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Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
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Dogs 101

Why It’s Important to Vaccinate Your Pet

In the world today, there are numerous controversies over whether or not certain vaccines are necessary in humans, but a problem that doesn’t often come up is the vaccinations in pets. Animals are often just as at risk for disease as people are but unlike us, they can’t rely on themselves to take the necessary precautions. That leaves you, as their owner, to decide what’s best for them.





What is a vaccine?

A product designed to produce protective immune responses and prepare the immune system to fight future infection from the disease the vaccine is designed for.


How does it do this?

Vaccines stimulate the immune system’s production of the antibodies that identify and destroy disease-causing agents entering the body.


Can a vaccine only protect against one disease?

No. Some vaccines are designed to protect against several diseases or several strains of the same disease.


Are vaccines one and done?

While it is a common belief that some vaccinations only need to be administered once, in most cases this is false. The best way to protect against diseases such as rabies or Lyme disease is to talk to your doctor about a schedule of when these need to be administered and how often. While some vaccines may need to be given annually for many it is more likely to be once every two or three years.


Vaccines and My Pet


Do vaccines guarantee protection in my pet?

It is very rare that a vaccine is not designed to eliminate the risk of a disease altogether and just as rare that a pet immune system will not be able to fend off the disease altogether after being vaccinated.


What specific vaccinations should my pet be receiving?

There are two different categories of vaccines that your pet may receive: Core and Non-core. Core vaccines are determined based on the region of the world that your pet lives in and are to protect against diseases most common in that area. Non-core vaccinations are individual to each pet based on their health and their risk. You can talk with your vet about what vaccines will be best for your pet based on their risk and exposure to different environments.


If I’m traveling with my pet, are their vaccines they may need to get?

Depending on how far away you are going, how long you’ll be gone, and how different the area is from where you live, your doctor may recommend certain vaccines to ensure that your pet remains protected in a new place. It is not entirely uncommon that some countries will require that incoming animals be vaccinated against diseases common to the area.


Vaccines and Their Risks


Are there risks to vaccinating my pet?

It is unlikely you’ll find a medical treatment that is entirely risk-free but it is very rare that a pet young or old will respond poorly to a vaccine. Any risk that is associated with a vaccine should be weighed against the protection of not only your pet against potentially fatal diseases but your community as well.


Are their specific responses to a vaccine that I should be worried about?
While the majority of responses will be mild and short term there are uncommon but potentially serious responses that are possible if unlikely. One of the rare serious reactions in cats is a tumor which can occur anywhere from weeks to years after the vaccination however improvements in vaccinations have made and continue to make this occurrence less and less likely.


Aside from the risks, are there side effects associated with vaccines?

Side effects are common even in human vaccinations and so it is common for pets to experience some mild side effects following hours after receiving their vaccine. However, if these side effects last for more than a couple days after the vaccine then you will want to contact your vet.


Vaccines and Their Side Effects


What are the side effects I should be aware of?
Side effects include but are not limited to:

  • Sneezing
  • Mild coughing
  • Mild fever
  • Discomfort at the vaccination site
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased activity


Are there side effects associated with a more serious reaction?

Yes, there are some less common but more severe side effects that should be brought to immediate attention with a doctor and in some cases may be life-threatening. These include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Itchy or bumpy skin
  • Swelling of the muzzle or around the face and eyes
  • Severe coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Collapse

Are all side effects that persist cause for concern?

While continuity of any of the side effects listed above over a number of days should be brought up with a doctor, a common occurrence in pets is a small swelling under the skin at the vaccination site. This should begin to disappear in a couple of weeks but if it persists and appears to get bigger up to three weeks, then you should see a doctor.


Vaccines and Puppies and Kittens


Why do puppies and kittens require so many vaccinations?
As with human babies, young animals are at a higher risk of contracting disease because of an immature immune system that has to develop as they get older. While for the first few months of their life they will receive some protection from the antibodies in their mother’s milk, once you’ve adopted them that protection begins to go away and they need to be protected another way.


Are vaccinations different for puppies and kittens because their immune system isn’t fully developed?

The vaccine that your pet will get will serve as a prep for your pet’s immune system against diseases. The vaccines that follow it will then stimulate the immune system so that it begins producing those protective antibodies.


Is there a specific order or schedule that should be followed for young pets?
For the best protection, the vaccination should be scheduled during the first months of the pets life about three or four weeks apart from one another. Typically, the last set of vaccines is given when the animal reaches about four months however schedules may be altered by doctors depending on individual pets. Often times if you are getting your pet from a breeder, they can take care of these things in the months that the pet lives with them before coming to you. If that is not the case, often times the breeder or shelter you’re are getting the animal from will give you a list of comprehensive information on what your pet will need during the first months of their life with you.

Vaccines and Why My Pet Should Have Them


How will vaccines benefit my pet?

The widespread use of vaccines on pets over the last century has saved millions of animafromfor disease and death. Unvaccinated pets are susceptible to both the common diseases in the civilized world as well as diseases common in the wild such as rabies. Vaccines will not only protect your pet from disease, but improve your pet’s overall quality of life.


Are there any other reasons to vaccinate my pet?

Here’s three:

  1. Vaccines help you avoid costly treatments for diseases.
  2. Vaccines protect against diseases that can be passed from animal to animal as well as animal to human.
  3. It is common for local or state areas to require that your pet have certain vaccinations.


Contact us!

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

Is Your Pet at Risk for Diabetes?

Our pets are out adorable, lovable, loyal companions, but a lot of times we forget that they can have health problems just like us. If your pet has or is at risk for diabetes, it could change a lot about how you care for them from the type of food they eat to how often you can put food out. The best way to avoid running into a sticky health situation is to know the warning signs ahead of time.


Risk Factors

Diabetes is surprisingly common in pets but there are certain factors that can contribute to their risk of developing the condition.


  • Breed. All dog and cat breeds are not the same, and their health isn’t either. Burmese cats, for example, are more prone to diabetes than any other breed of cat with about one in ten developing it later in their lifetime. When it comes to dogs, there are a number of breeds that are more likely to suffer from diabetes such as German Shepherds, Australian Terriers andPoodles. Other dog breeds that have an increased risk of diabetes are Cairn Terriers, Fox Terriers, Samoyeds, Schnauzers, Bichon Frise, Pugs, Golden Retrievers, and Keeshonden.
  • Age. Dogs are most likely to develop diabetes between the ages of 7 and 9 but there have also been numerous cases of a juvenile version of the disease in puppies. Cats are most likely to suffer from diabetes between 8 and 13.
  • Sex. In cats, males are more likely to become diabetic than females while in dogs, females are twice as likely to develop diabetes than males.
  • Medical Conditions. In both dogs and cats, having Cushing’s Disease increases their risk for diabetes. Cushing’s is when your pet’s body is making too much of the hormone cortisol, resulting in a small pea-sized tumor either at the base of their brain, the pituitary gland, or their adrenal glands above the kidneys. The other medical condition that shows increased risk for diabetes is pancreatitis.
  • Obesity. This is an avoidable risk factor but is one of the most well-known paths to diabetes. Make sure that you are keeping your pet on a regular feeding schedule and be careful to watch their weight. This can be a bigger problem in cats that stay indoors.
  • Medications. Certain medications your pet may need can have a negative impact on their production of insulin such as glucocorticoids and progestagens. If your pet is taking either of these make sure that you watch them carefully to see if there are any changes in their habits that might indicate diabetes.




The next step to keeping your pet healthy is not just knowing that if they are at an increased risk of diabetes but being able to recognize the symptoms.

