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How Much Does Dog Teeth Cleaning Cost?

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Dog Care By Meg Marrs 8 min read April 2, 2019 34 Comments

dog teeth cleaning cost

So your dog needs a teeth cleaning – but how much will it cost?

Generally speaking, for a basic teeth cleaning process for a young, healthy dog, you can expect to pay $200-$300.

However, the truth is that dog teeth cleaning costs vary a ton depending on which veterinary clinics you visit and where you live. Some owners have reported paying as little as $100, while others report closer to $700!

Elements That Affect Cost of Dog Teeth Cleaning

There are a number of elements that will affect the cost of your dog’s teeth cleaning. However, one of these factorsanesthesia – will have a far greater impact on your bill than any other.

For starters, anesthesia medications are not cheap, so this ratchets the price up right off the bat. But in addition to the cost of the medication, anesthesia also creates a number of associated costs, including some or all of the following:

  • Pre-anesthesia lab work to ensure your dog is healthy enough to withstand the anesthesia medication and to rule out dogs that may be susceptible to bad reactions.
  • Additional staff to administer the medication and monitor your dog during the procedure.
  • The placement of an endotracheal tube, which will allow your dog to breathe during the cleaning
  • Additional recovery time, which takes up kennel space in the clinic and increases the amount of care the staff will have to provide your dog

A few of the other factors that will affect the cost of your dog’s tooth cleaning include:

Location

As noted, the price tag of a dog’s teeth cleaning varies greatly between vet clinics and different regions of the country.

Age

If your dog is older, vet offices will often want to do blood work to evaluate your dog’s health and make sure that he or she can handle the anesthesia. This can cost an extra $100 or more.

Size

Many vets charge differently for pet dental cleaning based on the size of your dog, since larger dogs need more medication and anesthesia.

Fluids

Your dog may require intravenous fluids during the procedure, which can also add to costs.

Extractions

In some cases of severe dental issues, your dog may need a tooth extraction (or several). Extractions can range from $50-$100 or more depending on the number of teeth that need to be removed and where the teeth are located (larger molar teeth will likely cost more).

Pre-Dental Exam

Some vet offices require a pre-dental exam, which can add an extra $50 or so to the process. Sometimes this is only done if they haven’t seen our dog before.

X-Rays

Getting x-rays done will also add to the cost of your dog’s dental cleaning. However, they are often essential for deep cleaning procedures and to make sure that your dog’s teeth don’t have any serious oral issues.

Pet Dental Cleaning Services: What Are Your Options?

There are basically have two places to get your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned. You can:

  • Go to your vet. Many (if not most) vets will perform a deep cleaning on your dog’s teeth or perform a number of other relatively simple procedures, such as tooth extractions or root canals. This is probably the best option, as your vet will already be familiar with your dog (and vice versa).
  • Visit a board-certified veterinary dog dentist. While regular vets receive a bit of basic dental training, veterinary dentists receive extensive training in dental care, and they must pass additional exams and complete a 4-year dental residency program to obtain their board certification. Veterinary dog dentists are therefore the better choice for any type of complicated or difficult procedure.

You could also visit another vet if you want to shop around and find the lowest rates, or if your vet doesn’t provide dental services.

dog teeth cleaning

What About Anesthesia-Free Tooth Cleanings?

As explained above, anesthesia will drastically increase the cost of having your pet’s teeth cleaned. So, owners are often understandably eager to avoid it whenever possible. But unfortunately, anesthesia is almost always required for a deep cleaning.  

It doesn’t matter how well-behaved your dog is or how well he tolerates routine tooth brushings, serious dental care requires a seriously sedated pup.

This is simply the only way to obtain clear dental X-rays or allow the vet to safely work in your pet’s mouth. A full-blown dental cleaning also requires a lot of work below the gumline, which would be quite painful to a non-sedated pup.

Nevertheless, some veterinarians and veterinary dentists offer anesthesia-free, light cleanings.

Such treatments aren’t cruel – pain medications (typically a nerve block, which numbs the area) are used to keep your pet relatively pain-free during the procedure. However, your dog won’t be put “out,” as he would if the vet anesthetizes him.

Obviously, this is only an option with a small subset of dogs who are willing to let a stranger mess around in their mouth for a long time and well-behaved enough to sit reasonably still for the duration of the procedure.

And most importantly, you must understand that these procedures do not treat the areas below the gumline, where most of the serious periodontal disease occurs. In fact, the American Veterinary Dental College does not recommend anesthesia-free dental cleanings for this very reason.

The anesthesia-free route is likely better than not having your dog’s teeth cleaned, but a traditional deep-cleaning will generally be the preferred option.

Just discuss the issue with your vet if you are considering this approach. Your vet may be willing to perform this type of procedure personally or to refer you to another veterinary professional who will.

If you strike out on both of these fronts, you’ll just need to start Googling — most owners living in major cities or suburbs should be able to find these types of services.

How You Know Your Dog Needs Professional Teeth Cleaning

How do you know when your dog needs his teeth professionally cleaned or need to have them examined by a professional?

Well, just like humans, dogs should have their teeth regularly examined by a vet every 6-12 months. Regular teeth check-ups and teeth cleanings can help prevent your dog from undergoing more serious, sedation teeth cleanings in the future.

You should take your dog to have his teeth examined immediately if he displays:

  • Severe bad breath
  • Tarar buildup
  • Abnormal drooling
  • Broken or loose teeth
  • Hesitance to eat
  • Swollen or red gums
  • Pawing or rubbing mouth

Pay Attention to Prevention

The best way to avoid a costly teeth cleaning bill at the vet’s office is to practice prevention.

  • Regular Vet Visits. Visit the vet regularly for light, non-sedation teeth cleanings (which are also much cheaper than more serious cleanings).
  • Give Your Dog Dental Bones. Dental bones such as the popular Greenies brand can help keep your dog’s breath fresh while cleaning your dog’s teeth. Also be on the lookout for dog toys for teeth-cleaning nubs, elk antler chews, or any other kind of chew that will scrape against your dog’s teeth to help keep plaque at bay. We’ve got our own list of the best dog dental chews worth checking out which can clean a dog’s teeth while they chomp!

Low-Cost Dog Teeth Cleaning Options 

The high cost of doggie dental work can trigger a bit of anxiety in some owners. Unfortunately, there aren’t any super-effective ways to shave down these costs. However, there are definitely a few strategies that are worth investigating further.

Pet Insurance

Most pet insurance plans will not cover routine dental cleanings. However, new companies and policies are created all the time, and you may get lucky and find one that covers a portion of these costs. So, go ahead and call around a bit – it can’t hurt to try.

It is also worth noting that most common pet insurance plans will cover dental injuries. This could come in handy if your dog breaks a tooth or suffers some other type of mouth-related injury, as these procedures will likely come with big bills.

Discount Plans

From time to time, veterinarians and veterinary dentists may participate in discount programs. These typically work by requiring you to purchase a discount card, which gives you access to reduce-fee veterinary services. Some plans may cover dental work, while others may not, so you’ll just have to analyze the benefits provided and make a decision.

It can be tricky to track down these types of programs and they aren’t available in all areas, so you may need to do some sleuthing.

PetAssure is one such veterinary discount program, and seems to be one of the most popular program like this, but coverage may vary depending on where you live.

If you’re having a tough time finding an applicable veterinary discount program, also make sure to inquire with your vet, friends at the dog park, groomer and anyone else involved in the world of pets. Leave no stone unturned!

Beg / Borrow / Barter

If nothing else, you can always level with your vet and explain that you’re having trouble affording the procedure. Some vets will bend over backward to work with you, and they’ll often be willing to let you pay over time or reduce your bill outright.

You may even find that your vet is willing to barter – particularly if you are dealing with a locally owned, mom-and-pop type of vet.

Perhaps you could offer accounting services in exchange for discounted dental care. Or maybe you are an IT professional who could help improve their computer system. Just think about the skills you bring to the table and start brainstorming.

Of course, some vets will remain firm on their pricing, be uninterested in any trades, and require payment in advance. This is certainly understandable – vets have bills to pay too. So, you should always be polite and respectful when approaching your vet about discount dental care for your pup.

But that brings us to our final point:

Final Word of Advice: Call Around

In our research, we were quite shocked at how much dog teeth cleaning costs can vary between different clinics and different cities. Make sure to do your due diligence and call different vet offices to compare prices.

Heck, you may even want to consider calling vet offices outside of your area and, if the prices are significantly less, turn the trip into a mini-getaway!

And as an added bonus tip, when you do sedation teeth cleanings, ask your vet to clip your dog’s nails while they are under!

What had your experience been with getting your dog’s teeth cleaned? How much was your appointment? Share your experience in the comments!

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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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34 Comments

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Mark

Nice delivery of info ,and the things you covered were absolutely subjects that are a need to know basis ,for getting the best treatment you can for a friend.

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Mary J Brackett-Blair

My dog is currently getting a dental cleaning and they quoted me about $795, but that includes 2 take home antibiotics and pain meds, nail trimming, x rays and all that other stuff. I live in Colorado Springs.

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Pam

I just today had my Shiz Tzus teeth cleaned and it was 670 base cost, plus extras for extraction, bringing the total to 1200.00. She has her teeth cleaned yearly. However the vet we used previously didn’t do X-rays and some of her issues were not known until today. It is costly, but not doing it can severely impact your pets health. And ensure that whoever does it for you uses xrays to spot issues.

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John

Thanks for the info of teeth cleaning for dogs

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JoAnn Gomez

I have a 14 yr old mini pinture name raven, she has bad teeth and bad breath. Her breath smells like she ate the sewage, yuk I’m ashamed to let her teeth go this far. The dentist had a special for $299, even this sounds great but she needs to be knocked out removal some teeth to. An something to knock her out too.

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Gloria

While I understand that the majority of people feed their dogs and cats dry food, if they were fed a species appropriate diet of raw meaty bones and organs, they would not need those deep cleanings at all. I have 5 dogs, the oldest is 10, and they all have shiny clean, white teeth, as well as fresh breath. They are raw fed, and enjoy crunching away on raw pork spare ribs, chicken legs and backs, turkey ribs and legs, etc., and they are healthy with no dental issues at all.

Have you considered presenting this view point in your articles, rather than just talking about paying for expensive vet procedures, so that people might consider a better, healthier way to feed? Carnivores are not meant to eat cereal, grains, starchy foods, or veggies, so why not try to educate the public! Their dogs and cats would truly benefit from it, honest. 🙂

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Ben Team

Hi, Gloria.

We don’t recommend feeding raw diets or giving dogs bones for a variety of reasons. For starters, bones can cause intestinal obstructions and lead to broken teeth, while raw meats can make dogs very sick.

Additionally, the vast majority of dog owners simply lack the knowledge and expertise necessary to properly balance a homemade diet (whether it features raw or cooked meats).

This can lead to long-term nutritional deficiencies that are difficult (if not impossible) to correct.

You don’t have to take our word for it though, check out what the CDC and AVMA have to say about the issues:

https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/FAQs/Pages/Raw-Pet-Foods-and-the-AVMA-Policy-FAQ.aspx
https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/resources/pet-food-tips_8x11_508.pdf

So, even if we were to stipulate that a meat-only diet may reduce the costs associated with canine dental care (which isn’t even necessarily the case), it would do so at the risk of your dog’s health and well-being.

And that’s just not a trade off that most owners are willing to make.

Thanks for reading!

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Eric

Hi Meg-
I just had the pleasure of discovering and reading your site. It is easy to understand the anxiety of pet owners who see the cost of dental care can reach into the $1000 plus range.Then there is the fear of anesthesia. I would like to point out that our company Houndstooth Pet Dental offers anesthesia free dental cleanings by experienced CVTs at the local vets hospital or clinic. The company is over 20 years old and is owned by a well regarded practicing veterinarian.Unlike other NAVDS, we do get under the gum line with our proprietary ultrasonic cleaner.The process is pain free and effective at a cost of about $ 250. Our goal is to implement a dental hygiene program for owners before the pet reaches serious PD3 or PD4 levels of disease to avert extractions etc.Feel free to visit out site. http://www.houndstoothpetdental.com

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Lois

I was just quoted [email protected] to $1700 for cleanung and probable molar extraction for my 16 lb Boston Terrier . Seems high to me. Llili will be 13 years old April 5. Worried even though she is active and the vet says healthy, about her age and anesrisia.

