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Dog Breed of the Month: Rottweilers

Rottweilers are a member of the Working Breed Group.  Like most members of this group, Rottweilers are uncommonAre rottweilers aggressively intelligent and loyal.  Other shared traits include their large size and formidable strength. The rottweiler’s history can be traced back to early Roman times where they were originally bred to herd cattle and pull farm carts.  Later, they were taught to perform more aggressive duties such as bear hunting, if you can believe that!

Rottweiler Features

Given the right circumstances, rotties can grow to be more than 100 pounds.  The rottweiler’s short and smooth fur accentuates an already muscular frame, leaving an intimidating impression on most. Their imposing size, combined with their distinctive black-and-tan coloring, makes them one of the most recognizable breeds.

Rottweiler Temperament

Proper breeding and training are a must when considering a rottweiler for your family.  Unfortunately, occasional misguided and uneducated training has left them saddled with an unfair reputation.  That being said, as a rottweiler owner you are taking on a serious responsibility.  Any dog, especially one with the size and strength of a rottie, warrants respect.  However, the loyal and protective nature of these dogs demand extra care and caution in their training.

Rottweiler health issues

Rottweilers are uniquely dedicated to their family, but it’s not uncommon for them to bond with others they are frequently exposed to as well.  On the same note, they’ve also been known to attach themselves more strongly to a single member of the family.  Most are very loving and can’t wait to cuddle.  Like people, they do have very distinctive personalities and tendencies. You should be prepared for each of these eventualities presenting itself and possibly differing even within the same litter.


Are rottweilers good with kids?  Absolutely, but while they will bond quickly with your children, it would be short-sighted to assume your rottie will deal with other children the same way.  His protective nature could interpret normal play behavior between children as a threat to those he loves, posing obvious behavioral risks.  His heritage as a herder can also pose challenges in homes with small children or the elderly.  At more than a hundred pounds, what he sees as a playful nudge can end badly for someone with balance issues.  Certain rottweiler traits can make a rottie a great part of your family when he is raised properly, but rottweilers do require an extra level of vigilance on the part of their humans.  For these reasons, you should strongly consider professional training.


The breed isn’t normally known for being very vocal, so your rottweiler’s barking should be investigated.  Chances are he’s spotted something he perceives as a threat to his humans.  As such it warrants your attention either to address the issue or to let him know all is still right with the world.

Rottweiler Grooming and Maintenance

Rottweilers biteMany people stereotype rottweilers as single-minded guard dogs when the opposite is true.  Rotties are very much a thinking breed, so it’s critical to remember that they are happiest when they have a job to do.  In addition to a normal walking schedule, it’s especially important to play games with your rottie.  Playing fetch or hide-and-seek with your pup frequently will make him feel like a valued member of the family.  He needs a sense of purpose so even during those unavoidable busy stretches in your life, be sure to at least run him through his set of learned commands on a daily basis.


Rottweilers have what is known as a double coat.  They have a dense outer coat and a softer undercoat around the neck and thighs, the thickness of which can change depending upon the climate he lives in.  Do Rottweiler’s shed?  They do, most heavily during Spring and Fall, so it’s important to brush him at least once a week during those seasons.  Bathing requirements are more relaxed though.  Depending on personal preference, you can bathe your rottie only when he’s noticeably dirty or as often as weekly without damaging his coat.


Rotties do slobber, especially while drinking or immediately following a meal.  Some extra care around his feeding station and environment can mitigate this trait though.


Their average weight and their genetic characteristics leave them vulnerable to hip and elbow dysplasia.  They are also prone to obesity, which accentuates the risk of the former.  Thankfully, obesity is the one thing you as his human can easily protect him from by taking it into account when figuring out his diet.  A rottweiler’s life expectancy is typically 8 to 10 years.  Caring for their unique needs will help to protect them from avoidable health issues and ensure many happy memories!      

Rottweiler Fun FactsAre rottweilers good with kids

  • A rottweiler’s bonding tendencies and protective nature earn them a place near the top of recommended breeds to serve as service dogs and they’ve even been employed in search-and-rescue roles.


  • At one point in their history, the rottweiler was actually at risk of extinction.  When cattle driving was briefly outlawed in Rome and they were replaced by donkeys as the prefered carting animal, their numbers fell dramatically.  If not for the quick thinking of a club formed to protect the breed in the early 1900’s, we might have lost the breed forever.


Rottweilers aren’t for everyone, but their protective nature and strong bonding traits are obvious draws for many families.  What sometimes gets overlooked though, is the deep and intricate nature of a rottweiler’s personality.  Don’t be surprised if you observe a sense of humor in your pup.  He is eager to please and impress and will even resort to what could be considered “goofy” behavior if he senses someone could use a pick-me-up.  Bringing a rottie into your home is like adding a family member in every sense of the phrase!

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Featured Dog

How to Potty Train Your Puppy

Figuring out how to potty train your dog fast isn’t easy and will require some hard work. While it can appear to be a daunting and arduous task, potty training a puppy can be manageable with persistence and consistency.  You’ll find that establishing a routine is key when learning how to potty train a dog fast. You just have to remember that the routine you set in the beginning stages is the key to training success, saving you from a grim future of cleaning up their soiled messes on your indoor flooring time and time again.


