Frequently Asked Questions - Natural Dental Cleaning

Q: Why is it important to have my pet’s teeth cleaned?

A: Just like humans, pets need their teeth cleaned too! Tartar and bacteria build up on the teeth and under the gumline and over time can infect the heart and kidneys and cause serious problems. Many of the heart murmurs we detect are from endocarditis secondary to poor oral health. Maintaining your pet’s oral health will help add to his longevity, quality of life, and overall happiness.


Q: How will you keep my pet calm during the dental cleaning procedure?

A: Robin Hungerford, a Natural Dental Cleaning Provider, works hard to establish a trusting relationship with your pet by using positive reinforcement and doing calming touch massage. Robin sits on the floor with your pet so she feels secure and safe. Smaller breed dogs and cats are lovingly wrapped in a blanket for the cleaning. Larger breeds of dogs can sit or stand—whichever makes them more comfortable and secure, and Robin will stand alongside them for their cleaning. All dental cleaning happens in a quiet and calming environment with minimal distractions to provide the best experience for your pet.


Q: What is the standard procedure for “Natural Dental Cleaning”?

A: The appointment starts with a physical examination by Dr. Karen Mueller, who records the patient’s history, and charts his medical record. The Natural Dental Cleaning will then be performed with a non-invasive ultrasonic scaler to carefully remove tartar above and below the gum line. This is followed by a thorough polish and an antiseptic rinse. If your pet is showing signs of dental disease or gum infection (gingivitis), Dr. Mueller can administer antibiotics. Dr. Mueller can also trim your pets nails and perform a chiropractic adjustment after his dental cleaning if requested.


Q: Can my pet eat or drink after the treatment?

A: Yes. Natural Dental Cleanings are non-invasive and there are no restrictions before or afterwards. Patients may receive a snack or chew treat as a reward. The only exception is for patients receiving a fluoride treatment, when eating and drinking is delayed for 30 minutes.


Q: How often should I have my pet’s teeth cleaned?

A: Dr. Mueller recommends having your pet’s teeth cleaned with us every 6 months to help keep tartar buildup to a minimum. Regular evaluations and dental cleaning help maintain optimal oral hygiene and gum health. Regularly scheduled cleaning also helps your pet become more familiar and comfortable with the process. Humans have a well-established cleaning time frame of twice a year--considering that dogs and cats age so much more quickly than us, and don’t usually get their teeth brushed, evaluating and cleaning every 6 months should be considered a conservative time frame for dental and oral care, especially if anesthetic is not used. Pets with periodontal disease will need more frequent cleanings.


Q: Does anesthetic-free Natural Dental Cleaning take the place of all anesthetized dentals in the future?

A: Not necessarily. When Dr. Mueller and Robin work together on your pet, they will discuss their findings with you. If they see any need for further dental work or extractions, they will refer you to your veterinarian. Dr. Mueller and Robin believe in maintaining a close relationship with your family veterinarian and always have your pet’s best interest in mind.


Q: Can loose teeth be extracted during Natural Dental Cleaning?

A: No. Loose teeth are an indication of peridontal disease, which needs to be addressed by your regular veterinarian. Dr. Mueller can prescibe antibiotics which will help treat the condition, but further treatment and/or extraction(s) is needed.


Q: Can my pet have Natural Dental Cleaning if he has a heart murmur?

A: If your pet has an existing murmur, or if Dr. Mueller finds a new murmur during her pre-dental examination, your pet will need to have antibiotics before the cleaning and for a few days afterward. Antibiotics help prevent bacteria in the mouth from lodging in the heart and causing bacterial endocarditis, or making existing heart disease worse. Dr. Mueller may choose not to perform Natural Dental Cleaning on your pet if you are unwilling to administer recommended antibiotics.


  • If you would like your animal to have Natural Dental Cleaning please contact Robin Hungerford at 805-890-1406 or email
  • Robin Hungerford may provide services elsewhere with different supervising veterinarians; Dr. Mueller provides supervision only when on the premises.
  • If someone wants to perform non-anesthetic dental cleaning on your animal without a veterinarian present, beware that this is not legal in Washington state.