What does raw food have to do with oral hygiene in dogs?
Everything, if you ask me. There is enough evidence to show that raw-fed dogs
and cats have much healthier teeth and gums than dogs fed on a kibble diet.
But hold on a second. Did we all not believe that feeding dry, crunchy food was the best way to clean canine and feline teeth? The dry food acts like an abrasive agent and removes all kinds of particles of leftover food.
Turns out we were wrong. Imagine the feeling you have after eating a dry biscuit or chips. Do your teeth feel clean? Or do you feel uncomfortable with the pieces of chips still stuck to your teeth? Now imagine eating a crisp apple. It clears your teeth of any food particles and leaves them feeling squeaky clean. If it works for you, why wouldn’t it work for your furry pet?
Raw food: your pet’s best bet to clean teeth
Let’s face it – dry, crunchy kibble is not going to cut it when it comes to effective teeth cleaning. Raw food, on the other hand, is moist and so it doesn’t tend to stick to wet surfaces like teeth and tongue. Also, it has enzymes. These are the good guys who help the body in functions such as digestion and in the breaking down of nutrients.
Enzymes are already present in the body but raw food comes packed with these nature’s cleansing agents. Besides helping digest food, enzymes are also excellent at breaking down the bio-film that bacteria form on the teeth as a protective barrier. Bio-film is slimy and tough to get rid of even with proper brushing.
Enzymes naturally help destroy this stubborn bio-film, thus ‘brushing’ teeth and also removing bacteria that can go on to create dental problems, like tooth decay and bad breath. Additionally, raw food will boost your pet’s immune system and keep other oral infections at bay while also promoting healthy saliva.
Oral hygiene? What next?
Now that we all are on the same page regarding the benefits of raw food for our pets’, what comes next? Can we feed our pets any kind of raw food?
As a starting point, yes. However, to give your pet the complete dental benefit of feeding raw you must include raw bones in your pet’s diet. Raw bones are soft and great fun for your pet to chew on. They also have muscle or tendon meat, marrow and cartilage that is great for your dog’s overall health. The raw enzymes in the bone will take care of the bio-film on your dog’s teeth, and all the chewing and scraping action will clean the teeth of the bad stuff that has been building up.
You might not see a wild cat chewing on marrow, but domesticated cats enjoy crunching on the occasional poultry bone. Dogs love bones because it also fulfills their inherent psychological need to chew on something. Check with your vet before introducing bones to your puppy though.
Starting on raw bones for oral hygiene?
You can begin by including 2-3 raw bones
per week into your pet’s diet. Choose a bone size that is appropriate for your pet. Big dogs should be given only
big bones— nothing smaller than 4 inches for them because of the danger of swallowing and choking. Feed the bones either outside if you have the luxury of a garden or lawn. Else, if indoors, you can place the bone on an old towel in the bathroom or in the bathtub; basically any place where the mess can be cleaned up easily. And always supervise your pet when it is bone time just as you would do with any chew toy or treat.
Do remember, we are advocating feeding only raw
bones, not cooked. Raw bones are soft and full of moisture, and they have an entirely different structure from cooked bones. Cooked bones are hard and brittle, and they break apart in sharp pieces that can puncture or lacerate your pet’s delicate organs. Moreover, cooked bones are not easy for pets to digest.
Feed raw bones
and your pet will have a beautiful smile and a clean fresh breath in no time.