The Team at Jimbo’s began the Dental Trial by calling for volunteers in a newsletter earlier in the year. We found eight dogs that fit our criteria and were excited to trial a raw food diet. These dogs were of mixed breeds, ages and sexes (you can see their photos at the top of this report), and had varied meal plans which all included an amount of dry food and/or supermarket dog roll. Their owners signed them up to our feeding programme for the next few months.
Our criteria for finding dogs were as follows:
- Dog participant (and owner!) had to be willing to travel to Jimbo’s Headquarters roughly once a fortnight for several months,
- Dog had to be comfortable having his/her mouth handled, and needed to be able to remain still for dental photographs,
- Dog’s diet could not currently contain regular bones,
- Dog’s owner had to be happy to feed only a structured raw food diet designed by the Jimbo’s Team for three-four months.
The first step after recruiting our Dental Trial stars was to transition each dog onto its new diet – this means we slowly introduced Jimbo’s into each dog’s current diet so that their tummies did not get upset by any sudden changes. Any time you make a big change in your pet’s diet we recommend allowing a bit of a transition time. Meat in comparison to dry food, for example, requires different bacteria and enzymes for digestion. Taking several days to change the food over completely gives the stomach time to acclimatise to what it needs to do. We allowed a maximum of 14 days to completely transition the Jimbo’s Dental Trial dogs onto their raw food diets.
The Jimbo’s Team designed a 100% raw food diet that worked to a recommended ratio of 80% meat, 10% bone and 10% offal.
Below is the general feeding plan that each dog followed:
- 50% Jimbo’s Beef,
- 50% meat/offal/bone all-in-one product (either Jimbo’s Chicken Sausages OR our Power Patties),
- A size-appropriate bone a day (either Jimbo’s Veal Bones OR our Chicken Necks).
Once each dog was fully transitioned onto this diet the trial ran for another three months.
Photos of each dog’s teeth and gums were taken at the initial visit (before the raw food diet was implemented), roughly once a fortnight after this, and at the final consultation three months after the 100% raw diet had started. Each dog’s mouth received a visually-identified ‘dental grading’ from 0-4 depending on the amount of plaque/tartar apparent on the teeth, swelling and redness of the gums and inflammation of the gumline. Our dental grading system was structured as follows:
- Grade 0: None or a very small amount of tartar, no gum inflammation, no gum recession.
- Grade 1: Mild tartar, none or a very small amount of gum inflammation, no gum recession.
- Grade 2: Moderate tartar, some gum inflammation, no gum recession.
- Grade 3: Moderate tartar, obvious gum inflammation and some gum recession.
- Grade 4: Severe tartar and calculus, severe gum inflammation and recession.
NOTE: By our grading system if a cat or dog’s teeth is classed as Grade 3 or higher this means moderate-severe periodontal disease is evident. Damage to gum tissue by this point is irreversible, but dental hygiene could be managed through appropriate treatment. Veterinary intervention is usually required to remove the stubborn tartar on the teeth, and – especially in the case of Grade 4 teeth – dental extractions are often required to remove the source of infection.
At the initial consultation with the Jimbo’s Team, our eight trial dog participants showed the following dental grades:
- Grade 0 = 2 dogs
- Grade 1 = 4 dogs
- Grade 2 = 2 dogs
For the dogs with Grade 0 teeth, we wanted to prove that our raw food diet could maintain their great standard of dental health.
For dogs with Grade 1-2 teeth we wanted to show that our raw food diet could improve their dental health.