Toronto, ON - Despite being diligent about brushing their own teeth on a daily basis, cat and dog owners are not being as diligent with the oral hygiene or their pets, despite knowing they should brush their pet's teeth in order to keep them healthy, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Royal Canin.
Comparing the teeth-brushing habits of pet owners for themselves versus their pets shows that most owners appear to be keeping the sparkle to themselves:
- Most pet owners say they brush their own teeth more than once a day (68%) or once a day (27%), while few say thy the do so less often: a few times a week (2%), once a week (1%), rarely (1%) or even never (2%)! The data reveal that women (76%) are more likely than men (53%) to brush their own teeth at least twice a day.
- Most (73%) cat owners say they never brush their cat's teeth, while few say they do so more than once a day (1%), once a day (3%) or a few times a week (3%). Others brush their cat's teeth on a weekly basis (4%), monthly (2%) or rarely (14%). Cat owners over age 55 are more likely (79%) than those aged 35 to 54 (65%) or 18-34 (54%) to say they never brush their cat's teeth. Cat owners in Atlantic Canada are most likely (84%) to never brush their cat's teeth, while Albertans are least likely (64%) to say they never brush their cat's teeth.
- When it comes to cat dental chews or non-diet products to help improve their oral health, pet owners give these to their cats more frequently than brushing: more than once a day (9%), once a day (17%), a few times a week (16%), once a week (7%), or once a month (6%). Nearly half rarely (13%) or never (32%) use this tactic to help with their cat's oral health.
- Dog owners are better at brushing their dog's teeth than cat owners are, but still nothing to brag about: fewer than one in ten brush their dog's teeth more than once a day (1%) or once a day (7%). Other brush their dog's teeth a few times a week (8%), once a week (10%), once a month (7%), or rarely (24%). Four in ten (43%) dog owners say they never brush their pet's teeth. Older dog owners are most likely (48%) to say they never brush their cat's teeth, compared to middle-aged (36%) or younger (25%) owners. Dog owners in Atlantic Canada (53%) are most likely to say they never brush their dog's teeth, while BC dog owners are least likely (38%) to say so.
- When it comes to dog dental chews or non-diet products to help improve their oral health, four in ten give their dog these products multiple times a day (11%) or once a day (27%), while others do so a few times a week (21%), once a week (13%), once a month (9%), rarely (9%) or never (8%).
Of particular interest is that the habits of pet owners when it comes to brushing their pet's teeth don't align with their attitudes towards the importance of their pet's oral health. For example, three quarters (76%), `agree' (27% strongly/49% somewhat) that they should brush their pet's teeth to help keep his/her teeth healthy, while just one quarter (24%) `disagrees' (5% strongly/20% somewhat). Dog owners (83%) are more likely than cat owners (72%) to believe they should do this.
Moreover, an equal proportion (76%) `agrees' (22% strongly/54% somewhat) that brushing their pet's teeth can increase his/her lifespan, while one quarter (24%) `disagrees' (4% strongly/20% somewhat). Dog owners (81%) are once again more likely to agree than cat owners (74%) that they should do this.
Three quarters (75%) also `agree' (25% strongly/50% somewhat) that brushing their pet's teeth is an important way for them to contribute to the good oral health of their pets, while one quarter (25%) `disagrees' (5% strongly/20% somewhat). Continuing the trend, dog owners (80%) are more likely than cat owners (73%) to agree.
Excuses and Consequences...
Perhaps explaining why many pet owners don't take regular care of their pet's teeth, eight in ten (82%) `agree' (39% strongly/43% somewhat) that brushing my pet's teeth is difficult and an inconvenience for me and my pet, while just two in ten (18%) `disagree' (7% strongly/11% somewhat) with this premise. Cat owners (86%) are more likely than dog owners (78%) to agree.
But the difficultly and inconvenience could be worth it: most (91%) pet owners `agree' (38% strongly/53% somewhat) that they're aware that bad breath in their pet could be a sign of dental disease, and nine in ten (90%) `agree' (40% strongly/50% somewhat) that bad oral hygiene can cause their pet pain, to which both cat and dog owners are equally as likely to agree.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between November 26 to 30, 2015, on behalf of Royal Canin. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians who own a cat or dog (602 cat owners and 592 dog owners) from Ipsos' Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/ - 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian pet owners been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
For more information on this news release, please contact:
Ipsos Public Affairs
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