Easy And Effective Low-Cost Dog Dental Care

Proper dog care can certainly pay off. For instance, when I adopted my dog, Henry, I told him I’d do everything I could so he wouldn’t need a professional vet teeth cleaning. That’s not to say they can’t be beneficial, but I had bad experiences with my cats. Thus I didn’t want him to go through the same situation. It’s been 6 years and counting and so far and my strategies have worked well. With this in mind, let’s dig in and I’ll share my tricks for easy and effective low-cost dog dental care. 

a corgi smiles to show off the results of low-cost dog dental care
disclaimer note
Budget tip:

Dog oral health and teeth care can be expensive when your pup needs a professional vet cleaning. This is especially true if your dog develops dental disease. However, if you take daily steps to keep your dog's teeth clean you might just avoid more pricey and risky measures. It’s working for Henry and me and I’m certain you and your dog can benefit as well.  That’s a great win-win all the way around!

Are some dogs more prone to dental issues than other dogs? 

Actually, to my surprise, some dogs can be prone to dental and mouth issues. As an example, I have a friend with two dachshunds. One has pretty good teeth. The other has pockets within her gums that will collect food like a squirrel and speed the decay of her teeth. Thus, she has undergone at least one tooth extraction each year. Her dental problems and consequently dental surgery are difficult for her and her human parents. Of course, she has a recovery period with pain medication and a return visit to the veterinary care clinic to remove stitches. 

Does vet dental cleaning have to include anesthesia? 

No, a vet pet teeth cleaning doesn’t have to include anesthesia. However, most veterinary dentistry clinics will only perform teeth cleaning with anesthesia. This is mainly because if the vet discovers there are serious dental issues requiring a tooth extraction, they can do it at the same time. 

What’s the best proper dental care I should do for my dog daily? 

Of course, you’ll want your vet to do an inspection at your bi-annual visits. However, beyond that on a daily basis, you’ll want to keep inspecting your dog’s teeth to make sure they are healthy (bright white color and not loose), none are missing, and clean your dog’s teeth. Additionally, encouraging your dog to drink water is great for healthy teeth on top of a healthy diet. Thus, avoiding too many processed dog treats. 

Do you know you can save money when your dog drinks an optimum amount of clean water? In this article, I go into all the details. 

My dog hates having his teeth brushed, what can I do?

There are many dogs and pets that simply don’t like having their teeth brushed. It doesn’t really matter how much you entice them to try to like it or try to train them to the procedure. They just will resist it. 

However, there are solutions for these dogs. You can use products like:

  • Water treatments
  • Sprays
  • Gels
  • Chews

Do you know you can train for your dog for free and on your schedule? In this article, I show you how. 

What do I use for Henry’s dental care?

I know you’re curious about Henry’s regular dental care. Personally,  I’m very pleased with the routine I’ve developed that has kept him from needing a professional vet dental cleaning. It’s almost like a badge of validation when I go to the vet and he says, he does a general dental exam and says, “Henry’s teeth look great!”

Sometimes I think they don’t look as good as they should or I would like. For example, after he was attacked by two dogs and was recovering in a cone of shame, I wasn’t as strict about cleaning his teeth. Thus, I noticed a big difference. But I felt like he needed a break from most things to let his little body heal. We got back on track and within a short while his teeth looked great again! 

I admit, my routine for his teeth has changed over the years. When I first adopted Henry, I used a dental spray, which worked very well. However, that company was sold to another company and it’s no longer being made. 

Henry’s daily low-cost dental care routine is easy

After much research, I found a dental gel. While Henry doesn’t love it, he doesn’t mind it. Honestly, I think it’s the gel “feel” he doesn’t like. After about 6 months of using it, I’m very pleased. I get the peanut butter flavor, which Henry likes a lot more than the mint flavor. 

This is the dental gel I use for Henry. (This company also has a dental gel for cats.)

Moreover, I have given Henry dental chews at night. He really loves those. However, he knocked a front tooth out and now I’m a bit more cautious with him eating hard items. Although I don’t know how he lost his tooth, I worry about him losing more. 

Additionally, Henry has a very sensitive stomach. One dental chew can make him constipated for a day or two. So, I pick my battles. 

Do you know the benefits of pumpkin for dogs? I use pumpkin for Henry daily and it saves me a lot of money. In this article, I share the details. 

Henry smiles to show off his pearly white low-cost dog dental care
Henry smiling to show off his pearly white teeth.

What if I clean my dog’s teeth, but he still needs a vet dental cleaning? Or are there cheaper options?

First, if this happens, don’t be too hard on yourself. As I said before, some dogs are predisposed to teeth issues. 

Second, if you have pet insurance, check to see if dental cleaning is covered. A lot of pet insurance will cover these types of procedures. 

Third, you can use CareCredit, your pet savings account, or your dog’s emergency care fund as well for teeth cleaning. 

Not sure how to create a pet savings account? In this article, I share how to do it and why it’s a great idea.

However, you may also want to call SPCA or your local shelter for local low-cost options on dental cleaning. These folks will be able to provide you with an affordable animal hospital that can offer you dog teeth cleaning at a lower rate. 

Finally, there is an organization that offers low-cost pet dental cleaning. However, you have to make an appointment and be in the Savannah, Georgia area. But if you’re near this area, it could be worth calling or visiting their website. 

Want to set up an emergency dog account? In this article, I walk you through how to do it. 

How do I know my dog needs to see the vet concerning dental care?

There will be signs your dog is having teeth or mouth issues. These can include:

  • Not willing to eat as much as normal (or as enthusiastically)
  • Weight loss
  • Discolored teeth, usually tartar or plaque
  • Bad breath (not just from their food) but a horrible breath
  • Mouth is sensitive to touch
  • Teeth appear loose or are missing
  • Dropping food or drooling, which is a new behavior

Are you still looking for a great vet? In this article, I share what to look for in order to find the perfect vet for you and your furry friends. 

Can I really save any money by caring for my dog’s teeth daily?

Not only is taking care of your furry friend’s teeth good for their overall health, but it can save you a lot of money. This is the benefit of being proactive. Even if your dog is prone to teeth issues, the severity of your pup’s dental issues may not be as extreme with daily care. Consider the following for a moment:

Professional vet teeth cleaning (includes anesthesia)$500-3000+
Dog teeth extraction$10-3000
Pain medication and antibiotics$10-40

Related articles:

Summary of Easy and Effective Low-Cost Dog Dental Care

While we may easily notice our dog’s coats, or feet, but teeth take a bit more effort. Moreover, it means your dog often needs to cooperate. But the payoff can be big! For me, it’s been huge! I know Henry would rather not have me put dog dental gel on his teeth first thing in the morning. However, it meant he didn’t need to undergo a professional vet cleaning, which is great! I think Henry’s vet is superb, but with any procedure, anything is possible.

Thus, if I can prevent Henry from having to experience it, I’ll put up with his side-eye displeasure. Besides he gets lots of love and a massage beforehand. So, I know he’s doing well. Additionally, the stamp of approval from his vet saying his teeth look great is all the encouragement I need, despite the money savings, which is a great bonus!

a cute Husky smiles to show off his pearly whites as a result of low-cost dog dental care

What’s your dog dental care routine? Does your dog like having his/her teeth brushed or do you use a non-brushing option?

About Terri Rodefer

Terri Rodefer is the founder of Tail Wag Wisdom, a blog focused on affordable pet care. She likes to say helping pet parents afford and love their animals even more, makes her tail wag. As a lifelong lover of all animals with a background in economics, biology, and marketing, allows Terri to bring a unique spin to pet care. 

10 thoughts on “Easy And Effective Low-Cost Dog Dental Care”

  1. You made some really great tips concerning dental care. And it’s so true: being diligent about dental health can save you money down the line. Also, bad breath and poor dental hygiene can be a sign of health problems too. Thanks for sharing this post to bring awareness and sharing the DIY alternative option for low-cost dental care.

