Dental Scaling Without Anesthesia??????

The following is a reprint of a statement provided by the American Veterinary Dental Council:

In the United States and Canada, only licensed veterinarians can practice veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine includes veterinary surgery, medicine and dentistry. Anyone providing dental services other than a licensed veterinarian, or a supervised and trained veterinary technician, is practicing veterinary medicine without a license and is subject to criminal charges.

This page addresses dental scaling procedures performed on pets without anesthesia, often by individuals untrained in veterinary dental techniques. Although the term Anesthesia-Free Dentistry has been used in this context, AVDC prefers to use the more accurate term Non-Professional Dental Scaling (NPDS) to describe this combination.

Owners of pets naturally are concerned when anesthesia is required for their pet. However, performing NPDS on an unanesthetized pet is inappropriate for the following reasons:

1. Dental tartar is firmly adhered to the surface of the teeth. Scaling to remove tartar is accomplished using ultrasonic and sonic power scalers, plus hand instruments that must have a sharp working edge to be used effectively. Even slight head movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues of the patient, and the operator may be bitten when the patient reacts.

2. Professional dental scaling includes scaling the surfaces of the teeth both above and below the gingival margin (gum line), followed by dental polishing. The most critical part of a dental scaling procedure is scaling the tooth surfaces that are within the gingival pocket (the subgingival space between the gum and the root), where periodontal disease is active. Because the patient cooperates, dental scaling of human teeth performed by a professional trained in the procedures can be completed successfully without anesthesia. However, access to the sub
gingival area of every tooth is impossible in an unanesthetized canine or feline patient. Removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has little effect on a pet’s health, and provides a false sense of accomplishment. The effect is purely cosmetic.

3. Inhalation anesthesia using a cuffed endotracheal tube provides three important advantages… the cooperation of the patient with a procedure it does not understand, elimination of pain resulting from examination and treatment of affected dental tissues during the procedure, and protection of the airway and lungs from accidental aspiration.

4. A complete oral examination, which is an important part of a professional dental scaling procedure, is not possible in an unanesthetized patient. The surfaces of the teeth facing the tongue cannot be examined, and areas of disease and discomfort are likely to be missed.

Safe use of an anesthetic or sedative in a dog or cat requires evaluation of the general health and size of the patient to determine the appropriate drug and dose, and continual monitoring of the patient.

Veterinarians are trained in all of these procedures. Prescribing or administering anesthetic or sedative drugs by a non-veterinarian can be very dangerous, and is illegal. Although anesthesia will never be 100% risk-free, modern anesthetic and patient evaluation techniques used in veterinary hospitals minimize the risks, and millions of dental scaling procedures are safely performed each year in veterinary hospitals.

For more information on why AVDC does not recomemnd Non-anesthetic (Anesthesia-free) Dentistry, click this link:

To minimize the need for professional dental scaling procedures and to maintain optimal oral health, AVDC recommends daily dental home care from an early age in dogs and cats. This should include brushing or use of other effective techniques to retard accumulation of dental plaque, such as dental diets and chew materials. This, combined with periodic examination of the patient by a veterinarian and with dental scaling under anesthesia when indicated, will optimize life-long oral health for dogs and cats. For information on effective oral hygiene products for dogs and cats, visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council web site (www.VOHC.org).

For general information on performance of dental procedures on veterinary patients, read the AVDC Position Statement on Veterinary Dental Healthcare Providers.

What is a Therapy Dog?

What exactly is a service dog?

Many people confuse them with Service Dogs which leads to the erroneous belief that their dog would never be able to assist those in need. It is true that Service Dogs are specialized canines. They are who we see guiding the blind, trained as special alert animals or aiding those with disabilities. Therapy dogs, on the other hand, are those animals who provide much needed comfort and affection to the residents of nursing homes, children in schools and the sick and injured in hospitals.  A Therapy Dog can come in all different sizes and breeds. They just need to enjoy making physical contact with unfamiliar people.

What kind of temperament is best for a therapy dog?

They:

  • Must enjoy a lot of human contact and petting even when it is clumsy.

  • Be comfortable staying put whether they are on a floor, a chair or a lap.

  • Need to know at least basic obedience commands and respond consistently.

  • Need to be tolerant of loud children, wheelchairs, walkers, the loud or strange noises one encounters in a hospital or school setting.

  • Tolerant of animals they may see in therapeutic facilities.

  • Tolerant of children, the geriatric and many different kinds of disabled people

What effects do therapy dogs have on those the people they visit?

They:

  • Increase alertness and awareness

  • Decrease stress and anxiety


  • Speed recovery from illness and injury


  • Decrease loneliness

  • Provide general comfort

  • Help with motor skills


  • Build trust

  • Lower blood pressure

What are the requirements to become a therapy dog?

You must:

  • Pass an evaluation by the licensing service agency you become affiliated with. This can vary from one organization to another.

  • Meet minimum age requirements for yourself and your dog

  • Have your animal spayed or neutered.

  • Not feed a raw food diet. (This is because of the risk of Salmonella poisoning.)


  • Have a record of up to date vaccines and worming

  • Bathed your pet prior to each visit

  • Both wear an ID

  • Keep your pet on a leash

If you are interested in Therapy Dog Training contact us at:  563-391-9522

Training class sign up forms are available at www.animalfamilyveterinarycare.com/dogtraining/