Yep! He does!
OK, then. See you next time! (:
Just kidding… but, yeah, your dog probably does need a dental cleaning.
Today, Cooper goes in for his first full dental. The crazy thing is that Cooper will be 7 years old next month, and this is the first time he’s truly needed one.
(OK, that pic is from a couple years ago… Cooper SMILES when he’s happy to see you. Our pet sitter friend, who he loves, snapped this gem!)
When Coop had his annual exam in October 2015, his vet said that he’d need a dental the following fall. Same thing with Newt. So, when I took them both in October 2016, I was surprised to hear her say that, actually, his teeth were still in pretty good shape, but we might as well schedule one within the next year. (Newt, on the other hand, needed hers ASAP and ended up discovering a cracked tooth.)
So, we put it off since we were dealing with Emmett’s myriad health issues, followed by Violet’s arrival.
But, I constantly flip his lip.
Do you do that?? You totally should! Every so often, flip up your pup’s lips and check out his teeth and gums. If you know, generally, what they look like, it’s easy to tell when something isn’t quite right.
And that’s exactly what happened.
His front left canine had some serious gunky discoloration along the gum line. And, while we were poking and prodding his other teeth, we noticed a small, hard lump just on the inside of his upper lip. Hmm. So, we called the vet and got his appointment scheduled ASAP. Today.
The plan: A full dental cleaning, along with an aspiration and possible removal of the lump. (trying not to panic… trying not to panic… trying…)
Cooper’s never been under anesthesia before, so they’re doing a full work-up first to make sure he’s a good candidate.
Our animal hospital is AAHA accredited–one of the reasons we chose it, to be honest–so there are a few things I know and feel comfortable with him going through this for the first time.
AAHA hospitals have to meet a series of mandatory standards, then earn points beyond what’s required. So, for today, I know that for the anesthesia, a trained tech will monitor Coop with required equipment throughout the entirety of his anesthesia. That allows for him to be closely monitored while he receives a thorough clean under the gumline, plus any extractions (which I reallllllly hope he doesn’t need), and then the aspiration and possible removal of this mystery lump. So, the whole time, he’s carefully monitored by focused, well-trained staff. They also have mandatory procedures for surgery, pain assessment and management, and protocols for recovery, like delivering oxygen in a number of different ways, if it’s needed.
These are the types of things I focus on when I’m trying not to panic…
It’s recommended, of course, that dogs get a full dental once a year. You and your vet will have to decide if that’s the best course for your pup. With Emmett, he had a dental every other year and definitely needed it each time. Lucas got one every two or three years because his teeth were in better shape than Em’s overall. Cooper truly hasn’t needed one until now, and he’s almost seven.
Every dog and every situation is unique.
So, does your dog really need a dental cleaning at the vet?
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, “Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, and is entirely preventable. By three years of age, most dogs and cats have some evidence of periodontal disease.”
If nothing else, take a couple minutes this weekend to flip your dog’s lip. Look at his teeth and gums. If you spot anything off or gunky or smelly, call the vet. If all looks well, add it to your calendar to check again in a couple weeks.
As for me, I’m going to go pour over the AAHA website again to refresh myself on their anesthesia, dental, surgery, and recovery standards so that I can focus on the good care he’s getting rather than all the worries…
Happy Friday, y’all!