Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Pet Dental Health Month: Barkworthies Brushers - Product Review

February is Pet Dental Health Month! Like with humans, oral health is very important for dogs because serious dental problems can lead to additional health concerns. For more information on pet dental care, see the American Veterinary Medical Association's suggestions here.

There are numerous products marketed for dog dental health, such as edible chews, textured nylon chews, rope toys, and textured rubber toys. We recently got to try a new dental product, Barkworthies Brushers.

Barkworthies Brushers
I love the Barkworthies brand because all of their products are fully digestible and free of additives, chemicals and preservatives. Feeding healthier treats and chews means a healthier pet, and a healthier pet is happier and lives longer!

Barkworthies Brushers are 100% organic twigs made from branches of the East Indies Arrack tree. They release an antibiotic when chewed that helps to suppress both the growth of bacteria and the formation of plaque. They also contain minerals (potassium, sodium, chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and calcium oxides) that help strengthen tooth enamel. Their parallel bristle-like nature works like dental floss to clean between teeth. As a bonus for the environment, they are sustainably harvested! People in the regions where these trees are found have traditionally used such twigs to clean their own teeth (look up "miswak" for more info).

Preliminary taste test
The twigs have a strange odor to them, kind of like strong body odor with a hint of acidity. While I thought they stank, Chewy did not mind at all, and got right to work chewing on the ends. When chewed open, the inside of the twig has bristle-like fibers. Chewy enjoyed breaking off little pieces and then chewing them further, before spitting out some bits. The fibers are very soft so I did not worry about splinters, making them a nice alternative to regular sticks!

Bristle-like fibers
I like that Chewy uses all of his teeth while chewing on the Brushers. With regular dental treats, he only chews with his back teeth, but with the Brushers, he works the pieces around his whole mouth before eventually spitting out most of it. It's a very messy process!

Chew, spit, repeat!
Chewy makes these happy chewing faces while he chews on the Brushers. It could be that that's just how his face is when he opens his mouth (Goldens often look like they're smiling), but I detect some distinctly upturned mouth corners!

Happy chewing face #1

Happy chewing face #2
There's always a mess leftover when Chewy is done with a Brusher. He does pick up the pieces and chew them again, but I guess they're not yummy enough to want to eat every little morsel. I am okay with that, as their primary purpose is to clean teeth. This way he does not devour them in seconds like he does Greenies and other edible chews, and they can actually serve their intended purpose.

Mess from Brusher chew session #1

Mess from Brusher chew session #2
I do think his teeth were slightly cleaner after chewing the Brushers, but I can't say for sure. They lasted Chewy about 5-8 minutes of chewing, which is about the same amount of time he takes to chew a regular bully stick (he's a fast chewer). Since Barkworthies Brushers encourage Chewy to use all of his teeth (even the front ones!), I think they are a great addition to our dental chew collection.

Disclaimer: We received 2 Barkworthies Brushers from Matrix Partners for review purposes. We did not receive any monetary compensation for this post, and all of the opinions expressed are our own.


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