Brush Up! A Report on Canine Dental Health

Through our San Francisco Bay Area pet health members and the thousands of users of our Fuzzy Pet Health app, Fuzzy has access to more than 25,000 years worth of pet health data – including pet health medical records and canine dental health information.

To cap off February’s Pet Dental Health Month, this is the first Fuzzy Pet Health Data report – a look at consumer attitudes and actions around canine dental care in the United States and education on being a responsible #petparent. Combing through the data led to some surprising learnings, particularly the fact that pet parents need more education on canine dental care. Dr. Nancy, Kay, DVM, Chief Medical Advisor at Fuzzy, discusses the importance of dental health:

“In my 30 plus years of veterinary experience I’ve seen first hand the issues that result from improper dental health. By taking care of your dogs’ teeth through regular cleanings, tooth brushing, and other preventive measures, you’re contributing to their overall health. Not only are you preventing long-term problems and pain, your actions translate into more up-close-and-personal cuddle time with your beloved pets, as there’s no stinky breath keeping them at arm’s reach. Who doesn’t want more snuggle time with our fuzzies and to keep them in better health?”

Goals of this Report

Pet dental health is something that we consider to be incredibly important at Fuzzy, yet we see many pet parents commonly overlook or misunderstand this important aspect of health.

There are four main goals for this report:

  1. Understand pet parent attitudes towards canine dental health
  2. Quantify current canine dental health practices and habits of pet parents
  3. Discuss the risks and costs of improper preventive canine dental care
  4. Educate pet parents on canine dental health best practices

Getting the Data

We took a multi-faceted approach to collecting data around pet dental care to look at both pet parent attitudes about dental care, as well as the actions they are taking to care for their pet’s teeth.

    • Dental Health Survey: We conducted a survey of pet parents to better understand attitudes toward canine dental health.
    • Pet Health Quiz Data: We pulled data from thousands of responses to our Pet Health Quiz in the for a qualitative understanding of canine dental practices by pet parents.
    • Medical Records Data: We analyzed medical records of App users and Fuzzy Pet Health members for a quantitative and outcomes-based analysis of canine dental health.
    • Clinic Data: We surveyed clinics in several cities to understand the potential costs of dental health care at a clinic.

The #datastory

To visualize the data, we created an infographic:

Doggie Dental Care

 

Consumer Attitudes – Canine Dental Care

By “consumer attitudes” we mean what pet parents say regarding their pet’s dental health and what they think and do in regards to their pet’s teeth. According to our survey and results from the Fuzzy Pet Health Quiz, we found:

  • 48% of dog parents do not brush their dog’s teeth
    • Health Fact: To make a significant impact on your dog’s dental health you need to brush their teeth at least 3x a week. Doing this can prevent the buildup of plaque, tartar, and calculus that lead to dental disease.
  • 88% of dog parents give their dog’s special dental treats, but 43% aren’t sure of the benefits of dental chews.
    • Health Fact: Dental chews are one aspect of promoting a healthy mouth. Using a VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) recommended dental chew can cost an average of ~$300/year when used daily for a 30lb dog.
  • Only 50% of dog parents believe that dental disease causes their pet pain, with 28% unsure and 22% saying dental diseas does not cause pain.
    • Health Fact: While your dog may be feeling pain, they are very good at hiding it and may not outwardly show signs of pain. Dental disease can cause significant levels of pain in dogs. The level of pain varies depending on the severity of the dental disease.

The Cost of Canine Dental Care

Depending on where you live, a basic full dental cleaning for your dog can cost upwards of $600 (and upwards of $1,500 if extractions and further treatment is needed). By taking an active role in your dog’s dental hygiene you can avoid expensive dental costs, including anesthetic cleanings and tooth extractions. Doing things like brushing your dog’s teeth and taking other preventive measures to protect their teeth can save a lot of money.

For a 30lb dog, you can expect the average cost of preventive dental care to be:

Average cost of preventive dental care for 1-year Average cost of dental care per month
$98.55 – Dog Essential Dental Water Additive $8.21 = Dog Essential Dental Water Additive
$3.59 Pet ToothBrush $0.30 = Pet Tooth Brush
$25.92 Pet Toothpaste $2.19 = Pet Toothpaste
Total: $128.06/year Total: $10.70/month

If you supplement your dog’s dental care routine with dental chews, for a 30lb dog you can expect an additional $259.65/year for daily Greenies dental chews (or $21.64/month).

About Fuzzy

Thanks for reading our report on canine dental health! This is the first in our series of #dataposts on pet health and pet parent education.  

Fuzzy is a San Francisco based pet health company with a mission to make it easier for pet parents to keep their pets healthy. Fuzzy is the first company that brings world class veterinary care delivered by hand-picked veterinarians to the comfort of your home – all for a simple monthly fee. Each Fuzzy member gets a tailored health program designed for them based on your lifestyle. All pet parents get access to our mobile app with features such as Ask-a-Vet telemedicine, electronic health records and medication tracking and reminders.

To learn more about Fuzzy and to become a member, visit www.yourfuzzy.com/join

 

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