What your dog eats will show in their teeth! Did you know feeding your pet a healthy diet can help prevent costly dental problems down the road?    

If your pooch has smelly breath, red or swollen gums, or stained teeth, you are not alone – dental disease affects as many as 80% of adult dogs! If your fur-baby has symptoms of dental disease but is otherwise healthy, it may be time to look at what’s in their bowl.    

The food your dog eats contributes to how much plaque builds up on their teeth, and how easy it is to get rid of. When plaque isn’t cleaned off the teeth regularly, it forms a hard, sticky substance called tartar (yes, it’s as yucky as it sounds!). Tartar is much harder to remove – this is what your dentist scrapes off your teeth, and what the veterinarian removes when your pup goes for a dental cleaning.    

The key to keeping tartar away is staying on top of plaque, and your pup’s diet plays a big role in this.    

Does Dry Kibble Help Scrape Plaque Off a Dog’s Teeth?

The short answer: No, dry kibble doesn’t help get rid of plaque. In fact, a diet of only dry kibble can actually increase the risk of dental disease.     

Dry kibble contains high levels of sugars and simple carbohydrates, both of which stick to the teeth and promote harmful bacteria (imagine how your teeth would feel if you ate a bowl of cereal for every meal). If your pup eats a kibble diet, aim to brush their teeth 4-5 times a week to keep plaque from building up. Many kibble recipes are also low in nutritional quality, which can make it harder for your pup’s immune system’s to fight off bacteria in the mouth.    

So if dry kibble isn’t a pearly white knight to protect your dog’s teeth, what foods are better for your dog’s oral health?    

How a Raw Diet Supports Good Dental Health

Feeding your dog a raw diet – which may include a combination of meaty bones, frozen raw meats, and freeze-dried raw foods – provides a lot of nutritional and health benefits, including supporting a sparkling clean doggie smile.    

A raw diet is generally low in starches and sugars, meaning the food won’t stick to the teeth as easily as kibble does. Raw foods also naturally contain enzymes that protect the teeth and gums, and help prevent tartar buildup. Because raw diets support a healthy immune system, harmful bacteria won’t stand much of a chance against your pooch.    

Giving your dog raw meaty bones to chew, like frozen marrow bones, can be a great option for some pups to help scrape plaque off the surface of their teeth. Always supervise your pet with any bone or edible chew toy, and consult your veterinarian before adding these to your pup’s snack list. Raw bones are not recommended for dogs prone to resource guarding, heavy chewing, or gulping edible treats – in these cases, your vet may recommend other dental care products for keeping their teeth clean!    

Is Raw Right for Your Pup?

Want to learn more about raw food options and whether they’re right for your fur-baby? If you are interested in adding raw mixers or toppers to your pet’s meals, or transitioning your pup to a raw diet, stop by to speak to our nutrition experts! We are here to help walk you through the process of finding the right diet to support 360° of Happy Health® for your fur-baby.    

Remember each dog is an individual, which means a raw diet won’t be the perfect solution for every pet. Always consult your vet about your dog’s individual health and nutritional needs.