How Often Should I Take My Dog to Get Their Teeth Cleaned?

Dogs have a lot in common with humans when it comes to dental care: They do not like dental procedures. But just like their human counterparts, routine dental cleanings are crucial for dogs. 

Besides protecting the pet’s dental health, professional cleanings can help prevent serious health issues. Cleaning your dog’s teeth at home is necessary, but it is not adequate. Dental cleanings help remove bacteria and plaque trapped in hard-to-reach areas. 



Annual Dental Cleanings



Professionals recommend adult dogs get a dental checkup and cleaning at least once a year. Younger dogs require more frequent dental care as their teeth develop. They have shallow roots that can lead to dental issues such as dental deformities and overcrowding. 


Your veterinarian can help determine the best dental cleaning schedule for your pet. The vet will consider the pet’s age, breed, diet, health condition, and lifestyle. 



Your Dog’s First Dental Cleaning



When considering when to take your pet for his first dental cleaning, you should consider various factors. Ideally, canines should be old enough to go through anesthesia before getting a dental cleaning. 


Many vets recommend that cleanings begin at two years, especially for small breed dogs. Your vet will determine the best time to schedule the first cleaning. Most dogs start to show signs of dental issues by age three. 



Dog Dental Cleaning - What to Expect  



Before the dental cleaning, the vet will take blood tests to determine whether the dog is healthy enough for anesthesia. Dental X-rays may be required to evaluate the dog’s dental health and conduct a preliminary diagnosis. 


During the cleaning, the vet uses special tools to polish or clean the teeth while monitoring the dog’s vital signs. The tools remove all plaque and tartar under the gums. After the cleaning, the dog will remain in recovery, allowing the anesthesia to wear off. 



Detecting Signs of Dental Disease



Dental cleanings offer an opportunity to look for signs of dental disease. As a pet parent, you should examine your dog regularly. Common signs of dental disease include chronic bad breath, swollen and inflamed gums, difficulty chewing, weight loss, and excessive drooling. 

Yellow or loose teeth, bumps in the mouth tissue, and chewing on one side are dental or gum disease symptoms. Jaw fractures and nasal discharge are severe symptoms of oral disease. 



At-home Dog Dental Care 



You can do things to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy between cleanings. Regular home dental cleanings are essential to eliminate bacteria and food debris. The cleanings can help prevent the accumulation of plaque. 


Brush your pet’s teeth regularly using special canine toothpaste, a finger brush, and dental care products. The products for doing this include dental water additives, sprays, chews, and toys. 

Choosing the best diet for your dog will help keep his teeth and gums healthy. Talk to the vet about the best foods for dental health. Choose pet-approved dental products when cleaning your dog’s teeth at home.


For more on how often you should take your dog to get their teeth cleaned, visit Circle of Life Animal Hospital at our Tampa, Florida office. Call (813) 850-0600 to schedule an appointment today.

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