All Posts By


How to Recognize a Puppy Mill/Farm

By Small Animal One Comment

What is a Puppy Mill?

  • Is a commercial farming operation in which purebred dogs are kept and bred solely for their offspring. The large number of puppies are sold and are often kept in inhumane conditions without environmental enrichment.

What do Puppy Mills look like?

  • The hard thing about puppy mills is that they can look like anything.
  • Puppy mill owners have very clever schemes. They can easily make their puppies look like they were home bred.

How do I know if I’m buying from a Puppy Mill?

  • Pet stores: they all buy their puppies from a puppy farm, they are not registered breeders.
  • If the parents or puppies don’t seem accustomed to human interaction, it is most likely a puppy mill.
  • If the puppies and/or parents seem unhealthy or unclean.
  • They might not let you see the parents of the puppies
  • The “breeders” might breed multiple breeds of dogs – Normally if they are a reputable breeder they will be passionate about 1 type of breed, and won’t have multiple breeds.
  • Be careful when buying online, this has become a popular way of selling puppy mill dogs.
  • The puppies don’t have the breed standard traits, as they may not be from purebred parents.

When buying a puppy avoid the temptation of “rescuing” a puppy mill puppy, this is still putting money into the pockets of the puppy farm owner. As long as they keep making money, they will keep producing puppies. If you are considering getting a puppy, contact Coventry Animal Hospital and our staff will be happy to help you, to ensure you end up with a healthy puppy.



Purchasing a Puppy

By Small Animal No Comments

Purchasing a puppy or new dog is extremely exciting but is also a huge decision. When purchasing a new companion, it is important to know what breed best suits you, where to buy them, and how to avoid health issues with puppies.

What breed is right for me?

  • When we buy clothes we usually buy with our eyes first, see how cute the shirt is, then try it on, then purchase. This is what a lot of new pet parents will do with their puppy. They will see how cute it is and just buy it. The only thing is that we normally can’t return our puppy purchases, which leads to them going into the humane society.
  • Doing research on the specific breed is extremely important! You should see what their temperament will be when they are fully grown, what type of lifestyle they will need and what kind of lifestyle can you provide, how big they will be, how much energy they will have, if they are good family pets, etc. By doing research into the breed before buying, you can determine which breed is right for you.

Where should I buy from?

  • The best place to buy would be from a reputable breeder. Reputable breeders will have extensive knowledge on that one breed they are selling. They will do health tests on the parents of the puppies, socialize the puppies, as well as have them fully vaccinated and vet checked. These breeders tend to be extremely supportive of new puppy parents and will help the new owners however they can.
  • Adopting from the humane society is always a great idea too!
  • Buying online can be tricky. Use caution when buying from someone selling online. Good breeders normally don’t advertise puppies on any big online puppy classifieds. People that sell their puppies online usually just bred their family dog (no knowledge about breeding), or from puppy farms/mills.
  • Don’t purchase puppies from pet stores; these puppies always come from puppy farms/mills!
  • Be careful when purchasing from a non-breeder, puppy mill owners are very clever about tricking you to believe that they are not puppy mill owners! If you want to read more about puppy mills and how to spot them, read next weeks blog: How to Recognize a Puppy Mill/Farm.

How do I avoid health issues?

  • Most purebred dogs have their own set of health issues and risks. But being smart about the breed you are purchasing can help in the long run!
  • Most reputable breeders will do a health check on their breeding parents (hips certification, heart certificate, etc.)
  • If the parents don’t look healthy, the puppies most likely aren’t healthy.

Know the breed you want to buy and be smart about your purchase! If you have any concerns or doubts, contact your Veterinarian and ask them questions!


