Chestermere Veterinary Clinic Blog

5 Steps to Brushing Your Pets Teeth

1. Get your pet comfortable with you handling their mouth: Gently handle your pets mouth for a few seconds frequently. Try to do it when they are relaxed, and always make it a positive experience. Offer them a treat or a favorite toy after you are done.

2. Use pet toothpaste: Human toothpaste should not be used on pets as it is not meant to be swallowed. Pet toothpastes often are flavored with things your pet may find very tasty, and this may help your pet accept brushing more readily. Chestermere Veterinary Clinic can provide you with a free pet toothpaste sample to try. Start by using a small amount of paste on your finger and rub it on your pets teeth and gums. Try to work through the entire mouth.

3. Use a toothbrush: Once your pet is comfortable with you handling their mouth and enjoys the pet toothpaste you have chosen, introduce a toothbrush. Ask the team at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic for a free toothbrush for your pet. The toothbrush should be size appropriate. Wet the bristles and apply some toothpaste to the brush, try to push the toothpaste into the bristles so it doesn’t come off in one globule as soon as you begin brushing your pets teeth. Gently brush, starting off by focusing on the fang like canine teeth.

4. Brushing: When your pet becomes comfortable with this, you can begin to brush more teeth and gradually increase the amount of time spent brushing and pressure you use. You do not need to brush the inside surfaces because most of the tartar accumulation occurs on the outside surface. When brushing the front teeth, lift the upper lip and use an up and down motion.

5. Frequency
Your time and commitment to brushing regularly can result in a vast improvement in your pets dental health. It can enhance their quality of life and deepen the bond that you share. Ideally, brush your pets teeth once a day!

Ask the team at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic for food and treat recommendations to help support your pets dental health! Call us at 403-272-3573, or visit if you have questions or concerns, or would like to book a dental examination.

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“Simple Steps to Easier Brushing” Hand-out by Medi-Cal Royal Canin.


5 of the Largest Dog Breeds

These gentle giants will astound you with their size! Here are just a few of the largest dog breeds in the world.

1. Great Dane: A strong and friendly breed originally bred to hunt wild boar. The world record holder for tallest dog Zeus, measured in at a 7 feet 4 inches when standing on his hind legs and 44 inches at the shoulder. He was 5 years old when he passed away of old age.

2. Old English Mastiff: Known for courage, mastiff’s were originally bred as guard dogs. 2 world record holders for heaviest dog go to the mastiff’s. In 1989 Zorba weighed in at 343 lbs, while in 2001 Hercules weighed in at 282 lbs.

3. Irish Wolfhound: Originally bred as guard dogs and for hunting wolves and elk. Another tall breed that can measure up to 7 feet tall when standing on hind legs or 30 – 34 inches at the shoulder. Weighing in around 150 lbs.

4. Saint Bernard: Intelligent and strong, they were originally bred to rescue travellers caught in blizzards and avalanches. Weighing on average between 140 – 220 lbs.

5. Newfoundland: Known as the workhorse, they were originally bred for heavy labor and are excellent long distance swimmers. Weighing on average between 100 – 200 lbs.

Remember that the largest dogs also age the quickest and have a much shorter lifespan, on average ranging from 5 – 10 years. If you have a giant breed, consider taking them for a physical exam every 6 months instead of annually after the age of 4 or 5. Contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic to book an appointment 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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Breed information from:
The American Kennel Club. AKC Meet the Breeds. Web January 14, 2015.

Photos and information from:
Readers Digest. World’s Largest Dog Breeds. Web January 14, 2015.

5 Reasons to Adopt a Pet

Christmas is fast approaching and getting a new pet may be at the top of some Christmas lists. If you have done your research and are certain about adding a new member to your family permanently, please consider adopting a pet. There are many adoption agencies that cover a wide variety of different species, so even if you are looking for something besides a cat or dog, you may still be able to find an adoptable option.

