Improve Your Pets Dental Health!

  • -

Improve Your Pets Dental Health!

February is Pet Dental Month and for the past two years, I have been making healthy, natural suggestions to help keep your pet’s teeth clean and avoid dental problems. There are so many great reasons to be proactive about our pet’s teeth. Knowing that dental problems can adversely affect overall body health is probably the wisest reason to feed raw bones, feed a raw diet, use natural dentifrices such as kelp and even manually brush our pet’s teeth if necessary. But I realized there was one reason to practice preventative dentistry that I had overlooked, and in these days of rising prices and inflation, it’s a pretty compelling reason to keep your pet’s mouth in pristine order.  That reason is the skyrocketing cost of vet visits and treatments.

For many years I took my dogs to a marvelous holistic veterinarian. Sadly, she recently passed away, and searching for a new vet has been a shock: inconvenient clinic hours, overworked staff, appointments booked far in advance, and astronomical prices. Sadly, most vets lack in-depth nutritional knowledge, and many are antagonistic to holistic healing modalities. This is not an indictment of the whole veterinary profession.  There are amazing holistic and integrative veterinarians working hard all over the country but very few in my area.

What I find disturbing is that instead of focusing on preventative dental care veterinarians promote expensive treatments such as dental teeth cleaning, as the preferred option.  So what does a dental teeth cleaning involve for your animal?

  • The vet makes an initial examination while your pet is awake and may take x-rays although they are normally done at the second visit
  • The vet does a blood draw to determine if your pet’s health is okay for the procedure
  • Usually, a second office visit is scheduled at this point for the procedure to be done at a later date
  • At the second visit, the vet anesthetizes your pet, usually under general although some vets will use a local anesthetic, and x-rays are taken while your pet is immobilized
  • The vet cleans under the gum line then scales and polishes the visible portion of the teeth

Is it really worth it?

No doubt that the conclusion of professional dental cleaning of your pet’s mouth is cleaner and healthier, but at what cost? The first cost is to the pet’s overall health. Unknown effects from anesthesia and follow-up antibiotics are often not visible immediately but can contribute to a cumulative unhealthy chemical overload on your pet’s system. In general, the fewer synthetic chemical substances your pet experiences over a lifetime, the healthier they will be.

Cost variable

The second cost is to your wallet.  I talk to many pet owners and have heard of some staggering costs for pet teeth cleaning.  Of course, there are many variables for this service, but the average cost for a feline tooth cleaning in the Pacific Northwest is around $500 – $700, and for canines between $900 – $1400 for professional veterinary teeth cleaning. That is quite a bit of income to spend for a procedure that can be easily avoided by proper preventative care as mentioned earlier in this article.


Please understand that I am only talking about keeping your pet’s teeth clean.  Veterinary dentistry for broken teeth, abscesses, and other emergency services is crucial to wellness, and we need and appreciate our vet’s skills in these areas; but keeping your pet’s teeth clean is part of good animal husbandry and within our supervision as pet parents. With nearly 50 years of raw feeding my Bullmastiffs and now Australian Labradoodles, they never had to have their teeth cleaned.  They have white, shiny teeth throughout their lives. This can be your reality too!

If you love your dog if you love your cat, why wouldn’t you avoid this highly stressful veterinary procedure? All it takes is a thoughtful change to a species-appropriate raw diet, the addition of raw bones and perhaps incorporating a natural dentifrice into their meals. Integrating preventative dental practices into your pet’s daily routine can be rewarding both for your pet’s health and for your wallet.

Check out Northwest Naturals Raw Meaty bones and Necks for dogs and our Freeze Dried Necks for both dogs and cats.

by Carol Kendig