As I round out today and try to tell my clients “Every pet needs a dental cleaning every year ” many of them tell me lots of different excuses. My favorite is “I have never done it before. So I don’t think it is needed now” That is like saying I never ate vegetables so why start now. Although funny, we know it isn’t good for them or you. All of us love to get kisses from our pets. However, you need to remember when your pets go to kiss you with their little (or big ) tongues they shower you with more bacteria than what resides in your toilet. That is just GROSS!!!

To combat THE GROSSNESS, they need to have their teeth cleaned yearly and brushed daily. You and I want them to grow older like a fine wine. Soft and wise and not bitter from pain as their teeth rot out.

What goes into a thorough dental cleaning you might ask? It is the same as when you go to your dental hygienist. Their teeth get ultrasonically scaled, they get probed, charted and x-rays taken (at least yearly). All under the comfort of full anesthesia. Everyone asks why full anesthesia. The most important reason for me is that is the only way I can do a good professional job. Anyone can just crack the calculus off but that is like removing the large boulder in the road and leaving the water after a flood. (basically useless). After the major calculus is off then the tartar must be removed. This tartar can’t be seen with the naked eye unless a certain light is used. Then looking for periodontal disease under the gum line with a probe and x-rays. 60% of all tooth disease in dogs and cats are under the gum line where you can’t see. It is like an iceberg, the top is far off but the part you can’t see can hurt you more. So it is important to get in there to do a thorough cleaning and look for underlying disease.

Everyone asks me which dogs and cats are most prone to dental disease. My answer is always: all of them. There are some research statistics published that state up to 70% of all pets have gum disease by the age of 3 years old. They are all prone to get it but some breeds are at increased risk of losing their teeth early (by 5 years old) like chihuahuas, dachshunds, and Yorkies because they have big dog teeth in a little dog head (crowding) and they don’t floss. (again: Gross) So listen to your veterinary dentists out there and clean your pet’s teeth yearly and brush daily!!!

Did I mention that we are quite the deal to! A thorough cleaning with x-rays, blood work, and anesthesia can run from $250 to $450.(in my neck of the woods). However, at my local dentist, it is $857 for them to do a periodontal planing for one tooth. There was not any anesthesia performed only a nerve block, anti-inflammatories and a couple of sutures. That is only one tooth!! Dog’s have 42 teeth which would be 42 X $800=$33,600 if they were a person. (Thank God I only have 32 teeth.) As you can see veterinarians are quite the deal!!! Call your vet today to set up your dental cleaning and stop the gross kisses!