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Owners ditch vets for chewing gum and human toothpaste to cure bad dog breath

Chewing gum, facial haircuts and brushing teeth with human toothpaste are just some of the ways owners are trying to combat their dog’s bad breath, according to a study.

Giving dogs snacks that ‘improve’ their breath, fresh mint leaves to chew and keeping the toilet lid closed are other ways owners are freshening up their four-legged-friend.

The survey of 2,000 dog owners revealed over half believed their dog suffered from bad breath – and yet the same percentage thought it was normal for canines despite it being a symptom of poor dental health.

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. Furthermore, owners are not making the connection between poor dental health and the implications it can have on their dog’s overall health.

A fifth of those polled said they 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.

Nearly a third of owners also admitted to now knowing how often to clean a dog’s teeth.

The survey, commissioned by Lily’s Kitchen pet food via to coincide with the launch of Woofbrush, their new natural dental chews, found that 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. Three in 10 owners admitted to avoiding going near their canine companion because of their terrible breath.

A more confident 40 percent however will let their dog lick their face regardless of how they smell. Under half of those dog owners who were polled said they take their dog for an annual dental inspection. Some six in 10 owners who believed that dental chews were an effective solution said they used them to combat their dog’s breath.

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 complications 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 is 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.”

Henrietta Morrison, founder of Lily’s Kitchen added: “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 are 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.”


1. Feeding a dental chew

2. Brushing their teeth with a special dog toothbrush and paste

3. Giving them snacks/treats that ‘brush’ their teeth/improve their breath

4. Giving them a rawhide bone to chew

5. Feeding them carrots

6. Giving them extra chew toys to remove plaque from teeth

7. Taking them to a vet

8. Brushing their teeth with a human toothbrush and paste

9. Feeding them apples

10. Giving them mints

11. Mixing fresh mint into their food

12. Feed a diet with no added sugar

13. Giving them fresh mint leaves to chew

14. Keeping the toilet lid closed to keep them out of it

15. Cutting down on their meat intake

16. Giving them a haircut – facial hair cut?

17. Taking them to a dog-dentist

18. Feeding them cooked parsley

19. Using breath sprays

20. Giving them chewing gum

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