Palace Pet Salon Sinks Its Teeth into Providing Pets with Good Dental Care

February 19, 2010
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Evin and Addison with proud papa Graham Lynggard and Lucy, their Italian greyhound, whose smiling inside after her teeth cleaned for Valentine's Day.

Daughters Evin and Addison with proud papa Graham Lynggard and Lucy, their Italian greyhound, who's smiling inside after having her teeth cleaned for Valentine's Day.

Don’t get the wrong impression. LaVerneOnline loves people, but it really loves dogs. I own a few myself. That’s why last week we featured Edward Mac, culinary chef for dogs through his company Culinary Canine Creations (

But did you ever think what happens after your cuddly canine consumes all that gourmet puppy chow. Unlike you and me, dogs don’t regularly brush and floss after meals unless they have the most conscientious of owners.

And they really should because they have more teeth, 42, than we do, with only 32. And their teeth will fall out just as their dog owners’ will if not properly cared for.

“Dogs’ and cats’ mouths are not unlike our own,” said Lisa Sosa, a mobile dental hygienist for dogs through a company called Canine Care that cleans teeth at Palace Pet Salon in La Verne the second Sunday of every month. “They get the build-up and gum recession, same as you and I. If left unchecked, their teeth and gums can cause kidney, liver and health problems down the line, which can lead to early death for your pets.”

Lisa Sosa aims to give her patients a smile as bright as hers.

Lisa Sosa aims to give her patients a smile as bright as hers.

Teeth cleaning by a vet can cost between $400 and $600. Sedating the dog is the reason for most of the expense. In fact, Lisa learned how to clean dogs’ teeth from her uncle, a veterinarian who regularly placed dogs under general anesthesia before cleaning their teeth. At Palace Pet Salon, the approximately 45-minute procedure costs $100, after receiving the $10 LaVerneOnline discount.

Sosa doesn’t use sedation, only trust and a tender touch to win the confidence of her canine patients, which come in all sizes and dispositions.

“Most dogs do very well having their teeth cleaned,” said Sosa, wearing a small lighted lamp that a miner might wear to explore a dark underground cavity. “I would say that we’re able to do about 98% of the dogs and cats brought to us.  They are good patients. They are nervous, of course, but when they realize that we’re not going to hurt them, that what I’m going to do to them doesn’t hurt, they usually take a deep breath and settle down.

“There is that rare dog that is too nervous, that won’t settle down,” she added. “They won’t hold still for us so we can do what we need to do. In that case, they’ll need to go to the vet to be sedated.”

Sosa usually cradles and swaddles her patient, positioning the dog’s head in her lap. She hand-scales the teeth inside and out, reaching slightly under the gum line without causing the pooch any discomfort. Then she polishes and brushes the teeth. Many larger dogs have actually fallen asleep in her lap while she performs her dental dexterity.

According to Sosa, some dogs are blessed with good genes while others aren’t as fortunate, necessitating more frequent cleaning visits.

To give a dog a thorough teeth cleaning, you have to get up close and personal.

To give a dog a thorough teeth cleaning, you have to get up close and personal.

“Every dog is different,” Sosa said. “Dogs with healthy teeth and gums can get away with two check-ups a year. Other dogs, older dogs, with gum recession and problems with their mouth will do better with a monthly maintenance program that will restore health to their gums and to their mouth.”

In between cleanings, dog owners can purchase inexpensive finger brushers and mouthwashes from Palace Pet Salon that will help clean teeth and gums, control offensive breath (dog breath), and fight bacteria that causes plaque.

With all the services that owner Mark Levy provides our local animal dogs and cats is it any wonder that both people and pets refers to his place of business as a Palace.

For more information about getting your dog or cat’s teeth cleaned or any of Palace Pet salon’s other grooming services, call (909) 593-5714.


