Whilst many dogs and occasional cats can be gradually trained to have their teeth brushed at home, this just isn’t possible for some pets! As a result, there are many pet dental care products available on the market, which may be able to help.
Generally, the most effective products work by “mechanically cleaning” your pet’s teeth – this is a physical “brushing” action to help disrupt the gooey plaque film (which contains bacteria) that gradually forms on your pet’s teeth. If left to build-up, plaque will gradually harden to tartar (a hard brown “shell” adhered to your pet’s tooth), and will also cause inflammation and infection around the tooth roots, which is known as periodontal disease.
Some dental products also have a chemical additive to help reduce tartar build-up, which can be a useful addition to mechanical cleaning.
More effective products generally have the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal of acceptance on the packaging for controlling both plaque AND tartar. The list of approved products includes:
- Prescription veterinary dental dry foods such as Hill’s T/D dental food
- Dental chews like Greenies and Oravet oral chews
- Water or food additives including Healthy Mouth water additive and PlaqueOff Powder food additive.
Ensure any chew that you feed to your pet has some “bendiness” to it, as very hard products may break your pet’s teeth. It’s also best to monitor your pet when they are eating these chews, to ensure that they’re safely chewing it up before swallowing.
Whilst raw bones can provide a useful mechanical cleaning effect, they can pose a risk of injury to some pets, such as tooth breakage, gut damage or constipation, so they should be offered with caution.
If you’re unsure of which products would best suit your pet, have a chat with our veterinary team for more specific recommendation