Periodontal disease - a common problem in dogs

Anyone working in a veterinary practice will know that dental disease is very common amongst dogs, especially as they age. Periodontal disease is the most frequently occurring clinical condition in dogs with 4 out of 5 of those over the age of 3 showing signs of periodontal disease (Hamp et al.,1984). Periodontal disease can cause great discomfort and pain in our four legged friends - and can lead to even greater health concerns. Despite the common incidence of the disease, market research across Europe has found that less than 5% of dog owners are aware that their dog has a problem. Research has shown that owners who have an effective home care routine follow this because of the valuable information and advice they have received from either their vet or vet nurse on the risk of periodontal disease for dogs and the effectiveness of different home care routines.

Brushing is best

Ideally, all owners should brush their dog's teeth daily, thus preventing the accumulation of plaque and calculus, the springboard for periodontal disease. This is a common routine for humans, so it should be no different for dogs. Extensive studies have been done on the efficiency of oral care chews - proving they are a great component to brushing.

Recommending dental products - what to look for

When choosing a dental chew or main meal product to recommend, you should look for stated plaque and calculus reduction scores as well as scientifically proven active ingredients. Whilst no product will completely prevent plaque and calculus build-up,recent developments from Pedigree® are delivering very substantial reductions in the levels of dental deposits. Chewing Pedigree® DentaStix® everyday has been proven to reduce plaque accumulation by as much as 60% and calculus accumulation by as much as 80%. Furthermore, it is available in different sizes to suit different types of dogs (small, medium and large), has a low-calorie impact and is low in fat; thus making it suited to daily feeding. What's more, because Pedigree® DentaStix® tastes great, your client's dogs will think of them as a treat and will come to enjoy having their teeth cleaned.

Independent clinical studies have proven they work

A number of independent clinical studies have been run according to recommendations set out at the 8th Annual Veterinary Dental Forum (Logan et al.,1994). The original Pedigree® DentaStix® recipe was extensively efficacy tested in 2002, and the results of this were published in the peer reviewed veterinary journal - the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry (Brown et al., 2005). Further improvements in the recipe and subsequent performance have been made as demonstrated in a study by the University of New England in 2003. This study has shown Pedigree® DentaStix® to retard the formation of plaque and calculus in dogs to levels that exceed that observed when feeding dry diet alone (figure 1).

How do Pedigree® DentaStix® chews prevent plaque and calculus accumulation?

1. Mechanical action

With its unique X-shape profile, the texture of Pedigree® DentaStix® is designed not only to create the shear forces on the dog's teeth, which helps to remove plaque, but also to keep the dog chewing for a significant length of time.

An added benefit of this sustained chewing is that it stimulates saliva flow; this flow helps to wash away any debris removed from the teeth.

2. Active ingredients

Included within Pedigree® DentaStix® are two active ingredients (sodium tripolyphosphate and zinc sulphate) which have the effect of chelating salivary calcium (Figure 2) as well as slowing down the build-up of calculus by inhibiting further crystal growth by binding to the surfaces of solid calcium phosphates and carbonates (Figure 3). By this means, plaque is kept softer for longer and so more of it can be removed by the action of the dog chewing Pedigree® DentaStix®.

Plaque Score Calculus Score
Control Diet 14.47 14.47
Control Diet with Chew 10.5 1.26
Average Reduction (%) 28 54
Hight Reduction (%) 61.3 81.5
Reduction at Gingival Margin (%) 22.0 N.D.
Table: Summary of the effect of PEDIGREE® DAILY DENTASTIX® on plaque and calculus accumulation relative to a control diet. Source: University of New England.

Brown, WY & McGenity P. (2005). Effective periodontal disease control using dental hygiene chews. Journal Veterinary Dentistry: 22 (1):16-9 (2005 Mar).
Hamp, S.E., Olsson, S.E., Farsø-Madsen, K., Viklands, P. and Fornell, J. (1984) A macroscopic and radiological investigation of dental diseases in the dog.
Veterinary Radiology 25: 86-92.

Logan & Boyce (1994) Oral health assessment in dogs: parameters and methods. Journal Veterinary Dentistry 11: 58-63. Logan & Boyce (1994) Oral health assessment in dogs: study design and results. Journal Veterinary Dentistry 11: 64-70.

Dental Care Month 2012

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taking part

What practices said was the best thing about Dental Care Month 2011:
  • Highlighting dental health as an issue which is not often appreciated by clients (and some colleagues)
  • Great for customer relations
  • The opportunity to bond with new clients
  • Motivation of staff - giving clients good service and making them more aware of oral care in their pets
  • Being recognised as a veterinary practice taking part and helping to improve dental awareness