The Link Between Diet and Doggy Dental Health: How What You Feed Your Pet Can Affect Their Teeth and Gums

Our furry companions quickly become dear friends and critical parts of our families. When this happens, we often worry about their health and well-being. 


A standard recommendation for maintaining your dog's dental health is daily brushing. However, it can be challenging to maintain this habit over a long time. This leaves your dog in danger of dental problems. It is especially true since their dental health is affected by the type of food they eat.



What Is the Link Between Diet and Doggy Health?



Researchers have been conducting studies since the 1930s on the effects of diets on dogs' dental health. Between the 1930s and the 1960s, various studies concluded that dry food-fed dogs had better dental health. Dogs on a constant canned-food diet had poorer dental health.

After these studies, another large one was done in 1996 on the same concept. The study included about 1,350 dogs with different owners. The study found very few differences between the dental health of dry-fed and canned-fed dogs. 


Another study done in 2007 showed different results. The study included other variables that changed the results. In the study, they used different-sized kibble to measure the impact. They found that increasing the size of the kibble by 50 percent led to a 42 percent chance of developing dental disease. 



Food for Better Dental Health






As mentioned above, the form of food is critical in the development of dental disease. Dogs that feed on predominantly canned food tend to accumulate tartar and calculus at much higher rates. It is also the same for dogs that feed on home-cooked meals. The number of dental issues reduces when they feed on dry foods. However, dry food does not provide enough mechanical abrasion to eliminate the collected calculus and tartar.



Raw Food



Studies have also found that dogs that feed on raw food are less likely to develop periodontal disease. However, these results depend on the diet and the type of dog breed. Smaller dogs do not have well-developed teeth to handle raw food or bones. Some raw foods like bones provide significant abrasion to remove tartar. Also, they contain enzymes that can eat away at the calculus or plaque that may collect on the teeth. 



Raw Bones



As mentioned above, raw bones provide abrasion to keep the teeth clean. It is especially effective if they have meat on them to help clean the teeth. If your dog is not suited to eating raw bones and meat, you can boil the bones for a few minutes to soften them. However, broiled and baked bones can be dangerous because they splinter.



Foods for the Gums



Some foods like green leafy vegetables are suitable for your dog's gums. They help restore damaged gums because of the folate and minerals in them. Eggs and fresh liver also contain folate and vitamin A.


For more on the link between diet and doggy dental health, visit Brekke Veterinary Clinic at our office in Castle Pines or Castle Rock, Colorado. Call (720) 709-2400 or (720) 464-3525 to book an appointment today.

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