Here are 5 fantastic reasons to adopt:

1. Save a life: millions of adoptable pets are euthanized each year, simply because there are too many and not enough resources to care for them. Adopting a pet saves that pets life, and frees up space for another pet in the shelter.

2. Save money: adoptable pets have a minimal price tag, and often come spayed/neutered, health examined by a veterinarian, micro-chipped or tattooed and with vaccines. Some pets may even come with supplies. Many shelter pets are mixed breeds, which are generally healthier, saving you money on vet bills later in life.

3. Older Pets: November is adopt a senior month. Older pets need homes too, and are wonderful additions to a family. Older pets are usually already house and crate trained and well socialized, and you will not have to go through the highly energetic and sometimes destructive puppy/kitten phase.

4. The right match: Before pets are cleared for adoption, they are put through a variety of tests, both physically and behaviorally. Most shelters will be able to tell you if a pet will do well with other pets, and children. Have a specific breed in mind? Contact your local shelters and ask about being put on a waiting list if that breed comes in. While many shelter pets are mixed breeds, pure breeds come in as well.

5. Break the Cycle: Help end the cycle of overpopulation and animal abuse. Don’t support factory breeding, puppy/kitten mills, or backyard breeders. Tell everyone about your positive experience with pet adoption and hopefully more people will consider adoption!

Another way to help is to become a foster family for shelter animals. Being a foster home allows more animals to be saved from euthanasia, providing them a safe space and care until a suitable home becomes available. If you are interested in becoming a foster home or would like more information, contact the shelter directly.

Here is a list of some Calgary and area animal shelters to check out!
AARCS – Alberta Animal Rescue Crew
Calgary Humane Society
ARF – Animal Rescue Foundation
Pawsitive Match Rescue Foundation
Oops-a-Dazy Rescue
Misty Creek Dog Rescue
Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue
Meow Foundation
Happy Cat Sanctuary

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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Coconut Oil for Pets

Coconut oil is very popular these days and has been attributed to many healthy uses for humans. A quick internet search will also bring up dozens of purported healthy uses in pets, but unfortunately there is not a lot of scientific evidence to support these claims.

What we do know, is that coconut oil, like most oils, is a saturated fat. Feeding a saturated fat to a pet can be dangerous, especially to those that are sensitive to fat, having conditions like pancreatitis. Others may experience gastrointestinal issues from consuming coconut oil. Consuming a saturated fat can also lead to excess weight gain if a pet is fed too much, and their regular diet is not reduced to account for the extra calories being consumed from the oil.

The most successful use of coconut oil that has been reported by veterinary professionals appears to be for topical use for skin allergies or yeast. Coconut oil does have anti-fungal properties, explaining why it may be successful in helping to treat yeast infections. Coconut oil also helps to safely increase hydration of dry skin, and can aid in faster wound healing. This topical use of coconut oil has not been thoroughly scientifically studied in pets, so consult your veterinarian to see if they feel a trial may be successful for your pet’s particular condition, and the best way to apply.

Coconut oil is also considered a very safe cooking oil as it has a high smoke point and does not degrade like other oils may do when cooked. So for those pets on specific home-made diets, coconut oil may replace your other cooking oil.

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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D O Ogbolu, A A Oni, O A Daini & A P Oloko. J Med Food. June 2007; 10(2): 384-7. “In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria.”

Anna Liza C Agero & Vermén M Verallo-Rowell. Dermatitis. September 2004; 15(3): 109-16. “A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis.”

K G Nevin & T Rajamohan. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. January 2010; 23(6): 290-7. “Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats.”

8 Surprising Things a Dog Can Smell

We all know dogs have an amazing sense of smell, but did you know a dog can smell:

1. Bacteria: Dogs have been used since 1970 to sniff out bacteria diseased bee colonies, to help prevent the spread of infection. The work that would take a human 2 days, is accomplished by the dog in 45 minutes!

2. DVDs: Dogs can smell polycarbonate in DVDs and are being used to make counterfeit DVD busts.

3. Diabetes: Dogs are able to predict dangerous blood sugar levels and if trained can alert their owner and even fetch an insulin kit.

