Dog Teeth Cleaning

Dr. Lilla Yan

Professional Pet dental cleaning and extractions

By Dog Teeth Cleaning, Pet Teeth Cleaning

This article is about professional dental care and will hopefully provide an understanding of what happens when your pet is admitted into the hospital for a dental procedure and most importantly why we do it what we do!




Just like  people, our pets’ teeth ideally should be professionally scaled and polished regularly.  This procedure not only cleans off the obvious brown tartar that you can see but more importantly it cleans underneath the gum line. Scaling underneath the gums reduces painful gingivitis (swollen and painful gums) and helps the diseased gums heal, and reduces worsening of gum recession.

A common question we get is why pets need to be under general anesthesia for dental cleaning.

The answer is fairly simple:  in order to scale and polish all of their teeth at all angles, especially scaling under the gum line, it is simply impossible to do properly with the pet awake. Unlike a person in a dental chair, we cannot reason with the pet as to why they need to keep completely still while we put an instrument in their mouth and perform a procedure for a significant period of time that may be uncomfortable for them. Physical restraint  is not an option.  Even if it was possible,  it would require  be extremely stressful for your pet and it still would be unlikely that each tooth could be properly cleaned and graded and scaling under the gum line could be done properly.       It is also important that they are intubated (a breathing tube attached to an oxygen/anesthethic machine) so they cannot aspirate any fluid into their lungs during the procedure.

Some people have a fear of general anesthesia.   At your pet’s next annual exam (or any time your pet is in), we encourage you to talk to the veterinarian and/or technicians about precautions and safety procedures we have in place as well as specific concerns you may have about your pet.  It is important to remember that the risk for anesthesia for young healthy pets is very low



It is a common concern that a pet will need many teeth extracted.

I will never forget an older gentleman that brought in his dog for an exam.  After I examined his dog I discussed with him that some of the teeth were very infected and needed to be extracted. I was well aware that a lot of people don’t like the thought of their pet’s teeth being removed. To my surprise, the gentleman said to me, “Doc, do what you need to do. I had all of my teeth taken out two years ago, and I only wish that I had done that years earlier! They were causing me so much pain.”

As much as we would like to always see teeth that only require cleaning, many times we do come across ones that are beyond salvageable. When a tooth is infected and painful, the best option for the pet is to have it removed.

Full mouth dental radiographs  provide us with important information about the health of each tooth and help us make informed decisions about extractions and other oral surgery needed.

Dr. Annelle Valentin views dental radiographs

Will your pet still be able to eat with some of their teeth gone?  The answer is, absolutely. In the wild, their ancestors needed their teeth to tear away meat. In captivity with our kibble and canned food pets really do not even need ANY of their teeth to be able to eat their food.


I hope this has answered some of your questions and busted some common myths about our pets’ oral health. If you have any further questions, please feel free to give us a call!

Dr. Lilla Yan

Dr. Zach Jones

Why is your smile healthier than your dog’s?

By Dog Teeth Cleaning, Pet Dentist

The Veterinarians here at Royal York Animal Hospital see our fair share of teeth in a day.   Sometimes we see them in the mouth of a dog  – other times in a smiling pet-owner. Fortunately for us, many of the pearly whites we see on any given day are healthy ones. Unfortunately it is more often the dog owner’s teeth that are considerably healthier than their pets…

I often wonder: Why is that? How is it that we feel our own teeth need a twice-a-year tune up (once a year at a minimum) at the dentist office but teeth cleaning  pets once every year or two seems laughable? It pains me to say this but the disparities between human and pet dental care do not stop there.   Below is some food for thought – some comparisons, if you will – on the way we care for our own teeth and how we don’t care for our pet’s teeth.

Pet Dentist in Etobicoke, Ontario

Don’t let the disguise fool you – dogs and people require the same sort of maintenance on their teeth to keep them in good shape !


Daily Home Care

I am going to go out on a limb here but I assume you brush your own teeth at least once (twice? three times?) daily (thumbs up for you if you floss too!). Now here’s the question you knew I would ask: How many times per day do you brush your dog’s teeth? For most people that answer is zero. Imagine how disgusting your mouth would get after one week of not brushing. No offence, but your breath would be horrendous! Now imagine one year. Now imagine your entire life.   Gross! Dog’s teeth are just like ours and need regular brushing at home in order to prevent bacteria from ‘setting up shop’.
The Bottom Line: Brush you’re dogs teeth daily or expect to deal with dental problems later in your pets life.

Eating the Proper Diet

I often hear clients say to me, “We don’t brush his/her teeth but we feed a dry food so that keeps their teeth clean”.  Unfortunately it’s not that simple. The average pet food has the same texture as an oatmeal cookie. Imagine if your kids stopped brushing and instead just ate a few oatmeal cookies each morning – ew! I guarantee their dentist would not be pleased at their next visit.
The Bottom Line: Your dog’s food needs to be a prescription-grade food with dental claims on the label (supported by scientific studies, VOHC approved) in order for it to truly help keep their mouth in good shape. Regular pet-store brand kibble will not keep your dog’s mouth healthy for long.      

The Costs of a Healthy Smile

Imagine there are two next-door neighbours with similar homes on your street. Neighbour A is very tidy and cleans their house from top to bottom 1-2x per week. Neighbour B is a complete and utter slob who hasn’t cleaned at all for 5 years. If they both want to have their homes deep cleaned by a professional cleaning service, which do you think is going to pay more? Of course it’s neighbour B! The same principle goes for our pet’s mouths- without regular maintenance (ie brushing, dental diets) the amount of work the vet has to do increases exponentially.   And more work = more $$$. If you brush your dog’s teeth regularly at home, having their teeth cleaned once every 1-2 years would cost the same (or even less!) than the average person spends on their own dental bills.
The Bottom Line: Regular maintenance means cheaper vet bills. Ignoring your pet’s oral hygiene is very expensive.


Pet Dental Care in Etobicoke, Ontario

“Just a quick clean up for me this year, doc”. Think again ! This mouth has been neglected for years and will take several hours (and cost thousands) to repair.

So if you’re thinking “WE GET IT DOC. We are going to start brushing TODAY”, then good for you! Need some pointers on how to do it? Click HERE for our how-to video on brushing your dog’s teeth.

Want more info? I highly recommend you check out Dr. Fraser Hale (board certified veterinary dentist) and his wonderful website for tips on home dental care.

An Oral health assessment is part of your pet’s Annual Health Exam.  We will discuss dental home care individualized for your pet and /or if your pet requires a professional dental cleaning.

Of course, we are always available to help!  Give us a call : 416-231-9293

Dr. Zach Jones

Royal York Animal Hospital  4222 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario

Dr. Zach Jones

Common Veterinary Dental Myths debunked

By Dog Teeth Cleaning, Uncategorized

 Dental Myths Debunked!

The 4 most common myths about vet dentistry

With all the information available to us online these days, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. As part of National Pet Dental Month, Dr. Zach Jones has come up with some of the most common misconceptions about veterinary dentistry…

1) “It’s okay that my pet chews on animal bones or antlers.”

There is a very common misconception among pet owners that animal teeth are stronger than human teeth – this is completely untrue! Canine teeth are very prone to fractures, which lead to pain, infection, and surgery (not to mention a big vet bill). Dr. Fraser Hale, DVM, FAVD, DAVDC (veterinary dental specialist) recommends using his “kneecap rule” to help decide whether or not a toy is suitable for your pet.  Simply put, the “kneecap rule” states that if you wouldn’t want someone to hit you over the kneecap with it, then your dog shouldn’t be chewing on it.

Pet Dental Myths

A broken tooth secondary to chewing a bone.  The pink region in the center of the tooth is an exposed nerve, which is excruciatingly painful.  Fractures like this require a root canal or surgical removal of the entire tooth.

Image courtesy of Dr. Fraser Hale,

2.) “The pet store carries dental products which work just as well as the ones my vet has.”

 Not all pet dental products are created equal!  Pet food companies are very good at marketing their products, even if it means making misleading statements (ever heard of the Blue Buffalo scandal?). Just because the bag says something like ‘dental formula’, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily beneficial for your pet’s teeth.  Looking for a product that is scientifically proven to help keep your pet’s mouth clean? Then choose products that bear the VOHC seal of approval on the front of the bag.  An image of the seal is shown below:

Veterinary Oral Health Council
**Click here for more info on the VOHC seal of approval and what it really means.

3.) “My pets teeth aren’t painful because he/she is still eating.”

 How much does your pet love his/her food? I’m guessing a lot.  In fact, I’m willing to bet that eating is one of your pet’s favorite things to do.  There are very few exceptions to this rule, and dental pain is not one of them.  I have literally seen thousands of dogs with mild or moderate oral pain over the past few years, but I can only count on one hand the number of pets with so much dental pain that they stopped eating all together.  The bottom line is this: a painful mouth isn’t enough to make your pet not want to eat.

 4.) “My groomer can clean my dogs teeth without an anesthetic.”

 This is BY FAR the biggest myth in veterinary dentistry, and it also leads to the most frightening results.  Non-professional dental scaling (NPDS) is illegal in Ontario, but many groomers (and human dental hygienists!) are offering it to clients as an alternative to a dental cleaning under anesthesia performed by a licenced vet.  It involves scraping debris off the surface of the teeth while your pet is awake.  Think of it like washing your car once a month, but never taking it in to a mechanicIt may look spectacular on the surface, but hiding under the hood there could be very serious issues that are left undiagnosed and untreated.  NPDS is like that car wash – it removes visible tartar from the surface of the teeth, but what it fails to do is remove the disease-causing bacteria below the gum line and identify and treat other dental problems like infected teeth.

Veterinary Dental MythsVeterinary Dental Myths







Pictured above is a greyhound who had undergone multiple NPDS’s over several years.  The left photo is pre-op, and the right is after some large chunks of calculus had been removed.   As you can see, the teeth are clearly in very rough shape! This owner thought he was doing the right thing by having her dog’s teeth “cleaned” regularly, but unfortunately this dog had to have 34 out of his 42 teeth surgically extracted.  Had he had a professional dental consult with a licenced vet from the start, it’s possible that he would not have suffered for so many years.  Images courtesy of Dr. Fraser Hale,

Dr. Zach Jones

Royal York Animal Hospital

4222 Dundas St. West, Etobicoke, Ontario


reception desk

The Advantages of A Multi-Vet Veterinary Hospital in Etobicoke

By Dog Teeth Cleaning, Pet Boarding, Pet Grooming, Pet Safety, Pet Treatment, Pet Vaccination, Toronto Cats, Toronto Dogs, Toronto Pet

* Compassionate * Responsive * Proactive * Skilled *



You may think that a small veterinary practice with one veterinarian and few staff will be able provide more personal care for you and your pet. THINK AGAIN.

Royal York Animal Hospital - Etobicoke Vet Hospital

1.At Royal York Animal Hospital in Etobicoke, we encourage you to see ONE Veterinarian for CHECKUPS, VACCINATIONS and any other WELL PROCEDURES. We recognize that it is important to have a trusting relationship and your pet to bond with an individual doctor. (we can help you choose the best fit). This veterinarian is your “ Pet’s family doctor”. It is simple to book all your appointments with this veterinarian and there is lots of choice of times as all our veterinarians work varying shifts to allow morning, afternoon, evening or weekend choices.
Pet exams in Etobicoke

2. EXTENDED VETERINARY HOURS mean that WE ARE HERE WHEN YOU NEED US.  It isthe most stressful for you when your pet is ill or injured. We are open seven days a week (Monday to Friday 7am -9pm and Saturday and Sunday 8am to 5pm) Over a decade ago, we gave careful consideration to extending our hours. Our clients simply wanted us to be there when their pets were sick and injured. We wanted that too. In the year 2000 we built and moved into our new state of the art hospital (which is located behind where the old building was). We are fully staffed and open every day except statutory holidays. Longer hours require more staff to fill those hours!

