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The vet has suggested that we get our 5-yr old whippet's teeth cleaned, which obviously requires putting him to sleep to do.

We're concerned about that, esp since whippets are known to be sensitive to anesthesia, and the procedure is pretty costly too, so we're not sure whether it's even necessary or if the vet is just trying to make some money here! They've been suggesting the teeth cleaning since he was 1 year old.

So my husband and I are wondering...has this been suggested to anyone else and have they had it done/is it really necessary?
 

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Yes I've had it suggested but it depends on the vet as to the age. A year old seems to young to me personally, but at five he's about due to get it done. I've had my cats and a couple of my dogs done to no ill effect. A few of mine are due agian.
There are different types of anesthesia and I'd bring your concerns to your vet, but the anesthesias can vary in price.
Yes it is necessary to make sure that he has a healthy mouth and take care of any loose or infected teeth. Which in the long run helps him internally as well. You may only need to get it done once or twice.
Also, if you are still leary look into anesthesia free dental cleaning. This is a cheeper way to go, but you can also have him done on a more regular basis.
Hope this helps you out!
 

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I'm also not really sure why that is necessary. Do you give him raw bones? That is supposed to keep their teeth healthy.

Can't you just brush it yourself? I wouldn't put a dog under anaesthetic just to clean their teeth, but then again maybe it's necessary I haven't heard of it before.
 

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When there's tarter caked onto the teeth, tooth brushing isn't enough, you have to scale the teeth. Some breeds are predisposed to dental disease. I know greyhounds are known for terrible teeth, so perhaps whippets, having similar shaped mouths and being a similar breed would have issues as well. Also small dogs tend to have worse teeth than larger dogs. Once the teeth are cleaned and polished you can prevent tarter buildup with daily brushing, ideally. Other options are dental diets (kibble formulated to help clean the teeth), dental bones (CET makes great products), oral rinse, dental wipes, ect. Nothing beats brushing, but it won't take the tarter off that's already there. Only scaling will do that.

The longer you let the problem go, the more advanced the dental disease becomes and the more likely it is that the dog will need teeth extracted. Letting dental care go can lead to serious health issues. Dogs can get abscessed teeth, cavities, gingivitis, gum recession... these are all painful. Dogs don't always show when they're in pain, or they may be subtle about the pain, so it's hard to judge. Serious tooth problems can also cause infection which can affect other parts of the body as well.

It's best to have the tarter cleaned off while before it gets too severe and then keep up with daily brushing to prevent tarter buildup. And yes, it's expensive, but it will be more the longer you wait as more teeth will need to be extracted. Also consider how much you would pay if you went under anesthesia, had bloodwork, IV catheter, for any procedure without insurance. When you compare it to human health care costs it's actually cheap. If you do the blood screenings before your dog goes under anesthesia and you have a trustworthy vet, you shouldn't have issues with anesthesia. And it's better to get it done while your dog is still on the younger side.
 

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I wouldn't put a dog under anaesthetic just to clean their teeth, but then again maybe it's necessary I haven't heard of it before.
Most dogs won't allow you to ultrasonically scale their teeth while they're awake and also won't allow you to polish their teeth while they're awake. The scaler creates microgrooves that have to be polished to avoid further dental problems. Not to mention many dogs have serious dental issues and need teeth extracted, which could absolutely not be done on a conscious dog. There's a lot of water involved in this as well and you need to have an ET-tube in place so that the dog doesn't aspirate any water. It's much less stressful for the dog and more thorough when the dog is asleep. Given you're going to a good vet and the dog is properly screened with bloodwork and an examination before anesthesia, there's really little risk for this short procedure.
 

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Well you learn something new everyday. Thanks! How will I know if my dogs need it? Their teeth still look quite good to me.
 

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If you take your dogs to the vet annually they'll typically let you know when it's time. When the tarter is minimal and doesn't appear to be very raised from the teeth and the gums are in good shape, it's usually okay.
When the tarter becomes excessive, covering most of the tooth and/or there is reddening or irritation of the gums, gum recession, ect, when there are chipped or worn teeth, when there are cavities, ect, it's definitely necessary.

Ask your vet on the next visit about dental care and if your dogs are cooperative, I'm sure they'll point out what you should watch for and assess the current state of your dogs' teeth.
 
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