Protect your dog’s teeth

Why dogs need chews and toys they can safely get their teeth into

Spaniel Puppy

It's easy to think your dog's teeth are indestructible. Dogs use their mouths to explore the world and chewing is a dog's natura

fragile teeth

But dogs’ teeth are more fragile than you might think – their enamel is up to six times thinner than our human teeth 1 and nerves are closer to the surface.

Chips and fractures can be hard to spot and are sometimes missed by pet owners. By their very nature, as pack animals, dogs are good at disguising their distress to avoid displaying any weakness. So even if they are in extreme pain, your dog might not show any obvious signs of a tooth injury. If you think your dog might have a fractured tooth speak to your vet.

  1. Crossley, DA. Tooth enamel thickness in the mature dentition of domestic dogs and cats--preliminary study. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry. 1995 Sep;12(3):111-3.
  2. Golden AL, Stoller N, Harvey CE. A survey of oral and dental diseases in dogs anesthetized at a veterinary hospital. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1982; 18: 891-899.
  3. Le Brech C, Hamel L, Le Nihouuannen JC, et al. Epidemiological study of canine teeth fractures in military dogs. J Vet Dent 1997; 14: 51-55, 1997.
  4. Hamp SE, Olsson SE, Farso-Madsen K, et al. A macroscopic and radiologic investigation of dental diseases of the dog. Vet Radiol 1984; 25: 86-92.
  5. Venturini. Retrospective study of 3055 pets referred to Odontovet® (veterinary dental center) during 44 months. Dissertação (Mestre Em Medicina Veterinária), Faculdade De Medicina Veterinária E Zootecnia, Universidade De São Paulo 2006; 35-37.
  6. Gioso MA, Lopes FM, Ferro DG, et al. Oral fractures in dogs of Brazil - a retrospective study. J Vet Dent 2005; 22: 86-90.
  7. Butkovic V, Simpraga M, Sehic M, et al. Dental diseases of dogs: a retrospective study of radiological data. Acta Vet Brno 2001; 70: 203-208.
  8. Capik I, Ledecky V, Sevcik A. Tooth fracture evaluation and endodontic treatment in dogs. Acta Vet Brno 2000; 69: 115-122.

Tooth truths From vet dentist Lisa Milella

  • The hard enamel layer on a dog's tooth is thinner than on a human tooth meaning their teeth have less protection than ours!
  • Vessels and nerves are much closer to the tooth's surface in dogs than in humans.
  • Unlike many common fractures in humans, chips and fractures in dogs’ teeth can cause extreme pain, infection and decreased appetite as they more commonly expose the nerves inside the tooth.

Tooth truths
Hard treats and toys can fracture teeth

Hard treats and toys can fracture teeth

Pioneering research9, led by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and supported by Mars Petcare, confirmed that a dog's jaws are easily powerful enough to break their teeth if they are allowed to chew on products that are too hard.

This means that even some dog chews and toys have the potential to damage dogs' teeth because of their texture and hardness, and the immense forces applied through chewing.

What does it mean?

Any chew or toy that is not bendy and malleable, or doesn’t soft en very quickly and easily when chewed, could cause a painful tooth fracture, posing a risk to your dog’s well-being.

  1. Soltero-Rivera M, Elliott MI, Hast MW, Shetye SS, Castejon-Gonzalez AC, Villamizar-Martinez LA, Stefanovski D and Reiter AM (2019) Fracture Limits of Maxillary Fourth Premolar Teeth in Domestic Dogs Under Applied Forces. Front. Vet. Sci. 5:339.

Treat your dog with tooth-kind products

We all love to treat and play with our dogs, and giving them chews and toys provides important oral hygiene and mental stimulation. But think twice before giving your pet their next treat or toy – if you think it might be too hard, it probably is!

Treat your dog

3 steps to help you protect your dog’s teeth:

1- Chew review

Try to keep an eye on what your dog chews beyond what you carefully select to give them.
Sometimes they’ll chomp on stones and hard tree roots out of curiosity. Discourage this behaviour to decrease the risk of broken teeth.

2- Wince test

When you give your dog something to chew, imagine taking a hard bite of it yourself. If it’s enough to make you wince, then it’s probably too hard for your dog to chew. There isn’t currently a specific legal standard for hardness for dog chews, but there are many products available that are really chewy and longlasting, without being super hard.

3- Vets know best

If you are unsure if a product is too hard, speak to your vet for advice on what’s safe for your dog to chew.


PEDIGREE® GOOD CHEW™ is a long lasting chew that keeps a Dog occupied and relaxed while encouraging his natural behaviour –to ch

Good Chew™ has been developed with our nutritionists and veterinarians of the WALTHAM PETCARE SCIENCE INSTITUTE. The texture of the chew finds the perfect balance between soft and hard - this not only increases the chewing pleasure but also is gentle on the teeth.

Pedigree® Good Chew™ is available in different versions, suitable for medium and large breeds