A Cut Above: The Hottest Pup Hairstyles

You may think there’s nothing more to dog grooming instruction than the words “just a trim” or “a complete shave.” You’d be wrong however. In fact, there are a variety of simple to complex hairstyles for your pup to sport. If you’re looking to get inspired or educated on the different options, we’ve broken down some of the most common dog hairstyles below. Your pup is sure to be pampered, prepped and photo-ready with any of these choices.

The Puppy Cut
puppy-cutDon’t be fooled, the puppy cut is not just for puppies, but for dogs of any age. This low maintenance do is defined by a uniform, all-over hair length about two inches long and can be achieved on almost any breed. To maintain the short “puppy cut,” depending on how fast your pooch’s hair grows, he may have to get groomed on a weekly basis.

The Teddy Bear Cut
lionThis adorable cut is achieved by trimming the hair around your dog’s head and face evenly, yet keeping the head slightly longer than what’s on the body. The body hair is kept a bit shorter, making this cut ideal for the summer months.

The Lion Trim
Popular among small dogs such as Pomeranians, as well as big, long-haired dogs like Chow Chows, this cut is designed to make your pooch look like a ferocious, yet adorable lion cub. The lion cut is defined by a short cut on the body, with long hair around the head and jaw to create the look of a mane. The tail is kept short until the very end, with a small tuft of hair is left to look like well…a lion.

The Lamb Trim
lambWant your dog to look like a little lamb? Ask for this cut, where both the head and body are trimmed short. This low maintenance look only requires a trip to the groomer every 6-8 weeks, and is great for warm weather, keeping your pup cool.


The Poodle or Continental Cut
poodleOne of the most popular cuts for Poodles, there are several different varieties of the “poodle cut,” which is generally is associated with closely trimmed fur around the belly and face and a thick downy fur appearance on the legs, ears and tail. Some variations leave “pom pom” balls on the tail and bottom joints of the legs, which are called bracelets. Not just for poodles, this cut is designed to show off the back legs and is appropriate for any type of dog with thick, curly hair.

The Schnauzer Cut
schnauzerThis adorable cut is a good choice for any breed with similar hair characteristics to the Schnauzer. Longer hair is left on the dog’s legs, while the back and sides are trimmed very short. A light fringe of hair is left on the lower part of the dog’s body, and the signature “mustache” cut sculpts the hair around the face.


The Topknot
topknotThis style is typically associated with the Shih Tzu breed, but can be given to any dog with sufficiently long hair, such as the Yorkshire Terrier. Good news for DIY at-home groomers, the style simply requires bunching and tying the hair into a bun at the top of your pooch’s head. It requires no clipping, and follows the current hipster trend adopted by millennials across the country.

A “Quick,” Easy Guide to Nail Trimming

Many dog owners avoid trimming their dog’s nails because it can be a stressful experience for both owner and pet. Owners are afraid of cutting their pup’s nails too short, causing pain, and making them hate the procedure even more than they already might. However, cutting your dog’s nails is a practice that, if done correctly, doesn’t need to be nerve-wracking or traumatic!

Why It’s Necessary
Why is it so important to trim your dog’s nails? For one, toe nails that are too long can cause discomfort while walking. Hard surfaces push long nails upwards into the nail bed, putting pressure on the toe joints. Over time, this makes the toes very sore, and will make your pup even more unwilling to let you touch his feet. In addition, long toenails can affect your dog’s posture which over time will change to compensate for sore feet and sensitivity from their toenails touching the ground.

If your dog doesn’t tolerate you touching his feet/toes, get him comfortable by running your hands up and down his legs and gently holding his feet. Do this “pawssage” every day for a week or two, and chances are that he will be significantly more relaxed about letting you touch his feet. It’s a good idea to start this routine practice at a young age if you’re raising a puppy!

Once your pup is prepared, have these tools ready:
– “Scissor” style clippers are best for clean cuts. Stay away from “Guillotine” style clippers, which crush the claw and can be painful.
– Emory board (to smooth rough edges)
– Cornstarch or styptic powder to stop bleeding (just in case!)
– Treats to reward your pup and to make nail trimming fun
– Optional: an electric nail grinder. This tool has a rotating Emory board that allows you to file down your dog’s nail or smooth your trim quickly and easily.

The Trim
– Hold your dog’s paw gently (don’t squeeze!), using your fingers to separate his toes. Trim toe hair with scissors if need be.
– Identify the “quick,” or blood supply. On pigmented toes, the insensitive nail will be the dry, chalky part surrounding the quick at the center. The quick is more glossy, like living flesh. On white toes, the quick will appear pink, and in black toes, the quick will be a bit harder to see, as it is also dark in color.
– Keep the clipper blades almost parallel to the nail and cut. Make sure you are cutting around the quick, and won’t hit it with the blades.
– Use your emory board to clean up the trim.
– If you need to, you can cut one nail or one paw a day. You don’t necessarily need to trim all 16 toes in one day – do whatever works best for you and your pup’s schedule. Create and adhere to a schedule that keeps all of his nails short and both of you happy!
– If you’d like to maintain your dog’s nails at a short length, trim them once a week. Once the insensitive nail is trimmed, the quick will recede, allowing you to cut the nail even shorter the following week. Shortening is a gradual process – do not try to cut the nail short in one cut, as you will almost certainly hit the quick.
– Remember, make trimming an enjoyable experience. Give lots of praise, kisses and cookies so your pup associates nail trimming with rewards!

Don’t Panic!
nail-trimming-thumbnailIf you accidentally cut the quick and your dog’s toe starts bleeding, dip it into the cornstarch or styptic powder you have ready. Alternatively, use a cotton swab or Q-tip to apply the powder to the bleeding area. The powder should stop the bleeding quickly. (This method is only useful for small, superficial wounds. Do not attempt to stop bleeding from a large wound in this way).

Keep it Up
Dog nails need to be maintained, just as human nails do; it’s best to give them a trim every two weeks or so. As a general rule of thumb, if you can hear your dog’s nails clicking on the floor, they are too long. Make sure you either sharpen or replace your clippers if you sense they are getting dull and aren’t working as effectively.
Don’t forget, it’s not the end of the world if you accidentally quick your dog. If you’d like to, talk to your groomer or veterinarian for a nail trimming demonstration or advice.

Boarding Your Dog: Beyond the Kennel

At some point in the future, you’ll want (or need) to go on a puppy-less vacation or business trip and have to leave your pup in another’s hands overnight. Since entrusting your beloved furry child with another caretaker can be a cause for anxiety, it’s best to avoid scrambling at the last minute and be well-prepared by doing your research and selecting a dog-sitter, kennel, or pet hotel you’re comfortable with in advance, so you know exactly who to call when you need them.

The most common concern about dog boarding is the idea of a traditional “kennel,” which consists of many caged animals in close quarters for long time periods with breaks for exercise and walks. If your dog is used to free reign of his home, being in a caged environment can be quite stressful. Other dogs are completely comfortable in a crated setting. If you’re contemplating a kennel, make sure to visit and take a tour of the facility and get answers to the following questions:

– Does the facility look and smell clean?
– Is there sufficient ventilation and light?
– Does the staff seem caring and knowledgeable?
– Are pets required to be current on all vaccinations, including the vaccine for kennel cough?
– What is the protocol and schedule for exercise and bathroom breaks – is there an indoor or outdoor dog run?
– Are cats and dogs separated?
– Is there enough space within the kennels for your dog to move around comfortably?
– How often are pets fed?
– Are there veterinary services available?
– What about other services such as grooming and bathing?
– What are the rates?

These days, there are many alternatives to the traditional kennel, which you may want to look into to determine if they’re a fit for your pooch’s needs.

At-Home Dog Boarding
Online services like Rover.com  offer at-home dog boarding at vetted homes across the country. Similar to Airbnb, dog owners can search for potential pet sitters that fit their needs based on a set of criteria such as geographic location, available dates, and type of residence (apartment vs. home). In-depth profiles of pet sitters are provided, complete with multiple reviews, specific services and of course, rates.

Hiring a House-Sitter
If you’re worried about Fido adjusting to a new environment, it may be best to hire a dog sitter who will stay at your home, ensuring your pooch’s ultimate comfort level and the familiarity of his own space. Finding a good dog sitter can be tough if you don’t already have someone in mind. Rover offers in-home sitting as well as dog walkers if your pup just needs the occasional check-in.

Hiring a Dog-Walker
thumbnail-boarding-your-dogIf your dog is either older or doesn’t require a lot of attention and his basic needs are food, water and walks, hiring a frequent dog-walker may be a good option for you. While this can be a costly option, you avoid the potential issue of someone staying overnight at your home while you’re not there, while ensuring that your pooch’s basic needs are taken care of. This may be ideal for low-anxiety dogs or dogs who are used to being home alone.

Luxury Pet Hotels or Ranches
While you’re on vacation, your pup could be vacationing too! If money is no object, you may want to put your pup up in style with all the creature comforts. There are many pet hotels, resorts and ranches popping up that offer more than just your basic boarding needs. Luxury accommodations like these promote “cage-free” environments where your dog can enjoy amenities such as single suites equipped with real human-like beds, televisions and WiFi-enabled cameras so owners with mobile phones can check on their dogs anytime and from anywhere, day spa services, camp activities and access to acres of land to run free and socialize.

Careers and Canines: Tips for Dog-Owning Working Professionals

Time is often an important factor taken into consideration when making the decision to bring a dog into your home– time to train the dog, time to bond with the dog, and time for essential upkeep and daily care. So, does that mean working professionals can’t or shouldn’t have dogs? Definitely not! Many people worry that if they work full time, they won’t have enough time to care for a dog. The truth is, there are many happy, healthy dogs that live with working professionals. With the proper planning and arrangements, full-time employees can have furry best friends, too. To aid in the appropriate preparation, we’ve broken down the various considerations for busy employees to make the puppy adoption process smooth and easy.

Daycare or Dog-sitting Services: Because most people don’t have the option of bringing their furry friend to work, other plans need to be made for your pup while you’re out of the house. Dogs are social animals, and don’t generally enjoy spending long periods of time alone. Thus, the best option is to look for some type of doggy daycare or dog walking service, so your dog has people and other dogs to spend time with while you’re gone. Break up your dog’s day by having someone visit him at home, or drop him at a daycare center on your way to the office each day – there is no “right” way, so figure out which option works best for your lifestyle, budget, and schedule. You might also be able to rely on a trusted friend or family member to help out on certain days to save money and avoid using a professional service. Regardless, make sure you solidify a routine so that your dog gets used to his caretaker and environment. Switching things up too frequently can cause confusion and anxiety for your pup.

