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Finnlee is 2 years and 3 months old. His teeth aren't too bad. His breeds are Chihuahua/Dachshund/Papillon. He gets dry kibble, two dental chews a day and carrots. I spread enzymatic toothpaste on and in his rubber toothbrush toy. He absolutely won't let me brush his teeth. His check up is scheduled for next month and I'm going to ask my vet about a dental. I noticed plaque on the molars in back when he yawned today.

AJ & Finnlee
 

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I think it depends on the dog. Some dogs get horrible buildup at 3 years old. Some have great teeth and gums at 10. Smaller dogs do tend to have more tooth and gum issues than bigger dogs but its not a given and your preventative care can help.

I guess the answer is, do you trust your vet to give an honest assessment of your dog's dental needs? if you do, then go with it. if you don't, maybe consider a second opinion.

Even for a small dog, under 3 years old does seem unlikely to need a dental cleaning but thats only my non-medical observation of dogs owned by friends and family and fosters etc.

BTW, cleanings done while the dog is awake are basically useless. Getting to the gumline and such requires anesthetics. Its not as deep of sedation as for surgery though so dogs awake quicker and usually have less grogginess or upset stomachs afterwards.
 

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I think it depends on the dog. Some dogs get horrible buildup at 3 years old. Some have great teeth and gums at 10. Smaller dogs do tend to have more tooth and gum issues than bigger dogs but its not a given and your preventative care can help.
This has been my experience. I've had dogs who never needed a dental and dogs who needed one quite young and pretty regularly after. Right now my Story is 8, has had 2 anesthesia-free cleanings, and I'm going to book her for one where she is anesthetized and gets x-rays come February (dental discount month at my vet). Teagan is 6 and has never had or needed a dental. But they are large dogs, and everything I've read is that smaller dogs often have poorer teeth, which of course isn't universal just a generalization.
 

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Same. My oldest dog (mini poodle, 8) has had... three or four dentals, I think? Depends on if you count the cleaning he got when they went in to pull a broken molar, which wasn't strictly necessary, but since they were doing dental surgery anyway we had them take care of the worst buildup. We try to keep up on his dental care, but he just gets plaque regardless, even when he was eating prey model raw, which is supposed to be excellent for promoting dental health. Other dogs I've known have had sparkling teeth well into adulthood (our younger dog isn't even two, so it's really hard to say what kind of schedule he'll need for dentals, if any).

Go by what you see. And potentially smell, since I know it can be hard to get a real good idea of what those back teeth are doing. Lots of obvious plaque, redness or irritation around the gumlines, and any kind of increase in sour or doggy odor around the mouth (or body parts they lick frequently) are signs you should get things looked at soon. Ideally you'll keep up with it so that things don't get that bad, but dental issues can sneak up on you, so it's good to know the warning signs.

Oh, and I've had a couple vets offer dental specific discounts during February, which the AVMA has declared national pet dental care month. Might be worth asking about!
 

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Yes, it depends on the dog. I wouldn't get it done until your vet says its necessary. I have a 5 1/2 year old dog who has never needed one, and the vet says his teeth look great with minimal buildup at every wellness visit. Other people at our club say that their 2 or 3 year old dogs have had one.
 

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I once had two littermate cats. The one had terrible teeth, needed cleanings sooner and sooner until annually in her age and also needed some extractions over the years. The other never needed a single dental. Sure, that's cats, but I think dogs and even people are similar. Some are blessed in their teeth and some are not. Diet and care can make a difference but I know of one raw fed dog who needed a dental in middle-age and an extraction in age.
 

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Like everyone else said, it depends on the dog. My 14-year-old papillon has had three or four dentals in her life. She's always been a super healthy dog but just has always had bad teeth (they've all been extracted now, so she's toothless). My almost-11-year-old Alaskan Klee Kai has never had a dental (his back teeth are getting a little brown on them, but the vet didn't seem to think he needed a cleaning yet).
 

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Just something to share. I have NEVER had to do a dental cleaning on any dog when feeding raw and giving raw bones (non weight bearing bones). Never.

I also do not own small dogs and it is my understanding they have more issues with teeth.
If you see tartar build up, have it done and they must be under anesthesia to do a proper job so the vet does it.
 

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And here's a story about waiting too long. My son and DIL have an adorable long-haired, dappled, miniature dachshund. Adorable, that is, until she sees someone she doesn't know well. Even with people she does know, she would get incredibly cranky. She's one of only two dogs that have bitten me since I became an alleged adult, and she likes me.

For years, she's had really bad breath. Not normal dog breath, but breath like something crawled in her mouth and died. I've been urging them for years to get her teeth checked. I'm astounded that their regular vet didn't say something, or maybe she did and they declined. About six months ago, they finally took her in for a dental and they ended up extracting 11 teeth. Everybody said, "Oh, that poor baby!" But, no, for the very first time in many years, she feels good. She went from being a foul-tempered, unpredictable terror to a completely pleasant little girl. She still has plenty of teeth and can eat just fine, and could bite you if she wanted, but she no longer wants to bite anyone.

Now, of course, they feel terrible that they didn't take care of this sooner.
 

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My dog will be eight in 3 months and has never been in for a dental cleaning.

His kibble helps a lot, i brush his teeth sometimes (but not very regurally, to be honest) and he chews on plushies/bones a lot.

His teeth look good, for 8 years anyways. Not pearly whites, but only one of his teeth is gunky. His breath smells not good, but not bad either.

263575
 
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