Origins of the Easter Bunny


He lurks in the shadows . . . a fur covered creature . . . with long, sharp teeth, littering the landscape with painted eggs . . .

Like Christmas, Easter is a hybrid of pagan and Christian beliefs. In Christianity, Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Christ and his ascension into heaven. For Pagans, Easter is a springtime ritual celebrating rebirth and new life, with rabbits (because of their prolific breeding habits) and eggs representing symbols of fertility. In fact, the word ‘Easter’ is derived from ‘Eostre’ the pagan goddess of fertility.

So we see how the rabbit and the eggs came together. But why are the eggs coloured? Precise origins are unknown, but many Eastern Orthodox Christians dye their Easter eggs red to symbolize the blood of Christ, while some pagans will dye their eggs green in honour of the emerging springtime foliage.

The concept of an egg-laying bunny came to North America in the 18th century when German immigrants to the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about ‘Osterhas’, or sometimes spelled ‘Oschter Haws’. Oschter means ‘Easter’ in German and ‘Hase’ means ‘hare’, not rabbit, so this Easter ‘Hare’ would bring good children colored eggs and place them in ‘nests’ the children had built in their caps or bonnets.

Happy Easter!

 

Tips for Kicking Off a Healthy New Year with Your Pet

Tips for Kicking Off a Healthy New Year with Your Pet

New Pet Poll data finds Canadian dog owners walk an average of 13.5 blocks per day

BURLINGTON, Ontario, Jan. 6, 2020 /CNW/ — With the start of a new decade, it’s the perfect time to set New Year’s resolutions for a happier, healthier 2020. The start of a new year not only means new beginnings and goals for people, but also for their pets. To kick the New Year off right, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert, Dr. Jennifer Freeman, DVM, shares her top three tips for pet health and wellness in 2020:

#1: Exercise Regularly.
One of the most popular human resolutions applies to pets, too. While all pets need exercise, it’s important to consider age, breed and current health when determining the extent. Most dogs typically need at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, whether it’s walking, running or playing fetch.

A Pet Poll, conducted by DART Insight for PetSmart, shows how much Canadian dog owners are typically walking per day. The poll found Canadian dog owners walk an average of 13.5 blocks per day. Albertans walked the most at 16.1 blocks per day followed by Saskatchewan/Manitoba dog owners at 15.05 blocks per day. With the cold weather in full swing, the Top Paw® Outdoor Dog Booties and Beaver Canoe Woven Dog Parka will keep pups warm and toasty while they meet their daily exercise goals.

A great indoor option for mental and physical stimulation is PetSmart’s Doggie Day Camp, with its new structured play format called The Ultimate Experience, available at select Ontario PetSmart locations. The revolutionized day camp provides pets with a structured schedule of enriching activities for their bodies and minds. The Ultimate Experiencealso gives store associates the opportunity to build stronger, more positive relationships with canine campers through a variety of mentally stimulating games, story time, “yappy hour,” rest and relaxation and bubble time.

#2: Groom Your Pet.
“Regular grooming is important for every dog, regardless of size, age and coat type, because it helps prevent common problems such as excessive shedding, skin and paw irritation, painful hair mats and overly long toenails,” said Dr. Freeman. Ideally, dogs should be professionally groomed every four to six weeks. It’s important for pet parents to share any pre-existing health conditions or concerns with stylists ahead of time so the service can be customized to their pet’s needs, temperament and health.

In between professional grooming services, pet parents can keep their dogs’ coats well-maintained by using products like the Top Paw® 3-in-1 Wet-Dry Pet Grooming Glove and special pet shampoos like Top Paw® Oatmeal Baking Soda Shampoo, which provide the right balance of cleaning agents and moisturizers for a softer and healthier looking coat.

#3: Choose the Right Food.
There is no doubt that eating nutritious food is another popular 2020 goal – and that goes for pets, too.  Knowing what’s in your pet’s food can help you better understand the type of nutrition your dog or cat is or isn’t consuming. “Start by reading the ingredients on the food label, paying special attention to the first three ingredients, which make up the majority of the food,” said Dr. Freeman. “While each animal has its own unique nutritional needs, every pet needs to consume an adequate amount of protein.” Always consult with your veterinarian to choose the most appropriate diet for your pet’s needs. If you decide a switch is in order, PetSmart store associates are available to help pet parents sort through their options.

