Health & Nutrition

Dental Care for your Golden Retriever

Dental Care for your Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are awesome dogs! Their soft coat, happy outlook on life, and friendly personality all make Golden Retrievers very enduring. However, like all dogs, Golden Retrievers can sometimes suffer from horrible breath! You know what I’m talking about. You go to stroke a gorgeous Golden Retriever and then the dog turns to look at you and breathes on you… and you almost get knocked out but the smell!

You have likely heard that 80% of dogs over the age of three have dental disease. Most vets and conventional wisdom will tell you to feed your dog kibble, give him daily dental chews, and brush his teeth 2-3 times a week. And when following that advice doesn’t work your vet will likely advise you to get your dog’s teeth clean under anesthesia on a yearly basis!

Not only is the smell of dental disease horrible but it can also have several other negative long term effects. The bad bacteria taking hold of your Golden’s mouth can lead to heart and other issues too! So, in this article, we will give you a few tips to help improve your dog’s dental health without having to put your dog under anesthesia to have his teeth cleaned by a veterinarian.

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So… If feeding your dog a diet of kibble, giving dental chews, and brushing your dog’s teeth a few times a week still makes it necessary to have your dog’s teeth cleaned under anesthesia is there something better that you can do? Well, there certainly is! First of all, it is best to feed your dog a raw, species-appropriate diet.

A raw diet will provide your best friend with a very low-no carb diet. This is important because carbohydrates are the preferred fuel of the bad bacteria that like to camp out in the mouth. If these bacteria do not have a food source they will not grow. You can learn more about raw feeding for your Golden Retriever in our raw feeding article.

Chewing can be an important part of your dog’s dental care plan. However, kibble and dental chews are not going to do the trick. Most dogs barley chew kibble so that won’t clean teeth. And dental chews don’t do much to clean your dog’s teeth either. In addition, to not lasting very long when chewed both of these items also contain carbohydrates that can add to the bad bacteria growing in your dog’s mouth.

A better chewing option would be raw meaty bones. When talking about raw meaty bones there are two different kinds that you should be aware of. The first, is edible bones these are bones that your dog can consume easily. This would be bones like that found in a whole prey rabbit or chicken. Other edible bones could be pork ribs, turkey necks, and lamb tails. All of these can be excellent chewing options to help keep your dog’s teeth clean.


The other type of bone that you need to know about is called a recreational bone. These are large, generally, weight-bearing bones that your Golden will chew on but not be able to fully consume. These are bones like femur bones, pelvic bones, trotter bones, and beef necks. These recreational bones will last much longer than a dental chew and are very helpful for cleaning teeth.

Feeding recreational bones and whole prey animals is a great way to provide your Golden with the best dental care. The chomping helps to “brush” your dog’s teeth. The ripping and tearing of meat and connective tissue provide a “flossing” action on the teeth. Additionally, there are no carbs in meat so you won’t be feeding any bad bacteria in the mouth.

In summary, feeding your dog a raw, species-appropriate diet with plenty of raw edible bones is a great way to maintain dental health. Providing your dog with recreational bones 2-3 times a week is a wonderful addition to your Golden’s dental care plan. As a bonus chewing on bones is a wonderful way to burn mental and physical energy in your Golden!