Choosing the Right Chews: The Clear Conscience Pet Approach to Canine Dental Health
Keeping your dog’s teeth and gums healthy is critical to their well-being, happiness, and longevity. Regular veterinary care must include at least a yearly thorough dental examination. The consequences of dental neglect can be catastrophic, including tooth loss, gum disease, and systemic infections that can be life threatening.
Dogs have a biologically powerful urge to chew because it’s critical to survival in the wild. Think about wolves, our canine’s closest wild cousins. “Fresh breath” and “clean teeth” don’t mean a thing to them, because they don’t have to hang around with humans. However, maintaining sharp teeth and powerful jaws is a life-or-death proposition for wolves and other wild canines. If they can’t tear apart fresh game and fight off competitors, they will neither eat nor breed. Our domestic canines may not have to fight to survive, but they still have the powerful evolutionary instinct to chew and gnaw.
Providing chews that scrape teeth and stimulate gums is an essential part of an overall dental health maintenance plan for dogs. This rule applies to all sizes, breeds, and ages of dogs. Biologically appropriate natural chews are not a “treat” for dogs, they are a must. Rugged chewing not only scrapes teeth when the correct chews are used, it is a workout program for your dog’s entire oral cavity. Rugged chewing is muscle training for the mouth. Dogs who don’t get “dental exercise” are much more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
One might think that using a brush with an enzymatic toothpaste would be sufficient to keep a dog’s teeth, gums, and jaws strong and healthy, but it’s not. For one thing, brushing teeth is a very difficult task for most dog guardians, especially those with bigger dogs. If you have ever tried to pry open the jaws of a dog who doesn’t want to cooperate, you know that it’s like opening a closed clam shell.
But even if you are one of the lucky pet parents with a dog who cooperates with the brushing process, you can only clean the surfaces that you can reach with a brush. A human hand brushing with toothpaste simply can’t apply the pressure and scraping action that a dog generates when gnawing on the right type of rugged chew. Most importantly, brushing is NOT deep tissue stimulation. That requires pressure and resistance, like using weight training to build stronger bones and muscles.
Canine dentistry has come a long way, but the bottom line is that it is very expensive and can be risky if anesthesia is used, especially in older dogs. Of course, in the case of tooth decay or gum disease that has already occurred, veterinary dental treatment is required to stabilize the teeth and gums and provide pain relief. But treatment can never reverse the years of neglect and non-stimulation that weakened the oral cavity in the first place. It’s a band-aid, not a cure. That’s why prevention through managed chewing is the key to canine dental health.
So how can dog guardians give their companions the gift of dental health safely, conveniently, and cost effectively? Following are the options and their advantages and disadvantages:
“Engineered Dental Bones”, and why we don’t believe in them: There is an entire industry built around plasticky manufactured doggy dental bones such as a certain “green brand.” These products have been engineered in food science laboratories from modified processed food ingredients such as gluten meals, wheat and rice flours, glycerin, glycols, and gelatin. Even though they are touted as “all natural,” there’s nothing natural about them except the original food components processed in the lab to make them. Engineered dental bone products have been the subject of complaints to the FDA for causing choking incidents and intestinal blockages in thousands of dogs over the last few decades. But deep-pocket companies have the money and lawyers to obfuscate these claims and most often quietly make the complainants go away by paying settlements with non-disclosure agreements.
Bones are the most rugged natural chews for canines. But there are some risks associated with real bones. Because of human intervention in canine genetics, some breeds don’t have the proper jaw structure to chew real bones effectively, or the dogs’ mouths are just too small. A Toy Poodle isn’t typically going to hunker down with a big beef femur.
If you use bones, the majority of natural nutritionists and integrative veterinarians prefer frozen raw bones over roasted or smoked bone options. The reason is that these various cooking methods dry and harden bones, which makes them more brittle. This can lead to splintering and bone shards which may cause throat obstructions or intestinal issues. In fairness, this is very rare, and only an issue with a very small percentage of dogs. Most manufacturers have the experience processing dog bones to understand how to achieve the right cook level to stabilize bones without making them dangerously brittle.
CCP BEST CHOICE: Trachea and other Digestible Chews made from Connective Tissue: In this context, when we refer to connective tissue, we’re talking about cartilage and collagen-rich sources like trachea, tendons, bully sticks, and ligaments. The advantage of these chew sources is that when roasted, they provide a very satisfying and effective chewing experience for dogs. These types of chews are digestible and mostly break down in the digestive tract, as opposed to bones which must pass through the system as-is. Dogs should get chews like these throughout life, unless they don’t have teeth which is what we are trying to prevent in the first place.
Deep stimulation and tooth-scraping from chewing and gnawing is key to long term oral health for dogs. in fact, frequent chewing with the right chews is exactly what dogs need to prevent dental problems today instead of treating them tomorrow.
Clear Conscience Pet KELPY™ CHEWS: Rugged Artisan-Roasted Natural Beef Trachea Chews with KELP Infusion: In the category of “dental chews,” we keep it simple and pure at CCP. We use artisan-roasted Beef Trachea-infused Kelp as our all-natural rugged chewing option for dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. Kelpys utilize an exclusive proprietary process to infuse beef trachea with organic cold-water Kelp, another name for sustainably harvested seaweed. Kelp is a clinically proven plaque fighter and anti-microbial. When Kelpys are chewed, kelp adheres to tooth and gum surfaces where it can help to prevent or reduce plaque and tartar buildup. The anti-microbial properties of kelp can also help in the prevention of the bacterial buildup that causes gum disease.
Kelpys provide a holistic approach to canine dental health that works on many levels. The chews physically scrape teeth, stimulate gums, and exercise oral cavity muscles; the kelp prevents plaque and bad bacteria formation; and the trachea itself is a high protein superfood, rich in joint-protective nutrients such as chondroitin, glucosamine, and collagen for tooth, bone and joint health.
KELPY CHEWS from CCP: ARTISAN-ROASTED BEEF TRACHEA CHEWS Hand-crafted with our proprietary ORGANIC KELP INFUSION for Plaque Prevention: it’s a toothbrush in a chew! -Available in 2 sizes:
- 6” Kelpy Tubes for medium to giant dogs
- 1” Kelpy Ringz™ ideal for smaller dogs
CONCLUSION: Healthy teeth, gums, and strong oral cavity muscles are critical to your dog’s dental health and overall long-term wellness. Choose healthy, all natural Kelpy chews by Clear Conscience Pet and give your dog a chance to follow their chewing instinct.