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As many of you may know we offer Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning by Canine Dental Service, approximately every six weeks.

We regularly field questions as to what exactly this procedure is, and if it is safe and/or effective at keeping your dog’s teeth clean?

While nothing is 100% fool proof, we’ve found that this service is a great way to maintain your pet’s oral health, while not needing to subject them to the stresses of “putting them under” i.e. anesthesia.

I have personally been working at the store for almost every Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning days for the past two and a half years, and over that time I’ve picked up a fair amount of information about the service from the technician and vet.

Note, none of us here at the store are qualified to participate in the actual dental cleaning service. The professionals at Canine Dental Service have undergone extensive training, have successfully treated thousands of patients, and have over 10 years of experience behind them. Any information we present to you here, in person, or over the phone has been acquired by consulting the Dental Service professionals. We ask lots of questions, are keen observers, and have been advised by the Dental Service technicians in how to answer client questions.

If ever you feel that your question is best answered by a Dental Service professional or staff member, we highly recommend you contact them personally. You can find their contact information at

But here is some basic information about Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning, going off of the questions we typically get about the service. I hope this helps you decide if this service is the right choice for you and your dog.

How can they clean my dog’s teeth without anesthesia? What drugs do they use instead?

The dental technician from Canine Dental Service (with over two decades of experience) does not use any drugs on your dog. He simply sits on the floor in the back room with your dog, either holds his or her mouth open or has them bite on a hard wax dowel, then scrapes all the surfaces of your dog’s teeth with a scraper much like you’d see at your dentist’s office, and then he polishes the teeth with fine pumice powder and brush.

The whole cleaning takes about 15 minutes, and is very thorough. The majority of dogs come out with very white, clean teeth. If your dog has never had a cleaning, it’s been a long time, you do not have a dental regimen at home, or they have some sort of advanced plaque build up, your pet’s teeth may not be QUITE as sparkling white. However, with regular visits and a home care regimen, the Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning can be the first step to a healthy mouth!

Can the dental technician fix my pet’s bad teeth?

No. This is a cleaning service. If your dog has rotten teeth, gum disease, abscesses, or any major oral issues, there is nothing the dental technician can do. Think of them like your dental hygienist. They can clean your teeth and MAINTAIN your oral health, but not fix it.

If the technician takes a look at your dog’s mouth, and detects any major problems, he will most likely not clean your dog’s teeth, bring your pet back out and recommend visiting your vet.

NOTE: If he cannot clean your dog’s teeth, you will not be charged.

How often should I get my dog’s teeth cleaned?

Canine Dental Service recommends every six months for most dogs. If you detect any changes or issues with your pet’s oral care (check their teeth regularly — better yet, brush them!), please see your vet!

TIP: If your pet’s breath smells worse than usual, or smells “rotting” or “rancid”, go to your vet. It could be an indication of something unrelated to oral hygiene.

How much is it to get my dog’s teeth cleaned by Canine Dental Service at Calvin & Susie?

$150 upon completion of the cleaning. If they cannot clean your dog’s teeth, then you will not be charged.

Can any dog have their teeth cleaned this way?

Mostly, yes. I’d say 98% of dogs who come in, have their teeth successfully cleaned.

However, as previously mentioned, if your dog has advanced dental issues, the cleaning cannot repair the condition, and they highly recommend you see your vet.

Sometimes, the technician will do the best he can to get your dog’s teeth clean, but due to plaque and tartar build up, he can only do so much. In this case, he’ll explain to you what’s going on with your dog’s teeth when he brings them back out to you.

Canine Dental Service comments, from their website:

Q: Can all dogs and cats have their teeth cleaned this way?

A: No. There are limitations that would not make your pet a candidate for this method such as:

  • Severe Periodontal (gum) Disease

  • Loose Teeth

  • Severe Aggression Problems

Also, if your dog has a history of aggression — snapping, biting, growling — at the vet or groomer, or simply around strangers, Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning may not be a good fit for them. We will ask you about your dog’s history before signing you up for an appointment, so please do not take it personally. It is not safe for your dog OR the technician if you knowingly bring in an aggressive dog.

Also, particularly anxious dogs generally do not do well. According to Canine Dental Service, breeds like Shiba Inus or Basenjis typically do not put up with having their teeth cleaned. Nothing against these dogs — we love our Shiba and Basenji friends! — but these breeds, generally speaking, just do not make for tolerant dental patients!

Of course, there are exceptions, so if you truly believe that your Shiba or Basenji is relaxed, calm, and can accept being held and have their mouth handled for 15 minutes, then please say so and the Canine Dental Service folks will give it a try.

We only ask that you be honest with yourself and with us for the good of your dog.

My dog has fleas, can I still come in?

No. Please, no.

To stop the spread of fleas, which is already a problem in O’ahu, we ask that you keep your dog at home if they have fleas. For the safety and health of our staff and other customers, we ask that you make sure your dog does not have fleas before bringing them in, not only for dental cleaning, but for visits to any area in general where there may be other dogs.

We are sorry, but it is a matter of public health.

Also, if your dog is still in the process of recovering from a medical procedure, infection, or illness, Canine Dental Service recommends that you wait until your dog is completely healed and recovered before bringing them in for a dental cleaning. Canine Dental Service will not perform a teeth cleaning on an injured or ailing pet. Please call us, or Canine Dental Service, if you have any questions about this.

Can I accompany my dog into the cleaning?

Preferably no.

Canine Dental Service finds that it actually stresses your pet out MORE if you are there. If they can focus on what the technician is asking of them, instead of splitting their focus between you and them, then the cleaning goes much smoother.

In the rare case where a dog suffers from significant psychological issues or is handicapped in some way, exceptions can be made. Please communicate any concerns you may have before arriving so that we can prepare any necessary accommodations for your pet.

A dental technician scrapes a dogs teeth.

If you want to learn more about the actual cleaning process, or want to see some videos, please visit

And again, if you have any additional questions, you can always contact Canine Dental Service via their website, or you can give us a call at the store and we’ll do our best to help you out!

Take care of each other — four legs and two!

~Your Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger

As always, check with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or body care. The Calvin & Susie Blogger always researches to the best of her ability, but she is not a vet. This blog is not in any way meant to replace veterinary advice or care. When in doubt always ask a vet.

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