How to Get Your Pet to Eat Slower

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Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC

Often dogs love their food so much that they quickly devour each morsel in seemingly two or three gulps. Then, they may promptly vomit the food because their stomach was not ready for such a dramatic, sudden change in size.  Their digestive processes don’t get a chance to start preparing and working properly, and their satiety centre in their brain does not get a chance to feel satisfied.

This gulping habit hinders the quality of the dog’s life.  Sometimes cats even portray this strange binge and purge ritual.  There are ways to help your pet overcome this bad habit.

First, have your pet examined by your veterinarian to determine if there are any gastrointestinal parasites, food allergies/sensitivities, foreign bodies, or inflammatory bowel, pancreatitis or other digestive diseases present.  The type of food chosen to feed your pet is also very important. Sometimes pets only do well on home cooked food (such as or hypoallergenic or low residue types of foods.  Your veterinarian can help choose the ideal food for your pet’s needs.  Regular de-worming (monthly for dogs and cats who go outside) is important year round.

If you and your veterinarian have worked to rule in/out and treat any health concerns, yet your pet still eats their whole meal in less than a minute, there are other alternatives to consider. Helping your pet slow down their food consumption will improve their digestion, feeling of fullness and comfort, which will make eating more pleasurable and healthy for your pet.

  1. Spread the food out onto a cookie sheet with toys intermingled. This should help slow down the eating so that they will not binge then vomit.
  2. Offer smaller, more frequent meals.  For example, instead of feeding two large meals, feed three to five smaller meals throughout the day.  An automatic feeder helps make this easier if you are feeding dry food.
  3. Change to at least 50% canned/wet food- ask your veterinarian about the best food for your pet.
  4. Place the meals inside of a treat ball or a feeding maze.  Check out:


  1. Feed his meal in an elevated feeder- ask your veterinarian how high the feeder should be.  It improves the comfort ergonomically while the pet eats.   It can decrease anxiety and arthritis issues that some pets have by eating from bowls on the floor
  2. Hand feed your pet one or a few kibbles at a time or 1 teaspoon of wet food at a time.
  3. Try throwing each kibble down the hallway for your pet to chase, then eat it one at a time.  This definitely slows down eating times!

For more information please check out and contact us at 403-278-1985

Heart Deficiency and Gold Homeopathic

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Heart Deficiency and Gold Homeopathic

Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC

Heart Meridian Deficiency is not commonly discussed in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) however it is discussed by Dr. Are Thoresen, Norwegian Acupuncture.  In addition to a Heart Deficient pulse, the Heart Deficient patient is often sorrowful.  They have often suffered sadness in life, or their parents have or their grandparents, all the way back 7 generations prior.  Sometimes the tongue will have an obvious crease down the middle all the way to the tip.  Fatigue, shortness of breath and lethargy may also develop pallor. The treatment for Heart Meridian deficiency includes:

1.  Pet owner wearing more yellow gold (necklace, pendant, or bracelet)- the higher the carat the better (ie 24K) and choose the color dark red (the Heart Color) for objects your pet uses such as blankets, leashes and collars.

  1.  There is an excellent ‘Heart Qi Soup’.  Feeding heart meat and heart-shaped foods is helpful to a patient with Heart Deficiency.  It abides by Doctrine of Signatures in TCVM   Try to feed this soup to your pet: 

    Large pets can eat about 1 cup of this soup daily.  You should also drink it yourself as humans and pets are so bonded that they often share the same deficiencies.  Thus, treating the human for the pet’s deficiency is helpful for the pet, and also the human. The herbs listed in the Soup can be found here at Bow Bottom! Let us know you require these, and we’d be happy to fill it.

  2.  This is a good instruction list for making homemade homeopathics: (you have to scroll down to see the directions on the website link listed below).  We have brown bottles here that work well if you need bottles.I use Evian water rather than tap or boiled water.  We have to make the gold “12D”  ie– the 12th dilution. For each dilution you have to concuss it 20 times , then remove 5 drops and put it in a new bottle filled with 30mL, concuss another 20 times, then take 5 drops from that and put in a new bottle with 30mL water and concuss again, etc.  This must be repeated 12 times to get the 12D.

