Dog teeth cleaning costs can vary a lot, but it’s not uncommon to be quoted between $500 and $900 for routine cleaning that includes X-rays, polishing and sealing, all done under general anesthesia.
If there are additional procedures to be carried out — fillings, root canals, capping or extractions — expect the final bill to be a lot higher.
If you are hesitant to hand over your hard earned cash to your vet, here are some smart things you can do to significantly reduce your current and future dog teeth cleaning cost.
Prevention is the best way of reducing dog teeth cleaning costs. Most veterinarians now routinely recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day; some suggest after every meal.
The best way to accomplish brushing is to introduce it early, when your dog is still a puppy. But, you can teach an old dog new tricks; it just requires a little more persistence. Once routinized, along with some positive reinforcement, brushing will become a breeze.
Consider an electric toothbrush with a soft brush for dog teeth brushing; once your pet gets used to it, it’s easier and safer. Most puppies seem to favor poultry-flavored toothpaste, but don’t let that stop you from experimenting.
2. Dental Chews
Dental chews can help reduce plaque and tartar. Choose one that has the the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) logo, since such products have actually been tested successfully by the VOHC. There are a number of such products in the market, some rawhide based, others in the form of hard cookies.
3. Chew Toys
Chew toys may also be worth giving a try. They work by abrading away plaque as well as massaging the gums; these can reduce dog teeth problems. They are a good complement to dental chews, particularly if your dog gets through chews quickly.
Kong rubber chew toys are a good choice, particularly because they are visible on X-rays if ingested. Non-compressed rawhide and Greenies are also good alternatives.
4. Dental Diets
There are a very good selection of dog foods that have been designed to reduce plaque and tartar while simultaneously provides variety of ingredients. Again, choose one that has qualified for the VOHC logo.
5. Regular Professional Cleaning
Paradoxically, increasing the frequency of dental cleaning may also be in your financial interest. This regularity prevents serious problems that necessitate expensive treatment from occurring. How often your dog needs “regular cleaning” is, to a large extent, determined by your preventative efforts at home.
6. Visit a Specialist in Dentistry
Specialization is an increasingly common phenomenon in veterinary medicine. A veterinarian who specializes in dentistry will often offer better prices because she has good deals with dental supplies and can pass some of the savings to you; it is also likely that her team is more efficient and better equipped.
Having pet insurance that includes dental treatment may not reduce overall costs; however, your primary stream of payments (there could be co-pays) — insurance premiums — will certainly be smaller and, thus, more manageable.
Veterinary clinics in areas of high competition often resort to “specials”. Dog teeth cleaning specials are quite common. These are often advertised through email or regular mail, so set yourself up to be on your local clinics’ mailing lists.
9. Reduce frequency
This may seem to contradict #5 above but If you are on top of things on the preventative front, you can consult with your veterinarian to establish a lower frequency of professional cleaning. Rather that a yearly cleaning, your dog could do just as well with a cleaning every 18 months.
10. Merge with another procedure
A major portion of dog teeth cleaning costs is associated with general anesthesia. Besides the cost of the procedure, there are other pre-anesthesia checks that add to the bottom line. So, it makes sense to merge teeth cleaning along with other procedures that need general anesthesia.
Note, however, that this may not always be possible, particularly because dental cleaning tends to release flurries of germs into the body during the procedure. However, there’s no harm in exploring the possibility with your veterinarian.
Clean Dog Teeth = Healthier Dog
Veterinarians are increasingly focused on the health of dog’s teeth.
Bad teeth not only result in pain and poor feeding habits, but they can also be a breeding ground for bacteria an infection that can spread into the rest of the body.
Your primary weapon for reducing dog teeth cleaning costs is the host of preventative measures that you can initiate. Both you and your dog will be happier for it.