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What to Expect After Dog Teeth Cleaning [Costs & Aftercare Explained]

Just like us, dogs can get cavities, gum disease, and other complications when their teeth aren’t cleaned. This can lead to pain, tooth loss, and serious health issues. While you can brush your dog’s teeth every day, it’s also important to get regular cleanings at the vet. But what can you expect after dog teeth cleaning?

This is a procedure that a lot of dog owners aren’t aware of. But it’s very important to your dog’s health. Of course, a professional cleaning typically comes with anesthesia, which can worry some dog owners. But this exam is safe for most pups and will improve their overall health and well-being going forward. So here is how to prepare your dog and what to expect after the teeth cleaning!

dog getting teeth cleaned by owner

Is It Necessary to Get Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaned?

Dogs can benefit from professional teeth cleaning at the veterinarians since these are more extensive cleanings that will get spots that a toothbrush or dental treat can’t reach. Bring your dog to get checkups regularly, and always ask about their dental health to see if your vet suggests teeth cleaning at the office.

There are some dogs that will require more frequent teeth cleaning than others. Dental cleanings are especially important for dog breeds with a genetic predisposition for dental disease. These are often smaller dog breeds because they have a smaller mouth.

Dogs who eat wet food will also need more teeth cleanings at the vet. While wet food is often considered healthier for your dog’s weight and overall health, one of the downsides is more dental issues. Chewing dry food helps remove some of the plaque from your dog’s teeth.

Related: Organic Food Vs Non-Organic Food [In-Depth Comparison]

But no matter your dog’s breed or lifestyle, you should regularly brush your dog’s teeth and bring them to vet cleanings to maintain their health and well-being. You should bring your dog to a vet cleaning if you believe your dog is developing dental disease.

What Happens If I Don’t Clean My Dog’s Teeth?

Without proper cleaning routines and vet visits, your dog’s overall health will be at risk. Plaque will start to build up on their teeth and near their gums, causing bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. This can also cause painful infections that can spread and become life-threatening.



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If you believe that your dog is developing a dental disease, you must make a vet appointment for an exam and teeth cleaning. Oftentimes, gum and dental diseases can’t be detected immediately, and the signs will only show when your dog is starting to experience pain and discomfort.

What to Look For:

  • Bad breath: Also known as halitosis, if your dog’s breath smells worse than usual that could mean their mouth is dirty or worse.
  • Inflamed gums: If you open your dog’s mouth and their gums seem swollen, discolored, or are bleeding, this is a sign of developing gum disease due to plaque buildup.
  • Discolored teeth: Your dog’s teeth should be white or off-white. If they are yellow or brown, it’s important to make a vet appointment to start discussing regular cleanings and brushing.
  • Lost or missing teeth: Teeth start to fall out when they are rotting or when the gums aren’t able to hold them in anymore. This means that the gum disease is already causing pain for your dog.
  • Weight loss: Your dog might stop eating due to the pain involved with chewing. If your dog is refusing food or losing weight, it’s important to contact a veterinarian about your dog’s discomfort.
  • Itching at the mouth: When your dog is in pain, they will start itching and scratching at their mouth in an attempt to stop the frustrating feeling. You will also notice them licking their lips more often.
  • Blood in saliva: This is a tell-tale sign that your dog’s mouth isn’t healthy. You might also spot blood on their chew toys or inside their water bowl.

If you don’t address these issues, your dog’s health will quickly deteriorate. Because of the blood supply and tooth roots within the bone, an infection in the mouth can easily enter your dog’s bloodstream. This means it will quickly spread and infect other vital organs in your dog’s body, including their kidneys, liver, and even the heart.

Pomeranian teeth being cleaned

Do Dogs Need to Fast Before Getting Their Teeth Cleaned?

There are a few things to keep in mind before getting your dog’s teeth cleaned. Because this procedure involves anesthesia, there are a few steps to take to ensure that your dog is prepared for their teeth cleaning.

Physical Exam

Visit your veterinarian for a physical. The vet will listen to their heart for murmurs or other abnormalities to ensure your dog is healthy enough for the procedure. If there are any concerns, you might have to get your dog further testing, like chest radiographs.

Additional Tests

Another important test your veterinarian will need to perform is drawing blood. The tests that come from this are to ensure that your dog’s organs can handle the anesthesia. This includes liver and kidney functions as well as red blood cell count. This type of test is especially important for elderly dogs who are more susceptible to liver and kidney disease.

Antibiotics

Only give your dog antibiotics if the veterinarian prescribed them. Dogs with severe infections or gingivitis will often be instructed to take antibiotics a few days before the procedure. This will hopefully clear the infection before the procedure to avoid possible complications.

