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.
An added bonus - whole, fresh crunchy food such as whole carrots, parsnips and sliced pieces of apple help scrub your dog’s teeth clean!
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
- Kelp (also has many other health benefits)
- Kefir, raw goat milk, yogurt (plain, unsweetened).
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);
- Red Meat
- Turkey or Chicken giblets
Calcium requires phosphorus to maximize calcium’s’ bone strengthening benefits. Examples of appropriate foods:
- Cheese - Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, Provolone;
- Green tripe
- Flax Seeds (ground not whole)
- Muscle meat
- Raw meaty bones
- Sardines, salmon, herring, etc. (wild caught)
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 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
- Brussels Sprouts
- Dark leafy greens (kale, mustard greens, garden cress)
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:
- Swiss Cheese
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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld