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Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth Without Anesthesia

Would you consider cleaning your dog’s teeth without anesthesia?

I’ll be honest here, I don’t brush my dog’s teeth and I’m not going to start now.

On top of that, I know I don’t provide him with enough bones or bully sticks to chew on either.

Thankfully, Ace’s teeth don’t look THAT bad considering his age (10), but our vet of course recommends a professional cleaning.

One option you’ve probably heard about for your own dog is cleaning your dog’s teeth without anesthesia. This would still be done by a professional.

Jessica of the blog You Did What With Your Wiener? (yup, she’s got wiener dogs!) wrote a very helpful post on this topic. Read it here.

She has a 13-year-old wiener dog named Chester and decided to go with anesthesia-free dental cleanings for him. She said the procedure typically takes around 15 minutes for him. (Her photos are below.)

Cleaning your dog's teeth without anesthesia

Jessica’s post goes over how the procedure works, why she made that decision (vs. putting Chester under anesthesia or opting out of a dental cleaning all together) and why her dog was a good candidate for an anesthesia-free teeth cleaning.


I am pretty sure I’ve heard every argument in the book about Professional Outpatient Preventive Dentistry (POPD) – the technical term for anesthesia-free canine dental cleaning. If I haven’t, I am sure I will after people read this article. Despite the very vocal detractors, I feel strongly that I have made the right choice for Chester.

Read the full post here.

I didn’t realize there were so many people STRONGLY opposed to anesthesia-free teeth cleaning for dogs. In her post, Jessica acknowledges and addresses each of these arguments one by one and explains why the procedure is still the best choice for her dog.

Just a few of the common arguments against cleaning your dog’s teeth without anesthesia include:

  • “You’re just doing it to cut costs.”
  • “Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning is not as thorough as cleaning under anesthesia.”
  • “People performing this procedure don’t know what they’re doing.”

Jessica has some good answers in response to each of these arguments. Read her post here.

What do you think?

Have you or are you considering having your dog’s teeth cleaned without anesthesia?

Do you have any questions about the procedure or experiences to share?

Let me know in the comments!

Related posts:

I can’t afford a dental cleaning for my dog

Alternatives to brushing a dog’s teeth

What types of raw bones are safe for dogs?


Sunday 14th of February 2016

Wow!!! I will need to go read her post! Missy has one about once a year, and even after switching her to kibble we will need to do it again. Since we just moved, finding a vet in our new area is a little scary. I had one place quote we a starting price of $350 and the other one $700. However the $700 dollar clinic has one tech that all they do is one teeth procedure a day. So we are headed in tomorrow to visit the clinic an do an exam on Missy to see how the heart murmur is and see how much they push Science Diet or Royal Canine. :-)

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 14th of February 2016

I hope all goes well for Missy!


Saturday 13th of February 2016

None of us have needed a teeth cleaning but we brush every day. We would definitely consider the anesthesia free cleaning as anesthesia is never something you want to have unless there is not another option. It is amazing how many people are against it.


Friday 12th of February 2016

Before Pierson, I never brushed my dogs' teeth. Maya has great teeth for a dog her age. Pierson is much younger than her but his teeth are disgusting. Because he chews the same toys, bones, and treats as Maya, I suspect his bad teeth have something to do with the different shape of his mouth and perhaps genetics. So Pierson is the first dog I've ever felt the need to brush his teeth. Like Jessica, I fall short. I'm not good at routine either. Pierson is cooperative, though. But there are still places I can't reach. I am very reluctant to have his teeth cleaned at the vet. I worry about the affects of anesthesia. If my vet does do anesthesia-free cleaning, I worry about the stress it would cause Pierson because it would really freak him out to have a bunch of strangers around him like that. He's already terrified of the vet. I think doing this would make his fear even worse.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 12th of February 2016

Yep, I think you're right on size/shape of his mouth and genetics. Poor guy! I'm glad Maya's teeth seem to be great.


Thursday 11th of February 2016

I didn't even know you could get your dogs teeth without anesthesia anymore. I definitely would do it. I just keep giving my dog Denta-bones in the hope she will keep her pearly whites.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 12th of February 2016

I'm sure it helps!


Thursday 11th of February 2016

This is really interesting. The before and after photos are impressive. Haley's had her teeth cleaned a few times when she was having surgery for removing tumors so it wasn't like she was being anesthetized just for the teeth cleaning. It's always good to know about all the options.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 12th of February 2016

I was impressed by the photos as well!