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Bowmanville Veterinary Clinic

Puppy Information Package


We are extremely proud of our clinic and of our team consisting of over 20 caring and experienced staff. We are dedicated to providing excellence in care for our patients and their families since 1972. Our entire team cares deeply for your pet and will treat them with caring hands and a tender voice; their comfort and well-being is why we are here every day.

We are also very involved in our community through our popular Junior Vet program which has been running since 2003, and wildlife triage that we offer at no cost. We are delighted to be one of the veterinary clinics providing patient care for the Northumberland Humane Society. 

Please check out our website at for more information on these programs and on our clinic and staff. We look forward to being your other family doctor!

Parasites & Your Dog

Our clinic’s mission statement is “Excellence in Care for Pets and Their Families”. One of the ways we strive to provide excellence in care is through client education.

We attended a conference in January of 2020 discussing the increasing presence of ticks in Canada and thought we should share this information with you.

There are a number of parasitic diseases that are of concern in Southern Ontario. These are internal parasites such as roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, heartworm, and giardia, and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes. The most potentially impactful of these parasites over the last several years is ticks, more specifically the Black Legged or Deer tick that can carry Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. In dogs, Lyme disease is the most common and can cause problems with the joints and kidneys, but if caught early, can often be helped with treatment.

What To Do If You Find a Tick on Your Dog

  1. Use tweezers to grasp the tick by its mouthparts closest to the skin and pull gently away from, and out of the dog.

  2. Do not use your hands to remove ticks since this may squish the body of the tick and encourage it to regurgitate its digestive contents into the animal, which would then increase the chance of disease transmission. Also, many of the diseases transmitted from ticks can be passed to humans, so using a tweezer and plastic disposable gloves will minimize this risk.

  3. Do not stun the tick with alcohol first since this may encourage the tick to regurgitate into the animal and increases the potential risk of transmission of disease.

  4. Once the tick is out, please dispose of it in a small jar of rubbing alcohol to kill it and the diseases it may contain. Squishing it to kill it can cause the dispersal of diseases, so this is discouraged. You can also use regular alcohol like rum or scotch in a pinch.

  5. Ideally, a 4DX blood test should be performed on your dog 1 month after a tick bite, and again 4 months after a tick bite. This will check for any transmission of disease. However, testing will depend on if your dog has been on a preventative tick medication and if your dog has been vaccinated against Lyme disease, so will be discussed with you to determine the best approach for your dog.

The Gold Standard for Parasite Control in Ontario Dogs

  • Current physical exam- must have been seen within the year to dispense prescription products

  • Remove/avoid tall grass and leaf piles to minimize tick environment

  • Fecal Analysis yearly

  • 4DX blood test yearly along with wellness testing to screen for organ disease

  • Simparica Trio chew (orally every month year-round) unless your dog eats rodents in which case we recommend regular Simparica and Interceptor Plus monthly.

  • Lyme vaccine

  • Praziquantel treatment monthly for dogs who hunt and/or would eat mice or other small rodents.

Lyme disease incidence has significantly increased in southern Ontario over the last several years. Dogs can be carrying Lyme disease and not be showing clinical signs, therefore testing is very important. Anaplasmosis is much less common but can cause fever, muscle pain, and serious changes in the blood. Fortunately, it is a treatable disease if caught early.

The tick population in southern Ontario is rapidly increasing. The best approach to tick-borne diseases is to treat for ticks before they can transmit the disease. Ticks start to look for a blood meal when it is above the freezing mark (0 degrees Celcius). Therefore during our increasingly mild winters, each month can have a period of time where ticks could be active. The white-tailed deer is an important part of the Black Legged tick’s life cycle. Areas where there is an established deer population would have more concerns for Lyme disease. However, other intermediate hosts for the Black Legged or Deer Tick can include mice, rabbits, raccoons, and coyotes. These animals can come into our suburban areas and can therefore bring ticks carrying Lyme and other diseases into our backyards. Even birds flying overhead can drop ticks into our back yards, meaning that even dogs that do not go out for a lot of walks in wilder areas are still potentially at risk.

Many of the parasite increases that we are seeing in Ontario can be attributed to climate change. There is truly a benefit to the cold Canadian winters we used to have since many parasites cannot survive the severe cold. It has been noted that by 2050 with our current rate of climate change, our climate here in Southern Ontario is predicted to resemble that of Tennessee. Apparently, southern Ontario also has a “mosaic” countryside (lots of fields with woods interspersed in between), which is exactly the environment that ticks enjoy. When combining this with decreased pesticide use in Ontario, warmer winters, and a thriving whitetail deer population, it is understandable how the tick population and risk of Lyme disease are increasing dramatically.

For a number of years, we have been recommending parasite treatment year-round as our gold standard for dogs and outdoor cats. This recommendation is now stronger than ever, because ticks and their associated disease risks, continue to increase in southern Ontario.

We are recommending Simparica Trio this year, a tasty once-a-month tablet given 12 months of the year. Simparica Trio provides extremely effective control of the higher risk parasites in Ontario including, fleas, ticks, roundworm, hookworm, lungworm, and heartworm.

If your dog is indoors virtually all of the time, and only goes out to urinate and defecate, then you could potentially use Sentinel without Simparica as your year-round parasite control program, since your dog will be at lower risk for ticks. However, it is rare to have a dog at no risk for acquiring ticks, simply due to the fact that almost all dogs go outside to eliminate, and birds can fly into your yard and drop ticks onto the grass.

And please don’t forget the human risk of Lyme disease. In general, more mature ticks will attach more readily onto dogs, and the younger, smaller nymph form will attach to humans. If a tick latches on to us for a blood meal, then we are also potentially at risk for Lyme disease and other diseases as well. Please be sure to contact your physician if you find a tick attached to you, and of course, let us know if you find a tick on your dog.

And finally, ticks can also occur in cats. Luckily cats are relatively resistant to tick-borne diseases (unlike humans and dogs). But if you do not like having your outdoor cat getting tick bites and potentially bringing ticks into the house please call to discuss tick prevention options for cats, since we have some excellent ones.

There has also been an increase in the population of the Texas Lone Star tick in southern Ontario, although luckily these are far less common than the ticks that carry Lyme disease. The Texas Lone Star Tick carries Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which is a potentially fatal disease in dogs if untreated and can affect humans as well. It can also carry Ehrlichia, which can cause some dangerous changes in the blood, and although treatable, it is never completely eliminated from the body. Simparica Trio is recognized as the most effective tick control for the Texas Lone Star Tick out of all currently available tick products.

With respect to other parasites, studies have shown dogs can be carriers of raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris), a parasite that can be dangerous and even life-threatening to humans, especially children. Simparica Trio and Sentinel are highly effective against this roundworm. Other internal parasites such as Giardia or Coccidia must be diagnosed by analyzing the stool (feces) of the dog at least once per year. A tapeworm, Echinococcus Multilocularis is present in a high percentage of coyotes, foxes, and wolves in Ontario and is starting to show up in our domestic dogs. It is a serious risk to humans. If your dog is an eater of rodents (the intermediate host of Echinococcus) then we recommend using regular Simparica and Interceptor Plus combo monthly to help prevent this infection, along with ticks, fleas, roundworm, hookworm, lungworm, and heartworm.

We must not forget that heartworm disease is still present in Canada, with southern Ontario having the highest density of cases. Rescue dogs that were brought to Canada after hurricane Katrina, and that continue to be brought in from warmer climates, unfortunately, can contribute to our heartworm problem, since many are not properly treated prior to arrival. The wild dog population (i.e. coyotes) can also harbor heartworms and can spread the disease. As you may know, heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes. With our mild winters, we are seeing mosquitoes much earlier than before, with a resulting longer season where heartworm is transmissible. This is another reason to administer year-round Simparica Trio or Sentinel.

