Puppy adoption has exploded since the start of the pandemic. The media have covered the subject extensively.

Intuitively, one would think that the fact that many people have been working from home for roughly 18 months, would be favourable to the adoption of puppies and facilitate their upbringing.

But is it really the case?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of adopting puppies in times of pandemic?

It is important to note that the information I am going to share with you today has been validated by Dr. Diane Frank, veterinary behaviourist. I thank her for that.


Let’s start with the benefits.

The main benefit is puppy house training.

The key to successful puppy toilet training is consistency and positive reinforcement.

Because of the gastro-colic reflex, it is important to take the puppy out often, mainly after meals.

Gastro-colic reflex: The act of eating will stimulate the puppy to defecate and urinate. The time between feeding and defecation will vary from puppy to puppy, but usually it takes 15–20 minutes to manifest.

So, 15–20 minutes after meals (3–4 X/day depending on the puppy’s age), the owner must take the puppy out with treats and as soon as the puppy defecates, he is rewarded with a treat, hugs and verbal encouragement.

Apart from after meals, for optimum results, it is recommended that the puppy be taken out every two hours.

It’s easy to see that if you’re home all the time, house training is much easier.


The two main problems associated with adoption during this pandemic are the almost complete lack of socialization (due to the confinement which has been quite long in some areas) and the origin of the puppies that have been adopted.


Socialization allows puppies to get used to people, other animals and the events they will frequently encounter in their adult lives.

It’s about learning to accept everything around them, such as


• car rides

• grooming

• vacuum cleaners

•various noises

• other animals

This involves gently exposing the puppies to new situations to which they will be exposed as adults so that they can respond confidently and appropriately rather than with fear or anxiety (habituation).


Developmentally, the best time for socialization is between 3 and 14 weeks for puppies.

Socialization efforts should be started as early as possible during this period to maximize their benefits.

During this key period of socialization, any experiences that occur will have lasting effects on a puppy’s learning and future interactions with others.

Unfortunately, this means that negative experiences will also have lasting effects. It is essential that this period be positive and safe.


According to Dr. Diane Frank, it depends on the dogs. Some dogs will not be much affected while others, especially if they have anxiety disorders, may will.

It has been demonstrated that socializing puppies and kittens early in the developmental period of socialization helps decrease fear, aggression and anxiety generated by new people, animals or various situations.

Puppies who are not properly socialized, especially if they have anxiety disorders, may have an increased sensitivity to new experiences.

These puppies are often fearful of humans or other dogs.

This can lead to hostility or even aggression towards humans or other animals.

But it is also not impossible that dogs that have been well socialized still suffer from anxiety disorders.

According to an unscientific survey that I carried out with veterinarians who are members of the Québec Small Animal Veterinary Association (AMVQ), veterinarians have already noted an upsurge in anxious dogs and this is reflected in different ways: barking, aggression and separation anxiety, to name a few.


Earlier, I pointed out that the two disadvantages of puppy adoption during a pandemic were the lack or almost no socialization and the origin of the puppies. What about this origin?

Responsible/ethical dog breeders have pretty long waiting lists. These breeders care as much about the mental health as they do about the physical health of their puppies.

At the start of the pandemic, many people felt the need to adopt a puppy. Since responsible breeders were “out of puppies” then, new dog aficionados turned to online classifieds.

Unfortunately, many of the puppies sold came from puppy mills or breeders who were unreliable and therefore unscrupulous about the sanity of the puppies sold, or even their health.

As a result, many puppies with anxiety disorders were adopted by people who often had little or no experience with puppy training.

Remember that these anxious puppies are more susceptible to the lack of socialization than puppies that are not.

The perfect storm…

The genetics of these puppies is a very important point to consider when trying to explain the current situation. Possibly even more than the lack of socialization. But that, we are not 100% sure.


1. Ideally, you should see your veterinarian to make sure your dog does not have a medical condition that could cause a change in behaviour.

2. Subsequently, depending on the severity of the situation, your veterinarian will give you exercises to do at home (positive reinforcement).

3. Many patients will require medication (especially with separation anxiety).

4. In certain cases, your veterinarian will refer you to external resources, such as veterinarians specializing in behaviour or qualified trainers.


Never punish (physically or verbally) a puppy, especially if it is fearful or anxious during exercises. It would only make the situation worse.

Patience is essential during the socialization period and also during the exercises to correct the various problems associated with lack of socialization and separation anxiety.


