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Three Activities to Do With Your Dog This Fall

You have closed the pool for the winter, the leaves are starting to fall, the pumpkins will soon be lounging in front of your home for Halloween ... in short, summer is over! But the cooler weather is not a reason to stay home with your pet. Here are 3 activities that will make you go out and enjoy the beautiful autumn colours.

  1. Fall hiking in natural parks:

Why not enjoy the warm autumnal scenery while going on a hike? Several national parks allow our canine friends to walk on their trails. You can check which one right here. Something to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful foliage colours of the season!

  1. Canicross:

Are you a runner or want to get back in shape after the summer? Then, canicross is for you! Practiced for more than 30 years in Europe, the sport arrived in Quebec about ten years ago. It's simple: the dog becomes your running partner. With an elastic harness, your dog will guide you while running in front of you. You control the run’s intensity with your straps, collaborating with your doggie. Races are organized every week this fall, but you can also practice the sport in your neighbourhood by getting a harness especially designed for this purpose. We do recommend that you register for an introductory course, because this activity is more technical than it looks!

  1. Picking pumpkins and squash:

The picking of these autumnal gourds is pleasant for little ones and  big ones alike, and even the dogs ! They will be able to frolic in the fields and through the trees and enjoy the outside air. In addition, at the end of the day, you can prepare delicious soups to warm you up!


Why is it Important to Take Obedience Classes With Your Dog?

Why should you follow a group obedience course with your dog when we can train him yourself?

The major causes of disobedience in your dog are misunderstanding, confusion, lack of reinforcement and inconsistency. In a group class, you are taught how to understand your dog and his way of thinking. It is very important to know how to communicate effectively with your pet if you want to achieve the desired result.

Socialization: In group classes, the dog learns to socialize well with other dogs, not to get too excited and to channel his excess excitement. He is taught to behave well with humans, but also with his animal brothers and sisters.

Leadership: Exercise your leadership and strengthen your complicity with your companion. Also learn how to guide your pet, so he understands what you expect from him. That’s how you will make him a good canine citizen!

Self-discipline and self-control: Your walks on a leash go very well until your dog sees a cat crossing the street? It is possible to teach him self-control in distracting situations, such as other dogs and animals, toys, noises and food.

Unfortunately, dogs that do not follow obedience classes have a greatly diminished life expectancy: they often develop behavioral problems that could lead them straight to shelters or worse, to euthanasia.



The Basket Muzzle : a Tool, Not a Constraint

When we hear about a muzzle, several images come to mind. However, this tool would benefit from being used in different contexts. A responsible owner must ensure that the environment where the dog is located is safe for everyone, whether the elderly, young children or people with health issues are present.

It is possible to use the basket muzzle to perform manipulations in a safe way, or to work on socialization with dogs or humans. If your dog is in a family context where there are many children, why not use it? It will give you peace of mind. You can also use it for a dog who tends to get into everything during parties, or when he's outside!

A gradual introduction of this tool is paramount, to bring your dog to make a positive association when he sees this accessory.

Step 1

  • Show him the muzzle (on the ground or on his cushion) and give him a treat.
  • Hide the muzzle without giving him a treat.
  • Repeat this exercise as often as necessary so that he associates the muzzle with food. He must be happy to see the object!

Step 2

  • Place a treat in the muzzle and present it to your dog.
  • If he takes the food, praise him!
  • Repeat this step several times.

Step 3

  • Show him the muzzle without putting treats in it. If he puts his nose in it, offer him his treat!
  • You must alternate between step 2 and 3 as often as needed.

Step 4

  • Put a treat in the muzzle, let him put his nose in it and fasten the strap without tightening it.
  • Praise your dog and remove the muzzle immediately.
  • If he shows signs of stress, do not insist and go back to the previous step.

Step 5

  • Repeat the previous steps, but this time tighten the strap by gradually.
  • Praise your dog and remove the muzzle immediately.
  • If he shows signs of stress, do not insist and return to step 3.

Keep in mind that there must be a positive association and that you should never force your pet to put it on. Do short sessions, repeat them often, and play with your dog so that he becomes comfortable with having something on his muzzle.

Compared to the nylon muzzle (used for short durations), this one allows the dog to pant (perfect for summer!), drink, eat treats and express themselves. The basket muzzle is available in several shapes and colors. In addition, nothing prevents you from adding a little touch of whimsy!


Encouraging Your Cat to Drink Water

Generally speaking, our felines are not big drinkers. It is important to make sure they are well hydrated in order to maintain good urinary tract health. Some will be more “choosy” depending on the type of water received or the container.

By offering high-quality canned food, you can increase your cat's water intake. Gradually, you can add a little warm water to make a broth. Some cats will greatly appreciate it!

