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Plaque Attack-ack-ack-ack-ack

The more I looked into this product, the more interesting and complicated it became. First, though, the infomercial. Plaque Attack is a product you spray on your pet's teeth every day, and it magically removes all the plaque and tartar build-up. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Yeah, exactly.

Dogs and cats have the same basic dental set-up that we do. So I had to ask myself, are there any products marketed to people, which claim that you can spray them on your teeth instead of visiting the dentist for a dental cleaning? There are not. If there were, you could make a fortune on it, because no one likes going to the dentist.

The infomercial features several clips of people spraying stuff in their pets' mouths. Their pets seem to handle this with equanimity. I was skeptical that this is how it would actually play out. Have you ever spritzed something in your pet's general direction? They're not a fan of the sound. Stick that in their mouth and see how it goes.

However, I was charmed by the clip where a groomer spritzed some into her own mouth, to show that it is safe.

Safe it may be, but it contains grain alcohol, which isn't something you should be giving to your pets in any great quantity. However, it may help explain why the pets in the infomercial don't seem to mind being sprayed in the mouth. They're drunk!

The ingredients in Plaque Attack look relatively harmless. They also look useless. None of these things will magically loosen plaque and tartar. The only thing that will do that is an enzyme cleaner, which dissolves all of the crud.

As a final red flag, the more I looked at the comparison pictures, the more I became convinced that they had been heavily retouched in Photoshop.

So I went looking online. And here's where it gets complicated. A lot of people claim that the Plaque Attack website is confusing and misleading, and racks up a lot of extra charges (including exorbitant shipping costs) that you may not notice until the very end.

More troublesome, many other people claim that Plaque Attack sells your personal information to salesmen. I found several reports from people who had started receiving unsolicited sales calls from extremely pushy salesmen within 24 hours of placing their Plaque Attack order.

Plaque Attack employees have been very active in various online forums where Plaque Attack gets dissed. They show up and post a somewhat huffy-sounding response, frequently blame the customer who originally complained, and - I note - fail to offer any kind of guarantee or promise to make it right.

This kind of behavior makes the few positive reviews of Plaque Attack seem all the more suspicious. Particularly since many of them come from unregistered guest accounts, not from real long-term users of the sites where they appear. Is Plaque Attack engaging in a two-pronged attack, astroturfing with one hand while casting official corporate blame with the other?

It's hard to say, but - I think you know where this is going - it certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.