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How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Cleaning your dog’s ears may seem daunting if you don’t know where to start, but with a dog ear cleaner, a handy helper, and a tasty treat nearby, we know you can do it! If your dog loves rolling around in the mud during Flagstaff’s rainy season, dives right into in Lake Mary, or just loves that fresh and clean feeling that comes with an ear cleaning, we’re here to help! With a few simple steps, you can keep your canine’s ears healthy and clean. If you’re a cat lover instead, follow these steps along with your feline friend!

And today we’re going to show you how to clean your dog’s ears.

This is Tilly and she spends a lot of time outside in the dirt, and so she’s here for a maintenance cleaning.

What type of pet ear cleaner should I use?

We recommend using this MalAcetic Otic Cleanser when you clean your dog’s ears because it has evaporative properties. Unlike water, if any excess liquid is stuck in the ear, it will evaporate and prevent ear infections. This ear cleaning solution is also all natural and hypoallergenic, so it’s a great choice for most pets.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears

Okay, so now we’re just going to pour some liquid into her ear there, and it’s important to massage the ear cartilage so that all of the ear cleaner can get in the ear. We’ll do that for about 30 seconds.

Quick Tip: Have a second hand to help you in this process!

Now we recommend cleaning her ear with either cotton balls or gauze pads. We don’t recommend Q-tips because her eardrum is right around the corner of her ear and it’s very sensitive, so we don’t want to get it. Now we’ll just go in here and clean it out there and get all that dirt out, as well as the excess ear cleaner. It’s important that you never want to go further into the ear then your hand can go, and we just wipe it out; and one ear’s done.

All right, now we will repeat on Tilly’s next ear.

Now Tilly is feeling nice and refreshed. Some important things to know before cleaning your pet’s ears are, if you have any suspicion of a foxtail or infection in the ear, it’s important to bring them in to see us first. Also, if they have a head tilt or develop a head tilt after an ear cleaning, it’s also important to bring them in to see us. Maintenance cleaning should be no more than once a week.

And also, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or contact us to learn more about cleaning your dog’s ears!

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Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Hi everyone, Morgan here at Continental Animal Wellness Center. And this is Delilah. Today we’re going to show you how to brush your dog’s teeth. Brushing your dog’s teeth is an important step in preventing dental disease and other complications, and it’s probably easier than you think!

Dog Dental Cleaning Can Prevent Dental Disease

Dental disease is a real thing that can occur in your pet’s mouth and brushing their teeth can help keep their gums healthy and prevent this.

Choosing the Best Toothpaste for Your Dog or Cat

Choose an enzymatic toothpaste for your pet:

It is important that you get an enzymatic toothpaste. The enzymes in this toothpaste target plaque, and does not have to be rinsed.

Don’t use your own toothpaste because human toothpaste has fluoride and other detergents that cannot be swallowed by our pets. Also, do not use baking soda or salt because these are high in alkaline content, and if swallowed, it can upset the acid balance in your pet’s stomach.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth is easier than you think!

For first time brushers, put a bit of toothpaste on your finger and invite your pet to lick at and then slowly try and get it on their gum line and their teeth around.

Once they’re used to this, then you can use a toothbrush and brush their teeth in a circular motion, getting their teeth and their gums all the way back in their mouth.

How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?

For best results, brush your pet’s teeth three to four times a week.

Schedule Your Pet’s Annual Dental Appointment

We also recommend getting your pet a yearly dental to see Dr. Bruchman or Dr. Dobbin so they can take a closer look at your pet’s mouth and up underneath that gum line.

Contact us to schedule your pet’s dental appointment (and check out this Dental Package for a special deal!)


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Death by Chocolate, Easter Bunny Arrested

Happy Easter!

Easter is right around the corner and we all know what sorts of delicious goodies that cute little hoppin’ rascal likes to hide around the house and put on our countertops. We as humans are very appreciative of the endeavor, but our curious little fur babies are often more at risk than we realize. Many human treats are toxic to dogs and cats, but chocolate is one of the worst ones. Clinical signs range from minimal agitation and GI upset to seizures and coma to eventually death. Factors affecting the severity of the intoxication are the weight of the animal, the type of chocolate, and the amount ingested. So, if your animal eats some of the Easter Bunny’s offerings, call your veterinarian ASAP. Time is really of the essence because recent ingestions are often best handled by causing the pet to vomit. There are safe ways to do this in hospital and there is the old-fashioned way of giving hydrogen peroxide. It should be noted that although often effective, hydrogen peroxide is a caustic substance and can cause secondary esophagitis (inflammation and ulceration of the esophagus) which can in turn cause problems for your pet. If ingestion occurred hours ago, we have some really neat stuff we can give your pet orally that can help decrease absorption further down the GI tract since it would be unlikely that any chocolate would still be in the stomach after that long. IV fluids are also extremely important in the recovery from any intoxication as well.

