Chompers Club is brand new on the scene of doggy dental care, but it’s not quite like anything you’ll find at your local pet store, and it’s definitely not shaped like a toothbrush. You know the ones I’m talking about. You know.
When you sign up for the subscription, a monthly box arrives at your doorstep containing a supply of enzymatic (~enzymagic~ for you Chompers rookies) chicken-flavored gels, a curated dental chew toy, a refrigerator magnet/wall mount to proudly display the ridiculously cute packaging, and some handy literature.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Did you brush your teeth this morning? I certainly hope so. Did you brush your dog’s teeth? Probably not—and you’re not the only one. Brushing your dog’s teeth with an honest-to-goodness toothbrush is no small task, especially if Piper or Max or Chloe is not a fan. It takes time, patience, and can be downright impossible with a feisty pup.
I got lucky with my golden child; she doesn’t care what you do as long as it tastes good or feels good. The other side of this is that I hated doing it. Getting out the toothbrush and toothpaste, herding her into the kitchen, and then sitting on the floor for several minutes getting the job done was never fun for me, even if she had no qualms. Most of the time I didn’t want to do it. I stopped cleaning her teeth because it was something I didn’t like doing—isn’t that crazy?
Dental Disease In Dogs
So, you clicked on this post because 1) Your dog’s breath smells like a ripe pile of garbage on a hot day, 2) You’ve noticed their teeth could be a little cleaner and want to do something about it, or 3) You are wise in the ways of canine dental disease and are determined to find a way to prevent that nonsense before the vet slaps a bill in front of you. Did I get at least one right?
Not-so-fun fact: more than 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have dental disease. EIGHTY PERCENT. That is ridiculous. 80% of dog parents aren’t caring for their pup’s teeth properly. Just Google “periodontal disease in dogs” and take a peek at the images. Apologies in advance.
Unboxing Chompers Club
When my first box arrived I unpacked all the contents, laid them out on the floor, and read through the instructions. Each box contains a dental toy designed to get dogs chewing, but there was one glaring problem: my dog does not chew toys. She does not play with toys, she does not fetch, she turns her nose up at most treats. I was reluctantly optimistic that she would be so impressed with this knobby rubber rope thing that she’d change her ways after 8 years and go wild.
It’s true that she had little interest in the toy alone, no surprise there. So I pulled out the gel packet for Monday and squeezed a little on my finger so she could taste it. So far, so good. Then I squeezed the rest into one of the grooves in the toy and set it on the floor. She approached, sniffed, inspected. Then laid down and started licking.
It’s All About That Chew
The secret to getting the most out of the gel (which contains enzymes that help break down plaque-and bad-breath-causing bacteria) is the chewing action, similar to that of brushing. Soon enough she ACTUALLY started gnawing a little in an effort to reach the gel that settled deep between the rubber “spikes.” The gels taste like chicken—I’ve heard. I did not confirm this with my own taste buds—and she’s usually willing to try most fowl-flavored treats. I watched for a while as she switched between chewing and licking, and when I left and came back about 10 minutes later the bulk of the gel had disappeared. She still sat on the floor licking her chops, and I deemed Tooth Cleaning Day 1 complete!
The “Other” Dental Care Methods
Next to legitimate tooth-brushing, this was not our first rodeo in terms of alternate dental care methods. We’ve tried traditional edible dental chews, sure. The ones with “gum-massaging” ridges and “tooth-scrubbing” grooves that never quite accomplished anything before the whole thing was on its way to her small intestine. Any edible chew also comes with added calories, something many pet parents may not consider. For dogs trying to lose or manage their weight to avoid other health issues, this is a game-changer. Breath-freshening water additives and sprays seemed a little too good to be true and, if I’m honest, completely ineffective as far as plaque is concerned.
Building A Daily Habit
And so it went throughout the first week and a half. I would retrieve the appropriate gel packet from its place mounted on the fridge, squeeze it into the toy, and give as a treat at some point during the day, always watching to make sure there was some chewing going on. Chompers also recommends trying your own dental toys or chews if their curated option doesn’t tickle your dog’s fancy. You can squeeze the gel onto anything that will encourage them to chew, and it works the same way.
I’ve found that if my dog is losing interest in a toy, a sturdy chew (one that will stand up to a good few minutes of gnawing) is great to add to the rotation. It changes up the flavor and texture, and keeps things just interesting enough for her to engage each day and help the gel do its job.
Dental care is not a temporary treatment for dental disease or bad breath—it’s something that needs to become habitual if we plan on preserving our dog’s oral health and, ultimately, prolonging their life. We don’t stop brushing our teeth when they’re clean, and neither should your dog. Particularly because sometimes they eat poop and other questionably revolting things.
Does Chompers Club Work?
Here’s the thing: enzymatic toothpastes that you apply manually (re: yourself) make a difference if you manage to keep up with it and brush long enough that your effort is not equivalent to simply wiping toothpaste on your dog’s teeth. You have only to search reviews and see anecdotal and photographic evidence of the thousands of dogs with proactive parents to see this.
The difference is that, assuming your dog dislikes having your fingers or a toothbrush in his mouth and that you are equally unwilling to participate in this process, brushing can be frustrating to say the least. The similarity is the brushing action—that’s the key. The Chompers toys are specifically designed to work in tandem with your dog’s chewing so they do the hard work themselves. Unlike some dental toys, the shape of the toy that came in my box was perfect for getting all the way to the gum line and covering as much surface area as possible with the gel.
I’d give Chompers at least a month or two to decide fairly, but I have no reason to believe it isn’t just as good as brushing. Better, even, for all its advantages and ease of use. Bonus points for the adorable addition to my fridge. My opinion is that it’s absolutely more effective than dental toys, sprays, water additives, and chews alone, way more fun for your dog than traditional brushing, and a thousand times easier for the humans trying to keep their dogs out of that 80%.
Think Chompers Club might be a good fit for your dog? Check out their website to sign up!