There are multiple methods teaching you how to potty train a puppy.  Two of the most popular are crate training and outside training. We will explore both in depth so you can determine what will work best for you and your puppy.How to potty train a dog fast


Crate Training

Experts suggest that you begin potty training your puppy between 12 and 16 weeks of age.  At this age, he will have enough bladder control to begin a routine. When crate training, choose a crate that is large enough for your puppy to turn around, stand and lie down in. Note that a crate which is too large will allow the puppy to use the bathroom on one side, while still keeping his bedding area clean on the other side. This will hinder the training process and the association to go to the potty outside, not in the crate or your home.


The crate should be a welcoming environment, padded with a blanket and maybe a toy or two. You want your puppy to enjoy his crate time. In the beginning, bring your puppy to his crated area during times of rest for short intervals, starting with about 15 minutes and increasing from there as he gets older. After the allotted time is up, take your puppy out of the crate and bring him outside to use the bathroom. The key is for him to realize that after crate time comes potty time. Once he does use the bathroom, heap on the praise and feel free to reward him with a treat. Repeat this routine consistently throughout the day.


In the evenings, make sure to remove his water source about 2.5 hours before his bedtime. Take him out one last time before bed.  Remember that you’ll have to take him out to use the bathroom again during the night if he wakes up.  This is to ensure he doesn’t have an accident in the crate during those nighttime hours. After a few months, he should be able to have enough control of his bladder to make it through the night.

Outside Training

Just like crate training, establishing a routine is essential for potty training your puppy outside. In the early stages of training, it’s best to take your puppy outdoors frequently. At least once an hour will ensure you are setting your puppy up for success. Don’t forget to take your puppy outside when he wakes up from sleeping and after playing, eating, and drinking.


Set up an eating schedule for your puppy and pay attention to any signs he needs to go after he is done. Regardless, he should be taken out immediately after his meal even if he doesn’t show any obvious signs of having to go. Every dog is different, so it may take multiple trips outside before you can figure out how to house train a puppy. You will need to be vigilant to determine how soon he needs to use the bathroom after eating. Again, remove his water source 2.5 hours before bedtime and pay attention if he wakes up during the night, taking him out right away if he does.

potty training puppy

When taking your puppy outside, pick a location for him to use as his potty and stick with that same area every time. Once he goes, praise and reward him for his efforts immediately after he is done so he can associate what he has done with the positive attention you’re giving him.


With both crate training and outside training, don’t expect your puppy to be perfect after the first day, week or even month. Expect mistakes and when they do happen, clean up the mess without complaint. If you catch your puppy starting to go, pick him up quickly and take him outside. Punishing a dog after the fact is useless and will only result in a confused look as they can’t connect the fact they’re being disciplined with their natural need to potty.


With some patience, consistency and lots of love and praise, you can be sure you’ll be well on your way to house training your puppy fast. Keeping in mind that building a trusting relationship will also enable you to quickly master how to successfully potty train your puppy. Stick with it, have patience and all your efforts will quickly be rewarded.


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Dog Breed of the Month: Siberian Huskies

husky facts for kid

If you shouldn’t judge humans by their physical appearance, you also shouldn’t love a dog based on their coat. However, it’s hard not to fall in love with a Siberian Husky, which has one of the most gorgeous, thick coats among the many dog breeds. Affectionate and kid-friendly, these dogs also tend to break the stereotype of large-looking dog breeds being noisy and unsafe. For this alone, the Siberian husky deserves to be the dog of the month.


What Is a Siberian Husky?


Based on its medium frame, you would immediately guess it’s a guard dog.  You’d be wrong. The Siberian Husky is a sled dog, along with its relatives which include the Greenland Dog, the American Eskimo dog, the Labrador Husky, the Alaskan Malamute, and the Akita.


The history of these huskies began around 3,000 years ago in a Russian peninsula where the Chukchi people lived. The Chukchi tribe is nomadic, and they live mostly by hunting and gathering. To help them navigate through thick ice, they rely on Siberian Huskies.  For this reason, Siberian Huskies are also called Chukcha dogs.


The breed arrived in North America, particularly in the United States, during the early years of the twentieth century when they competed in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes races. About 21 years later, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the breed.


Siberian Husky Appearance


Most people think Siberian Huskies are either black or white with few markings on the heads and that they have the most gorgeous set of blue eyes. These dogs, in reality, can come in a wide variety of colors that include reddish brown (sable), cream (agouti), pale yellow to light orange (light red), dark red (copper), and gray (wolf gray). Their eyes can also be brown and some Siberian Huskies have both brown and blue eyes. Oddly, some Siberian Huskies can be parti-eyed, which means their eyes can have two colors.

siberian husky temperment outgoing


They are generally medium framed and can measure up to 23 1/2 inches at the withers (female dogs can be smaller by an inch) and weigh between 35 and 60 pounds, depending on the gender. Although the body appears stocky, Siberian Huskies generally have a proportional height and weight.


One of its main features is its coat. The undercoat is dense while the top coat is smooth, making the Siberian husky really fluffy and furry.


Siberian Husky Temperament


Siberian huskies can have the loudest barks and strongest growls, but overall, they are incredibly affectionate and lovable. After all, their ancestors used to sleep with the Chukchi families, especially their kids, to help them keep warm. Yet unlike other affectionate breeds, they are independent. As they can take their independence seriously and wander, you need to be aware of where they are, especially in areas with high traffic. Siberian Huskies generally get along with other dog breeds, other animals, and other people, which means you shouldn’t expect this dog to guard your home.


Based on their ancestry, Siberian Huskies are active, alert, and agile. They are the perfect personification of endurance but because of these same characteristics, they require a lot of space to move around, making them not suitable for apartment dwelling.


Siberian Huskies are fun dogs, and they definitely love to play.  But since they are independent and don’t require your engagement to be happy, they can have issues with obedience. It’s not impossible for them to go back to their original habits after training, so you need to be very patient with them and keep the training constant.


Siberian Husky Health and Grooming


siberian husky temperment intelligent

The amount of hair they shed depends on the climate you’re in. If you live somewhere tropical or humid, especially during spring and summer, expect to deal with a lot of hair. However, if you live somewhere more temperate, like the Bay Area, you won’t have as much clean-up to do.  No matter the climate, a Siberian Husky’s coat requires weekly grooming and daily brushing of the coat.


Siberian Huskies live an average of 12 to 15 years, but they’re not prone to a lot of health issues. Some of the common diseases that can develop among the breed usually affect their eyes such as glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy.  Bigger health issues are not common.



Siberian Husky Fun Facts


  1. Siberian Huskies played a huge role in treating diphtheria that struck Nome, an Alaskan village, in 1925. A team of Siberian Huskies traveled more than 600 miles in six days to get the much-needed serum from a train stop in what is now known as the Great Race of Mercy.


  1. One of these heroes, Balto, is now immortalized in Central Park.


  1. The color of their coat determines the color of their nose.


  1. These dogs hardly smell, and they don’t require much bathing.


Siberian huskies are not for everyone. Their self-sufficiency and independence may frustrate first-time dog owners while their size and need for large spaces may demand a more spacious dwelling. But these potential downsides pale in comparison to the sweetness, affection, friendliness, and gentleness this dog exhibits. They don’t require extensive grooming and their sense of endurance make them even more worthwhile pet companions. So don’t hesitate to rescue or adopt a Siberian Husky. You may have to put some work into training etc for a while, but the rewards for your effort will be repaid in spades.

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Featured Dog

Lyme Disease and Your Dog: Prevention and Treatment

For canine aficionados, our dogs are the best companions when walking and enjoying the outdoors. While we love their contagious energy, it also means they need regular exposure to their natural environment. Unfortunately, this very same seemingly safe milieu is the source of one of the most common illnesses that affect man and his best friend: Lyme disease.


The good news is, Lyme disease in both humans and dogs is both easily preventable and highly treatable. As long as you know what is Lyme disease in dogs, the signs to look out for and various treatment options, you are your canine best friend should be just fine.


What is Lyme Disease in Dogs?

what does a tick to do a dog

Lyme disease in dogs is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) found in ticks. It is an infectious, vector-borne disease that is prevalent in areas of the United States with high human and pet populations, such as the Pacific coast, the Northeast and the Midwest. The disease is transmitted when the Bb-carrying ticks feed on animals.


Lyme disease is common in dogs because these bacteria-carrying ticks are so tiny they are difficult to notice. The disease will only affect your dog if the tick is attached to it for about 48 hours. If within that period of time, a tick dies or is removed from the potential host, the Bb bacteria it could be carrying will not be transmitted.


Because every fun minute our dogs spend with Mother Nature renders them increasingly vulnerable to ticks, we must be well-informed and take some precautions to protect them from tick-transmitted diseases.


Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

So how do we know if our beloved pets have been preyed upon by these microscopic Borrelia-borne disease-carriers?  


Lyme disease symptoms in dogs include a sudden onset of arthritis, lameness, loss of appetite and weight, and lethargy. What makes Lyme disease challenging for some people to detect and address is that the symptoms appear only in 5-10% of affected dogs. So your dog could actually be breeding Lyme (first discovered in Lyme, Connecticut in 1975) without you knowing it.


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), signs of tick-borne diseases may not appear for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bite, so do closely monitor your dogs if you think they have been bitten by a tick.


It would be wise to contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms. If left untreated, Lyme disease could lead to kidney failure. Warning signs of a more serious condition include vomiting, thirst, diarrhea and increased urination.


Preventing Lyme Disease

The best way to prevent Lyme disease from affecting your dogs is to keep them from roaming around in tick-infested areas where this illness is common. If possible, avoid these environments especially during periods when ticks are most active.


On a daily basis, check your dog’s coat and tail for ticks. Try to remove them all by hand. Note that ticks carry other diseases besides Lyme disease, so their immediate removal from your pets protects them from acquiring other illnesses as well.


signs of lyme disease in dogs

There are solutions such as sprays and topical products in the market that can effectively kill and repel ticks. Keep an eye out for the ingredient Permethrin. When applied to your dog (must NOT be used on cats), the tick that attached to it dies within 12 hours, halting transmission of the B. burgdorferi. Another reliable ingredient is Fipronil. As for tick collars, look for one that contains amitraz – an organophosphate that can instantly kill ticks but is not as helpful in combating fleas.


Vaccination is recommended only for dogs in areas where Lyme disease is common. This is also advisable for dogs that were infected once with B. burgdorferi, because they can still contract the disease. Even vaccinated animals are still at risk so vaccinating your dog doesn’t mean you get to be careless.


If you decide to try any of these products, please check with your veterinarian first.


How to treat Lyme Disease in Dogs

So what if your dog does succumb to this illness? Is Lyme disease curable in dogs?


The answer is yes, there is treatment for Lyme disease in dogs. A reliable Lyme disease in dogs treatment is good old antibiotics. Lyme disease in dogs treatment generally includes Doxycycline, the most commonly prescribed antibiotic for Lyme disease. Dogs also respond well to Amoxicillin, another popular antibiotic. Any type of treatment is recommended for 30 days. Veterinarians may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory (pain reliever) together with the antibiotic for animals with severe arthritis.


Lyme disease is not the plague, but it is still painful and scary when it hits. As the saying goes “an ounce of prevention is is worth a pound of cure” and it is incredibly true when it comes to your beloved dog and his health, especially with regards to Lyme disease.  So enjoy your time outdoors together but check your dog regularly for ticks.


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Pet Care

Dog Breed of the Month: Yorkshire Terriers

yorkshire terrier temperament intelligentYorkshire terriers, also known as Yorkies, come from the Terrier family, which also includes Airedale, Boston, and Jack Russell Terriers. Their history traces back to England in the early 19th century.  They were bred not to as companion dogs but as hunting dogs. These pooches, lovely as they are, excel at catching rats and other vermin. For this reason, terriers re classified as hunting dogs, although today Yorkies are either companion or toy dogs, depending on the dog club.



Yorkshire Terrier Features


Back in the day, Yorkies were categorized by the length of their legs. Nowadays, it’s by their function and size. Modern Yorkies are small dogs whose weight is usually 7 pounds and below, although on rare occasions a Yorkie can weigh more than 10 pounds. Yorkies have compact bodies, short legs, and tails that can extend higher than their back. A Yorkie’s coat is long and silky. They also come in different colors such as blue and tan, black and tan, black and gold, and blue and gold.


Yorkshire Terrier Temperament


yorkie teacupIt’s so easy to fall in love with a Yorkshire terrier. From their perky ears to their bright eyes and the topknot on their heads, they appear cute and cuddly.  Given their appearance, it’s no surprise that many stylish women would want one as a pet and be inclined to carry them around.  Yorkies are very popular as “purse dogs”.


Yorkies are sweet and affectionate, which can be both a good and a bad thing. They try their best to please and entertain you and their liveliness can be contagious and uplifting. However, the same attachment and liveliness may result in a Yorkie being clingy and unable to be left alone for long periods of time.  This is especially common if the dog is groomed to be a purse dog. Yorkies are fairly high maintenance dogs, requiring a lot of attention and interaction.


Yorkshire terriers are sometimes called big dogs in small bodies, particularly because they haven’t completely lost their terrier heritage. As hunters, they are adventurous and excitable, so they tend to have boundless energy. They are known for their loud barks when they encounter strange people and animals, and there are times when they can be aggressive. Yorkies are also sensitive creatures, which means they can easily perceive your emotions so if you are a sensitive soul, you might appreciate a Yorkie as a pet.


Lastly, like the other members of the Terrier Group, Yorkies can take some time to train since they can be stubborn. Nevertheless, they are intelligent dogs and will learn quickly when they feel like it.


Yorkshire Terrier Grooming and Maintenance

yorkie purse dog

Even though they’re small, they can live for as long as 12 years, but as a pet parent, you need to watch out for their common health issues such as hypoglycemia, which can occur during the first few months of their life. This condition means a sudden drop on their sugar level that can result in drowsiness, muscle weakness, and, rarely, a coma. They are also susceptible to irregularities of the retina (retina dysplasia), dislocation of the kneecap (luxating patella), and Legg-Parthes disease.


Because of their coats, Yorkies need to be groomed regularly, usually once every three weeks. You have the option to either cut or knot the long hairs on your Yorkie’s head to make sure they don’t get in the way of your dogs vision. It’s also important that you brush your dog to detangle his coat at least once a day, as well as wipe his coat with urine remover as the waste can collect on their coats.


Although Yorkies are small, they do require daily exercise because they tend to have a lot of pent-up energy. If this energy is not released, a Yorkie may only become aggressive, put on excess weight, or bark loudly. The good news is they are normally fine with a brisk walk around the neighborhood or on an off-leash adventure with other dogs.


