Dog and cat oral hygiene is a lot more important than many people realize. Having tartar and calculus build up on your pets’ teeth can lead to many issues down the road, and it can be very painful for your furry friends. A dirty mouth can lead to tooth loss, painful chewing, tooth abscesses, and bacteria from under the gum line can travel to essential organs such as the kidneys and the liver. It is essential to be on top of your pets’ oral hygiene as soon as they become a part of your family. Eighty-five percent of pets have some form of dental disease by the time they turn three years old. We always recommend brushing your pets’ teeth, as this is the number one thing you can do to protect your pets’ oral health. There are other things you can do to help them out and keep them healthy, happy and pain-free. This includes dental chews for your pet as well as a dental diet.
Dental diets are an excellent way to help keep your pet’s mouth clean. We recommend three different diets that are all great. The Royal Canin Dental, the Hills T/D and the Purina DH. All of these formulas come in feline and canine varieties, as well as options for small dogs (under 30 pounds) and, are Veterinary exclusive. Majority of dogs and cats do not chew their kibble. Most kibble is designed to be small enough that they can either just swallow it, or it breaks down as soon as a tooth hits it. Dental diets are a larger kibble so the animal has to chew and they do not break right away. When the pet bites down on the kibble, the texture of the kibble creates a brushing motion against the tooth to help clean it. Dental diets are designed as an adult maintenance diet and are an excellent choice for adult dogs with no health issues that require a different special diet. We highly recommend starting this diet early, as soon as a puppy reaches adulthood it ideally should be switched over gradually to a dental diet to keep those teeth clean. Although it can be started at any point. And many dental diets are lower in calories than other adult maintenance diets- bonus!
The Royal Canin Dental diet is clinically proven to reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar to aid in dental health. This diet is also designed to support digestive health, with probiotics, zeolite, and highly digestible protein in it. There is also a patented antioxidant blend to help support immune health. The feline and small dog versions of this kibble also have something called an S/O index, which is unique to Royal Canin diets. This helps support urinary issues by helping to keep the urinary PH where it should be. The large dog dental also supports joint health with omega three fatty acids added in.
Purina Veterinary Diets has a dental kibble called DH. This has a patented kibble texture to help clean the teeth and is proven to significantly reduce the buildup of tartar. This is a great everyday diet with balanced nutrition for your pets. This diet also contains antioxidants and glucosamine, and a level of protein designed for an optimal immune system. The patented kibble texture is intended to be less brittle than the average kibble for greater tooth penetration and therefore more significant tooth cleaning. This diet is designed to be very palatable for the animals, so they enjoy it.
Hill’s T/D is clinically proven to reduce plaque, staining, and tartar buildup. It is designed to clean the surface of the tooth and fight the bacteria-laden plaque. This is a complete and balanced nutritional diet for adult dogs and cats. The kibble has a unique size and shape to help clean the tooth as well as a fibre matrix technology inside the kibble designed to clean the tooth.
There are multiple dental chews available at your local vet clinic including CET chews (varieties for dogs and cats), VeggieDent chews, and Purina Dental Chewz. These can be a great addition to your pets’ oral health routine.
All of these diets are fantastic choices to help keep your pet’s mouth clean! We recommend them here at Eastern Shore Veterinary Hospital as the best adult diet for otherwise healthy pets. Dental health is so important and helps our pets live long, healthy, and happy lives. Our staff are delighted to explain the diets to you, as well as to show you the different dental chew options, or explain how to brush your pets’ teeth. We want your pets to have nice clean mouths, and all of these options will benefit that.
Written by Mikaila Cariou, RVT