Dental Home Care for Dogs

The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth

Home care is an essential part of taking care of your dog’s oral health. By the age of three, over 80% of dogs have active dental disease (American Veterinary Dental Society). More recent studies have reported the incidence of closer to 90%.

Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. However, only about 3% of affected dogs receive proper dental care (2003 AAHA Compliance Study). This poses a significant animal welfare concern.

Having a regular pet dental health check with your veterinarian while doing proper home maintenance is important to detect and manage dental disease in dogs.

The issue with our pets is that though they do process pain similarly to us, they cannot tell us if they have a toothache or when they have severe dental disease. Dogs are masters at hiding their pain. In order to survive, dogs do not show signs of discomfort. That’s why as a responsible dog owner, it is up to us to check and maintain our pet’s mouth regularly. Once dental diseases have reached the stage where it becomes evident to most dog owners, it is likely causing the dog to experience symptoms such as chronic pain, tooth loss, gum erosion, even bone loss as the supporting structures are weakened or lost.

It is important for your dog to have a daily plaque control program in place between professional veterinary dental treatments. Within 6 hours after a professional veterinary cleaning on a dog, plaque immediately starts to accumulate on the teeth. Within 24 hours, plaque begins to harden by combining with salts that are present in the saliva. The more the plaque is allowed to grow, it thickens, causes inflammation and becomes bacteria that is harmful in the mouth, being pathogenic. The plaque mineralizes and becomes tartar. This is why plaque control must be done on a daily basis—starting in a clean mouth only—in order to be effective. Source.

Dental health is a very important part of your dog’s overall health. Dental issues can cause other health problems. It is recommended that your dog’s teeth and gums be checked by your veterinarian at least once a year for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy; sooner if you observe any problems.

The Importance of Pet Dental Health

Dr. Brook Niemiec, DVM, DAVDC, FAVD from Veterinary Dental Specialties in San Diego, California speaks to why it is important to pay attention to pet dental health.

Understanding Periodontics

Periodontics is the brand of dentistry concerned with the study and treatment of the periodontium (the supporting structures of the tooth).

Periodontium:

  • Composed of the gingiva, periodontal ligament, alveolar and supporting bone (tooth socket), and the cementum of the tooth root
  • A unique collection of tissues that has a functional role in the oral cavity beyond anchoring the tooth in the bone
  • Is a dynamic system responding to attack from oral bacteria
  • Despite meticulous periodontal homecare and annual dental cleanings, periodontium is lost over time
  • There is increased attachment loss of the periodontium as the dog ages
Basic anatomy of the tooth and periodontium
Basic anatomy of the tooth and periodontium

Periodontics is a technique used to help slow the effects of periodontal disease.

The signs of gum disease is dependent upon what stage of periodontal disease your dog’s teeth are at. There are four stages of periodontal disease in dogs, with one being mild disease and four being severe disease. Additionally, not all teeth may be in the same stage of periodontal disease at any given time.

Periodontal disease is a collective term for a number of plaque-induced inflammatory lesions that affect the periodontium and is characterized by inflammation of these tissues, which subsequently leads to tissue destruction and loss.

  • Gum disease is caused by accumulation of bacteria (plaque) at the gum line often caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene and factors such as breed, diet, chewing behaviour, grooming habits, patient health status, home care, genetics and frequency of professional veterinary dental care
  • The number of bacteria below the gum line increases, and bacterial waste products, such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, acids, and other compounds, accumulate and damage tissues
  • The dog’s own response to this infection/inflammation causes tissue breakdown and loss of the tooth’s supporting tissues

Periodontal disease may be separated into two clinical conditions: gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by the invisible biofilm, plaque, of bacterial slime.

Periodontal Disease:

“Perio” means around, “Dontal” means tooth: “Periodontal disease” is disease around the outside of the tooth; infection and inflammation of the periodontium.

