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ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

MARCH 2017

YOUR GUIDE TO CARING FOR YOUR PET

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017

DIRECT RETURN HOME • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

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Caring for Life’s Greatest Companions

2035A Alberta Avenue, Saskatoon, SK S7K 1S2 Phone: 306-934-8288 Fax: 306-934-8297 E-mail: frontier@vca.com Join us on Facebook

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PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

CIVIC AGENCIES City Hall

222 Third Ave. N.

Animal Control

Bay 4 – 1622 Ontario Ave.

ANIMAL WELFARE AGENCIES Street Cat Rescue

Pet-I-Coat Junction & Barkery 110 Wedge Rd.

Pet Planet

Unit D, 1501 – 8th St.

Wilson’s Greenhouse & Garden Centre Hwy 5 & McOrmond Dr.

VET CLINICS

2750 Faithful Ave., Suite 108

Acadia Veterinary Clinic

Saskatoon SPCA

3421 – 8th St. E.

Clarence Ave., past Grasswood Rd.

PET STORES Critters

90 – 220 Betts Ave. Bay F - 411 Herold Ct. 3-406 Ludlow St. E. 2-202 Primrose Ave. 112 – 110 Ruth St. E.

Early’s Farm & Garden Centre 2615 Lorne Ave. 502 – 51s St.

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PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

All about Cats & Dogs 1004 Taylor St. E.

All West Veterinary Clinic 3120 Laurier Dr.

Arlington Animal Hospital 3010 B Arlington Ave.

Cumberland Veterinary Clinic 25 – 1501 – 8th St. E.

Erindale Animal Hospital 14 – 410 Ludlow St.

Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic 8 – 415 – 115th St. E.

Lakeview Veterinary Clinic 2 – 1945 McKercher Dr.

Lawson Heights Animal Hospital 120 – 227 Primrose Dr.

Stonebridge Veterinary Hospital 5 – 215 Stonebridge Blvd.

U of S Small Animal Hospital 52 Campus Dr

Westward Animal Clinic 1006 – 22nd St. W.

Woodridge Veterinary Clinic 411-D Herold Ct. PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

PET WELLNESS

PET WELLNESS

TABLE OF CONTENTS Pet license vendors “Please license me” Dog parks a great addition to the neighbourhood City of Saskatoon Dog Parks Map Dog park tips Make a date with your pet From Porcupines to Polar Bears Are you ready to share your iPad with your cat? Pets really are good for your health Paw Pals program brings students and pets together

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017

4 6 8 9 10 11 12 14 15 16

Puppy Parties spread joy, support rescue work Good Samaritan Fund saving lives of those in need Does choosing a pet food have to be so complicated? Turn up your pet’s smile with regular check-ups Regular grooming essential to pet’s well-being Dogs and water safety 6 ways to ensure pet birds are happy and healthy

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EDITOR WRITERS

18 20 21

DESIGNER 22 22 23

Jeannie Armstrong Jennifer Jacoby-Smith Ed Friesen Ryan Hall Paul Latimer Darlene Polachic Carol Todd Joseph Wilson Lesley Cockburn

To advertise in the next edition of Pet Wellness, contact Colin Regier at The StarPhoenix. Tel: (306) 657-6426; email: cregier@postmedia.com. This section was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content studio.

DIRECT RETURN HOME • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

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ourishing foliage and the lushness the fortifying attributes of Greenery

PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

If your dog or cat could talk: “Please license me” BY JEANNIE ARMSTRONG

Do you consider yourself a responsible pet owner? If so, have you obtained a valid license for your cat or dog from the City of Saskatoon (City)? While having a beloved pet go missing can leave owners horrified and distraught, imagine the fear and anxiety that your dog or cat experiences while lost and wandering the streets of Saskatoon – without food, water or shelter from the cold. A valid pet license from the City of Saskatoon is one of the most effective ways of identifying a lost or stray animal and ensuring its safe return home. Every year, City of Saskatoon pet licensing helps to reunite over 700 lost dogs and cats with their owners. “There are many benefits to licensing your dog or cat. First and foremost, pet licensing helps ensure that lost pets can be identified and have a safe return home,” says Chelsie Schafer, Open Space Consultant with the City. Even the most cherished dog or cat can be tempted to wander away from home, by a gate or door inadvertently left ajar. While there are rare stories of pets who miraculously find their own way home, it is far more likely that the lost animal will be found by a concerned citizen or staff member of Saskatoon Animal Control and 6

PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

brought to the Saskatoon SPCA, where it will be provided with safe shelter until the owner can be notified. “If the dog or cat has a license, the Animal Control officers will contact the owner. If they can’t get hold of the owner, the animal will go to the Saskatoon SPCA. The SPCA will hold the animal until it can be picked up by the owner,” says Schafer. A pet license is like a “get out of jail free” card, explains Schafer. “This waiver of petat-large and pound fines applies once per the lifetime of the animal.” Fines begin at $100 for unlicensed dogs and cats and up to $350 if your pet is caught running at large without a license. Pound fees are $50 in addition to $10 per day care and sustenance fees.

PET LICENSE PERKS There are numerous other perks and privileges Saskatonians can enjoy by licensing their pets, adds Schafer. Pet owners who license their dogs now have unlimited access to the ten Dog Parks established and maintained by the City of Saskatoon. A dog park is a great place for you and your canine pal to go for an offleash romp and to socialize with other dogs and their owners. Licensing your animal also means you and your pet can join in the fun of annual

city-wide events like the 12th annual Saskatoon Pets in the Park Festival (July 9) or the Dog Day of Summer free swim at Mayfair Pool (August 31). “This year, we’re implementing two new activities specifically for cat owners: a Cat Café and a Cat Show,” says Schafer. Planning of both feline events is currently underway, she adds. The Cat Café will be held at a branch of the Saskatoon Public Library, featuring cats available for adoption from the Saskatoon SPCA. During the morning, children from local schools will get together and read stories to the cats. “In the afternoon and evening, the public will be invited to enjoy coffee and tea and adopt a cat if they want to,” says Schafer. The Cat Show, which will likely be held in one of the City’s dog parks, will be a fun gathering for cat owners and their licensed furry felines. “There will be a variety of entertaining categories that people and their cats can participate in – like ‘Fanciest’ cat, as an example,” says Schafer. Watch the City of Saskatoon website (saskatoon.ca/ animalservices) for details of both events.