We are fortunate to have a vaccine against Lyme disease if you wish to be very certain your dog is protected. Humans are not so lucky yet, although there are potential vaccines on the horizon for us. There is currently no vaccine for Ehrlichia or Anaplasmosis, but if caught early these diseases can be helped with treatment.

We recommend a yearly blood test for every dog called the 4DX test. This test screens for heartworm disease, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasmosis, it is recommended as our gold standard once yearly even if your dog is not showing any signs of problems since all of these diseases can hide for periods of time before causing clinical signs.

Beyond What You See

Both Doctors and Staff have your pet's best interest at heart and strive to make their stay with us as pleasant as possible. We encourage you to accompany your pet to their kennel to allow you the opportunity to see where they will stay and to help them to settle in. Every pet has his or her own separate kennel or run, furnished with a clean, dry, comfy towel or blanket. If your pet has a "special toy” or “security blanket" feel free to bring it in with them.

If your pet is to have a general anesthetic we would like you to know that we minimize the risks by providing exemplary care during their stay. We highly recommend a pre-anesthetic blood screen prior to a general anesthetic. Just as your doctor would run a blood test before your procedure we do the same for your pet. A pre-anesthetic blood test is like an internal physical exam that will check organ function and help identify unknown diseases. For this blood work, we collect a small sample of blood that is sent to an outside lab. Blood work must be submitted at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Veterinarians will do a physical exam the morning of surgery to ensure that your pet is healthy before undergoing general anesthetic. Patients are assessed individually to determine which anesthetics will be safest for them. We have anesthetics available for all ages, from the very young to our senior patients. We also carry anesthetics specific to our work with exotic pets.

The doctors adhere to strict sterile techniques, complete with a cap, mask, sterile gown, and gloves when performing surgery. A separate sterile surgical pack is used for each procedure to avoid infection and cross-contamination. The animals are surgically prepared both at their incision and intravenous sites. This involves first shaving the hair, then cleaning the skin with antibacterial solutions.

Prior to the anesthetic, every animal is placed on intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids are important to help maintain optimal blood pressure during surgery as well as provide access that will allow us to administer drugs if an anesthetic emergency arises.

While under anesthesia, every pet is connected to a Cardell monitor for carbon dioxide, blood pressure, and heart monitoring. Each pet is provided with a warming blanket to manage its temperature during the anesthetic. As well, our Registered Veterinary Technicians continually assess the animals, during both the anesthetic and recovery periods. During recovery one of our technicians or assistants sit with your pet to comfort them as they recover from the anesthetic.

We are acutely aware of the level of pain of our patients and have very current protocols in place to help manage their pain while in the hospital as well medications for use at home to keep them comfortable.

Uncomplicated surgery cases are discharged the same day. This allows the animal to rest at home, which is usually less stressful for both patient and owner. We do keep some animals overnight if they require bandaging after surgery. We recommend that more complicated cases be transferred to the Animal Emergency Clinic in Whitby for overnight observation.

If you have any questions or would like to tour our facility, please ask any one of our staff members. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we strive to provide the best service possible for you and your pet.

Puppy Vaccine Schedule

A protective response is what the Veterinarian is aiming for when vaccinating your puppy, priming the immune system to produce antibodies and neutralize infectious organisms before they have a chance to induce disease. Ideally, this is achieved through a standard schedule involving vaccines at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age.

Variations to a schedule become necessary when, for instance, a puppy is vaccinated at 8 weeks of age, then again at 16 weeks. A good protective response is unlikely now that the antibody levels have probably fallen to a low level that will not provide protection. Further vaccination will be necessary. At your first visit, the veterinarian will recommend the ideal schedule of vaccination for your puppy, depending on age, previous vaccines, and risk assessment.

7-9 Weeks of Age

Full physical examination & consultation

Vaccination - DHPP (1st) distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus

Consider kennel cough

Fecal analysis for parasites

Strategic deworming every 2 weeks for 3 treatments (complimentary

Sentinel/Interceptor/Sentinel 12 month)

Year-round flea, internal parasite, heartworm and tick prevention

12 Weeks of Age

Full physical examination & consultation

Vaccination - DHPP (2nd)

Vaccination - Leptospirosis 1st if in risk group

Consider kennel cough if not yet given

Strategic deworming every 2 weeks for 3 treatments (see above)

Year-round flea, internal parasite, heartworm and tick prevention

16 Weeks of Age

Full physical examination & consultation

Vaccination – DHPP (3rd)

Vaccination – Rabies

Booster Lepto

Consider kennel cough if not yet given

Repeat fecal analysis for parasites

Strategic deworming once every month until 12 months of age

Year-round flea, internal parasite, heartworm and tick prevention

Consider Lyme vaccine if risk indicated (Lyme vaccines are usuallyadministered separately from Leptosporosis. The initial series require two vaccines 3-4 weeks apart)

6 Months of Age

Ovariohysterectomy (spay) - female dogs

Castration (neuter) - male dogs

6 months of age is a good time to spay or neuter since all adult teeth should be in by this time, which means baby teeth, if retained, should be extracted.


Full physical examination & consultation

Vaccination - DHPP

Vaccination - Rabies, unless 3-year vaccine

Vaccination – Kennel Cough/Leptospirosis/Lyme

Fecal analysis for parasites

Year-round flea, internal parasite, heartworm and tick prevention

MICROCHIP - Microchip pet identification may be done at any time, although many people choose to have this done at the time of the spay or neuter since it saves the pet a pinprick.

Year-Round Deworming

Why deworm regularly? Some of the most prevalent intestinal worms such as roundworm and hookworm may affect humans ("zoonoses"), especially children and people with suppressed immune systems. Which treatment is most appropriate for your pet(s)? Please consult with your Veterinarian.

Parasite Control

Click here for important parasite information

A Note About Parvo Virus

Parvo virus is a serious disease of vomiting and diarrhea affecting primarily young dogs (6 weeks to 6 months of age) although any age can be affected. The highest risk breeds include the Rottweiller, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever. It is a hardy virus that is contracted through exposure to infected dogs or infected stool. Your puppy’s core vaccines help protect against this deadly virus. It is important to keep your puppy safe from this virus until he/she is fully vaccinated; i.e. do not visit parks or areas where a lot of dogs go to relieve themselves.

Lyme Disease

Borreliosis is a widespread serious disease that can affect dogs, cats, horses, cattle, birds, wild animals, and people. White-tailed deer and white-footed mice appear to be natural carriers. The disease is caused by Borrellia burgdorferi, a corkscrew-shaped bacterium. This organism is usually transmitted by the pinhead-sized, dark brown nymphs (immature form) of deer ticks. Other types of ticks may also occasionally transmit this disease.

After the larva hatches from the tick egg, it attaches to small rodents, such as the white-footed mouse. As it feeds on the mouse’s blood, the larva becomes infected with the Borrelia organism. The larva matures into a nymph, which feeds on the blood of animals and people. The Borrelia organism is not injected into the host animal until the tick has been attached for 10-24 hours. Though adult ticks can also spread the disease, the nymph stage poses the greatest threat during the summer months because of its very small size.

Signs of Lyme disease are vague and resemble various other conditions. Initial signs include a rash, fever, joint swelling, pain and swollen lymph nodes. Within days, weeks or even months, more serious signs can develop, such as heart, brain and joint disorders. Painful joint swelling is the most common advanced sign.

