Watch Out for Summer Pet Hazards


The warmer weather of summer brings the opportunity for all kinds of fun outdoor activities with our pets.  An outing to the lake, taking a long hike in the woods or even hanging out in the backyard can all be a blast for you and your pet, but they can also bring opportunities for exposure to some harmful and dangerous substances.

Here are some of the more common hazards you may encounter that can cause some problems for your pet.


It is always a good idea for you to slap on some sunscreen if heading out in the sun.  You can do the same for your pet, particularly if they have a thin coat or perhaps were recently shaved for some veterinary procedures.  However, what is good for you isn’t necessarily good for your pet.  If you do want to put sunscreen on your pet, be sure it is one that is specially formulated for pets.  Consult with your veterinarian about which sunscreens would be best for your pet. Sunscreens containing zinc oxide or para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA) can be particularly damaging to your pet if ingested.


Exercising your green thumb can be one of the summer’s great pastimes, but it can also expose your pet to plants and bulbs that can be toxic if ingested. Bulbs such as those from lilies, tulips and daffodils, contain a variety of toxic chemicals. Dogs and cats can get into bags of unplanted bulbs or dig up and eat freshly planted bulbs, especially when tasty blood or bone meal fertilizers have been used. Other plants including hops, leeks, onions, chives, tomato plants, begonias and hosta can also be a problem.

Symptoms range from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures. In severe cases, ingestion can lead to death.

Fertilizers and Herbicides

Besides plant materials, the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides can also be a problem for your pet. Do some research for pet-friendly options in spaces where your pets have access.  If you have any questions about which products to use, consult with your veterinarian.

Flea, Ticks and Treatments

Ah, fleas and ticks…two of the not-so-joyful things of summer! If you’ve been walking in tall grass, around bushes or through the woods with your dog, be sure to give her a once-over when you’re done to see if any ticks have decided to hitch a ride as some ticks can carry and transmit diseases to your pet. If you find one, you can carefully remove it yourself, but be sure to remove the entire tick, including the head.  Fleas are also freeloaders who like to travel on pets and can inflict itch-causing bites and even allergic reactions in some dogs.

There are over-the-counter tick and flea control medications available, however, treating cats with products intended for dogs can have serious and potentially fatal consequences and dogs that ingest large quantities of parasite control products may also suffer toxicity. It is always best to consult with your veterinarian before treating your pet for ticks or fleas.

Picnic Foods

Picnics are a favourite pastime for many, but unfortunately, some of the most common and delicious picnic foods can be poisonous for your dog.  Ensure that Rover does not have access to the picnic basket or cooler and ensure they don’t get into the garbage afterward.

Here are a few foods to avoid:

  • Cooked bones, like ribs, chicken and pork chops, can easily splinter when chewed by your dog; the splinters can cause damage when chewed and/or swallowed
  • Corn on the cob can get lodged in the small intestine, and if it’s not removed surgically, can prove fatal to your dog
  • Grapes contain a toxin that can cause kidney failure
  • Alcohol can cause intoxication, lack of coordination, poor breathing and potentially even coma or death

Outside Water Sources

Just as you wouldn’t take a big gulp of water from a body of water that you might encounter when hiking (unless you are very familiar with it and know its safe), letting your dog do so is not advisable either. Flowing streams, ponds, lakes, stagnant puddles, dugouts and sewer retention ponds can be contaminated with various microscopic organisms that can make your dog sick.

If you are heading to an ocean, saltwater is also toxic for your dog when ingested. For some dogs, even a few mouthfuls of ocean water might give them diarrhea and consuming large amounts of saltwater can even be fatal.

You should always bring along fresh water for your dog to keep hydrated. If you can’t carry enough water for both of you then consider bringing a water filtration device to filter the water that you’ll come across. If you notice that your dog seems sick after drinking from an unknown water source, call your veterinarian for advice or to arrange a clinic visit.


By keeping the above summer hazards in mind, you and your pet can enjoy a long, happy and safe summer together!

Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer


With the higher than normal temperatures we have seen in Saskatchewan over the past month, it has become a challenge to enjoy the summer with our pets, and also keep them safe and comfortable.  Fortunately, with a little planning and effort, you can still enjoy much of what summer has to offer and include your pet.

Here are some tips on how to keep your pet cool this summer!


Provide lots of water

Just like humans, one of the most important tips is to provide your pet with lots of water to keep them hydrated.  Always have fresh bowls of cold water around the house that are easily accessible to your furry friends. Your cat might enjoy a fountain bowl or a bowl with a toy in it to bat around too. Popping an ice cube or two in the bowl now and then will help keep it cool too!

A Cool Place to Be

Help your pet be comfortable when you’re at the office by finding a cool spot in the house for them to spend the day.  Often this can be a lower level such as the basement or an area that does not get any direct sunlight. But, be sure that if it is an area that your pet is not normally in alone, that you ensure they can’t access any toxins or other hazards. You might also want to close blinds and curtains to keep the space as cool as possible.

Make a frozen treat bowl

A frozen treat bowl is an awesome way to keep your pets both entertained and cool – and they’re so easy to make. Simply freeze some kibble or their favourite treats in a bowl of frozen water and then stand back and watch as they lick their way to a cool and comfortable day!  For variety, you can add some beef or chicken stock as well before freezing.  They’ll love it!

Let a Fan Cheer Them On

If you don’t have air-conditioning, consider providing a fan in the area that your pet will spend the day to help keep fresh air circulating in the room, which can make a huge difference in keeping them comfortable.  They’re a great way for your pet to keep cool and you might even consider attaching a pet-friendly misting system to provide even more relief.

Freeze that Kong

Another cool treat idea is to line the inside of a Kong with a special treat such as peanut butter and tossing it in the freezer.  When ready, it will provide your dog with some chillin’ fun times as she licks away at the frozen treat!

Keep your dog at a healthy weight

Besides treats and fans, your dog’s physical condition can be a factor in how they handle the heat.  Overweight dogs can have a harder time keeping cool in warm weather and are at greater risk of overheating. Consult with your veterinarian about maintaining your pet’s ideal body condition and overall health.

Take care of your dog’s coat

Grooming your pet should be part of your regular routine, but it can also be critical to your pet’s ability to stay cool.  Your dog’s coat doesn’t just keep them warm in the winter but can also keep them cooler in the summer – not to mention protecting them from sunburn. Regular and thorough brushing allows proper airflow for their skin and helps prevents mats, which are not only painful, but also trap heat and moisture which can result in skin infections.

However, it is not usually a good idea to simply shave down your dog’s fur.  While some dogs may benefit from a shave, many breeds do not require this, especially dogs with double coats. As always, consult with your veterinarian regarding the proper grooming needs of your particular pet.

Be cool and enjoy the summer  –  and remember, always supervise your pet when giving them toys and edible treats and NEVER leave them alone in a vehicle!


Teach Your Dog How to be Alone


Author:  Jennifer Berg, CPDT-KA

(This is for general information only. Please consult a reputable, force-free dog behaviour professional for advice specific to the behaviours of your dog.)

This pandemic has been hard on some dogs as they learned to adjust to family members being home but occupied with work or classes. As people return to the office and school, dogs may have a difficult time adjusting to the increased time alone. This is especially true for “pandemic puppies” who may find themselves alone for the first time in their lives, but it can also be the case for dogs who are out of practice. Here are some tips for helping your dog learn to be relaxed and content when alone. (More information and detailed instructions are available in my book Teach Your Dog How to Be Alone: a simple, concise step-by-step guide.)

Train it before you need it

Start the training as soon as possible. It takes time to teach a dog how to be relaxed and comfortable when left alone, and while some dogs can learn it in a week, some may require many weeks. Keep in mind that elderly dogs and dogs in pain or ill-health may be less resilient to stressors. If your dog has never been left alone, has had a history of being distressed when left alone, or has an unknown history of being alone and you are unsure how your dog will react, it’s a good idea to start at the easiest level and progress gradually with very small steps.

Try a short, very easy test run

Set up a device that allows you to observe when your dog is alone, perhaps through a live video feed or as a recording you can view after you return. Look for the smallest signs of stress and adapt your training as needed.

Learn to read your dog

Is your dog comfortable and relaxed or merely “fine” when alone? Learn to read subtle canine stress signals to ensure you aren’t missing some very subtle indications that your dog is not fine (e.g., nose/lip licking, yawning when not tired, shake-offs, panting). If you see signs of stress make things easier for your dog.

Plan for success

Create conditions that will make it easier for your dog to feel safe, content, and relaxed. Choose times of the day when your dog is more likely to settle and have a nap. It can be helpful to provide an object to occupy your dog for the first few minutes after you leave (e.g., a food-dispensing toy or a chew) but be sure it is an object safe for your dog to have unsupervised.

Consider carefully whether to crate or not to crate

A dog can be taught to feel safe and relaxed while alone without the use of a crate. A crate is a tool that can help in some cases, but it needs to be used wisely. Some dogs may panic when they are closed inside a crate, especially if they associate it with things that cause them distress, such as being alone for too long. Ensure your dog enjoys entering their crate and relaxing in it before you attempt to leave your dog alone in it. You can help convince your dog that their crate is a wonderful place to be by keeping the crate door open and feeding meals and special chews and treats in there. When your dog isn’t watching, place treats or a new toy in their crate so that when they go in there on their own, it is instantly reinforced that crate is a great place to be. Teaching a dog how to be alone starts by ensuring they feel safe and relaxed and an essential part of that means letting them have choice and control in the training process. Coaxing, pressuring, or tricking your dog to enter their crate is not a good training plan.

Address barking and other unwanted behaviours appropriately

Barking, house soiling, and destructive behaviours are common symptoms of isolation-or separation-distress. Caregivers might be tempted to turn to devices and training advice that promise guaranteed quick results through the suppression of these symptoms of distress, but this leads to wasted time and money, emotional trauma to the dog, and an escalation in problem behaviours. Please consult a reputable, force-free dog behaviour professional if you need help, and consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical cause that could be contributing to unwanted behaviours.

Jennifer Berg, CPDT-KA has over 16 years’ experience providing force-free, science-based dog training. She is certified with the CCPDT and is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Copies of her book Teach Your Dog How to Be Alone: a simple, concise step-by-step guide can be purchased at a variety of online book retailers; Visit for information on purchasing a printed copy.

Widdle Wants to Thank You


Sometimes it takes a big team to help a tiny animal.  At just two weeks old, Widdle and her three siblings were found in an abandoned apartment, with no mother or anyone else feed and care for them.  Without a mother, kittens this young will not survive without human intervention. Wee Widdle would face additional hurdles – and it would take almost the entire RHS team to see her through it.

The tiny foursome’s first encounter with the RHS was with our Receiving staff, who gave each kitten a general health check.  The news wasn’t good as each was showing signs of illness.  The kittens were moved to our Veterinary team for a more thorough examination and it was found that each was suffering from an upper respiratory infection along with eye infections caused by the same virus.  While many cats have a bout of this cold-like illness, it can usually be treated successfully.  But, left untreated, it can be fatal with kittens so young and the tide can turn very quickly.  The infant patients were put on medications along with a regimen of hearty kitten milk replacement formula to fill their empty tummies.  But, while three of the kittens responded positively, Widdle seemed to struggle.  She was not eating well and as the tiniest of the group, her small size made her battle with the illness that much more difficult.  It seemed that the stress of the whole experience was proving too much for her and her condition quickly deteriorated to the point of being critical, and it was feared she would not make it through her first night since being found.  Her siblings were moved to recover and grow in the peace and quiet of one of our foster family homes, but Widdle would need special attention. One of the Society’s Registered Veterinary Technologists took her home to monitor her condition around the clock and give her the best chance at winning her fight to survive the night.

And survive she did!  By the next day, she had turned the corner and was beginning to show signs of improvement.  She started eating, her medications were beginning to help as her courage and spirit began to shine through.  As the next week passed, she continued to improve to the point where she was out of danger and well on the road to what we hope will be a full recovery.  Hope is high that within a few weeks, the four abandoned kittens will be strong enough to be put up for adoption into their forever homes.

