Nobody enjoys going to the dentist and why would you? Who likes having metal utensils scraping the inside of their mouth, or the chilling sound of a dentist’s drill fast approaching? So it’s probably no surprise to learn dogs also share your dentist phobia. That’s why many owners turn to anesthetics. But anesthetics bring with it a world of risks and complications; some dogs have adverse reactions to anesthetics and even die! Fortunately, there are a number of safe alternatives that are relatively affordable and still effective. This article will offer three practical tips to utilizing anesthesia-free dentistry.
The first problem that anesthetic-free dental care brings is that you still need to find a way of getting steady access to your dog’s mouth. This will usually entail physical restraints. It sounds extreme, but these restraints will help your dog stay still and give the professional access to their mouth, without a sudden jerking movement risking lacerations or worse.
Unless you are a certified dog whisperer, there is just no other way to communicate to your dog that they need to lie still and let this scary individual with metal utensils fiddle with their mouth. But as Veterinary Dental Techniques for the Small Animal Practitioner highlights, dentists can still adequately access your dog’s gums and teeth using restraints, allowing them to remove plaque, fight bacteria and improve the overall oral health of your dog.
You care for your dog’s mouth for the same reasons you care for humans’. Plaque, tartar and periodontal disease can all lead to tooth decay, bad breath, and a range of oral diseases. The best way to stay on top of your dog’s oral hygiene is to start caring for their teeth early. If, as a puppy, you start taking them to anesthetic-free dentists, they can gently brush the teeth and give your dog antibacterial mouthwash. This will help prevent the buildup of plaque early on, reducing the chances of gum disease.
Additionally, puppies that are exposed early on to dentists are calmer and more subdued in a dentist’s room for the remainder of their life, reducing the chances of an anesthetic being needed! If you are concerned that puppies’ teeth don’t need care so early on in their lives then consult your local vet for guidance.
The obvious advantage of anesthetic is that your dog is docile, allowing your vet access to every tooth, enabling them to scrape, drill, and X-ray as much as necessary. But that doesn’t mean anesthesia-free dentistry cannot allow an in-depth look into your dog’s mouth.
Many anesthesia-free practitioners will use a variety of relaxing agents to help keep your dog calm. One increasingly popular product is Bach’s Rescue Remedy. This flower essence and a range of other natural calming products can be used to help gently soothe and subdue your dog, allowing the practitioner all the access to the teeth and gums they need.
Start Early and Stay Safe
Caring for your dog’s oral health is essential for preventing tooth decay, bad breath, and a range of diseases. While anaesthetics work quickly to subdue your dog, they come with a serious risk of complications. However, starting anaesthesia-free dentistry early in your dog’s life will increase the chances of them being calmer with practitioners for the rest of their life. Both physical restraints and natural calming agents, such as flower essences, can also be extremely effective in allowing vets access to your canine’s nashers.