Bathroom Arrangements: Most pups can’t go all day without using the bathroom and will need to relieve themselves multiple times throughout the day. At a minimum, offering the dog the opportunity to go outside 2-3 times a day is ideal. Whether installing a doggy door or hiring a dog walker to let the dog out, by providing outdoor bathroom breaks, you will ensure the dog’s comfort as well as prevent accidents and promote cleanliness of the home. Do not leave your dog in a crate all day, because they may grow accustomed to wetting the bed and won’t learn to ever do their business outdoors. If you cannot install a doggy door or hire a dog walker, the best alternative to crating is to puppy-proof one room in your home, and confine your dog to a small space within the room with a gate or barricade while you’re out. Many people use the kitchen, because the tile floors are easy to wipe clean.

Distractions and Keeping Puppy Busy: Once you have a room ready for your pup, make sure to give him something to do while you’re gone. Otherwise, the dog will grow bored and anxious waiting for you to return, and will likely get into trouble trying to keep himself busy. Chew toys or long-lasting bones are suggested to prevent the dog from chewing on furniture or valuables. For example, fill a Kong toy with soaked and mashed dog biscuits or peanut butter and freeze it. Give the delicious toy to your pup when you leave and it will keep him happy for quite some time! Some dogs also enjoy the sound of the television or radio to keep them company while they’re home alone. Remember, bored dogs are noisy and destructive dogs, so find what works for your pooch to make sure he is as busy and quiet as possible in your absence.

career-thumbnailDog-Friendly Workplaces: If you are lucky enough to work for a company with a dog-friendly office policy, you have a slightly different set of issues to consider. First, will there be other dogs at work in addition to yours? If this is the case, make sure your dog is socialized and gets along well with other pups. Often, dogs need specialized socialization training in order to ensure they interact safely with fellow pooches, so keep in mind it might take a bit of work (and patience) to perfect your pup’s manners before letting them clock in alongside you. In addition to other dogs, your pup will also encounter people he has never met before, so he must also be able to socialize politely with human strangers in order to safely spend the day with you at the office. Other questions to ask yourself before introducing Fido to the 9-5: What is your dog’s energy level and personality like? Will you have the opportunity to take multiple breaks throughout the day to let the dog out? Is your dog independent and quiet enough for you to be just as productive as if he were not at your side?

Every dog and every family is different. You might have to do a little bit of research and trial and error to find what works for you and your dog, but being a working professional doesn’t have to limit you from enjoying the company of a canine friend!

Flea Prevention 101

Did you know there are more than 2,200 types of fleas? And any of those thousands of flea species can wreak havoc on your pup’s fur and skin. While it’s unlikely your dog will never come in contact with flea parasites during his lifespan (especially if you both enjoy spending time outdoors in the Spring and Summer), there are many proven flea prevention methods to keep your dog healthy in those flea-prone months. As always, before choosing the best treatment plan for your pup, consult with your vet.

Spot-On Medications
Topical medications from brands such as Advantage and Frontline are applied directly to your pup’s skin, typically through a drop administration on the neck. The drops work by a process of translocation, meaning the medication spreads itself all over the body through the dog’s oil glands. These medications will kill and repel fleas for several weeks before reapplication is needed and may also interrupt the flea life cycle if already in progress. Another plus? The medication is “waterproof” meaning bathing, swimming and rain do not affect the medication’s potency. A downside of these medications is that they can make your dog’s fur sticky and greasy and it’s suggested humans refrain from touching the dog for a certain amount of time after application.

Oral Medications
If your pooch comes down with a serious flea infestation, the vet may prescribe an oral medication along with a spot-on treatment. These pills are typically taken once a month in small tablet form and disrupt the life cycle of fleas, but do not kill adult fleas on contact. The positives of oral medication include easy and safe administration (the pills can be hidden in food) and you don’t have to worry about the messiness of the topical ointments.

Flea Shampoos
An inexpensive, albeit time-consuming method of flea prevention is to bathe your dog with a special medicated shampoo that kills fleas and/or ticks on contact. While somewhat easy to do at home, the downside of a flea bath is that the ingredients in flea-specific shampoos are typically not strong enough to be as effective as the spot-on or oral medications. You’ll likely need to repeat the shampoo bath often (approximately every two weeks) for optimal protection.

Flea Collars
Certain collars on the market are designed to repel and kill fleas by either emitting a gas that repels the pests or releasing a spot-on medication that seeps into the skin and then spreads through your dog’s natural skin oils. However, flea collar effectiveness can depend on several factors including the correct application of the collar. With a collar treatment, you run the risk of your dog chewing or excessively scratching it from discomfort so make sure when choosing one, it’s the right size for your pet.

Flea Dips
Flea dips contain concentrated chemicals which need to be diluted in water and then applied to a dog’s fur with either a sponge or poured directly over the back. Unlike a shampoo bath, you will not rinse your dog off after applying this product. These dips can be very potent, so take care in reading the instructions carefully before use to prevent toxic reactions in both your dog and the person handling him. These dips cannot be used on animals of a certain age (typically 4 months or less) so check with your vet before purchasing.

Powders or Sprays
These products found in any pet supply store are inexpensive ways of repelling fleas; however, use extreme caution in application as sprays and powders can be toxic or irritating to both dogs and humans if ingested or breathed in through the eyes, nose or mouth. These products are also typically much less effective than the recommended spot-on treatments and need to be reapplied frequently.

Clean Your Home
If your dog gets fleas, no matter how serious or mild the infestation, it’s imperative to have your house thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis until your dog no longer presents any sign of fleas. Your goal is to not only remove adult fleas, but also to remove all opportunities for flea eggs and larvae to live and eventually hatch in your home. At any given time, about 57% of the fleas in someone’s home are in the larval stage. Vacuum all flooring (carpet and hardwood) including the baseboards and then toss all vacuum bags, wash all dog bedding and toys with soapy warm water, launder any clothing or bedding your dog may have come into contact with, and be sure to clean any other places your dog frequents such as the car.

Household Sprays
To further treat your home after a thorough cleaning, you may use sprays or foggers sold at pet supply stores or your vet office to increase chances of killing off adult fleas and larvae/eggs as they hatch. The same careful attention should go towards using these products as with any potentially toxic chemicals. If you’re still concerned about infestation, it may be worth calling a professional exterminator to spray the house properly.

Flea Traps
Your local hardware store sells ready-made “flea traps,” which consist of sticky pads that are laid on the floor, where fleas will get caught while jumping around. This may eliminate adult fleas, but not eggs or larvae. Make your own light trap by setting a small dish of soapy water on the ground near a light at night. Fleas are attracted to warmth and light, so they will jump in the water and drown.

Clear Your Yard
Keep your lawn, bushes, and trees trimmed low to reduce flea population in your back and front yards and prevent fleas from jumping onto your dog. Consider yard sprays or granular treatments available from the pet supply store, vet or garden center. Hiring a professional pest control service to spray outdoors is not a bad idea either, especially during flea season.

“Natural” Methods
Unfortunately, ultrasonic devices, garlics, and brewer’s yeast have all been proven ineffective against these malicious pests. So, you may be left with no choice other than using chemicals to eliminate fleas. Do know that while these chemical flea treatments are safe when used properly, they are still pesticides and must be used with extreme care.

Splish Splash: Can Your Pup Do The “Doggie Paddle?”

Ever imagine your dog running through the ocean waves or swimming alongside you on a hot summer day? You may be in luck. Certain breeds are natural born swimmers. Take a look and see if your pup is ready to get his paws wet.

Golden Retrievers
water-breed-thumbnailThe quintessential water-friendly breed is the Golden Retriever. Early retrievers were crossbred with water spaniels to create the Golden Retriever, which means the breed’s skill for swimming is a biological trait descended down through its ancestry. They’re so suited to water; they even have water-repellent coats!

Irish Water Spaniels
Irish Water Spaniels are one of the most intelligent breeds in the world. The tallest of spaniels, these spunky and lively dogs have curly ringlets, which help form a naturally water-repellent coat. Irish Water Spaniels were trained to hunt for waterfowl, though they enjoy being pets and show dogs, too.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
These retrievers are the smallest of their kind, but they sure don’t act small! They’re playful, energetic, and exceptionally fast swimmers. They have double coats that naturally repel water, helping them hunt, lure, and retrieve ducks and other waterfowl.

Portuguese Water Hounds
Originally from Algarve, Portugal, the Portuguese Water Hound is quite hard to find as they are a rare breed. These hardworking dogs were given the task of herding fish into nets and then taking them to the shore. The most famous Portuguese Water Hound is our first dog, Bo Obama, son of First Lady and President Barack Obama.

Labrador Retrievers
It’s no surprise that Labrador Retrievers adore water, since they are descendants of St. John’s Water Dogs. They used to help fishermen carry anything from ropes to fishing nets. They’re also very loyal, which makes them excellent companions. Labradors are well loved, ranking as the #1  breed in America, and are routinely used for water rescue missions.

Spanish Water Dogs
Spanish Water dogs are energetic, intelligent, and agile, as they can do anything from hunting to herding. They can be taught a great number of skills, but what they love to do best is engage in water sports.

These large dogs were bred to haul fishnets and heavy equipment from the water to the shore. “Newfies” have long coats that are thick, oily and waterproof, making them well-suited for swimming. Plus, their huge lung capacity is an advantage when it comes to swimming long distances.

Despite being fluffy and “prissy,” standard poodles are actually excellent gundogs. They’re considered working dogs in the same category as retrievers. Those flamboyant (and sometimes ridiculous) hairdos? Their fur is designed to protect the joints when they dive into cold water. They’re also intelligent and hypoallergenic, making them great family pets.

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
This large breed is believed to have been sired by two Newfoundlands several generations ago, then crossed with other breeds. Chessies have water-repellent wavy double coats and webbed toes to help them swim! Chessies are intelligent, protective, and very loyal.

English Setters
These setters might look a bit unusual with their speckled or mottled coats, but English Setters are intelligent, sensitive dogs who love the water. Their “belton” coats have many recognized combinations, such as white and black, white and orange, and even some with a tricolor belton of white, black and tan.

Move over Michael Phelps, these aquatic pooches are ready to dive in headfirst!

