Dog Teeth Cleaning Without Anesthesia

Brushing your teeth is probably one of the first things you do in the morning and one of the last things you do at night. Oral hygiene is extremely important and is probably something you were brought up doing on a daily basis. But what about your dog? Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is a little trickier than caring for your own. After all, your dog can’t brush his own teeth and he’s unlikely to sit still long enough for you to do it for him every day.

Whether you brush your dog’s teeth or not, it is recommended that you have them cleaned about once per year by a professional. Many veterinarians recommend anesthesia for dog teeth cleaning, but there are other options. Keep reading to learn more.

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What is Involved in Dog Teeth Cleaning?

You’ve undoubtedly been to the dentist before to have your teeth professionally cleaned, so you have some idea what to expect. The process is similar for dogs, but there are some key differences. Most veterinarians choose to anesthetize dogs for the procedure because they are unlikely to sit still long enough – it is also done to prevent pain and to keep the dog’s airway open.

Before starting the cleaning, your veterinarian (or an assistant) will examine your dog and review his medical history. He’ll take your dog’s weight, body temperature, and check his teeth, heart, and lungs. After the dog has been anesthetized, the technician will start by removing large chunks of tartar from the teeth and will then check for infection, cavities, and other signs of disease. If no abnormal findings are reported, the next step is removing plaque under the gumline. From there, the teeth are polished and treated with fluoride to protect them until the next cleaning.

Related: Why Are Small Breed Dogs Susceptible to Tooth Loss?

Can It Be Done without Anesthesia?

Veterinarians who use anesthesia during teeth cleanings are extremely careful. In addition to taking your dog’s weight, they will review your dog’s chart and complete and exam to determine whether any adjustments need to be made to the dosage. During the procedure, your dog’s vitals will be closely monitored, and he will be kept for observation for a short period after just to be safe.

Though standard procedure is to anesthetize pets before a dental cleaning, some pet stores and groomers are starting to offer it without anesthesia. Some dogs are more sensitive to anesthesia, making the risk higher, but most veterinarians agree that anesthesia-free dental cleanings are dangerous. Because there is no anesthesia being used, your dog will be physically restrained which can be a scary and unsafe experience. Plus, the procedure is less comprehensive than it otherwise would be, because the don’t won’t allow certain things to be done.

Your dog’s teeth might end up whiter, but they won’t be healthier.

A thorough dental cleaning for dogs can be a complex procedure, especially if your dog has advanced periodontal disease or damaged teeth. If your dog’s teeth are still in fairly good shape, do him and yourself a favor and start brushing your dog’s teeth regularly to keep them healthy.