Regular at-home and professional cleanings are essential to your dog's dental health, but some foods can also benefit your pet's oral health. Today, our Fountain Valley vets share some of the best food for canine dental health.
Dental Food for Dogs
When you think of dog food for dental health, you might imagine some perfect, all-encompassing single brand of kibble or wet food that is amazing for your dog's teeth and gums in every way. In reality, the right dental dog food for your canine could be a few different things: kibble brands, dental chews, and even some frozen vegetables like baby carrots, which can help clean your dog's teeth as they eat them.
Here, our Fountain Valley veterinarians share the general best practices when looking for what food to give your pooch that will benefit their dental health.
If you are looking for a particular brand of food that is known for helping with bad breath, tooth strength, and/or gum cleanliness, you can always consult your veterinarian! They will be able to make a recommendation based on your dog's current dental care needs.
Best Dog Food for Dental Issues
There are several good quality dry foods for dogs that are designed to remove plaque buildup from their teeth while they chew. Some wet dog foods have less fatty content in them to reduce how many small particles of food can get in between the dog's teeth.
Dental treats and chews are one of the best ways to get your dog to clean their teeth while they eat. Not all dogs eat kibble regularly, so a dental treat here and there is a good way to get them to chew off some of that plaque! Keep in mind, dental chews or kibble won't be enough; you still must manually brush away any debris from their teeth using doggy toothpaste. This will increase the longevity of their teeth and gum health.
If you feed your dog cooked food regularly, like boiled chicken (light meat, no skin) and pup-friendly vegetables, stay away from foods with high starch content. Starch has an easier time building up on dog's teeth, and over time can wear them down if they are not cleaned properly. Some starchy foods include chickpeas, lentils, peas, and most root vegetables.
If you're a dog owner, you've likely heard the claim that kibble is better for your dog's teeth because of all the chewing and crunching they do. However, in most cases, kibble is too small to do your canine any real good when chewing. Some kibble brands have larger pieces meant specifically to increase the amount of chewing, but keep in mind that the size of your dog's teeth and mouth can change how effective this is.
Additionally, "grain-free" kibble often has higher carbohydrate and starch content than other types, so if your pup is struggling with plaque buildup or bad breath, consider switching kibble brands to something vet-recommended.
Adding Probiotics & Prebiotics
Probiotics and prebiotics are bacteria and yeasts that are good for you and your dog (but not always in the same form!). Adding these things to your dog's diet can support their dental and gastrointestinal health.
Soft Dog Foods for Bad Teeth
If your pup already struggles with unhealthy teeth or bad breath, either due to age or lack of cleaning, you might be wondering if hard food is bad for them or causing them pain.
It is always best to consult your vet first, but in general, if your dog struggles with one or multiple fractured teeth, or has constantly inflamed/red gums, they could benefit from switching to softer foods. Boiled chicken and vegetables are a good option if your dog is picky. There are also some paste-like dog foods with dental probiotics added right in.
Don't Stop Brushing!
It is important to remember that dental diets for dogs cannot replace regular at-home care and professional cleanings at your vet. Your dog cannot have long-lasting, healthy teeth or gums without brushing their teeth to manually remove plaque. Most dog breeds benefit from daily brushing; consult your veterinarian to see how often you should be brushing their teeth at home!
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.