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Pet Insurance 101

How much does it cost to clean a dog’s teeth?

Here's why it’s important to brush your dog’s teeth.

You have your daily dog-parent duties: feed your pet twice a day, take walks, get in plenty of snuggles and kisses. But should brushing your dog’s teeth be added to the list?

Brushing your dog’s teeth or getting them professionally cleaned regularly helps ensure they don’t develop oral health issues like periodontal disease, which can be uncomfortable for your pets and rack up costly vet bills for you. 

But, before reaching for your spare toothbrush, you’ll want to know when dog teeth cleanings are a good idea, how much an average procedure costs and if it’s a practice you should be handling yourself. 

Why should dogs get their teeth professionally cleaned?

Your vet should routinely clean your dog’s teeth so that they can keep an eye on your pet’s general dental health, Dr. McCullough says. Along with cleaning things up, they’ll look for signs of oral pain, tooth loss or dental diseases like periodontal disease.

“Since your dog just won’t open wide and say ‘ahh,’ routine dental cleanings are necessary for the early detection of dental issues,” Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch’s on-staff veterinarian, says. “Dental cleanings are a diagnostic test that includes dental X-rays and a thorough oral examination of all oral structures including teeth, gums, tongue, tonsils and more.”

In between professional cleanings, you should still peek into your pup’s mouth every now and then to look for tartar (a hard calcified deposit that forms on the teeth) and sniff for bad breath, which can both signal dental disease. Other signs of dental disease include, decreased appetite, dropping food and chewing on one side of the mouth, Dr. McCullough explains. Contact your vet if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

How often do dogs need their teeth brushed? 

Talk to your veterinarian about the right dental health plan for your pup. According to Dr. McCullough, most dogs start yearly teeth cleanings around 2 or 3 years old. However, it all depends on your pup’s health status and if they have dental diseases.

“Some dogs may need dental cleanings at a younger age or need two cleanings per year,” she adds. “Your veterinarian can make specific recommendations based on your dog’s individual needs.”

RELATED: Cat teeth cleaning and extraction costs

Tips for cleaning your dog’s teeth at home

Your vet will tell you if your dog’s teeth need to be brushed at home — plus, they’ll share the best way to get the job done. Sometimes, using a toothbrush or washcloth over your finger is recommended, but your vet can suggest the best option for your dog. And avoid using human toothpaste on your dog unless advised by a vet.

How much does it cost to clean a dog’s teeth?

In Dr. McCullough’s experience, on average it costs between $500 to over $1,000 for professional dog dental cleanings. The cost of a dental cleaning for your dog can vary depending on your location, type of veterinary hospital and your dog’s age, size and health status,” she adds.

Does pet insurance cover dog dental cleanings? 

However, if your veterinarian suggests treatment for dental disease, we’ll cover any tooth (not just the four canines).

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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