What is National Cupcake Day™?
National Cupcake Day™ is a coordinated Canadian event to support local shelters, SPCAs, and Humane Societies. The event is supported by the Ontario SPCA and BC SPCA on behalf of participating local shelters, SPCAs, and Humane Societies.
The concept of National Cupcake Day™ is as simple as it is sweet. Participants register online to host a National Cupcake Day™ party in their community on any date in January or February. They then invite co-workers, friends and family to enjoy a sweet treat in support of animals in need. In exchange for a cupcake, guests donate to the participating animal welfare charity of the host’s choice, raising critically-needed funds for animals that are abused, abandoned, neglected or no longer wanted.
Each year thousands of abused, abandoned and neglected animals across Canada are rescued by SPCAs and Humane Societies. The funds you raise for National Cupcake Day™ will have a significant impact on the shelters, clinics and animal cruelty inspectors in your community, ensuring that their life-saving work continues.
The #1 reason people participate in this event is because they love animals. Our social media pages are an animal page first and a cupcake page second. Almost all the highest engagement/click through posts on NCCD pages were animal related. Preferably a combination of animals & baking content is best. We measure social media content through “Acquisition through Social channels” by Google Analytics.
Commencing September 2017, you will provide the following social media management services for the National Cupcake Day campaign:
Dates of Engagement:
September 1, 2017 - March 1, 2018
How to apply:
Please send a cover letter telling us a bit about yourself, and why you think you’d be a good fit. Please include links to any social media account you currently manage and/or a portfolio, and your fee to:
Manager, National Cupcake Day
Ontario SPCA adoption centres have a wide range of wonderful dogs available for adoption. Dogs who are surrendered to animal shelters represent every breed, age, size, health and temperament. Like people, dogs have varying needs and personalities so it’s important to find the right match between you, your lifestyle and your new canine companion. Don’t judge a dog by his appearance! Not all terrier or terrier-crosses are high energy and not all retrievers or retriever-crosses are great family pets. The benefit of adopting is discovering characteristics you love in an unlikely package.
To help you choose a dog that will fit with your lifestyle and expectations, below is a list of four age categories and the general characteristics (benefits and challenges!) of each. That being said, often the dog we pick is one that steals are heart regardless of prior research - if so, make sure you are willing to give the animal the love, energy and devotion they deserve! Most dogs available for adoption are simply the victims of unfortunate or tragic circumstances in a previous home.
Adopters of seniors say that despite the short time the dog may spend in their life every moment is a blessing - whether it was three months or three years. Indeed the beauty of adopting senior dogs is their wonderful temperaments and training - and how gratifying it is to help make a dog’s last years - the best of its life. Benefits and challenges include: Senior dogs are almost always housetrained. Even if a senior dog is raised outside he will generally be clean inside because he’s used to eliminating on outdoor surfaces (he’s developed a surface preference for grass, dirt etc.). Senior dogs have long-since given up any destructive chewing habits. Most senior dogs require minimal to moderate amounts of exercise.
Adopting adult dogs is an excellent choice if you want more of a ready-made dog than puppies or adolescents which require significant time and energy to raise. Adult dogs still have a good many years left, and mature dogs (five and older) often need little in the way of training or fine tuning. Benefits and challenges include: Many adult dogs are often housetrained and already have some training. Adult dogs are almost always finished with destructive chewing (dogs that are two-yearsold or more seldom chew your belongings for ADOPTING A SHELTER DOG choosing the right companion ADOPTING A SHELTER DOG choosing the right companion reasons other than severe separation problems - which is quite rare).
Older dogs are usually the last to be adopted from shelters (homes are desperately needed for these animals). Adult dogs can be just as charming, cute, sweet and loveable as their younger counterparts (all dogs can learn new tricks - no matter what their age!) You know the dog’s full-grown size and have a better idea of his temperament (the adult dog is done developing most of his behaviours).