Importance of Socializing Puppies and Kittens

Finding an Accountable Breeder

Regroupement québécois des intervenants en éducation canine.(in French only)

Union des éleveurs canins du Québec (in French only).



Very few pet owners brush their pet’s teeth.

According to a January 2019 AMVQ (Small animal veterinary association of Quebec) survey, only 3% of dog owners and 1% of cat owners do it daily. However, this is what their veterinarians recommend. It’s the easiest way to prevent periodontitis…

Periodontitis is the inflammation of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth.

The American Veterinary Dental Society estimates that 70% of cats and 80% of dogs will suffer from some form of periodontal disease before they reach the age of 2 to 3 years!

Bad breath is one of the first signs noticed in dogs suffering from periodontitis. It is so common that many believe that foul breath is normal in dogs. It is not so.

It is only once the breath becomes unbearable that many pet owners decide to consult their veterinarian.

This means that many dogs and cats suffer from periodontitis long before it is taken care of by animal health professionals.

However, the fallout from periodontitis goes far beyond bad breath.

Here are some examples of the consequences of periodontitis:

  • Pain
  • Teeth loss
  • Systemic Bacterial infections (elsewhere in the body: heart, kidneys, lungs, etc.)

In other words, when periodontitis is not prevented or treated, our pets suffer. Their well-being is seriously challenged.

Dogs and cats hide their pain very well. This explains why many pet owners are surprised to be told by their veterinarian that their pet must surely be chronically suffering from their periodontitis.

On the other hand, we collect daily testimonies from owners who, after teeth cleaning or proper dental treatment of their animal, notice that they feel better, seem happier and eat better.

All pet owners are concerned about the well-being of their pet.

One easy way to protect animal welfare is to do daily preventive dental care.

In the next blogs, I will guide you among the different products offered on the market and how to use them.


Many pets, particularly middle-aged and older cats and dogs, require periodic professional scaling in addition to ongoing plaque control. If your animal has bad breath, dental calculus or seems to show oral discomfort, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.





In October 2015, a 14-year-old boy consulted his doctor for a set of psychiatric symptoms: hallucinations, delusions, suicidal and homicidal thoughts.

The boy was hospitalized several times in a psychiatric unit and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Several drugs were tested: antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilizers and benzodiazepines, with no positive effect on its symptoms.

Doctors suspect then an autoimmune encephalitis and try a treatment against this inflammation, with very few results.

In March 2017, 18 months after the appearance of the first symptoms, doctors noticed skin lesions resembling stretch marks on the boy’s thighs and armpits.

These dermatological signs can sometimes be a reflection of a bacterial infection elsewhere in the body and doctors then decided to do various bacteriological screening tests.

The verdict falls: the teen is infected by a bacterium named Bartonella, bacterium probably transmitted by a cat scratch. The boy’s family had two… But the doctors did not know it.

The symptoms of the teenager disappeared after the administration of antibiotics.

Conclusion of this story:

  1. The teen suffered from a variant of cat-scratch disease.
  2. If his doctors had known that there were two cats in the family, they could have considered this lead in the search for their diagnosis (however, this would be one of the first cases of cat-scratch disease that caused psychosis).




It’s a disease caused by a bacterium called Bartonella.

There are 24 species of Bartonella, 14 of which can make humans sick.

Five of these Bartonella can be found in cats.

These five species of Bartonella are spread by fleas.


How contamination takes place

  1. Cats infested by fleas, scratch and contaminate their claws with flea droppings that contain the bacteria.
  2. The cat scratches someone or another cat with their contaminated claws.



Two possible scenarios, depending on whether the immune system of the scratched person is competent or not.

Immunocompetent person

  1. At the site of inoculation => appearance of a small red bump called papule.
  2. About two to three weeks after, the lymph node in the area will swell and become painful
  3. A fever will develop.
  4.  These signs usually go away on their own and the condition is minor, although enlargement of the lymph nodes may persist for several months.


Immunocompromised person

  1. More serious signs may appear.
  2. The infection spreads and causes swelling of the spleen.
  3. Potentially encephalitis, heart valve infection and other conditions may occur.
  4. These syndromes are still rare, even in immunocompetent people, but they are potentially very serious.



Since the bacteria is transmitted by fleas, flea-infested cats are at a higher risk of transmitting the disease.

Studies have shown that in hot, humid regions, up to 40% of cats in a region may be infected.

When a person develops the disease, there is a 90% chance that their own cat will also be infected.



