Canine Dental Health

Judge rules against prescription dog food companies

Rewards 12.5 Million judgement

I wish there was a magic pill to make me lose weight! What does this have to do with dental health, you ask? Well, unfortunately there is no magic kibble that will make your dog’s teeth clean and sparkly! It takes both work and a healthy diet to have a fit body and a fit mouth.

Without proper dental care, most dogs already have gum disease by the age of 3! This is one of the few conditions that as pet parents, we can prevent.

Brushing and caring for your dog’s teeth not only gets rid of bad breath, but actually prevents many serious health issues. Bacteria that builds up along the gum line can spread from simple inflammation of gum tissue (gingivitis) to destruction of the tissues that support the tooth and the surrounding bone (periodontal disease). This is not just a cosmetic problem. Once the bacteria get under the gum line, it can circulate to internal organs like the heart, lungs and kidneys.

tarter on teethThe bacteria that live in the mouth form a film on the surface of the teeth.  This sticky film attracts minerals from the saliva to produce plaque or tarter. The hard tarter lifts the gum and allows even more places for the bacteria to grow leading to pockets of infection.  To make matters worse, these bacteria also produce toxins which further damage the tooth and bone and can enter the bloodstream too.

Not only does regular brushing prevent this growing problem, it also gives you the opportunity to check your dog’s mouth for other issues like growths or cysts. Malignancies can be aggressive and spread beyond the tooth to the liver, lung or brain. They can extend to the nose, eye or jaw. Naturally, the earlier we can see these changes, the better. If you are caring for your dog’s mouth on a regular basis, you can notice subtle changes and respond before things get out of hand.

So how do you care for your dog’s mouth? The first step is to remove the sticky film from the surface of the teeth. This has to be done on a daily basis.

It’s always a good idea to start as early as possible with your puppy to get him used to his mouth being touched.  Trying to get a puppy to stay still can be a challenge, but you don’t have to clamp her down. Just slowly and patiently lift the lips and put your finger in her mouth. Give lots of praise! Once she has become accustomed to this, you can use a dental wipe or finger brush.  Eventually, introduce a baby, soft bristled toothbrush. Never force the jaw open. All you need to do is lift the lip to expose the teeth. Start with the upper, back teeth and gently rub along the tooth-gum line. Work your way forward, always giving lots of praise. Trust is the key. The same approach is true for older dogs too.

Do not use toothpastes designed for people. They contain artificial sweeteners and additives that your dog cannot spit out. I personally only use a brush, but a small amount of baking soda or a canine toothpaste can also be used.

 gum diseaseIn an older dog with existing periodontal disease, do not attempt to brush a very dirty mouth. This can spread bacteria. If your dog has advanced gum disease, a professional de-scaling is needed. Yes, he will have to have a general anesthetic but discuss the risks with your veterinarian. Afterwards, you can start your daily dental routine.

Several factors contribute to dental disease: age, breed, genetics, chewing behavior, general health status and diet. Please be aware that kibble does not clean teeth! You wouldn’t eat crackers to clean your teeth, neither should your dog!

There are several natural ways to help.

Dry dog food contributes to poor dental health. Moisture in the mouth helps wash away bacteria.

Keep lots of fresh, clean water available at all times and make sure the water and food bowls are washed daily. Even bacteria on these bowls can contribute to poor dental health.

Want to provide a healthy treat? Raw vegetables and fruits are great sources of vitamins and minerals and keep the teeth clean.  Try raw pieces of apples, broccoli, carrots, Brussel sprouts and my dogs love the ends of asparagus!

Your pantry is full of herbs that also provide teeth cleaning ability. Sprinkle some parsley, oregano, basil or sage onto a whole food based diet. Herbs act as effective germicides.

My mother always liked to add fresh cheese and yogurt to our dogs’ diets. She didn’t know that these help keep the mouth at a healthy pH and reduce the numbers of unwanted bacteria.

healthy teethKnowledge is power. If your dog is off her food, is pawing his mouth or has stinky breath, take a good look at his mouth. With a little work, patience and change in diet, you can help your best friend give lots of slurpy kisses for a long, long time.

The use of Presciption dog food is one of my pet peeves and shows that the
phrase “Marketing over Mother Nature’ holds true.
If you are a dog owner, you may have heard about the class action suit
against prescription dog foods. Hills, Science Diet, Royal Canin and Purina
are some of the brands that are accused of misleading consumers and
veterinarians about the benefits and ingredients of their products. The
lawsuit claims that:

  • these companies charge premium prices for prescription dog foods that are not significantly different from regular dog foods. In fact, they are made in the same facilities, using the same suppliers as low-quality grocery store brands like Alpo and Beneful.
  • they do not have any scientific evidence to support their claims of treating or preventing various health conditions in dogs. They are not made in facilities that follow traditional drug manufacturing protocols.
  • that these companies have violated consumer protection laws and engaged in false advertising.

The class action suit was filed in 2019 by a group of dog owners who purchased prescription dog foods from these brands for their pets. They are seeking refunds, damages and an injunction to stop the companies from selling prescription dog foods without proper authorization and
. The suit is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Prescription dog foods are supposed to be specially formulated to address specific health issues in dogs, such as kidney disease, diabetes, allergies, obesity and more. However, according to the lawsuit, these products are not
regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any other agency,
 and they do not require a prescription from a veterinarian to be sold.

The lawsuit claims that these companies have exploited this loophole to market their products as prescription dog foods, even though they are not approved or tested by any authority.

This suit also accuses these companies of using low-quality ingredients and fillers in their prescription dog foods, such as corn, wheat, soy, by-products and artificial colors and flavors. These ingredients may not only be ineffective for treating or preventing health conditions in dogs, but they may also cause adverse reactions and allergies in some dogs. The lawsuit cites several examples of dogs that suffered from health problems after
consuming prescription dog foods from these brands, such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, skin infections, kidney failure and death.

The lawsuit seeks to hold these companies accountable for their deceptive and unlawful practices, and to provide compensation and relief to the dog owners who have been harmed by them. It also aims to protect the public interest and the welfare of dogs by ensuring that prescription dog foods are properly regulated and labeled, and that consumers and veterinarians are informed about their benefits and risks.

Please be aware that the FDA does not review or verify the health claims on any veterinary diet.

Take a close look at the ingredient list and ask your vet for evidence that the foods in the prescription diet are any better than most regular diets. Also please keep in mind that while your vet has the best intentions, they get little or no nutrition training and often what little training they do get comes from the very companies that are named in these lawsuits. 

Ultra processed foods made with poor quality ingredients are not what your dog needs if they are suffering from an illness. Give your dog a fighting chance with fresh, quality foods for a long and healthy life. 

This lawsuit was settled in July of 2021. Hills Pet Food paid $12.5 million to participants.

Is it any wonder that here at Lucky Dog Cuisine we believe wholeheartedly “Fresh is Better”
The food we send your dog is the exact same food we feed our own beloved pack. 


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