The pet is given her body weight in kilograms in drops (1 drop per kg of weight).  For example, if the pet is 10kg, they get 10 drops per day, from a brown glass dropper bottle.   We can provide a dropper bottle for you.  (note that 1mL is 25 drops, so a 10kg dog  would get 0.4mL)

The gold homeopathic is given daily either at 12pm or 12am or as close to one of those times as possible. It is ok if given earlier or later if other times are not possible.

  1.  Also good for the Heart are to do things with your pet that bring you both joy.  Like walking through a park, and playing, visiting people and other pets you love.  Love and joy are important emotions of the Heart.  Love and joy must be encouraged and nourished. Laughter is the sound of the Heart.
  1.  Using essential oils such as Rose and Joy Blend which contains rose.  The flower and aroma associated with the Heart is rose.
  1. St. John’s Wort herbal tincture should be given orally, according to Norwegian Acupuncture.
  1. Acupuncture especially of the Heart Jing or Ting points such as HT9

For more information contact us at 403 278 1984 and check out


Helping Blind Pets

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Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC


Regular,  twice yearly veterinary examinations are important as your veterinarian can pick up on issues that you were not aware of.  Even blindness as many pets are blind without their owners even knowing.  If you suspect that your pet is blind, for sure bring him or her to your veterinarian immediately.  Sometimes when the underlying cause is discovered, pets can regain some or even all of their vision.  Sometimes their vision improves as if they can see changes in light, and shadows.  Other times, unfortunately their vision cannot be regained.  The great news is that pets are extremely adaptable.

The most common way to for cats to develop blindness is due to systemic hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure.  High blood pressure may be linked to kidney disease, however some cats develop high blood pressure due to an idiopathic primary problem and have no underlying kidney disease.

The most common way for dogs to become blind is through the development of concurrent diabetes mellitus.  Treatment includes treating the diabetes and options to restore vision include cataract removal surgery by the veterinary ophthalmologists (eye specialists) here in Calgary.

Always remember that blind pets can still have excellent quality of life and longevity.  So, definitely keep up hope!

There are many ways to help your pet adapt to their blindness while they are being treated and healed:

1) Dogs and cats are extremely flexible, intelligent animals with excellent memories.  They use their sense of smell, hearing and feeling especially well if they lose their vision. They can memorize the location of furniture in the house very well.  Thus, when you do have to change the position of furniture, do it very slowly and gradually.

2) For cats, keep their litter boxes in the same position.

3) Have water bowls in several areas of the house in easily accessible places.  A water drinking fountain for pets is excellent because the noise will attract the pet.

4) For dogs, using a body harness or a Gentle Leader Head Halter can help guide the pet while on walks.  For cats that go on walks, a body harness is useful as the cat learns to understand where to walk based on the gentle pressures it feels.

5) You can teach your pet more verbal commands- he or she will listen closely to you and learn what you are trying to communicate.

6) Continue to give your blind pet new toys, safe chew toys, vegetables to chew, and puzzles/games as these are stimulating and your pet will know and appreciate them.

7) Bring them to your veterinarian at least twice yearly for monitoring.  Also bring them if you suspect eye injury.  Sometimes blind dogs may bump into things and injure their eyes.  It is important that the eyes remain comfortable and free from glaucoma and scratches.

8) Consider for dogs- Doggles are protective eye goggles to help prevent dogs from injuries to their eyes.

If you have any questions, please contact us at, via email or by phone.

