Returning to work and worried about pet separation anxiety?

Preparing Fido for your return to work by Cheryl Grant DCBC, CPDT-KA


Have your co-workers been of the four legged kind lately? You’re not alone.  Many dogs have been our co-workers recently, and as things look like they’re beginning to move towards returning to a new normal, now is the time to help prepare your dog for this transition.  The good news: separation anxiety is not caused by spending too much time with your dog or by giving your dog lots of attention. Separation anxiety is a medical condition caused by fear where dogs experience distress and panic attacks when alone. If your dog did not have separation anxiety before, or a predisposition to it, most dogs will not develop this fear during your time at home and back to work/school transition. However dogs do thrive on routine, and when theirs or our routines have changed, we can start to see behaviour changes in our dogs. This is a good time to start to prepare our pets for another change in routine before heading back to work/school.

Here’s some ideas:

  1. Leave your house, without taking your dog. Fido needs some alone time too.  Go get the mail, take a walk around the block or sit outside and enjoy a book for a while, all without your dog.


  1. Stick to a routine, as closely as possible to your pre-COVID-19 routine. Try to keep mealtime, walks and other activities as predictable and close to your normal routine as possible.  This means that unless Fido is going to get five walks a day when you go back to work, then he shouldn’t be getting that many now. This will help Fido transition back more easily when it happens without causing another abrupt change in routine.


  1. Practice separation now, even if you’re still working from home.  We all love to have our dogs near us when we’re working, bit it is worth trying some planned separation time. Have your own dedicated work space and set Fido up with a long-lasting chew, frozen stuffed Kong or another enrichment toy for a few hours while you work in another area of the home.


  1. Reach out for help if Fido is showing signs of anxiety or distress. Often separation anxiety manifests in vocalization, destruction, house accidents, anorexia and self-injury.  If your dog exhibits any of these, refer to a certified trainer for help.

We hope this helps support you and Fido with the upcoming changes in routine and life.


Written by one of our on-staff certified trainers, Cheryl Grant DCBC, CPDT-KA.

Cheryl received her first professional certification DCBC – Dogma Certified Behaviour Consultant after a 300-hour, 16-month apprenticeship course graduating with honors at the top of her class, Cheryl is double certified with her CPDT-KA – Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. A governing body of professional dog trainers. All certified members are required to pass a science knowledge based exam with mandatory instructing hours. All members must continue required education annually in order to renew designation. She is now working towards her third CTC – The Academy for Dog Trainers Currently attending the Harvard for professional dog training education. A two year science based program aiming to produce the top world’s most educated counsellors and dog trainers lead by Jean Donaldson. She was awarded the 2018 APDT Association for Professional Dog Trainers scholarship to the 25th annual conference and is Pet First Aid Certified.

Pet-Proofing 101: Making a Safe Haven for Your New Pet – from Porch


Our new friends from Porch sent along an amazing blog post written by Agostina Chemello about new pets and proofing your house for them! Click here for original post! Thank you for sharing Porch 🙂


So, you’re bringing your new puppy or kitten home. Congratulations on the beginning of many years of love, cuddles and laughs. There’s nothing better than a fuzzy pet to bring a smile to your face. Raising one is a big responsibility, but so worth the effort.

Before you bring home that bundle of energy and entertainment, you’ll want to pet-proof your home to keep him or her safe. Raising a puppy or kitten includes keeping eyes on him or her and removing safety hazards before mischief turns into a trip to the vet.

There are lots of things your pet may be curious about around your home, from foods and plants to electrical cords and chemicals. We’ll help you find them before your new pet does so you’re prepared and your new bundle of joy can grow up safe and happy.

Pet-Proofing Primer

Pet-proofing is similar to baby-proofing a home. Our advice is for both puppies and kittens (and bunnies and any other indoor pet that may roam loose). Remember when pet-proofing: cats can jump and climb much higher than dogs, so you’ll need to look both up and down when proofing your home for your new furry feline.

