Top 10 Values Your Child Can Learn From a Dog

Families with kids are most likely to own a pet, so it may not come as surprising news that in addition to the built-in friendship and playtime that comes along with the child-dog relationship, there are a multitude of emotional and educational benefits as well.

Get ready for your furry child to teach your human child(ren) some invaluable life lessons, such as:

  1. Responsibility

Dogs require a lot of attention and on a frequent, regular schedule.  So, whether you involve your child(ren) in daily feeding, exercise, or even cleaning up after puppy goes potty, these chores will quickly teach your child the meaning of responsibility.  And with that responsibility, comes the unmatched feeling of accomplishment. By praising your child when they successfully complete a task, the importance of responsibility will be enforced.

  1. Compassion

Understanding and responding to a dog’s basic needs teaches kids both compassion and empathy. When the family dog is under the weather, take that trying time as an opportunity to teach your child the significance of being a caretaker. Explain that with the child’s help, the dog can be nursed back to health. This will reinforce the important lesson of nurturing and showing empathy for others who need comfort.

  1. Respect

Teaching a child to be respectful can be a difficult task, but through simple tasks such as petting a dog gently, acting as a caretaker or even giving a dog necessary space or time alone when sleeping or eating, your child will start to learn the meaning of respect.

  1. Loyalty

A dog is known to be fiercely loyal to his family and with explanation of what loyalty means – a strong feeling of support and allegiance – children will quickly begin to understand the significance and how to reciprocate that love and devotion.

  1. Trust

thumbnail-top-10-values-child-learnsDogs trust that their owners will take care of them and keep them healthy. This concept alone is a lesson in trust. Delving a bit deeper, dogs are often described as offering unconditional love. Whether their owner is sad, happy, scared or upset, dogs do not judge and do not withhold their devotion. This can be a step in helping your child learn to build trust in other relationships, too.

 

  1. Loss

Unfortunately, losing a pet is an inevitable and heartbreaking part of life. When a dog gets sick and passes away, it’s important to use the experience (depending on the appropriate age of the child) as an invaluable teaching moment. For example, learning coping skills as well as allowing time to mourn and cry are important pieces of the bereavement process.

  1. Physical Health

Playing a game of fetch with your dog is not only a fun bonding activity, but it’s also an opportunity to teach your child the importance of physical fitness, treating your body well and staying active for overall health and well-being.

  1. Patience

Bonding with a dog can be a process. While your child may want to pick up the puppy right away and snuggle her, puppy may not yet be comfortable with the child. This is prime time for a lesson in waiting for the good stuff. Similarly, training can be extremely frustrating for a child (and you for that matter). By explaining that with time and hard work, training will show results, the art of patience will be learned.

  1. Socialization

Anyone who has a dog can attest that these furry four-legged buddies are the best conversation starters! While walking the dog, you’re bound to run into other dog walkers who will ask you your dog’s breed, name, age and more. Having your child join you on the walk and answer these questions as well as reciprocate, will help teach the art of conversing and being polite. To this point, pets are known to be extremely beneficial to children with autism and other developmental issues, who may lack social skills such as sharing or making eye contact.

Living in the Moment
A dog sticks his head out the window of the car to enjoy a fresh breeze, jumps in puddles without fear of getting wet, chases balls tirelessly and shows excitement to express interest. Likewise, kids shouldn’t hold back when it comes to living life to its fullest each and every day. Following their dog’s lead, encourage them to take joy in even the smallest moments.

 

 

The Hottest Eco-Friendly Pup Products: A Green Gift Guide

Making an environmental difference for the planet may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, but even the smallest of conservationist efforts is worthwhile in helping the greater cause. And some of those changes can be made at the pet store aisle alone! By simply being aware of what products you are buying for your pup and choosing items with environmentally-friendly ingredients or materials, you’ll not only be doing your part, but you’ll feel better about spoiling your puppy. In celebration of Earth Day, here’s our curated guide to some favorite planet-friendly pooch goodies.

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Image from mollymutt.com

Beds
Molly Mutt is a fashionable dog bed brand that has redesigned traditional dog beds to be sustainable as well as high-quality. Their duvet covers are meant to be stuffed with old textiles provided by you, which eliminates 100% of the energy and gas emissions associated with other doggie bedding. Bonus – Molly Mutt is affordable too, with most of their products priced at under $50. Check out their adorable beds, crate covers and accessories!

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Image from cycledog.com

Collars & Leashes
Cycle Dog is another company dedicated to producing “earth-friendly” pet products. Made with post-consumer recycled materials, Cycle Dog products include collars, leashes, toys, beds, treats, and travel bowls. Take a look at their large assortment of “eco-weave” webbed collars and leashes. They come in many fun colors and patterns, and are all priced at $25 and less!

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Image from earthrated.com

Poop Bags
While picking up your dog’s poop is a less glamorous side of pet ownership, it’s essential, so why not do it guilt free?  Amazon has an excellent earth-friendly waste bag selection, including these Flush Puppies Doodie Bags ($8.22 for a pack of 60 bags, which are flushable and certified compostable!) Prefer a more traditional waste bag? Try these Earth Rated Poop Bags ($11.99 for 270 bags) – they’re made from recycled plastic, are completely leak-proof, and even smell like lavender!

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Image from thegreenpetshop.com

Training Pads
Another not-so-attractive part of the job – but this is another dog product essential where you can really make an environmental impact. When you first bring a puppy home, a lot of time is spent on potty training. Training pads can make the process easier (and less messy!). The Green Pet Shop sells eco-friendly pads made of bamboo ($24.99 for 50), and Amazon carries these Eco-Care Training Pads ($12.48 for 50), so you can reduce waste, while picking up waste!

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Image from becopet.com

Toys
These toys by West Paw Design are adorable, soft, and made from organic hemp and recycled polyester ($15-$20). Looking for something more durable? Cycle Dog (mentioned above) makes durable rubber toys out of post-consumer recycled materials (all $10-$15). The Becoball by Beco Pet ($11.13) is another strong eco-friendly toy made from rice husk rubber with a hollow design perfect for hiding treats, not to mention it’s vanilla scented!

Remember, these products are just a small sampling of green pup products available, so this Earth Day, do some digging to find the best goodies for you and your furry friend. Then give yourself (and Fido) a “round of a paws” for making a valuable contribution to preserving planet Earth!

 

 

 

Scoping out the Dog Park: A Checklist

Discovering and participating in new activities with your pup can be one of the most fun and gratifying parts of being a pooch parent. One such popular activity is bringing your furry child (once he’s received all of the required vaccinations and has been cleared by your veterinarian to be in close contact with other dogs) to the dog park. While some feel there’s nothing better than watching your dog play, run free and interact with his adorable peers, many dog owners dislike the idea of the dog park due to valid concerns such as cleanliness and/or potential dangers. Thus, to find out whether the dog park is right for you and your dog, and if it is, to find one that’s safe and comfortable for you and your pet, it’s important to do your research in advance. Start by answering these questions to first find out if your pup is ready for the dog park and if so, how to find that “pawfect park.”

  1. Is your dog’s personality a fit for a highly socialized environment?

If your dog is extremely anxious, shy or aggressive, you may need to undergo some socialization training prior to bringing your dog to a dog park. Be honest with yourself (and your pooch) and be patient if he’s not ready yet. The park isn’t going anywhere, so there is plenty of time to bring him once he’s better trained. You should also make sure your dog is spayed or neutered before taking him to a park – dogs who aren’t fixed can be disruptive and potentially dangerous amongst other dogs in a group setting.

  1. How much exercise does your dog regularly receive?

thumbnail-scoping-dog-parkIn order to make sure your dog is a good candidate for the dog park, make sure you’re not relying on the park as his sole form of exercise. Otherwise, dogs can become overly stimulated and excited by all the new dogs and smells. Among other dangers, this pent-up energy can lead to aggression and dog fighting. Make sure your dog is getting ample opportunity for walks outside and runs in the backyard so that he arrives at the park with a healthy, but curbed amount of energy.

  1. What’s the best way to find a good park?

Ask for recommendations! The best people to ask will be your neighbors as well as pet service providers such as your veterinarian, trainer or groomer. Trusted reviews are crucial to finding a safe park in your area visited by well-mannered pooches and courteous pet parents. Once you have a recommendation, look up the park’s hours and rules.

  1. What are the must-have amenities in a dog park?

Make sure the dog park has all of the necessary conveniences including a clean water source that’s available and/or large enough to accommodate many dogs at once, several easily accessible garbage cans as well as doggy bags for waste disposal, and benches or comfortable seating in a shaded area for pet parents to congregate and watch their pooches frolic.

  1. What safety measures are crucial to check for?

When visiting the dog park, make sure all enclosures are free of sharp points which could cause injury. The barricades should also be tall enough to prevent larger dogs from jumping over them. On the flip side, look out for any holes or gaps in fencing that smaller dogs could squeeze through. Most dog parks will have two separate sides – one for larger dogs and one for smaller dogs as an extra safety precaution. Size does matter in this case – pay attention to the weight limits or breed rules. Clearly mixing a Chihuahua and a German Shepherd is a bad idea.

  1. Is the park up to your cleanliness standards?

While all dog parks require owners to clean up after their pets, not all do unfortunately. Watch for piles of fecal matter to not only avoid stepping in them yourself, but avoid your dog getting dirty or worse, ingesting and getting sick. The best ground cover for dog parks is grass or gravel. The ground should be free of burrs or sharp debris that could get stuck in your dog’s coat or injure his paws.

  1. How do the other owners interact at the park?

When you arrive at the dog park, pay attention to the other puppy parents and see if they’re showing awareness and taking control of their pups. Oblivious or careless owners can make the dog park a dangerous place. And once there, if you’re ever worried about the other owners’ level of responsibility, don’t hesitate to leave. In an ideal dog park environment, the owners are interacting with the dogs, following and calling them when necessary. If you see a group of owners clumped around a bunch of picnic tables engrossed in conversation with no idea what their dog(s) are doing, it’s a bad sign.

Now that you’ve done your due diligence and know what to look out for in a dog park, you can let your pooch off-leash with confidence.  Be sure to capture those woofs, wags and games of fetch on video!  Oh, and be prepared for your pooch to take a long snooze after the experience. Playing and running around with other pups can be tiring!

 

What to Expect at 8-12 Weeks of Age

Congratulations! Between 8-12 weeks, your puppy has arrived home and the intense bonding process between puppy and family has already begun.

You’ve entered a crucial learning period which will provide the foundation for your puppy’s mental and physical development. Newly away from his biological mommy and litter siblings, your puppy is experiencing a high level of curiosity in his new environment. Anything within reach will be investigated, and likely chewed as a result of that curiosity. In fact, you’ll notice your puppy “mouthing” a lot which is how he grows familiar with the world around him. Basic personality characteristics will begin to emerge but a lot of your puppy’s traits will form based on how he is treated and cared for by the family.

Your puppy is starting to take an active interest in human beings and will look to you for direction on how to behave. So, imagine your puppy as a sponge, ready to absorb all of the information you can provide. This is your opportunity to not only teach him new things, but also to set the tone and dynamics of the relationship. It’s important to socialize your dog with other people outside of the family as well as other vaccinated dogs. Basically, however you’d like your puppy to interact with the world, start introducing it now. So, if you plan to transport him regularly, start taking him for car rides. If you want to make him comfortable with loud noises, don’t be afraid to vacuum the house or run the blender.

thumbnail-puppy-developmentAs far as physical growth, you may have noticed your puppy is a bit rambunctious and messy – clumsily running around and emptying his bladder and bowels often. At this stage, you should be taking puppy out every two hours – remember, frequent trips outside mean less accidents and clean up for you!  As far as appearance goes, puppies are heart melting for a reason – enjoy those big eyes, soft features and sleepiness; and snuggle/hold him often – if your puppy is meant to grow up to be a large dog, you won’t have that opportunity for much longer!

In this vulnerable age, keeping your puppy safe is key. The natural immunity passed on from his mother is starting to wear off, and will soon be taken over by rounds of vaccinations. To avoid the dangers of your puppy contracting illness, specifically Parvo, do not allow your puppy around other non-vaccinated dogs. This means: Stay away from dog parks, and even walking down the street if it’s a highly foot-trafficked area. About a week after the final vaccinations (around 17 weeks-old), you’ll be able to take your pup everywhere – so just be patient!

Just like with a new baby, you may be worried about your puppy’s health before the first vet visit. Here are the symptoms to keep an eye out for which may require a phone call to your vet:

  • Diarrhea – if it lasts more than a day, is extremely watery or discolored
  • Vomiting – if it persists more than a day, or is extreme
  • Unwillingness to Eat or Drink – if puppy is not interested in food or water

Remember, use your best instincts – if something seems off, don’t hesitate and reach out to a professional.

Finally, there is no better time to start training than now. The earlier your puppy begins basic training, the faster he will learn. There are many different methods and philosophies to training your pup, but a steadfast rule for all is to remain calm, be patient and reward good behavior. Good luck!

More Than a Hair Cut, Grooming is Health Necessity

Many dog owners consider grooming their pooch a luxury or vanity service, rather than a health need. Yet, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s crucial to change this perception as grooming is a necessary in taking care of not just your dog’s look, but also his health and well-being. And so, we’re here to educate dog owners on the following health benefits of regular grooming.

Ear Mites and Ear Infections
Most groomers will closely check your dog’s ears, which are breeding grounds for bacteria, and be able to spot infections or mites, which may otherwise be invisible to the untrained eye of the average dog owner. If infection or mites are found, the groomer may recommend over the counter treatment, or depending on the severity, recommend you see a veterinarian for a prescription.

Fleas, Ticks or Parasites
A professional groomer will check your dog’s body for ticks, fleas and other parasites, which should then be removed meticulously by the groomer. Fleas are typically found while your dog is being bathed in the tub and with a thorough shampoo, most if not all fleas will die in the water.  If the groomer finds ticks however, they are typically removed during the high velocity drying process by splitting the dog’s hair line by line, removing the dead coat and drying the skin row by row. If your groomer finds worms, you’ll be referred to a vet for a checkup. You may want to ask your groomer if they “fluff dry” or “brush dry” to confirm they use either of these thorough techniques.

Abnormal Skin Growths
It’s a good idea to remind your groomer, who is familiar with dog anatomy, to check for skin abnormalities during the grooming process. Because they’re spending a great deal of time on your pup’s hair, skin and body, this is an appropriate time for them to notice any bumps, lumps or abscesses. If these symptoms are identified in the early stages, you can treat your dog before the condition worsens or a serious illness develops.

Nails, Teeth and Sanitary Area
A typical professional dog grooming packaging doesn’t just include a bath and a trim, but also maintenance of other important hygiene areas such as paws, mouth and buttocks. Nail trimming prevents blood vessels from growing too long inside the nail, which could cause problems as your dog gets older. Not to mention, the sound of long nails scratching the floor or furniture can be reason enough alone to get them trimmed regularly! It’s also important for your groomer to trim hair that grows in between the toes, as sometimes burs and tar can get stuck, penetrate the skin and become infected. Regular teeth brushing can also be performed by your groomer, which can help prevent dental disease and bad breath. Lastly, trimming around the sanitary area removes excess hair that’s more prone to hosting bacteria and carrying feces. If your dog is in need of external anal gland expression due to inflammation, allergies, infection, or abnormal stool, your groomer may be able to handle as well. If it’s a larger problem that requires internal expression, you should be referred over to your vet.

Matting
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Some breeds with longer hair are prone to matting (also known as knotted balls of hair), especially in hard to detangle areas like the face, neck and ears. Besides looking a bit rough around the edges, mats can be painful because they pull the skin tight and can lead to skin ulcers, abrasions and other problems. Sometimes a mat can be cut out with scissors, but other times they require a complete shave down. The good news is that with a regular grooming schedule, mats can easily be prevented.

Finding Puppy’s Groomer: Consider These Factors

Something as superficial as your dog’s hairstyle may seem silly and unimportant, but choosing a professional groomer should be a high priority. Depending on your dog’s breed and hygiene needs, they could be visiting the groomer as often as every 4-6 weeks, so deciding who will be responsible for keeping your pooch clean and primped requires some research. Here’s a quick checklist to run through before getting your pup’s hair done:

  • Get a Referral – Begin by asking friends, family and neighbors for recommendations. Trusted reviews are invaluable.
  • thumbnail-dyi-grooming-cutCheck Prices – When you start calling local groomers, ask for a full rundown of their services and prices. For example, some groomers include nail clippings or other grooming services in their regular grooming packages and others do not, so it’s helpful to know exactly what’s offered. Many groomers’ prices depend on the size and breed of the dog  as well, so be sure that you aren’t comparing prices for a Maltese to prices for a Golden Retriever!
  • Take a Tour – Before booking your pup’s first appointment, you’ll want to visit the facility and observe the activity. Take mental notes of the setup, lighting and cleanliness level and make sure you’re comfortable with the environment. You’ll also want to check to see if the kennels are large enough and separated for dogs and cats. Watch to see if the groomers handle their pups in a caring and professional manner and ask the staff administrative questions such as what type of records they keep and how much advance notice is required for scheduling.
  • Bring Vaccination Records – Most groomers will require immunization records for rabies, kennel cough and other infectious diseases before accepting new dogs into their salon. It’s also worth noting that spayed and neutered dogs tend to be calmer, less hyperactive, and therefore more tolerant of grooming.
  • Speak Up about Any Special Circumstances – Before you drop your pooch off to get his or her hair done, make sure your groomer understands any health conditions to be aware of – whether it is dry/flaky skin or something more serious like hip dysplasia that would require extra gentle handling.
  • Say Goodbyes Quickly – Many dogs, especially those who display anxious behavior, have a difficult time with grooming. A long, drawn-out goodbye can make the experience worse for a socially anxious pooch, so don’t make it a big deal. There are also a few preparatory things you can do at home to get your pup more comfortable with the experience. Brush your dog often and give a reward after each brushing session.

If this all seems to be a bit much, just know that when you pick up your best friend, he will look “pawfect” with a shiny coat, fresh smell and maybe even a bandanna or bow in her hair to boot!

 

Puppy’s First Night Home: Tips for a Better Bedtime

Your puppy is officially home! It’s an exciting day full of cuddles, playtime and adorable photo opportunities. And now…it’s time to go to bed.

You may be surprised to hear the welcome home party continue into the night. Shortly after putting puppy in his crate or bed, your little party animal doesn’t want to go to sleep, but rather makes his presence known with sounds of whining or even crying.  While the noise can sound heartbreaking, don’t panic. Consistent whining, howling or crying throughout your puppy’s first few nights at home is extremely common and to be expected. Puppy is experiencing separation anxiety from his biological family, which while upsetting, is a completely normal part of adjusting to his new home.

It helps to understand that these distressed sounds are a natural evolutionary expression. In the wild, a puppy separated from his family may get attacked or killed by predators. So, to discourage his mother from leaving him, the puppy cries to ensure survival.

thumbnail-surviving-first-nightSince night one in a brand new environment is a big transition for puppy (rest assured, he will get more and more comfortable in the coming days and weeks), it’s your job as his new parent to make him feel secure. To that end, do not put him in a room further away from you to drown out the noise – this could contribute further to the puppy’s anxiety and potentially cause behavioral problems at a later date. Instead, bring his crate or bed into your bedroom or just outside the door so he feels less isolated. You’ll also have the added benefit of being able to check on him regularly. Some sensitive new parents may be tempted to bring puppy into their own bed- but unless you want to make this a habit*, it’s important to resist the urge and keep puppy in his own sleeping space.  There is a difference between creating a sense of security and coddling.

Once creating a secure environment for puppy, it’s best to try and ignore puppy’s whines and cries as much as possible. Take a hot shower, turn on the TV, or play a game to try and take your mind off the noise. In these early nights, distractions are key to not only keeping yourself sane and patient, but also setting a healthy foundation and schedule for puppy. Plus, if puppy gets too much attention (or worse, is rewarded with food or treats) while exhibiting this behavior, he will quickly learn that barking or crying is the way to get what he wants.

If whining or crying seems excessive, it’s okay to gently take puppy by the scruff (back) of the neck and firmly say in a low tone without any frustration “NO. Go to sleep.” If repeated several times at night for many consecutive nights, he will learn to obey in the coming weeks.

Once you get through the night, pat yourself on the back….and then quickly take puppy outside for his much needed and well-deserved morning walk and bathroom break!

Remember to put yourself in puppy’s “paws” and have sympathy for how he must be feeling his first night in a new place. It’s most important for puppy to know that he’s loved and cared for – with this reassurance, he’ll attach to you, learn to trust you and become a loyal and affectionate dog.

It’s also important to embrace the hard first few days as all part of the exciting new adventure of raising a new puppy as your own. Before you know it, your puppy will be grown and you’ll long for the days of puppyhood – sleepless nights and all!

*PS places no judgement on families who want their dogs to sleep with them in the same bed. We recognize there are many benefits including but not limited to free snuggle sessions, extra warmth and emotional comfort.

Key House Training Principles to Implement Day One

Simply thinking about house training your puppy could have you feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Take a deep breath and don’t fear! As long as you stay committed and consistent in whichever method you choose, the process doesn’t have to be difficult. It can even be fun! Remember, the goal is to instill positive habits in your pet while simultaneously building a loving bond. Understand and expect there to be a lot of setbacks and “mistakes.” Do your best to curb your frustration (it can take up to 6 months to a year to get your puppy fully house trained), get back on the horse and try again. Following these core training principles as soon as puppy comes home will set a healthy foundation for the rest of your training.

  1. Confine Puppy to Defined Space

Whether you decide to crate train or keep your puppy in a gated area, limiting his space is important during this crucial learning stage – not just to save your valuables from getting ruined, but also to teach puppy that he needs to go outside to do his business. Until he develops his “den instinct” i.e., not wanting to go soil his own living space, he’ll need boundaries. Once he starts to understand and make progress, gradually give him more freedom around the house.

  1. Take Puppy Out Frequently

thumbnail-puppy-developmentYou should take your puppy outside first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour. You should also take him out after every meal, when he wakes from a nap and before he goes to sleep. When in doubt, take him out!

  1. Stay Attached at the Hip

Consider “puppy sitting” your full time job for the next several months. Spotting and acknowledging your puppy’s signs that he needs to go are key to the process. Whining, circling, sniffing or barking are all clear signs that he needs to be taken out right away. And make sure that once he’s out, you watch puppy do his business each time to ensure he’s making progress.

  1. Stick to a Feeding Schedule

Feed your puppy according to your veterinarian and breeder’s recommendations and take away the food in between meals to prevent accidents and get puppy used to eating at consistent times. Remember, what goes in regularly, will come out regularly! Leave the water though. Puppy needs to stay hydrated. Just monitor how much he drinks so you know when to take him out.

  1. X Marks the Spot

Take puppy to the same spot each time he eliminates. He will start to associate his scent with the spot and it will encourage him to go.

  1. Give Praise and Reward

When puppy eliminates outside, praise verbally and give him a treat. Choose a simple word like “outside” or a key phrase such as “Go potty!” and use it every time you take puppy out. Repetition and consistency are key. Puppy will soon start to associate the word with the act. A nice walk is another great reward.

  1. Discipline Correctly

Accidents are completely normal and punishing your puppy will only teach him to fear you. Puppies are not intellectually capable of associating anger with wrongdoing. If you catch puppy in the act, clap loudly to alert him it’s not acceptable. Then quickly take him outside by calling him or pulling him gently by the collar. If you find evidence after the act, don’t react angrily by yelling or rubbing the puppy’s nose in it.

 

Puppy Proofing: A Checklist

As you prepare to welcome a new puppy to your family, you might think your first priority is purchasing the necessities such as a bed, crate, food, bowls and toys. But, beyond the “stuff,” it’s important to puppy proof your home before puppy arrives in order to create a safe and secure environment for your newest family member and protect your valuables from getting chewed up or destroyed.

We’ve created a simple step-by-step comprehensive checklist for securing and/or removing potentially harmful items or substances in and around your property.

Indoor Hazards

  • Secure or Remove Plants
    Check this handy guide to make sure none of the plants in your home are toxic to dogs. If it turns out you own any of the toxic plants, be sure to either move the plant to a height where your puppy cannot eat or get into it or remove it altogether.  Even if your plants are non-toxic to dogs, it’s wise to move them out of reach to avoid puppy digging or pulling them out of its pottery.
  • Cords
    Look for loose, low-hanging electronic cords and secure with a cable management sleeve .
  • Cleaning Supplies
    Make sure all kitchen and bathroom cleaning supplies are inaccessible to puppy. You can also invest in baby-safe magnetic locks to ensure your pup won’t get into low storage.
  • Loose Change
    Remember to check under furniture and in between cushions for loose coins and other small items that a puppy could swallow and potentially choke on.
  • Jewelry
    Move all small jewelry like earrings and rings to high-up surfaces or drawers to avoid any unfortunate accidents.
  • Water Basins
    Full sinks, bathtubs and yes, uncovered toilets present potential drowning dangers to puppy. In the first few months, make sure to drain any full sinks or bathtubs and keep toilet seats down. Puppies can drown in even small amounts of still water.
  • Medications
    Keep all medications in medicine cabinets or in an area out of reach of your pup’s curious nose.
  • Garbage
    Make sure your garbage is tucked away under a cabinet secured with baby-safe locks. At the very least, invest in a garbage bin that has a secure, locking lid to keep your puppy out of the trash.
  • Foods
    Dangerous and potentially fatal foods for dogs include chocolate, coffee, tea, certain nuts, grapes/raisins, onions and alcohol among others. To be safe, make sure all human food is out of your puppy’s reach. Child safety locks can be used to keep your puppy out of low cabinets and drawers. If your puppy somehow ingests a dangerous food or substance, call your vet immediately.
  • Hazardous Rooms
    Identify whether there are a rooms that are potentially unsafe for your puppy (think basement, office or a playroom full of small toys) and then put up baby gates to make them inaccessible.
  • Fireplaces
    Screen off all fireplaces, especially in the colder months when you’re likely to have a fire going or have leftover wood from a recent fire.

thumbnail-puppy-proofing-homeSince your puppy is likely going to spend a lot of time outside, it’s crucial to always supervise and keep a watchful eye while puppy is in your front or back yard and on all of your walks, especially if you live near a wooded area. Animals such as owls, hawks, and coyotes are all potential dangers to puppies and small breeds.

 

Outdoor Hazards

  • Paint & Other Toxic Products
    Don’t use fresh paint on accessible areas for puppy. Make sure to also dispose of old paint cans safely or put them safely out of reach, ensuring the lids are on tight. Other examples of toxic products that may be outside include antifreeze and gasoline.
  • Extermination Products
    Do not spray insecticides or use rat or rodent poison – these contain toxic chemicals for puppy.
  • Gardening Products
    Keep all fertilizers in secure containers, away from curious noses. And make sure any toxic plants are pulled or quarantined with a tall and sturdy fence. Examples of toxic plants include but are not limited to: potato, morning glory, foxglove, lily of the valley, oak, daffodils and cocoa bean mulch.
  • Pool
    Make sure all pool chemicals like chlorine are stored in locked shed or unit, away from puppy.
  • Nails, Glass, Sharp Objects
    Inspect your front and back yards for any potentially sharp, broken and hazardous objects and have them removed prior to your puppy’s homecoming.

First Vet Check: Top Questions to Ask

Now that you’re a new parent of a bundle of furry joy, it’s your responsibility to take care of your pup’s health needs. It’s crucial to do your research when choosing your veterinarian. Visit a few in your area, get recommendations from friends or neighbors, and make sure you’re comfortable with the physician’s medical philosophy (for example, some vets may prescribe more medications whereas others may prefer holistic treatments).

thumbnail-first-vet-visitThe best vets have busy schedules, so make sure to schedule your new puppy’s health exam as soon as you know his or her arrival date. Plus, PuppySpot requires all new pups complete a new puppy exam within 48 hours of arrival in order to lock in our health guarantee.

Once you’ve scheduled your first visit with the vet of your choice, you’ll want to come prepared with questions to get the most out of your checkup. Print this list to use as a guide. You’ll thank us later!

  • What types of parasites are common in our area, and what can I do to prevent them?
    Your veterinarian will likely administer deworming medication to
    ensure your pup stays healthy and parasite-free. It’s important to understand the types of parasites that are common in your area and what symptoms to look for.
  • Where can I find emergency care for my pet during evenings, weekends or holidays?
    Many vets are not open late or on weekends and holidays. Your vet should have a preferred emergency care facility and/or hotline to use if the office is closed.
  •  What are the office’s medical capabilities and offerings?
    Some vets have a clinical surgery center on site, but many do not. Ask what type of procedures, testing or exams they’re able to perform at this location and which procedures will require a referral to another provider.
  •  Which vaccines are necessary and which are optional based on my puppy’s lifestyle?

    There are standard vaccinations all puppies should receive: distemper, adenovirus-2, canine parvovirus-2, and rabies. However, based on your geographic location, your pup may require additional vaccinations such as leptospirosis, Lyme disease and Bordetella. 
  • What flea/tick medication do you recommend?
    Even if you live in an urban city, there is still a risk for fleas and ticks. Fleas and ticks can live in most environments and can frequently travel with other pets or wildlife to new regions in the country. There are many options to help prevent your dog from getting fleas and ticks, and your vet can provide guidance on which one is right for you and your pup.
  • What is considered a healthy weight for my dog’s breed?
    This goes along with how often you should be feeding your pup. You’ll want to work with your vet to ensure your new pup maintains a healthy weight to avoid other associated health issues in the future.
  • Is pet insurance right for my pet, and what should I look for when choosing an insurance plan?
    Pet insurance can be vital in helping keeping care costs low, especially if your pet requires an expensive procedure or surgery later in life. It’s best to get your puppy covered as soon as he or she arrives. Ask if your vet accepts health insurance and what their policy is. PuppySpot offers a great comparison site where you can compare different insurance options in your area.
  • How often should my puppy be examined?
    Work out a convenient schedule with your vet to make sure your pup is being seen on a regular or as-needed basis, typically at least once per year.
  • When should my puppy be spayed or neutered?
    Spaying or neutering your puppy provides numerous health benefits and should be considered if you are not planning on breeding your dog. Timing should be discussed during your pup’s first vet visit.
  • What is typical wait time and do you take walk-ins?
    There may be times when you urgently need to see your vet. It is important to know how quickly you’ll be able to see the doctor in case of an emergency.

 

 

Naming a Pup More Difficult Than You May Think

Choosing a moniker for your new pup can be one of the most fun and enjoyable parts of welcoming him into the family. But, before you sign that “birth certificate,” there are a few considerations you should take into account. Make sure to follow these tips prior to making that all-important final decision.

Practice Calling His Name…A Lot
As you’ll figure out quickly, especially in the training phase, you’ll be saying your pup’s name frequently and loudly over and over again. So, pick a name that not only will you not get sick of, but also that has a nice ring and sounds pleasant out loud.

Avoid Names that Mimic Simple Commands
By picking a name like “Joe” or “Kit,” your pup may be confused when hearing commands like “No” or “Sit.” It’s better to choose a name that sounds very different from other words you’ll be using frequently.

Consider Veering Away from The Most Popular Names
Imagine how many dogs are named Max, Buddy and Lucy at the park or even in your neighborhood. Your vet or groomer likely has several clients with these names. Avoid misunderstandings, scuffles and potential mistakes by choosing something unique to your pup that he will identify as his name quickly and consistently.

Stick To One or Two Syllables
thumbnail-naming
It’s best to choose a short name that’s easy to say and hear, so your dog understands and responds to it quickly. A long name can blend with ambient noise. Plus, with long names or a first and middle name, the owner tends to shorten it with a nickname when it’s convenient, causing potential confusion for your pooch.

If You’re Stumped, Draw from Visual Inspiration
Can’t decide on a name? Has everyone in your circle weighed in with different opinions? If so, a good place to start is to take a long, hard look at your pooch and think about what makes her uniquely her. Is she a Schnauzer with a salt and pepper colored coat? Call her Pepper! Is he white with black spots on his legs making him look like he’s always wearing shoes? Go with Boots!

Still Can’t Decide? Pay Homage to Family Tree
Perhaps there was a dog in your family who passed away and you want to honor him with a variation of that name. If your former pooch was Princess, why not go with Duchess? Or if your puppy’s sire was named Cooper, why not go with the initials “CJ” for Cooper, Junior?

What’s In a Name Anyway?
If all of these rules have you more confused than ever, don’t worry. Many experts say effective communication with your dog has little to do with their name, and everything to do with the owner’s tone, energy and consistency.

Where's Fido? Prevent Your Pup Going Missing

A missing pup can wreak havoc on a family – the feelings of worry, guilt and panic all rolled into one.  Not to mention that a lost pup is at risk for injury, sickness or worse, death. To prevent your dog from getting lost, you should take all necessary measures to protect his safety.

Yet, even with the best precautions in place, sometimes bad things happen to good, responsible people.  There is always a chance of your pup getting away and therefore it’s important to know what to do in an emergency to increase the chances of finding your dog right away.

Keep Puppy’s ID Current

Make sure your puppy’s collar and tag is updated with all of your information on it. Even “indoors-only” pets must be equipped with ID tag which includes owner’s name, home address, mobile and home telephone numbers.

Microchip Your Puppy

The microchip embedding procedure may be costly, but it’ll be worth every cent you spend in the unfortunate case your dog goes missing. A microchip, smaller than the size of a grain of rice, is a permanent means of identification scannable by any veterinary hospital or animal shelter.

Do a Critical Search

Conduct a thorough investigation when looking for your missing pet. You may ask questions of the people who last saw your pet, take note of all the pertinent details and analyze the events to draw the most logical conclusions.

Make the Necessary Phone Calls

Call any family and all neighbors who may have come into recent contact with your dog. You should also call down your list of local shelters (both private and municipal), animal control centers or rescue groups to find out which dogs they recently took under custody and see if any are a match for your pup. It doesn’t hurt to also phone the local law enforcement and file a police report that your dog is missing.

Inform the Most Number of People

In this day and age, getting the word out about your lost pet can take just a few seconds of your time. Gone are the days of having to rely solely on creating “Missing Pet posters” and posting them to trees and lampposts within your neighborhood (although this tried and true method is still your best bet of communication given the fact that your neighbors are the most likely to have seen your dog). Now, you can post on your social media accounts and drive awareness via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat instantly to your entire social network so they too can keep their eyes peeled for Fido. It also doesn’t hurt to create a unique hashtag for your pet to help track any community-related posts (think #FindDaisyMae).

About Those Missing Pet Posters…

thumbnail-prevent-missingMake sure the headline of your poster, e.g., “LOST DOG” is written or typed in a large, clear font that’s readable even from a distance. Ideally, place your pet’s most recent photograph below the “LOST DOG” headline. List other details that are necessary for positively identifying your pet such as breed, color, sex, weight, age, and other distinguishing features and characteristics. Also, do not forget to place your name and phone number on the poster. Hit the Streets with the flyers in hand and post as soon as possible, not only in your neighborhood but also in local parks and runs, pet supply or grooming stores, offices of veterinarians and local establishments like schools, gas stations, laundry shops, bus stops, restaurants, cafes, convenience stores, and even grocery stores. Pay special attention to areas with high levels of foot traffic.

Stay Positive

And remember, while this can be an extremely stressful time, keep your mind focused on finding your dog. Try to avoid the “What Ifs,” and allocate all of your energy to taking the necessary steps above. Don’t lose hope and when you do find your dog, hug him tight and keep him on a tight leash (pun intended).

 

Like Dog, Like Owner: What Your Dog’s Breed Says About You

It is said that you can tell a lot about a person based on the company he keeps, but, bet you didn’t know this adage also rings true for dog breeds. It makes sense for pup parents to gravitate towards dogs that have similar temperaments as they do. After all, don’t most people have a type?  So, here’s a quick rundown of the various human personality traits associated with some of our favorite dog breeds.

thumbnail-like-dog-like-ownerBulldogs: Bulldogs are very determined and persistent, as they were originally bred for bull baiting. Thus, people who take care of bulldogs are said to be tenaciously stubborn, but can also have a great sense of humor. They are also said to be very meticulous, methodical and efficient when it comes to their work.

Terriers: These dogs are fun-loving and energetic companions. Similarly, terrier owners are said to be feisty, competitive, and are not likely to back down even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.

Labradors and Golden Retrievers: These breeds are the most popular choice for a family pet because they are friendly and good-natured. People who own Labs and Retrievers are said to be very close to their families and friends, easy-going and laid back.

Toy Breeds: Small dog breeds like Chihuahuas and Poodles are energetic and fiercely loyal companions. They’re also brave and known to “take on” much larger dogs without fear. Owners of toy dogs are said to be neat and organized. Everything in their homes must be put away in its proper place. Or else…just see how fierce they can be!

German Shepherds: While Shepherds may be a large dog breed, they are rather shy around unfamiliar people. Once they warm up though, they are fiercely loyal and protective dogs. Likewise, German shepherd owners are the kind of people who would do anything for their loved ones and therefore find it hard to say no to friends and family.

Dachshunds: Despite their stature, dachshunds are some of the bravest and tenacious dogs out there. Thus, owners of dachshunds can be bossy at times and often dislike not getting their way. However, if asked for help, they will do everything in their power to assist you.

Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers: These dog breeds are often described as intense and unrelenting, with an almost unlimited amount of courage. People who own these dogs can often be laid-back and relaxed, but when provoked, become quickly agitated and upset. These are the type of people you don’t want to be at odds with; stay on their good side, and they’ll be your best friend.

Siberian Huskies: These dogs like physical activity and would rather be outdoors than cooped up inside the house. The people who gravitate towards huskies are usually athletic or at the very least, big sports fans. Just like their dogs, owners of huskies are said to be strong-willed, but very lovable.

Pitbulls: Unfortunately, due to popular misconception, Pitbulls have a bad reputation. However, if they are raised properly, these dogs can actually be very sweet dogs who are willing to do anything for their loved ones. People who raise Pitbulls may put up a stern image, but can be sweet as sugar once you get to know them.

Boxers: Boxers are busy and highly energetic dogs, so therefore their owners are often seen to be living life to its fullest.  Boxer people are playful, happy-go-lucky and rarely stressed.

Cocker Spaniels: Sweet, respectful, family-friendly dogs, Cocker Spaniels are a gentle and popular breed. Spaniel owners are said to be charming, affectionate and trustworthy who maintain a tight-knit group of friends and would much prefer a small circle than a large party with strangers.

English Pointers, Weimaraners, Irish Setters: These breeds are naturally energetic and athletic, enjoying long hikes, runs at the park and a love for the outdoors. Owners of these breeds are typically highly active, enjoying extreme sports or hunting and can get bored easily if not faced with new experiences. They are also intelligent, motivated and courageous.

Greyhound, Whippet, Basenji: Besides being fast and agile, Sight Hounds enjoy the company of a small circle and tend to be more introverted than some of the other breeds out there. Thus, owners of these breeds are often athletic or outdoorsy, and prefer social outings with a close group of friends.

While all of this information is interesting and fun to know, take these generalizations with a grain of salt. After all, haven’t you also heard the saying, “Opposites attract?”