Pet Stores and Services Around Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa, Ontario, sure isn’t short of pet stores and services! There are many different options to shop for holistic and healthy pet foods, as well as specialty businesses for things like aquariums, grooming and training.

Bark & Fitz

Bark & Fitz is a Canadian chain store that sells all types of holistic and healthy foods for dogs, and there is one store in Ottawa. Aside from foods, they also sell gear, treats, toys and gifts. These stores even have bakeries that bake dog biscuits from human-grade ingredients.

The Pampered Pet

The Pampered Pet sells healthy foods for pets, such as a full line of raw diets for cats and dogs. They also have grooming facilities, and sell assorted pets, like birds, small animals, fish and reptiles. The Pampered Pet has cats that hang out in the store while customers shop.

Natural Pet Foods

Natural Pet Foods has one of its locations in Westboro Village, Ottawa. They are a family business that sells cat and dog items without any animal by-products, chemical preservatives or artificial coloring or flavoring. They look for unique items to put in their stock, and support local artisans. This store also offers grooming. There are also dog training sessions, for puppies, basic and advanced levels.

Critter Jungle

Critter Jungle is yet another Ottawa option to shop for natural and holistic pet foods and other products. They sell things not only for cats and dogs, but also for birds, reptiles, small animals and fish.

Wag Pet Shop

Wag Pet Shop describes itself as “a posh shop for spoiled pets.” They host social events for dogs and their owners, like puppy parties and Greyhound gatherings, along with other interesting special events, like educational seminars. This place also has a great selection of top-quality pet foods.


Marinescape is a saltwater aquarium store that sells many necessary products for home ecosystems.

Best Friends Dog Training

Best Friends Dog Training offers a wide array of dog classes, such as puppy kindergarten, different levels of obedience, scent, agility, tricks and more.

Dawn of a New Day

Dawn of a New Day is a lovely salon for dog and cat grooming and styling in downtown Ottawa. They also sell some retail products for shoppers, like stain removal kits, boots for dogs, tooth and oral care, bio-degradable waste bags and other interesting items.

The Pros and Cons of Puppy Pads

Puppy training pads are great for owners who are trying to get their young dog to learn not to go in the house everywhere. Owners of small dogs who live in big apartment complexes and senior dogs who can’t hold it for a full day anymore often also have wee wee pads placed in the house to save the floors.

These pads are easier to clean up and often a lifesaver for those urbanites who have wacky schedules or the elderly couple who can’t walk the dog in all sorts of weather.

The pros to using puppy pads are:

1: Often are cleaner than using litter boxes or puppy boxes

2: They soak up urine quickly and can thrown in the trash without a mess.

3: They contain an odor eliminator that helps trap the smell of urine.

4: A package of puppy pads are cheap and can last a long time.

However, there are few cons to having puppy pads down in the house all the time:

1 : Your dog may never become fully house-trained

2: If it’s a training tool to learn to be housebroken, wean as soon as possible. Don’t let the pads become a crutch.

3: It can make you a lazier owner

4: Your pup might think any square on the floor is an acceptable place to “go” like the bathroom rug, your yoga mat, or your kids’ board game.

The pros are that as your dog is learning to be housebroken, you won’t end up with floors that are urine stained and avoid accidentally stepping in something unpleasant.

Fully house-training your dog is the best option and it can take time. Try to set a schedule and keep to it so you and your dog know when it is time to go outside and “do your business.” Be patient and aware that the process won’t happen overnight and you may want to move the puppy pads closer to the front door to help your dog understand what you’re trying to do.

You may even have to take a puppy pad with you on a walk and place it down on the sidewalk (near the curb please!) to reinforce the idea that going outside for a walk also equals going to the bathroom. Either way, having a dog who is house-broken is always better than having a dog who might think the world is his potty!

Vacuum vs. Dog

Does your dog or puppy hide from, bark at, chase, bite, your vacuum cleaner?  It seems there are a group of dogs who pretest our efforts to clean up or think the vacuum is a monster and must attack it as moves around on the rug. Sometimes it can be funny to watch your dog go nuts but most times it’s a headache and a behavior that needs to be curbed.

