Tag: Animal Welfare

How Canada became a haven for the world’s unwanted dogs

Posted by dogwalk1 - November 6, 2013 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings, Technology, Training
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Thousands of international strays are finding a new home in Canada

by Charlie Gillis

His story begins in a phone booth—or, more accurately, under it. The puppy had pawed out a refuge from spring monsoons and lay mewling as shoppers in Mussoorie, a mountain town north of New Delhi, passed him by. The wails of stray dogs are part of India’s sonic wallpaper; an estimated 250,000 roam the streets of Delhi alone, yipping and howling amid the din of car horns and motorcycles. But after several days of listening to this one, a group of schoolboys decided they’d had enough. Wary of the animal’s fleas and mange, they gathered him into a section of newspaper and prepared to throw him over a nearby cliff.

Barb Gard was not a rescuer in those days. She’d come to Mussoorie in 2003 to teach a session at its famed international school for girls and was booked to fly home to B.C. in two days. But she’d heard the pup on her walks to the town’s open-air market, and now, with the life of one bedraggled canine hanging in the balance, she decided to act. Advancing on the boys, she held out her waterproof jacket and—ignoring their warnings that the dog was dirty—wrapped him up and spirited him away.

Gard has rescued more than 200 street dogs from near-certain death in India (Brian Howell)

Ten years on, that dog sprawls on Gard’s bedsheets in Abbotsford, B.C., a portrait of health and tranquility. His name is Francis, after the patron saint of animals, and his life story is only slightly less remarkable than the Assisian friar’s. After 24 hours on an electrolyte-heavy formula, a de-worming, a de-fleaing and a battery of shots at a local vet clinic, he was tucked into a crate for a two-stop flight to Canada, with Gard as his escort. In Singapore, airline officials paged her to the tarmac to calm her screeching animal and contend with his diarrhea. “By the time we got to Vancouver,” she recalls, “he was screaming so loud, they waived the inspection fee.”

A dreadful odyssey, in short, but one that changed Gard’s life. In 2006, she returned to India and brought home five more of the ubiquitous street dogs, known as “desis,” finding adoptive homes for them once she got back. During a third voyage in 2009, she partnered with a pair of activist veterinarians in Delhi to create a non-profit called Adopt an Indian Desi Dog (AAIDD). Gard, now a retired school psychologist, has since airlifted another 219 canines facing near-certain death from disease, starvation or euthanasia, and found most of them permanent homes in B.C. by advertising them on the adoption website, Petfinder.com. In 2011 alone, she brought 100 into the country, promising herself she’d scale back the airlifts because she’d worn herself out. Then, a few weeks before Christmas this year, her phone rang again. “I brought in another seven in January,” sighs the 58-year-old. “I couldn’t resist.”

Somehow, without notice, Canada has become a refuge to the huddled masses of the canine world, as thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—flood into the country each year. It’s a Wild West sphere, with no one tracking the number of rescuees entering the country, nor their countries of origin. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which regulates the importation of animals, has recorded a spike over the past five years in the number of adult dogs imported annually for commercial use, from 150 to 922 (some rescued dogs are included in the “commercial use” category because organizations collect adoption fees to offset costs). But that represents a fraction of the inflow, because some rescuees enter the country designated as pets rather than commercial-use animals, and because border officers don’t keep count of the dogs they inspect for proof of rabies and for general health. One Calgary-based agency contacted byMaclean’sPawsitive Match Inc., says it trucked in about 800 dogs from the southwestern U.S. and Mexico in 2012 alone. It continues to receive another 80 or so per month.

Meantime, animal rescue organizations from this country are a fast-proliferating sub-group onPetfinder.com, where North American non-profits and charities line up homes for needy animals. As many as 80 new Canadian groups join each year, and while not all import their dogs, enough do that a few mouse clicks can raise the profiles of canines from such far-flung locales as Greece, Taiwan and Iran. Some must be flown to Canada; others have already made the trip and are waiting in foster homes for adoptive families.

This is, in part, an outcome of our shrunken world: a dog located halfway around the globe can be in Canada a week after someone in Halifax or Toronto spots its profile on the web. But it’s also a sign of how deeply animal-welfare values have penetrated Canada’s mainstream. Gone are the days when an impounded stray was a dead dog walking: only 14 per cent of dogs taken in by SPCAs and humane societies each year are put to death (compared to 60 per cent in the United States), while the once idealistic-sounding rhetoric of the animal rights movement has gained near-universal public acceptance. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents to a 2011 poll commissioned by the Canadian branch of the World Society for the Protection of Animals said they wish to “minimize and eventually eliminate all forms of animal cruelty and suffering.”

Not everyone in the animal welfare community sees cross-border dog rescues as the next step in our moral evolution. Humane societies at both the local and national levels have raised their voices against the practice, arguing there are plenty of dogs in Canadian pounds and shelters in desperate need of homes. “We need to direct Canadians to adopt here,” says Barbara Cartwright, chief executive of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. “It can be very frustrating for a local humane society that has a dog overpopulation problem, and is looking at euthanizing animals, while dogs are being brought in from a different continent.”

Yet the airlifts go on. Last month, a group in Nova Scotia announced it hoped to bring 100 dogs from the U.S. over the next year; on Feb. 12, Pawsitive Match took 12 more dogs across the border at Coutts, Alta.; Toronto-based rescuer Dianne Aldan is expecting two more to arrive next week from Greece. Dogs, it seems, are the new beneficiaries of Canada’s fabled openness to newcomers—a furry diaspora, unleashing the joys and discontents that come with the designation. With each new shipment, the debate over who gets in intensifies, producing an echo of our periodic clashes over human immigration. “If you do want to help out in another country,” says Cartwright, “donate to the local agency that’s trying to make a difference there. The problem should be dealt with in that country, by the people of that country.”

Pet rescuers have been with us a while, of course. Animal sympathizers the world over were inspired in the 1980s by British activists who began seizing donkeys from neglectful owners, or taking stray dogs to “no-kill” shelters whence they could be adopted. Their Canadian imitators initially focused on animals on death row at their local shelters, marshalling volunteers to provide foster homes and seeking permanent owners for the condemned. By the late 1990s, some were turning their attention to Aboriginal reserves and northern towns, where a lack of funding and infrastructure for animal control had resulted in chronic overpopulation by dogs. The sight of sick canines scuttling around reserves was enough for some empathetic visitors to mobilize airlifts on the spot.

That gut-level reaction served as the impetus for many an international rescue group, as globe-trotting Canadians got a look at deplorable conditions for stray dogs in the countries they visited. For Aldan, a financial analyst from Toronto, it happened during her 1984 honeymoon in Greece, where the state of the country’s strays struck her as profoundly as the azure seas. “The dogs were just skin and bones, walking around the street,” she recalls. “If they got sick, people would just abandon them.” When she and her husband returned for subsequent vacations, they found conditions largely the same and, in 2001, Aldan took action. The result was Tails from Greece, a charity that has since airlifted 292 dogs to Canada, housing them in foster homes while seeking out permanent owners in southern Ontario.

Aldan’s modus operandi is widely replicated. She works with Greece’s handful of private shelters, identifying dogs that would make good pets and saving them from death row. She recruits tourists willing to accompany the dogs to Canada and maintains a network of foster families to keep the animals while they await what rescuers call “forever homes.” In 2011, Tails from Greece declared $40,000 in revenue, much of which Aldan spent on vaccinations and flights (about $1,200 for a crate carrying two adult dogs). Still more went to food and unexpected veterinary treatment while the animals were being fostered.

If the movement had a coming-of-age moment, though, it was Hurricane Katrina and the TV images of 15,000 dogs and cats left to fend for themselves in the aftermath of the 2005 storm. Media coverage of a Vancouver-based team that rushed to the Gulf Coast to save sodden, frightened animals inspired others to get involved—donating money, adopting dogs and, in a few cases, launching their own relief organizations. Four-legged refugees found homes as far away as B.C. and Ontario. By the time of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan two years ago, a template was set: groups swept in to execute daring rescues of animals from Fukushima’s exclusion zone, providing a level of care the wave’s human victims might have envied. Some were taken to a special animal rescue program at Azabu University, west of Tokyo, where they were diagnosed with, and treated for, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Heartwarming stuff, but for the rescue movement, the legacy of these efforts has been mixed. A handful of people evacuated from Katrina’s wake sued afterward because they never got a chance to reclaim their animals before agencies adopted them out. Years later, questions arose as to whether these self-appointed guardians of animal welfare are, themselves, adequately monitored. Last June, the SPCA removed 52 dogs from the property of a woman in Burnaby, B.C., who had helped save animals after the hurricane. Officers alleged the dogs—which were not hurricane victims—suffered from rotting teeth, infections and untreated skin ailments.

Still, the value of the rescuers’ service, post-Katrina, was hard to deny. Removing strays from the street means reducing the threat to humans of diseases like rabies and tetanus, proponents point out. Even in the absence of disaster, the self-styled saviours have ingratiated themselves to local residents by providing a humane option to deal with dog overpopulation. Aldan points to economically downtrodden Athens, where broke owners increasingly take their animals to international adoption groups, rather than simply abandoning them. “In the larger centres,” she says, “things are getting better.”

Better for people and—more important in the new ethos of animal welfare—better for dogs. That’s a key distinction to anyone trying to understand the values behind the global rescue movement, says Jean Harvey, a philosophy professor at the University of Guelph, who has studied the ethics of the animal rights movement. In past decades, she notes, animals were held in the mainline public view as objects of human use—food, labour, companions. Now, says Harvey, “you’ve got a very different group of people. You’ve got people who see animals as having intrinsic value similar to that of human beings.”

Typical is Ashley Bishop, a 28-year-old office worker from North Vancouver who, with her husband, Mark Alford, went looking for a dog last year. The couple had criteria: the animal had to be quiet because they live in a small apartment; Alford wanted a dog he could take running. They settled on Hank, a lanky, young desi Barb Gard had imported and advertised on Petfinder.

Bishop admits they made their choice without a second thought about animals languishing in Canadian shelters. “A creature in need is a creature in need,” she says. “Yes, there are lots of dogs here that need homes. But if you don’t adopt these dogs [from India], they’re going to die.” She expands: most countries lack the bylaws, subsidized spay-neuter programs and shelter infrastructure Canadians take for granted; that means strays live shorter and more brutish lives than their homegrown counterparts—lapping up brackish water, foraging in landfills and, in many cases, succumbing to disease.

The couple was even less disposed to forking over $800 to $1,200 for a pedigreed dog, repelled by the idea of an animal weakened by generations of inbreeding done for human benefit. “We didn’t want to spend thousands on vet bills,” says Bishop, “because the dog we got can’t breathe properly or has bad hips because it was bred down so far.” Here, too, they typify a new generation: to hundreds of thousands of North Americans who adopt dogs each year, pure-breeding is impractical, and arguably inhumane.

And the truth is, many rescue groups can source dogs of a given breed without a whole lot of effort. Pawsitive Match has in recent years been importing hundreds of the chihuahuas that proliferated in southern California in the early 2000s, says Tracy Babiak, the chief executive of the Calgary agency. That was about the time Paris Hilton was seen carrying one in her handbag, prompting women to buy “chis” as fashion accessories. The fad gained new life when the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua came out, adds John Murray, a rescuer based in Norco, Calif., who trucks dogs to Alberta on Babiak’s behalf. Now, with Hilton off the tabloid radar and the movie in bargain bins, Murray says he can “get anyone a chihuahua any time they want” by plucking it off death row at a California shelter. “The same thing happened with Dalmatians when 101 Dalmatians came out,” he says. “People just don’t think.”

Here, then, lies the paradox for domestic SPCAs and humane societies. On one hand, the country has largely come around to their world view. Canada has halved its euthanasia rate in the last two decades. Fully half the dogs admitted to shelters get adopted. But if the life of a chihuahua in San Bernadino, Calif., is as important as one in Saskatoon—and its death more imminent—how do you ensure the ones left in Canadian shelters aren’t forgotten?

Cartwright, the CEO at the federation of humane societies, spends a lot of time trying to answer those questions without sounding hypocritical. At least some of the tens of thousands of Canadian dogs put to death each year would make fine companions, she insists (surveys of shelters, SPCAs and vet clinics suggest three per cent have neither physical nor behavioural problems), while others could be rehabilitated.

Cartwright also raises concern about the potential for imported dogs to carry pathogens like rabies or the deadly parvovirus—though that concern seems minimal, given CFIA requirements for canines entering the country. While Canada doesn’t typically quarantine dogs, it does demand either proof of an animal’s rabies vaccinations or a vet’s note assuring that it comes from a rabies-free country. The rules are more stringent for younger dogs and for animals not accompanied by their owners (most rescuees arrive with volunteers). All puppies less than eight months old must have certificates of health showing they don’t have parvovirus, distemper or the canine flu, among other ailments.

Certainly, those who adopt foreign dogs seem motivated to keep them healthy. Last November, Jessie Oliver-Laird and Pinder Chahil, a young couple living in downtown Toronto, offered to foster one of Aldan’s so-called “Greekies,” with a view to adopting the dog if the relationship worked. The dog, alas, had cancer in a right front toe, and a vet in Toronto was forced to amputate. No sooner had Aldan’s charity swallowed the $3,000 surgery bill than the dog, Sven, tested positive for a hypothyroid condition. If they chose to keep him, Oliver-Laird and Chahil would have to pay about $100 per month for tests and medication—on top of the $350 adoption fee they’d be paying Tails from Greece.

By then, however, Sven was lumbering happily about the couple’s one-bedroom suite, located just east of Toronto’s financial district, stealing the hearts of his hosts. A wire-haired pointing griffin, he stands about a half-metre tall at the shoulders and eats about $50 worth of food per month. Aldan figured him to be eight years old—rocking-chair age for even a well-raised pooch. But to ensure he got enough exercise, Oliver-Laird, a daycare worker, took him for four walks a day outside their mid-rise co-op.

Of course, like all rescued animals, Sven had the power of narrative working in his favour. He was found abandoned on one of Greece’s many islands and spent a year in a shelter before his guardian angel descended in the form of Aldan. “We think he was just left by someone who couldn’t afford to feed him,” says Chahil solemnly. By the time he reached Toronto, Sven was solitary and diffident, rejecting a fluffy bed the couple bought him in favour of the parquet floor. But a steady flow of affection from his caretakers slowly revived his spirits. Soon visitors to the apartment were met by a friendly and well-behaved pooch—pretty much an ad for the entire rescue movement.

So when Aldan called Chahil and Oliver-Laird in early February to ask if they wished to keep Sven, the pair never hestitated. He was everything they’d wanted, and they’d played their small part in relieving the worldwide epidemic of animal suffering—a plague in which, to their thinking, borders are no longer relevant. “Any abandoned dog needs a home,” says Oliver-Laird lightly. “It just happens that this one was abandoned in another part of the world.”

Source MacLeans March 2013

Getting Social & Eating out with Fido – Yappy Hour

Posted by dogwalk1 - October 3, 2013 - Blog Barks, Dog Events, Health & Wellness, Training
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Guest Post: Trips with Pets

All over the United States, dog friendly restaurants, bars and hotels are embracing the idea of Yappy Hour – a dog friendly cocktail hour where pooches and their owners can socialize and enjoy drinks, treats, and delicious “yappetizers.” We’ve looked high and low to bring you some of the nation’s best Yappy Hours. If you don’t see one near you on our list, check around at your local dog friendly restaurants, hotels and pubs, which you can find right here on TripsWithPets.com!

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, California
From May through September, the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California offers the ultimate in upscale Yappy Hours. Human diners can enjoy burgers, beer and wine, while their canine counterparts delight in complimentary hand-made dog biscuits and fancy meat and cheese-flavored water. The hotel even offers a special Howl-O-Ween Yappy Hour in October, and a Yappy Howl-iday celebration in December. The proceeds of each Happy Hour support Friends of Orange County’s Homeless Pets, so you can feel great about bringing your pooch.

Rumor, the Las Vegas Boutique Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada
On the third Thursday of each month (excluding holidays), Rumor Las Vegas Boutique Resort in Las Vegas welcomes dogs of all breeds, shapes and sizes to their renowned Yappy Hour. Featuring great cocktails, yappetizers, live DJs, doggie contests and free doggy goodie bags, Rumor promises a fantastic time for humans and canines alike.

The Liberty Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts
Once a city jail, the Liberty Hotel is now one of Boston’s finest, most eclectic, and most dog friendly places to stay. Due to its popularity, this year the hotel’s Yappy Hour has become “Yappier Hour.” Yappier Hour will be held from 5:30 until 8:00 pm every Wednesday throughout the fall, weather permitting. The fun takes place in The Yard – an enclosed space that used to serve as the exercise yard for the jail’s inmates!

Wonder Bar, Asbury Park, New Jersey
There’s truly no place for your pooch like the Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey. This is a fun-in-the-sun haven for dogs and their owners, where a crowd of dogs can play, enjoy complimentary treats, and splash in the pool to their hearts’ content as their humans enjoy delicious drink specials. Yappy Hour is held every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 7 pm beginning in April and ending in November.

Allentown Brew Works, Allentown, Pennsylvania
If you love incredible hand-crafted beer, and you love hanging out with your best canine buddy, Allentown Brew Works in Allentown, Pennsylvania is the place to come. Every Monday from 5:30 pm to 8:30pm, Doggie Yappy Hour is held on the elegant Biergarten Patio. On the menu: artisanal and seasonal beer and the ‘Yappy Hour Special,’ the purchase price of which goes toward a respected animal charity.

Hotel Monaco Alexandria, Alexandria, Virginia
At the luxury Hotel Monaco in Alexandria, Virginia, the Doggie Yappy Hour is a community event, where locals and their pups can mingle with hotel guests from around the world. The event takes place Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 5pm, and runs from April through October. For the furry set, doggie treats and fresh water are on the house, and a doggie goodie bag is offered. For the human set, there’s the Jackson 20′s Bar Menu, which offers regional dishes, craft beers, cocktails, and a wine list featuring local vintages.

World of Beer
In Miami, at the World of Beer’s Dadeland location, Yappy Hour lasts all day. What’s more, your dog gets treats, and you get $1 off of any beer that has “dog” in its name, except for Dogfish Head beer (it is named for a fish!)

Remember that for health code reasons, dogs are not allowed inside restaurant areas. Yappy hours are held in outdoor seating areas.  In addition, your dog must be properly socialized and on his or her best behavior at any Yappy Hour. For specific rules and regulations, contact the establishment before you attend.

- See more 

Is Your Pooch On Santa’s Nice List?

Posted by dogwalk1 - December 7, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings, Training
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Teaching Good Holiday Doggie Manners

With the holiday season upon us, many pet parents are planning to gather friends and family for fun festive parties.  Keep in mind that although you might be ready to ‘Deck the Halls’, your four-legged friend may not be.   Jingle Bells, Figgy Pudding and Tannenbaum create the perfect recipe for misbehavior.  The family pooch probably isn’t accustomed to lots of guests and merriment so they might be tempted to act out, if you’re not prepared.  So, if you’re stressing about how to manage Fido so he doesn’t steal from the table, raid the trash, beg, jump, and whine, then ‘Rest, Ye Merry Gentlemen (and Ladies)’; Santa isn’t the only one with a list this year.

Check out the following simple ways to help ensure your dog is on his best behavior and is the pawfect host this holiday season.

  1. Tire Him Out
    A tired dog is a good dog.  In all the preparation for your holiday party, it’s easy to forget how important it is to exercise your dog.  Remember, a bored and restless pooch can get ‘bad to the bone’.  Make it a high priority to take your dog out for a long walk or run him around in the yard.  With all the preparation and attention to detail you’re doing to make your party perfect, having a wound up dog with pent up energy could mess up the whole works.  The day of your party (before the guests arrive) exercise your dog so he can get it all out of his system. Dogs that are taken for regular walks, runs or hikes won’t need to release pent-up energy by chewing, begging or barking.  This means he’ll be better behaved and more relaxed, so you can be, too.
  2. Keep Him Occupied
    Be sure that you have an ample supply of your dogs’ favorite toys, treats, or bones – that you KNOW will keep him busy.  Toys that stimulate your dog mentally will not only keep him occupied but the mental stimulation will help tire him out.  If your dog is a Kong lover, try stuffing a Kong or two with peanut butter and them putting in the freezer – this will keep your pooch busy for a while!  Food dispensing toys are also excellent options.   
  3. Practice Good Behaviors
    It’s never too late to reinforce and practice good behaviors.  Start your dog on a refresher course of the basic commands (sit, lay down, stay, wait, leave it, etc.) today!  As always, make sure you have high reward treats on hand.  Also, be prepared on the day of your party or gathering with a good supply of those high reward treats so that you can continue to reward your dog for his good behavior.  
  4. Have a Back-Up Plan
    Even the most well behaved dogs can forget their manners with all of the excitement and distractions of holiday festivities so it’s important to have a plan B.   If your pooch just can’t curb his enthusiasm, place him in his crate, behind a baby gate, or perhaps on a tether.  If you do have to separate your pooch, give him something really special to keep him occupied.  If your dog normally gets hard biscuits in a Kong, stuffing it instead with a mixture of high-quality dog food and some mashed sweet potatoes will be especially exciting.   
  5. Assign Doggie Duty
    In the hustle and bustle of the day, it’s important that your holiday pooch is attended to appropriately.  Recruit and assign a family member or friend to help you keep on eye on your little four-legged host.  They can help keep him in line, curtail any overly generous food-giving guests, and take your dog out for potty breaks and little walks.

So, don’t worry.  With a little preparation and practice and a lot of consistency, your dog’s good manners will so impress your guests (and Santa, too), that you both are sure to earn your spot on the “GOOD LIST” this holiday season.

 

Source
About TripsWithPets.com
TripsWithPets.com is the #1 online resource for pet travel. It was named BEST pet travel site by Consumer Reports! TripsWithPets.com offers resources to ensure pets are welcome, happy, and safe when traveling.  The website features a directory of pet friendly hotels & accommodations across the U.S. and Canada, airline & car rental pet policies, dog friendly beaches, search by route, pet travel tips, pet travel supplies, along with other pet travel resources.

Dental Care for your Pooch

Posted by dogwalk1 - November 26, 2012 - Health & Wellness
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We board so many dogs and although they all have smelly ‘dog breath’ some have dental disease that can make you almost pass out! Here is some helpful information for you on your dogs dental care!

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Bad breath in pets, particularly dogs, is often joked about, but it is not a laughing matter. Dental disease affects up to 80% of pets over the age of three, and just like humans, there can be serious consequences of poor dental health.

How many teeth do dogs and cats have, anyway?
Dogs start out with 28 deciduous (baby) teeth, cats start out with 26 deciduous teeth. By six months of age, these baby teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth, 42 in the dog and 30 in the cat.

Will I find the deciduous teeth, and what happens when they don’t fall out on their own?
You may or may not find the teeth as they fall out. As dogs play and chew on toys, you might see a tooth. Likewise, as a cat grooms, you may find a tooth in the fur. If the deciduous teeth don’t fall out and the permanent teeth erupt under them, this can lead to problems, such as increased tartar formation, malocclusion problems, and gingival (gum) irritation.

When should dental care start with my pet?
The earlier the better. With the help of your Veterinarian, be on the lookout for retained deciduous teeth and malocclusion (bad bite) problems. Your Veterinarian can teach you how to care for your pet’s teeth and gums early on.

How can I tell if my pet has dental problem?
Bad breath is often a first indicator of dental disease. Gently lift the lips and check for tartar, inflamed gums, or missing/broken teeth. Cats may exhibit increased drooling. Both cats and dogs can exhibit reluctance to eat or play with toys, “chattering” of the teeth when trying to eat, lethargy, bleeding gums, eroded teeth, and failing to groom (cats). Dental disease progresses in stages — if caught early, you can prevent further damage and save as many teeth as possible.

How is the rest of the body affected by bad teeth?
Infected gums and teeth aren’t just a problem in the mouth — the heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints may also be infected. The tartar and any infected areas of the mouth contain a multitude of bacteria than can ‘seed’ to other parts of the body. With regular dental care, you can prevent some of these more serious side effects.

Where should I start?
With a new puppy or kitten, talk to your Veterinarian at the vaccination appointments on how to initiate a good dental care program at home. Most Veterinarians are happy to provide brushing lessons, and many carry brushes and toothpaste specifically for dogs and cats. (NOTE: do not use human toothpaste on your pet!)

If your pet is an adult over 3 years of age, it would be wise to schedule a dental check up with your Veterinarian. If a dental cleaning is necessary, it is advisable to do pre-anesthesia blood work to make sure your pet does not have any underlying problems.

My pet needs a dental cleaning — what is involved with that?
As mentioned above, pre-dental blood work is recommended. This is a check on the overall health of the pet to make sure that liver, kidneys, and blood counts are within normal ranges and to reduce any risks possible prior to the anesthesia. Many pets with bad teeth will be put on an antibiotic a few days prior to the dental to calm the infection and reduce possibility of complications.

Your pet will be fasted from the evening before for the anesthesia. The dental itself is similar to a human dental cleaning – tartar removal, checking for cavities, gingival (gum) pockets, loose teeth, any growths on the gums or palate, removal of diseased teeth, and finally, polishing. The polishing is to smooth the tooth after tartar removal, as the tartar pits the tooth. A smooth tooth will not encourage tartar formation as easily as a roughened tooth. Click here for a photo essay on a dental cleaning in a cat.

With good dental care, your pet can enjoy a long and healthy life.

Source Vet Medicine

Want to bring your pet along when you travel?

Posted by dogwalk1 - November 15, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Technology, Training
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Source: Worldwide Traveler

To find out whether your pet can travel with you in the cabin or in the hold, call your airline or travel agent before booking your flight. Generally speaking, only cats and dogs are accepted on regular flights. Do research in advance and shop around: every company has its own rules. Transporting animals by air is subject to various laws that can vary considerably from one country to another. In some cases, you may have to change your transporter, destination or dates to travel with Fido or Fluffy.

In the cabin

Check with your airline. For example, Air France and Swissair accept dogs and cats in the cabin, whereas Air Canada requires that any animal, except recognized trained service animals, travel in the cargo hold.

Animals accepted:

  • only cats and dogs under 6 kg (container included) for Air France / under 8 kg for Swissair. USAirways accepts caged birds.
  • guide dogs, regardless of their weight

Transportation rules:

  • the animal must travel in a specific container that must respect very specific standards,
  • the container must be sufficiently ventilated and allow the animal to stand up and turn around,
  • in no event must the animal leave its container during the flight.
  • the animal must be clean, healthy, not dangerous, no odor.
  • not pregnant.
  • must not disturb passengers.
  • The container may not exceed a combined length, width and height of 115 cm.
  • The container must remain stowed away under your seat for the duration of the entire flight
  • the carrier is considered a baggage item.

Practical information
in order for the animal to travel peacefully, it is recommended that passengers administer, after consultation with a vet, a product to prevent the animal suffering from air sickness or any negative reaction during the flight,

To avoid any unpleasant surprises, find out in advance about the rules in effect in the countries of origin and arrival (e.g., vaccinations, quarantine).

For further information and to find out about costs, contact the reservations department.

In the baggage hold

 In order for your pet to travel on the same flight with you, you must make the request in advance when you make your own reservation with the airline. Keep in mind that ventilated temperature-controlled cargo holds are available only on certain aircraft.

Annual holiday blackout dates
Due to increased passenger and cargo loads, some airlines (such as Air Canada) are not able to transport pets during:

  • Christmas holidays
  • Summer

Clients wishing to travel with pets must book flights that fall outside this embargo period.

Additional winter restrictions
On some airlines, the temperature and pressure in the hold are practically the same as in the cabin (Air France, Swissair). From November 1 through March 31, and at any other time when the temperature is 0° C and below, pets are not accepted on some aircraft (Air Canada) since the hold is not heated and the temperature can fall to 2° C.

Obviously there’s a difference between a Labrador and a toy poodle. Dogs and cats under 4.5 kg (10 lb.) are not accepted on some aircraft in the winter.

Summer Restrictions
Check with your airline. For instance, in the US, because of the extreme heat and USDA regulations, airports in the folliowing cities do not accept pets in the baggage compartment between June 20 and September 28: Atlanta (ATL), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Houston (IAH) Las Vegas (LAS), Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO) and Phoenix (PHX).

Making a request to travel with your pet
  • Pets for which reservations have not been made in advance will not be accepted at the airport.
  • You must provide details to the reservations department regarding the dimensions of the cage, as well as the weight and breed of your pet when you call.
  • A pet and kennel with a combined weight of less than 70 lbs (32.5 kg) is accepted for travel in the baggage compartment provided the owner is flying on the same flight.
  • A passenger may not travel with more than two animals.
  • Two pets travelling in one kennel are counted as two pets regardless of combined weight.
  • A passenger may not travel with an animal being transported for commercial purposes.
  • Submit your request up to 30, and not less than 7, days before the date of your travel. The number of animals is limited by the type of aircraft, so you may have to change your reservation in order to travel with your pet.
Choosing the right carrier

To ensure your pet carrier is suitable for travel and secure for your pet, we recommend that you check in advance with the airline and ask your veterinarian for advice so that your pet can travel comfortably and safely.

Pet carriers must meet the following conditions in order to be accepted for travel

  • Only hard-sided kennels are accepted as checked baggage. The majority of carriers are made of hard plastic with holes for ventilation. No part of the animal is allowed to protrude from the carrier. As a result, wire carriers are not permitted. All carriers must be secure and leakproof. Collapsible kennels are not accepted.
  • International regulations state that the pet carrier must be big enough to allow the animal to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably.
  • Animals over 31 lbs (14 kg) must have their own separate kennel. A maximum of 2 dogs not weighing more than 31 lbs (14 kg) each may travel together in same kennel.
  • Any wheels must be removed from pet carriers prior to check-in.
Preparation for travel

Since airlines assume no responsibility for the care or feeding of pets while in transit, it is most important that you prepare both the cage and the animal ahead of time.

  • Feed your pet four to six hours prior to departure, as a full stomach may cause discomfort during travel.
  • Give your pet water right up to the time of travel. Be sure to empty the dish at check-In, otherwise spillage during the flight will give your pet a wet and uncomfortable ride. Leave the dish in the kennel so that airline agents can provide water in the event of an extended wait before, between or after the flight.
  • Tranquilizers and other medications are not recommended. Consult your veterinarian.
  • Cover the bottom of the kennel with absorbent material such as a blanket.
  • Do not lock the kennel door as Air Canada personnel may need to access your pet in the event of an emergency.
Government Regulations

Many countries place restrictions on the entry of animals. It is imperative that you comply with all restrictions, and are in possession of all documents required by the destination country. Be certain to obtain information on the particular requirements on your countries of departure and arrival. Failure to do so can lead to refused entry, or lengthy quarantines.

All animals are inspected by government veterinary officials upon landing. You may be required to pay for veterinary inspection fees. Local veterinary health certificates obtained from animal clinics are not sufficient to clear government veterinary inspections. In order to obtain these additional documents, such as government approved health certificates, you should contact the consulate or embassy of each destination country.

Liability limits

It is best to take out insurance since most airlines do not assume responsibility in case of loss, delay, injury, illness or death of an animal, whether a pet or not, that they accept to transport.

Animals not permitted to travel

Category 1 and 2 dogs, as defined by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing, are not permitted to travel in the cabin, in the hold, or as cargo:

- Category 1 > dogs
So-called attack dogs which do not belong to a breed but are similar in physical appearance to the following breeds: Staffordshire terrier (pitbulls), Mastiff (Boerbulls) and Tosa.

- Category 2 > dogs
So-called guard or defense dogs, including the following breeds: American Staffordshire terrier, Rottweiler, Tosa and dogs with physical characteristics similar to the Rottweiler breed.

The Washington Convention

Implemented in 1973, the Washington Convention restricts or forbids international trade in animal and plant species that are threatened with extinction. It is now in force in 150 countries.
For example, the Convention forbids international commerce of some animal species (gorillas, elephants, deep sea turtles) and carefully regulates trade in others (chimpanzees, parakeets, boa constrictors). For those animals that can be transported, you must obtain a CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species) permit.

Source: Worldwide Traveler

October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month.

Posted by dogwalk1 - October 15, 2012 - Health & Wellness
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Source – Pet Finder

October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month and there are more dogs in need than ever. Check out the articles here for great information on adopting a dog, a dog adoption checklist, tips for the first thirty days of dog adoption and more!

But what if you can’t adopt? Here are some easy ways you can still help:

    1. Donate your Facebook status. Just paste this message into the “What’s on your mind?” box at the top of your page: “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Save a life: Adopt a dog! http://www.petfinder.com”

 

    1. Tweet, retweet and repeat the following (or your own brilliant message): “October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Save a life: Adopt a dog! http://www.petfinder.com #savedogs”

 

    1. Contact your local shelter or rescue group (you can search for groups near you here) and ask if they have a donation wish list or other flyer they’d like to you to post around your office or neighborhood. They may be holding special events for Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month which you can help promote.

 

    1. Share an adoptable dog or a Petfinder dog-adoption Happy Tail on your blog, Facebook or Twitter (hashtag #savedogs) page each day of the month.

 

    1. Sign up as a foster parent or shelter volunteer then tell your friends how great it is. Contact your local shelter or rescue group, or register in our volunteer database.

 

    1. Add a Petfinder widget or banner to your Web site or blog.

 

    1. Write an op-ed about the importance of pet adoption for your local paper.

 

    1. Contact your local shelter or rescue group and offer to photograph their adoptable pets and upload the pics to Petfinder.

 

    1. Donate to your local shelter or rescue group or to the Petfinder.com Foundation in honor of Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month.

 

  1. Pass on an understanding of the importance of pet adoption to the next generation. Talk to your kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and other up-and-comers about animal shelters and why Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month, and pet adoption in general, is important.

For more information – Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog

 

Urban Coyotes Never Stray: New Study Finds 100 Percent Monogamy

Posted by dogwalk1 - October 2, 2012 - Coyotes, Health & Wellness, Mutterings
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This amazing article is from Science Daily – we have so many coyotes in our neighborhood in New Westminster I found this article very interesting.

Coyotes living in cities don’t ever stray from their mates, and stay with each other till death do them part, according to this new study:

The finding sheds light on why the North American cousin of the dog and wolf, which is originally native to deserts and plains, is thriving today in urban areas.

Scientists with Ohio State University who genetically sampled 236 coyotes in the Chicago area over a six-year period found no evidence of polygamy — of the animals having more than one mate — nor of one mate ever leaving another while the other was still alive.

This was even though the coyotes exist in high population densities and have plenty of food to eat, which are conditions that often lead other dog family members, such as some fox species, to stray from their normal monogamy.

To cat around, as it were.

“I was surprised we didn’t find any cheating going on,” said study co-author Stan Gehrt, a wildlife ecologist with Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. “Even with all the opportunities for the coyotes to philander, they really don’t.

“In contrast to studies of other presumably monogamous species that were later found to be cheating, such as arctic foxes and mountain bluebirds, we found incredible loyalty to partners in the study population.”

The study appears in a recent issue of The Journal of Mammalogy.

The loyalty of coyotes to their mates may be a key to their success in urban areas, according to Gehrt.

Not only does a female coyote have the natural ability to produce large litters of young during times of abundance, such as when living in food-rich cities, she has a faithful partner to help raise them all.

“If the female were to try to raise those large litters by herself, she wouldn’t be able to do it,” said Gehrt, who holds appointments with the university’s Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Ohio State University Extension. “But the male spends just as much time helping to raise those pups as the female does.”

Unlike the males of polygamous species, a male coyote “knows that every one of those pups is his offspring” and has a clear genetic stake in helping them survive, Gehrt said.

The research was done in Cook, Kane, DuPage and McHenry counties in northeast Illinois. All are in greater Chicago, which is home to about 9 million people and is the third-largest metropolitan area in the U.S.

It’s also home to an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 coyotes. Gehrt has previously said he “couldn’t find an area in Chicago where there weren’t coyotes.”

“You’ve got lots of coyotes in this landscape,” said senior author Cecilia Hennessy, who conducted the study as a master’s degree advisee of Gehrt and is now a doctoral student at Purdue University in Indiana. “You’ve got territories that abut each other. And coyotes can make long-distance forays. So you’d think, based on previous investigations of dog behavior, that cheating would be likely.

“But to find nothing, absolutely nothing, no evidence whatsoever of anything that wasn’t monogamy, I was very surprised by that,” she said.

The finding came through a wider study of Chicago-area coyotes that Gehrt has led since 2000. As the largest study ever on urban coyotes, it’s a long-term effort to understand the animals’ population ecology, how they adapt to urban life and how to reduce their conflicts with people.

“A powerful part of the new paper is that we have long-term field work, behavior observations, to accompany Cecilia’s genetic work,” Gehrt said. “So many genetic studies only analyze samples but know very little about their subjects, whereas we follow these individuals nearly every day and often to the completion of their lives. It’s a nice mesh of lab and field work.”

The scientists used live traps — either padded foothold traps or non-choking neck snares — to catch the coyotes for the study, although pups were simply dug from their dens and held by hand. Small blood and tissue samples were taken from all the animals. The adults, which were anesthetized, also were fitted with radio-collars for tracking their movements and ranges. Afterward, all the coyotes were released where they were caught.

Later, Hennessy, who previously was a plant genetics technician and biology major at the University of Cincinnati, used genetic techniques in the lab to test the animals’ DNA and determine their family trees.

Coyotes maintain monogamy through long-term pair bonding, a term meaning an animal stays with the same mate for more than one breeding season, and sometimes for many.

A male coyote, for his part, practices diligent mate guarding — keeping other males away from the female.

During estrus, which is the time when the female can become pregnant, the pair “will spend all their time together — running, finding food, marking their territory. They’ll always be right at each other’s side.”

“We’ve been able to follow some of these alpha pairs through time, and we’ve had some of them stay together for up to 10 years,” Gehrt said. “They separate only upon the death of one of the individuals, so they truly adhere to that philosophy, ‘Till death do us part,’ ” Hennessy said.

Funding was provided by the Cook County Animal and Rabies Control and by the Cook County Forest Preserve District, and by the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation.

Source Science Daily

Top 5 Hotel Pet Amenities That Score Big With Pet Travelers

Posted by dogwalk1 - September 19, 2012 - Health & Wellness
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For pet parents looking for pet travelaccommodations that don’t just advertise as “pet-friendly” but have made the leap to “pet-loving”, sniff no further.  There are plenty of 5-paw travel accommodations to choose from.

We recently completed a survey of over 200 pet traveling parents and found that pet friendly hotels & accommodations that provide the following top 5 pet-loving amenities desired by pet travelers and their pampered pets, win their business every time.

1.  Welcome Gift
Accommodations that create a great first impression do so by demonstrating their “pet loving” commitment by delivering first class comfort to their guest’s loyal companions.  From packaged pet treats (in a paper bag with a pretty bow and personalized tag), to a portable water bowl and chewy ball toy, they offer every four-legged friend their very own welcome gift and watch them wiggle and squirm with delight.  They understand that it’s the gesture, more than the content or the gift bag that matters.  Pet parents appreciate little tokens that welcome their pets as valued guests.

Want to find out what premier pet friendly accommodations include in their pet welcome gift?  Check out the Kimpton Hotels and you’ll get dog-gone excited!

2.  Pet Bed
Traveling can be taxing.  Routines are disrupted, new sights and sounds and experiences can exhaust even the hardiest of travelers.  Packing is often an issue, too, with little room left over to haul pet bedding and sleeping paraphernalia.   Pet lovers look for accommodations that provide clean, well-kept pet bedding to help their four-legged friends drift off to sleep in comfort.

Westin Hotels provide a perfect example of pet pampering by offering dogs designer beds with luxury bedding that includes over-sized pillows. Their stylish dog beds fit the decorum perfectly, matching the design of the human-size beds precisely.

3.  Designated Pet Walking/Potty Area
Providing a designated pet walking/potty area complete with poop bags and garbage receptacles are a must-have for pet travelers.   It’s important that this area be clearly marked and as separate from normal traffic areas, as possible. Fenced in areas are particularly appealing to pet owners as they can keep their pet confined, and safe, while allowing for exercise.

Clean, well-lit and safe are what pet travelers are looking for in outdoor accommodations when they travel with their pets.  Check out Candlewood Suites and their PAW program (pets are welcome) – they do a great job with this!

4.  Concierge Services
Like their human companions, dogs and cats want to see the sights on their vacation, too.  Pet friendly accommodations that sniff out the favorite local pet friendly attractions and services ahead of time score big with the jet-setting pet crowd.  Pet parents look for hotels & accommodations that truly care about pet guests by providing them with what the need to have a happy and safe stay. They want a concierge who is local and knows the area well, and is devoted to making sure their pets have a 5-star vacation experience.

A couple pet friendly hotel chains that provide pet guests with such services include Affinia Hotels and Aloft Hotels.

5.  On-Site Pet Services
Most accommodations don’t allow guests to keep pets in-room unattended, as even the most well behaved may act out when in a strange place.  However, on the occasion people guests need to go somewhere without their pet, they are looking for the convenience of on-site pet services that include feeding, refilling water bowls, walking dogs around the immediate vicinity, changing litter, administering meds and providing affection, as needed.  Some pet friendly hotels go so far as to offer pet massages and basic grooming!

Loews Hotels do a phenominal job in this department!  Their pet friendly services include: gourmet room service menus for cats and dogs, prepared by award-winning Master Chef, specialized bedding, leashes, collars, litter boxes (and litter), pooper scoopers, dog-walking routes, pet placemats, water bowls, treats, doggie poop bags, rawhide bones, catnip and scratch poles, pet walking and pet sitting services.

Today’s savvy pet friendly hotels & accommodations keep in tune to the pet traveler’s wants and needs and cater to both pet parents and their precious pooches and kitties by providing pet pampering services that leave both pets and owners begging for more.

Source

How to Familiarize Your Pet with a Pet Travel Carrier

Posted by dogwalk1 - August 21, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings, Training
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Whether you’re planning a move with your pet, planning a getaway to a pet friendly hotel, or just taking Spot or Fluffy with you to run errands around town, making sure they are properly secured in your vehicle is essential.

One of the best ways to ensure that your precious pet stays safe in your vehicle is to have him travel in a pet travel carrier… also known as travel kennel and crate. However, before you do, it’s important to know the right way to do this. You must be sure to properly familiarize your dog or cat with the carrier before you set out on your road trip. The time it takes to do this depends on your pet.

It’s best to start your dog or cat out at an early age. It generally takes longer for your pet to become comfortable in a travel carrier as they get older. The first step is to choose the proper carrier. When shopping for a travel carrier, be sure it has proper ventilation and sturdy construction. In addition, the carrier should have a secure latch so that your pet cannot escape. As far as size, the carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. The price of a pet carrier varies depending upon the size, whether it’s hard sided or soft sided, and the brand. The starting price is generally around $20.

To familiarize your pet with the carrier, open the door of the carrier and place it in your home. Place your pet’s bedding, some favorite toys, and maybe some treats of his until your pet feels comfortable. Again, this may take a little time so be patient and don’t rush him.

When you are confident that your pet feels comfortable in the carrier, you can then place the carrier in the car. Start off by taking short rides and gradually build up to longer rides. Gauge the stress level of your pet and don’t push it. Short rides can be up and down the driveway if need be.

Ensure that your pet travel is safe. Pet travel carriers are a great option to ensure the well being of your pet when traveling by car. Just remember to start the familiarization process early if you have upcoming travel plans. Safe travels!

Cesar’s Top Summer Tips to keep Fido safe

Posted by dogwalk1 - July 18, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings
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By Cesar Millan

With record temperatures around the country, it is important to keep your dogs in mind when it comes to keeping cool. Here are Cesar’s Top 10 Tips for beating the summer heat!

1.) Exercise your dog early in the morning or late at night.

Since these are the cooler parts of the day, this will make the walk more comfortable for both you and your dog. I’m a believer in vigorous exercise for healthy dogs, but this is the time of year to back off on exercise intensity.

2.) Use doggie boots.

You can find these at your local pet supply store. If you can’t walk your dog during the early and later hours of the day, this is a good way of protecting him. Heat rises from the ground, especially on surfaces like cement and asphalt, and dogs absorb and release heat through their feet. Just like boots prevent the dog from absorbing the cold in the winter, they also isolate heat.

3.) Watch for signs of dehydration.

Dogs can’t sweat. They cool off by panting, so an overheated dog will drool excessively. It will become lethargic, its eyes will be bloodshot, and it may appear a little pale. If you lift its skin, it will take longer than usual for the skin to fall back into place.

4.) Keep your dog hydrated!

Different dogs have different needs when battling the heat. Keep in mind that darker coats absorb more heat than lighter coats. Also, overweight dogs are at higher risk for dehydration. Carry a bottle of water when going on a walk with your dog. Better yet have your dog carry it for you in a backpack or a vest! The water in the bottles will keep the dog cooler and also give the dog a sense of purpose.

5.) Find innovative ways to cool your dog.

Don’t have air conditioning? No problem! Find a spot in the shade and set up a kiddie pool. Lay down a wet towel for your dog to lie on. Or simply set up a fan in front of a pan of ice. At the Dog Psychology Center, we have sprinklers that spray the dogs with a gentle mist of water.

6.) Dogs cool from the bottom up.

Make sure to spray the paws and stomach, not just the top of the dog, when spraying it with water. A wet towel does more good on the bottom of your dog than when laid on the top of its coat.

7.) Let your dog dig!

Your dog may resort to finding his own way to avoid the heat. Dog in nature dig their dens not out of frustration but to find food, hide, give birth–or keep cool! If it’s possible, locate a shady area where it’s okay for your dog to dig.

8.) Let your dog check the weather.

Dogs don’t have the Weather Channel, so they don’t know why they are being denied a long walk for the day. Allow your dog to step outside and feel for itself that it is too hot, too wet, or too cold to go on a long walk. Instinctually, the dog will understand that it has to shorten its walk, or simply come back inside where it’s safe.

9.) Never leave your dog in a parked car.

The car retains more heat than an open area, even if it is in the shade. Plus, a dog may get overexcited in the car due to passersby or panic from claustrophobia, making dehydration more likely. On longer trips, make sure you have water for the dog and keep the AC running.

10.) Use hot weather as an excuse to swim more often!

The best activity you can do in summertime or hot weather is swimming. Instead of walking the dog, take the dog on a swim! If you hold on and allow your dog to take you around the pool, it becomes a powerful bonding experience for the two of you, similar to the walk.