This post is about dental dismay, lightened-up with a little pictorial grooming gone wild. And let me say right at the top here that if you feed your animals jerky made in China, STOP!!! Read this post and then throw OUT that stuff forthwith and immediately!!!
Text for the bad news, pictures for the good. Let the good lead.
The grooming session depicted here went for about twenty minutes on the other day. And will wonders never cease, it did not end in a punch-up.
This is Barn-Boy’s preferred position. The head-lock.
So now trouble in tooth territory. In the panic of last week, while the vet did give the thumbs-up on Bugs’s general state of good health, she took a look in his mouth and found some plaque and gingivitis. Mope! I had so hoped we could avoid this, with this extremely expensive and time-consuming organic-turkey diet I home-make for the boys. Apparently not.
So I let the vet sell me a bag of prescription-dental treats for around $16.00. These treats proudly bore the VOHC Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of acceptance. Today I just brought the sack back to the vet unopened. The second ingredient was corn. Bah.
Couldn’t get the clarity I wanted in this picture, but it’s noteworthy for the tongue, right?
I asked my friend Kim, who I know does not believe in toothbrushing or anesthetized dental procedures for her girls. She looked into her cats’ mouths. No problems.
Why? Maybe it’s because, unlike Kim’s girls who don’t get indulged in this fashion, Bugs is such a treat-monster that I probably over-rely on plying him with dry treats.
Time for another picture.
Here’s what got me to thinking about the dry treats, i.e., Greenies, and some other high-class organic kibble I no longer use as treats not food. This is from The Conscious Cat, by Ingrid King, writer and former veterinary hospital manager:
“Dry food leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat’s mouth that actually encourages growth of tartar and plaque. . . . Dental treats such as Greenies are simply dry food in disguise, and won’t do anything to prevent plaque. The chlorophyll added to some of these treats may help your cat’s breath smell better, but this may mask more serious health problems.”
“Dry food (and I include treats in this definition) turns into a sticky paste when mixed with saliva in the mouth, and this paste adheres to teeth and gums much more than canned or raw food. The processed carbohydrates in dry food that form this dry paste support bacterial growth in the mouth. Additionally, dry foods are coated with animal digest to make them more palatable to pets, and these substances tend to be more acidic, leading to breaking down the enamel of the teeth. The idea that these dry foods or treats prevent tartar and plaque make as much sense to me as a human dentist telling a patient that they should eat dry cereal or corn chips to clean their teeth.”
Feeling daunted by all that hoo-hah, though, I thought I’d first try taking a look at what’s out there instead of dry treats. I found, at the health-food store no less, some nifty-looking chicken jerky billed as dental chewies. The ingredients and the package-PR looked a-OK so I bought some.
I did notice the stuff was made in China. This caused a frisson – but – I bought it anyway. Then I found some salmon jerky at the Big-Box Store, and ditto.
Right after that, and thank goodness no time was lost, I came across this perfectly dire report about the awful news of animal deaths apparently caused by chicken jerky made in China. Read here and my friends, if you are feeding Chinese jerky to your animals, do not pass Go, head straight to wherever you keep the stuff, and throw out every piece you got! Throw it out! Do not dispose of it outside, like I inattentively did, where, for example, dogs can get ahold of it. This is incredibly sobering and tragic. No animal should be put at risk.
Note that even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tried to get China to stop its irresponsible practices – and even the FDA is toothless in China.
So then I went on an interwebs mission to find a recipe for homemade jerky. I believe I found it. Check it out here. (If the link doesn’t work, try going to the search-engine of your choice and entering “ehow” and “homemade dehydrated salmon cat treats.”) As generally speaking I try not to cook unless in dire necessity, at first I had a failure of nerve. But I couldn’t find anything else that looked like it would do the job. So I screwed courage to the sticking-point and today I’m trying some. I’m about seven-eighths through the drying process, it’s easy, and it’s looking good.
The boys have taste-tested a few morsels and they chowed it.
Paws crossed this will do the job. Because look who’s being cared for. Nothing too good for my boys.