The journey of Widdle and her three siblings took them through the caring hands of our Receiving and Veterinary teams and into the homes of one of our wonderful Foster Care volunteers.   But, it also took them through your hands.  Because of your support of the Society every day, those hands were there, ready to help, when these four tiny souls needed them most.

On behalf of Widdle and her litter-mates, thank you.


Shortly after arrival at the RHS

In the hands of her foster.

Eye infection!

Dog Park Safety


Dog parks can be a great place for our dogs to burn off a little energy, get some exercise and socialize with other dogs, but, just like people, not all dogs are going to get along. Unfortunately, play can escalate and an incident can occur very quickly, so it’s important to be able to recognize when things are heading in the wrong direction and when you may need to intervene.

When you arrive at the dog park take a moment to see how the other dogs are interacting, before you enter the park, and note any behaviour you don’t like or is questionable.  This includes not only dogs, but owners too.  Remember, even in an off-leash park, all pet owners must be immediately aware of their dog’s actions and have control of their dog at all times.  If you see concerning behaviour or lack of control of dogs by their owners, it may be best to come back later or another day.  As you visit the park more often, you will get to know many of the dogs, including ones who are often not on their best behaviour and should be avoided.

Appropriate and safe play between dogs:

  • Role reversal (for example, changing roles between the chaser and the one being chased)
  • Frequent breaks in between play sessions
  • Loose and “happy’ body language

Inappropriate play to look out for:

  • Pinning and not allowing another dog to stand up
  • Prolonged staring
  • Snarling/growling
  • Tense/stiff body language
  • Nervous or fearful body language
  • Cornering or multiple dogs ganging up on one dog
  • Frantic fleeing

When inappropriate play begins to take over, it’s important to know how to safely intervene. Here are a few ways you can do this:

Call your dog away: It is important that your dog has a reliable recall signal before they go to the dog park.  Just as other owners must have control over their pets, so do you.  Be sure to practice this at home regularly by calling them away from play for a short break.  If your dog enters into an altercation at the park which is intervened with a recall, after a short break you can try allowing your dog to play again, or it may be time to leave the park.

Place something between the dogs: By placing an item in between the dogs you reduce the risk of harm in the engagement for you or the pets. If you’re at the park, you can use a light jacket, for example.

Wait until the dogs have released their hold: If dogs are engaged, or one dog has a hold of another with their mouth, wait until the dog(s) have released before separating them. Trying to do so while they are engaged can cause more damage.

Stay calm: Try not to yell or make a loud noise as this can sometimes aggravate the situation.

It is important to know that not all dogs will be comfortable in a busy dog park nor get along with every dog they meet, which is absolutely natural. Ways to overcome this can be done by going to the park at different times of day with different dogs, entering the park when it is less busy, or by going to private areas with a few of your dog’s pet friends they get along with.

And remember, you are responsible to be aware of your pet and what it is doing at all times – no chatting with a group of other owners with your coffee as your dog runs around the far end of the park.  Also, be sure any small children are safe and avoid giving them snacks that a hungry dog might like a bite of too.

With a little patience, awareness and training, the dog park can be a safe and fun place for everyone!

The RHS offers numerous dog training classes, including Recall.  You can learn more here.



Beanie Needs a Little Help


All pets are special.  But, every once in a while we meet one who needs a little extra care, attention and help to complete their journey to a new life.  Beanie is one of those animals, and to give her the best life possible, we need to find her special someone.

Beanie arrived at the shelter with a severe injury to one of her front legs. How the injury happened is unclear, but amputation was necessary as the damage was too great to save her critically damaged limb. Following surgery, Beanie was moved into the Animal Protection Office to receive some extra love and snuggles as she recovered. Although she had been through a lot in her young life, she remained timid and withdrawn despite staffs’ best attempts to raise her spirits.  A move to foster care would surely help Beanie find her way!  Slow going at first, Beanie spent much of her time looking for places to hide. But soon her foster family’s dog showed her that life could be fun if you open your heart and trust, just a little bit. Beanie still has a ways to go to feel confident and secure – that’s where you come in!

