Canine VOHC Approved Products
By Dr. Karen Burgess
The Veterinary Oral Health Council was developed by leaders from the veterinary dental industry to objectively evaluate products that claim to prevent dental tartar and plaque. Product makers must submit statistical proof on their product’s performance to fulfill the Council’s predetermined criteria. Those that have successfully obtained certification can be found on the VOHC website and carry the VOHC seal.
T/D Diet/Oral Care Diet
Prescription Diet T/D is a completely balanced food for dogs that was developed to help prevent plaque, tartar, gingivitis, and bad breath (halitosis). Many Healthy Paws’ patients have in fact taste-tested T/D in the exam room. Pet owners have mistakenly been led to believe that eating a kibble dog food alone helps prevent dental disease. Most dry dog food actually shatters or crumbles immediately after a pet bites into it thus providing very little mechanical cleansing. T/D kibbles are designed to “stick together” thus encouraging more chewing and essentially scrubbing the teeth as the dog or cat eats. The maximum benefit comes from feeding T/D as an exclusive diet after a professional dental cleaning. There has been lesser benefit shown in feeding as little as 25% of the daily diet as T/D. There is also evidence that “dirty” teeth and the associated gumline benefits after 4 months of feeding T/D diet, however this should be done with caution as a pet’s with significant dental disease that is not first addressed may experience pain from eating a dental diet. Similar to all prescription diets, T/D is 100% guaranteed and returnable. Oral Care is an over the counter alternative to T/D with the kibble size being the primary difference. Gingivitis is not addressed by Oral Care while it is by T/D.
Purina Dental Chewz Dog Treats
Purina Dental Chews are a beefhide (rawhide) treat that has been statistically shown to reduce buildup of tartar. Remember that treats should not make up more than 10% of a pet’s caloric intake. Each rawhide is 56 kcals. As always, monitor pets when eating rawhide chews to ensure that they are being thoroughly chewed.
Tartar Shield Soft Rawhide Chews
An American made chewstick made of pulverized rawhide, Tartar Shield was developed by a dental scientist and has been proven to decrease tartar by 54%, plaque by 40%, gingivitis by 28%, and malodor by 19% when used daily. Tartar Shield comes in a variety of sizes and comes with a money back guarantee.
Virbac CET VeggieDent Chews
Healthy Mouth Water Additive
A unique and completely natural (free of synthetic ingredients or artificial flavors, read the ingredient list and see for yourself), Healthy Mouth has been shown to decrease plaque by over 70%. Sold in a concentrated form that is mixed with water, Healthy Mouth is both palatable and helpful. Ideally begin to use Healthy Mouth at 6 months of age or when adult teeth are erupting.
Greenies (Original, Lite, Senior, Veterinary Formula, Hip and Joint)
Greenies brand has a wide variety of treats that have been clinically proven to prevent plaque and tartar. While there are many products available in retail stores that resemble Greenies, only the brand name version has been proven to help with dental disease. In 2006 the Greenie product was reformulated to prevent issues that had been previously noted with digestibility (treats were being swallowed whole and were contributing to gastrointestinal obstruction). While this issue has been addressed and is no longer an issue, any pet eating a treat should be monitored to ensure that they are chewing it into smaller pieces. Anything can be a choking risk, but larger treats and an overly exuberant pet can be a dangerous combination.