While the majority of dog owners recognise oral hygiene is important to their dog’s health, more than half have never cleaned their pooch’s teeth, research has found.

Research found some owners weren't clued up when it came to their pet's oral health. Image: © Pixabay/beeki-thecoffeedrinker
Research found some owners weren’t clued up when it came to their pet’s oral health. Image: © Pixabay/beeki-thecoffeedrinker

In a survey of 2,000 UK dog owners, 53% admitted they had never attempted to clean their canine’s canines, despite 88% saying they understood the importance of the activity.

Serious consequences

It was also found most owners associated bad breath, tooth loss and inflamed gums (76%, 67% and 65%, respectively) with poor oral hygiene, yet many were unaware it could lead to more serious consequences, with 11% identifying heart disease as a potential cost and 7% understanding the liver can be affected.

According to pet supplement specialist Pettura, which carried out the survey, gum disease is five times more common in dogs than humans, as dogs have a more alkaline mouth, promoting plaque formation.

Meanwhile, studies have shown 80% of dogs suffer some form of gum disease before they are three years old.

Irreversible damage

Vet Marc Abraham said poor oral hygiene could often lead to expensive veterinary treatment for owners if gum disease was left untreated, or even lead to irreversible damage.

He said: “If dogs’ teeth are not cleaned regularly and plaque build-up not removed, this can lead to periodontitis, which is usually irreversible; characterised by loss of attachment for the tooth in its socket, which, in turn, often leads to tooth mobility, loss of tooth, as well as severe infections.”

Prevention versus procedure

Mr Abraham continued: “Due to the ample blood supply in dogs’ gums, bacteria can potentially enter their bloodstream every time they chew, causing infections much further afield in the heart, lungs and kidneys.

“While dental procedures can be performed if necessary, it’s always best to prevent gum disease in the first place.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of


related content

Study establishes gun dog breeds, such as retrievers, are straining their locomotor systems by carrying shot game back to their owners.

3 mins

Latest figures from The Kennel Club show brachycephalic breeds now occupy three of the UK’s top six pedigree registration positions.

2 mins

A veterinary team pooled its expertise and honed its detective skills to solve the mystery behind a dog’s breathing and vomiting problems.

6 mins

West Midlands watering hole becomes 24-hour veterinary clinic in £1.3 million investment.

2 mins

A vet has spoken of her astonishment after an x-ray of a Staffordshire bull terrier puppy revealed an 8in kitchen knife lodged inside its body.

5 mins

The benefits of pet ownership on human health may help the NHS reduce costs by nearly £2.45 billion – and vets should be praised for playing their part by keeping the nation’s animals healthy, according to a report.

5 mins