How Nutrition Plays a Role in Dental Health

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

Often overlooked, dental hygiene is a critical component of your dog’s overall health. But unlike some other aspects of canine health, proper dental care definitely requires more direct action on the part of the pet parent. After all…dogs can’t floss. Even without floss, the healthiest dog teeth should be white, clean, and structurally sound. There are some obvious and easy ways to take care of that—and others you may not have considered. Let’s take a look at what you can do to make your pup a chomper champ.

Oral Hygiene

You might have guessed: proper doggie dental care starts with regular brushing. The combination of food, oral bacteria, and salivary proteins in a dog’s mouth creates a potent mixture that leads to plaque buildup. Removing this buildup is simple in that all it takes is a soft toothbrush and canine

formulated toothpaste – but it does require physical brushing, which can be a chore for some pups and pet parents. If you and your best friend aren’t the biggest fans of brushing, we recommend a little patience, and maybe a treat when you’re done. If you need extra help with brushing, upgrade to our Perfect Package when you book a grooming session with us which includes teeth brushing, nail grind, paw pad conditioner, and specialty shampoo and conditioner. Click here to book a grooming appointment with us!

Gut Health

A less obvious but vitally important aspect of canine dental care, a healthy gut can go a long way to ensuring your dog’s teeth are top-notch. How can you quickly check your dog’s gut health? Give their breath a whiff. Bad breath can be an indicator of bacterial imbalance, one that can be solved through the use of probiotics. Known for their ability to inhibit the growth of undesirable bacteria, probiotics have long been linked to the maintenance of a healthy GI tract. Now, with plenty of clinical evidence to suggest that ability can also fight common oral and dental issues like halitosis and periodontal disease, many pet parents are turning to probiotics to work some magic. If you decide to go this route, it may take some trial and error, but thankfully there are a number of options. Probiotics come in many forms including supplements, liquids, powders, soft chews, and dental bones. If you have any questions, Kyle Baker, our Senior Pet Food Nutritionist, and the rest of our DOGPerfect team will be happy to help you!

Chew Time

Speaking of, let’s talk chewing. Not all dogs adequately chew their food, leaving digestion to begin once grub reaches their gut. That’s why chew bones and toys are an important consideration in your dog’s dental care. The repetitive action of chewing can provide a number of benefits. The friction created by grinding and gnawing can help limit plaque and reduce tartar, and—while not the same as winding up some minty fresh floss—tearing and shredding can aid gum health. The available options are vast and varied, so if you’re not sure where to start, here’s a handy breakdown on chew bones, treats, and toys that we carry in our DOGPerfect stores:

· Raw Bones With their mix of meat, sinew, and marrow, raw bones top many experts’ lists. Requiring dogs to gnaw through meat and bone, raw bones help remove plaque while providing extra nutrients.

· Marrow Bones Best served fresh, these partially digestible bones are an excellent source of calcium. One watch-out: once the marrow is gone, the dry bone should be discarded to avoid potential splintering.

· Bully Sticks A safe, healthy, and tasty choice, bully sticks are all-natural, rich with protein, fully digestible, and highly affordable.

· Hooves To dogs, cow hooves are a delicacy. While tasty and long-lasting, they do require some supervision as they can sometimes fragment.

· Antlers Believe it or not, dogs love chewing on antlers. Note: tougher than most chew toys and bones, look for antlers that are split lengthwise so your dog can get to the marrow more easily.

· Buffalo Horns High in protein, calcium, and phosphorus, and low in fat, buffalo horns are excellent for dental health and a great stress reliever for your pup.

· Synthetic Bones Designed expressly to support dental health, zero-calorie synthetic bones are available in a wide variety of flavors and sizes and pose no bacterial risk.

· Dental Chews – Many treats, bones, and biscuits are formulated to reduce plaque and tartar, and prevent bad breath—but they’re so delicious your dog may ingest them before these chews can provide the desired benefits.

· Chew Toys – Products like The Kong can be filled with wet food, pâté, or peanut butter, keeping a dog busy for hours as they chew and lick to reach the tasty filling.

Sawyer chewing on his No-Hide during his DOGPerfect visit!

And chewing benefits go beyond healthy teeth and gums. Puppies need to chew as they’re teething and beginning to explore the world around them; older dogs use chewing to keep their masticatory muscles strong, and their brain engaged. As usual, whether they’re big or small, young or old, it’s up to you to find the best care and products for your dog. But make no mistake: while it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, proper dental hygiene plays a big role in the long-term health and happiness of your pup.

About the Author:

Kyle Baker, our Senior Pet Food Nutritionist at DOGPerfect, has a passion for educating pet parents on the power of nutrition and how it can improve their pet’s lives with proper food, supplements, and treats. DOGPerfect is a locally owned and operated pet supply store with locations in The Landings, University Park, and Lakewood Ranch. Visit for more information and to sign-up for a free one-on-one nutrition consult with Kyle.


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