How to Give Chinese Herbal Medications

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Chinese Herbal Medicine Administration

Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital

Has your pet been prescribed herbal medicine based on a TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) diagnosis?
Here are some different ways to administer herbs, tinctures and tablets:

Administration of granules:

Herb granules can often be easily mixed into canned or home cooked food, or into a special treat that your pet enjoys.  Start with small amounts at first (1/8 tsp) mixed into food, then gradually wean up to the prescribed dose.  To mix with dry food, the granules can be placed in an empty pepper or herb shaker bottle, then sprinkled onto their dry food, similar to mixing spices onto popcorn.   Some pets prefer a small amount of water mixed into their dry food which will allow the herb granules to adhere to their dry kibble.  Often your pet will eat their food as usual and not know they are receiving their medicine this way.

Commercial “Pill Pockets” are available from us.  These are tasty, soft, hollow treats that can be filled with the herb granules that many pets will enjoy eating.

For pets that are sensitive and discerning, the granules can be placed inside gelatine capsules available from us, and then given to your  pet by opening their mouth, placing the filled capsule at the back of their tongue and then closing their mouth gently to encourage them to swallow.  About 2 to 3 mL of water should then be gently syringed into your pet’s mouth to help the capsule pass down the esophagus well.  Afterwards, reward your pet with petting, praise, playtime or a special treat for positive reinforcement.

Another way to help encourage dogs to accept the herb formula is to ‘butter’ a small (1/8 of a whole) piece of whole wheat tortilla or corn tortilla or whole wheat pita bread with organic coconut oil, then sprinkle the herb over coconut oil.  Then, roll up the tortilla or pita, and let the dog enjoy this fun treat.

Alternatively, the granules can be mixed with 1 to 3mL of water or pure maple syrup, honey, corn syrup, tuna water, chicken broth or other type of meat broth, and syringed into your pet’s mouth to encourage them to accept them.

Be certain not to use artificial sweeteners as they can be hazardous to pets.

Another way to help encourage dogs to accept the herb formula is to ‘butter’ a small (1/8 of a whole) piece of whole wheat tortilla or corn tortilla or whole wheat pita bread with organic coconut oil, then sprinkle the herb over coconut oil.  Then, roll up the tortilla or pita, and let the dog enjoy this fun treat.

Administration of herbal tinctures:

Try mixing the prescribed herbal tincture into your pet’s food, or mixed with a special treat that your pet enjoys such as cooked meat, fish, peanut butter, cheese, canned plain pumpkin, or a recommended food, or a “Pill Pocket”.

For pets that will not eat food mixed with the tincture, we can provide gelatine capsules that the tincture can be mixed in. 

Administration of herbal tablets:

Tablets can be crushed and then mixed with food or a treat or placed whole inside a “Pill Pocket”.  If your pet will not eat them this way, you can open your pet’s mouth, place the tablet at the back of their tongue and then gently close their mouth to encourage swallowing.  2 to 3mL of water should then be gently syringed into your pets’ mouth to help the tablet pass down the esophagus well.

“Pet Pillers” are helpful for some pets.  They are devices available from us that hold the pill so it can be easily placed at the back of your pet’s tongue.  A trigger is then activated which releases the pill, and your pet’s mouth then needs to be gently closed to encourage swallowing. Some of the “Pet Pillers” can be pre-loaded with water to ease swallowing.

Homeopathic remedies:

If your pet will not eat the herb granules, liquid tinctures or tablets at full strength, we can make them into an homeopathic liquid that has very minor taste that may be easier to disguise into their food.

If your pet is having any abnormal symptoms after starting the herbal treatments, such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or decreased appetite, please discontinue the treatment and please contact us as soon as possible.


Please contact us if you have any questions or if you would like demonstrations on medicine administration.  Thank you!
[email protected]

Excessive Barking

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Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC

Excessive barking is not only frustrating to the dog, but to their owners as well.  It can be harmful to their vocal cords, upset neighbors and other dogs and pets in the house, and also be against animal bylaws in some cities.

