In honor of Dental Month, Dogfather has put together a little information about what actually keeps your dogs teeth clean, and what gimmicks and dangerous treats you should stay away from.
We all want our dogs to have sparkling beautifully white teeth and healthy gums. The reality is that around 70 percent of dogs’ ages 3 years and older have signs of oral disease. With overwhelming numbers of dogs requiring extensive dental work we are left wondering, what can we do to help?
We are going to discuss some of the most common myths related to dental hygiene in pets and offer up some helpful tips and tricks to get your pups smile in top shape!
Myth 1: Kibble & Kibble Size Can Help Clean Teeth
We hear this statement fairly often, and though we wish we could say it’s true, it sadly isn’t. If this were the case, every time you ate a bag of chips you could say you’re cleaning your teeth. Dogs have teeth and jaws that are made for gnawing, ripping, and tearing. For the most part kibble is rarely chewed much at all because dogs simply don’t have the jaw structure for lateral movement. Pieces and crumbs are left behind in a dogs mouth which can promote a less than lovely smell and the beginnings of plaque buildup.
Myth 2: Dogs Don’t Need Their Teeth Brushed
Many people can be surprised at the idea that they would brush their dogs teeth. While it may seem silly, teeth brushing is a fantastic way to keep dental disease at bay. Those with small dogs in particular have to be especially vigilant as small dogs mouths are notorious for overcrowding of teeth. Pint sized pups often need some help from us to help clear bits and debris that would otherwise allow disease to set in. If you aren’t comfortable brushing your dogs teeth there are always grooming services that will do it for you. This can have significant positive changes for your pup as dental disease has been found to have correlation with a myriad of other health issues both physical and behavioural as well.
Myth 3: Whimzees/Greenies & Any Other “Dental Treat”
Possibly the most asked question here at Dogfather! Hey, where are your greenies or “dental treats”? These explosively popular dental treats are often touted as aiding in dental hygiene. Let’s check out some of the ingredients; wheat flour, oat fiber, natural poultry flavour. None of these ingredients have any bearing or likelihood to remove tarter, plaque or anything else from a dogs mouth. Why? Well, this goes back to the anatomy of a dogs jaw and their ability to digest plant and other processed materials. One would liken a Greenie to giving a dog a potato to chew on, they may like it, but will it scrape off built up debris along the gum line? Nope. Greenies not only have poor quality ingredients but they can and often lead to sickness and blockages due to their size and digestibility. Whimzees are in the same boat, while they may be a fun treat; you aren’t likely to see much difference in your pooches smile from them as they are made up entirely of carbohydrates.
Myth 4: Bones are Bad!
Many of us are told time and time again that bones are not safe. This would be true if we were talking about cooked or rawhide bones. Bones cooked at high temperatures are devoid of moisture, leaving a dry brittle bone that will crack and splinter. Rawhide bones are not digestible, never mind all the bleach and chemicals that goes into its processing which eventually ends up going in your dogs body.
A dog’s mouth is designed to deal with raw meaty bones! The large canine teeth grab meat while jagged molars allow for bone and meat to be crushed. This gnawing action is equivalent to a good cleaning and flossing of the teeth and gums. An important fact about raw meaty bones, dental tendons, or cold smoked bones is that they are digestible and are not comprised of carbohydrates, and starches present in other “dental” chews made up of plant matter. They satisfy the natural instinct that dogs have to gnaw and chew, and provide an outlet for mental stimulation while ensuring that any debris left along the teeth and gums is grated away. You will save yourself money on vet bills for dental cleanings and avoid having to put your fur baby under anesthesia if you provide safe, natural outlets for your dog to clean its teeth.
We are always happy to help. If you want to know more about what you just read above, come on in or give us a call and speak with one of our knowledgeable staff. They are always happy to spread the word and educate pet owners on how to make sure they are getting the best and safest quality products for their furry family member.