In a nationwide study of more than 17,000 dogs and 6,000 cats visiting over 700 Polish veterinary surgeries, researchers have shown that including at least some dry food in the diet has significant benefits for oral health in cats and dogs compared with home-prepared alternatives. This research was conducted by Mars Petcare Poland and the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition - the fundamental science centre supporting Mars Petcare brands such as PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS® and ROYAL CANIN.
The study, which was run in collaboration with the Polish Small Animal Veterinary Association, showed that introducing an element of commercial dry food into the diets of cats and dogs led to a marked improvement in oral health status. Benefits were also seen when daily tooth brushing or dental chews were introduced. The survey also found that the probability of oral health problems was significantly higher when the cats and dogs were fed home-prepared foods.
"Gum disease is one of the most frequently diagnosed oral diseases in cats and dogs, with signs ranging from mild gingivitis to tooth loss," noted WALTHAM® scientist and study author Dr. Catherine Buckley. "Diet and level of oral care play a key role in determining the oral health status of cats and dogs. While tooth brushing, dental snacks and regular veterinary check-ups are still the gold standard in terms of maintaining good oral hygiene, this study shows that including some dry food in the feeding regimen can have considerable benefits for pets' oral health." In practical terms, this study demonstrates that feeding some of the food portion as dry food, and including tooth brushing and dental chews in a care regimen is likely to help maintain the oral health status of cats and dogs.