How Much Does Professional Teeth Cleaning for Dogs Cost? (2023)

April 14, 2023

How Much Does Professional Teeth Cleaning for Dogs Cost? (1)

Dogs, just like humans, need professional teeth cleanings. While ongoing at-home canine tooth care is important, having a veterinarian professionally clean your pup's teeth once every year or two is very importantto supportyour dog's dental health and overall wellbeing.

Without professional cleanings, your dog may experience bad breath, inflamed gums, periodontal (gum) disease, andtooth loss. Over time, periodontal disease can causechronic pain, receding gums, bone loss, and even heart diseases likeendocarditis,a potentially fatal bacterial or fungal infection of the heart's chambers and valves.

In thisDJANGO Dog Blogarticle, weexplain what actually happens during doggy teeth cleanings, we discuss the average cost of professional canine dental care, and we review what dog owners can do at home to promote their dog's dental health.

Preliminary Dental Exam

In order tohavetheir teeth examined and cleaned thoroughly, dogs must be put under anesthesia. Before this happens, however, your vet will complete a preliminary dental exam with you in the room. During this exam, the vet is looking for canine dentalproblems including:

  • Bite misalignment
  • Broken, chipped, or cracked teeth
  • Extra baby or adult teeth
  • Bad breath (canine gingivitis)
  • Plaque or tartar buildup
  • Bleeding or swollen gums
  • Yellow- or brown-colored teeth
  • Blood or stringysaliva

During the preliminary exam, tellyourvet if your dog has been eating less (which might be a sign he has gum disease), excessively drooling, chewing abnormally, or dropping food from his mouth.

Now is also a good chance to ask your vet any other questions you might have related to anesthesia,your dog's dental heath, and/orthe teeth cleaning process in general.

Mandatory Pre-Op Lab Work

After the preliminary exam,your vet will order pre-op lab work to confirm that your dog is able to go under anesthesia. Assuming your dog is in good health, you will then be able to schedule and proceed with your dog's teeth cleaning.

Teeth Cleaning and Exam

Your dog will be under anesthesia throughout the entire teeth cleaning and exam. During this time, the veterinarian will take x-rays of your dog's mouth and probe each tooth to measure the depth of its pocket.The veterinarian will also perform a complete oral exam (tooth-by-tooth) and charting. Hewill use hand and ultrasonic scalers to remove tartar and plaque from your dog's teeth and under his gum line. Then the vet will polish your dog'steethto fill in any microscopic scratches.Finally,he will apply fluoride and a dental sealant tostop tooth decay.


According to Cherry Hill Animal Hospital, a reputable animal hospital in New Jersey, dogs are typically under anesthesia for 1 to 1.5 hours. This time estimate assumes that there areno teeth extractions during the cleaning and exam process.

If a dog ultimately needs one or more teeth extracted, he mayneed to be under anesthesia for as long as 2-4 hours. Total time under anesthesia will largely depend on the size of the dog and how many teeth ultimately need extraction.

Estimatedcostfor dog teeth cleaning and exam

Professional teeth cleaning for dogscan range anywhere from $250-$750 when performed by a general practitioner veterinarian. Thisestimated cost range is for the anesthesia and actual cleaning and exam while your dog is under.Pricing will vary basedon geographic location, the size of your dog (cleanings for larger dogstake more time and thus are typically more expensive), and even thereputation of the veterinarian who performs the service.

As a pricing reference,professional canine teeth cleanings in New Jersey (where we live) average $500, assuming no tooth extractions.This $500 doesnotinclude a few additionalexpensesrelative to the cleaning process (more on this in the next section).

For dogs that need teeth extracted while the dog is under anesthesia for the cleaning and exam, pricing startsaround $1,000 and goes up from there.To be clear, thisamount covers the cleaning and exam as well as the tooth extractions.

