Reporting Jennifer Antkowiak
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Does your dog have dental issues? Lots of them do. In fact, smaller breeds seem more prone to plaque and tartar build-up.
Veterinarians say it’s important to take care of that, and there are plenty of products that claim to be able to help.
It’s actually dangerous for your pet’s health to let that plaque just sit there because harmful bacteria can get into the blood stream and cause other health problems.
Taking care of it with a professional dental procedure costs hundreds of dollars, and carries a risk because the pet needs anesthesia for the treatment.
Plaque Attack says forget all that; instead, you can just spray and walk away. But does it really do that?
According to the infomercial, “Plaque Attack blasts away bacteria and loosens built up layers of plaque and tartar that can be harmful to your pet’s health.”
Pet owners want to believe this is true. It sounds so easy, especially when you consider the alternative.
Dr. Mike Hutchinson, of Animal General in Cranberry Township, says dental procedures use special tools to blast away at the plaque and tartar. But those procedures are expensive and come with risks because of general anesthesia, blood tests and monitoring.
However, the results are fantastic.
Dr. Mike says he’s never seen an at-home product that can work like that, but he was willing to give plaque attack a try.
Gretchen Turner and her Corgi, Indie, were up for it, too.
“I’ve noticed that her teeth have a lot of plaque on them,” said Turner. “Have I done anything about it yet? No.”
Dr. Mike takes a look at Indie’s teeth and confirms heavy disease.
“I would consider this severe dental disease, severe periodontal disease. The tartar’s pushing up into the gum, the gumline starts to recede, and it gets very irritated,” said Dr. Mike. “So, it ends up with the gums starting to bleed, and eventually you’ll end up with things like pus coming out of it. It gets really bad. It’s bacteria. That’s what gives them that horrible breath.”
Indie’s definitely a candidate for a dental procedure. Unless, Plaque Attack can do the job.
The instructions say to give four to five sprays of the product in the dog’s mouth, twice a day.
It also says not to give the dog anything to eat or drink for half an hour before and after to let the product do its thing.
Keeping up with the routine will be a bit of a challenge, but Turner agrees to stick with it.
A little more than two weeks later, Turner is back at Dr. Mike’s Animal General offices.
“She was difficult at first, and then I learned to approach her from the front, and she was much better,” said Turner.
But how did Plaque Attack do on those teeth?
“We see a lot of the tartar still left here,” said Dr. Mike of Indie’s teeth. “I’m seeing the same thing I saw two weeks ago, and it doesn’t look improved at all.”
Plaque Attack says you’re supposed to be able to simply wipe away the build-up.
“Nothing is rubbing it off as a matter of fact,” said Dr. Mike. “I’ll cause a little bleeding if I rub any harder.”
Dr. Mike is not surprised and gives Plaque Attack tbe thumbs down.
One positive thing to point out though, Turner says using Plaque Attack made Indie more comfortable with Turner around her mouth, which will make regular brushing easier.
Dr. Mike and other vets recommend brushing as the best way to prevent dental disease. There are also some chew toys and water additives designed to help.