Dog Diarrhea After Dental Cleaning: Understanding Post-Procedure Complications

Dog Diarrhea After Dental Cleaning: Understanding Post-Procedure Complications

an image of a dog with a diarrhea accident after a dental procedure

When your dog experiences diarrhea after a dental cleaning, it can be both concerning and startling. Dental cleanings are routine procedures to maintain your dog’s oral health, but sometimes, they can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Diarrhea in dogs following such cleanings might be associated with several factors, including the stress of the procedure, anesthesia, or the medications administered.


Understanding the causes of dog diarrhea after teeth cleaning is crucial in taking the right steps towards your pet’s recovery. If you notice this symptom, it is important to monitor your pet closely and consult with a vet, as they can provide advice tailored to your dog’s specific health needs. Your vet can also guide you on how to prevent or minimize the likelihood of diarrhea after future dental cleanings.

Key Takeaways

  • Diarrhea can occur in dogs after dental cleanings due to stress or medications.
  • Close monitoring and consulting with a vet are essential for a dog with post-dental cleaning diarrhea.
  • Prevention measures and vet advice can reduce the chances of diarrhea following future dental procedures.

Understanding Dog Diarrhea Post-Dental Cleaning

Diarrhea in dogs after a dental cleaning is a concern you might face. While dental procedures are usually safe, they do carry some risk of post-operative complications, including gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea.

One cause can be the anesthesia used during cleaning. It may disrupt your dog’s normal digestive function, leading to acute diarrhea. This type of diarrhea typically resolves soon after the anesthesia wears off. On occasion, the stress of the procedure and the clinic environment can also contribute to digestive upset.

Your dog might experience vomiting in addition to diarrhea. This could be due to the anesthesia or from swallowing mouth bacteria dislodged during the cleaning process. It’s essential to monitor your pet for these symptoms and ensure they have access to plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

Infections are another possible cause of post-dental diarrhea, though these are less common. If your dog’s condition doesn’t improve, or if they appear to be in pain or discomfort, a vet visit is warranted to rule out any serious underlying bacteria or infection.

If diarrhea becomes chronic, it’s vital to seek your vet’s guidance. They might recommend dietary changes, dehydration treatment options, or tests to check for complications.

  • Always observe for any changes post-procedure.
  • Look out for signs of excessive thirst or dry gums, which indicate dehydration.
  • Contact your vet if diarrhea persists beyond a day.

Prompt action can manage most cases of diarrhea following dental cleaning, ensuring your dog‘s quick recovery and return to health.

Factors Contributing to Diarrhea After Teeth Cleaning

When your dog undergoes dental cleaning, the occurrence of diarrhea can be due to a few factors, such as reactions to anesthesia and medications, dietary adjustments, and emotional distress.

Anesthesia and Medication Effects

The use of anesthesia during dental cleaning can cause your dog’s gastrointestinal (GI) system to become upset, leading to diarrhea. This is because anesthesia may disrupt the normal function of your dog’s intestines and colon. Pain medications given alongside anesthesia could also contribute, especially if your dog has a sensitivity or intolerance to them.

Dietary Changes and Fasting

Prior to dental procedures, fasting is often required, which alters your dog’s eating pattern and can result in GI upset. After the cleaning, a sudden reintroduction of food or a change in diet, perhaps due to post-procedure dietary recommendations, can lead to dietary indiscretion and diarrhea.

Stress and Anxiety

Dental cleanings can be stressful for dogs. The stress-induced response can cause a release of stress hormones that upset the balance of gut bacteria, which might lead to bacterial complications or infections. Furthermore, the anxiety experienced around the procedure can trigger GI distress manifesting as diarrhea.

Dental Procedure and Oral Health Implications

When your dog undergoes a teeth cleaning, it’s not just about fighting bad breath—it’s a crucial procedure for maintaining overall health. Dental issues can directly impact the digestive system, and treatments combatting these problems can prevent more serious complications.

Impact of Dental Health on Digestive System

Poor oral health in your dog can lead to periodontal disease and gum disease, which have the potential to affect more than just their mouth. Bacteria from plaque buildup can enter the bloodstream through unhealthy gums. Once in the bloodstream, it can reach vital organs and possibly lead to systemic infections. This link between dental health and systemic health underlines the importance of regular teeth cleaning procedures.

Common Dental Issues and Related Treatments

Tooth decay and tartar buildup are common issues that necessitate professional dental care. During a dog dental cleaning, veterinarians may perform x-rays to assess the health below the gumline, followed by scaling to remove tartar and plaque buildup. Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly at home and scheduling annual cleanings can prevent dental disease and the risk of tooth loss, particularly in an older dog.

Remember, addressing oral health is a preventative measure. By managing dental health, you’re not just tackling bad breath; you’re also actively preventing potential infections and preserving your dog’s quality of life.

Prevention and Care for Diarrhea after Dental Cleaning

Caring for your dog after dental cleaning is crucial to prevent and manage diarrhea. Proper home care and timely veterinary consultation can mitigate health risks.

Home Care Strategies

Immediately after dental cleaning, observe your dog for signs of digestive upset. Offer a bland diet such as boiled chicken and processed rice, and make sure fresh water is always available to prevent dehydration. Incorporating probiotics tailored for canines into your dog’s diet can also help stabilize their digestive system.  Your vet may also recommend DiarRice.

When to Consult a Vet

If diarrhea persists beyond 48 hours or is accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy or vomiting, consult your vet. A physical exam may be necessary to rule out inflammatory bowel disease or other underlying health issues. Veterinary care may include antibiotics, pain medication, or other treatments based on your dog’s specific condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

After a dental cleaning, it’s not uncommon for dogs to experience side effects. Here are some specific answers to questions you may have about your dog’s potential reaction to dental work.

What are common side effects in dogs after a dental cleaning procedure?

The side effects after a dental cleaning can include low blood pressure, lethargy, and digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. These reactions are generally short-lived but should be monitored.

How should I care for my dog if they develop diarrhea following a teeth cleaning?

If your dog develops diarrhea, ensure they have plenty of water to prevent dehydration. Monitor their condition closely and consult your vet if it persists, as diarrhea can lead to further complications.

Is it normal for a dog to experience digestive upset after dental work?

Yes, digestive upset is a normal reaction for some dogs following dental work due to stress and medication. These symptoms are typically temporary but keep an eye on your dog’s recovery.

How can I prevent my dog from getting sick after dental cleaning?

To prevent sickness, follow your vet’s aftercare instructions carefully, which may include dietary restrictions or gradual reintroduction of food. Also, keep stress to a minimum as your dog recovers.

What to do if my dog isn’t eating or drinking post dental cleaning?

If your dog isn’t eating or drinking, it’s important to notify your veterinarian. They may need additional care to recover from the dental cleaning and to avoid dehydration.

What should I monitor in my dog’s behavior and health after a teeth cleaning?

Watch for changes in behavior, such as lack of energy or difficulty eating. Also monitor their stools and be alert for any signs of complications like prolonged diarrhea or vomiting.

Dr. Jeff Kordell, DVM is a practicing veterinarian in the northern suburbs of Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Veterinary School. Dr. Kordell owns Animal Medical Center at Fort Sheridan and has had his own private practice for over 30 years. He is the co-founder of K&S Veterinary Labs LLC the maker of DiarRice.