When it comes to your teeth, it’s a no-brainer: You brush them at least twice a day, see a dentist every six months or so, and then lie to your dentist about how often you floss. But when it comes to your dog’s teeth, it’s probably a safe bet that you’re not brushing them twice a day, let alone once a week. And while brushing regularly at home in-between teeth cleanings at the vet is important, food also plays a big role in your dog's dental health.
Traditional Chinese Veterinary medicine is based on the foundation that the food your dog eats plays a vital role in their overall health and wellbeing and this is also true for their dental health.
Here’s what can help (or hurt!) your pet’s teeth:
Bad: Dry Kibble
There’s a rumor going around that dry kibble keeps your dog’s teeth clean because it helps reduce plaque as your dog chews. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. In fact, kibble — which often contains grains and by-products that stick to teeth — can actually do more harm than good. According to “Dog’s Naturally Magazine,”kibble is heavily processed with high heat and pressure. “Dry kibble and other heavily processed foods actually fuel inflammation and disease in the body. This includes the mouth and oral tissues.”
Good: Whole Foods
In an ideal world, we would all have enough time to lovingly make our favorite pup each meal from scratch. But this is the real world, and that’s just not sustainable. Look for dog food that is made with whole foods: Veggies, fruits, and meat. As mentioned above, avoid any food with meals, by-products, or cereal grains.
Rayne's Clinical Nutrition is an effective departure from conventional food. Their food is different from industrial food production not only because of the ingredients, but also how they are processed: whole fresh ingredients: proteins and carbohydrates are whole, not fractured.
Bad: Starchy Bones
Commercially-made chews and bones are usually made with starches, including corn, rice, and potatoes. When your dog gnaws on one of these bones, the starches begin to dissolve, becoming sticky and coating your dog’s teeth.
Good: Raw Bones
Giving your pup a real bone every now and then can do wonders for their teeth. But not just any bone — the bone should be raw. It’s believed that the enzymes from raw foods help prevent dental plaque, plus cooked bones can splinter and wreak havoc on your dog’s mouth or digestive system. The bones should also be large enough that they can’t easily break (cow bones are preferable).
Bad: Human Snacks
Human snacks often have very little protein and are full of fat, salt, and — worst of all (for teeth) — sugars. Many poor pups get upset stomachs when they ingest junk food, but there’s also the very real possibility that what you’re eating contains ingredients that could do actual harm to your dog (onions, garlic, raisins, and chocolate to name a few).
Good: (Safe) Fruits and Veggies
Crunchy fruits and veggies are perfect snacks for your dog. The AKC recommends carrots, apple slices, celery, blueberries, cucumbers, pears, green peas, and watermelon, as well as several other options that can be given in small amounts. And while dogs can technically eat broccoli and brussels sprouts, too much of either will leave your dog very gassy and you full of regret!