More than half of the UK’s dog owners have never cleaned their dogs’ teeth, according to a new survey.
Despite nearly nine in 10 of owners recognising that oral hygiene is important to their dog’s health, 53 per cent of dog owners admitted to never cleaning their dog’s teeth, giving plaque-forming bacteria the opportunity to multiply.
Gum disease is five times more common in dogs than humans, as dogs have a more alkaline mouth, promoting plaque formation.
Studies have also shown that 80 per cent of dogs suffer some form of gum disease before they are three years old.
And many dog owners are unaware that gum disease can have serious consequences. However, only 11 per cent realised that heart disease was a potential result of poor oral hygiene, while just 7 per cent understood that it can also affect the liver.
The survey of 2,000 dog owners, commissioned by pet supplement specialist Pettura, found most owners associate bad breath, tooth loss and inflamed gums (76 per cent, 67 per cent, 65 per cent respectively) with poor oral hygiene.
TV vet Marc Abraham said: “If your dog’s teeth are not cleaned regularly and plaque build-up not removed, then 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.
“Due to the ample blood supply in your dog’s gums, bacteria can potentially enter your dog’s bloodstream every time they chew, causing infections much further afield in the heart, lungs and kidneys.
“While vets can perform dental procedures if necessary, it’s always best to prevent gum disease in the first place. Cleaning your dog’s teeth daily will help minimise bacteria.”