Additional coststo be aware of

In addition to yourdog's teeth cleaning and exam, there will be a few moreexpensesassociated with yourpup'sdental care. Veterinarians will charge for:

  • Initial consultation / preliminary dental exam: $50-100
  • Pre-op lab work that determines your pup can handle anesthesia: $100-250
  • Any necessary tooth extractions while your dog is under anesthesia: $300-500+.

All of these estimated costs are in addition to the cleaning/exam cost we listed above ($500 on average where we live in New Jersey). Any aftercare medications, root canals, and advanced imaging will also increase the price further.

Finally, know that dog owners can pay as much as$4,000 for professional dog teeth cleanings ifthey go to aboard-certified veterinary dentist (DAVDC) at a high-end facility.Board-certified veterinary dentists are trained in anesthesia, pain management, and reading computerized tomography scans (CTs) and x-rays.


Standard petinsurancetypically does not cover professional teeth cleanings for dogs. But some pet insurance companies likeEmbrace Pet Insuranceoffer wellness add-ons that cover up to $1,000 in dental care each year.

If you have a senior dog or a dog with poor dental health, it may make sense to find a pet insurance program that offers canine dental care options.

How Much Does Professional Teeth Cleaning for Dogs Cost? (2)

While professional dog teeth cleanings are crucial, there are a lot of things dog owners can do at home to promote their pup's dental health.Here are 4 easy ways to keep your dog's chompers clean at home.


Brush your dog's teeth daily, or as frequently as you can.Use a traditionalpet-friendlytoothbrush or a toothbrush thatslips over your finger (example in the video below). Sincehuman toothpastemay include ingredients likexylitolthat are not safe for dogs, purchase ahigh quality dog toothpaste such asArm & Hammer's Tartar Control Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs. Canine toothpaste usually comes indrool-worthy flavors like beef, chicken,andpeanut butter.

If your pup violently squirms away from dog toothbrushes and wipes,use oureffective bully stick method. It's a great trick for dogs that hate teeth brushing.Watch this YouTube video to learn more.


Dog dental chews are deliciousdog treats designed to scrape plaque and tartar off your pup’s teeth. Many all-natural dog dental treats also contain enzymes that break down food particles and repair tooth minerals.

Mike and I (Steph) highly recommend theBARK Bright Dental Kit. It comes with a 30-day supply of triple-enzymatic toothpaste and chicken-flavored dental sticks. After you squeeze BARK's triple enzymatic toothpaste into the dental chew's deep groove, your dog does all the dirty work.Here is our full product review of the BARK Bright Dental System.

Other dog owners swear by Greenies Dental Treats for Dogs. These oral health dog treats have a unique texture that helps to clean dogs' teeth down to the gum line and ultimately fight plaque and tartar and freshen bad dog breath.

While none of thesedog dental chews are magic solutions to dental problems and bad breath (and should not replace professional dog teeth cleanings), theyare a cheap and easy way topromotedoggydental health on a small scale and from the comfort of your own home.


Simply add a dog mouthwash, such asTropiClean Fresh Breath Original Dog Dental Water Additive, to your dog's water bowl. The tasteless and odorless formula fights plaque and tartar formation. It also provides fresher breath in 14 days or less.


You can also try disposable dog dental wipes, such asVet's Best Dental Care Finger Wipes. While they cannot squeeze into the same nooks and crannies a dog toothbrush does, dog dental wipes are often easier to use.

Yes. Professional teeth cleaning does not justkeep your dog's bad breath at bay.It also helps fightgum disease thatcan cause abscesses,inflamed gums, infections, pain, and tooth loss.

In the long term, poor oral health can even affect your dog's heart, liver, and kidneys. Not only would serious health problemsarising from poor dental care be devastating to you and your four-legged family, they would also be extremely costly to address.

Are professional dog teeth cleanings cheap? No. But they can potentially save youthousands of dollars in future doggy medical bills in the futurewhile also promotingyour dog's long-term health—the most important thing! Ask your vet about professional teeth cleaning for your pup at your next visit.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below!






