Banfield Sinks Its Teeth Into Pet Dental Health

February 06, 2013 • Portland, Ore.

Survey Finds Nearly One-Third of Pet Owners Unaware Bad Breath is a Serious Health Issue  

PORTLAND, Ore. —February 6, 2013—Break out the doggie toothpaste! Today, Banfield Pet Hospital® released startling statistics in conjunction with February’s National Pet Dental Health Month in an effort to help pet owners brush up on their dental health knowledge. The survey uncovered that the majority of pet owners are unaware that if their pet’s breath smells funny, it’s probably serious—which means bad breath can be a sign of a greater health problem that may be going unnoticed at home. The reality is that bad breath is an early indicator of dental disease which is the most common disease in pets, affecting 78 percent of dogs and 68 percent of cats over the age of three.

Conducted by The Pert Group, a market research company, the survey found that more than half of dog owners (57 percent) admit their pet has bad breath, yet only six percent cite the smell as a reason to schedule a dental cleaning. If that’s not enough of a concern, chew on this: 59 percent of pet owners surveyed did not know that dental disease is the most common disease found in cats and dogs.

Loving pet owners are also citing bad breath as a reason to create some space between themselves and their pooch. According to the survey, nearly one-third (27 percent) of dog owners indicated that they have purposely avoided close cuddle time with their lovable pup because of bad breath. Perhaps this is because 50 percent of dog owners surveyed liken their pet’s breath to the smell of old garbage!

Despite this foul-smelling feedback, 62 percent of dog owners aren’t taking action to alleviate their pet’s bad breath and only one-third of pet owners have taken their dog (38 percent) or cat (29 percent) to the veterinarian for a professional cleaning. What pet owners may not realize is that pet dental health is just as important as human dental health. As with humans, dental disease in dogs and cats has been associated with changes in liver, kidney and cardiac functions.

“It’s a little concerning that more than half of dog owners believe their pet has bad breath but only a small percent would actually seek medical advice from a veterinarian. What pet owners don’t realize is that bad breath is often an indicator of something serious. Many people believe that bad dog breath is normal—it’s actually not,” said Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield Pet Hospital. “Because dental disease is the most common disease affecting dogs and cats over the age of three, it’s critical that pet owners partner with their veterinarian when it comes to their pet’s preventive care, especially their oral health. Simple steps such as twice-yearly visits to the veterinarian and annual professional cleanings are important to keeping pets healthy and happy.”

Dental disease includes any health issue affecting the mouth, including inflammation, tartar, gingivitis and periodontal disease, among other issues. Periodontal disease is classified by the severity of its impact on teeth and gums. It is divided into four stages and as periodontal disease progresses, pets may experience a great deal of pain. In the earliest stages, pets develop mild tartar and inflammation of the gums; in the latest stages, significant inflammation and loss of teeth can occur. As the severity of dental disease increases, so does the chance of having other potentially fatal conditions such as heart and kidney disease.

In order to address the issue of pet dental health and give pet owners a breath of fresh air, Banfield is offering a limited-time coupon for a dental consultation by a veterinarian, available for download at during the month of February.

Banfield recommends regular dental examinations and annual professional dental cleanings by a veterinarian, especially for dogs and cats over the age of two. In addition, at-home preventive care including twice-a-week brushing along with dental chews, water additives and specially formed dry pet food may also be used to help prevent tartar build-up.

Calling all funny faces! Banfield’s Facebook fans can enter the “Show Us Your Breath Face Sweepstakes” for a chance to win a one-year Optimum Wellness Plan® complete with dental cleaning. Today through March 30, 2013, hopeful contestants can log onto Banfield Pet Hospital's Facebook page at, to submit photos of their facial expressions captured when catching a whiff of their pet’s smelly breath. In addition to the grand prize of preventive healthcare, 50 first prize winners will also become eligible to receive a Banfield Dental Health Kit.

For more information about Banfield Pet Hospital, additional tips on how to prevent dental disease, and the limited time offer, visit