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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

If you look at a wild canine’s teeth, you’ll see clean, white shiny teeth.

Why? They are eating what nature intended, raw meat, bones, and organs of their prey.

If you look at a domestic canine’s teeth, many times you will find tartar buildup, yellow or brown discoloration, inflamed gums, and maybe even some loose teeth.

Why? They are eating food that has no dental benefits. It is a myth that kibble can help control your dog’s tartar. In reality, it will control tartar just as well as trying to clean your own teeth with granola. Many kibbles also contain ingredients such as sugars, carbohydrates, and starches that cause the kibble to stick to a dog’s teeth. These ingredients are also a food source for opportunistic oral bacteria, which will actually cause further tartar to form. Since these foods do not contain live nutrients and many times contain things like preservatives and dyes, they will disrupt normal flora in the body and can lead to tartar that way as well.

Many people view dental disease as a normal process when there is nothing normal or natural about it. The reason this unnatural process is happening is because dogs are eating food that they are not designed to eat. 

Raw food is the natural diet of your dog and it has a variety of benefits, with the focus of this article being to improve or maintain good dental hygiene.

Raw meaty bones are the best option to control tartar as they provide an abrasive, cleaning action on your dog’s teeth. It’s important to emphasize four areas when providing raw meaty bones to your dog.

  1. The bones must be raw. Cooked bones splinter and can cause harm to your pet.
  2. It is important to always supervise, know your dog and choose a size appropriate raw meaty bone for them. If they tent to gulp, the bone needs to be larger than their mouth or head so that they can gnaw rather than gulp.
  3. If your dog is an intense chomper, it is important to not give them a bone that is very dense as this can cause a tooth fracture. Dense bones are those which are weight-bearing bones of adult cattle, such as a marrow bone.
  4. Remember to handle raw meaty bones the same as you handle your own raw meat. Have your dog work on them in an area that you can sanitize such as a create or outside. Do not allow them to run around your house with a raw bone. Refrigerate or freeze the bone if they have more to work on later.

Raw meat contains live enzymes and probiotics. The enzymes help to keep teeth clean by breaking down bacteria on your dog’s teeth. The probiotics found in a raw diet also maintain normal balance and populations of bacterial flora in the mouth. Both also help to retain pH balance, making it less likely that any harmful bacteria can thrive in your dog’s mouth. Furthermore, it does not stick to a dog’s teeth like a dry food.

Healthy teeth & gums of my raw fed German shepherd

In terms of maintaining healthy teeth and gums, nothing compares to a raw diet. A raw diet is a species appropriate diet for our dogs, meaning it is the easiest diet for them to digest and assimilate nutrients from, as it is in the natural state that a dog’s body recognizes and utilizes. Prevention of dental disease is not feeding a kibble diet and doing regular dental cleanings. Rather, prevention is honoring the natural design of our dogs and feeding and caring for them accordingly. Their body will be better able to maintain health the way it was meant to in the first place.

Pictured are my raw feed dogs: Lolo (border collie), Bella (Italian greyhound), and Onyx (German shepherd)

Dr. Erin O’Connor is an AVCA Animal Chiropractor and ACAN Naturopathic Carnivore Nutrition Consultant. She sees patients out of her clinic, Vitality Chiropractic Center in Aurora, as well as Autumn Green Animal Hospital in Geneva. For further information, visit myvitalitychiropractic.com or email Dr. O’Connor at drerinoconnor@myvitalitychiropractic.com.

 

MelissaG_profile

Here at Two Bostons, we’re always emphasizing the importance of regular dental care. According to many vets, taking good care of your pup’s teeth can actually increase his or her lifespan by two to three years! It’s one of the simplest ways to improve the quality of your dog’s life, and we have plenty of fantastic products to help you on your quest for awesome oral hygiene. One of our favorite NEW dental treats? Merrick Dental Chews!

Merrick is the same company that brings you those extra-yummy-looking (and extremely healthy) canned pet stews such as Turducken, Wingaling, Cowboy Cookout, and many more. Recently, we not only started carrying their matching treat line of protein-packed, grain-free, gluten-free Kitchen Bites and Power Bites (featuring adorable little shapes!), but also their brand NEW dental chew line.

MerrickDental

One of my favorite things about these all-natural dental chews is that they are all grain free, which is pretty hard to find in a dental bone! (Although it’s worth noting that even though we DO carry certain grain-containing dental treats in our stores, they contain such a small amount of grain that most dogs can handle them without issue). These Merrick chews are also gluten-free, and don’t contain sorbic acid or the color additive sodium copper chlorophylin. Another great plus? They are chicken flavored, so picky dogs who turn up their noses at some of our more “minty” treats, such as Breath-less Brushless Toothpaste or Terrabones, will love the savory taste! I know that’s why Shenzi definitely craves these dental chews. Pups will think they’re getting a fantastic new treat – while YOU know that each specially-shaped chew is actually cleaning and fighting tartar on the surface of their teeth.

Just like many of our other dental chews, Merrick dental chews come in a variety of shapes, textures, and sizes including Flossies, Texas Toothpicks, and three different bone sizes (Mini Brush Bones, Lil’ Brush Bones, and Big Brush Bones). This makes it easy to find just the right one(s) for your pup. We already know about the goodness of Merrick canned foods and treats, so I highly suggest you give these dental chews a try as well. When used in conjunction with other oral care items such as toothpaste and water supplements, they can do wonders for your dog — while saving YOU the headache (and expense!) of canine oral health problems. Stop by and see us today to try out these awesome new teeth-friendly treats!