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Time to Talk Teeth: February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Remember Luc, the original Sidewalk Dog? He suffered from severe dental disease due to his puppy mill origins, so it goes without saying that we at SD are devoted to spreading the word about the importance of doggie dental care, once again via Drs. Kate Knutson and Steve Barghusen of Pet Crossing Animal Hospital & Dental Clinic.

Six-year-old Cheri is an adorable/adoptable love from MN Midwest Pug Rescue. Her toothless grin is due to lack of dental care during her former life in a puppy mill.

SD: Why is it important to give your pup proper dental care?
Dr. Steve: Untreated dental disease is painful and has adverse effects on the rest of the body. Infection from dental disease can spread to other parts of the body, and chronic infection/inflammation in the mouth can contribute to heart, liver and kidney disease, as well as diabetes.

SD: Do all vets provide thorough dental care?
Dr. Kate: Not all vets do, so don’t assume. Begin with a visit to a veterinarian who has advanced dental training. An initial dental exam will include charting, x-rays and cleaning. 70% of dental disease can only be detected by x-rays, which must be taken while your pet is asleep.

Advanced dental disease

Do NOT start brushing your pet’s teeth until they have been charted, cleaned and x-rayed. They must be free of disease before you start brushing.

SD: What’s the best thing you can do for your dog’s dental health?
Dr. Steve: Have their teeth cleaned every year and brush their teeth every day; it’s really pretty easy. Enzymatic dog toothpaste is the way to go.

SD: What’s the worst thing you can do for your dog’s dental health?
Dr. Steve: Nothing! The lack of preventative dental care (no daily brushing, no yearly cleaning) is most damaging.

Since Drs. Kate and Steve know how important proper dental health is to your pup, they’re offering the following to Sidewalk Dog readers:

One complimentary awake oral examination through the end of March. Just mention Sidewalk Dog when making your appointment.

Plaque buildup: Time to schedule a cleaning.

Pet Crossing Animal Hospital & Dental Clinic offers expert pet dental care from Dr. Kate Knutson, President Elect of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and author of their Dental Care Guidelines; Dr. Steve Barghusen, a board-certified Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and Eliza Krauter, the only veterinary technician in the state of Minnesota who has achieved dental certification.

—Juanita Hickerson

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