Why dry food actually makes your pets teeth and gum health worse

Healthy Teeth and Gums

Along with the arrival of processed pet foods around 100 years ago, periodontal disease in both domestic cats and dogs has soared. According to the Australian and American Veterinary Dental Societies, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats develop gum disease by the age of three.

The pet food and subsequently veterinary industry has done a very good job of convincing us that dry processed food (aka kibble) is the best way to keep our pets teeth clean. Contrary to popular belief, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The widespread use of processed pet foods has taken away many basic needs of the dog and cat. It has taken away key instinctual and behavioural activities such as searching and scent trailing. With anthropomorphism (humanising) of the canine and feline diet and fear mongering and myths, many cats or dogs are denied raw meaty bones (an essential part of their diet along with physiological and physical wellbeing).

The equipment in a dogs and cats mouth is designed to rip and tear at raw meat, sinew and cartilage, and to crunch raw bone.

Suggesting dry processed food keeps a dog or cats teeth clean is akin to suggesting a human eating just pretzels and not brushing or flossing, will keep their teeth and gums healthy.

An animal eats a biscuit a bit like we crack a nut with our teeth. They do not rub the abrasive material around their teeth and gums. Anybody who’s eaten a biscuit will attest to this and that the resultant sludge left behind needs to be brushed or flossed away.

In fact, the unnaturally high carbohydrate and starch based diet of many pets today attracts plaque and tartar to stick. Carbohydrates and starches convert to sugars when combined with saliva. This starchy, sugary debris left stuck between the teeth and gums harbours bacteria which decays and leaves a build up of tartar on the teeth.

Many pet parents think they are doing the right thing by feeding ‘dental chews’. I definitely don’t recommend the use of commercial ‘dental chews’. Whether they are sold in the supermarket or indeed at your veterinarian clinic, they are highly processed and contain undesirable ingredients like rice wheat starch, sodium tripolyphosate and glycerin.

Raw meaty bones are natures toothbrush and regular intake is encouraged. They should be of appropriate size for the puppy or dog (but that’s a whole other blog piece). Marrow bones should be avoided for young or senior dogs. Chicken necks and wing tips are suitable for cats. Never ever feed cooked bones to dogs or cats.

If your dog does not like bones, prefers to bury them or you do not wish to feed them, there are natural chews and treats that can be somewhat effective. Ask us in store for some suggestions. We also have a natural product called ‘Plaque Off’ which can be added to the food daily.

If you wish to give brushing a go, the best non-toxic toothpaste is coconut oil and organic cinnamon powder. This combination is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. It tastes great too. Mix the two ingredients into a small glass jar and store in the fridge. Take out of the fridge 5 minutes before you want to use it. If your pet is not used to having his/her teeth brushed, start with your finger, a gauze or cut a small piece of a clean microfibre cloth. Gently rub the toothpaste around the teeth and gums and use positive reinforcement and treats afterwards. You can slowly build up to a soft childs toothbrush. We sell bamboo childs toothbrushes in the shop ($6.95) which are the perfect size.


Vaccinations & Titer Testing Info Evening – Feb 16th

How often should my dog be vaccinated? Every year? Every 3 years? Or should I be re-vaccinated my dog at all? What is a Titer Test?

Come along to our info session Feb 16th @ Quest Palmerston where Jodie from Vet 2 Pet will explain the up to date vaccination protocols and explain the safer and healthier alternative of Titer testing.

It’s free but bookings are essential. Please contact us.