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BTTR is a 501c3 charity dedicated to finding forever homes for beagles (and the occasional "wannabe" beagle), and to educating the public about responsible pet ownership. We are located in Chesapeake, Virginia and survive solely on your donations.

The Beagle Blog (By Leo the Beagle)

Volume 2-1 Dogs Look Like Dorks with Dentures

Me (Leo) working on one of my favorite enzyme coated dental chews

Me (Leo) working on one of my favorite enzyme coated dental chews

February is Pet Dental Health Month so Volume 2-1 of the Beagle Blog will be all about keeping your favorite tail wagers teeth clean. We see a lot of dental problems here at BTTR, most commonly in senior dogs, but also in dogs as young as 2 when they are feed a poor or low quality diet, fed lots of treats or people food (especially sugary stuff) and those who are never given anything to chew on (usually seen in hunt club or outdoor penned dogs).

Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in cats and dogs and it is preventable with a few simple tricks. Pets should have their teeth and gums checked at least once a year by a veterinarian to check for early signs of the disease. The earlier you start the easier it is to prevent. Pets get periodontal disease for the same reasons we do, from the bacteria eating the food residue in our mouths. Check out the link below for a detailed description.

Signs of Periodontal disease or tooth/gum problems include:
- bad breath
- broken or loose teeth
- extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- abnormal chewing, drooling, not wanting to eat, difficulty eating, and dropping food from mouth
- discolored teeth or teeth covered In tarter
- red or swollen gums
- pain in or around the mouth
- bleeding from mouth (usually seen during or after chewing)
- irritability or new behaviors involving biting, or growling when around the mouth.

Complications from not treating dental disease can be severe including:
-Dogs with unchecked gum inflammation may be at a higher risk for heart, kidney, and liver disease
- Pathological Jaw Fractures: overtime untreated dental disease erodes the bone in the jaw to the extent only a small amount of pressure can lead to a broken jaw in a small dog
- It will only continue to get worse outside of a professional cleaning not consumer product will fix your pets dental disease

Treatment and prevention is usually broken down based on severity of the teeth and a good/better/best scale. Pets of any severity would all benefit from a good quality dog food, doesn’t have to be the most expensive but a moderately priced (mid range) food will pay off for your pet and your wallet in the long run, the lower cost of food generally means lower quality ingredients and potentially higher vet bills in the future. (We will talk more about quality dog food in a later volume)

For severe dental disease you really only have 1 option to get a professional dental cleaning done. See below about what to expect and why General anesthesia is required for a good cleaning.

For moderate dental disease:
Good: providing safe quality chews, and toys allowing your pet to scape some of that gunk off. Check with your vet about the quality of various dental chews, many only offer a good “shape” for cleaning your dogs teeth
Better: Enzyme based dental chews, the enzymes on these help break down plague faster than just chewing. Oral rinses, these can be added to your pets water or sprayed directly on to teeth
Best: daily brushing (most vets are willing to do a demo) with a dog specific tooth paste. Professional Dental cleanings

For early dental disease
Good: safe quality chews (see above)
Better: enzyme based dental chews and oral rinses (see above)
Best: Daily brushing (see above) and a mixture of the Good and Better techniques.

Slowing the progression of the disease early can literally save your dogs teeth!! Leo’s brother an 8 year old golden retriever just had his 1st dental cleaning, we use chews and oral rinses and he didn’t need to have any teeth extracted. Girly Girl a dog BTTR adopted out this year needed to have 14 teeth extracted since her dental disease had gone un-treated for so long.

All About Dental Cleanings

Why is my dog anesthetized for dental cleanings? Isn’t their a way to do it without putting them under?

The simple answer to the first question is they need to hold still to get a thorough cleaning. During a human dental cleaning you can tell your dentist if something hurts and can position your mouth for x-rays your dog can’t do this and many react to pain by moving or biting

While their are some ways advertised as Anesthesia Free Dental Cleanings your talking apples and oranges. Without anesthesia all the person could possibly be doing is scaling your dogs teeth. It also doesn’t allow cleaning or inspection below the gum line where most of the damage causing bacteria lives. The American Veterinary Dental College strongly recommends against this type of dental scaling, take your pet to the vet for an evaluation.

What are you paying for in a Dental Cleaning

Professional Dental cleanings vary a lot in cost, usually from $150-$1500. When seeking out a vet to do a dental cleaning find out what the price includes. The average dental includes:
-Pre Op blood-work (usually required for dogs over 6)
- Pre Op/Post Op follow ups (sometimes required)
- Pre Op/Post Op dental x-rays
- Procedure Anesthesia
- Procedure pain meds
- Procedure extractions (some include all in price, others give a price per extraction)
- Procedure general cleaning
- Post Op Antibiotics
- Post Op Pain Meds (if needed)

A word on x-rays some vets (especially the low cost ones) do not do x-rays. While it is not going to harm your pet to not have them done prior to the procedure it also means the vet may remove any tooth that looks suspicious, leaving your pet with fewer teeth. If the vet does x-rays they may be able to determine that a suspicious tooth isn’t actually a problem or one that doesn’t look bad actually is. Potentially saving your pet some teeth.

What to Expect During a Dental Cleaning

Your vet will generally want to do an exam to see how severe your dogs dental disease is. When they decide they need a dental if your pet is over 6 they may require blood work done within 3 days of the procedure. You won’t be able to feed your pet after 12pm on the night before your pets procedure and they usually need to be at the vet in the morning for drop off and will be ready in the afternoon.

After surgery, when your pet is ready to go home, he or she will be groggy, and often disoriented from the anesthesia. Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and drooling (even with a bit of blood) are all coming after surgery. You can let them potty and offer water as soon as you pick them up. Your pet will usually start antibiotics the next morning (always give with food) and should be feeling a bit better the next day. If your pet won’t eat, is bleeding excessively, isn’t drinking, or still hasn’t peed yet (normal bowl movements can take a day or two after surgery) by the next morning, call the vet to check in.

All Pets after receiving a dental will need to eat soft food for at least a week. Depending on how many teeth your dog has removed they may need to have their food softened forever. This doesn’t mean your pup needs expensive canned food you can easily soften your pups food with warm water 1-2 minutes before feeding.

- Here at BTTR we use Helping Hands Affordable Surgery in Richmond, VA to do all our dentals



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Hours of Operation:
We are a small 100% volunteer run rescue. To make sure we have staff available we do "meet and greets" by appointment only. We are here 7 days a week and for extended hours so scheduling is flexible.

Mailing Address:
Beagles to the Rescue
PO Box 16522
Chesapeake, VA 23328

(Please Note This Is Not Our Physical Address)

Phone Numbers:
Adoptions: 850-380-3891 (Christine)
Dog Intake: 850-380-3891 (Christine)
Volunteering/Fostering: 850-380-3891 (Christine)
Vet Records/Paperwork: 850-380-3891 (Christine)
Dog Boarding/Daycare: 757-204-4411 (Rita)

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Dog Boarding/Daycare: 757-204-4411 (Rita)

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