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Ask the Veterinarian/Very old dog with dental issues


I have a 35lb 17 year old dog. He has very bad teeth. He only has four left besides ones in the very front.   The last four have severe plaque on them and he has terrible breath. He only eats dry Purina senior dog food and has been on it for the past 5 years. I have had his teeth cleaned twice in the past two years. Each time he went under he had a difficult time coming out of the atheistic.  It takes him at least a day and a half to get back to normal. My main question is, is it worth the risk to put him under if it would lengthen his life? Besides the dental problem he doesn't have any other problems besides minor arthritis. Thank you.

There are so many types of sedation and gas anesthesia now days that having a dog put under is much safer than it used to be. Maybe they can do a light sedation on him so it doesn't take him as long to come out of it. You should have some minor pre-op blood work done as well to assess his liver and kidney conditions.

Ask your vet about your choices in this matter. It will certainly make him feel better to have these teeth taken care of the the bacteria that they are seeding into his system is going to make him feel very dull.

I totally understand your concerns and they are very valid. So explore this with your vet and if they are stubborn about it, see someone else.

They should be concerned as well.

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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