Sunday, June 27, 2021

Doggie Dentistry: Is Non-Anesthetic Better?

     More than ever, owners are taking proactive initiative in their pet's oral health as veterinarians recommend annual comprehensive dental care for both dogs and cats. The health of the teeth and gums is incredibly important; periodontal disease is the most common disease of companion animals! Disease of the mouth can have downstream effects on other organ systems. While we can often be reasoned through our fear of the dentist, a proper oral exam for dogs and cats requires anesthesia-- this allows the veterinarian to fully open, examine, and radiograph the pet's mouth, which is a very stressful experience for an awake patient. However, anesthesia is equally stressful to many owners, and the combined use of anesthesia, radiographs, and dental care can make the appointment rather pricey. This has led to a rise in "non-anesthetic teeth cleanings" offered by groomers and other pet care professionals. This alternative appeals to a number of pet owners, for good reason! It costs less, it doesn't involve anesthesia (so it's perceived as safer) and in many cases, it's quicker, too. Unfortunately, non-anesthetic cleanings are not a safe or reliable alternative to ensuring dental health in your dog or cat. They offer essentially no benefit other than cosmetic, and may even be dangerous or painful to your pet. The individuals offering these services often have the best of intentions, and simply do not realize the immediate and indirect risks associated with the procedure.