This ranges from cleaning up, to feeding, to exercising, grooming and handling your furry friend.
This practice helps reduce the number of unwanted animals that would be euthanized.
Getting a family pet is a big step — not only for children but for parents as well.
From the Labrador Retriever, to the Yorkshire Terrier and Cocker Spaniel - find out the Top Twenty.
A tail wag isn’t always the sign of a happy dog... There are other things you can look for.
Does their amazing ability to sense things outside human perception go that far?
Need to Name Your New Dog? Here Are the Top Twenty Most Popular Male and Female Names.
Planning to travel with your dog on an airplane? Here’s what you need to know.
From locating survivors at the World Trade Center to fending off Bears… these Dogs have done it all!
Helpful information on how you can prepare your apartment for a new puppy.
Here's some invaluable advice on how to take fantastic photos of your furry friend.
Here's the lowdown on how you can keep your dog comfortable during car rides.
New Dog Owners
Before You Bring Your Dog Home,,, You will need food, water and food bowls, leash, collar, training crate, brush, comb and canine chew toys.
Keep your dog on a leash when you are outside, unless in a secured (fenced-in) area. If your dog defecates on a neighbor’s lawn, the sidewalk or any other public place, please clean it up.
Puppies 8 to 12 weeks old need four meals a day. Puppies three to six months old need three meals a day. Puppies six months to one year need two meals a day. When your dog is one year old, one meal a day is usually enough. For some dogs (such as larger ones or those prone to bloat), it’s better to continue to feed two smaller meals. Premium-quality dry food provides a well-balanced diet and may be mixed with water, broth or some canned food. Your dog may enjoy cottage cheese, cooked egg, fruits and vegetables, but these additions should not total more than 10 percent of your dog’s daily food intake.
Puppies should be fed a high-quality brand-name puppy food (avoid generic brands) two to four times a day. Please limit “people food,” however, because it can cause puppies to suffer vitamin and mineral imbalances, bone and teeth problems and may cause very picky eating habits, as well as obesity. Have clean, fresh water available at all times. Wash food and water dishes frequently.
Every dog needs daily exercise for mental and physical stimulation. The proper amount depends on the breed type, age and health status of your dog. Providing enough exercise will improve your dog’s health and prevent household destruction and other behavior problems common in underexercised dogs.
You can help keep your dog clean and reduce shedding by brushing her frequently. Check for fleas and ticks daily during warm weather. Most dogs don’t need to be bathed more than a few times a year. Before bathing, comb or cut out all mats from the coat. Carefully rinse all soap out of the coat, or dirt will stick to soap residue.
Small dogs, sometimes referred to as “lap dogs,” are the easiest to handle. The larger breeds, such as German Shepherd dogs, are usually too large to lift. If you want to carry a puppy or small dog, place one hand under the dog’s chest, with either your forearm or other hand supporting the hind legs and rump. Never attempt to lift or grab your puppy or small dog by the forelegs, tail or back of the neck. If you do have to lift a large dog, lift from the under-side, supporting his chest with one arm and his rear end with the other.
You will need to provide your pet with a warm, quiet place to rest away from all drafts and off of the floor. A training crate is ideal. You may wish to buy a dog bed, or make one out of a wooden box. Place a clean blanket or pillow inside the bed. Wash the dog’s bedding often. If your dog will be spending a great deal of time outdoors, you will need to provide her with shade and plenty of cool water in hot weather and a warm, dry, covered shelter when it’s cold.
Licensing and Identification
Follow your community’s licensing regulations. When you buy your license, be sure to attach it to your dog’s collar.
See a veterinarian if your dog is sick or injured. Take him for a full check-up, shots and a heartworm blood test every year.
Fleas and Ticks
Daily inspections of your dog for fleas and ticks during the warm seasons are important. Use a flea comb to find and remove fleas. There are several new methods of flea and tick control. Speak to your veterinarian about these and other options.
A Tail Wag isn’t Always a Sign of a Happy Dog,
Your dog’s body language and expressions tell you a lot about their emotional state, and looking for a combination of subtle signs can help you understand if they’re feeling content and untroubled.
Over-arousal, for example, is sometimes mistaken for true happiness. Brenda Aloff has been training dogs for over 20 years and specializes in problem dogs. She uses the example of a dog that’s very excited when you return home to them. “I think they’re ridding themselves of anxiety that might have been present when you left. They’re happy to see you, but I wouldn’t describe that as the same type of contented happiness. It’s a release of tension, which, to me, feels very different from the animal that is just in that open state emotionally,” she explains.
