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Dentistry and Bone Chewing

Teeth cleaning accounts for a significant proportion of what veterinarians do on a regular basis, including vets in kelowna. There are even veterinary dentistry specialists that will do crowns, root canals and even install braces on your pet’s teeth! By far the biggest source of problems is in periodontal disease, a very common problem in our pets. When our modern pets breathe on us, it is sometimes all we can do to stop from keeling over from the smell! 

But why is it that pet owners are having to get their dogs’ and cats’ teeth cleaned under general anesthetic more so than ever before?

If we take a look at diet, I think we will have the answer. When we consider that raw-bone-chewing pets and zoo-kept wild carnivores do not need regular dental treatments, the answer is staring us right in the face.

Dr Lonsdale, a graduate of the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London and author of Raw Meaty Bones, claims pet food diets based on processed meat and cereal are making animals sick by causing dental disease, which can lead to a range of debilitating and often fatal conditions, such as kidney failure and cancer, even immune system failure.

“Modern processed diets are known to be responsible for periodontal or gum disease, which affects more than 85 per cent of domestic cats and dogs over three years of age,” he said.

Canned and dry foods do not act as an aid in keeping teeth clean as they do not massage the gums and scrub the teeth. Without this “massage”, tartar is allowed to build up quickly.

Another possible reason for excess plaque build-up in pets fed processed foods is the high carbohydrate content of most dry foods. When the saliva begins the digestive process, the carbohydrates break down into sugars, which the plaque-causing bacteria feed on. As the bacteria reproduce, the plaque production increases. If the food has low or no carbohydrate component, and the pets are chewing on raw bones to break up the lowered amount of plaque, dentistry is rarely, if ever, required. Even the commercial pet food industry recognizes the effect of raw bones when they provide dog bone replacements and special kibbles to act as dental aids.

Chewing bones may occasionally result in a chipped or broken tooth, but the fact that the teeth, gums and jaw bones remain healthy makes that risk well worth it. Of course, all bones should be RAW, never cooked, which can make them soft and more readily splintered. Always start with knuckle or marrow bones for dogs before moving on to other kinds of bones. Cats will not always want to chew on a bone, but you can start with a piece of a wing tip or part of a chicken neck. After all, when they catch and eat a bird or mouse, they eat everything, bones and all!

Get a dental checkup before embarking on regular bone feeding. If your pet already has significant periodontal disease or infected gums and loose teeth, it would be best to get that cleared up first before bones are given. Your pet may not want to chew on bones with sore teeth anyway. If they just have plaque build-up, then by all means get started!

The benefits from chewing on bones one or two times per week will be evident to most pet owners within just a few short weeks. It is very satisfying for me to see a pet’s teeth go from heavy plaque build-up to sparkling white, with a happy owner only short a few dollars for bones. In addition, your pet’s overall well-being will improve, not just from the act of gnawing on something, but from better dental health.

Pawsitive Veterinarian Care is your holistic vet in Kelowna that will take care of all your pet’s dental and oral needs.

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