Active Pet Parenting
Avoiding threats to pets at the cottage
Read this article for free:
Already have an account? Log in here »
To continue reading, please subscribe:
Monthly Digital Subscription
$4.75 per week*
- Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
- Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
- Access News Break, our award-winning app
- Play interactive puzzles
*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/07/2022 (337 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Dr. Jonas Watson described it as the most horrifying story he’s ever heard about pets in cottage country.
“During a bad season for wolves, some people lost their pet when it escaped on them,” the Grant Park Animal Hospital veterinarian recalled. “They went for a walk six days later and found his yellow tail.
“(Owners) must be aware of any wildlife that may bring them harm. Wildlife is not discriminatory when it comes to pets. Don’t leave them unattended.”
A cottage owner at West Hawk Lake said two different neighbours lost their pet dogs to wolves in the last year and a half.
“One of them saw a wolf take their dog right in front of them,” said Jocelyn Martin, who owns two dogs and has her son’s cat at the cabin. “Things happen in a split second.
“That’s why we always have ours on a leash and we basically never have our eyes off them.”
Wilson the cat stays indoors, she said, adding she heard that five cats had gone missing since last fall in the West Hawk area.
Not many cottagers have fences on their properties in provincial parks, although they can apply to the parks branch to build one.
“Fences are typically discouraged in cottage developments within Manitoba provincial parks as they may detract from the natural environment,” a provincial government spokesperson said in an email. “However, there may be situations where fences are deemed appropriate and may be approved.”
Threats to your pets
“In the end, it’s really about supervision.”
– Jocelyn Martin, pet owner
Other wildlife that can be a threat to pets include bats, raccoons, skunks, porcupines and fishers. All of them could spread rabies. Owners must ensure their pets have had their rabies and distemper shots and heartworm pills (mosquitoes carry heartworm disease), Watson said.
Owners also have to be aware of non-wildlife threats to their pets’ health.
“I don’t let them drink standing water, out of streams or water with blue-green algae,” Martin said of dogs Demi and Marley. “And I don’t let them dig in soil because they can get blastomycosis.
“In the end, it’s really about supervision. I always call it active parenting.”
Drinking water with the kind of blue-green algae found in Lake Winnipeg could kill your pet because it’s toxic, said Watson, past president of the Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association.
And both pets and humans can contract the potentially deadly fungal infection called blastomycosis, he said. An MVMA fact sheet notes exposure occurs with contact of fungal spores in soil that’s recently been exposed to air. Lake of the Woods, Whiteshell Provincial Park and Seine River are associated with blastomycosis.
Owners should take their pets to a vet as soon as possible if they see such signs as fever, cough and chest pain, the MVMA noted.
Martin said a family friend’s dog got blastomycosis last year and didn’t survive.
She also checks her dogs for ticks that can cause Lyme disease.
“We got a tick prevention product from the vet called Simparica,” said Martin, who volunteers for a pet rescue organization. “It’s also for fleas, parasites and mange, and we give them heartworm pills.”
Tick removers are part of her pet first aid/emergency kit.
“I always have plenty of food and water for them and my own supply of medications, like Benadryl for stings, Viaderm (cream for sores) and alcohol wipes for their (paw) pads,” she said.
Watson also cautioned owners not to leave pets alone in or near the lake.
“Dogs can sometimes overexert themselves in summer and owners must prevent heat stroke when it gets very hot – especially for dogs that are older or overweight,” he added. “And some breeds are more susceptible to it than others, so keep them hydrated.
“The breeds at risk of heat stroke because of their facial conformation include the squish-faced (brachycephalic) breeds like pugs, Boston terriers, bulldogs, shih tzus and others.”
Pet owners should start preparing before they even leave home.
“The most questions I get are about keeping pets calm in the vehicle, like, ‘How do I keep my cat from meowing for two and a half hours on the way to the lake?’” Watson said. “There are pills they can get for that. Some pets even have to be sedated.”