best of the best, we've teamed up with canine nutritionists and veterinarians to form an independent panel of experts. Our panel researched and tested dozens and dozens of canine dental sticks, and after months of trial and discussion, we finally agreed on this list of the best.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
Fang rollin' for roo Dental Sticks
- Made with kangaroo meal
- Easy to digest
- Perfect texture for cleaning the teeth
- Unique shape aids cleaning
- Convenient size
- Enriched with vitamins and minerals
Runner Up -
Savourlife Australian Natural Dental Bars
- Tougher texture for better cleaning
- No added sugars
- Low in fat & salt
- Enriched with vitamins
Third Choice -
Greenies Original Mega Treat Pack
- Easily digestible
- Dogs seem to love them
- Freshens the breath
- Gently fights tartar buildup
Australia's Best Dental Treats for Dogs Reviewed
Before we dig into the ingredients and features you will find with a dog dental stick. Let's first take a look at what is available on the Australian market for your pooch cleaning treats. These are the best dental sticks for dogs hand selected by our independent panel of experts following plenty of trial and error. Which one(s) will be your dog's new favourite?
What sets this product apart from the rest?
"Dental sticks are generally packed full of poor ingredients. Fang dental sticks, that we've listed in the top spot, goes against that trend with a short ingredient list full of goodness. The sticks are a good size and provide good canine teeth cleaning properties. An added bonus is that they are gluten free, a great option for dogs with skin sensitivities."
The Fang Dental Sticks are some of the nicest dental sticks anyone on our independent expert panel encountered. Our dogs went crazy for them, they are fairly nutritious (far better than the other options), and they do clean their teeth!
The secret of the Fang sticks is the unique shape and the carefully designed texture. The sticks are tough, but still chewy, so they scrub the plaque off as your dog chews on this delightful snack.
As a plus, these sticks are made with kangaroo meal - one of the healthiest meats available and based mainly on rice flour which gives them a unique texture while also being easy to digest. They're also gluten-free, similar to our second choice, in case your doggo is gluten sensitive like mine.
The sticks come in only one size, which is 13 cm long. However, this is a good size for most medium to large dogs. And for smaller pooches, you can just break off a piece for a more suitable size!
The Savour Life Dental Bars are a great example of a dental treat that is also a decent snack aside from the oral health benefits. While they are not exactly perfect in terms of nutrition, these sticks are not that bad either, plus they are made mostly with wholesome natural ingredients.
The first ingredients on the list are rice and rice flour, wheat starch, and tapioca. These are not the most awesome ingredients your dog can have but are ok for most dogs when fed in reasonable amounts, which is exactly what an occasional dental stick is. Moreover, similar to our number one choice, these treats also contain quite a bit of actual kangaroo meat, thus driving the total protein content of these sticks to 12%.
The Savourlife Australian Natural Dental Bars being tested by our independent expert team.
But what about dental benefits? What many of the pet parents on our independent expert panel and our doggos love are the fact that these sticks are tougher than most other options. This means more chewing time which leads to cleaner teeth.
The Savourlife sticks also include a range of added vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C and Zinc which help keep the teeth clean.
Greenies are among the most popular dental treats for dogs. But are they really that good? Well, one thing is for sure, dogs certainly seem to love them. There is just something about the smell.
Greenies are also one of the few dental treats that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council stamp of approval, which is the reason why many pet parents trust them.
The Greenies Original Mega Treat Pack being tested by our independent expert team.
The thing about Greenies is that they are designed to clean the dog’s teeth gently during chewing, but they are also quite soft compared to some other options. For some dogs this is fine, but power chewers will get through a greenie in seconds. In that case, it doesn’t do anything for the dog’s teeth - it’s just a treat.
On the bright side, even if your dog ends up swallowing a Greenie, they are easy to digest. Similar to our first two options, these treats are also enriched with various vitamins and minerals, so they help support your pooch’s health.
Most dental sticks aren’t formulated for puppies. As we all know, teething puppies love to chew on things, but their gentle gums and growing teeth need extra care. Dental sticks made for adults can be too tough and aggressive for tiny pups.
These sticks from N-Bone are made specifically for young puppies. They have a softer texture but are still tough enough to give the pups some chewing satisfaction. Our team of independent experts especially love that they are fortified with calcium and DHA fatty acids to support the needs of a growing puppy.
The N-Bone Puppy Teething Treats being tested by our independent expert team.
In short, they are a nice and entertaining snack you can give to your pup until they are old enough to enjoy ‘real’ dental treats.
Bell & Bone is a newcomer to the dog treat market, so there are still not as many reviews for their products available as for the big brands. The idea behind the dental treat line created by this small Australian company is to create treats that help maintain oral health while also being good healthy treats in themselves.
