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5 Best Dog Foods for Bad Teeth

In this guide we’ll take a look at the best foods for dogs with bad teeth.
We’ve compared quality of ingredients, nutritional information, and value for money
to give you our top recommendations below.

Breed Advisor only recommends products that we’ve tested, or significantly researched . This page contains affiliate links, that at no additional cost to you, may earn a small commission for the site. Find out more here.

What is the Best Dog Food for Bad Teeth?

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Vet’s Advice

If you are worried about the state of your pet’s mouth or their bad breath, then get them checked over by your veterinarian first as they could require professional dental treatment. However, if you are looking for a good general diet for your dog that is prone to bad teeth then read on for some tips on what to look out for.

Tartar control diets

In most commercial diets the dog just bites the biscuit, shattering it into pieces. Some diets contain fibers that are aligned in such a way that the tooth sinks into the kibble. As the tooth becomes engulfed, the fibers gently brush against it reducing surface levels of plaque and tartar.

Antioxidants

High levels of antioxidants in the diet can help neutralize free radicals in your dog’s mouth. Some of these ingredients will help lead to fresher breath and healthier gums.

Reduced calcium formation

Choose a diet that helps reduce the likelihood of plaque mineralization in the mouth. Under normal conditions, this sticky, bacteria-laden plaque on the surface of the tooth will calcify and turn into hard yellow or brown tartar. Some dental care diets contain a binding agent which binds with calcium in your dog’s mouth to help reduce the amount of tartar that forms.

Different sized kibbles

A good brand will have different sized kibbles for different sized dogs. This allows you to select the size that is most suitable for your dog and will lead to more effective tooth care.

Veterinary Oral Health Council Accepted Product

Diets on the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s accepted product list have met minimum standards to prove some benefit to the teeth and gums in dogs. Check to see whether your diet is on their accepted product list.

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Compare Our Recommended Dog Foods

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that’s most important to you.

  • Top 5 Ingredients
  • Type
  • Lifestage
  • Calories
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber
  • Cost
  • Our score

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Bad Teeth Dog Food Reviews

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Dehydrated Turkey
    2. Organic Oats
    3. Dehydrated Potatoes
    4. Organic Flaxseed
    5. Dehydrated Carrots

  • Type: Dehydrated raw
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 470 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 22%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 5%

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey is a premium quality diet that offers all of the nutrition dogs need to enjoy an active lifestyle. This dehydrated food has been specifically designed to help dogs suffering from pain associated with bad teeth. Its highly palatable recipe is easy for dogs with missing teeth or inflamed gums to eat without succumbing to excess discomfort.

The primary ingredient in this diet is whole turkey, an excellent source of protein that is rich in amino acids to support a healthy body. Whole oats are included along with a wide variety of fiber and antioxidant-rich vegetables to ensure good digestion and a strong immune system.

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey is free from by-products, preservatives, and GMO ingredients, making it unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction in dogs with sensitive stomachs.

For the best food for dogs with bad teeth, it’s hard to go wrong with The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey.

Pros

  • Owners report that their dogs love the taste of this food, eating each meal with hearty gusto. Even picky eaters lick their bowls clean.
  • Several owners shared that they love that this food includes nutritious whole grains in its recipe. They believe these ingredients assist with good digestion and optimal heart health.
  • Owners indicated that this food is simple to prepare for their dogs to enjoy.
  • Given its high quality, The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey is available at a very reasonable price point.
  • Owners are pleased that dogs previously suffering from recurring gastrointestinal distress and poor digestion found complete relief from their symptoms with a switch to this diet.

Cons

  • In rare cases, some dogs did not like the taste of this food and would not eat it. The Honest Kitchen has many different formulations based on other proteins. One of these foods may be a better choice for those dogs.
  • A few owners felt that this diet was too cost prohibitive for them to feed on a regular basis.
  • Some owners disliked that this food contains potatoes, a vegetable of limited nutritional benefit and that may be linked to rapid spikes in blood sugar.
  • Some dogs disliked the texture of this food and would not eat it.
  • Several owners expressed they would prefer a food that has a less mushy texture.

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Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken Meal
    3. Rice Bran
    4. Split Peas
    5. Whole Grain Brown Rice

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 231 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 24%
  • Fat: 7%
  • Fiber: 1%

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight’ excellent quality food formulation provides all of the nutrition dogs need from their daily diet. This exceptional food has been carefully crafted to help dogs suffering from issues related to bad teeth. The main ingredient in this diet is whole chicken, a protein that is reinforced through the addition of chicken meal to provide a powerhouse punch of amino acids.

