While the single most important contribution you can make to your pet’s oral health is regular tooth brushing, it is not always possible. There are other things you can do at home to care for your pet’s teeth and these include appropriate chews and dental diets, if warranted.
There are several prescription diets that have been developed to help decrease or slow the progression of dental disease. Keep in mind that while these diets have been proven to work to reduce tartar, they are not always the ideal diet for your individual pet’s needs.
Additionally, there are several chew products that are on the market that have been developed specifically for dental health. These products contain an anti-tartar ingredient and have been designed for daily use. It is very important that you choose the right size chew for your dog. If she swallows the whole chew in one bite, it is too small for her and is not providing the intended benefit.
Other rawhide treats and chew toys that have not been specifically developed for dental care can also be beneficial in reducing tartar through the chewing action. Hard bones and nylon products are not recommended as these have commonly been associated with fractured teeth. Avoid deer antlers, cow hooves, and other similar products that do not have a give to them like rawhide.
While the effectiveness of chews on the dental health of cats has not been proven, there are specific dental diets for cats that have shown to decrease the severity of dental disease. Cats tend to be more selective with flavors and textures however, so finding a dental diet for them may be a little more of a challenge.
For more information or questions about a specific dental product, please visit us at Livingston Vet. We will be happy to help you tailor a plan for your pet’s individual needs.