Plaque is a main cause of oral or periodontal disease. As plaque builds up on the teeth and around the gums, bacteria can irritate gum tissue and can lead to infection. If not treated, periodontal disease may lead to more serious diseases of the heart, liver and kidneys.
"Oral disease is one of the most common health problems among adult dogs," says Dr. Simon Starkey, PetSmart veterinary expert. "Regular dental care and proper nutrition are important in the overall oral health of your pet."
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease in dogs?
Symptoms of periodontal disease in dogs include bad breath, red, swollen or bleeding gums, loss of appetite and loss of teeth.
How can dental dog food help?
Specially formulated dental dog foods and treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) for promoting oral health can help keep your dog's teeth clean.
"These foods and treats have a certain texture and shape that help scrape debris off your dog's teeth," says Dr. Simon Starkey.
Other dog dental tips include:
Rawhide, if chewed daily, also helps reduce plaque build-up.
Dental chews approved by the VOHC
Regular tooth brushing
Routine teeth cleanings by your vet
Is hard food better for dog dental health than canned food?
While hard food can stimulate saliva and promote chewing action that removes plaque, there is no data that canned causes more plaque build-up than dry.
Does regular dry food have the same dental benefits as those specially formulated for oral health?
Regular dry food does little to cleanse the teeth because it crumbles upon contact with your dog's teeth.
The information used in this report is approved by PetSmart nutritionists and vet experts.
Information from "Small Animal Clinical Nutrition," 5th Edition, Hand, Thatcher, Remillard, Roudebush, Novotny, Copyright 2010 by Mark Morris Institute was used in this report.