Pet Dental Health Month and the VOHC Seal of Acceptance

Whew! Can you believe this month is already over? Wow! As some of you may have noticed, February was Pet Dental Health Month. We celebrated it at home by doing our Greenies Challenge. The results with our dogs teeth have been amazing but you’re going to have to wait a few more days for us to visit the vet for their post-challenge evaluation and for me to make the video so make sure you come back and check that out!

Why You Should Care About Dental Health for Your Pet

Here at ILRA, we really love that there is a Pet Dental Health Month. It is so important to the overall health of our furry companions and yet so few pet parents know just how serious poor oral health can be. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “it’s estimated that by the age of two, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease.” The problem with having poor dental health is that it affects the functioning of the rest of the body. Teeth can break, rot, even fall out. This makes eating difficult. Even more importantly, bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, especially if gingivitis is present, and this can affect the vital organs. “Periodontal infections have been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life threatening disorders.” That is serious!

Of course, the most recommended way to prevent periodontal disease in pets is to brush their teeth. Even for the most dedicated pet parents, however, that can be difficult to pull off, especially weekly or even daily as needed. I can’t even imagine trying to brush the teeth of 3 dogs and 6 cats daily. It would take hours and not all animals are as accommodating and laid back as Spunky is. Luckily, there are a lot of foods and dental treats out there that are made to help reduce periodontal disease in dogs and cats.


About the VOHC

But how are you as a consumer supposed to know what products really work? A good place to start is to look for products with the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Acceptance. The VOHC is an organization founded in 1997 that “exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs and cats.” In order to gain the seal on their products, companies must conduct trials and submit the results to the VOHC. The trials have to show a significant improvement in oral health versus non-use of the product and must use ingredients that have been proven safe for pets. There are various other rules and standards that must be met in order for the product to be approved. It’s a nice way to know that the product you are buying, if used as directed, will help reduce plaque and tartar in your dog or cat. For a list of products currently sporting the VOHC Seal of Acceptance, you can check out their ever growing product list here.

If you only take one thing from this post I hope it is this: oral health is just as important in our pets as it is for us. Hopefully what you learned during this month will encourage you to continue these practices over the rest of the year. I know that after the great strides we’ve seen in our dogs’ oral health this month, we will continue to use dental treats (like Greenies, which boast the VOHC Seal) so our boys will lead healthier, happier lives!

An Added Bonus!

Want to know something really cool? Because we wrote this post about VOHC, Greenies is going to donate $25 to the AAHA Helping Pets Fund! How cool is that? You can do the same to help them even more but you have to hurry! You can also help donate $1 simply by tweeting about the #VOHC. Be sure to use the hashtag! To learn more, check out the Greenies Writer’s Pad.

Shelter Sketches: Meet Jake

This pup’s eyes are killing me. I just want to give him smooches!

Meet Jake

Jake is a male mixed breed estimated to be about 2 years old. He’s tan with gorgeous eye liner (I’m jealous!) and weighs 38 lbs. Jake’s foster parents say he is incredibly sweet and just wants to please and be loved. He’s clever and picks up on things quickly. He has lots of energy so would be great for a young family or someone who goes walking and hiking a lot. Jake is an indoor dog who must not go to someone who will leave him outdoors or tied up, and he will have to live in a cat-free household.

Jake is neutered, house-trained, crate-trained, up-to-date on shots, and micro-chipped.

Contact Info:
Jake is being fostered privately. You can learn more about him from Corina or Julie at 765-935-4704 or from Denise at Adopt-a-Dog 765-939-7051.

Meet Jake

Textures from Princess of Shadows.

Chelsea Conlin is a freelance illustrator, but if she can help spread the word about animals in need with her skills, she’s more than happy to do so! She currently lives in Kentucky with her husband where they do what they can by driving dog rescue transports on weekends. They have two dogs of their own: a rescue greyhound named Storm and a mixed breed named Azu. You can find Chelsea at Paper Nautilus, her sketchblog, twitter, and deviantArt.

365DAA Day 52: Texas Hearing & Service Dogs

Every year in Austin, Texas, there’s awesome event called The Mighty Texas Dogwalk and it’s an event I’m sure a ton of people can get behind. Why? Not only do you get out and walk with your dog with lots of other awesome dog lovers, but all the proceeds of the walk benefit today’s group: Texas Hearing & Service Dogs. Now, there’s something special about this group. Yes, they do a lot of good because they are training hearing and service dogs and helping out people in need, BUT, did you know that all of the dogs they train are adopted? Yes! Adopted! Each dog is from a shelter! How amazing is that? That is why we are proud to support this awesome group as our Day 52! If you’re in the area, please take part in the Mighty Texas Dog Walk this year.

