Dental health in dogs goes far beyond just ensuring a sparkling smile; it’s a crucial aspect of their overall well-being and longevity. Deep teeth cleaning, a procedure often recommended by veterinarians, plays a pivotal role in maintaining this oral health.

This process involves the removal of plaque and tartar build-up beneath the gum line, areas that are not reachable with regular brushing. While this procedure is immensely beneficial, helping prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay, it is not without its potential discomforts.

Some dogs may experience pain or discomfort following a deep dental cleaning, raising important questions for pet owners about the necessity and options for pain management post-procedure.

In this blog post, we aim to shed light on whether dogs require pain medication following deep teeth cleaning and introduce three vet-recommended pain relief options.

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The Importance of Dental Hygiene in Dogs

Oral health in dogs is not just about avoiding bad breath; it’s a gateway to their overall health. Poor dental hygiene can lead to periodontal disease, which is prevalent in over 80% of dogs over the age of three.

This condition can cause severe pain, tooth loss, and can even lead to more serious health issues, including heart, liver, and kidney diseases.

Deep teeth cleaning by a professional is thus not just recommended but essential for removing the buildup of plaque and tartar, preventing these severe health issues.

Signs Your Dog Might Be in Pain Post-Deep Teeth Cleaning


After a deep teeth cleaning, it’s crucial to monitor your dog for any signs of discomfort or pain.

These can vary widely among dogs but typically include:

  • Reluctance to Eat: This is one of the first signs you might notice. If your dog is usually enthusiastic about meals but suddenly seems disinterested, it could be due to mouth pain.
  • Pawing at the Mouth or Face: Dogs experiencing discomfort may frequently paw at their mouth or rub their face against the floor or furniture.
  • Changes in Behavior: A normally playful and active dog becoming withdrawn, lethargic, or irritable can indicate discomfort.
  • Excessive Drooling: While some dogs naturally drool more than others, an increase in drooling post-cleaning can signal pain, especially if the drool is tinged with blood.
  • Vocalizing: Whining, growling, or other vocalizations when eating or yawning can also be a sign of oral discomfort.

Recognizing these signs early can help you take the necessary steps to alleviate your pet’s discomfort, including consulting with your vet about pain management options.

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Pain Management Options for Dogs

When it comes to managing pain in dogs, especially after procedures like deep teeth cleaning, veterinarians have several medication classes at their disposal. These include Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), opioids, and local anesthetics.

Each type of medication comes with its own set of benefits and risks, and the choice of which to use will depend on the individual dog’s health, the severity of the pain, and the procedure undergone.

Below, we explore three recommended pain relief options, highlighting their use cases, efficacy, and potential side effects.

1. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)


Examples: Carprofen, Meloxicam


NSAIDs are among the most commonly prescribed medications for pain relief and inflammation in dogs following dental procedures.

They work by reducing the production of pain-inducing chemicals in the body. For post-dental work, they can significantly ease discomfort and allow your dog to recover more comfortably.

When and How They Should Be Used:

NSAIDs should be used as prescribed by a veterinarian, who will determine the appropriate dosage based on the dog’s weight and overall health. It’s crucial to follow the vet’s instructions carefully to avoid complications.

Possible Side Effects:

While NSAIDs are generally safe, they can cause side effects in some dogs, including gastrointestinal issues, kidney dysfunction, and liver problems.

Symptoms to watch for include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and lethargy. If any of these occur, contact your veterinarian immediately.

2. Opioids


Example: Tramadol


Opioids are powerful pain relievers that act directly on the central nervous system to decrease pain sensation. They are typically reserved for moderate to severe pain or for dogs that do not tolerate NSAIDs well.

Situations They Are Prescribed For:

Opioids may be prescribed for short-term use following invasive procedures that are expected to cause significant discomfort.

