In January 2015, a study conducted by Brakke Consulting Inc. and Ipsos Agriculture and Animal Health indicated that pets need better dental care. And, recently, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) said there are still significant barriers to overcome in preventive dentistry for dogs and cats: a perception that care is unnecessary, the difficulty of home care, the cost of professional care and a fear of putting pets under anesthesia.
In the 2015 study, which included national surveys of veterinarians and pet owners, veterinarians indicated that the majority of the pets they see have dental problems. But the vast majority of pet owners consider their pets’ dental status as “normal” and less than 30% recognized any potential problems.
Oral health is one of the top three concerns for companion animal owners, according to AVMA. Approximately 80% of dogs develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they’re three years old, such that oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets. Dental disease impacts not only pets’ teeth, gums and mouth, but can (through bacteria that enter the bloodstream) potentially affect a pet’s heart, liver and kidneys. Although many pet owners need to be further educated about oral health issues, a baseline of awareness exists. A Packaged Facts’ report on Pet Oral Care Products and Services in the US from November 2015 shows that 59% of dog owners strongly or somewhat agree that they are concerned about the dental hygiene/breath odor of their pets, compared with 48% of cat owners.
Pet owners’ primary defense against teeth and gum problems in their pets are dental treats and chews. Veterinarians said they have been trying to put more emphasis on pet dental care, and half of those in the 2015 study said dental revenue has been up in the past two years compared to the previous period.
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