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Vets have been placing a new emphasis on canine dental care in the last few years and it’s perfectly true that we do need to take care of our dogs’ teeth. There is little evidence that kibble actually keeps a dog’s teeth any cleaner than canned dog food, but there are some foods that have been specially formulated to remove tartar and keep your dog’s teeth cleaner. Here’s a look at them.

Hill’s Science Diet Canine t/d (for small dogs, too)

According to Hill’s, this kibble scrubs plaque in the mouth. And it has been clinically proven to reduce plaque, stain, and tartar buildup.

Science Diet Oral Care for Dogs

According to Science Diet this food (not the same as the prescription formula) also reduces plaque and tartar buildup. It keeps your dog’s breath fresh and helps keep his teeth clean. Calcium and other minerals in the food help keep his teeth healthy.

Purina Veterinary Diets DH Dental Health brand Canine Formula

This formula is supposed to significantly reduce tartar buildup. The patented texture of the kibble is supposed to allow optimal tooth penetration. It contains added antioxidants and a natural source of glucosamine. And it’s very palatable to dogs. One of the dental ingredients to keep your dog’s teeth pretty and white is likely tetra sodium pyrophosphate, found in some human toothpastes.

Iams and Eukanuba

All of Iams’ dog foods contain a dental formula. They formerly had a dental care dog food but they have now incorporated the ingredients into all of their foods. Some Eukanuba veterinary diet formulas and Eukanuba products, such as Eukanuba Adult Maintenance Diet for Dogs, also have these dental care ingredients. (Eukanuba and Iams are affiliated companies.)  Sodium Hexametaphosphate is part of the dental formula. It’s a whitening ingredient that is also found in some human toothpastes.

Any of these dog foods will probably help keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. Of course, you will want to look at other factors, such as ingredients, the guaranteed analysis, calories, company reputation, and so on, before choosing one.

Another option, if you are concerned about keeping your dog’s teeth pearly white, is to feed your dog a raw diet. People who feed raw swear that feeding raw meaty bones keeps their dog’s teeth clean. You just have to follow some sensible precautions about not giving your dog any bones that might chip or break teeth.

You can also help your dog maintain good dental health by providing him with dental chews and dental treats. Check out the site of the Veterinary Oral Health Council for a listing of products that have their seal of approval.

It’s also a good idea to have your vet check your dog’s mouth and teeth when you take your dog to get his vaccinations. At some point your dog could have a bad tooth or another dental problem that needs attention. If you notice that your dog’s breath becomes very bad (without reason) or if he stops eating his food, the problem could be his teeth. Take a look or ask your vet to look at them. Sometimes taking care of a small dental problem can completely turn things around for a dog. This is particularly true for older dogs. Sometimes older dogs stop eating and lose weight. An owner might assume the old dog is ill when, in fact, he simply can’t eat because of a bad tooth. Don’t forget to check the teeth!

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