Check Your Dog’s Teeth and Gums – Today!


I recently wrote an article about canine dental health; it will appear in the April issue of WDJ. I discussed the need to examine your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, and to keep them clean and healthy. Tartar-encrusted teeth lead to gum infections which lead to systemic infections that severely affect the heart, liver, and kidneys.

If you are lucky, your dog’s teeth stay white and healthy with absolutely no help from you at all; my previous dog, a Border Collie named Rupert, had perfect teeth throughout his lifetime with zero maintenance. In contrast was the long-haired Chihuahua Mokie, who used to be my sister Sue’s dog, stayed with me for four or five years, and has been living with my sister Pam for many years since then. He has to have his teeth cleaned at the vet’s every two or three years.

Writing the article inspired me to do what I’ve advised WDJ’s readers to do: to take the opportunity to thoroughly examine my dogs’ teeth.

Apparently, my luck ran out with Rupert. Otto is only about 4 ½ years old, but his teeth already have a little tartar on them. I need to start brushing his teeth; if I get right on it, I may be able to prevent the need for a professional cleaning for another year or so. I also looked at Tito’s teeth for the first time; he needs a cleaning ASAP, darn it. The first thing that popped into my head was the old line from the Pink Panther movie (Peter Sellars, not Steve Martin), “But it is not my dog!” But whether he’s our dog or not doesn’t matter: he’s living here indefinitely, and his teeth (like many Chihuahua and other tiny dogs with crowded mouths) are already (at age 5) very encrusted with tartar – to the point where his gums are inflamed. I’ll be calling around to price the procedure at various vets; this is one procedure where you will find a particularly wide range of prices.