Dogs normally bark to alert their owners or the rest of their pack when an intruder or threat is upon them.  This is normal dog behaviour, as dogs are pre-programmed to protect their home and family members.  If your dog barks at someone knocking at the door or ringing the door bell, tell them thank you, then give them a toy to calm them.  You can even train them to go to a special mat or bed while you greet your guests.  It is only natural for your dog to also want to go and meet the visitor, but be careful that they do not accidently escape out the door.  It is helpful to have a dog-gate separating the front door from the living area of the house.  I have a metal exercise pen unfolded in front of the door to prevent my dogs from running right up to the door.  You can also purchase very attractive wood gates such as these!

If your pet is barking excessively either indoors or outside, it means that he or she is frustrated, frightened or bored.  Dogs with any of these emotions will act out.  It is possible that your dog is suffering from a medical condition causing pain such as dental disease or digestive upset.  Thus, your dog should definitely be examined by your veterinarian if your dog is excessively barking.  Your veterinarian, and also a veterinary behaviour specialist are very helpful to set up behaviour modification protocols.

The way to prevent frustration, fear and boredom in dogs is to increase their exercise and given activities during the day.  Leaving your dog outside all day is often boring for them and they can bark excessively because they are bored and under stimulated. Bring them to daycare especially on days they have to be home alone for more than 6 or 7 hours.  You can also hire a professional dog walker or a trustworthy neighbor to bring them for a walk during the day- this helps break up the monotony of the dog’s day.

An interesting remote control training and positive reinforcement tool called Train and Treat works well to reward your pet when they are well behaved.

Also, while home alone, give your pet activities to do such as play with treat-filled toys and dog puzzles, which can be available through your veterinarian.  Use healthy food items to fill these toys such as almond butter, apple sauce, mashed sweet potato, grated carrots, and cucumber.  Dogs will often eat Brussels sprouts and spinach and cooked kale or broccoli if left on a plate for them during the day.  Your veterinarian can also recommend healthy, safe chewing treats that are enjoyed by dogs and are even helpful for dental health maintenance.  Check out these videos that we made of dogs using puzzles and interactive, “busy toys”:


I do not recommend or perform de-barking as it is a dangerous, painful procedure that does not solve the dog’s original problems that are causing barking.  I also do not recommend or use electric shock collars or citronella collars. They provide negative reinforcement/punishment for dogs.  Instead, dogs should be rewarded when they are doing something good.   They also need to be kept busy during the day and the time you are home with them as a tired dog is a happy dog.  Ideally, the dog should be so well exercised and played with that when you are not home they feel like catching up on needed sleep.  A good quality dog daycare will provide your dog with fun activities during the day.

Enrolling your dog in group training classes, private training lessons with a certified trainer who uses positive reinforcement techniques helps teach your dog new tricks and etiquette.  A great way for them to exert energy and have fun is to train them. Dogs often love performing for their owners, and behaviour training and training them tricks helps them use their brains.  This requires a lot of energy, almost as much as running.

I also have seen the addition of a new dog or a cat work well at keeping the existing dog company during the day.  They can become excellent friends and decrease their boredom, anxiety and fear.  This has to be well planned, and the animals must be supervised well when together until you can determine if they can be trusted alone together.

Additional ways to decrease anxiety in pets are listed in this article:

For more information contact us and check out

Keeping Pets Safe During the Holiday Season

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Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM

It is important to be aware of the safety of our pets, especially with the excitements and business of the Christmas season.
Some dangers to be cautious of as well as solutions to increase safety include:

Holiday Stress and the Dangers of House-Guests and Visitors-

With many doors opening and closing, pets have escaped, or accidentally been let outside.  Often, pets are nervous and anxious around all the new people and noises, especially children they are not used to.


-Bring pets to a great daycare centre that they enjoy, take dogs for more walks, increase play sessions with your cat and dog.  Purchasing a few new toys helps keep them happy.

-Cats can be kept in a quiet room with food / water, toys, catnip, litter and signs that say “Caution Cat Inside- do not open this door”.

-There are excellent calming herbs, treats and supplements, food puzzles, toys, chews that your veterinarian has to help them relax.  Examples include BioCalm liquid, and Mellows chews.  Pets love the taste and they are very effective.

