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Veterinary dentist Dr. Jan Bellows compiled this list of food, treats and more that are proven effective in maintaining the health of pets' teeth.
First and foremost, if you see the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of acceptance on a product's label, you can feel confident in recommending that product to your clients for dental home care. Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP, FAVD, says that only 32 dog and 12 cat products have been approved by the VOHC. What does approval signify? “VOHC awards its VOHC Accepted Seal only to products that decrease accumulation of plaque and/or calculus by at least 20% through a data review system,” says Dr. Bellows.
The VOHC seal of acceptance. (All photos courtesy of Dr. Jan Bellows)For a more comprehensive look at your options, see The ultimate guide to veterinary dental home care. On to the review of specific veterinary dental products …
1. Tooth brushing
Daily brushing of a pet's teeth is the gold standard of veterinary dental home care, says Dr. Bellows.
PetSmile Toothpaste (Supersmile) with calcium peroxide (Calprox) is the only VOHC-accepted toothpaste.Click here for more information.
2. Dental care diets
You just have to feed a dry diet to keep plaque and calculus off teeth, right? There's more to it than that. These specially formulated foods “work through combining increased fiber content with a size, palatability and pattern (texture) that promotes chewing and maximizes contact with the canines and cheek teeth,” says Dr. Bellows.
Prescription Diet t/d Dental Health (Hill's Pet Nutrition) comes in two sizes-large bites ...
... and small bites.Click here for more information.
3. Waxy polymer application
The polymer in this product adheres to a pet's teeth and “significantly decreases plaque and calculus formation by creating an invisible barrier that decreases bacterial attachment,” says Dr. Bellows.
OraVet (Merial) home care application.Click here for more information.
4. Dental sealant application
Dr. Bellows says the polymers in this product “form a film in the gingival sulcus, hindering plaque attachment to the gingival margin and sulcus.”
SANOS dental sealant (AllAccem).Click here for more information.
5. Water additives
You've heard the phrase "Just add water," but for these products you just add to water to reduce the accumulation of plaque, tartar or both.
Vetradent Biotrate (Dechra) water additive for dogs and cats.Click here for more information.
6. Soluble zinc salt gel
These gels act as antibacterial agents, decreasing plaque formation and that notorious bad breath.
Maxi/Guard Oral Cleansing Gel (Addison Biological Laboratory).Click here for more information.
7. Soluble dental chews
These treats remove plaque or tartar mechanically-rubbing and scrubbing it away.
C.E.T. VeggieDent chew (Virbac).Click here for more information.
8. Dental chews with delmopinol
Delmopinol, an anti-plaque agent, lowers the cohesion and attachment of plaque to teeth.
OraVet Dental Hygiene Chew (Merial).Click here for more information.
9. Chlorhexidine additive in rawhide chew
A little of this disinfectant in a dental chew goes a long way toward improved dental health.
C.E.T. HEXtra dog chews (Virbac).Click here for more information.
10. Dental wipes
These medicated wipes not only remove plaque sitting on the teeth but also contain plaque control agents to help prevent buildup.
DentAcetic Dental Wipes (Dechra) with sodium hexametaphosphate.