Importance of Dental Care (for a longer life of your pet)

Yawning dog (Muddy) showing his teeth

Yawning dog (Muddy) showing his teeth

Dentals are important to extend the life of your pet. Brushing your pet’s teeth is excellent but I have yet to meet anyone that can actually brush their pet’s teeth.

The key to that is to start when you pet is a kitten or a puppy. And of course if you can brush the teeth then you will avoid dental care by a veterinarian.

The summer of 2011 I put out a lot of money for dentals on about 12 cats. Currently there are more that need dentals. I am waiting for my $$ to build back up. Even though I have used the same veterinarian for about 30 years I had to pay when he  finished with an animal. I have probably spent- well I don’t want to think about it- HEAPS of money at that clinic. Many moons ago, I was getting a pretty good discount. But then that all fell by the wayside.

In August of this year (2012) I changed vets. (finally)  I found a very smart veterinarian who gives my animals a complete exam and weighs options of what to use as the best medication for x disease or illness. He is compassionate and has 2-3 vet techs working at all times. My daughter told me that having adequate clinic staffing is generally the sign of a good vet. I think she is right. I just wish that I had changed vets a long time ago.

My new veterinarian does great dentals and uses the safest possible anesthesia. He removed a small benign tumor on one of my cats and he “threw in a dental” with no extra charge. I was most appreciative. I know that he is glad to have me as a client and it never hurts to do a “little something” extra for a good paying client.

Post and photograph:  Yvonne



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31 thoughts on “Importance of Dental Care (for a longer life of your pet)

  1. I have problems remembering to brush my own teeth, and I’m supposed to brush Zoey the Cool Cat’s too?

    • I can’t brush may of my pet’s either. The dog or cat needs to be started as a kitten/puppy and that way they become accustomed to it. I never could get mine to cooperate. Some people are able to brush their dog’s teeth. Just take you cat in for a dental exam if she is past 4 or 5. Some pets begin getting bad teeth when they are fairly young. The vet will look in her mouth and can see if she has bad gums and or teeth,

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Lynda says:

    Yvonne, I have been at the mercy of mercenary vets, like the one who kept my dog hostage for the vet bill till I got paid. I was in the military in Pensacola and he wouldn’t release my dog until he realized it was going to die anyway. Then he didn’t want to waste any more of his money or time on my poor baby. I have also had wonderful vets who did miracles for pennies on the dollar!

    We take our dogs in once a year for dental cleaning, and brush their teeth to help control halitosis and gingivitis. Thanks for your great article on animal dental care. 🙂

  3. Kathy says:

    I remember how some of our pets had bad breath. In those days we would have never thought of dental care for them! Hope you are having lovely holy-days.

    • Dear Kathy,

      Here you are again. Are you not supposed to be taking a break? Is your daughter still at home? Thanks for the comment. Yep, halatois is most often the cause of bad breath. The teeth are decayed or there are huge amounts of plaque build up and diseased gums. Our pets get just about all of the same things that affect humans.

      • Kathy says:

        I’m not taking an *official* break anymore, Yvonne. Remember? I wrote two blog posts since then. They’re just a little spaced out these days. Spending a couple hours this weekend reading other people’s blogs. Almost have an hour in now!

  4. shoreacres says:

    I have a different vet for kitty Dixie Rose than I did for my squirrel and prairie dog, but the man is a gem. I’ve often said I’d rather have him for my doctor than any of the MDs running around. That’s an overstatement, of course, but he is good. And he’ll take time to talk. And make me feel better about that fact that Dixie has to be gassed to have anything done, let alone dental work!

    He did tell me to use a particular kind of treat that helps to keep teeth healthy, and it’s been so-far-so-good for us. I’m so grateful. Now, if I can just get a pound or two off her it’ll be all good!

    • Thanks for commenting Linda. I had not finished with that post and left it hanging and low and behold it was sent out., That is the second time after working on a previous post that WP just does its own thing. There is no save button for working on something that is brought out of archives. I had not even changed the publish date.

      You are quite lucky to have a good vet. Some are more people oriented than most MDs. I think if the vet is someone with whom you can establish rapport then that is the sign if a good vet (generally). **smile**

      So what is the treat called that you are using?

      • shoreacres says:

        Oh! Silly me. They’re called Friskies Indoor Adventures Cat Treats. She really likes them. She gets 5-6 pieces every night about 10 o’clock, and if I’m not on schedule, she lets me know! About every six days I change up and give her five pieces of Friskies Hairball Remedy treat. She likes those even more – and in all the years I’ve had her, there have only been two hair balls!

