Be Kind to Animals Week

You don’t need a special day or week to celebrate the human-animal bond by being kind to animals big and small in your community.

This year’s Be Kind to Animals Week is celebrated from May 7 – 13, 2023 and we are sharing five simple ways you can make a paws-itive impact on the lives of companion animals.

1. Get Your Pet from a Reputable Source

Check your local animal shelter first if you or someone you know is thinking about expanding the family to accept a new pet. There are always homeless animals in shelters in need of a loving home, and pets adopted from reputable shelters, such as EHS, will have essential health checks, up-to-date vaccinations, and are spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted litters.

Shelters like EHS also help ensure that the people and the pets are a good match for one another.

If your are unable to find a suitable pet for your family at a shelter, do your research to find a responsible breeder.

A responsible breeder will: provide information on the animal’s pedigree, let you see where the animals are being raised and let you meet at least one of the parents, and have health certificates and records of veterinary visits. Humane Canada offers a complete checklist of the essential questions you should ask a breeder and what red flags to look for here.

Curious about EHS’ adoption program? Click here! To see our current adoptable animals – click here!

2. Learn Some Animal Body Language Basics

It’s important to know some key signs to watch out for when our companion animals are feeling stressed or agitated. This will allow us to give them space and respond in a way that keeps both us and them as safe and comfortable as possible. Here are a few basics to watch for in our canine and feline friends:

3 Signs of Fear or Stress in Cats/Kittens:

  • Avoidance or running away
  • Ears flattened or turned away from the front of the face
  • Small, crouched body position

Learn more by reading our free Behaviour Resource on Fearful Cats.

3 Signs of Fear or Stress in Dogs/Puppies:

  • Flattened ears
  • Tucked tail
  • Stiff or lowered posture

Learn more by reading our free Behaviour Resource on Child-Dog Interactions or Canine-Human Directed Aggression.

3. Find a Trusted Veterinarian in Your Region and Plan Routine Check-ups

Just like people, pets should have regular preventative health checks. Don’t wait until an emergency to find a veterinarian in your area that you trust and who can advise you on how to best care for your animal companion.

A trusted vet will help you keep vaccinations up to date, manage dental and health concerns, as well as advise on basic animal husbandries such as nail-trimming and grooming.

Non-urgent trips can also help your pets learn that the vet can be a positive place, reducing stress for both you and them. You can even start working on cooperative care basics at home to get your pet comfortable with the type of handling and procedures they may encounter at the vet with our behaviour resource here. Veterinarians in your area  who are registered with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) can be found by clicking here.

4. Enrich the Life of You & Your Pet

Enrichments are activities that allow animals to engage in natural behaviours that help support their physical and mental health. This includes things such as playing with new toys, exploring safe spaces, activities (like reward-based training), socializing, or even having access to windows for your pet to look out and observe the changing natural environment.

You can read more about canine enrichments by clicking here. Ideas and downloadable instructions for some fun and simple animal enrichments can also be found on our Humane Education at Home page and our Connect With Pets – Youtube series.

Here are few of our favourite enrichment crafts that you can make at home to get you started:

Make a Cat Treat Roll

Build Your Own Tug-Toy

Make a No-Sew Pet Bed

5. Try Reward-Based Training – Not Just for the Dogs!

Despite the old saying, older dogs and yes – even CATS, can benefit from reward-based training! This is a great way to spend time with our pets that is positive and reinforces favorable behaviours in our companion animals. Training challenges both us and our pets to learn new skills and stretch our brains – not just our bodies. This can also help to prevent pets from getting bored, which often leads to behaviour issues.

Here are a few links to some free behaviour resources to learn more:

Have a favourite tip for being kind to pets that you’d like to share? Post it on social media and tag us, @edmontonhumane!

For questions please visit ‘Connect With EHS‘ or sign up for our mailing list here!

Looking other ways to Connect with Pets at home?

For free resources and activities to inspire youth to engage with companion animals, check out some of the materials and courses offered by our Humane Education department through: Humane Education. We also encourage you to enquire about or make suggestions for upcoming programs.

Contact us by email at [email protected]

[Published: May 3, 2021] – [Updated: May 2, 2023]