In the last ten years or so it’s become somewhat of a fad belief that pet owners need to brush their cat’s or dog’s teeth. This is laughable to me. These animals, and the wolves before them, survived perfectly fine with no one to brush their teeth for literally thousands of years! And I know of no pet that enjoys having you manhandle their mouth regularly, no matter how livery the toothpaste may taste!
So why is it recommended now? Because, in my humble opinion, it takes advantage of the trend to convert your cat or dog from an animal to a living doll and provides the pet-supply industry with yet another way to make you spend your hard-earned money foolishly.
What’s really the best way to get your pet’s teeth clean: In most cases, uncooked bones. I have had animals rescued from shelters and puppy mills with gum problems and black teeth. After a few months of regularly giving them real bones to chew upon, their gums are good and their teeth end up white and clean. Not to mention that chewing and consuming these bones is exactly how nature intended for them to get enough calcium.
If you have hunter friends, ask them to save the leg bones for you. Rib bones cut off the spine work well too. Or contact a local butcher shop and ask the same thing. Farm supply stores often have real bones, although they have been dried and flavored, and I’ve even found those at the local Walmart from time to time. Avoid the greenies, kongs and other similar items. They accomplish nothing close to what real bones will do. And whatever you do, please, please, please! avoid the rawhide chews and/or pigs and cows ears, whether or not they are twisted into the shape of bones. You’re simply asking for bowel obstructions, especially with larger animals that bite off huge pieces, as well as dirty, germ-filled slobbery messes after they have been chewed on for a while.
If you absolutely can’t find them anywhere local, then jefferspet.com is a great option for a wide variety of bones starting as low as $1 each for bones for small dogs. Since I have so many pups at home, I like to take advantage of the option to buy multiple bone packs at a time at a lower per-bone cost. At 24-pack of pork femurs, which all my dogs (even the little one) love, love, love is $44, so less than $2 each.
No matter where you get them, please do let your animals have the satisfaction of chewing on real bones. They’ll thank you for it.