She describes a happy dog as having an open countenance, a relaxed expression, a lack of stress lines around the face, and no tension in their body. “They kind of soften their eyes and their ears are back just a little. It’s what I call a half-mast ear, where the ear carriage is relaxed, not flat back, nor held forward like in predation or arousal.”
A closed mouth with a tense jaw indicates discomfort, and then there’s also the submissive grin, where a dog shows their teeth. Aloff says a grinning dog isn’t necessarily uncomfortable, “but is a dog showing a certain bit of obsequiousness—just a wee bit of anxiety, or sometimes arousal. Unless we make a fuss when the dog does it, then it can quickly become a ‘trick’. Some dogs turn this into a habit, because people in the know tend to tell the dog they like the ‘smile’.” She endearingly describes a content dog as having an open, wide “muppet smile.”
Many people assume that when a dog wags its tail, this is a sign of happiness. Tail movement and position are highly sophisticated, and not all wags mean a dog wants you in their space.
Aloff explains that you’re looking for a tail in a lower position, and the wag should be slow, rhythmical, have a casual quality about it, and move back and forth like an “old-fashioned metronome.”
Of course, there are breeds, like Aloff’s Fox Terrier, with a tail that stands up straight all the time. But an aggressive tail wag is “going to be short and sharp and the body feels tense,” she says.
Body tension is a big giveaway that a dog isn’t happy. If you pet a happy dog, “they don’t feel like the top of a wooden desk, their skin will actually move underneath your hand,” says Aloff. She also looks at whether “the dog’s physicality feels like it’s meant to repel you out of the space and hold you out, or whether it feels more like an invitation to come in or just to hang out together.”
Species, Breed, and Personality Affect Happiness
When we’re considering what makes our dogs happy, we have to think about it on three levels. What dogs as a species need overall, what their breed traits and drives are, and the fact that they all have their own unique personalities. Often it’s as simple as thinking about appropriate ways just to let your dog be a dog.
Emily Tronetti, is an anthrozoologist, owner of Coexistence Consulting, and co-founder of the Humane Alliance of Rescue Trainers. She explains that “sniffing is one of the most important behaviors that we must allow dogs to engage in every day. However, we’re often so worried about our dogs not being under our control on walks, we might not allow them to do this. This needs to change. We can train our dogs to walk loosely on leash while also allowing them the freedom to sniff and explore.”
Finding appropriate outlets for natural dog behaviors we humans aren’t generally fans of is important too. “Behaviors like digging and chewing are normal, and our dogs’ lives are more enriched when we allow them to engage in these activities. Of course, this doesn’t mean our dogs should chew our shoes or dig up the garden. We can and should provide outlets for them to do doggy things in ways that are safe and appropriate,” says Tronetti.
Breed and individual character traits also influence what might make your dog happy. “Most of the German Shepherds I’ve been around, not all of them – you have atypical ones – are pretty reserved. My Shepherd, she loved me and tolerated everyone else. So, to take her to a cocktail party every evening or fill my house with guests all the time would have been not just stupid on my part; it would have made her very uncomfortable. Whereas my Terriers were party animals—you could have had a party every night, and they would have been fine,” says Aloff.
The Ability to Switch Between a State of Arousal and a State of Relaxation
If you’re playing a game with your dog, it’s important to teach them how to relax afterwards—leaving them in a heightened state of arousal isn’t conducive to a happy dog. Aloff thinks this is a neglected place in our understanding of dog behavior and something that happens too often. “If I’m going to play ball with my dog, I’m not just going to get them jacked up and then leave them in this aroused state. I think that’s a cruelty, because I don’t think many dogs know how to bring themselves back down from this state,” she says.
“I think it’s a kindness to teach them how to flip between their thinking brain and their limbic system (relating to instinct and mood). I do things like lie down, stay, throw the ball, “okay, go get it”, the dog brings it back. Can you heel with the ball, can you put the ball in the hand? And then I’ll maybe give them two or three throws where I let them run back and forth, but put a little more obedience in there.”
Happiness is a State of Comfort
It’s worth mentioning that a happy dog isn’t simply one that gets to do what they want, when they want, all the time. Aloff says that she is “seeing way too much passivity in dog owners, and it’s creating behavior problems. We need to have boundaries and structure, so that they can feel safe and comfortable. And then, in the capacity of what they can comfortably do, we need to offer them choices.”
She sums things up well by explaining, “I equate happiness more with a state of comfort. Thinking about the dog being totally comfortable with what is going on in the environment around them and with their interactions with you.”
