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Dental work on dogs
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Dental work on dogs

Recently my dog's breath has been horrible. My husband and I do brush his teeth however it is very difficult to get the back teeth because he won't sit still. Yesterday I took my dog for his yearly check up at the Vet and the Vet told me he has alot on plaque on his back teeth and that it could be causing the breath problems. My Vet suggested having my dogs teeth cleaned. When I asked about the procedure he told me he would have to be put to sleep. The procedure would cost me between $300.00-$400.00. That seems like alot of money. Has anyone ever had their dogs teeth cleaned "professionaly"?  Can anyone suggested another alternative to this procedure to get his back teeth cleaned? Thanks for any help.
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82861_tn?1333457511
I honestly don't know what the charge is for cleaning, but dogs do need to be sedated during the procedure for the exact reasons you describe.  That allows the vet to deep scaling to get rid of hard calculus that simple brushing can't remove.

How old is your dog?  Since you've been diligent about brushing (which most people don't do) I'm actually concerned that this might be more of a problem than simple gingivitis.  While doggy breath can originate from gum disease, it can also stem from more serious problems in the gastrointestinal tract.  For one example, failing organs like kidneys, liver or the pancreas can result in terrible breath.  Does your dog have any other odd symptoms like changes in bowel habits, urination, lack of appetite, etc?  Any other past or current medical issues?

Assuming this is strictly a dental issue, call around to other vet clinics in your area for pricing.  You might be surprised at the difference in fees.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for responding. My dog is a 7 year old sable sheltie. He did have bloodwork done yesterday at his yearly check up to check his liver and kidney functions. My vet told me this was standard practice for dogs 7 and older.(All that bloodwork is why the vet bill yesterday was $441.00)! Besides having surgery in 2006 for a torn knee ligament, the vet told me he is very healthy and at a good weight. So I guessing I just didn't brush to good. I do not give him any doggie treats. The only treat he gets are baby carrots. Once a month I give him a denta chew to help clean his teeth. Do you think I should give it to him more often? I will call around to see prices. Hopefully I can find someone alittle cheaper, but then the problem will be if I like or trust the vet. So much to worry about!
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82861_tn?1333457511
I'm so glad to hear you did the senior blood work.  It really is a good thing to do.  Dogs are considered seniors when they're 7 years old, so I do agree with your vet on the testing.  

Yes, your dog does need more things to chew on so have a look around at various chew toys like rawhides or nylabone/ dentabone products.  That alone should help with the tartar and plaque buildup to where you don't need to use the toothbrush.  Given the right chewing materials, a toothbrush really isn't necessary.  Dogs are genetically wired to chew (a throwback to wolf DNA for breaking open deer bones) so you'll not only help with psychological health but dental health as well.  

My dogs get Milk Bone biscuits a few times a day, and every 2 or 3 days they get a rawhide chip to work on.  We adopted a dalmatian last year who had terribly stained teeth, but after a couple weeks with the rawhides they've been bright and white ever since and his gums are nice and healthy.  No bad breath at all in either dog.  They'd probably rip my face off if I ever tried to brush their teeth!  :-)
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441382_tn?1329196690
I would shop around a bit.  That does sound a bit pricey for a teeth cleaning, especially since your dog doesn't have any underlying medical conditions that would make it riskier than normal to be anesthetized.

You want to feel comfortable with the vet who is performing the procedure, but not at the expense of paying through the nose to do it.  Is there a veterinary college near you?  This is the kind of procedure that can be done at a veterinary school for quite a bit less than at an animal hospital.  If the savings are substantial enough, it might be worth a bit of a drive to go to one.  The veterinary students work on the animals under the watchful eye of their professors, many if not most of whom are board certified veterinarians.  I know from personal experience that in a lot of hospitals, the vets themselves do not do the cleanings, the vet techs do, so that's why I'm suggesting that you shop around for either a better price or a setting where the person performing the procedure will be worth the price you're paying.  

To give you an idea of what I am speaking of, I once worked at a hospital that charged $50 TO CLIP NAILS if a vet did it, but if you agreed to have the procedure performed by a vet tech, the cost was only $15!  The difference was that if a vet did it, you got charged $35 for an office visit as well as the procedure, where if the tech did it, you got charged only for the procedure.  Do not worry, however, if a LVT (licensed vet tech) is doing the procedure, they are perfectly capable.  So shop around and at least get some prices before you shell out that kind of money for a routine teeth-cleaning.

Ghilly
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes I do have a Vet school about 1hour away in Philadelphia. I have taken my dog there for his knee problems. My parents also took our dog there when he came down with cancer. I didn't even think to check there. Another question. You give your dog milk bone biscuits. I was told by a different vet not to give my dog treats like that because they can be bad for their over all health (causing weight gain, etc). He was the one that suggested I give my dog just the baby carrots. So it is okay to give them some treats? What about those pig ear things I see in stores. Are they okay to give to him? Or should I just stick with raw hide type products?
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I just noticed your dog picture. My dog is the same color. The only difference is my dog has a white "blaze" down his forehead and nose. They are both such beautiful dogs!!!!!
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82861_tn?1333457511
I think your vet went overboard regarding the treat restrictions - probably because so many of their clients go overboard the other way and give their dogs treats all the time.  LOL!  

