Breed Spotlight; Labrador Retriever


So let me start by saying, owning a Labrador Retriever was NOT what I expected!

Working in a veterinary hospital has given me access to being around many types of different dogs. Labs have always been our fun-loving, easy patients to work with. Easy-going personalities, non-fearful and non-aggressive. So when it came time for me to get another dog to be around children and their tonnes of friends, a lab, seemed like the obvious choice. Family friendly, minimal grooming, a good size,  easy to train (we’ll get to this one), travels well, loves water, loves to play, food motivated and a beautiful face 🙂

What more could you want from a dog ?

Well, as I hinted above, not what I expected. Maybe my husband and I are just too old for a puppy, maybe our kids are just not responsible and involved enough, maybe we just had it way to easy with our previous dogs, but boy, is he work. Non-stop every day Hudson is busy!

Let’s now get to Hudson. Hudson is an 14-month old yellow Labrador Retriever. His day starts off by letting him out of the crate to go to the bathroom. He has to have ‘something’ in his mouth on his way to the back door. His blanket from his crate, a toy, your sleeve or pant leg, something, anything and it’s a must or he just can’t contain himself because he is so happy!

He then goes outdoors and finds something else to put in his mouth. A branch, a toy, an old piece of pipe he’s dug up from under the deck. Something. Anything. He then returns into the house and guess what? Yes, he finds something to put in his mouth. A toy, a shoe, a baseball hat (his favorite), the remote, Dvd’s. Something. Anything. And this is basically how our day progresses.

Don’t get me wrong. He does sleep and I must say, he has the most adorable face when he is sleeping. When he does finally take a nap, he’s out like a light and nothing will wake him. But then it happens, he wakes up and here we go again. Always something in his mouth. Stealing homework, pencils, newspapers and socks. On a good note though, Hudson never swallows anything. He just destroys it to the best of his capability. If he can’t find anything to pick up, he is quite content to lay there and chew on the baseboards or the wooden coffee table. This is the best part though, if you yell at him to stop or tell him to ‘leave it’, he stops immediately. You don’t have to tell him twice, but, he just moves on to the next corner of the coffee table or the other end of the baseboard. And around and around we go.

We are all taught ‘If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all’ so, perhaps I shouldn’t have written this blog. I’m not trying to steer anyone away from this breed and of course, this is only my personal experience. He is a loving and friendly dog. He just needs to grow up!! I’m sure if you ask me what I think of him in a few years, I’ll be saying he’s our best dog ever!! We’re just not there yet 🙂


Thanks for reading, Helen

Next up, Hudson and why we got Invisible Fence installed!








cup 5Happy New Year to all! It’s that time again! It’s time to think about how we want this year to go and what we want to do differently from last year. But wait, this doesn’t have to be just about ourselves. Let’s take a look at the entire family; furry and four-footed included. Do they have some bad food habits that should be kicked? Have they gotten lazy on their walks? Are they looking ’rounder’ than you remember?

We all know that making changes can be hard and that it is nice to have a supportive family there to help along the way. Our furry friends are a part of the family, so why not include them as well!

Here are a few helpful hints that everyone can use!
1. Portion control is helpful for everyone. Some experts recommend using smaller plates so that it looks like you have as much food as before. For pets, use a measuring cup that you don’t have to eye-ball. Make sure that the measurement is level. You’d be amazed by how much food this knocks off, you may even find that you save some money as your bag will last longer. 😉

2. Get active! Now that everyone is eating a bit less, we need to work the extra weight off. But don’t start off with a long hike if you’re not used to it. Use that as your goal and start off small with your dog. Start with two 15 minute walks and when that becomes easy, start increasing one of the walks by 5-10 minute increments. Before you know it, you and your dog will be hitting the trails!

3. Cats can be tricky to get motivated to move. We recommend looking over the inventory of toys you have and then putting most of them away where your cat can’t find them. (Tricky, we know) The idea is then to rotate the toys so that there is always something ‘new’ for your cat to play with. You can also use this time to figure out which types of toys your cat likes. Does she like catnip toys more, or does she prefer the laser light on the floor? You can try hiding their food so that they have to hunt for it is another idea to try. Basically, try anything that might get your cat moving and jumping.12640other_01Oct20135153_large

4. Don’t get discouraged when you pets don’t seem to lose as much weight as you are. In this case, the number of pounds(or Kgs) can be deceiving. Since dogs and cats weigh far less than us, losing a pound is a lot of weight when you consider the body proportions. Remember, slow and steady wins this race.

5. Factor in snacking. We all love having a little snack during the day and our pets are no exception. In fact most pets will diligently remind you if you’ve forgotten! Instead of cutting all treats, find ways to include it in your pet’s diet. Choose lower calorie snacks like carrots instead of milk bones. Call your vet clinic and see if they have a low-calorie treat that they recommend and carry in stock. Cut back the kibble to account for the treats given during the day. (If you call your vet, they’ll likely help with figuring out how much kibble and how many treats would be ideal.) There are many different ways to accommodate treats. Find what works for your family.

6. Talk to your family and get everyone on board. This only works if everyone understands the goal and is working towards it. Make sure everyone knows what the feeding plan is and what is available for treats and how many. One way to do this is make up a treat bag for each pet. This will include the number of treats per day that each pet can have. This will make it easy for the family to see if there are any more treats to be given in any given day. This can be done with the kibble as well, so it doesn’t have to be just one person feeding the pets. Everyone will feel included and help make your life a bit easier in the process.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet for help. They have a wealth of information and experience to offer as well as support. They can help set up realistic weight goals, calculate how much food (and treats) to give, as well as track progress. Weight gain can also be a symptom of some diseases, so it is always good to talk to your vet before starting a weight loss program.