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Spencer

you can avoid these costs by doing it yourself. if you teach your puppy to tolerate prodding and probing in their mouth they will tolerate scaling without anesthesia so you can do it yourself. do not use scalers from pet supplies, they are worthless. ask you dental hygienist to recommend of even get a good scaler for you.

you can also minimize the need for scaling by not feeding commercial food and giving abrasive treats such as raw chicken feet. two feet a day will keep your dog’s teeth sparkling clean for months or years.

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Lois

How do you prepare the chicken feet. I cant imagine that the scales would be good or digestible?

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Geeta

I’ve had my toy poodles teeth cleaned twice so far. She is 9 years old and I have been brushing her teeth daily now .The first time her cleaning was around $600 and four years later, I paid a whopping $1200! She did have extractions too. Now another 4 years later, the vet has shown me areas of her mouth that look bad(cause I cant reach them with the toothbrush) and the gums at the back look red. So I am getting ready for another round of dental surgery and I haven’t received the estimate yet, but I fully expect it to be even more! I am looking into getting the Pet Care Credit Card, so that I can avail of some promotional financing. Keeping fingers crossed. Pets are our babies and I will not hesitate to give her the best life that I can.

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Dave

Just received a quote from my vet of $900-$1300 for my pug to have anesthesia to have teeth cleaned that has heavy tartar and also to remove a lump inside his mouth while under. There may be an extraction or two. I am in Pennsylvania, is this a fair quote?

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Meg Marrs

I’d suggest calling other veterinarian offices in your area and asking for a rough price range for the same procedure.

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terri reif

My Zeke is an 8 year old Chihuahua, he gets his teeth cleaned at the groomer ever 4 months but the tartar buildup is getting bad & his breath is horrid. I brush his teeth at home once a week. I took my other boy in a few months ago for a deep cleaning w/5 extractions. the cost was about $400. My issue w/ Zeke is his size, I’ve heard it’s more dangerous for smaller dogs to be sedated, he weighs 7 lbs. Can anyone tell me he will be fine??

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Mary Hagberg Meyer

Love this site!
O’Henry is my white 11 year old Schnoodle. 2 years ago, I had his teeth cleaned and he needed 4 extractions. The fee, including anesthesia was around $600.
A few days after the procedure, he developed a huge raw bloody sore on his neck above his chest. The vet that did the cleaning had no explanation nor empathy!
I took him to another vet for treatment. He had scratched himself into a bloody mess! They could not pinpoint the cause but assumed he was scratching because he was still in pain.
He is in great need of another cleaning & has a loose tooth that needs extraction (and probably others) but I’m fearful this will happen again or something worse. Have you ever heard this before?
Thanks

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Meg Marrs

Aw I’m so sorry to hear that Mary, that sounds terrible! You may want to try getting an e-collar (aka cone collar) for your dog while he recovers to stop him from scratching at his wounds while things heal. Other than that, can’t say I know anything about that situation. Poor O’Henry!

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Shelley Burton

Have eleven dogs for emotional support.They are not pets but true family members.I love each and every one.I worry about their dental care.On a fixed income,any ideas?

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Lana Smiley

Best solution is to find homes for 10 of them with people who can afford to care properly for them. Animal “hoarding” is basically criminal and cruel. Put the animals’ welfare before your selfish impulses.

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Carol

That is such a judgmental comment, not a helpful one. Veterinarian costs have skyrocketed over the years and many people who would provide loving homes are struggling to cover those costs. I think compassion and advocacy for more affordable care would be of benefit not only to loving people but to animals as well.

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Cheryl

It is so important to brush your dogs teeth. I should have done this when my dog was a pup. Now she will not even let me near her mouth to brush them. I have taken her every two years to get her teeth cleaned. Its has cost me over $2000.00 this time. She had 4 teeth extracted. She is 9 years old now. I cannot say enough how very important it is to brush your dogs teeth. Or give them elk angers or toys with nobs to clean them. Anything to scrape their teeth. Its so very expensive to have them done by the veteranian.

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Cheryl

It is so important to brush your dogs teeth. I should have done this when my dog was a pup. Now she will not even let me near her mouth to brush them. I have taken her every two years to get her teeth cleaned. Its has cost me over $2000.00 this time. She had 4 teeth extracted. She is 9 years old now. I cannot say enough how very important it is to brush your dogs teeth. Or give them elk angers or toys with nobs to clean them. Anything to scrape their teeth. Its so very expensive to have them done by the veteranian.

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Trixie

If people see the itemized quote from the vet, they will see why the overall cost is what it is. They aren’t necessarily trying to fleece owners. I received a quote today and the anesthesia plus IV fluids was about $300; scaling and polishing about $100; x-ray $40; injection and cautery unit prep $75; and then a few for hospitalization, antibiotics and pain meds – $125.

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Janet

My 13-year-old sheltie had pre-dental work bloodwork. She should have been disqualified for teeth cleaning. It was done anyway a week later she was dead. She had cancer and when she was left it on and off the table her spleen was ruptured. I and ended up paying Over $6000 for her to go through an unnecessary surgery. She had had a stroke she was paralyzed and yet I was talked into this. I’m sure you see the blood work before you allow anyone to proceed with dental cleaning, anesthesia etc.

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Meg Marrs

That’s so sad Janet. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Gabby

I think its highway robbery…. the money these vets charge . Who can afford the cost of these cleanings every year and what if you have several pets. They don’t care about animals. It’s turned into a way to get rich off the emotional bond of these pet lovers. Why should my dogs dental care coat more than a humans. Pets aren’t affordable anymore. They want you to mortgage the house to pay to take care of them. I miss the old time vets that actually cared about the animal.

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Meg Marrs

Hey Gabby – I know it’s tough seeing those high prices. I think most of the cost has to do with the anesthesia. While humans don’t need to be put under for regular dental cleanings, many animals usually do. Anesthesia bumps up the cost of any dental session considerably. I really don’t think it has anything to do with the vets interest in the animals – most veterinarians love animals and care very much about them!

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Amanda Drew

That’s interesting that when you talked to pet owners they said that it cost anywhere from $100 to $700. I have a pet pug named Dame, and I think that it’s about time for her to go to the dog dentist. Neither Dame nor I have actually ever gone before, so we’ll have to find somewhere that does do dog dental cleaning for a good price.

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Meg Marrs

Do let us know what you end up getting for pricing – always good to hear the quotes different folks get from across the country or globe!

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Mary

My little one, Lily, is a rat terrier mix, Age 6, weighs in at 19 lbs., and is a nervous Nelly. Vet recommends dental cleaning with anesthesia since she won’t hold still for vaccines or nail clippings. Lily is also highly sensitive to noise. The dental quote came in at $577 – $1300 depending on if the doggy dentist that comes to her office is able to it quickly or if there is a deeper problem requiring a tooth extraction. Does this sound like a fair price? We live in Palm Beach County, Fl.

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Meg Marrs

Hard to say without hearing from others in the area. Sounds like on the higher end but not unusual.

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Dianna Baker

My price quote for mini dachshund is 900-1400. Cheek teeth also need removed.

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Mikey's mom

I’ve been concerned lately about Mikey’s teeth. He is 6 years old and still has a baby tooth which is looking a darkish color. I’m retired and living on social security so it’s not easy to afford my own dental work and have never taken Mikey for any dental work. But I am concerned about that baby tooth.

Found your article while researching costs of dog dental work and will take your advice and call around…do my due diligence! Thanks for the information. And I’ll make sure they clip his nails while he’s under. Oh! Mikey is a Chug (Chihuahua/Pug) mix and has markings similar to a Doberman. He’s a real treat!

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Gloria

Hi Mikey’s Mom Says, you might consider offering Mikey some nice chicken necks. The glucosamine and chondroitin that is present in them naturally would be great for his joint health, and the bone would scrape his teeth clean. I offer my 5 dogs chicken necks one or two times a week and they love them! They’re cheap too. Ask your butcher about them, and I bet you could buy them for under $1 a pound. I get them for $0.60 a pound.

Good Luck with Mikey! He sounds like a really cute little guy. 🙂

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