Trend Alert: Cosmetic Dentistry for Dogs

Brush your dog's teethIt's hard enough convincing pet owners to take their dogs for regular dental checkups, but a growing number of pet parents are seeking out vets who will give their dogs perfect smiles and "kissable breath."

Australia's Courier Mail reported that there's a growing trend of owners who will shell out big bucks for cosmetic dentistry procedures -- for their dogs. "There is a big shift in how pet owners look after their pets," said veterinary surgeon Kevin Cruickshank, who runs a specialist dental suite. "They want them to fit in with the family, and many are treated like children."

WebVet: Caring for your pet's dental health

"I have come across pet-owners who have braces put on their dogs because the teeth are crooked, or get teeth fixed for cosmetic reasons to avoid gaps," he revealed. "Those cases are referred to specialists, but the majority of people who bring their animals to the dental suite simply want their pets to live a long life and be pain free."

Despite the superficial (and superfluous) motivation behind some of these procedures, the majority of dental work these specialists perform is necessary for the dog's health -- and sometimes cheaper than extractions. Another veterinary surgeon, Dr. Gary Wilson, explained, "Yes, we do put braces on pets and we do root canal fillings, but it is not all about the pets looking good. The reality is that it can cost just as much to extract a tooth from a dog as it does to fix it. It's really the general anesthetic and the procedure that add to the cost."

It's estimated that close to 80% of pets over the age of three suffer some kind of dental problem. Yearly dental cleaning is recommended to remove plaque buildup on teeth and gums. Dry food, chew toys, and nylon bones are also good ways to stimulate gums and limit plaque buildup. It's also smart to brush your pet's teeth regularly with a toothpaste specifically developed for pets.

What it costs:

Braces $1500*
Root canal filling $1000*
Polish - up to $490
Toothpaste $15.50
Finger brush $5.20
Mouthwash spray $26.90
Check-up $64

Source: Gold Coast Vet Surgery
* Varies case to case

Check out more from WebVet!