Pet Bad Breath? Get rid of your dog’s stinky breath in a few easy steps.
Pet bad breath could be due to Periodontal disease
The downside of not taking good care of your cat’s or dog’s teeth is at the least pet bad breath and at the worst periodontal disease! Bad oral hygiene for pets can lead to periodontal disease, which can result in heart, kidney and liver disease . Periodontal disease is a very common disease affecting both dogs and cats.
For those just starting to take care of your dog or cat’s teeth, we’ve got tips below on how to improve your pet’s dental health. Typically stinky pet breath or pet bad breath is an indicator of an underlying condition.
Myth 1: Dog kibble or Cat kibble clean your pet’s teeth
There is a myth that dog kibble or cat kibble will keep your pet’s teeth clean. As such, most pet parents do not take care of their dog’s or cat’s teeth due to this myth.
Kibbles may scrape some of the tartar off. Kibbles are not effective at cleaning teeth. Kibbles are the equivalent of a human eating crackers or chips and hoping that is effective for cleaning teeth! Don’t believe us? Ask your dentist whether eating crackers will work in cleaning your teeth… no brushing allowed.
- Typically, the most important place to clean is between the gum line and teeth where periodontal disease occurs. Kibble will not be effective at doing that!
- In addition, kibble include a higher percentage of carbohydrates, which feed the bacteria in the mouth that lead to dental disease.
Study: Is dog kibble or raw dog food better for dental health?
Luckily, a vet set out a small study to test, whether kibble or raw food was better for dental health. In the picture below courtesy of his experiment, could you guess which diet the dog is on? The same dog was put on a raw food diet and a kibble diet. The bottom picture shows the effect of a kibble diet after the raw fed dog (top pic) is put on dog kibble.
Myth 2: Dogs or cats eating wet food have pet bad breath compared to kibble
A lot of consumers on dry pet food believe that feeding wet pet food means that it sticks to the teeth. Therefore, dry, crunchy food is better for cleaning the teeth. This is a false premise. In both cases, if a dog or cat drinks water, the likelihood of food sticking to the teeth is less in the wet food case.
Try the example of eating crackers and drinking water. Then eat something wet and drink water. Which is more likely to stick in between your teeth once you drink water? Dry crackers is more likely.
What does NOT work in keeping your dog or cat’s breath stink-free
We have spent quite a bit of time researching pet dental health information. The following methods may have controversial ingredients such as grain alcohol or debatable effectiveness.
- enzymatic spray/gel – gimmicky and debatable effectiveness
- adding solutions to drinking water – gimmicky and debatable effectiveness
- chewing greenies/ whimzees – bad ingredients, carbohydrates which break down into sugar and therefore plaque. Debatable effectiveness.
- Dog milk bones – bad ingredients, carbohydrates which break down into sugar and therefore plaque. Debatable effectiveness.
Greenies and enzymes that are added to the water to keep the breath fresh do not work as effectively as brushing your dog’s teeth. If they did, then we’d never need to brush as humans.
The consistent thread we found with natural/holistic vets and what we are doing with our own pet is: feed them raw food, give them real, uncooked and size-appropriate bones and BRUSH your dog or cat’s teeth.
So why does the American Veterinary Dental College have an approved dry food and chew list for teeth care?
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), which is an entity of the American Veterinary Dental College awards a Seal of Acceptance to products, which effectively control plaque and tartar in dogs and cats. These include the oral diets, chews and milk bones that are known on the market.
The protocols put in place basically have any company seeking the VOHC Seal independently go through the following process and submit their findings to the VOHC for approval. Compare two groups of dogs of similar age, etc (a control group of dogs on a commercial kibble) and the other group on the oral diet and see if there is any efficacy in retarding plaque and tartar. Their teeth are all cleaned to ensure a base starting point. The “15%/20% standard, meaning 15% in any one trial and 20% as the mean of the two required trials is the minimum required difference from the control group.”
As the focus is on scaling of teeth, ingredients are not a priority for the VOHC. Issues regarding product safety are to be brought to the VOHC attention but are not really within VOHC purview. Looking at a sampling of some of the ingredients in these foods or oral diets e.g. whole grain corn, chicken by-product, wheat flour or soybean are typically high in the list. We would not feed our pets this for the reason that even if it is marginally effective at scraping the teeth, these are not nutritious ingredients we’d like to feed our pets on an ongoing basis!
What is effective in improving pet bad breath and dental health?
What is effective in cleaning your dog’s (or cat’s) teeth? We know it is not kibble. As usual, these are guidelines to get you started on your research on what’s works best for you and your dog.
Here’s what we suggest:
5 effective step-by-step ways to get rid of stinky dog breath
Consider a vet visit if there is a lot of plaque on your dog's teethIf there is a lot of plaque, take your dog or your cat in to the vet for a cleaning under anesthesia. This is an effective way to really get under your dog or cat's gum line. We'd only recommend this option if your dog or cat are not seniors and do not have elevated liver enzymes or heart disease. It is still considered risky from the perspective of putting your dog or cat under anesthesia.
Brushing is the most effective way of improving pet oral health and getting rid of pet bad breathBrush at least once a week if you are serious about improving your pet's dental health. Aim at getting between the gums To effectively brush, sit with your back against a wall and with your dog on his back between your legs. (The dog's mouth will be pointing up at you as you stare down). Cats will definitely hate you if you try this on them! 🙂
Provide raw or freeze-dried raw consumable bones for your cat or dog. eg. chicken or turkey necks or wingtipsAlternatively you can provide recreational bones for dogs. Make sure the bone is sized appropriately for your dog and his chewing habit. Femur bones are load bearing and can crack teeth if your dog is an aggressive chewer. In all circumstances, ensure you are supervising your dog or cat when they are chewing bones. Never feed cooked bones to a dog or cat as they get harder on cooking and can splinter or represent choke hazards.
Moonlight Dog Cafe is downtown Vancouver’s best pet store for a huge variety of healthy pet food and natural pet products including quality raw pet food. Follow us on facebook for more dog and cat health and training tips. Visit our website at www.moonlightdogcafe.com for online shopping