Dangers of the Dentastix
Brushing pets teeth is just as important as hooman brushing their teeth!
When I became a new dog parent I wanted them to have the best of the best and this included making sure l looked after their teeth. I got into the habit of giving Oscar and Ernie a Dentastix every day before leaving for work. However, after a trip to the vets due to Ernie having a doggy tummy, we discussed his diet. The vet explained that Dentastixs are not really cleaning his teeth and the ingredients could be upsetting his tummy.
Well, I was shocked! Off I went to have a look at the ingredients.
Why use dentastix?
I used them I think out of convenience as well as the advertising. As they are branded that they are recommended by vets and they reduce plaque and tartar by 80 %.
Did you know – Less than 1% of pet owners brush their cats and dogs teeth using brush and paste (pet toothpaste). Warning – Don’t use human toothpaste as this is toxic to pets.
These are the key ingredients that make up a dentastix :
- Meat Derivatives
- Olis & Fats
Doesn’t seem that bad…Well, let’s look at it in more detail!
Sodium Tripolyphosphate (STPP)
STPP is commonly known as the ingredient in Dentastix that carries out all of the teeth-cleaning action and it is recognised as safe to use. It is used in pet food as a way of preserving it for longer. In also helps keep food moist and to have a longer shelf life. It is listed by the US National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health as a neurotoxin and recognised as a mild skin irritant. So if your pet is prone to skin problems this could be making it worse.
The smokey flavour is made from spraying a smoke fire with water and turning it into liquid. There have been studies carried out by EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) in 2011 that called out safety concerns and the possibility of causing cancer.
Potassium Sorbate is considered safe for both dogs and cats. It is a chemical additive used as a preservative that is added to food, drinks and cosmetics. It reduces the growth of bacteria in the product but is damaging to the skin, eye and respiratory tract irritant in dogs. There have been studies that so this can cause irreversible damage to blood cells and has a negative effect on the immunity and cancer-causing characteristics in humans.
Meat and Animal Derivatives
Under European law, this is defined as “All the fleshy parts of slaughtered warm-blooded land animals, fresh or preserved by appropriate treatment, and all products and derivatives of the processing of the carcass or parts of the carcass of warm-blooded land animals”.
Now, this is a very loose definition in my book and does not cover which part of the animals being used. If your dog is prone to food intolerance, it is certainly wise to steer away from meat and animal derivatives and all other non-specific ingredients.
This ingredient is commonly hidden as a ‘mineral supplement’ on the packet. It is this ingredient that makes the dentastix a red colour. Iron Oxide is known to be skin & eye irritant and can cause lung inflammation. Yet again this has caused concerns linked to cancer.
The flavouring is made from the animal digest that has not yet undergone decomposition or rotting. It is treated with heat, acids and enzymes to produce the final concentrated flavour. This could mean that the end-product does not contain any real or fresh meat at all. This sound dam right wrong – you wouldn’t want to eat this as I certainly wouldn’t!
- Frozen carrots – This is perfect for an all-natural treat and most dogs will love them. Oscar & Ernie love a carrot just not frozen.
- Antlers – Ernie loves an antler and at times can go through one a week. Make sure you always supervise your dog.
- Ears – Pig, Cow, Version and Goat ears are tough enough for your dog to chew and are a healthy treat. Ernie personally loves Goat ears at the moment.
- Himalayan Yaks – These can be an expensive treat. They are made using yak and cow milk along with salt and lime juice for flavour. Make sure you always supervise your dog with these. When they are getting small you can pop in them in the microwave and it puffs up into popcorn so it does not go to waste.
You can check out The Doggie Boat for health alternatives.
This has been a right eye-opener for me. I have personally stopped giving Oscar and Ernie a dentastix in the morning. Instead, I use a combination of healthier alternatives and have purchased a dog toothbrush and paste to try out.
We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.