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Food for Healthy Teeth

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Healthy teeth rely on healthy tooth enamel which surrounds and protects the inner more sensitive and fragile components of each tooth. This enamel is at constant risk of damage or decay when food particles are left sitting on the teeth resulting in microbial, plaque and tartar buildup. Some foods are clearly more harmful than others; unfortunately the pet research can be very misleading with studies often undertaken by affiliates of Pet Food Companies citing the benefits of their processed kibble over home prepared diets [i] in regards to a pets dental health, any comparisons are then problematic with a clear bias in the results and conclusions drawn.

The more robust research targeting the human population consistently shows that low fat, low sugar, unprocessed foods which require a lot of chewing naturally clean teeth during the chewing process with health organizations such as the ADA [ii] recommending

a diet rich in natural protein, calcium, fibre, vitamin C and water as well as identifying Vitamin A as a key component building tooth enamel. In the case of our canine & Feline friends, the natural species appropriate solution is a raw meaty bones which support the protein, Vitamin A, Calcium and chewing requirements as well as having a naturally high water content.

Selecting a bone

Size - The bones should be of a size which involves all of the teeth for a reasonable length of time, not just a crunch and swallow but an appropriate size to sink the canines into and tear strips off, to shear chunks with the powerful molars on each side of the jaw, and to nibble tasty morsels with the small incisors at the front of the jaw. Consider what the normal prey would be for your pet if they didn't have the luxury of food from the fridge, let that guide you in your choice of size.

Edible vs Recreational - Edible bones are the softer, non weight bearing bones and are digestible making them a nutritious option whereas your recreational bones are the larger, denser weight bearing bones which can occupy a dog for a significant length of time but can also

chip and break teeth due to their density.

Examples - Poultry, rabbit, goat, veal, venison and salmon are just a few great lean meaty bone options to suit all breeds, ages, sizes & temperaments. For toy breeds or those with few teeth salmon frames or poultry necks & wing tips are a great small, soft option whereas for the larger breeds a salmon head, or neck & tail bones from grazing animals would give a more challenging option. Consider what the normal prey would be for your pet if they didn't have the luxury of food from the fridge, let that guide you in your selection.

What about fruit & veg?

Adding some fruit and vegetables to your pet's diet, particularly if they are on a kibble diet, will provide a great variety of nutritional benefits Learn more

Celery stalk - all parts of the celery plant are safe for pets including the leaves and seeds, simply wash to remove any pesticides or residues & trim up to an appropriate length to ensure it's chewed rather than swallowed. Celery is a great breath freshener and the juice in a celery stalk can sooth inflamed gums for pup's that are teething.

Carrot - can be fed fresh or frozen depending on your dog and the season, obviously frozen takes a lot longer for your pup to eat so it's a great option for a teething or boisterous pup.

Apple - this one's best for the garden as it can be a little messy as your dog crunches this tasty treat into teeny tiny pieces. Always remove the core before feeding as the seeds, leaves & stalk contain amygdalin, a form of cyanide, although only in trace amounts it's best avoided.

Note: Remember small chunks of anything including vegetables can form a choking hazard so never leave your dog unattended with a chew.



[i] Buckley, C., Colyer, A., Skrzywanek, M., Jodkowska, K., Kurski, G., Gawor, J., & Ceregrzyn, M. (2011). The impact of home-prepared diets and home oral hygiene on oral health in cats and dogs. British journal of Nutrition, 106, S124-S127.

[ii] American Dental Association. n.d. Nutrition: What you eat affects your teeth. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from ADA – American Dental Association – Mouth Healthy: -tips.

Smith, R. N. (1991). Anatomy and Physiology II, The digestive system. In Lane, Jones's Animal Nursing, 5th edn. Pergamon press, Great Britain.

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