Hey Dog Lovers! It’s Time For The Park

February 18th, 2014


Some exciting news here from The Pet Network’s friends at Stornoway Productions:
Stornoway Productions has launched an original online series and interactive website called Dog Park Tales, exclusively available at www.dogparktales.ca.
A fun and informative look at dog culture in North America, the site features webisodes that explore everything from doggie cuisine and fashion, to the healing and helpful roles dogs play in human society. Featuring Tevya Heller and his energetic Beagle Buddy, Dog Park Tales celebrates our often obliging “best friends” by looking at developments in dog training, dog events and new discoveries from animal behaviour experts.

The website encourages dog lovers to engage in the conversation by sharing their thoughts, posting photos and voting on a variety of doggie issues. Users can join the community for additional features and updates. From the informative to the silly, Dog Park Tales provides viewers and users with an opportunity to explore the world of canine and human interaction – both in and outside of the dog park.
Dog Park Tales utilizes Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to encourage site visits and user-generated content. The website is available on standard, tablet and mobile devices.

This digital media project is supported by the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian specialty network The Pet Network, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation.
To watch webisodes, check out the Dog Blog, join the community and more, CLICK HERE.


Snout and about: Woofstock 2013

June 10th, 2013


Photos by Mark Bandura

On Saturday, The Pet Network’s Mark Bandura dropped in on Woofstock in Toronto, North America’s largest celebration of all things canine, and got a dog’s-eye-view of the furry festivities. Check out some of his great pics here, or CLICK THIS LINK to see the full photo gallery!



February 1st, 2013


From puppy pret-a-porter to kitty couture, PET FASHION is your guide to what the world’s best-dressed pets are wearing. This one-of-a-kind Canadian series returns to The Pet Network this weekend with brand new episodes. Here’s the official announcement from the producers, our friends at FRONT TV:

PET FASHION, the only show of its kind that brings pet chic into focus, is returning for a fourth season on The Pet Network. New episodes of the half-hour program, hosted by Kristina Ejem (pictured below) will make their broadcast premiere on Saturdays and Sundays, starting February 2, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. ET. (Repeats at 1 am ET.)

PET FASHION, a fun and innovative lifestyle series, offers an in-depth look at the evolving world of the companion-animal kingdom – from educators and innovators creating the latest pet products, to visionary designers who are shaping the current pet fashions and trends of tomorrow, to the pet lovers who share their stories and the contents of their pet’s closets.

The new season will include a salute to all things fandom-licious, an interview with a real-life Dr. Dolittle, a discussion of pet reincarnation, and an introduction to a canine whose resumé reads like an A-list celeb. We’ll also meet a pet-advocate Italian Prince, go gaga over pet fashion, get the inside scoop on the latest pet-centric events, and more.

“This is this only program that shines a positive light on pet fashion designers,” says PET FASHION producer Bianca Kapteyn. “Usually, the editorial slant on these stories is jokey and frivolous. We take pet fashion designers seriously. Some of them are practically rock stars.”

PET FASHION is produced by FRONT TV, an international award winning and broadcast design and branding agency with its own TV production and animation arm that is aimed at producing high-quality, ground breaking entertainment. FRONTS’ headquarters, TV studio, animation and post-production facilities are located in Toronto, ON. For more info: www.front.tv.


FIDO & WINE Sneak Peek: Buddy’s Kitchen

January 18th, 2013


Catch a brand new episode of Fido & Wine online HERE, starting Monday January 21.

In this episode, host Laura Ducharme visits red seal chef Maurizio Barbiere and marketing guru Tyler Philps at Buddy’s Kitchen in Aurora, Ontario to learn about their fresh, natural foods. (That’s the Buddy’s Kitchen fresh food patty pictured above!) Their menu inspires Laura to create a gourmet style lamb and melon salsa dish for Tyler and his pug, Moxie. Here’s a sneak preview:

You can see more Fido & Wine videos HERE.


FIDO & WINE Is Back!

January 9th, 2013


The wait is over! Fido & Wine is back for a new season! We’ll be premiering new episodes online, right here at www.thepetnetwork.tv, starting this Monday. Here’s the news release with all the details:

TORONTO, January 7, 2013: Fido & Wine, the world’s first cooking show dedicated to sharing ideas and recipes for meals that both people and their pets can enjoy, is returning to The Pet Network for a second season.

New episodes of the half-hour program, hosted by Laura Ducharme, will premiere online at www.thepetnetwork.tv, starting on Monday, January 14. The episodes will make their broadcast television premiere on The Pet Network in the spring of 2013.

Viewers will find full episodes of the show, along with recipes and more, at www.thepetnetwork.tv/fido-wine.

Fido & Wine Producer Jen Mitchell Oddi says this Pet Network original series taps into an area of growing interest among animal lovers.

“More and more Canadians are concerned with finding alternatives to processed pet foods and making sure that their dogs and cats enjoy healthier, more wholesome diets,” says Ms. Mitchell Oddi, who also authors My Dog’s Breakfast, a popular blog devoted to home cooking for canine companions.

“People often assume that preparing homemade meals for a pet is difficult, time-consuming and costly – but it doesn’t have to be,” she says. “Fido & Wine is all about finding inspiration to create simple, enjoyable and affordable meals for the special animals in our lives, using fresh and natural ingredients.”

The highlights of season two will include a “round-up” dinner inspired by a demonstration of duck and sheep herding, and a hearty cold-weather meal for some hard-working sled dogs. Fido & Wine will also take on the issue of pet obesity, with an episode devoted to weight-loss recipes. All this, plus a look at meal ideas for felines, and guest appearances by some of Canada’s leading design and renovation celebrities.

Don Gaudet, Vice President, Programming and Production for Stornoway Communications, which owns and operates The Pet Network, says the return of Fido & Wine reflects the station’s commitment to delivering entertaining and informative stories about the animal companions who share our lives.

“Pets are important members of our families. And as with other family members, we want the very best for them. Fido & Wine speaks to the many Canadians who care passionately about making sure their pets enjoy long, healthy and happy lives.”

The success of Fido & Wine has also sparked a spin-off project from the same production team: an original documentary for The Pet Network, now in development, that will explore the link between nutrition and aggressive behaviour in canines.

Season two of Fido & Wine is produced with the assistance of the Canadian Media Fund.


Babysitter Wanted, Opposable Thumbs Not Required

November 19th, 2012

So a friend forwarded this gallery of images, and … well, it’s Monday and whose spirits couldn’t use a lift? Really, toddlers and pets: an unbeatable combination. Prepare to squee!


Bon Appetite?

June 19th, 2012


Posted by Dr. Pamela Barker

It never ceases to amaze me at what dogs will eat. Ask any veterinarian, and they’ll recite a catalogue of the curious items they have removed from the inside of a dog (where, as Mark Twain once said, it’s very dark).

I am reminded of this every spring, which seems to be the official kick-off for the season of Inedible Objects Being Consumed. A few months ago, I was called in one evening to remove a bone from a dog’s mouth. This happens more often than you might think. Most often a piece of the bone gets lodged on the roof of the mouth between the large chewing teeth in the back. And it’s amazing how tightly they can get stuck. Even more amazing is that some dogs don’t complain about it — you’ll never even see it unless you crank the mouth way open to look for it. I’ve encountered several cases that were only discovered when the stench of the dog’s breath became unbearable.

This bone, however, was a bit different. It was one of the round, hollow kind, and somehow this poor guy — who came into the clinic wagging his tail, but looking a bit embarrassed — had managed to get it stuck around the bottom of his chin. It was absolutely clamped around his lower jaw and lodged behind the canine teeth. His owners had been working at it for some time, but had finally given up.

To make everyone’s life easier, I gave him a light sedation and something to relieve the pain. I figured then I’d be able to give the bone a little twist and slip it right off — looking terribly clever in the process. Well, you know what they say about pride before a fall. Even with the dog completely immobile, the bone remained as lodged tightly as ever.

Finally, since nothing else was working, I pulled out our cast cutter and sawed the bone in half. Worked like a charm — but I swore the owners to secrecy, since this is most definitely NOT the intended use for the cast cutting saw, a piece of equipment that runs about $800. My boss would not have been pleased. (Though I did, guiltily, ‘fess up later, and he took it with good humor.)

To this day, I have no idea how the dog managed to get a bone wedged on there so tightly that it had to be cut off. Seems almost impossible that this could have happened by accident.

There have also been other more common items. Fish hooks, for example are a problem in this part of B.C. during the summer. Often stuck through a lip, on the nose, or hooked on the tongue. Once in a while, a dog will even swallow one. Which is a really good reason to not take your dog on a fishing trip if you like using hot dogs for bait.

One of my most memorable cases involved a really nice dog — a standard poodle named Sam — who swallowed some very  . . .  well, let’s say racy women’s lingerie. Twice. Now, when an owner has to pay a hefty vet bill for surgery, they naturally expect to see what you’ve retrieved. Usually it’s a child’s toy, a piece of a ball, a rock — regular stuff. When it’s something from the Victoria’s Secret catalogue, that makes for an awkward moment in the consult room. The first words the client uttered upon seeing this wildly coloured piece of mangled lace? “Those aren’t mine!”

Fortunately for all concerned, she had a sense of humor and a generous limit on her VISA card, because Sam would repeat his performance just a few months later. This time, neither one of us was surprised. The odd part was that he never left the fenced backyard of her rented house, except on a leash. The only thing we could figure is that a former renter must have buried the evidence of an indiscretion in the backyard, only to have Sam unearth the remains of the affair.

Mind you, this case one pales by comparison with one I happened to read about. The owner turned the house upside down searching for a pager. Finally, in frustration, the owner dialed the number, and began removing all the sofa cushions. Suddenly, the ringing could be heard. And when the owner’s dog, dislodged from its perch on the sofa, left the room … the ringing did, too. Go figure.

Dr. Pamela Barker is a professional veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience, currently practicing in 100 Mile House, B.C. Her special areas of interest include animal behaviour and training, nutrition and condition for canine athletes, and public education about animal health and care. If you’d like to suggest a topic for one of her future blog posts, please feel free to leave a comment below.


Play It Cool

June 11th, 2012


Phew! Hot enough for ya? Summer has arrived in full force — and if you think you’re sweltering, just imagine how it must feel to be sporting a fur coat. Fortunately, our Fido & Wine producer extraordinaire Jen Mitchell has come up with a cool ‘n’ creamy treat that will help your pooch to chill out a bit on the stickiest of summer’s afternoons. Jen’s “Berry Good Pupsicles” are made with plain yogurt, which is good for dogs in small doses, and can help you introduce some fruit into Fido’s diet.

Don’t forget to bookmark Jen’s blog, My Dog’s Breakfast. She posts a ton of great recipes and ideas for folks who want to prepare healthy and delicious meals for their canine companions.

Here’s her “Pupsicle” recipe:

INGREDIENTS (Makes three to four pupsicles)

- 1 cup of plain yogurt

- 2 TBS peanut butter (preferably natural)

- 1/4 cup blueberries

- 1/4 cup diced strawberries

In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter and the yogurt. A spatula works well for this. Then, add in almost all of the blueberries and diced strawberries. Save a bit of each.

Take three plastic or styro cups and place the reserved berries at the bottom of each cup. Then, add the yogurt mixture on top, distributing evenly between the cups. The pupsicles in my picture appear larger than they actually are, by the way. I only filled small plastic cups about 2/3 of the way. This is a good size for a large dog. If you have a medium-sized dog, you might distribute between 4 cups. If you have a smaller dog, use ice cube trays.

Freeze the pupsicles. When you remove from freezer to serve, let them thaw enough upside down to “drop” them out of the cups — or, if you lack patience like me, run them under a bit of hot water to set them free.

If you’re really nice, like my friend Laura, you can make these in popsicle trays and hold them for your dog as he/she licks it like an ice cream cone …

Enjoy — and have yourself a cold treat too!

Remember to catch Fido & Wine every Tuesday and Saturday on The Pet Network at 8 pm ET/PT.


Woofjocks @ Purina PawsWay Toronto

May 21st, 2012


Posted by Christina Dun

Our newest PETnews contributor, blogger Christina Dun, joined Kalen, Michael, Jonelle and the rest of the team this past Saturday at Purina PawsWay Toronto as Woofjocks presented thrilling demonstration of agility, flyball, freestyle disc and other canine sports. Check out the full photo gallery HERE, and don’t forget to follow Christina’s blog HERE.

For all you Toronto dog or cat owners looking for pet-friendly places to spend a great long weekend afternoon, PawsWay is the place to be. Located at Queens Quay, it’s full of activities, exhibits and special events for both you and your pet. And on Saturday May 19, Woofjocks was the highlight of the day.

Woofjocks is an educational and entertaining variety-type show with the goal of demonstrating that dog training can — and should — be fun. It’s all about building relationships with your pet. And even though I don’t have any pets of my own, I do love being around animals, so shooting this segment for The Pet Network was pretty fun.

When we arrived, the Woofjocks show had already begun, so we got settled and started getting footage of the event. I’m not used to photographing animal events, so it was a challenge to get good shots — they were constantly moving, and I’ll admit, I do get distracted when cute dogs are around. But in the end I think it went well.

Woofjocks showcased agility, speed, and obedience, along with choreography to music and fun tricks. Following the show, Kalen and Michael set foot onto the obstacle course and shot some footage while trainers and their dogs ran around them. It was pretty entertaining to watch.

Some other great features of PawsWay are the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, a breed match station, and the Williams Fresh Cafe.

Check out the full photo gallery HERE.