3. WE KNOW YOUR PET no matter when you bring him in. If you pet is ill or injured you can be bring your pet to a familiar hospital where all your pet’s medical records are at our staff’s fingertips. The staff will recognize and welcome you and your pet will be less traumatized……even if it is Sunday afternoon or Thursday evening or 7am on Monday morning. We have been told that it is extremely comforting when a pet is ill to see a familiar face and to know that treatment and care is seamless between doctors and staff.

Best Vets in Etobicoke

4. NEED A SECOND OPINION FROM A VET? Two (or three!) heads are better than one. Our Etobicoke veterinarians and technicians are always eager to lend a hand to each other and to offer advice to benefit the pets in our care. Each day during “rounds” the doctors discuss the plan of each hospitalized patient in our care with the other doctors. Pet x-rays, blood work and all diagnostics are reviewed and discussed. The original treatment plan is  agreed to by all or amended after the discussion. We believe that this communal approach to medicine offers your pet the very best in veterinary care and keeps our veterinarians learning and sharing with each other all the time.

pet xrays in etobicoke

5. EVERYTHING UNDER ONE ROOF. We recognize all our clients lead busy lives. That is why we “PROVIDE ALL THE SERVICES YOU NEED FOR THE LIFE OF YOUR PET

6. Boarding and Professional Grooming for dogs and cats available 7 days a week.

We are Your Veterinary Medical Health Care Team!

Dr. Lilla Yan

Pet Dental Care Do’s and Don’ts

By Dog Teeth Cleaning, Pet Dentist, Pet Teeth Cleaning

Quick Do’s and Don’ts about caring for your Pet’s teeth:


By Dr. Lilla Yan


DO brush your pets teeth every day. Studies have shown that brushing less than every 48 hours is much less effective.

Dental Health

DO use a pet toothpaste. Pets don’t know how to spit out the toothpaste, and ingesting human toothpaste can cause upset stomach. Pet toothpaste is also usually flavoured with chicken, beef, or fish flavours.


DO use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Human toothbrushes are fine.


DO make it a fun experience for your pet. Start by putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger, and rub that on their gums. After they get used to this daily ‘treat’, switch to toothbrush and start brushing their teeth.

CET samples

DO feed a dental diet where appropriate. We recommend Prescription Diet T/D for dogs and cats.

T/D dental diet

T/D dental diet

How T/D works

How T/D works

DO check your pets mouth regularly. Check their mouth every day when you brush their teeth. Your pet’s mouth should also be examined be a veterinarian at least once a year.

2012-04-15 20.49.44

DO ask one of our team members before giving your pet a new dental product. There are a growing number of dental products on the market, eg. chews, oral rinses, water additives and gels.Some are beneficial while others simply do not do much.

View our own toothbrushing video for tips…

DONT feed chews that are too hard, eg. beef/pork bones, antlers. We have seen numerous tooth fractures in dogs that have chewed on these products, and broken teeth needs to be either extracted or have root canal therapy done.


DONT worry about brushing the inside of the teeth (the tongue side). But you should brush all around the mouth and all the way to the back teeth.


DONT brush your pets teeth if their gums are red and irritated. If your pet has signs of gingivitis, you should talk to your veterinarian before you start to brush their teeth. It could be painful to have their gums brushed.

Dr. Lilla Yan

cat chewing toothbrush

Guidelines and Conditions for the Dental Health Month Essay Contest

By Dog Teeth Cleaning, Pet Teeth Cleaning, Toronto Cats, Toronto Dogs, Uncategorized, Veterinary Exams

Royal York Animal Hospital Dental Health ESSAY contest February 2015

GRAND PRIZE:  $500 off your Pet’s dental surgery! 


ALL qualified entries will receive 5% off all Dental Surgery, procedures and Products for the month of February 2015.


