How Much Does Dog Teeth Cleaning Cost?

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Grooming By Meg Marrs 13 min read February 24, 2022 34 Comments

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Cost of dog tooth cleaning

So your dog needs his teeth cleaned. The question is, how much will it cost?

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

However, the truth is that the average cost of dog teeth cleaning varies 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!

Read on to learn some of the factors that’ll influence the cost of having your dog’s teeth cleaned, some of the options that are available to owners, and a few tips for saving money while ensuring your dog’s oral health remains good!

Key Takeaways: How Much Does Dog Teeth Cleaning Cost?

  • The cost of a dog dental cleaning varies, but usually runs between $200 and $300. Some of the things that’ll influence the cost of the procedure include your dog’s overall oral health, any dental disease present, his age, and your location.
  • Dog dental cleanings usually require anesthesia to prevent pain and ensure the procedure goes smoothly. However, some vets offer light cleanings without sedating your pet, though not all dogs are good candidates for this approach.
  • In addition to regular tooth cleanings, you’ll want to care for your canine’s chompers between visits. This means doing things like brushing your dog’s teeth regularly and providing him with lots of dental treats.

Factors That Affect Dog Dental Cleaning Costs

factors influencing dog tooth care cost

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 average cost of dog dental care include:


As noted, the price tag of a dog’s teeth cleaning varies greatly between vet clinics and different regions of the country. Generally speaking, the higher the cost of living in your area is, the higher the price you’ll pay to have your dog’s teeth cleaned.


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 won’t have a bad reaction to the anesthesia. This can cost an extra $100 or more.


Many vets base their dog tooth cleaning costs (in part) on the size of your dog, since larger dogs need more medication and anesthesia. It can also take more time to clean the teeth of a large dog when compared to a pint-sized pooch.


In some cases of severe dental issues, your dog may need a tooth extracted (in fact, he may even need several teeth extracted). Extractions can range from $50 to $100 or more depending on the number of teeth that need to be removed and where the teeth are located (molar teeth often cost more to extract).

Pre-Dental Exam

Some vet offices require a pre-dental exam, which can add an extra $50 or so to the process. This is usually only required for new canine patients, but some vets require it for all doggos.


In many cases, your vet will recommend or require that your dog’s mouth is X-rayed before carrying out the cleaning. This can obviously increase the cost of having your dog’s teeth cleaned, but it is an important step that can help your vet determine if your dog is suffering from any serious oral health issues.

Pet Dental Cleaning Services: What Are Your Options?

dog teeth cleaning

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. Many will also perform a number of other relatively simple procedures, such as tooth extractions or root canals. This is probably the preferred option for many owners, 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. This means that veterinary dog dentists are typically the better choice for any type of complicated or difficult procedure.

You obviously want to select the right option for you and your pet, but the most important thing is you choose one. Whether you opt for your vet or a veterinary dog dentist, the important thing is that you have your dog’s teeth cleaned regularly.

Two Birds with One Stone

Always talk to your vet about maximizing your dog’s time spent under anesthesia. For example, this is a perfect time to have your pet’s nails trimmed.

What Happens During a Dog Tooth Cleaning? 

what happens during dog dental cleaning

Before starting a conventional dental cleaning, your veterinarian will usually confirm that your pooch is healthy enough for the procedure by conducting a physical exam and by doing blood tests. Your pooch will then be “put under” with anesthesia medications to start the cleaning process.

The vet will then remove plaque and tartar from all sides of your dog’s teeth using a tool called a scaler. The dentist will then use probes to measure the size of the pocket between your dog’s teeth and his gums. Oversized pockets can indicate signs of periodontal disease, which will necessitate additional treatments. 

Assuming your dog doesn’t need any additional treatments (such as additional teeth extractions or gum disease treatment) the mouth is rinsed and the teeth are polished to help prevent plaque buildup (and keep your dog’s chompers looking great!). 

During the procedure, your veterinarian will also conduct a comprehensive oral exam to check for any other signs of injury, tooth damage, or periodontal disease. If your pooch needs any tooth extractions, these will also be conducted while under anesthesia. 

Once the procedure is completed, your dog will be allowed to recover slowly and your veterinarian will advise aftercare for your canine companion. 

