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Dental Chews

By Pam Foster
August, 2017
By helping clients get into the habit of using safe, VOHC-accepted dental chews every day, you can boost oral health and client happiness.

While today’s dental chew market for dogs is massive with over $750M in sales and growing, veterinary practices are currently only capturing 2-3% of the market. So, it’s likely that your customers are not offering dental chews in their practice.

But the problem isn’t about the market share that’s being missed.

“The biggest opportunity you’re missing is to help the patient,” said Dr. Jan Bellows of AllPetsDental.com.

Dr. Bellows explained: “Unfortunately, there are so many different types of chews out there, clients don’t know which chews are safe and which are harmful.” He said that most chews have labels claiming to “clean teeth,” “whiten teeth” and/or “freshen breath,” but it’s hard for pet owners to know what’s best for their dogs’ oral health.

He added, “There’s virtually no regulation on these chews unless they say, ‘controls periodontal disease or gingivitis.’ Bones are not safe. They break teeth, which leads to pain and possible root canal. Other chews, such as antlers and even nylon chews, may also break teeth.

Therefore, the only chews worth their weight are VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) accepted: they’ve shown that they decrease the progression of plaque or tartar by at least 20%.”

You can bet that most pet owners don’t understand the importance of looking for VOHC-accepted dental chews.

Help your veterinary practices be their clients’ guide on how to choose safe and truly effective dental chews.

Here’s how Dr. Bellows handles this in his practice.

  • “We give out samples to all our clients. We open a box of OraVet® chews (for example), and every patient goes home chewing one. I send home three to four more in a bag, and the client sees this as a good thing. The beautiful part is that the chews are realty tasty and they work.
  • Also, every teeth cleaning client goes home with a goodie bag that includes a box of dental treats. We up-charge the price of the teeth cleaning so we can include these free dental treats. We’ve seen that when we provide a whole box of 20-30 chews, it becomes habit to be repeated.
  • We take every opportunity to educate clients that chews should be given to their dogs every day. We brush our own teeth twice a day, so it’s good for dogs to do that, too. I give chews to my own dogs every day.

Dr. Bellows mentioned that OraVet chews are designed to increase the time it takes for the chewing experience. Clients like this because the pet stays occupied longer (unlike chews that are gone in ten seconds). But all VOHC-accepted chews are good products because the mechanical function “squeegees off plaque.”

He also noted that, “The chew business can be major. We see that by repeated sales. People come in to buy chews every day. We market them for about the same price as online, and I still get a margin.”

Dr. Bellows noted that, “We don’t even sell toothbrushes anymore. Clients won’t use them. That’s why we prefer dental chews; they create a happy experience. The pets love them, the clients love giving them, and we’re seeing compliance and healthier teeth.”

Visit VOHC.org to find a current list of high-quality accepted chews. 

Topics: Sales, Dental

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