SUBMIT A 500 WORD ESSAY by EMAIL answering the following questions:




Guidelines, Conditions and Rules:

  •  Essays must be submitted by EMAIL to  by January 31, 2015
  • Essays should be approximately 500 words 
  • Include a photo of your pet
  • Essays will be evaluated for CONTENT (and to make sure they answer the question)  and then entered into a DRAW
  • Disqualification may occur if the question is not answered in good faith
  • The Draw will take place on February 1 and the winner will be contacted by Telephone or email
  • The winning pet must be deemed healthy (by RYAH veterinarians) and up to date on any and all routine health procedures including recommended vaccinations
  • All pets must be examined and deemed healthy, by one of RYAH’s veterinarians, prior to dental surgery being scheduled.
  • All pre-operative recommended diagnostics need to be complete before dental surgery
  • Some pets may not qualify due to previous medical conditions
  • Prize money only applies to Dental procedures and cannot be exchanged for other veterinary services
  • Prize money does not apply to pre-operative diagnostics
  • Permission must be given to use your story (pet name only) and photo on Social media and marketing material
  • The prize must be claimed by March 31, 2015
  • ALL entries will receive 5% off Dental Surgery and products for the month of February 2015

(Disclaimer: This contest is not intended to solicit new clients)

    ENTER TODAY:    

Dental Health Month

Dr. Lilla Yan

Looking After Your Pet’s Teeth At Home

By Dog Teeth Cleaning

In the second part of my blog for PET DENTAL HEALTH MONTH I will discuss some options for looking after your pet’s teeth at home.




BRUSHING YOUR PETS TEETH – Like humans the VERY BEST option is daily brushing. Plaque forms when the food film on the tooth is mixed with bacteria, and the when teeth are brushed the brushing motion removes most of the plaque. When plaque is not removed, in a few days it turns into hard tartar. And once tartar is formed, only dental instruments can remove it properly.  However, if your pet already has moderate to severe dental disease, you should talk to your veterinarian before you start to brush their teeth because it could be painful for them to have their gums brushed.

If your pet’s teeth are in great shape, or if they have just had a professional dental cleaning done, it is the perfect time to start brushing their teeth. A soft-bristle   toothbrush (human toothbrush is fine) or a finger brush should be used. You should use a pet toothpaste because pets don’t know how to spit out the toothpaste and human toothpaste can cause GI upset. Pet toothpaste is usually flavoured with chicken, beef, or fish flavours.

Make this fun for your pet. If you have never brushed your pet’s teeth, start by putting a small amount of toothpaste on your finger, and rub that on their gums daily. After they get used to this daily ‘treat’, switch to the toothbrush and start brushing their teeth. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle and brush from the gums to the tip, or in a circular motion. It’s important to brush underneath the gums as well. The tongue side of the teeth are less important to brush. Go all around the mouth and all the way to the back of the mouth.

Even though some toothpastes are designed to help enhance the effectiveness of brushing, remember that the actual brushing is the most important aspect of removing plaque from a tooth.

DENTAL DIET: We recommend Prescription Diet T/D for dogs and cats. The T/D kibble fibres are arranged so that when pets chew on the kibbles, the plaque on the teeth that chew is reduced. This is particularly helpful for some cats that do not tolerate teeth brushing at all.

Again, keep brushing their teeth!

WATER ADDITIVES: There are a number of water additives on the market that claim to be beneficial for pets’ dental health. We recommend Healthy Mouth water additive which is the ONLY water additive that bears the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal.  This product is not sold in pet stores. It’s best to use this combined with daily teeth brushing, however you can still use it even if you absolutely cannot brush your pet’s teeth.

CHEWS, ORAL RINSES AND GELS: Ask one of our team members whether any of these would be beneficial for your pet. There are a growing number of these products on the market, some of which are beneficial while others simply do not do much…….but there are some different options you can consider.

WHAT SHOULD I NOT DO?  Do  NOT  give to your pet Natural bones (eg. beef/pork bones), antlers and some of the hard plastic toys.  These are simply too hard for your pet’s teeth. We have seen numerous tooth fractures in dogs that have chewed on these products. Broken teeth need to be either extracted or have root canal therapy done. A rule of thumb is that, if something is too hard to bend with your fingers, it’s too hard for your pet to chew on.

I hope this has been helpful.  Please call us if you would like more information or better still bring your pet in for us to evaluate his teeth.  At every annual exam we evaluate your pets teeth and make a recommendation for home care and/or professional dental care.

My next and final Dental blog will discuss Professional Dental Cleaning and what is involved and why we often recommend it!

Happy Brushing!

Dr. Lilla Yan



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