It is such a privilege to be sharing a weekly radio show with Halo’s own Dr. Donna Spector because she helps explain many misunderstandings people (and sometimes their veterinarians) have about the relationship between the food they are feeding their pets and how it affects their teeth.
Many pet owners have embraced the illogical belief that dry food will clean their pets teeth. Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins (the author of YOUR CAT and the previous Official Vet of my show CAT CHAT® on SiriusXM before they canceled the Martha Stewart channel) has often said, “The idea that dry food cleans a pets’ teeth is as ludicrous as your dentist handing you a bag of corn chips after a dental cleaning and telling you to eat some every day to clean your teeth! Instead, he hands you a toothbrush and little toothpaste and tells you to use it every day — which is exactly what we need to do for our pets — with species-appropriate toothpaste!”
Dr. Donna and I were discussing this myth of dry-food-as-tooth-cleaner on THE EXPERT VET this week — our new live call-in show on the Radio Pet Lady Network (RadioPetLady.com). Dr. Donna was clear as a bell in stating that food does not take the place of brushing your pet’s teeth. Dogs and cats of all ages need to get regular check-ups at the vet, especially of their teeth and gums, and when he recommends a professional dental cleaning they need to get it. Many pet owners have gotten the message that dry pet food cleans their pets’ teeth, but common sense should tell them that food is not a tooth brush! Whether it is people or pets, food serves the purpose of nourishment, nothing else. For pets, whether you feed dry food or canned food it is not going to help with dental health. As Dr. Donna points out, no commercial food can mimic the tearing and chewing action that the ancestors of a cat or dog would have gotten from ripping up the carcass of their prey. We all need to brush our pets’ teeth — just as we teach our children to do — and have done ourselves at least twice a day for our entire lives! There are responsibilities we have to our pets as we do with children — the only difference being that you cannot teach a pet to brush his own teeth, while it is an early lesson that all children learn! Dogs and cats need to have their teeth brushed to avoid issues with plaque and periodontal disease.
If you want to hear this week’s THE EXPERT VET with Dr. Donna Spector, you can listen to the podcast.