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Rehoming Your Dog(s)

Dog Rehoming: When Is It the Right Decision?

There are a number of sad but legitimate reasons for giving a dog up. If it must be done, protect everyone involved by taking these steps.


Although those are the reasons commonly given, the underlying cause far more often in those cases is that something interfered with the development of the all-important bond between dog and human that ensures the dog a lifelong, loving home. Every day, thousands of dog lovers move and take their dogs with them, find a new place to live where dogs are allowed, rearrange busy schedules to make time for their dogs, and reprioritize budgets to cover their dog-care expenses.

Animal protection and rescue workers often become cynical about and unsympathetic toward those who give up their dogs. Many of us who love our dogs find it difficult to imagine any legitimate reason for rehoming a dog. While it’s true that many dogs are given up for seemingly frivolous reasons, there are times when it is the right thing to do, including the following.

What are valid reasons for rehoming a dog?

1. Two (or more) dogs in the family are seriously fighting.

Although it’s not uncommon for two dogs in a family to have occasional squabbles, there are also times when knock-down-drag-out battles – or even rough play – can put one or more canine family members at risk of serious injury or even death (not to mention the risk of injury to the humans who have to intervene in the dog fights). This can be especially life-threatening when a size differential almost guarantees that a smaller dog will be injured – or killed – by a larger dog who plays too roughly or has mayhem in mind. Plus there is the risk of predatory drift, where the larger dog sees a significantly smaller playmate dash across the yard and his brain kicks into “Squirrel!” mode. He perceives his smaller canine companion as “prey” instead of “playmate,” and tragedy strikes.

dogs fighting in the house
Many of us who love our dogs find it difficult to imagine any legitimate reason for rehoming a dog, but there are times when it is the right thing to do
© Martina Osmy

Whether due to size difference or not, conflict and potential injury between canine family members calls for careful management protocols, implementation of a behavior modification program to reduce or remove tension when possible, and if necessary, rehoming of one dog to prevent tragedy. If modification isn’t successful and management isn’t realistic, it is only fair to give both dogs a chance at long and happy lives by rehoming one. (I usually recommend rehoming the easier of the two dogs rather than the more problematic one, because it’s much more difficult to rehome a dog with problematic behavior; you are probably that dog’s best option.)

2. The dog is a danger to someone in the household, or to the community.

This often entails aggressive behavior, but not always. Sometimes an aging dog-lover makes the mistake of replacing her beloved senior dog who recently passed away with a puppy of the same breed, forgetting that she was 15 years younger the last time she had a bouncing adolescent canine underfoot. If the human’s dexterity and balance is beginning to fail her, and/or if she is physically unable to meet the dog’s activity needs, rehoming may be the best option.

While daycare, pet walkers, and sympathetic family members and friends may be able to help with some of the exercise, the dog might still present too great a threat to the owner’s safety. If that’s the case, rehoming is the right choice.

A rowdy dog may also present some physical risk to small children in the home. Good management can often minimize the danger while the child grows and the dog matures and learns his good manners behaviors. Aggression, however, is another matter.

Aggression alone is not necessarily a reason to give up your dog. It is irresponsible parenting and dog-caretaking, however, to keep a dog who shows a willingness to bite kids in a home with children. Dogs who live in homes with small children must adore them, or the child’s safety is at significant risk. Anything less than “adore” means the dog should be rehomed, or at least sent off to stay with relatives until the child is old enough to no longer be at risk, and/or the dog has learned to love children. It’s a lot easier to rehome a dog before he bites a child.

should i rehome my dog?
There are valid reasons for rehoming a dog.

A dog with aggressive behaviors presents a risk to the community if the human is unwilling or unable to take necessary management steps to keep the community (and the dog) safe. While this can be due to a lack of concern on the human’s part, it can also be a result of denial and/or lack of education. When aggressive behaviors have been identified in a dog, it is critically important that the caretakers prevent the dog from having any opportunity to bite, and seek assistance from a qualified positive behavior professional for help in managing and modifying the behavior.

3. An unavoidable change in life circumstances precludes keeping the dog.

Stuff happens. You may have the strongest commitment in the world to your dog, and if life circumstances change and you can truly no longer care for him, then rehoming is the responsible decision. I’m not talking about simple priority choices (“We can’t afford the dog’s ACL surgery because we want to go to Europe this summer”); I’m talking about unavoidable life events such as heart attacks, strokes, foreclosure, moving to a long-term care facility, and other life-shattering occurrences. Sometimes, tragically, you really can’t care for your beloved canine any longer.

4. The dog has a health or behavior problem that is beyond the means of the owner to resolve.

Quality of life is an important consideration for dog and humans. If you really can’t afford the care your dog needs, you either provide it anyway, perhaps at the cost of your own health or diet, or you don’t provide it and your dog suffers. You can choose to make sacrifices in order to provide for your beloved dog, but there may come a legitimate time when the sacrifice is too great, or the challenge too difficult. Some medical procedures now available for dogs cost tens of thousands of dollars. Just because we can try to fix something and prolong life, doesn’t always mean we should. A loving caretaker may be completely willing to work with her difficult dog’s behaviors, but physically unable to do so. In those cases, rehoming a dog or even euthanasia may well be the best choice.

Aggression, severe separation anxiety,  and a variety of canine obsessive-compulsive disorders can be extremely difficult behavior challenges. While these sometimes respond to treatment, often with the help of behavior modification drugs, they don’t always, and quality of life can be greatly damaged for both dog and human.

For more information on how to treat separation anxiety, see “Surviving Severe Separation Anxiety.”

5. Wrong dog for the situation.

Sometimes, humans acquire a dog for a specific purpose – to be a service dog, do narcotics detection, or to fulfill some other working or competition goals. Sometimes the chosen dog turns out to be totally unsuited for the desired purpose, and the human doesn’t have the luxury of keeping the newly acquired dog while seeking another one who is more suited for the training goal. In such cases, it may be absolutely necessary, or at least fully justifiable, to return or rehome a dog in order to allow the person to seek and select a more appropriate candidate.

senior dog and senior man
Sometimes, rehoming a dog may be absolutely necessary, or at least fully justifiable.

Options for rehoming a dog

  1. Return her to the breeder, shelter, or rescue group you acquired her from. Responsible breeders and adoption organizations contractually require this, although some may allow you to rehome to someone you know that they pre-approve.

Caveats: If the place where you got your dog was less than reputable (for example, with overcrowded, poor conditions) you won’t want to return the dog there. If you got her from a pet store or puppy mill (oh dear), returning is not an option.

2.  Place her with a trusted friend or family member. Well-loved, well-behaved, healthy dogs usually have a circle of admirers who would jump at the chance to adopt.

Caveats: Even your best friend or favorite relative may decline to take on a dog with major health or behavior challenges. You must be honest about these challenges.

