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Doctoral thesis2021Open access

Dental care in dogs : a survey of Swedish dog owners, veterinarians and veterinary nurses

Brunius Enlund, Karolina


Dental problems are often encountered in dogs, with periodontal disease as the most common disease by far. Today, daily tooth brushing is the gold standard for dental home care in dogs. The aim of this study was to investigate attitudes and practices regarding canine dental care. Questionnaires were developed, validated and distributed to all registered Swedish dog owners, veterinarians and veterinary nurses. Responses were received from 66,434 dog owners (32%), 1,161 veterinarians (32%) and 624 veterinary nurses (38%).

Results showed that only 4% of dog owners brushed their dog’s teeth daily. Another finding was the lack of early preventative dental home care information communicated by veterinary health practitioners to dog owners. Although dog owners perceived their pet’s dental health as being of major importance (80%), many also reported difficulties when inspecting their dog’s mouth (25%). Many owners (26%) reported having attempted to brush, but discontinued. It was more common for smaller dogs and for breeds known to be at risk of periodontal disease to have their teeth brushed. We propose that dog owners would benefit from extra support from e.g. veterinary practitioners to maintain dental home care routines for their dog.

Contrary to national and international guidelines, professional dental cleaning in veterinary clinics using sedation only, and dental extractions without access to dental radiography equipment, occurred commonly, highlighting room for improvement.

In conclusion, this thesis presents the attitudes, opinions and routines of Swedish dog owners, veterinarians and veterinary nurses regarding dental care in dogs, providing a basis for future improved prophylactic strategies.


dental home care; tooth brushing; canine; dental health; periodontal disease; breed; questionnaire; attitudes; opinions; routines

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2021, number: 2021:23ISBN: 978-91-7760-724-3, eISBN: 978-91-7760-725-0Publisher: Department of Clinical Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences