the Pet Health Cafe Blog at Fiesta Pet Deli


For thousands of years, wolves, tigers, lions and all other animals on earth have existed without toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental rinses, or tooth cleaning. In fact, some of the first toothbrushes and dental cleanings for animals did not exist until the 1970’s and 80’s. Today owners and veterinarians talk about “annual” cleanings, vaccines, and many other daily products for your pets’ teeth and mouth. What has caused dental problems to grow to the top of our pets’ health challenges? Why do carnivores in the wild still maintain their pearly whites while our pets have yellow, brown, rotting teeth and gums?

The answer is very simple… DIET! Until the 1960’s, our pets were fed a diet of real foods, mostly meats, eggs, and fish. Kibble or dry food was in its infancy, being a very small part of the dog or cat’s diet. As kibble became more popular for convenience, this dry food became a growing, and even an “all-inclusive” dietary item.

In the 1980’s and 90’s, pets started developing major dental problems which have escalated to this day,  requiring frequent and dangerous veterinary procedures with added exposure to toxic, chemical products. This major escalation coincides with the use of artificial flavors and sugar in most pet food products. Those ingredients were added in to make the dry kibble more convenient to feed, and more economical to manufacture while ultimately creating a higher profit margin for the pet manufacturers. These same companies even stated that “the crunching of kibble cleaned the teeth,” which the Federal Trade Commission found to be a false claim.

However, in reality our dogs and cats are anatomically and physiologically carnivores, meaning that they eat other animals for food. The dental problems started when we began feeding inappropriate, unnatural carbohydrate-based foods. Unlike man and other omnivores, dogs and cats do not produce the sugar breaking enzymes in their saliva that would keep their teeth clean. When carbohydrates mix with saliva, sugar is extracted. For pets, the lack of these sugar breaking enzymes definitely causes the sugar to stick to the teeth and gums, causing that nasty, crusty build-up of foul odor tartar.

The first commercial pet toothpastes on the market all contained meat enzymes, which actually break down the tartar. It is the way a carnivore’s physiology is designed. It would then be logical that meat is a major part of the solution.

When you feed a biologically species appropriate diet, you eliminate many health challenges and risks. Body systems are designed to work efficiently. Digestive enzymes in carnivores are different and work differently than those of herbivores. When we feed the appropriate diet, there is less stress on the body along with appropriate metabolic energy levels.

While there are cases where dental work is necessary, remember that anesthesia has many adverse side effects including death. This method of tooth cleaning is not natural and should be regarded as a rare and last resort.

For clean healthy teeth and mouth, feed the appropriate diet. In dogs and cats, that’s whole meat foods. You will see the tartar disappear naturally, with the teeth becoming whiter as the food works its magic.


  1. Bill (the Pet Health Guru)

    Just read a sad story of an eight year of age that died on the table getting a dental. It was a tiny Yorkie. It was totally avoidable if the animal health industry would look at health instead of profit. Kibble is not a species appropriate for a dog. Carbohydrates create the dental problems and veterinarians profit. They recommend the kibble instead of a real natural diet. There is no such thing as a routine procedure when it comes to anesthesia. Avoid these problems by getting the facts… wild animals that eat species appropriate diets don’t have dental procedures!

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