  • Hunger. This may not be noticeable through the amount that they are eating if you keep them on a regular schedule but if you notice your pet whining or scratching consistently for more food, it could be a sign that they have diabetes.
  • Weight Loss. Your pet may seem to be hungrier, but if they suddenly lose weight then it may an indication that something else is going on. Diabetes cause and an increase in your pet’s metabolism that explains a sudden weight loss in your pet.
  • Thinning Hair. If you begin to notice your pet’s hair dulling or thinning without an apparent cause you may want to talk to your vet. This can not only be a sign of diabetes but a sign of many other illnesses as well.
  • Increased Urination. Frequent urination whether it be that your pet starts having accidents in the house or starts needing to go outside more is an early warning sign of diabetes.
  • Fatigue. Diabetes can cause your pet’s muscles to wear out more quickly resulting in weakness and exhaustion. If you notice that your pet is unable to get up and spends a lot more time napping than usual, it could be a sign of diabetes.
  • Depression. Depression can be caused be a later sign of diabetes called Ketoacidosis. This is when the breakdown of fats and proteins in the liver result in metabolic acidosis in response to a lack of insulin. This creates an imbalance in your pet’s body that results in depression.
  • Vomiting. This is another side effect of Ketoacidosis. If your pet’s diabetes has gone unnoticed for a long time this is a late sign. The stage of Ketoacidosis is more common in older females as well as in miniature poodles and dachshunds.


Contact us!

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

How to Puppy Proof Your Home

Puppies are an amazing addition to your home but they come with a lot of maintenance. This includes making sure that your property is safe for the puppy. When it comes to making your house safe, think of your puppy like they are a toddler. They’ll go where they shouldn’t go, they’ll eat what they shouldn’t eat, they’ll scratch what they shouldn’t scratch. It is your responsibility to protect not only your house from your puppy but your puppy from your house.


Dangerous Items

Unfortunately, these come in abundance. The best way to avoid a problem is to educate yourself on everything that can be dangerous and take preventative measures.


  • Medications. Any type of medications are dangerous for a puppy if they get their paws on them. You need to keep these locked away in closed cabinets that are off the ground and out of reach. Puppies are incredibly agile, which makes even leaving medication out on a high counter dangerous and even plastic containers may not keep them out.
  • Cleaning Supplies. Laundry detergent, dish soap, Clorox, it’s all dangerous for puppies. Like with medicine, this should be kept high and shut away where a puppy can’t even see it. They are naturally curious creatures and so even seeing something on a remotely accessible surface makes them that much more likely to get to it.
  • Electrical Cords. The number of injuries a puppy can sustain from electrical cords alone could be enough to make you want to pack them all away permanently. Chewing on one can result in burns, shock, and electrocution. Make sure you keep them wrapped up, out of the way, and unplugged when you aren’t using them and consider getting covers for the cords to protect your puppy from them.
  • Plants. They may be pretty, but a number of houseplants are actually poisonous to animals. DO some research on the plants that you have to find out if they could be harmful to your puppy and either move them to high places or replace them with safe plants.
  • Sharp Objects. Look around carefully at everything in your house and assess whether or not it is sharp. Pencils, scissors, fishing hooks, toothpicks, paper clips, anything. Make sure you keep all of that as far out of reach as you can from your puppy and be careful not to leave them unattended in areas where you may have these types of things stored.
  • Drapery Cords. In looking around at what in your house might be dangerous, it is likely that these never crossed your mind. But puppies are energetic and unpredictable and these cords are thin. If your puppy gets tangled up in them, it could result in strangulation. Before to keep them tied up off of the ground where your puppy can’t reach even if they jump.
  • Small Objects. Coins, pins, floss, jewelry, elastics, anything is fair game. Your house will never be as clean as right before you get a puppy because just about anything that a puppy could potentially fit into his mouth needs to be kept out of sight and out of reach.
  • Trash Cans. Everything you put in a trash can is potentially hazardous to a puppy whether it be people food or face wipes. There are dozens of dangers in what you put in the trash can from used razors to sanitary products to plastic wrap. Keep your trash cans in cabinets or up high, just keep them away from your pup.
  • People Food. While certain types of food are fine and even healthy for a dog to eat, a number of things that we think are harmless to a puppy actually aren’t. Chocolate is only one of the most known ones but things like onion, meat trimmings, even chicken bones can all be incredibly harmful to your puppy. Unless you know for sure that what you are feeding them is safe, avoid leaving any food out anywhere in your house. They will find it.
  • Do you have a cat? Cat litter boxes are unfortunately a gold mine to a puppy. Keep them in a room that the puppy doesn’t have access to or keep them where the pup can’t reach but the cat can because they will eat anything in there.



