frequently asked questions

Why should I clean my dog's teeth?

Dogs develop plaque and tartar just like humans. This buildup harbours dangerous bacteria that, if not removed, can cause internal organ damage, which can shorten your dog's life.

How do I know if my dog needs a teeth cleaning?

A good indication is yellow or brown buildup on the teeth. You can also look for redness along the gum line and bad breath. If you are unsure, you can always email us a picture or set up a consultation. We offer free consultations at any of our office locations.

How often does my dog need a cleaning?

Each dog is different. Many factors come in to play when determining the time needed between cleanings. These include: age, breed, diet, home care and underlying health problems. The average dog will need a teeth cleaning every 6 to 12 months. Generally, smaller dogs require more frequent cleanings than larger dogs.

How do you keep the dog calm?

As we do not use any sedation, we rely on calm energy and gentle handling to keep the dogs calm. Dogs respond very well to calm energy. Small dogs are typically done on our lap, sometimes swaddled in a towel to help keep them calm. Medium and large breeds are done sitting on the floor. We use very little restraint when working with dogs and find they are much more cooperative that way. We work with them in the position they are most comfortable in. Most dogs do best in a quiet environment with no people, pets or other distractions around. Having their owner around for the cleaning is usually quite distracting for them and can make the appointment more difficult.

Will it hurt?

No. The teeth cleaning procedure should not cause any pain to your dog. It is very similar to what you would experience during a dental cleaning. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, but not painful. If your dog experiences pain during the cleaning, it is likely that there is an underlying issue and we will not continue with the cleaning. Instead, we will refer you to a Veterinarian for follow up.

How does your procedure compare to anaesthetic cleanings at my Veterinarian's office?

We scale all surfaces of every tooth in your dog's mouth. We also polish the teeth afterwards to create a smooth surface. We do not, however, work on teeth that need to be extracted or teeth that have developed calculus under the gum tissue. If your dog has this stage of periodontal disease, they will need to be cleaned by your Veterinarian.

Can you tell if my dog has any cavities or other problems?

As we are not Veterinarians, we do not diagnose any medical conditions, however, we are very knowledgeable in oral health issues and are often able to point out issues that will require Veterinary attention. For a medical diagnosis, you will need to consult your Veterinarian.

What kind of equipment do you use?

We use professional dental scalers and tools that have been sterilized for each dog.

Are all dogs eligible?

No. Dogs with periodontal disease may not be eligible. Dogs who have dental disease, but cannot undergo anesthesia due to age or health conditions may be eligible with a Veterinarian's referral. We are often able provide these dogs significant improvement.
Aggressive dogs cannot be worked on, however, if your dog has mild fear biting tendencies, we have a fairly high success rate of keeping these dogs calm enough for the cleaning.

Dogs with certain health conditions are not good candidates. These include:

  • Heart disease or heart murmur - Risk of septicemia. Dogs can still be worked on, but should be on antibiotics prior to and after cleaning.
  • Immune disorders (including cancer) - Risk of septicemia. Consult your dog's vet prior to having non-anaesthetic teeth cleaning
  • Hormonal diseases (such as: pancreatitis diabetes, etc) - Stress can cause hormonal imbalances and have severe negative effects. Although Wags does minimize your dog's stress levels, the unfamiliarity of the procedure may be enough to disrupt hormonal balances in dogs with hormonal diseases. These dogs are not recommended for non-anaesthetic teeth cleaning.