With annual shots now pretty well dismissed as unnecessary and potentially very dangerous, with evidence that dogs with 3 shots as puppies and one booster at 1 year and 4 months of age, plus rabies, and/or bordatella are the only other shots really necessary to ensure continued good health for a whippet, dental requirements have become the new money maker for vets who are seeing healthier pets living longer than ever in recorded history.
For the record, we have 31 whippets, a Labrador Retriever, an Irish Setter, a rescue Daschund, a rescue Malamute/Shepherd cross and one Cirnecho dellEtna varying in age from 2 weeks to 15 years of age (3 of them are 15) and guess what -- we have not had dental work done on any of them!
No we don't ignore them. Yes we pay attention to all their needs, including dental needs! We do scale their teeth ourselves for those dogs that build up scale on the back molars, and this is easily done, but other than that, we do nothing. We provide denta bones, cow leg bones, etc. and most of the cleaning is done naturally, as nature intended.
Do all these dogs need veterinary dental work? Dear heavens, no! And does our honest to god this is the truth vet tell us we need it? No he does not! In fact he tells us what we already know... this is a money making venture and with sensible care any owner of a dog -- or two -- or even 31 like we have -- can ensure the dental needs of their dogs.
In fact, we have had only one dental emergency with one dog that we have owned, and there we did have the dog operated on -- a 14 year old whippet who began to bleed from the gums -- and had 6 teeth removed and it saved her life and she lived for almost two years more -- but other than that, no, we have not succumed to the cult of teeth cleaning.
We also had one older dog -- an imported dog from England, 11 years of age, with the worst plaque buildup I had ever seen in a whippet -- some dogs build it some don't. i took him to my vet and said, perhaps you should do him. He looked hard at him, listened to his heart and said you have two choices.... I can put him under and see if he lives long enough to clean his teeth or you can continue to take off what you need to off his back teeth and let nature decide when he leaves you. I chose my vet's alternative and Barney lived to be 14.
If you only have a couple of whippets you can easily brush and clean their teeth enough to avoid the "requirement" for dental work. And if, like us, you have a large number of whippets, you can avoid the "requirement" for dental work by looking into the mouth of your dog once or twice a month and cleaning any build up before it becomes too much and too gross. It is simple to do, takes minutes to perform, and that mixed with good hard bones to chew etc. is honestly all your dog needs.
I have a friend who just paid over $600 to clean the teeth of a three year old mixed breed poodle and god knows what. We board her dog, the dog sleeps in my bed when she is away and I told her this dog does not need this cleaning. She has white teeth, minimal discolouration, no build up, but did my friend listen to me? No! She was certain since we were not vets -- just dog professionals with a lifetime in dogs (my motther, and both grandfathers bred and showed dogs for generations before me), and so she went ahead with the procedure and paid it, despite the fact the dog had minimal build up and what was there could have been easily removed.
Who is the fool? I would suggest it was certainly not her vet who told her ALL dogs need this sort of treatment annually! Sheiilagh may have been stupid once, but not if I can persuade her, next time, how foolish she was this time around.
Avalonia Whippets, breeders and exhibitors of English bloodlined whippets since 1983.