Easter – Chocolate and lilies

With Easter just around the corner, we just wanted to remind everyone about the danger of chocolate, wrappers and candy for your dog and worse yet, the ever popular Lily flower to your cat. PicMonkey Collage

Everyone knows that chocolate is toxic to dogs but even candy and their wrappers can give your pet an upset stomach. Be sure to keep these tasty treats away from your dog this Easter. Be especially careful when hiding Easter treats that it’s your child that finds them, not your pet.

With regards to flowers, lilies are extremely, and we can’t emphasize the extremely enough, toxic to cats. Everything about a lily, from its stem to petals, flower to pollen can cause a cat to go into kidney failure. Even the minutest amount can cause this condition.

This Easter season, please keep lilies out of your home for the sake of your cat.

If you have any further questions feel free to call us, Snelgrove Vet 905-846-3316 or would like to get more information, take a look through our pet health section of our website www.snelgrovevet.com

My dog is great with kids…

We see the pictures all the time, posted and shared again and again on social media sites. You know the ones with the baby or child sprawled all over the dog giving hugs and kisses.

Cute right?

Well, not really. A closer look at many of these dogs reveals dogs that although they are tolerating the behaviour they are not overly comfortable with such affection.

In fact millions of people are bitten by dogs each year. Unfortunately many of these are children and often the family dog is responsible. When it happens it often seems out of the blue and many wonder why a dog that has always been so good before could do such a thing. However if one takes a closer look at previous encounters we would realize that although “he has always been so good before” he was never okay with it before either.

The most common cause of aggression and bites is fear and failure to recognize signs that a dog is not comfortable with the situation they are in. Most dogs give adequate warning they are not happy prior to an actual bite occurring.

So how do we prevent this from happening?

Well luckily for the most part common sense goes a long way. Things that we don’t appreciate our kids doing to us often translate into things our dog does not appreciate either.

  • Don’t let your kids bother your dogs when they are eating. This includes hitting, running around, yelling, and reaching in the food bowl.
  • Don’t let you kids put their faces right into your dog’s face. Don’t let your kids climbs on or jump on your dog.
  • Don’t let your kids bother your dog when they are sleeping.
  • Don’t let your kids handle your dog roughly. This includes pulling their hair, tail, ears, etc.
  • Loud screaming is never appreciated by anybody, this includes dogs.
  • Friendly gestures such as hugs are often disliked by dogs. Hugging is actually viewed by a dog a threatening behaviour. Although most dogs can be trained to enjoy close handling such as this, caution should be taken.

This is not to say that a child should not interact with your dog at all, however they need to be taught to do so safely and gently, because let’s face it kids can be rough and rude (and this just isn’t towards dogs!). LOL

Both you and your children should learn to recognize the signs that a dog is uncomfortable with a current situation so that you know when it is time to back off.

This includes: moving away or attempting to retreat, cowering, turning their head away, looking away showing the whites of their eyes, yawning when there is no reason for them to be tired, licking their lips when there is not food present, furrowed brow, panting when they are not hot, tail tucked, ears flattened on head, in later stages growling or lifting their lip. Most dogs will exhibit multiple behaviours in an attempt to get you to back off prior to the last resort (a bite).


Do any of these dogs look happy here?

Remember, above all: ALL interactions with dogs should be supervised.

Dr. Stephanie Gunsinger


Antibiotic Misuse


Among the lengthy list of medications that we dispense here at Snelgrove Vet, antibiotics have to be one of our most common. In a most basic explanation, antibiotics are a type of antimicrobial that either kill or prevent the growth of bacteria. There are many different types of antibiotics, and they treat a myriad of different types of bacteria. Seems pretty straight-forward, doesn’t it? Not so. In fact, antibiotics are likely one of the most misused medications on the market, for both animals and humans.

Why is this?

The explanation is really quite simple – we, as a society, are pretty terrible at complying with our doctor’s instructions. Either doses are missed or the course is stopped before it is complete. Hey, it happens. Maybe our lives are busy and we forget, or maybe our pet seems so much better that we don’t bother finishing those last few days.

Well, today I am here to tell you:

It is so, so, so important to follow your doctor’s instructions and complete a course of antibiotics (or any prescription medication for that matter) to the absolute letter.

I am the first to admit, I haven’t always finished my or my pet’s antibiotics when they’ve been prescribed by a doctor. That was before I knew what I know now…

I recently re-read a book called Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine by Randolph M. Nesse, M.D., and George C. Williams, Ph.D. It is a fantastic read that I was originally assigned in university, and a lot of the content has stuck with me since then (I won’t tell you how long ago “since then” was!), so when I saw it on my bookshelf  the other week I decided to pick it up again. Among some very interesting arguments, the authors describe an “arm’s race” between modern medicine and ever-evolving illness. Antibiotics are a perfect example of this. When they are misused in the ways described above, we are are basically giving the advantage to the bacteria. We are unknowingly creating antibiotic resistance which results in stronger bacteria and, in turn, less effective antibiotics. Needless to say, this is a big problem.

How can we combat this?

I am happy to say that at the public level, there are ways that we can curb antibiotic resistance. The answer is an easy one, so I am sure you can guess it! That’s right – complete any course of antibiotics prescribed in its entirety. For real, that’s all we need to do. And it is becoming easier and easier. There are apps that we can download to remind us to give our pets their medications, websites that can e-mail us reminders, or we can even go back to the cave-man days and write it out on a wall calendar, checking off each dose as we go. If your pet is a real pain to give pills to, there are also the options in some cases of giving an antibiotic injection instead, or even a flavoured liquid or paste. And remember, if you ever have a problem giving your pet any medications, we are always here to help!

Easy ways to play with your cat

addieDid you know that more than half of indoor cats are overweight? Although, we agree, indoor cats live longer healthier lives, they don’t have the luxury of climbing trees or chasing butterflies to get their daily exercise.  It is up to us to make sure they do not lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Here are some suggestions of toys to help keep them active:

  • A bucket filled with crumpled paper or ping-pong balls makes a great interactive toy. Shake the bucket, toss one out and watch your cat try to empty the bucket.
  • Play fetch! Although they probably won’t return it, they will chase balls. Especially shiny, crinkly ones.
  • Cardboard boxes. Just like young children, cats love cardboard boxes to climb in and out of.
  • Catnip! A small sack filled with catnip will keep your cat rolling around. Use it as your fetch toy.
  • Dangle a ‘fishing pole” with feathers at the end. A makeshift one will do. Be sure not to let them play with string on their own and remove any from their mouth if it breaks off.
  • Small flashlight or light beam. Some cats enjoy chasing and jumping as light travels along a floor or wall. Just be sure not to point it at their eyes.
  • Bells and wind-up toys are often fascinating to cats.

Keep toys out of sight between play sessions. This keeps them from getting too familiar with these objects and increases their enthusiasm. 

What does your cat like to play with? Let us know your cat’s favourite toy to help give others ideas what may work with their cat.

Take a look at some of the toys we have available to you on our webstore. Not registered, it’s easy, just follow the online instructions and we’ll get you signed up.



What does it mean when a cat slowly closes their eyes at you?

Love! It’s as simple as that. scout

A cat that looks at you with half-closed eyes while slowly blinking is essentially saying they love you.  These special eye blinks are considered ‘cat kisses’. They convey affection, contentment, relaxation  and most of all, trust. Try doing a slow blink back at your cat in these moments of affection. This will help build and strengthen your relationship with your cat.












Cats Wiggle. Cats Pounce. Here’s why…

Why cats wiggle before they pounce?

Have you ever watched a pouncing cat’s ritual? We explain why they wiggle before pouncing!

Understanding cat anatomy

When a cat walks around the house, they use alternating legs (front right with the back left and vice versa) until they spot their prey — or, in most cases a toy.   cat1

When they prepare for their clandestine attack, your feline will crouch down and wiggle their hind quarters while pressing their paws into the ground to help balance. Then, they will use her hind legs to propel themselves through the air.

In other words, your cat doesn’t just shake their bottom to look cute or make you laugh — it actually helps ground them for the big launch, just like a runner at the starting block.

The True Nature of Cats

While a pouncing cat does look cute, this behaviour finds its roots in the wild.

Just like their ancestors, domestic cats have an innate hunting instinct. They’re predators at heart and love acting out these instincts through play.

Take a look at your cat the next time they pounce on a toy. They’ll attack, claws will extended, they’ll flick the toy into the air and shake it, to make sure it has been incapacitated. This mimics the behaviour of a cat in the wild catching dinner — it’s all part of feline nature.

Understanding the roots of this behaviour can help us better appreciate our cats and understand what makes them tick.

  “While a pouncing cat does look cute, this behaviour finds its roots in the wild. “

Why do cats purr?

We love to hear our cats purr. There is nothing better than a cat curled up on your lap, satisfied and happy, but have you ever wondered just how cats purr and why they do it?

Humans smile, dogs wag their tails and cats purr. All of us show our contentment in different ways. So it’s not surprising that when your cat is curled up beside you, or you are stroking them, they express their feelings by purring. However, purring is not always a sign of happiness. Sometimes it is an emotional response, indicative of pain or distress. Indeed, cats may purr while giving birth, so purring is more likely to be a mechanism that helps cats rest and repair.

