We all want our pets to stay in the best possible health, and most people understand that dental care is an important part of this.
Unfortunately, it can also be extremely expensive, and to give you an idea of how much you should expect to pay for regular dental care for your pet, in this post, we answer the question, how much is a dog teeth cleaning?
For a preview of some of the things we’re going to be talking about, you can also check out this video before reading on.
What are the basic costs for Dog Teeth Cleaning?
Let’s start by looking at a couple of ballpark figures for how much you can expect to pay for a dog teeth cleaning – and then we can go into the details of what affects how much you pay and what you can expect for your money.
Comparison site marketwatch.com estimates that dog owners can expect to pay in the region of $500-$1000 for a cleaning, although, at the lower end of the scale, it’s possible to find professionals who will do it for as low as $300.
At the same time, you can also pay as much as $1,500 at the top end of the price range.
Authoritative veterinary site petmd.com concurs, suggesting a slightly different but comparable price range of between $250 and $1300 to have your dogs’ teeth cleaned.
However, this is quite a wide range, and you’ll want to know what can cause such a variation in price – so let’s look at this now.
Who does the cleaning is the most important factor
Perhaps the most important thing that can affect how much you pay for your dog’s teeth cleaning is who does it because there are essentially two levels of professionals that can carry out the procedure.
General practitioner veterinarians are qualified to do dog teeth cleaning, but they only have a basic level of training (which is still to a high standard), so they tend to charge less for the work since they are not specialists.
With a general practitioner, you can expect to pay in the region of $250-$900 according to pedmd.com – while Forbes estimates a cost of around $170-$350.
However, certified veterinary dentists are specialists who have received extensive training specifically in the field of animal dentistry, and as specialists, they charge more.
This higher price reflects not only the extra training they have undergone but also their higher level of expertise and the advanced techniques and procedures they are qualified to perform.
As a result, if you choose to go to a specialist for your dog teeth cleaning, the price is more likely to cost you in the region of $800-$1,300 according to petmd.com. However, Forbes claims that with a specialist, prices can reach as high as $4,000.
Other factors that affect how much you pay for Dog Teeth Cleaning
Beyond who performs the procedure and the level of their qualifications and training, there are other factors that can also affect how much you pay, which include the following:
Where you live
Just like with almost everything, prices vary across the country, and your postcode will have an impact on how much you pay for your dog’s dental cleaning.
The procedures included or required
Not all cleaning sessions are the same, and the precise elements included in the cleaning – or the treatments and checks you choose for your pet – can increase how much you have to pay overall.
Severity of dental health issues
If your dog has poor dental health, the dentist will be required to do more work to correct the problems, and this is something that can significantly bump up the price.
The size of your dog
Generally speaking, the larger the dog, the more you’ll have to pay.
Your dog’s general health
Older dogs or dogs in poor health may require special care or attention, which may increase how much you pay.
What does a basic Dog Teeth Cleaning entail?
There are a few basic elements that every dental cleaning should include:
Sedation and general anesthetic
Every dog teeth cleaning needs to be done under general anesthetic – for the comfort of the dog and the safety of the veterinarian.
This part of the procedure is one of the main reasons dog teeth cleanings are so expensive.
Complete oral exam
The dog’s teeth are checked individually for cavities, as well as to see if any are loose, chipped or broken. The gums are also checked for signs of infection or disease, and this also includes checking below the gumline.
Scaling and polishing
After the exam, any tartar build-up is removed, and the teeth are polished to leave them in the best possible condition.
An X-ray is also taken to check the roots, the tissue around the roots, the jawbone and the pulp to identify any problems that are not visible during the regular oral exam. This is also another relatively expensive part of the overall procedure.
What can increase the Dog Teeth Cleaning price?
If you take your dog for a cleaning and all is well, the prices will remain at the lower end of the price ranges we’ve mentioned. However, if your dog requires extra work to resolve any issues, this can increase how much you need to pay. This can include:
- Extractions – can cost between $100 and $400, depending on the tooth
- Periodontal treatments – deep cleaning, treating abscesses, root planing etc.
- Root canal – a major procedure that can cost around $1,000-$3,000
How often do dogs need their teeth cleaned?
Plaque and tartar build up in the mouths of small dogs faster than in the mouths of larger breeds, so if your dog is small, you should take it for its first cleaning when it reaches the age of one or two. For larger dogs, waiting until their second or third year is acceptable.
However, after this, small dogs should have a cleaning every six to 12 months while larger breeds need to have their teeth cleaned every one to two years.
Are there any ways to reduce the cost?
When you realize the costs involved in having your dog’s teeth checked and cleaned, your first thought might be about possible ways to reduce your expenses.
Sometimes, the X-ray is optional, and you might save yourself around $100 by foregoing this part of the procedure. However, this is a false economy because X-rays can help spot problems early, allowing you to have them dealt with while the problem is still minor.
This will mean you pay less to have it corrected – but if the problem is left unchecked until it becomes more serious, it is likely to cost you a lot more to have it put right.
Similarly, you may be offered much cheaper anesthetic-free cleanings, but these are not recommended since they are hardly more thorough than what you might be able to do at home – and they won’t be able to spot hidden problems that require attention.
Instead, the best advice if you want to reduce your dog’s dental bills is to ensure your dog has good dental hygiene.
At home, this means regular brushing as well as the use of things like dental treats to help maintain your dog’s dental health.
However, the other part of it is paying for regular checkups and cleanings – because this way, your dog’s teeth will remain in the best possible condition.
If your dog regularly sees a vet, you won’t find yourself paying for some of the more expensive interventions that are required to fix the kind of problems that arise through neglecting dogs’ dental health.
What are the signs that a dog has dental issues?
In between checkups and cleanings, you should monitor your dog for signs of dental problems.
Doggy bad breath is a cliché, but it’s not something you should just accept and ignore because it can indicate a build-up of bacteria, an infection or an even more serious health issue.
Also, try to notice if your dog loses its appetite, appears in pain when chewing or starts pawing its face. General irritability is another sign to look out for.
If you notice any of these symptoms or others you think might be related to your dog’s teeth, you should book an appointment with your vet ASAP.
Do you have to have your dog’s teeth cleaned?
It’s highly recommended to have your dog’s teeth cleaned regularly since tooth pain can seriously reduce your pet’s quality of life. Furthermore, good dental health can even help extend your dog’s overall lifespan, something all dog owners are sure to want.
Why is dog teeth cleaning so expensive?
The price of dog teeth cleaning reflects the level of training and expertise of the veterinarian or dental specialist carrying out the work, but it also reflects the costs of certain parts of the procedure.
For example, general anesthetic and X-rays are particularly expensive parts of dog teeth cleaning.
Keep your dog’s teeth healthy to reduce the costs
As we’ve seen, dog dental cleaning doesn’t come cheap. However, the key to reducing costs is maintaining high levels of dental health in your pet to reduce potential problems later.
This way, through regular checkups and cleanings, although it might seem like it costs a lot, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of money in the long run – and your dog will thank you for it too!