On January 16, during our “Dr. Dan the Animal Man” radio segment, the Voice of Muscatine sat down with Dr. Drahos, a local veterinarian.

Dr. Drahos has many roles in the community: he has taught a course at Muscatine Community College since 2010; he is “Dr. Dan the Animal Man;” and he has been a co-owner of Riverside Animal Hospital since 2001. He spoke with us about dental health for our furry friends. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so it’s a perfect time to be reminded of how we can help our pets have healthy teeth and gums.

Dr. Drahos informed us of things to look for as far as our pet’s dental health. Things like tartar buildup (making sure to check teeth in the back of the mouth), bad breath, bleeding of the mouth, drooling, loosened teeth, dropping of food, swelling in cheeks, and loss of appetite may all indicate a possible risk of periodontal disease risk. According to Mayo Clinic’s website, periodontal disease is “characterized by the death of gum tissue, tooth ligaments and supporting bone caused by lack of blood supply, resulting in severe infection.”

This condition is found in 80% of dogs over the age of three years old, though there is a common misconception that it is an issue exclusive to older dogs. So, make sure to check your dog’s dental health status no matter the age.

Dog breeds that are particularly susceptible to this disease are typically smaller breeds. A list of the most common breeds showing periodontal disease are as follows: Toy Poodle, Yorkie, Maltese, Pomeranian, Shetland Sheepdog, Papillon, Dachshund, Bichon Frise, West Highland White Terrier, Collie, Miniature Schnauzer, Cocker Spaniel, Basset Hound and Chihuahua.

Periodontal disease is, however, not exclusively found in dogs. Though it is less common, this disease may be found in our feline friends, too. Cats contract periodontal disease less often due to a difference in diet, as well as the fact that they have less teeth than canines.

Dr. Drahos suggests that pet owners take preventative measures to help deter periodontal disease from striking your pet. Two simple preventative measures include giving your pet dental hygiene treats specific to their breed and getting your pet’s teeth checked regularly by your vet. Both can help prevent severe cases of this disease.

Riverside Animal Hospital is now offering a ten percent discount on dental checkups in celebration of National Pet Dental Health month. Call them at 563-264-0761 to make an appointment, or visit their website for more information at Riversidevet.com to learn more about Dr. Dan the Animal Man and his crew.