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Complete Dental Care Guide for Dogs: Tips, Appointments & Dangers

Dental care for dogs—Diary of a vet. Put something in your teeth.

Dental care guide for dogs. The newspapers have been full of stories about the potential COVID-19 vaccines and the challenges of vaccinating the whole population. Some have even suggested vets might be involved.

Dental disease in dogs is not uncommon, and there has been no let up in the number needing treatment at Vets.

As there seems to be a lack of experienced vets to cover our shortages in the clinic, I don’t think many vets will be free to jab people for the NHS, and maybe that is for the best.

I imagine vets might have people queueing in a cattle handling race, a nurse taking their vital signs, and each patient presenting their arm for the vet to jab them from a multi-dose sheep injection gun!

Dental care for dogs booking appointments.

But at least we would ensure you all got a treat and a belly scratch afterwards!

Rocco the Frenchie was a typical dental booking. My colleague had seen him a month earlier for his annual health check and vaccinations.

During the examination, she noticed considerable tartar on his teeth, a foul breath smell, and sore-looking gums.

Rocco was unhappy about his mouth being examined, so she had to explain that we wouldn’t know how bad the teeth were until he was safely asleep. 

This meant that the best and worst-case estimates for the treatment varied by £200. As Rocco is an older dog and infections from dental disease can cause kidney problems, my colleague recommended pre-op blood types to check his liver and kidney function.

Spotting signs of reduced kidney and liver function means we can alter the anaesthetic drugs or support circulation with intravenous fluids.

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Annual wellness blood test

Rocco is on our senior care play, so an annual wellness blood test is included at no extra charge, which came as news to his owner!

With the average blood results, I could get going on the teeth.

Once Rocco was safely asleep, I removed the tartar from his teeth using an ultrasonic scaler; then went through the dental chart with the nurse and noted which teeth could stay and which needed removing.

Ideally, we would take dental radiographs but we don’t yet have a machine. In addition, radiography would add to the cost of dental care and might put it out of the reach of some clients.

There are always compromises to be made in the veterinary world.

Some of Rocco’s teeth were very loose; others needed to be divided into sections with a drill to remove each root without breaking it.

Finally, he gave the remaining teeth a polish; Rocco escaped with 36 of his 42 teeth!

His mouth healed well, and now his owner uses an enzyme-based pet toothpaste and a finger toothbrush daily to keep them sparkling clean and avoid another dental.

Dental care for old dogs.
Older dogs often get a build-up of tartar on their teeth!

Dental care for dogs

At the other end of the spectrum, age-wise, was Jack, the Frenchie. When he came for his first vaccinations at eight weeks, he hardly had any puppy teeth, and his owner was worried she’d been sold on an under-aged pup.

Did you know? Puppies usually have a total of 28 teeth, (14 in each jaw) one their milk teeth have all come through. An an adult dog should have 42 teeth; 20 in the top jaw and 22 in the bottom.

Jack was eating well, and at the right weight for his supposed age, so I reassured her that he swore the breed’s puppy teeth come through late. True enough, Jack was starting to lose his baby teeth and grow some adult ones at five months old.

Most pups get a bit chewy at this age, but Jack was sad and off his food. Frozen chew toys hadn’t helped, so I prescribed some dog painkillers for a few days.

I cautioned against using a pet teething gel as Jack has quite a sensitive stomach; no human teething gel, as these can contain toxic xylitol.

It is essential to check your pup’s teeth regularly as they grow to ensure the jaws are correctly aligned and that the teeth are erupting properly. If in any doubt, get your vet to check.

Dental care for dogs. SCALING DANGERS

I was alarmed to hear from an owner recently that some groomers offer ultrasonic scaling to dogs.

Scaling below the gum line is a vital part of dental treatment and is uncomfortable. In addition, scaling can’t be performed correctly in a conscious dog and could result in injury; (to a dog or the groomer), so this is a treatment we do not recommend.

Other groomers use ultrasonic toothbrushes, which are safe but may not be effective if only used every six to eight weeks at a grooming appointment. My advice is to use enzyme-based pet toothpaste every day.

Chew toys can also help keep teeth clean, but choose the right type for the age and breed of your dog to reduce the risk of them swallowing the chew or damaging their teeth.

Even vets who have chosen the right chew can still have problems sometimes; a different owner recently came home to find her dog had broken a tooth on his nylon bone chew!

Thank heavens his insurance covered the treatment, but remember that most insurance policies only cover accidental tooth damage rather than preventable dental disease.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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