How Often Should Dogs Get Their Teeth Cleaned?

Published on May 23rd, 2024

Long-haired dog being held by smiling vet

Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is vital for their health and happiness. Just like humans, dogs need regular dental care to keep their gums healthy and prevent dental disease. But how often should your furry friend visit the vet for a teeth cleaning? Let’s dive into the details to help you make the best decision for your pet.

How Often Should Dogs Get a Dental Cleaning?

As a general rule, you should get your dog’s teeth cleaned by a veterinarian at least once a year. However, the frequency of canine dental cleanings depends on several factors, including their age, breed, and specific recommendations from your veterinarian.


Puppies generally have healthier teeth and might not need dental cleanings as frequently. However, as dogs age, they are more likely to develop dental issues and may require more frequent cleanings.


Some breeds are more prone to dental problems. Smaller dog breeds, like Yorkies and Chihuahuas, often need more frequent dental care due to oral health issues like tooth crowding. However, larger dogs may not need as frequent cleanings.

Vet Advice

Your veterinarian is your best resource when deciding the frequency of dental cleanings for your dog. They can assess your pet’s individual needs based on their overall health and dental condition.

What to Expect at Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaning Appointment

Knowing what happens during a teeth cleaning can make the experience less stressful for you and your dog.


Anesthesia is commonly used to keep dogs comfortable and still during dental cleanings. Your vet will evaluate your dog to ensure they are a good candidate for anesthesia.


The vet will remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth, both above and below the gum line. This process helps prevent periodontal disease.


Dental X-rays might be taken to evaluate the health of your dog’s jaw and tooth roots below the gumline. This is important for detecting hidden problems.


After the cleaning, your vet will provide instructions on post-procedure care. This might include a soft diet and monitoring for any signs of complications.

Tips For Keeping Your Dog’s Teeth Clean at Home

Spotted dog getting its teeth brushed at home

In between professional cleanings, there are several things you can do to keep your dog’s teeth clean:

  • Brush your pet’s teeth regularly with a rubber toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for dogs.
  • Never give your dog human toothpaste! Fluoride is poisonous to dogs.
  • Give your dog dental treats or dental chews to help reduce plaque and tartar build-up.
  • Use oral rinses or water additives designed for dogs

Schedule Your Dog’s First Teeth Cleaning

Regular dental care is crucial for your dog’s long-term health and happiness. At Portage Park Animal Hospital, we’re committed to helping your pet maintain a healthy smile. If you have any concerns about your dog’s dental health, don’t hesitate to contact us. Schedule your dog’s dental cleaning appointment today!

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