Our Mission: To help as many animals as we can

Caring for a senior pet: Hearing Impaired Edition

Hearing Impaired

Good morning everyone!

Last week we brought you some tips on caring for a pet experiencing vision loss. Today, we’re continuing our little senior pet month series by moving to another important sense for pets: sound.

There are a wide number of reasons why a pet might become deaf and while some have to do with age, many do not. Pets can be deaf from birth due to a physical abnormality or genetic issue (in some breeds certain white coat genes are linked to deafness) while younger pets can develop hearing loss in response to ear infections, certain viruses (like canine distemper), waxy build up or trauma.

For senior pets, some of the most common types of hearing loss seen are the result of changes to the nervous system or physical structures of the ear, exposure to medication or chronic ear infections. Like humans, as animals age they experience age-related changes in their bodies. Age-related hearing loss is also referred to as presbycusis and will normally affect both ears. These age-related hearing changes are normally the result of changes to the auditory nerve (the nerve that carries signals from the ear to the brain), the loss of the tiny hair cells that move in the ear as your hear (stereocilia) or a change in the function of either the inner ear bones or the eardrum.

In addition to these age-related changes, senior pets may also experience hearing loss due to medications. Certain types of chemotherapy, antibiotics and diuretic drugs have been known to cause hearing loss. It is important to note, however, that is your veterinarian is prescribing a medication that may cause hearing loss it would normally be in response to a far more serious condition and you should not stop giving your pet the medication without first speaking with your vet. Another common reason for hearing loss in senior pets can be an obstruction (blockage) in the ear canal. This could be the result of scar tissue from chronic ear infections or it may be caused by a build-up of wax and fur in the ear canal. All cases of suspected hearing loss should be seen by your vet as early as possible so your vet can examine your pet and determine what, if any, treatment is needed.

So what do you do if your cherished friend loses their hearing with age? Here are a few tips…

Make sure others know your pet cannot hear. Alert and remind all visitors to the house, especially children, that your pet cannot hear and ask them to avoid approaching your pet from behind or bothering your pet while they are sleeping.

Stomp. Yes, seriously. Stomp. We mentioned above to ask guests not to approach your deaf pet while it is sleeping, but this is not always realistic. You may need to approach your hearing-impaired pet while it is sleeping or when it is not looking at you. Stomping your feet to create vibrations in the floor is sometimes enough to get your pet’s attention and alert them that someone is approaching. Keep in mind that this will not work on concrete floors (you’ll just wind up with sore feet!).

Consider a vibrating collar. Several companies have now come out with collars that will vibrate in response to a signal from a remote. If you decide to purchase one of these collars, remember that you are not using this a corrective tool but as a gentle way of alerting your pet and select the most comfortable setting for your pet. If you are unsure if a vibrating collar would be appropriate for your pet, speak with your veterinarian or a professional trainer in your area who has experience working with hearing-impaired pets. Also keep in mind, if you invest in a vibrating collar you will need to teach your pet what that vibration means!

Training required! If your pet begins to lose their hearing gradually, teaching your pet hand signals for known verbal commands can help to ease the transition. For pets that have lost their hearing suddenly, or for new skills (like responding to a vibrating collar) you may need to do some extra training with your pet. At Calgary Humane Society, our behavior team offers a behavior help line and private consultations and would be happy to suggest strategies and help you determine what additional training your pet may require.

For multiple pet homes, ensure there are escape routes. Hearing-impaired pets can feel vulnerable in multi-pet households because it is easy for other pets to ‘sneak up’ on the pet that cannot hear, either by accident or on purpose. When setting up furniture or pet items, try to avoid any areas that may cause ‘dead ends’ or blind corners (areas where there is only one entrance or exit route or areas where a pet cannot see who is coming or going). Watching your pets interact can be a helpful way to determine what areas of the house result in these unexpected sneak attacks.

There you have it! A few tips and tricks to manage pet hearing loss. Did we miss one of your favorite techniques? Do you have a story of a hearing-impaired pet to share? Connect with our community by posting a comment below or sharing your comments on our Facebook! We would love to know what you think! Is there a topic you would like to see covered during senior pet month? Let us know by sharing a comment or emailing community@calgaryhumane.ca.

Until next time, CHS supporters! Happy Senior Pet Month!

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We Heart Grey Muzzles!

grey muzzles

Good morning CHS Supporters! We hope you having a great week so far! As winter begins and you and your dog enjoy cooler walks, don’t forget to stay safe and bundle up! Also, a reminder to all of you that the use of ice melt products is back in full swing and these products can cause burns to unprotected paws, so keep an eye out to prevent Fido or Fluffy from walking on it!

Today on the blog, we’re tackling the cutest of senior pet subjects….

Grey muzzles!

Ohhhh yeahhhhh. We’re going there today. Continue reading…

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Caring for a senior pet: Blind Animal Edition

Caring for a senior pet Blind Animal Edition

Happy Friday CHS Supporters!

We hope you are enjoying senior pet month so far. All month long we’ll be bringing you the latest and greatest tips, tricks and information about elderly animals.

Today we start a new series that will give you the ins and outs of caring for your senior pet. If you caught Global noon hour last Friday, you likely saw our community outreach manager talking about owning blind dogs. We thought it would be a great topic to continue here on the blog!

Just like aging humans, elderly dogs will often experience a natural decline in their vision as they grow older. In addition to this natural decline in eyesight a senior animal may also experience an illness or eye disorder that leads to blindness. Depending on the cause of the vision loss, a blind animal may sometimes be able to see light, shadows and/or some movement or they may have absolutely no vision at all.

Again, depending on cause, vision loss may occur suddenly or gradually over many years. Continue reading…

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10 awesome reasons to adopt a senior pet!

Senior Pets

Holy cow, CHS Supporters! It’s NOVEMBER! That means it’s senior pet month! Where did the year go?!

We hope you are enjoying senior pet month so far… today we have a short, but important, blog to share with you, especially if you have ever considered adding a senior pet to your home…

10 awesome reasons to adopt a senior pet!

10. They enjoy the little things in life – looking for a friend to stop and smell the roses with you? A senior pet is a great choice! These distinguished elders are often ready to take life at a slower pace and appreciate the joy of spending a few quiet moments with those that they love.

9. Size is never a surprise – Each and every year at Calgary Humane Society animals are surrendered because they become too large. If you are looking for a pet of a specific size, or if you live in a condo with size restrictions on pets, adopting an older pet guarantees that they will never out-grow the size limitations.

8. No “terrible toddlerhoods” or “teenagehoods” – Senior animals have already outgrown their “terrible toddlerhood” that many puppies and kittens experience. This stage is important because it teaches a young animal about testing limits and what behavior is expected of them, but it can be a very frustrating time for the owner. For many older animals, this rebellious stage is a thing of the past and has been given up in favour of more relaxing activities – like naps and enjoying the sun!

7. Many senior animals still have lots of pep in their step – While senior animals may have a lower level of activity overall, they often still have lots of energy for family activities. Walks, picnics, time at the park and games in the backyard are all great ways to enjoy time with a senior family pet.

6. Senior pets have a lot of love to give – One of the things we hear often in the shelter is that shelter pets ‘appreciate’ their homes in a unique way because they know what it’s like to not have a home. This goes double for senior pets. Senior pets have life experience and are not shy about sharing all the love they have stored up over their lifetime!

5. They encourage you to think outside the box! Anyone who has owned a senior pet with a mobility challenge has likely had to think outside the box. Adapting games, activities and equipment (like litter boxes and beds) to suit a senior pet can be an interesting exercise in empathy and understanding. Challenge yourself to ‘take a walk in their paws’ and put your creative thinking hat on. This will not only challenge your brain, it will enrich your relationship with your cherished senior.

4. Grey is the new black – Seriously, grey is totally on trend this season, and who doesn’t love a little salt and pepper muzzle now and again?

3. They are older and wiser – Senior pets have often already learned that table legs and expensive shoes are not for chewing. Without the drive to “go go go” like a puppy or kitten you may just notice your senior pet is more thoughtful and purposeful in their activities and more discerning about the mischief they get into.

2. Personality? They’ve got it! One of the most common questions that adoptions gets at Calgary Humane Society has to do with the personality of the animal someone is considering. When it comes to puppies and kittens, that can be a very hard thing to guess. Senior pets? They’ve got personality and they are not afraid to show it! These experienced members of the species are not afraid to be themselves, so if you are looking for a specific personality fit for your household, a senior pet could be a great choice.

1. Senior pets deserve a great retirement. Did you know that senior pets are given a full work-up, including blood and urine tests prior to going up for adoption? At CHS, we do everything we can to ensure that the senior pets we adopt out have a head start on a healthy and happy retirement. We get a lot of amazing adopters that want to give a senior pet a home but are worried about the shorter amount of time they make get with their new pet. Remember though, time is about quality, not quantity, and a pet’s golden years can be an amazing time. These pets have often lived lives with incredible stories of both heartbreak and happiness… now they are looking to spend their twilight years basking in the glow of a loving family. Personally? I can’t think of a greater gift to give.

Do you have another great reason to adopt a senior pet? Do you have a great senior pet adoption story to share? Is there a topic you’d love to see covered this senior pet month? Connect with us on Facebook or post your comments below! Your senior pet story could be shared in a future blog entry!!!

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The good, the bad and the dangerous: Comfort toy edition!

comfort toys

Happy Friday CHS Supporters!

