One of the most widely-touted benefits of feeding a raw diet is improving or maintaining a dog's dental health. In my opinion, any form of a raw diet is better for a dog's dental health than kibble, but some meat items are renowned for their teeth cleaning abilities.
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However, many bones are considered "soft" and edible. Most of these are ideal for teeth cleaning. I do not believe in offering any "naked" bones. Bones should be surrounded by meat if a dog is going to consume them.
Many boneless cuts of meat are great at improving or maintaining a dog's dental health.
The ideal cut of meat (bone-in or boneless) for cleaning a dog's teeth is thick and requires multiple chomps or gnawing to get it down to a size that a dog can swallow it.
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Meats that Clean a Dog's Teeth
Large chicken leg quarters. These are a staple in my dogs diet. The quarters I feed are large, typically weighing 16-24 ounces. They require multiple chomps, and the shearing force against the teeth keeps them clean. Duck quarters can also be effective.
Pork butt or shoulder with skin. Raw pork skin is an awesome toothbrush for dogs. It is tough, and attached to a thick chunk of meat that the dog must also work to get through. Some raw feeders refer to pork skin as "nature's toothbrush."
Turkey necks. Or duck or chicken necks, depending on the size of the dog. Turkey necks are full of soft, edible bone and cartilage, and with each bite or chomp, this bone and cartilage scrapes the teeth, cleaning them or keeping them clean.
Beef tongue. Beef tongue is large, thick, and tough. Three necessary components for a good teeth cleaning meat. It can be cut into smaller portions. My advice is to use a serrated knife to do this.
Pork, venison, goat, or lamb ribs. Ribs should be fed in at least two to three bone slabs, with the meat on them. Some dogs cannot safely consume ribs. If the dog is a smart eater, and will not try to consume ribs that are too hard/large for them, they still make good teeth cleaners, as the dog will have to work to get the meat off of and from in between the bones.
Chicken and duck feet. While these can be given to large dogs, they offer more dental benefits for smaller dogs.
Any large, thick cut of meat. Feeding a large cut of meat partially frozen, even if it is a tender meat, can increase it's dental health benefits. Examples include beef hearts, beef roasts, pork loin, pork roast, turkey breast, venison hams.
This is far from a conclusive list of raw meats that are good for a dog's teeth and dental health. These are just some that I regularly or semi-regularly feed my dogs. If you have any others to add to the list, please let me know in the comments!
Do you ever "throw your dog a bone" for their dental health?