• How to Exercise With Your Dog this Winter

    Jan 22, 2018

    Cold weather presents a challenge to pets and owners alike.  As temperatures drop in the winter months, motivation to get outside wanes. Truth be told, the cold is often more of a deterrent to owners than pets. Most animals, except maybe shih tzus and hamsters, love whatever weather the planet can throw at them. Still, our furry friends need to get their heart rates up just like we do. To help keep them active in the cold, Timbercreek brings you a list of our favourite ways to get your pet’s blood pumping this winter.

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    Bundle Up

    There’s a vast selection of pet attire now available. With everything from parkas to booties, in all manner of styles and colours, there’s nothing standing between your pet and a cozy insulated winter walk.

    Interval Walking

    To pump up your heart rates without freezing your face off, try a high intensity interval walk with your pet. Try one minute of walking, followed by a 20 second jog. Repeat the cycle for a total of five (more) rounds.

    Indoor Tag

    It doesn’t take much to work a dog up into a frothy frenzy. Be it toys or treats, balls or straight up tail pulling, you can whip Fido into a house or apartment raging run. Try playing tag or chase, throw a ball, or play catch.

    Take the Stairs

    Another condo and split level advantage is stairs. You'll both get a workout when you take your dog up and down the stairs a bunch of times for some in-house exercise. Or try taking the elevator down, and the stairs back up.

    Skijoring

    Skijoring is a combination of cross country skiing and dog sledding. It basically amounts to your dog towing you while on skis. Just don’t hook up to your bichon frise.

    Doggie Gyms

    Yep. They exist. Indoor dog gyms are a real thing. They'll help your pet get in fighting shape in no time, indoors.

    Laser Pointers

    Laser pointers are fantastic dog (and cat) entertainers. You might need to rile up your pet first to get him or her into it, but it otherwise makes for easy inside exercise. 

    Dog Walkers

    You could go the easiest winter route and hire a dog walker. Unless you have a hairless chihuahua, most dogs love the cold and can at least muster a stroll around the hood.

    Off Leash Parks

    Nothing makes a dog forget his/her troubles - and obedience training - faster than an off-leash park. Bundle up and head on down to give your pet a winter rush. Bonus: you might even make some friends.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps keep your pet active this winter. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Winterize Your Pet

    Dec 19, 2017

    They might have a furry coat, but your pet can still get very cold in the winter. It never hurts to keep them safe and warm any way you can. Timbercreek Communities is here to help you with tips for how to winterize your pet.

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    Pet Jackets

    When it’s really cold outside, you wouldn’t dream of venturing out without a coat on. Why should your dog have to? Smaller dogs, with a higher ratio of body weight to body surface, lose heat easily. Doggie jackets and vests are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles to suit your shepherd or schnauzer.

    Pet Shoes

    Along with all the winter snow, comes all that winter ice, sand and salt. Salt does a great job of melting the ice, but it can do a number on a dog’s tender paws. If your pet ingests any of the salt by licking it’s sore paws, it can also get a tummy ache. Protect your pooch’s paws with a pair of boots or waterproof rubber socks. If your dog refuses to wear boots, make sure to rinse their feet thoroughly after contact with sand or salt.

    Invisible Boots

    Getting a dog to wear booties when they don’t want to wear is as easy as a magic trick. Fortunately, there is nothing magic about invisible boots. It’s actually a nontoxic wax that's rubbed on and in-between a dog's paws. Musher’s Secret was originally developed to soothe and protect the paws of hardworking Canadian sled dogs. The wax-based cream is easy to apply, moisturizes and helps to heal wounds. It’s useful year round as it also protects paws from hot pavement in the summertime.

    Identification Collars

    An ID collar is a must-have for any dog or cat, but never more so than in the winter. When temperatures drop, your pet is at an increased risk of harm. It’s important to locate them as soon as possible if they run away. No one ever plans on their pet getting lost, but with a little precaution and planning, you can make the unthinkable much easier to deal with. Reflective collars are easier to see in the snow and easier for drivers to see.

    Timbercreek wishes you and your pet a happy and healthy winter! To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: Game of Thrones & Huskies

    Nov 07, 2017

    If you haven’t come across them, Huskies are that stunningly beautiful dog breed associated with Northern Canada, the Iditarod, and most recently “Game of Thrones”. They are medium sized, lithe, strong, and cute. The Husky breed has received a lot of attention recently due to their role in the hit HBO drama. The show features “Direwolves” -- mythical and massive wolf-like creatures. Huskies are the real-life breed that bear a striking resemblance to Direwolves. Eager fans of the series are buying huskies without thinking through the responsibilities and requirements that come with owning them. Before you buy a Husky, Timbercreek has some valuable information about the breed and the current issues facing it and potential owners.

