Dental Care For Dogs: Why non-anesthetic cleanings will leave you and your happy hound smiling.

October 1st, 2022

happy hound licking girl's face

You’re sitting next to your favorite bestie when you catch a breeze of their not-so-minty fresh breath. This is awkward. How do you break the news that it’s time to get their teeth cleaned? Fortunately, this particular bestie is open to feedback, and their loyalty has no bounds, especially if it comes with a treat and a snuggle.

Let’s talk about keeping your canine’s chompers healthy. First, here’s a surprising number to chew on for a moment. According to American Veterinary Dental, 80% of dogs by age 3 show signs of periodontal disease resulting from infections and inflammation of the gums and bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. 

This statistic is a powerful reminder of how quickly tooth decay in our dogs can progress. Even if your pup is past the age of 3 it’s never too late to start dental hygiene. Preventative, consistent, and proper care of your dog’s teeth can avoid gingivitis, plaque build-up that eventually can progress to more serious oral diseases or loss of teeth. 

Your dog’s oral care fits into the big picture when it comes to their overall health. Happy Hound strives to give our clients various options to keep their furry friend healthy. It’s why we recently partnered with a non-anesthetic dental cleaning provider, Pettooth. For over 20 years, Pettooth has cleaned thousands of pet smiles throughout the bay area.

Pettooth non-anesthetic dental cleaningHow do anesthesia-free dental cleanings work?

1. The well-being and health of your pet are the top priority. An exam by a licensed veterinarian takes place before the cleaning, and they are present during the appointment.

2. Anesthesia or any form of sedation is not used. Your dog is fully awake. They are gently held in a tech’s lap, and cleanings take 25-40 minutes. You may think, “my dog would never stay still for this!” – surprisingly most dogs respond well and are cooperative during their cleaning. Note: Pettooth will stop if your pet shows undue stress and on occasion, oral sedatives may be recommended by the supervising vet, if appropriate.)

dog receiving non anesthetic dental cleaning


3. Pettooth’s cleaning procedure involves hand scaling of facial and lingual surfaces of the teeth (including below the gum line) and polishing all exposed surfaces. Sterilized manual scaler and curette instruments are used (just like your dentist) to remove tartar and build-up from your pet’s teeth above and below the gum line.

dog getting his teeth cleaned by veterinary dental hygienist


4. During the cleaning itself, Pettooth will look for areas of concern, such as pocketing between teeth and poor gum condition, and let you know if they think your pet needs a dental procedure requiring anesthesia. It’s important to note that without dental x-rays, Pettooth is limited in its diagnostic capabilities and cannot detect early bone loss if there are no external signs of decline.

5. Pettooth will communicate to the vet if they have identified any teeth problems (cracks or breaks) or early detection of dental diseases that require veterinary attention.

Benefits of non-anesthetic dental cleanings:

  • Anesthesia-free means no risks
  • No Recovery Time 
  • No Side Effects
  • Keeps your dog’s mouth healthy from disease, decay and damage
  • An easy and affordable way to help keep your dog’s immune system strong

dog with clean teeth

How do I know if non-anesthetic dental cleanings are the right decision for my dog? 

Young to elderly, small to large – all dogs can go through this type of cleaning.

Pettooth will advise against anesthesia-free teeth cleaning if:

  • There is advanced periodontal disease, loose teeth, or a badly fractured tooth that indicates its health is compromised.
  • The dog is known to bite when under stress or extremely resistant. Pettooth will use their wide range of skills and tricks, but sometimes it may not work and we do not want to cause undue stress or anxiety.

In these cases, it’s best to consult a veterinarian to perform cleanings under anesthesia.

If you have questions or concerns, contact Pettooth or visit their FAQ Page.

To schedule an appointment with Pettooth at the Happy Hound Location. Book Your Appointment Here.

Good dental care helps your furry loved one have a healthy mouth and, just as importantly, protects their general well-being. Get ready to say “Cheese” – this is something to smile about! (although, those with cheese-obsessed dogs be warned, probably not the best words to use when you snap your next selfie) 

Smiling man and his dog friend taking selfie