-Pure essential oils and Feliway or Adaptil Pheromone Spray, Diffuser, or Collar for pets are relaxing and calming.  These products are available from your veterinarian

-Ensure pets are wearing collars with identification at all times.

-Microchip the pet for identification and so he/she can be returned to you if lost.

-Maintain your pet’s routine to prevent stress. Continue their exercise, playtime, grooming and feeding schedules.

-Massaging your pet is an excellent way for people and pets to relax.  Check out these massage techniques:

2. Safe versus Unsafe Holiday Foods

-unsafe include most baking items, especially those high in butter, raisins, alcohol, onions, fat, and some nuts such as walnuts and macadamia nuts;

-Pets can have food allergies– sometimes house guests may think a pet will be fine if offered a ‘safe’ item like a bread bun, however some pets may be extremely allergic to seemingly benign foods.

-Chocolate can be deadly, especially dark.

-Xylitol and other artificial sweeteners are deadly- can cause life threatening hypoglycemic


-Warn guests and also get dog to wear a sign on his collar saying   “Please do Not Feed Me Treats”

-Offer healthy foods that guests can feed your pet such as cooked brussels sprouts, broccoli, safe dog chews and cookies or pieces of the dog’s own healthy kibble

-Keep all unsafe Christmas food inside fridges, cupboards and on high counter-tops where pets cannot reach.

-Bake for your pet some healthy, safe pet treats:   and


3. Decorations

– Electrocution by Christmas lights, ribbons can be ingested by cats due to their barbed tongue, and not just tinsel.

-Use cord covers, bitter spray on electrical cords, tuck cords away

-Secure tree because cats will climb, and so do some dogs.

-Avoid dangerous plants such as Amaryllis, Christmas Cactus, Mistletoe, Holly, and even Poinsettias can cause severe stomach and intestinal pain and disease if ingested.   Lily flowers, leaves and stems are deadly as they cause kidney failure.

-Scented candles smell so good that pets often eat them, and sometimes unscented candles as well!  Long candles have a long wick which pets can swallow whole. This can tangle inside their intestines casing cuts, or can even plug their stomach or intestine and prevent food from passing through.

–          Do not use Tinsel on Trees, or any other decorations that have long strands that could be swallowed by a cat or dog

–          Keep candles high up and away from animals

–          Ensure that the Christmas tree is secured and anchored to help prevent it from falling down if cats climb it.

–          Do not put edible gifts under the tree unsupervised.  Even if wrapped in Christmas wrapping, pets will smell them and eat them.  Often they will eat the wrapper too!

4.  Cold Weather

–          If it is too cold outside for people unless they have to wear a warm coat, gloves and toque, then it is too cold for a pet unless they too are dressed up.

–          Comfortable jackets and coats are available for your pet at your veterinary hospital and pet stores

–          Booties are also available in a variety of designs- including strapless rubber booties and also fuzzy fleece types and ones with Velcro fasteners.

–          Some cats love cuddling up next to a warm water bottle covered in a soft blanket or towel indoors, and also often pets like to sleep near the warm fireplace.  You can place their beds nearby.

For more information check out Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital at or call 403-278-1984

How to Decrease Anxiety in Pets

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Dr Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC

Anxiety in pets affects them just as much as it affects us humans and pet owners who love them.  We are so bonded to our pets that often they sense our own anxiety and start to manifest signs of it.  A common scenario is when people are packing up their belongings and suitcases to move to a new home or to go on a holiday.  The cats of the household will often detect anxiety and the hustle and bustle and may start over-grooming their coat, or urinating inside the suitcases.

Another common issue is when dogs are apart from their beloved favorite person.  They develop a sense of grief and anxiety that can lead to many health problems if not prevented or treated.

If a new baby enters the home, some dogs and cats are overjoyed and excited for the new companionship, however others may become frightened of the new noises.   They may also start constantly licking a patch of skin on their foreleg to self soothe, similar to when a child sucks their thumb.

It is best to prepare our pets as best as possible to be able to handle stress and anxiety, and to help prevent the anxiety in the first place.

One of the best ways to prevent anxiety is to increase exercise, attention and play in pets.   Dogs are intelligent, curious animals and need to be walked and also given one on one play time and training exercise for stimulation.   Check out this helpful protocol on relaxation:

Bringing your dog to group training and socialization classes is exciting to them- not only do they get to go for a car ride, but they get to meet new people and other dogs. Dogs may also enjoy hobbies such as agility and dock diving.  Calgary has a large number of dog clubs that offer these types of activities. It is best to remember that dogs are social animals, like us!

I love offering two long, tall scratching posts for cats.   “The Cat Man” has excellent tall, custom cat scratching posts:

Check out the designs for ideas for you and your family to make or to order in.  Definitely add some sisal rope to the bottom for added interest/entertainment:

My own cat loves this Tall Pagoda style:

You can order them in from his website, or go to The Cat House to purchase them.

This is an excellent resource on maintaining the joy and happiness and decreasing stress in indoor cats:       and:     and:

And these are great veterinary links for cat health and happiness improvement:

Some cats love strollers- your cat may love these safe outdoor excursions, in addition to walking with a harness and leash.  You won’t know until you try!  This is the website for pet strollers:

Catnip and growing cat salad is also an excellent way to decrease anxiety for cats and help improve their exercise. When giving a cat catnip, they often will roll and stretch, which improves blood flow and comfort to the body, similar to doing Yoga.  You can even grow your own catnip and cat grass (oat seed) in pots indoors, year round.  Some dogs even love eating oat grass and catnip.

I think it is wonderful to give cats and small dogs outdoor adventures in warmer weather in a stroller, which is safe and controlled, yet still fun for many cats.  Older dogs may love going for walks, but get tired half way through. Thus, they can then be placed in the stroller when they are too tired to walk, for a rest.  Once rested for a few blocks, they can then be let out again to walk again.

Providing safe toys for cats and dogs is helpful- you can even rotate them so the pet does not become bored.  Puzzles where food and treats can be hidden will also provide hours of entertainment and will stimulate a pet’s natural hunting and tracking instinct which improve their well being.   Ask your veterinarian what the best toys and puzzles are.   You can even hide small amounts of the pet’s meal in 4 to 5 different areas of the home so they have to seek and find it.  Always have fresh water in each room, however.

Bringing your pet to daycare once or twice, or even more often each week is helpful.  Contact your veterinarian to get ideas on good daycare centres.  We offer daycare and overnight care here at Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital. Come by for a tour of our facility! Daycare provides a great mid-week break to both you and your pet.

I love the idea of building a safe, escape-proof outdoor cat or dog enclosure in your back yard.  Safe so they can’t escape and so that other animals can’t get into their yard such as coyotes or other cats or dogs.  It is important to not let your pet outside all alone too long, as they will become lonely or mischievous, or start barking or doing destructive behaviour like digging or chewing on harmful objects like baseboards and garden hoses.

Also, check this amazing indoor exercise option out:  and

In addition to play and exercise, healthy nutrition is important part of decreasing anxiety.  If a pet has the proper nutrients and is not over fed or under fed, they will feel better and stay healthier.

Unfortunately obesity in pets is very common.  Excess fat tissue is very stressful on the body including the joints and heart and total metabolism.  It can also lead to Diabetes Mellitus.  If a pet is fed too much food, even too much healthy food, the body has to store all the extra calories that it does not need in the form of fat.  Fat is also an inflammatory tissue- it is constantly growing breaking down and as it does so, it releases pro-inflammatory chemicals that a pet must deal with.   Too much fat deposition is overwhelming to the body and the blood supply may not be sufficient to nourish it, thus, oxygen deprivation occurs. This results in the production of inflammatory mediators that can have deleterious effects on other organs of the body.  Plus, especially in cats, if the cat is overweight, it can have problems getting to the litter box, and thus holding onto their urine.  This can cause inflammation of the bladder that may result in crystal formation and lots of pain and anxiety.  That is why some cats over groom the fur on their belly and lower body, resulting in patches of baldness.

