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News Release

HEALTHY MOUTH, HEALTHY BODY
The Preventative and Therapeutic Benefits of Feeding a Dental Care Pet Food

When it comes to keeping ourselves and our pets healthy, most people recognize the importance of nutrition and exercise, but many pet owners do not understand the implications of poor oral health for their pet. What has been shown in humans for many years is now being established in pets; poor oral health and hygiene is systemically connected to a pet’s overall health and wellness. In fact, studies have shown that periodontal disease is linked with other serious systemic health issues, including heart disease, kidney failure and diabetes.

Neglecting a dog or cat’s oral health can lead to gingivitis, an early phase of gum disease which, if left untreated, can lead to periodontitis, a serious infection of the supporting structures of the teeth. Factors that contribute to dental disease include poor overall hygiene, breed and the age of a pet.

One of the easiest ways to combat poor oral health is through food. Pets have to eat, so why shouldn’t they eat something that is proven to benefit them and their oral health?

Choosing the right food

1. Look for products that have been awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal to help keep a pet’s teeth clean and the gum tissues and bone around the root healthy. The VOHC Accepted Seal identifies products that have met pre-set standards for plaque and or tartar control in dogs and cats.

2. Look for products that have been specifically developed to target the problem, such as those produced by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a global leader in pet nutrition. These foods carry the VOHC seal of approval and are formulated to scrub a pet’s teeth like a toothbrush as they chew, and are clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar. Hill’s Prescription Diet t/d is a therapeutic dental food, available only from your veterinarian, formulated for both cats and dogs and is Canada’s #1 Veterinary Dental Food. Delivering superior daily nutrition, t/d can be used therapeutically or as a preventative measure.

3. Know where to buy the right kind of food. Quality pet food like Hill’s Science Diet Oral Care can be purchased at either the veterinary clinic or reputable pet retail stores. Used preventatively this food is tested, nutritionally balanced and clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar build-up while also whitening the teeth.

Feeding a balanced oral health food is a great step forward but there are other simple ways a pet owner can take to ensure their pet’s smile is healthy and their body is strong:

1. Get familiar with the pet’s mouth
Take the time to look into the dog or cat’s mouth – this will help better identify problems or changes as they occur.

2. Talk to a veterinarian
Regular veterinary visits should include a comprehensive dental check up. Talk to a veterinarian about any noted changes in a pet’s mouth or behaviour and ensure a dental check is part of each regular check up.

3. Look for warning signs of periodontal disease
Any of the following symptoms could indicate a larger problem and should be discussed with a veterinarian:

Bad breath
Bleeding gums
Excessive salivation
Subdued behaviour
Tooth loss
Pawing at the mouth
Tartar build up
Refusal to eat
Pain when eating
Change of eating habits

4. Understand the cause of periodontal disease (gum disease)
The cause of periodontal disease is the same in dogs and cats as it is in humans. Gum disease is an infection resulting from build-up of soft dental plaque on the surfaces of the teeth around the gums. If plaque is allowed to accumulate, the bacteria irritate the gum tissue, which can often lead to infection in the bone surrounding the teeth.

Tartar starts to form within a few days on a tooth surface that is not kept clean. Tartar provides a rough surface that enhances further plaque accumulation. Once it has begun to grow in thickness, tartar is difficult to remove without dental instruments. Many pets, particularly middle-aged and older cats and dogs, require periodic professional scaling in addition to on-going plaque control.

5. Practice good oral hygiene at home
Excellent oral health is maintained by daily oral hygiene. Brushing is the gold standard for oral health and should become part of a daily pet care routine. Always use a special pet toothbrush and keep the sessions short and sweet. Daily chewing activities can also be effective in maintaining a pet’s oral health.

Prevention is key when it comes to reducing the incidence of dental disease. Understanding the importance of good oral health, combined with regular visits to the veterinarian, a good daily home dental care regimen and feeding the appropriate, VOHC-approved food will help ensure a pet stays strong and healthy.

About Hill’s
Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is a leading global pet food company that manufactures and markets premium wellness and therapeutic pet foods under the Hill’s® Science Diet® and Hill’s® Prescription Diet® brands. Hill's mission is to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets by producing the most advanced, highest quality pet foods available. In Canada, Hill's markets Science Diet® brand pet foods through veterinarians and pet specialty food stores, and Prescription Diet® brand pet foods exclusively through veterinary clinics.

About the VOHC
The VOHC exists to recognize products that meet pre-set standards of plaque and calculus (tartar) retardation in dogs and cats. Products are awarded the VOHC Seal of Acceptance following review of data from trials conducted according to VOHC protocols. To learn more about VOHC visit www.VOHC.org.

For further information please contact Joanne Elson or Meghan Smith at Cohn & Wolfe:
Telephone: 416-924-5700 E-mail: joanne.elson@cohnwolfe.ca or meghan.smith@cohnwolfe.ca