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Pet Parenting

Top 5 Holiday Toxins For Pets

By Pet Health, Pet Parenting

Season’s Greetings!

Most families have holiday traditions, regardless of what holiday you are celebrating. And those traditions usually involve lots of food and holiday cheer. As much as we would like to include our furry family members in all of our favourite holiday vices, some of them can have severe negative heath consequences.

We’ve compiled a short list of the common holiday foods and treats that can cause irreparable harm to your cherished pet. Most of the following apply to dogs, but cats can also experience distress from these toxins.

1. Chocolate

It’s no secret that dogs and chocolate do not mix.

What would the holidays be without abundant quantities of chocolate? There rarely seems to be any counter, table or cabinet that doesn’t have an assortment of these delectable pleasures. That makes them all the more enticing and irresistible to your family dog.

Chocolate includes two chemical compounds – theobromine and caffeine – both are toxic to dogs. Both substances are used medicinally for humans as a diuretic, heart stimulant, blood vessel dilator and a muscle relaxant. However, dogs cannot metabolize theobromine (or caffeine) as well as people, thus making them more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects.

How much chocolate is toxic to dogs?

The weight of your dog and the amount ingested are the two main factors to determine the level of toxicity. Chocolate toxicity is so common in dogs that the Merck Veterinary Manual offers a chocolate toxicity calculator that you can use to determine if your dog has consumed a toxic amount of chocolate.

What are the signs of chocolate poisoning?

Clinical indicators depend on the quantity and type of chocolate consumed. For many dogs, the most common signs of poisoning are excessive urination, vomiting, increased thirst, diarrhea, panting and accelerated heart rate. In severe cases, symptoms can include seizures and heart failure.

What do I do if my dog eats chocolate?

If in doubt, call our clinic immediately and we’ll make every effort to see your dog during opening hours. Treatment by our veterinarians is encouraged if a poisonous amount of chocolate is eaten. The sooner treatment begins, the better your dog’s diagnosis.

2. Xylitol

Danger lurks in sugar-free candies, gum and baked goods – anything that uses this toxic, sugar-free substitute.

Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even tiny amounts can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or death. A lower-calorie, sugar substitute with a low glycemic index, this compound is making its way into almost anything that requires a sugar replacement – the proliferation of Xylitol has been popping up on our veterinarians’ radar for many years because of its harmfulness to dogs.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar substitute often related with sugar-free gum and mints. But it’s also found in many other places, including peanut butter, toothpaste, medications and vitamins, many other sugar-free products – such as Jell-O, yogurt and pudding – and even some household products such as baby wipes and lip balm.

How does Xylitol affect dogs?

The actual process that can cause liver failure in dogs is not entirely understood. However, what IS known is that a dog’s pancreas confuses Xylitol with real sugar and releases insulin to store it. The insulin then removes actual sugar from the bloodstream and can cause the dog to become anemic, resulting in tremors and possibly seizures. The effects usually start within 30 minutes of consumption.

How much Xylitol is poisonous to a dog?

There will always be differing amounts of Xylitol across various products, so the amount of product that is needed to be ingested before toxicity sets in varies widely. Common sense would dictate that, in general, lower doses of Xylitol cause mild hypoglycemia, while higher doses can result in complete liver failure. If untreated, hypoglycemia is life-threatening.

What are the signs of Xylitol poisoning?

Initial signs of Xylitol poisoning are typically due to low blood sugar and can develop within 30 minutes of consumption. Signs of low blood sugar may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination / difficulty walking or standing
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Muscle tremors

In severe cases, the dog may develop seizures, slip into a coma or experience liver failure. Dogs that develop liver failure from Xylitol poisoning may or may not show signs of hypoglycemia at first. If a dog came into our clinic and bloodwork showed that they’re hypoglycemic, Xylitol would be one of the first things our veterinarians would ask the pet parent about.

The ‘devils trifecta’ for dogs to be avoided at all costs: THC-infused, chocolate edibles containing Xylitol.

3. Grapes and Raisins

How can seemingly harmless raisins, grapes (and currants) be toxic?

It is not currantly(!) understood why these fruits are poisonous. Researchers have speculated that the harmfulness is due to a mycotoxin – a toxic fungal product – or a salicylate (aspirin-like) drug that may be naturally occurring in the grape. More recently, studies have shown that tartaric acid may be the trigger. Regardless, no specific toxic element has been clearly identified.

All of these compounds mentioned above can result in decreased blood flow to the kidneys. According to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, dogs that have eaten grapes or raisins are at risk of total renal failure within 48 to 72 hours of eating this fruit.

When should I be worried?

Studies determining the quantity of grapes and raisins needed to cause GI issues have shown there is a sizeable range and each dog can respond differently. Observation is key – if you observe any of the toxicosis signs mentioned below and/or see a previously full grape dish now empty, call our clinic immediately during our regular hours and we’ll make time to attend to the poisoning.

Because we don’t know why these fruits are potentially lethal, any exposure – even a single grape – should be a cause for concern.

Signs of Grape or Raisin Toxicosis (GRT):

  • Appetite loss
  • Lethargy / weakness
  • Vomiting / diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain – tender to the touch
  • Dehydration – signs include panting, dry nose and mouth, pale gums
  • Increased thirst / urine production
  • Kidney failure

How is grape poisoning treated?

The primary of treatment at the Cabbagetown Pet Clinic starts with decontamination. Our veterinarians will induce vomiting in an attempt to expel the grapes or raisins. Activated charcoal may be given to help bind any leftover grapes or raisins in the stomach to help absorb the toxin. Additional treatment may be needed (including drugs and intravenous fluids) to help support – and protect – the kidneys to minimize damage.

4. Turkey and Ham Bones

Undoubtedly, appropriately sized, raw animal bones are an excellent source of minerals and other nutrients for dogs. Chewing stimulates saliva enzymes and helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth and gum disease. And a dog chewing on a bone is less inclined to excessively scratch or lick his paws. All good reasons to give your dog a bone.

But…

Many veterinarians believe it just isn’t worth the risk of serious injury to give your dog an animal bone, especially cooked. There are better, less harmful options available as seen in any major pet store aisle.

Should dogs be given turkey or ham bones?

Hard no. Poultry bones – particularly cooked – are brittle. Combined with their small size, they are very unsafe for dogs. Cooked ham bones are an even bigger issue because they’re even more disposed to splintering. Our veterinarians caution against feeding dogs bones of any kind as they can result in the following issues:

  • Bleeding mouth and tongue injuries
  • Constipation
  • Choking
  • Bone fragments can puncture the lining of stomachs and intestines
  • Blockage of the throat or intestinal tract
  • Rectal bleeding from sharp bone fragments
  • Obstructions that require emergency surgery

If you want to give your dog a bone for Christmas, try a large, tough nylon or rubber toy bone or another size-appropriate chew toy.

5. Raw Bread Dough

Nothing smells quite as pleasant as fresh, homemade bread wafting through the kitchen during the holiday season.

If you’ve ever made bread from scratch or in a bread-maker, you know that dough has to rise – preferably in a warm, moist, draft-free environment.

Fully baked bread is safe for pets as a special treat, so long as it’s not raisin bread. However, unbaked bread dough can be dangerous when eaten by dogs – and also cats. When ingested, the unbaked bread dough expands in the warm, moist environment of your pets’ stomach, resulting in a bloated or distended abdomen.

Additionally, when the yeast uses sugars in the unbaked dough – a process called fermentation – it produces carbon dioxide gas and alcohol. The carbon dioxide gas is what makes bread rise. Alcohol from the fermenting yeast is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and results in alcohol poisoning. Inadvertent consumption of alcohol can cause unsafe drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Severely intoxicated animals can potentially experience seizures and respiratory failure.

If your dog or cat is fed bread dough or you suspect they have stolen bread dough, call our veterinary clinic immediately and look out for following symptoms of alcohol poisoning:

  • Depressed central nervous system
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Unsteady, drunken gait
  • Hypothermia
  • Seizures

Conclusion

The holidays are a wonderful time to snuggle up with our pets, but many popular holiday treats can pose serious danger to furry friends. While celebrating this year, be sure to keep these foods well out of reach of curious pets!

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6 Ways COVID-19 Has Impacted Our Veterinary Practice

By Pet Health, Pet Parenting

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges in the veterinary care sector. Our practice has had to respond to ever-evolving lockdowns, give clients and staff safe, COVID-19-free environments and embrace new digital technologies, while ensuring pets get the care they need.

Vaccines for COVID-19 are now readily available to anyone who wants one in our Cabbagetown community, which is beginning to see a return to some form of ‘new’ normalcy. While we slowly emerge from the tethers of this pandemic, we can’t forget the vital lessons and permanent changes this pandemic has triggered.

So, what’s changed?

1. Acceleration and Adoption of New Digital Platforms.

Out of the COVID-19 crisis, comes an opportunity to make life better for pets, their owners and our veterinarians who chose this career path because they wanted to improve animal welfare. This opportunity has forced vet clinics to embrace digital transformation faster than most had anticipated.

Our forward-looking animal hospital is using new technologies to enhance customer relationships in an ever-changing digital landscape. This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic, but is even more widespread now. While the pace of change can be challenging for our clients and staff alike, it’s entirely necessary for the future prospects of our practice.

Here are some examples of the digital platforms we’ve incorporated since the beginning of the pandemic:

VETSTORIA: This integration into our website allows clients the ability to schedule appointments in real time – on their own time. We’ve seen a significant uptick in online bookings as it gives our clients – new and existing – more control over the booking process.

GOFETCH: This software application has been implemented to enhance our Wellness Plans. It provides an avenue for pet parents to track wellness plan services, receive cash rewards for service and retail purchases as well offering access 24/7, after-hours telemedicine veterinary care.

SCRATCHPAY: Did you know we offer payment plans? If you haven’t purchased pet insurance, unexpected emergencies can result in higher than expected vet bills. We have teamed up Scratchpay to give our clients two simple, wallet-friendly payment plan options.

DOCUSIGN: We’ve incorporated this software for all mission-critical forms and legally binding agreements to ease onboarding, reduce paper and simplify our workflow.

2. Client Stress and Anxiety Levels.

At its heart, veterinary medicine is a client-focused business. Clear and empathetic communication with pet parents to ensure that patients receive the level of care they need is the top concern for any well-respected animal hospital.

The combination of (many!) new pet parents, reduced clinic hours due to staff shortages, changes in how the clinic operates (ie. curbside service) and the general uncertainty of how the pandemic may play out for people personally and professionally has created a higher level of stress for EVERYONE concerned.

Luckily for us, the majority of our clientele have taken the inconveniences and frustrations in stride – and we’re forever thankful for that. Not surprisingly, we have experienced a slight uptick in unacceptable client behaviour. As a result, we’ve had to re-examine our abuse policy to help mitigate the toll this behaviour takes on the mental wellness of our team.

With our goal of superior and consistent client service, all members of our veterinary team are expected to deal with a wide variety of client requests and behaviours. Sometimes these demands cross the line from merely challenging to being out-and-out, hostile or abusive.

Client behaviours we deem unacceptable at our clinic include:

  • Physical violence or threats of violence
  • Verbal abuse
  • Discriminatory language or hate speech
  • Continual unreasonable requests
  • Threats, if demands are not met
  • Behaviour that creates a negative experience for other clients in the clinic

It’s only human nature that clients (or staff) may have an “off” day from time to time. We’re comfortable in our ability to recognize and deal with these scenarios. But in some extreme instances, no good faith effort on our part will ever be enough to satisfy a very small minority of clients.

When a client exhibits consistently anti-social behaviour that negatively impacts the well-being of our team members or other clients, we will take the rare step to terminate the relationship and encourage them to find another veterinarian. This is becoming – regrettably – more common within the veterinary industry.

Fortunately, cases like this are extremely rare for us, but the mental effects of the experience on our staff can have lingering effects. To counter this, we shift our thinking to the majority of our wonderful and appreciative clients – particularly those who have sent us gifts and thank you notes. Or spend more time with a puppies…

3. Increased Focus on Preventative Medicine.

One thing has become abundantly clear since the beginning of the pandemic – there’s been an explosion of pet ownership among new – and lapsed – pet parents. Working from home, loneliness and extra disposable income have all played roles in the largest increase in pet ownership in recent memory – maybe ever.

Whether it’s enrolling in a comprehensive Wellness Plan, keeping current with vaccines or just regular yearly examinations, preventative medicine is at the forefront of our clinic’s objectives. The ability to anticipate and treat potential issues before they appear aligns with our goal to provide to best-in-class veterinary care for our clientele, not to mention potential cost savings.

3 ways we encourage good preventative medicine practices:

  1. We offer free, year-round telephone consultations to help determine your pets’ risk of parasitic infection by fleas, heartworm or – most importantly – ticks. Canine Lyme disease is a major issue on the wooded trails of Toronto, so awareness and protection is your greatest ally.
  2. We offer feature-packed and cost-efficient wellness plans for all stages of your pets’ lifecycle.
  3. Regular email and text reminders are delivered to our clients with the ability to make an online appointment immediately from the email or at a time of their convenience.

4. Veterinary Practices as an Essential Service

Pets play a prominent role in our lives. We rely on them for companionship and unconditional love, especially when lockdown measures confined us to our homes and away from loved ones. This is especially true for people living alone and/or depend on them as service and therapy animals.

Because of this, the pandemic has cemented our important role in society. By being classed as an ‘essential’ service across Canada – and many other parts of the world – veterinarians were allowed to operate amid lockdown actions.

Why are veterinarians considered essential services?

  • Veterinary employees – along with other healthcare professionals – provide surveillance for reportable diseases such as rabies and Lyme Disease.
  • Issuing certificates of veterinary inspection are required for the movement of animals between provinces and countries.
  • Veterinary care is critical to ensure that only healthy animals enter the food supply.
  • Veterinary practices provide medical and surgical care for critically ill and injured animals.
  • Veterinarians provide care for service and therapy animals, supporting both animal and human welfare.
  • Veterinarians also oversee the care of laboratory animals, which are critical to research that leads to the development of pharmaceuticals and biologics, including vaccines.
  • Even if certain entities need to be closed to the public, veterinarians are needed for continued care of rare, threatened and endangered animals in zoos, aquariums, wildlife rehabilitation clinics and wildlife facilities.

From the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA): “The CVMA holds that veterinary practices and all veterinary services including where animals are housed for research purposes provide “essential” services to Canadians given that veterinary medicine is critical for public health, agri-food safety, pharmaceutical stewardship, and animal health and welfare.”

5. Team-Building and Off-Site Staff Events

With the lockdown measures in place during the pandemic, one of the things we’ve dearly missed are staff getaways outside the workplace.

Why would that be important in our practice?

Teamwork is regarded as a core skill within our veterinary team. Our clinic is a cozy, community-minded practice that performs big-city, best-in-class veterinary care with team members working in close quarters. One would think this would create an environment ripe for personality clashes and flare-ups, but this has been remarkable rare.

Despite our team unity, there has been something missing – the recognition that outside activities play a vital role in team-building at our clinic. The inability to socialize outside the professional environment tends to put the focus on the work habits and professionalism of the team members only. This is certainly a good thing, but interacting with teammates in a social environment can help bind those professional ties closer, not to mention increase trust.

Staff dinners, spa excursions, Blue Jay games and Xmas parties have all fallen by the wayside as our city has grappled with the lockdown effects of COVID-19. Thankfully, restrictions are being eased and we look forward to re-engaging with each other on a social and personal level.

6. Operational Changes Due to COVID-19

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have collectively held our breaths to come to a point where we can – hopefully – start to exhale and put the worst part of pandemic in the rear-view mirror.

It’s our social and moral responsibility to our clients and the Cabbagetown community – as well as the need to protect our Cabbagetown Pet Clinic team – to make every effort to not stall the progress we’ve made over the past 18 months. Some of the changes mentioned below will wane as the pandemic recedes, but some may become permanent.

