The adage that “you don’t have to brush all your teeth, just the ones you want to keep” is as true for our pooches and pussycats as it is for us. Good dental care is just as important to our health as nutritious diet and regular exercise.
It is also a way less exciting topic, so we are not going to try and get you excited about cleaning your pets’ teeth, but we are going to try and get you excited about a few ways to make it easier to care for your pet’s dental health.
One of our favourites, Arianne Sackville, founder of Bell & Bone swears by the following three golden rules for dental care:
1. Feed your pup on a raw and grain-free diet
2. A raw bone a day keeps the vet away
3. Daily dog dental sticks do just the trick
First off, nothing makes your stomach churn more than a face full of foul breath from your best friend. However, there is a big difference between the occasional whiff of less than perfect and dogged halitosis. Signs of dental disease in your pets include persistent bad breath, loose or broken teeth, a painful or bleeding mouth, drooling and/or a refusal to eat/drink. If your pet has any of the above, cease reading and make an appointment with your vet.
Dental disease in pets is alarmingly common. To give you an idea how common, over 80% of dogs over the age of three will have some kind of dental disease. While keeping the visible parts of your pets’ teeth clean is super important, the damage is largely done below the gum line. As we know from the endless lectures of our own dentists – plaque build-up on teeth harbours bacteria and food particles which are not good for us. Plaque hardens into tartar which is harder to remove. Tartar below the gumlines is causing inflammation and possibly inflection. Infection can get into the bloodstream… and well you can see where this going. It’s not fun for your pet and the vet bills are not fun for you.
So how do Arianne’s three golden rules make a difference?
1. Your four-legged friends are built to survive on raw meats and fresh food. Their digestive systems are not designed to process foods full of starch, grains, fillers, chemicals, sugar and the like. Turns out that raw foods also contain naturally occurring enzymes that protect your pets’ teeth and gums like Ziwi Peak or Freeze Dry Australia raw and grain free foods.
2. Now obviously as a good pet parent, before you give your pet a bone you are going to think ‘if they had to catch their prey to eat, what size would that prey be?’ So, once you’ve given them an appropriately sized raw (not cooked, not dehydrated) bone to gnaw, that is where the magic is happening. As your pet is chomping away through raw bone, the meat and tendons are scraping its teeth and gums, much in the same way a toothbrush would. Raw bones are also chock a block full of vital vitamins and minerals which are good for them.
3. It turns out that pets that chew actively have less plaque build-up (which has obvious flow on effects). In addition to raw bones, dental sticks are an easy way to reduce plaque by up to 70%. As a bonus, dental sticks are generally packed with super healthy ingredients that actively assist in a healthier pet.
Check out our dental care collection to see how we can make life easier for you and your furry friends.
THE WONDERPETS TEAM xx