A person is unlikely to contract the disease from a pet unless he/she were to remove an unattached tick from the pet and allow the tick to feed on him/her. However, people are certainly at risk of Lyme disease by having a tick jump on them from the environment that they walk through with their pet.

Prevention of Borreliosis

Protect Yourself: For walks in the woods, fields or meadows during the tick season, protect yourself from tick infestation by wearing clothes in a way that prevents ticks from gaining access to your skin. Wear a hat to protect your head.

Close Inspection: Always closely inspect your pet and yourself after walking in the woods, fields or meadows. If you detect any ticks, do not crush the tick’s body during removal. Rather, use tweezers or forceps to grasp the tick’s head as close to your pet’s skin as possible, and gently remove the tick to avoid separation of the tick’s head from it’s body.


Treatment for Lyme disease is most successful in the early stages of the disease. Therefore we recommend regularly screening your dog with a simple blood test at least yearly. If a known tick bite has occurred, the dog should have the blood test done 1 month and 4 months after the bite.

Canine Cough

Canine Cough (also called tracheobronchitis, or formerly, kennel cough) is an upper-respiratory infection much like the human cold. It is a highly contagious disease that can cause severe throat irritation and coughing in dogs. This disease is primarily caused by two airborne organisms (bordetella bronchiseptica and parainfluenza virus).

Your pet may contact canine cough almost anywhere:

  • in the park

  • on the street

  • obedience class

  • the groomer

  • at a kennel

  • dog shows

Know the Symptoms of Canine Cough

  • coughing

  • sneezing

  • retching

  • nasal discharge

Chronic cough can keep both you and your dog up all night. Extremely old, young or immunocompromised dogs can be at risk of secondary pneumonia. Puppies can be particularly threatened by canine cough as it may stunt the development of the lungs, affecting the lung capacity of the dog for life.


Canine cough vaccines are available as a safe, oral (by mouth) vaccine or by injection. The oral vaccine is normally used in puppies and is easy to give alongside a treat. There is an intra-nasal vaccine but most dogs do not tolerate this very well. This vaccine can be part of your dog’s yearly vaccination program to help build immunity to this disease (specifically to bordatella bronchiseptica). The routine yearly vaccines currently given to your dog by your veterinarian already include parainfluenza, the other primary organism causing canine cough. Together, these vaccines will provide better than 80% protection against canine cough for your dog (much like our “flu shots” helps protect us. Imagine if we could do this for our common cold!

Most kennels and groomers, obedience classes and dog shows require that dogs be fully vaccinated for canine cough (along with routine yearly vaccines). The Bowmanville Veterinary Clinic also requires that your dog be vaccinated for canine cough prior to boarding with us. The intra-nasal vaccine may be given as little as 3 days prior to boarding due to the swift effectiveness of the vaccine.

We recommend yearly vaccination for canine cough along with the other core vaccines. Dogs that are continually in high risk situations, such as dog shows and boarding should be boostered every 6 months.

Please call our office for more information.

Why Spay or Neuter Your Pet?

Spaying a cat or dog involves the complete removal of your pet's ovaries and uterus. Neutering involves the removal of your pet's testicles. It is recommended to have this procedure done at 6 months of age, before females have their first estrus or heat cycle, or before males become sexually mature.

Reasons to spay your cat or dog:

  • Eliminate unwanted pregnancies. Each year thousands of unwanted animals are humanely euthanized because there aren't enough people to care for them.

  • Prevent birthing problems. Sometimes animals have difficulty giving birth when the unborn kitten or puppy becomes stuck, or if the uterus becomes twisted. These are life-threatening situations requiring immediate c-section.

  • Protection from uterine infections. Continuous exposure to heat cycles without breeding can prime the uterus for infections. These types of infections can be life-threatening and require immediate surgery and removal of the infected uterus, along with costly hospitalization, medication, and supportive care.

  • Decrease the chance of breast cancer. About one out of every four intact female dogs who experience one heat cycle will develop mammary tumors. In dogs, spaying before the first heat cycle can decrease the chance of mammary cancer to 0.5% of that of intact in dogs; in cats, there is a similar decrease in the chance of breast cancer with early spaying.

  • Avoid behavioral problems. While territorial marking and spaying are more commonly associated with males, this can occur with intact females. Spaying once these behaviours are developed does not guarantee the elimination of these undesirable habits; it is best to spay prior to these behaviours developing.

  • Avoid unwanted heat periods. Animals that are in heat can bleed, become excessively vocal, and can display the desire to mate. Spaying eliminates all of these.

Reasons to neuter your dog or cat:

  • Eliminate unwanted pregnancies. Each year thousands of unwanted animals are humanely euthanized because there aren't enough people to care for them. Just because male animals don't bring their offspring home doesn't mean they are not contributing to overpopulation.

  • Reduce the risk of testicular cancers and prostate infections. Continuous exposure to hormones like testosterone can make an intact animal more prone to prostatic disorders and infections. Although neutering does not prevent prostate cancer, the risk of prostate infections and testicular tumors is reduced with the early removal of the testicles.

  • Avoid behavioural problems. Territorial marking, spraying aggression, roaming, and fighting are all behaviorus that intact males can exhibit. Neutering once these behaviours are developed does not guarantee the elimination of these undesirable habits; it is best to neuter prior to these habits developing. However, even once developed, neutering can reduce aggressive behaviour in 60% of neutered dogs, inappropriate mounting in 70% of neutered dogs, and urine marking in 50% of castrated dogs.

Misconceptions about spaying or neutering:

  • FALSE: Animals that are spayed or neutered become fat and lazy.The reason behind weight gain in our adult animals is actually due to lifestyle and diet. The metabolism in spayed or neutered animals is lower than that of intact animals, so they need to be fed slightly less. Further, at 6 months of age these animals are reaching their mature stature, and their growth requirements are declining. It is important that all pets get fed the appropriate amount of a good quality, age-appropriate diet, and that they receive lots of regular exercise.

  • FALSE: An animal's personality is affected by spaying and neutering. Females are only undergoing heat cycles for certain periods of the year. The rest of the time, their reproductive cycle is dormant, similar to when they have spayed.

  • FALSE: Animals need to have their first heat period or a litter prior to spaying. As mentioned above, spaying prior to their first heat period can actually eliminate or greatly decrease the chance of dangerous diseases such as cancer. Please also consider the great number of unwanted animals currently looking for homes prior to bringing any more into this world.

Food for thought:

  • One female cat can give birth to two to four litters every year, consisting of 1-12 kitens. The female offspring of this cat can then have two to four litters every year. After seven years, the result could be more than 400,000 cats!

Please feel free to call us if you have any further questions regarding spaying or neutering your pet.


Life Cycle

The flea life cycle ranges from 16 days to 1 year. The female lays her eggs on the pet following a blood meal, and may lay several hundred eggs in her lifetime. These eggs fall off the pet to contaminate bedding, floors, carpets, etc. and the outside environment. Eggs hatch in approximately 7 days and the larvae eat organic debris (mostly adult flea feces). After 4 to 14 days they form a pupa and in as little as 14 or more days the pupa hatch in response to vibration and higher carbon dioxide levels in the household or environment.

The adult flea represents only a small percentage of the population in your home and environment as adults only live for 7 to 17 days. The majority of the flea population that will be in your home is in the egg, larval and pupal stages.

Fortunately, only 5% of a flea infestation is on your pet……Unfortunately, the other 95% is in your home!