  1. Advertise for someone to adopt her. People sometimes have success with rehoming dogs by advertising on Craigslist or with fliers posted on the bulletin board at local pet supply stores or veterinary offices. Social media can be a huge help, too; put together some good pictures and complete description of your dog (and the reasons you have to rehome her) and ask your friends to share. You never know, a friend of a friend may have a perfect spot for the dog.

Caveats: Try to allow for plenty of time (weeks or even months) to network in search of a perfect new owner for your dog. It’s not easy to screen potential adopters – you risk placing your dog with someone who won’t provide the kind of loving care you want for her, despite their assurances (this goes triple if she has health or behavior issues). There have been recent Use Caution: There are numerous news stories about dogs placed in new homes free of charge by owners, shelters, and rescue groups, only to have to purported adopters “flip” (sell) the free dogs, or worse

  1. Take her to a good shelter or rescue. There are thousands of excellent dog adoption services around the country. Many provide medical treatment for at least some of the dogs in their care that the person surrendering the dog couldn’t afford. The best have behavior departments or working relationships with qualified professionals to modify difficult behaviors in order to make dogs more likely to succeed in their next, hopefully final, homes. Not everything is fixable, and responsible groups still have to make difficult euthanasia decisions, but your dog might be one they can help.

Caveats: Be sure you research these groups diligently. Visit the facility to see that it’s clean and well run. If you can’t visit, don’t leave your dog there. If they won’t give you straight answers about their willingness to treat medical issues or modify difficult behaviors, don’t leave your dog there. If your dog isn’t adopted, she may suffer in a cage at a “no-kill” shelter for the rest of her life, or worse, in the hands of a hoarder posing as a shelter or rescue. Again, you must be brutally honest about your dog’s health or behavior problems.

  1. Have her euthanized. As painful as this, it may be the kindest thing you can do if your dog has significant health and/or behavior issues. It may not be realistic to ask someone else to care for such a dog, and she could be abused or neglected in the process. Dying peacefully in the arms of someone who loves her is better than dying neglected in someone’s backyard, or after spending weeks, months, or years in the stressful environment of a shelter.

When I have a client considering this option because of difficult canine behaviors, I gently suggest that euthanasia is not an inappropriate choice for a loved dog if the client is unable to do the things necessary to restore her dog to physical health, or to manage and/or modify behaviors. I don’t tell her she should make that choice, but I let her know I’ll support her if she does.

Examples of responsible dog rehomes

Here are some examples from my world, of times when rehoming was necessary, responsible and appropriate. Names are changed to protect the privacy of my clients in all except the first example:

Caretaker health issues

More than a decade ago, my then-45-year-old brother had a series of major strokes from which he would never fully recover. He was placed in a long-term care facility where pets were allowed, but only if the resident could care for them, which my brother was unable to do. When my sisters and I visited Bill, he kept asking for his two well-loved Pomeranians. It broke my heart.

happy pomeranian

I tracked them down – they had been sent to a Pomeranian rescue group – and convinced the rescue (via a significant donation) to let me rehome the dogs with one of the staff at the facility. For many years she brought the dogs with her to work and Bill was able to keep them in his life. Although his dogs are gone now, other staff members continue to visit him with their dogs, knowing how much it means to him.

Wrong dog for the job

A good friend recently purchased an Australian Shepherd puppy from a breeder she thought she had carefully researched. Julie already had two adult dogs with behavioral issues that she had worked long and hard with, one adopted from a “no-kill” facility to save him from spending the rest of his life there. Although she’s been successful enough with her behavior modification work that she is able to compete with her two dogs in agility and rally obedience, she had her heart set on starting with a properly raised and socialized puppy who could grow up to be a really solid dog.

Imagine her dismay when the 10-week-old pup turned out to have significant fear behaviors – far greater than one should expect if he was simply going through a developmental fear period. After much soul-searching, she returned the pup to the breeder. Her decision to do so was sealed when, upon contacting the breeder to let her know of the pup’s behavior, the breeder advised her that she was trying to socialize him “too early.” This is a nonsensical excuse; it’s never too early for appropriate, carefully managed socializing (the critical socialization period is from 3 weeks to 14 weeks), and truly good breeders go to great lengths to provide this early socialization foundation.

Putting others at risk in the home

A client brought her just-adopted adolescent Border Collie-mix to see me because the young dog was acting very fearful of men. Linda had adopted Freddie (names changed) less than a month prior, and he already had seven biting incidents, including one bite that had broken skin. She has two small children in her home, but so far the dog had been relaxed and appropriate with kids. Freddie was a delightful dog with many good attributes, and Linda was committed to keeping him, if at all possible. We worked out a behavior modification program, and this exceptionally knowledgeable client went home, fully committed to working through her dog’s behavioral issues.

A week later during a stressful day in the home, Freddie bit one of the kids – twice. Although neither bite required medical attention, it was clear that he wasn’t safe in a home with children. Despite his bite history, the client was, fortunately, able to place Freddie in a dog-savvy home with no children.

Putting others at risk in society

A young couple adopted a dog a year ago from a “no-kill” group – a dog who, in my opinion, should not have been made available for adoption without first undergoing significant behavior modification. The couple, who were my clients, simply wanted a canine companion they could enjoy and share with friends and family. The Lab/Pit-mix they adopted was so defensively aggressive they were unable to have visitors at their home. If they tried to put him away in a “safe room” so they could enjoy their friends and family, the dog shrieked and became destructive – to his environment if he was left free in the room, and to himself if he was crated. After 10 months of dedicated behavior modification work, including medication for the dog, they sadly decided that neither they nor their dog was enjoying an acceptable quality of life, and chose to have him euthanized.

These rehomers are exceptional

Let me assure you that in my behavior practice these cases are the exception, not the rule. I am fortunate to be blessed with clients who are far above average in the commitment they make to their dogs. Their decisions to rehome are difficult, and invariably made only after much thought, discussion and angst. They are never made lightly by my clients, and never without considerable pain.

Rehoming a dog is a difficult decision

A client sent me an e-mail recently to tell me that she has been unable to implement our agreed-upon behavior modification program due to the full-time responsibility of caring for an elderly parent. Barb* said she is looking to rehome her dog. Bailey*, an otherwise delightful one-year-old Labrador Retriever, has mild-to-moderate dog-reactive behavior and separation distress, as well as the high energy level typical of an adolescent Lab. Barb has been bringing him to Peaceable Paws since puppy class. I was saddened to hear she was giving him up. It’s always sad for a dog, and the humans who know him, when the promise of a lifelong loving home falls through. (*Their names have been changed.)

Any one of these decisions can be irrevocable. Before giving  your dog up, be sure you’ve thought it through carefully and truly exhausted all your options for fulfilling the commitment you made to your dog when you adopted her. You don’t want this to be a decision you regret for the rest of your life – and hers.

I received another e-mail from Barb this morning. A family decision to place the parent in a long-term care facility has given Barb new resources, new energy, and a renewed commitment to work with Bailey. For now, he’s staying in his home. Cross your fingers.

