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Pet Training

Cat Shredding Furniture? Here’s How to Stop It!

People don’t buy their furniture to have it ripped to shreds by persistent cat claws. Unfortunately, cat’s don’t give people much choice in the matter. So why do they do it? More importantly, how can it be prevented?


Why Do Cats Scratch?

Cat’s, like dogs, are territorial creatures. That’s true for outdoor cats as well as indoor cats. They know what’s theirs and they want everyone else to know it too. As such, it is a cat’s natural instinct to claw at the visible portions of a home, such as the furniture, to mark it as theirs. The visible claw marks on the fabric show that it belongs to them.

In addition, cat’s paws contain scent glands that release their smell onto the furniture when scratched. This lets other animals know what is the cat’s territory and that they should stay out.

Aside from obeying natural instincts, cats scratch things as a form of exercise. A house cat can stretch out their body and work their muscles as their claws drag down the pretty plush couch. And, of course, it’s enjoyable for them. It’s what they do, it’s how they have fun. While people can’t stop their cats from scratching in general, there are still ways to protect furniture without inhibiting a cat’s nature.



What’s the best way to make anyone stay away from something? Make them not want to be there. Herbal sprays are a great harmless way to prevent the destruction of furniture. The scent of a “no scratch” spray will not only block out a cat’s territorial smell, but it will also be so unpleasant that they don’t want to be there anyway. The scent is undetectable to people, but the spray certainly make an impression on the cat.



Putting a clear sticky tape over a cat’s most frequently target chair corner is another subtle but effective way to stop a cat from scratching. Cat’s sensitive paws absolutely hate any sticky surface and they will notice with even a slight touch. After a few times of lightly sticking to that corner, a cat won’t want to go back.


Cat Furniture

Some people try to relocate their scratching to a place that can be shredded without ruining the appearance of the household? A cedar post or a sisal carpet cat tree in the home will do the trick.
The object needs to be long enough for the cat to stretch out their whole body and sturdy enough that it won’t fall over. Pet owners should avoid buying what looks to be the most durable because cats don’t want this post to stay together. They want to tear it to shreds and they want to be able to look upon their work in the weeks to come.

A spray of catnip will make it more appealing to the cat and they’ll likely jump at this new toy for them to destroy.



A loud, distracting sound executive when a cat is caught with its claws in something soft and valuable will help teach the cat not to do it again. People can  shake a can of pennies or clap loudly, but they need to avoid losing their temper, as this can lead some people to shout or strike their cat in some way.

Cats need to learn what not to claw; but pet owners don’t want their cat to dread being in their presence. Cats need to be caught in the act, and if you don’t and try shaking pennies at them a few hours later, the cat won’t know what they did wrong.


Trimming Cat’s Claws

If there’s a reasonable chance the cat may relapse and return to the luxury of the living room for their scratching fun, regularly trimming the cat’s claws can help. By disarming them, there is little damage they can do, but this should only be done after other methods are exhausted.. The shorter their claws, the less drastic the destruction will be.


Help from the Pros

If you still need help, reach out to a Toronto veterinarian at our website or you can reach the Ashbridges Bay Animal Hospital at (416) 915-7387, Downtown Animal Hospital at (416) 966-5122.

Fun Water Activities for You and Your Dog

Generally, unless you’re living in the wild tundras of northern Canada or the depths of Siberia, summers have a habit of getting incredibly hot and, while we’re busy complaining about sweat and fanning ourselves dramatically with our hands, our pups are stuck in their thick winter jackets. Not wanting to shave off all of our dogs beautiful fur, it’s up to us to come up with other ways to provide some relief for our furry best friends. What better way is there then taking dip at the local beach or a nearby lake?


Here are six water activities to help you and your dog cool off during the summer months:

Dog in her vest learning to swim in the pool

Teach them to swim

This is both an entertaining learning experience for you and your pup and a necessary milestone for a trip to the water. It’s best to start in a shallow area so that you can walk alongside your dog as they take their first paddles. If you know that your dog is not a natural swimmer, then it might be a good idea to purchase a life vest to ensure that they keep their head above water and to ease any stress. You can even bring some toys or treats to help ease (or bribe) your pup into the water and make it more of a game for both of you.

dog at a pool

Good Old Fashioned Fetch

This one sort of speaks for itself but once your dog has reached swimming proficiency, you can start to turn swim time into more of a game! When it gets too hot for running around outside, take to the beach and bring along some water toys for you and your pet’s enjoyment. Of course, if you dog isn’t a huge fan of returning the toy to you, you’re gonna have to be prepared to get wet!

Lifeguard dog rescue demonstration with the dogs in the pool.


“What on earth is that?” you may ask, but it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Instead of just chilling in the pool in a tube or a pool lounge while you dog watches why not teach him something that’s fun for him and way more entertaining for you. As both a game and a rescue tool you can teach your dog to tow things like giant pool floaties (or you on giant pool floaties!) around the pool.

beautiful woman on her paddle board with her dog


If your dog has got basic obedience skills down (Sit, stay, etc), or if you have the initiative to start to train them then you should try paddleboarding! Although it’s best that you, yourself, are comfortable on a paddleboard first, it’s fairly easier skill to learn and great fun for you and your pets. For your pup’s safety, be sure you have a life jacket for them in the event that they decide to jump and be aware that should you pet decide they want to go for a swim off the paddleboard, it’s quite likely that you’ll be joining soon after.

Attractive Young Woman Surfing with her Dog. Riding Wave Together in Ocean. Surfing Dog.

Wanna take it one step further? Surfing!

Although this may take some experience on your part, surfing is a great way to spend some time with your dog out on the water. It’ll take some practice to get them to stay, getting the used to the board and comfortable with sitting on it in the waves. Once you think you’re ready though, strap that life jacket on you and your pup and get out to ride the waves! Even if you’re not a surfer you can just take them out on the board and drift along through the waves with your furry buddy.

Smiley woman playing with fun and training golden retriever puppy in swimming pool - jump and dive underwater to retrieve stone. Active games with family pets and popular dog breeds like a companion.

Or you can just relax and swim

Even that can be a fun way for you and your pet to spend some time together in the water. Just take him out swimming. Relax floating on your back while you pup swims around you or swim alongside them, doing laps across pools or exploring around the lake. The whole point is just that you get to have fun and spend quality time with your best friend in the water where it’s cool and comfortable for both of you.

jack russell dog sitting on an inflatable mattress in water by the sea river or lake in summer holiday vacation rubber plastic toy included toy included

Don’t let your cat go stir crazy this winter

Regardless of how often your cat goes outside, your cat will need to spend a lot of time indoors this winter. Even if they are an indoor cat, the cold conditions can cause them trouble indoors that they won’t encounter in warmer weather.

First and foremost, do everything you can to make sure your home is warm enough for cat comfort. If your heating system doesn’t reach every room, try giving them a tented cat bed to retreat to for warmth. Any cat bed will lend them extra heat, and if you don’t have one on hand you can always line a cardboard box with a warm towel from the dryer. Make sure the walls are cut down enough that your cat can enter it freely.

If you want to give your cat a real treat, let them use a warming pad to set to a low temperature. Don’t swaddle them down with a towel or restrict their movement in any way in case they get too warm, and only use the warming pad when you can keep an eye on them.

If your cat has a rivalry with any other pets, be aware that heating issues may force them into the same rooms with each other. You may need to play peacemaker, keep them separated or find ways to keep distant rooms warm enough so all your pets can stay comfortable.

If your cat loses its normal daytime outdoor adventures because of snow and ice, make sure you devote some special playtime to keep your cat entertained. The old fluffy mouse on a string, laser pointer or rolling toys are easy ways to keep your cats active with minimal effort on your part.

Keep any curtains and blinds open during the day to allow warm sunbeams to splash across the floor for your pets to bask in. It’s free and they’ll appreciate the effort.

Make sure you keep indoor humidity under control. The dry winter air and heating systems can make the air in your home unbearably dry. Besides the physical discomfort your pets may feel, the dry air can increase static electricity. No cat likes being patted only to receive a big shock when they touch you with their nose.

Finally, if you do have an outdoor cat, consider using a leash and a harness to take your cat for a walk. Yes, they will look silly and some cats would rather be dragged than walked, but if your kitty is cooped up all winter it just might be enough to help them unwind for a few minutes and regain some sanity.

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.

Tips for Living in an Urban Area with a Dog

1-Teach your dog basic commands In a city, it’s very important for your dog to be able to listen to your commands for their safety, yours and other people. Train your dog sit, stay, down, and heel to start. These commands could save your dogs life!   2-Not all dogs are friendly. Know that not all dogs in the city are friendly. Be sure to ask before you allow your dog to approach. Sometimes other dog owners will display a flag (typically orange) on the leash of their dog if it is not friendly. Understand your own dogs demeanor around other dogs as well. 3-Clean up after your dog. This is usually the biggest among city dwellers about dogs. On the sidewalks, trails, parks or specific dog friendly areas, please clean up after your dog! 4-Train your dog where to relieve themselves – near the curb There is nothing worse than walking on the street and a dog relieves itself right on your pant leg. Try to train your dog to go next to the curb if it’s safe. 5-Consider hiring a dog walker City life can be busy and you may not have time to take Fido for a walk every day. Consider hiring a dog walker to give him a little exercise and social interaction. Your dog walker probably also knows the best places to take your dog out for an adventure. 6-Discourage barking As a dog owner, you may be desensitized to barking, but you’re neighbors you share a wall with may not be. Train your dog when it’s appropriate to bark. 7-Make sure they have room to roam. Try a dog park, an open fenced in area, or a hike in the woods. Many cities provide some sort of respite from the concrete so make good use of them.   8-Practice poison control The city streets can be full of things your dog wants to eat, like chicken bones, animal feces, trash and more. Teach them not to eat things off the ground unless you give permission. This will save them from possibly getting very sick and some very big vet bills for you.   9-Take Care of those Paws! Watch out for debris on the sidewalks and clean their paws off after walking them on salty streets in the winter. There are also paw balms out there to help heal cracked pads and protect them.   10-Follow your leash laws. There are leash laws for a reason. You don’t want your dog running into traffic, or trying to greet an unfriendly dog, or wandering off. Be aware of your city’s leash laws and make sure to follow them!

