By EVELYN LEN and MAHADHIR MONIHULDIN
It may come as a surprise to some pet owners to learn that oral disease is the No.1 medical problem among dogs.
What’s more, by the time they reach their third birthday, about 80% of dogs show signs of periodontal disease.
Poor oral health among canines can cause painful inflammation. If left untreated, it may lead to systemic diseases involving the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. It could also cause life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
But brushing a dog’s teeth is not easy at all, as many pet owners can attest to. It takes a lot of time and effort to clean those teeth. And the whole experience can prove unpleasant for both dog and owner.
Right now, the choices for cleaning a dog’s teeth are limited: conventional dog toothbrushes, chew toys, dental treats and sticks, and professional vet cleaning. Out of these options, dogs seem to only enjoy chew toys and dental treats and sticks – but their efficacy is questionable. Professional cleaning is good and thorough, but expensive.
For all the above reasons, a Los Angeles-based start-up called Bristly has begun a project to address this problem. Its founder and CEO Petros Dertsakyan has designed a canine toothbrushing stick that will empower dogs to clean their own teeth while relieving pet owners of the stress of having to carry out this difficult task.
Dertsakyan had a childhood dog that suffered the fatal consequence of poor oral hygiene. So he decided to do something about it. With dogs’ behaviour and anatomy in mind, this biologist created the Bristly toothbrushing stick. It is simple and enjoyable for dogs to self-use, even on a daily basis.
With its attractable shape, the brushing stick will be naturally inviting to dogs. So, as they bite and chew on it, their teeth will be cleaned by the double-sided bristle lines, down to their gumline, and remove plaque and tartar build-up around the hard-to-reach molars.
The brushing stick is equipped with a pair of stabilising paw pads for self-use, a special self-dispensing toothpaste reservoir to insert bacteria-cleansing toothpaste, as well as meat-flavoured bristles to promote deep chewing of the stick.
The canine brushing stick is available in three sizes, and in two colours (for moderate or extreme chewers). It is sure to withstand even the most vigorous of chewers.
A whopping 50,000 happy dog-parents in the United States have already tested out the product, which has been in the making for a year.
The start-up has begun their crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter (go to kickstarter.com and search for Bristly) and aims to mass-produce the item for pets around the world.
Those who would like to get the brushing stick for their pet may make a pledge on the Kickstarter page. The campaign ends on Aug 10, 2018.
Pledges of varying amounts – starting from US$22 (RM90) for one toothbrushing stick – will benefit from discounted prices as well as receive other add-on products. At the time of writing, they had raised US$302,401 (RM1.23mil) from nearly 700 backers.
Estimated delivery of the product is in October 2018.