Pet lovers want to do the best for their new companions, and it’s simpler to put objects, like kids’ toys or hair bands, safely away than to coax a puppy or kitty to drop an offending object. Small objects can cause blockages in your pet’s stomach or intestines.

Get down on the floor and look at your house through your puppy’s eyes. What do you see? What looks tempting for a puppy to chew on? (Answer: Everything.)  From electrical cords to table legs to toothpaste, everything is fair game for puppy or kittens. We’ll take you through some rooms and point out safety concerns to address.

Living or Family Room

You and your puppy or kitty will spend lots of time in the living room, so it’s one of the first rooms to tackle in pet-proofing your home. secure electrical cords, computer and phone charging cords, drapery cords, and any other cords at your new pet’s level. Puppies and kitties have sharp teeth and can bite into electrical cords. Secure tipsy furniture, too.

If you knit, sew or craft, make certain that all items like yarn, needles, thread, markers, glue sticks, and fabric scraps are out of reach. Put away buttons, batteries, magnets and other small objects. Remove knick-knacks, books, DVDs and any valuable item on your pet’s level that you don’t want munched on when your head is turned. The landscape of your living room may change while your pet is young, but it’s usually only temporary, and well worth it.

Laundry Room

Your laundry room harbors some concerns for your new family member. Detergents, bleach, stain removers, dryer sheets and even laundry are all tempting for your new pet. Puppies and kittens can also chew on dryer vent ductwork, on washing machine water lines, or electrical lines. They can also squeeze into small spaces in or behind the washer or dryer.


Bedrooms are usually a safer environment than other rooms of the house, but there still are electrical cords to protect and clothes to remove from chair backs and floors. You may also consider a waterproof mattress pad for your bed in case puppy piddles. Keep in mind that young puppies have about as much control of their bladders as do diaper-wearing babies. So, take your puppy outside often so he or she knows that’s the place to do necessary business.

Take a look at your shoes and decide if you’d like to keep them wearable. If the answer’s yes, put them above your precious puppy’s reach, and resist the urge to give your puppy old shoes or socks to play with. You may know which loafers or pumps are off-limits, but to your teething puppy, they all smell like your feet and taste like heaven.

Make sure all small bedroom items, like watches, hair accessories, remotes, cell phone chargers, jewelry and personal items are safely in drawers. Puppies are even known to find retainers and dentures to be tasty (and expensive to replace) chew toys.


Your bathrooms harbor temptations for your new pal. Stray clothes like washcloths and socks are fair game for puppies and can cause blockages. Rubber bands, razors, dental floss, hair ribbons and rubber bands are irresistible for both kittens and puppies and are equally harmful.

Toothpaste contains xylitol, which is dangerous to pets. Always keep toothpaste, cleansers, makeup or applicators in a secure place like your medicine cabinet. Keep the toilet lid down to prevent water-bowl behavior and make sure toilet cleaners and drain-unclogging bottles are kept away from your pet.


Kitchens are full of tempting foods and potential dangers for your new pet. Making your kitchen pet-proof involves keeping irresistible but harmful foods out of their reach, including chocolate, grapes, raisins, avocados, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, medicines, vitamins and coffee. Research all of the foods that are off limits to your cat or dog.

Sugar-free gums, which contain xylitol, are tasty but very dangerous for your pet. Keep these safely out of reach and remember (as your pet grows) that cats and medium to large-sized dogs can “counter-surf,” helping themselves to your just-made sandwich and more. Your pet can also swallow small objects like dropped bread twist-ties and rubber bands.

Few puppies or kittens can resist a garbage can, so try to keep those well out of reach of your pet. Some people keep trash cans in the cabinet under the sink, away from opportunistic pooches.

You may want to place a baby gate across your kitchen entrance to keep pets out of the kitchen when you can’t keep your full attention on them. They are masters at waiting underneath to catch any and all dropped food.

