Dental disease in dogs and cats has increased during the past decade, and pet food and treats can help pet dental health, reported Petfood Industry. Market data show that pet treats are dog and cat owners most popular purchase for pet dental health.
According to Banfield Pet Hospital’s “State of Pet Health Report 2016, the prevalence of dental disease in dogs has risen since 2006, with steady growth each year (see infographic). Dental disease in cats also increased over the last 10 years.
Along with dental disease, other painful feline dental conditions increased in prevalence. For example, the past decade saw a 68.8 percent increase in stomatitis and a 1,587 percent increase in tooth reabsorption.
Beyond actual dental ailments, other health complications are associated with dental disease. Periodontal disease has been associated with an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease, especially in cats, for example.
Causes of increase in dog and cat dental disease
Some of the primary risk factors for pet dental health follow trends in pet ownership. Two risk factors, increasing age and small breed size, are examples of this. Pets are living longer, and small breed ownership is on the rise.
Although veterinarians consider preventive dentistry in dogs and cats to be the best means to address dental disease, only 20 percent of dog owners and 11 percent of cat owners brush their pets’ teeth, according to Packaged Facts. Consumers are looking to treats and similar products to help their pets maintain dental health outside of the veterinarian’s office.
Opportunities for dog and cat treat manufacturers
Analysis by Packaged Facts suggests that, as with trends in other pet food segments, consumers focused on their pets’ dental health are looking for a combination of functionality and nutrition in their dental treats and chews. They want to know that the treats are proven to help prevent dental issues, but they also want those treats to fit in with their dog or cat’s current diet: those with pets on specialty diets (limited ingredient, allergen avoidance, weight control), for example, will be hunting for grain-free, all-natural or low-calorie treats.
However, when it comes to spending on services or products for pets’ oral health, a gap remains between level of concern and actual expenditures. Packaged Facts’ report, “Upside potential for canine oral care products,” noted that only 44 percent of dog owners have purchased any oral care/dental hygiene products within the past 12 months. Dental treats and chews are the most popular (41 percent) such purchase.