Dogs don’t brush their teeth, so they rely on us for their dental health. The best way to make sure that your dog has a healthy smile, is to feed your dog a high quality food that supports their dental health. We’ve put together this helpful guide for choosing a dog food that will keep your dog’s teeth and gums in great condition for years.
Why Is My Dog’s Dental Health Important?
Oral hygiene is crucial for the overall health of your dog. Loose, rotting teeth, and gum disease can be very painful for your dog. It can also lead them to lose their appetite and not chew their food correctly, leading to serious digestion and malnourishment issues. If your dog has oral hygiene issues, their mouth becomes a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. These bacteria can enter your dog’s bloodstream and cause heart, liver, and kidney disease. Dental problems can also cause infections, tumors, and broken jaws if left untreated.
Signs of Dental Hygiene Issues
There are many signs and symptoms of dental hygiene issues. If your dog shows any of these signs, it means they are not receiving proper dental care and need to see a veterinarian. Here are the most common signs of dental hygiene issues:
- Bad or odorous breath
- Broken, loose, or missing teeth
- Yellow or brown stained teeth
- Bleeding gums or teeth
- Swollen mouth or jaw line
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Loss of appetite or refusal to eat
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty chewing or dropping food from their mouth
- Pawing at the mouth
- Bumps or growths in the mouth
Veterinarian dentists are dentists that specialize in animal teeth. You should take your dog routinely to the veterinarian, at least 1-2 times per year. A veterinarian will clean your dog’s teeth and also look for any larger health problems like cavities, abscesses, and periodontal disease. If your dog already has dental issues, you should take them to a veterinarian dentist to help diagnose and treat the problem. They will also make recommendations to help you maintain your dog’s dental health. Your regular veterinarian can recommend a good veterinarian dentist.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
An option to consider when thinking about your dog’s dental health is brushing their teeth as part of their grooming routine. Specially made dog toothbrushes and toothpaste are available at most pet stores. However, brushing a dog’s teeth can be incredibly difficult. They may hate the process, try to chew the brush, or not like the flavor of the toothpaste. So you have to consider another option.
Dental Health Dog Treats
Another option most people prefer to brushing their dog’s teeth is to give them dental health dog treats. There are many varieties of dental health dog treats. These treats help clean teeth and freshen breath. Some of them also provide hours of entertainment for your pup, so they are really a great option. Greenies is the most popular dog dental treat. They are commonly available and help safely clean your dog’s teeth from chewing. Greenies treats also contain essential vitamins and minerals, and ingredients that help freshen your dog’s breath. Another great treat to feed your dog to support their dental health is a simple rawhide chew. While your dog chews, the tough rawhide rubs against their teeth to help remove tartar and plaque build up.
What To Look For In Dog Food
When shopping for a dog food to support your dog’s dental health, there are several things to keep in mind. First, look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal on the dog food label. Foods with the VOHC seal means they’ve been endorsed by the VOHC as good for your dog’s dental health. Also check the ingredients panel, make sure there is no added sugar in your dog’s food as this can lead to cavities. Many experts argue that crunchy kibble is better for your dog’s dental health, however this hasn’t been proven to be true as certain brands of kibble can actually add tartar to your dog’s teeth. What matters is that the ingredients support dental health.
Best Dog Food Brands For Dental Health
The following is a list of dog food brands that contain the VOHC seal of approval. These dog foods have been specially formulated for dental health and are designed to help remove tartar and plaque and reduce tooth and gum disease. Depending on the severity of your dog’s dental health problems, you might want to consider introducing one of these foods into their diet:
- Science Diet Oral Care For Dogs
- Iams Chuck Dental Defense Diet For Dogs
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Dental Care Canine T/D: Original Bites
- Hill’s Prescription Diet Dental Care Canine T/D: Small Bites
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Dental Health Canine Formula Dry Food
- Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Dental Health Canine Formula Small Bites Dry Food
- Eukanuba Adult Maintenance Diet for Dogs
If you decide to introduce one of these foods to your dog it is important to note that these are not a replacement for visiting a veterinarian dentist.
Your dog’s dental health is important. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a myriad of serious health problems, so it is important that you visit your veterinarian dentist regularly. There are a few options you have to support your dog’s dental health. You can feed them treats that support oral hygiene and even brush their teeth. There is also a good variety of healthy dog food brands available that were specifically formulated to ensure your dog has healthy teeth and gums. So no matter what option you choose, you can ensure that your dog has great dental health.