    • You know I was surprised at how much dental health impacts a pets health. If there’s an issue in the mouth, then it really can spread to other issues such as digestive, kidney, behavioral, to name a few. For Henry and me, it really has paid off to be vigilant and consistent with his dental care. Yet, I so happy that I don’t have to deal with brushing his teeth and he hasn’t had to deal with a professional vet teeth cleaning.
      I really hope this helps others as well. Thank you for your kind words and continued support!

  2. This topic hits home in a big way for me. Not caring for your dog’s teeth properly can literally cause extreme health issues for them. I’ve experienced this first hand. We just started brushing Icy’s teeth at the age of 14 – and by “we” I mean my husband. She never let me near her to brush her teeth but I explained to my husband how critical it is to brush her teeth at this stage and how I don’t want her to get anesthetic cleaning at the Vet. This motivated him to tackle brushing her teeth. She fights him Tooth and Nail (pun intended!) on it but he gets it done!

    • You nailed my exact issue with dental care – avoiding professional vet dental cleaning and anesthesia. I’m certain that Henry would probably allow me to brush his teeth. But I know lots of people who brush their dogs teeth daily and still have to get their pup’s teeth cleaned yearly. I was determined to avoid the anesthesia. I hope the options I provided in this article can help you, your husband, and sweet Icy.
      Thank you for your continued support! I greatly appreciate it!

  3. Great post, till about two years ago Layla was chewing on beef neck bones which kept her teeth in good shape plus I would clean them twice a day but since she has gone blind she is not interested in chewing anything so am cleaning her teeth like I always have with gel and a water additive but unfortunately she now has plaque on one back tooth and because of her age my vet will not do a teeth clean, it is too risky so we are monitoring it and doing the best we can.

    • Oh, that’s a great observation. How you care for your dog’s teeth may change as they age. I LOVE that you were able to adapt to Layla’s needs. I hope that you’re vet is able to address Layla’s back teeth more appropriately. Sometimes those solutions present themselves in the oddest places. I’ll certainly keep my eyes and ears open. I’m very fortunate that all of Henry’s teeth are in good shape with just the gel solution.

      Thank you for your kind words and continued support. I really appreciate it!

  4. Cats have so many dental issues as they get older and I empathise with dog issues of a similar nature, the expense is worth it though because I cannot clean 10 sets of teeth every day. I can compromise with cleaning treets and stuff though and they can be so helpful.

    • Cats certainly can have a lot of dental issues. My last two cats both had dental issues and needed professional vet cleaning. Their health went down after that cleaning and the anesthesia. That’s why I’ve been so determined to avoid a professional cleaning with Henry. I hope you found the expensive and quick teeth cleaning presented in this article helpful. It’s certainly what I would do for my cats today.

      Thank you for you continued support! I really appreciate it!

  5. Fantastic article, it’s so important to understand the health issues that can affect a dog through poor dental health. I used to use a toothbrush for a few of my FiveSibes, and the massaging finger brush for the others. They really loved that mint taste! So much so, if I had a mint or gum, Harley would rush up to me and snuff! LOL.

    The cost savings you outline is amazing. But important for folks to realize if they don’t take care of their dog’s teeth, besides the cost of extraction and/or medication, etc., it is a lot of trauma to put the dog through. So prevention is the key and with your great tips, it will be very helpful! I was fortunate that my FiveSibes had great teeth. Like you, the chews would upset their tummies, but once you find a routine that works, it’s great. And Henry’s smile is beautiful (and nice and white)! Sharing and Pinning so others can read your great tips!

    • Thanks for your kind words! Oh, I wish I could have Harley talk to Henry about mint. Oh my, I get the side-eye look when I try mint on him. Peanut butter flavored gel goes over much better.

      I’m so glad your FiveSibes had great teeth! It truly is a blessing when your pup has great teeth as it’s the gateway to a lot of health issues.

      I have to admit, I kind of love the cost break outs. It brings everything together and shows how important the item is not just for your dog, but also for your pocketbook.

      I like that smiling photo of Henry as well. Nutty little pup!

      Thank you for the continued support and sharing! I really appreciate it!


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