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Discussion Starter #1
When I adopted my dog a few days ago from the ASPCA, I was told I would need to pay $100 to have "moderate tartar on the back teeth" cleaned.

From one vet, I got a "conservative estimate" of $500-$750. From another vet, $250-$300.

I don't care about the money, but I don't want to get cheated either. What is reasonable, and why did the SPCA tell me the procedure will cost so much less than what the vets have said?

He is a 1.5 year old, 55 pound Afghan-hound (other half probably shepherd or collie) in otherwise very good health.

Thank you for any advice. I'm giving a pep talk to my wallet right now...
 

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Oh, my! Save your money! Buy some knuckle bones and let him clean his own teeth with that! What a rip!

 

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Is your dog very friendly? I do my own dogs tarter removal. Granted it probably isn't as good as the vets but I do keep a lot of it off.
 

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I scale canines at time if need be. Since we switched to all raw back teeth have improved. My kids are friendly, but molars are hard for me to try to scale.
 

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I would say have a vet check his teeth to see if they'd actually need to be cleaned now. Moderate tartar doesn't sound like cleaning is needed. and like was suggested, having him chew on some raw bones would probably take care of it (vet might not say this).

But depending on the vet, I would say about $400 for a cleaning. My friend's corgis need to have their teeth cleaned every couple of years and that's what it costs them. They have a great relationship (20+ years) with their vet so the cost is fairly reasonable. I think she said it was about $375 for a normal cleaning but would cost more if there is an infection ($450?)
 

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I would have the dog looked at by your own vet and see what they say. It's certainly worth a $40 office visit. And besides, any new dog coming into a household should be examined by a your own vet. Most shelter vets give animals a "once over" and if they're not bleeding or have massive infestations of fleas, they pass the exam with flying colors.

My dogs' dentals have cost anywhere from $250 - 450, depending on extractions and medications needed. Some vets do things like nerve blocks and extra pain meds. Our new vet does not and it generally costs me around $250. I took the cat in today for a dental and the basic fee was $225 and then there was lab work done since she is 10 years old. Luckily my daughter works there and did the lab work herself so we were only charged for the clinic's actual cost of materials.

Moderate tarter and gingivitis can lead to tooth loss in a short period of time...maybe a few months. So depending on how accurate the statement is about your dog, he probably needs to get the cleaning done soon.

If you are not familiar with doing dental scaling yourself I would have the vet's office do it the first time. Then buy yourself a scaler and learn how to use it. The first time I did it I thought I was scraping enamel off! My daughter reassured me that it was chunks of plaque shearing off the tooth. She said some dogs at the clinic need pliers to get the built up plaque off. So there is a lot of variation from one end of the spectrum (light sclaing to pliers needed) to the other. Once you get it under control though you can check the dog monthly and scrape off whatever is there, as long as the dog is cooperative.
 

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I hate to sound like a shill, but I've heard many people say great things about Petzlife tooth gel. I got some for my own gal, I should know how well it works in about a month.
 

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PetzLife works just the way they say it does! My 7 & 8 yr. old dogs have never had their teeth cleaned, yet have no tartar, plus it removes stains. (I use it, too!)

BTW, the gel works faster, and, it's easier to use. Mine hated the spray.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to everyone for their responses. He will have his teeth checked on once he gets his one-month check-up with my own vet to get his booster shots, etc.

Pai, I appreciate the Petzlife recommendation! I'll look into that for the future.
 

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Of course the vet will be against a dog chewing on a bone... He won't be compensated. But look at B'asia's teeth (the dog above) before and after chewing on that bone:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you for your advice about the bones. I saw a recommendation for knuckle bones above. Will any other kind of bones do, and do I need to boil them before giving them to my dog? Please pardon my ignorance, I'd rather sound stupid than do something wrong and endanger my dog.

I plan to have to vet take a look at him anyway, but I am VERY reluctant to put him under anesthesia again. He'll have gone under TWICE in one month (once for neutering, and again for his teeth apparently). He's a sight hound and I heard they are very sensitive to anesthesia.
 

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The price of dentals can very GREATLY from vet to vet. We pay anywhere from $175-$350 at our vet, but that included a few extractions (foster dogs and pre-raw diet days).

A variety of raw bones are a great way to clean teeth and keep them clean. From turkey necks/wings to chicken frames, ribs or knuckle/shank bones. You do need to be cautious with big weight bearing bones that the dog doesn't crack a tooth on them. It's never happened to our crew, but they are mostly gnawing the meat off the bone and not actually trying to bite through the thick bone.