Tips on How to Keep Your Cat Happy

By Small Animal No Comments
  1. Feed your cat well: feeding a well-balanced kibble (and / or canned food) is extremely important for the well-being of your cat. Obesity is the most common source of problems among domesticated cats. Obesity can make it hard for your cat to do regular cat duties, as well as it can lead to multiple health issues.
  2. Keep environment clean; cats need to be clean. In order for them to hunt and be undetectable they need to be odor- free, so regular grooming is necessary to keep them happy.
    1. You don’t need to bathe a cat. They are able to groom themselves (unless they are obese). Cats are very good at keeping themselves odor-free.
    2. Their litter box should be cleaned regularly. They bury their poop to be undetectable; if it is not cleaned routinely they may go outside the litter box. Scoop out the litter box once a day and thoroughly clean litter box 1-2 times a week.
  3. Enrichment: Indoor cats need enrichment to keep their brains active and more importantly to keep them happy! Enrichment can be mental or physical stimulation. Some examples are below:
    1. Catio – a “cage” that is big enough for them to be outside and big enough for them to walk around in it.
    2. Perches near windows
    3. Cat trees
    4. Playtime toys marinated in cat nip, and/ or food puzzles
    5. Drinking fountain
  4. Hiding Places: Cats are usually on high alert most of the time, so some might go and find warm hiding places to rest. Having places for your cat to hide can be critical for her well being. It can be as simple as having a cardboard box, or a cat tree with a cat bed, some cats might even just hide under your bed. So having that spot for them to rest can make them feel safe and keep them happy.

There are multiple things you can do to keep our feline friends happy and healthy; however every individual cat is different in what they prefer. You know your pet best, so if she starts to not act like her normal self, then contact your local veterinarian!

Grooming; More than Just Looking Good

By Small Animal No Comments

The Do’s and Don’ts of Grooming:


  • Brush your dog regularly and brush before bathing (if you bathe your dog before brushing – this can cause the mats to get tighter)
  • Trim their nails: if you can hear them clicking on the floor, they should be trimmed
  • Rinse off shampoo and make sure you are using a pet friendly shampoo
  • Starting grooming them young
  • If you are uncomfortable with any of these; take your dog to a professional groomer


  • Leave animal unattended while grooming
  • Allow water into the ears, nose, or eyes
  • Brush with wet coat or tug hard when brushing
  • Forget to comb the double coat (depending on breed)
  • Clip mats away with scissors

It is true, grooming does make our dogs smell good, but did you know there are other benefits to grooming then just the smell? Some of the benefits are;

  • It helps maintain a healthy coat and skin – which makes them look good and feel good
  • Early detection of issues – by getting regular grooms, the groomer may recognize new lumps or changes to skin, ears and oral health.
  • Gets rid of mats – mats are very uncomfortable for pets (imagine putting your hair into a ponytail and having it too tight all day – this gets very uncomfortable after the first few minutes.) That is an analogy of what mats feel like. They pull at the skin and can cause pain to your pet.
  • Fur acts as insulation – it protects the body from the outside environment, both to keep the cold out in the winter and keep the heat out in the summer. However, in hot environments, once the heat does get in to the body, fur acts as a barrier that slows the ability of the heat to radiate away.  Ask a veterinarian whether having your pet’s fur clipped is right for it.  Certain breeds, such as Siberian Huskies, Pomeranians and Shetland Sheepdogs are double-coated and shaving their coats may actually make them more susceptible to sunburn.  Pets that are sunburned are at an increased risk of developing skin cancer, especially if they have light-coloured skin and fur.  Exposed skin areas, such as the tips of the ears and nose, are at increased risk of sunburn.  Ask your vet for sunblock suggestions for your pet.


Structure of the coat on a double coated dog (Image created by Brook Wilkins)

Here are before and after pictures of Gramp’s groom.


Stay tuned for tips on keeping your pet cool through the summer!

Additional Reading:

First Aid for Hot Spots

Dog Bite Prevention

By Small Animal No Comments

Most people stay away from a dog that is growling and lunging; however, there are still countless dog bites every year, many of which are described as “unprovoked”.  As a community, we have raised awareness of the risk of rabies after a dog bite and we talk about the importance of socializing your puppy   and training it. There is still a gap in educating the public that ALL dogs are at risk for biting people.  For those with a farming background or experience with horses, this is comparable to saying, “I will never stand directly behind a horse, because all horses are at risk for kicking”.  Any breed of dog can bite if it feels threatened, whether it is considered to be a friendly family breed or not and whether it has a history of aggression or not.  This message cannot be repeated enough. 

The next point is that the overwhelming majority of bites are not random but are provoked by a stimulus to the dog.  Children are the most common victims of dog bites and unfortunately, are the most likely to be seriously injured.   Children are often bitten by familiar dogs.  For example, the stimulus could be a fast, erratic motion that makes a dog feel threatened or guarding of a valuable resource, such as a rawhide.

Apart from bite prevention through management (baby gates to separate a dog from a young child) and active supervision, the key is recognizing that the dog is uncomfortable and it needs more space.  Dogs communicate through body language and generally there are subtle cues that precede a bite.  Dogs generally bite as a last resort and only after their threshold of stress/anxiety/fear has been crossed.  Here are some calming signals  that a dog may give to show they are uncomfortable with an interaction:

  • Gaze aversion (avoiding eye contact and you can see the whites of their eye)
  • Yawning
  • Lip licking
  • Freezing in place
  • Whining
  • Scratching itself
  • Sniffing the ground excessively

Be your dog’s advocate, if you are in a social situation where your dog is giving these signals in the presence of another person, speak up and ask them not to pet your dog and remove your dog from the situation if appropriate.  Dogs can be overwhelmed in new places, with new people or with children that crawl or try to pet them.  It is important to educate children how to approach dogs and that dogs do not enjoy being kissed and hugged.

If you would like more information, speak with your veterinarian and check out these sites:

Infant bitten in “unprovoked attack” by family dog: What can we learn?






Marijuana Toxicity in Pets

By Small Animal No Comments

Did you know that Marijuana poisoning cases have increased 448% over the last 6 years?

Marijuana’s two main components are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

THC – Is the psychoactive component of marijuana – which is the component that affects pets and makes them extremely sick.

CBD – Does not make you ‘high’, it is actually used at a higher concentration in medical     marijuana (the therapeutic component for pain management).

How Marijuana Poisons Pets

  • Ingestion of plant (any part of plant)
  • Ingestion of edibles (laced butter, brownies, cookies, etc.)
  • Inhalation of second hand smoke

Signs and Symptoms

  • Central nervous system depression – difficulty walking, tremors, seizures, etc.
  • Slow heart rate (sometimes increase heart rate)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Lethargy/ Sedation
  • Glazed expression and dilated pupils
  • Potentially coma
  • Signs usually can appear 30 minutes – 12 hours after exposure and can last 30 minutes to several days (depending on quantity ingested or THC levels)
  • High concentration = worse/prolonged effects

Edibles, Dried Plant, and Medical Marijuana

  • Edibles: #1 source of toxicity.
    • High concentration of THC
    • Top sources are cookies, butter/oil, brownies, chocolate bars, and gummy bears
  • Dried Plant: #2 source of toxicity.
    • Up to 30% THC
    • Vomiting is the most common reaction
  • Medical marijuana:
    • Some medical marijuana will have higher THC (50-90%)
    • Extremely high risk to pets due to the higher concentration

How to Prevent Marijuana poisoning

  • Keeping edibles up high in a cupboard that pets can’t get to
  • Put animals in separate room with good ventilation when smoking
  • Keeping the dried plant in a closed jar and safely out of reach from pets
  • Most important – Educate yourself, on the impacts marijuana can have on pets.

How do Veterinarians treat marijuana poisoning?

  • There is no antidote for marijuana, the only treatment is making the animal vomit and then addressing the symptoms

Medical Marijuana for Pets?