Dangerous Areas

On top of the items you need to keep away from your puppy, there are also places and scenarios in your house to avoid.


  • Fire. Anywhere there is fire is hazardous. Never leave your puppy unattended near fireplaces and keep candles as far out of reach as possible. Even stoves and ovens whether they are wood burning or otherwise can be hazardous to your puppy.
  • Furniture. Your living room is full of it. If you have reclining chairs or rocking chairs, both can be dangerous to your puppy.  A rocking chair can injure their paws or tail and puppies can be prone to crawling underneath recliners.
  • Bathroom. On top of the dozens of hazardous items in your bathrooms, sinks, bathtubs, and toilets can all be dangerous for a puppy if they are full. Make sure to keep the door to the toilet closed off and to always drain your sinks and bathtubs so that if your puppy gets curious they won’t drown.
  • Doorways. Young puppies are followers and so for the first year or so, whenever you close a door, you should always be checking behind you to see if your little follower is there. Doors can easily damage their paws and their tails.
  • Any House Openings. This includes doors, windows, and maybe even cat doors. Keep all of these closed and screened off at all times to avoid your puppy falling through or escaping.
  • Use Gates. The easiest way to keep a puppy out of trouble is to keep them confined. Maybe confine them to the kitchen for the first little while with gates to keep them from running away. This will make it easy to keep an eye on them and give them a chance to grow up a bit before they get exposed to the dangers of the rest of the house. But this isn’t a license to keep your puppy locked up in one room at all times. Bring them around the house with you, let them sleep in their crate in your bedroom, and most importantly bring them outside to let them run around and get all of that puppy energy out.




Puppies need to go outside. They need to do their business, run and play. Before they do, you need to make sure not only that the inside of your house is safe, but that the outside is too.


  • Plants. Whether you want to replace them, dig them up, or close them off, you need to keep your puppy from eating anything that could be dangerous to them.
  • Pools. Of all the outside dangers, if you have a pool, that may be the biggest. Make sure that you keep your pool or hot tub closed off or covered whenever you have your puppy outside. If you have a gate make sure it is never left unlocked and if you don’t your eye should always be on your pup.
  • Garbage Cans. You have them. Your neighbors have them. Keep them closed at all times and make sure that you keep your puppy away.
  • Fire. Whether you have a fire pit or a grill outside you need to keep your puppy away so that they don’t get burned.
  • Take a walk. Your yard can have anything in it from broken glass or old plastic. Any of it can be dangerous to your puppy. Make sure to do a thorough sweep of your property before getting a dog and take a walk around whenever you take your puppy outside to make sure that they are safe.
  • Confine the area. Whether you are going to use an electric fence or an actual gate, finding a way to confine your puppy’s access is one of the most effective ways to keep them safe outside.


Never leave them unsupervised. This is the biggest thing when it comes to a pup. They are like a small child but faster. You should always have an eye on your puppy outside for at least the first half a year that they are with you and even after that part of your attention should always be on your pup.


Contact us!

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

The Pros and Cons of Wet Dog Food vs Dry Dog Food

The decision to choose dry food or wet food is an eternal debate for pet owners. In order to choose wisely, it is important to know the benefits and downsides of each type of food. Something that works well for one dog, may not for another.  


Wet Dog Food Pros:

Wet food has a high concentration of moisture that is perfect if your dog doesn’t drink enough water. This makes it practical for older dogs that need more water, as well as for living in a warmer climate. It also contains high amounts of protein and fats that are very healthy for your dog, while the carbohydrate count is much lower. Because it is sealed, it also has no need for synthetic preservatives making it a more natural option.

Wet food has a richer scent and taste to it that is more appealing to a sick or senior dog with affected olfactory senses. It has been seen to help dogs that have dietary problems because of the high moisture content. It’s also a good option for dogs with small mouths or any type of jaw or tooth problem. It will be easier on their mouths and less effort to chew.


