Skip to content

Preventing and Treating Dental Disease in Dogs

Preventing and Treating Dental Disease in Dogs

February marks the start of National Dental Health Month – a time to recognize the importance of oral hygiene to your pet’s overall health. Periodontal disease is the #1 health issue plaguing dogs today. It’s estimated that over 80% of adult dogs over age 3 are affected. Dental disease is a common problem that can directly impact your dog’s vital organs like his heart, kidneys, liver and digestive system.

Aside from the fact that a healthy mouth is good for your dog’s overall health, there’s another strong incentive to keep your dog’s mouth healthy – you’ll avoid having to put him through dental cleanings at the vet every year! It’s expensive, risky, and shouldn’t be necessary if you take a few simple steps to keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

Tips to Maintain Your Dog’s Dental Health

#1 Feed a Raw Diet

Feeding a raw diet is the #1 way to ensure dental health for your pet. Natural, raw diets provide the right habitat for your healthy oral microbiome. Natural live enzymes and “good” bacteria can help prevent tartar build up.

#2 Feed Raw Recreational Bones

Regardless of whether you are feeding a raw diet, canned food, or kibble, we recommend giving a raw bone to your dog roughly once a week. Easing into feeding these bones is important to prevent digestive upset, and picking the correct size for your dog is just as important! Raw bones are nature’s toothbrushes, and effectively polish and scrape away tartar as the animal crunches and gnaws.

Gnawing on bones is not only nutritious and good for your dog’s teeth and gums, but also provides hours of enjoyment, exercises your dog’s neck and shoulder muscles as well as his mouth, and even stimulates his neurotransmitters.

#3 Give a Daily Probiotic Supplement

Probiotic supplements can help create a healthy bacterial environment in your dog’s mouth. A 2009 study published in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association found that probiotics were effective in treating and preventing dental disease! You can do this by adding probiotics to your dog’s food daily in the form of fermented vegetables or kefir, or you can give your dog a probiotic supplement.

#4 Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

If your companion eats a well-balanced natural diet all the time, she will likely have strong, clean teeth and gums throughout her life, even without brushing. An occasional brushing is a good idea anyway, even if her teeth and gums appear perfectly healthy.

If your pet does not eat raw foods or bones on a regular basis, plan on brushing at least once a month. If her teeth appear yellow and prone to plaque, then brushing should occur at least once weekly.

Start by choosing a toothpaste and toothbrush designed for use in pets. Begin with brushing the outer surfaces of just one or two teeth per session, concentrating on the upper portions of the teeth along the gumline where tartar typically collects.

#5 Feed Bone Broth

Make bone broth for your dog and feed it several times a week. It’s chock-full of minerals that really help strengthen teeth and gums. Bone broth contains collagen, which is found both in our teeth and connective tissue that keeps teeth in place in the jaw. It’s also vital for improving bone density, which is vital for healthy teeth.


#6 Dental Care Treats

Some of our favorite dental chews at PetSaver reduce oral bacteria by up to 80%, help reduce and prevent plaque and tartar, and freshen your dog’s breath!

Aside from the fact that a healthy mouth is good for your dog’s overall health, there’s another strong incentive to keep your dog’s mouth healthy – you’ll avoid having to put him through dental cleanings at the vet every year! It’s expensive, risky, and shouldn’t be necessary if you take a few simple steps to keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

February is a month where you’re supposed to be thinking about your pet’s dental health. Like us, their smiles need maintenance. Thankfully, we’ve got all sorts of stuff to help at PetSaver!

Verona Street Pet Of The Week

Pet of the Week


Hello friends. My name is Stanley and I am what you call a really great handy dandy dog. Like the tools I am hearty and strong. I walk with a purpose , and that’s to sniff all the great scents, but I don’t pull and am still very attentive to you. I have a feeling when the right one comes along, we will bond very quickly. I’m just that kinda guy. Come on over and let’s see. I’m waiting so patiently for you.

Check out my visit to Mix 100.5 earlier this week!

Upcoming Events

Pet$aver Adoption Event
March 4th, 12-2pm, Webster

Come out and meet some of our adoptable pets on Sunday, March 4th from 12-2pm at the Pet$aver in Webster at 980 Ridge Road.



Pet Portrait Fundraiser
Feb 1st – Feb 28th

Get a great pet portrait and $40 will be donated to help shelter animals find their furever homes. These make great gifts for all the animal lovers in your life.

To place an order or get a quote, visit and to see more of her work, check out her ‘Praise the Sun’ art on Facebook and Instagram.


Rochester Animal Services (RAS) is owned and operated by the City of Rochester, and located at 184 Verona Street (map) just north of Kodak and Frontier Field. For more information on adoptions, spay and neuter, volunteering, or becoming a foster care-giver, contact the Animal Services Center at (585) 428-7274 or visit us online.

