Monday Musings: Being a Responsible Pet Owner

Being a Responsible Pet Owner is extremely important to not only you but for all animals in your care. How you care for your animal(s) plays an important role in its overall health and well being.


Spaying/Neutering your pet helps avoid the distress, inconvenience and expense of several health concerns. Dogs, unlike humans, undergo estrus rather than menstruation. Estrus typically occurs every 6-8 months and lasts for an average of 9 days, but can range from 3-21 days. As Female dogs age, the risk of Pyometra increases, an infection in the uterus. For male dogs, prostatic enlargement and infection have a higher rate of occurrence in intact males.  This can lead to pain and difficulty urinating, and occasionally difficulty defecating.

Both male and female dogs travel to find mates. This leads to a much higher risk of injury from car accidents than their neutered canine friends. Cats also undergo estrus and will continue to go into heat until they are bred. Females can be extremely vocal at this time and can be difficult to live with. Female cats who are in heat will attract un-neutered Male cats to their home. Owners will often find Male cats yowling and spraying urine outside their home (usually at night) if they have a un-spayed Female cat indoors. When un-spayed/un-neutered cats are outdoors, they are at a higher risk for contracting viruses like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).

Ultimately, to lower the risk and to avoid any of these health concerns, spaying or neutering your pet is the answer. At GTHS, we have partnered with Collingwood, Meaford, and Wasaga Beach to offer a spay/neuter assistance program for those who are unable to afford the entire cost of a spay/neuter. See below for more information on how to apply for the spay/neuter assistance program.
Collingwood Spay/Neuter Assistance Program
Meaford Spay/Neuter Assistance Program
Wasaga Beach Spay/Neuter Assistance Program


pet tag

Many people think that because their cat is an ‘inside cat’ or their dog only goes out in the backyard that they don’t need an ID tag. When your cat or dog is wearing a visible form of ID, it can help to get them home sooner than later. Because cats and dogs are unable to speak like us, it is the easiest way for someone to help get them to the right home, should the animal get lost and unable to find his/her way back.

You can help to improve the statistics of dogs and cats being reunited with their families by purchasing a ID tag at GTHS for $10 + HST. With many shapes & styles to choose from, your pet (Cat or Dog) will easily be identified with their Microchip & Pet ID tag if they were to run away from their home. It only takes a couple of minutes & it will be made while you wait! If you prefer, we can make it for you ahead of time so it is ready when you come to pick it up. Call 705-445-5204 ext. 221 for more information. We hope your forever friend never finds themselves lost, but if they do you will be grateful to know you made that simple effort to insure they are wearing an up-to-date pet ID tag.


Owners that have chosen to have their pets microchipped can enjoy peace of mind that their animal is more likely to be returned to them should they go missing. According to the Journal of American Veterinarian Medical Association, out of 7700 stray animals at animal shelters, dogs without microchips were returned to their owners 21.9% of the time & dogs who had a microchip were returned to their owners 52.2% of the time. Cats without microchips were reunited with their owners only 1.8% of the time & cats who had a microchip went back home 38.5% of the time.

Without a microchip, a lost pet may never be reunited with their family.  Many people find lost cats and attempt to find their owner, but if they can’t, what happens next? These cats could be re-homed to a friend or family member of the person who found them, or surrendered to the GTHS Shelter to be adopted to another loving family. If find a cat or dog and do not know who the animal belongs to, bring the found animal to a local veterinarian. They would scan for a microchip, which would have your contact information attached. In the end, the cat or dog would be reunited with his/her owners.



It is important to establish a relationship with a veterinarian when you get a pet. Just one veterinary check-up a year will help protect pets against a variety of potentially life-threatening diseases, detect health problems sooner, and avoid unexpected costs. Veterinarians offer a variety of services to keep your pet(s) happy and healthy. By scheduling a visit with your local veterinarian at least once a year, it will help your pet(s) live longer, healthier lives.

There are a few ways to simply evaluate the hospital and veterinarian you choose. Talk to friends, family, neighbours, and anyone in your local community to find out which Vet they take their animals too and how they feel the service is when they go there. Once you have narrowed it down, take a visit to the Vet clinic. Talk to the staff to ask any and all questions to help make your decision. If you feel confident in the Vet clinic, make an appointment for your pet to be examined by one of the Veterinarians. In your appointment, make sure to voice any needs, concerns, or general questions about your pets health. You should be comfortable with the Veterinarian and the clinic. You should always feel that your pet’s good health is their first priority.

Veterinarians provide many services, including but not limited to:
– Spaying & Neutering
– Regular Vaccinations
– Flea, Tick and Parasite Prevention
– Prevention of Dental Disease
– Addressing Behavioural Concerns
– Pet Identification (Microchipping)



Under the Responsible Pet Ownership By-law 2012-016, the Town of Collingwood requires that all dogs over the age of six (6) months be licenced on or before January 31st of each year. If you don’t licence your dog on or before January 31st the licence fee increases by $10.00

  • The Town requires proof of a valid rabies vaccination at the time of licencing your dog(s)
  • You are allowed a maximum of three (3) dogs within the Town of Collingwood

You can obtain a licence by visiting:
Collingwood Town Hall
97 Hurontario Street
Collingwood, Ontario
Tel: 705-445-1030 Ext. 3254
(Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

For more information on the Responsible Pet Owner By-Law in the Town of Collingwood, visit

Stay informed on GTHS events, initiatives and programs. Learn how the GTHS team is serving the pets and people of the South Georgian Bay Area. Read heart-warming Happy Tails about GTHS Alumni. See a lot of really cute pictures of dogs and cats!