Here are some tips to help your companion drink more water:

  • Always leave a trickle of water for tap enthusiasts, especially on days when you have to leave for a long period of time.
  • Serve fresh water every day, as they seem aware of the water’s temperature and taste. Some of them like to drink a little water after a few bites, so be sure to rinse out their water bowl when you serve their meal.
  • Keep a good level of water in the bowl, because some cats don't like their whiskers rubbing against the walls.
  • Some cats will be motivated to drink more water if you add a drop or two of tuna or clam juice. If so, make sure you have a second bowl of water.
  • For the more finicky drinkers, you could chill tap water to improve the taste, add ice cubes, serve Brita-filtered water, distilled water or bottled water.
  • Have several bowls around the house and use bowls of different materials such as ceramic, metal or plastic. Choosing a transparent bowl could encourage him to drink more, since he will see the water level. If your cat tends to knock it over, opt for a bowl with a rubber base.
  • Offer him a water fountain! Having circulating, cooler water will encourage your cat to drink. This could be an interesting alternative for cats that drink directly from the tap.
  • Keep food and water bowls away from litter boxes.


What is a Scratching Post and What is Its Use?

This is a very common tool but seldomly used properly or to its maximum potential. You probably know that cats are very complex and difficult beings. You can buy them the most beautiful cushion, they will prefer the bag that the cushion came in... Same principle for scratching posts! You need to know which one to choose and how and where to use it to make sure your kitty uses it properly. There are different types of scratching posts to meet the needs and preferences of each cat.

Here are the 3 points to remember for optimum use of the scratching post.

Material and textures: You should definitely think about the fun and joy the scratching post will bring to your cat. Necessarily, the texture of the scratching post will have to suit your cat as well as being enjoyable for him. Just like humans, cats each have their different tastes, so we recommend to have your cat discover different textures, such as cardboard, strings or carpets.

Location: There is a logical reason why your cat picked certain pieces of furniture rather than others to « claw ». It is important to know that your cat marks his territory in different ways: including by rubbing his chin on a door frame or clawing on your couch. Marking is usually done in busy areas of his environment. Accordingly, your sofa that sits in a central location of your home or apartment, is an excellent place to define your cat's territory. With that in mind, you should put the new scratching post where your cat will want to use it. Unfortunately, the corner of a room, where several owners place the famous scratcher, is a place little frequented by cats. Although the post is not a very aesthetically pleasing item, it will still have to be placed strategically where your cat will want to claw and not where you would like your cat to use it.

Height and stability: It's well known that cats love to stretch. The post should therefore allow him to stretch out – a height of 36 inches should be enough to allow him to stretch properly. In addition, the scratching post must be stable. If your cat claws at it and the post moves and is unstable, he may not want to use it anymore. In nature, big cats use trees as scratching posts. So think about stabilizing the one used by your little feline. However, keep in mind that some cats will prefer a horizontal scratcher.

If your cat has already started to damage a place such as a sofa or a carpet, make that place as unpleasant as possible for your cat to be redirected to the scratching post. A little trick would be to install aluminum foil or plastic tarps, which will make the area less attractive to your cat. Once he does not want to go to this area anymore, just install the scratching post nearby and your cat should make the transition to his new territory! You can even put a little catnip on the post to entice him even more. If you have any questions or concerns about your cat's claws, do not hesitate to speak with a member of our team. We are here to guide you.




Training Your Puppy

Adopting a puppy opens the door to a great adventure! It is essential to be patient in the first weeks. Give your puppy time to learn how to live with his new family!

Here are some points to remember for his training to go smoothly:

  • Choose a short name that does not sound like a command.
  • Say his name often and reward him when he looks at you. Also, teach him to sit before each interaction, whether to feed him, play or cuddle him.
  • The command “come” should be part of learning. This will allow you to recall him quickly in inappropriate situations. At home or at the park, just do it for fun or to give him a treat; otherwise he'll associate the command with putting on the leash.
  • Alternate toys regularly and find new games. Whether he’s big or small, activity goes a long way in preventing behavioral problems. Avoid confrontational games (ex: tug of war).
  • Offer him chewing periods on a regular basis. In addition to keeping him busy, you will take care of his teeth.
  • Regularly handle his ears, mouth and paws (including the claws). This will make ear cleaning, tooth brushing and nail trimming more enjoyable.
  • To facilitate potty training, choose a specific place. This way, it will be easier for him to associate that he has to do his business there (ex: dive or lawn).
  • Socialization, positive reinforcement, and frequent outings are key to keeping your pet happy!

Your dog will often communicate with non-verbal language. It is therefore important to know his calming signals.

Congratulations on adopting your new companion!


Hôpital Vétérinaire Victoria • Ste-Julie

Your pet is a member of your family and ours; it is a best friend, and even a confidant!

That's why our dedicated team of veterinarians and technicians is always there, ready to care for your pet and give you the most appropriate advice to ensure its well-being and health.

Hôpital Vétérinaire Blainville

Your pet is a member of your family and ours; it is a best friend, and even a confidant!

That's why our dedicated team of veterinarians, technicians, assistant technicians and receptionists is always there, ready to care for your pet and give you the most appropriate advice to ensure its well-being and health.