Simple Tips to Keep Your Pet Cool

As the summer heat rises, so does your urge to hit the beach or enjoy the warm weather. As much as we enjoy our travel buddies, We need to make sure that our dogs stay cool. Just like humans, dogs can easily overheat. So it is important that we do what we can to keep our pups safe during the hot season. Here are a few helpful tips to help your new best friend enjoy the summer with you.

What is Ideal for Your Dog?

A fun fact about dogs is they can’t actually sweat the way people do. They have special skin on their nose and paw pads that helps with regulating temperature. Dogs will also pant to cool down. Between a dog’s already high body temperature of 101-102 degrees Fahrenheit, and the fact that they are covered in fur, you can see why the heat can be dangerous. i have decided to give a few helpful tips to help keep your dogs safe during the hot months.

Helpful Tips

Water

Always keep water available to your dogs during the hot months. Keeping hydrated like humans keeps a dog cool. You can also take an extra step by putting ice cubes in their water or letting them crunch on them. Jack absolutely love ice cubes on a hot day. It helps to fulfill his need to chew while cooling down. If you notice that your dog just does not drink water that often, you may want to invest in a water bowl that has a fountain function. The running water may peak your dog’s interest to taste the water, thus making him drink. For those that have a nice back yard, maybe take some time to let them run around through sprinklers or just a nice spritz with the water hose would work. Baby pools are also a great idea to use in the backyard.

Fun Treats

A couple of fun treat ideas to help keep your pups cool are homemade popsicles. There are 2 different types that are really easy to make, peanut butter pops and chicken broth pops. Peanut butter pops are pretty self explanatory. Just fill an ice tray with peanut butter and freeze. With Chicken pops it is the same concept but with chicken broth instead of peanut butter. I would stick to low sodium and maybe mix a little water in with the broth to cut down on the salt intake. If you want to get a little fancy you can freeze a dog biscuit inside the broth to make a tasty pup pop.

 

 

 

 

Fans

This may seem very simple because it is. Aside from running the air inside, I invested in a floor fan for an extra breeze in the house. Piggy loves to lay in front of the fan and it does an amazing job circulating the air. Living on the top floor of an old building is very taxing during the summer months due to heat rising and settling in my unit. Before I had my fan, the air circulation was not very good and it would easily get stuffy in the house. Even with the temperature getting high sometimes, I could really tell a difference with the temperature

Cooling Mats

Last but not least, cooling mats are a good source to keeping your pet cool. I stumbled across this neat idea while browsing and thought it was pretty amazing. There are different types of cooling mats out there. I think the self cooling mat may be a little more effective since you do not have to freeze, refrigerate or add water etc. The dog activates the mat by just laying on it. The cooling mat also comes in different sizes to fit your pet as well as different colors to give your pet that cool look for the summer.

Our pets are our responsibility and it is important that we do what we can to keep them safe and healthy. Keeping your pets cool during the warm seasons can be really rough and tough on the electric bill as well. These easy tips can be very helpful for any household type and are fairly easy for owners with busy schedules. If you have any other helpful tips please feel free to share and as always drop a line in the comment box.

Finding the Right Dog Food

The topic of what to feed your dog may seem very simple, but I have heard the question over and over again, “What is the best food for my dog?” This is more of a trick question because it all depends on your dog’s needs and what is going to be most affordable as the owner. Before you start with the torches and pitch forks, let me just clarify by saying “YES” I do think that every dog should eat quality food but quality doesn’t always mean spending hundreds of dollars on food each month. Now if that is something you are willing and able to do then yes of course spoil your pup a bit. If you are on a budget then pick a brand that works best for your budget as well as meets the need of your pet.

My Experience Starting Out

Starting out as a new owner, I knew nothing about which dog food would be best for Jack. I was basing my choice on what I could afford and how much food I could get the price. I started out with Pedigree because it was a cheaper brand and you really got a lot for a little. Jack seemed to like the food and I didn’t notice any problems at all. By the time I had adopted Piggy, I gained more knowledge about different food brands, dog allergies and things to look for when buying food. This completely blew my mind. I never thought that like people, dogs could have allergies to food!

All of a sudden Pedigree didn’t seem like the BEST choice. I knew that I did not want to keep Piggy on Science Diet. Although it is a really good brand of food, it was not in my budget. I got some suggestions from my peers as to which would be a good brand for her and decided on Purina.

Since Purina One was what was suggested, I initially changed to that specific food. Both dogs did great and seemed to enjoy it a lot. Still keeping price a main factor, I chose to switch to Purina Dog Chow vs. Purina One since I got more for the price. Now switching dog food is not an elaborate process.

The important thing is that you mix the old food with the new food until the old food is gone. Picture growing up eating broccoli all your life then suddenly someone comes along and says “Hey you should eat this chicken.” The chicken may taste great but it could be a bad combination for your belly. For dogs this means diarrhea which is NEVER fun to clean up. I started Piggy off by feeding the old food as her first meal. I figured since she was in a new environment she would be nervous enough. It is not a requirement to do but it helped with her transition.

Making the Switch

Eventually I transitioned both dogs to Purina Dog Chow. After a while I noticed Piggy having issues with ear and yeast infections. The vet gave her an allergy shot and suggested changing her food. I remembered how well Piggy did on Purina One and decided to switch back. That is one of the lessons I learned with dog food. “If your dog is doing well with a specific food, keep them on that food.” It is nice to try different things and see what is out there but sometimes, switching can cause problems.

Another deciding factor was Jack’s eating habits. I have never really had an issue with Jack eating his food. Now unlike Piggy, he takes his sweet time picking through pieces while she inhales her food. I also know that sometimes dogs will eat less during the hotter months which Jack has done before but this time was different. Jack was not eating his food at all. He would maybe take a couple of bites and leave the rest. Of course, I panicked at first until it dawned on me that maybe he was tired of this food. When I finally made the switch to Purina One, I noticed Jack wasted no time eating all of his meal. As before I mixed the old with the new and of course he chose to leave the old food and eat the bits of new food. Since making the switch to Purina One, I have not noticed any health issues with Piggy. No more ear or yeast infections and she is a happy dog.

Can Dogs Eat Human Food?

The answer to this question is Yes and No. I have seen numerous times when people will feed dogs human food. This can either be really good in some cases or really bad. I am going to preface my discussion by saying that YES I am one of those dog moms who feed my pups human food on occasion. I am not discouraging anyone from feeding their dog human food. I am only saying to be careful what you feed your dog as far as human foods.

Some human foods are actually pretty harmful to dogs. I may be able to speak for most by saying that chocolate and any other form of caffeine are a big no no in a doggy diet. Grapes, raisins, onions and garlic are also harmful just to name a few. You may notice that peanut butter and dairy products are also on the list of items. Peanut butter is not a bad treat for a dog as long as it does not contain Xylitol. As for dairy products, I am guilty of feeding pieces of cheese to my dogs as a treat. I have also rewarded Jack with a “pupiccino” from Starbucks after a trip to the vet however I do not make a habit of feeding too much dairy to my dogs because I know too much can cause an issue. Neither of my dogs have had reactions to dairy but if you are unsure or you notice your dog having a reaction to anything you feed them, I would get them to a vet for an allergy test. Some dogs are okay with dairy and some, just like people, have an intolerance.

On the other hand, there are some foods that can be helpful to your pet. For example, unseasoned chicken and rice is not a bad meal for a dog on occasion. Sweet potatoes and some vegetables such as peas and carrots are okay to feed your pet as well. For those with dogs that can handle dairy, a small amount of plain yogurt can help balance out the bacteria in your dog’s belly. Also, pureed plain pumpkin can also help with diarrhea if you can’t get to the vet right away. For a larger list of what dogs can and can’t eat you may take a look here https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/human-foods-for-dogs#section54.

So as you can see there is a lot of good information about dog food. I did my research and chose a dog food that works for my pups and my budget. I also learned about different allergens within dog food so I know to look for reactions and get my dog to the vet if needed. I do spoil my dogs however I do not feed them human food too often because it may make them not want to eat their own food. I mean I like to share but not that much. Whatever you decide to feed your dogs make sure it works for you. Do your research and consult your vet if needed so that your furry friend stays happy and healthy. Thank you for stopping by and be sure to drop a comment. Until next time!

Helpful Hints To Training Your Dog

Dog Training Techniques

So now that we have covered the basics of deciding to own a pet, choosing the right pet and basic needs, it is time to move on to one of the most questioned subjects. “How to train your dog.” This topic is one of my favorites to talk about because as a pet owner I was unaware of what was involved in the training process and I feel like it is important for new pet owners to understand how training works in order to have a good pet experience. I know I say this in just about every post but it is critical for pet ownership.  Research the breed you are interested in having. You are probably asking “what does the breed have to do with it?” The answer is personality. There are some breeds that are just easier to train due to their breeding purpose and intelligence level.

Some working dogs like Australian Shepherds are easy to train due to their urge to please their owners as well as their high intelligence. They are also really athletic and can be trained for shows. Chihuahuas can also be a good breed for training due to their brain power. So I guess I lucked out with that one. On the other hand, Pitbulls can be stubborn and hard to train if you don’t start early and stay consistent with the training. When I adopted Piggy, she already had basic training. I just had to work with her a bit so she knew what to expect in her new home. Although she is by no means a wild child, she can be a little stubborn with listening to commands on walks if something has her attention. Also remember that every dog is different. It is helpful to know what you may be getting yourself into with the breed you choose but remember that not every Aussie will be a breeze to train just like not every tall person will be great at basketball.

Potty Training Your Pooch

A great training technique to start with is potty training. The first thing to know about potty training is that it does not happen overnight. It takes time just like with our human babies. If your dog senses your frustration, they may get anxious and have more accidents. It is also good to keep in mind that getting a puppy vs. an older dog may require more time since they will need to go out more frequently. The main thing I learned when potty training Jack was that I had to get him on a good feeding schedule. At the time I had not considered this because he was not the type of dog to keep eating his food because it was there. Since he was a grazer, I figured it would be fine to just leave his food out for him to eat when he wanted. WRONG. This way of feeding made potty time difficult. Jack did very well with peeing outside, but he would come inside to poop and at odd times so I never knew when he had to go. I got some advice from my vet who introduced me to the concept of a feeding schedule. I chose a breakfast and dinner time for him. I also took him on longer walks. Eventually I was able to figure out when Jack had to go and his potty schedule became regular.

 

For a while I did use puppy pads which I feel helped him a lot. Jack knew that the pad was where he was supposed to go potty instead of all over the house. Eventually I transitioned him to just going outside to use the bathroom. I realized that I was not walking him long enough so Jack thought that it was normal to pee outside and poop inside.  How I got Jack to understand that he needed to poop outside was by giving him a treat every time he went outside.

The Trick With Treats

The trick with training your dog is positive reinforcement. This does not mean that puppy gets away with bad behavior. My tone is very different with bad behavior and good behavior. It means that you may get better results with rewarding a dog for the good things they do vs. only acknowledging the bad behavior with scolding. Your dog will eventually associate a wanted behavior with a treat. Now when I take Jack out and he poops, he will sit and wait for his treat because he knows he did what I wanted him to do. Some dogs are people pleasers so I would use that to your advantage. Both my dogs are very treat motivated which helps with a lot of my training. Piggy for the most part is well-behaved. I did not have to work hard at all with her since she already knew basic commands. The only issue I have with her is her high prey drive for cats, which I will save for another post.

Jack on the other hand has a bad habit of barking and lunging at people and other dogs. He has gotten better with his encounter with people but we are still working on his interaction with other dogs. My secret is using treats. Whenever we are on walks and I see a person, I pull out a treat and make him sit. At this point, Jack is fully focused on the treat. Once the person passes and is out of sight, Jack gets the treat if he remained seated and quiet. After a few times of repeating this cycle, Jack now associates sitting quietly with a treat. This concept can be used with any type of training. I use the same method with crate training.

Crate Training

Piggy was already crate trained and potty trained when I adopted her but I still use this training technique for her since I use treats as a reward. Jack was my learning experience. What I learned was that a dog’s crate was a safe place/bedroom. At first, I had an airline kennel. Jack was okay crating for bed but was not okay when I went to work. I was not comfortable leaving him out because we had not yet mastered potty training. Treats were not enough of a motivation for him just yet. Once he outgrew his kennel, I got a wire crate. This was a better fit because he felt more secure. Now that I have a second dog I feed them separately in their crates to prevent fighting. This routine of feeding and treats helped both dogs love their crates. They love their daily cuddles after work but at bedtime Jack rushes to his crate to settle down.

I have heard of and seen some people use puppy pads inside a dog crate. I personally would not recommend doing this because it may cause confusion with your pet. Dogs naturally do not go to the bathroom where they sleep so teaching them to use the puppy pad in their crate is the same as teaching a human child to go to the bathroom in their bed. Ample playtime outside their crate and frequent walks can prevent unwanted accidents.

 

By now, you all are probably thinking that I have a perfect Pitbull and a wild and crazy Chihuahua. I definitely lucked out with Piggy and Jack is a little socially awkward but I feel like both are great dogs. Jack was my learning experience and I use what I learned to reinforce what Piggy was taught. Treats are awesome tools you can use when training your pet. Remember that your pet has to follow your schedule and your rules. Anytime they exhibit the behavior you are looking for whether it is a simple “sit” command or jumping through a hoop, be sure to reward them so that they understand what you want them to do. Whether you decide to crate your pet or not, make sure your pup sees its crate as a safe place so they will want to crate when you need them to. Be sure to drop a line in the comment box.

The Real Story with Rabies

So I am going to start this post off slightly different from the others. First let me ask how many of you have seen a zombie movie? Of course if you’re into the gore then you must have thought it was great right? Let’s assume that the gore isn’t your thing. Your first time seeing a zombie film completely creeped you out! Basically a person gets a random virus that affects their brain and fills them with a murderous rage. The virus then makes them attack and kill/infect other people. It’s easy not to be afraid of something when you know it’s just a movie. But what if I told you that the virus that infected the zombies was a real virus. Then would you be scared?

What is Rabies?

So let me re-phrase by saying there is a virus similar to that of the zombie virus. Sorry to all my monster movie fans but I am referring to the rabies virus. Some elements of the rabies virus have actually been used as inspiration for the zombie and Dracula movies. You may have even heard of the rabies virus if you have either owned a pet or have seen the movie Cujo. Rabies has actually been around for quite some time. Some of the first cases were seen around 1930 BC but the vaccine itself was not invented until 1885. Wow! imagine just how many cases occurred between that time period. Here we are in 2019 and not that many people are well-informed about the virus. So what exactly is rabies and how can we stay protected?

Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system and causes brain swelling. Without immediate treatment, the virus can be fatal. Rabies is spread through saliva mostly through bites, but licking, scratching and open wounds are also possibilities. Eyes, nose and mouth are gateways as well.

How does this affect us?

Rabies is generally contracted through bites by a rabies carrier. Common animals that carry the disease are bats, raccoons and foxes to name a few. If you see any of these guys nearby, it is best to steer clear especially if they are acting abnormal. Now if they are coming onto your property or in your neighborhood, I would suggest calling your area’s animal control to have them removed. It is not wise to remove the animal yourself. The best thing is to not put yourself in a situation where you can be bitten.

While we are on the subject of bites and preventing them, how does this tie into pet ownership? Of course we want to keep our pets from being bitten by a possible rabid animal but if it does happen some states may require a 6-month quarantine for your pet. Why? Well in some cases it can take 8 weeks or longer for rabies symptoms to show in an animal. 6 months without any symptoms is a good indicator that your pet is n the clear. Now as the owner, it would be your responsibility to pay any costs associated with the quarantine. Boarding your pet for a short time can be okay but over a 6-month period, this can get really expensive. The only other option is to have your pet put down. Since neither option A nor B sound pleasant, I prefer to stick with option C. Keep a close eye on your pets when playing near wooded areas and keep them up to date on their rabies vaccine.

Now let’s say the shoe was on the other foot and your pet was not bitten but was the biter. Whether you realize it or not, your pet actually falls into the category of a rabies vector. So you may have guessed that if your pet does bite, some states require another quarantine. Oh don’t worry, this one is only 10 days. What’s the difference? So in order to pass the virus to another animal or human, it has to have gone through what is called the “incubation period” and already attacked the brain. This is the point where the known symptoms of foaming at the mouth and aggression are seen. In a nutshell, it is easier to look for symptoms in a 10-day time frame from an animal that has bitten because they can only pass the disease after the virus has affected their brain. The animal will either start showing symptoms or die within the 10 days. For an animal that was bitten, it takes longer for symptoms to show. The only accurate way to test for rabies is to submit brain tissue.