4. Seizures: Seizure alert dogs can detect a faint change in scent and behavior and can warn their owner approximately 30 – 45 sec. prior to a seizure, giving the owner time to get into a safe position for the seizure.

5. Whale Poop: Scientists need to analyze a whales fecal matter to determine its health, but whale poop sinks within a half hour of exiting the whale. Dogs have been trained to smell the poop from over a mile away.

6. Bed Bugs: Dogs trained to sniff out bed bugs can be hired and are reported to have an accuracy as high as 96%.

7. Cancer: In breast and lung cancer, waste products of the tumors are exhaled in the breath of the patient. Dogs have been trained to smell these waste products by sniffing a patient’s breath.

8. Ovulation in Cows: Artificial insemination in cows is an expensive business. Dogs are being used to help cut some loses by letting farmers know when a cow is in heat and thus the best time for an insemination to be successful.

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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Wears, Adam. List Verse. 10 Unexpected Things That Dogs Can Smell. January 17, 2013. Web October 3, 2014.

Hoyt, Alia. How Stuff Works. Can a Dog Really Predict an Epileptic Seizure? May 5, 2008. . Web October 3, 2014.

5 Reasons to Walk Your Dog

1) Exercise – helps keep your dog a healthy weight and makes them more agile and limber.

2) Improves digestion and constipation.

3) Promotes better behavior – less boredom leads to less destructive behavior and hyperactivity. Exercise and getting some fresh air and sunlight promotes a feeling of well-being and relaxation.

4) Strengthens Bond & Trust – spending time with your pet strengthens your bond and promotes a strong, trusting relationship. Timid or fearful pets can gain confidence and trust with regular walks as they are exposed to new people, pets and situations, and have you there to comfort them.

5) Your health too – all of the above benefits of walking apply to you too! So get out there and walk your dog today!

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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Pet MD. Top Ten Health Benefits Walking Provides Your Pet. . Web September 15, 2014.

5 Ways to Avoid Back to School Anxiety in Pets

When the kids go back to school, pets also notice and feel the effects. It is a transition period for them too, as they have become used to the extra time and attention from their family. The house suddenly becomes empty and quiet again during the day, and this can lead to some pets becoming anxious or depressed.

How can you help ease your pets through the transition?

1) Routines – try to start adjusting the daily routine before school starts. Start following the feeding and exercise routines that they will experience once the kids are back in school.

2) Separation – ease your pet into longer periods of being alone.

3) Special toys – try giving your pet an interactive toy to play with while you are away. Puzzle toys where your pet needs to figure out how to remove toys from within another toy, or treat balls that need to be played with in order to get the treats out, can give bored pets something to do.

4) Physical activity – make sure pets are still receiving regular physical activity. If possible an early morning walk for your dog is ideal and will help your dog to be more relaxed and calm during the day. Play with cats too, using a laser pointer or wand toy.

5) See the Vet – September marks the start of a busy school year ahead, with homework and recreational activities, making time to see the vet can take a back seat. If your pet is coming due for their annual exam or vaccines, book them sooner than later to make sure your pet does not become overdue. Call Chestermere Veterinary Clinic at 403-272-2573 to book an appointment.

If you find your pet is having trouble adjusting to the new back to school schedule and starts to present some troubling behaviors due to their anxiety, or you feel they are depressed, speak with your veterinarian about options that can help.

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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Beltran, Aimee. Coastal Virginia Magazine. 5 Tips to Avoid Back to School Pet Blues. Web September 2, 2014.

Pets that Fear Thunderstorms

Fear of thunderstorms is very common among dogs, and even some cats. While the exact source of the fear can be difficult to pinpoint, it may be one or a combination of storm-associated events including: sound of the wind, rain or thunder, lightning, change in barometric pressure, electrostatic disturbances, smell, or even low-frequency rumbles preceding a storm that humans can’t hear.

