Did you realize that almost all adults dogs and cats over the age of 2-3 years have some level of periodontal disease? This can rage from mild gingivitis to advanced periodontal disease that requires tooth extraction to treat and control infection. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to wait until our pet’s teeth are really bad before going to the dentist. Our pet can’t tell us that something is wrong in it’s mouth and so we are often unaware until the problem becomes extremely serious. A friend recently took her dog to the dentist and the dog, who is 12 and had never been to the dentist before, had to have 24 of her teeth pulled! Sometimes people are reluctant to have the dog’s teeth cleaned because of the animal being anesthetized. However, the long term consequences of untreated periodontal disease poses much greater risk to pets than a properly administered anesthetic for dental cleaning. Non-professional teeth cleaning without anesthesia is not a substitute for professional cleaning under anesthesia because all surfaces of the teeth can not be reached with the patient awake. This cleaning gives the appearances of clean teeth, but plaque and calculus remain on the insides of the teeth and below the gum line allowing periodontal disease to continue to advance . It is best to take your pet to see the dentist on a regular basis and keep the teeth as clean as possible by daily brushing with a doggie tooth brush and flavored tooth paste.