Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: Non-Anesthetic Pet Dentistry

Anesthesia is a scary event for many of us. Many pet owners recognize how important professional dental care is for their furry friend, but get a little antsy about the risk (and cost) involved with full anesthesia.

As opportunities arise for pets to receive dental care in other ways, such as a tooth scaling at the groomer or a non-anesthetic dental service facility, it is no wonder that people are jumping on board. But is it really the best choice? Goldorado Animal Hospital hopes that some more context about non-anesthetic pet dentistry will help you to decide how to best proceed with your pet’s care.

Pros and Cons of Non-Anesthetic Pet Dentistry

It is not hard to understand why anesthesia-free dentals are tempting for pet owners. Anesthesia always carries with it some risk, and the monitoring, equipment, training, and time it takes can add expense.

As an AAHA Accredited veterinary hospital we can assure you that we take anesthesia very seriously. Following the more current guidelines and safest practices our staff ensures that your pet’s anesthetic experience is as risk-free as feasibly possible. This is important, because we stand behind the belief that anesthesia is essential for the best dental care.

There are a few reasons that we need to anesthetize your pet in order to provide a thorough oral examination and dental cleaning:

  • Even the most docile pet doesn’t open wide and say “ahhh”, meaning that we cannot fully evaluate every surface of every tooth effectively in an awake animal.
  • 60% of your pet’s teeth, and potential periodontal disease, are under the gumline. We need to take radiographs and probe carefully in order to evaluate the health of each tooth.
  • If we find a problem that requires extraction or other surgical treatment, we can often address it right then and there without the need for another procedure.

This means that anesthesia-free dental cleanings are often incomplete and can create a false sense of security when it comes to oral health.

Potentially Dangerous Territory

Besides being overall a subpar method of dental care, there are some dangerous aspects of non-anesthetic pet dentistry. Consider the following:

  • Most pets will need to be physically restrained in some manner in order to accomplish the task. This can be dangerous for the pet as well as the person performing the cleaning.
  • Because the status of the tooth roots and surrounding bone cannot be assessed, serious and painful issues may go unrecognized. This leads to unnecessary discomfort as well as potential progression of the problem.
  • Some of the instruments utilized in a dental cleaning are quite sharp. Sudden or unexpected movements by the patient can result in injury.
  • Because pets are not intubated during a non-anesthetic dental cleaning, water and other debris can potentially be aspirated.
  • Because anesthesia is regarded as standard of care by organizations such as the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Veterinary Dental College, you can assume that those performing anesthesia-free pet dental care are either lay people or people who do not subscribe to the most current recommendations. Is this who you wish to entrust your pet’s care with?

Anesthesia-free pet dental cleanings may sound appealing, however the old adage that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is stands. Our staff takes your pet’s care to heart, and there is a reason that we insist on anesthetic for all dental exams and cleanings. Give us a call today so that we can formulate a dental care plan for your pet that we all can agree on.

Pet Dental Care – Is it Really Necessary?

Pet dental care is a cornerstone of pet health

Did you know that the less-than-pleasant doggie or kitty breath you’ve come to know and love isn’t normal? By far, dental disease is the most common cause of bad breath in pets, and according to the American Veterinary Dental Association, up to 80% of dogs and cats develop some form of the disease by the age of three.

Making pet dental care a priority is one of the most proactive things you can do for your pet’s long-term health, and Goldorado Animal Hospital is here to get you started!

Read the rest of this entry »

Rabbits Need Dentistry, Too!

rabbit needing dentistryBy Dr. Susan Garlinghouse

Most pet owners are aware that dogs and cats need dental care during their lifetime, but did you know that dental disease is amongst the most common problems in rabbits as well? Yes, rabbits need dentistry, too!

Rabbits are different from most other pet species, in that their teeth grow continuously throughout their entire life.  This is an adaptation due to the high fiber diet they eat in the wild, requiring more chewing and resulting in increased wear.  This constant growth is true not only for the front incisors, but the molars and ‘cheek teeth’ as well. Read the rest of this entry »

Pet Dental Disease: Not About the Cavities

Just like our mouths, companion animals have very important healthcare needs. Pet dental disease starts with plaque and bacteria on the surfaces of the teeth, but instead of leading to cavities (uncommon in dogs and cats),  this buildup eventually leads to infection of the gums and jaw bones. This process can be stopped and reversed, but without proper dental care your pet can suffer from:

  • Painful mouth and loss of appetite
  • Bad breath
  • Irritated or bleeding gums
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Infections that spread to other areas of the body

Owners taking charge of pet’s dental care every day ensures they have a long, healthy life. Here are some specific ways to help your furry friends pass their check up:

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5 Ways to Keep Your Pet’s Mouth Healthy For Life

February is coming up – a month that is a special time around Goldorado Animal Hospital. It is our Dental Health Month, where every patient will receive a 15% discount off any dental procedure. Now is a great time to review several ways to keep your pet’s mouth healthy:

1. Beware Bad Breath:

Cat with mouth wide open

If a musky scent is coming from Fluffy’s mouth, don’t ignore it. This could be a warning sign that she has periodontal disease or another oral disease such as stomatitis, a common feline condition that causes painful inflammation of the gums and mouth tissues. Other dental-health warning signs include bleeding gums, yellow or brown teeth, pawing at the mouth, and loose or missing teeth. Read the rest of this entry »

Top Ten New Years Resolutions for You and Your Pet

Setting goals is not just for all of us bipeds, your pets love to get in on the action too! This is a great time of year to take a step back and figure out how to make 2015 the happiest and healthiest yet. We are counting down the top resolutions for both pets and people:

10. Measure Portion Sizes

Most people just eyeball the amount of food we feed ourselves and our pets. That’s why a recent study found reduccat steals sausage from the refrigeratoring dish sizes can help us lose weight – and the same goes for your pets! Rather than just filling their bowl every day (or several times a day), measure out the amount of food according to the feeding guide on your pet food bag. For best results, feed to your pet’s “ideal weight.” This is something that the Goldorado team loves helping out with! Read the rest of this entry »