Hiking With Fido: Must-Have Items to Bring

Not only does hiking offer great exercise and beautiful scenery, but an outdoor trek can also be a wonderful bonding activity to share with your dog. Your pup will love the fresh air and all the new smells along the trail. But, as with any new outdoor adventure, adequate preparation is key. When planning a hike with your furry friend, make sure to follow these tips on what to bring with you to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.

Find a Trail That’s Dog Friendly
Not all trails allow dogs, so make sure you do some research before you head out. The best place to start is by doing general online search for “dog friendly trails” along with your state or location. You’ll likely find a comprehensive hiking guide that will provide you Ffirwith maps and insider tips. If not, try searching for a specific National or State park. While these parks often allow dogs, your pup might only be allowed in certain areas. BringFido.com is also a great resource for finding dog friendly hiking trails in your state.

Assess Your Own Backpack and Determine What’s Relevant for Your Pooch
Consider the items you’re packing for yourself—does your pup need these items too? For example, water is an essential that you’ll want to have plenty of, both for yourself and for Fido. Never assume you’ll come across natural water sources for your pooch as they might be few and far between, or even non-existent. Plus, lakes and streams can be dirty and home to dangerous parasites. While hiking, use your own thirst level as a guide for how often to offer your pup plenty of fresh, clean water. A good rule of thumb is to offer a drink every 15-30 minutes to prevent dehydration.

Bring Sustenance in Addition to Water
Depending on the length of your hike, you may want to pack food for Fido, as well. Especially for all-day or overnight hiking trips, be sure to measure and pack enough food to cover all of your pup’s regular meals. You may even want to increase his servings based on his fitness and the hike’s level of difficulty. Dogs burn calories with exercise just as humans do, and need food to fuel them. Treats might be a good idea as well, especially if you like to use them as a reward for good behavior!

Research Leash Laws and Abide Accordingly
Find out beforehand what the leash laws are wherever you and your pup are going. For example, some state parks require dogs to be on a leash of a certain length. If in doubt, it’s always a good idea to keep your dog on a leash even when it’s not required. Use your best judgment based on your pooch’s level of obedience and your feel for his safety.

Make Sure Your Dog Has a Collar On, Regardless of Leash
If you decide to keep Fido off-leash during your hike, make sure he still has a collar on. The collar should fit snugly (but not too tightly) and should have your dog’s name, your telephone number, and his rabies tag attached to it. If you should get separated from your pup, proper identification will ensure that whomever finds him has a way of contacting you.

Consider Protective Wear
While dog booties can sometimes look a little ridiculous (yet cute of course!), they can be extremely useful in helping your pup navigate difficult weather and terrain. Booties protect your dog’s paws from harsh elements such as cold, salty sidewalks, rocky paths and hot surfaces; not to mention that covered feet can protect vulnerable paws from injury. Your dog might look a little funny when first trying on booties, but once he gets used to them, he will be grateful for the extra layer!

Come Equipped with First Aid Supplies
A first aid kit is another essential, especially if you’ll be taking your pup on a long or multi-day hiking trip. Pack items like bandages and antiseptic for wounds, a liquid bandage for split or cut paws, and tweezers for tick removal. Gauze, bandage scissors, adhesive tape, stop-bleeding powder, and a muzzle are also recommended to be fully prepared for any unexpected incidents.

Take a Load Off (If Your Pooch Can Handle It)
hiking-thumbnailNow that you’re aware of the necessities for hiking with your pooch, you’ll need a knapsack to carry it all in! Dog packs are useful accessories that allow your dog to share some of the load with you. In general, dogs can carry up to 25% of their body weight. Some breeds can carry more, while others can’t carry much at all. Check with your veterinarian to confirm what size load your dog can carry safely. Alternatively, pack doggy supplies in plastic baggies within your own pack, so they’re easy to locate in a pinch, and separated from all the human stuff.

Looks like you and Fido are ready to hit the trails! With these hiking essentials, you and your pup are sure to have a safe and enjoyable hiking trip.

Traveling With Your Pup: Where to Stay

Once you’ve experienced the unmatched, incredible human-pooch bond, it can become hard – both logistically and emotionally to leave your dog at home while the rest of the family goes on vacation. Fortunately, if you’re up for it, there are many pup-friendly vacation options that make bringing Fido along a convenient and fun experience.

Depending on the size of your family and your needs, renting a house that allows dogs through a service like Airbnb or VRBO can be a great option that offers a yard for your dog to play, a full kitchen to store food and treats, and/or ample space for a crate, dog bed, and toys.

traveling-thumbnailAlternatively, if you prefer to lounge in the lap of luxury, many hotels and resorts not only accommodate dogs, but offer services customized for man’s best friend. Any of these major hotel chains are worth looking into – can’t you already imagine your pup enjoying room service and a nice, scenic walk by the beach?

The Fairmont
Depending on the property, Fairmont hotels offer a variety of pet-friendly accoutrements such as a welcome basket filled with dog treats, water bowl and toys, ample grounds for long walks, and pet sitting services. Be sure to call ahead for the specific property’s pet policy, additional room and housekeeping fees, weight limits and restricted areas.

Kimpton Hotels
Kimpton is one of the first hotel chains to offer pet-friendly services and accommodations. In fact, bringing your furry friend to stay at a Kimpton is free and without charge, and the hotel welcomes dogs of all different sizes and breeds. Management provides basic amenities such as beds, treats, mats and bowls as well as a concierge list of nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks and stores upon arrival.

