Tuesday, May 22, 2012


 Last time we got our dogs their immunizations, the vet spotted a couple of cracked teeth, so we scheduled them for a dental exam and cleaning.

That happened yesterday, and it turned out, was no fun for anybody ...

When I was a kid, dogs weren't treated like family members by most people who owned 'em. There were working dogs, and a lot of pets, but my family's dogs were outside critters, and other than rabies vaccine, chances were they'd never see a vet between that and passing on. We didn't have a dog that spent any time in the house until I was a teenager. (In our neighborhood, dogs mostly ran loose, and getting run over by a car was probably the biggest cause of death amongst the local canines. I don't think we owned a leash and I never saw anybody clean up dog poop save by running over it with their lawnmowers ...)

"Dog food" by the by, has been around for a long time, but the kibble that most people use came into being after WWII. Before that, canned horse meat was the most popular commercial brand, and most folks fed their critter table scraps. The notion that such was bad for them came from ad men in the sixties, looking for increased sales of Alpo and Purina ...

Big bones, as it turns out, aren't usually a good idea, especially the leftover kind that have been cooked. It makes them brittle and hard. Raw bones, small ones, not so bad.

Um. Anyway, it turned out that both my pups had dental problems. We hadn't noticed anything wrong, they seemed fine, but there you go. 

Vet says it's probably genetic, since the bad teeth are the same ones and bad in the same ways, and what this means is they had to have some of them pulled.

I felt bad about not seeing this, but he vet told me she wouldn't have spotted it, either; their mouths look healthy, no bad breath, appetites are good, they gobble up rawhide chews, and the other teeth all seem just fine. 

You don't want to know how expensive this kind of thing is, what with the general anesthesia and all the associated meds and such. But part of the deal with dogs-as-family-members is you do what you have to do. 

If we want to avoid this in the future, we need to brush their teeth more often and give them the occasional dental chew, which help keep guck from building up. This isn't as difficult as you might think, since there are liver-flavored and peanut-butter-flavored dog toothpastes, and both of mine don't mind that at all ...

Never a dull moment ...

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