If you’ve got a dog with particularly stinky breath you might be wondering how much dog teeth cleaning costs and if you can save yourself some cash by doing it yourself at home.
The short answer is that you absolutely can do it yourself at home - and you should start as soon as you can - but it might also be worth paying for professional cleaning every now and then to keep your dog’s gnashers in tip-top condition.
Below, we'll talk you through everything you need to know about dog teeth cleaning, including the cost of getting it done professionally and what's involved. And if you're after more top tips on dental health, check out our guide to how to keep dog teeth clean.
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Is it worth getting your dog’s teeth cleaned?
Some dogs simply have worse teeth than others, but dental disease is a common problem among many breeds.
You’ll also often find that dental work is not covered by your insurance provider, so it makes a huge amount of sense to ensure that your dog’s teeth are well-maintained from a very young age.
It’s worth building in dental care into your at-home routine, but getting your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned for extra sparkle and to make sure all is as it should be is also worth investigating - particularly if you’ve got a breed which is prone to problems.
How often should my dog get their teeth cleaned?
For some breeds, a yearly professional clean may well be recommended, while others may get away with less frequent visits, especially if you’re able to keep your dogs teeth clean at home.
Make sure to speak to your vet if you’re not entirely sure, as they’ll be best placed to give you advice on whether it’s worth extra cleaning.
What is ultrasonic dog teeth cleaning?
An option you can explore is ultrasonic dog teeth cleaning. This is a deep cleaning treatment, but one which can be undertaken without the need for general anaesthetic - so it’s a much preferred strategy for many.
It works by creating millions of ultrasonic waves, which is usually used in conjunction with specially formulated dog toothpaste. It’s designed to remove food particles, plaque and bacteria from your dog’s mouth.
It is usually vibration-free, and is fast and gentle making it ideal for dogs with a nervous disposition. It also has the benefit of getting rid of bad breath and reducing gum inflammation too.
The only major downside of ultrasonic cleaning is that it can be quite expensive, 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.
It's also a lot cheaper than expensive dental surgery, such as tooth removal - which again, is likely to be excluded from even the best pet insurance policies.
What is the average cost to have a dog’s teeth cleaned?
The price of cleaning your dog’s teeth varies depending on a number of factors, including how much cleaning needs to be done, how nervous your dog is, and a general variation between clinics.
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.
In the US, prices also vary massively. Simple cleaning can start from as little as $100, but as soon as you start adding in extra services, then the average price can quickly rise to between $300 and $700.
Ultrasonic teeth cleaning also varies, but tends to cost between £40 and £70 per session in the UK, or around $50 - $100 in the US - some dogs will need multiple sessions.
It makes sense to compare prices between multiple health providers, but don’t be tempted to necessarily go for the cheapest available. Do your research, look at online reviews, and ask for recommendations from fellow dog owners or other dog health professionals.
How can I get plaque off my dog’s teeth at home?
Keeping your dog’s teeth clean at home is the best way to avoid pricey costs both at the vet and at the professional cleaner.
Ideally, you’ll get your dog used to regular brushing (ideally, at least once a day but at least a few times a week) from when they are a young puppy. Make sure you buy a good dog toothbrush and invest in some dog toothpaste (it’s extremely important not to use human toothpaste). Check out how to brush a dog's teeth if you’re not sure how to go about it.
Some dogs simply can’t stand tooth brushing though - and you’ll have more of a challenge on your hands. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do which may help keep plaque to a minimum however.
The best dental chews for dogs are a good way to prevent bad breath, tartar and plaque. Look for those which are sugar free, and be mindful of reducing their overall food intake if you’re regularly giving them dental treats.
Chewing toys can also encourage good mouth health, and again, you can look out for toys which are specifically designed for this purpose - usually they’ll have lots of different surfaces which help to get in all the nooks and crannies.
Finally, think about their diet. It’s suggested that kibble - as it needs to be chewed much more than wet food - is better for teeth health. You can also get 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 quite a few symptoms of gum or dental disease, which you should be on the look out for even from a very young age. It’s also helpful to get your dog used to you examining their mouth and teeth as soon as you can.
Signs to look out for include bad breath, obvious pain or trouble eating, visible plaque and tartar, inflamed or bleeding gums, broken, wobbly or missing teeth, avoiding hard food, swellings on the side of the face and weight loss.
It’s important to speak to your vet if you suspect any dental or gum disease - the sooner it is treated the better. Dental disease treatment for dogs covers a fairly wide range, including antibiotics to treat infections, anti-inflammatory pain relief, special toothpaste and mouthwash for your dog, all the way up to dental surgery.
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.