Recent poll suggests disconnect between pet owners maintaining their own oral health and that of their cat or dog

GUELPH, ON, Jan. 29, 2016 /CNW/ - Imagine what it would be like if you never brushed your teeth. To most people, the concept of not brushing their teeth at least once a day is unappealing at best. In fact, according to a recent Ipsos Reid poll, to maintain good oral health, 75 per cent of Canadian pet owners visit a dentist at least once a year to have their teeth professionally cleaned. And yet, only 30 per cent of Canadian pet owners have ever taken their cat or dog to a veterinarian for a professional dental cleaning.

As February is Dental Health Month for pets, it's important to take the opportunity to highlight the sizeable gap between the personal oral health practices of people, and the habits they have with respect to maintaining their pets' teeth and gums. This can have a significant impact on a pet's quality of life.

Awareness vs. Action

The poll indicates that lack of pet owner awareness of the importance of pet oral health care isn't the issue – 76 per cent of those surveyed acknowledged they should be brushing their pets' teeth to help keep them healthy. However, only eight per cent of dog owners and four per cent of cat owners actually brush their pets' teeth daily – most owners reported they found brushing their dog or cat's teeth difficult and/or inconvenient. 

Building Better Pet Oral Health Care Habits

Pet owners should have an open conversation with their veterinarian about the best ways to properly maintain their pets' oral health at home between annual veterinary appointments.

"Visiting a veterinarian for regular oral examinations as part of their physical examination makes the invisible visible. Most owners don't brush their pets' teeth regularly or at all," says Dr. Lee Jane Huffman, a board certified veterinary dentist from the Mississauga - Oakville Veterinary Emergency Hospital. "Preventive action is key to properly maintaining your pets' teeth and gums. Your veterinarian can perform a professional cleaning and develop a home care plan to show you exactly how to take the very best care of your pets' oral health."

February 1st 2016, Royal Canin Canada's Veterinary Division is launching an awareness campaign to help pet owners better understand the importance of maintaining good oral health to help prevent dental disease in pets. Periodontal (dental) disease is caused by plaque which will form calculus (tartar) with time. In the early stages, gingivitis (red gums) will appear, but in later stages of the disease, infection will go down the root and affect the bone and the attachments of the teeth, making teeth loose.

"Just as in people, dental disease can negatively affect the quality of a pet's life," says Dr. Huffman. "We frequently treat pets with advanced stages of periodontal disease, which can be prevented with regular oral care. Pet owners can easily miss the subtle changes in their pet's mouths, as many cats and dogs hide signs of pain or irritation. Then, there appears a sudden, obvious dental issue that requires immediate – often surgical – intervention."

Taking Action

Advanced stages of dental disease are preventable. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough oral examination as part of your pets' annual physical exam, and determine when it's time for a professional cleaning. Veterinary teams will also create a complete home care plan tailored for the owner and their pet.

Royal Canin is a worldwide manufacturer and supplier of high quality, specialized dog and cat foods in the veterinary, pet specialty and breeder channels. Its headquarters are in France and production operations exist in 12 countries around the world, including the Canadian plant based in Guelph, Ontario. Royal Canin offers a comprehensive veterinary exclusive line of therapeutic and life stage formulas. To learn more about Royal Canin, visit royalcanin.ca.

The Ipsos Reid poll, conducted between November 26 and 30, 2015 on behalf of Royal Canin Canada's Veterinary Division, sampled 1,000 Canadians who say they own either a dog or cat. It is accurate within +/- 3.5 per cent.

SOURCE Royal Canin

For further information: Media Contact: Jason Teakle, ON Communication, 519.865.6468, jason@oncommunication.ca

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