The assumption that putting elder pets under general anesthesia would a high risk of death has been long-held. As pet owners, we are all afraid that we might become the accomplice in causing our pet’s premature death and vets don’t want to either. As a result, many have chosen to let establishments that boast anesthesia free dental scaling handle their pets teeth cleaning.
Imaging the difficulty some of you are already having when cleaning your pet’s teeth with a normal toothbrush. Fact is, grooming like cutting nails, teeth brushing is a very unnatural and invasive process for animals. Nothing in the wild would give them the same feeling that would make teeth brushing feel natural, and pets let us brush their teeth only because of trust.
Recall the last time you went for your regular dental checkup. Even when we brush our teeth twice daily and your teeth looks healthy, there’s still the need to remove calculus and plague from under your gumline; a procedure that many would agree, far from comfortable and soothing. So imagine a grooming salon using the same ultrasonic teeth scalers for your pet. Although they might be able to get rid of obvious tartar, it would be hard to imagine how does one do a thorough cleaning below the gumline without the use of anesthesia on our pets.
As saliva loses its antibacterial properties as your pet ages, or as the tooth becomes rough from tartar buildup, you might find that calculus can build up even with daily brushing. Take a small dog for example, it’s considered geriatric beyond 7 years old and I’ve seen a lot of dogs who are 17. But to be reasonable, lets say it lives till 13, are you going to deny your dog dental treatment for 6 years? You see, poor dental health doesn’t just cause bad breath. Especially at old age, tartar and decaying tooth can cause a myriad of problems. When I just adopted my Maltese, the nose and eyes had yellow discharge and diagnosis by the vet said it was a result of the poor state the whole set of teeth was in. Even in old age, giving your pet a dental overhaul, if it needs one, will do more good than harm.
“A more serious danger is the bacterial infection and resultant inflammation in the gums, which can send bacteria through the dog’s bloodstream, where it can wreak havoc with the heart, lungs, kidney, and liver. Dogs with chronic health problems that affect these organs and dogs with immune-mediated disease are at special risk of experiencing complications due to periodontal disease. For this reason alone, owners of these dogs should be the most proactive in keeping their dogs’ teeth clean.” – Nancy Kerns, Whole Dog Journal
Unless the animal have existing health problems, there are so many aged animals rescued from pet farms and their new owners would bring their adopted pets to have them sterilized and have their teeth cleaned and extracted if necessary without any complications. I believe that if the clinic is responsible, ethical and proper tests and screening are done prior, it’s relatively safe to put your pets under anesthesia.
Here are some professional opinion that’s able to address this matter in further detail:
Anesthesia-Free Pet Dentistry – By Animal Dental Care and Oral Surgery
Nonprofessional Dental Scaling – By Mercola.com
Anesthesia-Free Teeth Cleaning For Your Dog – By The Whole Dog Journal