Looking for an occasional or full-time alternative to Greenies, which are great except for the cost? Until recently, there weren’t any good options. Now there are multiple dental chews available online, at big-box pet supply stores, and even WalMart and Target.
Of the chews available from a few well-known brands, our dog prefers Milkbone Brushing Chews in the Small/Medium size. He still likes Greenies best, so we get them whenever we make a Costco run, which brings the price under $1 each. The Milkbone chews cost about half as much as Greenies; both products are accepted by the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council).
The Milkbone chews are small slightly-twisted bone-shaped treats with nubs and ridges to help get between teeth. They’re packed in a good resealable plastic pouch inside a beautifully designed box that closes with a large flap (not tabs and slots). The chews obviously smell good to our dog, who does a happy dance when the package is opened. At 13, he’s missing a few teeth, but has no trouble working on the Milkbone chews, which are medium-hard and slightly flexible. He starts off by holding the chew upright in his paws, same as he does with a Greenie.
The ingredients include rice, chicken by-product meal, and powdered cellulose, supplemental vitamins/minerals, yellow food coloring, and BHA (a preservative). They’re 12% protein, 8% fiber, 1% calcium, 1% fat, and 18% moisture. While the list of ingredients is not exactly stellar, they provide a little protein, almost no fat, and some calcium.
Do they work?
The packaging claims that a daily chew is as effective as brushing twice a week in terms of tartar and bad breath control. Because our dog Max has missing teeth, he tends to get food stuck in places where it shouldn’t. Judging from our results, I would say that the chews are effective, and much better than not brushing at all, but no substitute for daily brushing.