Up To 1.76 Million Cats And Dogs Suffered Dental Problems In The Last Year

03 May 2011

New research by Sainsbury’s Finance reveals that around one in ten cat or dog owners (10%) in the UK – 1.76 million people – claim that their pets suffered dental problems in the last year.  With the average cost of a pet insurance dental claim costing around £200(2) Sainsbury’s Finance is encouraging owners to seriously consider the benefits of being protected with pet insurance.  The most expensive pet insurance dental claim that Sainsbury’s Finance has settled over the past five years was £5,652

Analysis of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance data reveals that for dogs, Labradors are most susceptible to dental health problems, and indeed, had the highest number of dental pet insurance claims across both cats and dogs. For cats, Siamese are the most likely to suffer from dental health problems.

Gingivitis (gum disease) is the most common dental claim (66.8% of claims) made for both cats and dogs, with an average value of £175.22 over the past three years. Mouth injury claims are far less frequent than gingivitis (30.2% of dental claims) however the average value of a claim here during the past three years is much higher at £233.91.

Sainsbury’s Finance research reveals that 1.47 million (8%) cat and dog owners claimed their pets had suffered from toothache and/or gum disease over the past year, and 322,000 (2%) had suffered dental problems as a result of an accident. Worryingly, 60% did not have pet insurance to help cover the cost of treatment.

Lucy Hunter of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance commented: “It’s important your pet’s dental care isn’t overlooked as the consequences could cause the animal distress, put them at risk of infection and can be very costly. A good way to manage these costs is to take out adequate pet insurance that provides cover for both dental accident and illness.”

Dental claims for cats and dogs Estimated number of claims per year for cats and dogs Pecentage of all dental claims for cats and dogs Average cost of dental claim between 2008 and 2010
Routine dental 260 3% £166.86
Gingivitis 5,730 66.8% £175.22
Mouth injury 2,590 30.2% £233.91


Ranking Breeds of cats and dogs that had the highest number of Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance claims between 2006 and 2010
1 Labrador
2 King Charles Spaniel
3 Cocker Spaniel
4 Siamese (cat)
5 Yorkshire Terrier
6 West Highland Terrier
7 English Springer Spaniel
8 Greyhound
9 Border Collie
10 Persian (cat)

On a regional basis, cat or dog owners in the East of England and East Midlands had the highest percentage of pets who have suffered dental problems over the past 12 months (13% in both locations).  This is followed by 12% of owners in the West Midlands.

Lucy Hunter commented: “Prevention is better than cure, so owners should take their pets to the vet for regular dental checks and take professional advice to reduce the risk of problems occurring. Also, when looking at pet insurance policies, owners should choose very carefully and not just consider price alone.  Investing in a good quality policy that offers a high level of cover, including dental cover, will ensure that the family pet is well cared for and you won’t have to worry about costly treatments.”

Quality pet insurance does not need to be expensive; good cover at a competitive price can be found by shopping around for the best deal. Indeed, Sainsbury’s Finance has recently announced the extension of its pet insurance promotion which sees it offer 1/3 off when purchasing online up to and including 2 May 2011. Pet owners taking advantage of the offer also have the opportunity to receive a further 5% discount if they insure a second pet, and customers using their Nectar card could also benefit from double Nectar points on their Sainsbury’s shopping and fuel for two years.

Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance offers an extensive range of benefits at a competitive price, and provides one of the highest levels of vet fee cover at £7,500 per condition. For further information call0800 434 6359, log on to or pick up a leaflet in a Sainsbury’s supermarket.


(1) ICM interviewed a random sample of 801 adults aged 18+ who have a cat or dog. The interviews were conducted via an online omnibus survey between 11th – 13th March 2011.  Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.  ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information available at
(2) Based on Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance data for 2010
(3) Based on Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance data between 2006 and for 2010

Location Percentage of dog or cat owners interviewed who said that their pets had suffered from dental problems over the past 12 months
East Midlands 13%
East of England 13%
West Midlands 12%
South West 11%
North West 11%
Scotland 11%
London 10%
Yorkshire and Humberside 9%
South East 8%
Wales 7%
North East 3%
Great Britain 10%

For further information, please contact:
Sophie Woodcock / Phil Anderson
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7638 9571

Notes to Editors:

Sainsbury’s Pet Insurance is underwritten by AXA Insurance UK plc which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Notes to editors/webmasters Sainsbury’s pet insurance cover: (note, a lower level cover option is also available)

Benfits Level of cover
Veterinary Fees Up to £7,500 per condition (includes up to £1,000 per condition for complementary treatments and £250 per year for behavioural problems)
Personal Liability Up to £2,000,000
Emergency boarding kennels/cattery fees Up to £100 per week (£1,000 max)
Daily Minding Up to £100 per week (£1,000 max)
Advertising costs
– Reward limit
Up to £1,000
Theft or straying Up to £750
Death caused by injury Up to £1,500
Death by illness Up to £1,000
Trip cancellation or return home Up to £3,000
Expenses for referral to another vet Up to £150
Accidental damage up to £500
Damage to kennel or basket Up to £100
Personal accident to owner £5,000
Quarantine costs Up to £2,000
Loss of health certificate Up to £250
Repeat tick and worming treatment Reasonable costs
Emergency expenses abroad Up to £500

Sainsbury’s Finance:

To view our latest press releases and product information, please visit the Sainsbury’s Finance online media centre

Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading in February 1997. Benefiting from a fantastic, trusted brand that enables us to combine the shopping experience with personal finance, Sainsbury’s Finance provides a range of quality products including insurances, credit cards, savings and loans. Our proposition is to make shopping more rewarding by offering customers great products at fair prices, while consistently rewarding shoppers for their loyalty and being easy to do business with at all times.  Our products consistently top Best Buy tables and regularly win awards for quality, price and service.

Sainsbury’s Finance recent awards include Best Overall Online Provider, Best Direct Personal Loans Provider, Best Online Credit Card Provider, Best Online Life Insurance Provider, Your Money 2010.

Sainsbury’s Finance is a joint venture between J.Sainsbury plc and Lloyds Banking Group.

For further information and general Sainsbury’s Finance enquiries customers can call the freephone number on 0500 40 50 60 or visit

Notes to editors/webmasters

If using this article on a website, please link using the following hyperlink text at the bottom of the article:
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