80,000 Pounds of Pet Food Donated

Toronto Humane Society received nearly 375,000 pet food meals in mid-September — the largest pet food donation the animal welfare organization has received in a single day. On Sept. 14, 2017, two semi-tractor trailers full of pet food from PetSmart’s  Buy a Bag, Give a Meal  program rolled up to the River Street shelter’s loading dock on Old Brewery Lane.

How does the Toronto Humane Society plan to use 80,000 pounds of pet food? It’s estimated that the City of Toronto is home to at least 1.7 million pets. Consider that almost 25% of Torontonians live at or below the poverty line and you’ll find that more than 400,000 pets in this city could be living in households where families may struggle to put food on their tables and in their pets’ bowls.

That’s why Toronto Humane Society operates a pet food bank out of their River Street location, providing free pet food to those looking for help feeding their furry family members. Toronto Humane Society also hands out pet food to pet parents in need at the St. James Town Community Centre on the second Thursday of each month. Together PetSmart, PetSmart Charities of Canada and the Toronto Humane Society are helping to ensure no pet goes hungry in the City of Toronto.

If you are a pet parent in need of assistance feeding your pet, please visit the Toronto Humane Society during normal operating hours or visit the St. James Town Community Centre on the second Thursday of every month from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For every bag of dog or cat food purchased in-store or online at www.PetSmart.ca through Dec. 31, 2017, PetSmart will donate a meal to a pet in need.

Are You Barking Up The Wrong Tree by Sleeping With Your Dog?

Let sleeping dogs lie … in the bedroom. That’s according to a new Mayo Clinic study that’s sure to set many tails wagging. It’s no secret that Americans love their dogs. According to the American Veterinary Association, more than 40 million American households have dogs. Of these households, 63% consider their canine companions to be family. Still, many draw the line at having their furry family members sleep with them for fear of sacrificing sleep quality.
“Most people assume having pets in the bedroom is a disruption,” says Lois Krahn, M.D., a sleep medicine specialist at the Center for Sleep Medicine on Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus and an author of the study. “We found that many people actually find comfort and a sense of security from sleeping with their pets.” The study, “The Effect of Dogs on Human Sleep in the Home Sleep Environment,” evaluated the sleep of 40 healthy adults without sleep disorders and their dogs over five months. Participants and their dogs wore activity trackers to track their sleeping habits for seven nights. According to the study, sleeping with dogs helps some people sleep better — no matter if they’re snoozing with a small schnauzer or dozing with a Great Dane. There is one caveat, however. Don’t let your canines crawl under the covers with you. The sleep benefit extends only to having dogs in your bedroom — not in your bed. According to the study, adults who snuggled up to their pups in bed sacrificed quality sleep. “The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom,” says Dr. Krahn. “Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.” So, go ahead. Turn your sheepdog into a sleep dog. Just make sure they are relegated to their own bark-o-lounger, rather than your bed. The study, which was published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, was funded by Mayo Clinic.

Dog Walkers Motivated By Happiness, Not Health

It appears to be a case of “do what makes you happy” for people who regularly walk their dogs. According to new University of Liverpool research, owners are motivated to go dog walking because it makes them feel happy, not because of other health and social benefits. In the most in-depth study of dog owners’ perceptions of dog walking to date, 26 interviews were combined with personal written reflections of dog walking experiences.

The researchers found that while owners may say the reason they go walking is to benefit the dog, the importance of their own improved happiness and wellbeing is clear. These feelings of happiness, however, are contingent on the owner believing that their dog is enjoying the walk too. Anything that threatens this, such as behaviour problems, a perception that they have a lazy dog or their dog is too old, reduces their motivation to walk. Increased physical activity and social interactions with other dog owners were found to be secondary bonuses but were rarely motivating. Study lead Dr. Carri Westgarth, a research fellow at the University of Liverpool, said: “The factors that motivate dog walking are extremely complex, yet we know they can strongly motivate human health behaviour. “It is crucial to understand why owners walk their dogs if we are to be able to effectively promote owners to walk their dogs more.” With more than eight million dogs in households across the U.K., dog walking is a popular everyday activity. Dog owners are generally more physically active than non-owners, yet some rarely walk with their dog at all. An owner briskly walking their dog for at least 30 minutes each day easily exceeds the 150 minutes recommended minimum physical activity per week. If all dog owners did this, it would dramatically boost population levels of physical activity.

Dr. Westgarth added: “It’s clear from our findings that dog walking is used to meet the emotional needs of the owner as well as the needs of the dog. This may explain why pilot dog walking interventions with messages focused on health or social benefits have not been particularly successful. “Possible key points for future interventions to increase dog walking are to promote how it may increase the dogs, and thus the owner’s, happiness.” The research was funded by a Medical Research Council Population Health Scientist Fellowship and conducted as a collaboration between the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infection and Global Health and Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, with support from the University of Roehampton.

The paper “I Walk My Dog Because It Makes Me Happy: A Qualitative Study to Understand Why Dogs Motivate Walking and Improved Health” is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The Ontario SPCA and Redemption Dogs Rescue Houston Dogs After Hurricane

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society is supporting

Toronto-based Redemption Dogs to rescue dogs displaced in Houston by Hurricane Harvey.
Redemption Dogs is an umbrella canine advocacy group that oversees Redemption Paws, a not-for-profit that helps animal shelters in the aftermath of natural disasters. Eight volunteers made the drive to Texas and transferred over 35 dogs to Ontario to assist Houstonbased shelters struggling to care for dogs that had been waiting to be adopted prior to the decimation caused by the hurricane. With the assistance of the Welland & District SPCA, the dogs crossed the border into Ontario on September 11, 2017.
The dogs being brought to Canada range from Chihuahuas and Great Danes, to Dalmatians and mixed-breeds. Some of the dogs have disabilities and needed compassionate homes. All of the dogs coming to Canada went through Hurricane Harvey while housed in shelters, or were relinquished by their owners after the hurricane.

The dogs were undergoing veterinary checks at press time, and any necessary medical treatments, including being spayed or neutered, were to be performed before they would be ready for adoption.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of the community, the volunteers who used their vacation time to go retrieve the dogs or without the Ontario SPCA support to help manage such a large number of dogs,” says Nicole Simone, Founder of Redemption Dogs, Director at Redemption Paws.

Having spent time in Houston and being acquainted with their rescue community, it was clear that Houston had a stray dog problem long before Harvey came along. With more and more catastrophic events as a result of climate change, it is important that animals in need are taken into consideration as part of existing local rescue efforts.

Once they are ready to find loving homes, the dogs will be available for adoption through Redemption Dogs.

To donate to the care of these dogs, please visit ontariospca.ca, wellandspca.com or gths.ca.

Annual Canadian Veterinaryt Awards Ceremony Recognizes Individuals for Outstanding Contributions to Veterinary Medicine

For over 30 years, the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has proudly recognized its members for their exceptional contributions to the veterinary profession, and animal health and welfare. This year was no exception as individuals were honoured at the CVMA Awards Ceremony in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, which took place during the 2017 CVMA Convention in July.

  • Small Animal Practitioner Award: Dr. David Condon (Prince Edward Island), for his compassion toward the animals in his care and his dedication to the student veterinarians he mentors and supervises.
  • Merck Veterinary Award: Dr. Stephen LeBlanc (Ontario), for his production of high-quality applied clinical research in the diagnosis and control of metabolic, inflammatory and reproductive diseases of dairy cattle.
  • CVMA Humane Award: Dr. Anne McDonald (British Columbia), for her role in the removing of, caring for and re-homing of almost 600 parrots from the World Parrot Refuge on Vancouver Island.
  • CVMA Practice of the Year Award: Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer (Ontario), for creating a comprehensive veterinary cancer centre serving central Canada and beyond, while offering unique clinical trial research opportunities, facilitated by U of G’s Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation.
  • CVMA Life Membership: Dr. Jeanne Lofstedt (Prince Edward Island), for her significant contributions to the veterinary profession worldwide.
  • CVMA President’s Award: Dr. Bob Bellamy (Saskatchewan), for his innovative approach to veterinary medicine communication and his dedication to the profession. Nominations for the 2018 CVMA Awards will open in the fall of 2017. The submission deadline is January 31, 2018. Visit the CVMA website canadianveterinarians.net/about/awards to learn more.

HELP YOUR PET SAY GOODBYE TO PARASITES, FLEAS AND TICKS

Commonly thought of as a summer-only threat, animals are susceptible to fleas and ticks throughout most of the year. Regular checkups, taking preventative measures and proper treatments are key to keeping these pesky critters at bay. Here are some tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy:

Prevention — stop them before they start. Prevention is key, so have your pet tested by your veterinarian regularly (at least once a year) for parasites. Your vet will be able to recommend the best year-round preventive medications. Properly and consistently administering these can control both internal and external parasites and protect your pets and family. To help keep your pet healthy, make sure you book annual checkups to help avoid bigger health issues and extra costs.

Detection — find the fleas. Concerned your pet may already be paws-deep in parasites? Know what to look for to be sure. Fleas are dark or reddish brown bugs with flat bodies. Flea bites create raised red spots that are extremely itchy. If you’re suspicious of fleas, be on the lookout for black particles the size of ground pepper on your pet’s skin near the tail. Another sign is flea larvae or waste in or around areas your pet frequents, like dog houses, kennels and beds.

Treatment — kick the unwanted critters to the curb. Once you’ve confirmed the presence of fleas or ticks, you must remove them from your pet and your home. There are many over-the-counter pesticides and flea shampoos on the market, as well as at-home grooming techniques to help cure your animal and ease symptoms. Brushing your pet with a flea comb can be helpful in removing existing fleas from their fur while the medication works to destroy itchy irritants. Call your local veterinarian if you need help or are unsure of what steps to take.

“Keeping your pets in optimal health is something we all strive for. Healthy pets start with committing to annual health checkups with your veterinarian. Pets don’t have voices, so it’s our job — as pet parents and veterinarians — to speak for them,” explains Dr. Kathleen Norman, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. “Have an honest and open discussion with your veterinarian to determine the plan of action that’s right for your family.”