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The solution to bad breath is inside a dog's mouth

The solution to bad breath is inside a dog's mouth
Posted at 5:17 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-09 18:27:05-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Local researchers have found a way to get rid of bad breath for hours. They’re starting with dogs.

Professor Eric Lyons at the University of Arizona is a dog lover. But he couldn't stand his dog’s breath.

“I just started to think to myself I bet we have technology or can develop technology to solve this,” Lyons said.

Lyons pitched the idea to the University’s Tech Launch Arizona, and got the funding for his startup company, now called Upetsia.

“Once I saw the enthusiasm from the University, I was like, let's give this a try,” Lyons said.

Lyons found the solution to bad breath where most wouldn't think to look: in the bacteria of a dogs mouth.

“Improve dog breath by cloning and isolating the naturally occurring bacteria from the mouths of dogs and then modifying them to make pleasant smells such as mint,” Lyons said.

He tested around a dozen dogs, putting the modified bacteria in their food. The result: the dogs had minty breath for around two hours, with no adverse effects.

“Manufacturers today have a limited amount of ingredients they can select from and those have been pretty static for a long time," said Scott Zentack, CEO of Upetsia. "Upetsia is a unique class of ingredient which is unlike anything else currently on the market.”

No other dog products on the market have these results. But Upetsia wants to take it a step further.

“We’re working on making the mint smell stronger and making it last longer in the mouth,” Lyons said.

In the next couple of years, Upetsia’s leadership hopes to get their product approved by the FDA and available throughout the country. The team also wants to expand the product for other mammals.

“Right now we’re focused on our initial product for dogs, but this would work on any other mammal," Zentack said. "So this would work for cats, humans, etc.”

The team hopes to leverage this technology in the long-run to change disease outcomes, specifically with oral hygiene.