Changes to Clinic Protocols due to COVID-19:

  • Fastidious Hygiene: With our already high standard of routine environmental cleaning, staff will continue to practice good hand hygiene as per the World Health Organization guidelines. All common surfaces are disinfected frequently.
  • Curbside Services: Clients are still not permitted in the clinic, but with masking, Toronto’s high vaccination rate and the lifting of some provincial controls, some of these indoor restrictions have been relaxed in some circumstances. We have posted a sign on our entrance advising our clients that if they are showing any signs of illness to remain outside and call the clinic.
  • Staffing: Although our team is fully vaccinated, our vet clinic hours are still limited to account for the current high demand for veterinary services in combination with a labour shortage in the vet industry.
  • Cashless and Contactless Payments: Debit terminal payments are wiped down between EVERY transaction.
  • Increased Digital Integration: (see above)

CONCLUSION

We’re extremely thankful that our clients have been super patient and understanding with the changes we’ve experienced and some of the protocols that remain in place. A reversion to ‘normal’ times – pre-COVID – will be a welcome addition to the overall clinic experience.

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.

The Best Animal Hospitals in Toronto

By Pet Parenting

We’re so proud to be named one of the best animal hospitals in Toronto by blogTO.com. Our compassionate, dedicated team is honoured to receive this hard-earned recognition. Also, many thanks to all our devoted clients in the Cabbagetown community for their support during these challenging times.

See The List

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.

Cats and Boxes – A Love Story

By Pet Behaviour, Pet Parenting

It’s no mystery that cats can be funny, independent, affectionate, weird and quirky – all at the same time! This is what we love about them.

Building on a previous post covering the complexities of verbal and non-verbal forms of feline communication, we’re exploring another curious feline behaviour that continues to confound and amaze even the most dedicated cat parents. BOXES.

CATS AND BOXES

If you’ve ever prepared for a vacation and left your suitcase on the floor, it would not be unusual for your cat to immediately jump in and occupy the exact space you intended for your clothes. Two things generally come to mind from a pet parents perspective: a) your cat doesn’t want you to leave; or b) they want to come along. Neither of these explanations are likely pass the smell test.

You’ve probably noticed that cat’s love to curl up in boxes. Big boxes, small boxes, oddly-shaped boxes – it doesn’t matter to your feline friend. Place one on the ground, a chair or a bookshelf and watch your cat quickly hijack it.

Why do cat’s love boxes?

Cats are total pushovers when it comes to cardboard boxes and just about any other space they consider confining and comfy. Sinks, paper bags, shoes and empty fish tanks – among other small spaces – also qualify. What might surprise you is that they’ll also go sit inside the two-dimensional outline of a square box on the floor. Huh? (see below)

Given the multitude of complex behaviours they exhibit and their chronic uncooperativeness, it can be difficult to analyze their motivations. Cats are generally unhelpful study subjects, generally giving their human meddlers fits when it comes to studying them closely.

What about big cats? Are only domesticated, housebound cats obsessed with boxes? Apparently, not!

Despite the ubiquity of internet memes and videos that box-cats command, scientists still can’t quite explain why felines are so passionate about contorting their body into anything and everything confining. Behavioural biologists and veterinarians have come up with some possible explanations.

5 REASONS WHY CATS LOVE BOXES

  1. Safety And Stress Relief.

Cats squeeze into small spaces in search of comfort and solace. To a cat, the world is a worrying and intimidating place. Grocery bags, drawers and Amazon boxes might be the closest thing to a cave that a cat confined to a house can find. However, this doesn’t explain why cats may be attracted to two-dimensional shapes on the floor.

  1. Warmth And Comfort

Certain containers may deliver an insulating or warming effect that produces two outcomes. First, a cat’s normal body temperature is about 100°F to 102°F and most homes are kept around 72°F. This temperature differential may offer an explanation of why cats like to curl up in small spaces – it’s just warmer. Cardboard can provide insulation that helps them retain their body heat. Secondly, some animal behaviourists believe that being enclosed reminds cats of being cuddled by their mothers and fellow littermates. Close contact with a box’s interior has shown to releases endorphins causing pleasure and reducing stress.

  1. Predation

Cats retreat into smaller spaces to hide from prey – evolutionary predatory behaviour to take cover before an ambush. This gives a cat an excellent vantage point from which to stalk and waylay their prey. For most domesticated indoor cats, the “prey” could be a toy, a passerby’s pant leg, an unlucky foot or vacuum cleaner. Maybe ever a real mouse!

  1. Attention

To a cat, humans are agents of chaos that build environments to be responsive and agreeable to the feline set. Provide a new box/change into their environment? Cats will occupy them and we’ll pay tonnes of attention to their antics, as any search on YouTube will prove. Left alone, they might not find a box so enchanting were it not for the unrestrained attention we devote to them.

  1. Curiosity

We’ve all heard the term ‘curiosity killed the cat’. That’s only the first part of the expression. The complete phrase is ‘curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back’. Cats are curious and the appearance of an unfamiliar object is a guaranteed way to pique a cat’s interest. Clearly, a box keeps them coming back!

HOW CAN I SAFELY PREPARE A BOX FOR MY CAT?

Here are a few safety tips you should take when you have empty boxes in your home.