        By the way – if you want to republish a post, here’s what I do. I copy the whole thing into a new post form. Then, I change the title just a bit and save it as a draft. Then, you can work with it just as you would a brand new post – editing and so on. And you can just leave the old post right where it is.

        • Thank you Linda for commenting and for some excellent information. I will do as you say the next time I pull something for the archives. And., the next time I’m in Petsmart I ‘ll look for the Friskies Indoor Adventures Cat Treats. I feed my cats the purina hairball or Iams Hairballl control may be once a week or so. I mix it with two other kinds of Purina cat chow. Purina One and Purina senior cat chow.

          The cats do not need a steady diet of hairball formula. But in the past I fed Science Diet on a regular basis before the company went out of site on prices. Even Purina one has been creeping steadly upward. By combining either 2 or 3 kinds I am able to stretch what I feed and stil be able to afford good food.

          Cats that need extra calories or better food for an ailment get Purian NF for renal failure and EN which is given to those that have problem stomachs. I am very careful not to over feed simply because I can not afford to and the other reason is that I am trying to avoid diabetes due to obesity. I will pull a post from the archives that my daughter actually wrote. I proof read it and changed some wording but otherwise Lisa wrote it. Be sure to read and maybe you will find a way to reduce your cat.

          I will send another reply with the name if the post. If I leave this one it will vanish into thin air.

  5. I use to brush my pet during his bath. He doesn’t like it. Every time, there will be fight. One day, he just ran off with brush!!! Finally, I found a brush without head. 🙂 ….. Beautiful post!!!

  6. Lottie Nevin says:

    Hoorah! Hooray! your posts are now coming back on my email. Sorry not to have been in touch for ages – my laptop died in tragic circumstances over a week ago and I’ve been ill over Christmas so not a happy time! 😦 (writing this from my daughters which I’m borrowing for the moment)

    You are a wonderful and inspiring pet owner Yvonne, thank you for your informative posts – dogs and cats need their teeth seen to like everyone else which reminds me…..!

    • Thanks Lottie. I was about to go look at your blog to see if I had missed any. Two other people plus you, now, have written to say that they were not getting my posts. Might I just say that WordPress is “messing around with me?” Val of Arty Old Bird wrote back to me that WordPress has glitches now and then. (I was not getting her posts) Frankly I do not see an excuse for that. I paid $100 for mine thinking that I would jazz up my site one day and have yet to to do that. I can also have my own domain name with the $$$ but I am afraid to tinker with it so I guess I had better trot over to the web master and pay him one more time to fine tune this blog. Steve Gingold last evening could not get his comments to stay and then he went to a different post and made one about the previous three attempts. I looked in the spam folder and low and behold his three comments were in spam. I think wordPress should be able to do better than that. If I didn’t already have a “little group” of followers here I would move to Google+. That one looks like like it is really nice. One photographer that I subscribe to has hers set up so that all I have to do is be in my yahoo mail and it recognizes me and has all my info already in place. All I have to do is begin writing my comment. This lady has wonderful pics of the Pacific Northwest. “The view from right here” I think you might enjoy that one- very few words but gorgeous pics.

      Oh by the way…. do see your dentist.

  7. I kept 2 out of 3 replies so that you can see in the upper right hand corner that says: Un-spammed by petspeopleandlife. I wrote a very long reply and I hope that it shows up in your notification box of replies that are made to your comments.

    I wanted to say (write) that I am so glad that your MD saved your life and I know that your wife is eternally grateful. It is a pleasure to interact with you and several other commenters. I have learned a little about each of you and really to me that is what blogging is about- to interact with our thoughts, photographs, educate, and exchange ideas, etc. Your comments mean a great deal to me. I thank you for sharing the good, bad, and ugly of Murphy’s life. I will check out the web site that you included in the comment above.

    • The “unspammed” denotation doesn’t show up, but at least I am now visible again. 🙂 Thanks Yvonne.

      Yes, Mary Beth is quite pleased with my continued existence…even if it does make life a bit crazier.

  8. I will try this….I have not been able to post it as a direct reply to your previous comment for some reason. If it is showing up please delete the extras.

    We have only fed Murphy canned food when he was either not well or just after some dental work. We use a Kong ball so he gets exercise while eating. Same with our previous beagles. We feed him a mix of grain based and meat based kibbles. I recently read reviews of dog kibbles here: and am considering changing foods if the vet thinks it will be ok. We are lucky that there is a good pet shop nearby with a huge variety of choices including several of the recommended kibbles.
    I am lucky also that I have a very good MD. He saved my life last year. 🙂

  9. sybil says:

    The vet costs become more of a concern when you have multiple critters too. I like my vet. They are people and pet friendly and best of all they love pitbulls !!! (As an escapee from Ontario’s BSL I really appreciate that).