Beanie loves being outside, so she will need a family with a fully fenced yard where she can get plenty of outside time, without much need for a leash.  Although she manages well on her three legs, her new family will need to encourage her to keep active so she builds strength in her core and other limbs.  Physiotherapy may also benefit her in the future.

Beanie is just as sweet and lovable as any dog – and don’t get us started about her love of hot dogs and head rubs! But, she needs a family who will be patient and guide her to realizing how wonderful life can be as she has lots of life to live and lots of love to give.  If you feel you are her special someone, please contact us at 306-543-6363 ext. 244 or to talk about giving this wonderful soul the happy and loving life she deserves.

After surgery

In foster


Protect Your Pet from the Heat


As we start to emerge from our pandemic cocoons and spend more time outside, many of those adventures may include our pets, especially dogs. Whether out on a hike, traveling by car or even an ‘everyday’ walk around the neigbourhood, be on the lookout for the effects of spring and summer heat on your pet.

How animals overheat 

Excessive exercise, dehydration and inadequate shade or shelter can cause your pet to overheat quickly in hot and humid weather.  Be sure they have plenty of fresh water and breaks in the shade. Consider walking your dog in the early morning and late afternoon or evening to avoid the scorching heat of the day. Keep playtime short and always be mindful of the signs of overheating—excessive panting, muscle twitching, anxious or dazed look, vomiting, lethargy, increased drooling or diarrhea.

In addition, be mindful of potentially hot surfaces such as asphalt, concrete or sand.  The summer sun can heat these surfaces to dangerous temperatures that can quickly injure your pets’ sensitive paws.

Older, more obese or short-nosed dogs (like Pugs, Bulldogs and Boston Terriers) should be watched extra carefully as they are not able to pant as efficiently as other breeds, making them especially susceptible to over-heating. Puppies, kittens, and pets with health issues should also be carefully monitored. Keep these guys in cool, air-conditioned areas as often as you can.

What to do if you think your pet is overheating 

As noted above, watch for symptoms of heatstroke – excessive panting, muscle twitching, an anxious or dazed look, vomiting, lethargy, increased drooling, and diarrhea.

If you suspect heatstroke or difficulty due to the heat, move your pet to a cool and shaded area as soon as possible.  Provide them with cool, not cold, water. If you have a fan, direct the fan on them. Then, with cool, damp towels, slowly and carefully begin dabbing the back of their neck, in the armpits, and around the groin area.  As soon as you are able, get them to a veterinarian as heat stroke can cause permanent health issues or even death.

Pets and vehicles 

Every year, the RHS sees heart-breaking stories of pets suffering distress or even dying of heatstroke after being left in a parked vehicle.  Each of these sad stories is completely avoidable.

Here are some facts:  

The inside of a vehilce can become a death trap for pets whether it’s sunny or cloudy, hot or humid or mild or breezy.  Rolling down the windows does little as temperatures can still soar in minutes.  Leaving the vehicle and air-conditioning running is also a poor solution – engines fail, temperatures can still reach dangerous levels and even small dogs can trigger window buttons and door locks.

Dogs do not have the ability to sweat through glands in the skin to keep cool.  While they do sweat somewhat through their paws (not very effective if standing on a hot car seat), they pant in an attempt to keep cool.  Unfortunately, the combination of a fur coat and a hot vehicle, makes this method woefully inadequate as a cooling method.

What to do if you find a pet in a vehicle 

In Regina, call RHS Animal Protection Services, 306-777-7700 or call the local police.

In the meantime, record the time you found the dog and take down the license plate and car information, as these details may assist in an investigation. If you can, try to locate the owner, but remain calm as confrontation will do little to help the situation or the animal.

Assess the situation. Check for signs of overheating—excessive panting, glazed eyes, fatigue, dazed (look like they are “out of it”), or vomiting. If the animal is unresponsive to your approach, they could be suffering from heatstroke. If you can, offer the animals some cool water until help arrives.


Love is Blind – Misty’s Story


A petite and immensely friendly cat, Misty is about as playful as they come.  She loves to explore her world and bat a ball around a room like any other six-month-old kitten.  However, she is not like any other cat.  Misty came to the RHS almost totally blind.

Despite her young age, Misty had developed a severe form of cataracts – a condition she was born with. As a result, her right eye was blind, and her left eye close to it.  To avoid life-long complications from the condition, RHS veterinarians performed a bilateral enucleation – the surgical removal of both eyes.  Since Misty had not been able to see with her deteriorating eyes, not having them would change her day-to-day life very little, if at all.

The RHS Veterinary team tended to their small patient with the best of care and once the operation was complete, she was off to a foster home for several weeks of rest and recovery.

When Misty was ready to find a new home, she took up residence in Society’s large open cat communal room where she became right at home in her new surroundings.   RHS staff were thrilled that her playful antics and affectionate spirit remained as she pawed for cuddles at every opportunity and entertained everyone as she played with toys – always seeming to know exactly where they were.

Even though Misty is a true sweetheart, her special needs made her more difficult to adopt as many saw her blindness as a burden. Of course, that could not be farther from the truth.  When she was featured  on social media, RHS followers shared her story so it would reach far and wide, and, hopefully, the person who would become her special someone.  Then, one bright spring day, it happened –  her new family found her.  It was love at first purr and there was no looking back from that moment on.  Today, Misty has settled into her new home and is curiously exploring every nook and cranny under the watchful eye of her loving family.


Adoption day!

Exploring her new home

How to Play With Your Puppy – Perfectly!


Playing with your puppy is an important part of building a positive relationship and developing good communication between the two of you.  Starting when your pup is young will get things off on the right “paw” towards a lifetime of fun and learning.

Here are some pointers for happy and proper puppy play:

You are not the toy

Don’t let your pup grab your hand, or mouth at other parts of your body. Even if it was not intentional, stop play immediately when your pup makes inappropriate contact with you – regardless of the intensity of the contact.  This will teach your dog to avoid using their teeth as play always will stop when they do.  When they do forget, be sure to redirect them to a favourite toy.  If they persist in biting you or mouthing too hard, end the play session by walking away.

Offer rewards

Positive reinforcement rewards good behaviour as opposed to punishing poor behaviour.  Your dog will learn to associate an action with a positive outcome such as getting a toy to play with or a yummy treat.  It also helps build a strong relationship between the two of you by reinforcing appropriate behaviours such as coming when called, sitting or laying down, not jumping up on people or walking on a leash politely and without pulling.

You determine when it’s playtime

Your dog may love to play, and they may love it more when you are involved.  But, when they start jumping on you or barking as they demand playtime, it can become a problematic habit that can be tough to break once established.  Pick different times of day when you play as well so they don’t associate things like supper or your arrival home from work as the trigger for playtime.  Additionally, make sure your puppy understands that if you end playtime, playtime is over.  If they don’t get the message, remove yourself or their toy from the situation.

Be inventive

Part of keeping your pet engaged is to change up the game a little – no one wants to play the same game all the time!  There are hundreds of games and toys available in pet stores or you can create your own games with items you have around the house.  For example, place some treats in half of the holes of a muffin tray, then cover all the holes with a tennis ball or even balled socks. Then place the tray on the floor.  Your pup will get some awesome mental stimulation as they try to figure where the treats are and how to remove the obstacle that’s in the way!  Another variation is to hide a treat under one of three or more plastic cups and see if your pup can find the one hiding the treasure.

You can get a few more ideas on homemade enrichment fun on our website here.

Keep games fun, but short

The longer you play with your pup, the more excited they will get. The more excited they get, the less control they may have.  Take some breaks for a calming-down period before continuing with play.  This way, you’ll have fewer behaviour ‘accidents’ and more fun and relationship building too!

Want to learn more?

The Regina Humane Society offers many dog training courses, including Puppy Play to Learn, to get you both off on the right paw.  For more information on classes and to register, visit our Dog Training Website, here.



Home-made Fun for Your Feline!


