STOP everyone! Drop that dental scaler that you just bought online, you’re about to do an illegal act on your pet!
Yes, according to the California Veterinary Medical Board and the office of California Consumer Affairs – scraping a pet’s teeth with a metal scaler without a veterinarian over-seeing you is considered a “dental operation” and is illegal in the state of California.
For 15 years Dexter’s Deli had been offering Anesthesia-Free Pet Teeth Cleaning, a complementary and yet controversial service to our forward thinking customers.
In December 2012 two California Consumer Affairs officers and two San Diego Sheriffs raided our Carlsbad store and cited the working dental technician for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. Needless to say it was a startling & stressful event for our staff and visiting practitioner, and we think a lot of muscle, drama, and tax dollars to interfere with cosmetic scaling of pet teeth.
For many years the Anesthesia-Free Pet Teeth Cleaning service fell into a gray area in the interpretation of the law. The service has been available to pet owners for 20 years, with the support of some veterinarians but the opposition of many. Recent strong-arming by the CVMB has pushed more restrictive language through state legislature requiring on-site supervision by a veterinarian, a tactic being taken in many states to restrict access to this and other complementary care options for pets.
The fact is people have been seeking out and using this service for their pets for years. The reasons vary: many people wish to reduce the frequency of anesthesia for their pets, some need to have a lower-cost option for maintenance care, and so on. Many owners are aware of the controversy surrounding it, but they feel strongly that they should have the choice to decide the best care for their pet’s health, and Dexter’s Deli supports this position, and with the practitioners we strive to educate owners about their pet’s health.
We acknowledge that this service isn’t appropriate for every animal, and owners are often referred to veterinarians for further care because the practitioner found an issue the owner wasn’t aware of. We offer a Dental Care handout (composed with oversight by a vet) with guidelines for care and specific questions to ask a vet when seeking advanced dental care, and always speak of this service as a complement to, not a substitute for, regular veterinary care.
So although this service may be halted for now, Dexter’s Deli is working with local veterinarians who believe anesthesia-free teeth cleaning to be an important bridge between owners and vets. Look for updates in ournewsletter and on our website for if, when, and where Anesthesia-Free Pet Teeth Cleaning will be available again.