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Dental Care for Dogs

When was the last time you looked in your dog’s mouth? Excellent oral health is as important to dogs as it is to us yet despite this, dental disease is the single most commonly diagnosed disease in pets over the age of 3! Bad breath goes beyond the ick factor and often means your dog has gingivitis, tooth pain, and possibly even a systemic infection that is affecting organ health including the kidneys, liver, and heart! Talk to us about a complimentary dental assessment to help determine the best course of action for your dog’s oral health.

What types of dental care for dogs do you offer at your clinic?


Harbour Cities Veterinary Clinic is equipped to do help you with all levels of oral health care from consultations about at home care and dental diets, to complete an oral health assessment and treatment in the clinic.

How often should you brush your dog’s teeth?


The very best home care you can provide is daily brushing. The focus is on the outer surface of your dog’s teeth, being sure to get far back as these tend to be the problem teeth. A schedule of every other day is helpful, especially if another homecare tool is used on the off days (e.g.oral gel/rinse). Dental diets are available to help and are most effective when used as the main diet vs. as a treat. Treats can aid in keeping dental disease at bay, however, on their own they are not sufficient. Please remember, when using treats you must take into account their caloric content – some treats have a lot of calories, and the amount of your dog’s daily food intake will need to be adjusted to allow for the calories in the treats you are giving. Another item to consider is the density of the treat you are giving. The best rule of thumb is that your dog should not chew on anything that is as hard as/harder than their teeth – or there is risk fracturing a tooth/teeth. Tooth fractures as a result of chewing on things like deer antlers and other bones are not uncommon, are very painful for your dog, and will result in them needing surgery.

Why is oral and dental health important?


Dental disease is not only smelly or unsightly, but it is also painful and can result in significant health concerns for your pet. When tartar accumulates, and gingivitis occurs the gumline begins to separate from the surface of the tooth. This separation creates an opening for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. This bacteria, now in the blood, infects important organs including the kidneys, liver, heart, and gastrointestinal tract. These infections, if not treated, can lead to serious organ disease. Constantly fighting infection and being in pain is very stressful for your pet. When they feel sick they have less energy, may be more prone to changes in behaviours as a result of the pain, and even lose their appetite. Pet owners often comment that after their pet’s dental cleaning they were “…like a puppy again!”

This was my first time at this vet, they fit my bunny in for an emergency appointment as she was…

Claire Macdonald

I have been using Dartmouth Cities Veterinary Hospital for about 35 years and have always had wonderful service with every…

Beverley Gallant

I took my two cats there for a vaccine and a checkup. The staff is absolutely wonderful and did everything…

Katie Singer

The staff at Harbour Cities Vet hospital are always very welcoming and friendly. Their services are fairly priced and they…

Gabrielle Robichaud

I have been here twice now with my newly adopted Greyhound. Great place & very friendly staff. Highly recommend!

Lisa Campagna

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Vestibular disease in companion animals

The vestibular system is a series of nerves, nuclei, portions of the brain, and organs of the inner ear that control the body’s sense of orientation and balance, helping the animal to understand movement. This system allows the animal to compensate for both their own movement and outside forces such as gravity, providing the ability to detect and respond to a stimulus. The vestibular system also works in conjunction with input from the eyes and proprioception from muscles, skin, and joints allowing the body to integrate sensory input and maintain balance. (Watson, etc.) To maintain normal balance, the three canals within the inner ear are filled with fluid and sensory hairs, both of which respond to the orientation of the head. Each tube is positioned at a 90 degree angle to the next and is more sensitive to movements that lie on its specific plane. As the fluid moves within the tubules, the hairs are stimulated and send nerve impulses to the brain. These never impulses are read and a message is sent to the body to respond, maintaining balance.

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