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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Last updated: June 30, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective June 5, 2020, some restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. We are now allowing our clients entry into the building for appointments as of July 2nd, 2020 for those who wish to accompany their pet into the clinic.

Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, bloodwork, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!


  • Continue our "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. For those wishing to come into the clinic, once the veterinarian and the spacious exam room is ready, a staff member will then meet you outside to bring one client (required to wear a facial covering to enter the building) and the pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will discuss the patient's history with you in the exam room, any concerns you have, and will then take your pet to the treatment area to perform the physical portion of the exam with the assistance of a support staff member. This is to limit close human contact for both our clients and our staff's safety. Once the physical exam is done and any recommended treatments were given, the Veterinarian will return to the exam room with your pet and answer any remaining questions. After your appointment, a support staff member will meet you in the exam room to take care of any needed medications and payment before escorting you back out of the clinic.
  • Continue offering clients to remain in their vehicle for the duration of the exam and have the Veterinarian provide the consult over the phone for those who prefer this option. A staff member will escort your pet into and out of the building for the appointment and will take care of any payment over the phone or using our portable machine at your vehicle. They will bring any items going home to you at your vehicle.
  • Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method. We do have a portable debit machine if necessary. We are still trying to limit the intake of cash at this time.
  • Continue with solely curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".

    If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone, or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link. Please note that due to the high demand for appointments we are now seeing in the clinic, telemedicine options are very limited.


    We are back to our previous regular business hours and are OPEN with the following hours:

    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


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members!

    - Your dedicated team at Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital