Pet care steps you can’t afford to ignore

For many of us, caring for a pet is one of the most wonderful and rewarding things we can do for a happy life. Most of us do all the right things to care for our pets. However, some threats to our health and that of our pets, especially dogs, might catch you by surprise. For example, despite the low prevalence of the disease in Canada, it’s important to be aware of rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of mammals such as dogs, cats, foxes and even humans. Once clinical signs appear, rabies is almost always fatal.

Although pet vaccines and responsible pet ownership have helped prevent rabies in pets due to wildlife rabies in Canada, the risk of introducing different strains of rabies, such as dog rabies, through imported dogs still exists.

Here are three steps you can take to avoid having a new dog bring the disease home.

Understand the risk. Rabies can have a long incubation period so an infected dog may not appear sick until months later. Once symptoms appear, rabies is fatal. Rabies also can’t be tested when the dog is alive because it requires a brain tissue sample (which can’t be collected without causing its death). Giving a rabies vaccine to a dog that is already infected with rabies is not likely to be protective either. Even if a dog is vaccinated, if the vaccine was not manufactured, stored or administered properly it may not be protective.

Lower your risk. It’s possible to import a rabid dog without knowing it, so always ask where your prospective pup is from, whether it’s been vaccinated against rabies, when it was vaccinated and if you can have a copy of the certificate. Make sure the dog has the proper import documentation such as vaccination and veterinary records and general health check information.

Know your rights and responsibilities. Animals can’t speak for themselves. They rely on their owners to speak for them. Brushing up on your understanding of responsible pet ownership, including Canada’s requirements for bringing a pet into the country, can help keep you, your family, your pet and your community safe.

Learn more about Canada’s requirements at inspection.gc.ca/pets

Related Content

Complete your beach look with any of these trending styles

Complete your beach look with any of these trending styles

Whether you’re escaping Canadian winters as a snowbird, taking on the sun for spring break or just getting a head start on your summer wardrobe, here are four ways to look and feel fantastic as you warm up in the sun this year. Texture tastemaker Interesting fabrics...

read more
3 wardrobe essentials that look great at any age

3 wardrobe essentials that look great at any age

Whether you enjoy sporting the latest fashions or couldn’t care less about them, many women still worry about wearing something age-appropriate. While it may be tempting for some to keep up with trends to avoid looking out of touch, it’s not always great for our...

read more
Demystifying dementia: 3 things you should know

Demystifying dementia: 3 things you should know

According to the latest national data from 2020-2021, almost 477,000 people aged 65 and older living in Canada have been diagnosed with dementia. The number is likely to be higher when accounting for people living with undiagnosed dementia. You have certainly heard...

read more
5 tips for communicating with someone living with dementia

5 tips for communicating with someone living with dementia

Chances are you’ve had an opportunity to talk with someone living with dementia at the grocery store, your place of work or at home. A person living with dementia may have challenges with understanding others as well as being understood. Keep these tips in mind to...

read more
3 ways to support family and friends through a tough time

3 ways to support family and friends through a tough time

We all go through difficult moments in life. But if you notice that a friend or loved one seems consistently sad or unhappy, it could signal they are struggling with their mental health and need the support of others. Mental health challenges can become serious, or...

read more