Archive for dog advice

Am I Ready for a Puppy?

Adopting a puppy is a big committment. Dogs have an average lifespan of 11 years, so you want to make sure you’re in it for the long haul. Puppies are adorable, but they’re also a lot of work. Animal shelters are full of one-year-old dogs that have been abandoned because their owners just didn’t have time for them, or didn’t take the responsibility from the beginning to train them. Don’t add to the population of abandoned dogs—make sure you’re ready for a puppy before you get one.


Sure, puppies are probably less expensive to raise than children, but they do still require a financial committment. Puppy expenses include:

  1. Veterinary Bills. Your puppy needs regular vet checkups and immunizations. He may have injuries or illnesses that require attention as well.
  2. Food. Big dogs eat a lot; little dogs not as much. Just like humans, dogs deserve healthy, nutritious food. While you don’t need to spend loads of money on expensive, packaged food, quality food should be an expected expense.
  3. Daycare. If your puppy will be an “only dog,” and you’re gone during the day, he might do well in puppy daycare. He’ll get a chance to socialize with other dogs and won’t chew your couch while you’re at work. Daycare can cost several hundred dollars per month, however.
  4. Toys, Treats and Chews. Puppies and adult dogs need toys to keep them active and engaged. Toys needn’t be expensive, but they do cost a little.
  5. Training. A well-trained puppy is a well-loved puppy! Training is worth every penny you’ll spend, but you’ll want to plan for the expense before taking on a new pup.
  6. Grooming. Some breeds don’t require professional grooming at all; others require regular grooming appointments


  1. Play Time. Puppies need lots and lots of play time in order to get rid of all that wiggly puppy energy!
  2. Bonding Time. Your puppy needs to be around you a lot, especially in the beginning, to create that dog/owner bond that will last a lifetime. Be prepared to take your puppy with you on errands, for walks, and just into different areas of the house while you complete chores.
  3. Exercise Time. Puppies and grown dogs need exercise. Every day. Unless your dog is sick, he will need to be walked daily, and should have other forms of exercise frequently.


Puppies are babies, and they make messes and mistakes. You’ll need a lot of patience during the first year of your puppy’s life.

  1. Potty Training. Your puppy is going to make a few messes in the house. Unless he comes to you already trained, he is going to pee on your carpet and perhaps poop in a corner a time or two.
  2. Chewing. Your puppy has a natural inclination to chew. Though there are many things you can do to train him, it’s likely that he’ll damage some of your personal property.
  3. Crying, Whining, Barking. All of these annoying behaviors can be eased with proper training, but your puppy is apt to whine, cry or bark in those early months.
  4. A Word About Christmas Puppies

    Christmas time is a popular time to bring home a new puppy. Veterinarians and dog associations recommend against this, because:

    1. You might be making an emotional decision based on a warm, fuzzy notion of a puppy with a red bow around his neck, snuggled in front a fire with chestnuts roasting. A puppy is not a present—he’s a family member.
    2. Christmas is a stressful, busy time at your house. A new puppy needs a quiet, calm environment for those first few weeks while he adjusts to life at his new home.
    3. Christmas is a dangerous time for puppies. Children’s toys, poisonous plants and human food, wrappings and Christmas lights are all potential hazards to your new puppy.

Dog Days of Winter – 10 Tips to Keeping Your Pets Safe

10 tips: Keeping your pets safe during ‘Dog Days of Winter’

Pet owners should keep “man’s best friend” in mind as well when it comes to braving the “Dog Days of Winter”. Extreme cold temperatures can be very dangerous for dogs outside and below are 10 tips for dog owners to ensure their pets are safe and dogs and cape cod winter | A Tail Abovecomfortable during long periods of extreme cold weather from a Metro Detroit-based dog rescue group.

Doggie Fitness & Relief

During cold weather months, pet owners need to pay more attention to the time spent outside. Pet owners should limit their dogs’ time outside to reduce exposure. When outdoors, dress your dog with an insulated vest, sweater and doggie boots to protect their paws and core.

Nutrition & Adequate Hydration

Dogs that spend most of their time outdoors may need more calories to maintain their energy level in cold weather. Always check with your vet regarding all changes to your dog’s diet. It’s also important to make sure your dog has adequate water outside. Keep it fresh and in a plastic bowl (avoid metal) to prevent it from freezing – contrary to popular belief dogs cannot break ice in a water bowl and you do not want them licking ice or eating snow as a way to hydrate. Snow and ice in an urban setting can be filled with toxins from salt and other antifreeze products that are harmful to your dog’s digestive system.

If Lost Can Find

Always keep a collar on your dog and consider having your pet identified with a microchip. If your dog gets loose, lost or disoriented in cold weather with an ID collar and microchip you will have a fighting chance if your dog is found and can be returned home.

In The Dog House

If your dog must spend significant time outdoors, PLEASE provide adequate sheltering and bedding. Keeping your dog tied up to the porch, stairs, fence or a tree is not humane. A good way to keep your dog secure and comfortable is in a doghouse – raised off the ground with a roof to shed away the elements. In the doghouse, make sure you keep enough straw (avoid hay) to provide a nice bedding for your dog. Straw keeps mold and bacteria down and is a great insulator in the house.

Pet Safety & Winter Hazard

In extreme cold weather, believe-it-or-not, your dog can get frostbite on their paw-pads. Prolonged contact with frozen ground surfaces such as concrete and asphalt can be dangerous for dogs. Be aware of harmful substances such as road salt and other ice melting antifreeze products that can get lodged in between paws causing an irritation or chemical burn. Always wipe down your dog’s paws after spending time outside – this will prevent them from digesting any toxic materials when they decide to lick and clean themselves.

Don’t Leave Dog in Car

Don’t leave your dog in the car unattended for any time during extreme weather periods – cold or hot. Just because most dogs have fur does not mean they can stand near arctic or below temperatures.

Groom Regularly

Your pet needs a well-groomed coat to keep properly insulated. Short or coarse-haired dogs might get extra cold so consider a sweater or a coat. Long-haired dogs should have their paw hair trimmed to ease in cleaning and snow removal.

House Warming Party

Carefully keep pets warm inside and away from drafts while inside. Also, Keep portable heaters out of reach and make sure all fireplaces have adequate screening. And, of course, never leave your pet alone with an unattended fire.

Puppy Power

Puppies do not tolerate the cold as well as adult dogs and may be difficult to housebreak during the winter. If necessary, paper-train your puppy inside if he or she appears to be sensitive to the weather.

And The Best Tip of All!

Keep your dogs with you at all times during the winter months. The best prescription for the Dog Days of Winter is to keep your dog inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but kept inside the rest of the time with you. Be happy, be kind, be humane.