Fat can also alter the insulin receptor sites in the body, causing the pancreas to over work and release high amounts of insulin, eventually resulting in burn out.  Insulin-dependent diabetes can occur.

If your pet is overweight, definitely consult with your veterinarian on developing a diet plan and monitoring program.  We as veterinarians and veterinary health care teams love to help pet’s reach and maintain optimal body conditions.

In addition to exercise, diet, and playtime, another way to decrease anxiety is with essential oil therapy, both topically or through diffusion into the air like aromatherapy.   I prescribe specific essential oils unique to each pet’s needs often as part of an anxiety prevention and treatment program.  It is important to only use natural oils, and they must be diluted before application t he pet.  Check this out:


Also, Feliway and Adaptil are helpful pheromones that only a cat or dog can react to that helps naturally decrease stress.  There are also several oral herb-based compounds that your veterinarian can recommend for your pet.

Playing the radio and/or television while you are away helps calm many pets. The extra background noise helps make them feel like someone is home.

Acupuncture, chiropractic and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medical herb formulas are also helpful.   I am trained to help diagnose and treat with these alternative, effective modalities.

At Bow Bottom, we also offer special behaviour consultations to help your dog or cat with their specific needs. For more information, contact us at or phone us at 403-278-1984.

Toxicity of the Month!

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We are getting closer to the holiday side of the year where many of our pets have a greater chance at accessing foods or products that are dangerous to them. At Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital, we are going to start focusing on one toxicity each month to highlight specific concerns and doses of toxicity.

This month we are focusing on Xylitol! Found in gum, sugarfree candies and many of our own human toothpastes. It has been in the news a lot the last few weeks with concerns of it being added to foods like peanut butter (which is frequently used to treat our pets!) Get the facts here: 

Planning a visit down to Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital soon? Come check out our new awareness board located in our dog lounge area! Educate and get the facts!

Importance of Bathing Your Dog

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Dr. Julie Schell  BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC

Would you ever wear the same pair of socks without washing them for a month or longer?  Would you ever go without washing your own hair for a month?   I assume that no, you would not.   Then why should we make our dogs go weeks or even months without giving them a bath?

Cleanliness is so important to the overall health and happiness of dogs.  Training your dog to allow you to wash and dry his or her feet after coming inside from outdoors is important and healthy.   It is amazing the amount of debris, mud and plant material that gets stuck in between their paw pads.  This includes dangerous items such as pine needles, tree sap, rocks, snow, ice, insects, and even harmful chemicals like lawn fertilizer crystals and motor oil.   Foot washing also decreases foul odors, and helps you identify problems such as skin irritations and redness that you can then show to your veterinarian.  The earlier problems can be identified and treated, the faster they will be healed.

If we as pet guardians do not remove this debris, then our dogs will often lick it out, which can be toxic to them.  Excess licking of the feet can also lead to skin infections and irritations.  Washing debris out of your dog’s feet will prevent your dog from tracking it all over your home as well.  If you let your dogs sleep on your bed, as I do, you do not want debris in your bed either.

Washing your dog’s feet daily can also help you monitor the length of their claws so you can bring him or her for a nail trimming, or trim them yourself.   The more you work with and gently handle your dog’s feet, the better they will be at trusting nail trimming and fur grooming.

Total body bathing once per week (or more often if your dogs love to roll in puddles or mud) is also very important.  Dogs feel so good and smell amazing after a good bath.   The act of bathing is similar to giving a massage, especially as the shampoo is lathered in.   I like leaving the shampoo in contact with the skin lathering for 5 minutes.  Giving your dog a 5 minute massage is very beneficial and can be done while you lather the shampoo in.  Here is a video on massage techniques for dogs:

Plus, bathing your dogs helps you monitor for skin irritations, lumps and cuts.  You can detect these issues earlier and then report them to your veterinarian.  Early detection is vital.

