Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?
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Thread: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

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    Senior Member winniec777's Avatar
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    Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    I'm trying to decide if we should have our dog's teeth cleaned at the vet's. I've heard a couple of horror stories about people who had bad experiences with their dogs. My questions for folks who do have this done...

    1) How often?
    2) What to expect afterwards RE sore gums, feeding, recovery, etc.?
    3) How do you know your vet would do a good job and not hurt the dog?
    4) What about the anaesthetic & associated risks? Our dog had a bad reaction to sedatives when we had her fixed -- I'm loathe to have her put under again.
    5) Does anyone use a tooth scaler on their dog? Tips?

    Any advice on this topic? Thanks!!

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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    I have my dog's teeth cleaned yearly. I don't want to, but will probably have to continue doing so because they are Chi's and chi's are not known for their great teeth!

    My vet is fantastic, but the anesthesia is always a concern for me.

    I also started brushing my dog's teeth as of their last cleaning.

    My dogs are total wimps, but I never noticed any soreness or any signs of pain afterward.

    My vet explained that the risks from the anesthesia are less than the risks from the severe tartar and decay my dogs would have if they didn't get their teeth cleaned. He is all for me brushing my dogs teeth to try to stave of yearly cleanings as long as possible.

    I have known dogs (usually larger breeds) that haven't required yearly cleanings.

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    Senior Member briteday's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    You need to have your dog's teeth cleaned if the vet observes it needs to be done during an exam or if you notice that plaque is building up.

    1) Every dog is different. I have one that needed cleaning every 6 months or more until we changed her to a raw diet (no carbs). Ask your vet how often your dog seems to build up plaque enough to require cleaning.

    2) If it is just a cleaning, no extractions, the dog is back to normal as soon as the anesthesia wears off. I don't feed my dogs their evening meal after picking them up from a cleaning. Sometimes the meds will make them vomit. So then the next day I feed them three smaller meals, starting the next morning. And don't let them gulp down tons of water after you bring them home, jsut offer a little at a time.

    3) If you haven't developed a level of trust in your vet by now and think he's in business to run an expensive torture chamber then you need to find a new vet.

    4) Anesthesia is always a risk. But the risk of bacteria from dental disease destroying your dog's heart and kidneys far outweighs the risk of anesthesia. If your dog is past a certain age the vet should be doing pre-op blood work to rule out any serious health problems.

    5. It is not recommended to scale your dog's teeth. The scaling leaves grooves and pits in the surface of the tooth which must be polished. Otherwise you will have much faster plaque build up into those ridges.

    The bottom line is that having a dental cleaning done on a dog is no different than a human getting their teeth cleaned. Dogs are anesthetized because vets prefer not to get bit and can do a much more thorough cleaning if they don't have to struggle with the dog.

    Also, since you are incredibly concerned about having a dental procedure done on your dog I would suggest that you talk to your vet about daily brushing. They can show you how to brush the teeth so that you take care of the yuk deposited on the teeth every day, keeping it to a minimum.

    When my dogs were on kibble with carbohydrates...corn, grains, potato... (carbohydrates break down into sugars which in turn feeds the bacteria that forms plaque on the teeth) I brushed their teeth every night before bed. Colgate has a "Motion" brush, battery operated, that you can get at Walmart for $4. Then you buy doggy toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) at the pet store. Follow the vet's instructions on proper technique and you can minimize the number of dental cleanings necessary.

    Also, changing to a high quality kibble with more protein and less carbohydrates will help with dental disease.
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes. Being wise is learning from others' mistakes.
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    Also, the longer you wait if they have bad teeth, the worse the experience will be (as in what needs to be done), chances are. Waiting longer allows the teeth/assorted diseases to grow worse and worse, a tooth which may have been cleaned may need to be pulled, etc.

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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    I've been brushing my pup's teeth at home, I'm not quite sure how often I should do it though...

