Gum and tooth diseases and health complications are frequent health complaints for dogs of all breeds and ages. On average, British vets treat 11 cases of tooth and gum disease every week in dogs. One veterinary clinic in six in the UK will treat over 20 dogs’ gum and tooth discomfort and complications every week.
Unfortunately, when dog owners fail to spot issues on time, complications can occur. Treatments can range from scale and polish under anaesthetic to tooth loss or tooth extraction. Left unattended, plaque builds up on the teeth and gums, causing bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Blood poisoning can spread to multiple organs, leading to diseases which can be fatal to dogs.
However, these issues are preventable with appropriate dental care. According to the UK’s vets, tooth and gum diseases have two primary causes: owners choosing inappropriate dog food for dental care, and failure to brush dog’s teeth frequently or correctly. Making tooth care a part of your dog’s routine can help preserve your dog’s teeth and gum’s health. Here’s a brief overview on which is the best dog food for healthy teeth and how to brush your dog’s teeth.
How can I keep my dog’s teeth healthy?
The easiest way to protect your dog’s teeth is by ensuring they are clean. Most vets recommend brushing your dog’s teeth once a day to prevent bacteria from building up and entering your pet’s bloodstream. However, only one-third of dog owners brush their pet’s teeth frequently throughout the year. Those who brush their dog’s teeth admit they find it difficult to brush teeth every day because the dog doesn’t like it or it takes too much time. As such, dogs can get their teeth brushed on average 9 times a month. While it can make a difference, it isn’t always enough to avoid health complications.
Ideally, you want to introduce a dental care routine from an early age. Finger toothbrushes are highly useful to get puppies used to the brushing sensation. Additionally, you can ask your vet for advice regarding toothpaste. Enzymatic toothpaste comes in a variety of flavours that are palatable for most dogs and make the brushing ritual more enjoyable.
Brushing teeth can only get you so far when you do it once a day. Vets also recommend using toys and treats that can actively reduce bacteria in your dog’s mouth. Dental chews, which typically come in the form of indented sticks, can help to reduce plaque build-up and remove bacteria. Their unique shape contributes to good oral hygiene. Dental chews can be given to your dog every day; however, they shouldn’t replace regular brushing. It’s essential to make fat-low, chewable dental snacks part of your dog food for healthy teeth, such as the Perrito Dental Sticks. Perrito makes healthy dental sticks that contain natural, gluten-free ingredients for taste and digestibility.
Additionally, hard, chewable toys that can naturally scrape plaque and tartar as your dog plays with them are a fantastic addition to your pet’s life. Some toys are hollow, letting you fill them with treats and kibble to encourage your pet to play with them. Others can come in delectable flavours! However, when choosing yummy, chewable toys, do make sure to read the label carefully. You want high protein ingredients for your dog’s teeth.
Do dogs need hard food for their teeth?
Dental plaque accumulates as food residues get stuck on or between your dog’s teeth. Wet food is more likely to leave a greasy film over your dog’s teeth, facilitating the presence of bacteria. Choosing hard food ensures a frequent chewing movement, which, with the right type of dog food can promote dental health. The mechanical chewing action can make a big difference in plaque reduction, which is why many dog owners prefer to use dry dog food for healthy teeth. But is all dry dog food the same?
Dog owners need to be careful when choosing dog food. Some dry and hard dog food can be high in carbs, which contribute largely to the apparition of plaque and bacteria. Consequently, it’s essential to make yourself familiar with the ingredients before choosing a brand. Bon Appetit, a range of dog food that promotes balanced ingredients and nutritional health, keeps dry dog food rich in proteins and antioxidants, which support dog health.
According to a veterinarian study, hard kibbles can lead to a reduction in tartar. By feeding dogs kibble of increasingly larger diameters, vets have noticed that larger kibbles produce the best results, as they help to clean teeth and gums. However, kibbles can also create crumbs and small food particles that are likely to get stuck between your dog’s teeth. Hard dog food for healthy teeth needs to be part of an eating routine, which includes a bowl of fresh water to help dislodge small food particles. Additionally, it can be helpful to follow a meal with a dental stick. Alternatively, raw meaty bones can effectively replace kibble as an occasional treat. Their abrasive texture helps target dental plaque. Uncooked meat can be harmful to consumption, so common sense and caution must prevail.
What vegetables are good for dogs’ teeth?
We’ve mentioned protein-rich, chewable treats and specifically designed dog food for healthy teeth. However, dog owners can also support healthy teeth by encouraging their dogs to chew on hard and nutritious everyday human foods:
Carrots make fantastic treats as their fibrous texture helps brush away tartar. They are rich in fibres and vitamins while being low in calories.
Celery sticks also provide an intake in fibres and vitamin A, C, and K. Their crunchy nature is ideal for cleaning dogs’ teeth while they chew on the treat.
In moderation, crunchy radishes can help brush away plaque and tartar. They are naturally low in calories and rich in fibres, but beware as these should remain an occasional treat only.
Some fruits can help too: frozen berries are excellent for dental health as they discourage plaque build-up and minimise tooth decay. Start with a couple of frozen berries and monitor your dog’s digestion closely. Some dogs can experience digestive problems, so it’s crucial to use berries in moderation.
In conclusion, choosing dog food for healthy teeth needs to include hard kibbles, protein-rich dry food, and plenty of chewable dental sticks. Dog owners can also inject occasional treats such as carrots into the mix. But remember that brushing your dog’s teeth is non-negotiable!