While brushing is the golden rule to healthy dog teeth and gums, we all know it is not always possible to brush daily. Here are 5 alternatives to brushing teeth. These are some of the best dog-friendly foods that helps to clean doggy teeth and keep dental issues at bay.
1. Raw Meaty Bones
While cooked bones can splinter and cause all sorts of problems for your dog, raw bones are a fantastic way to help clean your dog’s teeth while satisfying their urge to chew. Raw bones are one of the best natural dog foods to prevent dental issues. Make sure the bone’s size is optimal for the dog. Big bones for big dogs, and small bones for smaller dogs.
Bones not only help to scrap off plague, but they can also provide a nice calcium boost, which supports strong bones and teeth. Always keep an eye on your dog when they are chewing bones.
You can use freeze dried or air-dried bones if giving your pup a fresh, raw bone is not possible. Organic Paws offers a variety of teeth cleaning freeze dried bones. Here’s is the lamb variety, Organic Paws Lamb Bones Frozen Raw Dog Food. The ZIWI Peak Venison Hoofer Oral Health Chews For Dogs is made from air-dried bones. Both are excellent healthy treats that will help to keep your dog’s teeth healthy. Good natural food alternatives to brushing dog’s teeth.
2. Crunchy Carrots
Carrots is one of the best food for dog’s teeth. Carrot is low in calories and crunching on raw carrots will help to scrape off plague. Raw carrot is also high in beta carotene. Adequate beta carotene has been shown to prevent cataracts and other eye disease in dogs.
Cut the raw carrot into chunks or sticks, and feed in moderation as a healthy treat. Other crunchy vegetables that will keep your dog’s teeth clean are celery and cucumber.
3. Yogurt or Kefir
Yogurt and kefir contain probiotics, which are essential for a dog’s gut and immune system health. The healthy bacteria in yogurt or kefir, helps to prevent the growth of bad bacteria in your dog’s mouth. This helps to prevent inflammation and the development of gum diseases.
Yogurt and kefir are both milk-based products. They contain lactose which many adult or senior dogs may have trouble digesting. Feed in very small amount, like 1 teaspoon, and monitor your dog’s condition before giving a full tablespoon daily.
Commercially prepared yogurt may contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener, which is toxic to dogs. If you are buying yogurt from the supermarket, please check the ingredients to ensure that there’s no xylitol or added sugar. Choose a plain, unsweetened, unflavoured yogurt.
Alternatively, you can supplement your dog’s diet with a special probiotic blend for oral care. Try this Labivet Probiotics Oral & Gut Health For Dogs & Cats. The beneficial bacteria have been carefully chosen to help reduce oral harmful bacteria and strengthen oral immunity.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is high in Lauric and Caprylic Acid. These medium chained fatty acids have potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. When used in your dog’s mouth it may help to kill off the bacteria that causes plaque and leads to gum disease. You can add it to your dog’s food or wipe it onto their gum using your finger once or twice weekly.
Start with a small amount if adding to food. Start with ¼ teaspoon daily, and gradually increase to 1 teaspoon daily for small dogs or 1 tablespoon daily for big dogs.
Always use organic, cold-pressed coconut oil, stored in glass bottle. The Sunrise Natural Organic Cold-Pressed Virgin Coconut Oilcomes with a functional pump-cap for easy dispense. No messy, oily spills.
5. Dental Chews
We love to treat our dogs. So, why not give them a treat that will clean their mouth as well?
There are plenty of dental treats options available in the market, but they are not all the same. Many contain wheat and are not gluten free. If your dog has a sensitive tummy, do check the ingredients to ensure no wheat or gluten added.
One of the best things to clean your dog’s teeth is the WHIMZEES Variety Value Box Dental Dog Chews.
The WHIMZEES Dental Dog Chews are made for dogs with gluten intolerance and food sensitivities. They are made with just a few natural ingredients and contain no artificial ingredients, colours, flavours or preservatives or GMOs.
Chewing is a dog's instinctive way of keeping their teeth clean. In the wild, dogs clean their own teeth by chewing on the bones of their prey. Dogs instinctively love to chew so capitalise on that.
Look for ways to add teeth cleaning food to their diet and give treats that are natural with teeth cleaning properties. These foods and treats will not fully replace teeth brushing or professional dental scaling, but they will slow down plague formation.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and have been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.