Did you know that you have to brush a dog’s teeth?  No?  Well, you do.  I originally thought that such action was reserved for yippy dogs named Princess but, nope, it’s even for those of us with pound puppies that are decidedly bigger than a breadbox.  You’re supposed to do it every day.  At a minimum, a couple of times a week.  Otherwise, their teeth get scale-y.  And gross.  Turns out, that’s a big reason that your dog’s breath stinks.  Because you don’t brush.  And that makes you a bad dog owner.

I took Alice and Matilda to the vet yesterday for shots, and while discussing Miss M’s anxiety (yes, in addition to tartar, my dog has social anxiety) the vet told me that I’d need to bring her in for a thorough teeth cleaning.  That was well-enough, until I learned the best part:  the only way to clean a dog’s teeth and gums is while she is under general anesthesia.  Which makes your bill go from about $100 to $500.  $500 for a cleaning.  That doesn’t include any necessary extractions.  Those could be an extra $75 per tooth, depending on how easily they come out.  Luckily, according to the money vacuum with a vet’s license, my dog’s teeth are not rotting out of her head.  But they could.  Without a cleaning.  A $500 cleaning.  Which I should provide.  In order to stop sucking balls as a pet owner.

So, I did what any miser would do: I came home, and tried to brush the schmutz off myself.  I learned a couple of things:

1.  Dogs don’t like Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Toothpaste.  They prefer heartier flavors like Chicken or Filet or Catshit.

2.  Dogs cannot spit.  This is perhaps logical to you.  You probably read my first item and said to your computer screen: “Oh, no, she didn’t….Dogs can’t spit!”  Well, while I know that now, I didn’t this morning, and I was wrist deep and 10 minutes in before I realized that there was no toothpaste on my carpet and that my dog had to be swallowing it all.  (Please don’t call PETA on me.  I only used the teensiest bit.)

3.  When combined with the saliva in a dog’s mouth,  Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Toothpaste  creates an unheard of mass of rabid-looking foam.  This makes it hard to see what you’re doing and makes your dog squinch up her face like a human who’s just done a Snakebite shot.  For a second, I thought she’d eaten a can of shaving cream.

4.  Dogs don’t like to have their teeth brushed.  And if a dog doesn’t like having her teeth brushed, you won’t be brushing her teeth.  Have you ever tried to feed a toddler something they don’t want to eat?  Like, strained peas or, say,  Arm & Hammer Baking Soda Toothpaste?  They purse their lips in tight little knots and squeeze their eyes shut, turning their heads from side to side erratically in order to avoid the rubber-coated spoon.  Brushing a dog’s teeth is EXACTLY the same as that except for the fact you’re straddling and trying to restrain them yourself instead of letting the highchair do the work.

It’s true, I’m grossed out by my dog’s teeth right now.  They DO really need to be cleaned.  But holy shit, $500?!  If veterinary care is any indication of what healthcare would look like with direct competition from providers for your business and without frivolous lawsuits and conglomerate insurance companies, then I’m not convinced Obama-care is the answer.  I love my dog, but that doesn’t stop the bile.  It turns out that I lump veterinary care in with medical care, dentistry and automotive repairs, convinced that each is a pile of costs that’s been artificially inflated to take advantage of a consumer’s ignorance.

I will, of course, be getting her teeth cleaned.  But not before a run to PetCo (where the pets go…) to see if there is some toothpaste more suitable to her highness’ refined palate or inability to deglut.


4 thoughts on “A Revelation.

  1. How well I remember brushing my Doberman’s teeth. While it wasn’t a daily thing, she usually got one after every bath…so probably 2x a month. Vet never said she needing anyin-depth cleanings, so guess it was good enough.

    Now you march yourself & Miss Matilda over to Petco/Petsmart and pick out some yummy (to doggie tastebuds) flavored toothpaste. The stuff there is made so that it won’t bother their tummies if it’s swallowed. Oh and pick up a finger-glove toothbrush. Yes, while it kind of resembles an oompa-loompa sized condom, my dog preferred it to a toothbrush.

    Good luck!

  2. Oh, dear God, how I laughed at this…while uncomfortably eyeing my 98 lb golden retriever and her even furrier Sheltie sidekick…both of whom have breath like the south end of a north facing elephant.

    I have to agree with you. Dentist and car mechanics are cut from the same cloth. Seriously. I brush every damned day (2x) and floss…some. There is no way I could be suffering from half the crap they say is going on in my mouth. And don’t even get me started on car mechanics!
    Let me know if you find anything at Petco. I’m not up for the rabid dog thing, but I dont’ have an extra grand hanging around for doggy dentistry.

  3. This is all new to me. I don’t remember this kind of dental obsession with veterinarians when I was growing up. I know my mother never brushed our dogs’ teeth. But I heard it about my cats, too, while they were alive. I would not be surprised in the least to hear that the whole thing is a scam, because it is unbeLEEEEvably expensive.

    Myron uses that Arm and Hammer toothpaste. The next few times I smell it I know I’m going to laugh my ass off.

  4. I have never had my dogs’ teeth cleaned – and Junior is 8 and Jimmy is almost 6 – woops! And after watching Junior eat a live mouse today, there’s no way I’m cleaning out that mouth.

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