There are a few dispensaries in Ontario that sell dog biscuits and CBD oil. They do not have any THC in them; they are altered so the pet doesn’t get high but still benefits from the therapeutic aspect of the drug. They claim that these can help with anxiety, inflammation, cancer, bone pain, not eating, and end of life care. There has NOT been enough information and tests yet to prove this theory, so if you are thinking about trying these products on your pets always ask your Veterinarian about it first!


            If your pet has ingested any form of marijuana call your veterinarian immediately, this is not something that should wait! Large quantities ingested can be fatal to animals.

Never hesitate to call, our team at Coventry Animal Hospital are here to help.


Tick Season

By Small Animal No Comments

What are Ticks?

  • Ticks are external parasites that feed on blood.
  • They attach by their head and engorge by ingesting blood. Once they are engorged they fall off and lay eggs.

Where do Ticks live?

  • Primarily in grassy fields, low-lying underbrush, near water (including swamps), and urban areas
  • Increasing in population in Perth County
  • Endemic in Point Pelee, Rondeau Provincial Park, Turkey point, Long Point, Prince Edward Point, Thousand Islands, Pinery Provincial Park, Rouge Valley, and Wainfleet Bog Conservation area.

When are Ticks out?

  • They are out as soon as it is 4 C weather, but they peak in early spring and late fall.

Species of Ticks seen in Ontario

  • Deer Tick:
    • This is one of the most common ticks seen in Ontario today.
    • They transmit Lyme Disease to animals (deer, dogs, and cats) and humans
    • There have been a few Lyme positive dogs in Perth County!
  • Brown Dog Tick
    • More common in Eastern Ontario
    • Carries Borrelia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

How do they transmit their diseases?

  • Ticks will bite and transmit bacteria from their saliva.
  • The bacteria in the saliva will infect the host
  • Majority of dogs will not show symptoms, but a few will. The symptoms are:
    • Fever
    • Decreased energy
    • Swollen Lymph nodes
    • Decreased appetite
    • Limping

How are the infections treated?

  • They are treated with an aggressive course of antibiotics
  • Untreated can cause kidney damage


  • Comb through your pets fur if playing in wooded areas
  • Medication from your Veterinarian – from March to December (your animals should be on prevention through this time)


Talk to one of our team members at Coventry Animal Hospital or search our website for more information on ticks and Lyme disease if you have any questions.

January is Walk Your Dog Month

By Small Animal No Comments

Whether you made a resolution to shed extra pounds or you just want to get back into shape, January is the month of resolutions. Let your dog be the motivation you need! January is “Walk Your Dog Month”.

Benefits of Walking your Dog:

Physical and Mental stimulation – Walking lets them explore new and exciting smells, and lets them use all their senses, which is a great mental workout for them as well as a physical workout (for your pet and you).

Teaches Calm Behaviour – Since walking drains their energy they will be calmer at home and hopefully be less destructive.

Incorporate Training – While walking you can incorporate training and leash training. Be sure to bring lots of treats and keep his focus on you. Walking every day teaches him the proper way to walk on a leash without pulling. If your dog struggles with loose leash walking practice in your own back yard first. January is also “Train Your Dog Month”, so stay tuned for that upcoming blog.

Improves your Relationship – You and your dog may already have a great relationship, but it can be made stronger with daily walking. It is a great bonding experience for you and your canine companion.

Socialization – Walking also will teach your dog important social skills. During the walk, she will encounter other people and animals, which will help her build confidence and not be scared of new experiences/pets. It is especially great for young dogs.

Tips for Walking:

Set a Schedule – Dogs love routine, set a scheduled time everyday when you can go out for a few minutes to walk. This will help you commit to your walks and will make your dog get excited for its daily walks.

Cold Weather Safety – Especially for young puppies, senior dogs, small dogs, and short hair breeds, it is important for them to keep warm on their walks. Jackets or vests are a great way to keep them warm and happy while out for a walk. Remember to protect their paws! Cold temperatures and the salt can be very harsh on their delicate paws. You can get booties or there are also topical gels/wax that can be put on their paws to protect them.

