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Pet Oral Care: Toothbrushing At Home

Bacterial plaque can colonize the surface of a tooth of a pet within 24 hours of cleaning. Adequate home care is necessary to prevent the rapid recurrence of inflammation and progression to periodontal disease.

Without proper home care, periodontal pockets can become recolonized within 2 weeks of veterinary dental cleaning and can return to pretreatment depths within 6 weeks of therapy. Plaque located at the gingival margin and the subgingival area results in inflammation and subsequent periodontal disease. Maintenance of periodontal health depends on plaque control at and below the gingival margin.

Toothbrushing

When performed properly and regularly, toothbrushing is the most effective defense against plaque, BUT only an estimated 1% of clients brush their pets’ teeth daily.

Daily brushing is optimal to slow plaque formation. Brushing every other day is not as effective for gingivitis control. Three times a week has been suggested as the minimum acceptable frequency for patients with good oral health, while pets with periodontal disease should have their teeth brushed daily. See below on how to make this easier in your household:

Toothbrushing: Materials & Methods

Brushes

Multiple veterinary brushes are available, although a soft-bristled brush designed for humans can be substituted.
Mechanized brushes have superior effects in human studies.

Pastes

Veterinary toothpastes can increase acceptance by the patient. These toothpastes typically contain a calcium chelator to decrease the level of calculus
Baking soda–based toothpastes and other human oral health products are not recommended, because they contain detergents or fluoride that may cause GI upset or fluorosis if swallowed.

Antimicrobial preparations

These can improve plaque and gingivitis control and may be useful in patients with established periodontal disease.

Toothbrushing Compliance Tips

  • Start early. Younger pets are more likely to accept active home care.
  • Go slow. Start by holding the pet’s mouth and placing a finger in the mouth, progressing to teeth brushing.
  • Be consistent. Toothbrushing is a learned behavior.
  • Provide positive reinforcement. Use rewards (treats, food, or affection) to increase the likelihood of acceptance

Dr. Alex Hare

Blog

The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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Last updated: March 22, 2022.

Dear Clients,

Our top priority here at Westwood Hills is the ongoing health and safety of our clients, their pets, and our dedicated team members that serve you and the community.

NEW: We kindly request that clients continue wearing facemasks during their visits to our hospital. Our staff will continue to wear masks, as they remain one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.
* *Facemasks are no longer mandatory in veterinary clinics (but still highly recommended) as per recent provincial guidelines.

Here is what you can expect during your next visit:

  • We ask that all clients keep their distance / practice social distancing.
  • Continue the use of debit / credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • For those interested we will still offer curbside pickup. Please place your food and medication order 48 hours in advance.
  • We are constantly analyzing our day to day actions and we appreciate your patience. We will continue to implement procedures that are in the best interest of both you, our clients and our staff.

    If you are not feeling well in any way, or if you have interacted with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 we ask that you stay isolated and do not visit us at the clinic. If your pet needs medical attention please have a family member or friend bring in your pet or pick up prescriptions / food.

    OPERATING HOURS

    Monday - Friday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Saturday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Sunday: Closed

    NEW PET OWNERS

    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Westwood Hills Veterinary Hospital