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House Training Reminders

HOUSETRAINING TIPS

Observation

It’s up to you to make sure your puppy does not make mistakes indoors in the first place.  The more that happens, the more he’ll think it’s OK.  This means that good and constant observation on your part is essential to preventing indoor accidents.  To help with supervision, loosely tie his leash to you or tether him where you can see him.  (Do not leave him tethered while unsupervised!).

Restrict his Movements

Make sure you never leave your puppy loose and unsupervised during the housetraining period.  This means that 100% of time you are either watching him, or he is in his crate or X-pen.

Feeding Times

It is important that you regulate your dog’s food and water intake.  Pay closer attention to your dog for the hour or so after feeding so you can be ready to take him out.  Most puppies will want to relieve themselves 15 minutes after eating.  Leave food out for 20 minutes, then remove it, whether your dog has finished or not.  Don’t worry if he doesn’t finish – he won’t starve himself.

Reward

Reward your dog every time he eliminates outside.  Be there to praise while he’s going (low key praise so you don’t interrupt him) and treat immediately afterwards.  You may want to save his very favorite treats for these rewards and use these treats only for housetraining rewards for now.  Use going for a walk as an additional reward.   If puppy does not eliminate, bring him back inside, and try again in 10 minutes.  Then go for your walk – the walk is a reward for going outside, not a bribe to entice him to go.

Go With Him

Make sure you go with your puppy every time so you are present to praise and reward.  Also, this way you know for sure whether or not he has eliminated.  Also, you don’t want him to learn that it is OK to go when you’re not there (as in indoors when he’s unsupervised!). Go to the same spot or area every time so your puppy associates this as his potty area.  

Adding a Cue

When you see your dog about to relieve himself you can add a cue such as ‘good pee’ or ‘hurry up’ or ‘do your business’.  Make sure to say this only when you know he is about to go.  After a while, you can use this cue to get him to go right away (very handy for the 11 pm and bad weather potty trips).

He’s Just a Puppy

A general rule of thumb is that a puppy can ‘hold it’ about 1 hour for every month of age.  So a 4 month old puppy can hold it for 4 hours.  This is breed dependent and smaller dogs will need to go more often.  Plan your training schedule accordingly.

Eliminate Odors

Make you thoroughly clean and deodorize any indoor accidents.  Any remaining scent will entice your puppy to go in the same spot.  You can try feeding on accident areas – puppies do not like to eliminate where they eat – which is why the crate is effective.

Record Keeping

Keep a chart on your refrigerator of you puppy’s elimination schedule so you can start to detect patterns and take him out based on those patterns.

Persistence

It will take time for your puppy to fully understand that he is not allowed to go inside.  Your dog may have an occasional accident when he is 6-12 months old.  Be diligent and patient.

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The Mood Boosting Power of Owning a Dog

Dogs have long been known as “man’s best friend.” Having been domesticated for upwards of 15,000 years, dogs have provided companionship, protection, and love for their human counterparts with unwavering loyalty. Studies show that dog owners are happier, healthier, and more fulfilled than those who don’t own a dog. Dogs keep their owners active by requiring consistent walks and playtime, but they can also help boost mood and overall well-being. 

Constant Companionship

The companionship a dog provides is unrivaled. No matter your social or relationship status, your dog is always happy to be with you. From long hikes and camping trips to simple walks to the corner store, having a dog means the option of always having a friend by your side. 

If you’re lucky enough to take your dog to work with you, you might just raise the morale of the whole office! Studies show that bringing your pet to work encourages a work-life balance and reminds employees to take regular breaks during long workdays. 

Feelings of Security and Safety

While not all dogs make great watchdogs, having a dog in your home can create a feeling of safety or security. Knowing that your dog will protect you, or at least alert you to possible intruders can give you peace of mind. 

Unconditional Love

There’s an old saying, “I hope to one day be the person my dog thinks I am.” Your dog loves you unconditionally; dogs don’t care if you have your hair done, wear the latest clothes or own the most up-to-date technology – they are just happy to be by your side! Dogs see you at your best and at your worst, and they love you just as you are.