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WDJ’s Training Editor Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. She spent the first 20 years of her professional life working at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, for most of that time as a humane officer and director of operations. She continually studied the art and science of dog training and behavior during that time, and in 1996, left MHS to start her own training and behavior business, Peaceable Paws. Pat has earned a number of titles from various training organizations, including Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She also founded Peaceable Paws Academies for teaching and credentialing dog training and behavior professionals, who can earn “Pat Miller Certified Trainer” certifications. She and her husband Paul and an ever-changing number of dogs, horses, and other animal companions live on their 80-acre farm in Fairplay, Maryland.

Foster Dogs Are Like a Box of Chocolates


Early in July I mentioned a litter of puppies I was fostering for my local shelter, and mentioned one pup I was particularly worried about finding a home for. She was a particularly aloof, un-social pup, and I was worried that no one would want to adopt her.

As it turned out, she was the first of the four pups in her litter to get adopted – and when I heard that she had been selected by a family with kids, I was immediately suspicious that she had been chosen because she seemed to be the “quietest,” calmest pup in the group. The problem is, she’s not calm, she’s terribly shut down and avoidant of people. Taken into the “get acquainted room” at the shelter with her littermates, her MO was to sit in the corner, averting her eyes, while the three other pups jumped happily on any human visitors, begging for affection. Shoot!

I saw her photo posted on the shelter’s Facebook page as “adopted” and I wrote a note on the post for the adoptive family, letting them know I was her foster provider and if they had any questions or concerns about her behavior, to please let me know. I was concerned, but I had to stop there. I’ve had my hands absolutely full of family drama; I had to let the puppies go.

Fostering again

But the three boy pups sat and sat in the shelter. As weeks ticked by, I checked the shelter website every day and saw DOZENS of other puppies arrive on the pages of “available dogs” at the shelter – and then saw them pictured as “adopted!” on the shelter Facebook page. The pups who were all flying off the adoption shelves were all fat, chunky, Pit/Lab types who were going to be big dogs. But there were no takers on the three small, lean, leggy pups. I stopped by the shelter a few times when I had a spare hour, to bring them into the get acquainted room, let them play with toys, and remind them that if they sit politely, they get treats.

One day, in mid-August, I stopped by the shelter with my dog-loving grandson to see the pups and found one of them with a bleeding cut on his hind leg, and a big swelling on his other hind leg that looked like he had a big round liquid-filled superball on his hock. He also had a pretty deep cut on his chest. What a mess! I brought the affected pup, whom the shelter had dubbed “Junior,” into the veterinary treatment room at the shelter, and the vet tech looked him over. Separated from his brothers, we could see that he was limping on the leg with the weird round swelling, and his patella on that leg seemed to be somewhat luxated (the vet tech palpated it and it popped right back into place – hmmm). She cleaned his cuts, stapled the cut on his hind leg, and put a needle in the swelling to see what sort of liquid came out. Fortunately, it didn’t look infected, just filled with mostly clear fluid. She measured out some antibiotics and some Metacam (an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medicine), and (as you might have guessed), I brought the pup home with me for some rest and relief from getting beat up in the shelter pen with his brothers.

My grandson was overjoyed to get to spend time with Junior. The puppy is very sweet and smart, and absolutely remembered all of our past lessons about offering a “sit” whenever he wanted attention or a treat. He decided that Boone was his favorite dog to follow around and play and sleep with – which was great, because it gave me and my now-oldest dog Woody some time to spend together without Boone being jealous.

But the next day, both of Junior’s hocks had big swellings on them. Then they started to shrink, but a few days later, one of his elbows developed a big swelling. And a day later, his other elbow swelled, too.The hocks started to shrink once Junior was sleeping on a thick bed in my home (not on the concrete floor of the shelter anymore), but then his elbows filled with fluid. Once I realized that this was caused by impact with the floor, I padded the floor of my office to give Junior and my dog Boone a safe “wrestling” area.

The hocks started to shrink once Junior was sleeping on a thick bed in my home (not on the concrete floor of the shelter anymore), but then his elbows filled with fluid. Once I realized that this was caused by impact with the floor, I padded the floor of my office to give Junior and my dog Boone a safe “wrestling” area.

I brought him back to the shelter several times over the next two weeks for the vet tech and then the vet to see these developments, and eventually he was diagnosed with elbow hygroma – a condition that can affect more than just elbows. For reasons that are poorly understood, some dogs develop swelling over the point of bones that come into contact with hard ground. Articles about the condition always suggest that it will likely go away as long as dogs have nice thick beds to sleep on. Spending all day on the concrete floor of the shelter certainly must have caused the problem with his hocks – but it was a lot of playing with my young dog Boone in my office that was likely causing the problem with his elbows. Boone was being a great sport, “self-handicapping” himself in play by laying on the ground for wrestling matches with the pup, but the pup was doing a lot of “play bows” as he darted toward and away from Boone – with his elbows banging on the hard floor of my office. Ugh!

I pulled out every spare carpet, rug, quilt, and blanket in my house and covered my office floor with them. I also stopped the dogs from playing in the house at all – I have only one rug in one room in the house, and they always seemed to initiate play on the hard tile floor of the kitchen. I shooed them out to the lawn whenever they started wrestling. And, over a series of weeks, the swellings all subsided. Finally!

Then I got word that the second boy pup got adopted – yay!

Update about the girl pup

Then I got a message on Facebook from someone who said they adopted the autistic-seeming girl pup, and wanted to know if we could talk. I was so happy to hear from that family – only it wasn’t the family. It seems the puppy had been returned by the family, and adopted again almost immediately by the woman who contacted me. She observed that the puppy was very quiet, and looked through the shelter’s Facebook page of “adopted” photos to see if she could learn anything about who had adopted the pup previously. When she saw that the pup had been adopted by a family with kids, she surmised that the environment was likely too busy or loud for the pup – and then she saw my comment offering help and she reached out to me.

I called the adopter, and we talked for a long time. I told her about the pup’s history, and she told me about how the pup is doing now. She indicated that the pup is still very reserved with humans, much more comfortable with dogs (she owns one older dog), but that she will approach and sit for treats (brag: this is a hallmark of time with me). She told me that she has all the time and patience in the world to teach the pup that she can be trusted and she’s not going to force or push the pup in any way. I am so relieved and grateful that this pup found the right home after all!

A troubling diagnosis

Finally, all of Junior’s various swellings were nearly gone and his kneecap hadn’t luxated for weeks. It was time to start advertising for a home for him. I didn’t want to take him back to the shelter, but hoped to find someone in my social network to adopt him, so he wouldn’t have to go back on concrete! I took some cute pictures of him and asked my friends to share his information on social media.

I also encouraged the two young dogs to play outside, rather than indoors on my hard kitchen floor. I might have been irritated with their choice of this muddy spot for wrestling if I hadn’t been so happy that they found a soft place!