Any hard biscuit-type treat would be fine, but for longer-chewing pleasure and cleaning purposes, a rawhide bone can go a long way.  The longer-lasting chews also encourage the dog to use the teeth farthest back in the mouth, which in your dog's case, is what needs to happen.  Nylabones are a good choice since they last forever, but honestly, my dogs get bored with them and ignore them after a couple of days.  Some dogs love them.  You just have to experiment a bit.

A couple of Milk Bones a day will not harm your dog or cause obesity.  I would avoid the pig ears - they're really gross, stink, and can stain your carpet, and they aren't hard enough to provide any teeth cleaning action.
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441382_tn?1329196690
Thanks so much for the compliment on Kate!  :D
She is the first collie that I have ever lived with, and after her, I don't think I will ever again be without a collie in my home.  I ADORE the breed now!

I completely agree with Jaybay on the treat thing.  Iams makes a tartar control biscuit that works very well to help keep the teeth clean after they have been professionally done.  I don't agree with your vet that they shouldn't have biscuits at all.  If your dog gets adequate exercise and eats a good quality food that isn't the doggie equivalent of junk food like so many grocery brands are, you should have no problem keeping his weight in check, even with tartar control biscuits as part of his diet.

Raw carrots are an excellent treat, but good, hard biscuits are also just as good.  There are also several products that are available that are very hard rubber balls with nubby things all over them that are good for chewing on and removing tartar.  There is also a product that looks like a red, hard rubber spring that comes with a tube of doggie toothpaste.  The toothpaste comes in flavors like beef and chicken, and you squeeze it in between the coils and give it to your dog to chew.  He'll concentrate on getting the yummy toothpaste out from between the coils of the spring and in the process, the hard rubber and toothpaste will remove the tartar from his teeth.

If you're near Philly, I guess you're talking about the University of Pennsylvania veterinary school.  An EXCELLENT choice!  Give them a call and ask them what they charge for a full teeth cleaning at the school, and I think you will find that it's quite a bit less than your vet.  Of course, I could also be mistaken, but unless rates have gone off the charts in the last few years, $300-$400 just sounds exhorbitant to me for a routine cleaning with no extractions.

Please post back and let us know how you make out!  

Ghilly
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462827_tn?1333172552
I agree that this amount is ridiculous!  My Vet charges $150.00 for teeth cleanings and that INCLUDES basic bloodwork before the procedure!!!  I too, would check around for a better price....I live in Oklahoma.....Karla
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441382_tn?1329196690
With regard to twinbee's situation, she does live in a VERY expensive part of the country, but the $150 quoted by Misfits4Me is MUCH more in line with what a teeth cleaning should cost, whether the bloodwork is included or not.  Lots of vets will include the lab work because they would rather see their clients be able to adequately take care of their pets and try to help them out whenever they can, but unfortunately there are some who can't do that because they themselves have a very high bottom line as far as paying staff, building fees, paying off new equipment, whatever.  That's why sometimes, for something routine like a teeth cleaning, it's best to either go to a less "fancy-schmancy" hospital or to a vet school, because there's nothing state-of-the-art really needed for a routine cleaning.  So as long as the person cleaning the teeth is qualified, why pay for frills?

Ghilly
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Avatar_f_tn
I've called around to several different vets and they all seem to be giving me a price of $250.00 - $400.00. I did go out and buy some milk bones and rawhide bones for him. I gave him one of the milk bones,it was gone in seconds!!

Yes, the vet school is Univ of Penn. From what I understand it is one of the top in the country. I called them today and someone will get back to me on Monday. I'll keep you informed of what happens next.

Thank you everybody for all you help and input.

Jan
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441382_tn?1329196690
I'm anxious to hear what kind of rates they quote you at U Penn.  I also wanted to clarify and say that when I said that since nothing fancy-schmancy was needed for a teeth cleaning that a vet school was a good idea, I in no way meant that they did not have state-of-the-art equipment at a vet school.  If anywhere is going to have that type of equipment, it's going to be a vet school.  What I meant when I included the school in that is that because the students are there to get as much experience as they can, the prices are often greatly reduced in order to get people to come in with their pets so that they can GET that experience.  As long as the staff is competent, ANY local vet hospital is fine for a teeth cleaning.  They don't have to be a top-notch hospital with regard to equipment in order to successfully do a routine teeth cleaning.  That's all I meant to say.

After I re-read what I wrote I realized how it sounded and I just wanted to clarify myself.  I can't wait to hear back from you on Monday!

Ghilly
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