Learn the surprising truth about dry dog food.
Dogs who eat a minimally processed, ‘prey model’ or other raw or homemade diet tend to suffer less with dental problems over all than their counterparts who eat processed food. Ultimately, the way you approach dental health will depend on what you are comfortable with as an owner and the time you are willing to spend. The key thing to remember is (as with most things) prevention is far better than cure. So whether it’s a specialty custom-made dental product or good old-fashioned meat and bones, reducing the risk of plaque buildup is much less unpleasant for your dog and your wallet, compared with a visit to the vet for major dental work and the risk of having to have teeth pulled.
Last September we were introduced to Natures Select salmon and sweet potato food for our two dogs, a pomeranian and a yorkie. We were told it was superior to other foods on the market and that it would help with allergies and dry coat. The dogs liked the food. In February the dogs went in for their annual teeth cleaning, the had to fast since it is an anesthesia procedure. The vet took blood that morning and said it appeared they had eaten something fatty. We assured the vet they had only had their Natures Select food and nothing after 6pm the night before. Not thinking anything of this we continued feeding them this food. In June of this year 2012 the dogs got very ill with vomiting and diarrhea. Both of the dogs had bloodwork at the vet showing their pancreatic enzymes severely elevated. They both were diagnosed with pancreatitis. The vet blames this food, saying it was slowly killing them over the past year. Our dogs have been on antibiotics now for weeks and a special prescription only food from the vet. The yorkie had to be hospitalized for a week. They still are not well and we don’t even know if they will recover. I am saddened that something I thought was good for my dogs has made them so ill. Please check with your vet before using this product.
Dog food diets designed for teeth problems in dogs are not aiming at cleaning the teeth when plaque is already mineralized. Instead, these diets work towards prevention of rapid tartar build up after a good cleaning of the teeth. “Maintaining pets’ dental hygiene, along with good nutrition – where highly processed pet food ingredients, especially corn and soy glutens, leave micro-particles adhering to the teeth and foster dental disease – prevents much animal suffering. Dental problems, closely related to diet, are very common in dogs and cats and are often left untreated for too long, causing much suffering and long crippling, even fatal illness. These include kidney, liver and heart disease secondary to periodontal disease.”Strong teeth reflect a robust immune system and a well nourished body. As we did with Maggie, start by feeding your dog a high quality diet made from whole meats and other natural ingredients. Then try adding these other foods, supplements and herbs to further enhance his dental health. (It’s always a good idea to talk to your vet before giving your dog a new supplement or herb.)Not all animals drink as much water as they should. Wet foods can be a good source of hydration if your animal is the type that is reluctant to drink adequate amounts of water, which also means that your pet can enjoy a larger portion per meal without adding more calories to their diet. And then there are health considerations that can make wet foods a practical choice. Older animals that have lost some of their senses may be more inclined to eat a food that has a richer scent and flavor, such as wet foods often are. This is also a good alternative for when a pet is ill and cannot smell as well, or is lacking in appetite. This will assure that they are getting the proteins, vitamins, and minerals they need maintain their health. Wet foods are a good option as well for dogs with missing teeth, poorly aligned jaws, or smaller mouths.