Dog Teeth Cleaning Risks

Open wide: Regular teeth cleaning helps prevent oral disease.
Open wide: Regular teeth cleaning helps prevent oral disease. (Image: dog yawn, big mouth, weimeraner image by Paul Retherford from

According to Pet Education, oral disease is the most common health issue found in dogs. The good news is that oral disease is preventable with a good at-home teeth cleaning regimen and regular teeth cleaning by a veterinarian. Cleanings helps eliminate tartar buildup and ensures the dog’s teeth and gums stay healthy. For a veterinarian to properly and safely clean a dog’s teeth, he must sedate it. Although the benefits of cleaning dog’s teeth generally outweigh the risks, it’s a good idea to understand the process involved in a veterinary cleaning before deciding whether it’s right for your dog.

Use of Anesthesia

Although a number of safe anesthetic procedures are now available, a complication can happen any time a dog is placed under anesthesia. In rare cases, the outcome is fatal.

To reduce the risks associated with anesthesia, a veterinarian performs a blood test. A normal blood test indicates the dog’s liver and kidneys are functioning optimally and signal the dog’s body can safely handle anesthesia.

Vet Info advises dog owners to request a blood test at least three days before the teeth cleaning to obtain a current organ assessment.

Queasiness and Vomiting

Feeding a dog within 12 hours of being placed under anesthesia increases its risk of queasiness during and after the teeth cleaning. While infrequent, a dog with a full stomach may vomit while sedated increasing its risk of choking.

Allergic Reaction

Even though an allergic reaction from anesthesia is infrequent, it’s possible. For this reason, the veterinarian and her team monitor the dog’s vital signs closely when it’s sedated. When the dog’s temperature elevates rapidly and its heart becomes distressed, the dog is likely experiencing an allergic reaction to the anesthesia and must immediately be given medication to prevent it from going into cardiac arrest.

Excessive Bleeding

In addition to the cleaning, the veterinarian examines each tooth and the surrounding gums. He generally recommends removing fractured and broken teeth that may cause the dog pain. When a damaged tooth is extracted, it bleeds. In certain rare cases, there’s a potential for excessive bleeding.

Damage to Surrounding Teeth

When work is done to clean or repair damaged teeth, there’s always a slight possibility other teeth near by may become damaged due to human error.

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