DENTAL HYGIENE AND DOGS
DDW BLOG Post #0008
As a humane pet owner, you are expected to keep up with the wellness check and shots/vaccines; but what about dental?? Dental upkeep is an unavoidable part of caring for our pets and can be quite expensive. In fact, pet dental charges can be comparable to our dental fees. This DDW post goes over what to expect out of pocket and several ways you can minimize your costs while keeping your pet at its best optimal health.
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What We Avoid When We do Preventative Maintenance And Dental Care:
Let us think about the most common and complained about issue which is doggie breath. We cannot enjoy those doggie kisses if they have horrible breath! If your dog has halitosis, it can be for several reasons; your pup can have stomach problems, a tooth that is rotting or just need a simple dental cleaning.
Other avoidable but progressive, dental challenges possible are **:
- Plaque (the non-visible film on teeth),
- Dental calculus (the visible mineral deposits),
- Gingivitis (painful inflammation of the gums),
- Periodontal disease,
- and eventually, tooth loss
*** "...pets with periodontal disease are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease as well as other forms of bodily organ damage. Periodontal disease is shown to have a relationship with heart disease because bacteria from the mouth constantly enters the bloodstream and adheres to the arteries surrounding the heart."
Dental Hygiene Regimen: A Dental hygiene regimen is an example of preventative maintenance. Although smaller dogs are more prone to the growth of plaque than larger dogs, all dogs are susceptible to plaque. Periodontal disease caused by plaque is considered a serious repercussion of dental neglect and lack of maintenance. It is the tartar build-up that remains manageable by brushing or scraping off which, if neglected, turns into plaque. The only solution when it gets to the stage of periodontal disease is to remove the teeth. This is quite costly, more importantly, quite painful for your pup and also affects their overall longterm health.
Avoid having to remove the teeth from neglect with a daily brushing regimen which can be implemented at a more minimal cost. This is a routine that is easier for a younger dog to learn. If you have an older dog, this can be more of a challenge. You can start with the pup getting used to the toothbrush in the mouth, then used to the actual brushing while you work your minutes up each day. Overall, any routine involves consistency and persistence on your part. A few minutes a day can keep your larger bills in your wallet and your dog in its best health.
Dental Chews: Let us not forget what it feels like to have a toothache ourselves as we humanely spend money on our pups to avoid health issues. There are several products you can use in the meantime as a daily preventative. Whimzies (image on left) is a great dental chew that DDW sells. There are several types of dental chews and you can ask your veterinarian which one he recommends AND WHY. I suggest knowing why your vet is recommending any product because their reason may not work for your individual pet's overall situation or disposition.
Water Additive: I highly urge you to consider this product. People are always complaining about their dog's breath. Get into a healthy routine with your dog DAY 1 with 'FRESH BREATH' BY TROPICLEAN - Advanced Whitening Oral Care Water Additive, sold here at DDW. It would be difficult to introduce this product later on because your pup may not appreciate the difference in the taste of their water with this additive. Some may advertise as "tasteless and odorless", this has not been my experience. I can tell it took time for them to get used to this, it works AMAZINGLY for both breath and dental maintenance. Dogs can avoid plaque and tartar build-up with this water additive.
A "Wellness" Plan Helps Supports Dental Cleanings
We have already established how expensive dental can be. A decent wellness plan is especially beneficial in the first year of your pet's life as everything needs to be done including spay and neutering. Note: If you are signing up for a wellness plan, you are committed to paying out the year in full and can do this on a monthly basis. When you sign up for another year, it is the same commitment. The benefit I love the most after year 2 is the annual teeth cleaning. For a little more money you can opt for an additional teeth cleaning within the policy year. For small dogs prone to tarter and plaque, this is a great benefit. For neutering/spay and teeth cleanings, the procedure and anesthesia are included. For all of the aforementioned reasons, a wellness plan is to your advantage. To learn more about wellness policies, read Pet Insurance And Financing High Vet Bills.
Ask your vet for wellness plans they may be affiliated with. I highly recommend Banfield Wellness Insurance which is offered in all Banfield Vet's located in Petsmarts across the country.
Your Personal Pet's Dental Regimen: The preventative care and maintenance of your pet's health provide the best solution for a well deserved healthy life. Besides preventative home regimens like brushing teeth, dental chews and water additives, our pets need annual dental check-ups and cleanings. With a professional eye, a bigger health issue can be avoided. Dogs often do not exhibit signs of pain which leaves us with another reason why we need to make dental maintenance a routine. Sometimes, only a professional can point out potential issues and with just one vet visit. If left untreated, the issue can become a bigger problem than you could have anticipated. For more about a wellness policy and even pet insurance...read our very own DDW post, "Pet Insurance And Financing High Vet Bills".
Please search 'Dental' on this site to see some great DDW products for your pup.
**Veterinary Q&A: Why does it cost so much to clean a dog’s teeth?
Question: A Times reporter gave us her vet office’s estimate to clean her dog’s teeth. It appears to be a standard itemized estimate that ranges from $500 to $900. The cleaning itself is $99. Add $33 for X-rays, $11 for polishing and $21 for sealing. There are separate charges for pre-anesthesia, induction, monitoring and the general anesthesia itself. This adds $120 to the estimate. What’s left? Drugs before, during and after the procedure, hospitalization fees, etc. The bill could jump by hundreds, even thousands, if you add extractions, fillings or even root canals. Is all of this really necessary?
Answer: The least expensive method of maintaining your pet’s oral health is prevention. About 80 percent of dogs and cats over 2 years of age have significant oral-health issues. Brushing, dental chews and toys, dental diets and some supplements can help keep your pet’s mouth healthier longer.
Final Words From DDW
Whether you do or you do not yet have a pet, it is great to take more time to consider your options to support the needs benefiting the pet's overall health. You will also be more equipped to manage the financial demands of maintaining their health. Ultimately, you never want to feel burdened in any way as it is a pet's right to live its best life and your home will deservedly be the only home the pup will ever know. Too many pets get re-homed due to poor planning and this IS NOT healthy for your pets!
Many dog experts say that a dog that is acting out or has bad habits is not the fault of the dog, but the owner. Please educate yourself as a dog owner, in the long run, you will have a happy house and a well-adjusted dog always eager to please.
Finally, keep an eye on your dog while training just like you would a mischievous child. This way you can be consistent with your training. Give high praise when the pup is doing well and a firm NO when he/she isn't. Please do not hit your pups, your dog should not fear you!
Best of luck, Kimberly