A chronic problem in dogs, dental disease usually affects most canines by the time they are two years old. Unfortunately, the Shiba Inu is more likely than other canines to have dental disease. What starts as tartar build-up can progress to an infection of the gums and/or roots of the teeth.
If the disease is not treated, the liver, heart, kidneys, and joints can be negatively affected. In fact, not focusing on dental care can shorten the Shiba’s lifespan. Therefore, it is important that you place a priority on having your Shiba’s teeth checked and cleaned.
Dental Conditions and Pain
While dental care can be expensive, it also is worth it if you want to keep your Shiba healthy and happy. Periodontal disease is both common in both cats and dogs and is entirely preventable. Therefore, the American Veterinary Medical Association urges that you have a pet’s teeth examined yearly. Moreover, you need to have your dog’s teeth checked sooner if you notice any of the following:
- Discolored teeth
- Teeth covered with tartar
- Broken teeth
- Bad breath odor
- Inflamed gums
- Excess drooling
- Mouth bleeding
- Pain and sensitivity around the mouth
If you see your Shiba Inu pawing at its face, you need to schedule a visit with your vet, as pawing is an indicator of dental or oral pain. What you pay for a professional dental cleaning will depend on where you live, you pet’s size and age, and the use of anesthesia. If your pet needs extractions, you will need to figure this into the cost, including the expense for dental x-rays and exams.
Mobile Dental Cleanings
To have your Shiba’s teeth cleaned, you might consider a mobile dental clinic. A mobile clinic can perform a dental cleaning that does not require anesthesia. This form of cleaning involves using an instrument to scale or clean the teeth of tartar and an oral exam. Some Shiba owners prefer a cleaning that does not require anesthesia, as they don’t want to put their dog under.
However, you will not get the same type of cleaning, as using an anesthesia allows the vet to clean below the gum line. Therefore, a deep cleaning using anesthesia is preferred by some Shiba owners. However, because of the dog’s susceptibility to dental disease, a deep cleaning of recommended by vets. A cleaning that does not use anesthesia typically costs between $200 and $250.
Visiting the Vet
When you visit the vet, the cleaning that is offered is often similar to a visit to a human dental practice. The check-up and cleaning may last from 45 minutes to just over an hour. How long teeth cleaning takes will depend on what the x-rays show and the amount of dental decay and tartar build-up on the teeth. If your Shiba needs extractions, the appointment will last longer.
To prepare yourself for this type of visit, you need to do some research online and by phone. See what is offered at veterinarian offices in your area. Ask them about their protocol for cleaning a dog’s teeth.
Usually, an appointment at the vet begins with an oral exam. The veterinarian then decides if your dog is healthy enough to receive anesthesia. He or she may take urine and blood tests or administer an electrocardiography to make the determination.
If your Shiba can be placed under anesthesia, the vet will continue with your dog’s dental exam. He or she will x-ray the teeth to check for issues beneath the gum line, such as abscesses, infection, periodontal disease, root problems, or broken teeth.
While your Inu is under anesthesia, its vital signs will be checked to ensure your pet’s safety. After the oral exam, a full cleaning will be performed beneath the gum line, followed by a scaling and polishing of the teeth.
Again, the prices for these services can vary, depending on where you live. Expect to pay from $55.00 to $90.00 for the oral exam and from $125 to $250 for x-raying the teeth. The anesthesia, cleaning, and any extractions can cost from $600 to $1,200.
Many veterinarians feature package prices, which include x-rays, the oral exam, and the use of anesthesia. Additional charges are assessed for tooth extractions and medicines. Re-checks and follow-up visits also cost extra.
Beyond having your Shiba Inu’s teeth cleaned, you can maintain its dental health by brushing the teeth at least twice a week and feeding your Inu meals and snacks using raw food dog recipes. Not only does raw food lengthen a Shiba’s life, it also meets the dog’s nutritional requirements. When a dog’s nutritional requirements are met, it will also enjoy better dental health.
Brushing Your Shiba’s Teeth
Don’t be discouraged if brushing your Shiba’s teeth does not go as planned at first. After all, a Shiba is highly sensitive, and really does not like this type of intervention. Your dog may scream or howl if you don’t approach the matter carefully. While brushing any dog’s teeth is not easy, it is especially a challenge with a Shiba Inu.
Whether your Shiba is a puppy or older dog, the sensation of brushing may feel discomforting. Therefore, you need to keep things positive and encourage your dog when he allows you to continue brushing. Positive reinforcement training will help you master this part of your dog’s care.
Buying a Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Before you brush you dog’s teeth, you will need to buy a toothbrush and doggy toothpaste. The best toothbrush does not have to be fancy and can be purchased for around $4.00. Choose a brush with dual heads with soft bristles. It should be sturdy enough to break down plaque and food particles and feature an ergonomic design. Select a brush that stands up well if your dog tries to chew it – one that can be navigated easily inside your dog’s mouth.
Make sure you use a toothpaste only designed for dogs. Never use a human toothpaste, as the ingredients can be toxic when used in the mouth of a canine. Always use a dog-specific toothpaste brand. You can also reinforce your Shiba’s dental care by buying a probiotic dental product.
This type of product increases the good bacteria in the mouth, crowding out bad germs, including the bacteria that produces bad breath. Sprinkle the blend in your Shiba’s food to support better gum and tooth health and to freshen your dog’s breath.