There are a few things you can try to stop this unwanted behavior such as spraying your dog with a water gun or saying, “No” whenever he barks and tries to bite the vacuum but this often spirals into a never-ending battle and is negative in how it modifies or doesn’t modify behavior.

Positive reinforcement works well with any dog and training sessions can be fun and enjoyable for you and your dog.

1: Put your dog in another room or in its crate. That usually stops the barking and random running attacks but some dogs aren’t that easily deterred and will bark and try to get out of the room.

2: Try cleaning when the dog is in the yard or out on a walk but there may be times when your dog isn’t able to be out of the house and you need to clean up.

3: Teach your dog to have a “go to” place such as a doggy bed and reward the behavior. Let your dog know that when he’s at his “go to” place he can relax, watch, but can’t leave and can’t bark or protest.

The “go to” place may be the best method for curbing your dog’s unwanted behavior in many situations such as when preparing food, having guests over, or when you need your dog to be calm and quiet. The idea is to expose your dog to various sounds and things that may make them excited but when sitting on his “go to” place he must relax and not react.

Once you’ve conditioned and rewarded your dog for going to the “go to” place, you’re ready to teach your dog how to relax when you’re vacuuming. The following steps are small doses of exposure that will desensitize and train your dog to understand that the vacuum is not a monster, the sound is not something to be afraid of, and attacking it is not necessary.

Bring the vacuum into the room where your dog has his “go to” place and plug it in. Do not turn it on. Tell your dog to “go to” his place. If he goes to his place and looks at the vacuum and does not bark, give him a treat. You may have to do this a few times over the course of several days if your dog is a real fighter and has a huge vendetta against the vacuum.

Once you’ve passed this step, reach for the handle and if your dog is quiet, toss a treat and praise him. Do this three or four times in one session to reinforce the behavior. Next, try pushing the vacuum a few inches without it being on. If your dog watches and is quiet and on his “go to” place, reward him. Repeat this a few times as well. If things are going great, try moving the vacuum a few feet and pretend you really are vacuuming. If he’s still sitting pretty and hasn’t tried to kill your vacuum, that elicits a treat.

This part of the exercise may take a few days of training to get down since your dog’s old reactions may kick in or he may be unsure and conflicted between attacking and sitting nicely on his spot. Don’t punish him if he makes a mistake. Just start the exercise over and always end it on a fun note.

Next try turning the vacuum on. This part can take a while. Repeat this exercise a few times and reward him every time he does not bark, attack, or get off his “go to” place. Gradually increase the time the vacuum is on and the amount of floor you cover. After a while your dog won’t be trying to save you from the horrible vacuum.

If this sounds terribly daunting and something that may not ever work, think about the other situations that you want your dog to listen and be calm such as holidays when people are over or when the doorbell rings. Having the “go to” place isn’t just handy for vacuum aggression but in any situation where your dog’s excitement level becomes too high and creates some form of craziness.

Coprophagia: The act of eating poo… EW!

I’ve worked with dogs who have a bad habit of eating feces. I’ve also known dogs who “clean” their own back yard. I don’t enjoy getting “kisses” from these dogs at all. I’m sure there are a bunch of us who have met or have dogs that do this and wonder why they think it’s something to eat and how to curb the behavior.

Why Do Dogs Eat Feces?
There are several proposed reasons why a dog may engage in this unhealthy habit:

1: Some dogs may think it just tastes good.

2: Some dogs who have been inappropriately punished for defecating in the house or other places may eat it to eliminate evidence and avoid punishment.

3: Parasites or starvation

4: Shelter dogs may eat their own feces in response to stress and anxiety.

5: Dogs may eat other animals’ feces if they can sense that it may be rich in vitamins, such as eating an herbivore’s fecal matter which could contain vitamin B. Or they may eat their own if they feel they need to replenish their system with nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.

6: Medical condition such as a disorder of the pancreas, intestinal system, or malnutrition.

7: Mothers may eat the feces of their puppies as a natural response to hide the scent of the litter from potential predators.

What Can You Do?
There are a few options that you can try that are low-cost, easy, and can make all the difference when trying to break your dog of this habit.

1. Check the food you’re feeding your dog. Make sure it’s a high quality and has meat, not meat by-products, and start adding dog vitamins to the diet.

2. When you walk your dog or take it out into the backyard, clean up the waste immediately.

3. You may want to try and teach your dog to go to the bathroom in one area of the yard. This way, cleanup will be easier and you’ll be able to better monitor your dog.

4. If your dog knows the command, “leave it” use it so (s)he doesn’t try to eat it before you have a chance to clean it up.

5. There are things you can toss on top of the waster that will make it unattractive to your dog such as hot sauce, the bitter apple spray, or pepper.

6. You can add deterrents such as Forbid to your dog’s food which will make the feces taste bad. Check with your vet.

7. Some dogs will stop naturally if they are fed 3 or 4 small meals as opposed to 2 large meals. This may help them always feel full and not want to eat anything else.

Once again, it’s best to always talk with your vet as each dog may have a unique reason for engaging in this behavior.

Canine Good Citizen: Making You and Your Dog Good Citizens

Does your dog have a great personality? Does she play with other dogs without ever getting angry? Does she come when called? Does she allow small kids to tug her ears and pull her tail? Does she approach strangers and your friends with a wagging tail and happy disposition? Your dog could qualify to be a Canine Good Citizen (CGC).

The CGC was started in 1989 by the AKC and is a certification program designed to reward dogs who have good manners in their community and at home. For some dogs it’s a stepping stone towards becoming a therapy dog or an agility dog. For others it helps with lowering their home insurance, especially if the dog is a breed that is considered “dangerous” like a German Shepard or Doberman. For most of us it’s a way to bond with our dogs and great way to show that our dogs are well-behaved, social, and obedient.

The CGC has served as a model for other programs that have been developed around the world to ensure that our canine companions are welcomed in their communities and it helps make us better pet owners. It is also a starting point for more advanced dog training and has served as an alternate option for some communities who have considered adopting breed specific legislation.


The CGC has 10 steps that your dog must pass. Before taking the test, owners sign a pledge to be responsible dog owners that states that they will take care of their dog’s health, safety, and give their dog a good quality of life.

Ten Steps of the CGC:

1: Accept a friendly stranger – the dog must be ok with a stranger approaching and talking to its owner. The dog cannot show signs of shyness, aggression, or overly excited greeting behavior such as jumping up on the stranger.

2: Sitting or standing politely for affection – The dog must be ok and sit for petting from a stranger while its owner is there. The dog must not show any signs of shyness or resentment.

3: Appearance and grooming – this test is to see if the dog is ok with being brushed and examined as if they went to a groomer or vet. The dog also must be within its ideal weight, have alert eyes, and clean teeth.

4: Walking on a loose leash – the dog must walk well on a leash and the owner must have good control. The dog should be attentative to the owner and turn when the owner turns, stop, and not pull or fight the leash.

5: Walking with pedestrian traffic – the dog and owner must walk around and pass close to several people

6: Sit and down in place – the dog demonstrates that it has training and can sit, and lay down while the owner walks several feet away.

7: Come when called – the owner walks about 10 feet away and demonstrates that the dog knows “come.”

8: Reaction to other dogs – the dog must politely behave around other dogs. The dogs can show casual interest but cannot pull or bound towards the other dogs.

9: Distractions – this demonstrates that the dog is confident and does not panic or anger at something such as a jogger running by or a chair falling. The dog can show that it is startled but cannot try to run away, show aggression, or bark.

10: Supervised separation – this demonstrates that the dog can left with another person and will be ok. The owner hands the leash over to someone else and walks out of sight for a few minutes. The dog should not whine, bark, or pace in a stressed manner.

Most owners teach their dogs to know these 10 steps but not every dog can be as patient and confident as those that pass the CGC test. If your dog panics or gets nervous in certain situations, keep reinforcing the training that you’ve done so far. It’s a great way to bond with your dog and keep their minds stimulated. It also keeps them safe, keeps you sane, and makes your dog a better canine citizen.

