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Pet Dental Problems Identified 1/21/2015

America’s dogs and cats need better dental care. 

That’s the key finding of a comprehensive new study conducted by Brakke Consulting, Inc. and Ipsos Agriculture and Animal Health.  The Brakke-Ipsos Pet Dental Market Study included national surveys of both 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.

A big part of the problem may be communications, according to the research.    While more than 90 percent of veterinarians said they “always” check the oral health status of their patients, only 25% said they actually provide a written report to their clients.  Less than half of pet owners recall discussing their pet’s oral health during the pet’s last examination.

Pet owners’ primary defense against teeth and gum problems in their pets are dental treats and chews. The majority – 80 percent of dog owners and 50 percent of cat owners – purchased dental chews or treats in the past year.  A small minority have purchased other products such as rinses, sealers and pet food with dental claims. 

Only about one in five dog owners and one in ten cat owners have had their pet’s teeth cleaned by a veterinarian in the last 12 months.

Veterinarians appear to be trying to change the dynamic.  The majority indicated that they were putting greater emphasis on pet dental care.  About half indicated that their dental revenues were up in the past two years compared to the previous period.

Oral health in pets is important.  Pets typically don’t get tooth decay, but tartar and plaque can lead to inflammation and bacterial infection, according to veterinary experts.  Periodontal disease – infections of the teeth and gums – can provide a gateway to systemic infections that have been implicated in diseases of the heart, kidneys and other organs.

The Brakke-Ipsos Pet Dental Market Study provides an in-depth analysis of pet oral care, including data on the purchases of products and services by pet owners, as well the dental practices and oral care sales of veterinarians.  The report is available for $12,000.   For more information, interested companies should contact John Volk at Brakke Consulting, john@volkonline.com; or Colin Siren, Ipsos, colin.siren@ipsos.com.

Brakke Consulting is the leading consulting firm specializing in the animal health and nutrition markets.  It is located at 12005 Ford Road, Suite 530, Dallas, TX, 75234, (972) 243-4033, www.brakkeconsulting.com

Ipsos Agriculture and Animal Health is a leading global market research firm focused on animal health and nutrition with agriculture and animal health offices in the United States, Canada and Europe.  More information can be found at www.ipsos-na.com, (519) 780-4703.

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