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Have Your Dog Inspected Every 1,000 Miles

June 22, 2010

We have a dog, and as anyone who has ever owned a dog knows, it’s a lot like owning a car.

Now, before the animal rights activists start sending nasty e-mails, let me explain:  All I meant is that taking care of a dog can get expensive, in the sense that the warranties tend to expire at much the same time and then you have to start paying out-of-pocket for things like oil changes, bumper dings, tire rotation and anal sac draining.  Sorry.  I meant wiper fluid refills.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love my dog. We got Jade as a puppy, and all puppies are roly-poly, furry balls of fun. But I noticed recently that my veterinarian and my mechanic get the same look on their faces when the warranty is about to expire.  The conversation could be totally innocent and happy, and then it’s like the lights dim. The room quiets. Their expressions morph into a feigned frowny-face of concern for my welfare and disappointment that they have to break this bad news to me. And that’s when I know it’s coming. That’s when the interrogation begins.

“Has Jade ever had her teeth professionally cleaned?” asked my vet.

“You mean like at the dentist?” I replied, trying to play dumb.  I knew where this was going, and I knew it was about to get expensive.

“Yes,” she said, patently refusing to give up on a victim patient so quickly.  “Her breath smells kind of funky.  It could be a sign of tooth decay.”

“Tooth decay is bad.  Plus, her tires need rotating,” offered my mechanic.

“If you don’t brush her teeth at home, you really should let us do it,” said the vet.

“Here’s a bill for $600.00,” my mechanic piped up helpfully.

So my vet cleaned Jade’s teeth and her breath doesn’t smell funky anymore.  But it didn’t stop there.  She recommended that I buy a special toothpaste made for dogs and take up the hobby of brushing my dog’s teeth in my spare time.  It would not surprise me at this point if someone told me that they teach the art of talking about things like “spare time” with a straight face in veterinary school.

I should probably state here and now that I’m not even sure if my kids really brush their teeth or whether they’re just humoring me, but off I went, dutifully, to the PetSmart on Route 22, risking life and limb, to buy my dog some toothpaste.

The selection surprised me. They have flavors like Vanilla Lavender and Sparkling Fresh Peppermint, but I’ve lived with dogs all my life and I’m pretty sure that when they are thinking of flavor enhancement, they are not thinking of potpourri.  I don’t know about your dogs, but if they asked Jade, I think her preferences would be along the lines of Butt, Toilet Water, Crotches of Total Strangers and Roadkill.

Oh, and for those of you keeping track, adult dogs have 42 teeth.  That works out to $14.29 per tooth.  Not including the rear view mirror air freshener.

(Reprinted with permission from Springfield, 2010)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. joecab permalink
    June 22, 2010 8:43 PM

    Petrodex makes a chicken-flavored one. And I could have sworn I saw “liver” somewheres once… let’s just hope that’s not what it smells like, too.

    • Deb permalink*
      June 22, 2010 11:31 PM

      It smells AND looks like it, unfortunately. 🙂

  2. BJ Rego permalink
    June 22, 2010 6:24 PM

    Love it. I have tried to brush my dogs’ teeth on many occasions. Not fun!! Same thing with their nails. They hate it. 14 year old has had many teeth pulled and a few vet cleanings. Now he is an older dog and unless absolutely necessary will not be put under to clean teeth. 4 yr. old is holding up so far, but terriers are known for bad teeth and … See MoreI’ve been a terrier owner all my life. 4 yr. old is first dog I’ve gotten insurance for. I get a few $$ back for some things, but count on eventually, if they live long enough, most dogs cost many $$$ sometime along the way……just like your car..and mine…

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