Cleaning Dogs Teeth Without Anesthesia

When is Anesthesia Necessary?

While we do recommend bringing your dog into for routine check ups and cleaning, we understand that many people are not comfortable with bringing their dogs in to be put under with anesthesia. However you should always monitor the health of your dogs teeth as it’s extremely important to bring them in to the veterinarian for teeth cleaning when the plaque and tartar build up is too serious to clean yourself.

The best tip to avoid having to put your dog under anesthesia is prevention. Keeping teeth clean by regularly brushing and using dental bones will help to avoid any serious teeth risks which would involve the use of anesthesia.

Anesthesia-free cleaning can be done if your dog has an intolerance because of health issues, allergy, age or breed. As long as there are no serious oral problems, and your dog is cooperative, a good cleaning and polishing can be done without anesthesia. Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning is recommended every six months.


Before your dog is given anesthesia, there are a few things the veterinarian will check beforehand. Blood work is done to determine whether or not your dog can be put under. If you have an older dog, or a dog of a smaller breed, anesthesia can pose more of a risk.

Pros of Anesthesia

  • Having your dog’s teeth cleaned professionally can be very beneficial. There are a number of positive reasons for having your dog’s teeth cleaned using anesthesia.
  • Teeth cleaning in an awake dog is not as thorough as if he was under anesthesia. Some dental problems may not be found if there are no X-rays.
  • Anesthesia-free cleaning does not remove plaque below the gum line. The gum line is where plaque and tartar build the most and can cause abscess and tooth loss. There is no way to remove plaque without using anesthesia.

While your dog is under anesthesia, your veterinarian may do other tests to screen for cancers or other serious problems in the mouth. The vet will take x-rays to asses the overall condition and health of all the teeth and bones in your dog’s mouth.


The risks of anesthetic teeth cleaning can be managed by thorough pre-examination, blood work, heart monitoring and attention to detail. Anesthetic dental procedures are very well performed these days and every precaution is taken to avoid problems during the time your dog is under anesthesia.