This age category is a great age to adopt if you are committed to putting in the extra time and energy adolescents require. The dog has many years ahead of him but still retains the puppy cute factor you may crave. Benefits and challenges include: Even if they’re not fully housetrained they can hold their bladder and bowels longer - making them a better choice than puppies if you work outside the home. During adolescence, dogs, like teenagers, become more independent and develop competing interests, many which become distractions to training.
To maintain response reliability, all of the dog’s hobbies and competing interests should be used as rewards. For example, request a sit before feeding meals or a down before taking the dog on a walk. Training is considered essential at this age to help owners learn how to handle their dog’s high energy level and growing independence with consistent and gentle guidance and leadership. Two or three vigorous walks a day or visits to a secure off-leash area for doggie play or a rousing game of fetch is essential to help curb your dog’s energy and youthful exuberance. Without adequate exercise your dog can start other recreational habits such as chewing, digging and barking to release pent up energy and to relieve boredom. The formula for how long a puppy can be left alone and control their bladder and bowels is to take their age in months and add one, up to eight months - at which point nine hours becomes the very top limit (less for smaller sized dogs).
Benefits of adopting a puppy include the ability, at this age more than any other, for you to influence your dog’s temperament (the puppy’s critical socialization period is up until 16 weeks). Yet taking care of a puppy is much more timeconsuming then caring for most adult or senior dogs. Benefits and challenges include: Puppies are like babies. They learn from every interaction with you and require consistent guidance, a patient teacher, and an extraordinary amount of attention.
Puppies may engage in play biting and chew furniture or other household items. A seven to nine week old puppy will need to go out and eliminate approximately every three hours during the day - however, a puppy must also be supervised continuously when you’re together until he can hold his bladder and bowels and eliminate in the chosen area (crate training will help speed up this process). Will you or someone else be able to come home during the day to let your puppy outside? Even puppies older than nine weeks can only be left alone for short periods. To determine the time, calculate one hour for every month of your puppy’s age, than add one. For example, a fourmonth-old puppy can regularly be left alone for five hours.
You will need to wake up earlier in the mornings to let your puppy out and you may also need to set your alarm in the middle of the night for a couple of days or weeks if your puppy has a small bladder. You are raising a puppy during its critical socialization period - if you spend little time at home and the puppy is not adequately socialized during this time you can contribute to future behaviour problems including fear and/or aggression. Fortunately, most people raise puppies well so if you don’t have time to raise a puppy there are many adolescent, adult or senior dogs who have wonderful temperaments and need a home. Dogs of any age can bond very strongly to their new owner - and many older adopted dogs form a very quick and intense bond.
Special notes: Adopting a puppy before eight weeks of age is not recommended. Developmentally, puppies are not ready to leave their littermates or their mother until they are seven or eight-weeks-old. Mixed breeds are considered more resistant to certain health problems than purebred dogs. A dog’s individual temperament, not his or her sex, determines their level of affection, activity level etc. If you are a sedentary person, adopting a highenergy dog would be doing both the animal and yourself a disservice.
If you are ready for a dog in your life, please visit your nearest Ontario SPCA adoption centre. If on your first visit you don’t find the dog for you - don’t worry - visit as many times as you like to meet the new dogs at the shelter and to find one that captures your heart! For help making your adoption successful dog training is invaluable! Read our fact sheet on How to Choose a Dog Trainer to help you get started. Also, read the fact sheet 10 Tips to a Successful Adoption for tips to help you make your adoption successful.
While some people identify themselves as a “cat” or “dog” person - many of us are both! Still, some of us may be delaying a multi-species family, concerned by the familiar phrase “fighting like cats and dogs.” The good news is that with sensible adoption decisions, positive and rewarding introductions, good management and a little training, many cats and dogs can live together peacefully.
Key ingredients to a successful relationship If you have a cat and are planning to adopt a dog, try to find an animal with a known history of being accepting of cats and/or other small animal species. While adopting a puppy and raising her to know only appropriate behaviour around other animals is an option, adopting a dog who has lived with cats previously is usually safest (as with all animals, be prepared for a period of introduction). Shelters often know if a dog has successfully lived with a cat or other animal, or they will test to see how the pet behaves in the presence of one.
Do breed research before selecting a dog. A dog’s desire to chase something that moves is innate, hardwired behaviour and some breeds have been deliberately bred to be aroused by movement more than others. There are, however, exceptions to every rule. Many dogs traditionally associated with high prey drives - such as herding dogs, terriers, sighthounds and huskies - get along fabulously with cats, so keep an open mind and work together with shelter staff to find the right match.
If you have a dog and are planning to adopt a cat, help teach your dog to behave appropriately around cats before you bring your new animal home. Work on improving your dog’s response to “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “come” and “leave it,” so she can respond reliably with distractions. If you need help, join a positive reinforcement training class.
Setting the mood:
Good management essential To help your cat feel safe while adapting to the sounds and smells of your dog, confine your cat to a small area, such as a bathroom or office, with his litter box, bedding and toys. Make frequent visits to keep your cat company! For the first couple of weeks, keep your dog on leash in the cat’s presence. When your dog is ready to be let off leash, it is essential to give your cat “dog-free” zones he can retreat to for safety if needed (use baby gates or other barriers that limit your dog’s freedom). Cats are generally safe around puppies, as a well socialized cat can put a puppy in its place; however, shyer cats may not be so bold and need to be separated until the puppy is older and learns self-control. Kittens, because of their small size, should not be left unsupervised around dogs.
Taking it slow:
Creating positive experiences Throughout the introduction process ensure your dog is leashed, supervised, and treated for good behaviour (you can help your dog respond reliably to requests by using treats to “lure” her into a sit or down etc.). Slowly build up the time the animals spend together and keep it positive. If you are constantly stressed or punishing your dog when your cat is nearby, such as keeping the leash taunt, popping the leash or yelling at her - your dog may come to associate these negative experiences with your cat and redirect aggression towards him.
Help your pets become accustomed to each other’s scents by rubbing a towel on your cat and putting it under the food dish of your dog (and vice versa), and switching beds or sleeping blankets between your pets.
In addition, you can start feeding their meals on either side of the door to your cat’s temporary room. At first their dishes should be placed at least a few feet apart on each side. If they remain calm, gradually move the dishes closer until they can eat comfortably standing directly on either side of the door. If either animal becomes stressed, move the dishes further apart and repeat the process at a slower pace.
Making the introductions:
Keeping it friendly Depending on your pets’ prior experiences, genetics and personalities, the introduction process described below may take as little as one session, or as much as three to four weeks to complete.
Note: If you have multiple dogs, it’s best to introduce the cat to one dog at a time.
Giving love a second chance:
Cat - chase = treats While it can be challenging to change your dog’s inappropriate behaviours around cats, it is possible in many cases. The key is understanding that it’s the association between the cat, and the dog’s experience that cats often run away, that make cats such high-arousal chase objects. By following the steps below you can help your dog replace the “cat=chase” association with “cat=yummy treat from mom and dad” association.
True love or rocky road?
When your cat is comfortable enough around your dog to come out from her “safety zone” and mingle with family, and your dog is reliably calm around your cat, you can take off your dog’s leash and allow them to start sharing their home together. Remember to supervise closely until you are confident they are safe together. How long it will take to get to this step will depend on the animals involved.
If introductions go poorly, early intervention and advice from a professional (such as a dog trainer or animal behaviourist), is recommended to increase the likelihood that the conflict can be resolved and to reduce the risk of injury from a pet fight. Do not attempt to punish any of your pets as this can easily make the situation worse and make the pets more aggressive or fearful. Fortunately, with professional guidance most pets can learn to live together peaceably in happy harmony.
It’s not uncommon for dogs and cats to develop a friendship that lasts a lifetime!
Adopting a dog changes your life forever. You gain a loving companion who greets your homecomings with joyful abandon (irregardless of if you were gone five minutes or five hours), an eager partner to join you on every adventure (whether it’s placing your recyclables at the curb or visiting a park), and an inspirational sidekick who lives each moment to the fullest.
Adoption also changes some of the people in your life (dogs attract new friends!), your activity level (lace up those walking shoes), your schedule (dogs need companionship and can’t be left alone for long hours) and your spending habits. As you consider whether or not you are ready to adopt, keep in mind the commitment and responsibilities involved.
To help you make your decision, below is information on ownership responsibilities, general characteristics of each age group, and a quick quiz to determine if your reasons for adoption have the best interests of the dog at heart.
The puppy years (Eight weeks to 20 weeks)
Few can resist the soft and loving face of a puppy - yet caring for a puppy and helping shape its temperament is a great responsibility. Without a proper foundation in life, puppies often develop future behaviour problems. To help determine if you’re up to the challenge of raising a puppy, consider that puppies are like babies. They learn from every interaction with you and require consistent guidance, a patient teacher, and an extraordinary amount of attention. Puppies may engage in play biting and chew furniture or other household items, and a seven to nine week old puppy will need to go out and eliminate approximately every three hours during the day. Even puppies older than nine weeks can only be left alone for short periods. Puppies must be supervised continuously when you’re together until they can hold their bladder and bowels and eliminate in the chosen area. In addition, you are raising a puppy during its critical socialization period. If you spend little time at home and the puppy is not adequately socialized during this time, you can contribute to future fear and/or aggression. For a puppy, socializing is meeting new people and dogs of all ages and experiencing new places and objects every day.
The teenage years (five months to 18 months)
Adolescent dogs are like giant puppies; however, even if they’re not fully housetrained, they can hold their bladder and bowels longer - making them a better choice to adopt than a puppy if you work outside the home. While housetraining may be easier with an adolescent dog, adolescence has its own challenges. Consider that during adolescence, dogs, like teenagers, become more independent and develop competing interests, many of which become distractions to training. To maintain response reliability, all of the dog’s hobbies and competing interests should be used as rewards. For example, requesting a sit before feeding a meal, or a down-stay before taking the dog on a walk. Indeed, training is essential at this age to give the dog clear guidance and gentle leadership. Adequate exercise is also essential at this age. Two or three vigorous walks a day or visits to a secure off-leash area for doggie play or a rousing game of fetch is necessary to burn off your dog’s youthful energy. With too little exercise, your dog can start other recreational habits such as chewing, digging and barking to release pent up energy and to relieve boredom.
The adult years (One and a half to eight years)
Adult dogs (dogs don’t fully mature until they are three to four years of age) typically present less challenges than puppies or adolescent dogs - and in the mid-to-older-adult range (five and older) generally need little training. Consider that many adult dogs are often housetrained and already have some training. Adult dogs are almost always finished with destructive chewing. Dogs who are two-years-old or more seldom chew your belongings for reasons other than severe separation problems - which is quite rare. Additionally, you know the dog’s full-grown size and have a better idea of his temperament since the adult dog is done developing most of his behaviours.
The senior years (Eight years and older)
The beauty of senior dogs is that they usually come as perfect packages. Consider that senior dogs are almost always housetrained. Even if a senior dog is raised outside he will generally be clean inside because he’s used to eliminating on outdoor surfaces (he’s developed a surface preference for grass, dirt etc.). Additionally, senior dogs have long-since given up any destructive chewing habits and most senior dogs require minimal to moderate amounts of exercise making them ideal for people who do not have a very active lifestyle.
Quiz: Why do you want a dog?
There are many good reasons to adopt a dog. You may be looking for companionship or want to help a homeless animal. But other reasons do not benefit the dog, such as “for protection,” as a gift for someone, or “for the children.”
For protection: As your dog’s guardian, it is your responsibility to protect your dog, not vice versa! Not all dogs are protective, even if physical characteristics may make the dog look “tough.” On the other hand, encouraging protective behaviour is very dangerous; not just to strangers, but also to you and your family. If your dog bites someone, you can be prosecuted under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act.
As a gift: An animal that is given as an unwanted gift may be neglected or end up homeless. The recipient may not be prepared to provide for their needs, or may wish to choose their own pet. If you believe that someone close to you wants a dog, give them all the “dog stuff,” like a bed, collar and leash, toys, brushes, treats and bowls. Then let them choose for themselves.
For children: Parents must realize that it is their responsibility to properly feed, exercise and train the family dog. Dogs are wonderful companions but both dogs and children can be unpredictable if left unsupervised. Parents must always supervise the dog when he is with young children.
If you are convinced that you are ready for a dog in your life, please visit your nearest Ontario SPCA adoption centre. Adoption centre staff will help you through every step of finding your special friend - one that is just right for you. They will answer any questions, help you decide which pet is a good match, and be available for any advice you may want following your pet adoption. Also read Choosing the Right Companion and 10 Tips to a Successful Adoption to help prepare you for a successful adoption.
Cat behaviour issues
These are a few tips to help you deal with common cat behaviour issues. For more details, consult with your veterinarian, an animal behaviourist or humane trainer.
She won't use the litter box!
Medical conditions, such as diarrhea or bladder problems, may cause litter box issues. If your cat stops using the litter box, take her to your veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.
Kittens are usually trained by their mothers to have proper litter box etiquette. If your cat seems untrained, try confining her in a small room, such as a bathroom, with her litter box, bed and food bowls. Put her bed and bowls as far from the litter box as possible within this small room. The confinement encourages your cat to use the litter box; if she chooses not to use it, she risks soiling near her food. Cats are clean animals by nature and the thought of soiling near their food is offensive. Try this method for approximately two weeks. This is NOT punishment! Don't leave her alone in the room for extended periods. If it doesn't seem to be working, or if your cat reverts back to not using the litter box once let out of the smaller room, there may be other reasons for her behaviour, and you should consult your veterinarian.
Cats need clean litter, in a clean litter box, in a location that is relatively quiet and easily accessible. Litter must be cleaned daily, and the litter should be changed at least once a week. Unneutered males or unspayed females may mark their territory - your house - to ward off intruders or to attract mates. Stress due to new pets in the house, visitors, redecorating or moving can cause inappropriate litter box habits. Try to eliminate the stressors, or provide your cat with "his own space," a private spot with all his "cat stuff:" litter box, toys, bed and scratching post.
He's scratching and clawing me and/or my furniture!
Cats have a natural desire to scratch and claw. If he's scratching your furniture or carpeting, provide him with a sturdy scratching post and place toys and catnip around it to entice him. Praise and reward him for using it. Keep a spray bottle full of water handy, and anytime you catch him scratching inappropriately, spray him with the water, but try not to let him see that it's you spraying him. Most cats find this startling and offensive, and will assume that the couch is what sprayed them. If he catches on that it's you spraying him, he will quickly learn that it's safe to scratch the furniture when you're not around. Using this method consistently will usually deter him from this bad habit. If the spray bottle doesn't seem to be doing the trick, apply double-sided tape, aluminum foil or vinyl sheeting to the areas that your cat is scratching. Cats are quite finicky about their paws, and don't like the feel of these materials.
If the cat is scratching and clawing you, ensure that he is provided with alternative sources for play. This bad habit usually begins when the cat is a kitten, and he is encouraged to chase and play with people's hands and fingers. This may seem cute when your kitten is tiny, but once he's a full-grown adult, with adult teeth and claws, the game becomes a lot less fun, and a lot more painful. A balled up pair of socks is usually a good substitute item for cats to grab and hold with all four paws. You can also cover your hands with a bad-tasting spray or lotion called "Bitter Apple", available at most pet supply stores.
Trim your cat's nails every week or two; just trim the sharp ends of the nail, and be sure not to cut too close to the pink area. Ask your veterinarian to demonstrate the proper technique.
She's stalking me and playing late at night! Things to consider:
You can also consider adding another cat to your household, but should first consider the following questions:
He's ruining the plants!
Cats are fascinated with anything that moves when they touch it. Plants should be moved out of his reach, so that he cannot claw them or eat them. Try growing catnip or wheat grass for him. If he is digging or urinating in the soil around your plants, cover the dirt with fine gauge wire or gravel. If you catch your cat in the act, you can discourage his behaviour with a squirt from a water bottle.