Beyond Basic: Why a Heart Healthy Dog Dental Chew Matters

Most of us consider our dogs to be important members of their family and we prioritize their health and wellbeing. Sound like you? Paramount to their welfare is caring for their oral health, and research shows that failing to do so can lead to a variety of medical problems, ranging from minor to very serious. That being said, the statistics surrounding canine oral health are somewhat alarming. Over 80% of all dogs suffer from some form of dental disease by age 3, and even the most dedicated dog owners don’t brush their dog’s teeth regularly, if at all.

To support your dog’s oral health, dental chews should be an important part of his daily nutrition routine. While the number of options available to choose from can be overwhelming, your dog’s chew should be working well beyond providing a temporary burst of fresh breath. Your goal should be to serve a chew that is as multi-functional as possible in order to maximize the health benefits. It will also include things like glucosamine to increase mobility and support joint and hip health, and balanced omegas for healthy skin and a shiny coat.  Furthermore, look for natural non-GMO ingredients, and avoid artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. 

Smartmouth Dental chews

While finding a chew that meets these standards is a step in the right direction, we also worry about bigger issues such as how to ward off serious diseases that could impact our dogs. One prevalent topic is DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy) and the suspected link between serving a grain-free diet and heart disease. Concerns surrounding this frightening illness have generated an understandable amount of worry. While we can’t control everything that happens to our dogs, the subject of DCM has left many of us asking what we can do to try and keep their hearts as healthy as possible. Currently, Smartmouth™ from The Missing Link is the only dental chew on the market created to help optimize both your dog’s oral with added heart health ingredients by providing incredible benefits packed into one daily serving. That’s why it’s being recognized as the “beyond basic” chew. Not only is it the first dental chew to give your dog a daily supply of a vitamin supplement, it also contains three key heart healthy ingredients: flaxseed, nutritional yeast, and taurine. Below, we outline how these three ingredients can help keep your dog’s heart strong.

Flaxseed – When it comes topacking a nutritional punch, flaxseed is recognized as a standout in the superfood arena and has long been known to help with heart health. Flaxseed contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids (in the form of Alpha-linolenic Acid, or ALA), natural antioxidants in the form of lignans, and is full of naturally occurring trace vitamins and minerals.)Omega 3 fatty acids, commonly referred to as one of the good fats, are known for their antioxidating and anti-inflammatory properties and research has shown that adding them to a dog’s diet can positively affect their overall immune system. Flaxseed also contains lignans, which can support cardiovascular health.

Nutritional Yeast – Known as a food rich in antioxidants, it can help reduce stress levels, decrease toxins and support overall health. It’s also a great source of folate (B9) which has been known to help lower cholesterol. Additionally, vitamins B1-B6 are all necessary for detoxification, and vitamin B6 is especially important because it helps with red blood cell and nervous system function, hormone regulation, and more.

Taurine – Taurine is an amino acid known as being instrumental in overall vascular health and is needed to keep the heart strong and pumping optimally. It’s important to maintain adequate taurine levels in your dog’s body and including it in her chew can help. Despite many dogs being able to synthesize taurine through specific amino acids, they can still be susceptible to a deficiency. Genetics, breed, diet, or other causes may mean you need to be more on the lookout for a potential problem, so always talk with your vet to discuss concerns surrounding DCM.

Smartmouth Dental chews for dog dental month

The long-term benefits of a heart healthy chew are clear by now, but let’s not forget about the best short-term win of all for we fur parents: fresher breath and truly cleaner teeth! Smartmouth™ leads the pack in helping to make that dreaded dragon breath a thing of the past. At the same time, it deep cleans your pup’s teeth with unique bristle ridges and Stay-C™ (a patented form of Vitamin C) while helping to fight plaque and tartar build up. Did we mention it tastes great too?

Here’s to a happy and healthy life!

This article is for informational purposes only. Please always discuss any health concerns with your vet.


4 Ways Dental Care Impacts Your Dog’s Overall Health

If you are celebrating Pet Dental Month by taking care of your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, CONGRATULATIONS!  That extra effort you take will help keep those chompers pearly white, strong for eating, and — best of all – free of stinky dog breath for those up-close cuddles.

But did you know that by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and giving healthy dental chew products, you are doing far more than just making their smile bright?  You are actually helping their overall health and well-being.

Periodontal disease is an ugly and dangerous condition that happens five times more often in dogs than in people. It can lead not only to bleeding gums, bad breath and tooth loss – but also issues like diabetes and heart disease.  It is important to take preventative steps to avoid problems before they start.  Here’s what that dental TLC can do for your dog: 

  1. Reduce plaque to reduce infection.  Plaque is made up of bacteria, which signals the dog’s immune system to fight back with white blood cells. The white blood cells release enzymes that break down tissue — which can let bacteria enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body causing infections elsewhere, including the kidneys, liver and lungs. 
  2. Support Cardiovascular Health.  A dog’s heart and liver are especially susceptible to developing inflammation from dental disease. The bacteria that develops from periodontal disease is the same that can infect heart valves, causing an inflammation of the lining of the heart. Giving dental chews like The Missing Link® Smartmouth™ that contain heart healthy ingredients such as flaxseed, taurine and nutritional yeast aid in supporting cardiovascular health.
  3. Stop the vicious cycle.  Diabetic dogs tend to have higher levels of periodontal disease; in turn, the more severe the dental issues, the more serious the diabetes gets.  Once the dental issues are addressed, the diabetes is much easier to stabilize.
  4. Reduce weakness and pain.  A dog can, and will, still eat with a painful tooth and may not exhibit other tell-tale signs like excessive drooling or bleeding. They continue to live with the pain.  In smaller breeds, infections in the dog’s mouth can weaken their jaws making them susceptible to fracture because the bone has become unhealthy. Don’t be fooled by “normal” behavior. Problems may be lurking.

Our pups can’t tell us how they are feeling, or if they are in pain. But with good oral hygiene including regular Vet exams, tooth brushing, and treating with nutritional dental chews, you can be a Dental Hero and help keep your dog – from Maltese to Mastiff — pain free and healthy. And get fresh-breath kisses and tail wags as a thank you.

For the month of February, The Missing Link® is giving away four Happy Mouth Kits!  Check it out on Instagram to participate. 


The Perils of Gum Disease in Dogs, by Wendy Fries, WebMD Archives

5 Scary Consequences of Neglecting Your Dog’s Teeth by Dr. Hanie Elfendbein, DVM, PhD, Pet MD Archives