Ask the Vet’s Pets: Isn’t there an easier way to care for my dog’s teeth and gums?

Dear Daisy Dog: You recommend brushing a dog’s teeth, but to be honest, it’s all I can do to make sure my kids brush their teeth. Isn’t there an easier way to care for my dog’s teeth and gums? What do you think of water additives? Daisy Responds: By three years of age, 80 percent of us dogs have dental disease. Unfortunately, disease in the mouth can spread elsewhere, compromising kidney, liver and heart function. So it’s important to minimize the plaque and tartar that give rise to dental disease. The “Essential healthymouth” anti-plaque water additives are effective at decreasing plaque in dogs and cats. The Veterinary Oral Health Council evaluated multiple research studies and granted these products the VOHC Seal of Acceptance in recognition of their efficacy. Since other water additives have not been approved by the VOHC, consumers have no way of knowing whether they really work. Your dog undoubtedly would prefer a product shown to be effective. You also can reduce your dog’s plaque and tartar if you feed a dental diet, offer dental treats and use a mouth spray or oral gel. For a list of effective products, visit www.vohc.org. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so this is a good time to have the veterinarians at Bernville Veterinary Clinic evaluate your dog’s mouth and recommend ways to help enhance his oral health care.