I recently saw an ad on TV for a dental spray that is supposed to remove all of your pet’s tartar on its teeth. Supposedly if you use this your pet will never need another dental cleaning at the doctor’s office. The commercial states that dental cleanings at the doctor’s office are expensive and “hard on your pet.”
First, while dental sprays (and preferably brushing your pet’s teeth) can control tartar, nothing replaces a proper cleaning done under anesthesia at the doctor’s office. Even my own brand of spray, Dr. Shawn’s Minty Fresh Dental Spray, the least expensive and dental spray on the market, is not a miracle cure and works best in between professional dental cleanings.
Second, anesthesia MUST be given in order to perform a safe and thorough cleaning. While there are groomers and others who “clean” a pet’s teeth via brushing or scraping the tartar, it’s impossible to thoroughly clean the teeth with the pet awake. Additionally, it’s easy to miss oral cancer on an awake pet as a thorough oral exam can only be done on an anesthetized pet.
Third, it can be expensive to clean a pet’s teeth. Cost increases as the severity of the dental problem increases, which is why I recommend cleaning a pet’s teeth at the first signs of a problem. This means that many pets will need their teeth cleaned at least once per year (smaller dogs with more severe dental disease usually require a professional cleaning every 6-10 months.)
Finally, anesthesia and a dental cleaning are not “hard on your pet.” Modern anesthesia and monitoring is safe for all pets, even our senior citizens.
Not cleaning a pet’s teeth is actually “hard” on the pet.
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