Alternatives for anesthesia for dog teeth cleaning are non-anesthesia dental cleaning, regular brushing, offering dental chews, toys, treats, and sticks.

What Dogs Are Good For a Non-Anesthetic Dental Cleaning?

If your canine has a minimal level of tartar build-up and even the vet or specialist finds no severe cavities during the diagnostic check, and the canine is friendly (obedient,) then non-anesthetic teeth cleanings could be helpful.

This form of teeth cleaning is ideal for elderly dogs.

Senior canines are more susceptible to hypothermia, which slows their digestion and healing process from anesthesia.

Being ahead of the curve is key here.

Because they are low in carbohydrate.

But other issues, such as low blood pressure, pulse rate, decreased blood oxygenation should be considered.

So, a thorough examination should be performed to decide the best course of action.

Oral cleanings without anesthesia are a better substitute in such cases. [1] [2]

During non-anesthetic teeth cleanings, the following are 4 primary candidates:

  • Urinary and/or liver performance problems (blood work is required for this test)
  • Genetic heart problems (like murmurs), poor cardiovascular system (like cardiovascular disease), or arrhythmia are all examples of hereditary heart disorders [3] [4] [5]
  • A serious trauma or illness of any type (involving skin diseases, particularly “hot spots”) are perfectly valid reasons to postpone any anesthetic surgery
  • Seizures in the past [6]

This sort of therapy is appropriate for strong young dogs with a minimal level of tartar, as well as older dogs having health problems.

The idea is to keep younger dogs from developing dental problems.

Did you Know?

A dog can experience vomiting during the recovery phase from anesthesia. [7]

Can Non-Veterinarians Perform Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning?

Non-veterinarians are prohibited from using dentistry tools to remove tartar and filth from a dog’s teeth in several regions.

It is due to the fact that such types of equipment are extremely sharp and can only be handled by professionals.

Those who are cleaning your dog’s teeth with surgical equipment must first properly hold your dog for the course of therapy because no canine will sit quietly with their mouths completely open.

Even the strongest restraint device won’t hold a dog’s mouth and jaw absolutely still, and it can damage their delicate muscles—this is especially true when a facility promotes that it doesn’t have a restraint device.

It’s hard to handle a dogs tooth scaler instruments effectively on an active dog without injuring it.

Also, dentures that are fractured underneath the gingival margin or that are infected are sore and visibly damaged, and scraping off tartar and filth is brutally painful. [8] [9]

Did you Know?

In senior dogs, chest radiography and electrocardiogram tests are essential for their dental cleanings.

Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings Are Ineffectual?

It is difficult to scrub the internal regions of a dog’s teeth or penetrate underneath the gingival margin without local anesthesia.

There is just no technique to fix loose or broken teeth or figure out what’s affecting them.

And, since your dog has no idea what is going on throughout the treatment, it could be an extremely stressful situation for them.

Brushing their teeth every day, or at least twice each week would be the easiest way to clean a dog’s teeth.

You may speed up the cleaning routine by giving him dental chews, treats, wipes, toys, and bones.

Just keep in mind your dog’s age and dental condition before giving any of these dental products to chew.

What Are Some Of The Issues People Have To Use Anesthesia on Their Dog?

Dog parents are often worried when their canines need anesthesia. But, doing Non-professional Dental Scaling (NPDS) on your non-sedated dog is not recommended for the situations listed below:

  1. Periodontal tartar is a sticky substance that sticks to the enamel’s surface. To eliminate tartar, high frequencies, and electric energy scalers, along with hand devices with a pointed working blade, are required. Perhaps a little head shift by the dog might cause harm to his oral membranes, and the technician might be attacked as the reaction from the terrible pain your pet suffered. [10]
  2. Professional oral scaling involves scaling the sides of the crowns both over and beneath the periodontal region (gum border), along with oral buffing. The most important aspect of the teeth scaling process is scrubbing the dentinal tubules, which are underneath the soft tissue region (the occlusal region between the gum area and the bone), where periodontitis is prevalent. [11]

But, in a non-sedated dog, getting to the occlusal region of every dentition is extremely difficult.

Periodontal tartar treatment on the exposed parts of the dentition has minimal impact on a dog’s health and gives the illusion of success.

It’s merely an aesthetic treatment.

  1. Respiratory anesthesia with a closed nasogastric tube has three great benefits:

a) The dog’s assistance with a process that it will not understand

b) Relief of discomfort caused by the diagnosis and therapy of damaged dental problems throughout the operation

c) Prevention of unexpected inhalation of chemical in the mouth and lungs.

  1. A thorough oral evaluation, which is also an essential aspect of professional teeth scaling treatment, is not achievable in a non-sedated client. The sides of the enamel that contact the tongue can’t be checked, meaning infection and irritation are probably undiagnosed in this situation. [12]
  2. Manual scaling itself (does not include polishing) could promote plaque retentiveness on the enamel surface. The metallic scaler is tougher than the enamel’s surface and could scratch the area microscopically. Calcification microorganisms can stick to the enamel because of the harsher and huge surface space created by these tiny etchings. It actually speeds up the reaccumulation of buildup (organisms) and tartar, as well as the progression of periodontal diseases.

Did you Know?

All surgical dogs should get injectable catheters and fluid treatment. [13]


The alternatives for dog dental cleaning include Non-professional Dental Scaling (NPDS,) where anesthesia is not used.

Other than that, you should regularly brush your dog’s teeth, use dental wipes, offer treats, toys, etc.

Non-anesthetic dental cleaning is best for senior canines having heart, liver, urinary, or skin issues, and they are cooperative and stay calm during the process.

A canine having poor teeth and gum condition requires thorough professional dental scaling.