Letting our dogs swim in a pond, lake or river is not the equivalent of bathing them.  It is also inaccurate that weekly bathing is too frequent and will strip out your dog’s natural skin oils.  Those are myths.  Weekly bathing with a good quality shampoo from your veterinarian will never harm your dog.  Come in and check out the types of safe, natural shampoos we have here at Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital.

For dogs that grow long fur, bathing at home can be done in between visits with his or her professional groomer.   You can also take classes and courses to learn how to groom your own dog.   Many dog owners have learned to groom and bath their own dogs in the comfort of their own homes.   You just have to prevent shampoo and water from going into your dog’s eyes and ears.  You can place cotton ball in their ears for protection.  And avoid shampooing vigorously their head.  Instead use a warm wet facecloth to spot bathe their head and muzzles.   Luke warm water is best – not too hot and not too cold.  I do use warmer water in the winter time, and cooler water in the summer time to help the dogs feel best.  Toweling dry is also excellent and comfortable for the dog rather than a loud blow-dryer.  I also let my dogs shake off the water- dogs are very good at removing the water with a full body shake, then I towel dry again with another fresh towel.

Dogs are routine oriented.  Thus, making a habit of bathing your dog on the same day and same time of the week is helpful.  My dogs know that Saturday night after work are their bath times!

It is definitely possible to train dogs to accept bathing and feet washing.  Gentle practice and positive reinforcement help so very much.   Check out our video on how to bath your dog:

And on nail trimming:

Work with your veterinarian to help make bathing more pleasurable to your dog.  There are many resources to help including safe, effective shampoos, relaxing herbs to help make it an even more comfortable experience for your dog, and tips to ensure success.   Embrace new skills!  Your dogs and yourself will benefit greatly!   For more information and help contact us at  and  [email protected]

NEW ARTICLE* How To Make Green Tea For Your Dog or Cat

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Bow Bottom Veterinary Hospital
Dr Julie Schell BSc(Hons), DVM, CVA, CVCHM, CVC

Organic green tea is rich in antioxidants and helps fight bacterial infections. It has dental benefits of decreasing painful inflammations in addition to helping prevent arthritis and gingivitis, inhibition of cancer cell growth, tumor prevention, and treatment of several diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, atopic dermatitis, and diarrhea. It can be used orally or topically to help heal. Using topically, it is great for ‘hot spots’ and orally to soothe sores in the mouth and gums.

To prepare green tea for your pet to consume, you can:
1. Pour 1 liter of cold water into a glass pitcher. (I recommend glass rather than plastic to prevent PVC contaminations). Insert 1 tea bag (I prefer the organic, pure green tea) or 1 tablespoon of loose leaves. You can use Jasmine Green Tea or plain Green Tea or Sencha Green tea. There are many varieties of green tea. In my experience pets like the fresh, non-roasted green tea better than the roasted, however each pet is unique and therefore it is worth it to try a variety to see what your pet prefers. I like using cold water as less caffeine is transferred to cold water compared to hot. It is not necessary to use decaffeinated green tea if cold water is used to brew the tea. Another option is to use the tea bag after it has used to make tea for yourself. It will still have enough strength to then brew 1 litre in cold water for your pets.
2. Steep for 15 minutes.
3. Remove tea bag
4. Store in the glass pitcher (covered) in the fridge. It stays fresh for 3 days.
5. Most pets will drink the green tea if put in a glass bowl or even a drinking glass. I always offer plain water in case the pet prefers that over the green tea. It is important that pets always consume enough water and have access to it.
6. For small dogs and cats, you can also mix 1/8 of a cup twice daily into food.
7. For medium dogs, you can mix ½ cup twice daily into food.
8. For large dogs, you can mix 1 cup twice daily into food.

For questions please contact


Wynn, S.G. and Fougere, B.J.; Veterinary Herbal Medicine, 2007; Mosby Elsevier, p.575-7