A Nelson veterinarian says he is concerned at the state of canine oral health and has joined a nationwide programme to offer free dental health checks for dogs this month.
Dr Todd Halsey says a recent survey* showed that more than half (61%) of dog owners admitted to not brushing their dog’s teeth at all with 55% saying they did not realise they needed to and 15% claiming their ‘dog didn’t like it’.
Research** also shows that 80% of Kiwi dogs over the age of three have developed gum disease which can lead to tooth loss, abscesses and bone infection.
The bacteria and infections that result from bad dental hygiene can spread to the dog’s bloodstream leading to heart, kidney or liver disease which can result in serious health complications, he says.
Dr Halsey says brushing dog’s teeth is considered the gold standard for maintaining good oral health in dogs. Many clients initially find it quite challenging but with a little time and effort it is possible. For those pets where this is not the case other strategies can be used to maximise oral health.
He hopes to address the issue of pet oral health by joining more than 200 other vets across the country as part of the Pedigree Dentastix initiative – which will offer free health checks for dogs throughout Doggie Dental Month in July.
Dr Halsey says while pet owners may remember to walk, feed, deflea and worm their pets; many are still unaware of how to look after their dog’s oral hygiene and what damage neglecting this can do.
He says the campaign is a great opportunity to increase pet owners’ awareness of the importance of good oral health for dogs.
“Most pet owners are oblivious to their pets oral health issues because pets don’t complain. The desire to eat is very strong and most pets will put up with oral pain despite its long term presence”, says Dr Halsey.
“It is not routine for owners to examine their pets mouths on a regular basis. It is not until they develop significant halitosis (bad breath) or the pain becomes so bad that the pet stops eating that veterinary attention is sought,” he says.
Dr Halsey says he looks forward to the Halifax Veterinary Centre helping dog owners who are concerned about their pet’s oral hygiene and educating them on the importance of dental care for canines.
Pedigree Dentastix Brand Manager Aurelia Moly from MARS says the research also shows that 90% of dog owners do not believe their pet has gum disease***.
“These statistics are really concerning which is why we think it is so important to launch the free vet checks and create awareness of the issue,” says Moly.
“Our aim is to show dog owners that with a few simple steps they can improve their dog’s health dramatically, we see partnering with vets all over the country as a great way to do this,” she says.
The campaign will run in conjunction with Doggie Dental Month in July. For more information about FREE Dental Checks in July or details about Pedigree Dentastix go to www.doggiedentures.co.nz