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Do Raw Meat and Bones keep your Pet’s Teeth Clean?

Are bones good for cats and dogs, Adelaide Vet, Port Road Vet

Will Raw Meat and Raw Bones keep my Pet’s Teeth Clean?

Raw Meat and Raw Bones for Dogs and Cats

A diet of raw meat and raw bones for dogs and cats isn’t the best way to prevent stinky breath and bad teeth. 

Good dental health is one of the key ways to ensure your pet is happy and healthy. Choosing the right food for your cat or dog can make a big difference. At Port Road Vet Clinic, we prefer a dental diet like Royal Canin Dental Food, which is backed by scientific evidence to show it helps clean teeth. But what about raw meat and raw bones for dogs and cats?

Are bones safe to give to your cat or dog?

Unfortunately, the news is not good. As vets, we see so many problems with bones: from fractured teeth, pancreatitis, gastroenteritis to obstructions and constipation.

Raw bones for dogs and cats. Cat undergoing surgery to remove a bone stuck in its mouth.

Surgery to remove a bone that got stuck in a cats mouth

Raw bones for dogs and cats. Vet showing bone removed from cat's mouth. Vet in Adelaide

Bone that was removed from cats mouth.

Most problems tend to occur with large beef bones that can easily break a tooth. A bone strong enough to hold the weight of a cow (for example, a raw beef shin bone or marrow bone with the hollow centre) is pretty tough… which means those very determined chewers will often break a tooth before the bone gives way.

Chicken necks present a whole different problem. They are the ideal shape and size to get stuck in the oesophagus en-route to the stomach, and they can also get stuck between teeth.

Even worse are bones that are left out, buried or otherwise ‘saved for later’ that then reach room temperature and harbour large numbers of bacteria.

Will a raw bone clean my dog or cat’s teeth?

In order for something to clean the teeth, it needs to scrub the teeth in just the right way: not so much that it damages the protective enamel coating and gums, but enough to clean off the tartar. Do bones do this? Not really!

The disease we see in our pets is periodontal disease, or ‘around the tooth’ disease, which is why the build-up of plaque, tartar and then calculus starts along the gumline. Bones typically shatter or break as the large wedge-shaped teeth at the back penetrates the bone – they never reach the gumline.

Of course, you will get well-meaning people at the dog park swearing that the raw chicken carcass they feed their dog daily has prevented all manner of ills, but where is the research? The control study? The actual evidence?

Believe me, if vets enjoyed removing fractured teeth and treating dogs with obstructions and gastrointestinal disease more than we love your animals, perhaps bones would be recommended more often!

What can I do to keep my pet’s teeth healthy?

Keeping your pet’s teeth healthy is pretty simple:

  1. Brush their teeth daily – For further reading see our information on how to brush your dog’s teeth
  2. Regularly see your vet for a dental checkup
  3. Get a scale and polish done as required
  4. Feed a good dental diet like Royal Canin dental dry food

If you’d like to book your pet in for a FREE dental check, please call us on 08 8340 0388. Or, if you’d like to discuss in detail how raw meat and raw bones for dogs and cats affect your pet, book an appointment online.

*Please be advised that free dental checks involve an examination and discussion on the health of your pet’s mouth only. If you wish to discuss other health issues then a normal consultation fee will apply.

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