5% of fleas are typically present as adults on the pet and begin laying eggs 24-48 hours after finding a host.

95% of fleas are present as developing adults (50% eggs, 35% larvae and 10% pupae) and they can be found on your sofa, bed, carpets and other places throughout your home. They can continue to hatch out for up to one year. Therefore, treating a flea infestation can take up to one year.

Treating Your Pet

Simparica (Tablets) - Our #1 Choice for Flea and Tick Prevention

  • Kills fleas and ticks

  • A tasty chewable tablet given every month; year round

  • Comes in a package of 3 chews

  • Broadest tick coverage on label

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

Sentinel (Tablets) (Dogs Only) - Our #2 Choice for Flea Prevention (and Intestinal Parasites) in Dogs

  • Prevents flea infestation and heartworm disease by killing the flea egg and also the immature form of heartworm in the bloodstream

  • Helps keep intestinal parasites under control

  • The pet must have a negative heartworm test before giving the tablets, and should be tested yearly after that

  • Give 1 tablet on the same day each month (with a full meal) year round to prevent fleas, heartworm, and intestinal parasites

  • If you are taking your pet south in the winter please contact our office about requirements for flea and heartworm prevention

  • All pets in the household must be treated

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

Revolution (Topical) - Our #1 Choice for Flea Prevention in Cats

  • Prevents flea infestation, heartworm disease, ear mites and a treatment of some internal and external parasites

  • Apply contents of 1 tube onto the skin at the base of the neck between the shoulder blades once monthly year round

  • Breaks the flea life cycle at 3 stages… effective against adult fleas, eggs and larvae

  • For the treatment and control of ear mites in cats and dogs

  • Has been proven safe for adult dogs and cats as well as breeding dogs and cats and puppies and kittens six weeks of age or older

  • Bathing or shampooing will not affect the product as long as bathing is done at least two hours after applying

  • The fur should be dry when Revolution is applied

  • Your dog must have a negative heartworm test before applying, and should be tested yearly after that

  • All pets in the household must be treated

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

Advantage Multi (Topical) - for Treatment/Control (Dogs and Cats)

  • Once monthly topical application for dogs and cats

  • For the treatment and control of roundworms and hookworms in cats and dogs

  • An aid in the treatment and control of the adult stage of whipworms in dogs

  • Heartworm prevention in cats and dogs

  • Your dog must have a negative heartworm test before applying and should be treated yearly after that

  • Proven flea portection in dogs and cats (remains on the skin to kill adult fleas fast with no biting required)

  • For the treatment and control of ear mites in cats and dogs

  • For the treatment and control of sarcoptic mange mites in dogs

  • An aid in the treatment and control of generalized demodectic mange in dogs

  • Shampooing or bathing 90 minutes after treatment does not reduce effectiveness in heartworm prevention

  • All pets in the household must be treated

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

Advantage (Topical) for Treatment/Prevention (Dogs and Cats)

  • Once monthly topical liquid for dogs or cats which distributes on the surface of theskin at teh hair root level to kill adult fleas on contact

  • Apply direclty to the skin on the back of the neck, or in the case of large dogs also along the back

  • All pets in the household must be treated

  • Shampooing of the pet may shorten the duration of the flea proteciton, therefore, re-apply after shampooing

  • If re-treatment is necessary earlier than the four weeks, do not re-treat more than once weekly

  • Do not use on nursing animals or pets under 8 weeks of age

Read product insert for full instrucitons and cautions

Capstar (tablets) for Treatment (Dogs and Cats)

  • Oral tablet

  • Kills adult fleas starting within 15 minutes, kills 98% of adult fleas on the pet within 6 hours, 100% within 24 hours

  • Works by interfering with the nerve transmission of the flea

  • Use twice weekly until you no longer see adult fleas

  • May be used as often as daily if required, does not affect your pet or humans

  • Capstar does not stay in the body for more than 24 to 48 hours

  • May be used in puppies and kittens over 5 weeks of age and 1kg body weight

Read product insert for full instructions and cautions

If you have any questions about the products we recommend or about "store bought" products, please don't hesitate to contact our office.

Choosing the Best Nutrition for Your Pet

Superior nutrition is as critical for pets as it is for people. It is important that your pet receives the benefit of a scientifically bases diet for optimal health. With so many different options available, choosing the right food for your dog or cat can be a challenge.

A nutritional expert was recently quoted as saying, "there are three things that can influence how long your pet will live: heredity, environment, and nutrition. The one that owners can influence most is what they choose to feed their pet." Your veterinary team is the best source for accurate information about nutrition for your pet. We have your pet's medical history and can work with you in choosing the appropriate diet, the amounts to feed, and can monitor your pet's response to their new diet.

Our veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians, and support staff are continously updating their knowledge of diets and nutrition. The diets we recommend are produced in processing facilities that have advanced safety standards and have had feeding trials performed. Feeding trials are the gold standard to determine how a pet will perform when fed a specific food.

Do not be misled by marketing tools that have no science or testing behind them. Recently there has been an influx of "natural", "organic", or "holistic" doc and cat foods to choose from. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the lack of science behind these claims.

For example:

Organic - There is a myth that the terms natural and organic are interchangeable. This is not true. True organic foods must comply with Agri-Food Canada's very strict regulations. This is an expensive process and there are few if any truly organic pet foods available.

Natural -The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates pet food in the USA, but unfortunately in Canada this is only used as a guideline, and is not a requirement.

Holistic - There is no legal definition of this term in pet foods. Any manufacturer can make claims of "holistic" in their literature (including web sites) regardless of diet content. Unfortunately it means nothing.

Human Grade - Claims that a product contains ingredients that are human-grade quality. It can be a misleading term since there is no policing of pet food content to ensure this is in fact so.

Things to consider when choosing a new diet:

Ingredients - Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Generally meats are listed first as they contain a lot of water and therefore weight more. The ingredient list is not nearly as important as the quality and nutritional value of each individual ingredient.

Guaranteed Analysis - This is the list of ingredients on the side of the bag of food provided as a guide to consumers. It is virtually impossible to compare foods by using the guaranteed analysis. It is the nutritional value of each ingredient blended together that delivers a product specific for a pet's age or condition. You could do a guaranteed analysis on an old leather boot that would compare to the guaranteed analysis of some pet foods. Obviously an old leather boot is not a digestible item, but unfortunately digestibility is not listed on the label.

"All" Life Stage Diets - Although they sound convenient, most of these diets are formulated for puppies since they have the highest nutritional requirements. However a diet like this should not be used for mature or senior dogs, as they can be dangerously high in protein if an older dog is starting to have kidney trouble, and are also not properly balanced in calories and minerals.

By Products - Foods that list by-products are not necessarily inferior products. By-products are commonly used in both human and pet foods and can include nutrient rich organ meats, ground bones, skin, and some meat. It does not include beaks, feet, and feathers as some people are led to believe. By-products are simply ingredients produced in the making of something else (i.e. when Vitamin E is extracted from soybeans the soybean meal that is left over is a highly nutritious by-product.)

Formulated vs. Feeding Trials - If a pet food label states that the food is "formulated" for a specific life stage it indicates that it is unlikely to have had a feeding trial done. Feeding trials are the Gold Standard for determining nutritional adequacy; therefore we sell only foods that have had feeding trials done i.e. veterinary diets made by Royal Canin and Hills.

