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