There are many myths when it comes to our dogs’ health and nutrition. But in our opinion, the biggest of all is the one about dry biscuits cleaning teeth!
You’ve probably heard it before and from high authority (ie. your vet) “dry biscuits should be fed, not only for their nutritional value, but also because they’re great to clean your dog's teeth! They scrape against teeth and that action removes the build-up of plaque and tartar.”
Sounds good yes?!
Except there is one thing they forget to tell you!
What is plaque & tartar?
After we eat a good meal, food particles remain in our mouth. Some are easy to remove with a rinse of water, others need a bit more attention: brushing.
Plaque is a sticky film made from leftover food particles and saliva that mix in your dog’s mouth. Bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack the tooth enamel contributing to tooth decay and gum disease.
If you don't brush properly after meals, it begins to form and build up on your dog’s teeth.
Tartar is the result of too much plaque left untreated. It is hard, calcified deposits of bacteria that usually sits at and underneath the gum line.
The myth of dry food as teeth cleaner
Sure, dry biscuits are crunchy so you might think they scrape well against your dog's teeth and are effective in removing plaque.
But you must remember that kibbles contain a lot of refined grains and carbohydrates, which transform into sugar, leaving a coat on teeth and gums, ultimately increasing dental problems.
It's as if your dentist was telling you to munch on a few crackers each night instead of cleaning your teeth.
Would you do it? We hope not!
While it’s ok to feed dry food, you shouldn’t choose it thinking it will improve your dog’s oral health.
Effective ways of cleaning your dog’s teeth
The most effective way to prevent dental diseases in dogs is daily brushing.
However, we understand this isn’t realistic for many dog owners.Unless you have trained your dog from a puppy, most will make it very difficult for you to stick a toothbrush in their mouth!
Here are some other ways to clean your dog’s teeth and replicate that mechanical action of scraping.
- give raw, meaty bones or natural dog chews. The action of gnawing at something secretes saliva which washes away bacteria and the scrapping against your dog’s teeth helps remove plaque. Chewing naturally releases endorphins (the happiness hormone) and is great way to keep your dog entertained and happy.
- Use a dental supplement. Our Healthy Chompers Grinkles contains a seaweed called Ascophyllum Nodosum, that fights bad breath and helps remove plaque thanks to a special enzyme.
- Feed a healthy diet of freshly cooked, human grade dog food or start adding fresh ingredients in your dog’s bowl. The nutrient-rich food positively impact your dog’s digestion and prohibits the excessive growth of bacteria.
- Tip: if you’re strapped for cash, a cheap and easy dental chew is a carrot! This vegetable makes a fantastic natural dental treat. It comes in various shapes (mini to large) to fit any jaws, is soft enough for your dog's teeth to sink in but hard enough to scrape plaque off.
Look out for commercial dental chew treats, they are not all equal! Be wary of marketing tricks and always look at the list of ingredients, even if it is from a reputable brand. If it contains things such a “wheat” (a grain and carbohydrate), it means it will turn into sugar: not the best for your dog’s teeth!
Now you understand everything about dog teeth! Next time your veterinarian suggests dry biscuits to keep your dog’s teeth in top shape, we suggest you politely refuse.
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The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to helping dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub