Posted on

10 Training Tips for Your Dog

Our little furry best friends won’t always be good boys, because why would they? It is their nature to be a little mischievous and naughty. However, there are times when they choose the wrong place, the bad time, and the worst thing to do. That’s when we may lose our mind and try to learn how to do some damage control.

Unfortunately, shouting “No!” or “bad dog!” rarely works, which is why we asked our best dog trainers to share their best training secret, only to find out that it is way too easy than we have ever thought.

So in case you have a new furry friend that drives you crazy sometimes, this list is for you to understand all the secrets and to learn how to train your doggy.



© Fun Paw Care

Have you ever tried to train your dog in a public space, like a dog park or a crowded neighborhood? I know, it didn’t go as good as you thought it would. The reason is there were too many distractions, and dogs are not multi-taskers.

So the first thing you need to pay attention to is to be in a boring, non-distracting environment. Technically, it should be an empty room with no toys, pillows or anything that may attract the dog’s attention. Don’t forget the high-value treats for rewards.

Make sure to find the ones that he will go crazy for when performing a new behavior.


Stop yanking on a leash

© Dogtime

While walking your dog with the leash, have you ever wondered if you are the one walking your dog, or if your dog is walking you? In any case, and from now on, you should forget about the yanking latter because when you try to pull back, the dog will pull forward.

Not because he is being difficult or stubborn, it is just the way dogs were designed. Allow me to explain more: when the dog pulls and gets where he wants to go, he will feel rewarded and will always continue that behavior. The only solution is to walk your dog on the leash inside.

So if he walked successfully next to you in your home, advance to the front yard, backyard, and then around the neighborhood. Eventually, your dog will master the art of walking next to you with or without a leash. Don’t forget to reward him.


“Leave it” is better

© Reader’s Digest

Dogs don’t really understand the meaning of something “disgusting”. In fact, they are more attracted to it, especially if it repulses us. For example, items that fell out of the garbage, poop, and food that fell on a dirty floor, etc. So, the most effective sentence to use is “Leave it!” This sentence is proved to be “heard” well by dogs more than “Drop it!”

Again, try to practice it in a boring room with no distractions. This way you will avoid seeing your dog picking up gross things from the ground when you take him outside where more dangerous and harmful items exist.


Teach them where to poop

© Wag!

Even while being a good parent who holds poop bags every time you walk the dog, it is still embarrassing when he still chooses to poop in the middle of the street or on your neighbors’ front lawn while they are right there watching everything.

Thankfully, there is a solution, a very simple one actually: guide your dog to one specific spot where you want him to poop, give it a few minutes, and don’t speak, smile or play with him.

Let him sniff and soon enough, he will realize that it is time to make number 2. You have to reward him heavily and immediately with his favorite treats.


Let them linger after pooping or peeing


It may sound easier if you just opened the door and let your cute puppy take care of their potty business on their own, but you will always end up with “poop land mines” everywhere.

The solution is to train the dog using a leash in order to teach him how to get used to eliminating when you are close to him. Then you should reward him with his favorite treat and take him for a quick walk.

If you rushed back inside, they may consider it as a punishment so he will quickly learn how to hold it in instead of letting it all out. So, make him poop/pee immediately after you let him go outside, then the quick walk should be the reward for doing it in your preferred location.


Calm Their Fears

© iStock

Have you ever thought why would your puppy bark at vacuums and hair dryers? According to Donna Culbert, a dog trainer, and owner of Donna’s Do Right Dogs, barking does not only for showing excitement or anger, it is also for expressing their fear and anxiety.

So when your dog barks loudly at that moving object that makes a scary “unusual” noise means that he is really scared, and he may even start chasing the item as he freaks out.

So to calm him down, put the item (unplugged) on the floor with treats sprinkled all around it, let him discover it slowly, then change the location of that item away from your dog as you are giving him treats in order to keep his calm.

Once you feel like he is starting to accept that object, turn it on. If he didn’t bark, then he must have controlled his fears and you should reward him. Finally, you will be able to use that noisy item without scaring your little puppy.


The reward must equal the joy


Speaking of rewards, it is not right if you order the dog to “come!” then ask him to lie down. The reward must equal the joy that you made your dog leave to come to you. For instance, he likes to chase cars because he finds it a fun experience, but also, very dangerous.

So instead of shouting “Come!” you should command it with a ball or a squeaky toy, and then have your dog chase you. You can make it a little more entertaining by letting him catch you and then immediately play tug with him for a minute.


Don’t say “No” when they whine

© Depositphotos

You made sure that your sweet puppy has dinner, potty time accomplished, played fetch, and all was good. But for some reason, he is looking at you whining and giving you a sad puppy look that breaks your heart.

According to many dog experts, there are many reasons that drive dogs to whine including boredom, excitement, anxiousness or need for attention. The best solution to end their “attention whining” is by ignoring them completely.

For some puppies, even saying “No” is rewarding because they have got your attention. If you ignored him and he actually stopped whining, reward him with a treat so he can understand that no whining equals attention.


End their begging

© DogsAholic

In order to have a calm, sweet dinner with your family, date or yourself, you should teach your puppy from the beginning to go to a specific spot during your mealtime to avoid any annoying barking or begging.

When the dog goes to his place, don’t ignore him completely, say hello and give him a treat. Or you could give him something tasty to chew like a bully stick or a marrow bone in order to distract him for a few minutes.

If he came back to the table, try to lure him back politely. This one can be a little difficult, but with consistent training, you will definitely get the results.


Home Alone


In case you need to know if your dog is ready to be home alone without a crate, then pay attention. If he gets into things while you are still around, then probably not! However, if he is not destroying anything anymore, then he might be ready.

It is best to close the rooms where you put the most valuable things before leaving him. Like your office or the kitchen. Pick a small space and put all his toys around so he can be satisfied with all the things surrounding him.

That way, he will be distracted for a while from destroying anything valuable. But first, you have to conduct a few tests before leaving him for a long time. Try 15 minutes at first, 40 minutes, and advance to an hour, etc.


Posted on

How To Tell if Your Dog Is Sick

When you stare deeply into your beloved pet’s eyes, it may seem almost as if he or she could talk. Of course dogs can’t talk, but their body language can be very eloquent. The better you know your dog—his or her habits, appearance, and behavior—the more apparent these signs will be apparent. Acting promptly at the first signs of illness can help prevent suffering, save money, and even save a life.

The following are common ways in which dogs tell us they’re sick. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Please note that these symptoms are more worrisome in a very young, very old, or otherwise frail dog, since they have fewer defenses when illness strikes. If your dog’s behavior or appearance worries you, always consult your vet.

Breathing Problems

The signs of respiratory illness range from the obvious to the subtle. Call your vet if you notice:

  • Persistent cough that disrupts sleep or lasts more than 24 hours
  • Persistent nasal discharge, especially with mucus or blood
  • A honking cough
  • Wheezing or noisy breathing
  • Persistent gagging
  • Labored breathing
  • If your dog is struggling to breathe, check the color of the gums and tongue. They should be pink. If you notice a bluish tint, seek emergency care immediately.

Behavior Changes

You know your dog best. And if your dog behaves strangely, he is probably telling you something. Here are some indications that your best friend may be sick as a dog:

  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Withdrawal
  • Needy or clingy behavior

Tummy Troubles

Every dog vomits and has diarrhea now and then—whether it’s from too many table treats or unmentionables scavenged off the sidewalk. When your dog has these symptoms, especially in combination with lethargy and poor appetite, be sure to contact your veterinarian:

  • Repeated vomiting that lasts over 24 hours.
  • Repeated or profuse diarrhea that lasts over 24 hours
  • Abdominal pain or swelling
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Repeated dry heaves, restlessness, and distended belly may be a sign of “bloat,” a life threatening condition more typical in large breed dogs. Seek emergency treatment immediately.

Elimination Problems

Changes in your dog’s bathroom habits can indicate a problem. Consult your veterinarian if you notice:

  • Increased volume or frequency of urine
  • Trouble passing urine
  • Trouble defecating
  • Urinary accidents in a previously housetrained dog
  • Fecal accidents in a previously housetrained dog

External Appearance

Physical changes are often the most noticeable. You know your dog best. If it’s enough to make you worry, then it makes sense to call your vet:

  • New lumps and bumps
  • Sudden changes in old lumps and bumps
  • Lumps or sores that are bloody or oozing
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Rash
  • Hair loss
  • Persistent itch
  • Persistent shaking of head or scratching at ears


Fever often accompanies illness. Conventional wisdom states that a healthy dog should have a cold, wet nose. and that a warm, dry nose means trouble. This is a common misconception. The appearance or feel of a dog’s nose is a poor indicator of health or body temperature. Taking your dog’s temperature with a thermometer is the only real way to diagnose a fever (see box, below). If your dog is acting sick and has a temperature above 103 F, it’s time to call the vet.

Note that a body temperature above 104.5 F is consistent with heat stroke and is a life threatening emergency. Institute cooling measures and seek veterinary care immediately.


puppy with intravenous drip on operating table in veterinarian’s clinic


A dog may yelp in pain when you go to touch her injured paw or sore back, but it’s even more likely that she will suffer in silence. Most dogs in pain don’t vocalize at all. Any of the following signs warrant a trip to the vet. Never give pain medicine unless it was specifically prescribed for your dog. This includes over-the counter-human pain killers, which can be very toxic to dogs. Here are some signs that your dog may be hurting:

  • Lameness or stiffness that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Reluctance to move, jump or walk
  • Obvious bone or joint swelling that is warm to the touch
  • Trouble chewing, drooling
  • Agitation
  • Guarding of a body part by growling when you approach
  • If your dog has been hurt in a car accident, a fall from a height, or attacked by a larger animal, or if there is uncontrolled bleeding, seek veterinary care immediately.

Neurologic Signs

Finally, the following signs indicate nervous system trouble, all of which warrant a visit to the vet:

  • Weakness
  • Stumbling
  • Heat tilt
  • Seizures
  • Repetitive twitches
  • Repetitive circling
  • Disorientation
  • Stupor
  • Loss of consciousness, however briefly, is an indication for immediate veterinary care.

So if you see any changes in your pooches behaviour such as those shown here, you should seek prompt help for your furry friend. This best way to show you care and love your dog.


Posted on

10 Fun and Impressive Tricks You Need To Teach Your Dog by Mark Reed

Dogs are the best life companions; they give us unlimited hours of entertainment, endless love and affection, and absolute loyalty. Even if you spent a very tough day, coming back home to find your funny and excited buddy jumping with extreme joy will definitely boost your mood and make you forget all your problems.

However, training will help to keep your best buddy obedient, happy, and mentally active. Teaching your dog some effective tricks is a perfect way to let him express his affection and to keep him mentally stimulated and safe. Besides the typical commands such as stay, heel, and sit.


Shaking Paws or hands is an impressive dog trick that will amuse both of you. It is an easy trick that you can train your dog to do in a few training meetings. All you need to have is your dog and some of the treats. Here is how to do it:

First ask your dog to sit, Hold the treat in one hand and try to show it to your pup. Close your grip over the treat and ask your dog to shake by waving your closed grip to keep him focused on the treat.

The moment your dog interacts and touches your hand give him the treat and say “good” so he can remember the trick. Try to apply and practice shake paws for 10 minutes three times a day. Then you will notice that your pup will offer you his paw whenever you ask him to do it.

#2 – BACK UP

Another impressive dog trick is back up. This funny strategy can be practiced in several situations and will help you to keep him from crowding you at the refrigerator or rushing out the door or even entertaining you and your family. Back up is completely simple, all you need is to be patient and have some good dog treats. Here is how to do it:

First, give your dog the stay command, take few steps away from the dog and then look at him. Start to move towards your dog and tell him back up, the moment your dog starts to step back as you move towards him give him the treat and say “good boy”. Try to practice this training more than three times a day to make your pup respond more effectively to the commands.


© White

Taking a bow is actually a natural behavior that all dogs perform. The trick involves having your pup put his chest to the floor while maintaining his rear end up in the air. Dogs frequently bow when they play together or want to lure their companion to have some activities or exercise.

So, you won’t find it difficult to use your pup’s innate playfulness to train him for such a trick, also it is a perfect way to end a presentation of all the great new tricks your dog has acquired.

#4 – WAVE

© White

Training your pup to wave hi or bye is an amusing and a simple dog trick. It is a wonderful trick to salute family members and friends that was first deployed in the military service. When your dog learns how to shake paws, you will use the same strategy to train him to lift his paw to wave.

You just need to ask your dog to sit, hold the treat in front of him, take a yellow post-it note and make it above your dog’s eye. Whenever your dog raises his paw to remove it, reward him with a treat until he acquires the trick perfectly.

#5 – SPEAK

© White

When you train your dog to speak, you will solve a typical behavior problem that all puppies make. Dog trainers usually recommend using the quiet and the speak commands to put an end to redundant barking.

When you train your dog to speak or to stay quiet tricks will make you control his excessive barking in many situations. It is also entertaining to show off your pup’s conversational abilities especially at family and friends gatherings.

#6 – SPIN

Spinning is an exciting and a funny trick that is quite easy to train your puppy to do. You just need to hold a treat close to your pup’s nose and start to lure him into a spine. You can start for example with one direction; let’s say the right one, and then the opposite direction which is left. It is absolutely amazing to see how your smart puppy can differentiate between right and left.


© White

Training your dog to kiss is one of the simplest tricks to teach. Well, not everyone will enjoy his big, wet doggie kiss, but little kids will definitely want it. Yummy treats like cream cheese or peanut butter are all that you need to train your little puppy to give kisses.

Put a little treat on your cheek; say your command and you will soon be able to receive all the emotion you want from your passionate puppy.

#8 – BEG

© White

Begging is an adorable dog trick that can be little more difficult than the previous tricks, but with a little patience, you will be able to see your dog bagging at any time.

Here is how to do it: first you need to have all of your dog’s favorite treats ready; second, ask your dog to sit and give him the command “beg”; try to make the treat close enough to your puppy’s face so he can be attracted to reach it; as soon as he raises his head try to encourage him by saying motivating words.

Try to repeat these steps many times so your dog can acquire “begging” effectively.


© White

Rollover is another simple and easy trick that the majority of dogs do naturally when they want to allure you to play. The majority of people train a pup to roll over in different tiny parts and work up to make their dog roll all the way.

This trick will need some extra effort, but it is absolutely funny and entertaining, especially when you both go out for a morning exercise, you will absolutely enjoy it.


© White

Play dead is an entertaining trick that everyone wants to do. Your kids will be astonished when they see you holding your fingers like a pistol and say boom and your pup will fall to the ground spontaneously to play dead.

Although it looks awesome, it is not as difficult as you might think to teach your pup to do it, especially if you have already taught him to roll over effectively.

Posted on

Four Tricks to Keep Your Pet Safe on Halloween

I know that this article refers to cats and dogs but I believe it applies to many other types of pets too and they all need to have a safe Halloween.

Halloween is one of the spookiest nights of the year, especially for our pets. Many of the festivities that humans love – trick-or-treaters, costumes and decorations – can be scary, stressful or even dangerous for pets.

“Pet safety is always a priority for pet owners, but it needs to be especially top of mind on Halloween when the added noise and activity can give them a fright,” says Dr. Scott Weinman. “I used to live on a very busy street with hundreds of trick-or-treaters, so I would put my dog and cat in a private back room away from the commotion. In my experience, any time you change a pet’s routine, it can cause them anxiety and there’s an increased risk of escape. However, there are also a few simple ’tricks’ pet owners can use to make the night safer and more enjoyable for their four-legged friends.”

  1. Keep Your Treats Out of Reach

    Chocolate and sugar-free candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can cause serious problems for cats or dogs.1 If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, Dr. Weinman recommends that you “keep the wrapper and call your veterinarian, the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 or HomeAgain’s 24-Hour Support Hotline (1-888-466-3242) immediately.”

  2. Create a Safe Haven

    “Keep all but the most social pets in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours, so they don’t get spooked and run outside or accidentally harm a child,” says Dr. Weinman.2 “You could even consider boarding your pet if you know that type of environment won’t cause added stress.”

    Also, be sure to keep jack-o-lanterns, wires or other decorations away from curious pets.1

  3. Find the Perfect Costume

    When looking for your pet’s costume, make sure it fits properly, doesn’t have any pieces that can easily be chewed off and doesn’t interfere with your pet’s sight, hearing, breathing or movement. Remember, your cat or dog may make the cutest superhero on the block, but you should only dress them in a costume if you know they love it. If they appear uncomfortable, consider letting them wear their “birthday suit” or a festive bandana instead. 1

  4. Unmask Their Secret Identity

    Always be sure your pet is wearing proper identification. A collar with ID tags and microchip can be a lifesaver for a lost pet – especially during the Halloween commotion. Luckily, with a HomeAgain® microchip and pet recovery system, you’ll give your pet the best chance of coming back home to you. “Being a HomeAgain® member has many advantages that can be particularly useful during busy holidays like Halloween. I had my cat microchipped when she was spayed, so I have peace of mind knowing that if she were ever to get lost, the entire HomeAgain® network would help her find her way home,” says Dr. Weinman. “It’s just important to remember to keep your contact information up-to-date and reach out to HomeAgain® immediately if your pet goes missing, so the team can ensure no time is wasted and also provide you with tools to help bring your pet home safely.”

    Click here to create or update your HomeAgain® pet profile today!


  1. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Halloween Safety Tips.
  2. American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). 7 Things You Can Do To Make Halloween Safer For Your Pet.
Posted on

5 Ways Pets Change Our Lives!

In this blog we give you 5 ways pets change our lives for the better and the healthy well being they give us. I will also include personal stories of how people’s pets changed their owner’s lives.

1. Pets change our Lives by Keeping Us Fit:

Pets encourage physical activity, with research showing that people who walk their dogs regularly are less likely to be obese than those who do not. Pets change our lives by helping us be more active.

curtis + island

I have diabetes and always found it impossible to exercise regularly with my busy schedule. I was at a point where I just couldn’t make any progress on battling it.
When our son, Doni, moved out and took his dog Matrix with him, my wife said we needed another dog. I agreed on the condition that it was a younger dog that I could walk regularly, like a couple of times a week.
We went to visit Ruff House Rescue to see the available dogs and how the adoption process worked. We told Melissa our story, and she introduced us to several possible dogs.
We were ready to go home and give it some more thought. But there was no way that Melissa was going to let us leave Ruff House Rescue without a dog. We told her that we didn’t have a pet carrier; she lent us one. We told her that we didn’t have the adoption fee; she worked out the finances with us.

2. Pets Change Our Lives by Providing Social Support:

According to recent studies, interaction with animals helps children develop improved social skills including improved communication, decreased stress, and positive social interaction with their peers. Pets help us change our lives by social interaction with us.

lexi + charlie

There are two parts to this story.
Last April, a volunteer with Independent Animal Rescue spotted kittens climbing in and out of a dumpster. The dumpster was scheduled to be emptied the next morning. To reach the kittens, volunteers painstakingly pulled the trash from the dumpster.
“miraculously, she allowed it and began to pet him. it was clear that we would have to adopt this kitten.”
Hours later, they rescued a litter of five black kittens around three to four-weeks-old. They had runny eyes and noses, worms and fleas. They received wonderful care during the quarantine period at the shelter and then came to my home for foster care. The kittens made a seamless transition into our home.
The other half of this story involves a special little girl named Lexi.

Lexi came into our family over six years ago. Her first few years of life had been fraught with abuse and neglect. She was in the care of the Department of Social Services, but they could not find a home for her because of her special needs.
As a long-time paraprofessional in self-contained classrooms (where students receive special education services), they contacted me about fostering her. I had known her since age three and as a single parent, I admit, I was leery. Lexi has severe, nonverbal autism. She was aggressive and self-injurious. She did not want to be touched and had no self-help skills.
She came to live with us, and we fell in love with her and saw her potential. Today, Lexi is happy and a permanent member of our family, thriving in her school and community.
Lexi never demonstrated an affinity for animals. She ignored our dogs. She never harmed them; she just preferred that they not get too close to her.
When the kittens arrived, however, one kitten, Charlie, proved to be the leader of the pack. He was the first to do everything and the other kittens followed. He was also extraordinarily social and people-oriented from an early age. He seemed drawn to Lexi.
The first time we saw Charlie climb onto her lap, we collectively held our breath to see what would happen next. Miraculously, she allowed it and began to pet him. It was clear that we would have to adopt this kitten.
Over two years later, all the dumpster kittens are in great adoptive homes, and the bond between Lexi and Charlie continues to grow. He sleeps beside her at night and immediately finds her lap when she is sitting.
But more importantly, on bad days, when she is agitated, he positions himself across her body and seems to calm her. It has been an amazing thing to behold.
I can’t imagine Lexi’s life without Charlie, and I cannot thank the wonderful volunteers at Independent Animal Rescue for spending so many hours on that April morning saving Charlie and his littermates.

3. Pets Change Our Lives by Improving Mental Health:

Studies have shown that human-animal interaction helps improve psychological well being, decrease social isolation, and promote higher levels of life satisfaction. Pets change our lives by giving us that unconditional love and support we all need.

cory + bonnie

In 2012, my wife, Jessica, and I moved back to northern Michigan after spending eight years in the U.S. Army. Jessica and I were high school sweethearts and moving back home was a unanimous decision for both of us.
During my time in the military, I was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. My deployment to Iraq was especially challenging, both mentally and physically. During the 15-months, I was deployed as an Infantryman gunner, I sustained numerous injuries, including being shot and suffering a traumatic brain injury – the result of being thrown from my vehicle after it hit an IED (improvised explosive device).
“i lost quite a few friends during the war, which is something i think about every day.”
Moving back to the safe, beautiful community where I grew up was just what I needed. I was thrilled to be home. Shortly after moving back, Jessica and I started volunteering as dog walkers at the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society. I enjoyed it since it got me outside and helped get my mind off things.
One afternoon, at the insistence of my wife, we stopped by the kitten room. While most of the kittens seemed aloof and indifferent, one tiny, fuzzy-haired kitten teetered up to us and promptly curled up on my lap. She purred so loudly that her whole body vibrated.

After leaving the kitten room, we waited by the door and watched another couple go in. This kitten, who had just snuggled in my lap, didn’t want anything to do with the new couple. As we headed home, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. We already had two rescue dogs and a rescue cat. I figured we didn’t need another animal.
My time in the military taught me to think things through carefully and rationally. I don’t consider myself an impulsive person, but the next day, I went back to the shelter, filled out the adoption paperwork and brought her home. My wife was both surprised and thrilled when she came home from work that day.
I have not once regretted that decision. Bonnie has been an amazing addition to our home and an incredible source of peace for me personally. She loves to curl up on my lap and purr loudly, just like she did as a kitten. She frequently falls asleep on my chest at night. Her presence is calming. She helps me forget about what I endured during the war.
Even though we didn’t need another animal, I needed Bonnie. And I like to think that she needed me, too.

4. Pets Change Our Lives by Fighting Allergies:

Studies show that children exposed to pets early in life will develop stronger immune systems and be less likely to develop allergies as they grow up. Pets change our lives by strengthening our immune systems by introducing allergens in small amounts.

kellan + guinness

I adopted Guinness a year before I found out I was pregnant. Before I knew the results of the test, I felt he knew. Throughout my entire pregnancy, Guinness never left my side. He followed me everywhere and often slept with his head on my belly.
“but guinness loved my son the moment they met”
I had always known that Guinness was a special cat. He was loving and gentle and such a snuggle bunny. I never worried about how he was going to react to a new baby, but I was completely shocked at just how much he loved the baby and how well they got along.
People would tell me that cats get jealous and don’t like babies, but they’re wrong. When I brought my son home a month after he was born due to some health issues, my kitties were happy we were home. Two of my cats never thought much about the baby, unless he was crying. But Guinness loved my son the moment they met.

Guinness would gently walk around my son to find the best way to lay as close to him as possible – without actually laying on him. He cleaned the baby’s head and hands and whenever the baby cried, Guinness would come running to see what was going on with my son.
Now, a year later Guinness and Kellan are inseparable. They sleep together and share food (because the baby likes to feed the cat). When the baby is in the bath, Guinness stands next to the tub. The boys are a joy to watch. Guinness lets Kellan lay on him, pull on him and he never shows any aggressive behavior. He has never bitten or scratched, and when he has had enough, he moves just far enough away to keep watch, but out of reach.

My life was full before my son was born. Since he has arrived, I can’t tell you how much I love watching their relationship grow and flower. They truly are best friends, and I can’t imagine what my son’s life would be without Guinness. I look forward to many, many years of my boys spending time together and learning. Kellan has become very gentle and loving with the cat, and the cat shows more love than I could imagine. Shelter animals make the best and most loving family members. I am grateful that our shelter saved Guinness and that we could make him part of our lives.

5. Pets Change Our Lives by Supporting Healthier Hearts:

Research shows that people with pets are more likely to have lower blood pressure, decreased stress, and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Pets change our lives when we pet them and watch their antics.

sheryl + oscar

Five years ago, I died. My heart stopped at Penn Station in New York City, and I was dead.
The New York Police Department revived me, and I ended up having triple bypass surgery. My recovery was difficult and I was out of work for months. I had no energy, was sick, scared and needed help.
“when i was literally at my lowest, oscar lifted me up.”
I hadn’t had a dog in over five years, but I remembered that my last dog gave me a sense of purpose. So, I decided to adopt again. I searched on Petfinder and connected with Fur Babies Rescue & Referral Inc. They had just rescued a pregnant dog from North Carolina and transported her to Long Island where she gave birth to eight puppies in her foster home.

I requested the largest male dog (I like big dogs and I cannot lie!) and they reserved him for me. I met him at four-weeks-old. It was love at first sight. Four weeks later, he was mine. I named him Oscar.
Soon after, Oscar and I were taking walks together and snuggling on the sofa. He gave me the exercise I needed and the will and encouragement I lacked for my recovery.
A couple of months after his adoption, I visited the cardiologist and received my first positive post-op checkup. Before that, things weren’t going very well. He asked me what I had done differently, and I told him I had adopted a puppy. He said, “Then I wish I could prescribe a puppy to all my patients!”
Oscar was helping me heal. He got me up and out doing things that improved both my mental and physical health. Oscar loved me unconditionally, even with a big, ugly 12-inch scar on my chest that made me so self-conscious. He makes me feel safe and happy. He gave me a reason to try. When I was literally at my lowest, Oscar lifted me up.

As I got better, I wanted to give something back to others. So, we trained and Oscar passed the Therapy Dog Certification test on his first try. We now volunteer at the local library for their kids “Read to Me” program. We also volunteer for Dogs on Deployment by helping find foster homes for soldiers’ pets, so they don’t have to give them up.
Oscar just turned four. I cannot imagine how my life would have turned out without him. I just celebrated my “Second Fifth Birthday.” I get to have two birthdays every year now; the day I was born, and the day I came back to life.
Oscar has no idea what he has done for me. He just loves me. I love him more. He saved me.
From cozier naps, to longer walks, or by fighting allergies and keeping us fit, pets change our lives everyday, so let’s save theirs!

Consider adopting a pet and see for yourself how Pets change our lives!

Posted on

Doggie Emergency 911

“Your dog may have snuck out the door and gotten hit by a car, or maybe you were hiking and your dog slipped and was injured. Even if you do all the right things – keep your dog on a leash and in a fenced-in backyard when he’s outside – accidents do happen.”

Cindy was walking her black Labrador Retriever, Shadow, when the stray dogs came from nowhere. She yelled at the dogs and threw whatever she could find, but the strays attacked Shadow anyway. The dogs finally ran away when a Good Samaritan passing by in his car got out to  help her. Shadow was down, whining and shaking on the sidewalk, his leg punctured and bleeding. It hung limply as though a bone was broken.

This nightmare is all too familiar to many pet owners. The injury may not have been from an attack. Your dog may have snuck out the door and gotten hit by a car, or maybe you were hiking and your dog slipped and was injured. Even if you do all the right things – keep your dog on a leash and in a fenced-in backyard when he’s outside – accidents do happen. Do you know what to do if your dog is injured?

First, be prepared to get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. That means having the closest emergency veterinarian’s office number on speed dial and entered into your cell phone. If you’re out of town, call 1888 Home Again to be connected to 24/7 emergency medical support. Other potential resources are cabbies, the yellow pages, or hotel concierges.

  1. Assess the damage. What are the injuries? You’ll need to be able to tell the veterinarian what injuries you have noticed.
  2. If your dog doesn’t have a pulse, you should know how to perform CPR. If your dog isn’t breathing, you’ll have to resuscitate him. Your veterinarian can show you how to do this properly. Ask your veterinarian about canine CPR before you have an emergency. There are also DVDs and videos on canine CPR available on the market.
  3. Injured dogs often don’t want to be handled, and may bite if you approach. If your dog won’t let you touch him, you’ll have to muzzle him. Even the gentlest dogs will bite when in pain. It’s not your dog’s fault – it’s just a natural instinct.
  4. In a pinch, a leash, belt, or tie can act as a temporary muzzle. Start at the top of the dog’s muzzle and place the tie under the jaw and the knot it in the middle. Then take the two ends of the tie and knot them behind the dog’s head snugly. Warning: Do not muzzle the dog if he is having trouble breathing or if there is a sucking chest wound.
  5. If there are obvious broken bones, try to slip something sturdy under the dog to act as a stretcher. If there isn’t something sturdy, you may be able to create a makeshift stretcher from blankets.
  6. If you notice arterial bleeding (squirting blood), apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. Use bandages or cloth, whatever is handy.
  7. Get your dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
  8. In other situations where you are far away from a clinic, you may have to take care of your dog yourself. Have your veterinarian tell you how to put together a first aid kit and show you how to use the equipment are obvious broken bones, try to slip something sturdy under the dog to act as a stretcher. If there isn’t something sturdy, you may be able to create a makeshift stretcher from blankets.
  9. Get your dog to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.
Posted on

7 Horrific Diseases Your Dog Can Get from Swimming

The temperature is getting higher and the lovely summer days arrive in just a few weeks. The majority of dogs love to beat the heat by getting into the water to refresh themselves while others would swim whenever they get the chance to.

However, there are common recreational water sources that include some organisms which can put your dog’s health at great risk not only your dog but other pets too! Most of the article is directed at dogs but these diseases can affect many other pets too!

According to several veterinarians across the United States, dogs are commonly diagnosed with some waterborne diseases. They urge pet owners to pay more attention especially during summer. This article is not to scare you but only to inform you should your pet develop symptoms and also to look for waters that your pet should not swim in.


Leptospirosis is a common waterborne disease that’s usually found in warm regions with high rainfall and can be found worldwide.


The deadly bacteria that cause this disease don’t only infect dogs but also humans. Infection occurs when an animal comes in contact with contaminated water or urine.
Canines that frequently swim in streams, lakes, and rivers are at the highest risk of being infected.

Leptospirosis is difficult to diagnose because the signs can largely vary, some common symptoms include kidney failure, jaundice, urination disorder, vomiting, shivering, muscle tenderness, and fever. However, these signs are seen in many other illnesses, so vets rely on exposure history to diagnose this disease.

Suspected cases should be handled with extreme care because they can pass it to humans. If untreated, it can lead to death, but many dogs respond well to early proper treatment.


Pythiosis is also called swamp cancer. It’s a rare but serious waterborne disease. It’s known as a plants’ disease but can also infect animals (with horrible outcomes).


The disease is found in warmer atmospheres, especially in the Gulf States, South America, and Southeast Asia. It can attach itself to gastrointestinal tract or skin wounds in order to keep growing.

If it got through the skin, you’ll notice large red itchy lumps, while if it started in the GI tract, there would be signs like diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting.

Pythiosis is most common in Labrador, a dog breed that immensely loves swimming.
Sadly, it’s hard to diagnose and isn’t exposed until advanced stages, it’s also resistant to many treatments, leaving a one and only option which is surgery.


Water-loving pups are highly attracted to freshwater ponds and lakes, especially during summer. Owners should be careful because it can bear a dense buildup of blue-green algae.


This terrible disease can produce toxins which cause severe effects on both pets and humans.

Algal toxins have many different forms and can affect the nervous system, liver, GI tract, or skin. Symptoms depend on the type of toxin a pet was exposed to and can include seizures, respiratory failure, vomiting, nausea, rashes, and death.

Owners should keep their dogs away from swimming in all lakes that have visible algal blooms (it’s impossible to tell whether the algae produces toxins), and must be instantly report to their vet any doubtful signs of sickness after swimming.


Giardiasis is one of many parasites that usually cause diarrhea in dogs and humans. It isn’t regarded as a main zoonotic disease as well as it’s not necessarily passed from dogs to humans.

It particularly leads to a sudden onset of diarrhea in dogs and can cause weight loss and dehydration if the pet has been infected for a long period.

Most cases are self-limiting and easygoing. Medications can fasten recovery in contaminated pets.


Cryptosporidiosis is caused by a parasite called Cryptosporidium and is one of the most horrible waterborne diseases.

Several species of this parasite exist in various animals. Unfortunately, some of it can also infect humans.

Cryptosporidium is very resistant and can survive almost any environment, as it’s protected by a thick outer shell.

Dogs can be infected through digesting contaminated water or food.

This disease can lead to severe dehydration and causes watery diarrhea. Luckily, most cases are rarely life-threatening and symptoms disappear in two weeks with proper treatment.


Dog owners in Louisiana and Texas should be extra careful and always keep an eye on their water-loving pups.

Canine Schistosomiasis is caused by an organism that penetrates the dog’s skin while swimming in contaminated freshwater and then travels through the lungs into the liver. Moreover, adults produce eggs which pass through the GI tract and are shed in the feces.

These eggs cause terrible inflammation that usually manifests as lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, and vomiting. The chronic nature of the inflammatory lesions can make the treatment quite challenging.

This organism is not interested in humans as a host, however, it can cause skin rashes.


This disease is a common organism linked to chronic ear infections in dogs and can have several causes, including underlying, yeast, and bacteria. Causative agents can also be found in water, particularly in pools.

Dogs that tend to have ear infections can see it coming, with the smelly head, the itchy ear canals, and the shaking head.

The infection can usually be treated with flushes and appropriate treatments if it’s limited to the outer ear canal.

Owners who have pups with large floppy ears and an immense love for swimming should be extremely careful.


It’s necessary to keep in mind that swimming-related deadly diseases are rare in dogs. Just remember to avoid ponds and pools.

If your pooch happens to show any sign of sickness after a swim, you should take them immediately to your vet and mention the recent water exposure.

Simply, know where you pooch is getting wet and if you wouldn’t swim in it then maybe they also shouldn’t.

Posted on

Ways Your Dog Shows You Love BY DR. MARTY BECKER DVM

We know that we love our dogs. Mine are as much real members of the family as my wife and children and my little granddaughter, Reagan. But do they love us back?

I think so, and I think they show us that love in ways that are distinctly individual to each dog and person. Gracie, my female Lab/Pit mix, makes a throaty woof when she wants me to find treats. Quora, our 11-year-old PomPeiCarrier ( Pomeranian, Shar-Pei, Cairn Terrier cocktail), does a little tap dance on the floor, which means she’s happy and ready for loving or playing. And Quixote, our 12-year-old Porkhuahua ( Pomeranian, Yorkie, Chihuahua blend), likes to find my wife, Teresa, and bump her with his nose to let her know he’s keeping tabs on her.

Recently, scientists have begun to explore more deeply the question of which emotions animals feel and how they display them. What they’ve found bolsters my belief even further.

Here are some of the ways, through body language, brain response and the choices they make, that I think our dogs show us love.

Sight, Sound, Smell

They are willing to make eye contact with us. In the world of dogs, making eye contact can be an aggressive act. Polite dogs, who just want to get along, avoid the long, hard stare that can intimidate or challenge other dogs. They don’t stare at people that way either, but they accept our looks of love and will even seek out eye contact from us. When our dogs are happy and comfortable with us, they give us that special gaze that says, “All is right with the world.” Their eyes are relaxed and normal size, showing little of the white. To build a closer relationship with your dog, you can teach him to look at you for guidance.

They react happily to the sound of our voice. Don’t you love it when you come home and call your dog, and he comes bounding joyfully to you? It’s even more special when he leaves a fascinating scent or favorite toy (or brings it to you) to come and greet you. I think it’s one of the best feelings in the world, even if sometimes it’s just cupboard love.

They know our scent. Did you know that your scent triggers activity in the reward center of your dog’s brain? The area known as the caudate nucleus is rich in dopamine receptors, and in humans, it lights up when we anticipate pleasurable experiences, such as eating Mom’s fried chicken or reuniting with someone we love. Neuroscientist Gregory Berns found that when he trained dogs to enter an MRI machine willingly and unsedated and then scanned their brains while presenting them with the odors of different people, only one type of smell activated the caudate: that of someone they knew.  In his book, How Dogs Love Us, he writes: “Could it be longing? Or love? It seemed entirely possible. These patterns of brain activation looked strikingly similar to those observed when humans are shown pictures of people they love.”


Puppy Love

They wag their tails. Lots of people think a tail wag is always a friendly gesture, but it can have lots of different meanings — some not so nice. But when our dogs give a full-body wag with the tail held at mid-height, the message is clear: They’re happy and excited to see the person they love. Take a close look next time you see one of these happy wags: If your dog’s tail wags more to the right side of his rear when he sees you, it’s a signal that he feels good about your presence. That intriguing bit of information was discovered by an Italian neuroscientist and two veterinarians who used cameras to track the tail-wag angles of 30 pet dogs as they were shown their owner, a person they didn’t know, a cat and an unfamiliar dog. When the dogs saw their owners, their tails wagged most strongly to the right side of the body.

They snuggle with us. Touch is an intrinsic part of any loving relationship. There’s nothing so satisfying as sitting or lying on a sofa or sprawling on the floor with one dog tucked in at the crook of your knees and a couple more snuggled in on either side of you. Other dogs might lean against us, sleep with a head on our feet or lay a paw on our knee. I don’t know that there’s any scientific proof that this means our dogs love us, but it sure feels that way to me. They could lie on their beds or curl up with each other, but they choose to be physically close to their human family members. That’s really special.

They smile at us. Canine smiles have several meanings, but when your dog’s mouth is open and relaxed, what you’re most likely seeing is a calm, happy dog. That expression may demonstrate that our dogs are glad to see us, according to research showing that humans and animals use the same muscles to express emotion — including the muscles that form a smile. Naturalist Charles Darwin, who loved dogs, wrote about canine affection for people more than 100 years ago: “But man himself cannot express love and humility by external signs so plainly as does a dog, when with drooping ears, hanging lips, flexuous body, and wagging tail, he meets his beloved master. Nor can these movements in the dog be explained by acts of volition or necessary instincts, any more than the beaming eyes and smiling cheeks of a man when he meets an old friend.”

Posted on

Pets Can Be a Prescription for Happier, Healthier Life by Teddi Dineley

We include them in our family portraits, make room for them on our beds, tell them our deepest secrets and miss work when they’re sick. And whether they paw, fly or swim their way into our hearts, pets are an important part of our lives.

America is a nation of animal lovers. According to the National Pet Owners Survey, about two-thirds of U.S. households own at least one pet, which means 71 million homes provide shelter for at least one furry, feathery or scaly critter. We take good care of our pets, but did you know that our pets also take good care of us? A growing body of research suggests that owning and interacting with a pet can improve our health.

Besides loving you unconditionally, studies show that those wagging, purring or hopping bundles of love can reduce your stress levels, tame your blood pressure, curb your depression, reduce feelings of loneliness, keep you physically fit and even help you live longer.


Photos courtesy iStockphoto. Fish by Lisa Gagne, bird by Robert Byron, rabbit and bulldog by Eric Isselée

Some studies suggest that children who are exposed to furry pets as infants are less likely to develop allergies.

“There are lots of studies showing that pets are good for our health,” says Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine.

Enjoying pawsitive energy

Researchers are busy studying the many ways our pets can benefit our health. Several large studies suggest that Fluffy and Fido — in addition to winning your heart — can improve the way your heart works. A National Institutes of Health study of 420 adults who had suffered heart attacks showed that pooch owners were significantly more likely to still be kicking — and their tickers still ticking — one year later than were poochless patients, regardless of how serious the heart attack. In another study of 240 married couples, those who owned pets had lower heart rates and blood pressure, both at rest as well as under stress.

Your best bud can also improve your circulation. A study involving cat owners found they have fewer strokes than their feline-free counterparts.

“The reduction in blood pressure through interaction with a companion animal has been shown in many studies,” Johnson says. “It’s practically the oldest finding we have.”

The “relaxation response” has even been shown when people kick back and watch their fish swim, Johnson says.

Happy tails

At the end of a long day, who doesn’t enjoy coming home to a cold nose, a wagging tail and a slobbery kiss? But is it okay to kiss our pets?

It’s not a good idea to let your pets lick you on the mouth, says Jennifer Wright, DVM, MPH, a veterinary epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you want to kiss your dog or cat, the top of her or his head is the preferred place to plant kisses.

“The rewards you get from your pets are much greater than the risk of acquiring an illness from a well-cared for pet,” Wright says.

Just like people, our pets can carry certain bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, so get into the habit of washing your hands after interacting with your pets. This is especially important for children and for people with compromised immune systems.

If you have a child younger than five, don’t bring turtles, amphibians such as frogs, or baby chicks into your home. Small kids can’t resist picking up these cute critters, but there’s a downside: They shed salmonella bacteria, which can cause serious illness, especially in small children, elderly people and folks with chronic conditions.

Pet-to-person infections can occur if you are bitten or scratched by an infected animal, or have contact with an infected pet’s waste or saliva. Cats and dogs can carry bacterial infections in their intestinal tracts, and parasites can be present in their waste. If you have small children, make sure the cat’s litter box is not accessible to them. Kids will put anything in their mouths, so you don’t want them in your cat’s toilet.


Keeping up with your pet’s vaccinations will help keep your pet healthy and reduce the risk of someone in your family contracting an animalborne infection.

“There are benefits to having pets, you just have to be aware that there are some risks and they are all perfectly preventable risks,” Wright says.

Parade your pooch

In terms of getting you off the couch and out the door, dogs have the edge.

“You’re not going to walk a snake,” Johnson says. “Dogs will facilitate physical exercise better than cats or other nonwalking pets.”


Studies show that dog owners who regularly walk their hounds lose pounds and are more physically active overall than those who don’t own or walk a dog. In addition to getting you outdoors — rain or shine — your pooch provides “social lubrication,” she says.

In other words, when you’re out walking Max, people are more likely to strike up conversations with you. And some research shows that neighborhoods where people walk dogs regularly are viewed as friendlier and safer.

Posted on

Why Does My Pet… Get So Lumpy as He Ages? BY DR. PATTY KHULY VMD

It’s not pretty, but it’s a fact of life: We all get older. For some of our pets, that means often unsightly, suspicious and definitely disconcerting growths that arise on, in or just beneath the skin. Though often benign, these unwanted lumps and bumps are never cosmetically pleasing and may well represent problems that are more than skin deep.

But first, a quick primer on the semantics of superficial lumps and bumps: Veterinarians commonly refer to these as “masses,” “tumors” or “growths,” regardless of their provenance or potential cancerous-ness.

No matter what we call them, one thing is clear: Almost all kinds of lumps and bumps appear much more often on older pets –– dogs, mostly. And lumpy-bumpy skin tumors are so common, they’re listed among the top 10 reasons people take their dogs to their veterinarians.
Many Lumps Are Benign
Fortunately for cats, many common lumps are temporary. For example, cats often get bite wounds and abscesses sustained while carousing the neighborhood or simply defending their territory from interlopers. Still, lumps on cats shouldn’t be ignored.

Though dogs can get abscesses, too, for them (and some cats), the range of possibilities tends to be a bit broader. Benign (non-cancerous) superficial masses may include warts (papillomas) and wart-like masses, cystic tumors (fluid-filled masses), skin tags, sebaceous gland tumors (rarely, these can be malignant, or cancerous) and others.

Benign lipomas (or fatty tumors) are so ubiquitous among dogs (and not so much in cats) they fall into a category all their own. They arise from fat cells beneath the skin and typically present themselves as roughly circular masses. They can sometimes grow quickly –– and occasionally to impressive proportions! Most, however, stay within the smaller range of three inches in diameter or less.

Occasionally, lipomas can infiltrate the tissues around them and become difficult to surgically remove. Another infiltrative variation on these tumors, liposarcomas, are malignant but relatively rare.
Other Bumps Are More Worrisome
Unfortunately, cats and dogs aren’t exempt from cancerous skin tumors. Mast cell tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas (a common skin mass of older cats) are among the most seriously problematic lumps and bumps. In cats, for example, a relatively uncommon reaction can occur at vaccine injection sites, leading to a malignant sarcoma. It’s usually best to treat malignant growths as soon as possible.

Why are older pets more likely to grow these lumps and bumps? This is the part we don’t fully understand. It’s clear, however, that the cells of older animals may lose some of their ability to regulate themselves properly, often leading to abnormal tissue growth.

The trouble is, it’s not easy to distinguish a benign lump from a cancerous one by outer appearances alone. In most cases, a fine needle aspirate or biopsy can help identify the type of growth. So if you see a lump or bump on any pet, older or otherwise, head over to your veterinarian. Though likely to be benign, this is the best way to be sure you’re not ignoring something that may require attention.