Making The Best Of The Golden Years

May 16th, 2012


Posted by Dr. Pamela Barker

Last time I discussed one of my favourite topics: senior pets. Having had several of these in my own life, and having seen countless others in my veterinary practice, I have particular soft spot for the older pet who’s given many years of loyal companionship.

In the not-so-distant past, we had to resign ourselves to the fact that old age  — for pets and people — meant decreased activity, increased stiffness and, quite often, chronic pain. Happily, this is no longer the case. For our aging pets, as for ourselves, there are now many options available to help make life more comfortable.

As a veterinarian, I believe the first hurdle is recognizing that your pet may be in pain. Human beings, as a species, are a pretty whiny bunch. We’re all too pleased to share the details of our slightest aches and pains with anyone willing to listen. Our pets, though? Not so much. Mother Nature designs animals with a built-in instinct to hide pain or illness. In the wild, any creature who lets it be known that he or she is hurting stands a pretty good chance of becoming somebody’s lunch.

So when I see a pet that is less active or engaged with their owner, that shows signs of stiffness, sleeps excessively or (in the case of dogs) pants a great deal, I’m going to assume that the animal is in pain. I would rather err on the side of compassion than allow the pet to suffer in silence.

So let’s say you and the vet have concluded that your senior pet may be suffering from chronic pain, caused by a condition such as arthritis. Now what? Often, the only way to know for certain is to treat the pet for pain.

For dogs, there exists a wide range of safe and highly effective pain-relieving medications. Many were developed specifically for long-term use on animals with chronic pain. And their impact on a dog’s quality of life can be profound. I love hearing from owners about old dogs that are getting into trouble again: climbing up on that white couch reserved for company or chasing the neighbour’s cat. Acting years younger, in other words.

When prescribing medication for an older pet, your vet will likely recommend bloodwork to make certain there isn’t an underlying problem with the the liver or kidneys. Since most medications are processed through these organs, it’s important to confirm that they are functioning properly.

For senior cats, the choices are more limited. Cats have a very different metabolism from dogs or humans, and medications must be selected carefully to meet their needs without causing undesirable side effects. Still, there are a number of excellent options for pain control in felines, and many cats can be made quite comfortable with medication that needs only to be given a few times a week.

Glucosamine chondroitin, a naturally-occurring supplement with anti-inflammatory properties, works well to ease joint pain and increase flexibility in both dogs and cats. SAM-e and fish oils may have similar benefits and offer a more holistic approach to pain management. Your veterinarian can also administer a series of injections of a naturally-derived product that helps to lubricate joints and maintain joint health.

Veterinary acupuncture is a field gaining wider acceptance and becoming increasingly popular with pet owners. Acupuncture can promote relaxation, improve overall functioning, and reduce pain and stress. A further advantage is the absence of adverse side effects.

Pet massage, heat and cold therapies, rehabilitation exercises and therapeutic ultrasound are also excellent ways to help your pet. Owners can learn how to perform some of these techniques themselves, so that treatment can be done in the comfort of home — something many senior pets appreciate.

One consideration that owners of elderly pets sometimes overlook is the home environment. Take a look around the house or apartment from your pet’s point of view. Older kitties still love to observe their world from high places, but often can’t get up to that ledge or bookshelf because they can’t jump or climb anymore. A non-slip ramp or stack of cushions leading up to a favourite perch will be very welcome.

Older dogs, especially larger ones, tend to land hard on their elbows when they lie down. Thick, padded bedding is more comfortable and will help prevent callous formation and pressure sores on bony joint areas.

Finally, bear in mind that regular activity slows the aging process — for people as well as pets. Even if they can’t travel far, senior dogs still benefit from a daily walk. Older cats, similarly, can be coaxed into a play session with an engaging toy. Pet stores and online suppliers offer all manner of light-up and moving toys that even the grumpiest old felines find hard to resist. A few daily dashes across the living room or down the hall will help prevent muscle wasting and keep joints mobile.

Secreting a few treats around the house or yard for your dog or cat to search for is another good way to encourage activity and provide mental stimulation. Hunting for food is a deeply ingrained behaviour that animals retain throughout their lives — and old noses stay sharp and sensitive even after hearing and sight have diminished.

Inevitably, the end comes for all of us. But the last years of your pet’s life can be a time to treasure — and afterward, you can take comfort in knowing you did everything possible to make that time the best it could be.

Dr. Pamela Barker is a professional veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience, currently practicing in 100 Mile House, B.C. Her special areas of interest include animal behaviour and training, nutrition and condition for canine athletes, and public education about animal health and care. If you’d like to suggest a topic for one of her future blog posts, please feel free to leave a comment below.


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