Tartar in dogs is an extremely common problem. It’s caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth, which then hardens and turns to tartar. Although common, it is not desirable; too much tartar leads to bad breath, gum disease, loss of teeth and a lot of pain and discomfort. However, there are ways to deal with the tartar without getting bitten or subjecting yourself and your dog to a daily tooth brushing ritual. The best way is to let your dog do what it does best – chew! Chewing things is not only therapeutic for your dog, but also removes the plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth. So what should you give your dog to chew on that will remove tartar, be healthy and safe for your pet, and is all natural?
1. Rawhides. Rawhides are the most common way to keep tartar down in dogs and they fit nicely in a stocking! Make sure to pick up rawhide that is made with all natural ingredients (no preservatives, chemicals or dyes) and that is the right size for your dog. While picking up a massive rawhide is tempting because then you won’t have to replace it for a while, your small dog will grow frustrated by not being able to get his little mouth around she and will go back to chewing on the furniture. Also be sure to supervise your dog while Lulu is chewing to be sure that the rawhide isn’t splintering or falling apart in such a way that her mouth can be injured. The right kind of rawhide is not only a great gift for your pooch, but is also a good way to clean up his teeth without her even realizing that she’s doing it herself.
2. Deer Antlers. Believe it or not, deer antlers work really well at getting rid of tartar. Make sure to get antlers that have been shed by deer naturally, not ones that have been butchered for the best quality. Dogs enjoy antlers because they have a nubby texture and people love antlers because they are clean, have no odor and don’t cause problems for a dog’s digestive tract. Inside each antler is bone marrow, which does wonders for removing tartar. They also last almost forever without splintering. As Lulu chews her deer antler, she is grinding down the bone, not breaking it (which causes splintering). Plus there’s nothing more festive for your dog than antlers!
3. Raw Bones. RAW is the key here, not cooked. Cooked bones will splinter easily and can really cut up your dog’s mouth and throat. Raw bones are more pliable and therefore won’t splinter as easily, though they don’t last as long either. Raw poultry bones such as the neck bone from your turkey for large dogs or chicken for small dogs, are considered to be the best ones. However, make sure that the poultry you’re getting it from is as farm fresh as possible just to get rid of preservatives. However, a dog’s digestive system is robust and can by and large handle bacteria better than we. Raw bones make a great Christmas feast for your dog and you don’t have to throw away the bone-just be sure to clean up after yourself!
Getting appropriate chewing things for your dogs is not just a great Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa holiday gift, but it is also necessary for the health of Lulu’s teeth and to some extent the health of your dog overall. Chewing is a part of most dogs’ psychology and if they are not able to exercise it, they will chew on things they’re not supposed to! So, reward your dog and improve its health this holiday season with an all-natural chew.
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