How much does dog teeth cleaning cost and it is worth it?

Dog with toothbrush in mouth with yellow background
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are many reasons why you would want to know how much does dog teeth cleaning cost. Perhaps your dog has smelly breath and you want to give those teeth a good scrub to remove bacteria and food deposits. Or maybe you are worried about a dog’s teeth in general – dental hygiene is important, after all.

In this guide, we take a look at how to keep dog teeth clean in more detail while looking at when it may be worth paying for professional cleaning. We will also look at whether or not you are covered by your insurance provider or whether you really do need to dig deep into your pockets.

Is it worth getting your dog’s teeth cleaned?

Dental disease is a common problem among many breeds and, at the very least, you should be building dental care into your at-home routine. It’s also worth supplementing this with professional cleaning for extra sparkle and peace of mind, particularly if you’ve got a breed prone to problems.

One thing’s for sure, dental work tends not to be covered by even the best pet insurance so ensuring your dog’s teeth are well-maintained from a very young age is going to prove lighter on your bank balance in the long term.

How often should my dog get their teeth cleaned?

For some breeds, a yearly professional clean is recommended but with the majority of breeds it doesn’t have to be that frequent, especially if you’re able to keep your dog's teeth clean at home. It’s always worth speaking to your vet if you’re not entirely sure.

What is ultrasonic dog teeth cleaning?

One option to explore is ultrasonic dog teeth cleaning – a deep cleaning treatment that doesn’t require general anaesthetic. It works by creating millions of ultrasonic waves in conjunction with specially-formulated dog toothpaste. 

Designed to remove food particles, plaque and bacteria from your dog’s mouth, it’s usually vibration-free. It is also fast and gentle making it ideal for dogs with a nervous disposition, coming with the added benefit of getting rid of bad breath and reducing gum inflammation too. 

It can be quite expensive, though, especially if your dog needs multiple treatments to achieve a truly deep clean. That said, it’s generally cheaper than a scale and polish under general anaesthetic that your vet may offer.

What is the average cost to have a dog’s teeth cleaned?

Dog getting its teeth brushed

(Image credit: Getty)

Much depends on the extent of the work but, in the US, simple cleaning can start from as little as $100. When you start adding in extra services, the average price can rise to between $300 and $700.

In the UK, a relatively simple clean and polish for a young, healthy dog is likely to cost you around £150. If you need more extensive work, or additional treatments such as anaesthetic, this is likely to rise to £250 or more. 

Ultrasonic teeth cleaning costs between £40 and £70 per session in the UK or around $50 - $100 in the US. Some dogs will need multiple sessions. Don’t be afraid to compare prices between multiple health providers and do your research beforehand.

How can I get plaque off my dog’s teeth at home?

If you can, get your dog used to brushing at least once a day but at least a few times a week from a young age. Buy the best toothbrush for dogs and invest in dog toothpaste (DON’T use human toothpaste). Check out how to brush a dog's teeth if you’re not sure.

For dogs who don’t like their teeth being cleaned, try some alternatives. The best dental chews for dogs help prevent bad breath, tartar and plaque. Look for sugar free chews and reduce a dog’s overall food intake if you’re regularly giving them dental treats. 

The best dog chew toys can also encourage good mouth health because they have lots of different surfaces which help to get into the nooks and crannies. And diet is crucial too. The best dry dog food helps because it needs to be chewed much more than the best wet food, making it better for teeth health. You can also buy supplements to add to your dog’s food or water which are designed to reduce or remove plaque.

Signs your dog has dental or gum disease

There are a number of symptoms of gum or dental disease and it’s helpful to get your dog used to you examining their mouth and teeth as soon as you can. 

Look out for:

  • Bad breath
  • Obvious pain or trouble eating
  • Visible plaque and tartar
  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Broken, wobbly or missing teeth
  • Dogs avoiding hard food
  • Swellings on the side of the face
  • Weight loss

Speak to your vet if you suspect any dental or gum disease. Dental disease treatment includes antibiotics to treat infections, anti-inflammatory pain relief, special toothpaste and mouthwash for your dog, and dental surgery.

Amy Davies

Amy Davies is a freelance writer and photographer with over 15 years experience. She has a degree in journalism from Cardiff University and has written about a huge variety of topics over the years. These days she mostly specialises in technology and pets, writing across a number of different titles including TechRadar, Stuff, Expert Reviews, T3, Digital Camera World, and of course PetsRadar. She lives in Cardiff with her dog, Lola, a rescue miniature dachshund.

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