Within a week, we had a bite: A super nice family from a nearby town wanted to come meet him. They have two boys, 14 and 7, and the mom works for my friend’s dog daycare business! Hurray!! He would be able to go to work with her each day! What a lucky puppy!  They came to my house to meet him, and I told them all about the issues we had been through. He also had a new cut on top of his head, which didn’t look very nice, but it was small enough that I didn’t think it needed any attention. I know they were listening to my recitation of Junior’s issues, but they were also very impressed by his now-very-solid sits and downs on cue, his recall, and even his skill at playing fetch (and bringing the toy back every time!). While he tends to jump up on people once when he’s excited, if you just pause a moment without petting or talking to him,  he quickly remembers that he’s not supposed to do that and quickly plunks his butt down into a sit. He was impressive, and they were impressed! I allowed them to bring Junior home to their house to spend the rest of the weekend with them, and I was thrilled to hear at the end of the weekend that they wanted to adopt him.

However, we couldn’t go to the dog daycare with his new mom until he had received some more vaccinations (for Bordetella and influenza) and had a clear fecal test – just like all of the client dogs’ requirements. I told the family I would be happy to hold him for a few more days so I could bring him to a local vet for an appointment to get the vaccines and to bring in a stool sample. By a miracle, I was able to score an appointment with a local vet almost immediately.

But right away, this veterinarian noticed the baggy skin on Junior’s elbows, the last remnant of his hygromas – as well as his sometimes-luxated kneecap, and the cut on his head, and the remnant of the cut on his chest and the one on his hind leg. She said,  “This looks a lot like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome…”

I said, “Say what?” I have never heard of this.

Apparently, the veterinarian has a friend, someone she went to vet school with, who both has this condition and studies it at a university– that’s partly why the veterinarian recognized Ehlers-Danlos. It’s an inherited condition of connective tissue disorders resulting in defective collagen synthesis – and fragile skin, poorly healing wounds, and hypermobility of joints are all symptoms of this condition.


I asked the vet what she thought about adopting such an animal. She said, “I think everyone deserves to adopt a healthy dog…”

Of course, I think that, too – but I also didn’t want to see this pup not get a home! What if the family didn’t want to take this on?

I wrote a long email to the family explaining what the vet had said, and including some links to articles about the condition. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome can be definitively diagnosed with a biopsy, but Junior’s symptoms are rather classic. He will require close supervision so he doesn’t play too roughly, supervision to prevent over-zealous activity that could contribute to joint luxation or skin tears, and special care of any wounds or skin tears he receives. And I told the family that I would not blame them one bit if they decided that Junior had more problems than they wanted to take on.

I was on pins and needles waiting to hear what they would decide – and also trying to figure out how on earth I was going to be able to find another home for him! My friend Leonora, who previously owned a dog with special needs, bravely declared that she would adopt him if the family would not, which made me cry, I was so touched.Junior is such a happy, sweet, smart dog. I’m thrilled that he’s found a home with a wonderful family who appreciates what a special guy he is, and is ready to appreciate him in spite of his physical challenges.

Great news for Junior

But fortunately, the family is awesome. The dad told me that the whole family talked about it, discussed how they would have to be careful with Junior and that he might have health problems from time to time – and decided that they wanted him anyway. “We haven’t heard anything at this point that would prevent us from adopting such a sweet and wonderful boy,” he texted me. “We understand the potential complications and would like to get more information, but at this point, we all feel pretty strongly that Junior belongs in our family.”

That’s been the best news. I am so grateful that such big-hearted people are willing to give this sweet pup a tremendous opportunity for a happy, healthy life with them….

And now I have to think about whether I’m going to bring home the fourth pup in the litter, who at five months is still at the shelter – and has big swellings on his elbows and cuts from playing with the non-related puppies he’s been housed with. Arghh!

Junior is such a happy, sweet, smart dog. I’m thrilled that he’s found a home with a wonderful family who appreciates what a special guy he is, and is ready to appreciate him in spite of his physical challenges.

You never know what you’re going to get when fostering for a shelter or rescue. All I know is that when this litter’s lives are all sorted out, I am going to take a break!


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Dog Ramps: Does Your Dog Need One?

Age, arthritis, and injuries can interfere with your dog’s enjoyment of beds, sofas, and rides in the car. Dog ramps can help inactive dogs enjoy their favorite places again.

Your dog can’t move around the way he used to. He might have trouble with stairs or his favorite window seat, and you feel his disappointment. Fortunately, a whole industry supports canine mobility with ramps and stairs that can help him feel younger again.

What are dog ramps and why use them?

Ramps are flat sloping boards that replace stairs with a gradual incline that’s easy to walk up or down. Most dog ramps are made of wood, plastic, or metal, and their surfaces include carpet, fabric, artificial grass, and nonskid materials.

When positioned between the floor and furniture or between the ground and your car’s door, a dog ramp can:

  • Reduce joint strain and arthritis pain.
  • Assist older dogs who can no longer jump into a car or onto a sofa or grooming table.
  • Prevent injury to you or whomever helps the dog climb up or down.
  • Reduce stress or anxiety associated with mobility tasks.
  • Help developing puppies stay safe by preventing hard landings.
  • Help dogs of all ages recover from illness, accidents, injuries, or surgery.

What should I look for in a dog ramp?dog ramp

When using car ramps, always provide your dog with guidance and support, so he doesn’t try to rush or jump off, and can’t slip or fall off if distracted. © Molly100 |

Dog ramps come in all kinds of materials, sizes, and price ranges. Here are some considerations.

  • If you plan to use the ramp indoors and out, look for durable materials that survive weather changes.
  • An adjustable ramp can be used in different situations or with different vehicles.
  • A folding or collapsible ramp will be easy to transport.
  • Be sure the ramp will fit in your vehicle if you plan to travel with it.
  • Nonskid surfaces, safety rails, and sturdy construction help prevent accidents.
  • The ramp should be an appropriate size for your dog and it should support her weight.
  • Be sure the ramp’s slope is comfortable for your dog. Small dogs and dogs with mobility problems often need a gentle or easy slope.
  • Check to be sure you can lift, extend, adjust, or move the ramp easily.
  • Look for a ramp that is easy to clean so it will stay fresh and look attractive.

What is the best dog ramp for my car?

Think about where you’re likely to go with your dog in the vehicle you’re most likely to use. Bi-fold and tri-fold collapsible ramps with skid- or slip-resistant surfaces are popular options, but check the size and weight of the ramp along with assembly instructions and slope to be sure it’s a good match for you and your car as well as your dog.

What is the best ramp for my bed?

Pet stairs and ramps make it easy for dogs to climb onto your bed or other furniture. Check the weight capacity for stairs, as different models support 20 pounds to more than 150. For convenience, look for a ramp or stairs that can be left in place, and for aesthetic appreciation, choose one that goes well with your furniture.