Other Pet Dangers in Your Home

As you move your way through the house, look for other potential dangers. For instance, keep handbags or kids’ backpacks out of reach of your puppy, kitten or adult pet. Sugar-free gums, candies, cough drops, over-the-counter medicines and prescriptions pose dangers to your pet, even in small doses. Keep children’s toys, plug-in air fresheners, candles, plastic snack bags and grocery bags away from your pet.

If your children have a tough time keeping their bedrooms neat, teach them to keep their bedrooms off-limits to growing puppies or kittens, either with a baby gate or a closed door. This can change later on as your pet matures.

Garages can be a danger zone for your pet as well, with chemicals like antifreeze, fertilizers and rat or mouse baits. Keep these high out of reach.

Protect your Best Furniture

To a puppy, your heirloom antique table looks like an oversized stick, and to your kitten, it’s just another nail-sharpening tree trunk. A puppy doesn’t understand why you think it’s great for him to retrieve sticks outside but don’t want him to chomp down on the “inside wood stick” table leg in your living room. If you have precious furniture, it might be a good idea to remove it from your new pet’s environment until he or she matures.

More Safety Tips for your Pet

Don’t forget to pet-proof your yard. Carefully consider what plants are in your home or yard. Some indoor plants, like Easter lily flowers and poinsettia, and outside plants like azaleas and sago palms are harmful to pets. Mulches that contain cocoa are also dangerous.

Many websites list pet-toxic plants so you can make sure you don’t have any already in your house or yard. Cats are curious and like to chew on plants throughout their lives, so take precautions with any plants within their reach.

A Crate is a Safety Tool

Using a crate for your puppy or kitten when you’re not home is a valuable safety tool. When you aren’t able to keep your eye on your pet, a crate keeps him or her from dangerous situations.

Introduce the crate with kindness, feeding your pet in the crate and placing toys in there for the puppy or kitty, but don’t leave toys in the crate while you’re gone, and never leave a collar on your puppy or kitten while in the crate. Try to keep your new pet’s stays in the crate short because he or she just came from the constant company of littermates, mom and humans, so being left alone for long periods can be stressful.

The Making of a Great Pet

Guiding your small, fuzzy puppy or kitten into a great companion takes patience, praise and persistence. Puppies and kittens don’t have the reasoning ability of humans and will instead act like – well, like adorable and sometimes frustrating puppies and kittens. No pet is perfect overnight, so be patient with the process. Your pet isn’t trying to misbehave – he or she is learning your language and your rules of the house, so be clear, consistent and kind. Reward any behavior you want your puppy to continue showing.

When training cats (yes, they’re trainable), also use positive reinforcement as well. Telling a cat to get off the table can seem like spitting into the wind, so entice it off with a treat or toy, or pick the cat up. Your prized heirloom vase may have to stay behind glass as long as you have a cat, but aren’t the cute meows, playful antics and contented lap naps worth it? Reward your kitten’s litter box deposits and for coming when you call. Kitty treats work wonders.

With good doses of patience and humor and a good session of house and yard pet-proofing, you and your new pet will quickly bond and enjoy many years of love and companionship. There’s nothing better than your purring cat snuggled up next to you or the jubilant, tail-wagging greeting from your dog as you walk in the door. Enjoy the excitement of puppyhood and kittenhood, knowing you’ve made their environment safe.

Drive-Thru Bottle Drive



Turn your unwanted bottles, cans and recyclables into food for the animals at Calgary Humane Society. Bring them to our ‘Drive-thru Bottle Drive’ at Calgary Humane Society on August 15th and your bottles will help feed the animals! Full social distancing protocols will be in place, making the whole experience contactless. You just drive up, pop your trunk and our volunteers will take the bagged or boxed bottles without you leaving your vehicle! Thanks to our friends at Trail Bottle Depot for supporting this fundraiser! Spread the word! Tell your friends, families and neighbors to join us!


Join us for our own Party With a Purpose. We can’t wait to see you!


