A Furry New Family Member: Things To Consider Before Getting a Dog

Getting a dog is a huge responsibility, and something you should think long and hard about before jumping in. Puppies might look harmless and adorable, but there’s so much work that goes into being a dog owner. To give your pooch the best life possible and to make sure it’s something you’re definitely ready for, here are some important things to bear in mind.

The Cost

If you’re buying a designer or pedigree dog breed, the first thing to keep in mind is of course the upfront cost. Many dogs can cost hundreds of dollars, so that’s something you’ll have to pay for on top of everything else. Then you have vet visits — first, they will need vaccinations and possibly microchipping. A few months later it’s neutering and spaying costs, and then annual checkups and booster shots after that. And that’s not even factoring in if your pet has an injury or develops an illness. 

Pet insurance will make sure you’re not left massively out of pocket should the worst happen, but even that can be an expensive thing to pay every month. You could check out a site like http://www.gocompare.com and run some quotes through to see what prices you get. Then you will need to buy food, treats, leads, collars, tags, bowls, beds, grooming products, flea and worming medicines and so much more. 
Before you get a dog, make sure you can afford it since there are a lot of costs that you might not have thought about.

Behavior Problems

Socializing your dog well when they’re young is the best way to avoid behavior problems. Allowing them to mix with other dogs at puppy lessons, taking them on walks to expose them to traffic noises, children shouting, bikes and everything else will help them. When they’re young, dogs are very adaptable, but can develop phobias as they get older. Even the most socialized dog can end up with behavior issues, so again this is something to be aware of. 

Whether it’s aggression to other dogs or people, barking, destructiveness or phobias you will need to know how to deal with these as they arise. For destructive behavior, you could take them on longer walks and make sure they’re not being left alone for too long. 
Keeping them confined to a crate when you’re not home can prevent them from getting into mischief. A site like https://www.bestdogcrateguide.com/ will help you to find the right one. 
For aggression, this is often a sign of fear. A qualified dog trainer may be needed in this case.

Vacations and Trips

If you’re the kind of person who loves regular vacations and spontaneous weekends away, then a dog isn’t going to be for you. While they’re fine being kenneled for an annual vacation, it’s not likely to be something your dog enjoys, so shouldn’t be something you’re doing all the time. There are plenty of dog-friendly trips you can take, many hotels and campsites allow dogs so if you’re happy to stay in the country where you live then you’ll be fine. But a dog isn’t a pet for a regular jet setter.

Time and Effort

Once dogs are out of their puppy stage, they’re relatively easy pets to own. They will happily snooze in their bed while you’re at work, and if they’re properly house trained, you won’t have to deal with accidents in the home. However, even laid back dogs will take time and effort. Dogs need regular walks, after a long day at work is this something you’re prepared to do? They also need companionship and attention, if you’re not willing to spend the time and effort playing with them and giving them love then you shouldn’t get one.

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Dog Proof Your Home To Keep Them Safe (And Keep You Sane)

If you are getting a brand new puppy or are adopting an older dog, there are several steps that you need to take before you bring them home. There are many things that you need to get in the house. A supply of dog food, a bed or crate; somewhere for them to sleep. A lead and a collar are pretty essential items too. But once you are sorted with all of the essentials for having a pet dog, there are other things that you need to do too. Like having a child, the home needs to be made safe and appropriate for a dog. Then you can keep your pet healthy and safe, which is what it is all about. Here are a few ideas that you can implement, to ‘dog-proof’ your home.

Locks and Closers

Just as you might when you have a toddler wandering around the home, it is a good idea to put locks on kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Your dog could paw open a cupboard door and start gnawing on anything that is in there. Dishwasher tablets and laundry capsules can be fatal if a dog chews or eats them. So keep those kinds of things locked away. It can also be a good idea to get some closers installed on your cupboards. Then they will slowly close themselves. It reduces the chance of a puppy getting their paw or tail stuck in there as it is slammed shut.

Think About The Garden

There are many things that you can do inside the house to dog-proof. What you need to remember is that there are many things outside of the house too. First of all, you might consider getting a kennel for your dog to sleep in or rest in sometimes. Second, of all, you should check the security of your yard. If there are any gaps in fencing, then a pet dog could easily escape out of there. Many pet owners choose to have a chain link fence, rather than a traditional wooden fence as they are a bit safer and more sturdy for dogs. So it could be worth looking into the cost of a chain link fence installation to see if it is worth doing. Other things in the garden to look out for include hazardous plants and shrubs such as rhubarb leaves and rose bushes. They can be toxic, or painful in the case of a rose bush. So take steps to remove them or cover them.

Chew Toys

In order to keep your dog from chewing their way through your furniture, it is a good idea to get some chew toys in the house. Otherwise, you might find that your shoes, rugs or phone cables are their new favorite toy! Have a few spread throughout a couple of rooms. Then they can keep your dog occupied, whether upstairs or downstairs.

Do you have a pet dog that you have had to adapt your home for? What have you done to keep the home safe for them?

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Puppy Love: 5 Celebrity Dogs to Follow in 2017

As a dog lover, you read every blog article, post, even caption you find online concerning dogs. With headlines reading “20 Cutest Puppies” or “10 Senior Dogs Looking for Their Fur-ever Homes,” you can’t help but click on the link and take a look at their sweet puppy faces. It doesn’t matter how old the dog is either. You could be looking at a 13-year-old gray-faced black lab, but you still call her a puppy.

If you don’t have a dog of your own, every pupper you see on the street is a new friend. In fact, you will literally cross the street to pet a dog you’ve spotted on your way in to work. What sucks the most, is that in your current position, you can’t have a dog. Whether your apartment complex doesn’t allow it or you feel bad leaving a pup home alone all day while you’re at work, now just isn’t the time to get a dog. Dogs are a full-time responsibility. This doesn’t stop you from looking at dog collars longingly at the store or keep you from imagining playing a good game of fetch with a four-legged buddy.

For those of us who are forced to go on without the love of a dog in our lives, following pup accounts on Instagram provides the salve we need. By watching cute videos and viewing sweet pictures, we can live vicariously through dog owners!

Here are 5 doggie Instagram accounts to follow for a year of giggles and “Awws.”

1. Smiley the Blind Therapy Dog, @smileytheblindtherapydog

Rescued from a puppy mill in 2004 by his human mom Joanne George, Smiley was born without eyes and has a condition linked to dwarfism. This has left the Golden Retriever with physical disproportions that have made him look like he is always smiling.

Now 14-years-old, Smiley has been working as a therapy dog for the last several years, working mainly with children, of whom, like Smiley, are differently abled. Smiley, living up to his name, has brought hundreds of thousands of smiles to the humans he meets. In an interview with the Huffington Post, his owner Joanne said that when he meets people, “[he] needs to feel you, he sits there forever waiting to be patted and stroked. He leans right up against you.”

Smiley’s mama posts pictures and videos of Smiley’s adventures every day, showing him at work, on walks and playing with his little human brother and napping with his other furry siblings. With over 115,000 followers on Instagram, he is one popular pooch.

2. Susie’s Senior Dogs, @susiesseniordogs

The story of Susie’s Senior Dogs starts with a young man meeting a small, aged dog creature in need of a new home. He fell in love with the mohawked and bushy-eyebrowed Chihuahua mix and took her home.

Susie’s owner, Brandon Stanton (and creator of Humans of New York) was amazed at how the love of a dog changed his life, and his girlfriend (now fiancée) Erin O’Sullivan’s, as fell in love with the little charmer too. Realizing how many people pass over older dogs at shelters to adopt puppies, Erin founded Susie’s Senior Dogs, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing awareness to the public about adoptable senior dogs who are looking for their forever homes. Named after their beloved pooch, Erin has made it her mission to share news, images and details of senior dogs who need adopting, and the NGO’s Instagram page features a motley crew of pups looking to meet their human. With new pictures posted every day of doggies from all over the United States, Susie’s followers have found their furry family members just looking at their feed.

If you follow this insta page, you just might find your gray-chinned perfect pup.

3. Apollo, @adoreabullapollo

A Pit Bull who doesn’t let his past affect his present, Apollo’s owner Brittany Faske first heard about the dog when she received an upsetting phone call while volunteering for All Dogs Official Rescue Enterprise of Houston (ADORE).

Over the phone, an employee at a construction landfill told her there was injured dog in the area whose face looked like it was half gone, and the dog wouldn’t let anyone come near him. When the pit allowed Faske to examine his injuries, she realized he was the victim of animal cruelty. In an interview with The Dodo, Faske explained that the pit’s snout and nose were gone. She believed that because “the cut was so clean and even, it could have happened with a sharp instrument. It was if someone had literally taken a knife and cut off the front of his face.”

Faske was able to get the ailing pup into her car and to a veterinarian. Naming the dog Apollo, after the Greek god of medicine, Faske was by Apollo’s side at every surgery and was his constant companion during his recovery. They formed such an incredible bond that she adopted him.

Apollo can be found lazing about in a sun beam on the floor or playing with one of his furry brothers. Despite his rough start, he loves people and other dogs. His mom fosters other pups who need homes, and he welcomes them to the pack with love and patience.

4. The Golden Life of Pal, @thegoldenlifeofpal

Brother of Smiley and fur baby of Joanne George, Pal was rescued from a puppy mill in Istanbul. Like his brother Smiley, Pal was born blind. When Joanne first heard of Pal and that he needed adopting, she knew that he would fit right in with the family.

Initially, Pal was wary of his surroundings. Having to fight to survive at the puppy mill, he didn’t know what to make of his brother Smiley or sister Pippi. “Thank goodness Pippi and Smiley are very tolerant, understanding and quiet,” George told Dogster. It only took [Pal] about a day to realize these dogs were never going to hurt him, and he stopped reacting.

George posts videos and snaps of Pal during his training sessions and at play with other dogs. George runs a dog training business, and brings her furry brood with her for training and socializing. Pal is likely to follow in Smiley’s footsteps and become a therapy dog himself, and judging by his Instagram account, he’ll be a great one.

5. Goose the Labrador, @pup.pup.goose

A black Labrador puppy who walks the frosty streets of Boston, Goose brings joy and light to his followers in videos of him playing and getting rambunctious at the dog park and cuddling with his human parents. A huge Patriots fan, Goose loves a good Sunday football game.

For every 50 followers Goose gets, his family donates a pound of dog food to the local humane society. Not only do you get to see cute pics of this pup sleeping, but just by following him, you’re helping to increase the numbers for a volunteer giveaway.

What did we ever do to deserve dogs?

p.s. Just for fun, your might LOVE Doug the Pug @itsdougthepug

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Dog Beds That Look Like Furniture | Brentwood Home Runyon Bed

This post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Brentwood Home.  As always, all opinions are my own and are never influenced by compensation.  This article also contains my affiliate links.

If you are on the hunt for a dog bed that looks like real furniture, I encourage you to check out what Brentwood Home has to offer.  

For the longest time I have settled with round, unattractive dog beds from Costco because they were cheap and convenient.  The issue with the Costco dog beds is that they are bulky and don’t fit in with my home decor or furniture.

I was recently gifted a Runyon Deluxe Pet Bed by Brentwood Home and let me tell you – this is the most amazing dog bed I’ve ever owned.  It’s so wonderful that the kids and cat have even taken it over!

Product Description

Whether your furry friend is young and spritely or a little slower and getting on, the Runyon Deluxe offers orthopedic support to cushion and protect their joints, so they can spring up ready for a hike in the canyons or a stroll around the kitchen. With back and side support, your pet will feel cradled and comfortable. And don’t worry about accidents—the cover is removable, washable, and replaceable, with a nontoxic waterproof lining to protect it from staining or smells.

  • CertiPUR-US foam, with no chemical flame retardants, heavy metals, or phthalates
  • Removable, washable, replaceable cover
  • Waterproof liner
  • Made in California
  • Comes in 3 different colors: Mocha (shown), Raven, Sandstone 

I have been extremely happy with our Brentwood Home dog bed.  It fits in well with my new couches and furniture and is easy to pick up and move around the house.  Because this dog bed is rectangular, it tucks nicely up against the wall, the couch, the foot of our bed and our fireplace bricks.  Being able to remove and wash the cover is a must for my dog, too.

Brentwood Home hand-makes all of their products in Los Angeles using high-quality, durable materials.  They offer everything from pet products to mattresses, bedding and even baby products.  Because of the great quality, their products are in the mid-to-higher price range, but they are well worth the price.

Visit www.brentwoodhome.com to learn more.

Brentwood Home Promo Code

Use code OURHOME to get 10% off your purchase at Brentwood Home.

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We’ve teamed up with Brentwood Home to offer one lucky reader a free dog bed similar to the one I received ($200 value).  To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below.  We will choose one winner after 1/12/17.  Good luck!

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Older Dogs Need Extra Care | Cherish Your Pet Hip & Joint Supplement

After about 8 to 10 years of age, many dogs start to get arthritis and joint problems, similar to humans. They can get some natural relief with Cherish Your Pet Concentrated Hip & Joint Supplement Powder.

Rather than putting your dog with joint problems on prescription medications, it’s definitely worth trying a natural solution with ingredients like MSM, vitamin E, flaxseed, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, black cherry extract, and glucosamine and chondroitin. Our 7 year old Pug suffers from a degenerative disc in his back and has been on an anti-inflammatory medication for over a year. We are now trying this natural supplement, and so far so good!

The powder is basically flavorless (yes, I tasted it!) and is easily sprinkled over dry or wet dog food. Our dog is about 27 pounds and gets only 1 tiny concentrated scoop for daily maintenance, so this 8 ounce jar should last for months. At about $40 per jar, this is much, much cheaper than the $60 per month we were paying for doggie prescriptions at our vet’s office.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above in exchange for review from Tomoson. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Best Groomer’s Pet Shampoo | Review & Giveaway

Just like humans, hot weather can be brutal on pets’ skin – more mosquito and flea bites, dry itchy patches and hot spots, not to mention how dry paws can become irritated from walking on hot surfaces.  Using a natural and soothing pet shampoo like Dancing Pet Groomer’s Best helps heal and soothe irritated skin with botanical extracts like citrus and coconut.

Dancing Pet Best Groomer’s Pet Shampoo

Dancing Pet Groomer’s Best is a grain free formula (great for pets with grain allergies) that is pH balanced, soap free, and easily rinses very clean; no need for additional conditioners or rinses.  Best of all, Dancing Pet does not affect your dog or cat’s topical flea treatment.
I loved the fresh clean scent of Dancing Pet after washing our dog.  His coat dried bright and shiny, and he doesn’t seem to be scratching nearly as much!  
Here’s a little tip to try if you have a pet that seems to be scratching constantly with no sign of fleas:  Try avoiding fabric softeners on fabrics that come in contact with your pet (or use fragrance and dye free varieties).  Our dog sleeps on top of our bed, and once I discontinued use of fabric softeners his constant scratching practically disappeared!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com.   Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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G I V E A W A Y !
Enter to win a bottle of Dancing Pet Best Groomer’s Pet Shampoo using the Rafflecopter form below.  One winner will be chosen after 8/3/15.  Good Luck!

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Year Round Flea and Tick Solutions from Hartz

Have you ever given a cat a bath?  We had never given our cat a bath, and he was surprisingly complacent (probably because his skin is getting irritated and scabby from flea bites and the warm water and scrubbing felt good to him).
The Hartz UltraGuard Rid Flea & Tick Shampoo really lathers up nicely and has a fresh fragrance.  It rinsed out easily, and Bandit definitely had a nice shine to his coat when he was dry.  Although he didn’t look too happy in his after-bath photos, he seems to be scratching a lot less and his skin irritation is almost gone.

To prevent further flea irritation, we next applied Hartz UltraGuard Pro right under the neck.  We just parted his hair and applied it to the skin in a spot where he couldn’t easily lick it off.  UltraGuard Pro can be applied monthly and kills fleas, deer ticks, mosquitoes, and flea eggs and larvae to help prevent further infestation.  It’s been 2 weeks now with no fleas, so we give it a thumbs up!  The package contains 3 monthly treatments and should only be used on kittens over 12 weeks old.
Hartz has a complete line of flea & tick solutions for dogs and cats, as well as home, yard and kennel flea control products.  They also carry various health and wellness items such as pet treats and vitamins, piddle pads for potty training, ear cleaning products, dental cleaning products, and even milk replacement for kittens.
Along with all the great products, Hartz also offers lots of advice on animal care, like tips on raising a happy healthy puppy.
Flea season begins in April and goes through to winter.  The worst time of year for fleas is September, October and November, so get flea problems under control this summer!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above from Hartz in exchange for my honest review.   Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Hug Your Dog. It’s Pet Lovers Day!

Continuing in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of rescued animals across the U.S. in need of love and care. According to ASPCA, approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year.[1]  In celebration of National Pet Lovers Day (February 20), share the love by sponsoring a rescued animal at The Gentle Barn (www.GentleBarn.org)—a celebrated, California-based, non-profit animal sanctuary, providing love and compassion to abandoned, abused, and neglected animals since 1999.

With therapy, proper health care, and affection, the rescued animals at The Gentle Barn are taught to both accept and give love despite their often pained and neglect-filled past. “Millions of animals are too often unnecessarily put-down or abandoned,” says The Gentle Barn founder Ellie
Laks. “We specialize in rescuing animals that no one else will take and the real work is nursing them back to health and happiness and connecting them to inner-city at risk and special needs children. To do this, we need support from everyday people to show and extend love and care to the animals at The Gentle Barn.”
Supporting The Gentle Barn is easy for many and can be life-changing. Starting with just $5, one can sponsor and help bring back the health and happiness of an animal at the The Gentle Barn’s Santa Clarita facility. Monthly donations range between $5 to $50 to sponsor, but the time spent with the animal is always the rewarding and most touching experience among sponsors and supporters, explains Ms. Laks.
Aside from sponsoring an animal for National Pet Lovers Day, additional activities to stay connected to and show further support of The Gentle Barn include:
  • Visit The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita, Calif. on its Open To The Public Sundays between 10:00am and 2:00pm.
  • Purchase an annual membership starting as low as $25 per year.
  • Follow (and clicking the “Like” button) The Gentle Barn on Facebook to see daily updates, information, and activities.
  • Subscribe to The Gentle Barn’s e-newsletter for weekly update of activities.
  • Become a volunteer at The Gentle Barn.
The Gentle Barn is located at 15825 Sierra Highway, Santa Clarita, California 91390. Additional information can be found at:www.gentlebarn.org.
About The Gentle Barn
The Gentle Barn (www.gentlebarn.org) is a nonprofit organization located just north of Los Angeles in Santa Clarita, California that was founded by Ellie Laks in 1999 as a safe haven and place of recovery for abused farm animals. The Gentle Barn’s unique philosophy rehabilitates animals and connects their stories of survival and healing, to the personal experiences of at-­risk and special needs children who have suffered physical, mental or emotional trauma. By interacting with The Gentle Barn’s one hundred and seventy animals and taking a hands­-on role in their welfare, those who participate in the programs at The Gentle Barn learn empathy, trust, forgiveness and leadership. The mission statement at The Gentle Barn is simple: “Teaching people kindness and compassion to animals, each other and our planet.” The Gentle Barn is run by founder Ellie Laks and her husband/co­-founder Jay Weiner, both of whom were healed and supported by animals as children. The Gentle Barn is open to the public on Sundays from 10:00am until 2:00pm.  Celebrity supporters of the organization include Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi, Mark Wahlberg, Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Hilary Swank, Rose McGowan, Tiffani Thiessen, Sierra McCormick and Laura Vandervoort to name a few. 
Find The Gentle Barn on Facebook and follow on twitter (@GentleBarn) today for updates.

Dress Up The Holidays With Fun Costumes For Your Furry Friends

Just when you see think you’ve seen it all, along comes a Pug dressed up in a Valentine’s hoodie. With so many holidays during the year, you might think it’s cute to dress up your furry friend according to what holiday it is. However, there are several things to look for when choosing a pet holiday costume. Here are a few of them.

Full of Heart Dog Pullover / Hoodie
Pet Safety
It doesn’t take much to stress out a French poodle or a Persian cat, so be sure their eyes and breathing pathways remain unobstructed. If their heads are covered or impeded from turning in any way, this too may cause extra stress for that little buddy of yours. Above all, you’ll need to remember to leave their paws unhindered–unless it’s snowing and icy outside.
Wash n’ Wear Quality
Let’s face it–accidents happen. It doesn’t matter if you have a slobbering Boxer, a spitting Siamese cat or maybe Queenie had too much to eat and went all over the floor. Whatever holiday costume you get, get one that is washable and doesn’t wrinkle. In addition, you’ll need costumes that are certified as being of a non-flammable material.
Wide Selection of Costumes
Whether it’s an NFL jacket with a hoodie or a ballerina outfit for your little favorite mutt, having a good selection of items for your little family pet is vitally important. If you want to go with your favorite team gear, be sure to get only officially endorsed team costumes as they are guaranteed for their quality.
All these above mentioned things are easily available with just one “click here” of your mouse. Today, online shopping at any of several good costume e-stores makes getting your pet holiday costumes fun, convenient and easier than ever before. 

Petco Pulls Chinese-Made Pet Food/Treats

Do we have any pet lovers?  Read this important information about China-made pet food.
Petco has begun the New Year by quickly fulfilling one of its main resolutions: Removing all dog and cat treats made in China from its store shelves and website.
The past few years have brought headlines of tens of thousands of American pets becoming ill after eating Chinese-produced pet food; and over 1,000 pets have actually died after consuming these contaminated treats.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate the link between pet sickness and treats made in China, Petco has made good on its promise to remove these treats from their 1,300 stores across the nation as well as their website. Vets from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have faced this issue before and speak to the history of problems with pet treats produced in China as well as the ongoing efforts to provide American pets with safe food. Here are some answers to questions that may surface from these new headlines:
Is Petco the only retailer to pull Chinese-produced pet foods?  While Petco is the first to pull Chinese-produced pet treats, it has been reported that PetSmart, Inc is going to follow in their footsteps and pull these treats later in 2015.
How can we make sure the food we are giving our pets is safe? While further investigation is underway about china-made chow, the safest bet is to purchase domestically produced pet food and treats. Your vet will be able to give you safe and appropriate recommendations for your pet’s diet.
What are some of the symptoms to lookout for in case I’ve fed my pet these treats in the past? While the investigation into these treats is still underway, the FDA has advised pet owners that symptoms can include: vomiting, decreased appetite and movement, increased urination, and water consumption. Some of the more severe symptoms have led to the diagnoses of kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and pancreatitis.
For more information about pet food safety visit www.AVMA.org