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Monthly Archives: April 2018

Spending More Time outside – Have Your Dog First Aid Supplies Ready!

Spring is really finally here! I think it’s been around for a while in other parts of the country, but here in Minnesota it finally just really arrived this past week. For many people springtime means wanting to spend a ton more time outside. It’s time to shake off those winter doldrums and get out to enjoy the sunshine, blue skies, and warm breezes.

If you have a dog, springtime also means spending a lot more time with them outside hiking, playing ball, playing Frisbee, and just having some good dog and family fun!

During all this fun it’s really easy not to think about the fact that dogs can get hurt too. With all of the fun, dogs also seem to find mischief and get into almost everything they shouldn’t or things you don’t want them to. This increases the chance they might eat something that will make them sick; get bitten; or hurt themselves on something during one of their adventures.

For this reason it is always a great idea to have a kit put together of dog first aid supplies in the event of an injury or emergency.

What’s Available

You can find quite an array of different dog first aid kits out there. I’m an avid Amazon shopper and you can find the smallest of little first-aid packs containing minimal supplies that can fit right in your pocket and you can find backpacks packed full of first-aid and emergency supplies, some of which are more likely intended for trained medical personnel.

An alternative to purchasing an already assembled first-aid kit is going to your local store or pharmacy; get supplies on your own; and putting together your own DYI dog first-aid kit. This way you can get the items and brands that you prefer.

The size of the first-aid kit that you purchase or put together is really on dependent your intended activities.


BestBullySticks.com

What Size Kit Should You Get

So how do you decide what you need in a dog first aid kit? It depends on what you’re going to be doing.

If you’re heading out on a hike or camping trip that will take you away for a full day or more or away from veterinary care, it’s good to plan for the unexpected and pack supplies necessary for a more serious condition or injury. If you are just going on walks around the neighborhood or traveling around town a sparser first-aid kit can suffice.

Packing the Basics

No matter what size kit you decide to purchase or put together it should contain some basic necessities (check out that list below). If you decide to put your own kit together you can copy and save the list below to bring it with you to the store.

If most of the time you are just hanging around town; going for a walk; or heading to the dog park you could pack a more minimal dog first-aid kit to include bandages, gloves, gauze, etc. If you’re packing up for a longer trip or heading out where veterinary care will not be close by, a more complete dog first-aid kit should be assembled.

Important Phone Numbers

Be sure to take emergency phone numbers along with you. You can print the image below and keep it in the dog emergency first aid kit. It is also be a good idea to program these numbers into your phone along with your dog’s veterinary clinic number and emergency veterinary care phone number.

Kit Check

Keep in mind that some medications, ointments, fluids, etc. in first aid kits do expire so you will want to check out the expiration dates of everything in your kit at least once a year. The best time would be right before the season where you expect to use the kit the most.

If you use the first-aid kit on a regular basis check it frequently to make sure it is still well stocked.

Asking the Professionals

I’m sure viewpoints on what I am about to say may vary, but I highly suggest contacting a veterinarian or a pet poison control line before inducing vomiting in your dog. There are some things that can also cause damage on the way up so you want to be sure vomiting is the right course of action.

If you don’t feel like sifting through the many dog first aid kits available online or putting together a DYI kit, you can always check with your veterinarian to see what dog first aid supplies and/or dog first aid kits they recommend.

The American Red Cross offers an online dog and cat first aid training course. Currently the cost is $25 for a 35 minute training class. I personally have not taken this course so I cannot vouch if the information is worth it or not. At this time there are only three reviews of the course averaging out to 3 out of 5 stars. You can click HERE to be directed to the link so you can check it out.

In addition, the American Red Cross has a Pet First Aid app you can download from iTunes or the Google play store. This app is basically a reference guide you can have all ready-to-go in the event you need to understand how to deal with a first aid situation. You can also download online by going HERE.

Being Prepared

It is better to be prepared and not need the supplies then to need the supplies and not be prepared. If you are ever faced with your dog being injured or in an emergency situation, what you do for your dog before you’re able to get to the clinic can help save his life. The price of a dog first aid kit or dog first-aid supplies is minimal compared to the potential of losing your best friend.

If you’re interested in purchasing a kit, here is a link to several different options on Amazon.

==>  Dog First Aid Kits  <==

In addition if you click on the ad to the right and sign up for a free Amazon prime trial you can get free shipping on a ton of items. ==>

Enjoy your springtime adventures!

Love,

Lynne and Maui

OC Raw Dog Treats | Recent Dog Treat Recall

OC raw dog freeze-dried sardines package front

Package front

It has been a while since I’ve had to tell you about a dog treat recall, but here we go. This one could be pretty serious so if you have purchased or know a dog owner who may have purchased the OC Raw Dog freeze-dried sardines, I definitely recommend reading on!

Recalled Treat

This recent dog treat recall is for the OC Raw Dog Freeze Dried Sardines produced by OC Raw Dog, LLC based in Rancho Santa Margarita California.

This recall involves the 3.2 ounce bag of freeze-dried sardines that have the UPC code 095225853043. You can find this UPC code on the backside of the bag located in the bottom right-hand corner.

Reason for Recall

These freeze-dried sardine Raw Dog treats have been recalled because they have the potential to cause botulism. Botulism toxin is produced by a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum, which means these freeze-dried sardines may potentially be contaminated with Clostridium.

Botulism caused by the botulinum toxin is an incredibly potent poison and can be deadly to pets and humans.

How Was It Discovered?

The Minnesota Department of Food and Agriculture collected a sample of the OC Raw Dog freeze-dried sardines. Upon collection it was determined that the sardines included as these treats exceed the FDA compliance guidelines regarding fish size as they measured in at 6 to 6.5 Inches in length.

Based on former outbreaks of the botulism disease, the FDA has determined fish of this length have a greater likelihood of being contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.

Deeper Explanation

The FDA has found that salt-cured, dried, or fermented un-gutted fish greater than 5 inches in length have been linked to botulism poisoning outbreaks between the years of 1981 and 1987, as well as in 1991. Since fish greater than 5 inches of length have been linked to botulism outbreaks, the FDA instituted a compliance guideline indicating salt cured, dried, or fermented fish over 5 inches of length must be gutted.

Due to this FDA guideline the OC Raw Dog sardine treats have been recalled because it was found their length exceeded the 5 inch requirement.

At this point in time there have been no reported cases of botulism due to these treats in dogs, cats, or humans.

Test Results

It’s important to note that the sardine sample did not test positive for Clostridium botulinum, only that they have a higher likelihood of being contaminated due to their size.

In addition to testing the sample for Clostridium botulinum, the Minnesota Department of Food and Agriculture also tested the sample for Salmonella. These test results were also negative.

Where Could I Have Purchased It?

These freeze-dried sardine treats were shipped to distributors in the following states:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas

These distributors would sell the treats to wholesalers who then sell them to customers. If these treats made it to the shelf you would have found them in independent pet stores in the listed states.

Info About Botulism

The Clostridium botulinum bacteria creates the botulin toxin which is potentially fatal to animals and humans. Dogs eating these treats or humans who have touched a contaminated treat and then touched their eyes, nose, mouth, etc, could become contaminated with botulism.

Symptoms common with botulism poisoning are:

  • difficulty breathing
  • muscle weakness
  • dizziness
  • trouble speaking or swallowing
  • blurred or double vision
  • constipation
  • abdominal distention

If you or your pet are displaying any of these symptoms after potentially eating or coming in contact with some of the freeze-dried sardine treats seek medical attention immediately!

OC’s Response

OC raw dog logoOC Raw Dog, LLC vouches that quality and safety are of utmost priority. Because of this they are conducting the voluntary recall on their dried sardine treats. In addition, they will be evaluating and changing their sardine suppliers to assure sardines measure less than 5 inches for future batches of treats. If the sardines are larger than 5 inches they will be gutted first.

OC indicates they are dedicated to producing safe products of high quality and that they will continue to use only USDA certified and inspected ingredients and products intended for human consumption.

What should I do?

If you purchased the OC Raw Dog freeze-dried sardine treats it is recommended that you stop feeding them to your dog immediately and bring the remaining sardines in the package back to where you purchased them for a full refund.

You can also contact OC Raw Dog at 844-215-3647, 8AM – 5 PM Monday through Friday with any questions or comments.

To read the original FDA recall alert click HERE.

Observation

While no contaminated freeze-dried sardines have been discovered at this point and no illnesses reported, it’s important to keep an eye on your pet and yourself for the onset of symptoms. If you think your dog is acting strangely after eating some of these treats its best to err on the side of safety and contact your dog’s veterinarian for advice and possibly to schedule an appointment.

Did you purchased these treats for your dog? Let us know about your experience here in the comments.

Lynne and Maui

2

The Best Long Lasting Dog Chews For 2018! Natural Long Lasting Dog Chew Treats Your Pup Will Love!

 

Spaniel chewing on hoofMy last post was about awesome durable chew toys that your dog will be able to chew on and play with for a really long time. After writing that post I thought it only fair to do a post about some awesome edible long lasting dog chews. These dog chew treats are intended to be eaten (wooohooo! I always get excited about eating). So, no worries about your dog eating something they shouldn’t.

There are a ton of dog chew treats out there! It’s really overwhelming if you’re trying to find healthy dog chew treats that are also long lasting. If you research some of the really popular chews you will find many are not all that healthy. Rawhide, for example, is often processed with chemicals prior to being packaged and sold. Those chemicals are then still in the treats and ultimately go into your dog. Not good.

I have gathered together here a list of natural, healthy, and wholesome long lasting dog chew treats that your dog is sure to be tail waggin’ happy about.

 

Bully Sticks

6 standard odor free bully stick

6 inch standard bully stick

6 inch thick odor free bully sticks

6 inch thick bully stick

Bully sticks are a 100% natural beef product made from bull pizzle. I’m going to come right out and tell you what bull pizzle is in case you’re not sure … it is bull penis. Yep. It may seem kind of weird that a dog treat is made from that part of the bull, but dogs love them! It’s also great that parts of the bull that might otherwise be discarded are being used and not wasted.

Bully sticks come in several different thicknesses and lengths which makes it easy to get a bully stick that is an appropriate size for your dog. The thinner bully sticks are more appropriate for a smaller dog and the thicker bully sticks are great for larger dogs and will be the longest lasting dog chew.

 

Braided Bully Sticks

This one really is still bully sticks but it’s like a mega bully stick chew treat!

For some dogs a single bully stick can be a quick treat. A great way to give them this awesome treat but have it last longer is to get braided bully sticks. Braided bully sticks are three bully sticks braided together to make a much thicker, longer lasting dog chew.

These braided bully sticks come in sizes appropriate for small to large dogs.

 

Antlers

Antlers are a naturally grown bony extension of the skull grown by members of the deer family. The males grow antlers mainly to display their “masculinity” and increase their chances of finding a mate. Deer naturally shed their antlers once a year. These bony antlers that members of the deer family (deer, elk) drop can make fantastic long lasting dog chews!

Antlers are exceptionally hard and probably one of the longest lasting dog chews you can find. Antlers are high in calcium and phosphorus which are good for your dog. They are also very high in protein which is also good for your dog but could give them a bit of diarrhea if they chew on it too much. An awesome plus is they are pretty much odor free!

Purchase antlers that do not retain the sharp points as the points can be exceptionally dangerous for dogs to chew on and be sure the antlers are not chemically processed. Choose an antler that is too large for your dog to completely get in their mouth or potentially down their throat. It is important to get an antler that originates in the United States from a reputable company. As antlers become more popular some companies are selling lower quality antlers that could splinter and be dangerous for your dog to chew on.

 

Horns

Animals such as antelope, goats, and buffalo have horns. Horns are different from antlers in that they have a bone core surrounded by a keratin sheath layer (keratin is the same stuff that your fingernails and hair are made of). Some are sold with the bone core still inside while some have the bone core removed and are hollow.

Horns are also very hard so they will last your dog a long time! I have purchased buffalo horns for Maui a couple times. She really loves them and it takes an incredibly long time to do that horn any damage. I did notice after she had had it for quite a long while she was starting to get splinters off the cut edge.

I recommend purchasing a thicker walled horn as it will take your dog longer to get through the horn wall. Also, purchase a horn that does not have a sharp point. Horns are naturally often curved in shape. I always worry about that sharp and/or curved point coming back around and poking a dog in the eye or perhaps poking through the roof of their mouth.

 

Himalayan Yak Chew

Himalayan dog chews originated from an ancient recipe for a hard cheese treat munched on by people in the Himalayas. Himalayan dog chews are made with yak and cow milk; are 100% natural; contain no preservatives or additives, and are grain and gluten-free.

The Himalayan dog chews are literally edible. Dogs chew on the hard cheese stick and the chewing softens that part of the stick. As pieces of the cheesestick get soft enough they will break off and the dog can then eat that little piece.

When the dog gets the stick down to just being a nub, you’ll want to take that away so they don’t choke on it. But what’s great is you can microwave that last piece for about 30 to 45 seconds until it puffs up, let it cool and then they have a yummy, puffy, crunchy treat to finish off.

 

These chews come in different sizes so be sure to select one of appropriate size for your dog. Be sure that they won’t be able to get the chew completely in their mouth or down their throat.

 

Hooves

Cow hooves make a great chew treat. They too are a very hard chew treat for your dog and are made of keratin. Keratin is not as hard as bone, so they certainly won’t last as long as antler. But don’t get me wrong, hooves are still a very strong dog chew treat and will last your pup a good long time.

What’s also neat about hooves is that they are hollowed out inside making it easy to slip a little peanut butter or soft treat inside. A downside to cow hooves is that they really do hit the nostrils pretty hard; they pack quite an odor. They might not smell too bad in the store but once they get slobbered on and chewed on, that smell really comes out. I personally would recommend them more as an outside chew treat.

 

Pig and Cow Ears

Pig ears are well, exactly what they say, pig’s ears. Dogs usually just go gaga for these chew treats. Pig’s ears are a thick pork skin, and what dog doesn’t like pork! Cow ears are also a tempting, yummy treat! These dog chew treats are much softer than some of the other options listed here so most likely best for moderate chewers.

Pig’s ears are also pretty high in fat so don’t feed too many of them or too often.

Some companies really over process their pig ears and use chemicals, additives, or preservatives. Be sure to select your pig’s ears from reputable U.S. companies and check out how they process the ears so you can be sure you are giving your dog a healthy chemical free treat. Best Bully Treats offers a great selection of both pig and cow ears.

 

pig and cow ears

 

Safety

I know I say it with every post about chewing, but be sure to supervise your dog when they are chewing any of these long-lasting dog chews. They are all incredibly hard substances by nature, but that doesn’t mean one might not crack, splinter, or get so small that your dog will try to swallow it.

Splinters are dangerous as they can embed themselves in your dog’s mouth or anywhere within the digestive system. Splinters and punctures can be incredibly dangerous and cause major medical issues.

When these chews get small enough to fit in your dog’s mouth they might try to swallow the remainder whole. These chunks are usually too big to be swallowed and pose a choking hazard and/or G.I. obstruction hazard.

Because of the hard nature of these treats, there is also the potential for broken teeth, especially for the really aggressive chewers. Broken teeth often need to be pulled which can be a major medical issue and expense.

 

Chew with Care

While all of these make great long-lasting dog chew treats, it is best to supervise your dog while they have them. Kind of like you wouldn’t let a toddler have a lollipop unsupervised. You would want to be sure that the toddler is safe and doesn’t run the risk of choking on that delicious piece of candy. Similarly, you want to keep an eye on your dog while they enjoy their tasty chew treat to be sure that they stay safe.

If you’re interested in any of these 100% natural dog chews you can find many of them at Amazon.com or Bestbullysticks.com. Clicking on the banner below will give you $10 off a $55 order at Best Bully Sticks!

 

BestBullySticks.com

 

Chew safely and wisely my friends,

Lynne and Maui

18

5 Tough Dog Chew Toys you need to check out! Strong Dog Toys for the Toughest of Chewers!

 

If you’ve read some of my other posts you might notice a couple about dogs and chewing. One is about giving dogs bones and another is about an awesome treat dispensing chewball. I’m not really obsessed with dogs chewing it’s just that chewing is such a vital part of being a dog. This is obvious by how many dog treats and toys are designed specifically with chewing in mind.

Dogs love to chew. If we as good dog parents do not give them something we want them to chew on, quite often they will find something we don’t want them to chew on. There are different chewing stages throughout a dog’s life, puppy, adult dog, and senior. You can find different chew items and toys for each stage of your dog’s life.

Dog chewing shoe

I found five great tough dog chew toys for your adult dog that I’d like to share with you. I hate to say that these are indestructible dog chew toys because I think there are very few that are literally indestructible, but I think the list below gives you some really great durable dog chew toys that may end up being indestructible for your dog, but at minimum will at least last them a good long time.

 

Why Dogs Chew

As part of their ancestry, dogs chewed prey for survival. Today dogs love to chew because it’s still a natural, basic component of being a dog. Dogs experience the world through their mouth so what better way than to chew on … whatever looks interesting, tasty, or just flat out chewable!

Dogs especially love to chew when they are puppies or very young, this often has to do with teething and/or learning about the new world around them. Kind of like little kids, puppies put things in their mouth to learn about them. If left to decide on their own what to chew on, puppies will often choose something you don’t them to chew on like a shoe, table leg, toys, your hand …

Dogs will also chew out of boredom or to relieve stress. Again, if your dog is not given something appropriate to chew on they will find something else to chew on, potentially resulting in destructive behavior. It’s important to give your dog designated, appropriate chew toys to redirect this potentially destructive and dangerous chewing.

 

 

The AgriChew

The AgriChew was initially designed to be a shock absorbing part used in irrigation equipment. During a meeting one of the family dogs attending was getting bored and they gave him one of the shock absorbers to keep him occupied. The dog loved it!

The puck-sized strong shock absorber turned dog toy is made out a flexible, tough, non-toxic, pet safe thermoplastic polyurethane that is free from any known sources of mercury, latex, lead, cadmium, natural rubber, hormones, BPA, phthalates, or asbestos.

Another great thing – with every AgriChew you purchase a toy gets donated to a dog shelter.

The AgriChew is not a super large dog chew toy, so the size of it may not be appropriate for extra-large or large dogs that could potentially get this chew toy into their throat. But, for those mid-size and smaller dogs, this heavy-duty dog chew toy could be a big hit!

 

Invincibles Tough Seamz

Invincibles Tough SeamzInvincibles Seamz by Outward Hound has a lot of great features designed for the tough chewer. These super strong dog toys are designed with durability in mind and as their website says “to play as hard as your dog does!” These dog toys are designed with double layered and double stitched seams to increase their longevity and durability.

Another great thing – they have no stuffing! If your dog is anything like mine once they get a hole in a stuffed toy, every bit of that stuffing is all over the floor. You won’t have that mess with these toys. The squeakers in the Invincibles also keep squeaking even if they are punctured.

 

Tux Stuffable Toy

Tux dog toyThis toy seems like it has best of all worlds! It is extremely durable and tough; stretchable (without stretching out); has a crazy fun bounce, and can be stuffed with yummy dog treats. Oh, did I also mention that it floats? It comes in a small and large so you can get one that is appropriate for your dog’s size.

The Tux is made in Montana from U.S. sourced materials and is:

  • 100% recyclable
  • non-toxic
  • FDA compliant
  • BPA free
  • phthalate free
  • dishwasher safe

And if your dog ever destroys the Tux, the company offers a free replacement!

 

 

Kong Extreme

KONG ExtremeI don’t think this list would be complete without the mention of a Kong product. Kong is extremely well known for producing I think the strongest dog chew toys. You can find Kong products in many shapes and sizes but I’m going to highlight the Kong Extreme here.

The Kong Extreme is made from the most durable Kong rubber and is designed for the aggressive chewer. Its unique shape also gives a crazy bounce which is great for playtime. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from small to extra-extra-large.

Not only is the Kong Extreme designed for the toughest of chewers, it has the hollow core which is great for stuffing treats or peanut butter into. To make the play time last even longer you can put the Kong Extreme stuffed with peanut butter (or some other yummy treat) into the freezer. It will take your puppy longer to get that yummy treat out of the center.

 

Bounce-N-Play

Jolly pets bounce-n-playJolly Pets produces a lot of highly rated dog toys. I’m going to highlight the Bounce-n-Play for this list of top dog chew toys. The Bounce-n-Play comes in three different sizes designed for the adult dog. A fun thing about these balls is they not only come in different sizes but they come in different scents. You can get a Jolly Pets Bounce-n-Play that smells like blueberries, bubblegum, or oranges!

These great balls are made from a low-density puncture resistant plastic that will not deflate or lose shape if punctured. In addition to being puncture proof, they float!

These jolly balls are made in the U.S. from non-toxic low-density polyethylene and are safe for your dog to play with and try to chew.

 

Keep an Eye out

With any chew treat or toy, it is important to always keep an eye on your dog while they are chewing on it. Even the strongest dog chew toys have the potential to break; have chunks come off, or splinter.

Splinters can cause a lot of damage if they puncture on the way through, potentially causing big medical issues for your dog. If a dog is actually able to get chunks of a chew toy to break off, these chunks could get lodged in their throat resulting in choking; loss of their ability to breathe; and if left unsupervised this could result in death. Pretty scary!

So please, supervise your dog anytime they have any sort of toy or chew treat that they are playing with or chewing on.

Maui and I are all for fun but it’s important to play safe as well.

Lynne and Maui

Let us know what your favorite  (well, your dog’s favorite) tough chew toy is!

Leave Maui a comment in the space below!

 

4

Ready to adopt a puppy or adult dog? A decision worth thinking about.

It is finally Spring! Springtime is a time of new birth and life. Grass is turning green, trees are budding, flowers are beginning to bloom, and the “birds and the bees” are active (if you know what I mean wink, wink, nudge, nudge). Spring is the time for renewed life on mother Earth as well as new life for the creatures that live on it. This means … lots of little babies!

The longer days, warmer weather, moisture in the air (and no snow…yeah), and plentiful food makes Spring the most perfect time of year for animal babies to be born. Animal babies are everywhere, and not just out in nature. Spring and Summer is also the time of year when a large number of puppies are born.

With all these new puppies around many of us start to contemplate bringing a new furry family member into our home by getting a dog or puppy. Spring means there are a lot more puppies around but there are many older dogs that need homes as well. So you begin to question if you want to adopt a puppy or dog and if you should adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue or perhaps from a breeder or pet store.

You should feel good about your decision and the place you adopt your dog or puppy from, so let’s talk about your options. You can take it all in and make a decision that works best for you.

Springtime

Dogs can mate any time of the year but like with other animals, breeding often happens in the spring and puppies are then born approximately two months later. Since dogs can breed year-round, some sources indicate there really is not a rise in the number of puppies in the spring while other sources indicate that puppy numbers might be slightly higher in the spring and summer.

Maybe the real reason we start looking to adopt a puppy or dog in the spring isn’t that there are more of them around, it’s that we feel invigorated, full of life, and motivated to want to spend time outside. It’s a time to smile in the sun, take walks, and let the wind blow through your hair and who better to do that with than a new furry companion.

Adopting a Puppy

Adopting a new puppy is a very exciting prospect! That tiny bundle of fluffiness and cuteness is uber hard to resist. Watching them play is about the cutest thing ever, or could it be watching them sleep? When they snuggle up with you or look at you with those puppy eyes, it instantly melts your heart.

Puppies are absolutely awesome but they are also a lot of work. Bringing a puppy into your family means you and your family will need to be spending a lot of time with that puppy, especially the first year. Puppies pretty much need constant supervision and direction during the first few months of life. You need to:

  • teach them how to behave in your home and in public
  • teach them where and where not to go potty
  • teach them where they can and cannot be
  • direct them how to spend time nondestructively
  • make sure they are staying out of trouble
  • take them to obedience training (as much for you as it is for the puppy)

As they continue to grow you will need to continue to direct and shape their behaviors and personality.

If you have a flexible schedule, work at home, stay home a lot, or have family members that are home most of the day, a puppy could be a great choice for you!

If this all seems a bit too much for you for like it wouldn’t fit into your lifestyle very well, maybe an older dog would be a better choice for you.

Adopting an Older Dog

Adopting an older dog can be an awesome choice for some people! You get to bypass the intense, time-consuming, and often destructive puppy stages of life such as potty training and teething.

Depending on the dog’s situation before they were put up for adoption some may already have some obedience training and be house-trained. Although it’s important to know that although a dog may have been previously house-trained many often revert back to bad potty habits for a while due to the stress of homelessness, adoption, and a new home.

Once an older dog gets used to you, your family, your home, and your routine they often settle in contently and are eager to be your and your family’s new best buddy.

Adopting an older dog often means you do not know about that dog’s life prior to adopting him/her. That dog may have lived a blissful, happy life or could have been neglected or abused. Something to definitely keep in mind with an older dog is you are inheriting behaviors that dog has developed up until meeting you. There may be some behavioral issues you may have to work with and be patient and tolerant of until the dog gets to know and trust you, your routine, family, friends, etc.girl with yorkie

If you have children be sure the older dog you adopt is used to being around children. Children can be very stressful for a dog that is fearful or just not used to the energy and playfulness of kids. Some dogs honestly just do not deal with children very well.

Purchasing Directly from a Breeder

Purchasing a purebred dog or puppy directly from a dog breeder is usually a pricey decision. Some people prefer to buy a purebred puppy since (in general) you can reliably predict the temperament and behavior of a pedigreed dog more so than a random-bred dog. But, getting a dog from a breeder does not automatically guarantee good behavior or health. Inga Fricke of the Humane Society of the U.S. states “it’s not like buying a washing machine with a guarantee”.

If buying from a breeder is a consideration for you, the American Kennel Club (AKC) stresses the importance of finding a responsible breeder that you trust. The AKC offers tips for finding and working with a responsible breeder.

  • AKC logoVisit the AKC Marketplace: PuppyFinder. This is the official site for AKC registered litters and puppies.
  • Check out the AKC’s Breeder of Merit Program. Breeders of Merit are dedicated to producing well socialized, healthy puppies that preserve the breed characteristics.
  • Check out the Bred with H.E.A.R.T. Program. Breeders in this program have continued their education and have met specific health testing standards.
  • Get a minimum of two references! In essence, breeders work for you so be sure to get at least two recent (within the past year) references of previous clients. Ask those references a lot of questions!
  • Visit the breeder’s facility in person. Observe the breeder and the dogs.
  • Ask the breeder a lot of questions! The breeder should be patient, informative, explaine things clearly, and have a good rapport with you.
  • Find out if the breeder is in good standing with the AKC by calling AKC customer service at 919-233-9767 or emailing at info@akc.org
  • See the puppy’s parents. Observe their behavior, temperament, and physical health.
  • Get a full medical history.
  • If you decide to purchase a puppy from breeder, get documentation of the puppy’s pedigree.

Purchasing from a Pet Store

Purchasing a puppy from a pet store is also a pricier and riskier decision. Scouring the Internet, the general opinion and belief is that pet stores get their puppies from breeding farms, or in other words puppy mills.

Many pet stores will swear that their puppies come from reputable breeders, although if pressed, the staff may have little or no knowledge of where the puppy came from or the condition of the kennel. Petfinder.com indicates reputable breeders for the most part will not sell to pet stores because a reputable breeder will want to be sure their puppies are going to good homes.

In addition, when buying from a pet store you are not able to observe the breeder’s facility; the puppy’s parents; the dog’s behavior at the breeding facility; nor are you able to get references of former breeder clients. The pet store might not even have any of this information to give you.

man holding question markAsk the pet store as many questions as possible about the puppy’s upbringing, breeder, breeder facility, sisters and brothers, etc. Be sure to get documentation of the puppy’s pedigree and definitely be sure to ask about any sort of health or behavior warranties/guarantees.

It is a sad situation because it is not the puppy’s fault that they were born and raised in a puppy mill. My general feeling is that these puppies deserve a home just as much as any other. And I wonder, if puppies are not purchased while they are at the pet store and get “too old”, where do these puppies then go?

Purchasing a pet store and potentially a puppy mill puppy, is potentially putting money into the hands of the puppy miller, which is not a good thing. But I feel it is also not okay to make the puppies suffer for how they were brought into this world. As you can tell, at least for me, purchasing from a pet store is quite a moral struggle. You will have to weigh the pros and cons of this one and see if it is the right choice for you.

The Humane Society of the United States has a great article on decoding Pet Store Doublespeak. You can read it by clicking HERE.


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Adopting a Shelter Pet

shelter dog at fenceA shelter or rescue dog can be an amazing new family member and companion! I often feel that animals know when they’ve been given a second chance and they are appreciative. I’ve adopted four rescue animals throughout my life and all have been incredibly affectionate, loving, wonderful additions; I can’t imagine not having them in my life.

Pets are surrendered to an animal shelter, humane society, or rescue for several different reasons. Many are found as strays, surrendered as a litter, surrendered by a loving owner for personal reasons, or surrendered because the original owner is severely ill or has passed away. Sadly, others are surrendered or confiscated due to neglect or abuse.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) indicates “Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs”. Of those 3.3 million dogs approximately:rescue dog at fence

  • 620,000 are returned to their owners
  • 6 million are adopted, and
  • 670,000 are euthanized

You can find dogs ranging from puppy stage to senior stage at a rescue or shelter. If you adopt a dog or puppy from a shelter or rescue you give that dog a second chance at life.

Some great reasons to adopt from a shelter are:

  • You are saving the life of an animal that has been given up on, lost, or abandoned.
  • There is often a great selection of dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds (shelters even often have purebred dogs).
  • You pay less!
  • Dogs receive excellent medical care at the rescue/shelter.
  • You help break the cycle of overpopulation. Most rescues and shelters neuter or spay animals prior to their adoption or require it as part of the adoption agreement.
  • You help stop cruelty in mass breeding/puppy mill facilities by not supporting their practices.
  • You are associated with the shelter/rescue which can be a valuable resource throughout the life of your new pet.

obedient dogIf you adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue they might even have some obedience training under their furry belt and they might even be house-trained! Make note though that even if it dog was house-trained prior to meeting you, they might revert back to bad potty behaviors once moving to a new home. The stress of being surrendered, the adoption process, and moving to a new home with new people can often cause dogs to revert back to some undesired behaviors. But with love and patience these behaviors can often be overcome quite quickly.

A downside to adopting a rescue puppy or dog is that the dog’s history is often not known. Similar to adopting an older dog, the dog may have had a happy life before meeting you and may fall in quickly and nicely with their new home and new routine, or you may inherit some behaviors and fears the dog has developed in it’s prior life.

Don’t let this hold you back, with patience and love even dogs with ‘issues’ can become blissfully happy and content members of your family.

kids with german sheperd

If you have/will have children and are considering adopting an older dog from a rescue or shelter, try to find out if the dog is accustomed to being around children. Children can be very stressful for a dog that is fearful or just not used to the energy and playfulness of kids.

Petfinder: 101 Reasons to Adopt ... pets are great listenersHow to Adopt a Shelter Pet

A great website to find an adoptable dog is Petfinder.com. Petfinder.com is a directory of nearly 14,000 adoption organizations and animal shelters across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. You can see dogs available from all of these organizations all in one place.

Pet stores such as Petco and PetSmart also partner with local rescues to showcase animals up for adoption in their stores. Visit PetSmart.com or Petco.com to find store locations near you.

Adopting a Puppy or Dog

When deciding to adopt a puppy or dog it is important to consider your life and lifestyle as it is right now as well as your potential lifestyle and family in the future. When you bring a dog into your life they will be there for many years so it is important to keep that in mind. Bringing a new pet into your life is a big decision, one you should not decide on impulsively but think about and consider extensively before moving ahead.

Girl with dog wearing heart classesHave you recently brought a new puppy or older dog into your home?

Tell us about your new family member below in the comments.

 

 

 

Lynne and Maui

 

 

 

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