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    Misplaced Fan Adoration

    The Direwolves featured in Game of Thrones have inspired many fans to buy Huskies. Unfortunately, they’re quickly realizing something any dog-owner comes to realize: dogs are a lot of work. They need several walks a day, food, shelter and love. Before you buy, ask yourself honestly, are you ready to be a dog owner?

    Husky Pros

    Huskies are amazing. While not the largest breed, huskies are still medium-large sized, and are athletic. They love to run and jump, and they’re agile and energetic. As their legend goes, they also love the cold weather. Romping in snow in sub zero temps is fun for a husky. They’re known to be loving, not aggressive, and are usually good natured with humans and some other dogs. See more here.

    Husky Cons

    If under-exercised or bored, Huskies are known to howl, chew things, run away, or otherwise cause damage. They also have strong chase and grab instincts, so cats, birds, rabbits beware. They shed and require constant coat maintenance, are rowdy and strong willed, and have been known to not get along with smaller dogs - so owners need to exert discipline. Find out more here.

    Bills

    Pet owners are never shy talking about food costs and vet bills. From heartworm to teeth cleaning, kibble to car cleaning, pets are a money pit. And don’t even start on middle of the night animal hospital costs. Without insurance, owning a pet can be a nightmare. 

    Adding up to reality

    Huskies are increasingly being purchased, and then abandoned, by owners who are attracted to the breed because of Game of Thrones. From England to the U.S., reports of Husky abandonment are on the rise. The work required to own any dog sometimes comes as a shock to new owners. Interestingly, the success of the "Harry Potter" franchise led to a wave of abandoned pet owls, while "101 Dalmatians" had the same effect on that breed. Would-be owners need to think first before buying any pet of any kind. Even a goldfish needs feeding. Read up, ask questions, and see if the breed might be a fit for you before getting one because you love Direwolves. You and the dog will be happier for it.

    Timbercreek hopes this article sheds some light on the beauty of Huskies, and on the real-life responsibilities of owning one. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: Seasonal Pet Health Hazards Associated with Fall

    Oct 24, 2017

    We all want to keep our pets safe. There are many seasonal pet health hazards associated with fall. These dangers can lead to serious injury or worse. Luckily for pet owners, most of these hazards can be easily avoided. To help keep your pet safe this fall, Timbercreek has advice for how to avoid the most common fall pet hazards.

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    Leaf Piles

    Leaf piles offer hours of fun for kids and adults, but the piles can pose hidden dangers to pets and humans. While seemingly soft and delightful, they’re still airy piles of mostly, well, air. And with most of them residing on the street, they often house stones, pieces of metal or broken glass, dirt, and potentially large stones and concrete debris -- not to mention other animals (alive and/or dead!). Though seemingly harmless, keep an eye on your pet as they sniff around leaf piles.

    Cars

    As kids go back to school, university students return to town, and 9-to-5 workers get back to the grind after summer holidays, traffic increases. In addition, the decreasing daylight that comes with fall means lower visibility in the evenings. Cyclists, pedestrians, and cars all have a harder time spotting animals on the road. For your pet, that means increased danger - especially if they’re outdoor cats, dogs that are used to being off-leash, or pets that have a tendency to run away. A quick walk before bed or a cracked door to get the mail can be the ideal opportunity for your pet to dart out into the street. Keep a watchful eye on your pet this season.

    Off-leash Parks

    Off-leash parks are usually safe public zones for dogs, but they still require caution from pet owners. Even the most urban of parks have wildlife like squirrels and raccoons, and parks close to water may have turtles, fish, and potentially even skunks. It’s key to keep a close eye on your pet to avoid canine calamity and/or troublemaking.

    Seasonal Plant Dangers

    The Chrysanthemum is a classic fall flower. It can be toxic if ingested (the flower, stems, or leaves), and may cause Ataxia (stumbling), skin inflammation, Ptyalism (increased salivation), nausea/vomiting, and diarrhea. Other plants producing blooms with a toxic potential for dogs and cats include meadow saffron/autumn crocus and clematis. Mushrooms also appear in fall and some varieties are toxic. If you walk close to forested areas with your pet, have a look around the area for fall mushrooms and the other harmful plants we mentioned above. Learn more here.

