Professional Dog Dental Cleanings: Your Guide to the Process

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The world of pet ownership isn’t always wagging tails and cute cuddles. Sometimes, it comes with responsibilities that are as difficult as they are necessary.

Picture this: You’re relaxing at home, your faithful canine companion beside you, and you suddenly notice a strong, unpleasant odor. You turn towards your dog, and with a sinking feeling, you realize the smell is coming from their mouth.

It’s that moment every pet owner dreads – realizing that it’s time to consider professional dental cleaning.

Well, as seasoned pet owners, we’ve been there too, and in this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know. Because when it comes to your furry friend’s dental health, staying informed is the name of the game.

long-coated brown dog with white teeth looking up

Is a Professional Dental Cleaning Necessary?

Absolutely, it is. Regular brushing and dental toys are important for maintaining your dog’s oral health, but they’re not always enough.

Over time, plaque and tartar can build up on your dog’s teeth, leading to gum disease and other serious health complications. Professional cleaning removes these deposits, effectively giving your dog’s oral health a ‘reset’.

It’s as essential to your dog’s wellbeing as their yearly vaccinations.

What Really Happens During a Cleaning?

During a professional dental cleaning, your dog is typically put under anesthesia for their comfort and safety. The veterinarian will then perform a comprehensive examination of your dog’s mouth, checking for any signs of disease or discomfort.

They will also take dental radiographs to check for problems hidden below the gum line.

The vet will then scale your dog’s teeth to remove any tartar and plaque buildup, followed by polishing to smooth out the tooth surfaces. This not only leaves your dog’s teeth sparkling clean but also helps slow the formation of future plaque.

The procedure typically ends with an application of fluoride or a similar protective product to strengthen your dog’s teeth until their next cleaning. And voila – your dog is ready to flash that clean, healthy doggy smile!

Preparing Your Dog for the Big Day

Preparing your dog for a professional dental cleaning can greatly ease their stress and discomfort. Here’s a game plan to ensure your pooch is ready for their big day.

Firstly, most vets require that your dog fasts for several hours before the procedure to reduce the risk of vomiting under anesthesia. Always follow your vet’s instructions regarding pre-procedure fasting.

Secondly, use positive reinforcement to help your dog associate the vet visit with good things. On the days leading up to the cleaning, take them for fun rides and maybe a quick stop at the vet’s office for a treat or two.

Now here’s a tip you won’t find on every blog – exercise your dog before the appointment. A good run or play session can help burn off excess energy, making your dog more relaxed and cooperative during the visit.

And of course, comfort is key. Bring along your dog’s favorite blanket or toy to give them a familiar scent during the process.

Should You Worry About Risks?

While any procedure involving anesthesia comes with certain risks, professional dental cleanings for dogs are generally safe and serious complications are rare.

In fact, the benefits of a cleaning often far outweigh the risks. Poor dental health can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease and kidney problems. By keeping your dog’s teeth clean, you’re investing in their overall health and longevity.

However, it’s important to have an open conversation with your vet about any concerns you may have.

Ask about the anesthesia protocol, monitoring procedures, and post-operative care. If your dog is older or has underlying health conditions, discuss this with your vet to ensure any extra precautions are taken.

Try to keep an open line of communication with your vet and always prioritize your dog’s comfort and well-being.

How to Keep Those Teeth Sparkling Between Cleanings

Even with regular professional cleanings, maintaining your dog’s dental health is a year-round commitment. Here are some key steps to keep those canine chompers gleaming.

First, establish a daily brushing routine. Using a dog-friendly toothpaste and a brush that suits your dog’s size, make teeth brushing a regular part of your dog’s day.

Next, consider incorporating dental chews into your dog’s diet. These treats not only satisfy your pup’s natural urge to chew but also help reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

And last but not least, keep an eye out for signs of dental issues. Regularly inspect your dog’s mouth for any changes or abnormalities.

To share my story, when Charlie was just a pup, he wasn’t keen on having his teeth brushed. But then I stumbled upon a peanut butter-flavored dog toothpaste. It was a game-changer. Now, Charlie sees tooth brushing as a tasty treat, and it’s an enjoyable experience for both of us!


What is the typical cost of a professional dog dental cleaning?

A professional dog dental cleaning can range between $200 and $800, including the pre-dental exam, anesthesia, and cleaning.

How often should a dog have a professional dental cleaning?

Generally, most dogs benefit from a professional dental cleaning yearly, but your vet may recommend a different frequency based on your dog’s specific health needs.

Can I remain with my dog during the cleaning process?

Typically, owners are not present during a dog dental cleaning due to the controlled, sterile environment required for anesthesia.

Is sedation always necessary for a dental cleaning?

Sedation is typically used in dog dental cleanings to ensure the safety and comfort of your dog while allowing the vet to clean thoroughly.

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