Dog and cat dental issues are one of the most common health problems facing pet parents. Bad breath is often the first indication of problems. Brown deposits on teeth mean that the soft tartar has already hardened into plaque, harboring nasty bacteria and leading to painful gum infections, tooth loss and even damage to internal organs later on. Daily brushing with a special pet-friendly toothbrush and paste is effective, but not very enjoyable for either pet or parent. Fortunately, though, there are surprisingly easy ways to keep teeth pearly white and problem free. 

Diet makes a difference

cat-raw-foodOne of the biggest pet food myths is that dry food keeps teeth clean. Far from it, it actually contributes to the problem by forming a starchy residue that sticks to tooth surfaces, giving the bacteria in plaque both a place to grow and a source of food —they like carbs! Raw food is mostly meat and doesn’t leave a residue to harbor oral bacteria. Raw feeders seldom need additional steps to prevent plaque formation — the food itself inhibits the bad bacterial growth. 

Bones, raw or freeze-died

dog-raw-boneThe flossing action of gnawing on a raw bone or a poultry neck will also help prevent or remove  plaque. Softer bones from beef or buffalo, like knuckles or kneecaps, have ligaments and tendons that provide the greatest flossing action. Raw poultry necks are consumed completely, bones and all, and come in chicken, duck and turkey. Sizes range from big to small, and even cats can chew tiny chicken neck pieces! If that’s too messy or your pet doesn’t care for raw bones, try substituting a freeze-dried poultry neck. They are clean and dry, and there’s something for every size mouth.

Dental Supplements in Food or Water

Easiest of all is adding one of the proven dental supplements to your pet’s food. Plaque-Off and SeaDent both contain specific strains of seaweed that change the chemistry of your pet’s saliva to break down the bacterial biofilm on tooth surfaces, preventing damage and decay. The tiny servings required are easily mixed into moist food. DentaTreat uses cheese enzymes to eliminate the biofilm, and cats especially go for the cheesy taste! Adding some fizzy Plaque Zapper or Kissable Water Additive to your pet’s water bowl can also contribute to dental health.

Some Animals Need Extra Help

Certain animals seem to have inherent dental problems, especially toy breeds with crowded teeth and thin enamel. In addition to any diet, chewing and supplement strategies, another way to stay ahead of the curve is to have regular anesthesia-free dental cleanings from Canine Dental Health. They are gentle and performed in our stores. For more information, click here.

Find the Best Dental Health Tools for Your Pet

Convenient Dental health solutions abound! Stop in and talk to a Pet Care Specialist to find the best options for your own dog or cat. Your efforts will pay off with improved overall health for years to come.  

For more complete information, check out Better Teeth Without Brushing in our education library.