Wet Dog Food Cons:

To start, wet dog food is more expensive. It does not last as long because wet dog food is not stored or maintained as easily as dry food. Once it has been opened, it must be covered and refrigerated. It also cannot be left in the bowl for longer than a few hours because it is prone to contamination. Because it is more meaty and wet, dogs are much more likely to make a mess near the bowl.

Another downside to wet food is that your dog will require more dental care. You’ll want to pay more attention to their teeth as wet dog food does not clean them the way dry dog food does. Also, due to the high moisture, protein, and fat content, some dogs are more likely to come away with upset stomachs, especially when transitioning off of kibble.


Dry Dog Food Pros:

Dry food is cheaper. It can be bought in large containers that will last you a long time. It is much easier to store, with no worries about refrigeration and can be left in the bowl for days without spoiling. Dry food is the most convenient food option. It is easy to measure out and travel with and you can fill the bowl with enough for a day and not have to worry about feeding your dog.

Dry food can also be used to train your dogs. They are good supplements if you don’t want your dog to have too many treats and work just as effectively. Dry food is also a good dental health supplement. They massage your dog’s gums and remove plaque from their teeth. There is even kibble made specially to clean your dog’s teeth, not to mention there is such a wide variety of dry food as well as prescription foods, you are bound to find something perfect for your dog.


Dry Dog Food Cons:

Dry food does not provide the moisture that wet food does. Many dogs don’t drink as much water as they should. Since this can be difficult to track, wet food ensures that your dog gets the moisture they need. Wet food is also a good choice for dogs that are older or living in a warmer climate because both require more water. For dogs with dental problems, chewing on the dry food can be painful and make toothaches worse

Dry food also has lower levels of animal-based protein and fat, but are higher in carbohydrates. All dogs need protein and the more active your dog, the more fat they need. Dry food may not provide enough, so mixing a diet of dry food and wet food is often the best plan for those dogs.

Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.


Why Does My Dog Chase His Tail?

Everyone gets a kick out of their dog obsessively chasing their tail. But, did you ever wonder why they do it?



A dog chasing their tail can stem from a lack of exercise. If they haven’t been on a good walk recently or no one is playing with them, they need to entertain themselves. Chasing their tail is a way to both get exercise and have fun. If a dog is cramped in a small space for a while, they may try to get exercise such that they fit in the small space. Chasing one’s tail doesn’t take up a lot of room. In this case, it is a harmless behavior that can be stopped if you give them more exercise and attention.


They’re Puppies

Puppies are new to the world. They don’t fully understand how things relate and tend to be a little clueless. For this reason, they catch a glimpse of their tail out of the corner of their eye and think it’s a toy. From there, it’s a fruitless mission to catch the mysterious fluffball that’s always just out of their reach. As pups get older, they usually grow out of this when they realize this fuzzy toy is attached to them.



Dogs are attention snobs. They like to make you laugh and smile and they even do things to get a negative reaction out of you. So, when you crack up at your dog’s determined mission to catch their tail, this prompts them to keep going. It may start to become a habit just to get a reaction out of you, good or bad.



If you notice that your dog is trying to nip at or bite their tail, there may be something else at play. If they have recently injured their tail, this can be a reaction to get it to stop itching. Another possibility is that your dog has fleas or worms on their tail that are causing this irritation. You may want to get them to a vet if their tail chasing becomes frequent and aggressive.



For some dogs, tail chasing is genetic. Although there is no real explanation for it, certain breeds, like German Shepherds or cattle dogs, are prone to tail chasing. In this case, the cause is mainly habit but, if you take them to a vet or trainer, you may be able to stop the behavior.


Canine Compulsive Disorder

This is a very rare condition and is seldom the culprit behind your dog’s tail chasing. Still, if you’re worried that the tail chasing has become too frequent, you can get your dog checked for Canine Compulsive Disorder. This disorder can be treated with anti compulsory medication as prescribed by a vet.


Note: If your dog is chasing their tail due to boredom, attention, or irritation, the behavior can turn into a habit that will be difficult for your dog to break. You may want to interject if you think that is becoming too common. If the dog is chasing their tail because they injured it, it can become a learned behavior for whenever they are scared or upset making it a psychological issue. This may require a vets help to remedy.

Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

What to Expect on Your Puppy’s First Visit to the Vet

Getting a puppy is both exciting and stressful. Now you have another mouth to feed and another family member to take care of. The best way to ensure that your new friend stays happy and healthy with little stress is taking them to a veterinarian to get their health needs taken care of. But this can also be nerve-racking if you don’t know what to expect.


Here are some things you can do to make your first visit easy on you and your pup as well as what to expect during the visit:


Before the Puppy

Many breeders will list an immediate vet check, yearly physicals, and necessary vaccinations as conditions for adoption. To keep your puppy safe and healthy whether the breeder does or doesn’t require these three things, you should do them anyway. Puppies are much more susceptible to diseases and illness as the protective antibodies in their mother’s milk wear off at around six or seven weeks.

It is a good idea to visit your perspective veterinary clinic ahead of time. You want to be comfortable with the environment and the people there before you bring in your dog. When making the decision about a veterinarian, make sure they are familiar with your breed of dog. This is because some medical conditions are common in specific breeds, and you will want your vet to be aware of and understand these conditions. To ensure that you are perfectly comfortable putting your pup into their hands, ask about their credentials and experience. Check on their emergency availability if you need to rush to the clinic at any hour of the day and how emergency transportation will work.

Be prepared. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your visit. Veterinary clinics can be very busy so, to get the day you want, you should schedule it early. You can schedule the appointment before you have the dog.


Before the Visit

Make sure you and your dog are prepared going into the visit. You’ll want your puppy to be comfortable in the car to reduce anxiety before and after the visit. It is also a good idea to take your puppy to the visit the clinic before the appointment, so they can become familiar with the environment and the veterinarian. This will make them considerably more comfortable during the visit.

Be sure that you remember any medical documents your dog may have if they visited a vet with the breeder before you got them. Your vet will want to be aware of any checkups, treatments, or vaccines they may have received. Vets will need to check the dog feces for worms, as most pups are born with roundworms. Call ahead to ask if you need to bring a sample and check any medical documents to see if they have been treated for worms already.

Right before the visit, take your pup on a run or a long walk. You’ll want to wear them out so that they are calmer during the appointment.


During the Visit

You should have your pup on a short leash when you go to the appointment. This will keep them in check in the waiting room. It will also be easier when moving them to the checkup room.

Once the appointment begins, the veterinarian will do a general physical exam. They will weigh your puppy, listen to their heart and lungs, and examine their body, eyes, nose, and ears. They will also inspect your dog’s skin, coat, and teeth. If there are any initial vaccines or worms that needed to be treated, they will talk to you about the best way to proceed. They can be administered there or scheduled for in another appointment.

There are four core vaccines recommended for all puppies: distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and rabies, which is a required vaccination in many states. This is why your doctor will want to check any medical records to see if these have already been administered.

Finally, you will discuss future visits, whether they are for vaccination, microchipping, neutering, or physicals. This is a good time to ask the vet any and all questions you have about your dog. They can be questions about treatments and medications or feeding and behavioral. Anything goes.


After the Visit

Reward your puppy! They made it through their first veterinary visit. Give them a treat and take them to do something fun. Go on a hike, head to the park or even just run around with them in your yard. You want them to associate vet visits with something fun instead of anxiety.


Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

Dogs Should Eat These People Foods

Every dog owner has that moment of panic about feeding people food to their dog. After first adopting a puppy, you are often told that it’s a bad idea to feed your dog anything that isn’t specifically made for dogs. That’s not true! There are actually a number of people foods that your dog can not only eat but benefit from eating. Your veterinarian will be happy to discuss healthy treats and people food you can share with your pup during your dog’s next vet check-up.



All dogs love meat. It’s their favorite thing to snag from the dinner table. They’re not supposed to do that, but a little bit of cooked meat every now and then is perfectly okay for your dog. It’s a tasty source of protein and cooked chicken can even be used as a meal replacement if you realize last minute you’re out of dog food.

