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Product Review: Dental Chews


dc1February is ‘National Pet Dental Health Month’ in America, so we thought we would look at the current options on the market.

In todays’ pet world dental health is paramount, as 80% of dogs over three years old have been diagnosed with periodontal disease (Milella, N.D.), the first signs of which are halitosis (Kortegaard et al. 2008: Zero, 2004: Rawlings & Culham, 1998: Benamghar et al. 1982). There are a number of ‘dental chews’ on the market which are formed in specific shapes and consistencies in order to facilitate the product to scrape tartar from the teeth of the consumer, instead of manual brushing (Quigley & Hein, 1962) with the aim of reducing the need for dental surgery (Logan, 2006: Kortegaard et al. 2008).

These products have ingredients which range from, but are not restricted to:

  • Potato Starch
  • Glycerin
  • Powdered Cellulose dc2
  • Lecithin
  • Malt Extract
  • Yeast
  • Polyphosphates (Cox & Lepine, 2002)
  • Corn
  • Sorbitol
  • Fructose
  • Barley Malt Syrup
  • Titanium Dioxide (Carcinogen)
  • More E Numbers E281, E202
  • Peas (please see article 1[2]:64)

Some have vague ingredient lists like: Cereals, Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Minerals (including Sodium Tripolyphosphate), Meat and Animal Derivatives, Vegetable Protein Extracts, Oil and Fats, others a full breakdown including wheat, rice, oats, pea protein, potato flavours, and minerals.

An unfortunate fact is that cereal and starch content in commercial pet foods, also found in these ‘dental chews’, are partially to blame for the degenerative state of many pets’ teeth. As dogs do not produce amylase (the enzyme required to digest starch) in their saliva, they have no means of getting rid of starches that are in the food in their mouth, leaving it to accumulate on their teeth and feed the bacteria that lead to a build-up of tartar and calculus.

As for the ingredients:

  • Potato Starch (E1400-1414)dc3
  • Unsuitable for pet carnivores.
  • Glycerin (E422)
  • A by-product of the biodiesel industry. Known to increase gas output, used as a ‘sugar free’ sweetener and preservative in the food industry.
  • Cellulose (E461, E462, E465, E463, E464, E467, E466)
  • Digestible by ruminants and termites with the symbiotic assistance of micro- organisms, however in other animals simply a faecal bulking agent.
  • Lecithin (E322)dc4
  • An emulsifier most often derived from Soybean Oil (usually GMO)
  • Most often chemically extracted, the result of which has been known to lead to degeneration of the peripheral nervous system (Turner, 2015)
  • Not a species appropriate food for dogs, as it disrupts digestion (Turner, 2, 2014)
  • Identified as being converted by gut bacteria into trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) which when released into circulation may contribute to atherosclerosis and heart attacks (Russell et al. 2013: Tang et al. 2013: Mendelsohn & Lar rick, 2013)
  • Malt Extractdc5
  • Develops enzymes to modify grain starches into sugars and break down pro teins in the grain to be utilised by yeast.
  • Yeast
  • The most commonly used form of yeast in found in grape skin.
  • The malt extract feeds the yeast, leading to carbon dioxide generation.
  • Polyphosphates (E451 I formerly E450b i)
  • Blood coagulator, stabiliser & emulsifier
  • Know to aid water retention
  • Aids the lifespan of the yeast (Andreeva et al. 2013)

So the ingredients in these ‘dental chews’ are mostly converted to sugars and gas, leaving little question as to why the dogs enjoy them. Whilst the Veterinary Oral Health Council has a list of ‘accepted products’ (VOHC, 2014), there appears to be no definitive quantitative or qualitative data on their efficacy (Quest, 2013: Brown & McGenity, 2005: Gorrel et al. 1999) as all published material compares either new verses old chews, or chews verses no chew, in dogs fed on a dried diet.

Whereas a dog on a species appropriate raw diet, that does not include simple carbohydrates, given a variety of raw meaty bones or even antlers to chew on has clean white teeth with little to no chance of periodontal disease (Turner, 2013).dc6dc7

So what do we recommend?

A great place to start is with raw, free range, organic, chicken wings, such as: Graig Farm Organics Free Range Chicken Wings – 1Kg Bumper Pack

Warning: Please supervise your pets when feeding bones


Andreeva, N. Ryazanova, L. Dmitrieve, V. Kulakovskaya, T. & Kulaev, I. (2013) Adaptation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to toxic manganese concentration triggers changes in inorganic polyphosphates. FEMS Yeast Research. 13[5]:463-470

Benamaghar, L. Penaud, J. Kaminsky, P. Abt. F. & Martin, J. (1982) Comparison of Gingival Index and Sulcus Bleeding Index as Indicators of Periodontal Status. Bulletin of World Health Organisation. 60[1]:147-151

Brown, W.Y. & McGenity, P. (2005) Effective periodontal disease control using dental hygiene chews. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry 22[1]:16-19

Cox, E.R. & Lepine A.J. (2002) Use of Polyphosphates in Canine Diets to Control Tartar. Seq #257 – Nutritional Factors and Dental Health. IADR/AADR/CADR 80th General Session (March 6-9, 2002) San Diego, California

