Kibble or meat: how to prevent dental problems?

Dental problems are common in dogs. Therefore, it is important to keep a close watch on your dog's teeth and to brush your dog's teeth. The choice of dog food also affects the teeth. How does that work?


20 June '24 2 min reading time

Much has been written about whether you should feed your dog kibble, meat, or a combination of both. Often, it depends a bit on the dog (and the owner) what works best. But in general, we can say a few things about the influence of diet on dental health.

Nutrition for Healthy Teeth

First of all, it's important that your dog's diet is balanced and nutritious, whether you feed kibble, wet food, frozen meat, or completely fresh meals. When giving kibble or wet food, make sure you choose good quality with low sugar content. Healthy snacks without too much sugar also contribute to healthy teeth. To prevent plaque, it's helpful if the food leaves as few food residues on the teeth as possible.

Chewing is Important

Naturally, dogs keep their teeth clean by chewing a lot. You can mimic this by giving them food that requires a lot of chewing, along with chew toys and chew snacks. Chew toys and chew snacks help remove plaque and tartar and contribute to the overall health of your dog. Chewing is also relaxing. It does matter whether your dog can use its teeth well, meaning whether its jaws can close properly. This is especially not always the case with dog breeds that have been bred with a smaller head. For those dogs, you must be extra careful that no food residues are left behind.

Hard Kibble or Raw Meat?

Some manufacturers claim that kibble can help reduce plaque and keep gums healthier. However, others think that kibble can leave a sticky residue on the teeth. Therefore, they say it's better to give a dog a fresh diet, also known as a BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food). The reasoning is that raw meat contributes to healthy teeth because the dog has to chew more on both the meat and the bones included in this diet. A BARF diet requires more work, planning, and research, while kibble (and wet food) is convenient to use, often contains all necessary vitamins and minerals, and has a long shelf life. A combination of kibble and fresh meat (and possibly vegetables) can also be a solution. If in doubt, you can consult your veterinarian or a nutritionist to discuss a tailored diet for your dog.

Kibble with Texture?

There are kibbles that are extra crunchy and scrape along the teeth during eating. The idea is that this keeps the teeth cleaner. However, there is some debate about this. These hard kibbles are firmer than the food dogs would eat in nature, which can cause the teeth to wear down faster.

Chew Snacks

Chew snacks are nice and firm and give a dog something to do for a long time. There are special dental sticks in different flavors, but you can also give your dog a natural product like cowhide to chew on.

Dog with Tooth Pain?

Does your dog already have dental problems and mouth pain? Then it is obviously not very kind to feed them crunchy kibble. Softer food is much more pleasant for your dog. Pressed kibble or wet food puts less strain on the jaws. In any case, make sure to brush your dog's teeth regularly and have them checked by the veterinarian from time to time, regardless of the food you give!

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