How Long Does a Dog Tooth Cleaning Take? 

An uncomplicated dog cleaning procedure will usually take around 45 minutes to an hour. However, if the cleaning involves tooth extractions, root canals, or any kind of complications arise during the procedure, the process could take multiple hours. 

In most cases, your dog will be able to come home on the same day of the procedure. Most furry friends recover from the procedure’s anesthesia after about half an hour and should spend the rest of the day resting at home. 

Aftercare: What Should You Do After Your Dog’s Tooth Cleaning?

Following your pup’s procedure, you’ll want to follow your veterinarian’s specific instructions for the aftercare of your canine companion. Your dog will typically need to rest at home and recover from the procedure during the following day. 

Fido might also be given a softer diet which will be easier to consume while his teeth are still sensitive.

What About Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings?

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 gum line, which would be quite painful to a non-sedated pup.

Nevertheless, some veterinarians and veterinary dentists will offer a light, anesthesia-free cleaning.

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 an anesthesia-free dental cleaning will not treat the areas below the gum line, 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.

dog teeth cleaning

The anesthesia-free route is likely better than not having your dog’s teeth cleaned, but a traditional deeper cleaning will generally be better than a super simple cleaning.

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.

Why Are Dog Teeth Cleanings So Important? 

Doggie dental cleanings are essential for preventing dental disease. Unfortunately, painful conditions like periodontal disease are extremely common in dogs, so regular checkups are a must as a pet parent. 

While brushing your dog’s teeth regularly helps prevent plaque and tartar buildup, cleanings are much more thorough and also provide your veterinarian the opportunity to conduct a proper oral exam. 

Teeth cleanings are especially important for owners with small dog breeds, as they can be more susceptible to oral health problems. And though dental cleanings obviously represent some additional costs for your pet’s care, they are well worth the expense and will help keep your pooch healthy and prevent future oral health issues. 

Are Dog Tooth Cleanings Safe? 

Before undergoing anesthesia, your veterinarian will conduct a physical exam and blood test to ensure that your furry friend is healthy enough to undergo the procedure and help rule out the potential for problems. 

Accordingly, dog teeth cleanings are usually safe, so long as you’re doing your due diligence and seeking out a reputable veterinarian. 

For most pups, teeth cleanings are routine procedures. Most dogs go home on the same day, and recover within a couple of hours. One thing is for sure – regular teeth cleanings are much safer than the prospect of your dog developing painful periodontal disease. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian regarding specific concerns for your canine companion.

How You Know Your Dog Needs Professional Teeth Cleaning

does dog need tooth 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 to 12 months. Regular teeth check-ups and routine cleanings can help prevent your dog from requiring more serious teeth cleanings in the future.

But in addition to bringing your dog in for a routine cleaning once or twice a year, you should take your dog to have his teeth examined immediately if he displays any of the following:

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

Pay Attention to Prevention: Things to Do Between Dog Dental Cleanings

dog dental care

The best way to avoid a costly teeth cleaning bill at the vet’s office is to practice prevention and stay on top of your dog’s oral hygiene from the get-go. Essentially, this means doing the following:

  • Taking your dog in for regular vet visits. Visit the vet regularly for light, non-sedated teeth cleanings (which are also much cheaper than more serious cleanings).
  • Brushing your dog’s teeth. Make sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly with a dog-friendly toothbrush and canine toothpaste. Do not use human toothpaste on your dog — many types have ingredients that can sicken your pooch.
  • Giving your dog dental treats. Dental bones and treats such as the popular Greenies brand can help keep your dog’s breath fresh while cleaning your dog’s teeth. Also, consider picking up some dog toys with teeth-cleaning nubs 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 

saving money on dogs

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, your 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 may 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

make calls for best dog prices

Many owners are shocked by ow much dog teeth cleaning costs can vary between different clinics and different cities. So, 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, it may make good financial sense to travel a bit.


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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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.

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.


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.


Thanks for the info of teeth cleaning for dogs

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.


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. 🙂

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:


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!


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


I was just quoted $@1500 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.


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.


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


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.


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?

Meg Marrs

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

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??

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?

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!

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?

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Meg Marrs

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


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.

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!

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.

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!


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.

Meg Marrs

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

Dianna Baker

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

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!


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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