Gorrel, C. Warrick, J. & Bierer, T.L. (1999) Effect of a new dental hygiene chew on periodontal health in dogs. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry. 16[2]:77-81

Kortegaard, H. Eriksen, T. & Hands, M.S. (2008) Periodontal Disease in Research Beagle Dogs – An Epidemiological Study. Journal of Small Animal Practice. 49:610-616

Logan, E. (2006) Dietary Influences on Periodontal Health in Dogs and Cats. Veterinary Clinic of North American Small Animal Practice. 36[6]:1385-1401

Mendelsohn. A.R. & Larrick, J.W. (2013) Dietary modification of the microbiome affects risk for cardiovascular disease. Rejuvenation Research. 16[3]:241-4

Milella, L. (N.D.) Understanding the Need for Dental Treatment in Dogs. Education Resources for Veterinarians. British Veterinary Dental Association.

Quest, B.W. (2013) Oral health benefits of a daily dental chew in dogs. Journal of Veterinary Dentistry. 30[2]:84-7

Quigley, G.A. & Hein, J.W. (1962) Comparative Cleaning Efficacy of Manual & Power Brushing. Journal of American Dental Association. 65:26-29

Rawlings, J. & Culham, N. (1998) Halitosis in Dogs and the Effect of Periodontal Therapy. Journal of Nutrition. 128:2715-2716

Russell, W.R. et al. (2013) Colonic Bacterial Metabolites and Human Health (Review) Current Opinion in Microbiology 16[3]:246-254

Tang, W.H. Wang, Z. Levison, B.S. Koeth, R.A. Britt, E.B. Fu, X. Wu, Y. & Hazen, S.L. (2013) Intestinal microbial metabolism of phosphatidylcholine and cardiovascular risk. Engl J Med. 368[17]:1575-84

Turner, H.B. (2013) The Science Behind Canine Raw Feeding. Talen Publications. UK

Turner, H.B. 2 (2014) The Latest Protein Ingredients in Pet Food. Healthful Dog 1[2]:64

Turner, H.B. (2015) Feeding Oils. Healthful Dog 2[1]:34

VOHC (2014) Products Currently Awarded the VOHC Seal. (Internet) Available from: [Accessed 12/12/2014)

Zero, D. (2004) Sugars – The Arch Criminal? Journal of Caries Research. 28:277-285


Would Canines Naturally Eat Cheese?


To answer this question all you have to do is look at how we discovered cheese and where it is made in nature.

The gullet of a calf differs from those of adults, taking their mothers milk directly into its fourth stomach, where the naturally occurring rennet separates the milk into ‘curds & whey’ thus producing cheese.

Do wild Canids take down calves?


In the Spring a pack will hunt almost exclusively on young.

So to answer the question, yes, wild canids eat cheese, but only in the Spring.

Pumpkin: Scary or Sweet?


Healthful Dog


Updated 24/10/2016

H B Turner

For some reason I’ve always had an uncomfortable/irrational negative feeling when people recommend pumpkin or any other of the myriad of varieties of squash, and I have avoided feeding them, or even eating them myself, other than the odd courgette.
Upon further investigation is appears that the calcium to phosphorous ratio within them is not optimum for the use of the body, recommendations being 1:1 or technically 1:0.8 (AAFCO) and squash being closer to 1:2. However recommendations for laboratory animals are between 2:1 & 1:2, as long as Vitamin D levels are high enough, so this shouldn’t be a problem right?

Pumpkin contains high amounts of both alpha and beta carotene, known to boost immune function in older dogs and with side effects of too much being Carotenemia (skin discolouration), known to be harmless and reversed when ingestion is halted, but would we…

View original post 540 more words

The Phenol Allergen Issue


How do food allergies effect pets?

An allergy is an inappropriate and excessive reaction of the immune system to an allergen.

Allergies manifest as:

  • Itching
  • Infections of the skin and ear
  • Hot Spots
  • Chronic diarrhoea and/or IBD
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Behaviour Problems/Hyperactivity
  • Pancreatitis
  • Chronic Liver Disease
  • Lethargy
  • Cancer

Food Allergies

The most common food allergens for dogs are Chicken and Beef, we understand that these are mainly due to vaccines reactions, in that vaccine components are often grown in chicken embryo/bovine serum etc. therefore Chicken and Beef are the first proteins recommended to be removed from an animals diet when an allergy is suspected.

The next most common allergen, known to cause all sorts of bowel issues due to food sensitivities and intolerances are caused by Phenols i.e. Gallic Acid

Gallic Acid is found in many fruit and vegetables, including, but not restricted to:

Whilst Food Allergies cause immediate reactions, food sensitivities and intolerances have a delayed response. They may start as simple itching and progress down the above reactions list to cancer if fed even in small amounts on a regular basis.

Let us not forget that the microbiome in the bowel represents 80% of the immune system and if that is negatively effected, exposure to something else that would normally cause a mild reaction, could actually end up being catastrophic.

Due to this and other issues with these foods we do not recommend feeding them, especially on a regular basis.

