Teeth cleaning is normally considered a routine procedure, although it can be induced by illness or injury. Since most dogs develop periodontal disease by age 3, veterinarians typically recommend professional teeth cleanings at least annually. They might recommend the procedure more frequently if your dog has bad oral health or tell you it’s okay to wait a little longer if your dog’s teeth still shine like they did as a young pup.
No matter where you live, it’s important to care for your dog’s teeth because oral health dictates overall health since periodontal disease is directly linked to heart disease. Unfortunately, dental cleanings cost more in Australia on average than in the United States. To offset the costs, you might consider investing in an inclusive pet insurance policy to make sure you’re covered next time your dog needs their teeth scaled and polished.
The Importance of Dog Teeth Cleaning
Since periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed disease in the small animal population, it’s imperative to keep your dog’s canines in tip-top shape. Oftentimes you won’t notice the symptoms of periodontal disease until it’s already progressed, so that’s why veterinarians recommend yearly dental cleanings. This allows them to completely scope out your dog’s mouth while they’re under anesthesia.
Some veterinarians offer dental cleanings without anesthesia, but the American Veterinary Dental College highly dissuades pet parents from trying this procedure because it’s risky for your dog and the medical staff. Unfamiliar stimuli could frighten your pet, resulting in them biting or snapping, which could cut their gums on the sharp instruments. At the very least, it’s not as thorough as a dental cleaning while your dog is sleeping, and the veterinary team can manipulate your dog’s jaw to see every angle.
How Much Does Dog Teeth Cleaning Cost?
Dog teeth cleaning costs a little more in Australia than it does in the United States. The exact price varies according to geographic region and what’s involved. Typically, a teeth cleaning bill includes all of these steps:
Sometimes a simple scale and polish isn’t enough. Your dog might need to have a tooth pulled due to injury or the progression of periodontal disease, which will add to your bill. Although the preliminary x-ray and exam should prepare you for the final cost, it’s possible that your vet will discover another tooth will need to be extracted during the cleaning. If that’s the case, they’ll likely pull your dog’s tooth while they’re still under anesthesia.
Tooth extractions are often much more expensive in Australia than in the United States, and less likely to be covered under a pet insurance policy than a routine cleaning, where the opposite is true in the U.S. Here are some example prices based on whether your dog needs a tooth extraction:
|Cleaning With Extractions
|$438.57 – $1,023.34 AUD ($300 – $700 USD)
|$14.62 – $146.19 AUD ($10 – $100 USD) extra per tooth
|$730.96 AUD ($500 USD)
|$1,096.43 – $2,192.87 AUD ($750 – $1,500 USD) total with extractions
|$708.88 AUD ($484.90 USD) scale & polish only
|$584.76+ AUD ($400+ USD) extra per tooth
|$628.62 – $687.10 AUD ($430 – $470 USD)
|$1,096.43+ AUD ($750+ USD) extra
How Often Should I Have My Dog’s Teeth Professionally Cleaned?
Unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian, you should aim to have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned at least once per year. Dogs with a history of periodontal disease may need more frequent cleanings. Good oral health can reduce the number of cleanings, but you should still get your dog’s teeth cleaned professionally as your vet deems necessary to prevent disease.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Cleanings in Australia?
In Australia, dental coverage isn’t typically included in a basic pet insurance policy. Some companies completely exclude dental, and it’s more common to find coverage for the cheaper routine procedures such as dental cleanings than costly tooth extractions. This can spell disaster if your dog breaks its tooth since extractions can cost $1,023.34+ ($700). Plus, even routine dental cleanings add up over the years. There are a few pet insurance companies in Australia that offer full dental coverage for an extra price, including Vet’s Choice.
What to Do for Your Dog’s Teeth in Between Cleanings
While professional dental cleanings are still highly recommended and necessary to guarantee your pet stays in optimal health, good dental hygiene starts at home. Encourage your vigorous chewer to play with sturdy, non-splintering bones like elk antlers and give them safe dental chews so that they can clean their teeth while having fun.
It’s important to brush your dog’s teeth daily. To begin, introduce the toothbrush to your dog’s mouth slowly. Gently pull back their gums and expose their teeth, brushing their teeth and gums. Be sure to give them plenty of praise and a treat afterwards! You might even begin a routine of giving them a daily chew after they get their teeth brushed to promote good behavior and encourage them to look forward to getting their teeth cleaned.
Make sure you never use human toothpaste on your dog’s mouth since most contain toxic additives such as xylitol. Using pet-friendly toothpaste makes the experience more enjoyable for your dog, too, as they often come in tasty flavors like chicken or bacon.
Professional dental cleanings can be expensive, but tooth extractions are even more costly. Although the cost of dental cleanings is only marginally more expensive in Australia, tooth extractions are much more expensive there than in the United States. Since 80% of dogs will develop periodontal disease by age 3, it’s important to start a healthy oral hygiene routine early on in your pup’s life to offset the risk of dental illness and the need for tooth extractions. Pet insurance may help pay for your bills, but not every policy includes dental, so be sure to fetch a quote before you enroll.
Featured Image Credit: DWhiteeye, Shutterstock