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Are Dentastix harmful to dogs?

Eucalyptus is good for koala bears but not for dogs.
Eucalyptus is good for koala bears but not for dogs.
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Read the ingredients on the Dentastix label: these tasty treats that pets love contain eucalyptus oil. According to the ASPCA, eucalyptus oil is toxic to dogs.

This blogger became aware of the problem when her beloved dog, Huckleberry, became ill. The dog began drinking too much before eventually refusing both food and water. He was lethargic and appeared distinctly unhappy. Blood work and sonograms came back normal. His vet did, however, notice that he appeared to have a stomach problem, perhaps an ulcer. His illness coincided with his use of Dentastix. We had made no other changes in his diet or routine.

Other pet owners have noted a connection between giving Dentastix and digestive upset in their dogs. Here is one review from an unhappy customer:

Despite the fact that so many continue to recommend these, my first-hand experience with three dogs each having negative experiences with Pedigree’s Dentastix will prevent me from experimenting on my dogs with any of these products, no matter what the flavor. It prevents me from recommending this product. I’m uncertain what the cause of the intestinal distress was, but in the case of these dogs, it’s not wheat unless it’s the combination of wheat and rice flour. We’re giving this product a twelve-paws-and two-thumbs-down rating.

If you do decide to give your pet Dentastix, take the following precautions:

  • Only give ONE per day
  • Be sure the Dentastix treat is the right size for your pet
  • Supervise the dog while he eats it; because it does taste good, some pets gulp it whole and risk damaging their digestive tract
  • Give with plenty of water
  • Always mention any use of treats or toys to your vet--it is easy to think only of his dog food and not his treats when discussing his diet

The fact that some dogs have negative reactions to Dentastix doesn't mean that this is a bad product for all dogs. However, be aware that some dogs do have problems with it.

Many natural pet care sites recommend using eucalyptus oil as a flea killer. Most dogs seem to tolerate it well. However, never let the dog ingest this substance and don't use it on broken or irritated skin. Remember, just because a substance is "natural," it is not necessarily harmless.

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