Do you know why vet experts tell owners to brush their dog’s teeth daily to maintain healthy teeth? By age 3, up to 85% of pets develop dental diseases, according to the Veterinary Information Network.
Oral hygiene is critical for dogs to support better health: If not prevented, dental problems can affect the whole body, turning into issues with the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.
Although daily brushing is the only proven way to maintain healthy teeth for your dog, few owners brush their dogs’ teeth. Why? First, people are lazy. And second, dogs hate the process; so, humans don’t want to traumatize their four-legged friends.
Fortunately, there’re some products beyond toothpaste that can help to clean your dog’s mouth and maintain healthy teeth. Here are the top five.
1) Raw meaty bones
Thanks to their texture and ability to flex around the teeth, raw bones resist bacterial plaque and remove food debris. But make sure the bone’s size is optimal for a dog to chew.
Avoid giving cooked bones as they can splinter and harm a dog’s gums and insides if he swallows them.
2) Vegetables and fruits
Feel free to give your dog fruits and vegetables as snacks to ensure healthy teeth. If you’re buying commercial treats, choose those with no sugar, fats, or cereal grains. Carrots, apples, and pumpkins are the best options to consider: Most dogs enjoy them, and they won’t stick to the teeth.
Vegetables and fruits are great for scraping food off a dog’s teeth. Also, they contain antioxidants that will help a dog deal with chronic oxidative stress causing periodontitis.
Consider a dog’s size when deciding how many snacks to give and never feed more than 10% of daily calorie intake as treats.
3) Dental chews
Such goodies come in different flavors, help a dog develop strong jaw muscles, and reduce anxiety. They can even come in the form of chewing toys that will both entertain and care about your pet. Besides cleaning, they can be used to reward a dog during training or prevent him from chewing furniture.
Choose dental chews of natural, high-quality ingredients to prevent digestion problems for a dog.
4) Yogurt or kefir
These products contain probiotics, which are essential for a dog’s gut, immune system, and overall health. When given orally or applied onto gums directly, probiotics kick out the harmful bacteria from a dog’s mouth, therefore preventing inflammation and periodontitis development.
5) Specifically-designed dry dog food
Feed your dog food that contains natural, wholesome ingredients. Always check the list of ingredients, and choose options with real meat, fatty acids, and vitamins to ensure healthy teeth.
Some dog food is designed to help with teeth issues: Hard kibble of big size encourages a dog to bite and chew intensively, “cleaning” the teeth from tartar that way. Besides a kibble size, pet-food companies offer particular dental health formulas.
Oral hygiene to protect healthy teeth is necessary for dogs, as it influences their health and overall wellbeing. Feeding and using specific products can help to prevent plaque and tartar development, although regular brushing remains the best way to keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Jimmie O’Chutt is an experienced cat owner who can’t imagine his life without his black feline friend Ronnie. Jimmie is CEO of CatPet.club, an online magazine that provides high-quality guides and tips about cat nutrition and wellbeing.