PET LICENSING IS THE LAW All cats and dogs over the age of four months are required by law to be licensed. The license should be attached PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

to the animal’s collar or added to the pet’s microchip information. Pet licenses are affordably priced, adds Schafer. The annual fee for a cat is $33. If the cat is spayed/neutered or under one year of age, the license fee is reduced to $16.50. The annual fee to license a dog is $56. If the dog is spayed/neutered or under one year of age, the fee is reduced by half to $28. Funds from the sale of pet licenses go to support Animal Services provided by the City of Saskatoon, including the development, operation and maintenance of dog parks; animal retrieval and bylaw enforcement services provided by Saskatoon Animal Control Agency; and pound services provided by the SPCA. Licensing fees also support the Subsidized Spay & Neuter Program which provides

assistance to low income pet owners who could not otherwise afford to have their pets spayed or neuetered. Pet licenses are valid for one year from the date of purchase and must be renewed annually. Pet owners will receive a reminder letter from the City of Saskatoon one month prior to the expiry date on the license. To renew your pet’s license, you will need the Person ID Number and License Tag Number indicated on the renewal notice. Pet licenses can be purchased or renewed at City Hall, Saskatoon Animal Control Agency, the SPCA or the participating pet license vendors listed on page 4 of this publication. You can also purchase pet licenses online at saskatoon. ca/petlicensing.

The City of Saskatoon requires that all cats and dogs over the age of four months be licensed. The license should be attached to the animal’s collar or added to the pet’s microchip information. PHOTOS: CITY OF SASKATOON

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PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017

DIRECT RETURN HOME • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

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PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Dog parks a great addition to the neighbourhood

PHOTO: CITY OF SASKATOON

BY JEANNIE ARMSTRONG

A

cross North America, the amount of community space being dedicated to off-leash dog parks continues to increase. In the U.S., over the past decade, the number of off-leash dog parks has increased by a whopping 89 per cent, according to the Trust for Public Land. Here in Canada, the city of Calgary holds the record for the largest number of offleash areas, as well as the amount of land devoted to public dog parks. Calgary has 150 off-leash dog parks, occupying more than 1,250 hectares of land – the equivalent of 1,600 Canadian football fields. Saskatoon leads the way in Saskatchewan for having the most off-leash dog parks. Saskatoon is now home to 10 dog parks. Regina, in comparison, has two year-round off-leash dog parks and five seasonal offleash areas. Chelsie Schafer, Open Space Consultant with the City of Saskatoon (City), says, “Our

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PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

Dog Park Program is continuing to grow and expand, in response to requests from citizens.” Saskatoon’s newest dog parks are Pierre Radisson Dog Park, located between 33rd Street and 32nd Street; and Fred Mendel Dog Park, situated in Pleasant Hill, at Avenue W South and 17th Street West. Also coming on line this spring will be the Paul Mostoway Dog Park in Hampton Village, situated north of 33rd Street, along Junor Avenue, around Hampton Circle and north on Dawson Way. Each of the City’s 10 dog parks has its own appeal, offering a variety of geographic and landscape features, ensuring that both dogs and owners have new paths to explore and varied opportunities for play and interaction. Schafer says that the City’s suburban or ‘destination’ off-leash areas are the largest. Sutherland Beach Dog Park, for

example, occupies 55 acres of riverbank land. Across the river is another suburban off-leash area: Silverwood Dog Park. The Avalon Dog Park, located at the south end of Broadway Avenue, is considered a secondary destination park – a cross between a suburban and a neighbourhood dog park. “Our Destination Dog Parks are located on the outskirts of the city. Neighbourhood dog parks are smaller fenced areas, typically under an acre in size,” says Schafer. As Saskatoon continues to grow, so will the number of dog parks, says Schafer. “Going forward, every new neighbourhood that’s built in Saskatoon will automatically have land designated for an off-leash dog park. We’re also developing dog parks retroactively within older neighbourhoods.” Citizens can make suggestions for future dog park locations. “If someone has a CONTINUED ON PAGE 10

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

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FRED MENDEL DOG PARK Avenue W South and 17th Street West.

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A valid dog license is required to access any City of Saskatoon Dog Park.

HAMPTON VILLAGE North of 33rd Street, along Junor Avenue, around Hampton Circle, north on Dawson Way, follow grid. Dog Park next to airport. HYDE DOG PARK Enter North Gate from Slimmon Road. Alternate South Gate (foot traffic only).

7 8

PAUL MOSTOWAY DOG PARK Richardson Road and East of McClocklin Road. PIERRE RADISSON DOG PARK Between 33rd Street and 32nd Street. SILVERWOOD Adjacent to the north east edges of Silverwood Golf Course, along the riverbank north of the City Limits.

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SOUTHWEST North of Cedar Villa Road. SUTHERLAND BEACH Accessed via grid road with entry off of Central Avenue, 50 m north of Attridge Drive.

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PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017

DIRECT RETURN HOME • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

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PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

The City of Saskatoon now has 10 dog parks, where pet owners and dogs can play and socialize. PHOTOS: CITY OF SASKATOON CONTINUED FROM PAGE 8

location in their neighbourhood that they feel would be ideal for a dog park, all they have to do is fill out an application. They can contact my office and I’ll send them a dog park application form to fill out. The applications then go through a review process, which can take up to a year,” says Schafer. Why have off-leash dog parks become so popular across North America? One reason is the significant increase in pet ownership. According to a new survey released in January 2017 by the Canadian Animal Health Institute, 41 per cent of Canadian households have at least one dog. Canada’s total dog population is estimated at 7.6 million, up from 6.4 million in 2014. Dogs and cats are no longer considered “just” pets; they are furry members of the family. “People are so involved with their animals these days. Dog parks are a safe place where citizens and their dogs can have fun, relax and socialize,” says Schafer. Research by the University of Waterloo reveals that dog parks often become extended “communities” – fostering relationships that extend beyond the park’s perimeter. Taryn Graham and Troy Glover, authors 10 of the study, “On the Fence: Dog Parks in the (Un) Leashing of Community and Social

Capital,” found that dog parks have become a place where owners meet and participate in conversations through their pets. The survey reveals that, while at dog parks, pet owners will share information about local veterinarians, pet stores and groomers, as well as topics not related to pet ownership, such as child care, housing and employment. Not only do fellow dog owners strike up conversations and friendships at dog parks, they create Facebook pages to share photos and experiences, along with comments on community issues. The conclusion reached by the authors is that by encouraging social interaction and building relationships, dog parks are a great addition to every neighbourhood. And that’s something that Saskatonians already know!

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Your pet license is like an all-access pass to Saskatoon’s dog parks. Only licensed dogs are invited to play! • Pay attention! Owners must have visual contact and voice control of their dog. Off-leash doesn’t mean unattended. • Scoop your dog’s poop. Bring a few extra baggies, just in case. • Play nice! Your dog should know and obey basic commands of come, sit and stay before visiting a dog park. • If you take a toy to the park, expect other dogs to play with it. Better yet, leave the toys at home. • Make sure your dog is up to date on all of its vaccinations and medications. • Is your dog hot to trot? The mere presence of a female dog in heat can cause a frenzy among potential four-legged Romeos. It’s best to have your dog spayed or neutered before planning a dog park visit. • If you have concerns about the behaviour of a dog or its owner while at the park, contact the Saskatoon Animal Control Agency at 306-385-PETS. Have fun! When dogs and owners play by the rules, everyone has a good time!

