Veterinary recommendations spur dental compliance, survey says
St. Louis - Only 30 percent of pet owners schedule professional dental cleanings for their pets, yet four out of five owners in this group do so with a veterinary recommendation.
ST. LOUIS — Only 30 percent of pet owners schedule professional dental cleanings for their pets, yet four out of five owners in this group do so with a veterinary recommendation.
A recent survey conducted by Nestle Purina suggests that pet owners are unlikely to take certain steps for dental care unless specifically recommended by a veterinarian.
Dr. Grace Long, director of technical marketing for Purina Veterinary Diets, explains that the survey demonstrated a direct relationship between dental recommendations and client compliance.
"Most pet owners believe dental care is important, but their actions fall short of what we veterinarians would like to see," Long says. "And while veterinary staff members may believe they're making dental care a priority, pet owners may not be hearing that direction. There's clearly room to do even more with active recommendations."
Specific findings included:
- Seventy-six percent of pet owners feed special treats, and 48 percent feed special diets to promote dental health; roughly half of each group do so without veterinary direction.
- Just 25 percent of pet owners brush their pets' teeth — but if they do, it's because four times out of five, their veterinarians provided guidance to do so.
- While 76 percent of pet owners believe dental care is important to pet health, they may not understand that a complete dental-care program requires regular cleanings and home care in addition to dental diets and treats.
- Conversely, the study also showed that if veterinarians place a low priority on dental care, this attitude is reflected in owner behavior. Almost one-third of the owners profiled report their veterinarians have never discussed dental care with them, and accordingly, these owners tended to place a low importance on dental care.
The online survey targeted nearly 1,600 dog and cat owners, and was conducted in conjunction with the launch the company's new dental brand.
Aside from offering treats to their pets, the majority of pet owners currently practice no other form of dental care. Of non-brushers, 34 percent of dog owners and 48 percent of cat owners avoid the practice because they believe it will upset their pet. Cost and the lack of veterinary recommendation, on the other hand, are the primary reasons why almost 70 percent of pet owners surveyed don't have their pet's teeth professionally cleaned.
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