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Do dogs really need dental cleaning? How much does it cost to clean a dog’s teeth?

Do dogs really need dental cleaning? How much does it cost to clean a dog’s teeth?

Apr 29, 2024

Many dog owners have been advised by their vets that their dogs could benefit from dental cleaning. However, dental care for dogs is often overlooked despite its importance for their overall health. As a general rule, it’s recommended to have your furry friend’s teeth cleaned by a licensed veterinary dentist at least once a year.

This article will discuss how often your pet needs dental cleaning, why it’s important, and provide some additional tips for dog dental care.

Do dogs really need dental cleaning?

Yes, dental cleaning is important for dogs, just as it is for humans. Dogs can suffer from dental issues such as tartar buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay if their teeth are not properly cared for. Dental cleaning helps prevent these problems and promotes overall oral health.

Here’s why dental cleaning is important for dogs:

Vet brushing pet dog teeth coated with plaque with toothbrush. Pet oral care important to prevent tooth loss.
  1. Preventing Tartar Buildup: Like humans, dogs develop plaque and tartar on their teeth, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay if not removed regularly.
  2. Preventing Gum Disease: Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common problem in dogs that can cause pain, tooth loss, and even lead to infections spreading to other parts of the body.
  3. Preventing Tooth Decay: Tooth decay can also occur in dogs, leading to discomfort and potential tooth loss.
  4. Maintaining Overall Health: Poor oral health in dogs can contribute to other health problems, such as heart disease and kidney disease, as bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect other organs.

Regular dental cleaning by a veterinarian helps remove tartar and plaque that brushing alone may not reach. Additionally, during these cleanings, the veterinarian can check for any signs of dental issues and address them before they become more serious problems.

However, it’s not necessary to have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned as frequently as you might visit the dentist yourself. Frequency depends on factors like the dog’s age, breed, and overall dental health. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on the appropriate schedule for your dog’s dental cleanings.

How do I know if my dog needs their teeth cleaned?

There are several signs that indicate your dog may need a dental cleaning:

  1. Bad Breath: Persistent bad breath (halitosis) is often a sign of dental problems in dogs. If your dog’s breath consistently smells unpleasant, it could be due to the buildup of bacteria and plaque in their mouth.
  2. Visible Tartar and Discoloration: Check your dog’s teeth regularly for yellow or brown tartar buildup, especially along the gum line. Discolouration or dark spots on the teeth can also indicate dental issues.
  3. Red or Swollen Gums: Healthy gums should be pink, not red or swollen. If your dog’s gums appear inflamed or bleed easily, it could be a sign of gingivitis or gum disease.
  4. Drooling or Pawing at the Mouth: Excessive drooling or pawing at the mouth may indicate dental pain or discomfort.
  5. Difficulty Eating or Loss of Appetite: Dental issues can make it painful for your dog to eat, leading to a decreased appetite or reluctance to chew.
  6. Change in Behavior: If your dog suddenly becomes irritable, aggressive, or avoids being touched around the mouth, it could be due to dental pain.
  7. Loose or Missing Teeth: Loose teeth or missing teeth are signs of advanced dental disease and should be addressed by a veterinarian.
dog teeth

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to schedule a dental check-up with your veterinarian. They can evaluate your dog’s dental health and recommend appropriate treatment, which may include a professional dental cleaning under anaesthesia. Regular dental check-ups can help prevent dental issues from progressing and ensure your dog maintains good oral health.

How much does it cost to clean a dog’s teeth?

Professional teeth cleaning for dogs typically ranges from $100 to $1,000, depending on the type of service you choose.

Just like humans, dogs need clean teeth and healthy gums to avoid dental problems like decay and plaque buildup. Regular teeth cleaning for dogs not only keeps their breath fresh but also prevents costly vet bills.

Dog owners who prioritize their pet’s dental health can save money and ensure their furry friend has a bright smile. If you’re considering dog dental cleaning, here’s what you need to know about the costs and options available:

  1. Anaesthesia-free clean: This includes plaque removal, gum treatment, tartar control, and tooth polishing. It costs approximately $100 to $300.
  2. Clean with anaesthesia: This involves a thorough cleaning under anaesthesia, suitable for dogs who get stressed during dental procedures. Expect to pay around $500 to $1,000.
Vet doctor brushing dog teeth for dental care - Pet owner cleaning canine mouth

While anaesthesia-free cleaning may seem cheaper, it’s not recommended. Dogs can get injured if they startle during the procedure, and it’s harder for the vet to reach difficult spots or diagnose decay.

Your practitioner or vet will assess your dog’s dental health, perform the cleaning, and suggest a treatment plan if necessary. Typically, a cleaning every 6 to 12 months is ideal for maintaining your dog’s dental health and gum health.

If your dog’s teeth are discoloured or in poor condition, sticking to a regular cleaning schedule can help maintain their dental health.

Note that these prices don’t include tooth extraction or special treatments for periodontal disease, which can cost between $200 to $400 per tooth.

Tips for dog dental care

Here are some easy-to-follow tips for keeping your dog’s teeth healthy and saving money on dental cleaning costs:

  1. Get a canine tooth brushing kit: Use toothpaste specifically made for dogs to avoid upsetting their stomach. Human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs. Starting with a simple and natural paste is best.
  2. Start brushing early: Introduce tooth brushing to your dog when they are a puppy to establish the habit early. Begin with short brushing sessions and gradually increase the time as your dog gets used to it.
  3. Provide dental chews or toys: Dental chews and toys help control plaque and tartar, freshen breath, and provide mental stimulation for your dog.
  4. Consider a special diet: In cases of significant plaque buildup, your vet may recommend a special diet with dental kibble designed to break down plaque mechanically and chemically.

If your dog shows signs like bad breath, excessive drooling, broken or discoloured teeth, bleeding gums, or visible tartar, it’s a good idea to have their dental health checked by a vet. Regular dental care can prevent costly dental problems down the line.