The Corn Myth and Grain Free Diets - Recently foods with corn as a carbohydrate ingredient have been getting negative reviews. It is important to know that corn, as it is provided in high quality foods such as the veterinary Royal Canin diet is one of the best sources of grain protein, omega fatty acids, and antioxidants. Corn causes no more allergies in pets than other grains. Grains can be an excellent source of nutrition for omnivores like dogs. Grain free diets that are marketed frequently use potatoes as their source of carbohydrate, since carbohydrates are a necessary component of a well-balanced canine diet.

Safety - The veterinary diets that we recommend, Royal Canin and HIlls, have a very rigorous screening requirement to assure the safety and quality of their ingredients. Royal Canin diets use a high tech spectrophotometer to test each ingredient before they are allowed to enter the plant. A recent study indicated that little has been done to improve the safety of many other pet foods on the Canadian market.

Raw Diets - There has been an abundance of unsubstantiaed information regarding alternative foods available for pets on the internet and other sources. However, pet owners should be aware of the facts if they are considering an alternative food for their pets:

A - there is no scientific data to support beliefs commonly held by raw food supporters (bones and raw food); that feeding raw is "better" for your pet.

B - some raw food recipes contain excessive or insufficient levels of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

C - raw foods pose a potential hazard for food poisoning and bacterial (salmonella) contamination for both humans and animals. Pets eating raw food can become carriers of these deadly bacteria and can accidentally transmit them to children, the elderly, or any person with a poor immune system, sometimes with very seriosu consequences.

D - in one study 90% of homemade diets were found to be nutritionally unbalanced.

E - bones can cause intestinal blockage and fractured teeth

Cost - A lot of people believe that veterinary diets are more expensive than pet store foods. This is often not the case. Ask us about cost per day and feeding amounts. Many of our diets are comporable to and in some cases cheaper than pet store diets.

Prescription Diets - We may recommend a specific veterinary diet for your pet depending on their medical diagnosis (i.e. pancreatitis, lower urinary tract disease.) In these cases please strictly follow your veterinarian's diet recommendations. Do not be tempted by pet store or grocery store brands that claim to do what a veterinary prescription diet can do. Since there is no policing of pet store foods in Canada, often these diets have not had any feeding trials done to prove that they do what they claim.

Why are Royal Canin Veterinary diets our number one recommendation?

We have made Royal Canin Veterinary diets our number one recommendation for a number of reasons.

  • All Royal Canin Veterinary diets have undergone feeding trials

  • Ingredients are of excellent quality

  • Safety standards are unsurpassed

  • All of their diets are manufactured at their plant in Guelph, Ontario and 60% of their ingredients are purchased from Canadian farms

  • Several of our staff have visited the Royal Canin plant to assure ourselves that Royal Canin Veterinary dits are produced with pristine quality control measures and with outstanding science based nutritional content.

We were very happy with the dedication the Royal Canin Veterinary diet team demonstrated in fulfilling our requirements and since this visit have used Royal Canin as our trusted primary veterinary diet provider.

We believe that proper nutrition for your pet from their baby to their senior years is of vital importance. We know you want to provide superior nutrition for your pet, and encourage you to ask an of our team members if you have questions regarding diet.

Please let us help you keep your pet healthy and happy!

"Let food be your first medicine" - Hippocrates

12 Rules for Training Dogs

  1. Make learning fun for both you and your dog. Spend 10 minutes 2 or 3 times daily. The training sessions should be separated by 4 hours for maximum efficiency of learning. Normal dogs of any age can learn if you use patience, praise, and rewards.

  2. Train your dog to come, sit, stay, down, and down-stay off leash, and to heel on the leash, in this order. Be progressively more demanding. If your dog fails at any level, stop, don't reward, and start again at a simpler command. You will find that your dog's motivation to perform decreases as the complexity of the task increases. Make learning fun!

  3. Use one-word commands. Do not combine them with your dog's name, which should be only used to get the dog's attention. It is easy to talk too much to your dog. If you do, the command you are trying to teach gets lost in all the verbiage. This is a common mistake made by beginner dog trainers.

  4. Train your dog in a quiet environment with few distractions. Once the response is learned there, move the training location to progressively more complex, and stimulating environments. Your dog will have to be trained in each environment that you wish him to respond in. You may start in the basement, move on to the kitchen, backyard, street, plaza, train station, etc. If your dog fails at any level, go back to the previous level.

  5. Appropriate responses should be rewarded within 1/2 second of the command. If you tell your dog to "come" and he walks across the yard, give the command "come" again, just before you reward him. This will ensure that your dog associates the command with the reward.

  6. Your dog will learn most rapidly if every desired response is rewarded. Once the behaviour is established, reward it intermittently. This will make the response more permanent, and less likely to be forgotten.

  7. Use valued rewards. Find out which your dog likes most (food, touch, voice praise) and use that reward most frequently in the beginning. As the training progresses, mix up the types of reward given.

  8. Once the dog knows the commands, you can start giving them in a quieter voice. Gradually decrease the loudness of your commands, rewarding your dog for the appropriate response.

  9. Once your dog has learned the commands from one person, have other members of the family train him to respond to them. If your dog knows the commands well, this should not take long.

  10. How quickly and enthusiastically the dog responds is a function of the intensity of the training. If your dog responds only when he feels like it, start training again using these rules.

  11. The longer an unwanted, learned behaviour has been performed, the longer it takes to recondition it.

  12. Punishment does not work - The opposite of a reward is no reward, not punishment! Punishment may frighten or excite your dog, which reduces his ability to learn. If your dog is performing some unwanted behaviour, ignore it. Instead, call your dog to you, tell him to sit, and reward him for doing so. Both rewards and punishment must be given within 1/2 second of the event to be effective, so if you reward him for sitting, your dog will not think that the has "gotten away" with the previous unwanted behavior. Your dog wants to please you, and if he can do something and be rewarded for it, he will. If you totally ignore unwanted behaviour, your dog will not be rewarded for performing it, and it will eventually stop. If your dog has learned that he will get attention when he performs the behaviour, the activity will increase in frequency and intensity when you first start ignoring it, but if you persevere, it will stop.

Clicker Training

Animals, even humans, have a natural tendency to repeat actions that have positive outcomes and avoid those with negative connotations. Operant conditioning — like clicker training, as it is more commonly called ~ is a method of dog training that takes advantage of this natural inclination. When a conditioning reinforcer (a clicker) is paired with a primary reinforcer (treats), the two become an effective tool in helping shape your canine's behavior.

The Training Process

The first step is familiarizing your dog with the dicker. Click it once and give him/her a treat. Continue to do this until the dog reacts to it by pricking up its ears or seeking out the treat. This means they have now associated the click with a treat, and will view the click sound as a positive reinforcer.

The next step is to begin capturing, luring or shaping behaviors. Capturing behavior means waiting for your dog to do something you like, such as sitting, then clicking the clicker and giving the canine a treat as a reward. Each time the dog performs the desired behavior, click and treat. If he fails to notice the click sound, start at the beginning, once again familiarizing the animal with the clicker. Remember that timing is crucial. Think of the clicker as a camera recording the instant the canine is behaving correctly. Do not bother saying the name of the behavior (i.e. “sit") to the dog at this point. Dogs learn through association and you want them to associate the cue (or command) with the complete, proper and prompt action.

You can also elicit a desired behavior by using a treat as a lure. For instance, to teach a dog the “sit” command, hold a treat in front of its nose, then slowly move the treat back towards the top of its head (be sure to keep the treat low so the dog is not tempted to jump up). As soon as the dog is in the desired position, click the clicker and give it the treat.