We hope you are getting geared up to enjoy the weekend! Do you have plans for Halloween yet? If not, be sure to check out our Hoppy Meowlloween adoption event! Cats over 7 months and rabbits of all ages will be available for a special reduced adoption fee of $31. Plus, if you wear your super cool Halloween costume while you are adopting, you get a free gift bag for your new pet.

Speaking of Halloween, that is coming up pretty quickly! If there is a topic you would like to see covered on the blog (safety for pet costumes, will CHS adopt out animals on Halloween etc.) then please let us know what topics you are interested in by posting below this entry or leaving a comment on Facebook.

Now that the housekeeping items are covered, it’s time to get down to business! The second installment of Dog Toys: The good, the bad and the dangerous is here and it is time for the Comfort Toy edition! If you missed last week’s “Fetch” edition you can find it here. Continue reading…

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Cocktails for Critters is almost here!

Good morning CHS Supporters!

Remember a few months ago when we announced Chloe would be the proud Spokescat for our Cocktails for Critters event? Well, in honour of adopt a dog month, Chloe has recruited a canine representative to tell you a little bit more…


Hi there!

I’m Storm, and my friend Chloe asked me to tell my story…

It’s an interesting story, a dog and a cat becoming friends… but what can I say, I’m a progressive thinker. Plus, we both have a lot in common. For one, we’ve both heard all the excuses…

I shouldn’t get involved…

I don’t know who to call…

It’s just business… Continue reading…

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Dog Toys: The Good, the Bad and the Dangerous? Fetch edition!

go fetchGood morning CHS supporters!


We hope you have all been enjoying the lovely fall weather. Now is the perfect time to enjoy the sun with Fido before the Weather Event That Shall Not Be Named arrives and puts a damper on outdoor fun.


Today on the blog, we’re talking dog toys, the good, the bad and the dangerous. Because whether you use them inside or outside we know you probably have lots of them!


Dogs need to be both mentally and physically active to be healthy. While the amount of physical activity your dog needs may vary by breed, size, age and health, all dogs still require something to fill their time and provide amusement. A variety of dog toys can be the perfect thing to keep brains and paws busy.


Throughout dog month, we are going to bring you a couple of installments on the good, the bad and the dangerous of dog toys! Today? It’s the Fetch Edition! Continue reading…

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Dog Noses (and maybe even a little more)

dog noses

Happy Early Thanksgiving CHS Supporters!

We hope you are all excited for the upcoming long weekend and we hope you have some fun plans. If those plans include gathering for a big family meal of turkey (or tofurkey for the vegetarians in the house) then here is your reminder to be cautious about how many treats your pet receives! While a small bite of turkey may be fine for most pets, too much rich food like turkey, gravy and other delicious Thanksgiving treats can lead to pancreatitis and gastrointestinal problems.

But today on the blog we have decided to bypass the talk of treat hazards (we have done previous articles on this if you are interested) and instead we are going to talk about another body part that gets a good Thanksgiving workout… your pooch’s nose!

Yep, that’s right, it’s all about the schnoz today. We’re bringing you the cute, the cool and the curious about the canine olfactory system. Continue reading…

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Tips on choosing a kennel or pet sitter for your pooch


Welcome to dog month, CHS supporters!

That’s right! October marks the celebration of man’s best friend here at the shelter. We hope you’re having a great dog adoption month so far! At the shelter we are seeing lots of awesome pooches heading off to loving forever homes, so it doesn’t get much better than that!

Last month, we asked you what topics you would like to see on the blog for dog month. We got some great topics (one if which is being featured today), but if you missed this shout out then there is still lots of time to get your suggestions in. Share your suggestions in our Facebook community, leave a comment on the blog or email community@calgaryhumane.ca! Today we are featuring the most popular suggestion from our awesome supporters: How do I choose a service to watch my pets when I am on holidays?

We’re glad you asked! One of the questions we are commonly asked here at the shelter is whether or not we can recommend a ‘good’ boarding kennel/groomer/veterinarian etc. Continue reading…

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How Rabbits Hear: the long and short of bunny ears


You put your bunny ears in
(Place hands on head to make ears)

You put your bunny ears out.

You put your bunny ears in.

And you shake them all about.

You do the Bunny Pokey
And hop yourself around…
That’s what it’s all about!

Goooooood morning CHS supporters!

We hope you are all having a very safe and happy fall season. If you are a wildlife fan you may be celebrating “rabbit month” by watching for the prairie hares to start changing colour (let us know in the comments or on Facebook if you’d like to see a blog entry on that phenomenon). The rest of us? Well, we’re still firmly in denial about the upcoming winter season… so today on the blog we’re looking at one of the coolest features bunnies have… some pretty awesome ears!

So, aside from being incredibly difficult to fit for earmuffs, what makes rabbit ears so special?

Rabbit ears have a unique shape. Continue reading…

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