For a complete food product that does not contain these ingredients check out

Healthful Pet Mince

The Gluten/Starch Misinformation 


Gluten free pet food is not necessarily Starch free

There appears to be much confusion among pet owners on this subject; a great deal of the blame must be placed squarely at the feet of pet food manufacturers.

Many pet owners are aware of the issues with grains, found in most dried food products. In that those grains could well be GMOs (genetically modified organisms), meaning they contain pesticides designed to rupture the stomach and intestines of their consumers, and legally require no label that they are included; but also the presence of mycotoxins (toxic mould).

Therefore many pet food manufacturers have started producing ‘gluten free’ products, where instead of grains they use rice or potato.

This is where pet owners have been led down the garden path!

As well as the issues of GMOs and Mycotoxins, grains are high in starch.

Our carnivorous pets not only have no requirement for starch, but they cannot digest it.

Potato and rice contain more starch than grains!

In order to digest starch, humans produce an enzyme called Amylase, we produce most of this in our saliva initiating the digestive process as soon as it is in our mouths. Dogs do not produce amylase in their saliva, in fact canine saliva is mostly water and its function is to lubricate swallowing. Digestion in dogs does not begin until food enters the stomach.

Whilst dogs do produce a very small amount of amylase,  this comes from the pancreas and is released into to duodenum and is destined to deal with the small amount of starch a dog would have taken in from the stomach and viscera of its natural prey. Any starch surplus to being able to be digested by this small amount of amylase can only be digested by bacteria in the gut, the waste product from which is mostly gas. This non-natively produced gas passes one of two ways: out or up, the later being a risk for bloat.

Starch also has a negative effect on the digestion of proteins, both in the stomach, by raising stomach acid pH, which has a knock on effect on inactivating other enzymes and also in the rest of the digestive tract.

So you see ‘gluten free’ is a misnomer and pet owners should be looking at feeding a mostly ‘starch free’ diet.

Product Review: Pet Protector


The Non-Chemical, Anti-Flea, Anti-Tick and Anti-mosquito Collar Tag

This device claims to utilise magnetic and ‘scalar waves’, triggered by blood circulation to produce “an invisible energy field around the entire animal’s body”. It also claims that “Scalar waves are totally harmless to people and animals….and they are only effective against external parasites.”

96.97% effective—100% safe for your pets,

your family and your environment

During the 4 year long, non-independent study of 88 animals, a number of ticks were found in quarterly records, but no fleas, it is unfortunate that these tests were performed on  pet animals kept in a variety of environments which are not detailed, nor are their diets, making this paper unsubmissable to a scientific journal and therefore not considered proof, regardless of countless testimonials.

Also the claim of “100% safe has not been substantiated”.

In Konstantin Meyls’ 2011 paper in ‘DNA and Cell Biology’ details how ’Scalar Waves’ are in fact used by DNA as a form of communication and are involved in DNA expression. As we know from Genomics an alteration to DNA expression can be responsible for both disease and repair, most notably DNA expression changes are associated with the formation of cancers.

If DNA utilised Scalar Waves have a wavelength of 126nm ± 6nm and a frequency of 1015 Hz of UV then what effect can a device have on DNA that emits a field ’surrounding the animals’ with wavelength and frequencies of ….  Ah, they’ve taken down the page that explained that, so…  difficult to say.

Dryden et al. (2000) investigated claims of the parent company ‘CatanDog’ on its’ use in preventing fleas in cats and found no benefit at all.

I have personally been approached on a number of occasions to re-sell this product and told that I’d :

“be generously rewarded for recommending this life-saving product!

However, until proper scientific research has been done on its’ efficacy and long-term testing on DNA expression and the results of any changes induced by this product in order to be able to substantiate the claim of 100% safe it will not be on my recommendations list.


Dryden, M.W. Payne, P.A. & Smith, V. (2000)  Evaluation of the CatanDog’s tag to prevent flea infestations, inhibit flea reproduction or repel existing flea infestations on cats. Vet Parasitology. 92[4]:303-8

Konstantin, M. (2011) First Transfer Centre of Scalar wave Technology. DNA and Cell Biology. [Online] Available from: (Accessed 26/03/2015)


The Pork and Worms Conclusion


A colleague of ours recently posed the question in an open forum as to whether or not she should freeze pork before feeding it to her dogs. We rarely answer such questions directly, but on this occasion wanted to help out a friend and her dogs. After posing this question to ourselves many years ago and going to the horses mouth, so to speak, by asking a free range pig farmer, and seeing puppies die from worm burden due to being fed raw sausages, we felt we knew the answer and dutifully wrote:



As expected the inevitable negative response:


The issue is that as this was human grade pork people think it’s worm free: they are wrong!

“Trichinosis has been historically associated with pork”, pigs require ‘worming’ daily, for 7 days, for a 95% efficacy rate, within 3 weeks prior to slaughter; this only happens on very good farms and isn’t really an issue for human consumption anyway as the worms are killed in the cooking process – obviously this does not occur in feeding raw to our pets and in fact slaughter house testing has proven inefficient for worms. Whilst it is true that raw fed pets are more resistant to worms, unless you are absolutely certain of your source we recommend freezing first.