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256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Toronto Veterinarians

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.

Fall pet safety hazards to watch out for


Summer is finally ending and the warm fall colors and cool nights will soon be upon us. However, there are some subtle dangers that come with the change in season that pet owners need to keep an eye out for.



The days are going to continue to keep getting shorter and shorter until December. As a result, morning and evening dog walks will take in more and more darkness. This presents a very real danger of car strikes because of the decreased visibility, so considering reflective vests for you and your pet and don’t let the leash run too long.

The early nightfall also means more danger to pets who are let outside to roam free, so know your pets and neighborhood and consider the risks when you decide to let them out.


School supplies

Pets and kids are usually a great mix, but young children tend to bring home a lot of items that may tempt chew-happy cats and dogs, such as crayons, glue sticks, markers and pencils. If these items are ingested they may present toxicity, choking and gastrointestinal hazards.


Fall leaves

Picturesque piles of fall leaves may be fun for pets to play in, but they can also trap in moisture and grow colonies of bacteria and mold, so intervene if pets attempt to eat any of the foliage. The same piles of leaves can also cover sharp tools and stumps, so be careful where you place them.

Lawn Mowers and leaf blowers produce a lot of noise, which may startle pets, so keep pets inside when performing any heavy-duty yard work.



With the falling temperatures homeowners may decide to add antifreeze to their engine fluids. Antifreeze also has a very sweet taste and dogs are known to lick up puddles left behind in garages and on driveways. The primary ingredient, ethylene glycol, is a ruthless poison and even a small amount can kill a cat or dog.

Poisonous plants and mushrooms

Flowers like clematis, autumn crocus and chrysanthemums bloom in the fall, which may attract the attention of cats and dogs. They are all as poisonous as they are beautiful, so don’t let your pets be around them while unsupervised. Wild mushrooms that grow in the yard or nearby woods are also as big a risk to pets as they are to people.


Rat poison

The cold weather encourages mice, rats and other rodents to find warm places to nest, which often draw them to houses, garages and other buildings. These leads to a large amount of rat poison being placed out during the fall.

If you suspect your pet has consumed any variety of poison, call your animal hospital immediately for emergency instructions.

February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month

If you haven’t spayed or neutered your pet, here’s what you need to know:

Spaying or neutering your pet eliminates unwanted pregnancies and provides many health benefits. In females, spaying avoids the probability of a serious and potentially fatal uterine infection in later years, it also reduces the chance of mammary cancer. In males, neutering reduces the chance of cancer of the testicles and prostate, and lessens the chance of injury due to fighting or misadventure by roaming. We recommend spaying or neutering your new dog, cat or other animal at 5 months.

Your pet’s health

Medical evidence indicates that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. (Many veterinarians now sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.)

Male pets who are neutered eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer, and it is thought they they have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well.

Getting your pets spayed/neutered will not change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct.

Curbing bad behavior

Unneutered dogs are much more assertive and prone to urine-marking (lifting his leg) than neutered dogs. Although it is most often associated with male dogs, females may do it, too. Spaying or neutering your dog should reduce urine-marking and may stop it altogether.

For cats, the urge to spray is extremely strong in an intact cat, and the simplest solution is to get yours neutered or spayed by 4 months of age before there’s even a problem. Neutering solves 90 percent of all marking issues, even in cats that have been doing it for a while. It can also minimize howling, the urge to roam, and fighitng with other males.

In both cats and dogs, the longer you wait, the greater the risk you run of the surgery not doing the trick because the behavior is so ingrained.

Cost cutting

Caring for a pet with reproductive system cancer or pyometra can easily run into the thousands of dollars—five to ten times as much as a routine spay surgery. Additionally, unaltered pets can be more destructive or high-strung around other dogs. Serious fighting is more common between unaltered pets of the same gender and can incur high veterinary costs.

Renewing your pet’s license can be more expensive, too. Many counties have spay/neuter laws that require pets to be sterilized, or require people with unaltered pets to pay higher license renewal fees.

Spaying and neutering are good for rabbits, too

Part of being conscientious about the pet overpopulation problem is to spay or neuter your pet rabbits, too. Rabbits reproduce faster than dogs or cats and often end up in shelters, where they must be euthanized. Neutering male rabbits can reduce hormone-driven behavior such as lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing.

And just as with dogs and cats, spayed female rabbits are less likely to get ovarian, mammary, and uterine cancers, which can be prevalent in mature females.

Millions of pet deaths each year are a needless tragedy. By spaying and neutering your pet, you can be an important part of the solution. Contact your veterinarian today and be sure to let your family and friends know that they should do the same.

February Pet Health Tip: Get A Dental Exam

Pets need dental care just as much as we do. During your pet’s annual physical exam, your veterinarian will likely examine their mouth and check to excess tartar build up, damaged teeth and gum health. They may recommend a professional cleaning, change in food, and cleaning regimen for your pet to maintain good dental health. Since pet’s use their mouths not just for eating, but also grooming, it is important to keep their teeth healthy.

Diet can also affect your pet’s dental health.  We generally recommend Royal Canin, a supplier of high quality, specialized dog and cat foods in the veterinary, pet specialty and breeder channels. Royal Canin offers a comprehensive veterinary exclusive line of therapeutic and life stage formulas.  Royal Canin food is available in hospital and through our convenient web store.

pet dental care - pet teeth cleaning - toronto pet health - toronto veterinarians

Vet Check Ups

January is a good time to get your pet in for their annual physical.   Start this year off on the right foot with your pet and schedule an appointment today.  During your pet’s physical you can expect:

  • Parasite testing
  • Updated on vaccinations
  • Address any health concerns you’ve noticed
  • Your pet’s weight
  • Your pet’s joints
  • Nutrition and supplements
  • Inspection of eyes, ears and teeth
  • Examination of your pet’s paws, joints and reflexes

While January is a big month for our personal health resolutions, it is just as important to keep your pet healthy. Your vet may recommend a diet, an exercise regimen or a change in supplements for your pet.  By bringing your pet in for an annual physical exam, you help prevent illness, are likely to catch health concerns early on and treat them promptly.  Overall, this will save you money and time in addition to providing a happy and healthy life for your pet.

To help your pet prepare for it’s annual exam, refer to our post on Fear Free Vet Visits!

Keep Your Pet Safe This Winter

Winter time is here and with every season, there are certain precautions you need to take for yourself and your pets.  Here’s a few tips on keeping your pet safe this winter.

1-Keep them warm
Pets can get hypothermia and frost bite just like us!  Even if your pet is pretty hearty and loves the cold, bring them in when it’s bitter cold and at night.  If you plan to take them out in the cold for a walk or snowshoe hike, consider a light jacket.  Keep their sleeping space warm as well, even if it’s as simple as providing a sleeping pad or bed.

pet bed - winter with pets - warm pets - comforting pets - pet safety - toronto

2-Be prepared for storms
You may be ready to be snowed in, but make sure you have enough supplies for your pets as well.  This includes extra food, clean water, first aid, shavings or liter and heat.  Sometimes, evacuations are necessary.  Make sure all your pet’s documentation from your vet is readily available and that you have supplies packed away for them.

3-Don’t let them wander in a storm
It’s tragic when you hear of a cat or dog getting lost, freezing or worse during storms.  Keep your pets safe inside and if they must go out, keep a close eye on them!

4-Watch those paws!
Salt is so harsh on a pets little pads.  Even if they never go outside, it can be tracked in and transfer to their feet.  Keep your floors clean and wipe down their paws after they have been outside.  Also be aware that cold ice and snow can cut open their paws as well.  Be aware if they start to limp or appear to be bleeding from the paws.  Use a product like Mushers to protect and condition their pads during the winter.

Protect your Pets Paws

5-Stay visible
The days are fairly short now so keep your pet visible with a reflective collar, leash or jacket.  Bright colors work best and help with visibility in the day time as well.

reflective leash - pet visibility - pet safety tips - pet care - winter safety for pets - toronto

10 Safety Tips for Labs

If you have a lab, you know what it is like to have an animal become part of your family.  Unfortunately these beautiful creatures can get themselves in some pretty dangerous situations. Here are a few tips to help protect the furry portion of your family.

1. Watch their weight.

Labs will eat almost everything you put in front of them at any time of day. This can cause them to gain weight quickly if they are overfed. As you may expect the extra weight can cause many health issues. One of the most common effects of obesity in labs is Hip Dysplasia, which is deterioration of the hip joint as a result of malformation. Labs are particularly prone to this and genes or factors of their environment can cause it. Keeping your pup at a healthy weight can help eliminate one of these factors.

2. Apply a Flea and Tick Preventative

Most labs love to spend time playing outside. We can’t protect them from all of the hazardous elements of the outdoors, but using Flea and Tick Preventative to ward off Lyme disease and Tapeworm will make great progress toward their health.

3.  Use a Heartworm medicine

Another factor of the forest comes from mosquitos, worms, and other parasites. Luckily, there is medication to inhibit these pests from infecting your lab. Heartworm medication is especially important. Since Heartworm is caused from mosquitos, it is commonly associated with warm weather. While this thinking is valid, treatment should be continued through winter months to ensure total protection.

4.  Make sure your canine responds to his or her name

Labs love to run, play, and explore. Sometimes all of the excitement encourages them to travel away from home.  Even the most cautious owners lose track of their pup at times.  If the lab is familiar with it’s name, a simple call to them could result in their safe arrival home. This is especially important with puppies. Familiarity with their name could help your innocent puppy steer clear of the road and prevent a disastrous situation.

5.  Keep away from chocolate

Dogs will sprint just to pick up any crumb that falls within reach. Chocolate is no exception, and we all know how delicious it is. Unfortunately, this is quite dangerous for your lab. Chocolate is toxic for dogs and could even cause death.

6.  Eliminate Grapes or Raisins

Just like chocolate, grapes are toxic for dogs. Many dog owners love to feed their pets fruits, and the dogs seem to love the taste. While your dog may love the taste, steer clear of grapes and raisins as they can cause complications and fatality.

7.  Keep away from rawhide

On the thought of sensitive stomachs, rawhide can also cause some minor complications.  Be aware of how your dog eats rawhide. If he or she is eating it fast they could be swallowing large portions at once. This could cause choking, vomiting and even intestinal blockage

8.  Avoid Small Toys

We all love to spoil our pups and there are not many things they love more than new toys. When selecting toys, make sure to get larger toys suitable for labs. They are larger dogs and therefore have larger mouths; a small toy could cause them to choke. Also like rawhide, some dogs also swallow smaller portions of their toys

9.  Beware of Ice

Ice-skating is a favorite winter activity. With the whole family on the pond, why not bring your lab too? This is definitely something to be careful with.  Since dogs have such sensitive hips, sliding on the ice could make them lame them cause Hip Dysplasia.

10.  Get a high bowl

Labs are taller dogs. A bowl low to the ground is not favorable for their health. Constantly hunching over to eat and drink could cause bloating in your lab. This condition is very serious and 50% of bloating cases result in death.

Gifts for Pets and Owners

You’ve seen us post about gifts for pets, but what about the owners?  Here’s some unique gifts for owners from pets that you both can share!

1-Dog Biscuit Maker
Love to bake?  Make your own dog biscuits using this cute biscuit baker!
2-Cat Charmer
Play for hours with your cat using this ribbon game from

cat charmer

3-Chuck it for the long distance dog
Use this chuck it toy, available from, to tire out your dog.  This is perfect for dogs with a lot of energy and those that love to play fetch!

chuck it toy

4-Backpack for Dogs
From Back Country K9, get your dog their own backpack!  For dogs who need a task and love to help out, this is a perfect gift for them to enjoy while you take them hiking or snowshoeing!
dog backpack
5-Playplace for small Animals
Create a new space for your small animals, like guinea pigs, to have fun in!

6-Fish Garden
Love to garden?  Try this aquaponic self-sustaining fish garden.


7-Pop up Park for Birds
Try out this Pop Up Park for Birds, something fun and educational for them!

play area pop up park

8-Make a DIY Pet Paw Ornament
Use the directions here for a keepsake Pet Paw Ornament to display on your tree.

pet paw ornament

9-Orvis Dog Travel Kit 
Get them ready for holiday travel with this travel kit from Orvis.

orvis travel kit

10-Collage a Pet 
Get a custom made Collage a Pet, a canvas painting of your pet, to hang in your home.

collage a pet



Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Pet Feast

Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.  There are so many foods that can be poisonous to your pets over the holidays, chocolate, chicken bones, alcohol and more.  Also be careful of guests visiting your home who may want to sneak your pet a little bite.  They may not be aware of how this may affect your pet.  Provide your guests with real pet treats if this is a concern.

Securely your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water from spilling. Stagnant tree water is hazardous to your pet and can contain a lot of bacteria.  Don’t allow your pet to drink from the tree water basin.  Be cautious of wires as well.  Some pets love to chew on everything so be careful that they don’t chew on your string of lights.


Cats love tinsel because it looks like a fun “toy”. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, and may require surgery. Use something other than tinsel to wrap around your tree.

Pets Gifts

By now you may have heard plenty of recalls for pet toys and food alike.  Go with a brand you trust and one that you usually give your pet to prevent an upset stomach or holiday trip to the ER.

Holiday Greenery

Holly,  mistletoe and most lilies can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Use artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Give them Down Time

The holidays are a stressful time for pets too.  Give your pet his own quiet space of respite—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle and know when to give them a break from social time with the family.

New Year’s Noise

As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can cause blockages in your pets stomach if ingested, much like tinsel. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.  Try a thunder shirt on a skittish pet or use pheromones to help them with all the noise and excitement.


Prepare your Pet for a Fear Free Vet Visit, Toronto Veterinarians, Pet Wellness Network

The Fear Free Vet Visit

Presented by your Toronto Veterinarians at The Pet Wellness Network

A routine visit to the vet can create the exact opposite of a routine day for owners and pets alike. Many owners report that their pets do not like coming to the vet. The preventative care your pet receives throughout its life is extremely important. Our goal is make it easier for you.  Here are a few things to help your pet feel more comfortable during their vet visit:

Pet Owner Relaxation:

Ever notice that you pets can take on your emotions? Using your usual voice, and not rushing the process of getting there is very beneficial in reducing apprehension.  Keep them hungry: Unless there is a medical reason, pet owners should bring hungry pets to appointments; this allows them to be fed treats by the staff and reduce the risk of an upset stomach on the trip in

Car Rides:

For many pets, car rides symbolize a trip to the veterinarian, or some other unwelcome change. Adding some enjoyable car rides between veterinary visits will make the trip feel more normal.  Try a car ride to visit a favorite place, a park, a friend and reward them for good behavior on the ride.  Also be sure to make the car comfortable for them.  Suit them with a harness (pet safety belt) and provide them with a soft place to lie on during the ride. Speak normally, and playing soft music encourages their sense ofwell being.

Pet Carrier Issues:

Much like car rides, pets also associate their carriers with vet visits. Clients should use pet carriers as cozy dog and cat retreats at home, which helps them associate it with a safe place to be.


There are wipes and sprays available that can be used to promote a sense of well being in your pet. For example, Adaptil for canines or Feliway for felines can be used on carriers, bedding or blankets. Simply spray or wipe 30 minutes or so before you place them in the carrier.

Use ThunderShirts:

With the calming effects of consistent, gentle pressure, many dogs and about 50% of cats will respond well to wearing a thundershirt while visiting their veterinarian.

Don’t Forget Training:

You have likely worked hard on training your pet for various situations whether you know it or not.  If you revert back to training and basic commands, it gives your pet something to focus on while in the waiting room.

Reward your Pet:

Throughout and after a successful pet visit, be sure to reward your pet.  Give them play time, a treat, bring them to their favorite place or provide a new toy.   This way, their experience is reinforced as a positive one.

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