Your Dog and the Dentist: Learn the Drill

While "late is better than never," sooner is better than later, at least when it comes to your dog's dental health. Dental disease gets worse over time, and the longer you wait, the more damage that will have to be taken care of and the more expensive your vet bill will be.

Your dog probably won't need much work done on his teeth when he's still young... so your vet won't do much more than open his mouth and take a look at what's going on in there. But as he ages, dental disease can set in, especially if you don't brush his teeth (which you should be). So check him periodically for signs of mouth/tooth decay, bleeding gums, or abscesses. If you see or smell anything unusual, he'll need to go in for a cleaning and polishing, or "prophy," which is vetspeak for prophylaxis.

Unfortunately, "spit," "rinse", and "open wide" are not part of your dog's limited vocabulary, and that spit sucker thing is likely to terrify him... so, for everyone's convenience and peace of mind, your veterinarian will anesthetize your dog before doing any complicated procedures on his teeth.

Anesthesia is not without risks; therefore, your vet will require several precautionary tests before putting your dog under. This may seem rather tedious to you; but if you want to prolong your dog's life, you really should be taking care of his teeth. This may mean a few dental cleanings in his older years which DO require anesthesia to be conducted properly and safely. The good news is, the more you practice regular brushing and plaque control in the form of crunchy bones and such, the less cleanings and dental work your dog will require... so hopefully you can keep those vet bills down.

Expect the vet to perform the following precautionary tests to determine if anesthesia is a safe option.

- Basic blood tests including red and white blood cell count
- Kidney and liver evaulation
- Possibly a heart function test, if your vet detects a heart murmur
- Possibly a urinalysis if there is reason to suspect kidney disease

The above testing will require one or possibly more trips to the vet, as well as several days of waiting time before the lab results come back. Just like your family doctor, your dog's vet wants to give you as thorough an evaluation as possible so he can determine the correct diagnosis and proper and complete treatment for your dog's teeth and for his health in general.

Assuming your dog passes his health exam and lab testing with flying colors, your next scheduled appointment will be for the cleaning and dental work itself. Time to tackle that tartar!

The dental procedure may involve some if not all of the following:

- Anesthetic administration
- X-rays
- General examination
- Tooth extractions
- Tartar removal
- Polishing

The procedure may be as brief as 20 minutes, if your dog has mostly healthy teeth, but may take an hour or longer for more extensive work in the case of diseased teeth and other problems. If your vet detects slow recovery from the anesthesia, he may require an overnight stay. Your vet should keep you informed every step of the way during your dog's dental procedure, and alert you to any unexpected outcomes.

You generally won't be expected to provide any special care after you take your pet home from his dental appointment, unless of course your dog has had major surgery and/or tooth extractions. In such a case, he may require the feeding of softer food or administering of antibiotics for a little while. Your dog's vet will inform you of what if any additional care if any is needed, and whether or not your pup will require a follow-up exam.

Start taking care of your dog's teeth now, and you won't have to worry about costly extensive dental treatments down the road. A brief recap of how you can help:

- Get into the habit of regularly brushing your dog's teeth while they're still in good condition.

- Feed him hard, crunchy food and special snacks that will aid in plaque removal.

- Examine his mouth regularly for signs of tooth problems or dental disease- redness, swelling, abnormal gumline, difficulty chewing.

- Take your pup in for regular dental checkups and cleanings; typically, once a year if he's young, and bi-annually if he's a senior dog.

- Make sure that any dental problems are treated promptly by a certified veterinarian.

In short: take care of your dog's teeth, and ensure him a long and healthy life!

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

Dina Giolitto is a copywriting consultant and ghostwriter with 10 years of experience writing corporate print materials and web content. Trust her with your next e-book, article series or web project, and make a lasting impression on your audience of information-hungry prospects. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for more information.

Do You Make These Mistakes Loading Your Horse Into A Trailer?

Mistake #1:"Here, Kitty Kitty..."Unless they have been educated, new horse owners often think a horse... Read More

How To Choose A Dog - There Is A Lot To Consider, But A Lot Of Help Too

Choosing a dog is a fun adventure. The search for a new familial addition is... Read More

Dog Breath-It Doesnt HAVE to Be SO Bad!

While your friends and family are amazed that you're raising such an amazing dog, you... Read More

Crate Training for Puppies and Dogs

Wondering how to begin crate training your puppy or dog, or even whether you should?Crate... Read More

Top Five Dog Breeds for Homes with Children

Top five dog breeds for homes with children* Beagle * Bernese Mountain Dog * Bichon... Read More

Five Fast Facts About the Cavalier King Charlies Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are not cheap. On average you can expect to pay $2,000-$3,000... Read More

Canine Mastitis

Canine mastitis is a breast infection in brood bitches, usually occuring a few weeks after... Read More

Does Your Dog Bite? How to Protect Your Dog and Yourself from Liability

MuttShack Foundation for Animal Foster and Rescue, claim that dogs bite more than 4.7 million... Read More

Are Exotic Cats a Threat to Public Safety? Why Exotic Pets Are Not Dangerous

I would like to address some of the statements I have found on the web... Read More

Pet Doors: Giving Your Pet Freedom to Come and Go as They Please Helps Solve Behavior Problems

Pet DoorsAre you considering installing a pet door for your pet? If so, you are... Read More

Dealing With your Pets Allergies

It is Winter time again, a time of the year when pets and humans are... Read More

A Cat Tale

My son and I have a cat. Her name is Princess, aka Sugar Bear or... Read More

5 Tips For Choosing the Best Vet For Your Dog

Find a vet, if possible, who specializes in small animals (as opposed to one who... Read More

Westie Merchandise that Benefits your Dog

There are many places to find Westie merchandise, but before you make a purchase for... Read More

Good Dog Health and Happiness For Charlie

Our Charlie's dog health was a very important issue to us in our family. It... Read More

Is A Boxer Dog The Right Pet For You?