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How Much Does Professional Teeth Cleaning for Dogs Cost? ›

Teeth cleaning for dogs typically costs anywhere between $170 to $350 if done by a general practitioner veterinarian, or up to $4,000 when performed by a board-certified veterinary dentist at a high-end facility, with potentially other procedures involved.

Why is dog teeth cleaning so expensive? ›

Veterinary dentists typically cost more based on their advanced training, equipment, and anesthesia. A typical service with with x-rays, exams, and cleanings starts at $800-$1,300. Nerve blocks, extractions, medications, advanced imaging such as CTs, and root canals will increase the price.

Is dog dental cleaning worth it? ›

Vets encourage dental cleaning because dental disease is painful for your dog. Regular brushing with dog-safe enzymatic toothpaste, dental treats, and dental specific diets will all help slow the buildup of dental tartar, and hopefully lessen the risk of dental disease.

How often should dog's teeth be cleaned by vet? ›

Most veterinary dentists recommend that dogs should have their teeth cleaned once a year. However, this can largely depend on the breed and if the dog has any pre-existing health conditions. Larger dogs tend to need one dental cleaning per year, or in some cases, less often.

What is the average age for a dog to get a dental cleaning? ›

Most dogs and cats should have their first dental cleaning at 2-3 years of age. Small breed dogs should definitely receive care no later than two years of age. You don't want to wait much longer than this, as signs of periodontal disease are commonly seen by these ages.

Do dogs feel better after teeth cleaning? ›

Often after a dental is performed on a pet with a painful, diseased mouth and the infected teeth or infection are removed, the pet is suddenly playful and more energetic.

How painful is teeth cleaning for dogs? ›

Most dogs and cats don't exhibit signs of dental pain, even after a dental procedure — they just want dinner. An animal's drive to eat generally supersedes any pain they may experience, so it's up to us to keep them comfortable until their mouth returns to normal.

Do dogs have to go under anesthesia for teeth cleaning? ›

Only a limited oral exam and tartar removal above the gumline is possible without anesthesia. Dental anesthesia is critical for a complete, thorough cleaning for the following reasons: An awake animal is unlikely to allow a veterinarian to poke around his mouth with dental instruments.

How do I prepare my dog for a dental cleaning? ›

Fast The Night Before. If your dog is having a dental cleaning, you should keep food and water away from them for about 12 hours before the procedure. The fast is necessary to prevent your dog from vomiting while under sedation, which can lead to serious complications.

Are greenies good for dogs? ›

They're Safe for Dogs

The lack of harmful ingredients means Greenies Dental Treats are a safe, healthy pet food that is easily digestible. Just make sure your pet chews them thoroughly before swallowing.

How do you remove tartar from a dog's teeth without a dentist? ›

The best way to remove plaque is to simply brush your dog's teeth daily with a dog toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste. Brushing your pooch's teeth every now and then won't get rid of a buildup of plaque, but regular brushing will help keep their teeth and mouths healthy.

What do dogs teeth look like when they need to be cleaned? ›

Signs your dog needs veterinary help

Take a look at their teeth and their gums. Your dog's teeth should be clean and white, and their gums should be nice and pink. If you see brown on their teeth and you notice that their gums are red then now would be the time for you to call the vet.

What if my dog has never had his teeth cleaned? ›

Regular dental care is just as important for dogs as it is for humans! If your dog has never had their teeth cleaned, you should definitely see a veterinary dentist.

What are the signs of dental problems in dogs? ›

What are the signs of dental pain in dogs?
  • decreased interest in eating dry food.
  • decreased interest in hard treats.
  • chewing more slowly than usual.
  • dropping food from the mouth while chewing.
  • excessive drooling.
  • pawing at the mouth.
  • new or worsening resistance to having the face/mouth touched.

Is it safe to have a 13 year old dogs teeth cleaned? ›

Whilst senior dogs are more susceptible to certain health conditions and their bodies have certainly seen more wear and tear than the average puppy, age is not a disease and technically speaking, no dog is 'too old' to go under anaesthesia and have their teeth cleaned.

