Tartar Prevention in Dogs

  • Written by Submited by Sno-Wood Animal Hospital
How does tartar form, and what does it do?

Plaque is a gummy substance that forms on the teeth within a few hours after a meal. Within twenty-four hours, plaque begins to mineralize by combining with salts that are present in the saliva. As the plaque continues to accumulate and harden, it eventually forms tartar. Tartar can cause dental problems such as periodontal (gum) disease if not controlled.

Tartar is harmful to the teeth and gums in two ways. First, it serves as a place where bacteria can grow and multiply in the mouth. Both the bacteria and the tartar cause inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, which often results in bleeding. Worsening of the gingivitis leads to periodontal disease, which leads to further inflammation. There is substantial scientific evidence that the bacteria on the tartar can be absorbed into the blood stream and deposited in various organs, including the heart and the kidneys. Second, as tartar builds up along the gum line, it pushes the gums away from the roots of the teeth. As the gums recede, they expose the sensitive, enamel-free part of the tooth causing and pain. Eventually, if the tartar is not removed, it will cause the periodontal disease to progress, and the teeth will loosen and fall out.

How can I prevent tartar formation on my dog’s teeth?

After your dog’s teeth have been professionally cleaned and polished by your veterinarian, we recommend beginning home dental care to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. Some general tactics you can use to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth are:

• Feed your dog a veterinary-approved dental diet or a premium diet with scientifically proven tartar-reducing ingredients. These diets have been shown to greatly reduce plaque formation and tartar buildup. These diets contain unique additives that interfere with plaque development, and each kibble is extruded or structured to promote the physical or mechanical removal of tartar when it is chewed. By limiting plaque as it forms, tartar development is greatly diminished.

"Brushing should be done at least twice weekly."

• Brush your pet’s teeth. This is one of the most effective ways to remove plaque before it turns into tartar. Use enzymatic toothpaste that is designed for use in dogs and cats. Do not use human toothpaste. Many human toothpastes and other oral hygiene products contain xylitol, a sugar substitute that is safe for use in humans but highly toxic to dogs. Even if your human toothpaste does not contain xylitol, it will still contain ingredients that can cause an upset stomach or digestive disturbance if it is swallowed. Brushing should be done at least twice weekly (preferably daily), but we understand that not all dogs will tolerate brushing. Special finger brushes are made that make this task easier for you and your pet.

• Use a daily oral rinse. This type of product helps reduce the bacterial count in the mouth, resulting in improved breath. However, make sure that the product is designed for use in dogs. An increasing number of human oral rinse products now contain xylitol.

• Offer your dog specifically designed chew toys and dental treats that are designed to help reduce or remove mild tartar accumulation.

• Have your veterinarian perform a prophylactic dental cleaning every six to twelve months, or at the first sign of tartar buildup. Regular dental cleaning is as important in dogs as it is in people, and will prevent irreversible damage to the gums and roots.

Keeping a leash on allergies while living with a pet

  • Written by ARA
Allergies no longer have to prevent pet ownership. By taking a few simple precautionary steps, it is possible to comfortably live with both pets and allergies. Here are a few helpful tips:

• Shut the door.

Keep cats or dogs from your bedroom - and not just when you are sleeping. If you keep the door closed, it will prevent cat or dog hair from drifting in during the day.

• Keep pets off the furniture.

You can do this by placing a plastic cover on the furniture or by placing pieces of aluminum foil on areas where pets settle. They find the noise disturbing.

• Ditch the carpets.

Pet hair tends to stick to carpets, especially soft, shaggy carpet. Try area rugs on tile or wood floors. They are convenient because they are portable and usually machine washable.

• Bathe pets.

Use an allergen-reducing shampoo and clean dogs at least twice a week.

• Clean the air.

Remove irritants with an air cleaner that has a HEPA filter.

• Vacuum and dust frequently.

Use a vacuum designed especially for pet owners. The recently-introduced Cat & Dog vacuum, by Miele, is built with a sealed system designed to prevent dirt, dust and allergens from escaping back into the air.

