DIY Canine First Aid Kit

 

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. Situations that may require a canine first aid kit could include emergencies such as a fire or flood, or your dog getting hurt or lost.  In this blog post we’re providing a list of items to include in your dog’s first aid kit so you’ll always be prepared for the worst.

Being prepared for an emergency with your animal is very important and a vital part of responsible pet ownership! While we hope to never have to use a first aid kit with our pet, having these items on hand is invaluable in case of an emergency and can help you save valuable time if your pet is in distress.

Many items in this DIY Canine First Aid Kit are available from pet supply stores, including our Pet Gear Store at Calgary Humane Society, the dollar store, or even some large grocery stores.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Storage and information:

  1. A large, durable container, preferably waterproof and small enough to take on the go.
  2. A list of Fido’s identifying information, such as a tattoo number, and emergency contact numbers for your vet and a local 24-hour animal care facility. Click here to download our helpful Canine Emergency Information Sheet to print and use in your first aid kit.
  3. Information on any of your dog’s medication, past surgeries, and vaccinations.
  4. A picture of your dog in case he gets lost. Make note of any identifying marks or scars that might not be visible in the picture.

Supplies (replenish these within a few days if they are used!):

  1. Latex gloves. These can often be found in the pharmacy section of a drug store or grocery store.
  2. Cotton balls.
  3. Gauze pads or bandages and vet wrap. There are special kinds designed for use on animals that won’t stick to fur.
  4. Quick Stop or other solution to stop nail bleeding. In a pinch, flour or cornstarch can help.
  5. Disinfectant solution.
  6. Antihistamine. See your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage for your pet in case of hives, itchiness, or swelling and use only under their direction.

Reusable items:

  1. A spare leash and collar.
  2. Tweezers. You’ll want two pairs, ones with a slanted tip, and another for removing ticks or other pests that take up residence in your dog’s fur.
  3. Rectal thermometer. A dog’s average temperature should be below 39.5°.
  4. A muzzle that will fit your dog. Test it out before you need it! Even if your dog never requires a muzzle, it may behave differently when injured.
  5. Old blankets or towels.

Download and complete our Canine Emergency Information Sheet to include in your first aid kit. It will ensure that you have all of the important information to hand when you need it most.

Back to School for Fido

Back to school is an exciting time for children, but have you ever considered sending Fido back to school as well?

 

Fall is not just an adjustment for humans; it marks an adjustment for dogs as well. Fall weather often replaces lazy days in the backyard with more indoor activities. Shorter walks as the temperatures drop often replace long hikes or sessions at the dog park. September also marks the start of many organized activities and sports, which can mean more time alone at home for our four-legged family members.

(more…)

Why Should I Adopt a Bonded Pair?

Occasionally we receive a bonded pair at the shelter. This happens when two animals have an inseparable bond and it is best that they are adopted into the same home. Bonded pairs provide each other with comfort, companionship, and confidence, especially in an unknown situation like a new environment. Separating a bonded pair may cause unnecessary anxiety in an already stressful situation.

Adopting a bonded pair often doesn’t mean twice the work. Sure, it might mean two food and water bowls or twice the litter changes, but a bonded pair usually means less overall effort for the owner. The bonded animals entertain themselves and keep each other company when you’re away from home, leading to less boredom or separation anxiety which can sometimes result in things like chewed furniture, ripped pillows, or other messes that would definitely be a lot of work to clean up!

 

Other reasons to adopt a bonded pair include:

  • When pets are happy, owners are happy. Bonded pets often don’t have the same issues that single pets might have, which could include separation anxiety.
  • If you know you eventually want two animals, adopting a bonded pair means you won’t have to go through the introduction process, or risk that your chosen pets won’t get along. Your bonded pair already love each other!
  • Studies have shown that animals with close relationships to other animals can live longer, healthier lives.
  • Adopting two animals means two pets get to leave the shelter! Bonded pairs can be more difficult to place in a home as not everyone is open to adopting more than one animal. If you’re interested in a bonded pair, we’ll work with you to make sure it is a good match for your family and lifestyle.

 

Adopting a bonded pair is a rewarding experience for their new owners and extremely beneficial to the bonded animals. By allowing them to stay with their companions, you’re ensuring they have the best chance at being happy and healthy in their new environment. It is not without its challenges, however, as bonded pairs may resource guard or be aggressive towards other animals that are not their companion. Our Behaviour Helpline can assist with any behavioural issues that may arise in these situations.

We currently have a bonded pair of dogs – Maya and Sammy – looking for a new home! If you’d like to learn more about them, please click ‘Adopt’ at the top of this page or phone our Adoptions department at 403-205-4455.

The Big List of Fun Party Ideas for Party for a Purpose

Party with a Purpose is fast approaching! Start planning your party now with our big list of fun party ideas. There’s ideas here for adults, kids, pets, school groups, corporate teams, and everyone in between!

Why not have a…

  1. Movie night
  2. Games night
  3. Wine tasting
  4. BBQ
  5. Birthday party
  6. Lemonade stand
  7. Dinner party
  8. Murder mystery party
  9. Garage sale
  10. Block party
  11. Tailgate party
  12. Craft night
  13. Karaoke party
  14. Corporate lunch
  15. Paint night
  16. Brunch
  17. Wing night
  18. Sports day
  19. Sleepover
  20. Bake sale
  21. Luau
  22. Casino night
  23. Spa party
  24. Potluck
  25. Tea party
  26. Ice cream social
  27. Garden party
  28. Ceramic painting party
  29. Pool party
  30. Hot tub party
  31. Costume party
  32. Bridal shower
  33. Family reunion
  34. Wedding
  35. Cookie decorating party
  36. Live music performance
  37. Hiking
  38. Picnic
  39. Yoga/fitness class
  40. Kids playdate
  41. Neighbourhood car show
  42. Baked goods exchange
  43. Baby shower
  44. Tailgate party
  45. Pet fashion show
  46. Cocktail hour
  47. Beer tasting
  48. Toga party
  49. TV show or sports game viewing party
  50. Pizza party

Have another great idea for a party? We’d love to hear about it on your personal fundraising page for Party with a Purpose.

If you haven’t signed up yet, what are you waiting for? People all over Alberta are partying for a purpose – to help raise money for our feeding program. Every animal that comes to us has different needs, but every single one requires food. Did you know that Calgary Humane Society fed over 99,000 cups of food to our residents last year? That’s an amount equivalent to the weight of nearly 5.3 hippopotamuses!

Join us for our first annual Party for a Purpose on August 17-19 and invite your friends for a party to remember! Don’t forget to take pictures at your event and submit them to us so that we can share them on our website or social media pages.

The Scoop on Poop

Everybody poops, including our pets. While dealing with this poop may be the least glamorous aspect of pet ownership, poop can be an important indicator of your pet’s overall health.

The first thing to remember is that every pet is different and your pet likely won’t have perfect poop every time. Many things can impact a pet’s poop, so variations in their number twos may not be a reason to panic. If you notice consistently unhealthy poops, or if their routine suddenly changes (e.g., they begin defecating outside of their litterbox despite having excellent house habits), please contact your veterinarian. This may be an indication of a health issue.

Shape – Healthy poop is usually log shaped. If it appears as small pellets it may mean that your pet is not getting enough water, or it could also be due to arthritis or pain making it impossible for them to hold the correct ‘pooping position’ for the time it takes to complete their bathroom duties. Poop that has absolutely no shape and resembles a puddle is diarrhea. If diarrhea lasts for more than a couple of days and nothing else has changed (food, environment, medications, etc.), contact your vet.

Colour – Normal poop should be brown. However, if your pet eats treats or food that has bright food dyes in the ingredients, it could result in an unusual bowel movement. Red in or on the stool could indicate blood, which would warrant a call to the vet right away. If your pet’s stool is black and looks tarry, that can be a sign of bleeding higher in the intestines and you should also contact your vet immediately. Stools that are odd colours (not caused by food dye) or extremely light in colour can be a sign of other serious illness, especially if the stool shows a consistent change from the normal colour.

Consistency –  A doughy poo that can be picked up without leaving remnants behind is ideal. If your pet’s poop is very hard, it is possible your pet may be constipated or have a lot of fur in their stool. Large amounts of fur in the stool can be a more common problem for cats, who may ingest their fur while grooming. Problems with poop consistency (poop that is pudding-like, watery, or gelatinous) are often one of the key signs that a pet is not feeling well. This could be due to a number of things, including eating something they shouldn’t have, an illness, parasites, or food allergies.

Content – Does your pet’s stool contain things that aren’t poop? Foods that are harder for your pet to digest may reappear in their excrement. Large amounts of mucus or slime in a pet’s stool can indicate a digestive issue or digestive upset. If you routinely find foreign objects in your pet’s poop, it could be a sign that your pet has pica. Pica is a condition where a pet will habitually eat non-food items. Pica can often be managed by ensuring that a pet does not have access to the non-food items they like to eat. Pica can sometimes be an indicator of other medical issues, so if your pet is eating non-edible items frequently it is recommended that you get in touch with your veterinarian.

Stool can be a great indicator of potential health issues for pets, so our Animal Health and Animal Care teams at Calgary Humane Society spend a lot of time looking at piles of poop. We use a Fecal Scoring Chart to help determine if an animal is healthy or may need additional monitoring. You can print off this chart for your own use at home. An ideal score is 2 or 3 on the chart.

We hope this article will help you spot anything out of the ordinary when it comes to your pet’s bowel movements. If you are ever in doubt about your animal’s health, we recommend contacting your veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

Q&A: How Does a Shelter Reach Capacity?

In the first six months of 2018, Calgary Humane Society took in just over 2000 animals. As an open admissions shelter, we take in any animal that needs our help. This can lead to our facility quickly filling to – or going over – capacity at busy times of year.

Calgary Humane Society does not euthanize for space or time. This means that all adoptable animals will stay with us until they find a home. To help as many animals as we can, we sometimes hold emergency adoption events to free up space for incoming animals. We also reach out to our invaluable foster families to find temporary placements for as many animals as possible outside of the shelter. Sometimes we will be able to work with other local shelters or rescues to transfer out some animals if they have space available.

A few different factors can lead to Calgary Humane Society being over capacity, including:

  • The time of year. The biggest increase in intakes is in the summer. This is mostly due to the abundance of baby animals, especially kittens, that are born in the spring. This is also the time when people move before the start of a new school year, resulting in pet owners surrendering their animals because they are moving to no pet housing or won’t have enough time for their pet when the school season starts. Christmas and the holiday season can also be a busy time for Calgary Humane Society. This is when our Pet Safe Keeping and Emergency Boarding programs are most often utilized because of additional family and financial stress.
  • Seizures and natural disasters. Calgary Humane Society took in over 120 animals during the 2013 flood, and some stayed in our care for up to 4 months until their owners were able to return to their homes or find other accommodation. A sudden intake during an emergency or following a large seizure can quickly fill all of our available animal spaces.
  • Economic conditions. Calgary’s economy has made a significant impact on pet owners who may find themselves suddenly without a job, without the means to afford a pet, and maybe even without a home. Calgary Humane Society takes in these animals when owners find themselves in difficult situations and want to help their pet find a new family.

It is our goal to keep animals with their families. Thankfully many issues that lead to people surrendering their pet can be solved. Calgary Humane Society encourages anyone who feels like they have no other option to call us at 403-205-4455 to speak to our admissions department about potential alternatives to surrendering.

How to Show Your Cat Affection

The truth is, not all cats enjoy being hugged, even if it’s International Hug a Cat Day. Being held in a tight embrace, often above the ground, can be a scary situation for a kitty. You especially shouldn’t hug a cat that you don’t know well. If your feline friend isn’t one for hugs, we recommend trying some of these other ideas to show your cat a bit of extra love.

(more…)

Black Dog Syndrome and 7 Reasons Why Black Dogs are Awesome

Black dogs are often overlooked in shelters because of something known as “Black Dog Syndrome”.

There’s several explanations as why black dogs might not be adopted as quickly as light-coloured dogs. It could be because black dogs are often portrayed as mean or violent in films or that a stigma against certain types of breeds has put people off of adopting other black dogs. Sometimes potential adopters might pass by a black dog due to superstitious beliefs, similar to the phenomenon surrounding black cats (see our blog post on why it takes so long for black cats to find a home for more information).

 

We think black dogs are awesome! Here are our top 7 reasons why we know this is true:

(more…)