When your canine is reliably performing the desired behavior to the point you can predict when it will occur, it's time to add a verbal cue. When you know your dog is about to sit, say, “sit”. Match the cue with this behavior many times, but avoid repeating them. If your dog thinks the cue is “sit, sit, sit” he will always wait for you to say it three times before complying.

You may find your dog starts performing the new-found trick a lot right after you stop rewarding. Known as an “extinction burst”, this is perfectly normal. However. it is important to ignore these unsolicited behaviors and refrain from clicking and treating your pet.

lf you and your dog are comfortable with what you have accomplished, the next step is to try to get your canine to do two or three repetitions of the trick before you click and treat. This is referred to as ‘putting the behavior on a variable reinforcement schedule’, meaning the animal. not knowing when the payoff will occur, will keep trying. At this stage, you can perfect behaviors by only rewarding the straightest sits and the highest paw lifts. You may prefer to perfect a behavior before adding the verbal cue.

It is also important to teach your pet that the cues work in different settings and under different circumstances. To do so, try moving to different locations throughout the house and test out the cues. Test them outside, at the veterinarian's office, with a leash on and with it off. This process, referred to as “generalizing the behavior” is where your pet will learn it is the cue that is important, not the fact it is outside or after dinner or the leash is on.

Why Choose Clicker Training?

Clickers are more effective than verbal signals due to the fact their sharp sound is easily distinguished from human speech.The clicker is also much quicker than the spoken word. A reward, if it is to be effective, should be delivered within 1/2 second of the behavior you wish to reinforce. Clicking tends to require more conscious effort than speaking does, which makes you more conscious of how you time your rewards, allowing you to use the clicker to pinpoint exactly those behaviors you wish to encourage and bridge the time gap between the behavior and the reward.

Clicker training teaches your pet to pay attention to you without the use of force and focuses on what is done right rather than what is done wrong. The method is even effective on puppies.

Common Clicker Problems

One of the problems often associated with clicker training is fear, due in part to the clicking noise. To help your pet overcome this fear, prepare his/her meal and put the clicker and six treats into your pocket. When your dog begins to eat, leave the room, go to the other end of the house and click once. Then go back and drop one of the treats into the bowl. Repeat this process, saying nothing to your dog, until all of the treats are gone or the meal is finished. Do this at each meal, moving slightly closer to the canine each time (about half a room per meal) until you can stand in the kitchen, clicking and dropping treats into the bowl while he is eating. At this point your dog should equate the sound of the clicker with good things. When your dog begins to look up expectantly every time you click, he is ready for training.

Another problem inherent to clicker training is our own expectations - we sell them too high. Remember Rome wasn't built in a day. Train in small increments and take your time moving on to the variable reinforcement schedule.

Another common mistake trainers make is using the clicker as a way to get the animal to come to them. This can lead to some unfortunate consequences because the clicker signals reinforcement at the time it sounds. If your dog happens to be jumping up on visitors and you use your clicker to get him to come, you have just mistakenly rewarded him for that behavior.

It is very important to always be thinking about what you are reinforcing, as behavior that is reinforced gets repeated more frequently. Please feel free to call us anytime if you have any questions about clicker training.

Crate Training

Wouldn't it be great if someone developed a device for dogs that prevents destruction, chewing, and garbage raiding? The perfect device would also: assist inhousbreaking, prevent jumping on, ensure that your dog is safe when unsupervised, help you to develop a closer relationship with your dog, help you to teach your dog not to whine or cry during the night, help your dog adapt to being left alone, and give your dog a comfortable retreat of his own. We have good news! Crate training can assist in all of the above.


Crate training is ideal for just about every new pup and it works for most adult dogs. Proper crate training is neither cruel nor unpleasant for the dog. In fact, a properly crate trained dog feels happy, secure and comfortable in their crate. In the wild, dogs and wolves need a den or a hide-a-way for their home. Except for hunting, eliminating, playtime, and protection, they spend hours sleeping, eating or relaxing in their den. Most well-trained contented house pets spend most of the day curled up on a chesterfield or under a bed. The crate-trained dog is simply taught that his bed is the crate.


Crate training, or confinement, is the quickest and most effective way to housebreak a puppy or an adult dog (when combined with proper housebreaking techniques). If you must leave the pup unsupervised for several hours or even a few minutes, simply confine him/her to their crate. If you have trained your dog that their crate is their den, they will keep it clean.


Pups and some adult dogs are extremely inquisitive, especially if they get bored. They may chew or destroy hundreds of dollars worth of furniture and property and can even harm themselves by chewing electrical cords, plants, or by raiding garbage cans, etc. We all know that a baby needs constant supervision unless confined to the safety of a crib or playpen. Treat your pup the same way - confine him when you cannot supervise. Put a few chew toys in the crate and he may even get in the habit of chewing the right things! When you do come home, the pup will not be able to jump up or run out the door.


Many people have difficulty getting a new pup to sleep through the night. When left alone, the pup can howl or cry for company and attention, because they have never been seperated from people or other dogs. You must not go to them as this can just encourage the crying. Using crate training, you can practice turning out the lights and leaving the room for short periods. By night-time, the pup should be accustomed to being alone. Another alternative is to put the pup in the crate in your bedroom at night.

The crate need not be permanent. Most dogs, once trained, enter their crates on their own whenever they want to relax or be left alone. Other dogs enjoy their crates but may have another location they prefer, such as a bedroom. Once the dog can be trusted you could try leaving him loose in his favourite room, with the crate door open, to see how he does.

Remember, dogs need a den and a place of retreat. Provide your pet with a crate, train him properly, and you'll be doing your pet and yourself a great favour!

How to Crate Train

A collapsible dog crate with a metal tray floor, large enough for an adult dog to stand comfortably, is the most practical type of crate. Alternatively, you could build a crate or dog house. For additional comfort or security, a blanket can be placed over the top. Choose a floor covering the dog doesn't chew such as newspaper or towels. The covering should be easy to clean or dispose of.

  1. Place the crate in a room where the dog will be content. A basement or laundry room is too isolated. Kitchens or bedrooms work best.

  2. Before placing the dog in his crate, be certain he has had sufficient exercise and attention. Some dogs may be content with a five minute walk, but many are not tired out until they've had 15 to 30 minutes of exercise.

  3. Leave the dog's water bowl and chew toys in the crate at all times and give all food and treats inside the crate so the dog learns to enter on his own. Reward him wheneve rhe goes in the crate. The crate must be an enjoyable place and must never be used for punishment.

  4. Begin crate training a pup when you first bring him home. With adult dogs, it may take 1 or 2weeks before they are comfortable enough to enter the crate on their own.

  5. Put the dog in the crate with a few chew toys or treats and a bowl of water, close the door and leave the room. Stay within hearing range. If the dog is quet for about 5 mintues, return, reward him and let him out. If your dog will not stop barking stay queit please contact your veterinarian for further training recommendations.

  6. Repeat the procedure, gradually increasing the amount of time you leave the dog alone. By the end of the first day, you should be able to confine your pup for several hours or even the entire night. An adult dog will have to be trained much more gradually, perhaps over several weeks.


The time in the crate should never exceed a puppy's limit. A two month old pup can probably control himself for three hours, a three-month old pup for four hours, etc. If you must leave a pup for longer than the above guidelines, you will have to combine crate and paper training. Palce the crate in a room, leave the door open, and place paper for eliminating outside the crate. Keep the pup in this room if you must go out for long periods.

Pet Seatbelt System

Yes, you can now get a seatbelt system for your pets! This system really works and is easy to install via the car's existing seat-belt system. The system is secured around the pet's torso so there is no danger of choking. The car's seat belt fits through the loop provided on the harness, and the seat belt can be snapped cosed as usual. The Gallup organiztion has reported that 75% of pet owner households treat their dogs with rides in the car, while 39% of cat owners do the same.

