Human Foods and Your Pets

By Lauren Erhardt

High-quality pet food is always the best choice for your pets, however, there are some human foods that are safe for your cats or dogs:

  • Cooked lean meat, eggs, and fish
  • Cheese
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits and vegetables (without seeds or pits)
  • Cooked rice or pasta

Be cautious about feeding your cats or dogs dairy products as they can be lactose intolerant. 

Toxic foods for dogs and cats:

  • Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum and candy 
  • Avocado (contains a toxin called a persin)
  • Alcohol
  • Onions, chives, and garlic (can lead to anemia)
  • Coffee, tea, and other caffeine (more potent and poisonous)
  • Grapes and raisins (can cause acute kidney injury and a lack of urine production)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Chocolate (due to the toxin theobromine)
  • Fat trimmings and bones (can cause pancreatitis and potential digestive tract injuries)
  • Fruit seeds/ pits (contain poisons)
  • Raw eggs, meat, or fish (can contain bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli)
  • Sugary foods and drinks
  • Yeast dough (intestinal blockages)
  • Raw potatoes (contain the poison solanine)
  • Your medicine

While dogs can eat peanut butter (check the ingredients for xylitol), it is not recommended for cats.

If your pet does happen to eat something it shouldn’t, please contact your veterinarian or any of the contact numbers below:

Pet Poison Helpline: 1-800-213-6680 (

Animal Poison Control Center: 1-888-426-4435 (

Emergency 24-hour Vets in Edmonton:

Guardian Veterinary Centre
Address: 5620 99 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 1V2
Phone: (780) 436-5880

Address: 12831 97 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5E 4C2
Phone:(780) 423-9111

Zoe’s Annual Compost Fundraiser!

It’s that time of year again!! (Though you wouldn’t know it to look outside…)

Preorders will be accepted until Friday, May 12 at 5 pm. There will be a limited amount of compost available for purchase on site.

Happy growing!

Brachycephalic Syndrome in Dogs

by Lauren Erhardt

Brachycephalic: short headed

You may wonder why some dogs such as Pekingese, English bulldogs, French bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers pant and snore a lot.  Additionally, if you’re thinking of adopting one of these kinds of dogs you may wish to be aware of genetic issues so you can give them the kind of care and attention they need.  These issues are caused by Brachycephalic Syndrome which causes obstructive breathing due to the shape of the head, muzzle or throat.  In short, these dogs have shortened skulls compared to other breeds.  When dogs are selectively bred to produce a flat “cute” face, genetic issues like these may result.  Dogs with longer muzzles will have  fewer issues because they can breathe easier.   

Problems suffered by Pugs due to Brachycephalic Syndrome:

  • Serious breathing difficulties
  • High blood pressure (info link)
  • Fainting or collapsing due to a lack of oxygen
  • Highly disrupted sleep
  • Excessive flatulence due to excessive gulping and swallowing of air to try to overcome their breathing difficulties

More information:                      

If you have a dog with this syndrome, you should always check with your vet, however, some steps you can take to help make him/her more comfortable include ensuring your dog is not overweight as this can exacerbate the symptoms,  and not over exercising your dog.

Three Simple Ways to Spread the Love to Rescue Animals

Happy Valentine’s Day! Let’s not forget about our four-legged friends on this day of love! Here are three simple ways to spread the love to rescue animals that won’t cost you a dime.

ONE: Spread the love by sharing an adoptable animal’s profile. The more exposure the animal gets, the more likely they are to find their loving forever home. We truly appreciate every like, share, and comment. Once the animal is adopted, a spot is freed up in a foster home for another animal in need. You can find our adoptable animals’ profiles here.

TWO: Volunteer your time! Did you know that Zoe’s is 100% volunteer run? You do not have to commit a certain amount of hours per week or month to volunteer to make a positive impact. Instead, with Zoe’s, you can jump in when you are available. We are always looking for help with fundraising, event organizing, transporting animals and supplies, photography, blogging and of course… fostering! Learn more about volunteering here.

THREE: Share the message to spay and neuter! Zoe’s does everything in our power to help to end the cycle of homeless animals including ensuring that every single adopted animal is either spayed or neutered before the adoption is finalized. There are so many deserving animals in local rescues, and so many waiting to come into care. Help to reduce the population of stray and unwanted animals by reminding people to spay and neuter their pets. You can find a list of vets that we like to work with here. In addition, the Edmonton Humane Society offers a great program for those with pets that cannot afford to spay and neuter. Check out their PALS program here.


Foster of the Week: Reepacheep


I’m Reepacheep, but I prefer to be called Henry. Henry Rollengardner.

I’m a chinchilla! (I don’t know why I need to announce that. Maybe because chinchilla is fun to say? Chinchilla! Chinchilla! Chinchilla!)

I came to Zoe’s because my previous home was too, too busy and it stressed me out. I don’t mind a little hustle or small bits of bustle, but I do need my rest. Chinchillas are nocturnal, which can be a bit of a challenge for people. They are awake when I want to sleep and when they want to sleep, I want to play! The easiest way to handle this is to have my enclosure away from high-traffic areas in the home. That way I can be in the busy parts of the house when I want to play, but also have quiet when I want to sleep. Plus my nighttime antics won’t disturb you while you’re sleeping.

I’ve been a little skittish when it comes to human contact. Smaller animals tend to take longer to form a bond and trust their humans. My foster family has been patiently and slowly working to boost my confidence and help me become more comfortable with handling. I’m still unsure about being picked up, but I am starting to love pets and scratches. I have a sweet spot and if you find it, I will coo and smile in delight! I LOVE to be out of my enclosure to run and explore and chase my humans. Especially when they have treats. Be sure to keep a close eye on me when I am loose, though, I can be mischevious and chewy.

I may be partial, but chinchillas make great companion animals! We are generally quiet and low-maintenance, but also sweet and silly and fun. The most important part of being a chinchilla parent is providing an appropriate environment, like making sure there are places to tuck in and hide as well as chinchilla exercise equipment like a running wheel and climbing structures.

If your home sounds like a great home for me, and you’re looking to add some fun and silliness to your life, visit my bio and apply to adopt me!

Foster of the Week: Gilligan Katt


Hey there! I’m Gilligan!

Do you like to play? I do!! My favourite things to play with are string toys and wand toys. Anything I can chase, pounce, and bat!

I like people too. They’re wonderful! I can be a bit demanding when I want affection from my people. Ok, a lot demanding. But I love to cuddle! I love pets and scratches and belly rubs. I have this spot that I just LOVE to be scratched. When my people scratch that spot, I can’t help but flop over in absolute bliss.

I like other animals, too. Cats, dogs, kids…. I like them all! What’s that? Kids aren’t animals?? Uh….if you say so…. Whatever they are, I like them!

I’m an adventurer at heart. I love exploring and climbing. I especially like sneaking into the pantry and the cupboards. Peek-a-boo!! I like water, too. I’m always hanging out in the sink or the bathtub. My foster family says I am a curious cat who always makes them laugh. They’re so sweet.

I may not look it, but I am still a kitten. Full of energy and silliness. I am also a perfect gentleman. Quiet and affectionate.

You won’t find a cat much better than me! I am well-rounded, lovable, fun and dashingly handsome…. My ideal home would be full of things to love – adults, kids, cats and dogs, the more the merrier! My home should also have lots of places and spaces for me to explore, plus at least a few sinks and a spacious bathtub. Also well-stocked with soft and cozy blankets. After a day of playing and exploring, I love to curl up in a warm lap covered with a soft blanket.

My sisters have found their forever home, it’s my turn! If your home is lacking a purrrrfect gentleman, I am your cat! Visit my bio and apply to adopt me!

Foster of the Week: Morgan

Hi! Morgan here again!

How have you been since we last chatted? I’ve been great! I’ve been in this foster home for about four or five months and I love it! I have three foster siblings, that weirdo behind me is one of them. Mickey. He’s good stuff. I’m way in love with my foster sister, Minnie. We snuggle all the time, she lets me nibble her toes. She’s the sweetest girl I’ve ever met. And then there’s Habib. Silly Habib…..

I can’t imagine life without doggy siblings. Not only because I enjoy their company, but because I get very scared and nervous (and LOUD) when I am alone.

A few other things I don’t like:

Cats. I swear they taunt and tease me because they know I can’t see them. But I can smell them. And I can CHASE them!
Squirrels. They are conspiring with the cats, I know it.

You know, I think that’s it. I’m a very happy guy! Always smiling and enjoying life. I like people a lot. I like being around people, I like cuddling with people, I like the food people eat….. If you’re looking for a solid Netflix (and snack) and chill companion, I am your guy.

It’s impossible to have a bad day when I’m around. I have that sort of personality that turns the frowniest of frowns upside down. I excel at snuggling, too. Everyone knows the best remedy for grouchiness is a good dog, you won’t find a dog better than me!

Let’s meet in person. Visit my bio, send in an application and come on over!

Fosters of the Week: Blue & George

Hey, Blue! I think I see it!

See what?

Our forever home.


Yeah, I’m sure of it.

We’ve been adopted, George??

Not yet. They don’t know we are here.

If they don’t know we are here, how can it be our forever home?

It just is.

George, you’re crazy.

Maybe, but I’m still right. Our forever home is out there.

I dunno, George. We’ve been here a long time.

I know, but that doesn’t mean our people won’t find us. Look at Moose, it took his people over a year to find him!

That is true. His forever home is wonderful, he’s a very lucky guy!

That will be us, Blue. I know it, I feel it in my fur.

How will our forever people find us?

The universe will send them.

Oh, George. You really ARE crazy.

Crazy for cuddles!!

Good grief, George. You’re lucky I love you so much.

Our people will love us like you love me.

You are a hopeless optimist. I’m going to have a nap.

That sounds like a great plan, Blue. I’ll join you, we can dream about our people.

Yeah, maybe we can control the universe with our dreams and make our people find us today.

I feel like you’re being sarcastic, Blue.


Is it, Blue? IS IT REALLY?

Oh, settle down, George. Let’s go find our foster mom and curl up with her.

Fine. But I am telling you, our people ARE out there.

I know they are, George.

You’re just saying that so I’ll stop talking.

Well, yes. I would like to have a nap. But I do believe you.


Yes, George.

I love you, Blue.

I love you, too George.

Home-made Environmental Enrichment for the Indoor Kitty

by Crisia Tabacaru

As a loving cat parent, no doubt you’re already providing food, water and a warm home for your feline friend, but, just like you need more than the necessities to keep you at your best, your kitties will be happier and healthier if you understand their instincts, behaviours, and what will make them feel safe and content.

Let’s look at it from a biological perspective: Cats come from wild species that are both predators and prey, and many of their instinctive behaviours stem from this history. For instance, you’ve likely noticed that your kitties like to be high up, which helps them to both observe and feel safe. Providing such spaces in your home means that you’ll have a happier, less aggressive kitty, with fewer behavioural issues in general. For multiple cat households, increased vertical space will also help with stress related to territorial issues.

Many cat parents meet these needs with store-bought cat trees, hammocks or cat walks. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a cat tree, but a home-made one can be a very fulfilling project for both you and your kitty, not to mention a money-saver. In fact, one of our Zoe’s adopters built one for their kitty Neelix (Zoe’s alum, formerly Tator) and he loves his new cat tree!

This is one of my favourites. The instructions are very clear and it won’t cramp your style either. Seriously, check out those gorgeous branches!


Image courtesy of By Brittany Goldwyn


You can also take the scratching post approach and provide a climbing workout like this easy-to-follow project. Another way to give your cat observation powers is to provide cat shelves like this crafty cat owner did. The only limit is your imagination! (And maybe your handiness with tools…)

The next need to consider is mental stimulation and engagement. Boredom from a lack of environmental enrichment is often accompanied by stress and “bad” behaviours like urine marking and aggression. Increasing complexity in their environment is a way to engage cats and provide much needed mental stimulation. One way to do this is to create physical structures with attached toys and other complexities for them to play with, sleep on, scratch, and explore. This one uses readily available Ikea furniture and is attractive to boot.

Image courtesy of By Brittany Goldwyn

Another way is to provide a challenge in the form of toy or treat puzzles like these. Heck, have fun with it and make them a climbing wall!

Get inspired by these DIYs and let your imagination run wild!

Bonus: Geeky DIY cat projects

These projects are just so deliciously geeky, that I couldn’t resist!

Foster of the Week: Chance


Hi! Chance here!

It’s been a few months since we chatted. I’ve been learning so much and working so hard, I want to tell you all about it!

First of all, I attended Leash Monsters in October and have had a private training session. My people said I did very well, I’m so proud of myself! Working on my leash manners has been challenging, but also rewarding. (By ‘rewarding’, I mean I get LOTS of delicious food when I listen and do my best. Yum!!) I have a new leash and harness too, it helps me stop lunging and pulling. I’ve also been working on boundary reactivity. I often forget and bark! bark! bark!, but I’m getting much better at stopping and listening when my foster people call me. I still have some work to do, but I have come so far.

adore people. I really do. Love and affection are my favourite things. (Next to food, of course.) My favourite way to tell you I love you is to put my face right in your face and touch noses. I call it a Chance Smooch!

I also love other animals. There are two cats in my foster home, they are wonderful friends and great nap buddies. I very much enjoy playing with the kitten, however, there is a considerable size difference between us and I forget that sometimes. My foster people keep an eye on me to make sure I don’t play too rough or paw-sy. And, despite my excitability around other dogs while on a leash, I am happy as a clam and positive as a pickle when meeting friends off-leash.

I am full of life and energy. I love walks, runs and playing in water – the muddier, the better!! I love playing period. I join the cats chasing the laser pointer and play fetch in the house when it’s too cold to get out for long walks. I’m kind of a toy shredder. I love ripping the fluff out of stuffies. I don’t rip up anything else in the house! Just my toys. You might want to look into a wholesale stuffy supplier….

I am a huge goofball, I have no shame saying that. I am fun, funny, sweet and silly. If we meet, I know you will agree. Visit my bio to read more about me and apply to adopt me!