Poll shows Canadian pet owners don't understand importance of veterinary dentistry

The need for better education about the importance of pet dental care extends up to our neighbors in the North, according to a study that tested Canadian pet owners on their knowledge of pain associated with periodontal disease.

Marketing intelligence company Ipsos Reid - in a poll commissioned by Royal Canin - polled 1,017 dog and/or cat owners in Canada to find out how well they understood how pets are affected by pain related to periodontal disease. According to Ipsos Reid, 65 percent of respondents said root exposure is painful for cats and dogs, while 89 percent said it is painful for humans.

Many respondents also felt that bleeding or swollen gums are painful for humans but not pets, with 63 percent saying the condition is painful for cats and dogs compared to 82 percent for humans.

As part of the poll, respondents were informed about the pain that pets feel while dealing with periodontal disease. Despite the education, only 46 percent of respondents expressed confidence that they fully understood the extent of the pain and comprehended how pets experience just as much pain as humans.

The telling results indicated to Dr. Johanne Pelletier, director of scientific communications at Royal Canin, that a more thorough effort needs to be made in order to educate Canadian pet owners about the consequences of neglecting their pets’ dental needs.

"More awareness is needed to help Canadian pet owners better understand just how painful periodontal disease symptoms are for pets," Pelletier said. "That starts by talking to a veterinary care professional and continues with at-home assessments, ongoing veterinary dental exams and choosing a reputable dental food formulation."

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