Our dog is the best thing we got. He is generally healthy. He turns 10 in May. His teeth, especially his underbite front row (quite common for Shih Tzus), are getting brown. If you open his mouth there is a lot of brown, caramel color scattered across from front to back.
We've always been very scared of taking him to a professional cleaning because there's a chance of what I don't want to talk about. And I was told a while ago that the risk of this increases with age.
A few important facts:
- He generally won't let us co-operate in letting us brush his teeth with his toothbrush and chicken flavor toothpaste. I think this has got worse as he was teased and as he's got older is more prone to bite you if you put it in his mouth.
- Our vet suggested using a third party company which does teeth cleaning without anesthetizing. They are from California and were travelling across the country and happened to be near our area. Our dog was not cooperative with them.
- Our vet recommends the anesthesia route but I am not comfortable.
- Our vet also recommends instead giving our dog some anti anxiety medicine and trying to clean after this ourselves with a toothbrush.
How dangerous is poor dental health? What would you advise if I don't want to go the anesthesia route (as I'm fearful of the risk I mentioned above). Any toothbrushing tips would be welcome. There was one vet who once told me that I should use my nails to scrape off the dirt on his teeth and he made it look easy but I haven't tried to replicate this