Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Look at Those Snappers, Will You? Cookie's State of the Mouth Address

In a couple of months, Cookie is going to be six-and-a-half years old. She came to us at the age of one-and-a-half. Yes, it's going to be her adoptoversary soon.

Cookie has never had a dental cleaning yet.

Look at Those Snappers, Will You? Cookie's State of the Mouth Address

I care a great deal about her dental health, and I cannot stress enough its importance. Poor oral health not only affects the quality of life but can negatively impact systemic health. I'd be the first one to advocate for Cookie to get dental if it looked like it was needed even just a little bit.

The official recommendation is for every dog to get annual dental cleanings starting at the age of two. Given the widespread epidemic of periodontal disease in dogs, from very young age, I can see the rationale.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Cookie gets a wellness exam twice a year. Every time, the state of her mouth is assessed as well. It is true that you can't always see every problem in the mouth with plain eyes.

Cookie's mouth looks perfect, though. There is no visible gum issue, and there is no apparent issue with any of the teeth. Her breath doesn't smell, and she has no problems chewing. I would be hard-pressed to rationalize putting her through anesthesia with no evidence whatsoever that she needs any dental work. Would you?

A number of people asked what we're doing to keep Cookie's breath to smell so good--they should take a whiff after Cookie munched on some deer poop. There are tricks and products to fend off bad breath. But we don't do any of those things. Cookie's mouth just smells--or rather doesn't smell--like that all on its own.

Cookie is on a raw diet. We brush her teeth daily, and she chews on raw meaty bones daily. Whether it's any of those things, their combination, or something else together, I don't know. But it ain't broke so I'm not going to try to fix it.

Note: Jasmine and JD got their teeth brushed daily as well but did need dental cleaning about every two years. So the assumption that either raw diet or raw meaty bones do play a role. 

One way or another, Cookie's mouth looks happy and doesn't smell. She gets her mouth checked every six months. I do not see any convincing argument to put her through anesthesia to fix something that isn't broken.

What do you think?

Related articles:
When Bad Breath Can Kill
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Bad Breath
Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: Excessive Drooling
Judging a Mouth by its Cover

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Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog is an award-winning guide to help you better understand what your dog is telling you about their health and how to best advocate for them. 

Learn how to see and how to think about changes in your dog’s appearance, habits, and behavior. Some signs that might not trigger your concern can be important indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right away. Other symptoms, while hard to miss, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping, are easy to spot but can have a laundry list of potential causes, some of them serious or even life-threatening. 

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