If you’ve recently moved to a new city where you don’t know anyone, or you’ve recently gone through a tough break-up, consider adopting a dog to keep you company and provide you with love and friendship.

Sense of Purpose

Dogs bring their owners a sense of purpose; tending to your dog’s needs, from feeding to exercise to playtime, taking care of your dog can give you a sense of fulfillment. Having another living being to love and care for helps your brain produce a lot of “feel good” hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin, and prolactin, which all lend themselves to your overall emotional well-being. 

If you are feeling lost, directionless, or stagnant, consider adopting a dog. Even moreso, consider adopting a rescue dog. Rescue dogs, more than others, are sincerely grateful for a loving, warm home with a pet parent that cares about them. Who knows – that sad, lonely mixed breed at the shelter may end up saving you just as much as you saved him.

Better Overall Health

Having a dog in your life keeps you active and engaged, encouraging you to get outside to go for walks or go spend time on the beach while your dog paddles through the water. Breaking a sweat in the sunshine is mood-booster for anyone, but having a dog to encourage you to get out more often benefits both your mental and physical health. In fact, it’s even backed by science! According to a study at Miami University in Ohio, dog owners have a generally overall better well-being than those who don’t have a dog, as well as less fearful and more physically fit! 

Having a dog is a commitment for the lifetime of your dog. From puppyhood to his senior years, your dog requires adequate nutrition, training, veterinary care, and physical and mental stimulation. In turn, you receive a lifetime of love, friendship, entertainment, and fulfillment that only a dog can provide. 

Abi Pennavaria is a loving dog mom, avid volunteer vet, and co-author of Saved By The Bark blog. She enjoys sharing tips and tricks for dog owners of all breeds.




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Playing with Your Dog

Playing regularly with your puppy will help you form a strong bond.  The purpose of play is to develop skills that will be useful throughout their lives, such as impulse control.  The more games you play with your puppy, the more he will consider you to be the most interesting thing in his world. Encouraging puppies to play with toys provides a good outlet for their physical and mental energies.

You puppy should have two sets of toys:  toys that he can play with by himself and ‘interactive toys’ that he can only play with you.  Keep the interactive toys put away so you initiate play and keep you and the toys interesting to your puppy.  

Developing interest in the toy

Rather than just offer your puppy a new toy, take it out, play with it yourself, or play catch with another family member and act like you are having fun.  Then put the toy away.  Repeat this until your puppy is chomping at the bit to join in the play.  Keep toy moving/wiggling along the ground. Then select your special toys that you will put away after every play session.

Enthusiasm first, control later

Build enthusiasm for play first, then put in controls like sit and wait later.  Keep the games fun!!

Types of Games

Fetch – often preferred by herding dogs, retrievers and hounds

Tug – often preferred by guard dogs and bull breeds

Shake and Kill- often preferred by terriers

Rules of the Games

Invite your puppy to play with you often

With Tug of War, win more often than you lose

Do not play too roughly

Teach him to “Drop It” on command – stop tugging and trade for treat

Stop before your puppy gets bored – play several short sessions per day

Stop playing immediately if you feel any teeth to skin

Stop playing if your puppy begins to growl or gets over-excited

Always put the toy away after the game

Teaching impulse control

Teaching your puppy control during games will help your adult dog maintain control, even in times of stress or excitement.  After your puppy has developed great enthusiasm for the games, practice sits/waits, downs/waits and recalls before and during play.

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Accept Reaching Hands and Touching

Often dogs, especially small dogs, are ‘hand shy’. If you notice that when you reach toward their head or collar that they back up or flinch, then try the exercises below.

This exercise will help hand shy dogs become more comfortable with being touched. It is important to begin practicing with familiar and accepted adults first. Again, keep in mind that your objective is not for the dog to merely tolerate, but rather to remain relaxed and enjoy the process, and that an inexperienced helper can get bitten if you proceed too quickly without making sure that the dog is truly accepting rather than merely tolerating the touching. 

Goal 1: Relaxed Dog will accept face touch from owner and/or helper. 

1. Reach toward dog, stop 6 in. from side of dog’s face, treat from other hand. 

2. Repeat reach toward dog, stopping 3 inches from face, treat from other hand. 

3. Repeat reach, stopping 2 inches from face, then repeat stopping 1 inch from face. 

4. Lightly touch the side of dog’s face. 

5. Repeat toward chin. 

GO SLOWLY THROUGH THESE STEPS  – ONLY MOVE ON TO CLOSER OR FASTER TOUCHING WHEN DOG IS HAPPY AND RELAXED.

SAY ‘GOTCHA’ AS YOU REACH TOWARD DOG TO MAKE IT FUN

Goal 2: Relaxed dog will accept collar and body touch from owner and/or helper. 

1. As you feed the treat with one hand, touch the dog’s head with the other. 

2. As you feed the treat with one hand, touch the dog under the ear and on the ear. 

3. As you feed the treat with one hand, touch the side of the dog’s neck. 

4. As you feed the dog with one hand, touch the collar. 

5. As you feed with one hand, touch the dog’s chest, front legs, back, lower back, belly, down the back legs, the tail, and finally the paws. 

6. Progress to touching from different positions and at different speeds. 

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Teaching your Puppy his name

1. The foundation of everything you need to teach your puppy starts with him responding to his name.  When your puppy hears his name, no matter where he is or what he’s doing, we want him to turn and look at you as if to ask, ‘what do you want’?  If you teach your puppy nothing else, no matter where he is or what he’s doing or how far away you are, if you can say his name and he’ll turn to look at you, you’ll always be able to call him away from trouble or prevent from doing something you don’t want him to do.

2. Start by sitting on the floor next to your puppy in a quiet room with no distractions.  Say his name in a happy voice.  If there are no distractions, the sound of your voice should get him to turn his head.  The second he does, say “Yes” and give him a treat.  Repeat this a few times. Then say his name again.  Praise him when he turns his head but put the treat near his nose and move it slowly up to your face to get eye contact.  Say YES and give him the treat.

3. Make sure you say his name only once.  Don’t repeat his name over and over if he’s not looking at you.  If he doesn’t look at you, say his name, then immediately put the treat to his nose, wiggle it to get his attention, and then move it slowly up to your face so he does looks at you. Then say YES and give him the treat.  Make sure to say YES the moment he looks at you.  This helps him understand exactly what he did to earn the treat and it’s faster and easier than saying good boy or good girl.

4. Practice often so your puppy starts turning his head to you whenever you say his name.  Then slowly start to add difficulty. Work in different rooms.  Put a toy on the floor as a distraction.  Have one person petting your puppy while you call his name.  Then add some distance – say his name when you’re standing 3-4 feet away.  Then add longer eye contact.  Praise him as he’s looking at you and delay giving him the treat for a few seconds. 

5. Next, start working outside. This is a lot harder for your puppy. You’ll probably need to use a food treat at his nose when you first try this outside.  That’s ok.  The key is to help your puppy understand what you want from him.  Adding difficulty as you practice is like teaching the behavior from kindergarten to college. Add difficulty slowly while keeping your puppy successful.

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Socializing Your Dog or Puppy

Ongoing socialization is extremely important to prevent behavior problems.  Socialization is especially important before the age of 3 months, but should also be done throughout your dog’s lifetime. Gentle socialization plays a huge role in preventing aggression and fearful behavior.  

Lack of socialization can lead to hyperactive behavior, barking, shyness and aggression.  The younger you begin socializing your dog, the better, but all dogs can be gradually brought into new and even initially fearful situations and learn to enjoy them.  

Socialization is a lifelong process.  For example, if your dog does not see any dogs for months or years at a time, you would expect his behavior to change around them when he does finally see them again.

