Dental Care

This week a friend of mine brought his two dogs in to have their teeth cleaned. He had scheduled and re-scheduled the procedure several times. It turned out that he was very concerned, and rightly so, about the anesthesia necessary to do the job properly- both dogs did fine and recovered well. He, of course, does not want to face this dilemma again. The conventional recommendation to prevent dental plaque is to feed dry food. The theory is that chewing dry food (kibble) provides abrasive action which removes plaque. However most dogs do not chew kibble at all as the individual nuggets are too small. If kibble were to provide abrasive action, the nuggets ought to be at least golf ball sized. In my experience, the only food that will help prevent dental plaque is raw food. Uncooked foods have active enzymes which dissolve plaque as it forms. Plaque is the result of bacterial action. Bacteria create biofilm. Biofilm is a matrix that bacteria produce to protect them from adverse conditions. Enzymes can dissolve biofilm in its early stages- before it has become calcified. Once the biofilm becomes calcified, only abrasive action will remove it. Abrasive action could be a professional cleaning. It could also occur as the dog chews raw bones. I recommend beef bones. Do not feed your dog cooked bones as they tend to splinter. If you are uncomfortable with raw bones, products like Nylabone are a good alternative. Do not give your dog raw hide or pig ears- no telling where they came from. Of course, one can also brush a dog’s teeth. This is best started when the dog is still a puppy. Brushing even once a week will help significantly.

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