*Survey methodology
A total of 1,600 pet owners were surveyed—800 dog owners and 800 cat owners by DART Insight and Communications Inc. Using a Bayesian Credibility Interval, the national combined pet owner’s results are deemed to be accurate to +/- 2.8%, 19 times out of 20; dog and cat owners weighted to 800 sample each are deemed to be accurate to +/- 4.0, 19 times out of 20. A copy of the analysis and data are available at http://dartincom.ca/polls/.

About PetSmart®
In Canada, PetSmart, Inc. is the largest specialty pet retailer of services and solutions for the lifetime needs of pets. At PetSmart, we love pets, and we believe pets make us better people. Every day with every connection, PetSmart’s passionate associates help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they, together, can live more fulfilled lives. This vision impacts everything we do for our customers, the way we support our associates and how we give back to our communities. PetSmart employs approximately 4,800 associates and operates more than 140 pet stores in Canada, as well as eight in-store PetSmart PetsHotel® dog and cat boarding facilities. The retailer provides a broad range of competitively priced pet food and products, as well as services such as dog training, pet grooming, pet boarding at PetSmart Doggie Day Camp™ and pet adoption. PetSmart and PetSmart Charities® of Canada work with more than 200 animal welfare organizations to bring adoptable pets into stores so they have the best chance possible of finding a forever home. Through this in-store adoption program and other signature events, PetSmart has facilitated more than 300,000 adoptions, more than any other brick-and-mortar organization.

PetSmart homepage: http://www.petsmart.ca

SOURCE PetSmart

Why pets make terrible Christmas presents!

Why pets make terrible Christmas presents!

Christmas is fast approaching and along with it comes the tradition of giving and receiving presents. This is the time when most think: what am I going to get him or her for Christmas?  Well, as cute and tempting as it is, giving a pet as a Christmas gift may not be the best idea!

Deciding to adopt a new pet should result from a well-considered decision:

Giving a pet as a present could be filled with moments of excitement and happiness for both the giver and receiver. However, both parties need to realize that this relationship involves a commitment that will last for years! So, before making this decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this person really want a pet? Even if he/she expressed the wish to adopt a pet, maybe they were not sure.
  • If yes, is it a dog or cat? What breed has he/she chosen and will it fit with their lifestyle? The breed and temperament are very important to consider.
    • Has this future pet-owner prepared their home for their furry family member? For example, it is important they provide scratching posts for cats to express their natural need to mark their territory.
    • Is this person ready to walk a dog at least twice a day?
  • Is he/she or a member of his/her family allergic to pets?
  • Is he/she a landlord or a tenant? A lot of landlords still don’t accept pets. Relinquishment is also very common when tenants move to another place where pets are not accepted.
  • Does this person have the financial resources to take care of a pet? This includes yearly veterinary examinations, vaccines, deworming, flea and tick treatments, food and either insurance or savings in cases of emergency.
  • Is this pet being considered for a child?  Whether the pet in question is a dog, cat, rabbit, hamster or fish, parents of small children should be fully prepared to be the main caregivers of any pet(s) they adopt. Kids quickly lose interest in pets and will not always take responsibility for their care.

Adopting a pet always requires some preparation:

  • If there is already a pet in the house, they should be prepared to accommodate as this can be a stressful period for all the animals in the household.
  • Adopting a new pet also means buying the essentials: leash, litter boxes, training pads, food, toys etc.

Unless you are prepared to consider all of the questions above, we strongly recommend you to opt for another gift! If you find yourself hesitating, it is most likely that this present is definitely not a good idea. Consult with your veterinary team if you are considering adopting a pet over the holidays or have any questions; they can help you with this important decision.

SOURCE Canadian Animal Health Institute

Halloween poses other stresses or dangers for pets, but candy is high among them

By Leanne Italie

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ It’s a trick-or-treating tradition: Dump the night’s candy haul onto the living room floor to pick out the gems, or do some horse trading with siblings or friends.

The excitement and sugar rush may leave humans unaware that all that candy might just be lethal for their hovering pet dogs and cats, however.

Those four-legged family members can’t metabolize candy like humans, said Leasa Greer, manager of nutrition and regulatory affairs for Solid Gold, a line of natural, health-focused foods and treats for dogs and cats. Generally, pet owners likely know what their animals should and shouldn’t eat, but they may not know why she said.

Chocolate, for instance, contains caffeine and a compound called theobromine, which can be toxic in certain doses to both dogs and cats, Greer said. Cats can’t taste sweet so aren’t necessarily as drawn to chocolate as dogs, she noted. Theobromine is more concentrated in darker chocolates so that type is particularly perilous, Greer said.

Symptoms of chocolate upset include digestive upset (vomiting, diarrhea), restlessness, hyperactivity and trembling, she said.

Then there’s xylitol, a sugar substitute found in some sugarless gums and candies. It can cause hypoglycemia, seizures and even liver failure in dogs, Greer said. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning can include vomiting, weakness and lack of co-ordination.

“It is important to keep Halloween candy secured in a location above the animal’s reach. Containers with a secure lid will also prevent any possible encounters and reduce the smell. Many animals are attracted to the novel scent of the candy,” said Brian Ogle, an assistant professor of anthrozoology at Beacon College in Leesburg, Florida.

“Beyond candy, one other major threat to animals is the ingestion of glow sticks. Cats especially love to chew on these objects. The chemicals in these toys can cause severe drooling, mouth irritation and can be quite painful to animals,” he added.

Some traditional high-sugar candies popular at Halloween may not necessarily be life-threatening but can still cause digestive upset in dogs if consumed in large amounts, the experts said.

What’s inside all those wrappers isn’t the only potential problem. Wrappers themselves can be problematic for pets. Dogs that find candy lying around the house often consume the wrappers along with it, which can cause bowel blockages or stomach irritation, Greer said.

“If you suspect your dog may have snuck into some candy and is having digestive upset, first seek veterinarian supervision and help them soothe their stomachs with a bland diet that includes home-cooked chicken breast and rice, or ground beef and rice,” Greer said.

But it’s not all gloom and doom for the pets in search of treats, especially those who may have earned it by enduring unruly Halloween costumes.

Some seasonal superfoods that dogs and cats can enjoy while the humans live it up on Halloween include pumpkin. The rinds make for a great source of soluble fiber to support proper digestion, Greer said. Apples are an excellent source of phytonutrients that support the overall health of pets, she said. Lentils are also a great source of dietary fiber for a healthy digestive system, providing folate and magnesium as well to support heart health.

Most pet bakeries and pet stores stock up on safe seasonal and Halloween-themed treats, noted Sarah Nold, a staff veterinarian at Trupanion, a pet insurance provider.

“On average, chocolate-related health issues cost pet owners about $240 per claim and can go higher, like the $1,200 claim we covered last year for a miniature pinscher who celebrated Halloween by eating some unattended dark chocolate,” she said. “Milk chocolate and white chocolate have lower concentrations of theobromine but have a higher fat content. This means while they are less likely to cause toxicity, they can result in pancreatitis.”

Ben Williamson, a spokesman for the animal rights group PETA, called Halloween the busiest time of year for pet helplines. He cautioned that raisins, grapes and macadamia nuts are among other foods that can be harmful to dogs if they ingest enough of them.

Other symptoms of toxicity are lethargy, not defecating or straining to defecate, increased thirst and an elevated heart rate.

Dr. Carol Osborne, an integrative veterinarian in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, said Halloween poses other stresses or dangers for pets, but candy is high among them.

“Halloween mishaps, unfortunately, do keep many veterinarians busy and unfortunately the most common issues are pets that ate Halloween candy, especially chocolate and-or xylitol containing candies,” she said. “Do NOT let your pets eat the treats.”

Is your dog extra sensitive to hot weather?

Is your dog extra sensitive to hot weather?

BC SPCA

Hot summer weather can be ‘ruff’ on dogs who have thick fur coats, flat-faces, are obese or elderly. On hot, humid days, it’s best to keep pets inside with plenty of cold water. Outdoor exercise and walks are best in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler. Bring water and take breaks in the shade. If the pavement is too hot to comfortably place your hand on for several seconds, it is too hot for your dog.

Some dogs don’t know their own limits – use caution with exercise such as running and fetch as you may need to stop your dog from overdoing it.

Here are a few types of dogs who need to be watched extra closely when venturing outdoors on those hot summer days.

Brachycephalic dogs

Dogs have sweat glands in their paw pads but release excess heat primarily by panting. Brachycephalic or flat-faced dog breeds have more difficulty taking in enough air to cool themselves down by panting. Flat-faced dogs such as pugs, Boston terriers, French bulldogs, English bulldogs and shih tzus are more sensitive to heat because they suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS). They have small nasal openings and long soft palates in the back of their mouths, which limits airflow. These types of dogs also have a narrower windpipe and have to work harder to take in enough air to keep themselves cool. Be sure to walk flat-faced dogs with a harness instead of a collar to ensure their airway is not constricted.

