Did you know that proper dental care could be what stands between your dog and a major health problem? A 2009 study by Larry Glickman, a professor of epidemiology at Purdue University, linked gum diseases to heart problems in dogs.
Therefore, cleaning your pet’s teeth is essential to avoid severe dental problems like gum infections and bad breath. Besides affecting the dog’s dental health, these problems may later affect other parts of the body such as the heart, kidneys, and lungs. But how much is a dog dental cleaning? Read on to find out.
What Happens During a Dog Dental Cleaning?
A comprehensive dog dental cleaning by a reputable veterinarian or pet dental cleaning service often includes:
- Full oral examination
- Pre-anesthesia physical
- Dental radiographs
- Dental X-ray
- IV fluids
- Oxygen monitoring
- EKG monitoring
- Dental probing
- Teeth charting
Barring the need for tooth extraction, you can expect the cleaning process to take 45 to 60 minutes. The veterinarian starts with a physical examination to determine whether it’s safe to give your dog anesthesia. The vet will sedate and intubate the dog to ensure a clear airway for administering oxygen and anesthetic gas if it’s safe.
The vet may also place an intravenous (IV) catheter for administering fluids throughout anesthesia to maintain proper blood pressure and organ health. Veterinarians normally use an ultrasonic scaler to clean a dog’s teeth, removing large pieces of tartar and plaque.
They then use a hand scaler to clean under the gumline of each tooth and all sides of the tooth. The next step involves dental probing using instruments known as (hence the name) dental probes, which are so small that they can fit between the teeth and gum. Their purpose is to measure the depth of the pockets between the tooth and gum. Abnormally deep pockets are often a sign of periodontal disease.
After eliminating all the plaque and tartar, the vet rinses your dog’s mouth and polishes all tooth surfaces. The vet rinses the mouth again after polishing and applies a fluoride treatment if necessary.
The last step is aftercare. After reversing the anesthesia, the vet will monitor your dog for a while. Once your pet is fully recovered, the vet will call you for a pickup. When you arrive, the vet will give you a prescription for antibiotics and painkillers if necessary.
You can expect your dog to start eating regular food 12 to 48 hours after a professional cleaning. If the dog had a tooth extraction or major surgery, it might need three to five days to recover completely. You may need to soften your dog’s food to help them eat comfortably while recovering.
How Often Should Your Dog Have a Dental Cleaning?
Depending on the dog, you should have your dog’s teeth cleaned at least once every six to twelve months. Smaller dogs should have a dental cleaning more often because they are more vulnerable to gum diseases due to teeth crowding in the mouth. Crowding is the major cause of plaque accumulation, which results in periodontal disease over time.
When Is It Time for a Dog Dental Cleaning?
You don’t necessarily need to wait six to twelve months to take your dog for a dental cleaning. If you notice any of the following signs, then it’s time for a professional dog dental checkup and cleaning. Seeing the following signs early and taking proper action could help prevent a serious and costly dental disease:
It’s common for pets to have unpleasant breaths. However, if the foul smell is not directly related to anything they ate, it could signify accumulated bacteria and plaque in their mouth. Foul-smelling breath like that of rotten eggs often indicates gum disease, which can damage your dog’s teeth and jaws if left untreated for a prolonged period. Don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian if you notice any strange odors.
You should be worried if you notice a sudden change in your dog’s eating habits, especially when they avoid eating regular food. Besides various health issues, dental problems may also cause your dog to have difficulty chewing or swallowing. Therefore, speak to your vet as soon as possible when you notice a change in your pet’s appetite.
If you notice brown and yellow stains on your dog’s back teeth and around the gum line, it’s time for professional dental cleaning. These stains indicate tartar buildup and are often accompanied by bacterial infections and bad breath. You can prevent tartar buildup by brushing your pet’s teeth every day.
Broken or Worn Teeth
While a dog’s teeth are designed to withstand some wear, you shouldn’t let your furry friend chew on hard objects like rocks and sticks. Chewing or biting hard things can lead to drastic wear of the enamel, exposing the sensitive pulp cavity.
An exposed pulp cavity not only causes severe pain but also creates an avenue for mouth bacteria to reach the tip of the root, forming an abscess. To prevent these problems, be sure to see your vet as soon as possible when you notice your dog has a broken or worn tooth.
Swollen or Bleeding Gums
If your dog has inflamed or bleeding gums, it could be a sign of gum disease or other dental infection. Whatever the issue, your pet may experience toothache or discomfort in the jaw.
Your veterinarian can diagnose the cause of the problem and recommend an appropriate treatment, which may include cleaning and scaling the dog’s teeth to eliminate bacteria and plaque. In serious cases, the vet may recommend tooth extraction or a more complex dental procedure.
Pawing and Drooling
If your dog begins to drool excessively or paws at its face, it could have a dental abscess causing pain and discomfort. The canine tooth (fourth upper premolar tooth) is the most vulnerable to abscesses due to fighting, trauma to the tooth, chewing tough objects, or bacterial infection.
Your vet will often extract the affected tooth before draining the abscess. The vet will then administer some antibiotics to help fight bacterial infection during the recovery process.
You can prevent all these problems by practicing proper dental care and scheduling routine dog dental checkups and cleanings by a reputable professional.
What Is the Cost of a Professional Dog Dental Cleaning?
While the cost of teeth cleaning for dogs ranges from $350 to $1000, the actual price will depend on several factors:
Different veterinarians have different guidelines on how they bill their clients. Some vets bill by type of procedure; others by the time a procedure takes to complete. If your vet bills by procedure type, you could pay several hundred dollars for your dog’s teeth cleaning.
The geographic location of a veterinary practice can also affect the cost of pet dental care. You should expect to pay a higher amount for your pet’s dental cleaning if you live in a major metropolitan area than in a smaller town or rural setting.
If your dog is old, you should expect to pay more for various dental care services. Older dogs usually need more comprehensive examinations to determine their ability to handle anesthesia. That means you may need to pay for extra blood work.
Many veterinarians will bill you based on the pet’s size. You should expect to pay more for a larger dog because larger dogs often use more anesthesia and medications.
Your dog may need more than just basic cleaning, so you should consider some additional costs. For example, if the cleaning includes tooth extraction, your overall cost could increase by $400 to $5000 depending on the location, severity, and number of extractions.
Tips to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy in Between Cleanings
Follow these ideas to keep your pet’s teeth healthy and clean in between vet visits:
Dog Dental Bones
You should find a good brand of special dental treats or dental chew designed to promote dog dental cleaning and maintain fresh breath. Regular chewing helps prevent tartar accumulation besides giving your pet something to entertain itself with when bored.
Dog Teeth Brushing
Brushing your dog’s teeth can be easy or challenging, depending on your dog’s temperament. Special dog toothpaste and toothbrushes are available on the market. These make it easy for you to eliminate any visible food particles and other accumulations.
You can also find products that you can mix with your dog’s food to help soften and break up plaque buildup on the teeth surfaces. You can also spray products into the dog’s mouth directly to help eliminate tartar and plaque buildup. If your dog won’t let you brush its teeth, you can use these products but keep in mind that they are not as effective as brushing.
Providing proper dental care for your dog will ensure good oral health and help it live a longer and happier life. Besides regular brushing and providing dental bones at home, you should schedule routine dental checkups and cleanings with an experienced veterinarian. We hope this article has helped answer the common question, “How much is a dog dental cleaning?” and more!