We are living through history, but we know that animals need our help! While our world slowed down, many animals have still come into our care, and with that…need healthy nourishment and food. Party With a Purpose was created to raise funds to support this need. Can’t make our Drive-Thru Bottle Drive? What you can do to help? Host a fundraiser of sorts, donate funds and create awareness…and have a ton of fun knowing you are caring for animals that need you! Start planning your Party With a Purpose now!


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


Our community and supporters have graciously shared about their experiences hosting a Party With a Purpose:

Calgary Humane Society Alumni Party with a Purpose Update: Sam

“I hosted a party in 2018 (a brunch that raised $410) and 2019 (taco party that raised $405). It was a lot of fun, and easy to do! It was a great excuse to hang out with friends and support a good cause at the same time. Everyone loves tacos! They’re easy to veganize for a crowd too.” Sam’s efforts provided 12 dogs and 4 cats food for their stay at the Calgary Humane Society

Calgary Humane Society Alumni Party With a Purpose Update: Cheryl

“I hosted a housewarming party in support of Party with a Purpose in 2019. I wanted to give back to Calgary Humane Society, and this was a fun and easy way to do it! I raised over $745 to feed the animals!” Cheryl’s funds we able to support 22 dogs and 10 cats for their average stay at Calgary Humane Society!

Join us for Party With a Purpose this August and invite your friends to support your efforts! Don’t forget to take pictures at your campaign and share them on social media! Tag @calgaryhumane so we can see them!

Keeping Your Pet Safe During a Pandemic

We’ve been inundated with information about how to protect ourselves during the pandemic, but what about our animals? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the CDC, and the WHO, as well as a number of other organizations, there is no evidence that your pet can spread COVID-19. But what happens to them if you are ill or unable to take care of them for an extended period of time?

Here are some tips on how you can keep your pet safe during a pandemic:

  1. Have an emergency plan for illness at all times, not just during a pandemic, and be sure to include care instructions for your pet(s). Make a list for a person you trust to look after your pet if you are not able to look after them yourself. Include information on their diet, including the brand name and amount of food they are fed each day, instructions for medications, and the contact information for their vet. If you anticipate an upcoming hospital stay for any reason, have a bag packed for them and ready to go with all of these things, as well as some of their favourite toys.
  2. Don’t hoard pet food or supplies, but make sure you have enough to satisfy a 14-day (2 week) period. This is in case you need to self-quarantine.
  3. If have tested positive for COVID-19 but are well enough to continue looking after your pet, keep them at home with you. Wash your hands before and after you touch your pet or their toys or food dishes, or ask a family member in your household to look after them if needed. Avoid kissing your pet and allowing them to lick your face if you are sick to help keep them as protected as possible.
  4. If you see a stray animal, consider leaving it where you found it unless it is sick or injured. Many wandering pets will find their way home without human intervention.
  5. If you are hospitalized for COVID-19 and do not have local friends or family who can look after your pet, Calgary Humane Society is here to help. Your pet will be kept safe and comfortable at Calgary Humane Society during your hospital stay and will be waiting for you when you are able to pick them up. All pet owners need to access this free service is a referral form completed by a doctor, social worker, or other emergency service provider.


More Time at Home Leads to Increase in Foreign Body Surgeries

With all of us spending more time at home with our pets, our Animal Health team is seeing an increase in animals surrendered with suspected foreign bodies. A foreign body is anything that is not meant to be eaten that has been consumed by the animal and become lodged in the animal’s gastrointestinal tract.

The most common things Animal Health encounters are bones, bits of toys (it’s very important to ensure that all toys are appropriate for your pet and the way they play!), string, tinsel, rope, foam bullets from NERF or similar toys, rocks, bits of rubber, tampons, and pieces of clothing. We’ve seen cats eat a whole sock and even a sewing needle, and a dog eat a bottle too.

An X-ray of a cat that swallowed a sewing needle.


Prevention is the easiest form of treatment for a foreign body.

Items like toys, fabric, string, hair ties, and other small items can be very tempting to a pet. Ensure these items are safely stored out of reach, either up high or in a closed cabinet or drawer when they are not in use. Be sure to account for all toys, especially foam bullets, when children are finished playing and put them away if an animal is around.