The fear can also manifest in different ways including:
Hiding (most common sign in cats)
Trying to escape (digging, jumping through windows or going through walls, running away)
Seeking the owner or clinging
Expressing anal glands
Not eating
Not listening to commands
Trembling or shaking
Dilated pupils
Vocalizing (barking or meowing)

Pets that have other behavioral concerns such as separation anxiety, fearful behavior, or aversion to loud noises like fireworks, tend to be more likely to be affected by storms.

There are a number of things that can be done to help lessen these pets level of anxiety and make them more comfortable during a storm. It may take a bit of trial and error to see what works best for a pet.

Behavior Modification

Do not over praise/comfort or punish a pet for showing fear during a storm. Too much praise/comforting encourages and rewards the behavior, and reinforces that the pet should be fearful during a storm. Punishment however, will only act to increase a pets anxiety level. Ideally, show your pet attention in other ways during a storm, such as grooming, or playing. You may choose to provide a favorite treat, toy or activity, only during a storm.

Another method of behavior modification includes desensitization. First you must teach your pet to relax when there is no storm. When they are able to successfully master a “relax” command, obtain a storm recording and see if it is enough to simulate a storm, so your pet is fearful. For some pets a recording (sound) may not be enough to stimulate their fear response. If it is, play it at first quietly, just loud enough so your pet becomes aware of it – their ears may cock up, but not loud enough for them to be fearful, and practice your relax command. Train in short 5-10 min. sessions and work on gradually increasing the volume the recording is played, then work on different rooms of the house as well. When you have worked up to a storm level volume and your pet is still able to relax, you can try leaving the recording on while you leave the house for short periods. Once a pet appears to have lost their fear, a weekly session should be enough to maintain the practice.

Talk to your veterinarian at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic (403) 272-3573 for medication recommendations that can help with your pets anxiety during a storm. Some medications can be given on the day of an expected storm, while others may need to be taken for the duration of the storm season. Another more natural option that may work for some pets is pheromone therapy. Pheromones such as Dog Appeasing pheromone or Feliway for cats can be purchased in diffuser, spray or collar form, and can help instill a feeling of calm.

Change of Environment

For some pets, simply taking them downstairs is enough to help reduce the sound of the storm and make them feel more comfortable. Others may enjoy a crate set up in an interior bathroom in the house, away from windows, and a blanket put over to help muffle the sound. White noise such as a fan or radio, may also help.

Daily vigorous exercise, and good health and nutrition help all pets to be less irritable and better cope with anxiety.

Projecting a calm and confident attitude yourself, can help your pet feel more at ease and likely to follow your lead.

If you have questions, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us at

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Drs. Foster & Smith. Fear of Thunderstorms, Fireworks, and Noise Phobias. Pet Web August 15, 2014.

Bark for Life Walk Chestermere – Fight Against Cancer 2014

Bark for Life is a 3 hour fundraising walk for dogs and their owners to celebrate the lives of those who survived cancer, remember loved ones lost to cancer, and fight back against the disease. More than just a walk, Bark For Life is an opportunity for people to be empowered through their canine companion partnerships; those furry four-legged friends that support us along the way! Come together with other dog lovers and their canine companions for a day of fun, friendship, and fundraising to help the Canadian Cancer Society change cancer forever. Tell cancer it barked up the wrong tree!

Each participant and their dog is encouraged to raise a minimum of $150. Money raised at Bark For Life will help the Society fund the most promising cancer research in Canada, crucial support programs and information for people living with cancer, and various prevention initiatives. The walk is to be held Saturday September 27th, from 12 – 3 pm in Chestermere, exact location is still being determined. All registered participants will receive a bandana for their dog(s).

To register for the event click here.

The Canadian Cancer Society is looking for committee volunteers to plan the Bark For Life events in Chestermere. This is a commitment of 2 to 4 hours per week starting in August. A variety of committee positions are available.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to put your knowledge to use for a good cause, learn new skills, and make a meaningful impact in the fight for life. Volunteers are the backbone of the Society.

To learn more or to sign up as a committee volunteer, please contact Kristy at 403-303-3528 or

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