The Verona Street Animal Society is a not-for-profit organization that provides resources necessary to enable RAS to more effectively serve the public’s animal care and control, pet sterilization, and pet adoption interests and, in cooperation with the City of Rochester, supports the mission of RAS.
Donations to help our shelter animals are greatly appreciated – donate online today.
P.O. Box 22874
Rochester, NY 14692

5 Ways to Protect Pets This Winter!

5 Ways to Protect Pets This Winter

Follow these tips to keep animals safe and comfortable in the cold

Hello Rochester, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm by following these simple guidelines.

Keep pets sheltered

Keep your pets inside with you and your family. Under no circumstances should pet cats be left outdoors, even if they roam outside during other seasons. Dogs are happiest when taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time. Don’t leave pets outdoors when the temperature drops.

If your dog is outdoors much of the day for any reason, they must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow them to move comfortably, but small enough to hold in body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches from the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

Bundle up, wipe down

No matter what the temperature is, windchill can threaten a pet’s life. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia during extreme cold snaps. For this reason, short-haired dogs often feel more comfortable wearing a sweater — even during short walks.

Be sure to pick up some Pet Friendly Salt from PetSaver, Normal Rock salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates their mouth.

Protect outdoor animals

If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It’s easy to give them a handCars are one of many hazards to small animals — warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

You can also help make your property safes for deer in the wintertime by waiting until after the first week of December to string lights, and after then, only on trees over six inches in diameter. Before the first snow, you should also store summer recreational materials, like hammocks and swings. Make the rest of your yard safe for winter wildlife »

Remove common poisons

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up any antifreeze spills immediately and keep it, like all household chemicals, out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife and family. Read more about pets and antifreeze »

Dogs are at particular risk of salt poisoning in winter due to the rock salt used in many areas — often when licking it from their paws after a walk. Store de-icing salt in a safe place and wipe your dog’s paws, even after short walks. If your dog ingests rock salt, call a veterinarian immediately. Read up on other household dangers »

Invisible pet boots?

Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 2.30.00 PM.png
What if you could give your dog an invisible boot to prevent paw problems? Now you can, with Musher’s Secret. Protect paw damage due to sand, hot pavement, ice, salt and other harsh surfaces. When applied to pads and between toes, Musher’s Secret dries in seconds to form a semi-permeable shield of protection. Non-toxic, non-allergenic, non-staining formula also protects and provides soothing relief for fly bites, open sores, cracked toes, nicks, scratches, and burns. Can be used weekly or as needed to prevent abrasions, burning, drying, and cracking. Keeps flies off and away. Perfect for mushing, hunting, walking, or before any outdoor activity. Invisible cream will not stain carpets.

Available at all PetSaver Healthy Pet Superstore locations! 


Create an “invisible boot” to protect your pet’s paws from damage

Eliminates snowballing and salt burn in winter

Excellent protection from hot pavement and rough terrain in summer

Pet of the Week: Verona Street News

Pet of the Week


Hi I’m Macho! Yes that’s my name but I really am macho too. I love to get hugs and pets. Snuggling is my specialty. I always check on you when we take a walk to make sure you’re ok. That’s all Macho stuff isn’t it?? I’m the whole package come see for yourself at 184 Verona St. Don’t wait too long!

Check out video of my visit to Mix 100.5 earlier this week!



Hi, everyone! Olaf, here. Why yes, I *am* dreaming of bright, summer days. How did you know? I’m a little cheeky and sarcastic sometimes, but you might never even notice since…I’m a cat. But on a serious note, I need some hardcore playtime and someone who can appreciate my brassy nature. I just have one question…do you want to build a snowman?

Overcoming Canine Cabin Fever

During the cold-weather months, all of us, including our dogs, will face the dreaded cabin fever at some point. But keep in mind that even when you’re stuck inside with an energetic dog, it’s still possible to help him release some mental and physical energy with a variety of activities. Here are some tips to help keep everyone happy, even when the weather outside is frightful.

Maintaining a consistent training regime is a great way to prevent cabin fever and keep up on your dog’s manners. Creating a routine will keep him in the mindset of working and engaged about learning, which helps when it comes time to expand on those manners or teach a new skill.

1. Play hide-and-seek: This is a great game to play throughout the whole house. You might need an additional person to hold Fido, or you can start working on a solid “stay.” Put him in a sit or down stay (or have someone hold onto him). Then, start by hiding somewhere in the house (make it easy in the beginning) and call him to find you. If it’s taking longer than you think it should, call him again. You might have to call a couple of times to keep him interested. Once he finds you, celebrate and give him a treat. This is a great way to work on recall and give your dog both physical and mental exercise.

Training patience with Zuke's Skinny Bakes crunchy dog treats

2. Teach a new trick: Keep in mind that some tricks are just for fun and enrichment. My dog knows a bunch of tricks, everything from army crawling to “bang!” There doesn’t have to be a functional use for everything they do. Tricks are a fun way to help your dog engage with you, while using his brain for things that are not natural behaviors.

The more difficult the trick, the longer it will take to accomplish all the behaviors that complete the trick. For example, “bang!” requires multiple behaviors: laying down, half rolling over, a freeze to that half roll over, sometimes a bark, and then a release to the whole behavior. Difficult tricks are the perfect challenge during these winter months, because you have plenty of time inside where there is less distraction. If you need ideas on what tricks to teach, just Google “dog tricks.” The options are endless!

3. Play “chase me”: A great way to get some energy out with some impulse control is the ‘chase me’ game. The goal is to get your dog riled up, play with him, let him chase you, then stop everything and ask him to sit, lie down, or perform any other simple task. The goal is for him to be able to stop and listen to you right away. This is a good game that fulfills a dog’s physical and mental needs. If you want to make it harder, ask your dog to do more than one simple behavior, adding more duration to the focusing part of this exercise. The ‘chase me’ game is perfect for energized puppies.

Even though the winter months may make some things more difficult, consider the season an opportunity to change things up with your pup. Have fun with some new indoor games so that everyone is ready to have a relaxing evening at home. He may not enjoy the “bad TV” you’re watching, but he will enjoy the snuggle time.

Images by #ZukesPack ambassadors and trailblazers Elena Pressprich and Jaymi Heimbuch.

About the Author

Amber Pickren, Gentle Canine

Amber Pickren, BA, CPDT-KA, is the owner of Gentle Canine in Durango, Colorado. After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology, Amber found her passion working with dogs and has never looked back. With a specialty in behavioral issues, she has been training dogs since 2004 and easily handled over 10,000 dogs in the span of her career. Amber and her husband Matt share their life with dogs Lilly, Imogene, and cat Dyno. They love getting out into the mountains and enjoy rock climbing, trail running and hiking with their four-legged adventure buddies.

View All Articles by this Author

8 Tips for Winter Hiking with Your Dog

Dogs are descendants of wolves, and wolves are synonymous with snow. It’s hard to imagine Canis lupus stalking prey without a backdrop of silent winter white.

While some domestic dogs still share many traits with the mighty timberwolf, others are less equipped to handle the elements. I doubt a Bichon Frise finds much enjoyment in getting dumped out of its luxurious leather purse into a pile of powder snow.

Fortunately, in this Golden Age of Adventure Dogs, many companies make products that help even the most domestic of breeds romp around in the cold. Here are some tips to keep your best friend safe and comfortable this winter, whether you’re summiting mountains, snowshoeing through a meadow or walking around the city block.

1. Protect those Paws

The toughness of dog footpads varies wildly. Many pups can traverse sharp talus for hours without issue, while others would be bleeding and sore on the same terrain. The same is true of snow and ice, but even sled dogs need vigilant monitoring and occasional paw protection.

Dog booties are almost required gear in winter. Even if your pup doesn’t normally need them, they’re essential for extra-cold days or in an emergency. Get your dog comfortable wearing them at home before hitting the trail, or you might not make it very far. Also remember to check them regularly for proper fit and to ensure snow isn’t sneaking in and freezing around the top opening.

I’m lucky to have a dog that doesn’t need booties too often. I do, however, lather her paws with musher’s wax. Musher’s Secret is a popular choice! PetSaver has this in stock now, When applied thoroughly and liberally, the wax keeps ice from accumulating on a dog’s fur and between their toes. Balled, clinging snow is a major source of discomfort. Musher’s wax is a strong deterrent to this problem. Two bonus tips: coat the lower legs up the joint as well as between the toes, and don’t apply it right before getting into the car. (Unless waxy pawprints all over your upholstery is your idea of a good time.)

Even with booties and wax, make a habit of regularly checking your dog’s paws, clearing them of ice buildup and observing for any signs of pain or discomfort.

2. Have a Plan B

Forecasting winter weather and snow conditions is an inexact science, especially in the mountains. Countless times, I’ve driven two hours to a trailhead in Colorado’s high country only to find temperatures 15 degrees colder or winds three times as strong as predicted.

Dogs are living, breathing beings, prone to good days and bad days. One weekend they might plow through snowdrifts for hours with nary a shiver, and the next they might be picking up their paws and whining before you even get out of the parking lot.

Play it safe. Especially if you’re traveling an hour or more from the car, there’s simply too much that can go wrong in the relentless winter elements to justify pushing your luck. Mistakes in the summer can be a mild inconvenience. Mistakes in the winter can result in major injury, or even death.

Have a backup plan — something shorter, lower, drier, more protected. Sometimes this means scrapping an adventure altogether. Cuddling on the couch and crying into a mug of hot chocolate while watching All Dogs Go to Heaven is preferable to visiting the vet to treat frostbitten paws. Know your dog, observe them carefully and always be willing to turn around if it’s in their best interest.

3. Keep the Liquid Flowing

No matter how much fun it looks like your dog is having doing it, eating snow isn’t an adequate method of hydration. Snow is mostly air, and getting the necessary liquid would require consuming many mouthfuls. The effort a body has to go through to melt snow saps too much energy and warmth for it to be an effective source of fluids.

Natural streams and lakes are likely solid ice through the winter, as water has the unfortunate habit of freezing when exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Carry plenty of extra water for your dog, as well as yourself, inside your pack and wrapped in an insulating sleeve or your extra clothing layers.

4. Buy a Go-To Dog Jacket

Dozens and dozens of options exist from many different brands. For winter use, look for a jacket with a shell outer layer or synthetic insulation. (Or, preferably, both.) Hard or soft shell material repels moisture, and synthetic insulation stays warm even when it gets wet. This is important for when your dog is creating World War I-style trenches through neck-deep snow at breakneck speed. Dog jackets are great for warmth, obviously, but they also cut the wind and protect a pup’s belly from clinging snow. With the exception of dogs explicitly bred for frigid conditions, they’re a pretty necessary piece of winter equipment. Shop dog coats now on sale at PetSaver

5. Choose Treats Carefully

As with human food, some dog treats can become so hard in cold weather that they’re extremely difficult to eat. This might require a bit of trial and error depending on your preferred brands, but identify treats that stay soft and easy to chew even as the temperature dips well below freezing. SuperFood Blend, Power Bones and PureNZ Cords are all great options from Zuke’s.

Another tip is to carry your dog’s treat pouch on your person, instead of in a backpack. By storing it in one of your jacket or pants pockets, your body heat keeps the treats from becoming too rigid to chew. This is highly recommended for most human food as well, unless you enjoy chipping a tooth on your Snickers bar. Shop dog treats now on sale at PetSaver

6. Carry an Insulated Pad, Bed or Blanket

No one wants to sit on cold snow for too long. Humans have the luxury of squatting on their backpack or tree stumps or whatever else is convenient for avoiding direct contact with the ground, but dogs don’t usually have such options. Bring along a blanket or foam pad for your pooch to rest on during breaks. Several companies even make lightweight, packable, insulated dog beds. You want your pup to have a warm, comfortable spot to rest, or they might be an icicle before you getting moving again. Shop dog beds at PetSaver

7. Train Your Dog to Ignore Skiers and Snowboarders

Like with mountain bikes in the summer, dogs should be trained to ignore and stay out of the way of riders. Something about skis sets off the herding instinct in many breeds. It’s a scary, fast, foreign method of travel to which many dogs aren’t accustomed, and a frightened pooch can get loud and defensive. I’ve witnessed quite a few wipe outs as a skier rounds a corner only to meet a startled, barking dog. Ski edges are also sharp and moving fast, and they can cause a nasty laceration to an onrushing pup. Use treats and conditioning to ensure your dog is comfortable with skiers and snowboarders, or keep them on a leash in areas popular with those pursuits. For training tips, check out Helping Your Dog Become a Perfect Outdoor Companion.

8. Be Wary of Lakes, Streams and Avalanche Terrain

Dogs don’t understand hazards in the same was as humans. A partially frozen lake, to them, is just more ground to romp on. Keep a vigilant mental account of your surroundings at all times and have your dog on a leash or under strict voice control in areas that could potentially be dangerous. Don’t let them on a frozen surface unless you’re 100 percent sure it’s safe. Even then, it’s probably best to avoid the ice if at all possible.

The difference between being in the clear and in an avalanche runout zone can be as little as a few meters. Many off-leash dogs wander. Take an avalanche course, know how to travel safely in wintery mountain terrain, and keep your pup close when warranted.

Hiking in the snow, with dogs that love it and humans that are prepared, can be exponentially more rewarding than summer trails. If you’re lucky enough to have a powderhound, I hope these tips help you enjoy the backcountry with more fun, comfort and peace of mind.


Special thank you to ZUKE’s dog treats for providing this wonderful content

About the Author

Jeff Golden

Jeff Golden and his rescued rez dog, Zia, spend most of their off days wandering above treeline in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado. Jeff finished climbing all of Colorado’s famed 14ers in 2012 and has continued his alpine love affair alongside his pup, with the pair pursuing 13,000- and 14,000-foot summits nearly every weekend year-round. Their other hobbies include ice climbing, hiking, snowshoeing, cursing marmots, ranting against the Oxford comma, watching the heart-wrenching display that is Carolina Panthers football and experiencing separation anxiety when Jeff’s girlfriend Liz isn’t in sight. The former daily newspaper journalist enjoys sharing his outdoor knowledge as an instructor for the Colorado Mountain Club!

1 2 13