Precautions for Dog Dental Cleaning with Anesthetics

Proper dog dental cleaning, which involves examining gums and checking for ulcerations and other problems, often requires anesthetics. This causes concern for many owners because of the risks involved with anesthesia. However, anesthetic procedures have improved dramatically in recent years, reducing risks.

Proper Dental Cleaning

Dog dental cleaning is often required when your dog has abnormally bad breath, which can be an indicator of impacted teeth, gum disease, tartar buildup and mouth ulceration. To properly examine your dog for these conditions, your veterinarian must inspect underneath the gums as dentists do in humans.

Because even a well-trained dog cannot tolerate a two-hour dental exam, anesthesia is required for a complete inspection.

Pre-Anesthetic Preparation

Before allowing a veterinarian to give your dog anesthesia, require a blood test that will evaluate liver and kidney functions. Most dogs who are not suited for anesthesia will not have normal values from these blood tests.

Even if you have your dog's blood tested annually, have it tested around three days prior to the dental cleaning, just in case there are new problems.

Don't feed your dog within 12 hours of the cleaning. If your dog has food in his stomach, this increases the likelihood of nausea during and after surgery. If your dog vomits during the cleaning, he can inhale it and choke.

Anesthetic Monitoring

While your pet is under anesthesia, monitoring is vitally important. Someone who is not responsible for cleaning or surgical procedures should be assigned to monitor the condition of your dog during the procedure.

Your dog's temperature should be monitored throughout the procedure to watch for a rare condition in which a dog allergic to anesthesia has soaring temperatures in response. ECG evaluations allow veterinarians to monitor your dog's heart during the procedure and a respiratory monitor can alert them of apnea. Blood pressure and oxygen content should also be monitored.

Questions to Ask Your Veterinarian

How long have you been administering this particular anesthetic? Make sure your veterinarian has experience with the anesthetic he chooses to use because he will then be familiar with the proper dosages and problems that may arise.

When do you recommend doing pre-anesthetic bloodwork? If he doesn't recommend it, this may not be the veterinarian for you since he is not willing to take all the necessary precautions.

What monitoring system do you have in place while my dog is under anesthetic? Even for dental procedures, full anesthetic is used so full anesthetic monitoring should also be used.

What other medications will be used? Often, additional medications are used to calm your dog so less anesthesia is required. If your dog has sensitivities to any medications, inform your veterinarian.

Anesthesia is much safer than it used to be and a wide variety of anesthetics are available for use. However, there are still precautions that need to be taken to ensure your dog's safety. Be sure to communicate your concerns to your veterinarian and make sure he addresses them to your satisfaction.