Frequently asked questions

How do you keep the dogs calm?


The most important part of our process is keeping your dog as calm and comfortable as possible. Dogs often repsond and communicate through energy and body language, therefor, we strive to give off a calming and assertive energy, while providing comfort and gentle care. The hardest part for many dogs is often the fear leading up to the cleaning. Most dogs usually accept the scaling within a few a minutes once they realize it is not painful.




How is the procedure done?


The teeth cleaning starts by slowly touching the face and teeth, and gradually progressing to light pressure on the teeth with our hand scalers. Once the dog has settled, we scale all surfaces of each tooth in the mouth, followed with enamel polishing, and finishing with an antibacterial spray or gel.




How do you hold the dogs?


We usually sit with your dog on our lap or on the floor. Every dog has different preferences, and we try our very best to work with them to keep them as comfortable as possible. Some dogs are calmer on their backs, while many prefer to stay sitting. We often try a few different positions to see what each dog responds best to.




How long does it take?


Appointment times vary from 45 minutes to 2 hours. The average cleaning takes about 1 hour.




Can I stay with my dog?


No, we do not recommend owners stay for the procedure. A large part of keeping your dog calm and safe is focusing them on our calm energy. If the owner is present, the dog will have a much more difficult time remaining calm and keeping their focus on the hygienist. Dogs are naturally pack animals and will not easily let their guard down when their "pack leader" is present. Most dogs see their owner as their pack leader, and will be much more difficult to work on in their presence. If you are worried about leaving your dog, we do welcome you to stay for the first 5 minutes of the procedure to see how it all works. We understand it's hard to leave them, but we promise to treat your fur baby like our own!




Does it hurt?


Absolutely not! Scaling the teeth is a strange sensation, but it should not cause any pain. Once dogs realize this, they usually tolerate it quite nicely. It's similair to nail trimming; they don't exactly enjoy it, but if done correctly, there should be no pain involved. If we find anything in the mouth that looks to be causing a dog pain, we will instead recommend that your dog see a veterinary dentist.




Do you use ultrasonic?


No! We perform the entire cleaning with hand instruments. Ultrasonic scaling is a great development in dentistry as it speeds up the process and eases the amount of work for the hygienist. However, it does carry more risks, especially when working on moving animals. Because of the high frequency movements of ultrasonic, heat burns and enamel damage are more likely. Ultrasonic scalers require great amounts of water to keep the tip cool and pose a higher risk of water aspiration and choking. Lastly, though ultrasonic is great for making our job easier, it is much more stressful for the dog to tolerate and does not do as thourough of a cleaning. All ultrasonic cleanings should be followed by hand scaling to reach the tiny areas that ultrasonic scalers cannot fit into.




Do you polish the teeth?


Yes! We use prophylaxis paste to polish all tooth surfaces after the scaling process is complete. Polishing helps to smooth out any fine grooves in the enamel and remove staining.




My dog has loose teeth. Can you still clean them?


No. Mobile teeth are an indication of severe periodontal disease. If your dog has this stage of periodontal disease, they will need to see a veterinary dentist. Should the veterinarian find that your dog is not a suitable candidate for anaesthetic, we can perform a cleaning as a last resort, under veterinary recommendation only. In these cases, dogs will need be on antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian.




What causes loose teeth?


Tooth mobility is caused from calcified plaque irritating the gingival tissue. This irritation causes the gum tissue to recede, as well as the surrounding tooth structures (ligaments and alveolar bone). Losing all this support structure around the tooth is what causes loose teeth. The longer the mobile teeth are left in the mouth, the more damage is done and can even degrade to the point of breaking the jaw bone. Though many dogs will not "act" as though they are in pain, the process of periodontal deterioration is very painful and detrimental to the dog's overall health. Dogs tend to hide their pain to avoid showing vulnerability. We often have pet owners remark that there dog didn't seem to be in pain, but once they had the necessary teeth extracted, their dog was much happier and more energetic. We strongly recommmend having all mobile teeth extracted by a veterinary dental specailist.




What form of payments do you take?


We accept all forms of payment. Interac Debit, Credit Card, E-Transfer, Cash, Cheque.




Can my dog eat after the cleaning?


Yes! In fact we encourage giving a high value treat reward to your dog after the appointment. This will help make it a more positive experience for them. In human dentistry, flouride is applied to the teeth to prevent dental decay. The flouride application is why not eating is recommended. We do not apply flouride during our cleanings as it is toxic to dogs and would be harmful if swallowed. The good news is, dogs don't really need flouride treatments. They don't tend to develop cavities like humans do (though we have come across a few over the years). They are much more susceptible to gingival disease. For this reason, we apply anti-bacterial, soothing gingival sprays and gels instead.




What can I do for home care to help with dental health?


Brushing the teeth is by-far the most effective thing you can do to prevent dental disease. The key is to remove the soft plaque before it calcifies (hardens). On average, it takes about 3 days for plaque to calcify. This means, brushing will be most effective if done at least every 3rd day. Brushing every single day is strongly recommended though. Right before bed is a good time of day to do so.




How do I brush my dog's teeth?


Brushing does not have to be a time-consuming or fancy process. It can be as simple as wiping a piece of paper towel down each side of the mouth, taking about 10 seconds. Or you can use a pet specific toothbrush and toothpaste. We recommend using a small baby's facecloth and getting it damp with warm water. You can wrap it around your finger and then simply wipe down the teeth for a few seconds on each side, and in the front. You will find it much easier if you hold your dogs mouth closed during the "brushing", and just lift up the lip without opening the mouth. This will prevent them from trying to chew on the "toothbrush". If you like, you can use a pet toothpaste, but it is not necessary. We find coconut oil works well, as it is soothing and anti-bacterial. Plus dogs tend to love the taste! Never use human toothpaste. It is highly toxic to dogs!




Do you work on cats?


No. We do not recommend cats for non-anaesthetic teeth cleaning. Cats have very fragile teeth and are prone to resorptive lesions. These are somewhat similair to cavities in humans, except they often start inside the tooth and progess outward until they devour the tooth. The cause is unknown, but thought to be the result of an immune response where the body sees the tooth as a foreign substance and destroys it. Resorptive lesions are very painful and best diagnosed by dental x-rays under general anaesthetic. We have found cases of resorptive lesions in dogs, but it is much less common than in cats.




How often should my dog have a teeth cleaning?


Just like humans, teeth cleaning is recommended every 6 to 12 months. There are several factors that can affect how quickly plaque will accumulate on the teeth. These include: brushing habits, enamel structure, diet, genetics, dental attrition, and certain health conditions. For this reason cleaning times can vary greatly for each dog. We have some dogs that have heavy plaque accumulation after only a few months, and others that have only minor buildup after several years.




Does diet affect dental health?


Yes! Just like humans, what your dog eats can greatly affect their oral health. Heavily processed and sugary foods will cause more plaque accumulation than natural fresh foods. Raw and fermented foods are great for the teeth, as they contain natural enzymes to help break down plaque. In our experience, dogs fed kibble and canned, processed diets tend to have much poorer dental health than those fed raw or home-cooked diets.




Does chewing help the teeth?


Yes, but... Chewing is great for scraping plaque off the teeth, however, we highly recommend sticking to softer chews. Hard chews are often the culprit for broken teeth and damaged enamel. Also, keep in mind that dogs only use a small portion of their teeth for chewing, so only those teeth will be cleaned from chews. Good soft chews: Bully Sticks, Raw Chicken and Duck Bones, Raw Rib Bones, Whimzees. Chews to avoid: All Cooked Bones, Raw Hide, Heavy Raw Bones (femurs, knuckles), Antlers, Himalayan Cheese Chews.