Anyone who’s owned a dog will know just how bad their breath smells, especially when they decide to yawn right in your face.
It’s so bad, people are now going to bizarre lengths in an attempt to stop their dog’s breath from smelling, research has found.
Chewing gum, facial hair-cuts and brushing their teeth with human toothpaste are just some of the ways dog owners are trying to combat their dog’s bad breath, according to a recent study.
Giving dogs snacks which are said to ‘improve’ their breath, handing them fresh mint leaves to chew, and keeping the lid closed so your hound doesn’t drink from the toilet are other ways to ensure your four-legged-friend’s mouth doesn’t stink.
The survey of 2,000 dog owners revealed over half believe their dog suffers from bad breath – and yet the same percentage think this is normal for canines, when it can actually be a symptom of poor dental health.
Only a fifth of those polled would worry about dog breath being a sign of a serious health problem. However, six in 10 owners admitted to having tried to combat their dog’s bad breath, and over half have used a dental chew to do this.
Rodney Zasman, a leading London veterinary surgeon, said:
A lot of dog owners aren’t aware of how important it is to look after their dog’s dental health. Poor care of dogs’ dental hygiene can result in implications such as dental plaque, gum disease, tooth abscesses and difficulty eating .
Bacteria can spread from the teeth and gums causing damage to the kidneys, liver and the heart. Painful and extensive dental surgery and treatment may be needed to cure this.
It’s vital to increase owners’ knowledge of the importance of looking after their dog’s teeth and gums to ensure pets are as healthy and fit as possible.
While dogs have been fed anything from cooked parsley, carrots, apples and mints in a bid to keep their breath fresh, nearly a third of owners polled didn’t know how often they need to clean their dog’s teeth.
The survey, commissioned by Lily’s Kitchen pet food via OnePoll.com to coincide with the launch of Woofbrush, their new natural dental chews, found only one in 10 dog owners have ever taken their dog to the vet because of their bad breath.
More owners thought dogs’ bad breath is associated with what their dog has eaten rather than a sign of poor dental hygiene.
And although dogs are known to be man’s best friend, three in 10 owners admitted to avoiding going near their canine companion because of their terrible breath. A more confident 40 per cent however will let their dog lick their face regardless of how bad they smell.
I’ll be honest with you, I once made the mistake of giving my dog one of my sour cream Pringles; he then proceeded to jump up on me and breathe right in my face. Never again.
The survey results revealed dog owners have spent on average less than £100 on their dog’s dental hygiene since having them, indicating owners are underestimating the importance of dental health compared to other areas of physical condition.
And people aren’t making the connection between poor dental health and the implications it can have on their dog’s overall health. Under half of those dog owners who were polled said they take their dog for an annual dental inspection.
Those owners who do care for their canine’s teeth believed dental chews are an effective solution, with six in 10 using them to combat their dog’s breath.
Henrietta Morrison of Lily’s Kitchen, said that most dental chews are not the solution:
Keeping your dog’s teeth in really good condition is part and parcel of being a responsible pet owner. The best time to get your pet used to you brushing their teeth is from when they’re puppies.
Dental disease is so avoidable and when it does happen it can be devastating for the entire health of your pet, as bacteria from teeth spreads throughout the immune system, not to mention the added impact of terrible doggy breath.
As with so many pet products, it’s very hard to work out what’s best for your pet. Almost all pet dental chews are made with nasty ingredients including sugar and chemicals.
Who knew? I’d better go and buy my dog a toothbrush then, here’s hoping he doesn’t bite my hand off…
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).