Having a boxer dog as a pet, although low-maintenance, require your consistent attention, exercise, human... Read More

Training Your Dog

Training your dog can be time consuming and frustrating at times, but it's well worth... Read More

Dog Behavior Problems: Help! My Dog is a Nuisance When he Misbehaves!

How many times have I hear fellow dog owners say, "I hate it when he... Read More

Mommy, Can I Keep That Stray Dog?

How many times have you seen this situation where a child comes through the door... Read More

Goldfish Outdoors

How do you build a goldfish pond outdoors?The tools you will need are a shovel,... Read More

How to Housebreak Your Dog or Puppy

Dogs are creatures of habit; and once they develop a habit, breaking it can be... Read More

Saving Ginger From Being Put To Sleep ? Part 1

A family, including three dogs and a cat live happily in a good house with... Read More

Breeding Clownfish

Thanks to Disney's Motion Picture 'Finding Nemo,' almost everybody is familiar with clownfish.Clownfish, or Anemonefishes,... Read More

Winterizing Your Dog

It's beginning to get cooler and as such it is also time to plan for... Read More

Animals Are Forever

Throughout the course of my life, I've encountered my own share of dogs. From early... Read More

Natural Approaches to Dealing With Pesky Fleas

Problems with Commercial Flea Killers & TraditionalFlea Bite Treatments***Chemicals that act as poisons are strong... Read More

Pet Peeve: Dogs Doing Business Where Not Wanted

We've recently moved into a new apartment complex that really is much like a resort.... Read More

Whos Pulling On The Leash, You Or Your Dog?

Hopefully no one is pulling the leash. The ideal situation is that you and your... Read More

The Fun of Do It Yourself Snake and other Reptile Cages

Are you nuts? You think banging your finger with a hammer is fun? No, I... Read More

Breed Success in Your Puppy Search

The numbers will make any pet lover blanch with disgust, anger, and sadness. The Humane... Read More

Guinea Pigs Health

Guinea Pigs make great pets and are fairly easy to care for. They love to... Read More

Dog Worms -- Dont Let Them Get Started

There may be no warning before dog worms strike.It was about two AM, when beneath... Read More

You Can Help Reduce the Number of Unwanted Cats - Spaying and Neutering of Cats

Every year, hundreds of thousands of cats and kittens are destroyed because they are unwanted.... Read More

Five Powerful Reasons Why Owning A Pet Could Make You Live Longer

You may have heard that pets have been scientifically proven to increase your chances of... Read More

Dog Training Information for Training Your Puppy

Puppy TrainingPuppy training can be a trying time. The key to this time is to... Read More

Does Your Boston Terrier Want To Be With You?

This may come as a surprise...but if the tables were turned, and the Boston Terrier... Read More

Dog Flea Control Management: How To Prevent, Treat, And Kill Dog Fleas

Dog flea control and management requires an integrated approach. For effective treatment both the host... Read More

How to Ensure that Your Cat is Healthy and Lives a Long and Happy Life

Incredible advances in veterinary medicine are making it possible for cats to live longer, healthier... Read More

Grapes, Nuts, and Your Dogs Health -- Foods that Fido should Avoid

"Magoo was a big, playful Labrador retriever who often got himself into sticky situations..."So begins... Read More

How to Litter Train a Cat

For most cat owners, training their cat to use the litter is a relatively painless... Read More

My Fathers Daughter

My dad was an avid animal lover. We grew up with all kinds of animals... Read More

How To Keep Your Cat Healthy - Cat Feeding Explained

Cats have a reputation for being finicky eaters, but that is usually a distortion of... Read More

Afraid To Buy A Horse At Public Auction?

Here are 5 things to do to put the odds of getting a good horse... Read More

Thinking of Getting a Lhasa Apso Dog?

One of the cutest looking dogs around is the Lhasa Apso. The puppies especially are... Read More

Special Gifts for Animal Lovers

Animal lovers come in all shapes and sizes. Undoubtedly if you bump into an animal... Read More

Identifying and Treating Health Problems in Your Dog

An essential to your dog's health is his/her regular annual checkup with the vet. The... Read More

Responsible Dog Ownership

Owning a dog is a serious responsibility, one that should not be taken lightly. But... Read More

Finding the Perfect Cat or Kitten for You and Your Family

Some people say they are exclusively "cat people," meaning they only want to have a... Read More

Tips for Overcoming Boredom and Routine Stress

There are many ways in which you can prepare for, and participate in, you dogs... Read More

The Lowdown on Dog Vaccinations

Over the last 20 years, vaccinations have generally been started in puppies at about 6-8... Read More