Pomegranate-Based Water Drops for Dogs Can Help Prevent Doggie Gingivitis

Pomegranate-Based Water Drops for Dogs Can Help Prevent Doggie Gingivitis

A dose of pomegranate in your dog’s water bowl might just help keep their teeth and gums healthy, new research suggests. The randomized, controlled study found that dogs given an over-the-counter water additive made with pomegranate extract experienced less plaque and tartar on their teeth over a month’s time. The product could be used in combination with regular teeth brushing and dental cleanings to prevent gingivitis in dogs, the scientists say.

There’s no shortage of products on the market that claim to improve or maintain dental health in dogs, including water additives. These products often contain ingredients like pomegranate that have been found in lab experiments to limit the growth of plaque-causing bacteria or to help maintain a good mix of bacteria in the mouth. But according to the authors of this new study, very few of these products have ever been tested in controlled trials, the kind of research used to show that potential drugs and vaccines can work in humans.

The study involved 40 dogs with mild to moderate gingivitis, all of whom had recently gotten a professional teeth cleaning. Half of the dogs were randomized to receive the product—called Vet Aquadent FR3SH—every day for a month, while the rest received none. The dogs were given the same diet, and owners were told to not brush their dogs’ teeth or to use any other dental products. After 30 days, the dogs were examined by veterinarians, who didn’t know which dogs received the product.

Overall, the Aquadent-dosed dogs had significantly less plaque and tartar buildup on average than the control group. They also experienced a substantial reduction in potential gingivitis, with none of the dogs showing any gum bleeding (a common sign of inflammation) by the study’s end. The team’s findings were published this month in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science.

Aquadent is produced by France-based Virbac, one of the largest veterinary pharmaceutical companies in the world. And it should be noted that this study was funded by the company (industry-funded research tends to provide rosier results than independent research). But the authors say that it’s the first time clear evidence has shown that this product really can improve dental health in dogs.

According to senior study author Celine Nicolas, a veterinary scientist with Virbac, Aquadent shouldn’t be seen as a treatment for gum disease. Rather, it should be one of several ways used in combination that owners try to keep their dogs’ teeth in good shape.

“Since periodontal disease starts with the accumulation of plaque on teeth under the gum, controlling its accumulation on teeth is a way to help prevent this disease. On top of regular check-ups with a veterinarian, providing oral dental care at home should be part of the daily routine,” Nicolas told Gizmodo in an email. “Daily oral hygiene can include tooth brushing (considered the best but not so easily performed), dental chews, or water additives with proven efficacy.”

It’s possible that similar products could also work with cats, though Nicolas says that this remains to be proven. And while the team has their theories, it’s still not completely clear how pomegranate and other ingredients could keep bad mouth bacteria away. More research should be done to investigate these important questions, she says.

The group is now planning to study whether Aquadent and other dental regimens can help reduce plaque and tartar and improve gum health in dogs whose teeth haven’t been cleaned of plaque beforehand.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.