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Enjoy our articles written especially for pet parents, by our guest writers like Leanne Behrle, cat lover, Carrie Rotarris, dog behaviourist, and Terese Houle, breeder. Don’t miss Boréal videos on important dog and cat topics.

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Healthy Garden Treats for Our Canine Companions

- May 30, 2022

As we are approaching the beginning of summer, many of us are getting anxious to start planting our vegetables in our garden, or at the very least, start shopping at the community farmers’ market for local garden fare. When plotting out our garden and writing out our grocery lists, we always like to make sure we include some healthy options that we can use to treat our dogs for good behaviour, and supplement their meals. Here is a list of the healthy fruits and vegetables that we love to grow and share with our canine friends:

Apples: High in fibre and a great source of Vitamins A and C, apples are a great healthy treat for your canine companion. Remember to remove the core and seeds, as these are not safe for your dog to eat.

Blueberries: Not only are blueberries considered a super food for humans, but they also provide just as many health benefits to our furry canine friends. Packed with antioxidants and fibre, they make a healthy, low-fat replacement of the typical calorie dense training treats.

Carrots: Low in calories, yet high in fibre and Vitamin A plus the dogs love the crunchy texture that is also great for their gums and teeth

Cucumbers: Low in calories but loaded with vitamins K, C, and B1. They also have essential nutrients such as potassium, copper, magnesium, and biotin. 

Celery: Another crunchy treat that dogs love that also comes packed with heart healthy vitamins like A, B, and C. 

Pumpkin: High in fibre, pumpkin is not only good for our dogs’ digestive systems, but it has also been shown to be beneficial for dogs that suffer from urinary incontinence and can even help with weight management

Strawberries: These are a favourite summer snack for our girls…they steal them off the plant just as they become ripe enough to pick! Rich in fibre and vitamin C, but be cautious of how much you allow your dog to have as they also contain sugar. 

Sweet Potatoes: Packed with nutrients, including fibre, beta carotene, and vitamins B-6 and C, they make an excellent treat for your dog as long as they are served washed, peeled, and cooked. Do not serve your furry friend potatoes that have been doctored with seasonings or sugars.

Not all vegetables are safe for our dogs, so be sure to do your research and check with your veterinarian before slipping them a treat from your garden. However, replacing your dog’s dense, high-fat processed treats with a few of these healthy fruits and vegetables could be one of the best things you can do for your pet’s health.  

People Foods to Avoid Giving your Dogs

Written by: Terese Houle - March 16, 2022

While there are a number of people food options that offer numerous health benefits for our canine companions, there are also several foods that you should avoid giving to your dog. The following is a list of toxic people foods that could seriously harm your dog:

Candy, Gum, and Sugar

Similar to humans, your dog risks, dental problems, obesity, and diabetes with the consumption of too much sugar.

Be extremely cautious about having candy laying around that could be easily accessed by your dog. Oftentimes candy and gum contain xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that is extremely toxic to dogs. Even in the smallest amounts, it can lead to seizures, liver failure, and even death in some occasions.


While most people know that chocolate is toxic for our canine friends, it bears repeating. It’s not just the caffeine that is harmful to your dog, but it also contains toxic substances called methylxanthines, which can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, and can damage your dog’s heart and nervous systems.

Dairy Products

While giving your dog small servings of dairy products, such as milk or sugar free ice cream, will not harm your dog, it can lead to digestive irritation, as many adult canines are lactose intolerant.

Fruit Pits/Seeds (Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, etc.)

While slices of apples, peaches, and pears are safe for your dog, be sure to carefully cut out and remove the pits and seeds before serving. The pits and seeds contain amygdalin, a compound that dissolves into cyanide when digested.

Grapes and Raisins

Both of these foods are extremely toxic to dogs and even small amounts can lead to liver and kidney failure. Do not, under any circumstances, give your dog grapes as a treat.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic, onions, leeks, chives, etc. are part of the allium plant family, which is poisonous to most pets. Regardless of the form they’re in (dry, cooked, raw, powdered, or within other foods). These plants may cause anemia and can also damage red blood cells.


Avoid giving your canine friend any foods that contain salt (ie. potato chips). Consuming too much salt can deplete their electrolyte levels and cause dehydration.

If you suspect that your canine friend may have ingested one of these toxic items and notice that he is acting strangely or experiencing symptoms such as weakness, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, contact your vet immediately.

Responsible Dog Parenting: Teaching the “Take-It / Leave-It” Command

- June 21, 2021


As dog parents we worry a lot about keeping our furry friends healthy by feeding them nutritiously balanced food, providing them with regular exercise, and of course, showering them with our love. We also do our best to keep them safe by providing them with shelter, making sure they have the proper collar and identification, and having them micro chipped. However, our responsibility to our furry companions does not stop there. Teaching our pets to have good manners, both in the home and in public, is one additional measure we can take to ensure our pet’s safety.

Some training opportunities to consider working on with your dog include loose leash walking, sit/stay, wait, drop-it, and come. Another command that could keep your dog safe is the “leave-it” command. As dog parents, we know how our companion’s nose and mouth can get him into trouble, so teaching the “leave-it” command could help you save your pet. Here are step-by-step directions on helping your dog to learn this command:

“Take-It / Leave-It”
    1. Place a treat in your hand and say “take-it” as she grabs it. Repeat this three times.
    2. On the 4th time, don’t say anything and instead, close your hand as she reaches for it.
    3. Wait and don’t pull away - be ready for her to paw, lick, nibble, etc. BE PATIENT!
    4. When she pulls away and waits a few seconds, open hand and say “take-it”.
    5. Repeat the hand closing until she stops going for the treat and instead waits for you to say “take-it”.
    6. Once she has grasped the idea that she should not take the treat until you say “take-it”, and then leave your hand open with the treat in your hand. When she goes for the treat, close your hand and say “leave-it”.
    7. Repeat until she pulls away. Wait a second and then open your hand and say “take-it”. Repeat this step, extending the time of the wait before saying “take-it”.
This command can eventually be expanded to include teaching it with items not just in your hand, but also on the floor. Additional ways to expand your companion’s understanding is by scattering treats around the floor and having him wait to get each treat until you say “take-it”. Having your dog understand the “leave-it” command can be especially important when outdoors, where there are a number of potentially dangerous things he can find and put in his mouth. Teaching our dog’s how to have good manners is one additional way we can help to keep them safe.

Essential Ingredients for Canine Nutrition

- April 28, 2021