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You can make animals more comfortable, and provide a humane and healthy environment for them with this website.

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light bulb icon stop sign icon“Enrichment and stress reduction must be given the same significance as other components of animal care and should not be considered optional” –Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters: Supporting ASV Guidelines

The Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters

The Canadian Standards of Care in Animal Shelters recognizes the Association of Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines for Standards of Care in Animal Shelters to be directly applicable to animal sheltering facilities in Canada. These guidelines are based on the concept of the Five Freedoms (developed in the U.K. in 1965), which are recognized and accepted to have broad application across species, and identify the fundamental needs of all animals, regardless of setting.

The Five Freedoms

  1.  Freedom from hunger and thirst by ready access to fresh water and diet to maintain health and vigor.
  2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and comfortable resting area.
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  4. Freedom to express normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
  5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental health suffering.

5 Pillars of a Health-Promoting Animal Environment

The following five pillars are applicable for all species encountered in the animal centre environment:

  1. Provide a safe place.
  2. Provide multiple and separated key environmental resources:  food, water, toileting areas, scratching/digging/foraging areas, play areas and resting/sleeping areas.
  3. Provide opportunity for play, prey and/or predatory behaviour.
  4. Provide positive, consistent and predictable human-animal social interaction.
  5. Provide an environment that respects the animal’s sense.

Modified from the AAFP Environmental Needs Guidelines

The animals in our care are exposed to extremely stressful environments. They are subjected to a wide array of psychological stressors, including:dog playing in small pool

  • Loss of control of their environment
  • Unpredictability of daily animal centre activity
  • Lack of routine
  • Confinement
  • Unfamiliar people
  • Noise
  • Many others

We can dramatically improve their experience by:

  • Identifying their individual environmental needs
  • Implementing strategies to reduce stress and provide enrichment



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