Each piece of kibble in Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight is textured to assist with scrubbing the teeth to help remove tartar build up and encourage better oral health.

Nutro Natural Choice Healthy Weight contains no by-products, corn, wheat soy, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, making it easily one of the best foods for dogs with bad teeth on the market today.

Pros

  • Owners like that this diet is lower in calories, assisting dogs with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight without sacrificing any nutritional quality.
  • Dogs that regularly suffered with gastrointestinal distress found complete relief from their symptoms with a change to this diet.
  • Most owners feel this dog food is available at a price that is very reasonable, particularly given its exceptional quality.
  • Most dogs love the taste of this food, looking forward to their every meal with great enthusiasm.
  • Owners are pleased that this diet includes whole grains in its recipe, believing the dietary fiber helps their dogs to achieve eating satisfaction and also supports good digestion.

Cons

  • Some dogs dislike the taste of this food and will not eat it. Most often, this is simply a matter of personal preference and is no reflection on the food itself.
  • A few owners indicated they found this food was quite costly.
  • In rare cases, some dogs had difficulty processing this food and experienced mild gastrointestinal distress. This may be from the diet’s high fiber content or may possibly be from too quick a transition from the old food to the new.
  • A few dogs had reduced appetite when fed this food on a consistent basis. This could be due to the high fiber content, making the diet more filling to assist with weight maintenance. Unless a dog’s body condition begins to suffer, dogs eating less volume at their meals is not a concern.
  • Some owners expressed they wished this food was available in smaller bags. They felt the current sizes would go bad before their dogs would finish them.

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Primal Lamb Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Lamb Hearts
    2. Ground Lamb Bones
    3. Lamb Liver
    4. Organic Carrots
    5. Organic Squash

  • Type: Freeze-dried raw
  • Lifestage: All life stages
  • Calories: 148 kcal/oz
  • Protein: 34%
  • Fat: 30%
  • Fiber: 4%

Primal Lamb Grain-Free Raw provides dogs with the nutritional support they need to enjoy an active lifestyle. The main ingredient in this premium food formulation is lamb, a lean protein that is full of amino acids to support healthy muscle development. Lamb organs and ground bone have also been included to increase the calcium content needed to assist with dental health.

A freeze-dried raw diet, this food is easily reconstituted with a little bit of water, making it both easy and convenient for dog owners on the go. It is comprised of easily digestible ingredients and is well-renowned as a food so flavorful that dogs keep coming back for more.

A food considered to be one of the best foods for dogs with bad teeth, Primal Lamb Grain-Free Raw is made in the United States and is free from grains, gluten, corn, wheat, and soy.

Pros

  • Owners love the convenience of Primal’s freeze-dried raw formulation. They note that it reconstitutes quickly when water is added to it. This diet is easy to take on the road for those who travel a lot with their dogs and is also ideal for home preparation.
  • Several owners expressed that they love that Primal’s raw food is available in many different flavors, allowing them to offer their dogs more variety in their daily diet.
  • Owners of dogs with recurring allergies are pleased that this diet has helped their dogs to find relief from their symptoms.
  • A few owners noted that they like the texture of this food, sharing that it is a great choice for dogs that suffer from teeth issues.
  • Owners love that this food comes in nuggets. The detailed package instructions make it easy for them to know precisely how many nuggets their dog needs each meal.

Cons

  • A few owners expressed that their recent bags of Primal Lamb included some nuggets that were much darker than normal. They were concerned that something may have been “off” with that particular batch of food.
  • Some dogs were disinterested in this food and would not eat it. Primal has several different formulations based on other proteins. One of these foods may be a better selection for those dogs.
  • A few owners indicated they found the nuggets in this Primal offering difficult to break up prior to rehydration.
  • Some owners feel this diet is too expensive to feed their dogs on an ongoing basis.
  • In rare cases, some dogs were not satisfied with the recommended amount of food they should receive per meal. Owners had to increase their meal portions, resulting in a far higher expense for them.

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Hill’s Science Diet Adult Oral Care Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Chicken
    2. Whole Grain Wheat
    3. Powdered Cellulose
    4. Brown Rice
    5. Chicken Fat

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 275 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 20%
  • Fat: 13%
  • Fiber: 12%

Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care has been specifically formulated to help improve the dental health of dogs suffering from bad teeth. This excellent diet is based on whole chicken, a lean protein that is easy for dogs to digest.

