The Costs of Dog and Cat Dental Care

Happy Pet Dental Health Month! Did you know we're offering a $15 discount on all dentals performed during the month of February? We're also offering 20% off all our dental chews, pet toothpaste, dental tabs, etc. So what are you waiting for? It's time to get those pearly whites white again!

You know your pet’s teeth aren’t going to clean themselves, and you also know your pet is subject to tartar and plaque buildup and periodontal disease just like humans. It’s no secret that professional dog and cat dental cleaning is important. However, one question we’re frequently asked is how much does dog or cat dental care cost? Unfortunately, like many health services, it’s difficult to give a single price because “it depends.”

Let’s look at the various factors that contribute to the fees.


Cost of Professional Teeth Cleaning

According to, pet "teeth cleaning costs vary across the board and are influenced by a slew of different factors. If you live in a high cost area, such as a large city, you can expect to pay more. A cleaning might only cost a few hundred dollars, but you might end up paying a few thousand dollars if your pet is having oral surgery like an extraction involving a large tooth. One of the biggest factors behind the high costs? Anesthesia and X-rays.

“Dental X-rays are really important to assessing periodontal disease and the health of teeth below the gum line. Unfortunately, they require anesthesia,” says Glenn Brigden, DVM at Pacific Coast Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery in Encinitas, Calif., and a Diplomat of the American Veterinary Dental College. And anesthesia tends to be pricey.

Here at MSAH, sedation dentals (for dogs only) start around $175 and anesthesia dentals (all cats and any pet needing extractions or other surgical intervention) start around $300 and go up from there. The less often your cat or dog gets their teeth cleaned, the more expensive the visit is likely to be. Pre-operative bloodwork, x-rays, and extractions - and the complexity of them - add to the base price. It's best to have your veterinarian assess your pet's teeth to give you both an idea of what will be required before scheduling the procedure.


The Benefits of Anesthesia for Dog and Cat Dental Care

Anesthesia/sedation is a critical part of a thorough professional pet dental cleaning. It keeps your pet safe and relatively comfortable and allows us to clean deeply. Anesthesia:

  • Immobilizes the your pet to insure his/her safety and cooperation during a confusing, stressful procedure.
  • Provides for effective pain management during the procedure.
  • Allows for a careful and complete examination of all surfaces inside the oral cavity, as well as the taking of x-rays.
  • Permits the veterinarian to probe and scale as deeply as necessary below the gum line where 60 percent or more of plaque and tartar accumulates.


Of course, if you’re like many pet owners, you may wonder how you can clean your dog’s or cat's teeth in between professional cleanings. We recommend brushing their teeth. Of course, there are also a variety of dental chews on the market. 


Dental Chew Safety

One way to fight tartar and plaque build up is to provide your pet with dental chews. But watch out - not all chews are created equal!

Take the deer antler chews, for instance. More than one dog has broken a tooth on those, and, as you can probably guess, a broken tooth is both painful for your dog and expensive to fix. So while dogs love them, they’re not the best chews for his/her oral health.

In addition to our experiences, we also review the VOHC for recommendations. “The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is an organization that evaluates pet products to see if they meet standards for reducing plaque or tartar.

Approved foods, treats, and chews must reduce plaque or tartar by at least 10% to achieve the VOHC seal of approval. If a chemical anti-plaque agent is used, it needs to reduce plaque or tartar by at least 20%. Go to to see which products have received the VOHC seal of approval.” The VOHC accepted products list is a good place to start. Also, you can discuss the best dental chews for dogs and cats with your veterinarian. We’ll be happy to recommend a good product that you can pick up at any of our locations or in our online store.



As you can see, the pricing of pet dental care depends a lot on the state of your pet’s mouth. If s/he has advanced gum disease, it will cost more than a simple cleaning of a healthy mouth. Broken teeth and extractions will increase the bill. To help avoid these painful problems for your furry friend (and big bills for you!), it pays both you and your pet to talk to your veterinarian about preventive care. However, no matter how else you care for your pet’s teeth, s/he still needs regular professional dental care to stay healthy!


Is it time for your dog or cat to have a dental cleaning? Give us a call or fill out our online form to schedule an evaluation. 


This blog originally appeared on Broad Ripple Animal Hospital and has been adapted with permission for reposting. 

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