Author Archives: Calgary Humane
Dog Jog is our annual walk or jog to bring an end to animal cruelty. As Calgary’s only open-admission shelter, this means one simple thing; we never say no, we never turn an animal away. When they need us, we respond.
Fundraising events like Dog Jog are vital to support the thousands of animals we take into our care every year. By investing resources into our Protection & Investigation Department Calgary Humane Society hopes to one day end animal cruelty.
Calgary Humane Society employs the only team of Provincially-appointed Peace Officers, whose mandate is to enforce the Animal Protection Act of Alberta, in the City of Calgary. An offense against the Animal Protection Act of Alberta is allowing an animal to be in distress.
We all love our furry friends and want what is best for them, especially as they ease into old age. Sometimes we’ll notice shifts in their behaviour, their appetite, or the way they look as our pets get older. Are these things to be concerned about? Today on the blog we address some of these popular questions regarding senior pets.
Is it normal for my dog or cat to get grey hair?
Yes it is! We have a blog post all about grey hair or fur in aging pets. You can read more about this topic here.
Do I need to change my pet’s diet as they get older?
Animal’s nutritional requirements change as they age. Your pet may benefit from a more senior-appropriate diet. We recommend discussing your pet’s nutritional needs with your veterinarian so they can recommend the diet most suitable for your pet’s age and health requirements.
I think my dog is going deaf. Is this possible?
It sure is. Just like in humans, animals can suffer from hearing loss as they age. You can read more about hearing loss in senior pets, along with tips to help you and your pet adjust to this new way of living, in this blog post.
My pet is losing weight. What should I do?
Weight loss is often a sign of an illness in all pets. Please contact your veterinarian if your pet is not eating or losing weight.
Will adopting a kitten/puppy keep my senior pet “young”?
This depends entirely on the animal you already own and the one you are looking at adopting. A high energy puppy or kitten may stress out your old friend, or if their personalities are a good match the new addition may be a fun companion. In these instances, we would suggest fostering an animal first in case the disruption to your senior pet’s routine is too much for them. If they get along with your foster pet, great! You can apply to adopt your foster pet if you’re fostering through Calgary Humane Society. If not, you’ve assisted an animal in need and helped them get ready for a new home. Either way a slow and appropriate introduction will help both animals put their best foot forward.
Can senior pets lose their eyesight?
Yes they can. Unlike humans, though, pets have other senses that are very strong, so you may not notice a change in your pet’s eyesight as quickly as you would if it were your own. Animals adapt well and may not show any signs that their vision is impaired. Keep an eye out for any cloudiness developing, or behavioural signs like bumping into furniture that has moved or hesitance walking in unfamiliar environments.
Should I be supplementing my senior pet’s diet?
A healthy senior on an age-appropriate, high quality diet may not require any supplements. Certain health conditions that may develop as an animal ages can benefit from nutritional supplementation. Your veterinarian can help you determine gaps in your pets nutrition and advise you on the best way to ensure your pet is getting everything they need from their food. Most pets, at a minimum, will benefit from a joint supplement as they start getting older. Always ensure your senior pet is getting enough fresh water too.
How can I keep my senior pet healthy?
Early intervention will go a long way in keeping your senior pet in their best health! We recommend getting bloodwork done when your pet is young and healthy to establish baseline values that you can compare to as they age. Consider yearly bloodwork and increasing exams with your vet to twice a year to catch changes early. Keep your friend at a healthy weight to avoid additional stress on joints. Pay attention to their dental health (even when they are younger!) as dental disease can cause pain, infections, difficulty eating, and could lead to more significant health problems like heart disease.
Will my dog or cat become incontinent?
Senior animals can sometimes start house soiling, but it is often due to a medical condition rather than just old age. Kidney disease, diabetes, certain cancers, urinary tract infections, spinal issues, arthritis pain and numerous other issues can cause a previously house-trained pet to start urinating or defecating in the home. If your senior pet starts having trouble making it outside or to the litterbox please make an appointment with your veterinarian.
My senior dog is not acting like himself. Are changes to behaviour a sign of old age?
The answer to this question varies depending on the animal and the changes you are seeing. It’s not uncommon for you to see a bit less enthusiasm and energy as animal ages. However, if your dog has become more aggressive or lethargic, for example, please speak to your veterinarian. You’ll know what is normal behaviour and what isn’t for your pet, and sudden changes could be a sign that they are sick. Also keep an eye out for gradual behavioural changes occurring over time. Cats and dogs can suffer from dementia (called cognitive dysfunction) much like their human counterparts. Certain conditions like hyperthyroidism or epilepsy can also cause changes in behaviour and require medical intervention.
What do I do when my senior pet passes away?
Saying goodbye to a pet is extremely hard. They are a member of your family and we understand how important they are to you. Calgary Humane Society offers cremation and memorial services for your furry friend and can assist in ensuring their memory is preserved.
