Did you know that February is Pet Dental Awareness Month?
It is! The importance of good canine dental hygiene can't be over-stressed. Good dental health is quite simply the cornerstone of good health and has a direct link to your dog's longevity. Aside from bad hygiene being painful, the bacteria from periodontal disease can impact your dog's entire body - damaging the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs.
Regular dental care at home can greatly reduce, or even eliminate the need for professional veterinary teeth cleaning performed under anesthesia.
Since it is so important, we couldn't believe looking back that it had been 2 years since we talked about dental hygiene and ingredients.
In 2016 we ran a series on dental health that talked about the 10 Ingredients you don't want in your dog's toothpaste, what you need to know about your dog's oral health, and we introduced our all natural dog toothpaste alternative - dental powder.
While veterinarians still recommend not using human toothpaste for dogs due to toxicity of ingredients for dogs; the landscape of natural dog toothpaste and so called organic dog toothpaste hasn't changed very much over the past two years.
If you do a search for best dog toothpaste today the list looks nearly identical to the list from 2016.
Among the available products, there are a lot of enzyme dental solutions, bones and chews, and additives that you put into your dog's water.
Researching the search results for best dog toothpaste brands we found missing ingredient lists, partial ingredient lists, and many products with ingredients we recommend you avoid - like sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, alcohol based solutions, artificial flavor and colors, artificial preservatives, and even methylparaben - yikes!
In our “get it fixed fast” society, alcohol based dental sprays are becoming increasingly popular.
The problem is, while they do kill the bad bacteria in the mouth, they also destroy the good bacteria in your dog's mouth and used regularly will dry your dog's mouth.
Since so many of these brands use a "poultry digest" we wanted to talk about "chicken digest", "lamb digest" and "beef digest".
As you can guess, if your dog's toothpaste contains any of these ingredients it is not a vegan dog toothpaste.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) defines these digests as:
"Material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed."
The Dog Food Pet Projectfurther discusses digests as being "A cooked-down broth made from specified, or worse, unspecified parts of specified or unspecified animals (depending on the type of digest used). If the source is unspecified (e.g. "Animal" or "Poultry", the animals used can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Any kind of animal can be included: "4-D animals" (dead, diseased, disabled, or dying prior to slaughter), goats, pigs, horses, rats, misc. roadkill, animals euthanized at shelters, restaurant and supermarket refuse and so on."
I think those two paragraphs are all we need to say about the quality of digest ingredients.
While many of the top selling dog toothpastes contain enzymes derived from the fungus Aspergillus niger.
Unfortunately, they are often found in formulations with sodium benzoate and other preservatives that have links to organ system toxicities.
Dogs prefer routines and like humans, it does often take time to get used to new routines.
The most important part of that routine is using truly safe and non-toxic ingredients.
4-Legger has two truly all natural solutions for your dog's dental hygiene - our All Natural Dental Powder and animalEO's Dog Breath.
Dental powder all natural dog toothpaste alternative is a mixture of sea salt, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil - formulated to clean and freshen your dog's breath and stimulate their natural salivary glands.
Dog Breath is a holistic veterinary developed mixture of fractionated coconut oil with essential oils of Copaiba (Copaifera officinalis), Peppermint (Mentha piperita), Helichrysum (H. italicum), and Myrrh (Comminphora myrrha).
You can even combine the dental powder and dog breath by putting a small amount of dental powder on your dog's toothbrush and adding a drop of dog breath!
Pet Dental Awareness Month is the perfect time to start your dog on a routine of safe and effective oral care. So get brushing!