When it comes to bones, raw chicken bones do not pose the same threat to dogs that cooked bones do. When bones are cooked, they are more likely to splinter which can be hazardous for your pup. Dogs can usually chew through raw bones with ease, but be sure to monitor dogs that eat in large gulps, such as a rottweiler, as a chicken wing can still pose a choking hazard.



Salmon is actually quite good for dogs. It contains omega 3 fatty acids, which a dog needs to keep their coat shiny and healthy. On top of that, salmon is good for their immune system so adding a little to their bowl every now and then is a healthy treat.



Eggs are a great low-calorie snack for your pup. They give a good high protein boost and can be fed to your cooked. Avoid any seasoning if you decide to scramble some eggs for your dog.



Cheese is often used with puppies to teach them new tricks and it’s actually good for them. You may want to watch your dog’s reaction the first time you give them a little as a small percentage of dogs are lactose intolerant. Since cheese contains a lot of fat, it is a good idea to get low or reduced fat and give a little to them at a time. Slip your dog a spoonful of cottage cheese and they’ll love you for it.



Yogurt is high in calcium and a good source of protein. Both healthy for your dogs and a nice way to liven up their meals, feeding your pup a little yogurt from time to time won’t hurt. Be sure that the yogurt you are using does not have any added sugars or artificial sweeteners as those can be harmful.


Peanut Butter

It’s no secret that dogs love peanut butter. It’s a great healthy snack for them and can keep them occupied for a long time. For a good source of protein, heart-healthy fats, and vitamins, try stuffing a Kong dog toy with peanut butter and they’ll entertain themselves for a little while.

Be careful about what peanut butter you feed them. Unsalted peanut butter is a good idea because too much salt can be bad for dogs. Make sure you read the ingredients label and avoid feeding them sugar-free or lite peanut butter, as it often contains the artificial sweetener, xylitol, which is harmful to dogs.



The grains of oatmeal can be found in some dogs foods, but oatmeal itself is good for dogs as well. Oatmeal is a good source of fiber that is helpful for older dogs with digestive issues. Don’t add any sugars or artificial flavors as they aren’t good for dogs. Pasta and rice is also good for them on occasion. Brown rice is an excellent source of grain that can be added to a meal for a little something different.



Many vegetables are good for dogs as they contain fiber and are low in calories, but a few stick out as being quite healthy for them. Carrots and pumpkin are a great source of fiber as well as having other benefits for a dog’s body. Carrots are healthy for a dog’s teeth while pumpkin keeps their GI tract moving and is good for digestive issues.



Just like apples are good for our teeth, they are also good for cleaning dog’s teeth. They help keeps their breath smelling fresh while also being a source of fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Cut up some apple slices and feed them to your dog to give them something sweet and different as a snack.

Contact us! 

Call to schedule an appointment today at one of our four convenient Toronto locations. Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Beaches Animal Hospital at (416) 690-4040, Bloor Animal Hospital at (416) 767-5817, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.


How to Prevent Wet Dog Smell and What Causes It

What’s more fun that splashing in the water with your favorite furry companion on a hot day? Nothing, yes, that is correct. Although, there is one thing that tends to put a bit of a damper on the day. We’ve all experienced that horrid odor that fills that house after a fun day at the beach or swimming in the pool. It’s that awful smell that snakes its way from your dog’s fur to your nose.


So, why does your pup smell so bad?

Some dogs, typically hounds and retrievers, have a certain oil on their coat called Sebum. This oil collects on the hair shaft and follicles in order to protect your dog’s skin from dehydration. However, when the dog gets wet, the oil and the water combine to form a foul smelling bacteria. For most dogs though, the cause of the smell are tiny microorganisms that live on their skin and fur. Well, not the microorganisms themselves. The smell is actually the result of their excrement. When dry, the microscopic pieces do not emit any odor but, once you pup gets wet, the water breaks apart the the chemical bonds holding the excrement together, releasing the foul smelling molecules into the air.