To provide assistance with plaque removal, each piece of kibble is textured and of an appropriate size to aid in removing excess tartar. The diet places a high emphasis on foods that are high in fiber and antioxidants to encourage fluid digestion and a strong and healthy immune system. Antioxidants assist with reducing inflammation commonly associated with gum disease.

Rated to be one of the best foods for dogs with bad teeth, Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care contains no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.

Another benefit of Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care is its ability to help dogs lose and maintain a healthy body weight.

Pros

  • Even very picky eaters love this diet, consuming their every meal with hearty gusto.
  • Owners feel the textured kibble pieces found in this diet do an excellent job of keeping their dogs’ teeth clean and free from tartar and plaque accumulation.
  • Dogs find this food so flavorful that their owners are able to use it both for their meals and for training treats, increasing the diet’s value.
  • Owners like that this food is a great choice for dogs recovering from dental surgery.
  • Dogs regularly fed this diet enjoyed good digestion and saw relief from previous struggles with gastrointestinal distress.

Cons

  • A few owners noted that the kibble pieces in this diet are quite large. While this is a great choice for medium to large and giant dogs, this may make this diet unsuitable for toy and small breeds.
  • Several owners indicated that the kibble in this diet is very hard and difficult for their dogs to break down well.
  • Owners expressed they wished this food was available in larger sized bags, finding the small bags inconvenient for them.
  • Some dogs would not attempt to eat this diet because the kibble pieces were appealing but simply too big. Owners shared they were concerned their dogs may choke on these super-sized kibble morsels.
  • This diet is considered to be quite costly.

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Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Dry Dog Food review

At a Glance

  • Top 5 Ingredients:
    1. Salmon
    2. Ocean Fish Meal
    3. Sweet Potatoes
    4. Potatoes
    5. Peas

  • Type: Dry food
  • Lifestage: Adult
  • Calories: 360 kcal/cup
  • Protein: 25%
  • Fat: 15%
  • Fiber: 3%

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream is an exceptional quality diet that hits all the high points dogs need from their food to achieve optimal health and wellness. A diet based on novel fish-based proteins, this top quality food is easy for dogs to digest and is packed with the nutrients dogs need for strong muscles, good joint function, and excellent skin and coat health.

A grain-free food, Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream includes antioxidant-dense fruits and vegetables in its recipe to help reduce inflammation associated with dental disease and tooth pain. These ingredients also increase fluid digestion and encourage the development of a strong and healthy immune system.

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, rated among the best foods for dogs with bad teeth, contains no grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Pros

  • Dogs suffering with recurring allergies saw relief from their constant licking and scratching with a change to Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream.
  • Most dogs love the taste of this diet and look forward to their every meal. Its emphasis on fish proteins makes this food exceptionally flavorful.
  • Owners noted great improvements in their dogs’ coat quality, reporting it was thick, lustrous, soft, and shiny when fed this diet on a regular basis.
  • Several owners indicated their dogs shed less when fed a steady diet of Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream.
  • Owners feel this diet is reasonably priced, particularly given its exceptional nutritional quality.

Cons

  • Some dogs disliked the flavor of this food and would not eat it. Taste of the Wild has several different formulations with other protein bases. One of these diets may be a better choice for those dogs.
  • Some owners felt this diet was too cost prohibitive for them to feed their dogs on an ongoing basis.
  • A few owners expressed they would prefer to feed a dog food that includes some whole grains in its formulation, believing these are critical to attaining ideal digestion in their dogs.
  • This food contains potatoes, peas, and lentils, all controversial ingredients of limited nutritional value. It is believed that these items may be linked to such problems as lowered fertility rates and rapid spikes in blood sugar.
  • This diet does not contain any supplements to support joint health in dogs.

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How to Choose the Best Foods for Dogs with Bad Teeth

Whether a dog’s teeth have been worn down by misuse, are broken off, missing, loose, or decayed, dogs that suffer from poor dental health will have a hard time eating and enjoying their meals.

In some cases, a switch to the best food for dogs with bad teeth can help remove excess plaque and tartar and restore good oral health. However, unfortunately, if a dog is suffering from advanced gingivitis or periodontal disease, it may be necessary for the dog to undergo a dental at a veterinary clinic.

Dentals can help remove plaque and tartar and improve odors coming from the mouth. However, in some cases, damage to the teeth and gums is irreversible, and at best, can only be managed not improved.

