We chronicled the warning signs and dangers of dental disease in the first part of this series on oral health. Now it’s time to explore a teeth-cleaning procedure done right. It’s very important to ask the right questions and make sure your dog is taken care of during his teeth cleaning, as he will be put under general anesthesia and may need to have teeth removed. More on that to come. First, let’s walk through the teeth-cleaning procedure.
Step one: Anesthesia
Sundown has his IV in place and is ready for his injection of propofol to induce anesthesia. A vet should perform a check on your dog before inducing anesthesia to make sure he’s healthy enough for it. Blood work may need to be done. Sundown checked out fine; he is young and quite healthy so he was green-lighted for this procedure. You should ask what precautions your vet takes against anesthetic complications.
Dental disease in dogs is unfortunately quite common. In fact, a vast majority (upwards of 85 percent) of dogs will develop dental disease in their lifetime, and most by the time they are three-years-old.
We have been aware of this sobering fact since Yellow Dog was a wee-one of five months. We constantly check Yellow’s teeth and offer bully sticks often to keep his teeth healthy. This vigilance has worked for Yellow but sometimes genetics play a role; this has been the case for Yellow’s brother, Sundown, who currently has stage-one gingivitis, which is characterized by tartar build-up on the upper-rear teeth and minor inflammation at the gum line.
It’s that time of year when dogs start licking, scratching, and scooting. It’s allergy season!
Yes, dogs can have allergies, too! In fact, the canine allergy season often coincides with human allergy seasons. And it’s not just grass and tree pollens, dogs can be allergic to anything; wool, cats, mites, insects—you name it!
There are four main categories of allergy: atopy, flea, food, and contact. You can distinguish atopy, or environmental allergies, from other types of allergies because they are seasonal; allergy symptoms often come and go but symptoms with other forms of allergy are constant.
“Symptoms usually start between nine months and three years of age and are seasonal,” Dr. Vickers add. “As these pets get older, their itchy season becomes longer until they are itchy year-round.”
It’s important to note licking is not normal behavior for a dog.
“Dogs lick to clean themselves only in the sense that if something is on their paw, they lick to get it off,” behavioral therapist and trainer Beverly Ulbrich says. “They will also lick if they are aggravated or itchy from allergies, and they lick as a nervous habit.”
A chewed shoe. Or carpet. Or couch. Or insert chewed item here.
When you come home to “accidents” such as these, it’s easy to blame your dog. But guess what? It’s your fault! You didn’t provide your dog with an outlet to release his energy and he took it out on your shoe, or other household items. Your dog could also be anxious about being left alone.
“A tired dog is a good dog,” behavioral therapist and trainer Beverly Ulbrich says. “Making sure your dog has enough physical and mental stimulation to drain his nervous energy will ensure his safety when left alone.”
If you aren’t able to get your dog out for a long-enough walk, it’s a good idea to go with a chew alternative, such as a bully stick.