Angie's List: Taking Your Dog to the Dentist - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Angie's List: Taking Your Dog to the Dentist

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BILLINGS - You wouldn't go days without brushing your teeth or years without getting a dental checkup. Your pet shouldn't either. In today's Angie's List report, why dental care is important for your furry friend.

"To me, he's part of the family," said Sandi Lehr, who took her 9-year-old dog, Harvey, to the vet for his annual pet cleaning. "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.

"It can affect their internal organ function," said Dr. Matthew Lemmons, a doctor of veterinary medicine. "It definitely affects their kidneys and potentially their heart and liver as well."

A professional cleaning mainly involves scraping plaque and tartar along the gum line. The procedure also involves anesthesia and x-rays and can cost anywhere from $200 to $800.

"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."

"I've been told to do it, but I don't do it all the time," said Lehr. "He's not too pleased with it."

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.

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