Dry Dog Food and the Myth of Cleaner Teeth

Over the years I have heard from customers that they need dry pet food (aka kibble) to keep their pet’s teeth clean. While a crunchy food can remove some plaque, it often does more harm than good.
The majority of dry pet foods contain a high percentage of starch. Starch is a necessary component of kibble, its purpose being mainly to form each pellet into a convenient round shape. Starches in the human world are what make cereals, breads and chips hold their shape. Because starches are so successful at binding ingredients together, you can believe the same is happening in your pet’s mouth. The starch binds to the teeth, starting the process of plaque and tartar formation.
There are simple and more natural ways to improve a dog’s dental health.
1. Raw and slow roasted meaty bones have a mildly abrasive texture and can flex around the teeth to remove plaque. Knuckle bones and turkey necks are among the best for teeth cleaning in this category. Don’t use bones cooked at high temperatures as they can splinter and cause serious internal damage.
2. Tendons are another option that are less messy than raw bones. Considered “nature’s dental floss” tendons develop a stringy texture as your pet chews. These strings act like floss, getting between your pet’s teeth to remove plaque from hard to reach areas around the gum line.
3. Sea kelp, often found in quality dental treats, is an amazing product for teeth cleaning. When eaten it is emitted in saliva to begin the process of sloughing off accumulated plaque. If treat consumption is a concern, there are sea kelp powders that can be sprinkled over your pet’s food.
One of our favorites is ProDen PlaqueOff. Vets have mistaken a pet using this product with one that had a professional teeth cleaning.
4. Switch to a raw diet. Raw diets are mostly meat, organs and bone with very little starch. My own pets, fed solely a raw diet, have never had their teeth cleaned and yet their teeth are pearly white.
There are countless benefits to a raw diet that can enrich your pet’s life without any additional supplements.
5. Brushing your pet’s teeth on a frequent basis is one of the most reliable ways to prevent dental disease. Opt for a baby soft toothbrush or purchase a pet specific brush at your local pet store. A pet specific toothpaste that has a meat or vanilla flavor will make the experience more pleasurable for your pet.
By following any of the above recommendations, you will not only improve your pet’s dental health but improve their overall health. The more you think about what goes into your pet, the better their chances of their living a long, healthy and happy life.