Identifying whether or not a dog has a dental issue that requires more than just a dietary change to see improvements can be challenging. However, there are some symptoms dogs with oral health problems often exhibit. Among the most common indications seen in dogs with dental concerns are:

  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding gums
  • Redness of the gums
  • Eating or yawning accompanied by vocalizations
  • Blood found on toys
  • Bumps in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Bloody saliva
  • Avoidance of head petting
  • Lack of interest in crunchy foods

To help prevent tooth decay and gum problems from occurring in dogs, owners can provide preventative maintenance through a variety of different means. This will help keep plaque and tartar from accumulating, one of the most common issues that leads to more serious dental complications down the road.

Among the things veterinarians recommend to promote good dental health in dogs are:

  • An excellent quality diet
  • Toys that encourage chewing
  • Fruits and vegetables fed as snacks or treats
  • Regular tooth brushing with a dog toothpaste
  • Once or twice yearly dental checkups at a veterinarian’s office
  • Dental cleanings on an as needed basis

The ratio of calcium to phosphorus contained in a food can play a vital role in preserving a dog’s dental health. The optimal amounts to look for is 1.2 parts of calcium to every one part of phosphorus.

Some dog breeds have a natural predisposition towards developing bad teeth. These include toy breeds and Greyhounds. To keep their teeth and gums in good health, it is important to stay on top of tooth brushing and regular dental care.

Choosing the Correct Calorie Count for Dogs with Bad Teeth

How much of the best food for bad teeth a dog eats is equally as important as the ingredients found within it. Since many dog breeds will overeat if allowed to free feed, it is best to always carefully measure and monitor all food intake.

To determine how much to feed a dog, it is an excellent idea to use the suggested serving size on the bag as a starting point. This can be adjusted with the dog’s weight, activity level, and appetite serving as helpful guides.

As a basic rule of thumb, adult dogs need a diet with 18 percent protein and 5 percent fat. Puppies should be fed an excellent quality puppy food that has 22 percent protein and 8 percent fat with slightly higher amounts also desirable.

Dietary Requirements for Dogs with Bad Teeth

A dietary change can play a great role in helping dogs that suffer as a result of bad teeth. However, there are other things owners can do in addition to a switch in food that can support good oral health.

These include:

  • Feeding raw, meaty bones to prevent tartar accumulation
  • Focusing on foods that are high in antioxidants to support a strong immune system and healthy gums
  • Including fatty acid supplements to reduce inflammation in gums
  • Feeding a probiotic to ensure good digestion

Dogs experiencing problems as a result of bad teeth need top quality nutrition to help improve their oral health. This begins with a diet that places a lean meat as its primary ingredient. Whole meats are preferred, but meat meals are also an excellent dense source of protein.

Because plant-based proteins such as soy, wheat, and corn are common allergens for many dogs, foods that place a high emphasis on these ingredients should be avoided. They are also difficult for dogs to digest well, making them of lesser nutritional value.

The best foods for dogs with bad teeth are typically free from artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. These items do not benefit dogs in any way and can lead to the development of skin or stomach sensitivities in some dogs.

No exceptional quality diet would be complete without a healthy serving of good fats. Healthy fats provide the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids dogs need for excellent coat and skin quality. The best sources of healthy fats are animal based and include such items as chicken fat and oily fish.

Highly digestible carbohydrates in the form of whole grains, fruits, and/or vegetables form an important part of a healthy diet for dogs with dental issues.

A diet that includes supplements offers dogs additional health benefits which can boost everything from digestion to skin and coat health and excellent joint function. Among the best supplements to look for include prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, and chondroitin.

There are several natural ingredients owners can give to their dogs on their own or look for in a premium quality diet to help dogs that have issues with bad teeth. These include:

  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Bananas
  • Kefir
  • Honey
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut oil
  • Mint
  • Parsley

These ingredients will help improve odorous breath as a result of bad teeth.

Things to Look for in the Best Food for Dogs with Bad Teeth

Here is a basic list of the most important things to look for in a dog food for bad teeth:

  • Whole meat or meat meal proteins heading up the ingredients list
  • Prepared without the addition of chemicals, flavorings, fillers, or mystery ingredients
  • Enriched with probiotics and helpful supplements
  • Meets AAFCO nutritional requirements for a complete and balanced food
  • Crafted with a hard, crunchy outer coating that provides scrubbing action for the teeth

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