Ramps are unfamiliar to most dogs, so introduce your ramp in a quiet area free of distractions and practice with rewards and praise.


Avoid Common Dog Dangers with the Must-Have Guide on Dog Safety

As you walk in the door from work, your dog leaps with joy, letting out resounding barks of approval and happiness. But then she lets out a concerning yelp of pain. You look down to see a torn toenail that needs immediate attention. What do you do? Is it an emergency? Can you help?

When your dog is hurt or in pain, you jump into triage mode. Scenarios like torn toenails or bone fragments lodged in the mouth are common dangers dogs may face every day. Some you can remedy yourself; others require medical attention. Can you determine which is which?

As a pet owner, you’re committed to keeping your best friend safe. Learning what some of the most common dangers dogs face daily inside and outside of the home can help ensure you create a safe environment for your pet.

With the help of Whole Dog Journal’s digital guide, Dog Dangers, you can gain valuable insight into common hazards your dog faces every day, including what to look out for, what to avoid, and what to do if your dog hurts himself. You’ll also get tips on important details like creating a first aid kit for your dog and keeping him safe while swimming, so you can eliminate dangers from your dog’s environment before they harm him.

In Dog Dangers, you’ll discover how to:

  • Avoid the most common situations sending dogs into the emergency room by learning more about what they are
  • How to protect your pets during the holidays by getting helpful tips on reducing stress and helping them avoid harmful foods and commonly ingested object
  • Induce vomiting safely when it’s necessary when harmful substances have been ingested
  • Identify common household items and foods that are dangerous to dogs so you can create a safer home environment

This e-book is a must-have addition to your pet care library, giving you valuable tips to protect your dog at home and while out having fun. Give yourself peace of mind and your dog the safest environment possible by downloading your copy of Dog Dangers today.

Subscribe Today for the very best in dog education!

How to Pick Up a Puppy

If your new puppy is avoiding you, you need these tips on how to hold your puppy – especially if he has advanced to growling or snapping at you.

When you see a little puppy, the most natural thing in the world is to run over and swoop her into your arms for a nice big cuddle!
I beg you: Don’t do that. It may feel wonderful to you, but the odds are you just created a moment of fear for that puppy.


Style matters, and the seemingly simple pick-up approach above includes three unfortunate choices: The surprise, the swoop, the squeeze. Each of those elements creates discomfort in a being who is new to our human world. (Nobody on Planet Dog picks anybody else up!) To complete the picture of terror, there’s often optional element #4: The Squeal.

Sometimes, people contact me in a bit of a panic because the puppy they got last week is growling at them, and it’s getting worse every day. A quick home visit usually reveals that these nice folks are in the surprise-swoop-squeeze camp. They are unintentionally terrifying their pup, and the pup is learning to fend off that moment with a growl.

While that’s a bummer, it’s also great news – because it means we can probably fix this in a jiffy by creating a new pick-up process that will build the missing trust.


It’s scary for puppies when they are picked up completely by surprise. One minute they’re just hanging out – maybe even sound asleep – and the next they’re up in the air! Sure, some pups will roll with it, but for many others it’s alarming.

You can avoid the surprise factor by altering your approach. No running! No zooming! Just stroll over so pup has a chance to see you’re on your way. Then crouch down, and take a moment to say hi with a gentle stroke. All along, provide a nice low-volume voice-over for extra reassurance and preparation: “Hi sweet pup. How about I come say hello?” That advance warning system means the puppy has a chance to catch up to the action.

Extra help: For a pup who has already been growling about handling, a cue word is a nice thing to add. A consistent heads-up in the form of a cheery, “1-2-3 time for a pick-up!” can be a game-changer. It helps pup learn to be ready when that’s about to happen and to totally relax when it’s not.


Even if you eliminate the element of surprise, you still may hear a growl if your pup feels unsafe in the air. That’s why the second rule of the perfect pick-up is this: No swoop-and-dangle allowed. Your new pup doesn’t want the thrill of an amusement park ride.

Help her feel safe with you by using a slow, cradling motion that keeps her body supported 100% of the time: One hand underneath, the other softly against her chest and shoulder. Bonus points for continuing your quiet voiceover: “Aw, there we go, we’re just going to move over here, you’re my sweetie girl . . .” Don’t stand up too quickly – give pup the old, creaky elevator experience rather than the one that whisks you ridiculously fast to the top floor.

Extra help: If you’re doing remedial work, it can help to have a chew, a toy, or a piece of jerky in your hand as you say, “1-2-3 time for a pick-up!” This way you can distract pup from her worries and create a positive association with the feeling of being handled in this way.


Once pup is in your arms as you’re standing, you can extend her lesson in trust by slowly, gently putting her right back down. For some puppies, the worst part of a pick-up is the dreaded squeeze-n-trap! Humans love to trap puppies in what they call a loving hug. Alas, the puppy might call it terrifying jail time.

Nobody – not one human, not one dog – wants their body to be held against their will. And yet somehow we think puppies are supposed to sit endlessly in our laps, or cherish being carried around by us, so we make them do that regardless of their reaction. Kids are the ones who find this hardest to resist, but I’m amazed how many adults also refuse to recognize a puppy’s squirming as a legitimate plea for bodily autonomy.

To add to the train wreck, these over-held pups are often the ones who grow into dogs who hate being handled! Which is sad in all kinds of ways, because it’s the folks who most want cuddlers who tend to turn their dogs into resisters.

Here’s what I tell kids (and, ahem, a few adults): Do you want to be your puppy’s favorite? Then, especially at first, let that puppy do the choosing! Rather than demanding the puppy’s attention, entice it instead. Get down on the floor, get a squeaky toy, roll around in a puppy-like way – and soon enough that puppy will start choosing you to play with. And then, miracle of miracles, when she’s tired she’ll wander over and choose your lap to sleep in. Now you’re just one step away from that pup happily asking to be picked up and cuddled.

how to hold a puppy
The perfect puppy hold. Stable support underneath, but with a relaxed hold. Happy puppy feels secure but not trapped. For kids in particular, sitting on the ground is the best way to hold puppies without scaring them.


If you eliminate the surprise-swoop-squeeze from your routine, your pup will soon be calm about being picked up. To see if you’re at that point yet, look for the signals that pup is happy about this consent-based handling. Is she regularly approaching you? Turning her head toward you instead of away? Relaxing her body against yours? No longer struggling in your arms? Perfect. Now you can skip the warning cue, and the treat in your hand as you lift.

But the rest? The no-surprise approach? The soothing voiceover? The un-intimidating crouch? The slow, supported lift? Don’t drop those. It’s habits like those that eventually make people describe you as the one who is “just magic with dogs!”

Nope. It’s not magic, just empathy. Use it, and enjoy the rewards.


A Healthy House for Your Dog (and You, Too!