Dogs are amazing creatures, and some of their skills seem almost supernatural. Of course, it isn’t magic that gives dogs their extra-special abilities; they are simply able to sense things outside human perception. For example, they can smell odors and hear high-pitched noises undetectable to us. Is it possible that those super senses can help them predict earthquakes, too?
As far back as 373 B.C., there have been reports of animals behaving strangely in advance of an earthquake. You’ve likely heard anecdotal evidence that dogs act in unusual ways anywhere from seconds to days before an earthquake strikes. However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that dogs can predict tremors, and nobody is certain of the mechanism they could be using to do so.
One possible method of early earthquake detection is sensing P waves. All earthquakes produce different waves that travel out from the earthquake’s source. A P wave is a compressional wave that shakes the ground in the opposite direction the wave is moving. It travels faster than the larger S wave, or shear wave, that shakes the ground in a direction perpendicular to the wave. Most humans don’t notice the smaller P wave, which, due to its faster speed, arrives seconds before the S wave. Dogs, with their sharper senses, might be noticing that P wave and reacting before humans realize anything is wrong.
Although that could explain a dog’s ability to sense danger within seconds of an earthquake, it doesn’t support the idea that they can alert to a quake hours or even days ahead of time. Could they be detecting other early signs, such as the ground tilting, or changes in the earth’s magnetic field? One likely possibility is that dogs are hearing the high-pitched, underground seismic activity of rocks grinding and scraping together that happens before an earthquake.
A study by Dr. Stanley Coren supports this suggestion. Dr. Coren was researching whether dogs can have Seasonal Affective Disorder when, by chance, he collected data the day before a level 6.8 earthquake hit the Pacific Northwest. His data included activity and anxiety levels in 200 dogs living in Vancouver, Canada, a city that was affected by the quake. On the day before the earthquake, 49 percent of the dogs showed a significant increase in anxiety, and 47 percent were considerably more active. This was a sharp increase from the steady day-to-day averages collected to that point.
The coming earthquake seems the most likely explanation for the changes in the dogs’ behavior. But what were they sensing? Dr. Coren suspected they were hearing seismic activity, so he dove into the data for more information. Fourteen of the dogs in his study had hearing impairments, and all but one of them did not show the increased activity and anxiety of the other dogs. Perhaps they were unable to detect what was bothering their fellow canines. Interestingly, the one hearing-impaired dog that did respond with anxiety lived with a dog that could hear normally, so may have been reacting to a change in his housemate’s behavior. Dr. Coren also looked at ear shape because earflaps, like those seen in floppy-eared dogs, partially block incoming sounds. He divided the dogs in his study into those with prick ears and those with floppy ears. The dogs with prick ears showed more increase in activity and anxiety the day before the earthquake than those with floppy ears, possibly because they were able to hear more of the seismic activity.
To further explore the idea that the dogs were hearing high-pitched sounds, Dr. Coren grouped the dogs in his study according to the size of their heads. Mammals with smaller heads can hear higher frequencies better than mammals with larger heads, so those dogs with smaller heads should have sensed more of the earthquake predictor sounds. In fact, the dogs with the smallest head sizes tended to show a far greater increase in activity and anxiety levels before the quake compared to the dogs with the largest head sizes. This provides further potential evidence that it’s high-frequency seismic sounds that are alerting dogs to an upcoming earthquake.
Even though Dr. Coren’s research is only one study involving only one earthquake, together with the anecdotal evidence, it appears that dogs may be able to predict earthquakes, at least under the right conditions. If a quake produces loud enough high-frequency sounds in the days before it strikes, dogs may be capable of sensing that something out of the ordinary is happening.
Planning to travel with your dog on an airplane? Here’s what you need to know.
While there are general TSA and USDA guidelines for dog travel, each airline has their own regulations and fees. Be sure to call, familiarize yourself with the rules and prepare accordingly. The airline guidelines will list weight restrictions, crate, and temperature requirements and certain embargoes (due to the time of year, weather, or even certain breeds), among other guidelines. You may want to consider contacting airlines before booking to determine which one will work best for the needs of your dog. Give yourself plenty of time to do this.
Schedule a Visit to Your Veterinarian
Most airlines require a certificate of health within a specific period of flying. Be sure you are aware of the airline requirements before scheduling your veterinary visit.
Other than you and your family members, your veterinarian knows your dog best. Discuss any concerns or special issues your dog has and other topics that come up.
