Did you know that dental disease in Dogs effects over 70% of dogs over the age of 2? Teeth cleaning procedures are the second highest reason for vet visits after annual vaccinations - and can set you back anything from $600 to $2000 per visit. Over the course of your dog’s life it can add up to a whopping $20, 000!
Quick, give me a bag of Dental Kibble now!!
When I worked at the Vet Surgery there was a poster on the wall of the consult room. It showed a technical ‘medical’ illustration of a dogs incisor tooth and a second ‘technical’ illustration of a piece of Kibble, specifically the one ‘formed to provide an excellent teeth cleaning design’
The third medical looking illustration showed the tooth and the kibble and implied that the specific shape of the piece of kibble would provide a scrubbing action, therefore cleaning the dog’s teeth while they chewed.
Next to this poster was a really disgusting chart of the levels of dental disease - the two posters side by side made me initially scared I was doing the wrong thing for my dogs, the rotten teeth were pretty horrifying - and the other ‘look how easy it is to fix this just feed this’ poster gave me an easy solution.
I remember looking at that poster (very kindly provided by the company that makes the kibble), and thinking to myself that it seemed really logical, and the poster made perfect sense. Does Dry Kibble Clean Dog’s Teeth? It seems so according to that poster.
As my knowledge increased I began to absolutely hate that piece of marketing, so much so that I had an argument with the Vet on duty one afternoon about it.
When I challenged this implied logic, the Vet was very quick to jump to the defense of the company that produced this product (‘which has done so much research about the specific shape of the dry food, obviously they know what works’), and very quick to point to the reception area which was well stocked with this product as well as all the rest in their range. Hmmmmmm.....
Here is the simple truth about this well known style of Kibble. It is an invention of the marketing company tasked with selling this product and making their client a bucketful of money.
Does Dry Kibble clean dogs teeth ?.... Nope! IT IS A FABRICATION, A LIE.
It does not clean teeth at all! So, I have hear you saying WHAT!!!! So here’s a quick Q and A breakdown of why this is a physical impossibility despite all the marketing spin...
So how can this big pharmaceutical company just lie and get away with it?
There is no regulation in the industry around claims and promises made. They can say what they want, and they do, but wrapped up in multi-million dollar marketing so it seems logical at surface level. They do not need to be held accountable for claims such as these!
Why doesn’t it clean my dog’s teeth like the picture promises?
The Short Answer:
A dog’s saliva is different for a humans. It is missing key enzymes that humans have (who have evolved to thrive on grains, starches and carbs).
What does dog’s saliva do to the kibble?
So, the main key ingredient in this carefully shaped dry pellet is starch/carbohydrate. A dog’s saliva breaks it down into, basically sugars. These sugars provide a breeding ground for bacteria and tartar.
Imagine eating a Sugary meal day in and day out - of course you are going to have periodontal disease!
The simple fact is dogs have yearly dental cleanings and are more common than any other vet care that’s needed. Removing plaque buildup surgically removes the plaque but does nothing to address the cause. In fact, the yearly surgery to remove plaque and tartar buildup contribute to the decline in health, as the toxic chemicals in the anaesthetic will stress the liver and immune system.
Dental Kibble Contributes to Dental Disease
Okay, that’s the very short version of why Dental Kibble really does not work and in fact contributes to dental disease, exactly the same as the much cheaper supermarket brand of kibble does - it’s the ingredients and no amount of justification and sexy posters about the special shapes they are extruded into can argue these biological facts.
I know, Dental Sticks are the obvious answer then!
YES! NO! Sort of yes!
Denta Sticks and Greenies
Dogs instinctively know that chewing cleans their teeth. If they were in the wild and not sleeping on your sofa, they need their teeth to survive. No teeth means death for our hunter ancestors. Not so much for Fifi who at the age of 7 has now only 12 of her original 42 teeth left in here jaw after multiple extractions.
Denta Sticks and Greenies are Marketed and sold by the millions. They have absolutely not nutritional benefit, in fact they are so unhealthy that are actually a detriment to your pup’s overall wellbeing. They will provide a teeth cleaning chew to a certain degree, but...
Check all ingredient listings, as a good rule to follow, the first 5 ingredients listed make up 95% of the product. Avoid all Meat Meals or Meat By-products, all grains, all chemicals, all preservatives. Fun fact about Denta Sticks the second ingredient is Cellulose Fibre.
This is a derivative of the Building Industry. It is literally Bamboo Sawdust. It won’t kill your dog, but... last time I checked they really do not eat Bamboo!
So, what are the 4 Steps to Help Keep Your Pet’s Mouth Healthy.?
A lot of dogs hate their teeth being cleaned, but the good news is Cleaning their Teeth without using a toothbrush is really easy to achieve:
1. Feed a nutritionally optimal, species-specific, fresh food diet, and feed it raw if possible. When your dog or cat gnaws on raw meat, it acts as a kind of natural toothbrush and dental floss. And you are not going to create that sugar starch problem caused by carbs and grains.
2. Offer recreational bones and/or a fully digestible, high quality dental dog chews to help control plaque and tartar. The effect of dental chews is similar to raw bones, but safer for power chewers or dogs who have restorative dental work and can’t chew raw bones. We’ve got you covered with our range of all natural, all Australian Dental Chews, in various sizes and shapes.
Each shape enables your dog to use different teeth or a different angle, covering off the large pointy incisors, the Pre-molars and back slab molars. If you are worried about bones splintering and causing harm these are the perfect all-natural alternative to those crappy sawdust filled Dental Sticks and Greenies!
3. Perform routine mouth inspections. After you do this a few times, you’ll become aware of any changes that occur from one inspection to the next. You should also make note of any differences in the smell of your pet’s breath that aren’t diet-related.
4. Arrange for regular oral exams performed by your veterinarian. He or she will alert you to any existing or potential problems in your pet’s mouth, and recommend professional teeth cleaning under anaesthesia, if necessary.
Does Dental Kibble work to clean your dogs teeth?
So, there you have it! The Myth that Dental Kibble actually cleans teeth well and truly blown out of the water!