Yorkshire Terrier Fun Fact  yorkie puppy


  • Unlike most other dogs, they have hair, not fur, which means they don’t shed and are hypoallergenic.


  • Smoky was the first therapy dog. She played a huge role during World War II, first as an aid to stringing communication lines for the soldiers in the trenches and then as an entertainer to wounded fighters in hospitals.  

There’s a saying that goes “Big things come in small packages.” This is perhaps the best way to illustrate our dog of the month, the Yorkshire terriers. They are delicate, sensitive dogs that may require regular exercise, grooming, and maintenance. They have the tendency to be clingy, but if raised right, they can also surprise everyone. They can be very independent, vivacious, and happy. They can guard and protect you without even thinking about their size. The level of confidence they have will inspire you.

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Featured Dog

How to Spot When Something Is Wrong with Your Dog

On average, your dog will probably live for about 10 to 13 years. Although that sounds short, it is roughly equivalent to 91 human years! Now, that sounds amazing. But there’s something you need to remember: just like humans, the older they get, the more likely it is that they are going to get sick. In fact, many dogs are born with genetic risk factors and congenital defects which become more evident as they age. Unfortunately, your dog cannot speak your language, so you need to be aware enough to recognize when they are not feeling well. Hopefully, this article will provide you with the information you need to spot common signs and symptoms before they get worse.  diagnosing sick dog


“What’s Wrong with My Dog?”


Before we get into the signs and symptoms, let’s talk about the reasons why your dog might fall prey to certain illnesses in the first place. A dog can suffer from a disease for a variety of reasons, but these are the most common ones:


  • Genetic Risks – Dogs have a pretty long history, and over time, as they were interbred, and changed environments (shih tzus being taken from China, huskies now living in Florida, etc), many dogs today developed genetic predispositions which can manifest as increased risks for certain diseases. 
    These risks depend on the breed. Some examples of dog health issues by breed include eye problems for pugs, cancer for boxers, autoimmune disorders for huskies, and respiratory problems for bulldogs.  Keep in mind that having these risks doesn’t mean your dog is already sick or is guaranteed to develop these problems. Some dogs never develop any health problems at all and they die due to old age. These risks simply mean they can develop a certain kind of disease much earlier than the general population.
  • Food – Nutrition is just as important for dogs as it is for humans, and their diet should be complete and balanced,.  While there is much debate over diet, it doesn’t matter whether you’re feeding your dog food that is raw or cooked, canned or dry, as long as it’s always a nutritious meal for him. Additionally a dog may require a special kind of diet if he is diagnosed with certain conditions such as obesity or arthritis.
  • Infection – Dogs can catch illnesses from other pooches too. A great example of this is distemper, which is a neurological condition caused by an airborne virus. It is almost always fatal for pups and for dogs which have never been vaccinated.
  • Changes in environment – Do you know your dog can become depressed ? Your dog can become sick when there’s a new addition to the family, from stress, the presence of other people / strangers, and even routine changes (e.g., making your dog sleep outside, instead of inside, your room).



Common Dog Health Symptoms


The kinds of dog health symptoms vary according to the specific disease, but there are general symptoms that may warrant a visit to the vet as soon as possible:


  • Fatigue – Are you telling yourself, “My dog is lethargic and not himself”? If so, there’s a good chance your dog is sick. To be clear, dogs can get tired because of too much play or exercise. If you’re not feeding your dog well, he will also become weak. However, if his fatigue lasts for the whole day and your dog hardly ever eats or drinks, it’s time for a vet visit.


  • Change in behavior – Dogs do have personality traits, but if your dogs behavior changes suddenly, t could be because it is suffering from certain health problems. An example is if he becomes passive or aggressive, especially if you cannot determine a potential reason.  Note: Changes in behavior may be a symptom of a disease or an effect of the illness. For example, dogs with rabies are known to bite. On the other hand, a feeling of general unwellness may force your dog to withdraw or isolate itself.   


  • Diarrhea – What’s a healthy poop for dogs? Refer to this chart. If the stool is soft, loose, or watery, and if it lasts for 24 hours, it’s possible your dog has diarrhea. This symptom can be sudden or chronic, depending on the cause. Either way, because it can lead to dehydration, have your pooch checked right away.


  • Changes in physical appearance – Does your dog appear to be limping? Does he have red or watery eyes? Can you spot lumps? Does his coat appear less shiny than it used to be? How about his mouth? Are there changes on his teeth?



This list of dog health symptoms isn’t meant to cause panic or worry. Not all of these symptoms may mean an illness, and not all diseases require a veterinary hospitalization. Often at-home treatment will do. Knowing this list and keeping it in mind will help you be a better pet parent.


The sooner you catch the the onset of a disease or illness, the less likely your dog will require extensive care. Most importantly, your dog cannot depend on anyone else they way they can depend on you – you have the opportunity to provide your beloved furbaby the great life it deserves, simply by being aware of any potential health problems and making sure he has the care he needs, when he needs it.


