Estimates suggest that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the time they are three years old! It is recommended that you brush your pet’s teeth once a day to scrub off the bacteria and plaque that can lead to periodontal disease that can lead to gum inflammation, bleeding and tooth loss. But, life gets busy, and sometimes it’s hard to find time to brush our own teeth let along your cat’s or dog’s. Not to mention the fight most pets put up when you get a toothbrush anywhere close to their mouth (after they lick off all the tasty pet-specific toothpaste).

Dental chews are great for the days you can’t find time to brush your pet’s teeth, or to use as supplemental help along with your pet’s daily brushing. Pets are natural chewers – they chew to explore new objects, for mental stimulation when they are bored, and to relieve some anxiety. Recreational chewing already fights plaque buildup, and dental chews satisfy your pet’s natural instincts while their texture, shape and ingredients help to maximize plaque-fighting efforts. Many dental treats also have ingredients that help to freshen your pet’s breath.

Many dental chews, treats and water additives have been found to help keep your pets teeth clean – just look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval! This is an organization that evaluates pet products to see if they meet standards for reducing plaque or tartar. Approved foods, treats and chews must reduce plaque or tartar by at least 10% to achieve the VOHC seal (if a chemical anti-plaque agent is used, it needs to reduce plaque or tartar by at least 20%). Some treats and diets have been found to reduce plaque by nearly 70 percent!

If you give your pet treats every day, swap out one of their daily snacks for a dental treat, but don’t solely rely on them to provide your pet with adequate dental care. Continue to brush your pet’s teeth to reach the areas of their mouth that plaque may be building up, and schedule your annual dental cleaning for your pet. Dental cleanings at the vet will provide your pet with an in-depth tooth and gum analysis, a deep cleaning of their mouth, and a check-up for any indicated health problems on the rise.

During the month of September, save 10% on dental cleanings! Contact your clinic to learn more and to book your appointment today. While you’re here, check out our selection of VOHC-approved dental chews and treats as well!