We think of our homes as the safest place for our dogs, but there are many things you can do to make them safer and healthier, including using pet safe cleaners.


Maintaining a healthy home is in everyone’s best interests. Here are simple steps that can lead to a healthier home environment for you, your dogs, and your family.


In recent years nontoxic household cleaners have become popular in supermarkets, natural food stores, and from online retailers. Some contain traditional ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, both of which you can use individually.

The acetic acid in distilled white vinegar kills harmful bacteria and microbes, plus it has antifungal properties that help resist mold. For a simple all-purpose cleaner, mix equal parts water and vinegar. Apply with a sponge, cloth, or spray bottle, then rinse or wipe with a clean, damp cloth and let dry. Make a spray that can help prevent ant or mite infestations around food storage areas by blending 1 cup distilled vinegar, 1 cup water, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil.

A popular do-it-yourself cleaner for vinyl floors combines 1 cup vinegar, 5 drops baby oil or jojoba oil, and 1 gallon warm water. The result removes waxy buildup and leaves the floor shining.

While recommended for kitchen counters, floors, sinks, mirrors, bathrooms, and windows, vinegar’s acidity can damage stone and should not be applied to granite countertops.

Baking soda, which is alkaline rather than acidic, is an effective scrubbing agent for sinks, countertops, and cookware, plus it’s a natural deodorizer. To remove odors, sprinkle baking soda on carpets before vacuuming and add to laundry wash water.


Dust is often a challenge in homes with dogs. If yours is a shedder, you’ll want a good vacuum cleaner, Swiffer floor sweeper, lint rollers, or all three. Vacuum cleaners designed for use around pets feature allergen-capturing filters and attachments that work on floors, furniture, dog beds, and more.

To deal with flea infestations, vacuum areas frequented by your pets every two to three days, especially highly trafficked hallways and paths in your house. Flea eggs, larvae, and pupae can be found wherever a dog lives, and female fleas lay 20 to 50 eggs per day for up to three months. No wonder they’re hard to eliminate!

Flea larvae mature on or near the dog’s bedding and resting areas, so removing opportunities for eggs to develop is the most effective nontoxic flea population control strategy. Don’t forget to vacuum under cushions on couches or chairs that your dog sleeps on. Change vacuum bags frequently and seal their contents safely in a plastic bag (or empty bagless canisters into a plastic bag) before disposing.


Washing your dog’s bed is a good idea wherever fleas are a problem or whenever it needs a good cleaning, so check bed labels for cleaning instructions. Dog beds, blankets, throw rugs, and removable bed covers can be tossed in the washer with any detergent – you won’t need insecticidal soap, special detergents, or bleach because fleas cannot survive plain water. If desired, add baking soda as a deodorizer.

If a bed cover isn’t removable or the bed shouldn’t be washed, vacuum or clean it thoroughly, scrub it with a damp microfiber cloth, and wash the floor under the bed as often as possible. Purchase several covers, sheets, or towels for pet bed use and rotate them in and out of the wash.


The best food and water bowls are made of stainless steel. Avoid ceramic bowls, as some decorative ceramics allow chemicals to leach into food and water. Plastic bowls may contain carcinogenic substances and can harbor bacteria.

Washing your dog’s food and water bowls with soap and hot water is especially important if you feed your dog raw meat because pathogenic bacteria can reproduce quickly at room temperature. Your dog should have access to fresh, pure water at all times.


Slick or slippery floors, whether polished wood, vinyl, laminate, or tile, can pose health risks to dogs who have arthritis or are recovering from an illness or accident. Replace slippery flooring with bamboo or cork, both of which are slip-resistant, or use non-skid rugs, sisal grass runners, peel-and-stick carpet squares, yoga mats, or other skid-free surfaces wherever your dog needs traction.

You can discover a flooring’s slip-resistance by checking for its coefficient of friction, or COF, which is an objective standard of rating how slippery an item is. Manufacturers and retailers publish flooring COF ratings for comparison. Terracotta tile, quarry tile, and brick have high COF ratings, so they are very slip-resistant, while honed natural stone, which is slippery like glass, has one of the lowest COF ratings.

Open some windows in your home whenever possible; this will improve the indoor air quality (as long as there are no wildfires or other threats to outdoor air quality.). Screens help to keep flying insects out. Safety bars are a good idea for incautious dogs. Photo Credits: Alina Rosanova /


Science tells us that dogs improve human health by bringing the outdoors in, but we don’t want a house full of muddy paw prints. Create an entrance plan to help keep things tidy. A mud room or garage entry, coupled with a super absorbent doormat or rug directly inside or outside the door will reduce incoming dirt. Have a good supply of towels, paw or body wipes, brushes, and grooming supplies nearby to simplify cleanup.


You already know that, for your own health, you shouldn’t smoke. But did you know that second-hand smoke has been associated with lung and nasal cancers in smokers’ dogs? If you must smoke, do it outdoors and away from your dog. Don’t smoke in any enclosed space such as a closed room (or worse, in a car) with your dog present.

The air in the average home can be two to 20 times more polluted than the air outside. In addition to using natural cleaning products, open the windows in your home at least once a day unless the outdoor air quality is poor, such as when smog, air pollution, smoke from forest fires, or high pollen counts reduce air quality.

Whole-house and portable air filters remove dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria. Non-toxic houseplants improve air quality by removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Instead of using chemical “air fresheners,” use scented flowers, dried herbs, or aromatherapy essential oil diffusers to add fragrance.


Pet waste smells bad and can attract flies and spread worms. Removing it daily helps prevent health problems including coprophagia (when dogs eat their own or other dogs’ poop).

In place of commercial pesticides and herbicides, look for safe, organic compounds that can help control garden pests and keep your yard healthy without the use of toxic chemicals.

Every improvement you can make in the health of your home and yard will help your dog avoid common problems.


The very best in dog education!


Separation Anxiety in Dogs

What the mainstream media (and your Instagram feed) gets wrong about separation anxiety in dogs.

The advent of the pandemic in 2020 caused many of us to begin spending most of our time at home with our dogs. Many people used the opportunity of having more time at home to add a new dog to their families.

Then, seemingly overnight, there were reports everywhere in the mainstream press and on TV discussing the huge, catastrophic,impending wave that’s supposedly about to strike our nation: a wave of canine separation anxiety – the common expression for dogs who experience distress when left home alone. On every media (and social media), journalists are worrying about how our canine family members will adjust to being alone once our families return to school and work outside of the home.

The good news? All that buzz created has more awareness than ever about separation anxiety in dogs. And that awareness means that people are clamoring for information.

The bad news is that much of the information that has been made available to dog owners includes confusing or incomplete recommendations, which leaves them feeling overwhelmed and at a loss as to where to begin.

