Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Here at the Pet Wellness Network we celebrate our teeth, the dentists who care for them, and the importance of proper, thorough maintenance for our pearly whites. Without a healthy set of gnashers, most of our favourite foods (at least, the ones that can’t be slurped, gummed or blended in a food processor) would be a thing of the past. But did you know that dental care for dogs and cats is just as important as it is for humans?

HILL'S PET NUTRITION CANADA INC. - "Pets Need Dental Care, too

Most pet owners don’t tend to think about their animal’s oral health until they encounter some problems, but the fact is, periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs. Just like us, their teeth, through regular wear-and-tear, are subject to chips, breaks, orthodontic problems and even plaque and cavities. An unhealthy mouth allows for bacterial growth and for infection to spread to other parts of their body, which could end up as painful for your wallet as it is for your poor pooch or kitty.

Some tips for healthy mouth maintenance:

1. Look into your pet’s mouth on a regular basis. Foul odour, red or inflamed gums, and pus at the gum line are all indications of an infection. See your vet as soon as possible to fix any problems before they worsen, to discuss preventative and treatment plans.

2. Avoid giving your pet anything hard enough to fracture or chip their teeth, like natural bones, hard nylon toys, cow hooves etc. As a rule of thumb, if it’s harder than teeth, it might not be a good idea.

3. Keep your pet’s teeth squeaky clean. Plaque left to mineralize becomes tartar after a few short days, and tartar build up over time becomes calculus, a nasty, difficult-to-remove coating of yellow and brown staining that ruins a pet’s would-be pearly whites. To help combat this, give your pet mildly abrasive food like dry kibble, and chew toys that are made of dense rubber. But the VERY BEST way to combat tartar and calculus build-up (as well as a whole host of other oral ailments) is to BRUSH your pet’s teeth on a regular basis!

Most veterinarians recommend that all pet owners should brush their pets’ teeth regularly. However, it is easy to get discouraged when the idea isn’t received well by your pet and they reject the brush’s advances. For that reason, it is best to start with a cleaning regimen as early as possible in a dog’s life so they become accustomed to it. Here are some tips to get puppies and older dogs to cooperate with home dental care done by you:

1. Get them used to having their teeth handled by putting a bit of veterinarian approved pet toothpaste on your index finger, then gently lifting their lips with your tasty fingers so you can see inside their mouth. Massage their gums. If you are gentle and patient, they will soon come to like this! Do it for about five minutes, all the while praising them for being so good. Finish the session off with a treat.

2. Once they’re used to your hands in their mouth, wrap a thin cloth around your finger (dipped in the same pet toothpaste you used last time) and massage their gums and teeth with it. Start at the front and work your way back.

3. Take a toothbrush and, starting at the front and working your way back, begin to softly brush each tooth. Pet-specific toothbrushes are built with carnivorous animal teeth in mind, but most human toothbrushes will do the trick. There are even a multitude of pet toothpastes flavours available that your pet will love, like chicken or beef. *DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE, AS IT WILL MAKE THEM SICK IF THEY SWALLOW IT. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle and thoroughly brush from gum to tip. Get your pet a professional dental check-up once every 6 to 12 months.

4. If you find your pet just won’t allow you inside their mouth. Book a cleaning with your local Pet Wellness Network Animal Hospital and we’ll take care of the problem for you.

But first, go ahead and try dental pet care on your own!


Remember, if you make it fun for them, it will be far easier and also more efficient for you! Happy Brushing! <3

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