February is Pet Dental Health Month

Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. and a number of veterinary organizations will kick off the 15th annual Pets Need Dental Care, Too(tm) campaign in February. The goal of the campaign is to encourage veterinary health-care teams to talk with clients about scheduling regular dental appointments for their pets and to establish an at-home dental-care routine for pet owners as part of February's pet dental health month.

Oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. In addition, 65 percent of dogs with Stage 1 periodontal disease often go untreated because come veterinary teams don't recommend needed treatment options like dental exams, professional dental cleaning and dental X-rays, the company reports.

"Regular preventive dental care includes oral home care by the pet owner and routine professional dental care. The expenses associated with professional dental treatment may be significant.

"However, if this preventive care is not done, the cost to the owner may well be much higher in diagnostics and management of dental disease," says campaign spokesperson, Linda J. DeBowes, DVM, MS, of Shoreline Veterinary Dental Clinic, Seattle, Wash.

To help veterinary health-care teams, Hill's made Pet Dental Health Campaign kits available to veterinary hospitals around the country. The kits contain:

* A program guide designed to help veterinary pet hospitals boost the health of their patients and their practices

* Pet-owner invitation postcards

* Pet-owner guides with report cards

* Mouse pad

* 2009 Pet Dental Awareness Contest entry forms

Hill's also is offering veterinary health care teams the opportunity to win cash and prizes by entering the 2009 Pet Dental Awareness Contest. All pet hospitals that conduct activities to promote pet dental health are eligible. Entries will be judged on:

* Effective use of the dental-kit materials

* Case study of a pet helped during the campaign

* Integration of dental care by the pet hospital during and after the campaign

* Creative ideas and execution

* Publicity and media coverage

* Practice growth achieved through campaign participation

* Community outreach efforts promoting dental care in pets

First place receives $2,000, second place $1,000, third $500 and fourth through 10th place will be awarded membership in the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS) and a subscription to the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry. Full details are available in the contest kit.

"Hill's is pleased to stand with our dental partners in this continued mission to help pets get the best in oral health," says Janet Donlin, DVM, chief of the veterinary business channel at Hill's Pet Nutrition.

"Through our combined efforts, we hope to empower veterinary health-care team members with tools that will help their clients understand proper oral care requires a year-long commitment."

The 2009 Pet Dental Health Campaign is made possible by a partnership among these organizations:

American Veterinary Medical Association, AVDS, Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, American Veterinary Dental College, Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians, Veterinary Oral Health Council and Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.

For more information on proper pet dental care, contact your veterinarian and visit PetDental.com.

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