Controlling Dog Plaque Buildup with Dog Food

Dog plaque is a deposit of food residue, mixed with bacteria and minerals that are found in the saliva. The plaque can start to build up as soon as 4 hours after the brushing of teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that can cause gum swelling and gingivitis. You need to control the buildup of plaque to prevent the buildup of tartar and other dental health complications.

Plaque can calcify into calculus or tartar in 2 to 3 days if plaque is not removed. Tartar needs a professional cleaning to be removed.

Kibble Food

If your dog is on a dry diet, this can have a lot of advantages for his dental hygiene.

The dry food will help remove the plaque from the dog’s teeth, as the food bits have an abrasive action. This means that every time your dog eats, he cleans his teeth. However, this does not replace the regular teeth brushing, as after each meal, other food residue gets stuck in between the dog’s teeth.

In case your dog is on a prescription diet or wet food, you have to consider a few alternative options such as chew treats, chew toys or rawhide.

Chew Treats

Chew treats may be used also to remove plaque from the dog’s teeth and to prevent bad breath.

Get some special chew treats that were created for dental cleaning. These have a hard textured surface; however, make sure the treats are not too hard to break, as they may cause jaw fractures.


Rawhide chew treats are of animal origin. The hide can come from cattle or sheep. These can be bone shaped, which is appealing for dogs. Rawhide chews have a rough texture that can scrape off the plaque.

You can give your dog one rawhide per day, typically after meals.

Dental Health Recommendations

Even if the plaque buildup can be controlled with kibble food and chew treats, you still have to brush your dog’s teeth. Not all the teeth are used equally while the dog chews on food or treats, consequently a few teeth may have plaque deposits and this may easily turn into tartar.

Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth at least once per day. Use a pet toothbrush and meat or liver flavored toothpaste. Be patient with your pet, as he may reject the toothbrush at first; however, once your dog tastes the toothpaste, he is likely to become more cooperative.

You also have to visit your vet for a dental consultation once per year for a professional cleaning; tartar can build up in the less accessible places in your dog’s mouth.

Chew toys are also recommended; get some more rough surfaced toys.

Kibble food and chew treats are recommended for the everyday dental hygiene of dogs. However, if your dog has a wet diet, you should get a few dry treats or rawhide and chew toys that can remove the plaque deposits.