February is National Pet Dental Health Month. This annual awareness event highlights the importance of good dental care in pets. To help our readers do the best job possible caring for their pets’ teeth, I am going to highlight the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) and its work.
Who is the VOHC?
The VOHC consists of nine veterinary dentists and dental scientists with experience in scientific protocols and study design. The Council members are appointed by the President and Board of Directors of the American Veterinary Dental College. The VOHC members volunteer their time and expertise to determine if veterinary oral health products should be awarded the VOHC Seal of Approval. Recommendations of the VOHC are ratified by the American Veterinary Dental College Board of Directors.
How does the VOHC Seal of Approval work?
A company marketing a veterinary oral health product submits, to the VOHC, the data supporting their claim of “helps control plaque” or “helps control tartar.” The data must be from studies with appropriate control animals and there must be at least two studies corroborating the data on two different sets of study animals. All studies considered by the VOHC are also reviewed by a statistician. If the studies pass muster, then the VOHC Seal of Approval is awarded to that specific product only, not all products sold by the company.
What types of products help prevent dental disease in pets?
Daily tooth brushing has been scientifically shown to improve dental health in pets. But for those pets unwilling to have their teeth brushed, the VOHC has approved other types of products, including food, water additives, tooth sealants, treats and tooth wipes. And of course, nothing substitutes for a dental cleaning performed by your veterinarian while your pet is under general anesthesia.
Want to test your knowledge about pet dental health? Take the American Veterinary Medical Association’s pet dental health quiz.
To view examples of the types of dental problems seen in dogs and cats at AMC, review our dental slide post.
Pet Dental Health Awareness Day at AMC
Please join us at the Animal Medical Center on February 9, 2017, from 5-8pm for AMC’s Pet Dental Health Awareness Day to learn more about the importance of dental care for your pet. You will meet AMC’s dentists and speak with them about anesthesia and dental care, learn important oral hygiene tips, gain important information from me about oral cancer and much more. RSVP today at www.amcny.org/amcdental.