Dental Diet

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Commercial Dental Diets

Commercial dental diets are available for dogs and cats and when fed as a complete diet have been shown to result in less plaque, calculus and gingival inflammation than a in control group of animals fed another commercial dry food. It is important though before recommending one of these diets to check that the claims are substantiated by peer reviewed, in vivo tests.

Dental diets have two mechanisms of action – mechanical and chemical. Some diets contain patented fibre matrix technology which allows the kibble to maintain contact with the tooth surface, providing mechanical cleansing. There are no abrasives or active chemicals in the kibble. Standard dry pet foods immediately crumble when chewed therefore providing little mechanical removal of plaque compared to this kibble. Other dental diets have kibbles that are of a larger size than their standard kibble and claim to have a mechanical plaque removing effect through the kibble texture shape. Some dental diets also claim to control dental accumulations by the addition of sodium tripolyphosphate to the kibble. Sodium tripolyphosphate binds to salivary calcium, resulting in less available for tartar formation.

Raw Bones

Some vets advocate a raw meaty bone diet. Unfortunately the benefits of the chewing action associated with a raw diet are often outweighed by the negative effects, such as fractured teeth and foreign body obstructions, as well as the risks of gastrointestinal infections such as Salmonella and Campylobacter.


  • Stookey GK, Warrick JM, Miller LL et al. (1996) Hexametaphosphate coated snack biscuits significantly reduce calculus formation in dogs. JVD 13 : 27-30
  • Harvey CE, Shofer FS, Laster L. (1996) Correlation of diet, other chewing activities and periodontal disease in North American client owned dogs. JVD 13: 101-105
  • Hennet P. (2001) Effectiveness of an enzymatic rawhide dental chew to reduce plaque in beagle dogs. JVD 18: 61-64
  • Brown w, McGenity P. (2005) Effective Periodontal disease control using dental hygiene chews. JVD 22 :16-19

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