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Dr. Fox


By Michael  W. Fox, DSc, PhD, BVetMed, MRCVS

Until recently, dental problems in cats and dogs were a neglected aspect of home pet care. These problems include the build up of tartar or scale on the teeth, gum inflammation or gingivitis and stomatitis, and serious periodontal disease and tooth-root abscesses. Not only do affected pets develop nauseating halitosis and find it painful to eat, the inflammation in their mouths can result in the spread of bacteria in their blood streams to internal organs, along with inflammatory substances called cytokines. These can damage the heart, (causing heart attacks in humans with severe peridontitis), and harm the kidneys, pancreas, and other internal organs.

These inflammatory substances are also produced from body fat in overweight and obese animals, just as in humans. Obesity and dental problems are associated with highly processed manufactured pet foods**, especially those high in cereals, and can lead to heart, kidney, liver, and joint inflammation, pancreatic disease and related digestive problems, Type 11 diabetes, and other health problems, including increased susceptibility to infections and allergies because the animals’immune systems are impaired.

A few drops of fish oil like Nordic Naturals ( 1 teaspoon daily for a cat or 30 lb dog, 1 tablespoon for larger dogs) in the pet’s food every day will help reduce any gum inflammation.

It is critically important, especially for older pets and toy breeds, to feed a wholesome diet, provide safe chew-toys, and get them used to regular tooth cleaning. Wrap a moist gauze bandage around your index finger and get your pet used to having teeth and gums rubbed. The oral gel made by PetzLife ( is one excellent product that loosens scale/tartar, and helps reduce inflammation and infection. A spray is also available.

Maintaining pets’ dental hygiene, along with good nutrition---where highly processed  pet foods leave micro-particles adhering to the teeth and foster dental disease---prevents much animal suffering. Costly dental surgery under anesthesia,  that can result in fatalities in animals whose health is seriously compromised by bacterial infection and related problems originating from the oral cavity can also be avoided. Good dental hygiene and good nutrition go hand in hand as the cornerstones of holistic pet health care maintenance.

** For details, and home-prepared recipes, buy the ground-breaking book by three veterinarians,  M.W.Fox, E. Hodgkins and M.E.Smart, (2008) Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog & Cat Foods, Sanger, CA Quill Driver Books.


If you have a question or concern an would like to ask Dr. Fox about one of our products here is his email:

email: Dr. Michael Fox

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