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February 06, 2008


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Re: brushing teeth. Absolutely! My boyfriend brushes both his cats' teeth every other day. I never brushed my cat's teeth and it is too late for me to start b/c she would never stand for it (she is 17 years old). But if you start when they are kittens they will endure it though they won't like it. It is a really good idea to do this because tooth decay can cause kidney problems and other health issues that will cost you a lot of money down the road. It's not just about protecting their teeth.

Had lots of cats, only ever had one with tooth/gum problems. For most cats, giving them dental-care treats seems to do the trick.

I'm with you on the overweight pets. It's easy to spoil our cats, and the vet told us on their last visit that they're at the upper limit of healthy weight. So, now we try to get them to play more, and feed them a little less.

We've had indoors-only and allowed-outdoors cats; the indoor cats had a much lower occurrence of disease, injuries, ans pests (like fleas). Definitely worth it all around - unless, of course, you have a cat that vehemently insists it belongs outside.

I brush my 2 dog's teeth about 2-3 times a week. They both start to put up a fight at the beginning...but eventually just sit there while I do it.

I tried to take up brushing my dog's teeth, but I came way too close to losing my fingers. I can't forcefeed him pills either.

I don't brush my dog's teeth all too often, but she's on a dry diet and that seems to help keep tartar and plaque at bay. When I do brush them, I use that peanut butter tasting toothpaste (I wonder if she really likes it?) and she gets annoyed but sits there and lets me do it.

Vets bills are getting expensive! I took my dog to the emergency vet on a weekend in the middle of the night last year, and they really didn't seem to care at all. They sedated her because she was in pain (of course she's not going to sit still if she's in pain) but then they couldn't figure out what was wrong with her because she was sedated. They sent me home with a $300 bill after doing nothing to fix the problem...I took her to the regular vet the next morning because she was still in pain. They diagnosed a sprained tail and sent me home with a couple pills to give her. They were much nicer too. At the time I didn't know dogs could even get sprained tails.....

Does tooth decay more with time or with age? What I am trying to get at is that I have a mastiff that usually will only live until 10. Thus, does that mean his teeth will less likely decay compared to another dog that may live until 15? Or, the older they get the less nutrients are going to protect the teeth so time doesn't matter?

It might be kind of hard to start now.... The dental treats are useless since she finishes them in less than 3s.

That's funny Angeline! Least I don't have to worry about that, my dog's tail was cropped right after they were born!

Another way to save, is to work at a Vet office.
My wife works there and she receives free heartworm pills and flea prevention. Drug reps give them to the clinic.
She gets a discount off of everything and we don't get charged office visits, when we bring in our dogs. (We bring them in more frequently)
She gets first dibs on the coupons that come from the food rep.
The vet school is a good option. Most of the time you can get the supplies at cost and a lower rate per visit. I used to go to college where the University had one of the best Vet schools and most of the time they did a great job! You have the brightest students working on your animals and they are overseen by some of the best doctors in the field!
BTW, you can either brush your dog's teeth or have a dental done every year.
I give my dog a raw bone and her teeth hasn't had a plaque problem at all!
A lot of the advanced problems are just neglect by the owners that end up costing a fortune!

I brush my dog's teeth about once a week, when she's tired from daycare. It only takes a few seconds. I don't know if it actually helps, but the vet said to do it for the health benefits and so that she wouldn't mind kids messing with her mouth.

I am still laughing at the image of trying to brush a cat's teeth.

I don't brush my cats teeth but every few years I have them clean them at the vets office. It costs about $100 and I figure it is better than them needing to have teeth removed because they are infected. My parents had to do that with one of their cats and it was around $1000 for everything.

As a vet I've got to second all of the tips you mentioned in your post save one: the vet school thing. Vet schools are typically more expensive than most veterinary practices. They tend to practice the kind of specialized medicine that cuts no corners. They are great places to go when you need expert care but for day-to-day savings it's a bust. Getting in good with your regular vet by doing all the responsible pet parent things is your best bet.

Brushing a pet's teeth may seem crazy, but bacteria in the mouth are thought to cause all kinds of infections elsewhere--joints, muscles (including the heart), lungs and liver.

The same is true of humans, BTW.

My dog doesn't mind getting her teeth brushed, but she will also eat pills straight out of your hand! She has put on a few extra pounds this winter so I trimmed down her food portions, but it's hard to give her more outdoor exercise when it's below zero (though once spring comes we're going to kick up the exercising a bit).

I brush my dog's teeth a couple of times a week and she loves it. The toothpaste is liver flavored or something like that.
I have a Basset Hound so I also clean her ears once a week. She is now 9 years old and is just starting to have problems with arthritis. I've never had too many expenses with her up to this point but the new medicine is a little expensive.

We got our dog a "toothbrush" chew toy a few years ago, and it's still one of her favorites. It's a rubber cylinder made of disks that turn as she chews on it. The disks have little rubber prongs that stick out all over the place - the idea is that they clean her teeth as she chews. You just put dog toothpaste into the cracks between the disks and she'll spend half an hour chewing it out.

As for brushing cats' teeth, I've heard it recommended that you put a small rag over your finger, soak it in tuna juice or chicken broth, then rub it around inside their mouth. At first, you don't try to do a good job cleaning; you're just getting them used to the experience, which they'll fight at first until they realize what they're tasting. Eventually, you can do a thorough job cleaning.

My cat has had severe dental problems (she's a feline leukemia positive former stray, and dental problems are more prevalent with that condition) and I'll probably need to get a professional cleaning every year (she's already lost 5 teeth to extractions and just falling out due to decay).

There's also an additive you can put in their water to promote dental health. A vet tech said dogs usually don't care if it's added and will drink it, but cats are a little more picky and might not drink the water it's put in.

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