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    Senior Member winniec777's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    Thank you all for your replies -- they were very helpful! Our dog was in for a booster shot this morning and the vet looked at her teeth. He said they looked good (no sign of plaque or trouble). He also said to start the daily brushings, which I'll do (I recently got her to sit still while I use a rotary tool to grind down her nails, so I'm fairly confident I can get her used to the brushings--wish me luck!!). She eats about 1/3 can of wet food, followed by several cups of dry 2x/day, which should help with plaque build-up. Because she's a large breed, the vet said she probably doesn't need annual cleanings. And he, too, advised against using a tooth scaler for the reasons you mentioned.

    RE our vet -- we really do like him. It's not that we think he would ever hurt our pooch. What I was really trying to ask (badly!) was whether there was any kind of certification for the procedure that we should ask about.

    Again, thank you all for your advice. It's much appreciated!

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    Senior Member PeppersPop's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    Every night per my vet.

    Quote Originally Posted by emily445455 View Post
    I've been brushing my pup's teeth at home, I'm not quite sure how often I should do it though...

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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeppersPop View Post
    Every night per my vet.
    Wow every night?? Makes sense I guess. Thanks

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    Pai
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    A natural ways to clean your dog's teeth is to give them raw bones to chew often. Dogs scrape the sides of the bone with their teeth, which removes plaque and tartar. Frozen (raw) chicken wings, necks or backs work great for smaller dogs. That plus regular brushing on your own, should keep you from ever having to get them done at the vet -- anaesthesia is never a good thing to put your dog through, if you can avoid it, and plus it's so much more expensive than it would be to just do the little natural things that help your dog's teeth and keep plaque for becoming a problem in the first place.
    Last edited by Pai; 05-05-2008 at 04:02 PM.

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    Senior Member PeppersPop's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    Pepper gets his teeth brushed every night, right before bed. I use a finger brush...it has little nubbies/bristles on it...and poultry toothpaste.

    The toothpaste definitely helps, tho I do have to fight his tongue as he *really* likes it.

    Now if I could just get him to sit still for flossing... (just kidding)

    Sid



    Quote Originally Posted by winniec777 View Post
    Thank you all for your replies -- they were very helpful! Our dog was in for a booster shot this morning and the vet looked at her teeth. He said they looked good (no sign of plaque or trouble). He also said to start the daily brushings, which I'll do (I recently got her to sit still while I use a rotary tool to grind down her nails, so I'm fairly confident I can get her used to the brushings--wish me luck!!). She eats about 1/3 can of wet food, followed by several cups of dry 2x/day, which should help with plaque build-up. Because she's a large breed, the vet said she probably doesn't need annual cleanings. And he, too, advised against using a tooth scaler for the reasons you mentioned.

    RE our vet -- we really do like him. It's not that we think he would ever hurt our pooch. What I was really trying to ask (badly!) was whether there was any kind of certification for the procedure that we should ask about.

    Again, thank you all for your advice. It's much appreciated!

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    Senior Member flipgirl's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    I would not suggest giving your dog raw bones daily as they can wear the teeth down. I think by eating raw food, it cleans the teeth anyway.

    I brush my dog's teeth every day with a kid's brush. I'm sure I will have to bring her for a professional cleaning eventually but let me ask you guys this...what do you think about holistic vets? I see ads for these vets that say dental cleaning without anesthetic? Has anyone ever gone to a holistic vet?

    I wouldn't suggest scraping your dog's teeth yourself and let a vet do it. Reason being, is that scraping causes grooves and bacteria and plaque can get caught in the grooves. The vet will scrape but polishes the teeth smooth.

    Kibble doesn't clean the whole tooth; to the contrary, it actually pushes the food up into the gums and that's where tartar starts. I just added this to dispel the myth that kibble will clean a dog's teeth.

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    Senior Member PeppersPop's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    I have never been to a holistic vet so I don't have any opinion on them... however, I do have an opinion on doggy dental care with anesthetic. I think it would be cruel. When humans go to the dentist, we understand why we are going, what the dentist is doing, and that while uncomfortable/painful, it's necessary for good health... dogs don't get that. All they know is that someone is forcing their mouth open and doing things that hurt.