Monitoring and Potential Side Effects:

Close monitoring is essential when a dog is on opioids due to their potent nature and the risk of side effects, which can include sedation, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

Dependence on opioids is less of a concern in dogs than in humans, but it’s still important to use them judiciously and under strict veterinary supervision.

3. Local Anesthetics


Example: Lidocaine patches


Local anesthetics are used to numb specific areas and are often applied directly to the skin or mucous membranes. They provide targeted pain relief without affecting the dog’s overall state of consciousness.

Application and Effectiveness:

For dental pain, a vet may apply a local anesthetic during the procedure to manage immediate post-operative pain. Lidocaine patches, for instance, can be placed near the area of pain, providing relief for several hours.

Considerations and Side Effects:

Local anesthetics are generally considered safe but must be applied by a professional to avoid application to areas where the dog can lick or chew them off, leading to toxicity.

Side effects are rare but can include allergic reactions or local skin irritation.

Pain management in dogs, especially following deep teeth cleaning, is vital for their comfort and recovery.

The choice of pain relief should be guided by a veterinarian, who can weigh the benefits against potential risks and tailor the treatment to your dog’s specific needs.

Monitoring your pet for any adverse reactions is crucial during the pain management period. Remember, effective pain management not only helps your dog recover more comfortably but also promotes better healing.

Alternative Pain Management Strategies

In addition to pharmacological interventions, several non-drug approaches can help manage pain in dogs after dental procedures.

These methods can be particularly useful for mild discomfort or in conjunction with prescribed medications for a more holistic approach to pain relief.


Cold Therapy:

Applying cold packs to the outside of the jaw can help reduce swelling and provide temporary pain relief. Ensure that the cold pack is wrapped in a cloth to prevent direct contact with the skin and limit application to intervals of 15-20 minutes to prevent frostbite.

Soft Foods:

After dental cleaning or any oral surgery, feeding your dog soft foods can significantly reduce discomfort during eating. Soft or wet foods are easier to chew and swallow, which minimizes the strain on the gums and teeth.


Adequate rest is crucial for recovery. Ensure your dog has a quiet, comfortable space to relax without disturbance. Limiting play and avoiding strenuous activity for a few days post-procedure can also prevent additional stress on their mouth.


How can I tell if my dog needs pain medication after dental cleaning?

Observe your dog closely for signs of discomfort, including reluctance to eat, pawing at their mouth, excessive drooling, or changes in behavior. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian for advice on pain management.

Are there any risks associated with giving my dog pain medication?

Yes, like all medications, pain relief options come with potential side effects. NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal upset or kidney issues, while opioids may lead to sedation or gastrointestinal disturbances.

Always use medications as directed by your vet to minimize risks.

How long should my dog be on pain medication after dental cleaning?

The duration depends on the extent of the dental work and your dog’s recovery. Some dogs may need pain management for a few days, while others might require it for longer. Your veterinarian will provide a tailored plan based on your dog’s specific needs.

Can I use over-the-counter pain relievers for my dog?

Never give your dog over-the-counter pain medications designed for humans without consulting your vet. Many of these can be toxic to dogs. Your vet will prescribe the safest and most effective pain relief option for your pet.



Effective pain management is a critical component of your dog’s recovery following deep teeth cleaning. This post has explored both pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to ensure your pet’s comfort during the healing process. It’s vital to closely monitor your dog for signs of pain and to consult with your veterinarian for the best course of action.

We emphasized the importance of consulting a veterinarian before administering any pain medication and highlighted alternative strategies for pain management.

Remember, good dental hygiene practices and regular veterinary check-ups are key to preventing dental issues and ensuring your pet’s overall health.

In conclusion, while post-procedural discomfort can be a concern, with the right care and medication, it is manageable. Your commitment to your dog’s dental health not only contributes to their happiness and comfort but also to their longevity and quality of life.

Doctor Xeeshan

Doctor Xeeshan

I am Doctor Xeeshan, located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. In this blog, I am providing authentic information about dog breeds, diseases, medications, etc.


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