Why it is important to keep on top
of your dog’s oral health

by Kelly Moran

big-dog-teeth • Prevent Disease: Bacteria found in the mouth can travel through the blood stream and cause kidney and heart disease, as well as blood infections, which can be deadly.

• Preserve Teeth: If not removed from the teeth, plaque and calculus will cause gingival tissue recession. This will eventually lead to jaw bone deterioration and loose teeth.

• Avoid Pain: Neglected oral health often causes extremely painful dental problems. Dogs do not usually show obvious symptoms of oral pain until the problem has become severe. Unfortunately, this means many dogs suffer for quite some time before the issue is noticed.


About non-anaesthetic teeth cleaning

• Provides scaling of the crown (visible) tooth surfaces.

• Scaling and polishing is performed both on the inner and outer surfaces of all 42 teeth in the dog’s mouth.

• Can be performed on most dogs as preventive maintenance

• Can be done gently without restraints or over-stressing the dog


Which type of cleaning is right for your dog?

Non-anaesthetic teeth cleanings are recommended for

• Dogs with healthy teeth and gums

• Dogs that cannot undergo anaesthetic for health reasons

• Extending time between veterinary cleanings

A dog with health conditions should be seen by a veterinarian prior to a non-anaesthetic teeth cleaning as they may require medication before and after their cleaning.

Veterinary dental cleanings are recommended for

• Dogs that have loose, infected or broken teeth

• Cases where calculus buildup has progressed below the gum line

• Dogs that are aggressive or too difficult to safely clean while awake

If your dog’s mouth has become diseased and they require a veterinary dental, it is recommended that a veterinarian with a proper dental x-ray machine be used. Dental x-rays are very helpful in detecting problems below the gum line that cannot be seen otherwise. They can also help in determining if teeth need to be extracted.


Which company to choose

Not all non-anaesthetic teeth cleanings companies are the same. It is important to use someone who has had the appropriate training.

Some good questions to ask

• How long was your training? There are courses that are offered over only 1 or 2 days. Non-anaesthetic teeth cleaning is a very difficult skill to learn and generally takes quite some time to master.

• Did your training teach about health concerns and common oral problems? Although professionals in the non-anaesthetic teeth cleaning industry are not permitted to diagnose any medical conditions, it is important that they are able to recognize when to not work on a dog. Performing non-anaesthetic teeth cleaning on a dog that has certain oral or general health conditions can be dangerous and even life threatening to the dog.

• Do you clean all of the surfaces of every tooth? Many companies only scale the outer sides of the teeth. This may look like a complete job to the dog’s owner, but it is not a proper job. A complete cleaning will include scaling of the outer, inner and biting surfaces of every tooth, as well as scaling between the teeth.


When to get a cleaning

If you notice bad breath or yellow, brown or black buildup on your dog’s teeth, it’s time for a cleaning. If the buildup is not removed regularly, your dog can develop painful and serious health problems. Cleanings are usually recommended every 6 to 12 months.


What to do between teeth cleanings

• Brushing your dog’s teeth is the most efficient way to help reduce plaque and calculus buildup between cleanings. You can use a soft toothbrush or just a gauze or small cloth around your finger.

• Feed a healthy diet. The food your dog eats can greatly contribute to their oral and overall health. Canned food can be very sticky and cause excessive plaque in the mouth. Dry dog food is less sticky than canned, but it is often filled with starches, which are also not great for the teeth. If you feed dry or canned dog food choose a brand with high quality ingredients and little to no grains. Raw food is the most natural diet for a dog. Although dogs on raw diet still develop plaque and calculus, they often have much healthier teeth and gums. Make sure to do your research and talk to a qualified professional before starting a raw diet to make sure your dog is getting all their required nutrients.

• Use dental products. There are many sprays, gels and supplements available for reducing bacteria and plaque in the mouth. If used daily, these products can help keep your dog’s mouth fresh and reduce buildup between cleanings. Look for ingredients that do not include sugars or xylitol. It is best to stick with ingredients that are natural and that you can pronounce.


Kelly Moran Bio:

Certified Canine Oral Hygiene Specialist, Kelly Moran has a passion for dogs. As the owner of Wags K-9 Teeth Cleaning, she has been specializing in canine oral care without anaesthetic for over 9 years. While working in a veterinary office and witnessing countless dogs overcome by the devastating effects of oral disease, Kelly was inspired to provide a less invasive and cost efficient solution. Wags K-9 Teeth Cleaning offers a sedation-free option for concerned and caring pet owners and has offices throughout the Lower Mainland, as well as mobile service.