One Response to “Palace Pet Salon Sinks Its Teeth into Providing Pets with Good Dental Care”

  1. First let me say that I am a fan of La Verne Online (especially Brad Eastland). I have been a veterinarian for 30 years and feel I must come to the defense of my profession. Even though I don’t practice in La Verne, I do live there. I have twice noticed the mention of anesthesia-free “teeth cleaning” at the Palace Pet Salon. In the most recent postings, there is a direct price comparison between the service provided at the pet shop versus the veterinary practice. There is a dramatic difference in costs, but one should break down the difference in services. The biggest difference is the cost of general anesthesia and monitoring with the latest in electronic cardiac monitoring, blood pressure monitor, and pulse oximetry to measure oxygen saturation of the blood. (For a human, this is several thousand dollars; for a pet it usually runs less than $250 for a routine prophylaxis). For the actual ultrasonic scaling and polishing (we use pumice, like at the people dentist), my practice charges approx. $45. Then there is an antibiotic injection, always a good idea when you manipulate the gums, the day charge to monitor the recovery and like misc. expenses. We always do a pre-anesthetic blood profile in pets over 6 years, which is approx $110. A routine dental at my practice is approx $315 to $370, based on time spent. It can run more, but that is based on the totality of procedures that are needed.

    Now then…..under the anesthesia we are able to probe for pockets of periodontal disease which is nearly impossible to do in the awake animal. We take xrays of diseased teeth and recommend the appropriate treatments. We apply a fluoride which retards the deposition of placque. We advise a home care program when the pet is discharged. So you can see we provide a complete service for the dental health of the pet. This is so much more than just a COSMETIC scaling of the crowns of the teeth. Owners who elect to do this at the pet store are given a false sense of security that they have provided a medical service, when in fact this is not the case. They are given a false sense of security by this cosmetic procedure done at the groomer.
    Now when this is presented as “scaler cheap…..vets expensive” is this fair to the vets who practice in La Verne (and elsewhere) who also operate businesses in the city? Especially when there is no equivalency to what is actually offered? This is not pointed out in the articles in La Verne Online.

    OK…now we get to the nitty-gritty, ie. the veterinary practice act. I forward to you below the appropriate section of the Veterinary Practice Act, which states what is the practice of vet med as it applies to scaling:

    4826 Practice defined
    A person practices veterinary medicine, surgery, and dentistry, and the various branches thereof, when he or she does any one of the following:
    (a) Represents himself or herself as engaged in the practice of veterinary medicine, veterinary surgery, or veterinary dentistry in any of its branches.
    (b) Diagnoses or prescribes a drug, medicine, appliance, application, or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention, cure or relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury, or disease of animals.
    (c) Administers a drug, medicine, appliance, application, or treatment of whatever nature for the prevention, cure, or relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury, or disease of animals, except where the medicine, appliance, application, or treatment is administered by a registered veterinary technician or an unregistered assistant at the direction of and under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian subject to Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 4832) or where the drug, including, but not limited to, a drug that is a controlled substance, is administered by a registered veterinary, technician or an unregistered assistant pursuant to Section 4836.1. However, no person, other than a licensed veterinarian, may induce anesthesia unless authorized by regulation of the board.
    (d) Performs a surgical or dental operation upon an animal.

    The point is using any type of hardware in the mouth of an animal as a paid service is practicing vet med. Unfortunately, the state of California is broke and there are no funds for enforcement against these unlicensed practitioners. As a veterinary practitioner, I am responsible to the state of California for the issuance of my license and all the liabilities that entails for the practice of sound medicine. Should an injury occur in the hands of an unlicensed person, what is the recourse for the owner? Is the person bonded or do they have liability insurance? The point is, an unlicensed person doing this scaling is actually acting in violation of the veterinary practice act, but hey, they cost less and they can get away with it. It’s out there and it is very prevalent. For the true health of the mouth, one must know what is going on at the level of the tooth roots, and that requires xrays when applicable. And that requires a veterinarian. We as a profession have been fighting this issue for as long as I have been in practice, and for a while we made headway, but we are about worn out on it as there seems to be nothing can be done in the economics of enforcement of regulations as they exist today.

    I don’t know what you will do with this letter, but perhaps a feature on the vet practices in La Verne would be in order. Be sure to focus on the value clients receive for the money spent on their pets as you highlight the services the local vet provides.

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