The Norman Transcript


February 27, 2014

Canine dental hygiene is important

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: My 11-year-old Havanese dog is suffering from tartar-encrusted teeth. Her front teeth — both top and bottom — have become loose and are beginning to fall out. At times she is unable to eat her dry food. Her breath is terrible. I am desperate to find a solution and put an end to her discomfort. A reply would be greatly appreciated.

— M.C., Raleigh, N.C.

Dear M.C.: When a dog or cat reaches the stage of having difficulty eating because of dental calculi, scale, tartar and associated halitosis, you know that you have a serious health issue to address without delay.

Chances are, there are one or more rotting teeth that must be removed. There may also be infection and inflammation of the gums (periodontal disease), which can spread via blood circulation and damage the heart, kidneys and other internal organs and also infect the jawbone.

I wonder why no veterinarian gave you advice on canine oral hygiene and preventive dental care. Or perhaps your dog has not had a checkup for some years. Either way, a full veterinary examination is called for immediately.

Before your dog is subjected to any oral surgery, the veterinarian should advise you of the risks, including that of giving a general anesthetic. This is needed for extractions, but many veterinarians avoid it when minor tooth scaling and cleaning is needed.

Oral antibiotics are often prescribed for human, canine and feline patients before major dental work.

I would also recommend using PetzLife oral care products for five to seven days prior to dental work being done. These gels and sprays applied to the teeth and gums help reduce infection and inflammation, which will help reduce possible complications associated with oral surgery and general anesthesia. PetzLife offers tried-and-true natural, herbal ingredient formulations for oral health maintenance along with safe chew toys and crunchy treats. Visit for more details.

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