Benefits of Raw Pet Food on Dental Health

Episode 11 - Let Me See that Smile!

Raw-fed dogs and cats tend to have healthier teeth and gums. I know, I know, we were all told for so long that the best way to clean our pet’s teeth was by feeding them a dry, crunchy food. But consider this: after you eat dry, crunchy pretzels, how do your teeth feel? You have bits of pretzel stuck in and around your teeth, right? It’s definitely not a clean, just-brushed feeling. Now think about eating a crisp raw apple. It leaves your teeth squeaky and mostly free of particles of leftover food. The same thought process can be applied to our pet’s food.

A dry, crunchy kibble isn’t effective in cleaning teeth, but here’s why raw food is: moisture (wet food doesn’t tend to stick to wet surfaces) and enzymes. Enzymes are catalysts for processes in the body such as digestion and breaking down of nutrients. They are found naturally-occurring in the body but are also found in high amounts in raw food. Enzymes happen to especially good at breaking down the biofilm that bacteria create as a protective barrier on teeth. That slimy biofilm is tough to get rid of, and even proper brushing cannot break it down effectively. Enzymes help destroy the biofilm, effectively “brushing” the teeth and removing that pesky bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath. And, as a nice plus, the boost in immune support that raw food provides will help ward off oral infections and promote healthy saliva, with an appropriate balance of bacteria strains.

Ok, so now we know that raw food will help your pet’s oral health, but will any ol’ type of raw food do? A regular raw food diet will absolutely provide benefits, but the most effective way to reap the dental benefits is to incorporate raw bones into your pet’s diet. Raw bones are soft and fun for your pet to chew, and they have marrow, muscle/tendon meat, and cartilage (great for joint health). The raw enzymes do their job breaking down the biofilm and plaque, and the chewing and scraping motion will help whisk all the bad stuff away. Interestingly, cats won’t often chew on a marrow bone in the wild, but they do enjoy crunching on a poultry bone, especially the smaller pieces that are easy to swallow. And, your dog will especially love the raw bones because it helps fulfill a psychological need to chew (especially puppies)!

So where’s a good place to start? Try to incorporate 2-3 raw bones per week into your pet’s diet. Make sure to choose a bone size appropriate for your pet (ie: big dogs should only have big bones—larger than around 4 inches).  Feed the bones either outside, or indoors on an old towel or in the kitchen or even in the bathtub, where any mess can be cleaned up easily. And always monitor your pet, as you would with any chew toy or treat. Your pet will be smiling in no time!

Note: We are only talking about raw bones here. Raw bones are soft and full of moisture and have a different structure than cooked bones. Cooked bones are brittle, break apart in sharp pieces, and are not easy for pets to digest. Please make sure that all bones you feed your pet are raw!

Previous Episode 10 - Energy  ||  Go To Episode 12 - Goat Milk

Google Review

  • My dogs LOVE their new food!! I used to feed them dry kibble and they would leave their food in the bowls for 2 days before they would eat. Now they wake me up in the morning ready to eat. They also have so much more energy, they act like they are puppies again. The customer service is awesome! Too bad all companies don't have this kind of service. I will continue to buy Steve's Real Food for my dogs.

    Kelley Dillon Avatar
    Kelley Dillon
  • CONVENIENT, RELIABLE, DOGS LOVE THE FOOD I switched my dogs to a raw diet about 2 months ago. My older dog was panting a lot and he had a potato sized growth on his shoulder. The growth is now the size of an egg and his excessive panting has stopped. My younger dog was overweight despite the fact that she was very active and on a strict low calorie diet. She has slimmed down quite a bit.

    Trish C Avatar
    Trish C
  • We were skeptical of feeding raw. Finally we decided to take the plunge. The first surprise was, my dogs loved it. And the goat milk yogurt is a complete hit! They all love it. We had one small issue with the shipping and after one email everything was taken care of. But now that it's been several months we have noticed many other things. None of my dogs chew on their feet anymore. None of my dogs have itchy flaky skin anymore. And they are all pretty and shiny with tons of energy.

    Denise Moitoza Avatar
    Denise Moitoza
  • My dog was a picky eater and overweight. After 4 months of eating this raw diet he is almost at his recommended weight. I no longer have to coax him to eat by doctoring up his kibble. He eats the food as is and empties his bowl right away.

    Carrie Thompson Avatar
    Carrie Thompson
  • I wanted to give a shout out to Tara at the corporate office. She really went above and beyond! I had several questions about switching my dog over to raw food and the transition that's involved. She met with me in person and took the time to listen and gave me some great suggestions/feedback to my questions. She shared what her own dog went through and how raw dog food helped. Tara made me feel comfortable and was so kind and thoughtful to take the time out of her busy day to be so helpful. My dog is LOVING the food and has been transitioning very smoothly. Thanks so much for being so awesome, Tara. It meant a lot to me and because of the experience I had and the kindness you showed to me, I will continue to be a grateful customer and will recommend Steve's to all my fellow dog moms and dads.

    Susan Romney Avatar
    Susan Romney

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