You’ve likely seen social media posts about the new “Assistants” we have all gained while working from home.  From furry bottoms occupying the keyboard to cat walks across our Zoom screen, we could all use some ideas about how to keep kitty busy during our workday!

Here are some quick and easy DIY toys from household objects you likely already have on hand:

Toilet paper rolls

Cut small holes in the body of the roll, put treats inside and scrunch up the ends for a quick and easy puzzle feeder.  You can even insert pipe cleaners for extra springy fun!


These can be made into safe and simple toys. Just tie them onto the end of a broken wand toy, drawer handles, or door handles.  They can also be braided to make wonderfully nimble throw toys!

Cardboard boxes

If you’ve had anything delivered to your home, you know how much cats love cardboard boxes. Why not keep a few around and make them official kitty kastles?  You can leave them open or close the top and cut a doorway in one side to make purrfect hideaway.

Paper Bags

With many ditching plastic grocery bags in favour of paper, there is a new opportunity for feline fun!  Just like the cardboard boxes, a paper bag tossed on the floor makes a wonderful hiding place and vantage point to secretly keep an eye on the room.


Grab two socks you no longer use, put one sock inside the other (you could even add catnip!) and tie off the end of the outer sock like a tail. This creates a toy for your cat to grab onto, kick and bite. Kid’s socks are especially great as they’re smaller and easy to play with.  You can also scrunch a bit of newspaper into a ball and place it in the toe, giving it some extra fun sound!

Plastic Bottle Tops

You’ll need four or five plastic milk or juice bottle caps, a straw and some twine.  Punch holes, big enough to feed the twine through, in each of the caps and cut the straw into two or three-inch segments.  Take about a foot of the twine and tie a big knot at one end.  Then, string one of the plastic tops on the twine and move it to the knot.  Place a section of straw on the twine and move it to the plastic top.  String another top on the twine followed by another section of the straw.  Continue this pattern until all tops and straw segments are on the twine.  Hang the string from an easily accessible spot to your cat, such as a chair or cabinet knob, and watch the fun begin!

Get more ideas for home-made toys for cats and dogs on our website here.

 Safety first – never let your pet play with new toys unattended.  

The Joys of a Senior Pet


While many of those looking to add a new furry family member to their clan seek the adventure that is having a kitten or puppy, many are just as happy to adopt a senior pet – and why not?  Sure, they may have put on a pound or two by now (but who hasn’t?) or they may not run quite as fast as they once did, but there are so many great reasons to offer some of our older pets some love and happiness too:

More love, less work

No one can deny that a puppy has the ability to melt your heart with a single “puppy dog eyes” glance.  But along with all that cuteness of tiny paws and round tummies, comes poop on the carpet, some chewed slippers and the odd chew mark on the furniture.

Puppies (and kittens) require patience, time, supervision and consistent training to become adjusted to their new life. While many people are able and willing to put in the time and effort of raising a young pet, for others, a senior pet represents a calmer, more laid-back experience.  As most seniors have been living in homes for most of their lives, they usually have already learned the skills needed to be a welcome, well-adjusted and loving member of their new family.  Besides being well versed in the basics of being house-trained, they may even have picked up a few tricks along the way!

Children will be children!

It’s no secret that kids love other kids – especially if the other “kid” is a puppy or kitten!  But, the energetic and unpredictable nature of puppies and kittens can be a handful for young kids.  This is particularly true when a young dog gains a few dozen pounds but still acts like a tiny puppy!  Senior pets tend to be more mellow, calm and can make wonderful companions for your kids – or grand kids!

What you see is what you get

When you bring home a senior animal, you know exactly WHO you’re bringing home and should have very few surprises. You will know what their personality is right away, unlike with puppies and kittens, where their personalities will develop over time  –  and it may not be the one you counted on!

You’re a senior too!

As we grow older as humans, we may not be looking for the 15 to 20 (or more) year commitment that a young pet requires.  Perhaps we see our lives as being more able to travel or spend time with the grandkids.  Making the golden few years of a senior pet happy and full of love and happiness, may be the best thing ever for the both of you!

Generally, pets are considered to be senior once they have reached seven years of age.  You can see all pets who are available at the RHS anytime on our website here.