W Hotels
Most W Hotels have a “P.A.W” policy, meaning Pets Are Welcome, but enforce a one-dog only limit and require that the dog be less than 40 pounds. If your dog meets this criteria, with an additional fee and non-refundable cleaning charge, he will be welcomed with treats and a variety of living amenities for his stay. The concierge will also gladly arrange dog sitting, dog walking, birthday cake or locations of nearest dog parks and dog-friendly places at your request.

Trump Hotel Collection
Check each Trump property for its specific pet policy including fees and restrictions, but all hotels are pet-friendly and welcome your four-legged friend. Amenities in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Toronto, Waikiki and Doral, Miami, the Trump Pets program offers gourmet treats, in-room dog-specific dining menu, plush dog beds, dog walking services and more.

Loews Hotels
The Loews Loves Pets program offers services such as welcome gifts with name tag, bowl and special treats as well as a “pet in room” sign that helps you relax and alerts the housekeeping staff there is a furry friend in your room. To lighten your travel load, the hotel offers pet beds and accessories. And for mealtime, your pet can enjoy gourmet room service pet menus developed by in-house chefs in conjunction with a licensed veterinarian. Restrictions include two pets per room.

Now that you have a few suggestions, here is a list of questions you should ask the hotel staff before booking your stay.

• What are the extra fees associated with accommodating a dog? Room fee, service fee, housekeeping fee?
• How large are the hotel grounds? Is there ample enough space to take my dog for a walk?
• What are the sleeping options for dogs? Do you offer in-room pet beds or is there a hotel kennel?
• Are there any restricted areas where my dog cannot go, e.g., the pool, lobby, etc.?
• Do you offer dog-food options?
• Do you offer any bonus amenities such as pet-friendly activities?

Now that you’re fully equipped with information to travel with your pet, get ready to enjoy a relaxing, memorable vacation!

Dog Breeds by Fur: Low to High Maintenance Pooches

When deciding on the best dog for your family, grooming responsibilities probably don’t top of the list of criteria during breed selection. However, depending on your financial situation and time constraints, hair may be a factor worth considering. Depending on the type of dog and their grooming needs, you could be visiting a professional groomer as much as every two-four weeks, or at a minimum, intensively brushing at home on a daily basis. Here’s a rundown of the lowest to highest maintenance pups when it comes to hair, which should help with setting expectations, planning and budgeting.

Short-haired, smaller dogs are going to require the least amount of grooming. An important caveat however is that even though these breeds are short-haired, they will still shed somewhat as all dogs shed some fur. Check out these breeds with low grooming needs if you’d rather not trade in your day job for a styling gig.

Italian Greyhound
Boston Terrier
Miniature Pinscher
• Harrier
• Whippet
• German Pinscher
• Basenji
• Australian Kelpie
• English Foxhound
• Black & Tan Coonhound
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Great Dane
• Neapolitan Mastiff

talk-ab-fur-thumbnailConversely, if you can’t resist a fluffy, long-haired pup, target this list of styling breeds, who require more hands-on attention to their coats to avoid matting, shedding and hygiene issues.

Alaskan Malamute
• Bearded Collie
Bernese Mountain Dog
Bichon Frise
• Border Terrier (or most terriers, for that matter)
Chow Chow
Cocker Spaniel (and most other Spaniels)
• English or Irish Setter
• Giant, Standard and Miniature Schnauzers
Lhasa Apso
Old English Sheepdog (and other sheep dogs)
• Pekingese
Portuguese Water Dog
Shih Tzu
Siberian Husky

Dangers During the Dog Days Of Summer

Summertime and the living’s easy…unless you’re a pup! While hot weather can mean refreshing swims and beach walks for Fido, the season can also bring dangerous temperatures that can cause serious health issues such as overheating and sunburns. We’ve outlined some common summer hazards to be aware of during these hot months to keep your pooch safe and risk-free.

Open Water
While some dogs are natural-born swimmers, others are not. To avoid the risk of injury or drowning, keep your water-averse dog away from pools and lakes where he could fall in, as well as the ocean (a high tide or rough waters can easily sweep a small dog under the current). If you’re bringing your dog on a boat, make sure you have a life preserver ready for him, just as you would with a small child.

While nothing says 4th of July quite like fireworks, your dog may feel otherwise. Dogs are often sensitive to loud noises and could run off in fear or act out in aggression upon hearing the pops, cracks and booms that come with the popular Independence Day tradition.

Just as humans can suffer heatstroke, dogs can be just as, if not more vulnerable to overheating and dehydration. To avoid overheating, limit walks and outdoor play to cooler times of the day (sunrise or sunset), provide adequate shade or a cool place to rest indoors, offer plenty of fresh water and never ever leave your dog alone in a hot car. Lastly, be aware of your dog’s temperament – while panting and drooling alone can be normal behaviors, if these symptoms are paired with pale gums, hyperventilation, rapid pulse, confusion, diarrhea, vomiting, or rectal bleeding, contact your vet immediately.

Fleas, Ticks and Bees
summer-hazards-thumbnailThe warm summer months unfortunately bring out annoying insects such as fleas and ticks, which love to attach on and bite your four-legged friend. Make sure to protect your pup (and your family and home) by applying medicated flea/tick ointment to Fido on a regular basis. If your pup does come down with either of these critters, it’s imperative to do a deep clean and take necessary measures to prevent the transmission of disease and other parasites. If your dog gets stung by a bee, you’ll want to remove the stinger immediately (if you can find it) and then make an emergency trip to the vet for monitoring and/or treatment of an allergic reaction.

Warm weather can also bring new pollen grains and other allergens into your dog’s environment. Seasonal allergies often cause intense itchiness in dogs, which can lead to hot spots, infections, wounds and hair loss from scratching too much. Talk to your vet about the best treatment options for your dog – depending on breed and severity of the symptoms, management could include oral steroid medication, specialty shampoos or ointments, or even immunotherapy (allergy shots).

Toxic Chemicals
Certain products used more frequently during the summer months such as insect repellent, fertilizer, weed control, pool chemicals, or ant bait can contain dangerous chemicals that can pose a poison threat to your dog. Check the ingredients in all products before use, or ask your gardener or pool servicer for more information. If your dog accidentally ingests poison, call the Animal Poison Control Center hotline, available 24 hours, 7 days a week: (888) 426-4435.

A Spotlight on Service Dogs

A service dog is a dog trained specifically to assist people with disabilities such as visual impairment, hearing loss, mobility impairment, mental illnesses like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or health conditions such as diabetes.

It may not be that surprising to many dog lovers that on top of the all the amazing benefits the average pet dog provides, certain dogs have the capability to provide life-changing services for owners in need. More than just pets, service dogs are technically “working dogs.” To honor these incredible animals, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about service dogs, including which breeds are most suitable for service training, the process for a dog to become certified, and how you can get involved in service animal organizations.

Common Service Breeds
service-thumbnailThe breeds that tend to take well to service-based training are German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Border Collies. Yet, there are also other breeds that are best for specific disabilities. For instance, smaller breeds such as Setters and Shiba Inus are often used for seizure assistance. In general, small breeds are better suited for conditions that require medical alerts; but for mobility or balance issues, larger, stronger breeds are necessary.

Physical Assessment
The first step in evaluating whether a dog is a good candidate for service, is to schedule a nose-to-tail examination by a licensed veterinarian. If a dog has a condition like arthritis for example, he would not be considered a good candidate as the condition could inhibit him from performing his duties and add unnecessary strain to his body. Service dogs should all be neutered or spayed so they are not in heat while working. Age is also a factor as dogs should be at least 6 months old and past the puppy stage.

Personality Evaluation
Disposition and temperament are crucial factors in determining whether a dog is capable of becoming an effective service dog. A neutral personality that isn’t too active or too passive is the easiest personality type to train for service duties. A dog who is pretty even-tempered, rather than aggressive or overly submissive, is likely to be a great fit.

Sourcing A Reputable Trainer
Training a service animal requires a lot of expertise, patience and of course a tailored program customized to the illness or condition the dog is being trained to assist. While there is no required certification in the United States, the service dog training community has created self-regulated, minimum standards of which all trainers should meet. While anyone can learn to train their pet, it’s highly recommended to seek out a professional when it comes to service-based training. A professional trainer will put in the time (often hundreds of hours over 6 months to a year) and focus on “proofing,” which is the art of tuning out distractions and always being on command.

Public Testing
Intermittently throughout and certainly towards the end of the service-training program, professional trainers will take the soon-to-be service dogs into public environments and essentially test the dogs’ skills. Often equipped with a video camera, the trainers will test the dogs’ public conduct, including expectations such as only urinating and defecating on command, curbed excitement, no display of aggression and reduced hyperactivity.

Graduation and Registration
Once a dog successfully completes a service-dog training course, it’s the responsibility of the owner or trainer to register the dog with a reputable service organization such as the United States Service Dog Registry. Because service dogs are self-regulated in the U.S., it’s imperative that owners are diligent in completing the paperwork and registering their animal. A public record of a dog’s service training is helpful for any situation where the dog may be questioned or as evidence in the case of any sort of altercation. Remember, the dog just graduated an intensive program; it’s the least us humans can do!

Finding a Human Match In Need
Similar to trainer resources, there are plenty of places to find people in need of service animals. Remember, public accommodations for service dogs are only made if they’re accompanying a disabled individual.

Whether you have a dog you’re interested in training and donating to become a service animal, or you or someone you know is in need of a service dog, we hope you’ve found this information helpful. It truly is incredible that in addition to providing unconditional love, dogs can provide humans life-saving care.


Hold The Elevator: Best Dogs For Apartment Living

While any dog can thrive in an apartment setting if given the right amount of exercise, there are certain breeds considered ideal housemates in smaller living spaces. As a general rule of thumb, if a dog can fit in your purse, it can fit in your apartment – but there are exceptions! Some small breeds have high energy levels, and would do best with more room to run and play. On the other hand, some larger breeds are low energy and wouldn’t mind living in an apartment with less space. So, with a grain of salt, take a look at these perfect apartment-dwelling breeds based on size, energy level and personality.

Yorkie – The ever-popular Yorkie is cute, cuddly and compact – what more could you ask for? These small, affectionate dogs are keen to be near their owners, typically only weigh between 5-7 pounds, and are easily exercised indoors.

MalteseMaltese are adorable, gentle companions. They are the quintessential lap dog and love to be pampered, cuddled and held. These 4-7 pound dogs are also easy to train, and don’t have high exercise requirements, making them excellent apartment residents.

Havanese – These small dogs have big personalities! Eager to learn and easily trained, Havanese are between 10-15 pounds when fully grown, and make excellent companion pets. They are playful and somewhat active, but are easily manageable in an apartment.

PugPugs have an amusing, distinctive appearance and are generally considered to be a very adaptable breed. They are loyal, quiet dogs that love to be with their owners and have low exercise requirements, making them a good pet for living spaces of any size.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – These dogs want nothing more than to be by your side! Fairly small at 13-18 pounds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is friendly and easy going, and will get along with anyone. They excel in smaller living spaces because of their calm and adaptable nature.

Bichon Frise – This fancy, fluffy pup is energetic, but can be exercised easily indoors as well as out. At only 7-12 pounds., the Bichon makes a quiet, loving apartment dog – and bonus, they shed much less than other breeds, ideal for living in close quarters!

Bulldog (French and English) – Both French and English Bulldogs tend to be low energy, content to laze around and be by your side, which make them great apartment pets. These dogs thrive on human contact and make great watchdogs. Plus, have you seen those adorable wrinkly faces…?

Shih Tzu – Bred to be a friendly lap dog, the Shih Tzu is certainly good at its job! They are affectionate, mellow and adaptable to any living environment.

hold-elevator-thumbnailBoston Terrier – Ideal because of their size, this breed is fairly energetic and will need to be walked daily. But, if you can keep a Boston Terrier well-exercised, these little gentlemen and ladies make devoted, gentle apartment pets.

Dachshund – These distinctive dogs have short legs, long bodies, and big hearts. They are lively dogs that love to exercise indoors and out. Dachshunds tend to attach strongly to their owners and are extremely affectionate, making them great roommates.

ChihuahuaChihuahuas are tiny and love to cuddle – especially in the cold winter months, as they can be sensitive to low temperatures. They require minimal exercise, but are fun and playful when you want to be active. These little guys and girls make excellent apartment dogs!

Pomeranian – This little fluff ball is feisty and full of energy, but at only 3-7 pounds, they don’t need much room to get their exercise! The Pomeranian is affectionate and outgoing and will take comfort in curling up next to you, no matter how small your apartment.

Great Dane – So, a Great Dane might not seem like the best option for an apartment based on his size – anywhere from 100-200 pounds as adults – but these big guys are actually very low energy and are content to lay on the couch right next to you. As quiet and friendly as they are, this breed would make an excellent apartment roommate!

5 Impressive Tricks to Teach Your Dog

When tackling the art of training a puppy, the average dog owner will likely first focus on house training, followed by simple commands such as Sit, Stay, Come and Heel. However, once your pup has mastered the basics, depending on how ambitious you are (and how willing she is), it may be time to teach her some “party tricks” that will really impress friends, family and of course, the other pooches. To get an idea for the training opportunities at your disposal, we’ve outlined a few dog-friendly talents and how to achieve success. Train away (and make sure to capture these on video)!

The Army Crawl
Training your pup for the armed forces may seem like an impossible feat, but you might be surprised to learn that mastering the army crawl is completely doable. Not only an impressive trick, but also a good exercise to improve joint flexibility, have your dog lie down and drag a treat in front of her nose across the ground, which should spur the desire to scoot on her belly. Once she shows progress, add a command of choice such as “Crawl!” along with the gesture and treat. She’ll soon associate the behavior with the reward and perform upon request.

The Salute
Another military-themed trick, the salute, is quite easy for a dog to pick up if coached properly. Simply post a sticky note above your pup’s brow, which will cause a natural reflex to paw it off. Each you’re your pup reaches above his eye to remove the sticky, say “Salute” and hand him a treat to praise the behavior. After enough repetition, your dog will associate only the verbal command with the action and you can remove the note.

The Baller
Teaching your pup to “shoot hoops” on the court is not only great exercise for him, but for you too! Start slowly by using a lightweight ball, throwing it around, dribbling and allowing your pup to chase and play with the ball. Whenever he interacts with the ball, praise and reward him with a treat. Once he’s relaxed and playing happily and consistently, put the ball on his nose, reward and give treat and then bounce the ball off his nose, followed by rewarding with a treat. Repeat these steps and he’ll quickly start to understand that playing ball not only means treats, but also lots of fun!

The Dance
Take care with teaching your pup to dance, especially if they’re a larger breed, overweight, prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, or on the older side. A most effective and easy-to-learn skill for smaller dogs, dancing is a really fun trick to teach. Simply have your dog sit and then dangle a treat above her head (you may even need to move the treat a bit behind the head). Once your dog is standing up on her hind legs, move the treat in a circle above her head until she spins. Accompany this with the command “Dance!” and provide a treat. Once she gets the hang of it, she’ll do it without a treat upon command.

The Kiss
tricks-thumbnailCan’t get enough of those puppy kisses? Teach your pup to kiss on command for that perfect smooch. Take a little peanut butter or cream cheese and dab it on your cheek (or lips, no judgement). Then give the cue “Kiss,” lean in towards your dog and let him finish the job. Remember, practice makes perfect and with enough repetition, be prepared to get lots of unsolicited slobbery, wet kisses!