  • An inflammatory response by the supporting structures of the teeth (periodontium) is caused by accumulation of dental plaque in the space adjacent to the gingiva, as shown in a classic 4-year study in dogs
  • A disease process classified in stages; beginning with gingivitis (reversible stage) and progressing to periodontitis (the later stage of the disease process) when left untreated
  • Initiated not by increasing numbers of bacteria, but by a change in population of the oral microbiome
  • Initiated by oral bacteria which adhere to the teeth in a substance called plaque
  • Can cause tooth loss and jaw bone damage
  • The first sign of periodontal disease is bleeding on probing or brushing which occurs prior to a colour change
  • Periodontal infections have been linked to numerous systemic maladies including: heart, liver, and kidney disease as well as deleterious changes in systemic inflammatory markers
  • Many disease states of the dog may influence the severity of periodontal disease, but they do not initiate it
  • Great emphasis is placed on prevention as it is hard to control once it has developed

Primary cause is plaque.

Plaque:

Defined as a structured, resilient substance that adheres tenaciously to intraoral hard tissues and is a unique organism.

  • Invisible layer that organizes into a biofilm which is made up almost entirely of oral bacteria, contained in a matrix composed of salivary glycoproteins and extracellular polysaccharides
  • The biofilm is a unique environment in which nutrients (as well as oxygen) diffuse through the different layers, which supports changes in microbiotic composition and collects around the gingival sulcus of the tooth
  • A series of fluid channels exist within the plaque biofilm that facilitate nutrient delivery and waste removal; these channels act as a primitive circulatory system for the biofilm
  • For bacteria to initiate periodontal disease, they must remain attached to the oral tissues, and therefore adherence is an important aspect of periodontal disease. Teeth are particularly prone to bacterial adherence because they are hard, irregular, and non-shedding.
  • Plaque mineralizes into dental calculus (tartar)

  • Plaque happens fast; it accumulates within 6 hours immediately after a veterinary professional dental cleaning and will attach to clean teeth within 24 hours if not disturbed
  • Plaque becomes mineralized in some dogs much quicker than in others
  • Removing plaque mechanically (brushing) on a daily basis prevents bacteria from forming

You can't prevent disease that is already established. If you want to prevent periodontal disease you want to prevent harmful bacteria from below the gum line. If the plaque has built up to tartar, it's even more harder to remove. You can remove plaque but once tartar accumulates it's much harder and encased in mineral deposits.

If a plaque control regimen is established, the oral microbiome will return to normal within a few days resulting in the resolution of gingivitis.

Calculus:

Also known as tartar, the hardened form of bacterial plaque that has become calcified by the minerals in saliva.

  • This can occur on the first day of plaque formation (i.e., the day after a professional veterinary cleaning) as early as 4 hours after deposition of the plaque -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
  • Calculus in and of itself is relatively non-pathogenic, providing mostly an irritant effect
  • A brown or yellow deposit
  • Dental calculus exacerbates bacterial plaque growth
  • Once calculus forms on your dog’s teeth, it becomes more difficult to scrape away

Plaque and calculus may contain up to 100,000,000,000 (1012) bacteria per gram.

Bacteria within a biofilm are 1,000 to 1,500 times more resistant to antibiotics and concentrations of antiseptics up to 500,000 times that which would kill singular bacteria.

The animal’s immune system further damages these tissues through the release of harmful by-products from white blood cells as they attempt to destroy bacteria.

Minimal calculus and inflammation on a dog’s left maxillary fourth premolar- Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Minimal calculus and inflammation on a dog’s left maxillary fourth premolar - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
moderate calculus and inflammation on a dog’s left maxillary fourth premolar. - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Moderate calculus and inflammation on a dog’s left maxillary fourth premolar. - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Right maxillary premolars covered by tartar - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Right maxillary premolars covered by tartar - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Severe dental calculus - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Severe dental calculus - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM

Plaque causes inflammation. This inflammation is called gingivitis.

Gingiva:

  • Vital oral tissue
  • Plays an active role in cellular communication, responds to infection, and integrates the innate and acquired immune responses when challenged by bacteria
  • Becomes inflamed and bleeds easily; called gingivitis
Normal gingival tissues. The gingiva is coral pink (except where pigmented). There is no evidence of gingival inflammation or plaque/calculus o the teeth. -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Normal gingival tissues. The gingiva is coral pink (except where pigmented). There is no evidence of gingival inflammation or plaque/calculus o the teeth. -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Gingival index zero, lack of inflammation, normal
Gingival index zero, lack of inflammation, normal moderate calculus and inflammation on a dog’s left maxillary fourth premolar. - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM

Gingivitis:

Defined as inflammation of the gingiva in response to plaque antigen; is classically thought of as the inflammation induced by plaque bacteria.

Gingivitis Intraoral picture of the right maxillary fourth premolar (108) of a dog with gingivitis - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Gingivitis Intraoral picture of the right maxillary fourth premolar (108) of a dog with gingivitis - Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM

Gingivitis:

  • Initiated by the bacteria in dental plaque but is multifactorial in nature
  • Gums become inflamed, swollen and red
  • Caused by the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which leads to infection of the gums
  • First sign of periodontal disease THE BEST TIME TO TREAT
  • Reversible inflammation of the marginal gingival tissues that does not affect the periodontal ligament or the alveolar bone
  • While reversible and preventable with proper care, bone loss, once it starts, is not reversible
  • Inflammation will continue as long as the gingiva is exposed to a bacterial biofilm and will resolve after its removal -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
  • Calculus acts as an irritant as well as a rough surface for plaque attachment, but is in and of itself essentially non-pathogenic
  • Calculus, while an indicator, is not an accurate marker as to level of disease
  • While colour change is a reliable sign of disease, it is now known that increased gingival bleeding on probing occurs prior to a colour change
Intraoral pictures of the left maxillary third premolar (a) and left mandibular canine (b) in a dog with bleeding induced by probing. Note that the gingiva appears normal and there is minimal calculus.-Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Intraoral pictures of the left maxillary third premolar (a) and left mandibular canine (b) in a dog with bleeding induced by probing. Note that the gingiva appears normal and there is minimal calculus. -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM

Gingivitis (Continued)

  • Plaque control via professional cleanings and homecare is the ideal form of therapy
  • Inflammation of the gum tissue, gingiva, with or without loss of the supporting structure(s) are shown with X-rays
  • If left untreated, can progress to a more serious condition called periodontal disease; which can cause tooth loss, jaw bone damage and can be associated with health issues such as kidney, heart and liver diseases
  • Disease progresses and the destruction of the periodontium begins to occur (loss of alveolar bone, periodontal ligament, and gingiva)

    Quite often the terms periodontitis and periodontal disease are used interchangeably, though this is not actually accurate. Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (inflammation [reddening] of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth).

    Pets with untreated gingivitis may develop periodontitis.

Periodontitis:

Greek

  • peri, means around
    • odous, means tooth
      • itis, means inflammation

Is defined as an inflammatory disease of the deeper supporting structures of the tooth (periodontal ligament and alveolar bone) caused by microorganisms, resulting in progressive destruction of the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone with pocket formation, recession, or both.

  • The clinical feature that distinguishes it from gingivitis is the presence of clinically detectable attachment loss
  • The primary cause of gingivitis and periodontitis is accumulation of dental plaque on the tooth surface
  • Calculus (tartar) is only a secondary etiological factor
  • A gradual condition that typically doesn’t show any obvious signs or symptoms in dogs until it reaches more advanced stages
  • The more severe and later stage of periodontal disease process; gingivitis progresses to periodontitis and the oral inflammatory changes intensify
  • Periodontal disease (both gingivitis and periodontitis) is initiated when oral bacteria adhere to the teeth in a substance called plaque
Severe gingivitis early periodontitis -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Severe gingivitis early periodontitis -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Severe gingivitis early periodontitis -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Severe gingivitis early periodontitis -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM

The Prevalence of Periodontal Disease in Pets:

Dr. Brook Niemiec, DVM, DAVDC, FAVD from Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties in San Diego, California speaks to why it is important to pay attention to pet dental health.

Systemic Manifestations of Periodontal Disease (gingivitis is sufficient to cause harmful systemic effects):

  • Liver and kidneys
  • Heart
  • Lungs -an increased incidence of chronic respiratory disease (COPD) as well as pneumonia
  • Brain
  • Malignancies – a risk factor for oral neoplasia; periodontal disease is linked to distant neoplasia such as gastrointestinal, kidney, pancreatic, and hematological cancers
  • Adverse pregnancy effects

Systemic diseases that affect the immune system tend to worsen periodontal disease.