I was happy to see that the ingredient list for these dental sticks does look quite good. Each of their recipes contains around 25% of meat as the first ingredient. Besides the meat, the sticks also contain herbs like mint and turmeric and other healthy ingredients like seaweed or manuka honey. They're also grain-free, like our first two choices on this list.
The Bell & Bone Dental Sticks being tested by our independent expert team.
There are no added sugars or unnecessary additives, but there are two active ingredients that promote oral health: Sodium Tripolyphosphate and Zinc Sulphate, both proven to be safe and effective in preventing tartar formation. All dogs, including my own, on our panel of testers really loved these.
TropiClean is a company that has been around since 1992. In the beginning, they were focusing on natural grooming products for pets. But over time, they have been experimenting with different products.
In 2010, TropiClean started making dental products for dogs which quickly became a hit and made the brand famous. These days, TropiClean makes a variety of options for dental care, including dental sticks, water additives, and gels.
The TropiClean Fresh Breath Dental Sticks being tested by our independent expert team.
What sets them apart from the other items on this list is that they are focused on making your dog’s breath smell fresh. This is possible due to a mix of additions like vanilla, mint flavour, coconut oil, green tea extract, and rosemary extract. The combo works quite well for most dogs, but keep in mind some of these ingredients can get food sensitivities to flare up in some canines (but that’s the case for almost any food).
Besides the fresheners, these sticks also contain sodium phosphates and zinc which help protect the teeth from bacteria.
The main downside: the main ingredient in these sticks is potato flour which is not a healthy ingredient for dogs, but it’s ok for the occasional dental stick.
You’d like to have some dental treats to offer to your dog (or any dog you meet), but you aren’t ready to spend a fortune? These Dental Spirals from Dingo might be a good choice.
Compared to other options, these treats are quite affordable. They come in only one size but are easy to break into smaller pieces due to the soft texture. This can come in handy if your dog is like mine and on the smaller side.
The Dingo Dental Spirals Parsley Treats For Dogs being tested by our independent expert team.
Similar to Greenies in our number three slot, these chews are a bit softer than some other options. This works better for some dogs, but it will all depend on your pooch’s chewing style.
There is something about these treats that makes the dogs go crazy about them, but the nutritional profile is not great. Basically, it’s lots of gluten and ingredients like dried pineapple pulp and tapioca starch. Not the best options, but not horrible either. In short, these are ok as an occasional dental treat.
The catchphrase of OraVet is “serious oral care made simple” and that’s really what this product strives to do. OraVet makes a couple of products for dog dental care most of which are made to be used by veterinarians, but these dental chews are created to offer effective and effortless dental care for your dog at home.
The unique feature of the OraVet chews is the active ingredient: delmopinol. This active substance was proven to be effective in fighting plaque in humans, but OraVet is the first company to introduce it to dogs.
The OraVet Dental Hygiene Chews for Dogs being tested by our independent expert team.
OraVet claims to have done thorough clinical research proving the safety and effectiveness of delmopinol in dogs. According to their claims, these chews are more effective than anything else available in reducing plaque, tartar, and halitosis.
OraVet chews have been awarded the VOHC stamp of approval, but the actual research is not publicly available. Still, the chews are quite popular and the pet parents on our panel of independent experts were happy with them.
Another unique feature of OraVet chews is its soft texture. Each chew is individually wrapped to keep the treat soft. The idea behind this is that the dog’s teeth get to sink into the treat, thus making it more effective at cleaning gunk off the teeth. This tends to work great for smaller and gentler dogs, but not for power chewers who will basically swallow the treat.
Do Dogs Need Dental Chews?
Now that we have shown you our favourites in this doggy dental hygiene category. Do dogs need dental treats? Well, it depends on your dental health routine, but they definitely can’t hurt.
If a dog’s teeth are not cleaned regularly, this is what will happen:
“If your dog’s teeth are not brushed daily, plaque will accumulate. After 72 hours, that plaque will become mineralised and turn into dental calculus—often referred to as tartar. Tartar is easier for plaque to stick to than the natural smooth surface of the tooth, so it allows for more plaque to accumulate. Plaque on the teeth will cause inflammation of the gums.” - Elizabeth McCalley, DVM, PetMD (1).
And if left untreated, inflammation of the gums (periodontal disease) can lead to a variety of other problems. You get the point. Dogs need their teeth cleaned.
Now, dental sticks are rarely enough to completely clean a dog’s teeth, especially if they have been neglected for a while. They are typically too soft and short-lived. In nature, dogs clean their teeth by chewing on hard things like sticks (not recommended) and bones (depending on the dog). We can help them get their teeth sparkling white by using a toothbrush and/or various other products.