What are the side effects of anesthesia for dog teeth cleaning? ›

Your dog may cough because the intubation tube can cause throat irritation, and he may whine or cry because anesthesia side effects include disorientation and discomfort. They will also be extremely tired and thirsty, and possibly a little constipated.

Why is my dog crying after teeth cleaning? ›

You may also have seen videos of kids or adults waking up from anesthesia, after dentistry or surgery, and they say the weirdest or funniest things – which they don't even remember later. Since dogs don't understand what's happening, it causes anxiety. And they don't know how to express that, except through whining.

Do dogs stay overnight after teeth cleaning? ›

Most pets go home the same day as their dental cleanings. It is important to remember that they may still be a little sleepy from the anesthetic and events of the day. Some also may be a little sore from having plaque/tartar removed or from having teeth removed.

Do dog groomers clean teeth? ›

Cleaning the teeth is done by vets

Pet dental care is truly the role of a veterinarian and does not fall under the scope of grooming. One of the reasons is the safety of your pet and also the safety of the groomer.

How do vets sedate dogs for dental cleaning? ›

Once we have the IV catheter placed, and your pet has been premedicated with a sedative and pain medication combination, we are ready to use an anesthetic agent to put your pet completely under anesthesia, so she is unconscious and unaware.

Can you deep clean your dogs teeth at home? ›

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) (an organization of veterinary dentists and dental scientists) says that toothbrushing is the “gold standard” for at-home dental care for pets. However, you can't use human dental products for your dog—these contain ingredients that are not pet-safe.

Does Greenies work? ›

In independent dental testing, dogs receiving one GREENIES Dental Chew per day averaged 60% less tartar accumulation, 33% less plaque accumulation, 80% healthier gums, and 45% improvement in oral malodor (halitosis) in a 28 day feeding study compared to dogs who only received dry dog food.

What to expect with my dogs first dental cleaning? ›

A dental cleaning visit will include a thorough dental examination, teeth cleaning, and polishing to remove the tartar and periodontal disease-causing plaque. This is done while your dog is under general anesthesia.

Do dogs need bloodwork before dental? ›

Before your dog goes under anesthesia for surgery or dental work, your veterinarian will require blood work.

Do dog dental sticks really work? ›

The Bottom Line. While some dental chews are effective for dogs, these aren't a replacement for regular toothbrushing or professional dental care routines. These elements of a great oral health care routine should stay on your dog's calendar, and their teeth will remain in good condition.

How often should you give your dog dental chews? ›

Just like us, dogs need daily dental care for a healthy mouth. One stick a day helps mop away bacteria before plaque can become tartar. Plus, a daily routine is a great way to bond with your dog. It's best to give dental sticks after a meal - we recommend after breakfast.

How often to brush dog teeth? ›

Like us, it is ideal to brush your dog's teeth at least twice daily. For many dogs, once brushing becomes a part of their daily routine they will begin to expect and enjoy it. Brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation.

What softens tartar on dogs teeth? ›

Products that Reduce or Remove Dog Plaque & Tartar

Oral home care products that may remove plaque include dental treats, dental wipes, pet-specific toothpaste, or gels used in tooth brushing. Tooth brushing is considered the gold standard in oral home care.

Is it too late to brush dogs teeth? ›

It's ideal to begin home care when your pet is young however, it is never too late to start. There are many different methods to prevent dental disease and to assist with dental hygiene at home, some of which include: Regular brushing. Treats and chews.

Will coconut oil remove tartar from dogs teeth? ›

Coconut oil is safe for dogs to consume, and can help reduce plaque and tartar build-up on their teeth. To use coconut oil to brush your dog's teeth, simply rub a small amount of coconut oil onto their teeth and gums. You can also add a bit of water to help make the process easier.

Do carrots clean dogs teeth? ›

The Benefits of Raw Carrots

This chewing mechanism helps clean your dog's teeth and gums by removing residual food pieces and help clear plaque from tooth surfaces. Carrots can make great treats for your dog, due to their low-calorie content, especially if you need a larger quantity of treats when training.