Note that Brachycephalic dogs are not great swimmers. A wading pool with a few inches of water should be enough to cool them down. For example, pugs need to tilt their faces up to breathe while swimming, which means they must paddle hard to stay afloat. Pekingese tire easily and have short legs. A life vest is necessary to avoid having these breeds get water up to their noses and drown.

Dogs with thick fur coats

A dog’s coat captures air and acts as an insulator trapping heat in the winter and deflecting heat in the summer. Never shave your dog. Shaving off their fur increases the likelihood of developing heatstroke, a sunburn and skin cancer. Brush a dog’s coat daily, keep their coat clean and take a dog to the groomer regularly. A fluffy, clean coat will do a better job of keeping the dog cool.

Dog breeds such as Labradors, huskies, shepherds and golden retrievers have a double coat. The shorter layer of fur insulates the dog and is shed regularly. The outer coat is made up of coarser, longer hairs that don’t shed as often. If these breeds are shaved their double coat can regrow improperly resulting in a patchy appearance, follicle damage and loss of the protection from the weather the coat provides.

The darker the dog’s fur the more heat it will absorb. Dogs with black fur are at a higher risk of overheating.

Overweight dogs

Dogs that are overweight or obese are more likely to develop a heat-related illness because of the increased insulation the fat cells provide and increased heat they generate from mild exercise.

Senior dogs

A dog is considered to be a senior over the age of five for large breeds such as a great dane. Smaller breeds such as Chihuahua’s generally live longer and are not considered to be seniors until about age eight. Senior dogs are more sensitive to temperature and may have underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung diseases, which makes them more likely to develop heatstroke.

Puppies

Puppies are not able to regulate their own body temperature as well as adult dogs and are high-energy. They tend to run and play and can easily overexert themselves outside on hot days.

Be part of our campaign to keep pets safe this summer. Pledge to not leave your pet in a hot car and get a free #NoHotPets car decal!

For more information visit The BC SPCA site

  • If you ordered our limited supply decal – take a picture of your brand new car decal and help us spread the word!
  • Use hashtag: #NoHotPets and tag on Twitter: @BC_SPCA or Facebook @bcspca or Instagram @bcspca.

Photo Credit: Nash the Pug  – ILSTV

Winnipeg HumaneSociety selects Petsecure as Exclusive Provider of Trial Pet Health Insurance

The Winnipeg Humane Society and Petsecure, a Canadian owned and operated pet insurance company, are proud to announce that they have an agreement to make Petsecure’s Adoptsecure program the exclusive provider of pet health insurance for Winnipeg Humane Society’s pet adopters.

The Adoptsecure program delivers a six-week complimentary trial insurance policy that provides pet owners with initial pet health insurance coverage valued at up to $500 after they adopt a dog or cat from participating shelters. Shelters also receive onsite support from a designated Petsecure Territory Manager.

“The WHS welcomes Petsecure to our team, and we look forward to working together by providing a free trial of pet insurance for anyone adopting a pet from our shelter,” says Winnipeg Humane Society CEO Javier Schwersensky. “Pet Insurance is an important aspect of ensuring that, in case of emergency, we have the peace of mind of knowing veterinary bills will be covered and the best treatment options can be pursued. With the Petsecure free trial that we can now offer with every adoption, you can learn more about how insurance works, plus have the extra peace of mind of rescuing an animal from our shelter without worrying about a sudden change in health condition.”

“We are excited to partner with Javier Schwersensky and his team at the Winnipeg Humane Society,” said Raegan Ahlbaum, AVP, Petline Operations of Petsecure. “The Winnipeg Humane Society has been helping animals for 125 years and adopts out more than 4,000 animals a year. Encouraging pet owners to see the value in pet health insurance allows us to provide ongoing humane care and protection.”

Petsecure offers different solutions to suit the unique needs of individual pets. The pet health insurance plans include coverage for veterinary visits, dental coverage as well as alternative and preventative care. Petsecure works to help protect pets and give owners peace of mind.

About Petsecure

Petsecure is the flagship brand of Petline Insurance Company, a Canadian owned and operated pet health insurance provider. Petsecure offers comprehensive pet insurance coverage options to pet owners in Canada. Underwritten by Petline Insurance Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Economical Insurance, Petsecure and logo are registered trademarks of Petline Insurance Company.

SOURCE Petsecure

 

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