The most common systemic diseases that affect periodontal health are:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Corticosteroid use
  • Chemotherapeutic regimens

Consequences of Periodontal Disease:

Periodontal disease has numerous severe effects: 

  • Abscesses
  • Fractures 
  • Ocular damage and possible blindness 
  • Increased risk of oral cancer
  • Oronasal fistulas; generally seen in older, small breed dogs
  • Osteomyelitis
Intraoral picture of the maxillary right of a dog with an oronasal fistula of the maxillary canine -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Intraoral picture of the maxillary right of a dog with an oronasal fistula of the maxillary canine -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Picture of a Pug with a chronic, severe ocular infection and retrobulbar abscess of the left eye. This eventually led to enucleation of the eye. -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Picture of a Pug with a chronic, severe ocular infection and retrobulbar abscess of the left eye. This eventually led to enucleation of the eye. -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Significant periodontal disease and oral neoplasia. -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Significant periodontal disease and oral neoplasia. -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Severe osteomyelitis of the left hemi-mandible -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM
Severe osteomyelitis of the left hemi-mandible -Veterinary Periodontology Brook A. Niemiec, DVM

Watch for Early Signs of Dental Disease: (animal’s are experts at hiding pain)

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Yellow tartar buildup on the teeth
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty eating or chewing; dropping food and hard treats
  • Rubbing the face on carpets and furniture
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Decreased activity

Daily plaque control for pets is a combination of both professional care from your veterinarian and home care. It is recommended that your veterinarian check your dog’s mouth at least yearly and make a plan that works best for your dog. Some dogs may require more frequent cleaning and check-ups due to their breed, diet, chewing behaviour, grooming habits, patient health status, home care, genetics and frequency of professional veterinary dental care.

To minimize the need for professional veterinary dental scaling procedures and to maintain optimal oral health, the AVDC recommends daily dental home care from an early age. This should include brushing or use of other effective techniques to retard accumulation of dental plaque. This, combined with periodic examination of your dog by a veterinarian will optimize life-long oral health for your dog.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth:

Dr. Brook Niemiec, DVM, DAVDC, DEVDC demonstrates with Stella. Watch all steps and learn how to start brushing your dog’s teeth appropriately.

The gold standard for excellent oral health is maintained by brushing. 

However, learn when brushing your dog’s teeth may be worse than useless:

The key to success with dental home care is finding a product that works well for the pet owner and is acceptable to the pet. However, how do you know if the product you’re using to prevent tartar is actually working? There are a number of products in the pet market that claim to be of benefit yet have no credible evidence to back their claims.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)®

Regular use of products carrying the VOHC Seal will reduce the severity of periodontal disease in pets.

VOHC Seal of Approval
VOHC Seal of Approval

The VOHC is an entity of the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC). The VOHC exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs (and cats). Products are awarded the VOHC Seal of Acceptance following review of data from trials conducted according to VOHC protocols. The VOHC does not test products itself.

The VOHC was established as an organization within the AVDC, and officially launched during the Veterinary Dental Forum meeting in Denver in 1997. Their formal policy on awarding the VOHC product Seal was adopted in 2003.

In the 1980s, it was noticed that there was an accelerating number of products entering the pet market that claimed to help prevent or treat periodontal disease in dogs. Often these claims were made with no scientific support. Due to the lack of scientific evidence, these products would seek the endorsement of veterinarians, veterinary dentists and veterinary dental organizations in order to obtain credibility.

It was acknowledged that veterinarians and pet owners may be confused by the market in plaque and calculus retardation in the lack of any unbiased means of recognizing effective products, and the need for and issues associated with “endorsement” of veterinary dental products was discussed at the Veterinary Dental Forum. An open meeting in 1989 was held during the annual meeting of the American Veterinary Dental Society, the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, and the American Veterinary Dental College. The VOHC idea developed from informal discussions among interested individuals.

Under the sponsorship of AVDC in 1991, a full-day meeting on veterinary dental product endorsement was held. This included presentations by representatives of American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), American Dental Association (ADA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) with discussion of the applicable AVMA policies on ethics, and the US Food and Drug Administration – Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM). With concerns declared regarding conflict of interest and other ethical issues, financial and liability implications, and need for credibility, a need for a system was recognized.

The Consultant Panel reached an agreement to develop this product review and acceptance system after further communication continued with the sponsorship of the University of Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, 1994, a 2-day meeting of a Consultant Panel consisting of 35 veterinary dentists, scientists, and representatives of dental organizations was held. A consensus was made to develop a product review and acceptance system. A protocol, confidentiality and conflict-of-interest statements were established (1995).

