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Boarding Kennel or Dog Sitter: Which is Best?

As you schedule your summer vacation you will be faced with a dilemma:  what to do with your dog while you are away?  There are many options for pet owners, including leaving your pet with a boarding kennel or dog sitter.  Which of these solutions is best?  The pros and cons of a boarding kennel or dog sitter will be discussed. Boarding Kennel A boarding kennel is a commercial facility that specializes in housing animals.  There are many types of boarding kennels, ranging from strictly cage free, caged with cage-free play time, or caged with individual exercise. Pros The benefits of boarding kennels are numerous.  Most notably, leaving your dog at a boarding kennel ensures that your pet is cared for by professionals that are licensed and insured in addition to being subject to inspection.  Boarding kennels are typically staffed 24 hours per day, and have protocols in place for...
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How to Choose a Rescue when Adopting a Dog

Are you planning to adopt a dog in 2017?  Just like when choosing a breeder, it is important to choose a reputable rescue or shelter facility from which to adopt your new family member.  Unfortunately, with the proliferation of online advertising and the trend towards foster-based animal rescues, scam artists exist that try to take advantage of unsuspecting adopters.  Listed here are tips for how to choose a rescue or shelter when adopting a dog. Can Meet the Animal Beforehand Never agree to adopt a dog without being able to meet him or her beforehand.  As crazy as it may seem, a non-reputable rescue may try and talk you into adopting the dog, sight unseen.  If you have resident animals, expect to be able to introduce them to the potential adoptee before signing any agreements. Explains Pricing The average adoption price for a dog from a rescue or shelter is...
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Tips for Choosing a Dog Breeder

Are you considering purchasing a new puppy in 2017?  If you are set on your decision to shop, rather than adopt, you should ensure you are choosing the best breeder possible for your new family member.  This seemingly small decision can mean the difference between a happy and healthy pet or one that is prone to health problems and poor genes.  Tips for choosing a dog breeder are discussed here. Seek Recommendations When choosing a dog breeder seek out recommendations from trusted sources, such as national breed associations and veterinarians.  Always check the breeder’s references, particularly if the kennel is not well-established.  If you cannot find recommendations for a kennel in your area, at the very least ask trusted canine professionals which breeders to avoid. Ask Questions Once you narrow down your list to a few breeders, the next step is to ask plenty of questions.  How, and why, did...
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New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Dog in 2017

With 2016 coming to an end, it is time to reflect upon the past year with an eye toward the future.  What change can you make in 2017 that will positively impact your life?  Better yet, what changes can you make in 2017 that will pawsitively impact your dog’s life?  The following are a few suggestions dog-and-owner New Year’s resolutions. Exercise More More than 50% of household dogs in America are obese, as well as 70% of Americans.  Besides helping to maintain a healthy weight, there are numerous benefits of daily exercise.  These include enhanced mood, better canine behavior, improved sleep, and a reduced risk of developing disease.  Incorporating just 5 – 10 more minutes of exercise per day can make a big difference in both you and your dog’s lives! Get Outside your Comfort Zone As the saying goes:  nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Getting outside your personal comfort zone...
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Common Reasons Owners Rehome Their Dogs

The number of dogs relinquished to animal shelters or rehomed through sites such as Craigslist is staggering.  Even worse, many of the dogs that do get adopted wind up bouncing from home to home until one sticks.  Many adopters have unrealistic expectations regarding canine ownership.  Listed here are the most common reasons owners rehome their pets. Breed Specific Legislation Unfortunately, many areas in the United States, Canada, and Europe do not allow certain breeds, primarily pit bulls.  Commonly, people bring home pit bulls without considering future plans of relocating.  Then, when it comes time to move, they are unable to find housing that allows pitties, or the breed is banned entirely from the community.  Before adopting a dog, make sure the breed is compatible with any relocations you are intending to make in the next 10 – 15 years. Too Much Work Another reason dogs are relinquished is because the...
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A New Dog in the House: Beyond the Introduction

If you are adding a new dog or long-term visitor to the household, there is much more to harmonious living beyond the initial introduction.  Even if resident pets tolerate the newcomer, there are additional steps the owner must take in order to ensure peaceful coexistence. Start Small One of the worst mistakes a dog owner can make is to assume that since the initial introduction went well there will be smooth sailing thereafter.  While this may be the case for some dogs, in reality there are many pets that will display some jealousy, resource guarding, or general brattiness.  It is always better to be on the safe side and start small.  Praise your dogs whenever they are behaving well, even if simply sitting on the couch next to one another. Expect a Few Scuffles The main way that dogs interact with one another is through assertion of hierarchy.  In the...
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Is a Christmas Puppy Right for You?

Every year puppies delight children on Christmas morning with their soft fur, playful spirit, and adorable antics.  However, come February many shelters receive an influx of 4 – 6 month old dogs that turned out to be too much work.  Should you gift your friends or family members with a puppy? Reconsider if… Your Child/Spouse Asked for One If you are rushing to find a puppy this month simply because you overheard your son or daughter beg the mall Santa for a dog, reconsider.  One reason that puppies should not be placed under the Christmas tree is that children should never think of them as toys. You Have not Considered Costs Involved Oftentimes, people who give puppies as gifts do not calculate the additional costs involved.  By many estimates, the first year of dog ownership totals $1,000 – $2,000, assuming no emergency medical costs are incurred.  Christmas is not the...
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Surviving Holiday Travel with your Dog

This week, many people will be traveling to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family.  For some, family pets will make the trip as well.  If this is your first time taking Fido home for the holidays, listed below are helpful tips to make sure he is welcomed back next year. Exercise Your pup is bound to be excited by the change in environment and new people to bug for attention.  Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog; and a happy dog makes for happy hosts.  Take your pup for extra long walks in the morning and provide plenty of play time.  Start a Thanksgiving Day tradition by letting your dog tag along in the local Turkey Trot. Routine Whereas humans enjoy to switch things up from time to time, dogs are happiest when their lives are predictable.  No matter where you travel for the holiday, try to...
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How to Keep Your Dog if You Fall on Hard Times

Owning an animal is a huge responsibility, one that should not be taken lightly.  However, occasionally people fall onto hard times and cannot bear the thought of giving up their pets due to a short-term crisis.  Additionally, sometimes people in tough situations find themselves with a new companion, typically an animal that was picked up as a stray.  If you have found yourself in either situation, know that there are short-term ways to help pay for your pet’s care. Ask for a Foster If you need help for a limited period of time, such as while you find a new place to live or work, approach a respected rescue and inquire whether they can place your dog with a foster family.  Rescues are happy to help pet owners keep their animals if at all possible, and if a foster is available the rescue will surely oblige. Visit a Canine Food...
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How to Choose a Name for Your Dog

When you bring home a new puppy or an adopted dog, the first step is to choose a name.  This task may seem monumental; after all, your pet is stuck with this title for the rest of its life!  Tips to help make your decision easier are described here. Research Common Names Max, Sadie, Bella, Bailey, and Buddy are all great monikers, which is why they are on the list of most common dog names.  If you are choosing a popular name for your pet, ask yourself if you plan to take your dog to areas that will be populated with other dogs, such as off-leash dog parks or daycare.  If so, you may want to reconsider, unless you want all the Sadies running to your car when it’s time to go. Here are some free online books to get ideas. Avoid Trends Sure, it might be cute to dub your...
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