NSD and YMCA support English Language Learners

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

Courtesy photo Alieu Diaw
BOTHELL – Alieu Diaw encountered an entirely different culture and language when he moved to Bothell from Gambia, Africa in the spring of 2010 after being separated from his mother for 8 years. The Crystal Springs student was selected to attend the summer YMCA ELL Enrichment Day Camp and has participated for the past two summers.

"It’s fun," said Alieu. "You learn a lot and improve your skills for school." Alieu enjoyed going on the field trips, learning new things and making new friends. The camp has helped him improve his English language skills, learn about his environment and American culture, develop friendships, and have a different outlook on how things work in this country.

The Northshore School District has partnered with the Northshore YMCA since 2004, under the leadership of camp coordinator Jayne Ritter, to provide the English Language Learners (ELL) Enrichment Day Camp for elementary-age students to help prevent the loss of newly acquired English reading, writing and oral language skills during the summer, and allow the students to build social skills, understand cultural cues and connect their families with the community.

September reading test scores for these students have either maintained or increased from their June test scores. Teachers have reported that students who have participated in this summer program retain more of their English language skills over the summer, require less work to catch up and adjust to school when they return from summer, and they tend to be more comfortable communicating with teachers and classmates.

"While many of these students are struggling academically, they are not underachievers," said Sue Moeller, Northshore School District ELL coach. "They have a tremendous amount of potential and through this camp experience are given extended time to learn."

The district selects 60 students from the six schools that have the highest number of ELL students with the highest degree of difficulty with the English language. Academic data for each student is shared to help place the students with the appropriate reading level materials as well as information about students with special needs or other concerns to create an individualized curriculum and program. The district also provides access to trained professionals, facilities and lunches. Staffing, instructional materials, facilities, transportation, field trips, volunteer coordination, financial support and the program’s operation are provided by the YMCA. There is no cost to the students participating in the program.

One aspect of the program that has evolved since the program began is the Counselor-in-Training position. Former ELL camp students still want to be involved when they move onto junior high school and several have been asked to help with the ELL camp every summer. "It’s an excellent opportunity for kids to stay involved in something positive and mentor others," said Ritter.

The Northshore YMCA recently received a $30,000 donation from a community member to support the ELL Summer Camp.

For more information, contact Sue Moeller at (425) 408-7723 or Tom Weiss-Lehman at (425) 485-9797.

What's your role? Local food bank supports those in need

  • Written by Deborah Stone
 People who are in need are often invisible, especially in a community where most residents live comfortably.

They tend not to make their struggles obvious to others, preferring to keep a low profile amid the relative affluence that exists around them. Unfortunately, the numbers of those in need are on the rise, primarily due to the challenging economic conditions and unemployment woes that continue to prevail.

Add the rising cost of gas, food and other expenditures and the problem worsens, as the dollar has to be stretched even further to cover basic necessities.

To help those who are having difficulty meeting their needs, a food bank can be a lifesaver.

The Maltby Food Bank, which serves the community of Maltby, as well as sections of unincorporated Woodinville and Monroe, distributed 511,612 pounds of food in the 2009-2010 year.

During this time, the organization served 6,431 families, 7,757 kids, 9,837 adults and 3,469 seniors.

"We saw an increase in numbers in every category," says Fran Walster, director of the Maltby Food Bank, "with the most significant being the senior population, which rose by 12 percent."

Walster notes that seniors are often the hardest hit because many are living on limited incomes. She adds that the food bank has also seen a greater number of single men and families use its services in the past few years.

Walster began the food bank 18 years ago as a way to aid her community neighbors.

"It can be hard to admit you might need help," she says. "I wanted to create a place where people won’t ask you why you’ve come. And where people will treat you with kindness and respect." She adds, "At the Malty Food Bank, we don’t look down at anyone who comes to us in need because we never know if we’re going to be in the same situation someday. You never know if it’s going to happen to you."

The Maltby Food Bank tries to provide each individual who comes to its doors with a five-day supply of food that includes a variety of canned goods, meats, bread, produce, dry staples and milk.

Walster explains that the organization belongs to a grocery rescue. Stores, such as Albertsons and Fred Meyer, along with places like the Root Connection in Woodinville, donate food on a consistent basis.

This year, a local church, Shepherd of the Hills, created a garden with the sole purpose of supplying fresh produce to the food bank.