Is it bad that I never brush my dog's teeth? ›

Without brushing, plaque can build up, putting your dog at risk for bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. It can also cause painful infections. Severe infection can spread, causing life-threatening conditions.

What food is best for dogs teeth? ›

Carrots, apples, and pumpkins are the best options to consider: Most dogs enjoy them, and they won't stick to the teeth. What is this? Vegetables and fruits are great for scraping food off a dog's teeth. Also, they contain antioxidants that will help a dog deal with chronic oxidative stress causing periodontitis.

Can I scrape plaque off my dog's teeth? ›

Can I Scrape Plaque Off My Dog's Teeth? Plaque can easily be removed from your dog's teeth. You can use a toothbrush with dental bristles or a finger toothbrush to help remove plaque from your dog's teeth.

What dogs have the most dental problems? ›

Dog Breeds Prone to Dental Problems
  • Health Problems with Collies. The Collie is a popular dog breed that is often affected by overbites. ...
  • Dental Problems with Pugs. ...
  • Yorkies and Malocclusions. ...
  • Chihuahuas and Dental Overcrowding. ...
  • Dachshunds and Gum Disease. ...
  • Boxers and Gum Disorders.

Can a dogs rotten teeth cause health problems? ›

Heart Disease

Circulating bacteria can cause an inflammatory condition known as endocarditis. Studies have also shown that dogs with dental disease have an increased risk of congestive heart failure, a progressive and potentially fatal disease.

What is the most common dental disease in dogs? ›

The most common dental problems seen in dogs are periodontal disease and fractured teeth.

Can you scrape tartar off dog's teeth? ›

Can I Scrape Plaque Off My Dog's Teeth? Plaque can easily be removed from your dog's teeth. You can use a toothbrush with dental bristles or a finger toothbrush to help remove plaque from your dog's teeth.

Can I clean my dog's teeth myself? ›

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) (an organization of veterinary dentists and dental scientists) says that toothbrushing is the “gold standard” for at-home dental care for pets. However, you can't use human dental products for your dog—these contain ingredients that are not pet-safe.

Is tartar painful for dogs? ›

As tartar builds up along the gum line, it pushes the gums away from the teeth. This exposes the roots of the teeth, which are no longer covered by enamel. Because the roots are no longer protected, it leaves them open to sensitivities, causing your dog pain and discomfort.

What is the black tartar on my dog's teeth? ›

What is the black stuff on my dog's teeth? If you notice black or brown spots on your dog's teeth, you're probably looking at plaque and tartar build up. Plaque and tartar like to live along the gumline and in tiny crevasses. Again, this stuff builds up quickly!

What do vets use to remove tartar? ›

If your dog's tartar hardens to the point of no return, it will require a visit to the vet to remove it. During a routine teeth cleaning, dogs are put under anesthesia, then the vet gets to work scraping buildup off with a dog tartar removal tool called a scaler.

How can I sedate my dog to clean his teeth at home? ›

Trazodone. Trazodone can both sedate a dog and relieve anxiety. This is a good dog sedative for grooming, veterinary visits, thunderstorms/fireworks, and other short-term stressful events. Side effects include low blood pressure, so trazodone may be used cautiously or avoided in patients with certain health conditions.

Can vet clean dogs teeth without anesthesia? ›

Yes, it is! A veterinarian may not want to anesthetize a medically compromised pet, and they will instead use another approach to clean a dog or cat's teeth. You can have your pet's teeth cleaned without anesthesia whether they're young and healthy or have health issues.

How can I save my dog for dental cleaning? ›

Ways to Reduce the Cost of Dog Dental Cleaning

At-Home Hygiene: Brushing your dog's teeth regularly and providing them with dental chews and toys can help maintain their dental health and reduce the need for professional cleaning.

What foods are good for cleaning dogs teeth? ›

Foods such as apple slices, carrot sticks, uncooked pumpkin, sweet potato, and squash are all tasty dog-friendly human foods that help to scrape plaque and build-up off of your dog's teeth.


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