dog outside anxiously awaiting a dog dental cleaning

Dog Dental Cleanings: 5 Things You Should Know Before Booking

If you’re thinking about making an appointment to take your pup for a dog dental cleaning, you should know there are some similarities—and important differences—to when you go for a dental cleaning. Most importantly, it’s common for a dog to go under anesthesia for a routine dental cleaning to remove tartar and address their dental health. This is done for your dog’s benefit so they aren’t as stressed out during the dog dental cleaning. Think about how those noisy, scary-looking tools coming at your mouth could cause some anxiety. Undergoing this type of cleaning also makes it easier for the veterinary dentist to do his or her job to the best of their ability. So, you’re getting your money’s worth out of the appointment.

Here are important factors to think about before you book your dog’s dental cleaning:

Dog Dental Cleaning: 5 Things to Know Before the Appointment

1. Know that your dog will likely be put under anesthesia.

Talk to the vet doing the dental cleaning about their protocol, how the anesthesia is administered, and the drugs being used. Let the vet know about any pre-existing conditions and medications your pet is on. It might be helpful to have your pet’s bloodwork information before the appointment so everyone is aware of any potential red flags with his or her health. Having more information about your dog’s medical history can help the vet be better informed about what to expect and precautions to take before the procedure.

Oftentimes a vet tech will monitor your dog’s vitals throughout the procedure and adjust the anesthesia as necessary. Your regular vet who knows your dog’s medical history will be the best person to help you decide if they should get a dog dental cleaning. Anesthesia-free dental cleanings are also an option at some facilities. They could cause your dog more stress, pain, and you won’t get full dental X-rays.  

2. Get details about what will happen during the dog dental cleaning.

While your pet is under, they’ll likely get full-mouth dental X-Rays so the veterinarian and their team can have a better idea about each tooth’s health as well as the condition their jawbones are in. Dog dental X-Rays can show where there are invisible problems below the gum line. This includes things like rotting teeth, impacted teeth, jawbone loss, tooth decay, or a fractured tooth. Ask the vet on your call before the visit about their policy on addressing dog dental problems they encounter during the cleaning. Ask whether they’ll remove a rotting tooth or address a fractured tooth while your pup is under anesthesia. Some vets might not have the tools or knowledge on how to treat these issues and you’d have to set up another dog dental visit with a different veterinary dentist in the future to have the problems addressed.

3. Plan to drop them off and pick them up later.

Most veterinarian dentists will have you drop them off in the morning and call you later when it’s time to get them. Try to schedule a dog dental cleaning on a day off from work or, when you have some flexibility in your schedule. Keep your phone on you at all times and try to stay in an area that has good cell service in case the vet needs to reach you. The veterinary dentist might call you during the procedure to let you know about your dog’s dental health and ask how you’d prefer they proceed before doing extractions or any dental surgeries.

4. Don’t feed your pup before the appointment.

Most vets will suggest that your dog doesn’t have any food from 10 p.m. the day before their dog dental cleaning appointment in the morning. Give your dog a good, hearty meal the evening before and top it off with a treat like a WHIMZEES dental chew that is good for their teeth. You can give them water in the morning before the appointment.

5. Set aside time to take him or her on a walk before you go to the dog dental cleaning.

You’ll want your dog to eliminate poop and urine before they arrive at the vet and are put under anesthesia. Give them enough water so they don’t get dehydrated overnight and during the dog dental cleaning procedure. Make sure you allow some time in the morning for extra cuddles and hugs before they get the procedure. Do this to address any pre cleaning anxiety especially if car rides and vet visits are particularly stressful for your dog. You might even want to pick up a new little toy for them to play with after the appointment as a reward and distraction!