Too Good to be True
The whole thing had started about a week earlier when I was paging through a pet catalog and came across a section devoted to dental supplies. “Simply squirt into your pet’s mouth and the specially formulated solution goes to work immediately to kill bacteria and improve dental health,” said the description.
At that moment, one of my cats — who was sitting on my lap — turned his head in my direction and yawned. A few seconds later, a blast of kitty breath which smelled like rotten tuna fish hit my nose.
“Right,” I said, as I paged toward the back to find the order form.
The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that the dental solution sounded like an excellent idea. After all, it wasn’t just for cats. You could use it on dogs too. And what self-respecting pet owner doesn’t want her cats and dogs to have clean teeth and fresh-smelling breath?
A few days later when the box arrived in the mail, I opened it immediately.
“Gently holding your pet’s head, squirt the solution along both the upper and lower gumline,” said the directions.
The bottle was one of those where you could snip off the top at various points (like a tube of caulk). But even if I only cut it off at the very top, it still looked like too much solution would come out. I decided a medicine syringe would be easier to handle, and a few seconds later, I was ready to go.
“Come here, Pixie,” I called.
My Shetland sheepdog raced into the kitchen. In her experience, good things have always come from the kitchen.
Moments later, she was gagging and spluttering as she ran out of the kitchen.
Since I had only managed to administer half the mouthwash I’d put in the syringe, I followed her — and then spent the next five minutes chasing the dog around the house before I hit upon the idea of yelling “Sit! Stay!” so I could squirt the rest into her mouth.
“There now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” I asked, as she slunk away, casting dirty looks over her shoulder.
Pixie’s reaction should have given me a clue, but it didn’t.
About 20 minutes later, not only was the dog still giving me dirty looks, but so were the cats. All seven of them. They had been so deeply offended by the dental solution that I couldn’t even walk past them. Slit-eyed, they would watch my approach and then scamper off in the opposite direction.
And not only that, but now I had to go around the house and mop up little puddles of mouthwash where I’d either missed entirely during the ensuing struggle, or else the cat had promptly spit it out. Not to mention that maybe I ought to find some bandages for the cat scratches on my hands and arms that were still bleeding.
I picked up the bottle again to look at the label. “Gently holding your pet’s head…”
GENTLY? If my animals were any indication, the directions should have said — “With the help of three or four strong people, pry open your pet’s firmly-clenched jaws…”
I still had one dog left to do, and I figured the animals might as well be unanimous in their belief that I was not to be trusted.
“Charlie,” I called as I stepped out of the house.
Charlie, our boisterous springer spaniel, is about as good-natured as any dog I have ever seen. He bounded over to me and sat by my feet, tail wiggling, ears perked, eagerly anticipating “the treat” I held in my hand.
“Everybody else hates me,” I said, “you might as well too.”
Of course, all along I had been hoping that maybe one of the animals, at least, would be thrilled with the idea of fresh breath and clean teeth — but alas, it was not to be.
A few seconds later, Charlie was slinking away as well.
Curious to find out why the animals all acted like I was trying to poison them, I went into the bathroom and squirted a little of the pink solution on my own teeth.
To tell you the truth, it didn’t taste like much of anything. Not even the peppermint that the label said would give my dogs and cats “fresh breath.”
Four years later, the eight-ounce bottle of pink pet mouthwash is still sitting in my bathroom cupboard. I suppose I ought to throw it away, but I'd rather not just yet. It helps me to remember that old saying: if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
Too bad I didn't remember that BEFORE I spent $20 on pet mouthwash.