We speak with Anastasia Waugh, The Dog Tooth Fairy, who tells us all about the world of pets’ dental hygiene.

Anastasia Waugh is an independent Emmi-pet distributor and online Zoom training provider. She has worked for over 26 years in the pet-care industry in a range of different areas various veterinary practices, boarding kennels and even a zoo.

Anastasia worked for many years as a college lecturer teaching Animal Welfare and Management at a land-based college where she also taught dog grooming and managed the college’s busy grooming salon. She then used her skills to create a successful dog grooming business in her local town.

Anastasia has a real passion for animal health and welfare, dental health in particular. For the past four years, Anastasia has spent focussing on ultrasonic Emmi-pet teeth cleaning with dogs in her own grooming salon and seeing some great results. Since becoming a mother in 2020 and Anastasia passed her salon onto her employee so she can work more flexibly around motherhood and pursue her passion for canine dental health.

Anastasia’s advice:

Dental disease is one of the most common health problems experienced by dogs and cats in the UK today. Although awareness of pets’ dental health has increased massively over the past few years with the growing surge in pet ownership since the lockdown, it is still sadly overlooked by some pet owners.

Despite all of this raised awareness around pet dental health actual cases of pets suffering dental health disease is in fact on the rise. 80% of dogs have some form of dental health disease by the age of three, this is a major problem for our pets which is often exacerbated by ingredients commercial diets and also a lack of regular preventative dental care.

I have been involved with pets’ dental hygiene for many years, working in a number of veterinary practices where I assisted with dental ops and experienced first-hand the level of dental neglect in some clients, and the severity of dental deterioration. Some dogs would need so many teeth removed and they would be so young. It was really sad to see.

This was also echoed during the years I spent running my own dog grooming salon, where a large proportion of my clients had at least some form of dental health deterioration. The worst case of dental neglect I witnessed was one of my dog clients. Whilst my assistant was bathing her and scrubbing the dog’s muzzle, her decayed molar tooth had fallen out in the bath!

Seeing some of my clients’ dental conditions whilst grooming, I wanted to be able to help keep my clients’ teeth clean and prevent their teeth from getting to the point where they were in so much pain and discomfort.

It was a few years ago at a grooming show I had seen a new innovative ultrasonic toothbrush for pets which helped prevent dental disease while reducing plaque and tartar build-up.

The product was Emmi-pet from Germany. I invested in my first toothbrush and started using it both on my own dogs and also dog grooming clients’ pets’ teeth. I was getting some amazing results and my clients were very satisfied with the new service.

I felt much better as I was finally able to help my clients’ dogs with a simple, non-invasive stress-free tooth cleaning treatment. In my 26 years of working within the pet care industry, I have never seen such a revolutionary product for pets’ dental health.

Emmi-pet works completely silently, 12mm beneath the gum line, using ultrasonic waves to remove all bacteria and impurities, reducing plaque tartar and bad breath whilst increasing circulation and promoting overall gum health.

Dental disease can lead to serious health complications such as heart, kidney and liver failure in extreme cases. I believe, as groomers, we absolutely have a duty of care to our clients and to educate our owners about the importance of pet dental health.

Prevention is always better than curing and, if dental disease can be avoided, then this is a positive thing. With pet dental health month just around the corner next month, there never has been a better time to share this important message.

This could be done via social media posts, leaflets, newsletters and a dental display area within the business premises which is educational and informative, highlighting any products and services you offer for dental care.

Groomers can advise clients about more natural diets and chews that will help the reduction of plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth. Stress the importance of setting up a regular dental care/brushing routine at home from puppyhood and beyond.

You may want to stock some dental care products in your salon. Supplements such as PlaqueoOff Powder and Orozyme Gel as well as natural chews buffalo horns etc.

You may also wish to offer ultrasonic teeth cleaning as an additional service to your grooming business. It’s easy to implement, your clients will love it and it’s a great extra income generator.

It’s always important to let your client know if the dog should visit a vet about its dental health. As groomers, it is not our job to diagnose any specific health issues, but when health checking our clients we have a duty of care for the dogs’ health and wellbeing, to inform owners of any health issues we may find and let them know when a visit to the vets would be advisable. Sadly, many owners never actually check in their pets’ mouths or recognise when there is an issue.

The sooner you can implement a dental care routine the better, and this could be introduced with a salon puppy package. Early implementation of dental care either in the home, the salon or both will ensure that plaque and tartar never become established in the first place. Preventative treatment will help avoid costly invasive veterinary dental procedures later down the line.

Clients really appreciate it when you are concerned for their dogs’ well-being and go that extra mile to accommodate their overall dental and health needs by advising on disease prevention.

Because oral health is such a common problem in dogs that is easily preventable, it makes sense for groomers who see dogs regularly to check dogs during these sessions and advise on dental care options available for the dog. Offering extra services such as teeth cleaning will actually broaden a business’s client base, as you may get clients booking in for teeth cleaning that would never have booked in for a groom otherwise.

It’s important to feel confident about talking about oral health with clients, especially if thinking of offering a teeth cleaning service. I would advise doing a course with a training provider either in person or online.

Completing a training course will give you the confidence to be able to recognise various dental health issues and when veterinary advice should be sought. It will also help you with knowing how to have conversations with your clients about dental health and educating them, as well as knowing how to advertise, market and price your service, also helping you to achieve great results.

With 13 million dogs and 12 Million cats in the UK now, there really has never been a better time to start having important discussions with your clients about their pets’ dental health. We all have the power to change the statistics around pets’ dental health and improve the overall health and well-being of our clients’ pets.

If you would like more information about Emmi-pet or one of Anastasia’s zoom online training courses please get in touch with her on her social media by visiting facebook.com/thedogtoothfairy or by following @thedogtoothfairy on Instagram.