How The VOHC Works:

There are so many dental products in the pet market making claims that they were beneficial and maintained and improved oral health in dogs. However, none of these products hold any true research substantiating any of these claims. This council was established so that products could uphold the same research and clinical trials so pet professionals and pet owners could confidently compare products that worked effectively.

If a company has a product that they feel would be of benefit to dogs in the control of plaque and/or tartar, they may voluntarily apply to the VOHC for their Seal of Acceptance.

The council does not perform the research and clinical trials themselves, however; they set the standards and protocols for products in which companies may choose whether or not to participate and apply for the Seal of Acceptance. This is a rigorous and challenging process with the default acceptance being no. Results must show a 10% reduction in plaque or tartar (20% for chemical plaque control) in both trials as well as a statistically significant difference (p<0.05) in both trials. You can read the interpretation of claims, protocols, submission formats, and the VOHC process following a submission here.

Why is the VOHC Seal Important?

You can be sure products with the VOHC Seal are safe and repeatably effective, where valid research has been done according to the standardized protocols demonstrating a statistically significant benefit to pets.

With the option to apply for the Seal of Acceptance as more products enter the market, pressure is put on manufacturers to perform credible research. With an increase of research being submitted, this assists in the scientific knowledge of dental health in pets.

The Seal of Acceptance makes searching for products easier and more visible for both veterinary professionals and pet owners.

Prevention of Dental Disease in Dogs:

The prevention and control of periodontal disease in pets always requires a multi-modal approach. Daily plaque control for pets is a combination of both professional care from your veterinarian and home maintenance.

A 10 or 20% reduction in plaque or tartar alone will not prevent periodontal disease so it is recommended to not place all trust in a product with the VOHC Seal of Acceptance.

There are two approaches to homecare for pet owners – active homecare and passive homecare.

Active Homecare:

Refers to “hands-on” where the pet owner is physically involved with removing plaque and maintaining oral hygiene.

Active homecare is proven to be the most effective when performed correctly.

Example:

  • Tooth brushing is considered to be the gold standard when it comes to plaque removal and oral hygiene maintenance for dogs
  • Applying anti-plaque agents directly into the mouth

Passive Homecare:

Refers to all the other parts of an oral hygiene program that may help reduce plaque in the dog’s mouth, but that does not require a direct interaction/involvement of the pet owner.

Example:

  • Formulated diets that have a dental benefit
  • Chews to help reduce plaque accumulation

Picking a Product:

Daily use of products awarded the VOHC Seal will help to keep your dog’s teeth clean, as well as the gum tissues and bone around the roots healthy.

Understanding periodontal disease, the pathogensis, and the risk to health are key to selecting appropriate products while knowing the mechanism of action of the product.

Find a product that works well for you and is accepted by your pet.

VOHC accepted products are listed according to categories:

VOHC® Accepted Products for Dogs:

  • Dental Diets
  • Rawhide Chews
  • Edible Chew Treats
  • Water Additive, Oral Gel Spray and Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes and Wipes
  • Professional Teeth Sealant

VOHC® Accepted Dental Diets for Dogs:

Eukanuba® Adult Maintenance Diet for Dogs, Iams Company

  • VOHC Claim – tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2003

Science Diet Oral Care, Hill’s Pet Nutrition

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2001

HealthyAdvantage™ Oral Care for Dogs, Hill’s Pet Nutrition

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2018

Royal Canin® Veterinary Care Nutrition™ Canine Dental

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

Royal Canin® Veterinary Care Nutrition™ Canine Dental Small Dog

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

Canagan Dental for Dogs, Symply Pet Foods LTD

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

Prescription Diet® Canine t/d®: Original Bites, Hill’s Pet Nutrition

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 1998
  • Available by Veterinarian Only

Prescription Diet® Canine t/d®: Small Bites, Hill’s Pet Nutrition

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 1998
  • Available by Veterinarian Only

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets (PPVD) DH Canine Formula Dry Dog Food, Nestle Purina Petcare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2006
  • Available by Veterinarian Only

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets (PPVD) DH Small Bites Canine Formula Dry Dog Food, Nestle Purina Petcare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2006
  • Available by Veterinarian Only

VOHC® Accepted Rawhide Chews for Dogs:

Purina Busy HeartyHide Chew Treats, Nestle Purina Petcare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2006
  • Available by Veterinarian Only

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets (PPVD) Dental Chewz™ Dog Treats, Nestle Purina Petcare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2006
  • Available by Veterinarian Only

VOHC® Accepted Edible Chew Treats for Dogs:

For Chew and Treat Products, be sure to feed the right size – check the package for the right weight range for your dog.

