Dog ownership is one of the most popular and fastest growing activities in Canadian culture. Canada tends to be viewed as a country where the great outdoors plays an important part of Canadian lifestyle, in fact Canada could be considered a haven for dogs and their owners.
Miles upon miles of unspoiled countryside and sophisticated urban areas make Canada a very pet friendly place indeed, Sherri Regalbuto explains.
A recent study revealed that more than 35 per cent of Canadian households have at least one dog. It's estimated that Canada is home to more than 5 million dogs, that's almost one dog for every six people.
Canadian pet owners spend in excess of $8.9 billion each year on food, health and cosmetic care, and other supplies and services for dogs, highlighting Canada’s status as a land of bona fide dog lovers. Surveys show that 42 per cent of dog owners let their pets sleep on their beds, and 72 per cent of Canadian dog owners buy their companion animals birthday and Christmas gifts, dragging the nation away from stereotypes of lumberjacks and Newfoundlands trudging through the snow, and skating towards the more real image of generous, sophisticated dog loving urbanites.
Living in Canada, winter can be long and very cold for canines and their guardians. But that doesn’t mean we Canadians don’t venture out of our lovely warm houses into the snow. Dogs are viewed over here as an almost essential part of life, especially outdoor life. In fact the car company Nissan ran a recent advertising campaign for one of their vehicles using the slogan ‘Dogs love trucks’. Illustrating the importance Canadian’s attach to the happiness of their dogs.
When you live in a country that can dish out some of the worst winter conditions, you learn to have fun with it. From slushy mild days to freeze your face off temperatures, Canada gets quite a mixture of winter weather. Although winter is a big part of Canadian living, it is just a fraction of what it has to offer seasonally for dogs and us.
Every winter the first snowfall brings great excitement for sledding and skijoring enthusiasts. As well as those who just love to play in the snow with their dog. I remember the feeling way back with my very first dog Mandy, a sweet Airedale. Quietly walking through the snow muffled woods, freshly blanketed in white. With Mandy by my side this was definitely on the top of my favourite things to do list. While one of her favourite activities was catching the never ending cascade of tossed snowballs.
Winter can be a blast but there are issues that come with canine fun in the snow. Cold and salt are major factors when walking your dog. On city streets, salt can sting a dog’s feet and must be washed off regularly. Boots can solve the salt problem and keep your pooches paws pain free. The intense cold can be treacherous for city and country dogs alike. When it is too cold out, dogs will lift their frozen feet letting you know it’s time to go in. Along with snowballs, dogs are plagued with ice accumulation between their toes.
After a very long season of winter fun, the first signs of spring are very exciting as well. Spring is very messy and dirty dogs are a fact of life if you love spending time outdoors with your dog. During the spring season you must take special precautions around water, I know of way too many people who lost a dog from thin ice.
Canada’s animal welfare is second to none, every October is national ‘adopt a dog month’. With a relatively small abandonment problem when compared to America or Europe, the wellbeing of the nation’s favourite pet is an issue constantly in the consciousness of Canada’s dog owners.
As far as pet dogs go, retrievers are always a popular companion. The globally popular Labrador is a much loved breed in Canada, especially in urban areas. In the North, bigger dogs are very popular, especially in rural areas. Newfoundlands and Huskies are both great pets and useful, strong working dogs that are right at home in the snow.
All in all, the most memorable and glorious thing about living in Canada with dogs is the space, the beautiful vast rolling land to spend each and every moment enjoying time with your canine. With each passing season, new activities and opportunities open up for the active canine.
Where is the most pet friendly country you've visited? Let us know - we'd love to hear your tales!