Do dogs really need their teeth cleaned? How much does a teeth cleaning cost? And can I clean my dog’s teeth at home?

dog teeth

Do Dogs Really Need to Have Their Teeth Cleaned?

Are you a new dog owner trying to figure out the best ways to take care of your pup? Congrats! You’re off to a great start just by asking these important questions. And don’t worry… if you’ve had your pup for a while, and never thought about dog teeth cleaning before, it’s never too late.

The answer to your question here is yes—dogs do need their teeth cleaned, just like humans. They can suffer from tartar and plaque build up. And if neglected for too long, dogs can end up with issues like periodontal disease.

Dental disease is one of the most common problems that brings a dog to the vet. “Over 80% of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease.” So no matter what your pup’s age—let’s start working on their oral health today.

dog smiling

When Should My Dog Have His First Teeth Cleaning?

If you have a puppy, you might be wondering at what age you should start cleaning their teeth. The best rule of thumb is to wait until they have all of their adult teeth in. Puppies start losing their baby teeth around 4 months old, and should have all of their adult teeth by 6 month old.

At that point, you can start doing regular teeth brushings at home, using dental treats and healthy dog bones, and scheduling regular teeth cleanings with your veterinarian.

dog teeth

What is the Cost of Having a Dog’s Teeth Cleaned?

Brace yourself, because the cost of a teeth cleaning at the vet for your sweet pup might shock you. The price all depends on the area you live in, and your specific vet, so do a little shopping around. But the prices per teeth cleaning typically range from $200-$300, all the way up to $700-$1,000. And this isn’t for any special dental work, or because your dog already has periodontal disease. These prices are for typical, routine cleanings.

If you’d like to schedule a teeth cleaning, but don’t have the money all at once, there payment plans like CareCredit. Or you can plan ahead by getting pet insurance.

Talk with your veterinarian and ask what they recommend about teeth cleanings and frequency. But one of the most important things you can do to help your pup and your bank account, is to routinely brush your dog’s teeth at home!

How to Brush My Dog’s Teeth at Home

There are specific dog toothbrushes that make it easier to brush your pup’s teeth at home. You can use a typical human toothbrush, but the dog toothbrushes come in a variety of styles that make brushing your dog’s teeth even easier.

When it comes to toothpaste, it’s very important that you use a dog-specific toothpaste. Dogs should never use human toothpaste. And there are plenty of different brands of dog toothpastes. Some of the most important qualities to look for are:

  • Freshens breath & whitens teeth – baking soda is great for this
  • Removes plaque & tartar – enzymatic formulas help their gums and teeth to stay healthy
  • Tastes great to dogs – your dog will be a more willing participant if they love the taste!

And the more enjoyable you can make the experience for your dog, the less of a struggle it will be. So make sure to get a toothpaste flavor that your dog loves. Give them plenty of praise and treats afterward. And be gentle while brushing. It’s ok if you don’t do a perfect job—just trying to brush their teeth helps a ton!

And don’t forget, you can also use dental treats, raw bones, and dental supplements to help with your dog’s overall dental health.

Best Dog Toothpastes

There are so many brands and types of toothpastes out there, you can’t go too wrong with your choice. Especially if you keep in mind our advice above, and consult with your veterinarian. But here are a few of the most popular and highly-recommended dog toothpastes on the market:

All three of these toothpastes are safe for dogs, and come in tasty flavors your pup will love. They contain enzymatic formulas that help to remove plaque and tartar, as well as freshen your dog’s breath, and keep their teeth white.

Practice Dog Dental Health Today

Remember, even if your dog isn’t a puppy anymore, and you’ve never once brushed their teeth… It's never too late! Dogs are very resilient creatures. And if you start working on brushing their teeth, giving them some dental chews, and consulting your veterinarian—you’ll be shocked to see how quickly you’ll see a difference in their dental health.

For more helpful articles about pet-parenting tips, check out the Off Leash blog at

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