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Pet Insurance – Do You Need It?

lifetime pet insuranceDue to recent healthcare laws, nearly everyone in the country has at least one type of insurance: life, auto, home, health, limited liability, business, workers’, etc. But these cater to humans. Did you know your pet can have insurance too? While that might sound strange to you, pet insurance has been around for about a century in Sweden where 50 percent of pets are already covered. In North America, Lassie was instrumental since he was the first dog to be given such policy. As a business, pet insurance is a multi-million-dollar industry with an almost 13 percent growth annually. In other words, it’s popular. However, does your dog need it?


What Is Pet Insurance?


Pet insurance works similarly to human insurance in that it is meant for financial protection. For example, life insurance for humans can be used to cover for income loss upon death or permanent disability (if this is in the rider), as well as to pay for estate taxes (if the state has those taxes). If it’s a variable-unit linked insurance (VUL), the policy can help build investments, which may be withdrawn during retirement or death. Either way, the insurance helps reduce financial drain.


Want an example as to how this might work for your dog? Let’s say your dog Spot has an insurance policy with coverage worth $20,000. After a few years, the vet diagnoses him with cancer, and he needs to undergo surgery for a total of $10,000. Instead of having to pay the entire cost using your savings (or credit card, etc), you claim a chunk of it against the insurance.


I said “a chunk”. You’ll learn later about excess.


What Does Pet Insurance Cover?


The coverage of the pet insurance depends on many factors, including the type of insurance you choose, the provider, and state regulations. In general, coverage may include the following:

dog insurance reviews

  • Routine vet visits
  • Accidents
  • Illnesses
  • Genetic conditions
  • Therapies
  • Behavioral issues


On the other hand, insurers may provide you with the following:



  • Accident-only plan – You can claim against the dog insurance only if your pet has an accident. It cannot be used for ongoing conditions.


  • Condition with/without time limit – You can claim against the dog insurance for every condition, although the coverage may (or may not) have a time limit, which can be 12 months or more.


  • Lifetime pet insurance – This is the most comprehensive type of pet insurance that provides coverage for virtually everything up to the maximum limit set by the insurer. While it says lifetime, it is renewable each year.

Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance


The biggest pro of having dog insurance is you will be spared from a potential financial burden if your pet unexpectedly gets sick or has an accident. The costs of veterinary care aren’t so bad in comparison to those of medical care for humans, but they can still be expensive.

Furthermore, having pet insurance means you’ll be more responsible in your routine vet visits.  These visits are important because they can help prevent or reduce the risks of diseases that may be costly to treat later.


On the downside, pet insurance may still be pricey and cost over $100 a month. Many factors can affect the premium such as age, genetic risks, and dog’s behavior, but the bottom line is that owners of high-risk breeds tend to pay more.


Having pet insurance doesn’t mean you’re going to fully avoid any out-of-pocket costs in the future. In fact, many policies require paying for an excess, also known as a co-pay. If you opt for a plan without an excess, your premium will soar. Pet owners should also remember most insurers don’t cover pre-existing conditions.


Lastly, insurers have the option to refuse your application or honor the policy. Even if you have a lifetime insurance coverage, you can still be denied acceptance since it is renewable each year.


Is Dog Health Insurance Worth It?


pet insurance reviews

The more appropriate question is, how much do you love your pet? Do you love it enough you want to provide the best veterinary care when he needs it the most? Do you love your dog so much you want to make sure he’s healthy for as long as he can be?


I believe a person buys insurance out of love. If you get a life insurance policy for yourself, it means you don’t want your family to be burdened with funeral and other expenses when you’re already gone. It’s the same thing with dog health insurance. Unless you can assure yourself you have the means to cover any potential vet expenses in the future, you may want to seriously consider getting pet insurance.


I understand that pet insurance is in investment, so hit’s a good plan to compare dog health insurance reviews. Know their coverage, premiums, deductibles, and terms and conditions. You can also use this guide to determine whether the insurer follows the state rules and regulations. An informed decision is always best and your dogs future health is worth spending a bit of time and money to ensure.  

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Pet Care

Dog Breed of the Month: Shih Tzu

Anyone who says that shih tzus aren’t cute probably hasn’t seen one. They’re the classic—even perfect—examples of cuteness, the concrete idea of a furry best friend. They are loveable and huggable and are one of the top 20 popular dog breeds in America. Whether you’re a proud pet parent or thinking of adopting one, it’s important that you have at least a basic idea of the personality and features of the dog. With that in mind, you’ll know how to train it, make it a perfect companion, and establish an amazing relationship with your new shih tzu.

The Beautiful History of the Shih Tzusshih tzu temperament outgoing


Where do shih tzus come from? If we had dependable, accurate historical records, then we could answer this question without any argument. Alas, we don’t.  However, despite the murky history, we have been able to decipher some facts about the history of shih tzus.


Based on DNA analysis, these dogs belong to the “ancient ones”, the first line of dogs to have appeared on earth. Despite their diminutive size, they could be directly related to wolves!


Many believe shih tzus originated from, or at least have a strong affiliation with, Tibet and China and that their history goes back as far as 1,000 years. They say these dogs held a royal distinction—that is, they were bred and raised in palaces, especially during the reign of Empress Dowager Tzu Shi. In fact, they were so important they were not sold or traded.


So how did they end up in the West? Although they were not meant for trading, they made fantastic diplomatic gifts. Chinese royals may have gifted the European nobles with a shih tzu, just as Indian royals sent elephants and tigers to Europe..

Shih Tzu Features


shih tzu hairstylesShih tzus are well-known for their regal bearing. Although they are small, they are sturdy and confident. Per the American Kennel Club, a non-faulty shih tzu will be long and tall with no tuck-up or waist. It will not be barrel chested, but the chest area should be broad.


The club, which has recognized the dog breed since 1969, highlights the coat, which should be dense, double, and luxurious. Although waves are acceptable, they must not be curly. The hair on top of the head must be long enough to be put into a shih tzu topknot.


A typical shih tzu weighs about 9 to 16 pounds and stands up to 11 inches at the withers. There are many different shih tzu colors, but those that pass the standards of AKC must have black noses, eye rims, and lips.


Shih Tzu Health


A shih tzu can live up to 16 years, but can have a wide range of health issues, some of which are hereditary. Because their faces are small and their eyes are big, they are prone to different eye diseases including ulcers of the cornea, cataracts, and entropion, which occurs when the eyelids turn inwards.


They also have short noses, which can lead to breathing or respiratory problems, and since their backs are elongated, they are prone to intervertebral disk disease, which can result in coordination loss and back pain.


Shih Tzu Temperamentshih tzu grooming


Shih tzus make great companion dogs or pets. In fact, they make great starter pets for children, although it’s best if you match kids with young shih tzus. Their energy can be boundless, and a shih tzu pupppy will be up for lots of play. They are gentle, caring, and loving, and they know how to reciprocate attention, loyal, and trust.


Despite having dense coats, shih tzus are “hypoallergenic.” Although it still sheds hair, it does so every day so there’s never an accumulation of too much hair. Small and adaptable, a shih tzu could be a good pet for city dwellers where space is at a premium. Moreover, it’s possible to leave an adult shih tzu alone for up to 9 hours. However, housebreaking can be a challenge since they tend to be stubborn.  


Shih Tzu Grooming and Maintenance


Like all dogs, shih tzus require regular exercise, but as they are more of an inside dog, you can limit your activity to just a few minutes of walking daily. The bigger responsibility lies in grooming, especially the hair. Lack of grooming can result in matted hair. If you don’t have the time to brush the hair regularly, you can clip or trim it.


Shih Tzu Fun Factsshih tzu history



  • Despite popular belief, there’s no such thing as a teacup shih tzu.
  • Shih tzus are sometimes called chrysanthemum dogs, because of the way their hair grows from the central part of the face, resembling the flower petal pattern.
  • Marnie is one of the popular shih tzus on the Internet with more than 1.5 million followers on Instagram! He also has a beautiful story. Read it here.



People living in San Francisco or even in the Bay Area should who are looking for another dog should seriously consider getting a shih tzu. They are loyal and loving. They are happy dogs that will do their best to lighten your mood coming from work or a long day at school. They are willing to wait and are resilient, thriving for hours by themselves. Although there are challenges in raising them, including grooming, their long term health, and the process of house training them, the long list of benefits you get from having this royal breed as part of your family, more than justifies the effort.

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Featured Dog

Puppy Play Time : A Great Way to Bond with Your New Dog

If you’ve recently adopted a new puppy, you’ve probably noticed that he has an abundance of energy and needs a lot of activity. As with a human child, one of the best ways to help him expend that energy, create a bond between you two and teach him how to behave, is with lots of puppy play time. Play time goes beyond regular walks and cuddles and is an important for your dog throughout his life. The way you play with him as a puppy will impact the way he expects to play with you as he ages so be sure to play with him in a way th
at is healthy for both of you.


How to Play With a Puppy Without Encouraging Biting


One thing you need to be careful about when playing with your puppy is to avoid encouraging biting. If you encourage your dog to bite you or anything that isn’t his toy during playtime, he might try playfully biting other people or objects when you aren’t playing. The person he might bite probably won’t care that it was meant as a playful nibble and given California’s strict dog bite laws, one playful bite can be too many.


Outdoor Games for Your Puppy

puppy play toys

Some of the best playtime for your puppy will involve him expending lots of energy running around the park or the yard. Ensuring he gets enough exercise will help prevent depression and bad behaviors like chewing.  Some games you can play with your puppy outdoors:


  • Chase: Your puppy will love this game, whether you’re the one chasing him or he’s chasing you.  If he’s chasing you, it’s more likely to be a game of Keep Away where he’s after the toy or the treat in your hands, but either way, it’s a great game for both of you to get plenty of exercise.  Feel free to stop when you get tired as your puppy will no doubt outlast you in this game.


  • Fetch: Fetch is a great game to play with puppy if you want to exhaust him and conserve as much of your energy as possible.  You can play it with everything from a stick to a frisbee to a tennis ball.  If you’re playing with a ball or frisbee, be sure to buy one made for dogs to hold in their mouths.  The normal “human” versions could hurt them.


Games to Play With Your Puppy Indoors

While bonding with your puppy is lots of fun, sometimes after a long day of work or when the weather is bad, you just want to spend your relaxing indoors, not chasing him around your yard or the nearby park.  On these days, don’t deprive your puppy of his much-needed playtime

Instead, try to engage your puppy in one of these games:


  • Hide and Seepuppy exercisek : You can play hide and seek with your puppy either by hiding yourself and having him find you or by hiding a treat he then gets once he finds it.  Just remember that puppies are like small chlidren and won’t have the foresight or attention span to look for things that are hidden too well.  Hide yourself somewhere obvious like behind a door or put the treat under a chair or on a windowsill. If your puppy loves this game, you could train him to help you find things you’ve misplaced, like your keys or cell phone.  
  • Tug of War : Most dogs, and especially puppies, adore this game, but you have to establish some ground rules to ensure things don’t get out of hand and result in a trashed house. Be sure to teach your dog beforehand to release on command and always watch your puppies behavior while you’re playing.  A playful growl accompanied by a wagging tail is fine.  A more serious growl isn’t.  And if your puppies teeth ever touch your hand, even accidentally, stop the game immediately.  It’ll be a more fun game for your puppy if you let him win occasionally.


Not every puppy will enjoy every game so don’t be worried if your puppy loves tug of war and hates fetch.  He may change his mind as he grows older or he may not. Don’t force him to play a game he hates. It’s more important to make sure he’s getting the exercise he needs while having fun with his new best friend – you.

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Pet Care

What to Do When Your Dog Won’t Stop Chewing

You love your dog but you also loved your shoes and your gym bag and your furniture, all of which some some distinctive doggie teeth marks in them now. You’ve googled furiously but can’t bring yourself to lock your dog in a cage all day while you’re at work spray all of your belongings with cayenne spray, only to end up cleaning up vomit. Don’t worry. There are ways to cure your dog of his chewing habit in a safe and humane way once you understand what is causing the chewing.

Generally a dog will chew for one of the following reasons:older dog chewing suddenly

  • He’s a puppy and don’t know any better.
  • He’s bored.
  • He’s scared.
  • He has separation anxiety or is sick
  • He has excess energy

He’s a puppy and doesn’t know any better

If the problem is that your dog is a puppy and simply doesn’t know any better, the solution is easy: teach him not to chew. You can do this by giving him a chew toy instead.  When your dog is a puppy, it’s your responsibility to teach him what he can chew on and what he can’t by replacing things he shouldn’t chew on with things he can and by praising him when he chooses the appropriate chew toy.


As a puppy, he may also be teething and chewing on your favorite shoes or sofa in an effort to relieve the pressure in his gums. If that is the case, giving him a frozen wet washcloth to chew on will bring him pain relief and protect everything else. Make sure when you do this to supervise him so he doesn’t accidentally swallow any parts of the washcloth.

when do puppies stop chewingHe’s bored

You’re busy at work all day but he’s sitting around your house, wondering when his best friend – you- is going to come home and play with him or take him for a walk. Your dog doesn’t have the ability to amuse himself with a book or tv show so those long, lonely hours are really boring. You can help alleviate this boredom by scheduling more frequent walks with a dog walker or play dates with other dogs. If you’re interested in socializing your dog with other animals and allowing him off-leash playtime, you should check out our off leash dog walking services.

He’s scared

There might be something in your home environment which terrifies your dog.  It could be separation anxiety or noises like fireworks or a thunderstorm which is stressing out your dog.  To self-soothe, he turns to chewing, much as many of us turn to comfort eating.  While there isn’t much you can do about a thunderstorm or fireworks, you can help your dog by creating a safe space for him in your home.  Make his dog bed extra cosy and be sure to keep a favorite stuffed animal and chew toy there so he has a better self-soothing option than to nibble on your shoes to feel close to you and comforted.

He is sick

If your dog is sick the best thing you can do is to consult a veterinarian.  Your dog could be sick or simply suffering from nutritional deficiencies, which can lead to pica. Gastrointestinal problems can also cause a dog to chew as a coping mechanism.  If your dog is chewing at an age when it’s no longer developmentally appropriate, make sure to take him to the veterinarian to rule out any mental or physical health issues.

how to punish a dog for chewingHe has excess energy

Make sure your dog is getting enough love and attention, ideally both from people and other dogs.  By taking him on lots of walks, you’ll be reinforcing your bond and getting some exercise yourself.  Just like a human, an exhausted dog is more likely to be better behaved.  If you keep your dog active, he might be too tired to expend the additional energy on chewing up your things.

And remember…

No matter what, don’t scold your dog or punish him after the fact. Dogs don’t have the same sort of long-term memory that humans do and won’t be able to associate the scolding or punishment with his earlier misbehavior. Instead, he’ll assume he’s being punished for his current actions and you may be accidentally training him out of good behaviors.

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