Health & Care > Purrfect pet health and beauty tips > Keep Your Pets Teeth Cleaner and Whiter. Bones, Chew's, Dentals, Brushing, and Teddy's Pride

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04/03/2010 16:00:56 PM by Dr.Greg   Send Message to Dr.Greg  1463  views, category: Purrfect pet health and beauty tips view all blogs

Conventional ways to keep your dog or cat’s teeth clean involves periodic dental cleanings by the groomer or veterinary technician and brushing. Removal of tartar and polishing teeth under anesthesia is often necessary when the teeth are covered with tartar and the gums are in bad shape.


There are other ways to make sure the teeth and gums stay healthy. First of all, chewing on dry food or kibble does not keep the teeth clean. In fact, the grain in our pet's dry food or kibble and treats is composed of simple sugars that may just increase the deposition of tartar on teeth. Most chew toys and treats do not do the job either. Dogs and cats’ teeth evolved to chew bones, meat, ligaments, and gristle. You can use this natural tendency to slice and dice prey, to help keep their teeth clean.


Every pet store has an aisle with lots of chew stuff for dogs. Smoked lamb and pork femur bones, raw beef knuckle bones, and pig’s ears can keep dog’s teeth clean by chewing on them for a half hour every 2 weeks. (Dogs need to chew for awhile and not eat the bones for this to work. The size encourages scaling and chewing. A dog’s jaws need to open wide to gnaw on the right size bone. Baked femur bones are too hard and can fracture teeth, that is why smoked and raw bones work better. Do not feed baked or bbq’d chicken bones or steak bones… they are brittle and can splinter.) Rawhide chews or other "dental treats that they eat in a short time don't work either.


Believe it or not, cats can even learn to chew on meat and gristle to keep the tartar down. My cats love their piece of chicken or ham and chew it joyously...once they learned to like it...with increasing sizes of meat. Dogs can eat a frozen raw chicken thigh with the bone in it, and cats can eat a defrosted piece of the chicken thigh also for a meal and dental care. The human grade frozen chicken thighs are available in the frozen food section of your supermarket. Some dogs also love smoked ham hocks or shanks. These canine delicacies are also at your local market, at the meat counter. Once they get used to it, your dogs and cats will really look forward to these dental treats!


When I was at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida a few weeks ago, I saw a product called Teddy’s Pride. This is a probiotic or culture of normal oral bacteria that will keep the teeth whiter and in good shape by keeping the bad bacteria out. All you have to do is sprinkle a scoopful in the dog or cat food daily to get whiter teeth. The good bacteria bind to the teeth and gums and then the bacteria that cause tartar and infections don't have a place to live.


So dental cleaning by a vet or groomer, brushing teeth, chew therapy with bones, frozen thighs, animal skin, and probiotics may all be used to clean teeth and keep gums healthier. For more info…


About the author: I love animals and their bond with us. My new book Dog Dish Diet: Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog's Health is out and available on my website ( ). I have been an animal lover my whole life. As a teenager, I worked at a pet sh... more >>

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