In case of accident, it is comforting to know that our beloved pets can be as safely secured as we are. For those who have more rambunctious pets, having them secured is also a safety consideration for the driver's well-being and ability to keep his/her mind and eyes on the road.

  • Protect your dog or cat from sudden stops

  • Keep your dog or cat from distracting the driver

  • Complete system with adjustable harness & safety strap for the comfort/safety of your pet

  • Easy to use, as easy as buckling a seatbelt

  • Fits all cars and trucks

  • Made of highest quality materials

Please ask any member of our staff for more information.

Microchipping Your Pet

Why Identify

1. Lost Pet

The vast majority of stray animals entering shelters lack any form of identification. Many lost pets which are received by shelters are never identified or returned to their owners because the description by the owner does not match accurately the pets being held. This is particularly true in cats. Collars and other temporary forms of identification can become detached from the animals in its travels.

2. Injured Strays

Lack of owner identification is equally common in injured strays. The problem is acute when these pets require immediate medical attention. Although we administer emergency treatment to any stray pet to combat shock and control pain as required, we require permission from you to go ahead with other procedures to determine the extent of injury and then proceed appropriately.

Permanent Identification is Best

The microchip is permanent identification, which cannot be tampered with. The microchip is inserted just under the animal's skin between the shoulder blades and requires a special scanner to read. Permanent identification is highly recommended for your pet's safety and your peace of mind. With our microchip program your pet will also be registered on the Pet Lynx website which is provided free of charge through Pet Secure pet insurance.

What Does a Microchip Look Like?

The microchip is approximately 1/4 inch long and is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. Nothing will show on your pet after insertion. The microchip is implanted using a needle just like giving a vaccination therefore the discomfort that your pet will feel during the insertion is very minimal.

What Do I Do if I Have Lost My Pet?


  • Your regular veterinarian and veterinary hospitals in your area

  • Your local humane society

  • Your local animal control facility

  • If you move, be sure to inform your veterinarian and Petlynx so that your pet's record can be changed

What Do I Do if I Have Found a Lost Pet?

Contact one of the following:

  • Your regular veterinarian or veterinary hospitals in your area

  • Your local humane society

  • Your local animal control facility


These facilities should be able to scan the pet to see if there is a microchip present in order to track down the owner

Puppy Development Periods

Age: 3-7 Weeks, Canine Socialization Period

In this stage of development a puppy learns:

  • Canine behaviour (biting, chasing, barking, and fighting)

  • Accepting discipline from mother

  • Bite inhibition (how hard to bite)

  • How to relate to litter mates and develop a pack through playing

Some ways to encourage full development at this stage:

  • Plenty of play time with puppies/littermates

  • Clear seperation between sleep and play area

  • One-on-one contact with humans

  • Prepare puppies for seperation from litter, play with puppies seperately

  • Exposure to different types of floor surfaces and a variety of noises

Age: 7-12 Weeks, Human Socialization and Socialization to New Stimuli Period

It is at this stage that a puppy's learning:

  • Occurs most rapidly

  • Has the greatest effect on a puppy's future behaviour

  • Is most receptive to teaching

Some things to to do help your puppy training:

  • Enroll in puppy class

  • Take advantage of your puppy's willingness to learn

  • Remember your puppy's short attention span and physical limitations

  • Keep your training periods short and fun

Age: 8-11 Weeks & 14-16 Weeks, Fear Impact Periods

At this stage fear has biggest impact on a puppy with a lasting impression. It is important at this stage that puppies have a positive experience.

Tips to get through this stage:

  • Fun trips to the vet just to say hello and get treats

  • Training periods should be short and fun

  • Avoid experiences that may be harmful that you cannot supervise

Age: 12-14 Weeks, Seniority Classification/Flight Instinct Period

The key to this stage is maintaining previous training. It's at this point that your puppy may:

  • May challenge you as a means of resolving question of leadership

  • May not come when called

  • May not be willing to return toys (as in a game of fetch)

  • May be uncomfortable with his or her teeth growing in

Tips for this stage:

  • Keep your puppy busy with mental and physical simulation

  • Provide approved chew toys for your puppy's sore gums

  • Keep your puppy on a leash if he/she is not coming when called

1-2 Years +, Maturity

Once your puppy has reached this stage they will begin the passage to maturity. This is when you can start to test your dog's skills. This is also the time when you will see what training your puppy didn't learn.

At this point you will know the things that your puppy needs a little more work on. Don't feel discouraged. Be patient and keep reinforcing your puppy's training.

Dental Care Guidelines

Contrary to popular belief, “doggy breath” is not normal. If your pet’s bad breath keeps the two of you from snuggling or you wish you could give your pet a mint, it could be the first sign that he has dental disease, a painful condition caused by bacteria infecting his gums and teeth. What’s even worse, it can lead to serious health issues as infection spreads throughout the body.

Since maintaining oral hygiene is crucial to keeping cats and dogs healthy and happy, AAHA created dental care guidelines to help your veterinarian provide top-notch care. Here are the top 10 things you need to know about these guidelines:

  1. Dental disease begins early in life. Small dogs can begin to develop dental disease as early as nine months old. By the time they’ve reached their third birthday, most dogs begin showing signs of dental disease, such as bad breath, yellow tartar buildup on the teeth, and red, swollen gums. Left untreated, throbbing pain and inflammation can cause pets to drop food, drool excessively, paw at their mouths, or become reactive to petting. But, because most dogs and cats are experts at hiding pain, many suffer in silence.

  2. Early detection is key. As a part of your pet’s annual veterinary checkup, we recommend dental evaluations at least once a year when your small breed dog reaches one year old, or when your large breed dog turns two.

  3. “X-ray vision” is essential for diagnosing dental disease. After examining dental radiographs (X-ray images) of cats and dogs with teeth that appeared normal to the naked eye, veterinarians found 27.8% of dogs and 41.7% of cats had diseased teeth. In pets with abnormal-looking teeth, veterinarians found additional diseased teeth in 50% of dogs and 53% of cats.

  4. Anesthesia makes dental evaluation and treatment safer and less stressful for your pet. Animals don’t like to hold still while their teeth are cleaned. Anesthetized dental cleanings allow veterinarians to make a more accurate diagnosis and decrease the chance of complications, like inhaling water or bacteria produced during the cleaning.

  5. Anesthesia is much safer than you think. Our protocols include steps to increase the safety of anesthesia, even in older pets. For example, one trained professional is dedicated to continuously monitoring, recording vital signs, and communicating the findings to the veterinarian. Before anesthesia, your pet will also be carefully screened with bloodwork and other tests to ensure he is free from underlying disease.

  6. Removing plaque from teeth beneath the gums is vital. In fact, it’s even more important than scaling the portion of the teeth we can see. Bacteria thrive under the gumline, causing infections deep in the tooth root and jaw that can spread throughout the body and affect other organs, such as the heart or kidneys.

  7. There are many similarities between human and veterinary dentistry. Licensed veterinarians and credentialed technicians use sharp, sterilized instruments, just like those you see in your dentist’s office. Board-certified veterinary dentists go through extensive residency training to perform advanced procedures like root canals, tooth extractions, and crowns. You might even feel the same sense of guilt when your veterinarian asks, “How often do you brush his teeth?” as when you’re asked, “How often do you floss?”.

