This article was written by Dr. Laura Duclos, an esteemed R&D personnel at Puppo, a personalized dog food company. She has had more than 16 years of experience in developing nutritional pet food that supports animal health and wellbeing.
A regular dental routine and balanced nutrition can help keep your pup’s chompers in tip-top shape (and the rest of their body too).
When your dog’s teeth (and gums) aren’t cleaned regularly, plaque can build up. Once it hardens, it’s difficult to remove — and if left untreated, will lead to an infection in the bone. The roots of your dog’s teeth may be affected, causing the teeth to loosen and fall out, potentially causing the bacteria to could enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the kidney, heart, and lungs could be damaged.
Not to mention, poor oral hygiene can lead to bleeding and painful gums due to plaque build up. So, brushing your pup’s teeth regularly (something that pet parents often overlook) to remove plaque while it’s still soft is the most important step you can take towards healthy chompers. Dental disease is the most common medical problem in dogs, impacting 80% of pups over the age of three.
If brushing your dog’s teeth daily seems daunting, and your pup absolutely hates having its teeth brushed, an effective way around that is to use Enzymatic toothpaste. It provides natural antibacterial action and neutralizes mouth odors, plus it comes in poultry and beef flavor which can inspire even the most unwilling dogs.
In addition to brushing, here are a few ways to help keep your dog’s teeth clean — ones they are likely to enjoy.
3 Simple Ways to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Between Brushing
You’ll want to offer these sparingly. They can quickly add lots of calories, and your pup may swallow many of them whole without chewing. This, of course, defeats the entire purpose. Despite some of the drawbacks, they are a great way to help keep plaque from building up between brushing and veterinary cleanings. Plus, it helps control doggy breath.
Be careful with compressed chews, like rawhides. If pieces are swallowed whole, they could get stuck, and your dog could choke. Keep a close watch on your dog while they indulge.
Raw Meat Bone:
Veterinary dentists report that large raw bones rarely cause broken teeth — a common concern around bone chewing. Larger bones (and toys) aren’t chewed at the same angle or with the same force as smaller ones. Raw (large) bones are also less likely to splinter (and damage the intestinal tract) than cooked bones.
Improving Your Dog’s Teeth Through Diet
While routine brushing (and removing plaque daily) is the most crucial piece of the puzzle — your dog’s diet is also critical. Food and supplements can make a big difference in keeping your dog’s teeth, gums, and body healthy.
Here are some beneficial supplements and nutrients — many of which a pet nutritionist may include in your pup’s personalized dog food to support their healthy teeth and gums.
Antioxidants: Folic Acid is one antioxidant often added to customized dog food formulas for dogs with dental issues. A proper balance between free radicals (which can damage the body’s cells and tissues) and antioxidants play a vital role in your dog’s healthy periodontal tissues.
Fatty Acids: Including supplements like Omega-3 fatty acids into your dog’s diet would not only be great for the joints, but they’re beneficial for supporting oral health and periodontal tissues, as well as the heart, kidney, and brain.
Zinc: While it’s common to see this listed as an ingredient in most commercial dog food, the right amount is essential. Some breeds have trouble absorbing zinc. So adding the correct amount can help reduce tooth decay. An additional benefit is its ability to help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and the build-up of plaque along the gum line.
Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria work to form colonies to create a biofilm in the mouth, which kicks out the harmful bacteria responsible for causing inflammation that leads to periodontal disease.
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While pet parents of the tiniest pups including the Dachshund, Pug, and Poodle have to be extra diligent about dental health to offset their dog’s predisposition for periodontal disease, all dogs need to keep up regular dental hygiene. It’s the most common disease affecting dogs, though few dogs show obvious signs.
It’s up to loving pet parents to brush their pup’s teeth, give them plenty of dental treats, and serve them the healthiest dog food. It may seem like a lot of work, but healthy teeth provide an enormous benefit inside and out.