Angie's List: Your pet's dental health

You wouldn't go days without brushing your teeth or years without getting a dental checkup -- You pet shouldn't either. Every pet builds up plague and gingivitis at different rates. Left untreated, it can cause problems.

"If pets develop painful dental conditions or inflammatory conditions, like periodontal disease, it can affect their internal organ function" says veterinarian Dr. Matthew Lemmons. "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.

Angie's Lists' Angie Hicks has tips to help you save on a cleaning.

"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. 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."

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

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