Like humans, your Labradors need to have their teeth cleaned.
For them, a trip to the vet’s is often required. The procedure requires full anesthesia and costs $1,000 or more.
New companies are offering an alternative to expensive full-anesthesia cleaning–including a blanket and a soothing voice to calm the dogs. The procedure was popular in California and Florida for a few years, and it’s coming to New York City.
- Healthy Smile Pet Dental Services, a Florida-based company, recently began operating out of the Northside Veterinary Clinic in Williamsburg.
- Another company, Spot Experience, is planning to open a new facility next month at 600 W. 42nd St. California.
- Houndstooth is also opening on Octoberin Mystic, Connecticut and will offer regular sessions at a Midtown office.
The multiplying number of related facilities shows the importance on pet dental health.
“Periodontal disease is the most common [health] problem we see in dogs, affecting 85 percent over the age of three,” says Dr. Dan Carmichael, a veterinary dentist on staff at New York’s Animal Medical Center. “The consequences of leaving it untreated go well beyond bad breath to painful oral infections and the potential spread of bacteria from the mouth to other organs.”
Veterinarians recommend regular professional teeth cleaning. They also recommend that owners brush their pet’s teeth regularly.
“Small dogs tend to have more dental issues, but generally dogs should go for a professional exam with X-rays and a cleaning about once a year starting at the age of three,” says veterinarian Dr. Cindy Bressler.
But veterinarians are divided whether you can really give your beloved dogs a thorough cleaning without putting him under anesthesia.
“You cannot do a good job cleaning the teeth without anesthesia,” says Dr. Mary Buelow, one of New York’s top veterinary dentists. “You can’t get way in the back or at the inside of teeth because their tongues get in the way and you are not checking for pockets or broken teeth. An animal won’t show signs of oral pain even if it’s significant, and problems will progress if they go untreated. These people are preying on a fear of anesthesia when the risks are actually very low.”
Raysa Felix, a vet and founder of Healthy Smile, says they don’t offer a medical exam, but the service is helpful.
“We offer gingival scaling and the removal of calculus; [it’s] more of a cosmetic cleaning, which does stave off periodontal disease,” Felix says.
He adds that they aren’t successful on every pet’s teeth because of behavioral or medical issues, but “we are able to perform the cleaning on 95 percent of dogs brought to us.”
Finally, the agreement seems to be that these actions can certainly help a dog’s dental health, but shouldn’t be thought of as a replacement for going to the vet.
“It’s like going to BriteSmile,” explains Dr. Bressler. “It’s a great supplement, but no substitution for the dentist.”
Images: Jespahjoy/Flickr, Ewen Roberts/Flickr, Steven Jackson/Flickr
Source: The New York Post