Dachshund lovers are very familiar with their dogs’ dental issues. Here at the sanctuary with so many senior Dachshunds, dental work is our single largest expense. We are like most of our Dachshund owner friends, we fear anesthesia when our babies get older. This fear along with the need to minimize expenses prompts some dog lovers to seek alternative ways of keeping their dogs teeth healthy.
In the last week I have spoken with one Dachshund owner who is seeking out a new procedure called Anesthesia-Free Pet Denistry (AFD) because of the expense of a veterinarian doing the work. I also heard from another Dachshund owner who is afraid to have her older Doxie’s teeth cleaned because of the fear of anesthesia. After having read several research articles on the practice of AFD I decided to pass on some of the things I learned.
AFD is in fact quite a bit cheaper than a dental cleaning done by a vet. The visible part of a dog’s teeth are scraped and cleaned, thus giving the owner the impression that their dogs have had all the necessary hygienic work done. What the owners do not understand is that the plaque we can see on our dog’s teeth is not a huge danger to the health of our babies. It’s the plaque and debris underneath the gums that can cause dangerous infections. Bone loss underneath the gums and abscessed molars are not detected during the AFD procedure. Therefore your baby can have multiple, extremely painful problems that are not addressed.
Think about when you sit in the chair at the dentist to have your teeth cleaned. You are, most likely, fairly cooperative. How many Dachshunds do you know that will be still for a good dental exam much less a half an hour of scraping off stubborn plaque? None of mine would sit still for one minute of that procedure. If their gums are nicked or injured, or if they are restrained in any way, they will never forget!
General anesthesia is extremely safe when properly controlled by a trained, educated professional. In all the years we have been rescuing Dachshunds we have had hundreds of dental procedures preformed. We lost one dog to anesthesia because of a very rare reaction to the anesthesia that could not be detected beforehand with blood work. One is too many, but the dangers of infections in dogs’ mouths moving though the blood stream to their hearts and other organs, is a well documented and common cause of death.
In the last five weeks we have had dental work done on five senior Dachshunds. Four of these babies are recent rescues and they all lost some teeth. The other baby is a long term resident of the sanctuary and he lost several teeth too. All five of these dogs will enjoy a higher quality of pain free life because they were treated by a professional. Our wallets are a bit lighter because of it, but the comfort of knowing they received ALL THE BENEFITS of a complete dental is well worth the expense.
The American Veterinary Dental College has published a position paper on this subject and it can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.avdc.org/dentalscaling.html.