Pets in the Park! July 9th, 2017!

KIWANIS MEMORIAL PARK NORTH FREE ADMISSION Come enjoy a fun filled day in the park!

• All pets must be on a leash • Retractable leashes NOT permitted Saskatoon Pets in the Park is an annual event to raise funds for homeless animals. This event is hosted by three local animal welfare organizations, New Hope Dog Rescue, Saskatoon SPCA and SCAT Street Cat Rescue, and all the funds raised go directly to these groups.

• Live Music & Entertainment • Trade Booths • BBQ Concession & Pizza Hut Pizza • Great Dog Demonstrations • Pet Portraits • Nail Trims for donations • Microchipping • Prairie Sun Brewery Beer Garden and More!!!

www.petsinthepark.ca

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! Please consider

sharing your some of your valuable time for the benefit of the helpless animals who are in need of medical treatment which is funded through this annual event. Please help us to make this 2017 event even more successful than last year. Email petsinthepark@sasktel.net to find out how you can help.

Have no spare time? Donations are always welcome Donations may be made through CanadaHelps.org

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PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Make a date with your pet! BY JEANNIE ARMSTRONG

S

ummer is the season for non-stop fun in Saskatoon! Pet owners have several special events to look forward to this summer, beginning with the 11th annual Saskatoon Pets in the Park, taking place Sunday, July 9 in Kiwanis Memorial Park, north of the Delta Bessborough Hotel. Presented this year by Pizza Hut, Saskatoon Pets in the Park is an opportunity for pet owners and their furry pals to get together for a day of fun activities and entertainment, in support of three local animal welfare agencies: New Hope Dog Rescue, the Saskatoon SPCA and SCAT Street Cat Rescue. A record-breaking 13,000 people attended Pets in the Park last year, says event organizer Karen Machin. “All of Saskatoon’s summer festivals are really popular, but Pets in the Park is unique because you can bring your pet. The majority of pets in attendance are dogs and cats, but we also have snakes, rabbits, lizards and the occasional bird,” says Machin. Pets must be on-leash at all times or inside a pet carrier. Retractable leashes are not permitted. It’s the only day of the year that Saskatoon City Council grants permission to allow on-leash pets in Kiwanis Park. Event organizers are hard at work finalizing this year’s lineup of entertainment and activities. “We already have a number of demonstrations lined up, including flyball, agility and rally-obedience demos. I’m also putting in an application to have Saskatoon Police K-9 Services there,” says Machin. Local musicians will take the stage and entertain the crowds throughout the day. High Four Pet Photography will be on hand to take pet portraits, while the team from PetSmart will pamper pets with nail trims. “We’re inviting EIDAP Inc. back to Pets in the Park to do microchip identification. Veterinarians and vet students from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine will be helping with that, implanting the microchips,” says Machin. Pet-related businesses and non-profit organizations will showcase their products and services at vendor booths in the park. “People can come and see the latest and greatest products for their pets,” says Machin. Fund-raising initiatives include a silent auction and the sale of 50/50 tickets. “The funds raised are used to provide medical care for animals that have been rescued by Saskatoon SPCA, SCAT Street Cat Rescue and New Home Dog Rescue. The funds don’t go to salaries or other expenses,” says Machin. Pets in the Park is open to the public; admission is free. The event opens at 9 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 9. For details, visit

The City of Saskatoon’s third annual Dog Day of Summer swim party for licensed dogs will take place August 31 at Mayfair Pool. SP FILES

306-934-8387

*Under New Ownership* Dr. David Narin

CONTINUED ON PAGE 13

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PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

“From Porcupines to Polar Bears…”

Globe-trotting vet an active story teller and ardent wildlife advocate BY CAROL TODD

F

rom Scotland to Africa to Saskatchewan, the wild winds of fate have blown Jerry Haigh across the globe, as he tended wildlife big and small. Born in Kenya, educated in Glasgow, he found himself back in Africa only three days after graduating from veterinary school. None of it planned, all of it exciting. With no medical-related history in his ancestry, but with a love of the country, Haigh received his veterinary degree at the University of Glasgow’s School of Veterinary Medicine. It was, he says, “a bit bizarre,” given his ancestry. Then, only three days after graduation, he found himself headed back to Kenya. His first task – tending to a lame giraffe. “I did what worked for a cow, and it worked,” he says. It was in Kenya where he met his wife, Jo, a physician, yet even their wedding night was interrupted by an animal in need – a dog that was having difficulty giving birth. Haigh soon moved on to even larger patients, everything from Cape buffalo to zebra. His work has taken him to many African countries, as well as to numerous other locations, including the Canadian North. It was a chance encounter with two Saskatonians in Kenya, where he had gone to treat a rhino, that drew him to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, in 1975. “Next thing, we’re on the way to Saskatoon with two kids,” he says. Now retired from that position, the Haighs are happy to call Saskatoon home. “We have friends here and it’s home,” he says. He considers the highlight of his career the “Uganda Rotation,” which involved annual trips to Uganda with 10 final-year veterinary

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PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

While working with the Saskatoon Zoo, Dr. Haigh treated George the lion with eyedrops. PHOTO: JERRY HAIGH

students from the College. Joining up with local graduate students and linked with the faculty at the Department of Wildlife and Animal Resource Management at Makerere University, the students spent a month in the field studying the complex relationship between wildlife, livestock and humans. “Many of the Canadian students called this a life-changing experience,” he says. Haigh has also spent almost 40 years working with a wide variety of deer species on four continents, including wapiti (a.k.a. North American elk), red deer, Pére David’s deer, reindeer, moose and others. “The most unusual of the many trips I took to work with members of this family was to the

island of Rota in the Commonwealth of the North Marianas where I worked with a deer whose origins were clouded in some degree of mystery. They were probably rusa deer, but that is not known for sure,” he says. His work with the various deer is the topic of his fifth book, which he is currently working on. His most recent, From Porcupines to Polar Bears: A Glasgow Vet in Canada came out last year. He is also active as a storyteller as a member of the Saskatoon Storytellers Guild and the national Storytellers of Canada-Conteurs du Canada (SC-CC). Haigh enjoys relating stories about the CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

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www.petsinthepark.ca. Summer ends with a splash in Saskatoon at a cool pool party just for pooches. The Dog Day of Summer event takes place on Thursday, August 31 at Mayfair Pool, hosted by Saskatoon Parks, Recreation and Sport. Taking place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Dog Day of Summer includes a free swim session for licensed dogs and a barbecue fund-raiser in support of the SPCA. Attendance is by pre-registration, with 45- to 60-minute swim sessions scheduled throughout the day. Each session is limited to 60 dogs. “The first session, starting at 11 a.m., is just for service animals. These dogs can be a bit more sensitive so they have a session all to themselves,” says Chelsie Schafer, Open Space Consultant with the City of Saskatoon. “Last year, we had six different sessions and about 130 dogs who participated. All types of breeds joined in the fun,” says Schafer. “This will be our third year. The response has been very positive.” All dogs must have a City of Saskatoon license, be up to date on their vaccinations and be well-socialized. “Dog owners aren’t allowed in the pool; it’s just for dogs!” says Schafer. Registration for the event will take place from August 1 to 18. Register your dog online at www.saskatoon.ca/parksrecreation-attractions/events-calendar/dogday-summer. Every dog may have its day, but in Saskatoon, cats are getting their own VIP events this year. Details are currently being finalized by the City of Saskatoon for two new events: The Cat Café and the Cat Show. The Cat Café will be hosted by a local branch of the Saskatoon Public Library. The event is designed to bring the public together with cats available for adoption from the Saskatoon SPCA. The Cat Show will be a fun gathering for licensed cats and their owners, taking place in one of the City’s neighbourhood dog parks. Watch for details to be announced on the City of Saskatoon website (www.saskatoon.ca.)

working with wild animals, which range from having soldier ants up his shorts and pregnancy-checking a lion, to giving an enema to a rhino and encounters with a shaman from the Dukba reindeer herders in the mountains of Mongolia. While the stories offer an often amusing glimpse into the life and work of a wildlife vet, Haigh gets serious when talking about conservation. “The numbers of wildlife around the world are crashing due to human intervention. When we were in Africa, there were about 6,000 rhinos in Kenya and now there are less than 600 due to rhino horn smuggling to the Orient,” he says. Prairie folk know how hard the wind can blow. One can hope that Haigh’s ties to the people, land and animals here will be enough to keep him from riding more of

Dr. Haigh, on a research project north of Hudson Bay, hugs a moose. PHOTO: JERRY

HAIGH

that wild wind, staying here to share his stories and continue to fight for wildlife conservation.

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PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Screen time for Mittens:

Are you ready to share your iPad with your cat? BY JENNIFER JACOBY-SMITH

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t started quietly in December, when the Regina Humane Society decided to try out a new program to make use of a recently donated Apple iPad. It was the volunteer coordinator who suggested loading the iPad with cat apps to give cats at the shelter something new to play with. The apps are created to entertain and entice your cat to play. Mice, fish or a laser pointer zip across the screen. Intrigued, the cat may bat at the image and will be rewarded with a meow or a squawk. Points are awarded, although feline participants don’t seem too interested in high scores. “We didn’t invent these apps, but it appears that we’re one of the first to use it in a shelter environment,” explains Bill Thorn, communications director at the Regina Human Society. Despite not doing any formal launch of the program, iPads for Cats has caught media attention from all over the world. Local news outlets covered the program, but interest came from further afield, including the Huffington Post, CBC National, and This Hour has 22 Minutes. People magazine featured it on their website and tweeted about it to their 7.5 million Twitter followers. It was also written up in a veterinarian journal in France. Thorn has even fielded phone calls from Apple Canada. IPads for Cats is just one of many ways the shelter tries to prevent boredom for cats while they heal or wait for their new homes. Other toys are also incorporated. Thorn says shelter staff are always looking for ways to reduce stress for the animals while they wait for their forever home.

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PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

Cats at the Regina Humane Society have a new toy with the iPad for Cats program providing hours of new entertainment for shelter cats.

PHOTO: REGINA HUMANE SOCIETY

“The nice thing about the iPad at the shelter, too, is that they’re easily cleaned,” says Thorn. “That is our thing too with some toys. They are only one-use toys if they can’t be cleaned properly.” Hygiene is important in a shelter environment to prevent diseases and sickness from spreading. “We want to be able to allow them to demonstrate their natural behaviours. It helps them reduce stress, gives them some exercise, stimulates them mentally, which keeps them healthy and happy in a shelter environment,” notes Thorn. Kittens seem most intrigued by the iPad games. Playful by nature, kittens gather around the screen. Often, though, they notice each other and realize they’ve found a playmate in the real world and they start wrestling and chasing each other. “So it’s sort of helping them play together. It’s all exercise and socialization with other animals,” says Thorn. Meanwhile, Thorn says he has talked

with other shelters in the province about the possibilities of implementing a similar program for cats using a mobile device. At present, there are no plans to implement something like iPads for Cats at the Saskatoon SPCA, but executive director Patricia Cameron says they would love to have such an option for their own feline guests some day. Thorn credits interest in the program to combining the use of technology with animals. It especially captures the interest of kids who visit the shelter as part of outreach programs. The popularity probably doesn’t impress the feline benefactors of the program, who are just looking to have some fun. Thorn encourages cat owners to try the apps at home. “Cat needs some stimulation. This gives them another way to do that. It’s going to help their mental happiness for sure.”

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Pets really are good for your health The health benefits of companion pets are found in many settings and for people of all ages and situations BY DR. PAUL LATIMER COLUMNIST TROY MEDIA

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nyone who has a pet will tell you that their furry, feathered or scaly friend provides companionship, entertainment, unconditional love and adds a layer of richness to their life. Some might even tell you that they suspect increased mental well being as a result of their animal companion. Not surprisingly, research to date proves that pet owners have always believed intuitively what we now know to be true. Pets are good for your health. Animals have been used therapeutically for more than 200 years. In the late 1700s they were incorporated into the treatment of mental health patients at an institution in England that wanted to provide an enlightened approach to health with less harsh restraints and drugs. In North America, dogs were used as therapeutic companion animals for resident psychiatric patients in the early 1900s at a hospital in Washington, DC. During the Second World War, patients recovering from combat experiences were encouraged to work with animals at a hospital farm. Ever since then, there have been various attempts to incorporate animals into various forms of therapy. Today, it is common for hospitals and nursing homes to have therapy dogs and cats visit with their owners so that patients can have some contact and comfort from furry friends. Research of new pet owners showed a significant reduction in minor health problems during the first month following PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017

the arrival of a new pet. This effect lasted for several months and in dog owners it lasted through to the end of the study. In addition, both cat and dog owners showed improvements in a general health questionnaire over the first six months and dog owners sustained this for the duration of the study. Physical exercise increased considerably for dog owners, which gave an additional cardiovascular benefit to pet ownership. Dog owners also reported improved self-esteem and less anxiety about becoming the victim of crime. Another study of homeless youth between the ages of 16 and 23 indicated that the teens identified their pets as companions that provided unconditional love, reduced feelings of loneliness and improved health status. A third study of people 65 years of age or older found that pet owners were more physically active than non-pet owners and had improved ability to perform the activities of daily living than non-pet owners. Also, in this study, the ability to perform these daily activities deteriorated more quickly for non-pet owners than it did for those with pets. A noted general relationship was also observed between pet ownership and an older person’s well-being. Still other studies have shown a benefit of

pet ownership in combating depression, but not general illness in older people who are in situations of personal stress and without adequate human social support. Although more research is needed in this area, the cumulative weight of the research to date suggests that there are psychosocial benefits from animal visitation programs in nursing homes and health centres. In institutional settings, the presence of animals influenced the patient’s tendency to smile and talk, reach out toward people and objects and exhibit alertness and attention. In fact, pet programs have shown better results than many other alternative therapies such as arts and crafts programs and friendly visitor programs in these settings. Companion dogs for disabled individuals provide social stimulation that is more reliable than most human companions and studies have also shown that companion dogs help to increase human attention to the disabled individual as well. Clearly, the health benefits of companion pets are found in many settings and for people of all ages and situations. With all of this in mind, give your pet an extra cuddle or treat tonight to say thanks. Dr. Latimer is president of Okanagan Clinical Trials and a Kelowna psychiatrist. © 2016 Distributed by Troy Media DIRECT RETURN HOME • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

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PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Paw Pals program brings students and pets together BY DARLENE POLACHIC

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oe is a lucky guy. He gets as many as 200 letters a year from pen pals. Okay... Better make that ‘paw pals,’ because Moe is a dog and the letters he gets are from elementary school students who are part of the Saskatoon SPCA’s Paw Pals Program. Moe is the organization’s canine ambassador, says local SPCA executive director Patricia Cameron. “Moe is a mystery dog, a pug cross with maybe some Pekinese. He was roaming at large and came to the shelter in very rough shape.” Moe was adopted by a staff member and is now the focal point of the Paw Pals Program. Paw Pals was launched a couple of years ago and is geared toward children grades 4 and up, but it can be customized for older children, as well. The SPCA developed program lesson plans for schools on topics like responsible pet care. As part of the program, the children write letters to Moe. The letters are collected in a special mailbox which goes to the SPCA where volunteers help Moe write letters back to the children. “The students write three letters during the course of the program and Moe responds to each one individually,” Cameron says. “The personal response has a strong impact.” Some children write full-page letters; others are more brief. Some are computer generated; others are hand-written. Some include little drawings. “The children’s letters cover a range of topics,” Cameron says. “They ask how Moe feels, what it’s like to live at the SPCA shelter. They tell Moe about their own lives and their dreams. The letters are sweet and touching, and often funny.” Cameron says exchanging letters and hearing back about Moe’s experiences builds 16

PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

empathy in the children, which is a critical element in curbing bullying. “The children also get an idea of what Moe’s life was like before he came to the shelter and that encourages responsible pet ownership, which in turn promotes good citizenship. They learn what a dog needs to be healthy and happy.” The students get to tour the SPCA where they see other animals in the shelter and hear more about responsibility and pet ownership. “A lot of kids come back afterward for visits,” Cameron says. “Many talk about their career ambitions like being a vet, a pet groomer or a pet sitter.” She says some students and classrooms

kids love hearing that someone is out there making the community safe for pets.” Scientific and health research has shown how beneficial it can be to have a pet interacting in a child’s life, and Cameron says Moe proves that again and again. “He is definitely an attention grabber. I have only to bring him into the room to see faces – of all ages, I might add – light up. He’s definitely a stress reducer.” There are currently eight schools, with about 200 students in total, involved in the Paw Pals Program, which operates during the school year. But the response is so enthusiastic that the SPCA will be expanding the program significantly in the fall. Cameron encourages interested teachers

Moe, the lovable canine ambassador of the Saskatoon SPCA, receives letters from hundreds of Saskatoon students, as part of the organization’s Paw Pals program. PHOTO:

SASKATOON SPCA

become very engaged in the program. After visiting the shelter, one child donated all her birthday money – $300 – to the shelter. One school group held a fund-raiser and donated over $1,000 to the SPCA to meet the needs of sheltered pets. Another class collected and brought a truckload of pet food to the facility. “As part of the program, our animal protection officer, Brittany, goes out to classrooms to talk about pet protection. The

to sign up now. “This will make Moe a very busy dog, but he’s very social, so this is right up his alley.” The Paw Pals program receives support from B’nai Brith and the Harold LaTrace Family Foundation. Cameron says, “We are very grateful and couldn’t do it without them. Their support makes the program affordable for schools.”

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

PUPPY PARTIES spread joy, support rescue work BY JOSEPH WILSON

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ara Ghiglione is tapping into the power of puppies. It’s an energy source she’s using to brighten the day for a lot of people. More than a year ago, the co-owner of Britebox Storage Co. got the idea for Puppy Parties – a way to spread the word about the work of New Hope Dog Rescue while sharing the love only an armful of squirming fur can give. Self-proclaimed “dog people,” Ghiglione says she and her spouse began serving as a foster family for New Hope Dog Rescue five years ago. “We took in dogs from all sorts of backgrounds and needing all sorts of different support, so we got introduced to the

Britebox Storage Company is supporting the efforts of New Hope Dog Rescue by sponsoring “puppy parties” at local businesses, as well as care homes. PHOTOS: BRITEBOX STORAGE CO.

organization that way and really fell in love with what they did.” She says then they started to think about how they could leverage their business to support New Hope Dog Rescue even more. They wanted to drive some awareness and help raise funds for the cause. “And although puppies and storage don’t really go together, we thought why don’t we try this,” says Ghiglione. “It can be a real winwin. Because we know as business owners how companies are always looking for ways of engaging and involving staff, and we thought this could maybe be one tool in their toolbox.” For every Puppy Party, Britebox donates $200 to New Hope Dog Rescue, and asks the party host to donate food, toys or money as

well. “We’ve had some companies do a staff fundraising event for a week or two beforehand, or sometimes it’s just the company that pitches in. It’s really whatever people want to do.” Ghiglione says the parties are good for the companies, and very good for New Hope. “And it’s good for the puppies, too, because they’re rescue puppies and they’re up for adoption, looking for their forever home. Typically when puppies are younger it’s great if they get socialized, so it does help them get used to people petting them, picking them up and all the things they need to get used to.” Puppy Parties are also available for nursing and care homes, where there is not as much CONTINUED ON PAGE 19

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PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Sookie is attended to by Dr. Kira Penney, clinical associate and certified canine rehabilitation specialist. PHOTO: WCVM

Good Samaritan Fund saving lives of those most in need BY JOSEPH WILSON

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pending money to care of an animal comes with the territory for pet owners. It’s just the cost of cuddles, and it’s a bill we’re happy to pay. But sometimes circumstances mean those costs can skyrocket beyond food, toys and check-ups. Disease or injury can put an animal’s life in danger, and necessitate extensive veterinary care. Pet owners without the means to pay for surgeries, rehabilitation or costly medicines are sometimes faced with a heart-wrenching situation. That’s when the kindness of strangers can be a lifesaver. The Good Samaritan Fund at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan was established in 2011. Money donated to the fund is there to support animals in need, whether because treatment costs are beyond the ability of their owner to pay, or because the animal is ownerless. It may have been found in distress, or be in the care of the SPCA, waiting for a home. 18

PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

Lindsay Quick, Development Officer at WCVM, says the Good Samaritan Fund is truly a showcase of selfless giving. “We have other funds at the college, but this is the only fund that’s directed at helping ownerless animals, or to help owners that can’t afford the care that their pets need.” She says although it is young, the awareness of the fund is growing – as is the need for it. “It’s been going really well. We seem to be getting more donors, year over year, and we’re also keeping many of the donors who have given before,” says Quick. “A big part of that success is sharing the stories about what the WCVM is doing with this fund.” When a couple from Outlook, SK faced the prospect of losing a beloved cat that meant the world to their autistic son, the college was able to save its life, thanks to the fund. “They are such a sweet family and it has made such a huge difference – for the cat, obviously, but also for their entire family,” says Quick. “Those are really the stories that inspire our donors to give again.” Now word is getting out, and people are

turning to the Good Samaritan Fund more often. “Last week we had six different applications to the Good Samaritan Fund, which is a little more than the average,” says Quick. “But it’s not a rare situation, and I think the more we have conversations about the fund, the more the public will realize there is a need and the Good Samaritan Fund is an option. There have been three cases in the last three days that we’ve treated. And it’s been a whole host of things.” Quick says during this past month, in one significant case, the college has been treating Sookie, a Great Pyrenees from the Shellbrooke area who had lost her foot to a snare trap. The Good Samaritan Fund is helping pay for a prosthetic for that dog to be able to continue his life. Otherwise the cost would have been beyond the reach of his owners. “And it will also help pay for rehab,” she says. “We have a really wonderful rehab program. The dog was not able to keep his full limb, but enough that a prosthetic is an option. He’s now recovering from the surgery and awaiting his artificial limb, being made specifically for him in the United States.” Quick says the fund enjoys universal support, from alumni, students and the general public. “We definitely would not be able to sustain this work if it weren’t for the donors that continue to give, and the people that hear about the fund and the difference that it’s making, and then give.” The fund recently received a substantial donation from the students of the WCVM. Vetavision is the college’s student-organized public open house that happens every three years. The 2015 event attracted thousands of attendees, and made a significant profit, so the students decided to donate $2,000 to the Good Samaritan Fund. “It’s something that supports needy clients that come to WCVM, but it’s also very valued by the students and faculty as well. Everybody feels really terrible when something bad is happening to an animal, and they just want to be able to help.” PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17

opportunity to raise funds, but where the sharing of love is just as valuable. “It really brings some joy to their day and for that hour they get some snuggles. It’s pretty rewarding to see the smiles on people’s faces,” says Ghiglione. So far, Britebox has sponsored 12 Puppy Parties. “One firm made a real fun staff day out of it on a nice fall day, organizing prizes and events, inviting a food truck, and of course the puppies.” Tami Vangool, executive director of New Hope Dog Rescue, says it’s amazing to see the joy that it brings to the people who see the dogs. “That human-animal bond is really what New Hope is all about. It’s really important that people understand how much joy animals can bring to a person’s life – whether

that dog is from the SPCA or a rescue or anywhere.” Vangool says the program is not necessarily about finding homes for the animals. “A lot of the puppies when we go to the Puppy Parties are already spoken for. It’s really about the wellness of the people and to spread the word about New Hope. A lot of people don’t know what a rescue agency is, so it’s really given us an opportunity to tell people in the community what a rescue agency does and how important we are to the animals.” Parties can happen about eight weeks after a litter is born. One of the dogs being fostered by New Hope Dog Rescue just had a litter on Valentine’s Day, so Puppy Parties with that brood can begin about mid-April. Ghiglione says an hour is about the right time frame for a party.

“They’re so funny. They start off running around and causing havoc, and then at about the 50-minute mark, it’s like clockwork, they will all start to go to sleep. At the end of a Puppy Party we will get a picture of them all sprawled out on the floor asleep. They’re like babies.” The events have been very popular with staff at the companies New Hope has visited, says Vangool. “Usually if people know we’re coming and they’re at the door, ready to take them out of our hands as we walk in.” And they can be reluctant to let them go at the end of the party. “We do a count when we leave to make sure all of our puppies are accounted for,” she says with laugh. Anyone looking to book a Puppy Party can find more information at www.puppyparties.com.

Pet Loss Support The death of a pet can be one of the most devastating experiences an individual or family has to face. If you are having difficulty coping with the loss of a beloved pet or are dealing with an end of life decision, you are invited to gather with other animal lovers, like yourself, in a safe, supportive and informal environment to share your experiences, feelings, stories and pictures.

The Pet Loss Support Group

meets the first & third Sunday of every month at 2pm at the Edwards Family Centre 333 4th Avenue North. (There’s no cost to participate and no obligation to attend on a regular basis). For more information or to receive bereavement resource material, we invite you to call Family Pet - 306-343-5322

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PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017

DIRECT RETURN HOME • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

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Q:

PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Does choosing pet food have to be so complicated? BY ED FRIESEN WHAT ARE DOGS AND CATS DESIGNED TO EAT? Our recommendations for pet foods all start with the anatomy of the dog and cat. Dogs and cats are ancestors of great hunters; cats are obligate carnivores (exclusively meat-eaters) while dogs also thrive on a carnivorous diet. Both pets have a single hinge jaw and sharp teeth that are meant for tearing meat; they do not have wide molars and jaws that move side to side, like humans, to grind plant type matter. Their mouths do not contain digestive enzymes such as amylase, which humans have, to break down grains and starches. Lastly they have very simple acidic stomachs and short digestive tracts that efficiently digest protein and fats from meat. Even though their anatomy remains virtually the same as wild counterparts, it is also important to consider their lifestyle compared to how they would function in the wild. Pets in the wild would travel 25-30 kilometers a day and they would also be chasing and hunting for their food instead of having it served to them in a bowl so monitoring calorie intake is essential. There are some opinions that pets have evolved since being domesticated, but remember evolution takes millions of years and we would see changes in their anatomy such as wide molars if their dietary needs have changed.

HOW CAN I ENSURE MY PET FOOD SELECTION IS MEETING MY PET’S COMPLEX NUTRITIONAL NEEDS? At Critters, we always say, “Ingredients first, not brands.” A basic first step is looking for “meat” as a primary ingredient. We dive much deeper into the

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PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

details since ingredient lists are evaluated before extruding into kibble. Fresh meats are about 75 per cent moisture, so after extruding, “meat’s” position on the ingredient list would likely move down. It’s also very important to examine how many carbohydrate sources are listed in a row after the meat listing and if they are whole ingredients. Are there three or more carbohydrates listed in a row after the single meat ingredient? This could be an indication that carbs make up the bulk of what’s in the pet food. Pet owners should also look for whole ingredients that have not been processed before being made into pet food (i.e. meat-based diets complemented by whole peas instead of processed ingredients like pea starch). We scrutinize ingredient lists to make sure they meet our rigorous standards but also consider who makes the pet food, where the ingredients are sourced and how it’s made. We prefer local and Canadian where possible but do not sacrifice our ingredient standards just because it has a certain flag on the bag. There are also many different categories of pet food to evaluate, such as natural dry, freeze-dried, frozen raw, dehydrated, canned and even “oven-fresh” pet foods that are gently prepared in an oven like making your own meals at home.

HOW CAN PET OWNERS KNOW WHICH FOOD IS RIGHT FOR THEIR BELOVED ANIMAL?

We believe pet foods are made to be more complicated than necessary with breed/size specific formulas or puppy/ senior diets. Have you ever seen a wolf hunt for a rabbit that is specifically made for adults and not puppies? Now let’s look at our own lives. When having a family supper is the three-year-old eating different chicken than Grandma? Or should short people only eat baby carrots because there is another specific

carrot for tall individuals? The answer to all of these questions is no. No matter what breed they are, dogs or cats virtually have the same digestive systems, which are designed to thrive on a balanced meat-based diet. It is important to note that there are three common Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient profiles for pets including puppy (or kitten), adult (or maintenance) and all life stages. Many natural pet foods are formulated to meet the “All Life Stages” requirements, satisfying the nutrient profiles for both puppies and adults. By adjusting the feeding levels and ultimately their calorie intake, All Life Stage pet foods have everything a healthy puppy, adult or senior pet needs regardless of size, breed or age. That’s a logical approach to pet food!

ARE THERE ANY INGREDIENTS I SHOULD AVOID? We will NOT recommend pet foods that contain any of the following ingredients: - Meat by-products - Plant protein, flour or starch concentrates such as pea starch or potato protein. These ingredients have already been processed and leeched of nutritional value before being made into kibble. Why process it twice? - Corn, Wheat, Soy - Tomato pomace - Beet pulp - Flours - Unnamed fats or oils If pet food manufacturers are using the ingredients above are they going the extra mile to source premium meats and quality ingredients? - This article was contributed by Ed Friesen, founder of Critters Pet Health Store, est. 1994 – Truly Local.

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Turn up your pet’s smile with regular check-ups BY RYAN HALL

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xploring. Playing. Eating. Sleeping. The life of a cat or dog is never dull, and the joy they bring makes them an indispensable part of our lives. However, like every member of a family, they need to be cared for, and that includes taking the time and effort to tend to their dental needs. Many people are surprised to learn that the urban myth about dogs and cats having sterile mouths is not true. In fact, their mouths are home to copious amounts of bacteria that over time form colonies on the teeth and gums, creating plaque. This plaque creates a biofilm that protects the bacteria from being removed, and this can lead to several shortand long-term health risks for both cats and dogs. “Many people overlook their pets’ dental health,” says Dr. Teresa Cook, a veterinarian at Frontier Veterinary Services, “and that can lead to serious complications down the road.” The most common health problem that occurs is oral disease, with many pets showing signs of being affected by the age of three. In most cases, it is caused by bacteria formations on the gums that cause gingivitis. If these buildups are not removed, the bacteria can eventually eat through the gum tissue and ligaments that

hold the teeth in place. Not only is this extremely painful for the animal, but the mouth is also a highly vascularized region. The high amount of blood flowing thought the area can pick up bacteria and deliver it to other areas of the body, such as heart valves and the liver. In turn, this can lead to more serious problems including increased pain, heart or kidney disease, or liver abscesses. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent this from happening. The best preventative measure is brushing your pets’ teeth daily, as this can stop, and reverse, the spread of bacteria and the progress of oral disease. While many owners struggle with brushing, cats and dogs can be trained to enjoy the process, especially if you start when they are young. It can be harder to train an older pet to accept this routine, especially if their mouth

Cats and dogs can be trained to enjoy having their teeth brushed, especially if you start when they are young. PHOTO: MNS

is already sore or enflamed. If you find that your pet does need some extra assistance in keeping their mouths bacteria-free, most vet clinics stock a variety of products that can help. These range from oral health chews to capsules that you rub along your pets’ gums, to water additives that can decrease bacterial numbers in the mouth. Finally, when it comes pet health, regular trips to a veterinarian are mandatory. This allows the vet to perform a physical examination of the pet’s front and back teeth. The vet will provide you with an up-to-date report on the pet’s oral health, as well as recommendations moving forward. They can also schedule dental scaling and polishing sessions, if needed, to make sure your cat or dog has a happy and healthy mouth. “I definitely recommend yearly veterinary trips,” says Cook, “as it allows us to assess, treat, and prevent problems.”

Pet Valu

7 Assiniboine Drive Canarama Shopping Centre

306.955.5099 Self Serve Dog Wash and Pet Grooming

Store hours:

Mon to Fri - 9:00 am to 9:00 pm Saturday - 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Sunday - 10:00 am to 6:00 pm SAS00370888_1_1

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017

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PET LICENSING IS EASY & AFFORDABLE!

•As low as $16.50/year •In-person or online www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

Regular grooming essential to your pet’s well-being

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n addition to food, shelter and medical care, pets require grooming to keep them healthy. Small animals, such as hamsters and gerbils, may groom themselves to keep clean, but large pets often require more than tongue baths can offer. Grooming is an important process that keeps pets’ coats, nails, skin, and ears clean and healthy. Regular grooming sessions also offer other benefits, such as providing one-on-one socialization with an owner or professional groomer. Routinely handling a pet will help him or her become more acclimated to people and close contact, while also familiarizing pet owners with their pets’ bodies, which can help them notice any abnormalities that much sooner. How frequently pet owners should have their pets groomed depends on the disposition of the animal as well as its coat type and level of activity. For example, dogs that spend a good deal of time indoors may not become as dirty as those that go on frequent jaunts through

Dogs and water safety M

any people assume all dogs can swim and swim well. But WebMD advises that not all dogs are natural-born swimmers. That’s one reason why dog owners must make water safety a priority when taking their pets near water.

Introducing water Make dogs feel comfortable in the water by gradually introducing them to it. Start in an area that can be controlled, such as a kiddie swimming pool. That’s shallow enough to help dogs if they struggle. Show the dog that the water can be enjoyable. Get in with the dog 22

PET IDENTIFICATION • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

muddy yards. Cats handle a lot of their own grooming, but may benefit from periodic brushing and other care. Once pet owners see how fur grows and when paws need tending, they can develop a routine that works. • Bathing — The Animal Humane Society recommends bathing dogs only every two to four months unless the dog has gotten into something dirty or very smelly. Cats do not need to be bathed very often, and even then only if they get into a sticky mess or smell bad. • Brushing — Brushing is a grooming technique that can be done much more often. One or two brushings per week with help keep cats’ healthy glows, as brushing removes dirt, grease and dead hair. Cats that tolerate grooming well may enjoy more frequent brushings. Regular brushing of dogs’ coats helps to slough off dead skin and distribute natural oils. Brush a dog’s coat every few days, regardless of and let him or her get acclimated to the feeling of water on its paws. Let your pet set the pace, being certain not to force the issue. If you’re at the beach or lakeside, throw a stick progressively further from the shore. This can help the dog incrementally adapt to the feeling of deeper water. Tossing your dog into the water or submerging his head can be traumatic.

Recognizing poor swimmers Dogs that have large bodies and short legs often do not swim for fun. American Bulldogs, for example, may not be as skilled or as enthusiastic about swimming as Labradors. If your dog gives you a hard time about swimming or struggles to stay afloat, you may not be able to share laps together. Instead, watch him or her carefully around the water to prevent

fur length. Look for brushes that are designed for particular coat types. A few different types of brushes may be necessary. • Foot care — A variety of tasks are involved in pet foot care. Nails are one area that need to be addressed. Long nails on dogs can be cumbersome and even painful if left unattended. Many groomers and vets recommend trimming nails when they’ve become so long they click on the ground when the dog walks. Pet owners will soon learn to gauge the length of time between trimming, but a good rule of thumb is every two weeks. The Humane Society of the United States says that trimming a cat’s claws helps prevent deep scratches when people play with cats. Trimming also protects furniture and other household items. Trim claws every few weeks. Other foot care involves trimming fur from between the pads of feet and inspecting feet to ensure there are no cuts or other foot injuries. • Ears — Dogs and cats may need some help keeping their ears clean. Keeping the inside of pets’ ears clean will make pets feel good and can prevent ear infections. Discharges or unusual smells emanating from an ear or ears should be addressed by a veterinarian. Grooming pets can help ensure their longterm health and comfort. (MNS) accidents should your pet wander in.

Watching for currents At the beach, the same currents and rip tides that can pose a threat to humans can threaten dogs. Even strong swimmers can be affected in rough surf, and dogs may not have the intellect to escape currents, so it’s best to avoid the situation. Washed-up fish and seawater also can be threatening to dogs. Dogs may be enticed by the smell of dead fish, but become ill if they consume decomposing marine life.

Life preservers Dogs riding in boats should be fitted with canine life preservers. These will help dogs stay afloat should they fall in the water, while also making dogs more visible in the water. (MNS) PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017


ANNUAL PET LICENSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW! Non-licensed pets face fines starting at $100. www.saskatoon.ca/petlicensing

6 ways to ensure pet birds are happy and healthy H

ouseholds across the country include companion birds. Their sweet music and vividly coloured plumage make birds beloved pets. Well-socialized birds who are accustomed to human interaction can make for wonderful pets. However, unlike dogs and cats, some birds may not prefer or receive the same amount of daily attention from their owners as other pets.

Birds can suffer from depression and anxiety if their living conditions are not optimal. Birds can become irritable thanks to illness, boredom, cage position, and many other factors. Unhappy birds may engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as plucking out their feathers. Bird owners concerned that their birds may be unhappy or unhealthy should take the bird to the veterinarian for an examination, taking steps to improve the birds’ quality of life if necessary. The organization Born Free USA does not advocate for keeping birds in captivity, but does agree that if birds are cage-kept, their conditions should be made as ideal as possible. Here are some suggestions to keep birds healthy and happy, courtesy of Born Free USA and other animal welfare and healthcare

resources. 1. Feed birds nutritious diets. BeautyofBirds.com states that seed-only diets are the most common cause of premature death in companion birds. Birds need more variety to prevent nutrient deficiencies. Fruits, vegetables (including leafy greens) and sprouted seeds should account for between 20 and 25 per cent of a bird’s diet. 2. Offer the largest enclosure possible. While it may not be possible to devote an entire room to a companion bird, shop for the largest cage available. This will give the bird more room to exercise and spread its wings. 3. Keep sunlight flowing. Birds need access to unfiltered sunlight and/or fullspectrum lighting so they can synthesize vitamin D. Window glass blocks necessary UV rays. On nice days, take birds outside to enjoy time outdoors with fresh air and plenty of sunlight. 4. Provide enrichment activities. Birds can become bored, so stave off boredom with activities that enable them to use their brains. Birds might enjoy foraging for treats or playing treasure hunt games. Offer a variety of toys to keep them stimulated. 5. Provide time to spend outside of the cage. Birds may benefit from a change of scenery to improve their moods. Let the bird out of its cage so it can safely explore its surroundings. Make sure there are no breakable items, close drapes so the bird will not fly into window glass, and be certain ceiling fans are turned off. 6. Provide natural perches. Offer living branches that will be more comfortable on birds’ feet than other perches. Birds need a variety of textures and sizes in their perches to keep them healthy. Birds’ happiness as companion animals is strongest when their needs are met. Employing various strategies that promote their health and provide mental stimulation can improve birds’ quality of life. (MNS)

CANINE REHAB Saskatoon

Therapy to Get Your Dog Moving Again!

Lorna Clarke, BPT, MBA

Diploma in Canine Rehabilitation

Cell: (306) 220-4228 Fax: (306) 382-6148 lj.clarke@hotmail.com

www.caninerehab.ca SAS00370647_1_1

PET WELLNESS | MARCH 2017

DIRECT RETURN HOME • A PET LICENSE BENEFIT

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Pet Wellness  

Pet Wellness is a take-with-you book full of tips and resources, how-to pet care and compelling stories.

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