With your veterinarian, consider whether or not your dog is healthy enough for air travel.
Consider whether or not your dog possesses the right temperament for the potential stress of air travel.
Decide with your veterinarian whether or not it is necessary to give your dog a sedative.
If your dog is not microchipped, you can have him microchipped at this time. Microchipping can be an essential tool in reuniting lost dogs with their owners.
Verify that your dog’s rabies vaccination is up-to-date. If traveling internationally, be aware that some countries may require a specific type of rabies vaccination. Research the requirements before seeing your veterinarian.
Discuss any other testing that must be done before air travel.
Research Your Destination Country’s Pet Import Requirements
Research will be required for domestic and international dog travel. Be sure to look up requirements such as vaccinations, blood and parasite testing, licensing requirements, destination airport rules and regulations, quarantines, etc.
Help Your Dog Get Accustomed to the Crate
Purchase the crate well ahead of the travel date and train your dog to stay in his crate before travel, using it as his “home” for a least one week before your planned travel to give him or her more security and less anxiety. This is very important, and many people skip this very important step. Make the crate a friendly place for your dog by putting treats in there and allow your dog free access to the crate.
Confirm and Book Reservations
Contact your airline and tell them you are traveling with your dog before you book your ticket to be sure your airline has not met its limits on the number of pets they will carry on your flight. Most airlines restrict the number of pets — both in the cabin and underneath — allowed on each flight.
Additional Pet Travel Tips:
Try to avoid layovers altogether, but if necessary, keep them as short as possible. Nonstop flights are optimal to minimize the stress on your dog.
Schedule a trip to the groomer. A clean pet makes for a more comfortable traveler.
Consider booking your travel at the earliest time of the day or the latest, especially in warm temperatures to reduce the risk of overheating.
If your pet is traveling in the plane with you, you might want to consider booking a window seat to keep your pet safe from aisle traffic while in the carrier. Check with your airline to make certain your pet and its carrier meet the requirements for traveling in the cabin with you.
Essential Pet Travel Supplies:
Getting a family pet is a big step — not only for children but for parents as well. A dog is a huge responsibility for an adult to take on, so things can get a little murky when trying to determine if a child is in fact ready for that kind of a commitment. If you didn’t already have a pet when your child was born and are now considering it, how do you know if it’s the right time?
“Every child is different,” says Amity Hook-Sopko, Editor in Chief of Green Child Magazine, “but the sweet spot for wanting a pet seems to be between the ages of 5 and 7.” It’s true that a dog will add another layer to your daily to-dos, but the gifts they’ll give back to your family will be tenfold. A child can learn many things from having a pet—and caring for a dog may even aid in making them a better person overall.
The work that goes into a new pet will surely be worthwhile, but don’t rush it. Make sure that your child—and the adults in the house—are ready. Take a look at seven signals below that can help determine if now is the right time:
7 Signs That Your Child Is Ready for a Pet
“Take a trial run if you can,” says Hook-Sopko. “Offer to dog-sit for a friend or family member.” Or spend a few hours at your local shelter or with a local breeder to allow your child time with the type of dog you’re considering.
Family Pet Care Responsibilities: Expectations Vs. Reality
No matter what agreements are made prior to bringing home a dog, ultimately the adults will be responsible for everything. “It’s best to keep your expectations realistic from the start,” recommends Hook-Sopko. “Even if your child has begged and sworn to handle everything, you’ll still be the one scheduling and driving to vet appointments and buying things like food, bedding, and toys. And while they can certainly help with house-training a puppy, that takes a degree of consistency most kids just don’t have.”
So what pet care tasks can you realistically expect your child to help take care of on a regular basis? Here are some age-related chores that a child can actually follow through on:
Appropriate Age-Related Pet Care Tasks:
And finally, Hook Sopko warns that as tempting as it may be when there’s an accident because your child forgot to take the dog out in time, never threaten to give your pet away. “This can be traumatic to a child. And when you threaten things you don’t follow through on, they get mixed signals on consequences and the value of your words.”
In the United States, it is now common to have all dogs and cats not meant for breeding purposes spayed (ovariohysterectomy) or neutered (castration). In fact, 78% of dog owning households have spayed or neutered their canine companions according to the American Pet Products Association’s 2019-2020 National Pet Owners survey.
This near routine practice was a result of veterinarians and the animal shelter community working together to reduce the number of unwanted animals that would be euthanized. Currently, Statista estimates that 6.5 million animals enter U.S. animal shelters each year. Of that number, it’s estimated that 1.5 million are euthanized. Although the euthanasia has decreased over the last decade or so, there remains a very strong case for routine spay/neuter of pet cats and dogs.
UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS
Often, the spay and neuter takes place at a very young age for pets, often at four to six months. However, studies have shown that this may not be the best age to spay or neuter your dog. The relationship between sex hormones and canine health was not well considered and understood decades ago when the early spay/neuter campaigns were started. Today, we are discovering that possibly some of those decisions may have affected the health of some dogs.
Research conducted by the University of California – Davis reveals that for some dog breeds, neutering and spaying may be associated with the increased risks of certain health conditions such as joint disorders including hip or elbow dysplasia, cranial cruciate rupture or tear and some cancers, such as lymphoma, mast cell tumor, hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma. The research conclusions are not surprising. Sex hormones are important in the development of any animal. We know they affect psychological development as well as the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and the immune system.
Interestingly though, different breeds and different sized dogs mature at different ages, which means that early spay/neuter may not be bad for all dogs. The wide margin of maturation of dogs varies considerably, as toy breed dogs mature sexually as early as six to nine months of age whereas large and giant breeds may mature as late as 16-18 months of age. The end conclusion is that generally, the larger breeds had possibly more to risk in future health conditions in than small or toy breeds of dogs due to early spaying or neutering since they mature at a later age.
YOUR ROLE AS AN OWNER
The American Veterinary Medical Association “promotes the professional judgment of the veterinarian in developing an informed, case by case assessment of each individual patient, taking into account all the potential risks and benefits of spay/neuter.”
My opinion on the topic is that the best age to spay or neuter should no longer be the standard “six months of age” response that many veterinarians have used as a guideline over the years, but rather tailored to each individual dog especially if the dog is a large or giant breed. If you have a purebred dog, you should also speak with your breeder who may be able to provide valuable insight. Then, a discussion with your veterinarian based on your dog’s breed or breed type, sex and potential future medical concerns must be had.
An age of six to nine months of age may be appropriate for neutering or spaying a toy breed puppy or small breed puppy but a larger or giant breed may need to wait until they are near or over 12-18 months of age. It is also important to understand that often, the earlier these procedures are done, the easier the surgeries usually are for the veterinarian and recovery for the patient. The one rule I recommend is to not knowingly spay a female dog while they are going through their heat cycle as that may exacerbate excessive bleeding.
Spaying and neutering pets remains an important part of the effort to reduce the number of unwanted animals and unnecessary euthanasia in this country. When considering whether to spay or neuter your dog, with today’s information about the possible effects of age at the time of surgery on their future health, it is ideal to have a detailed discussion with your veterinarian to determine what is best for your dog.
Here are some tips from Daniel Goltzer, a dog trainer and owner of Daniel’s Dog Adventures in Los Angeles, on preparing your place for a puppy.
Before Your Puppy Comes Home Move Breakables & Valuables.
Get a Crate
Clear Out Any Toxic Foods
Lock Away Medications
Be Aware of Rodenticides
Buy Puppy Toys
Once Your Puppy is Home Address Barking and Whining
Walk and Socialize Your Dog
Use Positive Reinforcement Training
Trim Your Dog’s Nails
Consider Hiring a Trainer
Whether you pull out your cell phone or a DSLR camera, it’s hard to resist taking photos of your dog. They’re cute, cuddly, and entertaining subjects. But dogs aren’t always the most cooperative models. Whether it’s getting your dog in focus but the background blurry, or capturing an action shot, it can be tricky to get the kinds of portraits you see on the web. Professional photographer Laurie Clouthier, owner of Ordinary Moments Photography, has some great tips for getting the best shot as well as instructions for setting up five specific scenarios.
Capture Your Dog’s Personality
Tricks of the Trade
Dreamy Background Blur
Small Pup, Big World
Focus on the Details
Shapes and Silhouettes
Some dogs love riding in the car. It’s their ticket to adventure and time with their beloved humans. But for other dogs, traveling is a source of motion sickness and/or anxiety. No matter which camp your dog falls into, there will be times you need to take them on the road with you, whether it’s to the vet, visiting family, or going on vacation. Along with keeping your dog safe in the car, be sure the experience is enjoyable and stress-free too. The following tips will help ensure your dog is comfortable during car rides.
Exercise Your Dog
Take Short Pleasant Trips
Schedule Water and Potty Breaks
Provide Comfort Items
Treat Motion Sickness and Anxiety
Additional Tips for Comfort
The following additional tips will help your dog enjoy car rides: