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.