You may have heard about a new service being offered to pets- anesthesia free dental cleanings. It is being advertised as a cheaper and safer option to anesthetize cleanings offered from a veterinarian. But is it really safer and worth the money?
Traditional dental cleaning for you dog is similar to what people get done a few times per year. Teeth are scaled and polished, including under the gums, and infected or injured teeth are removed. This is done while the dog is sedated to allow for a more thorough cleaning. It is also less stress for the animal and safety for the vet. These cleanings are done under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian who knows what to do if something goes wrong.
The difference in anesthesia free dental cleaning:
Anesthesia free dental cleanings try to offer a similar service, but with key major differences.
- Instead of the animal being sedated, the animal is simply restrained. In some cases given a light natural sedative. This is similar to taking your toddler to the dentist and holding him down so that the dentist can clean his teeth. This is really scary and stressful to your pet because they have no idea what is going on. Many pet owners choose anesthesia free dental cleaning because they feel that their animal is too sick or old to get put under, however simply restraining the pet is more stressful and potentially more harmful.
- Another major issue is that the cleaning is not as thorough. Because the pet is awake, the cleaner cannot reach all the portions of the mouth to do a thorough exam or clean in the back of the mouth or below the gum line. These are the important parts of the teeth to clean since we as pet owners cannot brush them.
- The third red flag is that the people who preform it are frequently not licensed veterinarians or even vet technicians. This means that if anything goes wrong medically during the procedure, the person preforming it may have no idea what to do or how to save your pet.
Overall, this procedure is a step in the right direction. It’s important be more aware about pet dental health. However, I feel that the risks of the procedure and the stress it would put on my animals is too great. If you are interested in pursuing the anesthesia free dental cleaning option I encourage you to talk to your vet. Ask them about details to see if your pet is healthy enough or needs the procedure.