We’re Mission Animal Hospital, and we are PASSIONATE about dog and cat dental health.   We also believe in honesty, and so we wanted to give you the facts you need about cleaning your pet’s teeth without anesthesia.  Then you can make up your own mind, about what is best for loved San Luis Obispo dogs and cats.


  1. COST— there is no doubt that anesthesia-free dental cleanings are cheaper.  Why is that?  Without anesthesia, you cannot take radiographs of teeth, you cannot effectively treat periodontal pockets without creating pain, and you cannot clean and polish all four sides of the teeth– just the outsides.  Thus you don’t need the expensive equipment to perform these procedures, and you don’t need the same medications to treat infection and minimize pain.  Because you are not doing these things, you spend less time with each patient… so you should charge less.
  2. A NICE WHITE SMILE, in that the greyish-brown discoloration has been removed from the visible outside surface of the teeth.  But what about the other three sides of the teeth?  What about the pockets between the gums and the teeth?  And what about the roots of the tooth, which are buried under the gums?
  3. SAFETY– MAYBE.  Anesthetics have come a zillion miles in the last two decades, but there is no way to make an anesthetic procedure absolutely safe for either humans or pets.   Hey, we want to be honest about it, and we certainly understand your concern.  However, here are a couple troubling facts.  First off, nobody likes sharp metal instruments being placed into our mouths, and unfortunately the stress of dental cleanings without anesthesia has sometimes killed pets in CA, resulting in lawsuits pending at this time.  Another risk in struggling pets is accidental laceration of the gums or throat– generally just painful, but every once in a while creating permanent injury or death. Do your own research about these complications.  Really.  Google it.


  1. COMFORT— A short anesthesia and the use of the right drugs will eliminate both pain and stress during dental procedures for San Luis Obispo dogs and cats.
  2. EVALUATION, CLEANING, AND POLISHING OF ALL FOUR SIDES OF EVERY TOOTH.  Go ahead, try and get a close look at the inside of your pet’s teeth right now while they are awake.  Check in between every tooth, and behind them.  We’re sure your pet will be absolutely still for this!!  Or maybe we should use a gentle anesthetic instead.
  3. RADIOGRAPHS ALLOW THE EVALUATION OF THE WHOLE TOOTH, NOT JUST WHAT YOU CAN SEE.  Unfortunately, tooth damage and infections generally occur below the gums, and without radiographs you can’t tell where or why your pet hurts.  At Mission Animal Hospital we take radiographs of EVERY tooth in EVERY dental patient.
  4. SOLVING PAIN AND INFECTION— while dental cleanings without anesthesia can clean one side of the visible tooth, our goal at Mission Animal Hospital is to ELIMINATE PAIN AND INFECTION.  That may mean surgery or extracting a tooth, just like with human dentistry.  Try that without anesthesia… or maybe not.
  5. PREVENTING DISEASE ELSEWHERE.  Just like your dentist tells you, untreated tooth and gum infections can cause everything from cancer to kidney disease.  Cleaning one surface of the visible tooth won’t change that– but comprehensive and caring treatment using the appropriate drugs will.  

Hey, your pet is your kid.  You decide what is best.  Just remember that we’re Mission Animal Hospital of San Luis Obispo.  Loved Pets Healed Here.