Yes. There is a growing belief that Bartonella may be responsible for several chronic diseases in cats.


Testing healthy cats is not recommended.

However, if the cat is sick or if someone has been diagnosed with the disease or if an immunocompromised person is living with a cat, it is worth it.


  1. If you are sick and have a pet at home, always tell your doctor. Not just for cat scratch disease. There are other diseases that can be spread from animals to humans.
  2. Treat your cat against fleas (and parasites) every month.
  3. Trim your cat’s claws regularly.
  4. If you are immunocompromised, I recommend that you keep your cats indoors and follow the advice above and have your cat tested for Bartonella.




For several years more and more dogs have been imported into Canada from other countries.

However, the importation of dogs into Canada involves certain risks.


  • As pets accompanying the owners
  • For commercial purposes (eg, animal husbandry)
  • For financial gain by people selling animals
  • By animal welfare organizations (eg, shelters, animal welfare organizations) motivated by the desire to improve the welfare of neglected pets



According to Barbara Cartwright President and Chief Executive Officer of Animals Canada (formerly known as the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies):

“If you want to have a dog, please adopt one in Canada. Our shelter system is already overloaded.

However, others think that “a life is a life,” no matter where the dog comes from.


According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA):

  1. Importing dogs from another country may result in a risk to public health as well as to animal health and welfare.

2. Dogs from foreign countries may have diseases that were previously absent in                     Canada.

  1. In addition, issues related to animal welfare may arise during the transport of animals whose health status is weakened.

4. In addition, imported animals that have not been well socialized and may never                  have lived in a household may exhibit behavioral problems.


In 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, large numbers of heartworm dogs were imported into Ontario.

In 2014, dogs imported into Alberta from southern United States and Mexico were diagnosed with Brucellosis.

In February 2019 dogs imported from Korea were also diagnosed with Brucellosis.

Brucellosis is a rare disease in dogs in Canada that can be transmitted to humans.

In 2015, dogs from Korea were behind the outbreak of Canine Influenza in the United States.

In March 2019, researchers at Cornell University discovered a new strain of the Distemper virus from Korea imported dogs.


The easiest way is to adopt in a local shelter that does not import dogs from foreign countries.

We have two links that outline all the procedures for importing dogs into Canada from the CVMA and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Before dogs arrive in Canada:

  1. Examination by an authorized veterinarian in the country of origin.
  2. Rabies vaccine (required by the Government of Canada).
  3. Other essential vaccines.
  4. Deworming, including tapeworms.
  5. Treatment against external parasites (eg, fleas and ticks).
  6. Heartworm test.
  7. Tests for diseases that may be present in the country of origin, but absent or rare in Canada (eg, Leishmania in the Mediterranean Basin and South America, and Brucella canis in the US Midwest).

After the arrival of dogs in Canada:

  1. 30-day quarantine for dogs (minimum 14 days) in a house or facility away from other animals and high-risk individuals (eg, young children, seniors, persons with system weakened immune system).
  2. Close monitoring for signs of illness and consultation with a veterinarian as needed.
  3. The risk of rabies can persist for up to six months.
  4. Cultures for suspected bacterial infections due to the risk of multidrug-resistant organisms.
  5. Examination by a veterinarian as soon as possible (even before going home).
  6. Recall vaccines or tests as needed.
  7. Assessment of behavior.
  8. Repeat the heartworm test after six months.
  9. Sterilization.



Checklist for Importing Dogs into Canada (CVMA)





Lachine Veterinary Clinic blog


Several foods that we found in our fridges and pantries should never be given to our dogs. On the other hand, many familiar foods can be offered to them. What are they? That’s what we’re going to see today.

This blog will mainly focus on dogs, as they are most likely to eat all sorts of things, not to say anything! But when that is indicated, we will make a note regarding the food that should not be given to our cats, rabbits and birds.



Beware, it is not because we recommend a fruit or a vegetable, that one must exaggerate in the quantity to give.  We are talking here about small pieces, mainly given as treats.

In some cases, we can give a little more, we will see.

Moreover, not all dogs are equal. Some will not tolerate certain fruits or vegetables, as they…

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Inappropriate Elimination in cats

Inappropriate elimination in cats is common and can be corrected.

Lachine Veterinary Clinic blog

Inappropriate Elimination in cats according to the veterinarians of the Lachine Veterinary Clinic.

