Dog Dental Care – When does your dog need it?

grade II dog dental diseaseDash’s breath stinks. Like stinks so bad you can’t let him lick your face. Stinky breath is a sign that your dog has tartar and plaque build up and may even have a rotted or abscessed tooth. In Dash’s case, he not only needed a cleaning but also needed a tooth pulled. I could tell just by peeking in his mouth – not only were his teeth covered in tartar but one of his molars looked almost black!

Why dog dental care is important for your dog’s overall health:

Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is critical to your dog’s overall wellbeing. Why? Well, the mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria – and bacteria travels throughout the body. If you aren’t regularly brushing your dog’s teeth plaque will turn to tartar which will inflame your dog’s gums, causing periodontal disease which hurts. Because I had neglected Dash’s teeth for so long, he had inflamed gums and a decaying tooth. Sure, I gave him loves of bones to chew on but it’s not the same as brushing the teeth. And if I hear one more person say that dry kibble cleans teeth I may strangle someone. Dry kibble does not clean teeth. Toothbrushes and toothpaste clean teeth. While dry kibble may cause less plaque than wet food, it doesn’t remove the plaque from the teeth. Think about it – does eating Doritos keep your teeth clean?

I kept putting Dash’s dental exam off out of fear of the cost (more on this later) but when he stopped chewing on his bully sticks I knew he was in pain.

How Much Does a Dog Dental Procedure Cost?

Low-cost clinics

I had Dash’s teeth first cleaned about 7 years ago and remembered it being  around $275. So, I got a few estimates. All of the vets required a pre-dental procedure physical exam and blood work to make sure it would be safe to administer anesthesia. The Delaware County SPCA only charges around $35 for this exam but that doesn’t include the cost of the blood work. Most of the other vets charged around $50 for the physical exam (plus cost of blood work). I have taken my foster dogs (and cat) to the Delco SPCA clinic several times and highly recommend them. A dental procedure only costs around $125 (amazing!) plus around $25 for each extracted tooth. That’s a deal you can’t beat.

While I have used the Delaware County SPCA dental clinic for my foster dogs, I was leery about leaving Dash there all day only because of his separation anxiety. If I took him to the vet, I knew I could pick him up as soon as he woke up.

Private veterinarian hospital

I did a little survey of vets in the Philadelphia area and found that estimates ranged anywhere from $300 – 800. Most are in the $500 range. Society Hill Vet is the highest in the metro area.

My regular vet (Devon Animal Hospital) is, by far, the highest in the suburbs priced at an estimate of $500 – $800. This did not include the physical exam/blood work or tooth extractions. Limerick Vet ranges between $300 and $500. Perkiomen Animal Hospital quoted me between $300 – $500, not including extractions. Since it came so highly recommended and was close to my parents’ home, I went with Perkiomen.

dash chews tennis ballI’d never taken Dash there before, but neighbors had highly recommended it. Dr. McManus was very pleasant and very patient with Dash (who was a nervous wreck). He did talk over me quite a bit. I think he just wanted to make sure I had all of the information prior to the procedure. Dash would need at least one tooth removed. I also found out that Dash’s canines are completely worn down. The culprit? Tennis balls!

Dash’s pre-dental blood work came to $245. Ouch. However, this included an overdue heart worm test.

I dropped off Dash at 8 am the day of the exam and was told to call at 3:30 pm to see how he was doing. At 3:30, they told me that he did quite well and that I could come pick him up at 4:15 but that the vet did want to speak with me. The vet just went over what was done and explained antibiotic/pain management for the neck week. Dash had three teeth pulled! For some reason, though, only charged me for two.

Breakdown of charges

Here’s a breakdown of our charges:

  • Catheterization IV $22
  • Fluids Intravenous/Day $28
  • General Anesthesia (injected and gas) ISOFL $50
  • Dentistry Scale & Polish $60
  • Extract Teeth (3)  $50
  • Fluoride Treatment $7.50
  • Pedicure (complementary) $0
  • Ear Cleaning (complementary) $0
  • Convenia $42
  • Pain Management (in hospital) $38
  • Rimadyl Injectable $0
  • Hospitalization $35
  • Rimadyl Chew (trial size 25 mg) $0

Total cost of dog dental care procedure for 11 year old Yorkie:  $332.50. The vet also wanted to see Dash 7-10 days after the exam just to make sure everything was healing properly. There would be no charge for this exam.

So, all in all it cost around $577.00. If there is pet insurance out there that covers dental exams, then that’s an excellent reason to get it. I know that I’m going to make a concentrated effort to brushing Dash’s teeth regularly!


Our Recommended Dental Products

Looking for some dental products to help keep your dog’s teeth clean or freshen breath? Here are our recommendations – we’ve tried each of these below and have been impressed.

Affiliate disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that we earn a small fee if you choose to purchase a product through our links.

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Dog dental care is expensive but a necessity - here's a review of dental costs in the Philadelphia area and what you and your dog can expect.