Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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Nail Trimming and Ear Cleaning for Cats

Grooming our pets not only strengthens the human-animal bond, but it can also help us to discover any potential medical or health problems early. Routine nail trims and ear cleaning are just as important as a healthy hair coat when considering grooming our pets.

How often should I cut my cat’s nails?


Cats scratch for 2 main reasons:

1) To leave their unique “scent” on an object to let other cats know this is part of their “territory.”

2) Nail health

Always provide proper scratching posts/platforms to allow cats to claw/scratch. This not only provides pleasure for our cats but aids in nail health. Cat nails grow in layers, and scratching/clawing helps remove these layers and provide a sharp point. Indoor cats should routinely have their nails trimmed every 2-4 weeks depending on how much “sharpening” they perform. Keeping the sharp points trimmed will decrease the likelihood of becoming caught in rugs/fabric or sensitive human skin. Outdoor cats should NOT have regular nail trims. They need to have sharp nails to escape from predators (climbing/jumping) as well as defend themselves against threats. Senior cats are more likely to be affected by arthritis. Because of this, grooming and active scratching and clawing declines. Nail layers tend to build up, and this can become uncomfortable as well as affect nail bed health. Trimming our senior cat’s nails, peeling away any extra nail layers and gently cleaning the nail beds should be performed routinely. Always be mindful of dew claws (nails higher on the limbs) and “extra” toes (polydactyl) – these nails do not come in contact with objects as easily and tend to become overgrown. This is not only painful but also carries the risk of infection. If you notice an ingrown nail (when the nail actually grows into the skin or footpad), please seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

How often should I clean my cat’s ears?

Cats are generally very good groomers and require minimal care where ears are concerned. Mild debris and wax can be normal and should be removed with a small amount of recommended cleaner placed on gauze or a cotton ball. Gently wipe the outer ear and inner ear flap. Do not put cotton swabs or other devices into the ear canal. This can potentially cause damage to the canal and/or eardrum. It is important to know what is “normal” for your cat. If you notice an odour, redness, inflammation, discharge or debris, or if your cat is shaking their head or excessively pawing/scratching the ears, this can be an indication of infection or parasites (ear mites), please seek veterinary care as soon as possible

What ear cleaning services does the clinic provide?

Routine cleaning can be performed by your veterinarian during an office exam but is generally performed by the veterinary technicians and assistants. Should your pet require a routine cleaning only, and you have no concerns about your pet’s health, please call Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital for an appointment with one of our technicians. Should you have concerns with ear health or are unsure if your pet has an underlying condition, please call for an appointment with your veterinarian.

What is the clinic’s booking and cancellation policy?

Booking nail trims, ear cleanings or other minor elective procedures (i.e., trimming hair from feet, ear hair plucking, clipping minimal hair mats) can be booked with our technicians between 1pm-6pm, Monday through Friday, Saturday appointments are also available upon request. We are flexible with bookings, so please let us know if you have any special requests. Cancellation policy: We appreciate a call at least 12-24 hrs before cancellation or re-booking. There is no fee associated with missed appointments due to unforeseen circumstances or lapse in memory.

Do you offer packages?

We currently do not have a package that includes nail trimming and ear cleaning combined.

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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

The following policies were updated Monday, June 1, 2020:

1. We are currently operating a "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 902.434.0700. We will confirm your information and a receptionist will come out to bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. If you have an iPhone, we have set up our clinic iPad for you to FaceTime with the vet during the exam or we have the capability of doing Skype for video-calling during the exam as well. If you do not have either of these as options, once the examination is finished, the veterinarian will call to discuss our recommended treatment plan over the phone while you remain outside. A staff member will then return to your vehicle with your pet and bring any items to go home with you. Please ensure your pet has a properly fitted collar or is in a secure carrier. Please remove any additional clothing or blankets prior to our staff handling our patients to minimize risk to our team. We will either ring you through at your vehicle with our portable debit/credit machine or we accept credit card payments over the phone. We are not taking cash at this time.

2. We are still OPEN but are working with limited staff and trying to limit human exposure, including staff-to-staff, as much as possible with deep disinfecting occurring after we close for the day.
Monday, Thursday: 7:15 am - 9:00 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 7:15 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sunday: CLOSED

3. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment over the phone or via our portable debit/credit machine at your vehicle. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home or order and pay via the website and pick up at the clinic. To sign up for the online store, visit our website.

4. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

5. Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our roles. As such, we have taken measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus. You may see our team members wearing additional protective gear when interacting with our clients and patients.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital