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Fall is the perfect time to walk your dog


Walk your pet in Toronto this fall, Toronto Veterinarian Pet Health

When you walk your dog in the summer the experience can range from pure joy on beautiful days to a gauntlet of fire on the days when you and your pet are baked under the sun. You may have had some particularly hot days that stand out in your mind that you would hate to repeat.


Well, count your stars because the golden season for dog walking is coming upon us. Fall is nearly here and worries about heatstroke and sunburn can take a backseat. Dehydration should always be on your radar as a dog owner, but watering your dog will be a lot easier.


If you’re fortunate enough to have easy access to walking trails, now is the perfect time to take advantage of them. With summer vacations already over, there will be fewer pulls on the leash from passing by a group of teens and adolescents. Those young people are back at school and there will be less temptation to stop to let them pet your dog.


Mosquitos are in fewer numbers during the cool autumn months, so walking through the woods will be a much more pleasant experience. Ticks, on the other hand, do not take the fall off so make sure you check through your dog’s fur for any when you return.


But beyond the loss of all of those negative things, mmll is simply a beautiful time to take your dog for a walk. Dogs greatly enjoy the complex smells and sounds the fall season brings with them. It’s also a great way to keep you and your pet in shape. Don’t just aim for a morning and evening dog walking experience; plan a weekend afternoon or a family activity around it.

Is a pocket pet right for you?

Pocket pets are small domesticated rodents, such as Guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats and hedgehogs. They are tiny, fuzzy and don’t take up too much space in the home.


Pocket pets make good first-time pets for pre-teens. They are relatively cheap to purchase and simple to maintain. They still need food and water every day, but unlike dogs, pocket pets do not need to be walked or brought outside for exercise.


Their enclosures are pretty small, but do need to be cleaned regularly.


One big difference between pocket pets and larger, traditional pets like cats and dogs are their short life spans. While this is clearly a downside as people develop an emotional connection to their pets, it also means less of a long-term commitment and responsibility.


Pocket pets need to be kept within their enclosures, unlike cats and dogs which are usually able to roam freely through the house. They can still chew up possessions just as well as a dog can, although their bites are much smaller.


Pocket pets also can bite their owners if given a chance, and can’t be taken along on outdoor adventures the way a dog can. They’re also much more vulnerable to injury because of their small bodies.


Those are the basic considerations to take into account when deciding on ones next pet. Pocket pets do not literally need to be stored in one’s pocket, but it’s so cute to see their little noses poking out that most owners try it.


Doggie beach etiquette 101- tips for the responsible pet owner

The dog days of summer are here and you may plan to head to the beach for the next few weekends until the weather cools down. Frolicking on the beach with your best friend and companion on a hot day can be as enjoyable to you and your pet as the wildlife and beachgoers sharing the same space.

Be sure to follow a few of the following etiquette suggestions to ensure the safety and well being of your pet, wildlife, and fellow beachgoers.

Check with the local laws prior to bringing your pet to the beach.  Ordinances regarding dogs on the beach vary with the seasons and violations could incur a fine.

Dogs at Beaches, Dogs Beaches Animal Hospital, Beaches Veterinarians, Toronto ON

Dogs on the beach should be leashed at all times.  This keeps the dogs, beachgoers and wildlife safe

Do not allow dogs to chase birds.

Do not allow dogs to dig above the surf line.  This will protect turtle and bird nesting areas.

Pick up your animals waste.  While it is true that the ocean will wash it away eventually, the pet waste will increase the bacterial levels in the ocean which could lead inspectors to close the beach due to health risks.

Additionally, the American Kennel Club has provided the following 6 guidelines to keep your dog healthy at the beach;

  1. Provide plenty of fresh water and shade for your dog
  2. Dogs can get sunburn, especially short haired dogs and one with pink skin and white hair.  Limiting your dog’s exposure when the sun is unusually strong by applying sun block to its ears and nose 30 minutes before going outside.
  3. Check with a lifeguard for daily water conditions – dogs are easy targets for jellyfish and sea lice.
  4. If your dog is out of shape, don’t encourage him to run on the sand.  Running on a beach is strenuous exercise, and a dog that is out of shape can easily pull a tendon or ligament
  5. Cool ocean water is tempting to your dog.  Do not allow him to drink too much seawater.  The salt in the water will make him sick
  6. Salt and other minerals found in the ocean can damage your dog’s coat. So, when you are ready to leave for the day, rinse him off with fresh water.

We know our canine companions better than anyone else, but it is important to remember most of us are not medical professionals.  If you are uncertain on how to treat your dog’s medical needs or you have any questions, you should contact your Toronto veterinarian or Toronto Veterinary Hospital  immediately.

Veterinarians in North Toronto / Willowdale – Willowdale 24-Hour Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in The Beaches / East Toronto – Beaches Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Ashbridges Bay / East Toronto – Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Downtown Toronto – Downtown Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Bloor / West Toronto – Bloor Animal Hospital

Keeping your Pet Safe during July 1st Festivities

Like many Canadians, you may be planning to have a festive First of July. Along with barbeques and day at the beach, no July holiday celebration would be complete without enjoying the fireworks that celebrate the birth of our nation.


Perhaps you are considering staying at home and planning a get-together with friends and family. Or, you may want to go check out your local professional fireworks display. While putting the finishing touches on your planned celebration, take a moment to consider your pets.

Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations. Pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud whizzes and bangs they produce.

Because of this, the American Humane Association reports that in the USA the July Holiday is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Why? In a 2005 press release the Indiana Proactive Animal Welfare, Inc. (PAW) stated that animal shelters the day after Fourth of July are “inundated with pets that panicked at the noise of firecrackers and fled into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed.”

Both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and PAW have listed ways you can prevent your holiday celebration from turning into a tragedy. Here are 10 tips on how to keep your pet from panicking this Fourth of July weekend.


10. Keep your Pet Indoors at All Times!

It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety.

9. Don’t Put Insect Repellant on Your Pet that isn’t Specifically for Pet Use

The same tip applies to applying “people” sunscreen on your pet. What isn’t toxic to humans can be toxic to animals. The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pet as, “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.

8. Alcoholic Drinks Poison Pets

If your pet drinks alcohol, they can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Yes, even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.

7. Going to a Fireworks Display? Leave Your Pet at Home

The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks will make your beloved pet freak out and desperately seek shelter. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer brain damage and heat stroke.

6. Have Your Pet Properly Identified

If your pet manages to break loose and become lost, without proper identification it will be that much harder to get them back. Consider fitting your pet with microchip identification, ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs.

5. Keep Your Pet Away from Glow Jewelry

It might look cute, but your pet could chew up and swallow the plastic adornments. The ASPCA states that while not highly toxic, “excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.”

4. NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets

While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.

3. Don’t Give Your Pet “Table Food”

If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Onions, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.

2. Lighter Fluid and Matches Are Harmful to Pets.

The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested.

1. Citronella Insect Control Products Harm Pets, Too.

Oils, candles, insect coils and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The result of inhalation can cause severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.

The safest and best bet for celebrating this First of July with your pets is to exclude them from holiday festivities, at least this time around. Instead, find a safe, secure spot in the home for your pets while you go out and enjoy the loud bangs, bright lights and spectator fun. Your pets will appreciate the quiet a lot more than you’ll enjoy the noise.

If you happen to run into any issues with your pet in Toronto on July 1, our Willowdale Animal Clinic is open 24-7 for your emergency or urgent care.


Pets Make Boating More Fun! Here are a few tips to keep your pets safe this summer.

Boating with your Dog, Toronto OntarioBoating with your Dog, Toronto Ontario

Boating with your Dog, Toronto Ontario Veterinarians Safety Advice

According to, people who cruise with pets prefer dogs by 62%. That is a lot of canine companions sailing the open water.
Before setting sail, the loving Pet Owner should consider the following to ensure their watery trip is safe and secure for their canine companion.

  • Provide shade and plenty of fresh drinking water on board for your pet.
  • Dogs can get sunburned, especially short haired dogs and ones with pink skin and white hair. Apply sun block to ears and nose.
  • Invest in a PFD, pet floatation, device equipped with colored reflectors and a lifting handle. The PFD should be a properly fitted jacket which will support the dog horizontally with its head slightly above the water line when immersed in the ocean/lake. The colored reflectors are for easy spotting in the water and the pet owner will appreciate the lifting handle when trying to pull the dog from the water.
  • Consider purchasing a water collar which will sound an alarm when wet. This will alert the owner if the canine were to intentionally enter the water undetected or inadvertently fall overboard. Do not attempt to pull the dog from the water by its collar.

There are debates ongoing as to the necessity of tethering your pet on a boat. While some boat owners vehemently discourage the practice, for safety reasons. There are just as many boat owners passionately defending the use of tethering on a boat, also for safety reasons. The boat owner should consider their canine companion, weather conditions, location and other external influences when deciding whether to tether.

We know our canine companions better than anyone else, but it is important to remember most of us are not medical professionals. If you are uncertain on how to treat your dog’s medical needs or you have any questions, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.


Veterinarians in North Toronto / Willowdale – Willowdale 24-Hour Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in The Beaches / East Toronto – Beaches Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Ashbridges Bay / East Toronto – Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Downtown Toronto – Downtown Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Bloor / West Toronto – Bloor Animal Hospital

Dogs Were Made for Walkin’

Helpful Hints For Training Your New Puppy

Living in a tight knit community has loads of benefits.  Block parties, chatting with your grocer, waving to those you know as you sip coffee on the patio of the neighbourhood coffee shop.  Above all a neighbourhood like this makes you comfortable and safe and your pet should feel the same way, as should those neighbours you encounter while walking your pet.

Read More…

About Spaying and Neutering

Spaying is a general term used to describe the ovariohysterectomy of a female animal. Neutering is a general term used to describe the castration of a male animal. However, neutering is often used in reference to both genders. The surgical procedure, performed by a veterinarian, renders the animal incapable of reproducing. Here are answers to some questions you may have about this beneficial procedure.

When can I have this procedure done?

Both procedures can safely be performed at as early as 8 weeks of age.  American Humane Association is a strong proponent of juvenile or pediatric spay/neuter since it is both healthy for pets and effectively reduces pet overpopulation.

Why should I have my pet neutered?

Animal shelters, both public and private, are faced with an incredible burden: What to do with the overpopulation of dogs and cats that they cannot find homes for? Approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters each year, due to the sheer fact that there are not enough willing adopters. Having your pet spayed or neutered ensures that you will not be adding to this tremendous burden.

What are some of the health and behavioral benefits?

Through neutering, you can help your dog or cat live a happier, healthier, longer life. Spaying eliminates the constant crying and nervous pacing of a female cat in heat. Spaying a female dog also eliminates the messiness associated with the heat cycle.

Neutering of male dogs and cats can prevent certain undesirable sexual behaviors, such as urine marking, humping, male aggression and the urge to roam. If you have more than one pet in your household, all the pets will generally get along better if they are neutered.

A long-term benefit of spaying and neutering is improved health for both cats and dogs. Spaying females prior to their first heat cycle nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer and totally prevents uterine infections and uterine cancer. Neutering males prevents testicular cancer and enlargement of the prostate gland, and greatly reduces their risk for perianal tumors.

Neutering just costs too much!

The cost of caring for a pet, including providing veterinary care, should be considered before acquiring an animal. Many animal shelters offer low-cost spay/neuter services, and there are also many low-cost spay/neuter clinics across the country. To find low-cost options in your area, call your local animal shelter. The reality is that the cost associated with providing adequate care for just one litter of puppies or kittens is often more than the cost of spaying or neutering. The cost of feeding, worming and first vaccinations for a litter can be upwards of $200 to $300. You must also consider that there could be complications with the birth that require hospitalization or surgery. You will also be faced with finding good homes for the offspring yourself or placing more animals into your local shelter. The cost of the well-being of not just your companion animal, but of future generations, should be considered.

Can’t I allow my purebred dog to have just one litter?

Mixed breed or purebred — there just aren’t enough homes. Purebred animals also often end up in shelters. In fact, 25 percent of shelter dogs are purebreds. Responsible purebred breeders have homes for their potential litters before they breed.

I don’t even own a pet! Why is this my problem?

All of us are affected by animal overpopulation. Millions of tax dollars are spent annually to shelter and care for stray, abandoned and unwanted pets. Much of that money is spent to euthanize these animals when homes cannot be found. Human health is threatened by the danger of transmittable diseases (including rabies), animal bites and attacks. Property may be damaged and livestock killed when pets roam in search of food. Animal waste is proving to be a serious environment hazard, fouling yards and parks. It is only when all of us assume the responsibility for pet overpopulation that we will see any decrease in the problem.

Isn’t it wrong to deprive an animal of the natural right to reproduce?

No, it’s wrong to allow these animals to reproduce millions of unwanted offspring that are eventually killed because there aren’t enough responsible homes.

If I find homes for my pet’s litters, then I won’t contribute to the problem, right?

Wrong. Only a finite number of people want pets. So every home you find for your pet’s offspring takes away a home from a loving animal already at a shelter.

Shouldn’t every female pet have at least one litter before being spayed?

No. In fact, your pet will be healthier if she never sexually matures.

Shouldn’t children experience the miracle of birth?

No. A more important lesson to teach your children would be responsible pet ownership and concern for life by explaining why their pet should not have babies.

Doesn’t neutering alter an animal’s personality?

No. Personality changes that may result from neutering are for the better. Not being distracted by the instinctual need to find a mate helps your pet stop roaming and decreases aggressive tendencies.

Won’t animal shelters take care of the surplus animals?

No. Shelters do their best to place animals in loving homes, but the number of homeless animals far exceeds the number of willing adopters. This leaves many loving and healthy animals in our community that must be euthanized as the only humane solution to this tragic dilemma. Only spaying and neutering can end the overpopulation problem.

This information was obtained from the American Humane Society.

Spring Dog Park Safety

It’s an exciting time of year for many dogs… longer days and sunny weather can mean more trips to the dog park with their owners! Taking your dog to the park has many benefits, including allowing them to truly stretch their legs, get plenty of exercise running around as well as allowing them to socialize with other dogs which is an important part of their mental health.

(Click here for a list of Toronto’s best dog parks)

While visiting the dog park is a daily visit for some owners, others may not be familiar with the rules of dog parks as well as some of the health risks that unvaccinated dogs can pose. If you have a new puppy, make sure they have finished the vaccines your veterinarian has recommended before allowing them to play with adult dogs that may or may not be up-to-date on their vaccinations.

Hanging out with your canine buddies is a great dog day!

Unvaccinated dogs (or even wild animals hanging around dog parks) can carry diseases like parvovirus, leptospirosis, rabiesfleas and ticks or distemper. Intestinal parasites can be spread by dogs walking on feces and then licking their paws later on.

Many of these are controllable and preventable with a veterinarian-recommended heartworm program and by keeping your dog’s vaccinations current.

Always work on socialization with one or two dogs in a controlled setting first to make sure your pet is not overwhelmed by many dogs in a free-play setting. Have your leash handy just in case play-fighting gets a little rough and you need to get a hold of your dog right away. It is also better for small dogs to play with other small ones when possible.

Little dogs can be easily injured by biting or even being jumped on top of by bigger dogs. Play fighting can sometimes go bad, so watch for submissive dogs being pushed into more aggressive play by more aggressive dogs. Increased growling, snapping and intimidating postures are all signs that play behaviour may be about to escalate.

When you get home, be sure you wash your hands and clean off your shoes to avoid transmitting any foreign material into your household.

The dog park is a fabulous way to enjoy a beautiful summer day with your pet. Take the necessary precautions and you and your pet will have a happy and healthy day at the park!

Keeping your pet hydrated, Toronto ON Canada Vets

If you have not had your pet vaccinated, de-wormed or treated for ticks, fleas or other other outdoor dangers, please call one of our veterinarian hospitals in Toronto Today.

We have Veterinary Care Clinics across the city of Toronto, Ontario, so it is convenient for you to take care of your pet’s needs. Most are open late and Willowdale Animal Hospital is open 24-7.


Veterinarians in North Toronto / Willowdale – Willowdale 24-Hour Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in The Beaches / East Toronto – Beaches Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Ashbridges Bay / East Toronto – Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Downtown Toronto – Downtown Animal Hospital

Veterinarians in Bloor / West Toronto – Bloor Animal Hospital

Pet Easter Hazards to Keep in Mind this Easter Holiday

Easter in beautiful Toronto is just around the corner and as they say “April showers bring May flowers!”

Most of us like to freshen our homes with the scent of tulips, daffodils, and lilies this time of the year.  Lilies are beautiful flowers but they are actually quite toxic to our furry friends. They are especially toxic to cats.

pet friendly easter, avoid hazards

Keep your cat away from Lilies this Easter and choose a pet friendly flower instead like tulips or roses.

If your cat ingests any part of the lily flower (including the pollen) it can cause kidney failure and can even  be fatal. Thus even the smallest exposure to the plant should be aggressively treated.

Cats tend to develop vomiting and depression within 2-4 hours of lily ingestion.This is followed by increased drinking and urination.

Treatment is immediate decontamination and fluid therapy for kidney dieresis. Prognosis is usually good with prompt, aggressive treatment.

It is very important to keep any lilies you may have in the house out of reach from our furry friends or perhaps reconsider having lilies in your home at all.

Remember to contact your Veterinarian right away if ingestion occurs. Our Willowdale Animal Hospital is open 24-7 for pet emergencies.

The sooner you are able to get your pet in, the greater his or her chance of survival is. The Pet Wellness Network Veterinarians of Toronto are here for you and your pet.

Choose beautiful tulips over lilies.

Choose beautiful tulips over lilies to keep your furry friends safe over Easter.

Chocolate is another sign that Easter is here! It is delicious to us but very dangerous for our animal companinons. Chocolate ingestion can be fatal to our little ones. Most accidental chocolate exposures in pets occur around this time.

doggie with bunny ears, toronto dogs pet network

Chocolate contains substances called methylxanthines, specifically theobromines and caffeine. When ingested by animals, methlyxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, panting, hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures and even death. Dark chocolate is more hazardous than milk chocolate and white chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines in it, while baking chocolate contains the highest levels.

Clinical signs usually occur within 6-12 hours of ingestion but it is very important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Be sure to know the amount and kind of chocolate that was ingested by your pet and contact your Veterinarian and Animal Poison Control Centre (ASPCA) at 1-888-426-4435.

Although Easter is a time that many of us like to celebrate, please be very careful to keep your chocolate treats out of reach from your pets!

We at the Toronto Pet Wellness Network are always here for you!

Keep your furry friends away from Liilies

Keep your furry friends away from Lilies

8 Tips for Spring Pet Safety in Toronto

Spring is almost here in Toronto, ON and after what was an extra long winter here in Toronto, people  – and Toronto pets! –  are eager to get outside and enjoy the nice weather! Especially today!! (ahh!!)


Springtime in the GTA presents some unique safety challenges for our pets. As their guardians, it’s important for us to know what to do – and what not to do – in order to keep them safe. Today we sharing just a few tips on ways to protect your pets while still enjoying springtime.

  1. Never, ever leave your dog unattended outdoors. It takes only seconds for a dog to wander off or to be stolen right from your own backyard. My philosophy with dogs is the same as with a 2 year old child – if I wouldn’t leave a child in this situation, I shouldn’t leave my dog in this situation. Please be responsible!
  2. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag that has correct information. In the event your dog does get lost, make sure you’ve provided enough information for him to get back home. An ID tag with your name and a current, working phone number is a must. Microchipping your pet is also a must. This is a simple, easy procedure that can usually be done for $20-30.
  3. You probably can’t wait to open the windows and air your house out after a long winter. Double check to make sure all window screens are secure and in good condition. This will help prevent a pet from escaping through a busted screen or accidentally falling from a window.
  4. Beware of poisonous plants. Your beautiful spring flowers are starting to pop up, but so many of them are not safe for pets. Check out the ASPCA’s list of plants to avoid.
  5. Keep your pets off lawns that have recently been chemically treated. Fertilizers, weed killers, and other chemicals used by commercial lawn care companies, as well as those you use yourself, can be very harmful to your pets. Generally, I keep my pets off a treated lawn for at least 24 hours. Follow the instructions from your lawn care company or on the label if you’re treating your own lawn.
  6. When you start your spring cleaning projects, be sure to use pet-friendly cleaning supplies. My advice is to also secure your pets in another room while you clean, and make sure you put all cleaning supplies away before letting your pets back into the room.
  7. Know the phone number for the Animal Poison Control Center. It’s 1-800-213-6680. Keep this number handy year-round. You never know when you may need it.
  8. Is your pet on year-round heartworm and flea prevention? If not, now’s a great time to get him started on it. Visit your vet to have your dog tested for heartworm disease, and then start the treatment and be faithful about it each and every month!
  9. Spring Puppy, Toronto Veterinarians


These are just a few ideas for keeping your pet safe this spring. I’d love to hear your suggestions, as well. What tips do YOU have for keeping Fido safe? Share with me in comments below!

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