Are Sticks Safe for Dogs to Play With?

Like bones, sticks are widely considered to be an appropriate toy for dogs.  However, illness, injury, and death can occur as a direct result of your dog chewing or chasing a stick.  Are sticks safe for dogs?  The answer, as well as safe alternatives, will be discussed here. Why Aren’t Sticks Safe for Dogs? Dogs interact with sticks in a number of ways.  First, dogs like to chew on sticks.  However, the stick’s surface can be home to parasites, viruses, and germs.  A dog can develop cuts and abrasions in his or her mouth when chewing on a stick, which can become infected if germs or viruses are introduced.  If a dog ingests certain parasites, such as fleas, a tapeworm infection can occur. Next, an owner may throw a stick to a dog during a game of fetch.  While this game is fun, it can become dangerous if the stick...
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Is a Whippet Right for You?

Whippets, which were originally bred from Greyhounds that were deemed too small to hunt large game, are known for their lightning fast speeds.  First used for hunting small game and later for racing, Whippets have a colorful history.  Is a Whippet right for you? Temperament Whippets are quiet and gentle dogs that are not prone to barking.  Despite their athletic nature they are perfectly content as couch potatoes and lap dogs.  The American Kennel Club describes the Whippet as a dignified breed, and for these reasons it makes an excellent apartment dog.  Whippets can be touch-sensitive, meaning they may startle if touched unexpectedly. Size, Coloring, and Upkeep As a medium-sized dog the Whippet stands 17.5 – 22.5 inches tall at the shoulder and should weigh 20 – 42 lbs, depending on height and sex.  The Whippet’s color is deemed “immaterial,” meaning it is unimportant for breed recognition.  Indeed, there are...
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How to Choose a Veterinarian for your Dog

The health care we provide our pets is important, whether as a preventative measure or during time of emergency.  One of the fundamental pillars of dog ownership is keeping our pets healthy, and doing so requires finding the best health care possible.  How to choose a veterinarian is described here. Ask for Recommendations The first step in understanding how to choose a veterinarian is to ask for recommendations.  Seek advice from other dog owners, employees at the local pet store, and animal rescues or shelters.  At the very least, these resources can tell you which veterinarians to avoid. Check Accreditations Next, check the accreditations of the veterinarians you are considering.  Look to see that their website carries the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) logo, which means the veterinarian has voluntarily chosen to hold him- or herself (as well as equipment and staff) to the highest standards. If you are looking...
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Is a Chow Chow Right for You?

Chow Chows (often shortened to simply “Chow”) are hardy dogs that originate from cold and snowy northern China.  The breed’s name in Mandarin means “puffy-lion dog,” which refers to the lion-like mane of thick fur that encircles the dog’s head.  Chows are one of few ancient dog breeds in existence, with ancestors dating back 2,000 – 3,000 years; but is a Chow Chow right for you? Temperament Chow Chows are friendly and caring towards their owners, but can also be fiercely protective.  For this reason, many apartment complexes ban Chows, as do certain renter’s or home owner’s insurance policies.  Like most Spitz breeds, the Chow Chow can be considered cat-like, sometimes preferring to keep to itself or only a handful of trusted family members.  Chow Chows can also be extremely stubborn. Size, Coloring, and Upkeep A full grown Chow Chow ranges in weight from 55 – 70 lbs for males,...
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Can You Have a Vegan or Vegetarian Dog?

Dogs are often a reflection of ourselves and typically mirror our own social and political views.  After all, it should be no surprise that dog names like Beyonce, Dobby, Pikachu, and Snow (as in Jon) became more popular in 2016.  In addition to naming our dogs after pop culture and expecting them to partake in our favorite hobbies such as running, hiking, and cycling, we also like for them to follow similar dining habits.  With vegan and vegetarian diets becoming increasingly popular, you might wonder:  can you have a vegan or vegetarian dog?  Listed here are a few surprising facts about meat-free canines. One of the oldest living dogs was vegan. Bramble, a blue merle Collie, once held the Guinness Book World Record for oldest dog, reaching the age of 27 years old.  He resided in the United Kingdom and followed the dietary restrictions of his human.  Bramble ate a...
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Are you Using Dog Treats Correctly?

Three common problems in canine households include pet obesity, excessive begging, and bad behavior based on poor boundaries.  Before you blame your dog (or its metabolism), ask yourself whether your use of dog treats is to blame. Proper Use of Dog Treats The main reason dog treats exist is because dogs learn best with reward-based training.  Since dogs also have voracious appetites, food as a reward is the most logical choice when it comes to training.  In fact, any time a dog is given a reward, be it food, attention, or affection, the pet will repeat any behaviors that preceded the treat or belly rub.  Proper treat use means only giving a dog a reward when it has been earned.  For instance, your dog may receive a treat for sitting and shaking on command, or for peacefully going into his or her crate.  Benefits of proper use of treat include:...
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Is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi Right for You?

In recent years the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has surged in popularity, thanks to the breed’s adorable antics and interesting looks.  Popular Instagram accounts, such as Ralph the Corgi, have also encouraged the breed’s recent success.  Is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi right for you? Temperament Pembroke Welsh Corgis (which are distinct from the Cardigan Welsh Corgi) are highly intelligent dogs that are renowned for their working ability.  They are both affectionate and alert, and make wonderful family companions and watch dogs.  They can be bold, but are kind in their ways. Size, Coloring, and Upkeep Pembroke Welsh Corgis are recognized for their long bodies, erect, triangle-shaped ears, and absence of a tail.  They are small and sturdy dogs, weighing 22 – 31 lbs, depending on sex.  Their coats are short and stiff with the long-coat “fluffy” variation considered a fault.  The American Kennel Club recognizes four colors of Pembroke Welsh Corgi: ...
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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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Is a Boxer Right for You?

One of America’s oldest and most popular breeds, the Boxer is a dignified dog known for its spunky personality and beautiful brindle coat.  Currently ranked 10th most popular dog breed in the United States, there is no shortage of Boxer puppies.  But, is a Boxer right for you? Temperament Boxers are intelligent, fun-loving, and active dogs.  They are patient with children, yet also spirited and protective, and make great family pets for these reasons.  Boxers can be stubborn animals that are prone to boredom, so care must be taken to ensure these pets are properly exercised and mentally stimulated. Size, Coloring, and Upkeep A medium-to-large breed, Boxers weigh 55 – 71 lbs and stand 21 – 25’’ tall at the shoulder.  Two colorings are accepted by the American Kennel Club:  fawn and brindle.  White Boxers are also fairly common, representing approximately 25% of all litters.  However, white Boxers are commonly...
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