Does Hard Food Help to Prevent Plaque in Dogs?

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Does Hard Food Help to Prevent Plaque in Dogs?

I am often asked, “does hard food help to prevent plaque in dogs?” and the answer is actually more complex than you would think. The answer partially depends on your pet’s diet plan. Statistically, there is no difference between feeding canned food and non-dental diet-specific food.  That means if you’re feeding Farmer’s Dog or canned food, there is no difference in calculus and plaque accumulation versus if you fed your pet Purina One or ProPlan.


VOHC Approved Diets


The difference occurs when you feed a VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council ) approved diet versus any dry food or wet food, regardless of brand or type.  VOHC-approved diets (click here to see VOHC-approved foods) have been tested and true about calculus reduction.  Some diets are also labeled to prevent plaque, which is more sinister in the oral disease cascade.  Starting these diets at a young age is helpful. My recent blog about starting anesthetic dentistry at an early age in life gives you a basic understanding of why starting early helps.  This is being proactive versus reactive regarding your pet’s dental care.


Consult Our Team to Determine the Best Diet for Your Pet


If your pet does have an existing dental disease that was diagnosed by the Your Pet Dentist team, be careful starting a hard diet like the VOHC-approved diet as this may be painful for your dog.  This is especially true for dogs with advanced oral disease.  I do not recommend feeding those diets unless it has been specifically recommended by our team, or your pet is just at the age to transition from puppy food to adult food.


VOHC-Approved Diets Important for Dog Dental Health


In summary, VOHC-approved diets do have their place in your overall armamentarium to help keep the dental disease boogyman from visiting your pet.  Careful consideration is needed and I would consult our team about which diet would be best suited for your pet.  One diet does not fit all boxes.


Barden Greenfield, DVM, DAVDC   Your Pet Dentist of Nashville


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