How to expose your dog to something new or something he is wary of:

  • Make sure that you remain calm, and up-beat and keep his leash loose, if he is wearing one.
  • Expose him gradually to what he is fearful of, never forcing him.  Allow him to retreat if he wants to.
  • Reward him for being calm or for exploring the new situation.

Try to expose your dog regularly to all of the things and situations you would like him to able to cope with calmly in the future.  Progress slowly enough so that it is easy for your dog to enjoy the sessions.  It will seem like a lot of time to spend at first but it will pay off with a well-behaved dog.  

Below are some examples, but this is just a start:

  • Meeting new people of all types, including children, men, crowds, people wearing hats, in wheelchairs, etc.
  • Meeting new dogs (do not bring your pup to areas with lots of dogs until after 4 months)
  • Exposure to other pets such as cats, horse, birds
  • Teach him to enjoy his crate
  • Riding in the car (be sure to restrain him using a crate or seatbelt for safety)
  • Being held, touched all over and in different ways, being bathed and groomed
  • Visiting the Vet’s office, groomer, daycare, boarding kennel
  • Exposure to loud noises and strange objects (example – umbrella opening)
  • Exposure to traffic, motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, joggers
  • Getting him used to being left alone for a few hours at a time
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Treating Canine Anxiety and Aggression


If you’re a pet owner, you probably know that animals sometimes experience anxiety and stress. Although the symptoms look somewhat different than in humans, they’re real issues any dog can face.

It helps to know what anxiety looks like in your canine because just like humans it varies. It’s also important to be aware of the sources of your pet’s anxiety to rule out any physical illness.

The same applies to pet aggression. Animals are usually not aggressive unless they feel threatened in some way. If your canine is acting out and starts to nip at people, figuring out the triggers are important for helping your pet overcome their aggressive behaviors.

Canine Anxiety

There are various things that can cause your dog to feel anxious. Experts seem to indicate that the main sources are separation, aging, and fear. Fear is the most common source of anxiety in pets.

When your pet is afraid, they get anxious, much like humans do, although the triggers are different. If there are unfamiliar people or animals in your home, it might cause your pet stress. Loud noises are also a main source of anxiety for pets.

Many pets don’t do well in unfamiliar environments. That’s one reason pets tend to get anxious when travelling. Some dogs also don’t do well when it comes to flying or driving in cars.

Every pup is different and different pets will have their own unique response to stressful situations. Once you have been able to identify the cause of your pet’s anxiety you can help to reduce or eliminate it. Talking with your vet is a great place to start and they’ll be able to offer solutions for helping put your pet at ease.

Canine Aggression

The sources for canine aggression can vary, but typically the reasons involve feeling threatened. When your pet feels like they’re in danger they may become aggressive. The most important thing you can do is to figure out their triggers.

Some pets may not be aggressive towards humans and only are aggressive with other animals. Other pets can feel threatened by household objects, like the vacuum. Understanding why your pet feels threatened is important in helping them become less afraid.

When you adopt a dog, it’s important to consider its temperament. While every pet has their own unique personality, there are certain traits that are more common in each breed. Some breeds are bred to be more aggressive. This will require the owner to make sure the pet is properly trained so their pup isn’t aggressive in inappropriate situations.

There are also different forms of pet aggression. This can range from protective, fear, or pain induced aggression. Many times, when pets feel they need to protect their owner they will act out in an aggressive way. You’ll want to make sure that you have a good handle on your pet’s aggressive tendencies because you don’t want your pet hurting another person or animal when it’s unwarranted.

Canine Anxiety and Aggression

When dealing with your pet’s anxiety and aggression, it’s important to know and understand the source. When your dog’s in pain its behaviors can change dramatically, since animals tend to act out when they’re hurt. Make sure your pet is healthy before you begin training.

If your normally docile pet suddenly starts to act aggressive, it’s a good idea to schedule a visit with your vet. They will be able to help determine if your animal is dealing with any health issues. It’s important to not ignore signs like this so your dog isn’t in pain.

Visiting your vet is a great place to start and, in many cases, they will be able to help remedy the problem. This may be by identifying the health issue that is causing their anxiety and aggression or providing medication to help lower their stress. Your vet may even be able to suggest trainers to help teach you how to manage your pet’s triggers.

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16 Things NOT to Feed Your Dog

No matter how hard your dog begs and pleads, there are simply some people foods you should never fork over. And of course, you also need to make sure potentially toxic foods aren’t left out where your dog could get at them. Read on to find out what foods dogs should not eat.

Bad Food for Dogs

You may already know not to offer chocolate to your pooch, but did you know that avocados can be bad for dogs too? Look over this list of 16 foods you should absolutely never feed your dog to see how many you knew about.

  • Chocolate
  • Gum and candy
  • Xylitol
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocados
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Tea leaves
  • Raw yeast dough
  • Spoiled foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol

You’ll find this list at our 101 Things You Didn’t Know Could Harm Your Pet, which names a bunch more (101 to be exact!) of common household items that can cause problems for your dog. Be sure to check it out later, but for now, let’s break it down with more about why these foods are bad for dogs.

why dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate

1. Chocolate

While melt in your mouth chocolate makes humans happy (and if it doesn’t, I can honestly say I don’t understand you at all!), it can be very harmful to your dog. It contains caffeine and theobromine, two stimulants that can make your dog’s heart race, blood pressure skyrocket, and even cause seizures and death.

The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be for your pup because it contains even more of these substances. So baker’s chocolate and semi-sweet nibs are big no no’s. Smaller breeds can also be affected by a lesser amount of chocolate than larger breeds. You can see just how much is too much in our Dogs and Chocolate Infographic.


why dogs shouldn’t eat gum or candy

2. Gum and candy

Thinking about a dog chewing on a piece of gum might elicit a chuckle or two, but it’s really not a laughing matter. A dog wouldn’t have a clue what to do with this strange, chewy substance and may be likely to swallow it, which can cause choking or blockages in the digestive system. Candy can result in the same issues, especially if it’s super chewy, like caramel or taffy. Hard candies can also fracture your dog’s teeth.

Plus, if that gum or candy is sweetened with Xylitol, it can cause some serious problems for your dog. Xylitol is such a dangerous substance it has it’s own spot on the list.


why the substitute sweetener Xylitol is dangerous for pets

3. Xylitol

Xylitol is a substitute sweetener used in many different foods, including gum, candy, desserts, yogurt, and peanut butter. Ingesting Xylitol can result in low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), seizure, and liver failure in dogs. So please check the ingredients of anything that might contain Xylitol before giving it to your dog.


why dogs shouldn’t eat grapes

4. Grapes

Grapes are highly toxic to dogs and can result in severe complications, including sudden kidney failure. Even just a single one can cause a very bad reaction in your dog, so keep those bowlfuls of grapes and fruit salads out of paws reach. If you happen to come home and find a straggly, empty grape vine on the floor near your dog, contact your veterinarian or animal poison control immediately (more on that at the end of this list).


why dogs shouldn’t eat raisins

5. Raisins

You know what raisins are, right? They’re dried and shriveled up grapes, of course! That means they’re just as harmful to your dog as their round and juicy friends. Raisins are also tricky, since they can hide in cookies and other goodies that your dog might try to gobble up.


why dogs shouldn’t eat macadamia nuts

6. Macadamia nuts

These nuts originated in Madagascar and Australia, but were brought over to Hawaii and California many years ago. They can now be found in plenty of local grocery stores and are sometimes baked into cookies. It’s not known what in these nuts causes a bad reaction in dogs, but symptoms can include a severely upset tummy, vomiting, hyperthermia, and tremors.


why dogs shouldn’t eat avocados

7. Avocados

These fruits (yes, they are a fruit!) contain a substance called persin, which can be harmful to dogs. There is more persin in the leaves and skin of avocados, and different varieties can contain more or less of this toxic substance. In any case, it’s better to be safe than sorry and keep your dog’s nose out of the guacamole bowl on game day.


