FRESH BREATH & CLEAN TEETH = SLOPPY KISSES YOU CAN BE PROUD OF!
It’s February and it’s Dental Health Month! Kaboom’s fresh breath is my top priority and I’ll be darned if I’ll forego sloppy kisses just because of stinky breath. For the past four years of pet wellness consulting I’ve had the dis-pleasure of smelling some pretty gnarly breath and I vote…it is a top offender. Sometimes stinky breath is a result of digestive disturbances or other imbalances within the body. If I’ve worked with your pet before you may have noticed I get up close and personal to smell their breath – the type of smell may give us clues as to what type of imbalance is going on. However, this blurb is not about those issues but rather about dental health!
You’ll hear me brag how in the past 15 years I’ve never had a professional teeth cleaning on any of my animals and how the primary reason for that is the fact that I feed raw meaty bones – not to be confused with raw marrow bones, which are more entertainment style bones with a few teeth cleaning benefits, versus what we call “nature’s toothbrush”. Since I dedicated an entire article on raw meaty bones and marrow bones a few months back, I’d rather chat about other ways to keep those pearly whites…white and the breath fresh!
It is certainly appropriate to quickly discuss the myth that hard food cleans teeth – there are a lot of folks that come into the store and say that’s why they feed dry food. My vet uses an awesome analogy comparing how humans eating granola as a way to clean teeth is the same as our pets eating dry hard food as a way to clean their teeth – it makes sense, right? After having studied the behavior of dogs that eat dry food to determine how their teeth can stay clean – it’s because most dogs don’t actually chew their dry food.
Kaboom is the first dog I’ve had that has porous teeth, according to my vet, so even though she eats raw chicken and turkey necks to naturally clean her teeth, I also have to brush them and do other things to keep them clean and her breath fresh. The most beneficial thing I do is use a tooth gel with natural herbs and cleansers. She loves the flavor and because it contains peppermint, it also freshens her breath. Don’t get me wrong, she doesn’t love when I do it but I give her lots of praise and kisses during the event and it takes less than 5 minutes, literally. I also found that the tendency is to grab the top of the nose and lift the lips up to get to the teeth, however, it is more comfortable for our pets if we simply pull the lips from the back and lift up – it does take a little Martha Stewart style handling of the hands and such but well worth the practice to find just the right technique that makes your pet the most comfortable and relaxed. I also typically make teeth cleaning the centerpiece of a ritual which includes something she loves before and after such as adding moisturizing cream to her pads before and a short massage on her favorite spots afterwards – finishing with one last fresh breath kiss and send her on her way for a little nap. Perfecto!
In addition to brushing the teeth, a dental bone offered a few times per week performs double duty as a wonderful treat that scrapes the teeth. Be sure to choose an all-natural dental bone that does not contain ingredients that all you super smart Blackbirds are aware of like wheat protein or corn. Natural chews such as bully sticks can also help in this area.
There are ther dental style treats that offer some beneficial ingredients such as chlorophyll which is more about freshening breath than it is providing an abrasion on the teeth. You can actually add chlorophyll directly to your pet’s water dish too plus you can give them a variety of herbal based drops that offer freshening qualities to the breath, but again, it is only one piece of the puzzle…we need to provide abrasion to remove the junk on the teeth plus provide the freshening aspect too. Other dental products contain certain enzymes that’s purpose is to neutralize the pH within the mouth which is a nice way to supplement your overall dental health protocol but not every product is suitable for every pet so ask me if you’d like to consider something. There are a few other treats that claim their ingredients contain abrasives like baking soda, for example, however my personal experiences with how our animals chew leads me to the un-like category of these type of treats especially if they contain undesirable “other” ingredients like wheat or even rice flour is a popular one. Not bad for some and not appropriate for others but I think your money is spent better elsewhere.
In summary, for the freshest breath and cleanest teeth possible consider an overall dental health protocol include a combination of a high quality digestive enzyme, provide regular teeth cleaning using a natural pet specific toothpaste or gel, add all natural dental bones and other natural chews several times a week as a means to help scrub the surface of the teeth, provide a squirt or two of an herbal liquid such as ginger/mint directly in the mouth, and if you can wrap your head around it…add some raw meaty bones into your companion’s dental health protocol for sloppy kisses you’ll be proud to share with others. Mwah! (that’s a kissing soundJ)
The content of this website and any information discussed with representatives of Blackbird's Bowl is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace regular veterinary care. You are encouraged to seek the professional advice of a holistic veterinarian that supports your efforts to incorporate species appropriate nutrition and holistic lifestyle choices into your pet's life. To locate a holistic integrative vet, please visit www.ahvma.org or ask us for a referral.
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