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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Dog Nail Trimming and Ear Cleaning

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 dog’s nails?

There are many factors to consider when determining how often a dog needs their nails trimmed: age, breed, activity level, nail growth patterns, and mobility are all important. Puppies and very young dogs require more frequent trimming as their nails tend to be very sharp and grow quickly with proper nutrition. Trimming the nails every 1-2 weeks is a good place to start when very young. Starting the grooming process at a young age also promotes compliance and a comfort level with handling/grooming. As they start to mature, trimming can be performed every 2-4 weeks. Active adult dogs will normally wear down their nails with regular activity, but it is safe to say nail trims should be performed every 2-3 months. Inactive and/or indoor adult dogs that do not receive long walks, will need to have trims more frequently. Senior dogs tend to be less active and have more mobility issues. Keeping their nails trimmed short and clipping/shaving the hair from under their paws will aid in mobility and sense of stability. Long nails and/or furry feet can increase the risk of injury due to slipping or falling. Always remember to trim the dew claws. The dew claws are the extra toenail higher on the leg. These nails do not contact the ground so tend to grow longer. Some dogs have dew claws only on the front two legs, while other dogs have dew claws on all four limbs. The breed of your dog may also determine the frequency for nail trims. Some breeds, like Boxers and Doberman Pincers, have toes/nail beds that rest fairly high on their foot pads, while other breeds like Basset Hounds and Pugs have low toes/nail beds. Every dog is unique and will require different timelines for trimming. Should you be unsure if your dog requires a trim, please seek advice from a trained animal health care provider. Many animals that are not well behaved for nail trims, will become comfortable over time when this task is done properly and with patience. Nail trimming does not have to be a stressful experience for owner and pet. There are many helpful videos and tutorials online if you would like to perform nail trims at home. Our staff is very experienced and happy to provide safe and efficient nail trims. We are very willing to teach proper technique should you be interested. Some say if you can hear your dog’s nails click when walking on a hard surface, then it’s time for a trim!

How often should my dog have their ear’s cleaned?

Ear cleaning can be divided into two categories: routine and chronic. Routine ear cleaning should be performed when mild debris or wax is noted. Checking your dog’s ears on a regular basis will determine when or if cleaning is needed. Using a gauze or cotton ball, apply a small amount of recommended cleaner and wipe the outer ear canal and ear flap. Never place a cotton swab or any other device into your dog’s ear canal as this has the potential to harm or damage the canal or eardrum. Chronic (or ongoing) cleaning is usually performed due to a medical condition and recommended by your veterinarian. Depending on the underlying condition, cleaning is normally recommended weekly to monthly. It is important to be familiar with what is “normal” for your dog. If you note an odour, discharge, inflammation, redness or your dog shaking their head or excessively pawing at the ears, this could be an indication of infection or parasites (ear mites). Please seek veterinary care as soon as possible. Some breeds, like standard Poodles, tend to have excessive hair growth in the ear canal. Excessive hair traps moisture and debris and can potentially cause irritation and/or infection. “Plucking” the hair on a regular basis is recommended. This should only be performed by a trained animal health care provider or experienced groomer.

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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