Being a dog owner can be a very confusing job when it comes to feeding your dog the right foods. Mixed messages on packaging and between different brands can make choosing the right product a scary task. To try and break it down, we’ve created the below list of important foods to avoid, which can lead to plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth.

  1. Wheat
  2. Rice or potato-based dental sticks
  3. Treats with fillers
  4. Kibble
  5. Leftovers

Wheat is a grain, which is a complex carbohydrate made up of starch which turns into sugar and fat. Just as humans should avoid eating lots of sugars for dental health, our pups need to avoid them as well. Bell & Bone healthy dental sticks and healthy dog treats are grain-free for this reason.

Rice and potato-based dental sticks are filled with starch. Foods that are heavily starch-rich have the tendency to stick to your dog’s teeth, which is detrimental to the build-up of plaque and tartar. When purchasing dental sticks (or any dog food/treats) avoid products that are filled with starches and sugars, as they could in fact be one of the causes of gum or dental disease, rather than the solution! A great alternative is a sweet potato, as it has far less sugar than a white potato and contains more antioxidants and vitamins.

“Fillers” is a term used to describe ingredients in pet food/treats which has little or no nutritional value. They are essentially ‘empty calories’ which aren’t providing any real benefit to your pup and can lead to unnecessary food consumption. When Bell & Bone created our Healthy Dog Dental Stick range we made them with meat-first ingredients, to ensure that everything inside the treats was purposeful and provided health benefits for your dog.

Our tip? If you read the back of the packet and don’t understand or know a bunch of the ingredients, don’t feed it to your dog. Try and incorporate only healthy, raw, and nutritious foods into their diet.

One common myth is that kibble can help clean your dog’s teeth. Dry/crunchy kibble can have the effect of removing some of the soft plaque and food particles that have stuck to your pups’ teeth, however, it’s not effective at removing the harder plaque which can form tartar, particularly which forms around the gum line. The gum line is where plaque and tartar can be most dangerous, as it can lead to gum disease and tooth decay in dogs.

One of the key issues with feeding our pups leftover or table scraps is that it can lead to overeating. Most of the time this food isn’t calculated into your pup's daily dietary needs, and as such can lead to your dog becoming overweight, which comes with an array of detrimental health concerns. A healthy and nutritious diet is not only important to dental and mouth health but to dogs' overall health and wellbeing.

Photo credits to @baileythepommalti 

Bell & Bone Dental Sticks are grain-free, have no fillers, and are made with 100% natural ingredients. We did this to create a solution, and help combat the incredibly high rate of dogs who do develop gum or dental disease. Available in Puppy Dental Sticks, Adult Dog Dental Sticks, and Senior Dog Dental Sticks.


Being a dedicated dog owner often involves asking the right questions, seeking the right advice, and, most importantly, checking in with your pup to make sure that it is healthy and happy.  We are in line with you on this, so if you have questions, you may head to our FAQs page for more answers to dog treat-related queries or send us a message, and I would love to chat with you. More than anything, it is my priority to keep you informed and empowered. 

November 12, 2020 — Arianne Sackville