    My dogs have been on raw for a year. Their teeth are really good. I Trey is 4 and Wendy is 7.

    • Thanks for commenting, Sybil. You are very lucky that you have a great vet and one likes pit bulls. I get The Dogster several times a week. They ran a story again of the pit bull in Ireland that was put down because he was considered dangerous. All kinds of “high up people” tried to intervene to no avail. It was the city council that voted to put the dog down. It made me sick to my stomach to read about those idiots who would not give the dog a chance. I don’t know the story behind all of it. If you care to -just type The Dogster. There is also another one called The Catster. I think it will come up if you go to google and use the search box.

      I wish that I could feed raw but I can not afford it. The raw diet is why your dog’s coats look so good.

  10. We have spent a modest fortune on Murphy’s choppers. But we are very happy with our vet so although we do not get any deals, we do get good care. And lovely pictures of the before and after too. Yeech. Our poor little guy was abused as a young dog and has a nervous condition where he grinds his teeth…or did. He is now down to just 7 teeth as he cracked his others because of the clenching and grinding he did. Since he always inhaled his kibble it hasn’t impacted his “eating” but we now can only give him small bits of things like veggies so he doesn’t have to chew.
    We use either peanut butter or beef flavored toothpaste and a glove with a plastic toothbrush and it works great. Murphy gets all happy when I put the glove on….it is like a vinyl exam glove but with little scrubbers on a finger and thumb.
    Like you, we are much happier with our present vet. The previous was very competent but his bedside manner was atrocious and although our new vet is more expensive it is very much worth the extra cost. We also like that they board pets so it is seamless.

    • Thanks for commenting, Steve.

      Murphy is very fortunate he was adopted by you and your wife. Poor little thing. He probably had the —- beat out of him on a daily basis before going to a rescue place. Are you feeding him some soft canned food in addition to the veggies?

      The veterinarian problem of poor care is wide spread. It is the same with MDS. They only want your money and don’t deliver quality care. You were fortunate to find a good vet. I had to go through 3 vets before I took a chance on my new vet. His prices so far have equaled out to what I was paying the vet that did not charge me for an office visit. If the vet is a bit higher and he/she is a good one then as you say it all evens out and you the pet owner does not have to worry about what kind of care you pet is getting. My current vet also boards but I have too many pets so I get a helper to come in and do the chores.

      My daughter told me to avoid any vet that has a wife working in the clinic unless she happens to be a vet as well. My old vet married his tech and all hell broke loose after that. He was barely compentent and I did not trust his judgement anymore.

  11. chatou11 says:

    Something I haven’t done with any of my dogs, reading you I think it’s something important. Thanks, Yvonne

    • You are welcome. I hope that in some small way I can educate a bit. But, do get your dog’s mouths looked at. If they are older than 5-6 years old (sometimes younger) then they probably need their teeth cleaned and might even need some extractions. Sometimes a tooth is loose or just badly decayed and these certainly need attention.

      I am going to add a bit more to that post for I left some things out that are important for a pet owner to know.

  12. exiledprospero says:

    I haven’t brushed Ariel’s teeth yet. But I might try with a little coconut oil (which is antibacterial, helping to prevent plaque).

    • Thank for commenting Prospero. I read a few days ago about the wonderful properties of coconut oil. It can be used for all sorts of wounds. Probably good to use after a bath or shower too. I read that a tad can be added a dog’s food but you must be careful to start out with a small amount.

      I hope that you will be able to brush her teeth. It saves money in the long run and provides the dog with a fresher breath for sure. I attempted it with some of my pets but they were highly uncooperative.

  13. Just Rod says:

    Muddy’s teeth look good! Glad you have a more compatible vet. I was told a good vet treats the owner just as much as the animal. Taking the vet a little treat once in a while doesn’t hurt either. They like to be appreciated.

    • Yes, I agree. My new vet shakes my hand. He is very good with cats- I have not needed to take any of the dogs.

      Vets love getting cookies, etc. I baked for my ex-vet but I did not bake one thing this christmas. Things are still not good but I hope and pray that all will be better-Can’t put a time line on “the problem” so it is one one day at a time.

      Thanks for commenting, Rod.

  14. I need dental care–do you think your vet would give me a deal?

    • For you or your cat? *smile*

      But speaking of deals- a vet that will give you a deal is next to impossible to come by. The vets just do not get it that if you have a client that is spending moocho money then that is a better thing to keep the client rather than them spending no money at all.
      (I hope that made sense. I am in a hurry this am)

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