  8. We will create a personalized pain protocol to keep your pet comfortable. Although your dog or cat will be anesthetized during a tooth extraction, numbing medications will decrease the amount of general anesthetic needed and can last up to eight hours after the procedure, allowing your pet to rest in comfort. Your veterinarian can tailor your pet’s prescription pain medication to match the procedure so he’ll recover peacefully at home.

  9. Don’t forget to brush! Brushing your cat or dog’s teeth every day will promote good oral health and prevent potentially expensive surgeries down the line. It’s easier than you think: There are even special pet toothpastes flavored like beef, chicken, fish, and peanut butter. (Note: Never use human toothpaste, which can contain ingredients like xylitol that are toxic to animals.)

  10. Consider using other dental products if brushing isn’t an option. Oral rinses, gels, sprays, water additives, and chews can help with your pet’s dental hygiene. Be sure to look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval on all pet dental products, and be wary of any dental chew that doesn’t bend or break easily as these can fracture teeth.

Vaccinations for Dogs

Canine Distemper

Distemper is a serious viral disease affecting primarily oung, unvaccinated dogs. Clinical signs may include a yellowish or greenish discharge from the eyes or nose, coughing, difficulty breathing, increased body temperature, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nervous system disorder (twitching of a limb, seizures, etc.), and hardening of the foot pads.

Distemper is a highly contagious disease. All body excretions and secretions (discharge from the eyes or nose, vomitus, diarrhea, urine) may carry the infection. The virus can also be carried by air currents and on inanimate objects such as food bowls.

Prevention of this disease is extremely important, as distemper is often fatal. Even if a dog survives the disease, distemper can permanently damage the dog's nervous system and sense of smell, sight, and sound. Vaccination has been shown to prevent the disease.

Canine Parvovirus

Parvovirus is a serious sisease affecting primarily young dogs (6 weeks to 6 months of age) although any age can be affeted. The breeds at highest risk include Rottweiller, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd and Pit bull.

Parvovirus is a hardy virus, able to withstand extreme temperature changes and exposure to most disinfectants. Dogs contact parvovirus through exposure to infected dogs or infected stools.

Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing affected dogs to lose their appetite, become lethargic and show evidence of vomiting, diarrhea, or both. The diarrhea is often bloody and has a foul odour (that of digested blood). Some dogs develop fever. Left untreated parvovirus can be fatal.

The disease is very serious and can bevery expensive to treat. Vaccination against this highly contagious viral disease has been proven to be very successful in preventing this diseases (or lessening its severity).


Rabies is a viral disease that attacks the central nervous system of all warm blooded animals, including humans. Rabies is transmitted by saliva, which is usually transferred by a bite form an infected animal. The disease is frequently found in wild animals such as skunks, foxes, raccoons, and bats.

Once infected, the disease is fatal. Prior to death, clinical signs may include a change in behaviour (e.g. increased aggressiveness or increased shyness), dialation of the pupils, excess salivation, snapping at the air, a shifting gait and fatal twitching.

As the virus can be transmitted to humans, no stray dog, cat or wild animal should ever be approached. Wild animals should never be kept as pets. Your pet should be kept on its own property or leashed shen off its property. To help prevent raccoon rabies, it is recommended that you cap chimneys, close up any holes in attics or outbuildings and make sure that stored garbage does not act as a food source. Vaccination is important to safeguard your dog from rabies.

Some veterinarians recommend vaccinating every year, while others recommend a three-year vaccine. Talk to your veterinarian about the degree of risk for rabies in your area and about which vaccine will provide your pet with the protection it requires.

Canine Kennel Cough

Clinical signs of kennel cough include dry, hacking cough and, in some dogs, nasal discharge, loss of appetite and difficulty breathing. Kennel cough is highly contagious and is spread through sneezing, coughing, and contact with infected nasal secretions. Kennel cough is most commonly transmitted when dogs are put in close proximity to one another; for example, dog shows, boarding kennels, groomers, etc. In most cases, kennel cough lasts 7-10 days and dogs recover fully from it. In some cases antibiotics are necessary. If your dog is on the show circuit or spends time in a boarding facility, vaccination may be recommended. Speak to your veterinarian about your dog's risk of exposure and need for this vaccine.

Infectious Canine Hepatitis

Infectious canine hepatitis is a viral disease that is most common in young, vaccinated dogs (9-12 weeks). Clinical signs may include respiratory tract abnormalities (discharge from nose or eyes, coughing) or evidence of liver and/or kidney disease (jaundice, loss of appetite, vomiting, change in drinking and urinating behaviour). Occasionally, an affected dog develops a "blue eye" (comeal ederna).

Infectious canine hepatitis is spread by conact with urine from an infected dog. Prevention by vaccination is the key as canine hepatitis is often fatal. It is not contagious to people.

Canine Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a disease that impairs kidney function and may cause kidney failure. Liver disease is also common. Clinical signs may include loss of appetite, lethargy, jaundice, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. There are a number of different types of leptospira that may cause the disease. Wild and domestic animals (cattle, pigs, dogs) may act as reservoirs for infection. The disease is transmitted by contact with the urine of infected animals. Stagnat or slow-moving water may provide a suitable habitat for the organism to thrive. Leptospirosis is not common in most areas of Ontario. As the available vaccines do not protect against all forms of leptospirosis and because the vaccine can cause some significant side effects, talk to your veterinarian about the advantages and disadvantages of vaccinating your dog against this disease.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete (Borrelia burgdoferi) and spread by ticks. It is a serious disease in people. Clinical signs in dogs, if they occur, are thought to include lameness, joint swelling, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. The heart, brain, and kidney may also be affected. Dogs do not generally show the classic red lesion that a human exhibits at teh site ofa tick bite. The diagnosis of Lyme disease is not black and white. If the disease is suspected, your veterinarian may request a blood test to detect antibodies to Borrelia. If this test is positive and your dog has clinical signs suggestive of Lyme disease and a history of travel to a high risk area, antibiotics may be recommended.

Vaccinating for Lyme disease is considered optional by most veterinarians. To assist in the prevention of Lyme disease, use flea and tick sprays and remove any ticks from the animal promptly, if found. This risk of tick exposure can be reduced by keeping your dog on a leash, on trails and out of woodlands and fields. Brushing the pet's coat as soon as the walk is complete is important.

Canine Coronavirus

Canine coronavirus infects on of the layers of the intestinal tract and may lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Infected dogs can spread the virus to other dogs. The overall prevalance of coronavirus is thought to be low and most infections are self-limiting. Vaccination against this virus is available, but not all veterinarians recommend it. Speak to your veterinarian about your dog's risk for developing this viral disease.

The Rule of Sevens

During the socialization period (8-12 weeks), a puppy should have:

Been on 7 different types of surfaces: carpet, concrete, wood, grass, gravel, dirt, vinyl, etc.

Played with 7 different types of objects: big balls, small balls, soft fabric toys, fuzzy toys, squeaky toys, paper or cardboard items, metal items, sticks, etc.

Been in 7 different locations: front yard, back yard, basement, kitchen, car, veterinary clinic, laundry room, bathroom, crate, etc.

Met and played with 7 new people: children, older adults, someone with a cane or wheelchair, someone wearing a funny hat, a man with a beard, etc.

Been exposed to 7 challenges: climb onto a box, climb off a box, go through a tunnel, climb steps, climb over obstacles, play hide and seek, go in and out of a doorway, run around a fence, etc.

Eaten from 7 different containers: metal, plastic, cardboard, ceramic, china, pie plate, frying pan, etc.

Eaten in 7 different locations: crate, yard, kitchen, basement, laundry room, living room, etc.