Bad teeth cause more than stinky breath. Dental disease in dogs also causes a lot of pain. Just like people, dogs have sensitive nerves in their teeth that become painful when inflamed. Ask anybody who’s ever had a toothache - it hurts!
While brushing with veterinary toothpaste and giving dental chews can help, anesthetized procedures are necessary to clean heavy tartar, take x-rays, identify bad roots, and perform extractions.
No, He’s Not Too Old
“Isn’t he too old for anesthesia?” I am often asked when I tell an owner about their dog’s bad teeth.
The short answer is no, he’s not too old. The pain and issues with dental disease far outweigh the very small risks with anesthesia.
Modern veterinary anesthesia has multiple checks in place to make sure your furry friend is safe during a procedure. Along with a complete physical exam, blood work, and customized drug protocol, dogs are closely monitored throughout each procedure by measuring heart and lung function, oxygen level, and blood pressure.
Study Brings More Reassurance
A recent study published by an Australian veterinary university followed 100 healthy dogs and 100 dogs with heart conditions through routine dental procedures. Out of 200 dogs, none died during anesthesia. Even the dogs with bad hearts did well!
These findings are supported by several previous studies which have found that anesthesia-related deaths are extremely unlikely in the veterinary field.
If your old dog has stinky breath, then make an appointment with your veterinarian to check out those teeth and possibly set up a dental procedure. The golden years with your dog should be full of love and friendship. Dental pain doesn’t need to be part of the picture.