Why is My Dog Whimpering After Getting Her Teeth Cleaned?

Your dog may be whimpering for various reasons after getting their teeth cleaned, including pain, fear, confusion, or downright just for attention. If the whimpering continues, contact your vet immediately.

The Importance of Your Dog’s Oral Health

Taking care of your dog’s teeth is just as important as taking care of your own. Many people don’t consider dentistry when it comes to our pets, but good oral care is essential to your dog’s overall health.

Along with listening to her heart and lungs, feeling her joints, and checking her eyes and ears, at every check-up for your dog, your vet will examine her teeth to check for signs of dental disease.

Dental care is critical to your dog’s overall health for many reasons. It can prevent tooth loss because if the bones surrounding your dog’s teeth become damaged, those teeth can fall out. Good oral hygiene also prevents bad breath in dogs and prevents any worsening dental disease.

Dental problems in dogs can cause organ damage because bacteria can quickly get into the bloodstream. Good oral health will also help ensure that your pet is not living with dental pain. There is no way for them to tell you how they feel, so a good oral exam is a standard part of your pet’s yearly check-up.

There is a good chance, especially if your dog is a smaller breed, that the veterinarian will recommend a professional dental cleaning for your dog. Cleaning can be done as a preventative for your dog’s teeth or treatment for a periodontal issue.

What Happens During a Cleaning?

Professional dental cleaning for your dog is very similar to what you may expect when you go to the dentist. Under sedation, your dog will undergo a thorough cleaning, gum inspection, scaling, and polishing of teeth. It’s also possible that extractions may take place if there is a great deal of decay.

Most veterinarians will perform blood tests to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. Once your animal is successfully under anesthesia, the veterinarian will begin an examination of your dog’s mouth, looking for any abnormalities.

The doctor will look for gum bleeding and periodontal disease. If periodontal disease is advanced, tooth extractions may be needed.

Your dog’s teeth will be thoroughly cleaned using both hand and ultrasonic scalers, which will remove tartar and plaque.

Once the procedure is done, your dog will slowly be woken up from anesthesia and given the post-operative care prescribed by the veterinarian.

What Can I Expect After My Dog’s Procedure is Done?

Because the procedure is done under general anesthesia, expect recovery to take a few days. And if tooth extraction was done, it may be up to a week or more before your dog feels like herself again. 

Your dog will be tired, in need of gentle care, and without much of an appetite at first.

Why is My Dog Whimpering After Her Dental Cleaning?

It’s very upsetting for any owner to hear their dog whimpering for any reason. And most dogs, after any procedure done under anesthesia, are going to cry.

The most important thing you can do is not allow yourself to become anxious. Your dog picks up on your energy, and if you are stressing out, your dog is probably going to pick up on that stress.

There are a few reasons why a dog whimpers after teeth cleaning.


 Most of us would assume this is the reason why our dog is crying, but as long as your veterinarian prescribed pain medication and you keep up on it, your dog should not be in a tremendous amount of pain.

This is especially true if your veterinarian performed their job correctly.


 Anyone waking up from anesthesia is confused, without any idea of what is going on. At least for a little while. But dogs are especially prone to this because it was never explained to them what was going to happen.

Dogs will be groggy as the medication wears off and may even act as if they don’t know where they are. And you can also expect whimpering and shaking from the after-effects of anesthesia.

Looking for Attention

Dogs, like children, know that if they whimper or whine, they are probably going to get attention. So if your dog is whimpering after her procedure, a little extra loving may be in order.

Why Does Anesthesia Cause So Much Distress?

Anesthesia is a good thing. It offers complete loss of pain and consciousness during a procedure that needs to be done. Without anesthesia, it would be too dangerous to clean your dog’s teeth.

But it does come with side effects, both during and after the treatment. All dogs will wake up from anesthesia differently, but most will be able to shake off the effects after a day or so.

Post-Cleaning After Care

Anyone who has surgery or has to be put under anesthesia will need some post-operative care. This includes your dog. You will need to provide plenty of love and attention to your pet as they won’t be feeling very well.

Plenty of Rest

Your dog is going to be groggy and feeling like they could sleep forever. So prepare a warm place for them to rest. Anesthesia will also make your dog shiver and feel cold, so providing a warm, comfortable place for her will be necessary. And don’t be surprised if she stays this way for up to 48 hours.

Pain Relief

 Dental cleaning in dogs can be pretty invasive and rough, primarily if any teeth were extracted. Your dog will most likely be sent home with pain medication.

You must follow the directions given by your veterinarian. Do not chase pain and get behind on your pet’s schedule for their medicine.


Feeding can be tricky in post-dental operative patients. Your dog’s mouth is going to be sore, and she may not feel like eating right away. And when she does eat, it will be in small increments. And the form her food is in will be different.

 Most veterinarians will advise you to avoid hard kibble for a few days. A soft or even liquid diet will be in order as your pet’s mouth will be sore. And you should be sure she is drinking plenty of water.


 Whenever anyone has surgery or a procedure, there is a chance that complications can arise. They are rare, but you should always be on the lookout for any difficulties.

Infection is one of the most serious, along with a refusal to eat, lack of interest in toys, drooling or pawing at their face, and swelling around the eyes.


As with any procedure, your pet will require a post-operative visit. Your veterinarian or vet tech will briefly examine your dog and go over any concerns you may have.

What Can I Do to Prevent Dental Problems in the Future?

Your veterinarian will happily go over a home routine for dental care. Your dog’s teeth will need to be brushed to help prevent any future dental problems. There also certain foods and dog treats that can aid in keeping your dog’s teeth disease-free.


Part of being a responsible dog owner is making sure they are healthy, including their oral health. Your veterinarian will probably recommend a tooth cleaning at some point in your pet’s life, and they will need to be sedated.

While your dog will feel no pain during the procedure, there will be side effects from the anesthesia. Whimpering and shaking are almost bound to happen to your dog, but as long as you are prepared for this, you will be able to take care of your pet properly.

As long as you follow your veterinarian’s directions, you can rest assured that your dog will feel much better overall after having her teeth clean. And you will both be happier!