Written by Dr. Steve Hampton

Do my pet’s teeth hurt? If you have ever had a tooth ache, you know the pain! 80% of dogs and cats over three years of age have some type of dental disease. Unless your pet is one of the fortunate 20%, they would probably appreciate having their dental issues treated.

Why does my pet’s breath smell so bad? If your pet’s breath is bad, chances are your pet has periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by infection in the tissue below the gum line. If you “Flip the Lip,” many times you will see tartar on the teeth with pus and blood oozing from the gums. Once tartar is on the teeth, it takes cleaning by a professional while the pet is under anesthesia.

Can infection around the teeth spread to other areas of the body? YES! It is easier and less expensive to prevent dental disease than to treat kidney, heart or liver damage. Dental disease is the number one cause of Congestive Heart Failure in small breed dogs.

Will it really help my pet live longer? The vast majority of our clients want their pets to live as long as possible and to have a good quality of life. On average, pets that receive regular professional dentistry in addition to at-home dental care live 2-4 years longer than those who don’t receive that care.

Isn’t anesthesia dangerous? There is a small risk of complications with anesthesia. There is a 100% chance of complications with periodontal disease.

“Just fine!” That’s my answer when clients ask me, “How is my pet going to eat if you pull all those teeth?” Most pets with severe periodontal disease feel much better and behave years younger after having diseased teeth removed.

If you have questions about this blog or other questions/concerns about your pet, contact me at Heritage Animal Hospital. 270-526-3839