Just like humans, pets change as they get older. The most important thing is to check in on your buddy and make sure they are still enjoying a good quality of life. Dogs and cats can live happily and healthily well into their senior years, even if they slow down a bit. Regular veterinary care and routine checks are especially important for our senior pets to ensure they live a long and happy life.
The behaviour you’re trying to teach your dog will affect the tools that you use for training. Whether you’re actively working on behaviour or just trying to get out on a walk with less frustration, a variety of humane and functional equipment exists to assist you with your goals. (more…)
Media Release – January 23, 2019
Calgary, AB — Immediate Release
We are surprised and saddened to hear about the decision by Edmonton Humane Society to close its Animal Protection department. Calgary Humane Society recognizes the importance and value in having Peace Officers who help to fulfill our mandate of protecting animals in the City of Calgary by enforcing the Alberta Animal Protection Act. Humane Societies and SPCAs are in a unique position to be able to provide these services to the community and help save animals from situations of neglect and cruelty. It will be very difficult to fulfill the mandate embedded in their name (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) without also being able to do this targeted education and enforcement work. We imagine this must have been a very difficult decision for Edmonton Humane Society and its Board of Directors.
Many of us don’t realize the dangers lurking in our own homes! Our pets can be very sensitive to some common household products. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most dangerous items that you may have in your house that could be harming your pets.
1. Essential Oils
Essential oils are never okay for cats. Cats cannot metabolize any essential oils and they should not be consumed by your cat, applied topically, or diffused into the air. For cats, there is no safe amount of dilution. Essential oils will build up in their system since they are unable to metabolize and get rid of them, and this can cause serious health problems. You can read more about essential oils and cats here. If you must diffuse oils in your home with a cat, ensure they are safely in another room. However, even this is not recommended.
Any oils used around or on a dog should be heavily diluted, although some are not safe at any dose. Dogs also have a strong sense of smell and may be irritated by the oils. Essential oils should never be applied topically without being diluted and could cause chemical burns to a dog’s skin if used in too high a concentration.
Never use any essential oils on or near your animal without checking with your regular veterinarian first.
2. Leftover food
Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but did you also know that onions, some artificial sweeteners (like xylitol), garlic, apricots, chives, leeks, grapefruit, limes, macadamia nuts, oranges, peaches, and rhubarb are toxic to dogs too? So are many other things listed here on the Pet Poison Helpline website. It is always safest to feed your pet a healthy, balanced pet food, rather than scraps off of your plate.
Consuming household plants can lead to an upset stomach and vomiting. Some plants in particular are poisonous to your furry friend, including: tomato plants, geraniums, mint, oregano, all forms of lillies including peace lillies, tulips, camomile, poinsettias, peonies, and mums. Plant fertilizer, bulbs, and mulch can also cause harm to your pet if they have a habit of digging up your garden and ingesting these items.
For a full list of toxic plants, check out this helpful resource.
4. Items in your garage
Many items that are present in your garage, like antifreeze, things that expand like glue or spray foam, engine oil, de-icing salt, batteries, insecticides, tools, and other items can be dangerous to your pet. Small screws and bits of wire or twine can also be harmful if ingested. Animals can also harm themselves on saws or other sharp objects. It is very important to organize these items in locked cabinets or on high shelves if your animal is going to spend any time in your garage or shed.
5. Recreational and prescription drugs
It should go without saying that any medication should be kept out of reach of pets. Even your pet’s own medication should be kept in a safe, pet-proof place until it is time for them to take it. With the legalization of marijuana in Canada, it is also important to keep recreational drugs away from your pet. THC, a component in cannabis plants, is toxic to pets.
If you ever suspect that your pet has consumed something that it shouldn’t have, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
Housesoiling does not have to be a forever problem! In fact, we find many cats that were surrendered for housesoiling in one home do not have this issue in their foster homes or with their new families. There are many factors that can contribute to a cat urinating or defecating outside their litterbox. Thankfully this is often a problem that can be solved.
There is some relief when mosquito season is over, but fall has a different pest problem in Canada: ticks. While young ticks are prevalent in spring, adult ticks are most active in the autumn. Deer ticks are on the rise in Alberta with up to 20% of ticks screened testing positive for Lyme disease.
We’ve created some animal pumpkin templates for you to use this Halloween! We would love to see your finished carvings, so be sure to send us a picture on our Facebook page when you’re finished. Happy Halloween!
You will need:
- A printer with plain white paper
- Long-handled spoon
- A tack, pin, nail or other sharp object
- Carving knife
Media Release – October 17, 2018
Calgary, AB — Immediate Release
On October 16, 2018, Amanda POLLOCK, 21, of Calgary, AB was convicted of Animal Protection Act Offences and sentenced to a $1,500 fine and a 10 year prohibition, limiting her to four spayed/neutered dogs with clauses requiring the annual submission of veterinary reports and allowing peace officer monitoring.