Ballpark Estimate: $300 to $500
Want your dog’s teeth to be sparkling white and look as clean as his newly freshened breath smells? Then you may be tempted to have them professionally cleaned. However, when you find out the cost involved in this effort (it doesn’t come cheap!), you may decide that you’d rather just skip this step. You might begin to think, “What’s so bad about a few tartar stains and some doggy breath?”
Importance of Oral Hygiene
If you believe that cleaning your dog’s teeth is strictly cosmetic, think again. Poor oral hygiene in dogs is actually linked to a range of serious health problems (just as it is in humans), so taking care of your dog’s teeth is much more important than you might think.
The experts say that the best way to manage your dog’s dental hygiene is to brush his teeth yourself and take care of his gums right at home. Then you may be able to avoid turning to a professional for help. (Or at the least, can minimize what will need to be done by your vet.)
But if it’s already too late for at-home dog teeth cleaning, or you just need some extra help, your dog may be in need of a dental intervention. Before you go this route, you should know what’s involved and what to expect.
Sink Your Teeth Into This
Did you know that dental problems are one of a dog’s biggest health issues? Statistics from the American Veterinary Dental Society reveal that more than three-quarters of all dogs have oral disease problems by the time they are three-years-old.
With children, parents usually worry about cavities. When it comes to dogs, however, the concern is about plaque and tartar build up. When this occurs, it can irritate your canine’s gums and cause a condition called gingivitis.
The signs of gingivitis in a dog include red gums and also bad breath. While this may not sound serious, if tartar is allowed to buildup over time, it can ultimately lead to periodontal disease, and this can be a cause of heart, kidney and liver infections in dogs.
The solution to avoid all of this is quite simple: practice good oral hygiene at home for your pet and get professional cleanings as needed from your vet.
If you decide to get your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned, it’s important to know that most dogs won’t just sit still and open their mouths like a human would. Therefore, in order for an expert to safely and thoroughly perform a doggy teeth cleaning, she’ll probably need to put your dog to sleep using general anesthesia. Once your dog is sedated, the veterinarian will be able to take a close look at your dog’s mouth and gums and see exactly what needs to be done. Usually, dog teeth cleanings are performed using ultrasonic scaling and polishing just like what is used in humans. However, the process can be more time intensive with dogs, since they have more teeth (most grown dogs have 42 teeth, which is 10 more than human adults).
While the dog teeth cleaning itself will be relatively uneventful, it’s the preparation for the dog teeth cleaning that can be quite complicated. This is due to a variety of factors. For instance, before getting the teeth cleaning, your dog will need to have a general exam to make sure he’s healthy and can withstand being put to sleep. He’ll also need to have blood work done just to confirm this in advance. Anesthesia can pose a high risk to older dogs, so this can be especially important to ensure he can withstand the process without any ill effects. If everything checks out well, then your dog will be prepped for anesthesia. The manner in which this is done can vary from vet to vet, in the ideal situation, your pet will have several people tending to him throughout the event and ensuring it all goes well. Many vets will also monitor your dog’s vital signs (such as pulse, blood pressure and respiration) and will have someone dedicated to tending to your pet following the teeth cleaning to be sure he wakes up as expected and remains comfortable.
(If you opt for a bargain teeth cleaning at a pet clinic rather than spending the money for a well-respected veterinarian, you may have only one person who’s doing the dog teeth cleaning. But they are simultaneously responsible for watching out for the wellbeing of your dog during the teeth cleaning. This scenario can be a little riskier.)
Variables in Cost
It’s also important to know that you can’t always predict what the final bill for your dog’s teeth cleaning will be in advance, because sometimes once the vet gets into your pet’s mouth, she’ll notice other work that needs to be done at the same time. While with a person, this work could usually be off until a later date, since it’s risky to put a dog to sleep and you’ll want to avoid using anesthesia more than is absolutely necessary, any needed work will have to be done on the spot while your dog is still under anesthesia. This can be anything from treating a mouth or tooth infection to extracting a tooth or addressing a problem with the root system. The work involved in these types of procedures can jack up the price quite a bit, but in the end they will also be well worth the investment.
There are a variety of online resources that can help you to learn more about the dog tooth cleaning process and what to expect. These include DentalVet.com, The American Veterinary Dental College, Veterinary Oral Health Council, American Veterinary Dental Society and VeterinaryPartner.com.
Cost for Dog Teeth Cleaning
You know the saying, “You get what you pay for?” This is especially true when it comes to cleaning your dog’s teeth. There are bargain options out there that you can find that cost about $100. But they don’t offer the level of in-depth dog teeth cleaning and care you probably desire and expect. For this price, you probably won’t get anesthesia, or if you do, you shouldn’t expect that your dog will be checked out before hand, nor closely monitored during the surgical process. If you want high quality dog teeth cleaning that will be sure to protect your dog’s oral and physical health, you’ll probably be willing to spend more at a well-respected veterinarian’s office. In this setting, your vet may charge anywhere from $300 to $1,000 to do the dog teeth cleaning, depending on what level of detail is involved. For this price, it will usually cover the pre-anesthesia exam, blood work, anesthesia and teeth cleaning itself, as well as any procedures that need to be done to your dog’s mouth.
For a quality job, you can expect a cost of between $300 and $1,000 to have dog’s teeth cleaned and any other dental issues addressed, though less quality options might be available for $100+.
For Best Results
In order to help your dog maintain his clean, fresh mouth, you can brush his teeth and gums a minimum of twice a week using a special dog toothbrush and dog paste (which comes in dog-approved flavors such as chicken and beef that is save for your pet to swallow and costs between about $5 and $15 a tube, depending on what type you select). You can also let the dog chew on raw bones or toys that are specially designed to clean tartar. Most of these cost $10 or less. You can also try a gel that you paint on the dog’s teeth every week to help reduce plaque from forming, These can be found at most pet supply stores or online for between $5 and $10. You can also visit The Veterinary Oral Health Council for more information on what oral products are good for your dog’s health and wellbeing