Is a Shiba Inu Right for You?

Shiba Inus are popular dogs thanks to their fox-like aesthetic and small, manageable size.  However, this breed of dog is often considered to be one of the more difficult ones to own, and for good reason.  Is a Shiba Inu right for your family? Temperament Shiba Inus are commonly called the “cats of the dog world” due to their aloof personality.  They tend to be loner dogs, ones that prefer keeping to themselves rather than engaging in stereotypical dog-like behaviors, such as attention seekin.  As alert and active animals they make great watch dogs, and their high energy makes them perfect exercise partners for active people. Size, Coloring, and Upkeep Shibas are small in stature, standing 16 – 17 inches tall and weighing 18 – 22 lbs.  They have four common coat colorings, including red, sesame, black and tan, or white. Shiba Inus have a double coat and shed heavily,...
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Dogs and Children: Dog Bite Prevention

Unfortunately, children represent the largest demographic of people affected by serious dog bites annually.  A conservative estimate is that 400,000 children receive medical treatment in the US each year after a dog attack; however, many cases go unreported for fear of the dog’s welfare.  While no dog bite is ever inexcusable, the fact of the matter is that many attacks can be prevented. Why Are Children Affected More Often Than Adults? Children represent chaotic unpredictability to pets, which can be extremely nerve wracking – especially to an anxious dog.  Dogs have certain drives that are evolutionarily ingrained, such as chasing smaller animals or becoming agitated in the presence of loud shrieks.  In addition, children are less likely to be aware of personal space, and can threaten an animal by inadvertently crowding a dog’s face or food bowl. Rules for Children Never approach a dog during mealtime.  This rule holds true...
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Last Minute Halloween Costumes for your Dog

With Halloween mere hours away, you may be struggling to get your pup’s costume together (or forgot about Halloween completely).  Listed here are 9 costumes that require little effort. Mummy Turn your dog into a spooky mummy by wrapping her in strips of gauze, a cut-up t-shirt, or even toilet paper.  To add to the effect, red food coloring can be used to create the illusion of blood.  Just be sure that the wrappings are not too tight and that your pet’s movements aren’t restricted. Skeleton This costume is perfect if your pet has dark fur.  Simply purchase a pet-safe temporary marker or fur paint and outline your dog’s skeletal system.  If bringing your dog along trick-or-treating, look for glow-in-the-dark paint to add to the effect.  This costume is great for dogs that dislike wearing clothes or costumes. Tiger Similar to the skeleton, if you have a tan or orange...
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Help! I’m Allergic to my Pet!

A pet allergy can develop suddenly, leaving owners scrambling to determine how to manage their comfort while fairly treating their pet.  Many dogs are relinquished to shelters due to an owner’s allergies, but there are a number of strategies that can mitigate symptoms. Get a Diagnosis First and foremost, it is important to get an official diagnosis from an allergy specialist before determining your allergies stem from your dog.  Oftentimes, people have multiple allergies that are cumulative.  For instance, you may have mild allergies to your dog’s fur and saliva, but no symptoms until specific pollen is present.  Determining the exact cause can help you best develop a plan for treatment. Create an Allergy Free Zone There should be a room in your house – preferably the bedroom – where your dog is not allowed.  This will help you not only sleep better at night and limit your exposure to the...
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5 Universal Responsibilities of Dog Owners

Owning a dog is a huge responsibility, one that sometimes is not fully considered in advance.  To aid owners in understanding the role they are undertaking in a dog’s life, the ASPCA has created a list outlining the five freedoms every animal should have.  Does your dog enjoy these freedoms? Provide Food and Water At the top of the list of responsibilities that you have to your pet is providing reliable access to fresh water and food.  Water should be refreshed multiple times per day, and the food should be appropriate for your pet.  If your dog lives primarily outdoors, a heated water bowl should be utilized during the winter months so that water does not freeze.  During the summer months, water bowls should be cleaned regularly to prevent the growth of algae. Provide Appropriate Housing Every animal should have access to a roof and four walls of protection, whether...
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Preparing Your Dog For Winter

With Halloween just around the corner, the first signs of colder weather are upon us.  For your dog, this means opportunities to play in the snow and chase snowballs, while for you the winter will require a change in routine.  Tips for keeping your dog safe are listed below. Indoor Dog Coat Unless your dog is a northern breed such as an Akita or Siberian Husky, chances are that she will need an extra layer of protection when outdoors.  Small dogs and shorthaired breeds should wear a sweater or water-resistant jacket when temperatures are below freezing. Booties Snow, ice, and salt can all cause discomfort for your dog.  If your pet is a puppy or has sensitive paws, consider purchasing booties from the pet store that will provide an extra layer of protection. Pet-Safe Salt Dogs can experience burns and irritation to their mouths when licking road salt from their...
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Is a Labrador Retriever Right for You?

Labrador Retrievers have consistently been the most popular dog breed in the world for the past 30 years.  In the United States alone, the Labrador Retriever has been the most-registered dog for 25 consecutive years.  Is this popular breed right for you? Temperament Perhaps the biggest reason that Labrador Retrievers are so popular is their temperament.  Labs are patient, fun-loving, energetic, good with children, and obedient.  Labrador Retrievers are also friendly and outgoing, making them great pets for families. Size, Coloring, and Upkeep Labrador Retrievers are large dogs, with males weighing 65 -80 lbs, and females reaching 55 – 70 lbs.  Potential lab owners should know that scientists have recently found a genetic link for obesity in this breed, proving that labs are prone to overeating and weight gain.  When obese, these dogs can easily weigh over 100 lbs. Labs can be registered in one of three colors:  yellow, black,...
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Dog Aggression? Diagnosing Common Canine Behavior

One of the worst labels a dog can receive is “aggressive.”  In fact, in many states, that word can be a death sentence.  It is important for owners to understand the signs of canine aggression, and what to do in order to fix the problem. You can find some good books here on this as well. Normal Canine Behavior New pet owners may not understand that nipping, biting, and gnawing are all normal puppy and adolescent dog behaviors.  While these actions can be frustrating (and painful) they are not indicative of an aggressive dog.  Instead, this behavior stems from the fact that dogs interact with the world via their mouths (much in the same way as toddlers), and until they are taught otherwise, they will continue to behave in a way that is most natural.  Therefore, if your puppy nips at your heels, chews on your hand during play time,...
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Apple Cider Vinegar: A Natural Remedy for Dogs

During your dog’s life, you are likely to run into problems such as itchy skin, fleas and ticks, ear infections, or digestive distress.  These ailments are common among pets, but are also preventable.  One common remedy and preventative is raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (ACV), which can be purchased at any health food store.  The recommended uses of ACV for dogs are discussed below. Skin Allergies Dogs can develop skin irritation from any number of common allergens, including grass, pollen, dust, and even their food.  Unlike humans, dogs do not display allergic reactions in localized areas, rather, their entire bodies will become itchy and irritated.  ACV can help soothe irritation when applied directly to the skin and coat.  Simply dilute 1 part ACV with 1 part water, and combine in a spray bottle.  Spray your pet (avoiding broken skin) for fast-acting relief. Fleas and Ticks Not all dogs can...
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Tips for Bonding with your New Dog

Bringing home a new dog is a fun-filled occasion for the whole family.  However, pets are often returned within a short period of time because the new animal is not immediately meeting expectations.  For many first-time pet owners, they mistakenly believe the dog will instantly create a bond with its new family, and can be disappointed and frustrated when this expectation is not met.  Tips for jumpstarting the bonding process with your pet are outlined below. Obedience Training One of the best ways to begin bonding with your dog is to attend a structured obedience class.  The positive environment with a seemingly never-ending supply of treats will teach you and your dog how to communicate with one other.  Communication is one of the most important components of bonding, and will help you better understand the needs of your pet and vice versa.  Look for a positive-reinforcement training class in order...
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