Dog Dental Cleanings: Everything You Need To Know

Dog Dental Cleanings

If you keep up with your dog’s annual vet visits, you have likely heard about recommended dental cleanings. Since our dogs don’t always have the same access to daily tooth brushing and other dental care as we do, they require yearly teeth cleanings to keep their teeth healthy.

So what is a dog dental cleaning?

In this article we will dive into the details of dog dental cleanings, and help you understand everything you need to know about your dog’s dental health!

What Is A Dog Dental Exam?

Before your dog ever has a dental cleaning, they will first need a dental exam. A thorough dental exam involves a vet taking a close look at the condition of your dog’s teeth, and grading the plaque or damage that is present.

This exam can be performed while our pups are awake. Your vet will then be able to determine what type of dental care your dog needs going forward. 

What Is A Dog Dental Cleaning?

Simply put, a dog dental cleaning is a procedure that thoroughly cleans your dog’s teeth while they are under anesthesia. With being under general anesthesia, the veterinarian will be able to get a much closer look at each tooth than they ever could while your dog is awake. Your veterinarian will likely begin their dental cleaning with a quick dental x-ray, then get to work on the actual procedure. 

During a routine dental cleaning your vet will evaluate their gums. They will examine each tooth, remove dental plaque and tartar with an ultrasonic scaler. They will then polish each tooth. If your dog has mild tartar that is able to be removed, this will be as in-depth as the procedure gets. However, if your dog has severe dental disease and needs a tooth removed, the veterinarian can remove the infected tooth and clean the surrounding area. 

Is Dog Teeth Cleaning Necessary?

When it comes to a dog’s dental health, many pet owners wonder if at home dental care is enough. Since some pet owners even attempt to scale their pet’s teeth at home with a human scaler, some have begun to believe that a dental cleaning procedure is not necessary. In order to help you understand that this is not the best option, let’s dive into the facts. 

A professional dog dental cleaning at your veterinary office is the best way to maintain your dog’s dental health. When a dog owner attempts to clean their dog’s teeth at home with tooth brushing or with a scaler, they are only able to address the tartar that’s above the gum line. This leaves dangerous bacteria beneath the gum line that will begin to impact your dog’s tooth. 

Another important thing to keep in mind is the fact that a dental scaler leaves behind tiny microscopic scratches on your dog’s tooth with each use. Without using a professional grade polish after each scaling treatment, you may be damaging your dog’s teeth. This is why professional dental cleanings will polish your dog’s teeth at the end of their procedure. 

As you can see, it’s just not possible to thoroughly clean your dog’s teeth when they are awake and without professional dental tools. Routine dental cleanings will result in better dental health for your pup, and a pain free future as a result. Before you choose to stick to at home cleaning methods, we urge you to consider the possible complications. 

How Often Do Dogs Need Dental Cleanings?

When it comes to how often a dog needs a dental cleaning, each case will vary. While some dogs require a dental cleaning each year, other dogs may be able to make it every couple years. In order to figure out which dental cleaning schedule is best for your dog, it’s important to keep up with their yearly physical exams. Your vet will be able to take a look at the state of their teeth during this exam, and can determine what is best for your furry friend. 

Complications From Dog Dental Cleaning 

The most common complication of dog dental cleanings is a negative reaction to the anesthesia. While most dogs are perfectly fine and have no lasting impacts from the sedation, there is a small percentage of dogs that are not as lucky. While there is a small chance of an anesthesia reaction in a healthy dog, most negative impact happen in dogs that have kidney or liver issues. 

A dog’s liver and kidneys help the body metabolize different medications and anesthesia. Any decline in function of these organs can cause serious difficulties with anesthesia. Because of this possibility, it’s important to ask your vet about preanesthetic blood work for your dog, no matter their age.

This is such an essential step in the process, that some vets will not perform the dental procedure without preanesthetic blood work. By ensuring the proper function of these organs before the procedure, your dog will have a better chance of avoiding complications.

At Home Dental Care For Your Dog

Whether you are wanting to keep your dog’s teeth healthy between dental cleanings or trying to improve their dental health, at home dental care is a wonderful option. At home dental care allows you to help your dog fight off the daily tartar and bacteria that can build up on their teeth, all without anesthesia.

What are the best options for cleaning your dog’s teeth at home? Here are a few options you have:

Brushing Their Teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth with a dog approved toothpaste is an incredible way to stay on top of your dog’s pet health. Daily teeth brushing can rid their teeth of bacteria, fight off tartar, and even improve their breath. Just be sure to only use dog toothpaste, as human toothpaste is not safe for dogs to swallow. 

Dental Chews

Dental chews are another wonderful way of maintaining your dog’s dental hygiene. They help to break off tartar, improve bad breath, and even offer plaque fighting ingredients within the chews. This is a great way to not only protect your dog’s teeth, but offer them a tasty treat that they will love. 

Tooth Safe Toys

Offering tooth safe toys are another important way of maintaining your dog’s dental health. Some hard bones and toys have been known to crack canine teeth, causing an emergency trip to the vet. Be sure to stick to toys such as kongs, plush toys, rope toys, and other tooth safe products. 

As you can see, dog dental cleanings are an important part of maintaining their overall health. Be sure to ask your vet about your dog’s dental health at your next vet visit, and your pup will have the best dental hygiene on the block!

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