Pet dental care

The Dangers of Poor Dental Hygiene in Pets

Have you ever taken a look inside your pet’s mouth? If you do, you might be surprised at what you see. Oral health problems are a struggle for both dogs and cats. An estimated 80 percent of dogs have significant oral problems, and their owners have no idea that their pets are suffering. Cat owners are surprised to learn that around 70 percent of all cats have significant oral health problems by the age of three.

Unfortunately, if you are not being proactive to take care of pet dental care routines, your pet probably has an oral health concern. When a veterinarian points out these painful problems, most owners exhibit genuine surprise and shock. As a responsible pet owner, you owe it to yourself to know what oral hygiene problems can crop up in your pet, how they affect his or her health and what you can do about them.

Common Oral Health Problems in Pets with Poor Oral Hygiene

If you ignore your dog or cat’s teeth, they will develop oral health problems that are painful and dangerous. Some common problems include:

  • Gingivitis – Inflammation of the gums that can be painful for your pet.
  • Periodontitis – General disease in the oral cavity that attacks both the gums and the teeth.
  • Pyorrhea – Inflammation in the gums and the tooth sockets, which can cause the teeth to loosen and create puss around the tooth.
  • Caries – Decalcification of the tooth enamel that leads to cavities. While rare in dogs, they can happen.
  • Plaque – Buildup of bacteria, cells and polymers on the teeth often at the gum line.
  • Tartar – Calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate combined with plaque that creates a hard buildup on the teeth.
  • Feline odontoclastic resorption lesions – Painful lesions that eat away at healthy oral tissue and lead to tooth destruction in cats.
  • Oral cancers – Oral cancers can affect both dogs and cats, and if they are not found quickly, they can be fatal.
  • Gingivostomatitis – Inflammatory condition of the oral tissue causing red, swollen tissue that bleeds easily. This condition affects cats.

How do these conditions occur? In both dogs and cats, the most common cause of these problems is plaque and food that is not removed from the teeth and gums through proper oral hygiene. Over time, that plaque and food that is left behind in the pet’s mouth creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which in turn cause inflammation and irritation. Once the irritation and inflammation sets in, the pet’s oral health is compromised, and your pet will begin to suffer.

Dangers of Oral Health Problems Beyond the Mouth

The obvious dangers of oral health problems, including tooth loss and irritation in the mouth, are not the only problems that oral disease can cause. When the mouth is chronically diseased, the inflammation can spread to other areas of the body. The toxins from the oral diseases are absorbed into the pet’s bloodstream, passing into the rest of the body. If the disease in the mouth is not treated and prevented, the animal can suffer from other health conditions as a result, as the toxins spread to the kidney, heart and brain.

Keeping Your Pet’s Teeth Clean and Healthy

To avoid these problems, you must pay attention to oral hygiene for your pet. Oral hygiene starts with the right food. Choose a pet food that is well-balanced and primarily meat-based. Dry food can help limit problems, as it does not stick to the teeth as easily. Your veterinarian can help you select a food that is ideal for your dog or cat.

Then, provide your pets with chew treats that require them to exercise their teeth. Rawhide bones for dogs, for instance, encourage chewing behaviors that loosen plaque buildup. Finally, establish a brushing routine that gives you the chance to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Brushing a dog’s teeth or brushing a cat’s teeth is not an easy task, especially at first, but you will find it well worth the effort when your pet has better overall health.

At-home pet dental care is crucial to keep your pet’s teeth clean and healthy, but don’t neglect routine oral care at the vet. Schedule cleanings at least once a year to ensure that your pet’s teeth get a deep down clean from a pet healthcare professional.

If your pet is due for a teeth cleaning, Centre Street Animal Hospital is ready to help. Contact us to schedule a cleaning today, and take measures to protect your pet’s oral health, which will also help protect his or her overall health and comfort. Don’t forget that February is national pet dental health month, and our current promotion ends March 12.

Preventing Pet Separation Anxiety From COVID-19

How to Prevent Separation Anxiety After COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has many of us working remotely, and some are self-isolating to help flatten the curve. You might be wondering, “Will my dog suffer from separation anxiety when life goes back to normal?”.

Panic and the uncertainty of being alone are the foundation of separation anxiety in our pets. Pets may damage property or themselves, bark or cry excessively, pace frantically, or soil carpets and furniture. Prevention is the key to building confidence in your pets. Pets who cause damage are NOT MAD at you for leaving them alone. They miss you and are acting out their panic. Punishment often makes things worse. While at home:

  • Create a safe haven space. Allow for quiet time apart during the day where you detach physically. You may crate your dog, use a mat across the room, or even sit on the opposite end of the couch.
  • Use your dog’s senses to promote relaxation and comfort. Set up a white noise machine and spritz her safe haven space with synthetic canine pheromones or pet-safe lavender essential oils. 
  • Desensitize your dog to typical departure cues at non-routine times of the day. Pick up your keys then go fold laundry. Put on your shoes and go to the bathroom. Leave through the front door and come right back through the back door.
  • Incorporate independence-building games like hide and seek with favourite toys placed throughout the house. Scatter a few loose treats in different rooms, so your dog has to work to sniff them out. 
  • Ask your dog to sit or lie down at her safe haven space. Make sure she watches you as you leave the room to set up the different toys and treats, then let her wait (as long as she can without punishing her!). Your goal is to build a little impatience here.

Dogs love routine. We need to build new routines for them when we start to leave the house again. By using the safe haven, relaxation cues, and confidence-building games, we can help increase our dog’s ability to settle into life without you 24-7.

Should You Get Pet Insurance?

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to getting insurance for your pet. Having a better understanding of how coverage works can help you see the value in having your pet covered, no matter what their age or lifestyle. Below are some common myths about pet insurance. If you have questions or would like some suggestions for insurance providers, give us a call!

Staying Protected Throughout the Seasons

As summer begins to wind down, the temperatures will drop quickly. This means continuing with your Simparica Trio medication is more important than ever, as certain types of ticks actually prefer cooler weather. Additionally, when Ontario gets more temperate and rainy, we sometimes see a spike in upset stomachs from a parasite called Giardia. This parasite thrives in still water like puddles and ponds, so ensure your pet avoids drinking from these at all times.

Heat Safety, Tick Talk & Video Appointments!

Pet Safety Tips for the Summer Heat

As we enter our summer months, it’s important to recognize how sensitive our pets are to the changing weather and environment. Read through these helpful tips so you can keep your pets safe and enjoy the summer together!

Know Your Dog

Some dogs are more susceptible to heat exposure and the effects of the sun. Certain breeds of dogs can have a more difficult time with heat. Research your dog’s breed to find out what they are more or less susceptible to.

Protecting Pads

Easy rule: if the pavement is too hot for your feet, then it is too hot for your dog’s paws. Limit your time outside especially when temperatures are high, and stick to grassy areas. Signs of burnt pads include limping, licking or chewing feet, refusing to walk, missing part of the pad, blisters or redness.

Hot Cars

Do not leave any pets alone in your vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you roll down the window or park under shade, it can still be life-threatening to your pet. Animals have a limited ability to sweat, meaning heat does not escape their bodies easily, so even a short time in a hot environment can be dangerous.

Hydratation and Shade

Make sure your pet always has access to fresh water, and find a cool place away from the sun while spending time with them outside. This can prevent your pet from getting heat stroke.

Be Aware of Bugs

Ontario is full of bug species that are harmful to our pets. Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm, fleas can lay eggs, ticks can transmit other diseases like Lyme disease, and large flies can bite thin skin causing itching and irritation. Call us to learn more about the various insect and parasite preventative products. 

Heat Exposure

  • Take dogs on walks in the morning or evening when the temperature is lower. Keep them on leash to prevent them from running, leading to overexertion.
  • Certain types of dogs, such as Northern breeds or short-muzzled dogs can have a more difficult time in the heat. Dogs that are older, overweight, taking certain medications or with certain medical conditions are also more susceptible to heat exposure.
  • If you are travelling and can’t take your pet inside with you when you leave your car, leave them at home where they are safe and cool.
  • If you do not have air conditioning at home, provide a fan to keep your pets cool and comfortable. Close the curtains to keep the temperature lower, and give animals access to a cool room within your home. Spaces with bare floors are ideal, as they provide a cool place for your pet to lay down.
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke, including excessive panting and drooling, listlessness or unconsciousness. If heatstroke is suspected, immediate veterinary medical attention is required.
  • To help cool the animal, wet the fur immediately with lukewarm to cool water (NOT cold water.) Bring the pet into the shade and offer drinking water.

