A Natural Way to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

01/21/11 12:20 PM

Here’s a great suggestion from one of my clients on how to keep your dog’s teeth clean the natural way.

I took Wakinyan (the gorgeous dog in the photo) to the holistic vet today and she told me about this great natural way to clean and care for dog’s teeth and gums: give the dog a raw chicken, turkey, or duck neck to chew on.  It is very important that the neck be raw because once  cooked, the bones soften and break down becoming a choking hazard.  It’s actually best if the necks are still slightly frozen since that makes for more of a workout.  Once a week is enough to maintain teeth and gums in healthy shape and it’s a good idea to subtract the calories of the neck from the amount of food so as not to overfeed. I’m excited to give it a try and so is Wakinyan.

Photo and post courtesy of Loba and Wakinyan

11 Comments on “A Natural Way to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean”

  1. Loba Azul Says:

    That’s my gorgeous girl! And, yes, she does love the duck necks and already her teeth and gums look much better. She was starting to get some tartar build up on her teeth and gums and the vet suggested that this might be a good way for her to avoid the doggie dentist!

    Thanks for all your good work with Wakinyan, Rain. And for suggesting this vet, you were right on!

  2. Rain Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Loba. And for the tip so I could share this with others. Glad it’s working out for Wakinyan. It is a joy and pleasure to work with both of you!

  3. Karen Says:

    Thanks for the tip! Do you know if it will work on cats as well? I would think so but just checking :-). Also, would you share the name of the natural vet? Was it Laurel Davis or Andrea at Haw Creek?

  4. Rain Says:

    Great question, Karen. Thank you. It makes sense to me that this would work for cats too. Let me check into this further and I’ll get back to you. The vet referred to in the post is on the west coast, not here in NC.

  5. Karen Says:

    Great. Thank you :-).

  6. Rain Says:

    I have some more information about this!

    I spoke with my vet today, who does conventional and holistic veterniary care. Here’s what she had to say:

    First, to answer your question, Karen, regarding kitties. My vet agreed that poultry necks may be too large in size for most cats. She suggested trying a raw wing instead. Hope that answers your question.

    She also said she has heard of this technique for dogs and it’s been effective for some. It mostly depends on the breed and age of the dog and the health of their teeth. If the teeth and gums are in good shape to begin with, it’s more effective. Chewing on the necks will probably not remove tarter build-up. She also mentioned that this technique does not generally replace the need entirely for dental cleanings for most dogs. But it helps.

    One word of caution to add. My vet did not recommend this for young spunky puppies and dogs who gulp their food. If your dog is a “hoover” 😉 who inhales their food, the poultry necks would not be recommended. The idea is for the dog to chew on the necks, not gulp them down. The latter could cause an obstruction.

    Thank you all for your lively feedback, questions and input. Keep it coming.

  7. Karen Says:

    So interesting…I have a friend who has 5 cats and she makes their food everyday. One of the things she feeds them on the side is a raw chicken neck. I’ll have to ask her the health benefits according to the people she follows. It’s funny to watch — well, not funny — some throw it up whole. I’ll try the raw wing. Good point about gulping, though. Cats tend to be gulpers so maybe a wing wouldn’t help either. I’m going to give it a try though. They’ll love them. I hope they sell them at the health food store.

  8. Rain Says:

    Thanks for your feedback, Karen. It is interesting how one animal will like something and others like something else. Makes sharing our lives with them all the more amusing and enriching. I’m sure you can find raw wings at Greenlife or Earth Fare in town. Let me know how your kitties like it. And if your friend is interested in sharing her recipes, that would be great.

  9. Laura Says:

    Interesting thread- for cats a raw chicken gizzard is good for cleaning teeth- I tried this with one of my boys and he really enjoyed it- chomped for quite a while – the vet said it is the fiberous tissues which help to clean the teeth – it takes some consideralbe chewing , its important to get good quality organic, humanely raised gizzards and I have not found a source for buying quantities for multi-cat households. heard this on a holistic vet show on sirius radio Martha Stewart channel-( there are several holistic vet shows at 7 or 8pm weeknights)

  10. Rain Says:

    Thank you for your comments, Laura. Perhaps a healthy food store or local organic farmer in your area may be a source for buying them in bulk at a discount. Guess it all depends where you live.

  11. Sandy Says:

    Glad to have found your website. I have learned a lot. Thanks for sharing your amazing dental health tips. They are very helpful.

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