"We are blessed to have these resources," comments Walster. "This community is very generous. We’ve also had assistance from service clubs, too. The Woodinville Rotary, for example, has helped us. And then different businesses hold food drives for us throughout the year."

Walster notes that the food bank provides more than just food to its clients. It hands out toys at Christmas, school supplies in the fall and birthday bags for kids on their special day.

The organization functions with the aid of a cadre of dedicated volunteers who selflessly give of their time and energy.

"We’re all volunteers here," says Walster. "When we started, there were about 14 of us. Now, it’s up to nearly 60. This place couldn’t survive without volunteers and the generous support of others."

Walster believes the food bank plays a necessary role in the community. She emphasizes the fact that no one wants to be poor or hungry.

People sometimes make bad choices or they get ill, or they become victims of circumstances beyond their control, and as a result, their living situations change.

Conditions can rapidly deteriorate and suddenly they find they are in a crisis mode.

"I want our community to know there is a place they can come to during hard times," says Walster. "We will welcome you and help you as long as you need us."

For more information about the Maltby Food Bank: or (360) 668-7900.

Donations are always welcome.

Of particular need are cleaning supplies, toilet paper and baby food.

Fun, not fame, is local band’s mission

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Sea of Green
Dave Johnson, Jim Price, Sarah Edmonds, Erica Engstrom and Rorry Dunbar are members of “Sea of Green.” Courtesy photo.
It’s always entertaining to ponder the genesis of a rock band’s name.

Most often there’s a story behind it, which unless revealed, remains an intriguing mystery. Take "Sea of Green," a local group that favors playing covers of classic rock hits. You might guess that the origin of the band’s name is somehow related to water. Or possibly, the "green" might refer to money or maybe it’s a nod to the environment. In truth, however, it has nothing to do with any of these themes.

"We were struggling to come up with a name," explains Rorry Dunbar, a guitarist and vocalist with the band. "We questioned first whether we were even good enough to have a name! And then it all came together at this outdoor picnic where we were playing.

There weren’t many people there, as it wasn’t well attended, and one of us looked out at the wide expanse of lawn and made the comment that it looked like a sea of green because all you could see was this huge lawn. The name just kind of clicked at that point."

Dunbar, a longtime Woodinville resident, and his band mates, Sarah Edmonds (lead vocals), Jim Price (drums), Dave Johnson (lead guitarist) and Erica Engstrom (bass) have known each other for many years.

They all attended Snohomish High together where they played in the school’s jazz band. They formed their group about 10 years ago, performing in the local area for people they knew, but then went their separate ways. Then in the last year, they started up again.

"It’s purely recreational for us," says Dunbar. "We get together every Saturday just to play. We’ve never really cared about performing, but if people ask us to, we’ll do it."

Recently, the band did a show at Eddie’s Trackside Bar & Grill in Monroe for a sizeable crowd that gave the group much positive feedback.

"We were surprised at the response we got," adds Dunbar. "Folks seemed to really like the selection and variety of tunes we played. It’s all 70s and 80s music and it’s danceable stuff."

He notes that classic rock is music he and his band mates grew up with, yet it still remains current with today’s youth.

"It’s music that’s imbedded in society," he adds. "Kids today like it. They like listening to it and they like playing it. It’s just never gone out of style."

For Dunbar, who is a self-taught guitarist, playing music is akin to therapy and he makes sure to get his daily dose.

"I can’t remember a time when music wasn’t a huge thing for me," he remarks. "Playing the guitar is a huge release for me and I try and do it for an hour each day."

Unlike many other groups, however, Sea of Green isn’t looking for more exposure. The members aren’t interested in fame or booking lots of gigs. Each of the members has a day job that takes priority in their lives. Dunbar is a contractor, Edmonds works for a cabinet company, Price is a project manager for the Snohomish School District, Johnson teaches music in Edmonds and Engstrom drives a bus in Snohomish.

"We’ll never be famous and that’s quite alright with us," says Dunbar. "We’re just geared to have fun. That’s the main motivation."

If you want to catch Sea of Green, the band will be playing at Oyster Run in Anacortes on September 25.