How to Choose a Vet for Your Dogs’ Dental Care- Gavins Story

My first experience with my dog needing dental work was a few years ago. I had taken him in for his yearly check up and when they examined his teeth they told me that his two upper canines were purple in colour and they both needed a root canal. So they referred me to a dental specialist to get his teeth done. They explained that they were going to clean his teeth and then do both root canals. The cleaning ended up taking longer than expected and they didn’t want him to be under anesthesia any longer so they only completed one of the two root canals and booked him in for the second one to be done in a couple weeks. A couple days after the root canal, that tooth broke off right at the gum line. When I brought him in for the second root canal, I was definitely really skeptical to move forward with the second one. The vet then offered me a solution to get the second tooth capped to help support the tooth so it wouldn’t break. I decided to go ahead with it. At the time I decided that both of those procedures were necessary to better my dogs health, but knowing what I know now I wish I had asked more questions and done more research to so that I had more options

Dog Teeth Cleaning
Dog Tooth Cleaning
Teeth Cleaning For Dogs

Choosing a veterinarian to help you care for your dogs needs is a very personal decision, especially when it comes to dental health. We think the best way to describe a relationship with our vets is to keep a balance of what is recommended and what you are comfortable doing. Without that balance you may find you are doing things you are unsure of, or alternatively your dog may not be getting all the care they need if you don’t trust your vet and often decide against their recommendations. We decided to write a blog to try to inform people specifically about how we like to choose our vets for our doggies when they need their deeper veterinary cleanings.

One of the most common questions we get is “Do you know of a good vet for dental work?” So here is a list of things to keep in mind when trying to find a veterinarian for your dogs next dental appointment.


What do the consultations entail? How much does the consultation cost? Can the consultation fee be waived or included in the final bill if you decide to use their services?
There are some vet clinics that do free dental consultations, so you would be able to go to talk to a vet and have them see the state of your dogs mouth without committing to any future services. For someone who is trying to find the right clinic, this generosity shows that the office doesn’t hold money as it’s top priority and wants you to be comfortable with their procedure and pricing before you make any decisions. You can talk about all your options without the stress of adding the consultation fee to your future vet bill.

Quotes and Breakdown of Charges:

Asking for a quote and a detailed breakdown of the charges before the dental work is always a good idea. That way you can prepare financially and also make sure that everything your dog needs to help them through the surgery is on the bill. Usually your bill will be a range, with a high and low estimate. You need to understand that this is all just an estimate and the price may actually fall higher or lower than the estimate. Because your vet may not know exactly what is needed until your dog is under anesthesia, it is important to let your vet know if they have permission to perform additional tasks that you have not been quoted for. Generally we recommend that, if you trust your vet, you give them this permission. When your dog is under for surgery, sometimes decisions need to be made quickly, and the faster your vet can work, the less time your dog will be under.

Ask for x-rays:

Getting x-rays of your dogs’ mouth is a very crucial part of the anesthesia cleaning experience. This is the best way for your vet to know what is going on underneath the gum line. Just like in humans, dental x rays show without-a-doubt the state of your dogs oral health. If your vet does not have a dental x ray machine, you may want to look for one who does.

Blood work:

Before your dog goes under anesthesia, ask to have a blood panel done, especially if you have a senior dog or a dog with any health issues. Even if your dog appears healthy, a blood panel may help your vet determine how your dogs’ organs (heart, liver, kidney) are functioning and may help avoid serious complications while under anesthesia.

Ask about aftercare beforehand:

Aftercare for any surgery is very important. Your vet may want to prescribe antibiotics, pain medication or other medications depending on what happens during surgery. If your vet does not wish to prescribe anything after the surgery, we would recommend you ask why and even possibly get a second opinion.

Cheaper isn’t always better:

Usually when there is a vet clinic that is offering extremely cheap dentals, it’s for a reason. There could be lots of things that they are not doing like x-rays, IV fluids, antibiotics, pain meds, or blood work which all play an important role in your dogs’ preoperative and postoperative care. Find out WHY they are cheaper and, if possible, compare a detailed quote from a cheaper and more expensive vet to see what is being left out of the cheaper quote.

Educate yourself on your dogs’ health issues:

Putting any dog under anesthesia is worrisome, especially when your dog has health issues. Whatever health concern your dog has, whether it’s a collapsing trachea, heart murmur, or kidney issues, make sure to talk to your vet about what it means in relation to putting your dog under anesthesia. Have a list of questions that you and your vet can go over to help ease any anxiety when my dogs have to go under anesthesia.

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