Bells asked in PetsDogs · 4 weeks ago

Dental cleaning for an older dog?

my vet is recommending a dental cleaning under anesthesia for an older 12-13yr old dog.  He doesnt have any discomfort with his mouth...

its quite pricey...

any opinions on how necessary this is?


Thank you keerok...i was a little concerned over the age and anesthesia as well...i'll do some research and speak more with the vet

Update 2:

No, no rotten teeth and she told me no gum infections are visible, the teeth are just discoloured, as i assume a 13 yr old dog usually wont have pearly whites...

he chews on bones, not as much as when he was younger and i do a teeth brushing a few times a month and check for any loose teeth or any other issues...

i get that it might be beneficial in a way to have this cleaning...but under anesthesia scares me a bit ... anywho... i just wanted to see some responses ... still thinking...

11 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago

    I tend to agree re having a dental/anaesthetic if the dog is elderly.   However, if you don't because he's ok now, that may not always be the case and so better to get it done now rather than leave it?  

    I've just had mine done although she went in to have a warty mass taken off her leg as it started to bleed.   I had them whip round her teeth (she had a broken one that I didn't know about until they looked - awkwards) while she was under.  And she has a heart murmur (not bad enough to be treated - yet) too.   I made sure the 'heart vet' was there on that day.

    Anasthetic are far safer these days than they were - and no vet will normally risk putting a dog under unless absolutely needed, or with a reasonable chance of survival.   Your decision, with the advice of your vet.

  • Jojo
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    If I still had a dog of 12-13 years old with yellow teeth (which I have had in the past) I would NOT have it go under anesthetic unless it was absolutely necessary. If your old dog has no problems with his mouth , gums or teeth then Leave it be is my advice.

    Old dogs teeth can look a bit nasty but that is no reason to suspect there will be problems in the future. 

    If he was a much younger  dog, then ok it may be best to have his teeth cleaned up a bit if he ever had to be under anesthetic for some reason or if he was having problems, but if it aint broke, don`t try and fix it, especially at the age of 13. 

    Your dog...your choice though. 


    Source(s): GSD for 57 years.
  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    yes i would get it done.maybe give more raw bones to keep them clean once they have been cleaned by the vet. chicken necks are good for teeth.i don't think the vet would falsley advise u.  if u don't get it done, in a few years when they get worse he may be too old for the anasthetic

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    I'm assuming you live in a different country to me because here, unless it is necessary (operation or the dog needs teeth removed) where I live the vet wont do dog's teeth cleaning under anesthesia when they get to 13 as the risks can be high, especially if the dog has any health complications, especially heart. They recommend teeth cleaning twice a day and dental chews. They wouldn't do my 14 year old dog once. Her breath was ok and she had no real issue except some discolouration. Seems like a potential risk and an un-necessary vet bill and stress to your dog. But then in the U.S vets sell medication that you can't get in Europe because although the medication is proved to do no harm to the dog, it hasn't been proven to work or very rarely works. 

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 4 weeks ago

    I lean towards agreeing with Keerok's reply... Many vets "suggest" many preventative treatments, even if the dog does not have an issue.  They sell flea & tick meds.  They sell dog food.  You do not HAVE TO BUY or USE any of that.  It might be highly beneficial, but unless your dog is truly affected/sick etc. it is only that..... an informed suggestion.

    You are the best judge of how clean or unclean your dog's teeth are, aside from the vet actually SHOWING YOU a PROBLEM - during the recent exam.  Surely, you can see whether there is any plaque.  I assume you can also sniff your dog's BREATH and look at the gums to see if there is any swelling or pinkness.  

    Do you have any sort of REGULAR cleaning program?  Do you scale your dog's teeth? (I do).  Do you brush the dog's teeth?  If not, you should do that.  At 12-13 your dog may not be ABLE to chew raw bones or dental chew treats to clean his teeth.  There are also enzyme products to ADD to the water bowl - which can help prevent plaque build-up.  I would also "worry" that due to COVID - the vet is not seeing as many patients (either afraid to go out, or who do not have as much extra money) - so the vet may be SUGGESTING something to help his or her BOTTOM LINE, as much.... or more than, the dog.

    I feel if you do one of more of these at-home treatments & DO NOT have a sign of a serious dental problem, it is YOUR CHOICE whether to have the dental cleaning - and anesthesia is ALWAYS a RISK, esp in senior dogs.  The cleaning will be done by a TECHNICIAN - NOT the vet!!!  Please take that under advisement - as well.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Does the dogs breath stink?  rotten teeth that need to come out.  Heavy plaque build up can cause periodontal disease or it is part of the disease.  Dogs are very stoic about pain & you just don't know how to recognize a dog in pain.  They hide it very well.  I know it is very expensive but if the dog really really really needs it, have it done to prevent the disease.  You can look in his mouth & see the plaque, in your opinion how bad is his teeth?  Be honest to yourself.  Look out for your dog, he is totally dependant on you.

  • *****
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Is dental cleaning important for you if you don't have any pain? It's a preventative treatment. Dental disease places especially older dogs at high risk of heart issues and systemic infection. Also, since dogs can't tell you if they have discomfort, you don't really know if he has any mouth pain. If the vet is recommending a cleaning, likely your dog's teeth look like they are in need of attention. If you doubt your vet's recommendation, get a second opinion, or ask them to explain the benefits and risks, and the reasons they think it needs to be done.

    No one here can examine your dog's mouth or overall health, so no one here is qualified to speculate if this is actually necessary in your dog's case or not. The vet who examined your dog is your best resource.

  • keerok
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    My thoughts:

    Dogs survive in the wild without it. 

    Don't fix if it's not broken.

    Chewy toys with mint.

    That's a very old dog who might not make it through anesthesia.

  • 4 weeks ago

    i didnt say i couldnt afford it, just asking how common it was to get this treatment for a 70 lb 13 year old dog that is not exhibiting any discomfort and this seems more of a preventative treatment for an elder dog

    but appreciate the answers,  thank you

  • Maxi
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    If you can't afford vet prescribed treatment for your dog that the vet states is necessary then you can afford to get another dog

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.