Do Dogs Really Get Jealous? If so, what you can do about it.

Is your dog jealous? Toronto Pet Vets.

As humans, it’s only natural for us to feel jealousy and envy. But what about Dogs? Sometimes it may seem like your dog is jealous of a cat? A baby? A Lover?

But do dogs really feel envy?

According to Psychology Today, observations of clear cases of jealousy and envy in primates, such as chimpanzees and baboons, the argument has been made that it would be unlikely to find it in an animal like the dog, because it involves self awareness at a level which, until recently, was doubted in dogs.

However, for anyone who lives around dogs, would likely argue these scientific results. For example when you are cudding and playing with a small child and the dog comes over to be a part of the fun. Or when you play with the cat and the dog barks non-stop.

Jealousy is a very apparent emotion in a Mother and her puppies for example. Young puppies are very cute and cuddly, so it is natural for them to receive a lot of affection from the people in the house.

More knowledgeable owners may try to treat all of the dogs with equal care and attention, but usually this is to no avail. The mother dog sees her owner’s attention being diverted away from her toward the puppies, and becomes jealous.

Mother Lab and Her baby puppies

She may begin ignoring the pups and trying to exclude them from the maternal nest. This can escalate to the point where she might actually become aggressive toward the pups or even toward her owner.

It is strange that behavioral scientists often ignore such common observations. It is well accepted that dogs have a broad range of emotions. Dogs are certainly social animals, and jealousy and envy are triggered by social interactions.

Dogs also have the same hormone, oxytocin, which has been shown to be involved in both expressions of love and jealousy in experiments involving humans.

A researcher at the University of Vienna in Austria named Friederike Range discovered that dogs do have a sense of “fair play.” Her team began with a group of dogs who already knew the command to “shake” and would give their paw whether they received a treat or not. However, if they saw that another dog received a piece of food for the behavior while they did not, they stopped!

Dogs are not the only ones who are insulted when they aren’t treated fairly. A similar experiment found that monkeys also become jealous if their peers were rewarded and they weren’t. It is likely these behaviors resulted because both animals live in cooperative societies.

If you feel like your dog is experiencing jealousy, here are some tips on how to deal with these emotions and prevent any kind of upset or negative behaviours that might occur.

Is your dog jealous of the new baby1. Recognize the signs of Jealousy
Like a spurned lover, your dog will have a hard time containing himself when he feels jealous. Sulking, snarling, growling, fighting and sluggishness can be symptoms of jealousy. Some dogs even get so upset that they stop eating and appear depressed. In that case, be sure to schedule a veterinary check-up with one of our Toronto Animal Hospitals to rule out possible medical causes.

2. Maintain pet routines
You likely have a daily routine for interacting with your dog, even if you did not establish this routine consciously. Think back to what your schedule and habits were like before the new pet or person was introduced and, whenever possible, try to reestablish that pattern with your dog. Routine is important to your dog because its jealousy, in part, comes from fear of losing its place in your life. By continuing to feed, walk, and play with your dog according to a normal schedule, you reassure your pet of its place in your heart.

3. Give Fido a little extra attention
Try to spend even more time with your dog than usual during the transitional period. If the subject of your dog’s jealousy is another person, encourage that individual to play, pet and otherwise positively interact with your dog as much as possible.

4. Reinforce basic training
Your dog thinks of you as part of its pack. Now it must share you with another individual. You must remain the leader, so gently show your dog who is boss by verbally scolding negative behavior as soon as it starts. At the same time, reward positive behavior with sweet talk, head rubs, and treats, especially if your dog makes an effort to socialize with your new pack member.

5. Empathize
Whether the object of your dog’s jealousy is a new pup or person, try to remember that from your dog’s perspective, it was with you first. Your dog has attempted to earn your loyalty and affection over the years, while sharing those same gifts with you. Its jealousy is actually a measure of how much it values both you and its position within your now-growing pack.

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.

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