If you’ve seen your animal consume something that it shouldn’t have eaten or you’ve found the remains of an item, contact your vet immediately. With the current COVID-19 closures we recommend calling them first. Calgary Humane Society does not recommend trying to induce vomiting as there can be dangerous side effects for your pet if this is not done properly.

The faster you seek veterinary care, the more options you and your pet will have for removing the object.

If you suspect that your pet has consumed an item, watch for signs like lethargy, lack of appetite, not defecating or difficulty defecating, and vomiting. These can be signs that could indicate a foreign body but could also be indicative of a number of other health issues. Diagnostic tools like X-rays, ultrasounds, or bloodwork may be needed to determine exactly what your animal has consumed or if these symptoms are related to something else.

A NERF bullet removed from a cat.

Animals will eat just about anything. If they are curious or seeking enrichment, eating something they shouldn’t might seem like a fun thing to do for a bored pet! Unfortunately, it is not fun for pet owners, and can lead to large veterinary bills, especially if it is not caught immediately. Acting quickly by contacting your vet is imperative as the longer a foreign body stays in the gastrointestinal tract, the worse it can be for your pet. Left untreated, a foreign body can be life-threatening if they cannot pass it on their own. Even if you think your pet is unlikely to consume something that is left out, it is better to put it away. Nothing is off limits to a curious pet, and it is up to us to ensure that their environment is safe and appropriate for them at all times.

Bunny Behaviour – What does it mean?



Binky? Chinning? Stomping? Are you nodding your head in understanding or shaking your head in confusion? Don’t feel bad if you’re confused, rabbits have a unique set of behaviours they use to let us know what they’re thinking.  The good, the bad and the hilarious, bunny behaviour is unique, so let’s get down to bun-ness (That’s ‘business’ in bunny talk)   (more…)

My Pet is a Jerk: Reactive Dog Edition!

My pet is a jerk! Reactive Dog edition

Owning a reactive dog can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing your reactive dog in public. While it can be tempting to refer to reactive behaviours as your dog being a ‘jerk’, reactivity is more complex.

Think for a moment about all of the people in your life. Some of them may be social butterflies, able to get along with just about anyone while others may be more selective in their friendships. Just like humans, dogs have individual preferences when it comes to interacting with other canines. These preferences are shaped by the dog’s breed, early life experiences, socialization and living conditions. Some dogs might thrive at the dog park, eager to meet any fellow canine while other dogs may prefer the company of humans and wish to avoid other dogs altogether. Unfortunately, we often forget these individual differences in canine personalities and expect that all dogs should get along at all times.

Reactivity is a complex behaviour and requires more information than we can provide in a blog post, but below we are including some tips on reactivity in dogs. If you are concerned about your dog’s reactivity, please call our FREE behaviour helpline to talk about what training options are available for your dog. (more…)

Pet Photos With Santa!


Dust off your favorite holiday sweater and join us on December 5th, 6th or 7th for holiday pet photos with Santa, brought to you by Royal Canin.  You can choose to have your pet photographed alone, with Santa or join them for a festive family portrait!


Thank you to everyone who purchased a photo session for our 2019 season. Tickets are SOLD OUT!

* Please note: Pet holiday photos will be by appointment only to avoid long line-ups and frustrated fidos.


Each session is $30.00 and includes a single instant-print portrait. Additional print images will be made available by donation or web images for free download within 1 week after your session. Multiple pets (and people) can appear in the same photo and your session will include approximately 5 images, so feel free to be creative! 

Proceeds from the photo sessions go to support the over 4,000 animals Calgary Humane Society cares for every year.


Our Smarty Pups behaviour class provides you with a strong foundation of skills based on positive humane training while building a strong, life-long relationship with your pup. You will learn how to work with your puppy on skills such as gaining attention, recall, handling, walking politely and as well as address challenging behaviours such as mouthing, jumping, and appropriate dog – dog skills with other pups. Your pups going to be the smartest on the block!