  • Ensure the box is short enough to easily jump in and out of so your cat won’t get stuck or feel trapped.
  • Make sure the box is free of any staples, adhesive tape or other things that could stick to your cat’s coat or get swallowed.
  • Keep the box out of high traffic areas, so your cat can relax in a space where they will have some privacy.

CONCLUSION

No single theory has proven to be conclusive, as they all contain reasonable elements of plausibility. Something about box behaviour is ingrained in a cat’s biology – part of the evolutionary code written deep into the DNA of felines. So entrenched is this behaviour that cats may even sit in anything square-like, including 2-D shapes on the floor. A new study has found that cats will instinctively sit inside an optical illusion – known as the Kanizsa square – that merely has the appearance of a box/square. Weird, yet fascinating…

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.

10 Great Songs About Dogs

By Pet Parenting

10 Great Songs About Dogs: A Compilation

In this post, we’ve decided to compile a list of the 10 best songs about dogs. Various themes of unconditional love, devotion, sadness and remembrance are consistently represented over many musical genres and generations.

In our research, the old country music cliché is certainly true – there are an overabundance of country songs about lovin’ and leavin’, drinkin’ and of course, countless references about dogs. With country’s strong, story-telling narratives, we could have probably compiled a standalone ‘country songs about dogs’ playlist, but we wanted to include a variety of contemporary artists across multiple genres. The list is ordered from the oldest entry up to the very latest in pop music.

1. How Much Is That Doggie In The Window

Patti Page – 1953
A song about companionship as she “must leave” her sweetheart and wants to make sure he wasn’t lonely…also protected from harm. Singer Patti Page’s version of “The Doggie in the Window” was #1 in the US Billboard chart for 8 weeks and sold over 2 million copies in 1953 alone. Your grandparents will remember it well…

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart alone
If he has a dog, he won’t be lonesome
And the doggie will have a good home

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

I read in the papers there are robbers
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark

I don’t want a bunny or a kitty
I don’t want a parrot that talks
I don’t want a bowl of little fishies
He can’t take a goldfish for a walk

How much is that doggie in the window?
The one with the waggly tail
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale

2. I Love My Dog

Yusuf / Cat Stevens – 1967
This song is about human relationships and how they can deteriorate – or fade – over time. People in relationships may change, but according to Cat Stevens, his love for his dog is everlasting. This song was the first single off his debut album, “Matthew and Son” and reached #28 in the UK singles chart.

I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through

All he asks from me is the food to give him strength
All he ever needs is love and that he knows he’ll get

So, I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through

All the pay I need comes a-shinin’ through his eyes
I don’t need no cold water to make me realize that

I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through

Na, na, na, na, na, na, nana
Na, na, na, na, na, na, nana

I love my dog as much as I love you
But you may fade, my dog will always come through

Na, na, na, na, na, na, nana
Na, na, na, na, na, na, nana

I love my dog, baby, I love my dog
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na
I said, I love my dog, baby, I love my dog
Baby, I love my dog

3. Martha, My Dear

The Beatles – 1968
Yes, there had to be a Beatles song on the list. This song from 1968 appeared on the “White Album” and was an ode to Paul McCartney’s first pet, an Old English Sheepdog named Martha.

From the Beatles Bible:

“She was a dear pet of mine. I remember John being amazed to see me being so loving to an animal. He said, ‘I’ve never seen you like that before.’ I’ve since thought, you know, he wouldn’t have. It’s only when you’re cuddling around with a dog that you’re in that mode, and she was a very cuddly dog.” – Paul McCartney

Martha, my dear
Though I spend my days in conversation, please
Remember me
Martha, my love
Don’t forget me
Martha, my dear

Hold your head up, you silly girl
Look what you’ve done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
Silly girl

Take a good look around you
Take a good look, you’re bound to see
That you and me were meant to be
For each other
Silly girl

Hold your hand out, you silly girl
See what you’ve done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
Silly girl

Martha, my dear
You have always been my inspiration
Please, be good to me
Martha, my love
Don’t forget me
Martha, my dear

4. The Puppy Song

Harry Nilsson – 1969
This song was originally written at Paul McCartney’s request for an up-and-coming singer named Mary Hopkin, who was had just signed a contract with Apple Records. This is another song about the unconditional love of a puppy – a friend who would be by my side and “stick with me to the end”.

Dreams are nothin’ more than wishes
And a wish is just a dream you wish to come true

If only I could have a puppy
I’d call myself so very lucky
Just to have some company
To share a cup of tea with me

I’d take my puppy everywhere
La-la, la-la, I wouldn’t care
But we would stay away from crowds
With signs that said “No dogs allowed”
I know he’d never bite me

I know he’d never bite me
If only I could have a friend
Who’d stick with me until the end
And walk along beside the sea
Share a bit of moon with me

I’d take my friend most everywhere
La-la, la-la, I wouldn’t care
But we would stay away from crowds
With signs that said “No friends allowed”
We’d be so happy to be

We’d be so happy to be together

But dreams are nothin’ more than wishes
And a wish is just a dream you wish to come true

Dreams are nothin’ more than wishes (Your wish will come true,
Your wish will come true)
And a wish is just a dream (Your wish will come true,
Your wish will come true)
You wish to come true (Your wish will come true,
Your wish will come true)
Whoa, whoa, woo (Your wish will come true,
Your wish will come true)

Dreams are nothin’ more than wishes (Your wish will come true,
Your wish will come true)
And a wish is just a dream (Your wish will come true,
Your wish will come true)
Wish to come true (Your wish will come true)

5. Old King

Neil Young – 1992
From his album, “Harvest Moon”, Old King is about the irreplaceable loss of his beloved hound dog and the good times they had together. His dog’s name was actually Elvis, but he believed this would have created confusion.

