What’s good for the Dog is good for the Human.
Let me first say, I dislike dental visits. It’s nothing against the Dentists or Hygienists, mine are all wonderful. It’s just I do not enjoy the process. Oh, I should also add that I’m a staunch non-flosser. Don’t tell me I make it more difficulty on myself, I know I just refuse to snag tooth and gum on a daily basis.
Now as for Santiago, well he had his first Dental appointment back in April of 2009. He was actually in for THE ‘snip-snip’, but seeing as you must put dogs (and cats) under for a dental cleaning and Santi being such a petit flower the Vet and I agreed that it was worth doing the dental cleaning at the same time as his neutering since that meant one less time he would have to be anesthetised. And he came through with flying colours, well on the dental front… Only 4 teeth had tarter and so the cleaning was minimal. As for the rest, well “¡Adiós mis amigos!”
I’d heard from other Chi owners (and by others, I mean Nat. heh) that with their small mouths, Chis are highly susceptible to dental issues. So I swore, then and there that I’d have his teeth cleaned annually. I often gave him “Greenies” and “Denta-whatsits” to help keep his teeth clean. He gets wet food only on special occasions, otherwise it’s a nice and crunchy kibble. So I thought all was good…
Well fast track to his annual check-up this past April. And what’s this? Horrible tarter, plaque and … the big “G” Gingivitis. And worse still… he’s need to have all his front teeth removed due to the gingivitis. The teeth in the front were rotting and causing bone loss in his jaw bones. I was devastated. I felt like the worst Doggy Daddy EVER! And to add insult to injury the Vet said, “Don’t feel bad, this happens. When the teeth are removed he won’t be in any more pain or discomfort.” Pain and discomfort?! Oh my god! There were NO outward signs of ‘pain or discomfort’. As a matter of fact he would play fetch for hours and tug of war as well. Who would play tug of war if they thought their dog’s mouth was a hot bed of pain and discomfort??!
To complicate matters there appeared to be an issue with his Liver that meant he could not have the Dental Surgery right away because he could not have any anaesthesia because it’s the Liver that filtered out such things from the blood. Long story short, it ended up being nothing (phew!) and he had a total of 14 teeth removed.
In a couple of weeks life was back to normal and he was back to all the hard crunchy things he loves… and he gets regular brushings now too. He’s none the worse for wear and as a matter of fact it was a turning point in his little happy life. I can count the times that he ‘kissed’ me from the day I brought him home to the dental surgery. Four. Four times! That was it. After the extractions he’s all up in my face kissing me all the time! I guess he was embarrassed by the puppy breath he had (caused by the gingivitis).
Anyhoo, it was because of all Santiago’s Dental woes that I thought maybe I should go for a check-up myself. After all it was 3 years since my last visit. (Don’t judge me!) So in early July I went to see the Dentist. Karma is a dish best served cold and with a sidedise of, yup… you guessed it, tarter, plaque and gingivitis. Oh and did I forget to mention… bone loss in my jaw bone from the two wisdom teeth on the right side of my mouth. The cleaning and polishing was taken care of immediatly… the rest would have to wait… unlike Santiago, I knew EXACTLY what was to come and I was in no rush to get there.
Today was my own personal dental surgery and the two teeth have been extracted. Even as I type this I am hopped up on some really nice pain meds… All I can say is thank god for spell check! More importantly, thank god for Santiago. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I don’t know what I did to deserve him but there he is curled up, snug against my side as I type this. Just like I was after his surgery. I refused to take my eyes off him. All I wanted to do was hold him close, cuddling him for days after as he recovered from his surgery, the after effects of the anaesthesia, the stitches and the medications.
I can almost hear him saying “See I told ya it would be ok Papi. Don’t worry, I’m here for you.”
Thanks for being there Santiago.
Here’s hoping I’ll be back at crunching on my ‘kibble’ as fast he was.
ps. It should go without saying that you need to brush your teeth and your dog’s teeth!
pps. And go see your Dentist/Vet (as the case may be) at least one a year!
ppps. Yea-yea Nat I hear ya… and floss every day. (I do… now)