Non-Anesthesia Pet Teeth Cleaning Services at Dexter’s Deli

Looking for a Pet Dental Appointment?
Dexter’s Deli has discontinued the non-anesthesia dental cleaning. We did not stop the service due to any problems or negative reports, and we hope that our customers who value this service will not be without choices, and that non-anesthesia teeth cleaning will be available again soon.

“Where do I go now?”

First, start requesting non-anesthesia dental cleanings services from your vet or seek out another veterinarian who does provide the service if your veterinarian is unwilling. There are a few vet offices around San Diego County that offer non-anesthesia dentals, we have heard neither good nor bad.

Some more progressive veterinarians are starting to offer “light-sedation” instead of full anesthesia, which may be a great option for many pets in need of only a general cleaning, and should be less costly. Again, ask if your vet has a dental x-ray machine – you may be surprised that many still do not have these machines even though they insist that they provide “thorough” dental care.

Also ask about the training of the vet tech doing the cleanings. Did you know that they can be certified in this work?

Just as in choosing a doctor for yourself or your family you should also choose a vet, even if that means that you need to drive a little further or pay a little more. You should feel comfortable discussing your concerns and asking for the kind of care you think your pet needs. Don’t just settle for only what your vet offers at the time, veterinary care is always changing and most want to offer more progressive care, especially when their clients are asking for it.

Use the questions on our Pet Dental Care handout to get the conversation started with your vet.

Side thought…
Do not be swayed into over-vaccinating your dog. Be careful! Ask before leaving your dog or cat at the vet or be very specific when you check them in: “do not vaccinate”.

From Tori

It saddens me to dissolve this much needed and successful dental program.

Over the years we worked through many challenges to make our program safe and the best available, which was only made possible by having Rhonda and Andy on board. Dexter’s Deli believed in both their skills, ethical treatment of the pets, and many times their guiding pets to veterinarians by finding problems their owners weren’t aware of, many times creating trust and a liaison between vet and pet owner.

Our goal is to continue working to change attitudes and provide information to all of our wonderful customers – you. So that you can make the best choices for your pets so that they may have happier, healthier lives.

Excerpt from our Dental Care handout

Non-anesthesia teeth cleaning, as provided by professional practitioners, is providing cosmetic cleaning. They never diagnose disease and they alway refer to veterinarians for veterinary care. This is carefully outlined in our handout on this topic as you can read in this excerpt:

Anesthesia-free dental cleanings are appropriate for dogs and cats with minor tarter buildup. Young dogs or cats just getting started with dental cleanings are excellent candidates. They are also appropriate for upkeep, when your pet get’s regular veterinary care but seems to collect tarter more quickly on a few of their teeth. Always inquire about the background of the technician – they should have specialized training.

It is NOT appropriate for animals with severe dental disease. If your pet’s teeth are covered in tarter and/or their gums are red, you should have them seen by a vet.

Do your homework when deciding where to take your pet for dental care. The “Ask the Vet” questions should be included in your conversation. Some vets offer both anesthesia and non-anesthesia cleanings, which is the best of both worlds. The vets themselves rarely do the cleaning, so be sure the technician is properly trained in dental cleaning. A basic cleaning should include gum pocket probing, and sometimes x-rays (to find hidden problems). Don’t be put off by the requirement of a blood test because it is an important way to see if there are hidden risks for their care. The vet should always be available to assist in the cleaning if needed.


  • What kind of anesthesia do you use? (Propofol with Iso- or Sevoflourine)
  • Is the animal on monitoring equipment? (Yes)
  • What kind of training does the cleaning technician have?
  • Is the person extracting teeth licensed to do so? (vet or licensed tech)
  • Do you offer dental x-rays? (Yes)
  • How do you oversee the cleaning?


  • Don’t delay. If you suspect your pet is having dental trouble, have them examined by a vet.
  • Dogs, and especially cats, may try to hide their pain. An early indicator is a change in eating behavior or an apprehension to chew.
  • Toy breeds need early and consistent care because they are more prone to dental problems.

San Diego veterinarians we refer to for dental care:



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