    This is from the American Veterinary Dental College:

    "Professional dental scaling includes scaling the surfaces of the teeth both above and below the gingival margin (gum line), followed by dental polishing. The most critical part of a dental scaling procedure is scaling the tooth surfaces that are within the gingival pocket (the subgingival space between the gum and the root), where periodontal disease is active. Because the patient cooperates, dental scaling of human teeth performed by a professional trained in the procedures can be completed successfully without anesthesia. However, access to the subgingival area of every tooth is impossible in an unanesthetized canine or feline patient. Removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has little effect on a petís health, and provides a false sense of accomplishment. The effect is purely cosmetic."

    Their website and position statement are at:
    http://www.avdc.org/position-statements.html#cadswa

    Happy chompers!
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipgirl View Post
    I would not suggest giving your dog raw bones daily as they can wear the teeth down. I think by eating raw food, it cleans the teeth anyway.

    I brush my dog's teeth every day with a kid's brush. I'm sure I will have to bring her for a professional cleaning eventually but let me ask you guys this...what do you think about holistic vets? I see ads for these vets that say dental cleaning without anesthetic? Has anyone ever gone to a holistic vet?

    I wouldn't suggest scraping your dog's teeth yourself and let a vet do it. Reason being, is that scraping causes grooves and bacteria and plaque can get caught in the grooves. The vet will scrape but polishes the teeth smooth.

    Kibble doesn't clean the whole tooth; to the contrary, it actually pushes the food up into the gums and that's where tartar starts. I just added this to dispel the myth that kibble will clean a dog's teeth.

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    Senior Member melgrj7's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    My parents dog (the dog I grew up with) is 17 and in great health, except for her teeth. If they had had her teeth cleaned by the vet more than once in the past she would probably be in a lot better shape than she is. Because of her age, now they can't be cared for under anesthesia. IMO it is worth it to have your dogs teeth cleaned if they need it. Lucky (parents dog) would be in a lot less pain right now if her teeth had been cleaned a few times.

    With my dogs, I give them some raw foods (turkey necks, thighs, backs) once a week and it really helps clean their teeth. When Allie came to us her teeth had a lot of tarter, they are way better now and we have only had her for 2 weeks (which means 2 raw feedings total). Lloyd's teeth are pearly white and in great shape. He had some tarter and plaque when we first got him too, but has none now. If either of them needed it though, I wouldn't hesitate to have my vet clean their teeth (as long as they were not sensitve to anesthesia).

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    Senior Member poodleholic's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    My dogs will soon be 7 yrs. old. They have never had their teeth cleaned by the vet because there has not been reason to. I do brush their teeth, use a scaler when/if necessary (so far only on my male - white poodles seem to have more problems, or so I'm told), give them raw bones for chewing, and use PetzLife Gel (the latter of which is absolutely awesome).

    My vet, so amazed by the condition of teeth and gums, actually had me write down the product (PetzLife) for him! I have no affiliation with this company at all, BTW. If you check out the before and after pictures on their website, you will shake your head in disbelief, but, I am here to tell you it actually works the way it says it does. It's non-toxic and all natural - grapeseed extract, and well, here's the website, so you can see for yourself:

    www.petzlife.com

    PS I prefer the gel over a spray. I apply it with cheesecloth over my index finger, rather than on a toothbrush. You don't even have to actually brush for it to remove stains. I've used my fingernail (covered with cheesecloth) to break off tartar buildup on my male's tooth. Popped right off! Like I said, amazing stuff. Oh - no eating or drinking for 30 min. after applying the gel.

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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    I refuse to subject my dogs to unnecessary anesthesia when simply giving a big raw meaty bone once a week does the trick.

    Other than that I use a natural product called "Leba III" which works wonders on those pearly whites.

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    Senior Member Love's_Sophie's Avatar
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    Re: Do you have your dog's teeth cleaned at the vet?

    I brush Sophie's teeth weekly...I have not had to have her actually cleaned at the vets...they all think she has great teeth. She also gets raw bones and uses her Kong regularly, and I think those both help too.

    I would say if your dog won't tolerate tooth brushing, and doesn't use Kongs, or get raw bones (the best 'tooth' brushing type of bone) then you will likely have to have the vet clean his teeth at one point or other. Feeding hard kibble can also help a bit, but it won't save your dog from having to have his teeth cleaned.

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