Fasting

Your dog will need to start fasting the night before the dental procedure. A veterinarian will provide you with specific instructions, but most owners will not give their dog food or water 12 hours before the cleaning. This will ensure your dog’s teeth are cleaner and, more importantly, reduce the possibility of them vomiting while sedated.

What to Expect After Dog Teeth Cleaning

During a dog’s teeth cleaning, the vet will focus on the following procedures:

  • Removing plaque from tooth with an ultrasonic scaler
  • Removing plaque from under the gum line
  • Polishing the teeth
  • Flouride treatment
  • Applying oravet, a sealant that reduces plaque and tartar accumulation
  • Documenting the condition of your pet’s mouth

Since anesthesia was used during this process, your dog might wake up feeling a bit groggy. Your vet will monitor them after the exam, keeping them warm and comfortable while they recover.

Most dogs will be able to go home the same day as their procedure. But they will still be pretty sleepy for the rest of the day. This should last less than 24 hours. During that time, make your dog comfy and let them get some rest. They might not want to eat.

The symptoms should last less than two days. If your dog still appears groggy and lethargic 24 hours after the cleaning, contact your vet to see if your dog needs a checkup or if there’s anything you can do to help your dog recover.

Are Dogs in Pain After Teeth Cleaning?

Most dogs won’t exhibit signs of dental pain, but a bit of soreness is common. Some dogs may experience more discomfort depending on their oral health and conditions and what procedures they had done.

In some cases, the vet will prescribe antibiotics or pain medications for your dog once they are sent home. Your vet will give you specific instructions on how to treat your dog. Instructions will also be on most bottle labels.

You can also provide CBD oil for your dog if they seem to be experiencing discomfort. CBD oil is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that will comfort your dog and help them reach a state of balance. 

Cannabidiol (CBD) interacts with the receptors in your dog’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which promotes overall health and well-being. CBD is commonly used to soothe discomfort, irritation, and other physical ailments.

What Should I Feed My Dog After Teeth Cleaning?

Your dog’s mouth will be sensitive after the cleaning. Provide them with soft canned food or soften kibble with water. You should expect to do this for up to a week.

Your dog will most likely be hungry when they return, especially if they aren’t in too much pain. Fasting beforehand will make them possibly ravenous. Your dog would gladly scarf down dry food no matter how hard it is. To ensure their safety and health, switch it out for soft food.

If you want to give your dog a treat, try a CBD calming chew. These are incredibly soft treats that are delicious and easy to digest! They’re a healthy way for your dog to get a special snack after their procedure.

Related: Good and Bad Dog Food Ingredients: Knowing is Caring

fluffy dog at the vet

Should Older Dogs Get Their Teeth Cleaned?

Remember that older dogs are more prone to have health conditions. Some of these health problems will make anesthesia too dangerous to their health. Your veterinarian will determine this before the cleaning, regardless of age. No dog is “too old” to have its teeth cleaned. It’s more dependent on their health and ailments.

How Often Should Dogs Have Their Teeth Cleaned?

Starting at about six months old, dogs should get oral exams and dental x-rays about once a year. Dogs generally get their teeth cleaned by the veterinarian once every six months. Talk to your veterinarian about what’s right for your dog’s specific needs and conditions.

Why Is Dog Teeth Cleaning So Expensive?

Professionally cleaning your dog’s teeth can cost between $1,000 and $3,000. The price can be high due to the use of x-rays and anesthesia. 

It’s not as simple as brushing your dog’s teeth and takes a well-trained, expert staff to do it properly.

If you can’t afford a teeth cleaning, discuss Care Credit and other payment options with your vet. Depending on where you live, the procedure might be cheaper as well. It’s very important to go with a veterinarian you can trust who is board-certified and experienced.

Final Thoughts – What to Expect After Dog Teeth Cleaning

A lot of dog owners are surprised to learn that you have to bring your dog to the vet for regular cleanings. While it’s important to brush your dog’s teeth daily, this extensive procedure reaches spots that a toothbrush can’t and gives your dog’s mouth extra protection against plaque.

But sometimes the use of anesthesia can worry some pet owners. Will my dog be okay? Veterinarians will run a series of tests and do exams before the procedure to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to be given anesthesia safely.

And what about after? Dogs will be able to go home the same day in most instances following a short observation period. Keep in mind, your dog might appear groggy due to the anesthesia, and their mouth might also be sore.

Let your dog rest and give them soft food and CBD oil for comfort. Your dog will be back to their positive, energetic personality in no time. And now they will also be healthier thanks to their cleaner mouth!



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