Dog Grooming/Nail trimming, teeth cleaning
A few months ago I adopted a 2 year old, neutered, 13.5 lb mixed breed rescue, that looks at least half Chihuahua. He seemed to have behavior issues because the foster people said that whatever homes he had been in previously caused him fear/anger because he was always trying to get away from either little children or large dogs. Handling him is a problem. He has had one bath at home with a muzzle and two nail trims at the vet with a muzzle. His nails and the quick inside have probably always been very long. His behavior has improved overall in our adult only, only-dog home. But he still fears grooming. After first adopting him, I tried twice to brush his teeth but couldn't. I decided to let him adjust to our home and maybe later try again. The vet said he needs a professional tooth cleaning. I scheduled him for it, but am leery of anesthesia. They suggested that while under anesthesia for his teeth, that his nails also be done. The vet tech said that the quick portions of the nails could all be cut back, and that would keep the nails shorter in the future. I hesitate to have all of his toes bleed and probably be sore. I know there are things to stop the bleeding, but would he be sore long after? Could the toes become infected? I don't like adding anesthesia time, but the extra time for nails may only be a couple of minutes, compared to the time needed for teeth cleaning. (My previous dog never acted the same after his last dental cleaning, so that makes me worry. He had a cough, seemed disoriented and his hearing suddenly declined. It could be just a coincidence, but it worried me. He also has a small lump on his back removed while under anesthesia for his dental.) Now, after the professional tooth cleaning, I want to start doing brushing at home, so hopefully future vet cleanings could be delayed. But he may not let me do it. But probably vet dental cleanings would be better than no cleaning. Thank you very much for your advice.
First- thank you for rescuing this pup, thank you! I think you're right in letting him settle in first- a minimum of 3-5 months.
The good news is this dog is young and may be turned around with love and patience. The fact that he is young is in his favor with anesthesia as well. I would certainly go ahead and have the teeth cleaned at this time to get a base line of his dental history started. Small dogs tend to have problems later on so this is good. However- if you had a problem with your last dog I would find a different vet. Anesthesia for dogs is a very tricky thing - especially for small dogs. Dentistry for dogs is fairly new and VERY lucrative for vets. They often import so called "specialists" for this procedure. I would do some very heavy duty investigating. At the very least do it every 2 years if you can't get in there. I recommend a cotton gauze pad wrapped around your finger if he lets you in. If not raw bones are natures tooth brush. RAW not cooked. Have the butcher slice you some appropriate sized bones for his mouth.
Nails can be a real problem as well. There are vets that will cut the nails back to the quiks for you and yes, it will hurt them for a bit but the problem with this is unless you keep up they will just grow right back! This also needs to be done with real patience and care. Again research the people handling your dog. It is probably a good thing to do while he is under anesthesia the first time but knowing this can be painful ask the vet to give you some pain meds for the little fella just in case. Infection does not seem to happen but you need to keep them in a clean safe environment where he won't break the bond while healing. It's worth a try to get on track but as I said you must keep up trimming them- every 8 weeks would be my advice if possible. Some vets are good about this others just hand them off to techs which may or may not be experienced with this type of temperament. Again research who's doing it. If you don't feel good about them chances are your dog won't either.
Good luck and you're an angel for rescuing.