And the really ugly news? With the increase in attention and demand for separation anxiety training services, inhumane and ineffective methods, promoted as guaranteed quick fixes, have flooded into the marketplace. Add the fact that the media has been indiscriminately airing both urban legends about canine separation anxiety (SA) as well as false claims about quick fixes, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for a lot of potential cruelty inflicted on an already highly stressed canine population.

Here are some important corrections to the most prevalent and potentially harmful inaccuracies about canine separation anxiety commonly shared today:

WRONG: “The separation anxiety crisis is new.”

CORRECTION: Media attention is new, but this is one of the most common issues addressed in professional behavior practices.

According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, problems that occur during the owner’s absence represent up to 40% of the caseload in behavioral practices in North America. That is a lot of separation anxiety. Fortunately, because this concerning behavior is not new, there is also a lot of research available to help with its understanding. In the past four decades, separation anxiety has been the most commonly discussed disorder in published studies of experimental research and retrospective research in the fields of applied animal behavior and veterinary behavior (Ogata 2016).

The process of training a dog who exhibits separation anxiety was originally developed in the 1950s. While the implementation of that process has been refined and improved over the years, the basic principle of systematic desensitization is the same. (See “Amicable Separation,” WDJ June 2020.)

WRONG: “Separation anxiety results when dogs are too attached to their families.”

CORRECTION: Much media attention focused on the sheer number of hours that we were spending at home with our dogs. The worry seemed to be that being home all the time would create hyper-attachment and therefore lead to separation anxiety. However, a landmark study showed otherwise. Video analysis showed that dogs with SA spent no more time in contact with or in proximity to their owners during the attachment test than dogs without SA (P>0.05) (Parthasarathy, 2006). Being more bonded does not mean more separation anxiety.

Our canine behavior practice has focused on SA exclusively for more than 20 years. In all that time, we have not seen a correlation between so-called “Velcro dogs” and separation anxiety. Nor have we seen that dogs who spend a lot of time with their owners are more likely to have signs of separation anxiety than dogs who spend less time with their owners.

As far back as the early 1990s, we began seeing peer-reviewed research that refuted the notion that dogs who are “spoiled” by their guardians are more likely to engage in problem behaviors such as separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is not linked to any particular behaviors on the part of the dog’s owners. A lot of our work resides in reassuring these loving dog guardians that they did not create this problem.

Have you felt guilty about what others have said about your supposed role in your dog’s separation anxiety? Please, right now, absolve yourself of any and all guilt. This condition is not your fault.

WRONG: “More exercise will fix dogs with separation anxiety.”

CORRECTION: We’re all for physical exercise and mental enrichment, but these aren’t a cure for fear in this or any case. We shout from the rooftops that dogs need appropriate enrichment both physically and mentally.

However, this is because enrichment contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of our dogs. More physical exercise or mental enrichment unfortunately does not result in a resolution of fear-based behaviors like separation anxiety, despite how prevalent these recommendations are.

Let’s say you are terrified of flying on an airplane, but you must make a flight later that day. What if your friend told you to run 10 miles prior to boarding in order to feel less afraid? We think you’ll agree that this would not help. Physical exertion cannot overcome panic, particularly not in the long term.

WRONG: “You can prevent separation anxiety.”

CORRECTION: Helping your dog learn about spending time alone is a great exercise for many reasons. But the idea of prevention gets fear in dogs all wrong. We cannot “prevent” that for which we don’t know the cause. Separation anxiety may be well-researched, but what causes it still remains unclear.

We can do a lot to help dogs learn that alone time is safe, and we can prepare them for the eventuality of time spent without us. However, even these worthwhile tasks do not guarantee the prevention of separation anxiety.

WRONG: “Separation anxiety in dogs can be fixed quickly.”

CORRECTION: It’s so tempting to think that there’s a way to speed up fear recovery. If there were a gadget, a pill, or an app that fixed separation anxiety, we would be all over it, but none exists.

It’s imperative to understand that separation anxiety training has to be adjusted to the individual dog with whom we are working. The dog sets the pace, and no two dogs are the same. These are living, breathing, sentient beings, and we can’t apply cookie-cutter training and expect resolution.

Separation anxiety is akin to a phobia in humans and the level of panic that the dog experiences when left alone may not be logical to us, but it is very real to the dog. Fear like that cannot be modified by using quick fix remedies.

But you can take comfort in this: The scientifically supported training that is used to resolve SA is not new; it’s been tested and true.

WRONG: “Nobody knows how to help these new dogs with separation anxiety!”

CORRECTION: We do know how to help dogs with separation anxiety. Thankfully, we already have good practical experience and don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

The successes that we have witnessed are countless. Additionally, members of our team have helped many more dogs, and the collective accomplishments are inestimable. The dogs we’ve seen are incredible. They just need help feeling safe in this modern world. Our clients’ dogs who suffer from separation anxiety are truly extraordinary in every way; they are simply terrified of alone time. We can help them thrive.

The premier specialists with this behavior issue are Certified Separation Anxiety Trainers (CSATs). CSATs are the only separation anxiety practitioners recommended by the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behavior.


Are you worried about leaving your dog alone? Don’t heed the myths and confusion shared in the popular press and social media. Contact a qualified dog professional and get started. We’ve been here all along and we’re here for you now. You can get through this and your dog can, too.

Malena DeMartini-Price is renowned in the dog training world for her expertise in dog separation anxiety issues. She is the author of the books Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs, as well as Separation Anxiety in Dogs: Next-Generation Treatment Protocols and Practices.

Maia Huff-Owen is a KPA-CTP and a CSAT. She is also an instructor for Malena DeMartini’s Separation Anxiety Certification Program, a 14-week, intensive course that teaches dog trainers how to work successfully with separation anxiety cases. See “Resources,” page 24, for contact information.

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Look at this precious pup!



"Autumn" - Female Havanese

Let’s Talk

We receive a great deal of phone inquiries, so we request that first contact be made via email. The email will also give us the opportunity to provide you more detailed information about our puppies, prices and availability. If you would prefer to contact us via phone after your initial email, we welcome any additional questions you may have and look forward to speaking with you. Thank you for contacting and look forward to all inquiries, working with you and providing detailed, accurate information so you can make an informed decision about getting a Southern Silks puppy.
Thank you again, best Jeanne

Jeanne Roane
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Southern Silks Maltese and Havanese Puppies is a small hobby show breeder of Maltese puppies and Havanese puppies from beautiful southern Louisiana.

Southern Silks – Maltese – Champion Fabs

All of Southern Silks Maltese and Havanese breeding stock are AKC registered purebred Havanese dogs and Maltese dogs that are prime representatives of their breed. Our goal is to provide our new parents with a loving companion and quality family pet experience. We also do offer top show line quality Havanese puppies and Maltese puppies.

We are serious responsible Havanese and Maltese breeders and are constantly striving to improve our breed quality. Our passion for these wonderful small, healthy, beautiful, silky haired, sweet tempered companions, are to love, cuddle and spoil. We want all their new owners to experience the joy and love our Havanese and Maltese puppies will bring to you and your family.