Take the Necessities – Always remember to take treats with you. Giving him treats on his walk will reward him for good behaviour and will keep his focus on you. Bring a water bottle, especially if it is warm out or you are going for a long walk. Keep you and your pet hydrated. The most important of them all, REMEMBER POOP BAGS. Especially in town it is always good to be a responsible pet owner and pick up after your pet.


Coventry Animal Hospital hopes these tips help you and your pet stick to and enjoy your daily walks.

Related article: 7 ways to turn Walking the Dog into a Workout.

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

By Small Animal No Comments

  As the holidays approach, so do the hazards of Christmas. There are many ways to keep your fur baby safe this holiday season; below are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Secure the tree – Anchor the tree down so those curious pets aren’t able to move it or pull it down.
  2. Ornaments – Cats and dogs are very curious by nature; try to avoid tinsel and ribbons, and keep lights away from your pets. Strings, ribbons, and tinsel are a serious hazard for cats and if they get swallowed they can cause serious injury or worse yet they could get stuck in your pet’s GI tract. Keep lights secured away from pets that will chew at them. A baby gate might be a good way to keep them away from the tree and any harmful ornaments.
  3. Leave human food for humans to consume – During this holiday season, it is best to keep human food away from your furry companion. Although it may be nice to give a piece or two of turkey to your pet, it can upset its GI tract and cause you further problems. Sweets, chocolate and other sugary snacks may taste great, but are not good to give to your pets. They will cause a big stomach upset and chocolate is toxic to dogs. Everyone loves cocktails during the holiday season but it is best to keep these away from curious “thirsty” pets!
  4. Holiday plants – They may look good, but did you know that holly, mistletoe, lilies, and cyclamen are actually toxic to both cats and dogs? Poinsettias on the other hand, aren’t toxic, but they will cause digestive upset. If you do have these plants around the house this holiday season, it’s best to keep them somewhere that your pet can’t access.
  5. Wrapping presents – Its fun to have your fur babies help with wrapping presents; however bows, ribbons, and strings can be a serious hazard. As already mentioned (especially for cats), ribbons and bows can be a fun thing for pets to play with, but not good if they swallow them. If you are looking for appropriate toys this holiday season, browse on My Vet Store for some options!
  6. Holiday glow – Candles look beautiful, but if they are in reach of curious noses or paws they can be very dangerous!
  7. A safe haven – As we already know, Christmas is a time of celebration and usually a lot of family and friends come to visit. You may love having people over and socializing, but sometimes our pets don’t. Have a room set up for them to be able to get away from the holiday stress and to be able to have a rest (without constant attention).


Our team at Coventry Animal Hospital hope these tips help your family have a safe and Merry Christmas!

Feline & Canine Diabetes

By Small Animal No Comments

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is when your pet’s body either cannot produce enough insulin, or its body doesn’t allow it to use insulin properly.


  • Genetics – Diabetes can be genetically predisposed
  • Lifestyle – obesity, poor nutrition, lack of exercise can increase the chance of Diabetes


  • Increase urination and thirst – if your pet is drinking and urinating more than usual, or even having accidents in the house, these signs can be linked to Diabetes or other disorders
  • Increased appetite
  • Vision Problems – pets can develop cataracts from uncontrolled Diabetes which causes blindness.
  • Lack of energy and an increased need to sleep – due to high blood sugar.
  • Urinary Tract Infections – due to the increase in sugar in the urine, there is a greater likelihood that bacteria will grow in your pet’s bladder.


  • The treatment of Diabetes includes regular monitoring of blood glucose, dietary adjustments, insulin given by injection, and keeping an eye on your pet.
  • Frequent vet visits and the costs can add up quickly. This is why we urge you to keep you pet at a healthy body condition and feed a high quality diet.

Give our team at Coventry Animal Hospital a call if you have any concerns about your pet.

For more information view these other blogs:

Diabetes Mellitus

Pet Obesity

Tips on How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Vet Bills