But what dental sticks can do is help prevent those pesky plaque sediments from forming. When used as a preventive measure, they can be very beneficial and make your and your dog’s life much easier.
What I Look for in Dog Dental Chews
Dental sticks might be good for your dog, but not every dental treat is the same. In fact, as our team of independent experts share, some dental treats have active ingredients that help clean the teeth, while others rely on the texture and the action of chewing.
Related: What Can I Give My Dog For Bad Breath?
The perfect choice depends on the size and habits of your dog, so there is no simple answer. However, if you pay attention to these four points you’ll easily find the perfect dental treat for your dog:
When getting dental treats, it’s important to get the right size for your dog. This is less of an issue with small dogs than with large dogs. If your dog is on the smaller side, you can always break the larger dental sticks into pieces (providing they are soft enough) and feed the appropriate amount.
However, if you have a large dog and feed tiny dental treats, they will simply not do anything for their teeth. Some chewing action needs to happen for a dental treat to be effective.
Luckily, most manufacturers make dental treats in different sizes and will state the appropriate dosage on the packaging based on the weight of your dog. Always follow these guidelines.
In the words of our independent experts, the texture of a dental chew is an important feature because it is what allows this type of treat to mechanically clean the dog’s teeth (2).
This is also the part that relates to your dog’s habits and temperament. In terms of texture, there is a case to be made both for softer and harder dental treats for dogs.
Softer dog chews let the dog’s teeth sink into the treat which allows for more contact with the surface area of the tooth. However, this will only work for dogs that are used to chewing more slowly and gently, usually smaller dogs.
Power chewers who like to attack their food and chomp it down as fast as possible will most likely benefit from dental treats with a tougher texture.
As mentioned above, only some dental treats have ingredients that promote cleaner teeth beyond the mechanical cleaning effect of a chew. But even when they do, it can be hard to determine what these ingredients are and whether they are safe just from looking at the ingredient list.
One way to check unknown dental treats is to see if they have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of acceptance. VOHC has a list of dental treats that are considered safe and effective, but still, it is not a regulatory agency and applications for their approval are voluntary - so the usefulness of this list is limited.
The most common substance added to dog dental sticks to prevent plaque formation is sodium polyphosphate (which can appear in the ingredient list as Sodium Tripolyphosphate or Sodium Hexametaphosphate). Now, these substances are also sometimes found in dog food as preservatives, but they do help keep teeth clean by preventing plaque from turning into calculus (the mineralised form) (3).
Zinc seems to work similarly, and since it’s also a necessary nutrient for dogs it is often included in dental treats (4).
The final thing to consider when shopping for dental treats is nutrition. Unfortunately, during our testing phase, we quickly realised that when buying dental sticks, it’s almost impossible to avoid ‘filler’ ingredients like potato starch, white flour, rice flour, tapioca, and the like. The thing is, it is hard to avoid such ingredients because they give dental sticks its unique texture.
It’s up to you to decide what you deem ok for your dog, but while some fillers are unavoidable, we’d advise staying away from treats that list lots of artificial preservatives and colours, for example.
My Final Verdict
Best teeth cleaning chews for dogs? The ones that work! And that will, of course, depend on the size and preferences of your dog.
Everyone on our team of independent experts like the Savourlife Australian Natural Dental Bars because they are slightly tougher than other options. However, they might be too tough for smaller dogs with gentle teeth. In that case, we recommend you try something like Greenies.
In short, yes, they usually are. The key is finding dental sticks made with quality ingredients and following the daily feeding guidelines. While they are usually beneficial to dogs, dental sticks are often not very nutritious and aren’t a substitute for a proper meal.
Always follow the guidelines on the packaging of the dental sticks and never feed more than recommended. The recommended dose is usually one dental stick per day.
The best way to clean a dog’s teeth at home is by brushing every day. However, that’s not always feasible, and some alternatives can help such as water additives, and yes, dental sticks. They do help but aren’t as effective as a toothbrush.
- McCalley, E. February 8, 2021. “Periodontal (Gum) Disease in Dogs”. PetMD. Retrieved November 25, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/mouth/c_multi_periodontal_disease
- Quest BW. (2013). "Oral health benefits of a daily dental chew in dogs". Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, 2013 Summer;30(2):84-7. doi: 10.1177/089875641303000203. PMID: 24006717.
- Danks, L. September 1, 2014. “The role of sodium polyphosphates”. Improve Veterinary Practice. Retrieved November 25, 2023. https://www.veterinary-practice.com/article/the-role-of-sodium-polyphosphates
- Scanian, N. March 12, 2019. “9 nutrients for canine dental disease” Animal Wellness Magazine. Retrieved November 25, 2023. https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/nutrients-canine-dental-disease/