Dilution is the solution to pollution! Prevention is the preferred option so keep that chocolate out of reach. Early intervention is the next best plan. Let’s keep “Death by chocolate” nothing more than the title of a really good ice cream flavor and keep that Easter Bunny in business.

See the chocolate toxicity meter at to get an idea of how little chocolate it takes, especially dark chocolate, to do harm.


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Your Dog’s Dental Cleaning at CAWC

We take you step by step through your dog’s dental cleaning with us!

Hello everyone. It’s Remi here at Continental Animal Wellness Center. Today, we wanted to take you through step by step what a dental cleaning looks like here with us. We know how important your pets are to you. I know, because I’ve got my own at home. I can remember the first time I brought one of them in for a procedure and how I was a little nervous too, especially when I didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes. So here is our way of allowing you to go through that procedure with us.

So let’s take a look:

Hey everybody. It’s Dr. Bruchman. I just wanted to show you guys what a dental looks like in our practice. So when your pets come in for a dental cleaning, we’re going to take you from start to finish today on what they experience here at the clinic. This is my own personal dog, Jamie.

She’s here today for her yearly dental cleaning. So she’s going to be a good sport and just show you what it’s all about today.

Step 1: The Dental Exam

So what we do to start out with is when your pets get dropped off, they first get a full exam. So what we’re going to be doing is listening to their heart, looking at their gums, checking their lung sounds, temperature, just making sure that they are fit for anesthesia. So we’ll go ahead and do that on Jamie here today. We’re going to check her gum color. It looks great. We already took her temperature this morning. We’re going to listen to her heart.

What a great dog. She already got her body weight. And so we basically have had our physical exam once we get all of those parameters going.

Step 2: Placing a Catheter

The next thing that will happen is we are going to get an IV catheter placed in one of her front legs. And we’re going to draw some blood on her this morning to start running on our in-house machine. And we’ll show you what that looks like in a second. We’re making sure, basically, that all of her organs are functioning normally before we place her under anesthesia today. So we’re going to get going on all of that.

You see Jamie’s got a catheter in there. The reason we set IV catheters on all of our anesthetic patients is in order to administer some of our drugs intravenously. We use that catheter for that reason. We also give everybody IV fluids during that procedure. And so we use this catheter to give them the fluids. It’s also great to have a catheter in all animals undergoing anesthesia in order to help us. If there’s any sort of complications that we have while they’re under anesthesia, we can quickly give them drugs to help with that anesthetic event. And so for a safety reason, we always recommend every animal have an IV catheter placed.

Step 3: Blood Test & Anesthesia

Easy peasy. All right. So we got Jamie’s blood pulled. And what we did is we ran it on our in-house analyzer. We’re able to do full CBCs and chemistries here in the clinic. So within 10 minutes, we can get your dog’s blood work pulled up on this screen and ran.

It looks like today, what we’re looking at is Jamie’s glucose, her kidney values, her liver values, some electrolytes, protein levels, all of that looks great. So what that tells me is that Jamie’s healthy, her organs are functioning properly and she’s ready for anesthesia. So we’ll go ahead and get her placed under anesthesia. And then we’ll check back in with you and show you the next process, which will be her dental x-rays and exam.

Step 4: Dental X-Rays

All right. So Jamie is under anesthesia now. What we’re doing is we’re getting our dental x-rays taken. So Kayla’s getting her plates in Jamie’s mouth and getting our tube lined up. She’ll be taking those films for us. It’s just the same equipment that when you go to the dentist, you’re going to be getting the same kind of dental x-rays.

Again, these guys have to be under anesthesia in order to get a proper cleaning and proper x-rays because as you can see, there’s no way a dog would let you open his mouth, stick these nice fragile plates in there and take x-rays with them awake. We’ll also talk about why we need to anesthetize them for the cleaning part in just a second.

Some things that you can notice is Jamie’s got a monitor on her tongue right now. This is measuring her oxygenation and her heart rate for us. So we’re watching that very closely during anesthesia. She also, with that IV catheter we talked about, she’s got IV fluids flowing right now.

And again, if we needed to give her any sort of medications, we can quickly administer that through the catheter. We also have her hooked up to our anesthetic machine. We’re watching her take breaths. We’re monitoring her anesthetic gas through that machine. And then while she’s also in this position, we’ll be going through and cutting all of her nails.