How can we stay protected?

As of right now there is no cure for rabies. There are preventative vaccines that you can receive if you work around animals and there is a high chance of an animal bite occurring. There are also vaccines you receive once you have been bitten. If you are exposed to rabies, you should get to the doctor pronto and get a vaccine. There is usually 3 or 4 rabies vaccines that you will receive in a series. For pet owners, most states require that your pet is vaccinated against rabies each year. A vet can issue a 3-year vaccine if you go on or before the date of expiration of the previous rabies shot.

So let’s see if we can sum this up. We have a deadly virus that can be passed from animals to humans. There is no cure for the virus and the time that it takes for you to start showing symptoms is anywhere from 2 weeks to 8 weeks to 6 months maybe more. Not many people are informed on the dangers, so let’s think of how many unvaccinated animals are out there! Scared yet? Now that you understand what the rabies virus is and why it is so important, make sure you keep your pets up to date on vaccines and away from wildlife. If you are unsure whether your pet is required to have the vaccine, definitely check with your vet. You can also check out more detailed information about rabies here at https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/index.html also here at https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/rabies. Let’s do what we can to keep ourselves safe and prevent our own real life monster movie. Please feel free to drop a line in the comment box below.

How to deal with Heartworms

What are heartworms?

So most people are aware that animals are capable of getting worms. Usually these worms are parasites that move in and make homes in our pets’ bellies. Heartworms, as you might have guessed, attack the heart and lungs. These parasites can affect both dogs and cats but for the purposes of this post, I will be exclusively speaking on canine heartworms.

Heartworms do not develop when a dog ingests a parasite, but when a larva is injected through a mosquito bite. The larva develops into an adult which eats away at the heart. What does this mean for our pets? If heartworm disease goes untreated, eventually the dog will die. Now before I send someone into a state of panic, let me clarify the process. Once the larva is successfully placed, it does not become an adult overnight nor in a couple of weeks. In fact, it takes about 6 months for a larva to become an adult worm.

How can we prevent a dog from getting heartworms?

So since mosquitoes are the culprits behind planting the larva in our dogs, and we can’t keep mosquitoes from biting them, we have to turn to medicine to help us out. As I have mentioned in the previous post, all dogs need reoccurring vaccines to keep them healthy. One in particular that I had mentioned was the heartworm preventative medicine. This is administered as an oral medication; Ivermectin being a common brand. From my experience, Ivermectin is usually paired with another common dewormer, Pyrantel. Since both are monthly orals needed, it is easier to keep them on the same schedule. You can start your pups on the preventative at around 8 weeks and they should be tested at 6 months.

There are different brands of oral pills or chews your vet can prescribe. When I first started Jack with vaccines, He was taking Trifexis. This brand protected against, heartworms, intestinal parasites as well as fleas. The only thing was, it was hard for me to get Jack to take his pill. Now I use Heartguard. It only has Pyrantel and Ivermectin, but it comes in a chew form so my dogs think they are getting a special treat each month. Your vet can offer more information as to which kind of medicine may work best for your pet.

So how does the preventative work? As I have mentioned, it is almost Impossible to keep mosquitoes from biting your dog. Once you give your dog its monthly dose of the preventative, the medicine will kill off any larvae that are present. The preventative is only designed to kill larvae, not adult worms. If you miss a dose, you can always call your vet to get back on track. Just make sure you do not double dose your pet to make up for the dose that was missed. Heartworm preventative is a helpful medicine but too much at a time can be very harmful to your pet. Think of it like taking way too much Aspirin or Tylenol at one time to get rid of a headache. Probably not the best idea.

The Positives of Being Positive

Now I know what you are probably going to say. What can be positive about having a heartworm positive dog? Well let’s start with the fact that you would be giving an animal a chance at a good life. If you choose the route of adoption, you may notice that there are plenty of dogs that are overlooked due to their heartworm status. By adopting a heartworm positive dog, you give this dog a new beginning to a great life. Another positive thing is that heartworms can be cured with treatment. There are actually 3 different methods of treating heartworms. Fast kill, slow kill and in more severe cases, surgery.

The fast kill method consists of treating the animal with a round of antibiotics, followed by 2 or 3 injections. After the injections, the animal must rest for about 6 weeks only going out for potty breaks. The slow kill method does not use the injections. According the American Heartworm Society, the slow kill method can take over a year to cure a dog. I have only heard of this method being used in certain circumstances. The surgical method is of course only recommended in extreme cases of heartworm disease. For more detailed information on heartworm disease you can refer to www.heartwormsociety.org.

Where do we go from here?

To sum everything up. Heartworm disease is very serious and easily contracted through mosquitoes. It is easily prevented through monthly doses of preventative which you can purchase in single doses, 6 or 12 month doses. Depending on the mosquito prevalence in your area, you may not need to give your dog the preventative during certain seasons. Definitely consult with your vet before making that decision. Although heartworm disease is curable, the treatment can be very strenuous for your pet and very expensive for you as an owner. Preventing heartworm disease is much more cost effective than treating. Since I live in an area where spring through early fall turns into Mosquitoville, I keep both dogs on preventative year round. I hope this article inspired you to keep protecting your pets! Be sure to drop a comment below for any questions.

Don’t be Scared of Pet Healthcare

 

Shots Shots Shots!!!

So before we get into training your pet, I feel that it is good to talk about the importance of shots. No I am not talking about the kind you take to toast to your new puppy. I mean vaccines. All pets will need them. Just like infants and young children need several to help build their immune system and to keep them from getting sick, the same goes for your new companion. I know to some it may seem silly to compare a pet to a child however, vetting can be expensive if a dog gets sick or hurt. A lot of how we keep our pets healthy relies on preventative care. For instance, Canine Parvovirus is a common virus that infects and kills unvaccinated puppies. Although it can be treated, it is very expensive and depending on the severity of the virus, the pup may not survive if it does not receive immediate care.

Because their immune systems are not as strong as adult dogs, your vet may recommend boosters of the DA2PP (or other variations) vaccine to protect your puppy from several strands of viruses. If you are adopting an adult dog and are unsure of the vaccine history, your vet may also want to booster as well just as a precaution. Now just because your pup has had its first round of shots, does not mean you’re done. Monthly flea tick treatment, dewormer and heartworm preventative are necessary to keep your pet healthy as well.

The vaccine that people may be most familiar with is the rabies vaccine. This is particularly important out of all the vaccines because it protects against the rabies virus. Rabies is a deadly virus that can be passed to humans. Due to the seriousness of the virus, most if not all states in the US require that your pet is vaccinated against rabies. It may be helpful to call your local Animal Control or check with the ordinances in your area if you are unsure of the regulations. If your pet already has the vaccine, make sure to keep a copy of the rabies certificate on hand in case you need it. The tags are not sufficient proof that your animal is vaccinated. If you are looking to have your pet groomed or boarded, the paper certificate is what you need.

Let’s Talk About Vets Baby!

One of the scariest words for some pet owners is “vet” either because they automatically think “expensive” or that the vet may find something wrong with your pet. I must admit that at first I had this same mentality when I got Jack. Then I discovered that I have options. When Jack came home with me, he was 8 months old. I decided to go with a Banfield plan because they were well-known and once again I had no idea what I was doing. I had it in my head that every other vet meant paying an arm and a leg for service. What I did appreciate about the plan was that it included everything. Since my dog was still young and needed a series of shots, for me the plan was cost effective. I was also clueless when it came to understanding the vaccines he was getting. I was not well-informed about heartworm disease and knew nothing about the preventative he was getting. I only knew it doubled as a flea medicine. I appreciated the reminders for shots and that the plan came with the heartworm preventative so there really was not a way I could forget to give him his pill. I liked the experience I had with the vet because it opened opportunities for questions. I also suffered from first time dog mom syndrome where everything about Jack scared me. If he coughed or sneezed too much I was concerned and if he threw up at all, I freaked out. Until I became more aware of what was normal for my dog, the Banfield plan worked for me because vet visits were included.

By the time I thought about getting a second dog, I had gained more knowledge about vetting options from just asking my peers. Instead of going through Banfield to get Jack neutered, I chose to go through a clinic. As time went on and I realized that I did not need to take Jack to the vet as often as I thought, I decided to look at other options. Instead of paying a monthly fee, I decided to just pay for the vet visits and services when I needed them. Now at the time it worked out and seemed like a good idea; however, when I got dog number 2 I assumed that because Jack was young and had no major issues, Piggy would be the same. The Worst mistake as a pet owner. Since Piggy is a Pitbull, she came with ear issues, skin issues and possible allergies which Jack did not have. This goes back to a previous post where I say it is important to research your breed so you know what issues may arise.

Reassurance About Pet Insurrance

While we are on the subject of pet healthcare, what if you do have moments where services ARE expensive? Depending on the vet, you may not have the option to pay in installments. From my experience, all payments are due in full. As we all know with our four legged friends, accidents can happen and as they get older serious health issues can occur. Now as I am still new to the topic of pet insurance, I myself do not have it but it is something I have considered. I am not sure if many people are aware of the option for pet insurance. Once I looked into I was actually amazed by all the options out there! I did a simple search for top 10 pet insurance options for dogs and I found this list

Pets Best

ASPCA

Pet Plan

Embrace

Trupanion

Pet First

So why is pet insurance needed? Okay let me throw out a scenario. Your new pet is playing outside and somehow breaks a leg. How much is the surgery going to cost to fix it? Do you have it all at once? Scenario 2: Let’s say your pet is playing and swallows a piece of string. At the time you are thinking “It will eventually come out right?” Something so simple as an animal swallowing a toy or a piece of string could do some damage. These surgeries are not always simple nor are they cost effective. By having insurance it may save you a lot in the long run. Now am I saying that every pet owner should go out and get pet insurance? Absolutely NOT. I am only presenting options in case an emergency situation does occur.

Congratulations!

Congratulations!

I am so excited that you have decided to get a new pet. The experience of becoming a pet owner is awesome! Of course with every new experience comes a set of challenges. Do not let the hard stuff scare you off. It is definitely worth it in the end. I will regularly post little tricks of the trade that I have learned as a new pet owner and things I have picked up working in the animal field.

Don’t judge a breed by its cuteness

Choosing a dog can be fun but it is also important to choose the right dog for you. Keep in mind that every dog is different but it all starts with the breed. The more popular dog breeds are usually the toy breeds such as the Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas and Maltese just to name a few. I would suggest choosing a buddy that works well with your lifestyle. Yorkie’s may look adorable riding next to you in the car but if you’re an active runner, it may have a hard time keeping up.

Before I got either of my dogs I already had a couple of breeds in mind that I liked. Surprisingly I was not interested in having a Chihuahua or Pitbull. My favorite dog at the time was a Siberian Husky. I loved their eye coloring and how they reminded me of wolves. I also thought that Bloodhounds and Bassett Hounds were pretty cool for their sense of smell. After I got into researching dog breeds, I was determined to get a French Bulldog.

A little research goes a long way

I decided it would be best to do a little research before getting my first dog. I had it in my head that I could find the “ideal” dog for me. My routine started with me looking on different websites for the dog, then I would look up the breed once I saw one I liked. I typically found really helpful information on www.dogbreedinfo.com. It really goes into detail about temperament, noted health issues and life expectancy. Now for those of you who are more audio/visual learners, Dogs 101 is an awesome show to watch on Animal Planet. The show consists of veterinarians and dog behaviorist that tell you pretty much what you need to know about each breed including the dog’s origins.

It is always great to have a cute or unique looking dog but even more important to know what your dog was bred to do. For example, what I did learn about Huskies is that they are bred to be sled dogs. Being part of the working breed means that the dog needs to have room to run or go on frequent walks to burn off energy. Retrievers are bred to retrieve game for hunters. A game of fetch or training your dog to retrieve the newspaper helps keep the dog busy. If the dog is not worked, it may find its own job to do which may mean trouble for its owner. Needless to say I came to the conclusion that maybe a Husky was not the best pet for me.

Adopting vs. Buying

Making the decision to purchase a dog vs adopting is also a big decision. May I also add that there is nothing wrong with either. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking for a show dog, buying from a breeder may be your best option. Of course do your research and make sure you a getting the best service for what you are paying. I have also heard good and bad things towards adoption. On the positive side you are providing a home for a pet that was either lost, unwanted or whose owner could no longer care for them. On the downside, with adoption it can be hard to find a dog that will fit with your family and some are hesitant that the dog may turn out aggressive due to a rough past. All of this depends on the dog honestly. Even if the dog came from an abusive situation, the idea is to gain the dog’s trust through showing love. My second dog I chose to adopt because I knew what services I was getting with her. She was vaccinated, microchipped and spayed. I also chose to get an older dog vs. a puppy.

What if it doesn’t work out?

Never be afraid to return a pet. Even if you have done everything on your end to get your “ideal” pet, every dog is different. It is better to give the animal another opportunity to find a home than to try to make something work that will not. I have noticed that there is a stigma attached to a person that would give up their pet. We should be more supportive as a community to understand that not everyone’s situation is the same. If your new pet does not fit well with your situation do not be afraid to re-home or return your pet.

Whatever decision you may when bringing home your new pup, make sure that it works for you. Research the breed that fits your lifestyle also where you decide to get your new friend. Do not let the cuteness be the reason to get the dog. Out of both my dogs, my Chihuahua is absolutely adorable but he is my weirdo. No one seems to believe me until they try to pet him. My pitbull is the sweeter of the 2 but most people are afraid of her because of her breed. Whether you adopt or choose a breeder, make sure you check into the services you get with your pet. And lastly if your new pet is not the ideal fit you were looking for, do not be afraid to give the dog back. You will be happier and so will the pet. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a line in the comments section and good luck on your new pet journey!

So you’ve decided to get a pet

Getting a pet is an exciting decision and can be a fun experience for most.  There are a couple of questions we must ask ourselves before going through the process

    1. Am I ready for a new pet?
    2. Which pet works best for me?

Not a lot of people realize the responsibility that goes into caring for an animal. Aside from the financial commitments of food, vetting and of course toys, pets take up a great deal of time as well.  Sound like you’re adopting a baby?  Well you are, a furbaby!  This may be a good time to take a step back and glance at financial commitments and schedules to see if now is the right time to add a new member of the family.

Another thing to take in consideration is which pet you should adopt.  Every pet has their pros and cons. If you are looking for something short term, maybe consider getting a rabbit, guinea pig or other rodent just to name a few.  You are looking at a 3-8 year commitment due to their life spans being shorter. But watch out! These guys need special care.  For a long term companion, dogs and cats do well; however, they also come with their own set of pros and cons.

When describing a dog’s personality, I usually tell people that dogs start out as infants until they reach about 6-8 months old. Once they are full grown, they are more like toddlers for the rest of their lives.  Schedules for feedings, walks and playtime are important and must stay consistent so that your puppy behaves.  Cats I describe as your typical teenager. Sometimes you are their best friend and other times they don’t want to be bothered. Unlike our toddlers, cats are slightly more independent. No need to worry about potty schedules or walks when you have a clean litter box.  I also refer to them as the “Sheldon Cooper” of the pet world. Even the smallest change can stress out your cat and cause unwanted behavior. Dogs adjust a  little better to change.  Remember when choosing a dog or cat, you are looking at a long term commitment. Dogs can live up to their late teens while cats can live into their twenties.

I hope these little tips will help with your decision in choosing the right pet for you. Although there are guidelines to animal behavior, it is important to remember that every animal is different.  Good luck on your new pet journey!

About Me

Welcome to Jaym’s Dog Blog!

My pet experience

I have always been an animal lover, growing up with a family dog. It wasn’t until I got my first dog on my own that I realized just how much work went into caring for my pet. I also realized how special my bond was with my companion.

After getting into the animal field, I learned a great deal about animal behavior, as well as the resources available to me as a pet owner. After going through different training techniques, I found what worked best for my dog and for me. My dog was learning new things, and I as an owner was learning the effective way to care for my dog.

Branching out into the community

Everyday someone makes the decision to become a pet owner. Some people may already have the tools needed to take care of their new companion. Others may be enjoying the process of becoming a new pet owner. It made me wonder how many new pet owners experienced the same feeling I had when I first got my dog.

Ultimately I decided to create a space that connects pet owners to valuable information so that they can be the best owner to their new best friend.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Jaym E.

Founder of Jaym’s Dog Blog