why dogs shouldn’t eat onions

8. Onions

Onions contain a harmful substance that can damage your dog’s red blood cells, making them unable to carry oxygen through the body. This is as dangerous as it sounds and can be fatal. Now you might wonder what dog would eat an onion, but they’ve been known to gobble up slices dropped on the floor, snack on breaded onion rings, or nosh on sweeter tasting pearl onions. Onion powder is also a problem for dogs, so keep it safely stored away in the spice cabinet.


why dogs shouldn’t eat garlic

9. Garlic

Like onions, garlic can damage a dog’s red blood cells. Also like onions, you may be wondering what dog would want to eat garlic. But dogs don’t always shy away from strong tasting foods. They might eat up garlic cloves that fell while you were cooking or get into a jar of chopped garlic left open on the counter. Garlic powder can also be an issue, so be sure to store it safely.


why dogs shouldn’t eat salt

10. Salt

Too much salt, whether it’s poured directly out of the shaker or on potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, or other snacks, can cause health issues for your dog. It can lead to sodium ion or salt poisoning, which can damage the kidneys. Signs include excessive thirst and urination, vomiting, and diarrhea.


why dogs shouldn’t eat tea leaves

11. Tea leaves

While sitting down with a nice cup of tea can be one of the most relaxing points of your day, you should certainly avoid inviting your dog for teatime. Tea leaves contain caffeine, like I mentioned in our chat about chocolate, and can be quite troublesome for dogs. Although your dog may seem uninterested in tea bags, you should store cartons of them safely and avoid leaving mugs with used tea bags around where your dog could take a taste.


why dogs shouldn’t eat raw yeast dough

12.  Raw yeast dough

If you’re baking bread or other items with raw yeast, like homemade soft pretzels, be sure to let it rise somewhere safe from curious noses. The yeast in that dough can expand in your dog’s belly and cause painful gas and bloating. Bloat can cause a dog’s stomach to twist, which can turn into a medical emergency. There is also a risk of alcohol intoxication since yeast produces alcohol during the fermenting process.


why dogs shouldn’t eat spoiled food

13.  Spoiled foods

There can be all sorts of harmful things lurking in your garbage, such as spoiled or moldy foods, that can upset your dog’s tummy or worse. Some molds contain mycotoxins that cause serious muscle tremors. Be sure to throw old or rotten foods out where your dog can’t get at them, like a securely closed outdoor garbage bin.


why dogs shouldn’t eat fatty food

14. Fatty foods

Feeding your dog fatty foods, like hot dogs, bacon, ribs, or fried chicken, can upset your dog’s stomach and cause vomiting and diarrhea. It can also lead to pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas. Some breeds, like Miniature Schnauzers and Yorkshire Terriers, may be more prone to pancreatitis. If you notice your dog is hunched over with tummy pain, contact your vet.


why dogs shouldn’t have coffee

15. Coffee

Like tea leaves and chocolate, coffee is harmful to dogs because of the caffeine content. This goes for brewed, ground, and whole bean coffee. It’s also true of used coffee grounds, so be careful how you dispose of them.


why dogs shouldn’t have alcohol

16. Alcohol

Just like people, dogs can get buzzed from drinks or foods containing alcohol. This effect can be amplified for dogs, especially for those of smaller breeds. Alcohol can also affect your dog’s nervous system and even lead to a coma or death. There’s simply no reason to ever offer your dog an alcoholic beverage. You should also keep an eye on your dog during parties where drinks may be left around.


What Dogs are at Risk?

Dogs of any breed, shape, or size are at risk for ingesting something harmful. However, some dogs may be more prone to eating things they shouldn’t based on their personalities. While all dogs need to be protected from bad foods and toxic substances, dogs who are super curious or love to put things in their mouths may need closer supervision.

dog poison emergency tips

Dog Poison Emergency Tips

It’s good to know the list of bad food for dogs, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to protect your dog from getting into trouble all of the time. If you suspect your dog has ingested a harmful food or substance, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) immediately. The APCC is available 24/7 at 888-426-4435. A $65 consultation may apply.

Also, be sure to stay calm and never try to treat your dog without professional advice. You could injure your dog or get hurt yourself. Even the most loving dog can act out when in pain, scared, or upset. Depending on the situation, your vet may need to perform diagnostic tests, induce vomiting, administer fluids through an IV, or prescribe medications. Hospitalization may also be necessary in more severe cases.

While these treatments can get expensive, you can get help managing the costs with an ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Get a quote for your dog now. This way, if you ever come home to find a ripped open box of raisins and a dog with an upset tummy, you can at least rest easy knowing that you’ll have help covering the medical bills.


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A Guide to Responsible Pet Ownership

Time management and your pet's well-being are just two factors in relation to responsible pet ownership.

Time management

Time management is an important factor to consider when bringing home a new pet. Essentially, it takes a lot of time, care, and patience to have a pet in your home. For example, if you have a puppy, you have to consider the time it takes to train a puppy, potty train, socialize, as well as puppy-proof your entire home. Rather if you have a senior cat or dog, they might come with additional responsibilities, such as diabetes which requires medication daily. Consider the extra time you have in your day to dedicate to a furry friend and how that can impact you and your furry friend.

Pet’s well-being

A pet’s positive well-being is absolutely essential. In order for a pet to be balanced, they must be receiving necessary care regularly. For instance, care in what food they’re eating to the quality of physical exercise. Certainly, when you take the time, attention, and care to focus on your pet, you benefit the short and long-term quality of your furry friend’s life.

Consider these opportunities for your pet’s well-being:

Emotional

The human pet-bond is one of the most remarkable aspects of the relationship between us and our pets. Certainly, the emotional connection is not just beneficial for us, but for our pets as well.

Mental

Our experience shows, it is important for your pet to be mentally stimulated throughout their day. Consider various types of enrichment toys and the amount of interactive play time they will need to be fulfilled incorporating that into your day. For instance, a game of tug, a round of ball, or laser light on the wall can be a fun way to incorporate play and get the whole family involved.

Physical

Physical activity and exercise are a great benefit for your dogs and cats. Also, physical activity can help keep you and your furry friend in top shape, which can be especially beneficial for pets exhibiting stress and anxiety and behavioral issues. Without question, investing in the emotional, physical, and mental well-being of your pet, is essential to responsible pet ownership.

Match pet to lifestyle

A necessary factor to consider is the need to match your new pet to your lifestyle. For instance, consider your home life, work life, and family life and how it will be impacted by the arrival of a new petFor example:

  • How flexible are your work hours? Do you work extended shifts or have an alternative work schedule?
  • Do you have kids, additional pets, or a baby on the way?
  • Additionally, your new furry friend should have ample room to sleep and play, as well as a personal space to retreat to if they need to get away.

Also, in order to make sure your pet is a good fit for your family –

Make sure all introductions are done prior to a permanent move-in. While it may not be perfect, you want to make sure all parties get along, at the on-set of the relationship. Certainly, no one wants to experience having to return a furry friend, if the home life is not a good match for all parties.

Pets are family members

Pets are family members and have become an essential part of the family dynamic. With that being said, responsible pet ownership means often looking to other family members to assist with the joys of pet ownership.

For example, plan ahead on who will be responsible for pet duties, and divvy up the various tasks between different family members. Consider a rotating schedule that way one person won’t get stuck doing the same task every day.

 At first, a change to our routines and schedules accompanies the arrival of our new furry friends. Give yourself extra time to accomplish a task. For instance, the first dog walk or change of the cat litter might take longer than anticipated, and that is ok. Likewise, every party involved is learning a new activity or routine together, which strengthens your bond as a family.

Financial responsibility of pet ownership

One of the bigger challenges many pet owners face is the financial responsibility of pet ownership and what that entails. Similarly, when you are planning your monthly budget, it is important to take into consideration the cost of food, bedding, and wellness/preventative care.

Consider, in a multi-pet household, this cost could be more significant depending on the breed, age, and amount of pets. When planning your monthly budget, consider your planned costs, as well as above and beyond expenses.

For instance, you can financially plan for your yearly vaccine check of if your pup needs flea preventative medication. It is more difficult to plan for the unexpected, like an accident, and that is where a Trupanion policy, can help lend a paw with the unforeseen. An important factor of responsible pet ownership is having the financial resources to properly care for your pets. To illustrate, every family wants to have the ability to seek a necessary treatment for their furry family members, no matter the cost.

Responsible pet ownership: changing the look of the family dynamic

Responsible pet ownership means having the ability to take the necessary time to play and care for our pets. Additionally, it means having a schedule that allows time to be there for those first moments. As well as working together as a family to adjust to new life moments and adapting to schedules and routines. Certainly, by looking at what it means to be financially responsible as a pet owner, you can better take care of your pets for the lifetime.

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Choosing the Right Pet to Fit Your Lifestyle

man with cat, dogs

Nothing is more exciting than searching for the perfect pet. Getting to know and fall in love with a new, lovable companion and welcoming him or her into your life can be an extremely rewarding experience — one that will go smoother if you put some forethought into it. Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment that requires us to seriously consider our needs, lifestyle, and resources.

When looking to adopt a pet, one of the first things we notice is their appearance. We might take into account their size, coat, and any obvious physical characteristics, but there are many other factors beneath the surface that can determine whether the pet will be a good match for us.

How do I know which pet is right for me?

When it comes to choosing the right pet for your lifestyle, it’s important to consider factors such as energy level, dietary needs, required training, common medical issues, and proper environment. These can all have an impact on your pet’s health and happiness, as well as your ability to properly care for them.

Energy level

A cat or dog’s energy level can be a critical determinant of whether or not your lifestyles will be compatible. Higher energy dogs are usually best suited for someone who lives an active lifestyle, or is able to take frequent walks. Lower energy dogs, however, typically do well under the care of a person who enjoys a lot of downtime, or a working professional who spends daytime hours away from home. Most dogs require 30 minutes to two hours of exercise per day, though this depends on the breed, age, and overall health of the dog. While cats can spend as much as 14 hours a day sleeping, engaging them in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes per day is usually recommended.

Temperament

Like people, all animals have unique personalities and temperaments that are displayed in their habits or behavior. While some dogs are more outgoing, social, and crave attention, others can be more laid back, calm, or even shy. It’s important that the pet feels comfortable in their new home, so consider what your needs are and what type of environment the pet will be living in. For example, dogs or cats that are more low maintenance, patient, friendly, and gentle will usually make good family pets. On the other hand, more active, sensitive or protective dogs usually do best living with one individual who understands and accepts their needs.

Special Needs: Dietary or Training Requirements

Also, consider special dietary requirements based on age, size, and breed, as well as any formal training requirements. While many common breeds of dogs and cats require minimal or basic training, some may require more advanced or specialized training. This is particularly true with hunting dogs, service dogs, or high-maintenance breeds that have an intrinsic desire to work.

Common Medical Issues

While there is no guarantee, certain breeds of dogs and cats tend to share a propensity for developing particular medical issues. When looking to adopt a pet, it will be important to research the types of medical problems, if any, that are common among the breed of dog you’re considering. You’ll also want to consider things like lifespan, cost of any related surgeries, ongoing care or preventative maintenance, or other unforeseen events that could arise as a result of medical troubles. Don’t just assume you can deal with a medical issue if and when it arrives—be prepared and proactive.

Be Honest

Ask yourself honestly how much time, money and energy you are ready to devote to your pet.

Being a responsible pet owner goes beyond love. It sometimes involves sacrifices or changes in lifestyle, and it is a lifetime commitment. Of course, sometimes there are factors beyond our control that may necessitate finding our pet a new home. In that case, organizations like Get Your Pet can help to find the perfect new home for your pet.

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