Dental care for your pets

Earlier this year, Sandi Lehr  took her 9 year old dog, Harvey, to the vet for his annual pet cleaning.

According to Lehr, “If he needs it and since he’s a senior dog, he really needs to have his teeth cleaned every year because there will be a little tartar on his teeth.”

Every pet builds up plaque and gingivitis at different rates. Left untreated, it can cause problems.

Dr. Matthew Lemmons, a doctor of Veterinary Medicine says, “If pets develop painful dental conditions or inflammatory conditions like periodontal disease it can affect their internal organ function. It definitely affects their kidneys and potentially their heart and liver as well.”

A professional cleaning mainly involves scraping plague and tartar along the gum line. The procedure also involves anesthesia and x–rays.

“Having your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned can be expensive – it can be anywhere from $200 to $800 depending on the extensive nature of the work that needs to be done,” Angie Hicks from Angie’s List explains. “The best way to keep the cost down for a professional teeth cleaning is an ounce of prevention. Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth yourself can help avoid the buildup and any additional problems that may lead you to having the professional cleaning done,” Hicks added.

Lehr also says, “I’ve been told to do it  but I don’t do it all the time.  He’s not too pleased with it, so I just watch as much as I can and see that.  And he also has a dental supplement with his food.”

Small breed dogs are more prone to periodontal disease. If you notice your pet has excessively bad breath, missing teeth, or red gums, call your vet for an appointment.