    Timbercreek hopes that this article helps keep your pets safe and sound this fall. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: Safer Ways to Prevent Fleas and Ticks

    Sep 25, 2017

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    Fleas and ticks are not only irritating and unpleasant for your furry friends, they can infiltrate your home and are capable of transmitting disease. Many control and treatment products contain chemicals that can be toxic to you and your pet. How do you balance the risks posed by fleas and ticks with the risks of the repellents? Timbercreek Communities want to help with our best advice for safer ways to prevent fleas and ticks.

    Talk to Your Vet

    Before making any decisions about flea and tick control, talk to your vet. They can help you make the best decision for your pet and your whole family. You may want to consider orally administered products to limit your family’s exposure to toxic compounds.

    Citrus Juice

    Fleas are not fans of citrus. Squeezing some lemon, orange, or grapefruit juice on your dog’s fur can get rid of the blood suckers. Be careful to avoid your pet’s eyes and remember that lemon juice may lighten darker hair.

    Regular Baths

    A warm bath can help get rid of fleas and prevent them from returning. Existing fleas will fall off into the water and fleas are less attracted to cleaner animals. You may want to try a peppermint shampoo for a bit of extra protection. Place your pet on a lightly coloured towel after the bath (to better see any remaining fleas), and use a flea comb dipped in soapy water.

    Clean Your Home

    Regular, thorough cleaning of your home can help control fleas and ticks. Vacuum often and change your bedding and your pet’s bedding, regularly.

    Essential Oils

    Some essential oils like geranium, lemongrass, catnip oil or neem may help repel fleas and ticks, as well as mosquitoes and other pests. Be sure to choose high quality oils that can be applied topically.

    Timbercreek hopes this post helps you make safer choices while caring for all the members of your family. To find your home in one of Timbercreek’s Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: Dogs in Hot Weather

    Aug 07, 2017

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    Many pet owners treat their furry friends like children. But while dogs are much more resilient and self-sustaining than human infants, many pet owners forget that for animals, heat can be a killer. Especially in Canada where we often contend with temperatures into the high 30s and even 40s. And unlike human babies, dogs don’t actually need to accompany owners everywhere. To protect your dog from the elements this summer, Timbercreek brings you a list of tips to keep your canine comfortable and healthy in the heat.

    Don’t Leave Them In The Car

    While the leave-the-windows-down mentality has merit when leaving pets in cars, the better idea is to not bring them at all. Leaving dogs in hot cars with searing sun and no airflow is pretty much like putting them in an oven. If you must, bring a small water bowl, park in the shade, leave windows down, or if wherever you go is pet-friendly, take them with you.

    Hydration, Hydration, Hydration

    Dog water consumption increases in the heat just like for humans -- but way more intensely for your pet because of that whole body-covered-with-fur thing. Dogs release heat through panting, and a small amount through their paws, which also increases the impact of airflow (or lack thereof, i.e. cars) in their immediate vicinity. Keep your pet’s water bowl full, put a second bowl in another location in your house/apartment in hot months, and bring one and a water bottle for the car when travelling.

    AC

    Though an eco and energy consideration, air conditioning is more than just a human luxury in summer months. Dogs benefit just a much or more so than we do from some climate control when the thermostat hits 35C. Even if just at night for a good sleep, switch on the AC to give your fur-covered friend a break from the heat.

    Fans

    If you don’t have AC, use a fan to cool your pet down in oppressive heat. Set it up near a window to generate airflow, and put one by your dog’s bed at night to offer some help to deal with the heat.

    Limit Exercise/Exertion

    While dogs need to go out regardless of the season or temperature, limiting their exertion in hot months is a great way to keep them from overheating. Walk your dog at low heat times of day - morning and evening - and if you have to play fetch, reduce the number of ball throws.

    Grooming

    Make sure your dog’s coat is appropriate for the season. For shedding breeds, coats maintain themselves, but a good, regular brushing helps remove that fluctuating under-layer. For fur-growing dogs, keep their coats trim and, where it doesn’t make them look overly rat-like, as short as possible.

    Timbercreek hopes this list helps keep your pet cool and healthy in the heat. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: How To Keep Your Pet Cool In Summer

    Jul 17, 2017

    Summer in Canada can be sweltering. Because of their fur, high summer temperatures can leave your pet in distress and unable to cool down. Learn how to keep your pet cool and safe this summer with these tips from Timbercreek.

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    Grooming

    Keeping your pet's coat trimmed can make a big difference to their internal temperature in the heat of summer. However there is a double edged sword here. Dog breeds that have an undercoat (that layer of hair that keeps them warm in winter and cool in summer) can be harmed by cutting. With these breeds it’s better to give a good regular brushing to thin out the animal’s coat. The start of summer is the ideal time to groom your pet for ease of maintenance, and maximum cool. Be aware that too short of a cut can open the animal up to sunburn depending on their exposure to the outdoors and direct sun.

