PetSmart Teaches Pet Parents How to Chews Wisely
PHOENIX, AZ, Oct 03, 2006 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX News Network) -- PetSmart(R) (NASDAQ: PETM) urges pet parents to protect their dogs from a common oral disease that can undermine their pets' health. Chews Wisely(SM), an educational program designed to help pet parents choose appropriate chew products as part of a preventive dental care regimen, will roll out in all PetSmart stores this fall.
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of dogs already show signs of oral disease by age 3. Oral (periodontal) disease is caused by a buildup of plaque, which contains a large amount of bacteria. Left unchecked, plaque buildup on a dog's teeth can cause more than just a case of bad breath. Without treatment, this condition can ultimately destroy the tissue and bone structure that support the teeth, and can lead to other health issues. The most effective way to combat this irreversible condition and keep a dog's teeth pearly white is with daily brushing or chewing, and routine checkups with a veterinarian.
Chew products, such as bones, rawhides and compressed vegetable treats, can play an important role in a dog's dental care. "Chews are an easy choice for pet parents who want to improve their dog's oral hygiene -- or who just want to freshen their pet's breath," explains PetSmart Pet Expert, Dr. Robyn Jaynes, DVM, noting that chew products can effectively reduce tartar and plaque. And, while playing an important role in a pet's dental care, chew products also satisfy a pet's natural inclination to chew.
But beware, says Jaynes. One size chew product does not fit all dogs. "If the chew is too small or too soft, it can be dangerous, like any small object in the home," she explains. "On the other hand, it probably wouldn't be too much fun or beneficial for a miniature poodle to drag a 10-pound bone around all day."
Along with regular brushing, chew products can be a safe part of a dental care regimen at home when pet parents are equipped with some basic knowledge, including how to select the right size and material for their dog:
-- Not all products are appropriate for all dogs. Just as there are different types of toys appropriate for different dogs, there are also different types of chews for different types of dogs. PetSmart, for example, carries a wide variety of chew toys and treats to meet the oral care, chew habits (and chewing inclinations) of many different types of dogs.
-- Chews should be size-appropriate and match the dog's chewing style. For example, a large dog that has a tendency to chew and swallow large pieces should only be offered a large bone with medium density that is digestible. Likewise, a small dog or puppy should be offered size- appropriate chews that are of a softer material.
-- Pet parents should observe how their dog chews regardless of the type or brand of chew or toy, especially when offered a new chew for the first time. If a dog is able to chew off and swallow large pieces, the chew is not appropriate for that dog.
-- Pets should be monitored consistently when chewing any product, and pet parents should watch for any sign of choking, gagging or coughing both while the pet is chewing and after the chew has been swallowed. A dog showing these or similar signs should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.
In addition to practicing a regular dental care regimen at home for their pet, pet parents should schedule regular dental checkups for their pet with their veterinarian. Jaynes notes, "Your vet is a great resource for questions about dental health, the benefits of chew products, and how to select appropriate chews for your pet's needs."
As part of the Chews Wisely campaign, PetSmart has added helpful information to in-store signage as well as online at www.petsmart.com. In addition, PetSmart store associates are always armed with information to help pet parents make smart choices for their pet, including a Chews Wisely care sheet for customers to take home for future reference.
To chew or not to chew is never the question; every pet chews. The challenge is to Chews Wisely.
To schedule an interview, contact PetSmart Corporate Communications at 623-587-2177. For more information about PetSmart Pet Experts, visit www.petsmartexperts.com.
PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETM) is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. The company operates more than 860 pet stores in the United States and Canada, a growing number of in-store PetsHotel cat and dog boarding facilities, and is a leading online provider of pet supplies and pet care information (www.petsmart.com). PetSmart provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and pet products; offers complete pet training, pet grooming, pet boarding, doggie day camp and pet adoption services; and provides a full line of horse supplies, including equestrian apparel and tack, through State Line Tack. Since 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit animal welfare organization, has donated more than $42 million to animal welfare programs and, through its in-store pet adoption programs, has saved the lives of more than 2.7 million pets.
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