Tartar Shield Soft Rawhide Chews for Dogs, Therametric Technology

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2007
  • Available by Veterinarian Only

Canine Greenies® – five sizes, Greenies-Mars PetCare; Also available in FreshMint, Blueberry and Pumpkin Spice flavors

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2007

Canine Greenies® Weight Management, five sizes, Greenies-Mars PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2008

Checkups Chews for Dogs, Sugar Creek, Diamond Foods

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2008

Canine Greenies® Hip and Joint Care Chews, all sizes, Greenies-Mars PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2014

Canine Greenies® Canine Grain-Free Dental Chews, Greenies-Mars PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2014

Improved Milk-Bone Brushing Chews for Dogs, Big Heart Pet Brands

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2014

OraVet® Dental Hygiene Chews for Dogs, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc.

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2016

Purina DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dog Treats, North American sizes, Nestle Purina PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2016

Purina DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dog Treats, European Sizes, Nestle Purina PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2017

Hill’s Science Diet Canine Oral Care Chews, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2017

ProDen PlaqueOff Dental Bites, SwedenCare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2017

Purina DentaLife Advanced Clean Treats, Nestle Purina PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2017

Member’s Mark Dental Treats, Sam’s West

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2018

HealthyMouth® Chew Treat – Gel Combination, HealthyMouth, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2018

Pedigree® Dentastix™ Advanced, Mars Petcare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2018

Canine Greenies® Aging Care Dental Chews, four sizes, Greenies-Mars PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2019

Canine Greenies® Puppy Dental Chews, four sizes, Greenies-Mars PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2019

WHIMZEES BRUSHZEES Dental Dog Treats, all sizes, WellPet

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2019

WHIMZEES Toothbrush Dental Dog Treats, all sizes, WellPet

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2019

C.E.T.® VEGGIEDENT® FR3SH Chews for Dogs, all sizes, Virbac

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

C.E.T.® VEGGIEDENT® Zen Chews for Dogs, all sizes, Virbac

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

C.E.T.® VEGGIEDENT® Flex Chews for Dogs, all sizes, Virbac

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

CLENZ-A-DENT® Dental Sticks, Nextmune BV

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2021

Purina DentaLife ActivFresh Daily Oral Care, European size, Nestle Purina PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2021

Purina Pro Plan Dental Care, Nestle Purina PetCare

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2021

ProDen PlaqueOff® Dental Care Bones for Large and Small Dogs, SwedenCare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2022

Yummy Combs Treats for Dogs, Pet’s Best Life LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2022

VOHC® Accepted Water Additive, Oral Gel, Oral Spray, Toothpaste, Powder to be added to Food for Dogs:

HealthyMouth® Water Additive for Dogs, HealthyMouth, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2008

HealthyMouth® Topical Gel for Dogs, HealthyMouth, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2011

HealthyMouth® Topical Spray for Dogs, HealthyMouth, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2011

Petsmile by Supersmile toothpaste, SuperSmile (Robell Res)

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2011

HealthyMouth™ Mobility Water Additive for Dogs, HealthyMouth, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2014

Pettura Oral Care Gel, Lifes2Good

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2015

HealthyMouth® Nutrineeds for Dogs Water Additive, HealthyMouth, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2018

pet::ESSENTIAL™ HealthyMouth® with NutriNeeds™ by W. Jean Dodds, DVM Daily Dental Care & Nutrition Care-in-One water additive, with SuperFood Toppers. 25 varieties, with SuperFood Toppers. HealthyMouth NutriNeeds, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2018

ProDen PlaqueOff Powder, SwedenCare

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2019

CEVA Clenz-A-Dent ProDen PlaqueOff powder for Dogs, CEVA 

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

TropiClean Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

TropiClean Fresh Breath Advanced Whitening Dental Health Solution, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

TropiClean Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution Digestive Support, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

TropiClean Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution Hip & Joint, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

TropiClean Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution Supports Skin Health, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

Naturél Promise Fresh Dental Dental Health Solution, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

Naturél Promise Fresh Dental Dental Health Solution Hip & Joint, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2020

TropiClean Fresh Breath Certified Wellness Collection Dental Health Solution for Dogs, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2021

TropiClean Fresh Breath Certified Wellness Collection Dental Health Solution Hip & Joint for Dogs, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2021

TropiClean Fresh Breath Certified Wellness Collection Dental Health Solution Digestive for Dogs, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2021

TropiClean Fresh Breath Certified Wellness Collection Dental Health Solution Supports Skin Health for Dogs, Cosmos Corporation

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2021

Bluestem Water Additive, Stem Animal Health

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2022

Vetradent Liquid Water Additive, Dechra Veterinary Products

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2022

Plaqtiv+ Oral Care Water Additive, Animalcare Group PLC

  • VOHC Claim – Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2022

VOHC® Accepted Toothbrushes & Wipes for Dogs:

ADA-compliant soft-bristle, flat head toothbrush, (Various)

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2014

HealthyMouth® Toothpast/Brush Kit Combination for Dogs, Medium/Large Breed, HealthyMouth, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2015

HealthyMouth™ Anti-Plaque Wipes for Dogs, HealthyMouth, LLC

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque
  • Awarded Seal in 2016

VOHC® Accepted Professional Tooth Sealant for Dogs:

SANOS® Dental Sealant (for professional use only), AllAccem

  • VOHC Claim – Plaque, Tartar
  • Awarded Seal in 2011
  • Available by Veterinarian Only

Dental Trends to Avoid:

In the United States and Canada, only licensed veterinarians can practice veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine includes veterinary surgery, medicine and dentistry. Anyone providing dental services other than a licensed veterinarian, or a supervised and trained veterinary technician, is practicing veterinary medicine without a license and shall be subject to criminal charges.

AVDC position “Companion Animal Dental Scaling Without Anesthesia” states that the procedure is inappropriate for a number of reasons.

The College of Veterinarians of Ontario: College Statement on Recent Court Decision on Use of Cosmetic Teeth Cleaning

Clients should be informed that nonanesthetic scaling of teeth is a purely cosmetic procedure; nonanesthetic scaling does not improve oral or systemic health, and can cause pain, fear, bleeding, and infection. Groomers and others should never be allowed to scale a pet’s teeth. Scaling of teeth must always be accompanied by polishing and only be done by trained veterinary professionals operating in a clinical setting with an anesthetized animal.

*Remember these Rules of Thumb

  • The Knee-Cap Rule: “If you would not want me to hit you in the knee cap with it, do not let your dog chew on it!” For very small dogs, “if your dog would not want me to hit them in the knee cap with it, do not let them chew on it.” -Dr. Fraser Hale, DVM, FAVD, DiplAVDC, Board Certified Veterinary Dental Specialist

According to Dr. Hale, to test whether a potential item is too hard for your dog’s teeth, take the item (bone, antler etc.) and hit your own knee cap with it. If it hurts, it is too hard and should not be given to your dog.

  • “Hammer Rule”: If you can drive a nail with the product, don’t allow your dog to chew on it.
  • The Fingernail Test: Pressing your fingernail to the surface of the chew should leave a dent. The ideal dog chew has some give, and a safe dog toy should let you leave a mark.

The health of your dog’s mouth has a huge impact on their overall heath and wellbeing. Maintaining oral health is crucial to keeping your dog healthy and happy.

Veterinary Periodontology – Brook A. Niemiec, DVM, DAVDC, FAVD

Enjoy this comprehensive yet user-friendly reference on periodontal disease in dogs and cats, encompassing etiology, pathogenesis, and clinical features. Emphasizing clinical management of this common dental disease, this book covers basic as well as advanced treatments, offering practical instruction on therapeutic procedures.

Veterinary Periodontology builds on existing human-based knowledge to provide veterinary-specific information on the periodontal disease process, therapies, patient management, and instrumentation.

The book presents detailed information in an accessible format, including numerous step-by-step procedures for use in the clinic. Full-color images aid in comprehension.

Veterinary Periodontology is beneficial for anyone who practices veterinary dentistry, including specialists, general practitioners, students, and technicians.

Synergistically Yours,

Danielle

Sheepdog Riggs, Forever in Our hearts

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