King went a-runnin’ after deer
Wasn’t scared of jumpin’ off the truck in high gear
King went a-sniffin’ and he would go
Was the best old hound dog I ever did know

I had a dog and his name was King
I told the dog about everything
There in my truck the dog and I
Then one day the King up and died

Then I thought about the times we had
Once when I kicked him when he was bad
Old King sure meant a lot to me
But that hound dog is history

King went a-runnin’ after deer
Wasn’t scared of jumpin’ off the truck in high gear
King went a-sniffin’ and he would go
Was the best old hound dog I ever did know

That old King was a friend of mine
Never knew a dog that was half as fine
I may find one, you never do know
‘Cause I still got a long way to go

I had a dog and his name was King
I told the dog about everything
Old King sure meant a lot to me
But that hound dog is history

King went a-howlin’ after deer
Wasn’t scared of jumpin’ off the truck in high gear
King went a-sniffin’ and he would go
Was the best old hound dog I ever did know

6. The Dog Song

Nellie McKay – 2004
This quirky song is about how life can be “lonely and blue” in your youth. Sometimes it’s hard to find your mojo when you’re an outsider, trying to find your way in life. “I was the archetypal loser, I was a pageant gone bad”. She turned her attention to a rescue – a dog “in jail” – for companionship providing unconditional love and acceptance, allowing her to feel good about herself and start enjoying life again.

“It’s just me and my dog, catchin’ some sun, we can’t go wrong”

I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song
Strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog
Catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong

My life was lonely and blue
Yeah I was sad as a sailor
I was an angry ‘un too
Then there was you
Appeared, when I was entangled
With youth, and fear, and nerves
Jingle jangled
Vermouth and beer

Were gettin’ me mangled up

But then I looked in your eyes
And I was no more a failure
You looked so wacky and wise
And I said, lord I’m happy

‘Cause I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song
Strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog
Catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong
‘Cause I don’t care ’bout your hatin’ and your doubt
And I don’t care what the politicians spout
If you need a companion
Well just go right to the pound
And find yourself a hound

And make that doggie proud
‘Cause that’s what it’s all about

My life was tragic and sad
I was the archetypal loser
I was a pageant gone bad
Then there was you on time
And wagging your tail
In the cutest mime
And you was in jail
I said woof, be mine
And you gave a wail
And then I was no longer alone
And I was no more a boozer
We’ll make the happiest home
And I said lord I’m happy

‘Cause I’m just a walkin’ my dog
Singin’ my song
Strollin’ along
It’s just me and my dog
Catchin’ some sun
We can’t go wrong
‘Cause I don’t care ’bout your hatin’ and your doubt
And I don’t care what the politicians spout
If you need a companion
Why just go on by the pound
And find yourself a hound
And make that doggie proud
‘Cause that’s what it’s all about
That’s what it’s all about
That’s what it’s all about
That’s what it’s all a bow-wow-wow
That’s what it’s all about
(Pant) (pant) (pant) (pant) (pant) good dog

7. Man of the Hour

Norah Jones – 2009
Relationships are hard and finding someone to share your life with is even harder. Her choices appear slim – choosing between and vegan and a pothead, neither of which provides the intimacy and fulfillment she desires. She reflects on the things her dog can’t provide – sharing a shower, receiving flowers – but is confident that she can live her own life (“And I like the way you let me lead you”), without carrying someone else’s baggage.

That’s what he said
But I can’t choose between a vegan
And a pot head

So I chose you
Because you’re sweet
And you give me lots of lovin’
And you eat meat
And that’s how you became
My only man of the hour

You never lie
And you don’t cheat
And you don’t have any baggage tied
To your four feet
Do I deserve
To be the one
Who will feed you breakfast, lunch, and dinner
And take you to the park at dawn
Will you really be
My only man of the hour

I know you’ll never bring me flowers
But flowers, they will only die
And though we’ll never take a shower together
I know you’ll never make me cry

You never argue
You don’t even talk
And I like the way you let me lead you
When we go outside and walk
Will you really be
My only man of the hour
My only man of the hour
My only man of the hour
Ruff

8. Little Boys Grow Up and Dogs Get Old

Luke Bryan – 2015
From his album, “Kill The Lights”, this record is about a boy growing up with his cherished black Lab named Bandit and sharing all his childhood experiences with him.

…“and I don’t know if I raised him or he raised me”

When you’re a kid, you think the good times of your childhood will last forever. At some point, an inescapable realization kicks in that your trusted friend won’t be around in for your life’s journey into adulthood.