When a cat urinates or eliminates stools in the house and out of its litter box, it is never pleasant. This behavior is called inappropriate elimination. And the latter is the most common undesirable behavior encountered with cats.


The causes of an  inappropriate elimination can be divided in two: medical and non-medical .

Medical causes

In terms of medical causes, veterinarians at the Lachine veterinary clinic immediately think of urinary problems such as cystitis (bladder infection) or the presence of stones in the bladder. These conditions generate a lot of pain and  cats that have them tend to want to urinate very often, but in small amounts wherever they are, every time the pain becomes too intense.

Other diseases such as renal insufficiency, hyperthyroidism and diabetes, to name a few, cause excessive thirst and are associated…

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Rabbit dental care

February is the National Pet Dental Health Month: not only for dogs and cats!

Lachine Veterinary Clinic blog

Does your rabbit need orthodontic care? As curious as it may seem, dental malocclusion in rabbits is an important problem and is often under diagnosed.

The poor apposition of the teeth is one of the main causes of the loss of appetite in rabbits.

The origins of the malocclusion are multiple. We speak mainly of genetic causes, traumas and dental abscesses.animal-1846462_960_720

The diet of rabbits is very abrasive, which has the effect of wearing the teeth during chewing. To compensate for this wear, the teeth of rabbits grow continuously. The molars are aligned so that the wear surfaces are flat with sharp edges, allowing effective chewing of fibre. The teeth must be properly aligned to allow for proper wear of maxillary and mandibular teeth.

Rabbits with malocclusion usually exhibit excessive drooling, appetite and weight loss. Anorexia is frequently progressive. First, the animal stops eating its pellets, then its hay, then…

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The Dangers of Heat Waves

In these days there is much talk of dogs that have been “forgotten” in overheated cars. What a tragedy! However, even if we don’t go to such extremes, all our pets may suffer from the extreme heat of the summer. Here are some examples.

  • Beyond 25 C, bunnies don’t feel good.
  • Reptiles generally like to heat but will sometimes stop all their activities (including eating) during heat waves.
  • Flat nose dogs like Pugs, Pekingese and Bulldogs are more likely to suffer from heat-related problems.
  • When it’s too hot, birds may develop breathing problems, they keep their wings apart from the body, and they avoid moving unnecessarily.

So what should be done during a heat wave?

  • Avoid walks with your dogs and do not play vigorously with you pet.
  • If your home has air conditioned, keep your pets inside.
  • If it does not, ventilate it well. Using a fan to enhance air circulation. Pull the shutters.
  • Fresh water should be available at all times. Change the water frequently.
  • One can even make ice cubes made with chicken stock and offer them to our cats and dogs.
  • Provide plenty of fresh green vegetables to your rabbits and your birds.
  • Turn off the heat sources of your reptile terrarium (including the lights).
  • You can spray your pets with fresh water.2016-01-08 08.36.28

Do not forget them!

Moving is not a reason to abandon your pet!

Lachine Veterinary Clinic blog

More than 150,000 cats and dogs will soon be moving with their owners. Unfortunately, a few thousands of them will also be abandoned in animal management centers, humane societies, shelters and veterinary clinics. Worse, some will simply be abandoned in homes or thrown to the streets, a situation that is vigorously denounced by the Veterinary Medical Association of Quebec ( small animal practice).

Cats and dogs are sensitive beings  who habits, routine and territory are of major importance. The day they are forced to leave their homes and settle in another environment, it is normal that they feel disturbed and stressed.

Everything must be put in place to minimize the negative effects of such disturbance. To help you better plan your move, the Association of Quebec veterinarians ( small animal practice) offers these tips:

– In the weeks before the move, contact your veterinarian to see if the coverage of…

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Dental Cleaning for your Pet

Professional complete dental cleaning for your pet.

Lachine Veterinary Clinic blog

Professional dental cleaning is often indicated when periodontal disease is present. The veterinarians from the Lachine Veterinary Clinic are pleased to provide you with the appropriate information concerning the procedure.

Our own teeth are scaled by a dentist or hygienist – we sit in the chair and open our mouth when requested, letting the professional do their work. While the principles of good oral hygiene and dental health are the same for dogs and cats as for people, there are some significant differences. We understand why the procedure is important, and we typically do not need sedation or restraint. Neither is true for our pets. Another important difference between human and veterinary dental practice is that we tell the dentist when there is discomfort; to ensure that nothing is missed in dogs or cats, our patients require a thorough oral examination as part of a dental scaling procedure. Your veterinary…

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