Most vets are aware of sighthounds' needs regarding anethesia and surgery is as safe for them these days as any other breed. Though, any time a dog goes under is a risk.
 

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I give my dog one RAW beef short-rib a week and it keeps his teeth sparkly clean. I cut most of the meat off since he is not a raw-fed dog so the meat is a little rich for him and gives him "pudding poop". Never ever cook a bone before you give it to a dog. This is what makes them dangerous, it can cause them to splinter.

By the way, with the short rib, he eats the whole bone, chews it right up. For people who aren't used to raw feeding, this can seem surprising at first :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you, MegaMuttMom. I'll be sure to get some bones anyway, even if he gets his teeth cleaned at the vet.

lovemygreys, I didn't mean to imply that vets are ignorant of a sight hound's sensitivity to anesthesia. What I am brutally aware of, however, are vets who will do whatever it takes to make a buck. I strongly believe through experience that not all vets have an animal's best interests in mind. I'm not a vet, but two anesthetic procedures in under 30 days seems pretty intense for any animal. Hopefully he'll end up telling me that he can clean without anesthesia, though he sounded reluctant to do so over the phone.

Unfortunately, I'm relatively new to the area I live in so I don't know any of the vets by reputation. I was recommended to the vet I will be taking my dog to by a friend, so I think he should be okay.
 

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Will any other kind of bones do, and do I need to boil them before giving them to my dog? Please pardon my ignorance, I'd rather sound stupid than do something wrong and endanger my dog.
Once my dogs get all the meat off the knuckle bone, I take it and throw it away because they shouldn't try to actually eat the bone. It may break their teeth and constipate them. I think the best teeth cleaning bones to consume are chicken, turkey and pork necks, chicken backs. I don't feed (for consumption) ANY whole weight-bearing bones (including chicken - I mash them) or beef ribs (a butcher told me that they're pretty hard).

And yes, don't cook any bones at all. :) Good luck polishing up those teeth! :D
 

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OMG!!!!! I'm sooo jealous of you! My next dog is going to be an Afghan Hound, I'm completly in love with the breed. You'll have to post pictures of your new Affie mix. There's a often older Afghan/Shepherd mixes in rescue, it'd be interesting to see how he comapres to them.

As far as the teeth go I wouldn't put him under unless there was a massive amount of tartar or a broke or rotten tooth. If he ever has to go under for something else then you may want to add on a dental, but I wouldn't risk anesthesia for just a dental cleaning. It apears that you're already aware of non-anesthetic dentals, hopefully your vet will be able to do them or has a specialist come in to do them. At the vet hospital I worked at it was $140 to do an initial NAD and $152 to do an bare minimum anesthetic dental (that's without fluids, bloodwork, ekg, extractions, or pain meds; all of which may be added on at an additional cost if required or you choose to add them on). Most vet services have a huge variety in cost and you have to determine exactly what you're getting for your money. Typicaly the cheaper it is the less you're getting in services or care, but price doesn't indicate quality and expensive vets might not be giving you your money's worth. I once had a vet want to charge me 1200-1800 for a dental and single extraction! They want to do head x-rays, prescribe 2 or 3 different anitbiotics, and charge me per min to have the vet tech monitor during the procedure and recovery.
 

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Raw bones are the way to go. when I got my aussie mix she had some tarter build up. After a couple bones most of it chipped off (I picked at the rest). The bones I get cost $.50. A lot cheaper then a dental. They love them and it keeps them busy for a while. (I feed them outside or in a crate)
 

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You can check outside svs offered at vet offices for dental cleaning w/out anesthesia. It should cost about $100. They tend to come to your home, the dog is awake. Also continue to check around also w other vets for pricing for dental cleaning. Also see during dental health month, vets usually offer this at discounted rates. It probably will cost closer to $200, possibly $300 range between cleaning and anesthesia, especially if you do pre-blood work. A good cleaning at a vet may be required as they clean below the gum line, like dentists. Be sure a heart monitor is used and do research on type of anesthesia used due to sight hounds tend to have very low body fat & system can't metabolize some well. I've had my dogs w surgery many times and they did well, so do your homework prior & ask if experience w surgery/anesthesia w sight hounds. Best of luck.
 

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Is your dog very friendly? I do my own dogs tarter removal. Granted it probably isn't as good as the vets but I do keep a lot of it off.
Me too! When my old girl died at 13 years old she had the teeth of a 3 year old. I second the knuckle bones. See if you can't get by without the vet doing them at all. Chances are you can.

Get your dog used to having you brush his teeth with doggy toothpaste. Move slowly and be gentle on the gums. :)
 
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