Public Release: 

Commercial dry petfood has significant benefits for oral health in cats and dogs

WALTHAM scientists have shown that feeding commercial dry petfood has significant oral health benefits for both cats and dogs

WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition

Oct. 13, 2011 - 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.

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WALTHAM® is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of companion animals. This research forms part of a wider programme of ongoing collaborative research into the oral health of both cats and dogs.

These findings were originally presented at the WALTHAM® International Nutritional Science Symposium (WINSS), which took place in September 2010 in Cambridge, UK. The research has since been published as part of a special edition WINSS supplement to accompany the October issue of the British Journal of Nutrition and is now available in print and online: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8404153&fulltextType=RA&fileId=S0007114511000821

WINSS 2010, which was hosted in partnership with the Department of Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University and The Nutrition Society, brought together many of the world's leading experts on pets and nutrition to present and discuss the latest developments in the field of veterinary and nutritional science.

About the WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition:

The WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority in pet nutrition and wellbeing and has been advancing the frontiers of scientific research into the nutrition and health of companion animals for nearly 50 years. Located in Leicestershire, England, the renowned state-of-the-art science institute focuses on the nutritional and behavioural needs of companion animals and their benefits to humans, enabling the development of innovative products which meet these needs in a practical way. WALTHAM® has pioneered many important breakthroughs in pet nutrition, and in collaboration with the world's foremost scientific institutes, supports leading Mars brands such as WHISKAS®, PEDIGREE®, NUTRO®, TRILL®, CESAR®, SHEBA®, KITEKAT®, AQUARIAN®, WINERGY® and the ROYAL CANIN brand.

About Mars, Incorporated:

In 1911, Frank C. Mars made the first Mars candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen and established Mars' first roots as a confectionery company. In the 1920s, Forrest E. Mars, Sr. joined his father in business and together they launched the MILKY WAY® bar. In 1932, Forrest, Sr. moved to the United Kingdom with a dream of building a business based on the philosophy of a "mutuality of benefits" for all stakeholders - this vision serves as the foundation of the Mars, Incorporated we are today. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion and six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience. More than 65,000 Associates worldwide are putting our Mars Principles in action every day to make a difference for people and the planet through our performance.

Mars brands include: Chocolate - M&M'S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, MARS®, MILKY WAY® and TWIX®; Petcare - PEDIGREE®, WHISKAS®, SHEBA®, CESAR® and ROYAL CANIN; Wrigley - ORBIT®, EXTRA®, STARBURST®, DOUBLEMINT® and SKITTLES®; Food - UNCLE BEN'S®, DOLMIO®, EBLY®, MASTERFOODS® and SEEDS OF CHANGE®; Drinks - ALTERRA COFFEE ROASTERS™, THE BRIGHT TEA CO.™, KLIX® and FLAVIA®; Symbioscience -SERAMIS®, CIRKU™ and COCOAVIA™.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Abigail Stevenson, Head of Value Transfer, WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition
Tel: 44-1664-415-409
Email: Abigail.Stevenson@effem.com

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