DOI: 10.1093/jas/skae071 ISSN: 0021-8812

Effects of a novel dental chew on oral health outcomes, halitosis, and microbiota of adult dogs

Patricia M Oba, Kelly M Sieja, Amy Schauwecker, Amy J Somrak, Teodora S Hristova, Stephanie C J Keating, Kelly S Swanson
  • Genetics
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Medicine
  • Food Science


Halitosis in dogs is an initial indication of periodontitis, highlighting its significance as a vital marker for underlying problems. Moreover, the oral microbial population has a significant influence on periodontal disease. Measuring the oral microbiota may be used in addition to breath odor, dental plaque, and gingivitis scoring to assess the impact of dental chews on oral health. In this study, we aimed to determine the differences in breath odor, oral health outcomes, and oral microbiota of adult dogs consuming a novel dental chew compared with control dogs consuming only a diet. Twelve healthy adult female beagle dogs were used in a crossover design study. Treatments (n = 12/group) included: diet only (control) or the diet + a novel dental chew. Each day, one chew was provided 4 h after mealtime. On d 1, 7, 14, 21, and 27, breath samples were analyzed for total volatile sulfur compound concentrations using a halimeter. On d 0 of each period, teeth were cleaned by a veterinary dentist blinded to treatments. Teeth were scored for plaque, calculus, and gingivitis by the same veterinary dentist on d 28 of each period. After scoring, subgingival and supragingival plaque samples were collected for microbiota analysis using Illumina MiSeq. All data were analyzed using SAS (version 9.4) using the Mixed Models procedure, with P < 0.05 being significant. Overall, the dental chews were well accepted. Dogs consuming the dental chews had lower calculus coverage, thickness, and scores, lower gingivitis scores, and less pocket bleeding than control dogs. Breath volatile sulfur compounds were lower in dogs consuming the dental chews. Bacterial alpha diversity analysis demonstrated that control dogs had higher bacterial richness than dogs fed dental chews. Bacterial beta diversity analysis demonstrated that samples clustered based on treatment. In subgingival and supragingival plaque, control dogs had higher relative abundances of potentially pathogenic bacteria (Pelistega, Desulfovibrio, Desulfomicrobium, Fretibacterium, Helcococcus, and Treponema) and lower relative abundances of genera associated with oral health (Neisseria, Actinomyces, and Corynebacterium). Our results suggest that the dental chew tested in this study may aid in reducing periodontal disease risk in dogs by beneficially shifting the microbiota population and inhabiting plaque build up.

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