OBJECTIVE To determine whether consumption of a single dental treat with specific mechanical properties and active ingredients would provide a 24-hour effect on dental plaque bacteria and halitosis in dogs.
ANIMALS 10 dogs of various breeds from a privately owned colony that had received routine dental scaling and polishing 4 weeks before the study began.
PROCEDURES Dogs were randomly assigned to receive 1 placebo or dental treat first. A 4-week washout period was provided, and then dogs received the opposite treatment. Oral plaque and breath samples were collected before and 0.5, 3, 12, and 24 hours after treat consumption. Volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) concentration was measured in breath samples. Total aerobic, total anaerobic, Porphyromonas gulae, Prevotella intermedia–like, Tannerella forsythia, and Fusobacterium nucleatum bacterial counts (measured via bacterial culture) and total live bacterial counts, total live and dead bacterial counts, and bacterial vitality (measured via quantitative real-time PCR assay) were assessed in plaque samples.
RESULTS Compared with placebo treat consumption, dental treat consumption resulted in a significant decrease in breath VSCs concentration and all plaque bacterial counts, without an effect on bacterial vitality. Effects of the dental treat versus the placebo treat persisted for 12 hours for several bacterial counts and for 24 hours for breath VSCs concentration.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Although clinical benefits should be investigated in larger scale, longer-term studies, results of this study suggested that feeding the evaluated dental treat may help to decrease oral bacterial growth in dogs for 12 hours and oral malodor for 24 hours. A feeding interval of 12 hours is therefore recommended.