    Water/Hydration

    We've all been guilty of forgetting to fill the water dish for our pets. Pets need constant hydration in the heat of summer in order to stay cool, especially if they’re active. Add a second dish to give you a visual reminder to add more water. Be sure to check your pet’s main water dish daily, and consider putting an extra bowl out in another location of the house for easy access.

    Baths

    While time consuming for owners, and typically not enjoyed by most animals, baths are a sure fire and immediate way to cool down. While dogs tend to rebel, and cats scream bloody murder, in the end they feel better for it on a hot day. Of course some dog breeds are swimmers and love a good dousing (like the Golden Lab). For water hating pets even a little shower with the garden hose can cool them off on a hot day.

    Walk Them At Low Temperature Times Of Day

    While cats and birds and other smaller species will naturally 'hibernate' at high heat times of day, owners can choose when to walk their dogs. In summer it's wise to walk your dog during cooler times of day. Mornings and evenings are ideal for most dogs.  Restricting walks to early morning and late evening will help your pets to stay cool (or at least not overheat) while still getting the exercise they need.

    AC/Fans

    What's good for humans can be good for animals. Air conditioning in the hottest months of summer keeps us and our pets cool and comfortable. Imagine wearing a thick fur coat on even a mildly hot day and you’ll get a glimpse into your pet’s typical summer day. Using your AC or turning on a fan can help your pet stay cool on those super hot, dog days of summer.

    Don't Leave Pets In The Car (With Windows Up)

    Never leave your pet in the car with the windows rolled up. On a hot day this amounts to torture. There's more than one folk tale of a pet suffocating in a parking lot. If you have to go out on a hot, sunny summer day, leave your pet at home. If you must take them, be sure to leave the windows down, and try to bring them a dish of water.

     

    Timbercreek hopes these tips help you keep your pet cool this summer. For more information about Timbercreek Communities in your city, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: 5 Fun Tricks To Teach Your Dog

    Jun 19, 2017

    Pets enrich our lives. A well trained, well behaved dog makes life better. Teaching your dog simple tricks also teaches them how to obey commands, gives opportunities for positive reinforcement and teaches your pet discipline. Who knew tricks could be the key to having a well behaved and happy dog?! Here are 5 fun tricks to teach your best friend, from your friends at Timbercreek Communities.

    iStock-670022330Kiss

    It’s pretty easy to get a dog to lick your face. The trick is to get them to give you a gentle kiss that doesn’t require toweling off after. Hold a treat by your face as you say the command and offer your cheek. Wait until he touches your cheek with his nose and pull away and give him the treat before he can lick you. Eventually he will learn that is all that is required. If you have a big or overly excitable dog, don’t let your kids perform this trick until your dog has it down.

    Shake Paws

    You’ll need a little patience to teach your dog to shake a paw. If you can spare the time, it's ideal to practice for about 5 minutes a day. To keep you both from getting tired or frustrated. Show your dog the treat in your hand. If your pet lifts its paw, or bats at the treat in your closed hand, reward your pooch with the treat and a little praise. Your other hand should remain out flat to shake. When your pup lifts his or her paw you can grab it while he/she takes the treat.

    Fetch

    It may seem like a dog would naturally fetch without training but the truth is, most don’t. Most dogs will simply stare and possibly wonder why you are throwing their toy away. Follow these 6 steps to teach your dog to fetch, from the dog whisperer himself, Cesar Millan.

    Bark on Command

    Teaching your dog to speak or is an easy trick and can fix a barking problem, as he will learn to bark only when commanded. If your dog has a barking trigger, like a knock at the door, try knocking on the door. When he barks say “speak” and give him a treat and/or click your clicker. Repeat this several times, then give the “speak” command without knocking. If he obeys and barks, give him treats and praise.

    Spin

    Teaching your dog to spin is not only cute, it also keeps your pet limber. Place a treat on his/her nose but don’t let your dog eat it. Slowly move your hand in the direction you want your pet to spin. Stick with one direction at first. Once your pet completes a full circle, click, use your marker word and give him/her a treat.