Destructive Chewing: Why and How to Curb It

Dogs explore and learn about the world using their sense of smell, sight, and touch. We touch with our hands to figure out how something feels; dogs use their mouths.

Chewing is normal behavior for dogs of all ages. While chewing is normal, dogs sometimes direct their chewing behavior toward inappropriate items. Both puppies and adult dogs should have a variety of appropriate and attractive chew toys.

Sometimes chewing exceeds the realm of normalcy and becomes an extension or visible expression of how the dog may be feeling.

Puppies chew to relieve discomfort from teething which can last anywhere from 4 to 8 months. Adult dogs may destructively chew for several reasons:

1: May not know what’s ok and not ok to chew on

2: Boredom

3: Anxiety

4: Attention

5: Fear-related and needs the comfort of chewing

How can you manage the situation and teach your old dog a new trick?

First, you have to make sure that anything the dog should not chew on is out of reach. This is like puppy proofing the house all over again.  Keep shoes, remotes, trash, toys, books, and other items out of reach and preferably out of sight if possible. If you have a child, close the door to their bedroom where brightly colored toys and books may look like to dog toys to your dog. Keep your shoes in a closet and keep those remotes off the floor!

Secondly, try to not confuse your dog with toys that resemble household items. The last thing you need is a chew toy that looks like a shoe or a newspaper. Your dog’s toys should be unique when compared to other items in the house. This helps the dog to visually make note of what’s appropriate to chew on and is “mine” and what is not.

Once you’ve tried to get all items away from your dog that aren’t his and have a few toys that he can chew on, then it’s time to start some behavior modification. Here are 6 easy things you can do to save your furniture:

1: Try to give your dog more “people time” – Spend time playing, teaching, and reinforcing good behavior.  Walks, trips to the dog park, and time to just be a dog are important. A tired dog is well-behaved dog. A bored dog will find something to do and 9 times of 10 it is something like chewing on your glasses.

2: If your dog gets her mouth on something she shouldn’t chew on like the remote control exchange it with one of her toys or a treat. Teach the phrase “give” or “leave it.” Praise her any time you see her using her own toys to chew on. It reinforces good behavior.

You can even put some food in a toy to help reinforce what can and cannot be chewed up. Don’t chase your dog around the house trying to get whatever it is she has taken. It becomes a big game and more often than not, your dog wins.

3: When you are out or unable to supervise your dog, confine her to a place where she can’t get into trouble. If you have a crate, get her used to being in it again. If you have a room where she can be left without any worries, put her there with a toy and some treats stuffed in it to keep her occupied for a little bit.

4: Give you dog some unsupervised time once new toys and positive reinforcement have been started and show signs of working. Let her have 5 to 10 minutes alone in a room where some objects and items are that she used to want to gnaw on. If she resumes her old habits, back up and keep working with her. Rome wasn’t built in a day and dogs can’t change in a blink of an eye.

5: If you think your dog might be chewing due to hunger try feeding your dog smaller quantities many times a day. Some dog toys are made to be stuffed with kibble and this will give your dog some mental and physical workout. Small meals 3 to 4 times a day may keep your dog more satisfied than 1 or 2 larger servings.

6: If the chewing goes beyond simple behavior modification and seems to tightly linked to other problems going on such as stress or anxiety and your dog also seems to pace, pant, spin, and seem nervous quite often throughout a day you may need to talk to your vet or a professional dog behaviorist as to what else can be done to help your dog.

Dogs are not perfect. Keep your expectations real. They won’t change in a day or a week. There will be at least one instance where your dog will chew or swallow something that she shouldn’t have and may need to relearn the rules of the house. Try to stay patient, try to keep your dog interested in her own toys, and keep her stimulated. Play games, take walks down new blocks, join a meet up group, take her to dog daycare, and spent a lot of “people time” with her. All these things will make her and you happy but it takes time.

Dog Etiquette: 7 Tips for a good canine citizen

Do you notice that your dog sometimes goes nuts when meeting a new person? Maybe your dog jumps up and knocks people over or runs over dogs at the dog park while playing.

There are some basic commands your dog should know to not be considered the “Dennis the Menace” of your neighborhood. If you bring your dog to daycare, the dog park, or hang out at cafes and bars that allow dogs, it would be great if you made sure your dog has manners and doesn’t freak anyone out or embarrass you to becoming a recluse.

Here are 7 tips that every dog and their owner should know.

1: When walking your dog on the street, put a leash on when walking down busy avenues where there are more people. Some people are scared of dogs, some people do not like dogs. People will appreciate your respect for their safety and well-being. It also keeps your dog safe. Remember, squirrels, cats, and crazy bike riders could scare your dog and with a leash you can quickly act and make sure no one gets hurt.

2: When passing people and other dogs on the street – move to the right or left to give everyone space to pass without conflict. Some dogs don’t like other dogs, some dogs like to pick fights on leash, and again, some people have a fear of dogs.

3: Always carry a bag or several to clean up after your dog. There are biodegradable ones for a “greener” clean up and many that can be attached to a leash in a handy little case.

4: If your dog is mouthy and nips – OMG, please break that bad habit, IT HURTS and puts holes in shirts.

5: Make sure your dog knows to sit, stay, and comes when called. It helps to control them at the dog park and makes it easier for the vet or daycare to get your dog when it is time to get picked up. No one wants to chase a dog around a room, well, maybe the dog does. It is comical to watch. It’s not funny to be the chaser.

6: Try your best to make sure your dog does not jump up on strangers, especially if your dog is medium to large. Being jumped on by a big lab or a standard poodle is not fun and can be dangerous.

7: If you want to bring your dog to daycare or the dog park, make sure your dog is socialized enough to interact positively. If your dog does not get along well with many dogs you may find yourself leaving the dog park within minutes with a grouchy dog in tow.

If you dog is well-behaved you’ll find yourself not being frustrated at her/him often and your neighbors will be happy too. A dog that is not well-trained can cause a lot of mayhem. If you find yourself having problems trying to get your dog to listen or walk nice on a leash, consider finding a trainer for a few lessons. These 7 tips will make everyone’s life a little happier.

Upcoming Dog Classes Around Portland, Oregon


There are plenty of useful classes going on around Portland in the next few weeks. They range from massage, to puppy training to weight control. These classes provide many excellent educational opportunities for those who will be around the Rose City and want to get out of the rain!

Disaster Animal Response Team Training

Oregon Humane Society

Portland, Oregon

January 15, 17

This is an introductory course, with the intention of familiarizing participants with how to handle emergency situations with their pets safely and effectively. People who take it will be able to help out their own pets, and give advice to their neighbors. You will meet in a class for two days, and do a series of hands-on exercises, as well as tabletop exercises. For more information, email Rene Pizzo: [email protected].

Weight Control for Pets


Beaverton, Oregon

January 21

This class will cover many aspects of weight control and having your pet live a healthy lifestyle. It will cover how to determine the right weight for your pet, how to maintain a relationship with your pet while compromising treats, and other topics. It will take place at night, from 7:30-8:30 PM, and costs $10. It is best (though not required) to pre-register, by calling 503-244-2060, or emailing [email protected].


I’ve Adopted a Dog. Now What!?

Oregon Humane Society

Portland, Oregon

January 23

This class will cover an array of useful information to new dog owners. Topics will include basic training techniques, common mistakes, recommended tools, exercising and realistic expectations. It will take place from 4:30-6:00 PM. This class costs $15, and you can pay in the small retail store before the class starts. You should RSVP by calling: 503-285-7722 ext. 225.

Beginning Animal Communication Class

Oregon Humane Society

Portland, Oregon

January 29, February 5

This useful class will explore many techniques of human and animal communication. In the first week, you will learn the practices, and then you will execute them the second week. Though you can’t bring your pet, you are allowed to bring in photos of them. Both of the classes will go on from 6:00-8:00 PM, and you must go to both the sessions! You must pre-register online to attend this class.

Massage Away Those Winter Aches


Beaverton, Oregon

February 6

This class will cover massage techniques for dogs hands-on. Massage is great for dogs who just recovered from surgery, or for healthy dogs who need to relax and revitalize their muscles during the cold season in Oregon. This course costs $20, and will last from 4:00-6:00 PM. You can bring 2 humans and 1 dog; it will be capped at 8-10 dogs, though. So register way in advance, by calling 503-244-2060, or emailing: [email protected]

Upcoming Pet Events Around Los Angeles

There are lots of fun dog and cat events going around in proximity of Los Angeles, California. The Petcos in the area have many resources and useful sessions for pets and pet owners.


Dachshund Day


Northridge, California

December 23 & 30

It’s Dachshund Day at Petco Northridge on Wednesdays of December! You can bring your wiener down to get the works package free, if you purchase a Bath and Brush Service (which will be discounted). It starts at 7:00 AM.

Very Affordable Dog Training

My Pet Garden

Pasadena, California

December 27

There is a low-cost dog training session at My Pet Garden on Sundays from 12:00-4:00 PM. It is conducted by Sandy Redford, who is a dog trainer recommended by the Pasadena Humane Society. There are private and group lessons every week for as low as $15. You can stop by, or call for details: (626) 449-1600; or email: [email protected].

Dinner and a Dog Bath


Northridge, California

December 29

If you bring your cat or dog to the grooming salon at Petco after 3:00 PM, you can pick up some coupons for dinner at Marie Callenders, Denny’s, Rosie’s BBQ or Maroo.


Low Cost Vaccination Clinic


Tustin, California

January 3 & 31

From 10:00-11:30 AM, there will be a low cost vaccination clinic for cats and dogs. There will be licensed veterinarians, who will also perform heartworm and cat leukemia testing. There will also be discount flea and tick medications. No appointment is necessary.

K-9 Communication Seminar


Irvine, California

January 9

There will be a free seminar at Petco at 5:00-6:00 PM about how to better understand your dog or puppy. It will be a lively discussion on matters that your dog is trying to say to you.

Puppy Playtime


Tustin, California

January 9 & 16

This will be a free session, where your puppy can socialize with other puppies in a supervised environment. It will take place from 2:30-3:30 PM.


Clicker Dog Training Trick Class


Tustin, California

January 15

There will be a six-week class starting on Friday at 7:00-8:00 PM. Clicker Training is becoming a very popular method of dog training. You’ll be able to learn lots of fun tricks.

Potty Training Seminar


Irvine, California

January 16

There will be a free seminar at Petco Irvine from 5:00-6:00 PM, for dog owners of all kinds. It will cover issues like crate training, house breaking and what to do when accidents do happen.

Best Cars for Dogs

dog-car-rideIn 2008, named the Suzuki Equator the best Dog Car of the year. Why? Amid claims that “dogs like trucks the best”, researchers for the site began looking for a truck that could accommodate a dog while still being safe. The trouble with trucks is that there is always the risk that your dog will get hit by a flying object or get stuck in the rain, sleet, snow etc. (Being from Oregon, I myself think about these things.) 

The Equator stands apart because of its large enclosed cab that can carry people and dogs alike. If you want your dog to ride in the bed, there are tie-downs and rails to safely secure your dog in his crate. It’s surprisingly light for its size and can be loaded with any variety of heavy pets and pet paraphernalia on not lose any of its “Oomph”.

Suzuki not your cup of tea? There are a number of cars out there known for their dog appeal, including but limited to: Dodge Caravan, Honda Element, Subaru Forester, Toyota Highlander and BMW X5.

Here is what you want to look for when deciding if a car is canine-friendly:

  • Seats that fold flat or are easily removable.
  • Plenty of usable cargo space.
  • Plastic flooring for ease of cleaning.
  • Wide, square backs, with as little rear slope as possible, to make the most of the cargo area.
  • Door and window locks, so a dog can’t accidentally unlock a door or roll down a window.
  • Cars without an alarm system that detects motion.
  • All-wheel or four-wheel drive and high ground clearance because people with dogs tend to be more active.

For more of what to look for in a dog-friendly car, go to