Purring may be feline self-comforting behaviour. It is first expressed when kittens are only a few days old, perhaps signalling their presence to their mother, encouraging her to feed them. This form of communication continues into their adult lives.

How do cats purr?

What is most surprising is that cats have no special apparatus in their body to enable them to purr. Purring involves the rapid movement of the muscles of the larynx (voice box), combined with cat3movement of the diaphragm (the muscle at the base of the chest cavity). The muscles move at around 20 to 30 times per second.

As the cat breathes, air touches the vibrating muscles, producing a purr. Each cat’s purr is unique with some high pitched and others emitting a low rumble. Some purrs are so faint you have to be extremely close to your cat to hear it while others are extraordinarily loud.

The purr and meow combination

Cats have a special type of purr that they use when they want our attention, especially when they wish to be fed. This purr is known as a ‘solicitation purr’ and involves a combination of the purr and meow. Cat owners respond to this sound in a similar way that parent’s respond to the cry of their baby.

This is a wonderful example of how our domesticated feline friends have evolved to live with and be nurtured by us.

“Cats express their feeling through purring”


Shared on behalf of Purina ‘s  cat behaviour  blogs

Do cats see colour?

When you look at a rainbow in the sky, you see shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo,and violet. Do you ever wonder what your cat sees when he looks at a rainbow? Can your feline friend distinguish the same range of colour that you do? Does he see bands of black and white? Do the colours look blurred?

How cats see colour is a long-standing topic of research and the results are pretty amazing.While cats can’t appreciate all the colours that humans do, their world is not entirely black and white. In fact, cats live in a pretty colourful world.

What makes a colour so “colourful?”

Colour is discerned by the nerve cells in the eye. The retina of the eye has two main types of cells–rods and cones. The ability to differentiate cat6colours is determined by the presence of the special colour sensitive cells called “cones.” Human and feline eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, blue, and green. But because humans have 10 times more cones than cats do, they appreciate more colour variations. In scientific observations, cats don’t appear to perceive the full range of colours that humans can. Some scientists believe that cats see only blue and gray, while others think they see also see yellow like their canine counterparts.

Just as cones are responsible for distinguishing colours, rods have a special job to do as well. Rods detect light levels and motion. Cats have more rods than humans do, giving them the edge when it comes to seeing in low light or identifying moving objects.

How does a cat’s vision compare to human vision?

Just because cats don’t appreciate the entire spectrum of colour that humans do, that doesn’t mean they don’t perceive
different colours. They just may not see the “true” colour of an object. They are also less sensitive to changes in rightness, so they don’t have the ability to perceive colour in the rich, vibrant tones that we do.

In addition to colour perception, felines and humans have other visual differences. In some respects, feline vision is not as acute as human vision. Cats are more near-sighted than we are. When looking at an object from the same distance, the object may appear crisp to us, but blurred to our cats. For example, if a human sees an object clearly from a distance of 100 feet, it will appear blurry to a cat. In fact, the object will not appear sharp until the cat is much closer to it, about 20 feet away.

What are other visual differences between cats and people?

To compensate for these minor deficiencies felines have other visual advantages. Cats have eyes that are set more on the sides of the head, which allows them a broader range of peripheral vision than we have. The trade-off is a smaller range of visual acuity so cats don’t have the depth perception that we do.

Also, cats have elliptical pupils that dilate to the max, allowing them to capture as much light as possible. They also have reflective cells under the retina which form the tapetum. The tapetum gives cats the “shiny eye” appearance and also improves their ability to see in dim light.

“When compared to humans, cats see better in dim light (dusk and dawn) and more accurately detect motion.” 

Cats also have more rod cells in the retina than their human friends. Rods are responsible for detecting motion, even small movements at great distances. So, when compared to humans, cats see better in dim light (dusk and dawn) and more accurately detect motion.

Why do cats see what they see? 

Cats are equipped with the visual accommodations that allow them to survive and thrive in the wild. Seeing well in dim light and picking up slight movements in the forest at great distances improve the cat’s hunting ability. These assets also help a cat know when HE is the prey and needs to flee.

Knowing how and what your cat can see will help you make good choices for her. For example, you should keep your cat’s colour range in mind when shopping for toys. He will enjoy yellow and blue toys more than red ones. And you’ll understand why he suddenly becomes alert while sitting on the windowsill as he hones in on a bird flying 50 yards away. You’ll also know that to get his complete attention, you should stand directly in front of him where his range of visual acuity is greatest.

“Your cat will enjoy yellow and blue toys more than red ones.” 

And the next time you are lucky enough to be graced with a rainbow in the sky, rest assured that your cat can enjoy it, too. He won’t see ALL the colours of the rainbow, but he may see a bit of yellow and blue. And that’ll be just fine for him!

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
© Copyright 2015 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.