Oral Health: A Window to Your Dogs Overall Health
We all want our pets to be happy and healthy, and dental health is no exception. Dog dental health isn’t limited to the state of your dog’s breath and teeth. Fido’s oral health can actually affect his overall health; healthy teeth and gums go hand in hand with a healthy immune system. Dog dental health isn’t limited to toothbrushes and dental treats. Read on to learn about some of the best ingredients to support dental health in dogs.
Dogs love to chew as a way to relieve boredom and stress and chewing on the right toys also helps to scrape plaque from the teeth. Keep some chew toys in rotation so your pooch always has something appropriate to chew on and the novelty doesn’t wear off. You don’t want him going after your fancy new shoes!
As with chew toys, chewing on raw bones alone will help to clean the teeth, but as an added benefit, raw meat enzymes help to manage harmful bacteria. Some dog owners choose to feed their dogs a raw diet, which contributes to clean, healthy teeth. Please note that when you give bones to your dog, they must be raw. Cooked bones are a choking hazard as they can easily break and splinter when chewed. They can also cause intestinal damage if pieces are swallowed.
Antioxidants play a big part in your dog’s dental health, as oxidative stress can lead to periodontal issues. Antioxidants also help support a healthy inflammatory response, which can help to protect your pup’s gums. Antioxidants can be taken in the form of supplements, rather than applied topically. Talk to your vet about proper supplements, two of the most effective being Vitamin E and Vitamin C, and the appropriate dosage for your dog. You can also feed your pooch some dog-friendly foods rich in antioxidants: blueberries; blackberries; raspberries; strawberries; cooked yellow squash; carrots; sweet potatoes; broccoli; spinach; kale; and green beans.
Fatty acids can help with both joint and periodontal issues, plus they have added heart, kidney, and brain health benefits. Fish oil supplements are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin A, both of which support healthy gums. 1-Tetradecanol complex (1-TDC) is a fatty acid that helps with gingival tissue swelling and may help slow the progression of currently existing periodontal problems. It can be applied directly to the gums, or taken in capsule form.
Coconut oil has lots of medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) which make it antimicrobial and it can help support healthy inflammatory responses. In other words, it helps to clean the teeth and gums when applied orally. Coconut oil can be spread directly onto the gums using your fingers or applied to the teeth with a canine toothbrush. You can even add some therapeutic vet-approved essential oils for added benefits.
Probiotics are known for boosting gut and immune health, but they also have dental health benefits. Rub gel, liquid, or powder probiotics (one option is to empty out capsules) directly onto your dog’s gums daily to replace the bad bacteria with good bacteria. Or make sure your dog is ingesting them on a regular basis
Breath & Oral Supplements
A great way to support your dog and his oral health is to add a dental aid to your dog’s diet. In between brushing, it’s great to have an additional method for dental care in place. Try some of these hands-off approaches to dental care that will improve dental health and maximize the effects of your routine. PetStrips are easy to use and provide bacteria control throughout the day. A single strip can also be added to your pet’s water bowl or fountain. As they drink, the solution is moved around their mouth, distributing the dental effects.
For a different approach that may be more effective for our less hydrated pets, try adding to your pet’s food. Similar to adding to their water, the flavorful strip can be added to their meals, and they do the rest of the work for you. This is an effective way to prevent plaque build-up and bad breath. Simply add one strip to your pet’s food and as they eat, they will naturally circulate the healthy bacteria around their mouth.
Signs of Dental Issues in Dogs
Monitor your dog regularly for signs of dental issues, including:
- Bad breath
- White, red, blue, or swollen gums
- Reluctance to eat
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Discolored, missing, loose, or broken teeth
- Blood left behind on bones or chew toys
Keep in mind that no ingredient, no matter how effective, can replace a proper dental routine. Clean your dog’s teeth regularly to remove plaque before it turns into tartar, which hardens onto the teeth and can lead to more serious dental issues. Your dog’s diet also contributes to his dental health. Talk to your vet about the healthiest diet options for your dog, too. Some dog owners prefer kibble since dry food can help to clean the teeth, while others prefer hydrating wet food. Others prefer a combination of the two, and others still prefer a raw diet. What’s right for one dog may not be right for yours, so do plenty of research before making any changes to your dog’s diet.