Step 5: Your Dog’s Dental Cleaning

So we’ve finished our x-rays and now we’re moving on to the cleaning process. So over here, Kayla, is scaling Jamie’s teeth. The biggest reason why your pet needs to be under anesthesia for this process is what’s going on right now. The scaling is what is pulling the calculus off of Jamie’s teeth. It is so important to get under that gum line behind the teeth, on the sides of the teeth, every little area on that tooth needs to get cleaned. And there’s no way on an awake dog you can do a thorough job cleaning those teeth.

You can also see that Jamie has a tube protecting her airway right now that she’s breathing through. That tube is so important to protect her airway because as you can see with the cleaning, there’s a lot of water involved. What we’re doing is cleaning off a lot of bacteria on her teeth, and that could be aspirated if she did not have a tube protecting her airway.

So when you do see dogs getting awake dental cleanings, without anesthesia, very commonly, you will see aspiration pneumonia associated with it because they inhale and that water goes into their lungs and sets up an infection, which we want to avoid. So she’s going to continue cleaning. Come with me. We’re going to take a look at her x-rays.

Step 5: Analyze the X-Rays

So Jamie has got all of her x-rays up on the screen. This allows me to quickly take a glance under her gum line. What I’m taking a look at is all of the tooth structures. I’m looking at the pulp cavity. I’m looking at the bone. I’m looking at how those teeth are oriented in her mouth. And so these x-rays are so important for me to help make a diagnosis on what’s going on in your dog’s mouth and identify any teeth that may be causing your dog any sort of pain. Dental x-rays are a wonderful way for us to identify teeth that otherwise may look healthy from the surface, but below the surface, there’s actually something going on. So dental x-rays are a crucial part of what we do. Once I take a look at all of my x-rays, I will then go perform an exam on Jamie’s mouth, which I’ve already done.

I will inspect all of her teeth. I will look at them with my own eyes and see if there’s anything else that x-ray is not picking up that I can identify. We’ll usually take a probe and we will go along all of her teeth and look for any pockets, just the same as when you go to the dentist as well. So all of that will happen at that point. If I identify anything on these x-rays or on Jamie’s exam, that tells me a tooth needs to be extracted, that’s when I would pick up the phone to you, the owner, and call you and say, “Hey, I found under Spot’s exam today that we need to take out two teeth or four teeth,” whatever it is. So that way you’re informed through this whole process on what we’re going to have to do on your pet today. But x-rays, and that exam are such a crucial part to what we’re doing in this dental cleaning today.

Step 6: Polishing Your Dog’s Teeth

So we’re back to Jamie’s cleaning. So now that we’re done with her scaling, Kayla’s going through and polishing all of her teeth. This is an important part to help protect her enamel and seal it. And so we’re carefully going through and polishing all of those teeth. The last part of this cleaning process is going to be applying a fluoride coat to the cleaned teeth in her mouth. And we’ll do that right before we wake Jamie up. So now you’ve seen basically the full process of what it looks like when your dog comes in for a dental cleaning, start to finish.


Regular dental cleanings are a vital part of keeping your pet healthy. If you have ever had a bad tooth, then perhaps you can imagine what they feel when they have one as well. However, buildup of tartar and plaque can also lead to periodontal disease, which can lead to worse conditions, such as contributing to heart, liver and kidney disease. Doing regular dental cleanings and at home dental care, such as teeth brushing and checking the teeth yourself, can help prevent dental disease. We recommend annual checkups to make sure your pet’s teeth are healthy. And one of our doctors will recommend a dental when it is time.

Signs that your pet might need one now could be bad breath, tooth loss, change in chewing habits, or decrease in appetite. If you are ever unsure, just give us a call or set up an appointment. We also have a dental package that includes everything you saw in the video today. This package is listed on our website at So, we really hope that you enjoyed going through the dental with Jamie today. And we hope to see you all soon.

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Spaying or Neutering Your Pet

Happy May everyone! Check out our latest video on benefits of spaying or neutering your cat or dog!

Hey everyone, it’s Remi again at Continental Animal Wellness Center, and welcome back to another one of our video blogs. Today we’re talking about puppies and kittens, and we’re talking about exactly what they need, which is vaccines and their spay and neuter, so let’s tune in with Dr. Dobbin to see what she has to say:

Spaying and Neutering in Flagstaff, Arizona

Hi, I’m Dr. Dobbin at Continental Animal Wellness Center and spring is in the air, which basically means puppies and kittens everywhere, so I feel like this would be a good time to talk a little bit about spaying and neutering of our pets.

Health Benefits of Spaying or Neutering

So there are quite a few health benefits to early spaying and neutering. By early spaying and neutering I mean at or around five months of age. Here are just a few examples:

  • If you spay an animal before their first heat, you virtually eliminate the risk of breast cancer.
  • If you spay an animal at any age, you eliminate the risk of pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus and often ends up as a surgical emergency.
  • Early neutering of our pets can decrease prostate disease as well as some testosterone-driven behavior such as being bit by another animal and/or hit by a car.
  • Any animal – cat/dog male/female – there have been some studies that show sterilized animals actually live, on average, longer than they’re intact counterparts.

So now let’s shift gears to something else:

Overpopulation & Spaying or Neutering

Every 11 seconds in the United States in a shelter, a cat or a dog is euthanized. That amounts to about 10,000 a day. Up to 50% of litters are accidental and/or unwanted so, in theory, by early spaying and neutering, you would prevent a lot of that euthanasia due to overpopulation.

It should also be mentioned that gestation of parturition, aka pregnancy and delivery, has its own complications as well.

When to Spay or Neuter:

So now you’ve kind of heard the two main benefits that I feel strongly about, so the question is when do I spay or neuter? And that is a very good question, and if you do a lot of research, do your homework, you will be very confused because there really is no perfect 100 percent of the time right answer to that question. For the two reasons I mentioned as well as from a surgeon’s perspective, early spaying and neutering equals smaller incision, less anesthesia time, therefore faster recovery. So health benefits, over-population and surgery, in and of itself, is the reason that here at Continental, we do recommend the early spay neuter which, once again, is a door around five months of age.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. I just encourage you to include your veterinarian in on your discussion, and if you’ve recently adopted any cute puppies or kittens, bring them on down to see us and check out our awesome puppy and kitten package.


Many of us know that our puppies need vaccines but what do they need, how many do they need and what are they even being vaccinated for?

Let’s talk exactly about that:

What vaccines do our puppies need?

Well, first of all, let’s start by setting up the very first appointment when our puppy is six to eight weeks of age. At that time, that’s when they’re gonna get the very first vaccine.

Vaccination Schedule

That first vaccine is the DA2PP vaccine. What that vaccine is is actually a lot of vaccines all-in-one, and it stands for the distemper virus, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus and the parvovirus. Distemper parvo is pretty common in Flagstaff so that’s why it’s so important to get those two on board first so your pet has at least some protection and some immunity against distemper and parvo right off the bat. So that’s why, once again, at six to eight weeks we’re gonna come in and get that first vaccine. After that, every three to four weeks, we’re going to come in for another booster of that vaccine until about four months of age. Then we’re gonna get our final one-year vaccine and that’s gonna be the final distemper parvo combo vaccine and then our final one-year rabies vaccine.

Now, when they come in a year later for the next vaccine after that, then we can get three-year vaccines, but as puppies we still don’t have that full immunity yet. We’re still growing, so that’s why we want to booster vaccines so that we can get that full immunity and they can be fully protected.

So one misconception that a lot of people have is they’re gonna get all these puppy vaccines and then they have that one-year vaccine, they’re gonna come back in and they’re gonna get a three year vaccine and then they’re done. Their puppy’s vaccinated and good for life. Well actually, no.

So, over time, that immunity actually decreases and your dog needs to be revaccinated so we recommend after all these puppy vaccines, your dog is going to need to come back every three years for the rest of his lifetime to keep up this immunity. So that’s why it’s so important that not only are we bringing in your puppy, but also your older dogs as well to make sure that we’re always keeping up with our vaccines so we’re always protective against these viruses.

The Bordetella Vaccine

Now, on top of these two vaccines, there’s one more vaccine that I wanted to mention that’s really important to vaccinate for as well and that’s gonna be the bordetella vaccine. Bordetella is a component of kennel cough. Kennel cough is a terrible cough or hack that your pet can get and, just like a common cold for us, it can be passed by touching noses when dogs are sniffing each other or by sharing dog bowls or things like that. So any dog that’s going into boarding, grooming, or dog parks, or even just hanging out downtown or going into your local Petsmart or Petco, they can pick up kennel cough there. So we also recommend vaccinating for bordetella, and that one is vaccinated once a year or, if you’re going into kenneling, every six months.

So those are our three main vaccines that we vaccinate for here in Flagstaff. That’s the kennel cough, which is bordetella, that distemper parvo and rabies.

Caring for Your New Pet in Flagstaff

Caring for a new pet can be a lot of work! Spaying or Neutering and vaccinations are just two of the first things you should do to keep your cat or dog healthy and happy. If you have any questions, call us or contact us to schedule an appointment.