In other 365DAA news, we’re sad to announce that this is our last day. Unfortunately, while we had over 100 pledges, we received only about half of those shirts. But don’t worry – we’re going to try again next year and use the entirety of 2011 to focus on getting shirts and promoting our cause for 2012. We’ll be making a more formal announcement in the next coming days in which we’ll thank our supporters and talk about our intentions for next year, but for now: Thank you to all who have helped so far! Please don’t think this is it – we’ll need your help even more to get the word out and continue with this project! And please – Keep sending us shirts! The more we have, the more prepared we’ll be for next year! You all rock! Now… back to Day 52.

Also see this shirt on flickr!

About Texas Hearing & Service Dogs

THSD is a non-profit organization that trains Service Dogs and Hearing Dogs to assist people with disabilities. Hearing Dogs are trained to alert their deaf owners by touch and lead them to everyday sounds, such as a door knock, smoke alarm or telephone. Service Dogs assist individuals with physical disabilities by opening doors, fetching wheelchairs, retrieving dropped items, operating light switches, moving paralyzed limbs and getting help.

THSD adopts all of our dogs from animal shelters and rescue leagues. Utilizing positive reinforcement, we train the dogs, pair them with their new partners and then train them as teams – all free of charge to the recipients.

Where You Can Find Them

Don’t forget to pledge your own shirt to this project by emailing 365 AT This project CANNOT happen without you! Thank you for your support! Find out more about this project on our 365 Days of Animal Advocacy page.

365DAA Day 51: Dogtoberfest Austin

One of our favorite events here in Austin, TX is an annual event called Dogtoberfest Austin. Not only do they hold one great event to celebrate our canine friends every year, but they also do it to promote adoption and raise funds for local rescues and shelters. Each year new groups are nominated and the end of the event, the proceeds are split among them. I love this event and I love that they are all about raising awareness and funds for pups looking for their forever homes!

Also see this shirt on flickr!

About Dogtoberfest Austin

Dogtobefest Austin is a 501c3, non profit , who’s mission is to provide awareness about dog rescue, as well as raise much needed money for rescue. We hold an annual event at the Domain, which has become the premier, pet related event in Austin.

If you are looking to add a new member to your family, please look to your local rescue groups, as well as shelters. There are hundreds of animals out there hoping to find their forever home. Check out this years benefiting rescue groups, or visit the City of Austin, Townlake Animal Center.
Never buy an animal from a pet store, or through Internet or newspaper ads.

Where You Can Find Them

Don’t forget to pledge your own shirt to this project by emailing 365 AT This project CANNOT happen without you! Thank you for your support! Find out more about this project on our 365 Days of Animal Advocacy page.

365DAA Day 50: Save This Pup!

Day 50 is here! Sad to say it might be one of the last of this project since we don’t have a lot of shirts left, but I’m super excited that we are celebrating the 50th with one of our favorite groups and some fabulous friends. Today is dedicated to Save This Pup, an amazing group and a really great idea that could help lots of shelter dogs all over the world. Laura Posey, the founder of STP, is a remarkable woman with a lot of passion for what she does. From the very first day we met her, she has been a wonderful friend and we look forward to doing a lot more with this group in the future. We love Save This Pup!

Also see this shirt on flickr!
Part of a photo shoot! See alternate photo 1 and alternate photo 2.

About Save This Pup

Many shelter dogs are lucky to find loving homes. But what happens to the pets left behind—those equally deserving companions who for some reason just haven’t found a home? Because it costs less to euthanize pets than it does to care for them, under-funded shelters are often forced to make hard decisions affecting good pets. Now you can.

For a small monthly fee you can sponsor a pup—feed them, keep a roof over their head, make sure they get the care they need until they find that special loving home. When you sponsor a dog you’ll get a best friend for life! You can also stay in touch with your new pal online — get regular news updates, photos and more.

The SaveThisPup Foundation is unique in that it supports the animal adoption organizations and the homeless pets at a direct, local level. All contributions collected through the site will be distributed directly to the animal shelters or rescue organizations and are tax deductible as the law allows. It is also unique in that you get regular feedback and updates on exactly what your money is doing to help a special dog find a forever home.

Where You Can Find Them

Don’t forget to pledge your own shirt to this project by emailing 365 AT This project CANNOT happen without you! Thank you for your support! Find out more about this project on our 365 Days of Animal Advocacy page.