Wet Labrador dog in towel lying on gray carpet, closeup

How to mask or prevent this smell?

One key to preventing this awful smell is drying your dog thoroughly however, just using a towel won’t do it. Blow drying can get past your pup’s thick coat down to their skin where the real problem is. If you have a jumpy or nervous dog, then you can even get low power, quieter blow dryers so that they stay calm. Brush through your dog’s fur as you dry them to make sure that you get down to the skin. If you are worried about the smell after bathing your dog, you can also consider purchasing a grooming spray to help make your dog smell better.

Little baby boy with boxer dog on a couch at home

The smell may also linger around your dog’s living environment or be stinking up the couches. One natural cleaning product you can use a white vinegar. Mix one part vinegar with two parts water and spray it over your furniture or floor. It’s a fantastic disinfectant that isn’t harmful to animals.

Another pet-safe household product you could use for your carpet is baking soda. But don’t just go tossing around the white powder like it’s confetti. The way to go about this is to first vacuum your carpet and then sprinkle the baking soda over it. After you let it sit for a few minutes you can vacuum again and leave your carpet finally free of wet dog smell!

Does your dog need to wear winter gear?

Dog in coat and boots


It’s tempting to think of dog boots and winter coats the same way one does with casual pet clothing: A silly and often demeaning novelty that can amuse people and annoy animals. Dogs are descended from wolves, so surely their paws can withstand the ice and their coats can protect them from the snow.

But that assumes a few things that aren’t always true. Some breeds, like greyhounds, have lost their thick coats and are much more vulnerable to cold weather. Clearly there’s a difference between how a Siberian husky handles the cold and how a Chihuahua fares.

But even hardy breeds like labs and German shepherds can benefit a protective layer sometimes. Dogs aren’t humpback whales who are perpetually comfortable in even the coldest of climates. They may survive, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t feel better in some simple winter gear.

If you’re not convinced, maybe the experts can convince you. There’s plenty of police and rescue dogs that wear winter coats and snow boots. The famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska requires boots on all dogs.

There are dogs that can be comfortable going for a short walk in December wearing nothing but a collar and leash, while some slender animals may be miserable during a late fall day. The most important thing a pet owner can do is to observe their dog. If your pet is shivering, bring them inside to warm up and get them a warm coat and a set of dog boots to protect them from the cold and the rough texture of the ice.

How to keep cats and dogs from fighting in your home


Cat And Dog getting along


When we share our house with animals we have to remember that they will always be animals. No matter how many generations of their ancestors have been house pets before them, no matter how cute and fluffy they may be, our cats and dogs will still be animals with instincts and other urges that can make it hard for them to get along with each other.

In all cases, the way cats and dogs behave towards one another depends largely on how they were first introduced.

Give your new pet some solo time to get used to the sounds, sights and smells of your home before meeting any new pet siblings. Keep the established cat or dog in a separate part of the house and give the new pet time to adjust before it has to be social.

If you have baby gates available please deploy them. Unlike putting the pet in a carrier or behind a door, it will let your cat or dog explore a section of the house without feeling shut in.

When you want the pets to meet for the first time, don’t hold your cat up like it’s Simba in the Lion King on Pride Rock, forcing them to be nose to nose. That’s going to make the cat uncomfortable, and possibly claw-happy, which will ensure a bad first impression on your dog.

Instead, let the pets meet each other at their own pace. Get them into the same room, but don’t push them together. When cats and dogs don’t get along it’s usually because the dog acts aggressively towards the cat, so make sure your dog is leashed and the cat has somewhere to run to.

Dogs naturally want to chase things that scurry, but you need to help them break this behavior. Don’t tolerate any chasing or fighting. It’s best to keep a squirt gun handy to break up any brawls so they don’t grow into rivalries.

Keep in mind that personality clashes extend beyond species. If your cat is playful and your dog is not, you will have a tougher time on your hands then if both pets have the same disposition. Expect it to take two or three weeks before your pets get used to one another, and if you are still having trouble don’t wait for one of your pets to get hurt before you seek outside help from a trainer or veterinarian.

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