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).

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);
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Red Meat
  • Turkey or Chicken giblets

Calcium requires phosphorus to maximize calcium’s’ bone strengthening benefits. Examples of appropriate foods:

 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:

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 fresh fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin C:
  • Bell Pepper - all colors
  • Broccoli
  • 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
  • Eggs
  • Herring
  • Liver
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Swiss Cheese

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 

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  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


Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats