Tag: Dog Training

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

Posted by dogwalk1 - November 6, 2013 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings, Technology, Training

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














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

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.


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.


Want to bring your pet along when you travel?

Posted by dogwalk1 - November 15, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Technology, Training

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

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



How to Familiarize Your Pet with a Pet Travel Carrier

Posted by dogwalk1 - August 21, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings, Training

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!


Keep Fido Safe this summer!

Posted by dogwalk1 - June 29, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings

Summer is here – kind of. If you live on the west coast it still feels like winter but still the temperatures are changing and it is important to remember to keep your pets safe for when the heat does come.

The following are a few tips to remember to keep fido safe.

Have a wonderful summer!




Heat Stroke
Most people are aware that leaving a pet in a locked car on a 100F degree day would be dangerous. However, it is the seemingly mild days of spring (and fall) that pose great danger, too. Driving around, parking, and leaving your pet in the car for “just a minute” can be deadly. Cars heat up fast — even with the windows cracked. Check out these sources for additional temperature information:

void Heat Stroke – How to Help
Order the “Don’t Leave Me in Here — It’s Hot!” flyers, posters, and other educational materials from My Dog Is Cool web site to put on cars that have pets in them to alert the owners. (Note: if you see pets or children in cars on warm days, please take action and call the police or fire department – time is critical.)

Signs of heat stroke include (but are not limited to): body temperatures of 104-110F degrees, excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, staggering, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, coma, death. Brachycephalic breeds (the short-nosed breeds, such as Bulldogs and Pugs), large heavy-coated breeds, and those dogs with heart or respiratory problems are more at risk for heat stroke.

If you suspect heat stroke in your pet, seek veterinary attention immediately! Use cool water, not ice water, to cool your pet. (Very cold water will cause constriction of the blood vessels and impede cooling.) Do not aid cooling below 103 F degrees – some animals can actually get HYPOthermic, too cold. Offer ice cubes for the animal to lick on until you can reach your veterinarian.

Just because your animal is cooled and “appears” OK, do NOT assume everything is fine. Internal organs such as liver, kidneys, brain, etc., are definitely affected by the body temperature elevation, and blood tests and veterinary examination are needed to assess this. There is also a complex blood problem, called DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) that can be a secondary complication to heat stroke that can be fatal.
Learn more: Tips to prevent heatstroke in your pet

Jogging is also dangerous this time of year. So your dog jogs everyday with you and is in excellent shape – why alter the routine? As the weather warms, humans alter the type and amount of clothing worn, and we sweat more. Dogs are still jogging in their winter coat (or a slightly lighter version) and can only cool themselves by panting and a small amount of sweating through the foot pads. Not enough! Many dogs, especially the ‘athletes’ will keep running, no matter what, to stay up with their owner. Change the routine to early morning or late evening to prevent heatstroke.

Consider your pet’s housing. If they are kept outdoors, do they have shade and fresh water access at all times? I have treated one case of heat stroke in a dog that did indeed have shade and water while tethered under a deck, but had gotten the chain stuck around a stake in the middle of the yard — no water or shade for hours. If you live in a warm climate, it is a good idea to hose down the dog before work, at lunch or whenever you can to provide extra cooling (if you dog is not overheated in the first place).

Water Safety
Not all dogs are excellent swimmers by nature. Especially if Fido has underlying health problems, such as heart disease or obesity to contend with. Consider protecting your pet just as your human family — with a life preserver. If your pet is knocked off of the boat (perhaps getting injured in the process), or is tired/cold from choppy water or sudden storm, a life jacket could be what saves your pet’s life.

Learn more: Pet Life Jackets – Just Another Accessory or a Necessity?

Antifreeze actually a year-round hazard. With the warmer temperatures of summer, cars over heat and may leak antifreeze. (This is the bright green liquid found oozing from that car with the engine fan on.) Also, people change their antifreeze and may spill or leave unused antifreeze out where pets can access it. Antifreeze tastes sweet and is inviting to pets (and children). It is also extremely toxic in very small amounts.

Call your veterinarian (or physician) immediately if any ingestion is suspected. A safe alternative to Ethylene Glycol antifreeze is available, it is called propylene glycol, and while it does cost a small amount more than ‘regular’ antifreeze, it is worth the piece of mind.

Summer Travel
Finally, if you are traveling outside of your normal Veterinarian’s locale, it is wise to check out the Veterinary clinics/hospitals in the area that you are visiting, before the need arises. It is better to be prepared for an emergency and not have one happen than to panic in an emergency situation, wasting valuable time.



Rehoming your dog – things to consider

Posted by dogwalk1 - May 24, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Mourning, Mutterings, Training

The following is from Black Dog Rescue

Dog re-homing or dog surrendering is something that most people never anticipate when first bringing home a dog. But many will have to face it at some point in the dogs life. It may be a decision that you have agonized over for weeks or months. It may be a decision that you find you have to make in just a few hours or a few short days. As fast as life can change, you may suddenly find yourself trying to find a new home for your dog.

Many people will be quick to judge you when you re-home a dog. Some may consider you to be an irresponsible dog owner for not being able to keep the dog his entire life. As you are faced with this decision, please keep in mind that you know your situation and your dog the best. Make this tough decision with only the best interest of your dog in mind. Others may judge from a distance, but only you can do what is right for you and your dog.

Dog Re homing vs. Dog Surrendering

To “Surrender a Dog”, typically refers to taking your dog to the local animal shelter or humane society. Not all shelters accept all pets. Depending on your situation this may or may not be an option for you.

To “Re-home a Dog”, typically refers to an owner trying to personally find a new home for their dog. Meeting the new family may help when it comes time to say goodbye. But there are many unforeseen and hidden dangers when rehoming a dog on your own.

Dog Re-homing Mistakes to Avoid

1. Never post an ad for “free dog” or “free puppy”. These ads are prime targets for dog fighters. They will pose as the perfect home for your dog, but they are really just trying to get a free dog to use as bait to train their fighting dogs.

2. If you do post an ad to find your dog a new home, make sure to tell the good and the bad. Disclosing the dogs true history will help ensure that you get quality responses from people who understand what they are taking on.

3. Always visit the home that your dog is going to. Do NOT hand over the dog to anyone that comes to your home and shows interest. Make sure they are who they say they are and have a home that is the right fit for the dog.

When finding a new home for your dog, you must be aware of the types of dog abuses out in the world. NEVER rehome an unaltered pet. They will probably end up with a backyard breeder . Go to the home your dog will be moving to. Make sure your dog is not ending up in hands of an animal hoarder . NEVER give your dog away for free. This will help ensure he is not being taken for lab experiments or to be used as bait for a fighting dog .

Dog Re-homing Options

There are different options available to you depending on the dogs age, health, and temperment. Click on the scenario below that best describes your situation to determine the best option for you and your dog.

Do you have an aggressive dog that is a danger to other dogs and/or people?

Do you have a sick dog with a chronic medical condition that you can not afford to pay for?

Are you dealing with dog behavioral problems ? (suffers severe separation anxiety or continuously digs holes under fences or jumps the 6 foot fence)

Do you have a change in personal circumstances, (moving, child has become allergic, etc.) that are forcing you to rehome your dog?

Saying good-bye to your dog may be one of the toughest days you face. Making sure that you have done all you can for the dog will help you heal in time.

Source – Black Dog Rescue


What to expect from your 6 month old puppy

Posted by dogwalk1 - May 12, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings, Training

So – we just returned from a fabulous time on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. We rented a rustic cottage right on the ocean with a hot tub, bald eagles, hawks, seals, shells, starfish and more! It was delightful.

It was also a challenge with our 6 month old puppy Ava. She was so worked up by the sounds of the waves crashing, wind blowing in the cedar tree’s, starfish, ocean water etc that she was almost impossible to handle. Although we had a delightful time it really did bring up some concerns for us with Ava (who is a Golden Doodle) who was very nippy with the kids and jumpy.

I have done some poking around in Pet Place.com and found the following info helpful as a starting point for me – hope it helps you as well!


Rani & Ava


At about 5 to 6 months, if you have more than one pup, you may find that play becomes more aggressive and exhibits some nipping, growling, and other general displays of dominance. Many males, and some females, will begin humping each other at this stage as they rehearse for their adult roles. Such behavior is acceptable as long as it is not directed towards you.

Puppies can be taught to sit, lie down, wait, stay, leave it, and other such useful commands that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Once these behaviors have been learned they should be reinforced periodically throughout life. This is the usual time for formal puppy training classes outside the home. Such classes are extremely helpful as long as they are conducted in a non-confrontational way.

The following list will help you know what to expect from your puppy has he develops.

How Big?

Most 6-month-old puppies are approximately 75 % of their adult body weight. Most puppies will gain or grow each week until they attain their adult size which occurs between 9 and 16 months of age. However, there is a range of maturity between the different breeds. Small dogs mature faster and reach their adult size and body weight faster than large and giant breeds of dog.

Teething – By 6 months, the permanent canines erupt. Permanent premolars erupt at 4 to 6 months and the molars erupt at 5 to 7 months of age. Most breeds will show all their permanent teeth between the ages of 6 to 7 months of age. Although dogs this age have all their adult teeth and are not actively “teething”, chewing may peak at this stage. Make sure they have safe and approved chew toys. This is a great age to be on a regular tooth brushing schedule as these are the teeth they will have for the rest of their life so it is important to care for them properly.

  • Senses – By 6 months of age, most dogs have a very keen sense of hearing, vision, taste and smell. At this age, dogs are learning to differentiate one dog (and human) smell from another.
  • Ability to Hold Urine – 6-month-old puppies can generally hold their urine for about 7 hours. This means you will need to take them out at least every 7 hours if you expect them to not have an accident. They should be able to sleep through the night without having to go out.
  • Intelligence – 6-month-old puppies are on beginning of their adolescence. They are smart, curious, strong, willful, and very playful. They also may take more risks by eating things that younger puppies may not. It is important to ensure that your puppy does not have exposure to trash cans, dirty clothes, and other objects he may want to eat.
  • Agility – Most puppies that are 6 months old are becoming very strong and coordinated. They can generally romp, play, fetch, jump, and run with very good accuracy. This is a time they have lots of energy and some of the fetch type toys can be a good release.
  • Sleep – Puppies that are 6 months old sleep approximately 16 to 18 hours per day.
  • Puberty – Be aware that by the time most puppies are 6 to 8 months of age, puberty has set in and unplanned pregnancies are possible, so be ready to take precautions or consider spaying or neutering as soon as possible.
  • Physical Appearance & Hair Coat- Your puppy will begin some changes from a puppy to an adult haircoat. Most puppies begin to shed some of their puppy coat. Get your dog used to being brushed as the shedding will get worse as they full loose their puppy coat. Your puppy will appear much more like an adult at this stage, starting to grow in height and length and fill out with developing muscle.
  • Tips on Best Ways to Raise Your 6-month-old Old Puppy
  • Consider that crate training is for life
  • Take him out at least every 7 hours
  • Make sure he gets plenty of exercise!
  • Brush and comb daily
  • Brush teeth daily
  • Train!
  • Feed twice a day
  • Switch out safe chew toys
  • Don’t let your puppy chew on anything he can swallow
  • If he is at risk for heartworm disease, make sure he is on preventative!
  • Get your puppy spayed or neutered
  • Give positive reinforcement for work well done




Dog Spaying Procudure – what you need to know (Spaying a Female Dog)

Posted by dogwalk1 - May 1, 2012 - Health & Wellness, Mutterings, Technology, Training

Further to my last post about getting ready to spay Ava – here is some more information from Pet Informed. I hope it giver you more information to make your decision and feel more informed about the process. I am booking Ava in this month!


Rani & Ava


Dog spaying (bitch spaying procedure) – otherwise known as female neutering, dog sterilisation, “fixing”, desexing, ovary and uterine ablation, uterus removal or by the medical term: ovariohysterectomy – is the surgical removal of a female dog’s ovaries and uterus for the purposes of canine population control, medical health benefit, genetic-disease control and behavioral modification.

Considered to be a basic component of responsible female dog ownership, the spaying of female dogs is a simple and common surgical procedure that is performed by veterinary clinics all over the world.

What is Spaying?

Dog spaying or desexing is the surgical removal of a female (bitch) dog’s internal reproductive structures including her ovaries (the site of ova/egg production), Fallopian tubes, uterine horns (the two long tubes of uterus where the fetal puppies develop and grow) and a section of her uterine body (the part of the uterus where the uterine horns merge and become one body). The picture on the right shows a dog uterus that has been removed by dog spaying surgery – it is labeled to give you a clear illustration of the reproductive structures that are removed during surgery.

Basically, the parts of the female reproductive tract that get removed are those which are responsible for egg (ova) production, embryo and fetus development and the secretion of the major female reproductive hormones (oestrogen and progesterone being the main female reproductive hormones). Removal of these structures plays a huge role in canine population control (without eggs, the female dog can not produce young; without a uterus, there is nowhere for the unborn puppies to develop); canine genetic disease control (female dogs with genetic disorders can not pass on their inheritable disease conditions to any young if they can not breed); the prevention and/or treatment of various medical disorders (spaying prevents and/or treats a number of ovarian and uterine diseases as well as various hormone-enhanced medical conditions) and female dog behavioral modification (e.g. estrogen is responsible for many female dog behavioral traits that some owners find problematic – e.g. roaming, blood spotting during proestrus, attractiveness and attraction to male dogs – and dog spaying, by removing the ovarian source of female hormones, may help to resolve these issues).

What age to spay?

Throughout much of the world, it has always been recommended that female dogs be spayed at around 5-7 months of age and older. As far as the “older” goes, the closer to the 5-7 months of age mark the better – there is less chance of a female dog becoming pregnant or developing a ovarian or uterine disorder or a hormone-mediated medical condition if she is desexed at a younger age. In addition to this, it has always been advised that it is best if a female dog is desexed prior to the onset of her first season as this will greatly reduce the risks of the animal developing mammary cancer (breast cancer) in the future.

The reasoning behind this 5-7 month age specification is mostly one of anaesthetic safety for elective procedures.

When asked by owners why it is that a dog needs to wait until 5-7 months of age to be spayed, most veterinarians will simply say that it is much safer for them to wait until this age before undergoing a general anaesthetic procedure. The theory is that the liver and kidneys of very young animals are much less mature than those of older animals and therefore less capable of tolerating the effects of anaesthetic drugs and less effective at metabolizing them and breaking them down and excreting them from the body. Younger animals are therefore expected to have prolonged recovery times and an increased risk of suffering from severe side effects, in particular liver and kidney damage, as a result of general anaesthesia. Consequently, in order to avoid such problems, many vets will choose not to anesthetize a young puppy until at least 5 months of age for any elective procedure, including dog spaying.

For more detailed information, images of the procedure and what to expect at the clinic please click here.