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Medicine&Law, Mediator
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3217
Experience:  Dog/Owner Related Issues & Medical Insurance Claim Resolution
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Is dog teeth cleaning illegal in the state of California if ...

Customer Question

Is dog teeth cleaning illegal in the state of California if not performed by a veterinarian?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Medicine&Law replied 9 years ago.


I am also in California.

Besides answering medical questions, I am also the breeder of West Highland White Terriers.

Can you please provide me with further information related to this situation as it will better help me to provide you with an accurate answer.

When anesthesia is used to sedate the dog for the cleaning procedure, only a veterinarian should be performing these procedures by law.

There are some groomers that undertake a limited cleaning (without sedation) as a part of the grooming package. This routinely entails brushing the dog's teeth with turkey or beef toothpaste only.


Medicine&Law and 8 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
The person is using a sonicator to clean dog teeth. Is that legal in CA?
Expert:  Medicine&Law replied 9 years ago.

I need to know precisely what parameters this "person" is using this instrument.

Is this in a grooming salon?

In a vet's office by a vet? Or a certified vet tech?

Is anesthesia and/or sedation utilized?

Is this being performed in someone's home?

Please provide all details so I may advise you correctly.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Performed in my home and referred by a groomer. He is not a certified vet tech. Only a sonicator - no anesthetic or sedation, was used.
Expert:  Medicine&Law replied 9 years ago.

Basically, what this groomer did was brush your dog's teeth with an electric toothbrush which is perfectly legal. It is not unusual for groomers to use a Sonicare or other brand of electric tooth brush to clean a dog or cat's teeth. In fact, Philips, the manufacturer of this product recommends that it can be used to maintain dental hygiene, which is extremely important in maintaining the overall health of your dog (and cat if you have one)

In the state of California, groomers often provide this service and it is perfectly legal. Additionally, groomers will also provide other services that are often peformed in a vet's office, such as expression of a dog's anal glands and nail clipping.

The only legal question I have in regard to this matter is if this groomer has legitimate business license and if they are paying taxes to the California State Franchise Tax Board and of course, the IRS.

Pets are considered property by the legislative system for the most part. Even though animal welfare laws continue to evolve, mirroring the humanization trend, as a piece of property, a dog is not much different than an appliance when it comes to damage and loss. In California as a whole, the court system is more attuned to animal welfare than other states. This is the case for San Diego County. Even though I am in the San Francisco Bay area, I work extremely closely with a nationally know rescue group in El Cajon. You can always contact Consumer Affairs to report legitimate complaints against this groomer (or any other business for that matter) or also contact the BBB.

Should you have questions related to the practice utilized by this groomer, or if your dog suffered in any way,(meaning you had to take him to a vet and now have vet bills as a result of an injury) please let me know and I will be glad to assist you in any way I can.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Firstly, this guy was not using an electric toothbrush by any means. He was scaling my dog's teeth with a very large and professional machine- definitely not even close to a toothbrush - the machines vets and dentists use.

Yes, my toy poodle has a bilateral fracured jaw!
The guy used excessive force to open her little mouth. We had to take her to emergency. First he broke one side and I heard a yelp. Then the other more severely and the yelping was unbearable. One could hardly see my dog's face for all the blood.

Now the first surgery has to be redone by a specialty vet. However, the first vet claimed that it was no longer legal to scale a dog's teeth except by a veterinarian. Apparently California law changed not too long ago. This is the qustion to which I need an answer. Are you familiar with this?
Expert:  Medicine&Law replied 9 years ago.

Thanks for the additional information, this is the integral part of your situation I really need to know. I appreciate you providing this info as this makes a world of difference in how I address your situation.

What you now need to do is file a claim against this individual in small claims court. Doing so will assist you in recouping monies spent at the vet.

Additionally, you need to immediately report this to the City of Chula Vista Animal Control at(NNN) NNN-NNNN This individual will be investigated to the fullest extent of the law in regard to potential animal cruelty. This department will then investigate this person's credentials and any other violations such as I previously mentioned as not having a license to operate a business, etc.

If you need help with the aspect of the small claims filing, please let me know. You do not need an attorney, this is something that you perform yourself.

I will check back to see what progress you are making.

As breeder and dog lover, my best advise to all my clients is to never undertake services in the home not unless these are at the recommendation of your vet. There are some reputable mobile groomers; however, it is always best to ask your vet for advice as to who he or she recommends. Also ask other dog owners or check out reviews on Yelp. You can also post a review of any experience that you have had at any business be a vet, restaurant, groomer or hair salon. Yelp is a wonderful free tool to see what good and/or bad experiences consumers in Chula Vista (and other cities) have had with a business.

Click on all the links to learn more. Let me know how I can be of further assistance.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
The last person failed to answer my question but instead gave all kinds of ancillary and unsolited advice. This person was obvioulsy not qualiifed to answer my legal question. Please return my money and/or cancel my account.
Expert:  Medicine&Law replied 9 years ago.

Although the advice may have been unsolicited, it encompasses the legal aspects of this particular situation in the State of California. I outlined in detail precisely what agencies need to be contacted to assure that no other animal is maimed by this individual and more importantly you receive compensation for the outlay of monies that you spent for any past and future treatment your dog may require.

Your dog sustained an obvious injury as a result of an incompetent groomer. I provide you with all the necessary means to obtain recourse against the groomer.

I am not sure what else you would like to know. If you would be so kind as to provide detailed information related to your questions or concerns, perhaps one of the other experts or myself could provide you further information.

As previously mentioned, I am a breed and show Westhighland White Terriers. I am extremely involved not only in dog/owner rights in the State of California, but in NJ, NY, CO, TX, NV and the United Kingdom. Additionally, I appear in court as a mediator in cases such as you describe.




Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Please, just answer the question as the law has supposedly been recently changed in CA to not allow anyone that is not a licensed vet to perform animal teeth cleaning/scaling. You still have not answred that question. Please provide me with an answer and site the law/statue regarding such. That's all I have ever asked amd am quite frustrated with your responses at this point. Thank you.
Expert:  Medicine&Law replied 9 years ago.

Your question was vague, it would have been extremely beneficial if you had expressed the need for me to site the Section 4808, Business and Professions Code. Reference: Section 4826, Business and Professions Code.

Under California law, those types of procedures must be performed or supervised by a licensed veterinarian.

Click here to learn more

Please accept my apology, it was not my intention to frustrate you however, it is always extremely helpful for me to know precisely what a client requires,

I will be online until 11pm this evening and would be pleased to address any further questions or concerns you may have, especially if you need help with filing a suit within the small claims court.


Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you for answering my question. Much appreciation for your advice as well.