Dental issues are not unusual in older dogs. But if your dog has been seen regularly by a vet, you have probably prevented the worst of them. No one had done that for Huff. His back teeth were coated with a greenish gray plague. And yes, his breath was truly awful
One tooth for sure would have to come out. There might be some spots that needed to be filled. And of course, they all needed cleaned.
The procedure was horrible for me. First given his age, he might not survive. If that happened, I would have shortened his life. Good intentions aside, I would have ended his life. Worse, I wouldn’t be there with him to say goodbye and tell him what a good boy he was.
Instead, I was abandoning him to people who would put him in a crate. That was the nightmare I had rescued him from - and I was sending him back to it. Even worse, he is afraid of other dogs. He would be surrounded by them.
Locked up. Surrounded by scary things. Huff’s version of Fear Factor.
I told everyone (including the receptionist) at the vet’s office at least twice that I was only ten minutes away, please let me come get him as soon as possible. I repeated his history, his fears. I was the over-protective mom. They were all very nice. I think they wanted to give me valium but they did not. They aren’t licensed for that.
Huff survived. They kept him until they thought it was safe for him to be released instead of worrying about my worries.
Huff was glad to see me at the vet’s office and while drugged, he was able to keep it together enough to walk to the car. (I was prepared to carry him.) He may have fallen asleep on the ten minute car ride home, but he got out and made it inside under his own power. He accepted the meds I gave him. Then, he looked like at me like this:
Apparently, I was acceptable as an alternative to the vet’s office and as a dispenser of pain medication, but I was not his favorite person. I was just relieved that he survived the surgery and that doing it had been the right choice.
Huff had four teeth that needed to come out. One tooth was so badly eaten away that only one of its two roots was still attached to the jawbone. Poor guy. I can’t imagine how much pain he must have been in. No wonder he gulped his food and left half of his hard treats all over the floor.
He got more antibiotics, plus anti-inflammatories and pain meds. I got - nothing. Except the bill. The first few days I wouldn’t even have a glass of wine, just in case something happened and I had to drive him to the emergency vet.
No emergency happened. The dog slept. He recovered. I am still recovering.
I put ice in his water to keep it cool. I had never done
that before, but he liked it. I even heard him crunching some ice. I figured
that meant it was time to re-introduce dry foods. It had been two weeks. I
started giving him the dry food he had been eating before and had seemed to
like. He refused it now, eating only the canned stuff. I thought he was being
stubborn, holding out for something better. But after a week, he was still avoiding
Then one day I noticed him trying to eat the hard stuff. He
kept gagging. I was in the other room so I don't think it was a show. I thought
about it and realized he had not tried eating ice after the first attempt. Apparently
it was something he had enjoyed as a pup, but it didn’t really work for him
anymore. I know how that feels.
He was feeling better and allowing me to pet him. I got him to roll over and let me get a good look at his teeth. He only has matching top and bottom teeth in the front. His back teeth that remain do not match up. I felt like a jerk. No wonder he was gagging. He has no way to chew except with the front teeth and they aren’t really made for crushing and crunching. Not to mention they are pretty worn down.
Huff is now a canned dog food dog - along with scrambled eggs and yogurt. He is happy again. I think I’ll have another glass of wine.
More Adventures with Huff
For the latest: See The Huff Diary