Don’t be afraid to go out and enjoy the weather with your pet! Just keep these handy tips in mind when you do, and enjoy the summer weather! And remember: if you see an animal in distress in the heat, call the government’s animal protection hotline at 1-833-9ANIMAL or your local police.

Courtesy of

Tick Talk: How Much Do You Know?

Learn More at:

New Appointment Style: Zoom & Video Chats

As we maintain our COVID-19 clinic procedures, just a general reminder that curbside appointments are taking longer than usual. With that in mind, please allocate 60-90 minutes for each visit.

We are also beginning to set up video chat appointments in our exam rooms using ZOOM software, with a webcam and microphone for optimal audio and video capabilities. As soon as these are available, we will let you know upon booking. You will also be sent a link via email with all of the necessary details for setting up the video chat at your appointment time. Stay tuned!

COVID-19 Updates & BIG NEWS for Dr. Hogle!

Congratulations Dr. Hogle!!!

We are overjoyed to announce that on May 24th, our very own Dr. Hogle gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Elyse! Despite the challenges of bringing a newborn into the world during a pandemic, mom and baby are doing well. Congratulations Dr. Hogle, we will miss you on mat leave and can’t wait to meet her!

Update on COVID-19 Procedures

Although some of the COVID-19 policies in Ontario are on the verge of being loosened, we are still keeping the majority of procedures in place to ensure the health and safety of our staff, clients and patients.

A few things to note as we welcome patients back for routine appointments:

  • We will be continuing our locked-door policy, curbside pickup, and product delivery service
  • Due to the additional precautions being taken, appointments are taking a little longer than usual, so please allocate at least 60 minutes for each visit
  • We are staying on top of all the latest updates and research, and will keep you informed as things progress

Parasite Prevention for Cats

No matter what their lifestyle, indoor or outdoor, all cats should consider protection from the various disease-causing parasites in Ontario. Enter Revolution® PLUS: the only FDA-approved 6-in-1 preventative product with broad-spectrum action against parasites that threaten cats and kittens. Revolution PLUS is a small amount of topical liquid that is easily applied once a month, and dries quickly. It’s as simple as that!

Parasites are NOT necessarily “outdoor-only”.

Fleas, ticks, ear mites, intestinal worms, and heartworms can get into any home by hitchhiking indoors on other pets or creatures, shoes and clothes, or through doors and windows. Meaning cats and kittens of every lifestyle can regularly come in contact with harmful pests.

Contact us today to order your monthly doses, and keep your cats protected!

Hello, from Dr. Slome!

Dear CSAH Family, 

There are no woofs and meows about it, these last 2 months have been extremely challenging for everyone. I could carry on writing about what everyone has already mentioned, however it is not going to change things. I believe that by now, we all realize that we are in the same (Noah’s) Ark, and that we are all trying to find a way to adapt, accept and move on, as this virus flood hopefully comes to an end.

I don’t think it is inaccurate to say ‘thank heavens’ for our furry family members as they have generally been a beacon of joy, and a really important source of comfort during this time. We realize that there is a great responsibility on veterinary health care providers to continue to treat them when they are not feeling well, and to ensure their continued health and happiness via proper preventative care. We have been feeling just as frustrated in being restricted from providing routine care as you have been in having routine procedures and visits postponed. Fortunately, as of Tuesday, May 19th, these restrictions have lifted and we will now be able to provide full veterinary, medical, dental and preventative care again. While there is definitely a sense of relief (as well as excitement) that comes with this, we are still keeping safety in mind and won’t be returning to completely normal operations just yet. There will be a controlled phase-in period to slowly ramp back up while still respecting safety measures for everyone – our team, our clients and our pets. Future email newsletters will provide updates on the progress and changes, but please feel free to contact us anytime you have questions or concerns.

We greatly value the relationships we have with each pet and their family. I want to sincerely thank you all for your patience, and look forward to eventually seeing you all again in person, hopefully sooner than later. Instead of signing off the traditional COVID-19 way, which constantly reminds us of how dour things are and is in our face all the time, let me rather end by saying: Enjoy the extended daylight hours and the warmth of summer upon us; take your dogs out for walks, enjoy interacting with your pets in your backyard, or at least spend more time with them in the bright sunny rooms indoors. These periods of happiness along with the rays of sunlight that surround us are sure to be the best medicine of all… smile, giggle, laugh, and let something about your furry family member make you feel happy every day!

Warm regards,
Martin Slome