    We hope you give these fun tricks to teach your dog a try! To find your home with Timbercreek Communities, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: 4 Steps for Getting Your Pet's Attention

    May 23, 2017

    WE LOVE PETS! They provide companionship, affection and improve our quality of life -- if they are well behaved. To teach your pets to behave properly you need to be able to get and hold their attention. When you can get their attention, then you can give them commands and control their behavior. It’s straightforward, but it’s not always easy. To help you take control, Timbercreek Communities wants to share these 4 steps for getting your pet’s attention.

    iStock-535428765Eye Contact is Key

    Your pet, especially a dog, is thinking about what it is looking at. If they are not making eye contact with you, chances are they are not thinking about you or what you want them to do. Eye contact is key. The first step in training your pet is to teach them to stare at you, without stopping. After several sessions getting your dog familiar with eye contact, you won’t need to tug on their collar to get their attention.

    The Name Game

    Getting your dog familiar with eye contact is crucial, but how do you get them to stare at you on command? Teach them their own name. A pet’s name can be used to get their attention, so that you can then tell them what you want them to do next, like “come” for example. It’s important that you only say your pet’s name once. If you repeat the name over and over, they may dismiss it. If you don’t get their attention after saying their name, follow it with attention-getting noises. You can pat your leg or make high pitched noises, then reward them when they look at you.

    Praise

    Your pet will respond to praise. Positive reinforcement works. The reward of praise makes them likely to repeat the behavior they were praised for. Timing is key -- you need to give them the praise immediately or they will not associate it with the correct action. If you tell your dog to “sit” and then say “good boy” when they stand back up, they will think they are being praised for standing up.

    Reward

    Besides praise, the other reward that is important to your pet is treats. When you say their name and they stare at you, reward them with a treat immediately. Keep your commands short. Single words are best. Everyone in the family should use the same commands and reward good behaviour right away. Consistency is key. The treat should be small, not something they need to take time to chew. Accompany these treat rewards with praise and you will be able to get your pet’s attention and have them follow your simple commands.

    Timbercreek Communities hopes these tips for getting your pet’s attention help to transform your pet into a happy a well behaved member of the family.

    To learn about pet friendly Timbercreek Rental Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

  • Petiquette 101: Important Pet Safety Tips For Spring

    Apr 11, 2017

    While it’s a little early for t-shirts and sunscreen, the days are getting longer and the clocks have sprung ahead. It’s important to keep our animal friends in mind as spring begins. From cleaning products to open doors and windows, spring plants, and other seasonal changes, hazards to our pets increase. To keep your pets safe and sound, Timbercreek Communities has some important safety tips for spring.

    Steer clear of standing water

    From algae to mold, dirt, oil, heavy metals, and giardia, standing water (puddles, eaves troughs, ponds, poorly draining backyards) can present a danger to pets. While their digestive systems tend to be less sensitive than humans, pets can still get sick from drinking contaminated water. Try to keep an eye on your yard, and keep an eye out for standing water pockets on your walk routes.

    Keep spring cleaning materials high up

    Cleaning products contain a ton of toxic chemicals and need to be kept out of reach of your pets. Consider keeping your cleaning stuff in a high place. If you’re like a lot of people, you keep your cleaning solutions under the sink, or on a shelf next to the laundry. For your pet’s safety, relocate any and all cleaning products to a high shelf or cabinet. Keeping them out of reach will prevent accidental ingestion (and vet bills!).

    Avoid toxic plants

    Lilies can be fatal to cats if ingested. The ASPCA also lists Azaleas, Tulips and Sago Palms as having “systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract.” While both dogs and cats gnaw on grass and succulents for added vitamin content, it’s important to be aware that these and other common greens can give your pets trouble. Get more info here.

    Keep Easter chocolate out of reach

    While delicious for humans, chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs. Throw in that cute little plastic grass that comes with many Easter basket packs and you get a real pet hazard. Inform your kids about the dangers of both items. They shouldn’t have trouble keeping their chocolate safe, but remind them to keep it out of pet reach.

    Screen your windows (cat safety)

    Even indoor cats love the prospect of outdoor freedom. With spring weather comes open windows and doors, which present an irresistible seduction to the adventurous pet. Get a jump on spring by installing screens on windows to deter your cats (dogs, birds, salamanders) from roaming the neighbourhood (sad as it might be for them!).

    Watch out for fleas

    Spring is flea and tick season. Luckily for you, knowing is half the battle. The best prevention is cleaning your pet’s bed, sleeping and hangout areas, vacuuming your home, and watching your pet for telltale flea and tick behaviour (scratching, biting, licking, shaking). Click here for more info.

    shutterstock_260692589At Timbercreek Communities, we know how much you love your pets and we hope that these important safety tips for spring keep your pets happy and healthy this year.

    For more information on Timbercreek Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

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