Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Vitamins, Minerals & Foods that Support Oral Health in Dogs

A dog's genetics help to determine the strength of their teeth and bones. Some dogs have naturally strong teeth, while others have chalky, softer teeth. While all dogs require sufficient oral health-supporting vitamins and minerals in their daily diet - some dogs may require more than the average quantity to ensure good oral health is maintained.  

Although commercial dog kibble does have added vitamins and minerals, the amount provided kibble product varies by manufacturer, brand and type.  Kibble alone may not provide enough of the right vitamins and minerals /to meet your dog’s daily quota for achieving good oral health. You can augment your dog’s daily intake of critical vitamins and minerals by providing them with:
  • A supplement designed specifically for canines, and/or;
  • Supplement your dog’s daily diet with fresh, whole foods (including some dairy, fruit and vegetables) that are good for your dog and are rich in oral health and immune system supporting vitamins and minerals. 
If you are thinking that feeding your dog fruits and veggies will cause diarrhea you should read this article
An added bonus - whole, fresh crunchy food such as whole carrots, parsnips and sliced pieces of apple help scrub your dog’s teeth clean!

Calcium (mineral)
A dog’s teeth and jaws are comprised primarily of calcium. When there is not enough calcium in a dog’s diet the risk of developing periodontitis increases. Calcium is best when combined with phosphorus and Vitamin D (see Phosphorus and Vitamin D rich foods below).

  • Cheese - Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, Provolone;
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, collard greens, spinach, 6broccoli;
  • Kelp (also has many other health benefits);
  • Yogurt (plain, unsweetened).

Iron (mineral)

Not enough iron can cause inflammation of the tongue and the formation of sores in the mouth. Tip - vitamin C helps the body better absorb iron.

Dark green leafy vegetables, collard greens, spinach, broccoli (broccoli should not exceed more than 1/10th of the dog’s daily food intake);
  • 3Eggs;
  • 4Liver;
  • Red Meat;
  • Turkey or Chicken giblets; 

Calcium requires phosphorus to maximize calcium’s’ bone strengthening benefits. The following foods are high in phosphorus. Combine some high calcium and high phosphorus as a little meal on its own or mixed in with your dog’s kibble.
  • Cheese - Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, Provolone;
  • Chicken
  • 1Garlic
  • Flax Seeds (ground not whole)
  • Meat
  • 2Salmon, halibut, herring
  • Wheat Germ

 Vitamin B Complex
(B1 thiamine + B2 riboflavin + B3 niacin + B5 pantothenic acid +B6 pyridoxine + biotin + folic acid + B12 cobalamins)

B complex vitamins are essential for oral health. A deficiency of these vitamins can cause a variety of oral health problems, including bleeding gums and inflammation. The following foods are high in B complex vitamins:
  • Cheese;
  • Chicken;
  • Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach);
  • 3Eggs;
  • 2Fish;
  • 4Liver;
  • Yogurt

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is required for the development of collagen - a substance that gives cell tissue strength and elasticity - both attributes are very important for healthy gums. The following foods are high in vitamin C:
  • 5Bell Pepper - all colours
  • 6Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Clementines
  • Dark leafy greens (kale, mustard greens, garden cress)
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Parsley
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines

Vitamin D

Vitamin D regulates the body’s balance of calcium and phosphorus; helps with the absorption of calcium; helps protect against inflammation; protects and lubricates bones and teeth. The following foods are high in vitamin D:
  • Beef;
  • 3Eggs;
  • 2Herring;
  • 4Liver;
  • 2Mackerel;
  • 2Salmon;
  • 2Sardines;
  • 2Tuna (don’t use albacore tuna - as it is high in mercury);
  • Swiss Cheese.

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Related Articles:

1Onion, Chives, Leeks, Shallots are dangerous, garlic in correct daily dosage is beneficial
Contain thiosulphate, the substance responsible for causing ‘Heinx Factor’ anemia in dogs. Can also cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. The amount of thiosulphate found in garlic is much lower than in onions, in fact the amount in garlic is barely traceable!  When garlic is ingested in reasonable amounts there are no harmful affects, only beneficial ones! Garlic is known for its antic cancer, diabetes, liver, heart, kidney disease fighting properties as well as its use as a natural flea repellent and de-wormer for dogs.

2Fish - in large quantities are dangerous, small quantities are beneficial
If fed exclusively or in large amounts can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. A small amount of cooked or canned  fatty fish such as anchovies, salmon, sardines, shad, smelt, mackerel are very good for your dog (on a daily basis is fine - in small amounts) as these types of fish are nutrient rich and a good source of omega fatty acids. Use caution if you are feeding your dog raw fish. Raw fish can contain flukes, a parasite that infests the liver of animals including dogs. This parasite can cause liver damage and subsequently death. Granted in some places around the world dogs are fed raw fish. Just be aware that in doing so you may put the health of your dog at risk. If you know for certain that the fish in your area is not infested than there is no threat to your dog’s health.

3Eggs - raw and cooked   
Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella, although the chance of contamination for your dog is low as a dog’s stomach acids are very strong and dog’s also produce a lot of bile. You can cook the eggs to avoid this issue. Due to the avidin always give both the egg yolk and egg white - by doing so you avoid issues with avidin.

4Liver -  Liver should represent 5% of the daily intake of meat. In larger amounts liver  can cause Vitamin A toxicity, leading to kidney damage/failure.

5Peppers - in small amounts are beneficial.
Peppers are a Nightshade vegetable. Nightshade vegetables and fruit (goji berries, eggplant, potatoes,tomatoes, all peppers - with the exception of black pepper) are rich in many vitamins, minerals and other compounds that are beneficial. When included in small amounts as part of a balanced diet these vegetables are safe to consume. However when ingested in large quantities they may cause health problems. Nightshade vegetables contain alkaloids. Alkaloids are produced by the plant to protect it from harmful insects, when ingested in substantial amounts alkaloids may cause cause inflammation, arthritis, muscle pain, stiffness, poor healing. The alkaloid content of these vegetables are reduced by 40 to 50% when the vegetables are cooked.The leaves, stems and flowers of these plants are very toxic.

6Broccoli - in small amounts are beneficial.
Broccoli is rich in vitamins, minerals and other compounds such as bioflavinoids (cancer fighting) - so this vegetable has much good to contribute to a dog's diet. Broccoli does contain one toxic ingredient called isothiocyanate - a toxin that is a very potent gastrointestinal irritant. As long as the percentage of broccoli in the dog's diet does not exceed 10% of the dog's daily diet.


  1. Hi there, how many mg of Vitamin C should I give my dog? He will NOT eat fresh fruit or vegetables.

    1. 18 milligrams of vitamin C per pound of body weight per day


Note -

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Nutraceuticals and Alternative Medicines:

When choosing to use any of the items or protocols in the article above, it is your responsibility to ensure safe use of the item/protocol. Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines all have drug interactions, most have health issue contradictions, some have side effects. Use of substances and protocols are your responsibility. Prior to use of any substance or protocol make sure you do your research - check for all cautions, contradictions,interactions, side effects. If in doubt do not use the substance or protocol. If the substance, or protocol is contradicted for your animal do not use. If your animal has an underlying condition you are not aware of substances may conflict with that condition.

2.0 The Real Meaning of Holistic…

Food, herbs, nutraceuticals and alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’. It is important to keep in mind that the supplement industry is just as unethical as BigPharma, the Food and Pet Food Industry, and unfortunately many veterinarians.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (i.e. an herb) you are using a natural substance, this is not synonymous with holistic.

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that - overall health, and wellbeing.

Please do not expect a natural substance to miraculously remedy a health or behavioral situation. A natural substance may be used to treat symptoms. However, if the factors causing the underlying issue are not properly identified, analyzed and addressed you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach that identifies root cause, seeks to remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues, and builds a complete, and detailed approach to immediate treatment, remedy, and maintenance of long-term health = holistic.

I offer extensive consultation services - Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness and Holistic Behavioral, for people that are serious about looking after their dogs and cats holistically. If you want to engage my services you can contact me via email or phone.

If you are looking for additional free advice, please refer back to the articles on my site, do not contact me via email or phone - personalized service is for my clients / patients only.

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Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

the Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
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