“And I thought we would be together
Go on and on just like that, forever
But I was young back then
God I wish I didn’t know
Little boys grow up and dogs get old”

Bandit was a black lab, Daddy brought home
He said, “son he’s yours from now on”
Bandit looked at me and he cocked his head
Slept at night on the foot of my bed
All that year, I can see him still
Chasing after me, nipping at my heels
Down to the bus stop, my new best friend
Still waiting right there when I got home again

And I thought we would be together
Go on and on just like that, forever
But I was young back then
I guess I just didn’t know
Little boys grow up and dogs get old

He was my sidekick through thick and thin
And he’d bark at my fish when I’d reel ’em in
Summers came and went and we grew like weeds
And I don’t know if I raised him or he raised me

And I thought we would be together
Go on and on just like that, forever
But I was young back then
How was I supposed to know
Little boys grow up and dogs get old

He was fourteen when I left for Tennessee
And he came down the front porch steps a little slow
I got down to hug his neck
Said “you take care of Mom and Dad, ’til I get home”
“And be a good boy”
“Now you be a good boy”

And I thought we would be together
Go on and on just like that, forever
But I was young back then
God I wish I didn’t know
Little boys grow up and dogs get old

9. Chasing Butterflies (Song for My Dog)

Frankly Speaking – 2017
Losing a dog, or any pet for that matter, can be soul crushing. This country song is another entry about love and loss of a beloved companion. In this case, no one believed he was capable or responsible enough to care for a dog. He proved them wrong.

It’s implied that he was in some type of mental prison – “You’re my angel sent from above to set me free” – and his dog provided a release from that damaging state of mind. He’s wistful, but also happy about all the good times they spent together and hopes that he’s “up there chasing butterflies”. He takes solace in the fact that they’ll meet again sometime.

When I first saw you
I know I had to take you home
My friends they argue that I couldn’t raise you on my own
But I will show them that you’re meant to be with me
You’re my angel sent from above to set me free

Lets get in my car
And I will take you for a ride
Go to the bar and greet all the costumers inside
I wont forget all that you’ve than for my life
My only hope is you’re up there chasing butterflies

Through all the hard times you were rappin’ by my side
And when I needed answers well I just look into your eyes
Now I don’t know all the love you felt inside
My hope is you’re up there chasing butterflies

I know we’ll be together another day, another time
But until then just keep on chasing butterflies
But until then just keep on chasing butterflies

10. Happier

Marshmello ft. Bastille – 2019
This pop hit from 2019 (859M YT views!) is about relationships gone bad and the prospect of walking away so the one you truly love can be “happier”.

“I wanna raise your spirits
I want to see you smile but
Know that means I’ll have to leave”

Clearly, this is a break-up song – not a song specifically about dogs. However, the video tells a different – if not parallel – story about letting go of someone you love. The video features a girl who, feeling socially deserted by her friends, receives a puppy for her birthday. Although her dog makes her “happier” throughout her life, in the end, she learns to be happy on her own and the cycle of life begins anew…

The video is a stunningly poignant portrayal of letting go and the sacrifices that we make for love. If you haven’t seen the video before, it’s a tearjerker…you may want to have Kleenex on standby.

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking
I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

When the morning comes
When we see what we’ve become
In the cold light of day we’re a flame in the wind
Not the fire that we’ve begun
Every argument, every word we can’t take back
‘Cause with the all that has happened
I think that we both know the way that this story ends

Then only for a minute
I want to change my mind
‘Cause this just don’t feel right to me
I wanna raise your spirits
I want to see you smile but
Know that means I’ll have to leave

Know that means I’ll have to leave
Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking
I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

When the evening falls
And I’m left there with my thoughts
And the image of you being with someone else
Well, that’s eating me up inside
But we run our course, we pretend that we’re okay
Now if we jump together at least we can swim
Far away from the wreck we made

Then only for a minute
I want to change my mind
‘Cause this just don’t feel right to me
I wanna raise your spirits
I want to see you smile but
Know that means I’ll have to leave

Know that means I’ll have to leave
Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking
I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

So I’ll go, I’ll go
I will go, go, go
So I’ll go, I’ll go
I will go, go, go

Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking
I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier
Even though I might not like this
I think that you’ll be happier, I want you to be happier

Then only for a minute (only for a minute)
I want to change my mind
‘Cause this just don’t feel right to me
I wanna raise your spirits
I want to see you smile but
Know that means I’ll have to leave

Know that means I’ll have to leave
Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking
I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

So I’ll go, I’ll go
I will go, go, go

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

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Coping with the Loss of a Pet

By Pet Behaviour, Pet Parenting

The Heartache of Losing a Pet

Death is a part of life. It may sound trite, but always rings true.

A cherished pets’ death is a necessary part of the cycle of life and should be accepted as a natural – though painful – process. We know this in our hearts and minds, yet the loss of a pet – either gradually or suddenly – never fails to catch us off guard in many profound ways.

Most companion animals live less than 15 years. This is more than enough time for a pet to enter and live in our hearts. They become a part of the family and occupy a distinct role in our lives. They become an indispensible part of the household and often provide us a continuous source of warmth and positive experiences.

As humans, we have a tendency to project onto our cherished pets our thoughts, emotions, and ideas – we desire see our good qualities reflected in our animals. This attachment creates emotional bonds that can sometimes go beyond those of immediate family members. Our pets are a part of the everyday fabric of our lives in a way that few human relationships are. When you lose your trusted companion and this bond is broken, something internally changes – sometimes forever.

GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A PET

Whether you’ve lost a pet by accident, illness or old age, the grieving process lacks a clear timeline and has no emotional boundaries. Many factors can be attributed to the disparity:

  • Your age and personality
  • Your pet’s age and personality
  • The circumstances surrounding your pet’s death
  • The relationship between you and your animal.

The pet parents most emotionally affected by loss tend to be those who live alone or people who lose a service dog – a dog that played a vital role in their daily tasks. The grieving process may take longer because their trusted companion played such an important role in their lives.

Routines shaken.

Losing a pet changes our daily routines, causing effects that go beyond the loss of the actual animal. This can leave significant voids in our life that need to be filled.

Pet parenting creates responsibilities and a schedule around which we craft our days. We get exercise by walking our dog, or wake up early each day to feed our cat – the cat will NOT let you forget their feeding regimen! As a result, our days are richer, more fulfilling and productive because of it.

When you pet dies, routines are permanently (temporarily?) disrupted. Companion animals – dogs, cats and horses among others – provide unconditional love, help to ease anxiety and reduce loneliness. They support our emotional wellbeing, instill purpose and provide meaning. Adding to the emotional pain is the aimless feeling and loss of purpose following a pet’s death.

6 STEPS TO HELP COPE WITH THE LOSS OF A PET

Grief does not necessarily take a predetermined path or reflect five distinct, orderly stages as psychologists generally propose. Everyone reacts differently and on his or her own time.

1. Recognize and accept the reality of your pets’ passing.

Acknowledging your loss may take weeks or months, but must be done in a timeframe that is right for you.

 2. Do your best to embrace the pain of the loss.

A “healthier” expression of grief may come from taking the time to work through your feelings. Pushing your grief away or ignoring it may extend the mourning period unnecessarily.  

 3. Keep the fond memories alive.

Embracing good (and bad) memories can be a slow and uncomfortable process best experienced in small steps. Past photos and memories shared with others can help guide you through.

 4. Amending your self-identity.

Your self-identity with others may be wrapped up in being “the gal whose dog was the most well-trained at the off-leash dog park”. Recognizing and adjusting to this change is vital to the grieving process.

5. Quest for meaning.

Taking the time to come to terms with the meaning and purpose of pets in your life is needs to be addressed.

 6. Seek support from others.

You need the love and support of others that have been in your position – talking to or being with other pet parents can be one important way to help mend the wounds.

EUTHANASIA AND EOL (END-OF-LIFE) PROCESS

The decision to euthanize can be extremely difficult or, in some cases, a forgone conclusion made easier knowing their pet will meet a peaceful, painless end to their suffering in a controlled environment. If one chooses not to be present during the procedure, we completely understand.

If a client(s) wants to be with their pet during the euthanasia, our compassionate veterinarians will take all the time necessary to go over what to expect:

  • Explain the physical process of how the euthanasia is to be performed
  • Clarify the importance of the placement of a catheter to ensure a smoother procedure
  • Outline the visible effects of any pharmaceutical agents used
  • Define the length of time each stage may take
  • Note the anticipated restraint that the patient may experience, and
  • Describe unavoidable aftereffects.

For many pet owners, the actions surrounding their pet’s end of life are as important – and as meaningful – as the total of all the care provided by our clinic team during the lifetime of that pet. Needless to say, this is a very emotionally charged process for pet parents. And as many times as this procedure has been done at our clinic, euthanasia also takes a heavy, emotional toll on veterinarians and RVT’s alike, as many of the patients were not only loved by their pet parent, but in many instances, the veterinary team itself.

PET LOSS SUPPORT AND RESOURCES

Grief over the loss of a pet may be as strong as when a significant person in our life passes away, but the process of mourning is different.

There are societal mechanisms in place – social, professional and community support – for managing human deaths, but few exist when a pet dies.

We are not only deprived of important support systems when our pet dies, but our own perceptions of our emotional responses likely add another level of distress. Am I overreacting? Is this stress normal?

Fear ands shame keep pet parents from requesting time off from employers to grieve the loss of a pet, lest they be seen as overly sentimental, lacking in maturity or emotionally weak.

Embarrassment by the severity of the heartache we feel may make us hesitate to share our feelings to loved ones, thus prolonging our grief. Add shame to the mix and this also complicates the process of recovery by making it more lengthy and complex than it should be.

Our advice? Find a great listener. In lieu of – or in addition to – finding a great listener there are resources beyond family and friends available to help you during this difficult transition.

www.ontariopetloss.org 

This organization hosts monthly meetings in the GTA. There is no charge to attend a meeting, however registration is required.

www.griefhealingdiscussiongroups.com/forum/11-loss-of-a-pet/

This is discussion group is private and professionally moderated. There is no cost to post in the forum.

http://www.pet-loss.net/

10 Tips to How to Cope with Pet Loss – a thorough and informative webpage devoted to pet loss.

1-855-245-8214

This is a 24/7 hotline for access to a Pet Loss Support Specialist.

CONCLUSION

Losing a treasured pet can be psychologically devastating. Because one-on-one, emotional attachments are so closely aligned with our pets, others will never fully recognize how painful – and personal – our pet loss is, unless experienced themselves. Sure, we can offer sympathy, thoughts and prayers to help smooth out the pain, but the hurt stacked upon our emotional and physical wellbeing has no defined end point.

Society at large is not prepared to give pet parents the acknowledgement, support and attention they need to guide them through the grieving process, leaving it up to ourselves to identify and address our emotional wounds alone. The more validation we receive from friends, family and veterinary staff, the faster and our psychological recovery will be.

.

Meet the Team

Professional, attentive and dedicated to your pet.

Veterinary Services

Helping your pet live a longer, happier and healthier life.

Location and Hours

Modern and efficient in a cozy, friendly environment.