National Pet Dental Health month is a good opportunity to take stock of your pet’s dental health. The American Veterinary Medical Association has found that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some kind of oral disease by the age of three. This common problem can lead to foul breath, infected gums, and eventual loss of teeth. Left unchecked, oral infections can even travel to other regions of the body causing serious ailments such as lung, heart, and kidney disease. Fortunately, there are many easy steps you can take to keep your pet’s teeth healthy all year. As with many health issues, prevention is always the best medicine!
Consider a raw diet
Pets who are fed diets containing carbohydrates in the form of cooked starches are at higher risk of forming dental plaque, the sticky biofilm made up of harmful bacteria that break down tooth enamel and attack gum tissue. Oral bacteria like to feed on the starchy residue kibble leaves behind. In contrast, raw food and high meat diets make a less hospitable environment in the mouth for bacteria to grow, creating a more acidic pH in the mouth and producing very few sugars or starches.
Offer dental chews regularly
Choose from a variety of specially formulated dental chews for dogs that contain plaque-inhibitors as well as breath-freshening ingredients such as sea kelp, seaweed, and chlorophyll. They’re an easy, affordable way to keep your dog happily chewing while supporting dental health.
Raw bones are nature’s toothbrush
We are strong proponents of offering your pet raw meaty bones. Raw bones help to produce acidic saliva, which prevents plaque from forming while bathing the oral cavity with anti-bacterial enzymes. The action of scraping their teeth against the actual bone helps with teeth cleaning, and the act of pulling bits of meat, gristle, and cartilage off of the bone offers even more natural teeth cleaning. Raw bones are softer than cooked bones so they’re gentler on a dog’s teeth.
All The Best’s own ROAR raw meaty bones come in a variety of sizes and types. We’ll be happy to help you to select the ideal bone for your pet. ROAR raw meaty bones are sold frozen and can be given to dogs straight from the freezer.
Keep your dog on a large towel or blanket to contain any mess. If your dog is new to raw meaty bones, supervise their chewing until you feel comfortable that they are chewing it appropriately. We recommend offering raw meaty bones daily as a partial meal replacement, but giving raw bones even just twice a week can make a positive difference in their oral health.
Chewing is for cats, too!
Some cats enjoy poultry necks and receive the same dental benefits and satisfaction of chewing.
More ways to keep teeth healthy
Natural dental products that can be added to food or water or applied directly to teeth are an easy way to improve dental health. Minerals in sea kelp and seaweed have been found to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria and disrupt plaque’s ability to adhere to teeth.
Brushing your pet’s teeth along with regular use of specially formulated oral sprays or gels can help to kill harmful bacteria that combine with minerals in the saliva and turn into plaque and tartar.
Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning
Anesthesia-free dentals may be a good option for animals in need of routine cleanings to remove tartar, but who do not have serious dental issues such as infected gums or teeth needing extraction.
The team from Canine Dental Service provides monthly anesthesia-free cleanings at all All The Best Pet Care stores. Cleanings are thorough and gentle and take about 15 minutes. Beforehand, a licensed veterinarian does a brief wellness exam to determine if more extensive oral care is needed. If the pet is not a good candidate, the service will not be performed and the patient will be referred to their own vet for treatment. Visit our dental cleaning page for more information or for appointment dates.
Keeping on top of your pet’s dental health has lasting, positive effects on your pet’s life!