Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I clean my pet’s teeth?

Just like humans, dogs and cats build plaque and calculus (tartar) on their teeth.  These substances are often the cause of gingivitis, bad breath, tooth loss and eating difficulties. Plaque & calculus harbor bacteria that can contribute to other local & systemic diseases. 

How can I tell if my pet’s teeth need cleaning?
Look for a yellow or brown build-up on the tooth surface and areas of inflammation around the gum line. Bad breath is often the first indicator of poor dental hygiene.  If you are unsure, we can check them for you. Just email us a photo of your pet’s teeth for a consultation.

How often should I clean my pet’s teeth?
The average pet over two years old should have a professional dental cleaning every 3 – 6 months. The frequency of dental cleanings depends on diet, age, health, breed and home care.

How do you hold the pet still? 
Your pet is positioned comfortably while the technician uses our gentle relaxation techniques which allow the pet to feel safe & comfortable. We rely on our pet whispering skills to establish a trusting relationship with each pet. Even feisty pets with challenging personalities are usually very cooperative. Many even fall asleep. We do not use restraining towels or bite bars.

Does it hurt the pet? 
Absolutely not. We use the same gentle approach as a pediatric dental office uses with children. This is a voluntary procedure. It depends on the pet being at ease. 

How does the Houndstooth procedure compare to anesthetic-based cleaning?
The results are the same for routine cleanings. 
Pets with behavioral issues and advanced dental conditions may have some slight compromise, but most results are 80-95%. 
Very neglected mouths will require more than one appointment to restore oral health.

Can you clean subgingivally (under the gums) ? 
Yes. On most pets with normal sulcus attachment and on those with mild to moderate pocketing.

Do you polish? 
Yes. Polishing removes any residual stains & minute deposits on affected surfaces. We adhere to the American Dental Hygienists protocol of Selective Coronal Polishing,

What equipment do you use? 
We use an array of professional dental instruments specifically designed for each pet’s individual needs.

Who is eligible for Houndstooth procedures? 
Eligible patients include:

  • Dogs & cats of all breeds & ages who’s owners are concerned about the risks of anesthesia.

  • Young pets needing their 1st dental prophylaxis. 

  • Senior pets. 

  • Pets with healthy gingiva & mild to heavy calculus. 

  • Pets with stages 0-3 periodontal disease. 

  • High risk breeds such as sight hounds, brachychephalics, etc.

  • Pets with medical conditions such as heart murmurs, collapsed tracheas, renal & liver conditions, Chrohn’s disease, Addison’s disease, diabetes, etc.

Is every pet a candidate? 
Unfortunately, some pets are not candidates for this procedure. However, we have an extremely high success rate, even among pets assumed to be ineligible.

Pets with dangerously aggressive personalities & some forms of dementia are not eligible.

Pets with dental complications such as advanced periodontal disease, deep fractures, mobile teeth, epulis, lesions, etc., are referred to the veterinarian for treatment.

Pets who have severe dental complications but cannot undergo anesthesia due to age or health conditions may be eligible following a Dr.’s recommendations. We are usually able to offer these pets significant improvement.

Biters & fearful pets
The prevalence of animal awareness programs such as National Geographic’s Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer has helped pet guardians become more educated on these common pet behaviors. We understand that these behaviors can often be modified or overcome with the proper handling techniques. Houndstooth has pioneered proprietary handling techniques that permit safe non-anesthetic dental cleanings to be performed on most pet personalities

What about references
Please click here to go to our client testimonials and veterinary referrals.

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