Study Found Pomegranate Water Additive Can Keep Dogs’ Teeth Clean

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic
Denis Val/Shutterstock

Adding a pomegranate water additive to your pup’s water bowl can help keep plaque and calculus at bay, according to new research. A controlled, randomized study revealed that dogs given an over-the-counter water additive with pomegranate extract, over a month’s time, had less plaque and calculus on their teeth than dogs who drank plain water. 

Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is key for their overall health. A study has shown that periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed issue in dogs, affecting more than 80% of pooches over the age of three. 

It’s important to understand that there are several stages of periodontal disease in dogs. Gingivitis is the first stage, characterized by red, inflamed, and slightly swollen gums that may bleed. 

When left untreated, this disease can progress to advanced periodontitis at which point there is extensive damage to the tissue and bone supporting the teeth. As a result, the teeth become loose and fall out.

On top of that, advanced periodontitis is also a risk factor for various conditions, including cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. 

Poor dental hygiene is the main cause of periodontal disease in dogs. Regular teeth brushing is the best way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup, but dental chews for dogs, water additives, and special diets can help as well. 

Although there is no shortage of products designed to improve or maintain dental health in dogs, including water additives, only a few of these products have been tested in controlled studies. Water additives for dogs often contain ingredients like pomegranate extract, which have been found to control bacterial growth but mainly in human or in vitro studies. 

The goal of this new study was to determine the efficiency of Vet Aquadent FR3SH, a pomegranate-based water additive, to limit plaque and tartar buildup and to improve dental health in dogs after professional teeth cleaning. 

The team picked 40 dogs with mild to moderate gingivitis to participate in the study and had their teeth professionally cleaned at the start of the study. 

The dogs were divided into two equal groups (each consisting of 20 dogs). One group of dogs was randomly picked to receive Vet Aquadent FR3SH water additive diluted in water every day, while the other group drank plain water for the duration of the study.

All dogs were fed the same diet, and their owners were instructed not to brush their dogs’ teeth or use any other dental care product, including chews, as long as they were participating in the study. After 30 days, veterinarians examined the dogs from both groups. 

Researchers found that the group of dogs receiving Vet Aquadent FR3SH water additive had noticeably less plaque and tartar than the group drinking plain water. But that’s not all - the dogs also experienced a reduction in potential gingivitis and didn’t experience any gum bleeding.

“Here we show that an additive to drinking water, based on pomegranate extract can reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar in dogs,” said Dr Jerzy Gawor, the lead author of the new study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science. “This additive thus helps dogs to maintain healthy gums and may ultimately help to limit the occurrence of periodontal disease.” 

Vet Aquadent FR3SH water additive is produced by Virbac, one of the largest veterinary pharmaceutical companies in the world. It’s worth noting that this study is also funded by Virbac (industry-funded studies tend to provide more optimistic results than independent research).

However, the study’s authors say that now, for the first time, there is evidence that this product actually helps improve dental health in dogs. 

Celine Nicolas, a veterinary scientist with Virbac, explained that Aquadent shouldn’t be viewed as a treatment for gum disease. Instead, it should be used combined with other products designed to help owners maintain their dogs’ dental hygiene. 

"Since periodontal disease starts with the accumulation of plaque on teeth under the gum, controlling its accumulation on teeth is the way to help prevent this disease. On top of regular check-ups with a veterinarian, providing oral dental care at home should be a part of the daily dental routine,” Nicolas told in an email, according to Gizmo

“Daily oral hygiene can include tooth brushing (considered the best but not so easily performed), dental chews, or water additives with proven efficacy.”

Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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