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Cat and dog owners challenged to brush up on dental health

New research from Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has found that only 1 in every 16 dog owners and 1 in every 50 cat owners are brushing their pets’ teeth as frequently as vets recommend1.  Vets recommend that cats and dogs have their teeth brushed daily if possible, however the research shows that only 6% of dogs and 2% of cats are having their teeth brushed daily. Furthermore, almost half of all dogs and 8 out of ten cats have never had their teeth brushed at all.

So what’s putting people off? The research shows that the most common reason is that pet owners don’t realise they need to brush their pet’s teeth. A further third felt that their pets don’t like having it done, and more than half felt that feeding a dental chew toy or chew stick was an adequate replacement for brushing.

Bad breath is also an issue, with more than a third of owners saying that bad breath is quite normal in cats and dogs – when in actual fact it isn’t, and can be an early sign of gum disease.

TV Vet, Marc Abraham, said;

“Poor dental health is unfortunately one of the biggest ‘silent’ problems we see as a vet. Your cat or dog can’t tell you that their mouth is sore or that their teeth are hurting, and the only real way to safeguard against it is very regular brushing. Four out of every five cats and dogs2 over the age of three suffers from gum disease which, when left untreated, can lead to serious health problems in later life. If you can manage it, daily brushing is recommended, the same as with your own teeth, and with a bit of practice, you can effectively clean your pet’s teeth in a matter of minutes.” 

Karl Bedlow, Managing Director of Tesco Bank Insurance, said;

“Brushing your pet’s teeth regularly is a really important habit to get into to prevent issues when your pet gets older. It may come as a surprise to some, but not all pet insurance policies offer cover for dental illnesses, so to give pet owners some added peace of mind, we’ve launched a new Premier pet cover which, alongside other important features, offers up to £7,500 or £10,000 of cover for your pet’s teeth if they have an illness or accident*.”

For pet owners worried about how they can get into a good dental care routine with their pet, TV vet Marc Abraham has teamed up with Tesco Bank Pet Insurance to provide you with some top tips on getting started;

1.       Don’t use human toothpaste; buy specially flavoured cat or dog toothpaste from your vet or local pet store.

2.       Don’t go straight to brushing; let your pet enjoy the toothpaste first. They enjoy the taste of it, so letting them lick the toothpaste first will get them used to the smell, taste and texture.

3.       Start by brushing the front teeth. These are the easiest for you to get to – and once your pet is comfortable with their front teeth being brushed, you can move on to the back molars.

4.       Be patient – it takes time to gain your pet’s confidence and manage a full teeth clean, so take it slowly.

5.       Make it fun! Teeth cleaning can be part of a fun and bonding game and as your pet becomes accustomed to having it done, the process will become quick and easy to do.

To show how easy it can be for owners to brush their pet’s teeth, we have created a short ‘how to’ video, which you can watch here.

More details on Tesco Bank Pet Insurance Premier can be found here: http://www.tescobank.com/pet-insurance/

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For more information and media enquiries please contact:

Tesco Bank press office

+44 (0) 131 274 3630 

Notes to Editors

1 As recommended by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behaviour/brushing-your-dogs-teeth

2Research undertaken by Mars Pedigree Chum www.pedigree.com/all-things-dog/article-library/oral-care-preventing-gum-disease-serious-problems.aspx

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.

Research undertaken by eDigital Research on behalf of Tesco Bank. Data generated between 11th and 16th August (1,000 responses).

*Dental fees for illness and accidents are covered in the annual vet fees, when your pet has had an annual check-up and any recommended treatments carried out.  Monetary limits, excesses and exclusions apply.

Pets must be at least 8 weeks old when cover starts and pre-existing medical conditions are not covered.  Certain breeds of cat and dog are also not covered.

About Us:

Tesco Bank’s goal is to make banking and insurance easier and better value for people who shop at Tesco. We’ve been around since 1997 and today we help more than 5 million customers manage their money every day. Our 4,000 colleagues serve our customers seven days a week from our three main centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle, and we are also available through online and mobile banking 24/7. Tesco Bank participates in the Chartered Banker Professional Standards Board.

Tesco Bank is a trading name of Tesco Personal Finance plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC173199. Registered Office: 2 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9FQ

 

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