“Tiger” – Red Brindle Havanese

We look forward in working with you in the future and especially showing you our Havanese and Maltese dogs! Be sure to look around our site for more information about these lovely breeds and their origins.

Customer service is a top priority for Southern Silks Maltese and Havanese Puppies. We offer a wealth of information for the Havanese and Maltese lovers of the world! Always feel free to call us at 337-364-9376 or Email Us with any questions you may have about our Havanese or Maltese dogs, puppy contracts, deposits, and appointments.

Cat Goes To The Beach For The First Time And Can’t Stop Smiling About It

 a cat sitting on top of a beach

a cat lying on top of a sandy beacha cat sitting on a chair


Some people were hanging out on the beach when they suddenly noticed a cat, relaxing in the sand with her owner. As they approached the cat, they couldn’t help but notice how happy the kitty was — and were delighted when they learned why. Whether she was lounging in her beach chair  a cat lying on top of a chairor digging her feet into the sand, the sweet cat just couldn’t contain her joy, and her cute little smile and big eyes said it all. a cat sitting on top of a sandy beach© Facebook/Travel Secrets club

“Cat owner says it’s her first time going to the beach,” Semsema Mahmoud wrote in a post on Facebook.

When you see just how happy this cat is to be at the beach, you can’t help but smile, and she’s definitely the kind of joy we need in the world right now! 

… and she was so happy about it, she literally couldn’t stop smiling.  © Facebook/Travel Secrets club

What a Happy Happy story!

Summer Flea & Tick Season is Upon Us!

How to protect your dog from flea & tick season, according to a veterinarian…a few things to consider…

courtesy of:
TKKTKT. (Photo: Getty Images)
If you have a furry friend, now’s the time to brush up on the best flea and tick treatments on the market. (Photo: Getty Images)

For pet owners, warm weather is synonymous with peak flea and tick season. Bites are notorious for causing everything from intense itching to more serious infections like Lyme disease, so keeping your pet protected is more important than ever this time of year.

When it comes to fleas, they don’t just affect your pet, says Wellness Natural Pet Food veterinarian, Dr. Danielle Bernal. “Once your dog has them, they can take over the entire home,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle, noting that furniture and floorboards are especially at risk for flea infestation. “About 70 percent of dogs that are itchy and scratching have fleas, so it’s really abundant—protection is key.”

Ticks can lead to anemia, paralysis and even Lyme disease — so picking the right preventative measure is extremely important. “Tick bites can lead to expensive vet bills and a situation where your pet is really unwell,” says Dr. Bernal.

So if you have a furry friend, now’s the time to brush up on the best flea and tick treatments on the market, below.

Spot treatments

Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Large Breed Dog Treatment, 45 - 88 lbs. (Photo: Chewy)
Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Large Breed Dog Treatment, 45 – 88 lbs. (Photo: Chewy)

“Spot treatments have been the most popular option for the last 10 years.
says Dr. Bernal. She adds that while there are many brands and formulas out there, the most important thing to look for is one that kills fleas and ticks but also prevents future infestations.

Shop it: Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Large Breed Dog Treatment (6 doses), 45 – 88 lbs., $67,


Bravecto Chews for Dogs, 44-88 lbs, One 3-month treatment. (Photo: Chewy)
Bravecto Chews for Dogs, 44-88 lbs, One 3-month treatment. (Photo: Chewy)

Dr. Bernal says tablets are the newest way to prevent fleas and ticks. The pill is available in 1 to 3 month-long preventative doses, which is great for busy (and sometimes forgetful) pet parents. “As pet parents, one of the challenges we have is remembering to do things, so I’ve seen a lot of success with the 3-month tablet,” she says. “If you stay active with the 3-month treatments, it’s just four times a year, and you get consistent protection so it’s my go-to.”

Not only are the tablets easy to use, but Dr. Bernal says they’re also one of the best preventatives for ticks. “Ticks are hard because many spot treatments only protect against ticks for about 2 weeks out of the 4 — but with the tablet, you’re covered for up to 3 months.”

​Shop it: Bravecto Chews for Dogs, 44-88 lbs, One 3-month treatment, $55,


Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Prevention Collar for Large Dogs. (Photo: Chewy)
Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Prevention Collar for Large Dogs. (Photo: Chewy)

While most collars, like Seresto, protect against flea and ticks, she recommends collars for added tick protection if you’re using a spot treatment.

“Collars are really popular for tick prevention specifically,” says Dr. Bernal. “Ticks are everywhere—even the dog park—and what stimulates them is the carbon dioxide from your dog’s breath. So the collars work to neutralize that and repel ticks over a period of time.”

Shop it: Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Prevention Collar for Large Dogs, $58,

The editors at Yahoo Lifestyle are committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. At times, we may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.

Does Your Dog Like Fruit…Only a few a good for them!

What Fruits Can Dogs Eat?

While fruit is a great and (relatively) healthy sweet snack for people, not all fruit is safe for dogs. To learn more about what kinds of fruit is okay to share with your dog and which fruits you should not allow your dog to eat, we connected with Dr. Tina Wismer, Medical Director of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC).

What Fruits Are Good for Dogs?

Remy & Louie send wags and kisses!


The fruits safest to share with your dogs are: apples, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and bananas, as Dr. Wismer advises.

Dogs are individuals with different preferences when it comes to treats, so you might need to try a few of these fruits to find one that your dog is interested in eating. Dr. Wismer cautions, “Some dogs love all kinds of fruit; others are not impressed.”


Courtesy:  Whole Dog Journal

What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat?

Vegetables can be a great addition to your dog’s diet if you stick to those that are safe and hand out an appropriate amount.

As omnivores, dogs can digest plants as well as meat. Many nutritionists believe a mixture of both is important for a healthy dog.

My darling baby boy is a 12-year-old German Shorthair Pointer mix. When he was around 6 years old he started to put on some weight. Based on a suggestion from a friend I cut back on his food and added a handful of frozen green beans to his dinner. The vegetable slowed down the gobbling up of his food, added volume without many calories to help him feel full, and easily fit into my budget. The trick worked! My pup slimmed down.

Which Vegetables Are Good for Dogs, And Which Aren’t?

Leafy Greens

A good rule for finding leafy greens that your dog can eat is to stick to those that you would consume. Lettuce, spinach, chard, cabbage and kale are all okay for dogs. Besides being rich in vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, iron and potassium, leafy greens are also a good source of fiber. Much like humans, dogs get the most nutrients when the veggies are uncooked. Of course, if you want you can steam your dog’s vegetables for something a little different, or bake them for a crunchier treat. The high fiber in leafy greens can cause some dogs to have an upset stomach after initially added to their diet. Introduce any new food slowly to keep your dog’s tummy safe.

Root Vegetables

In general root vegetables like carrots, beets, sweet potatoes and parsnips are safe to feed your dog. These vegetables are starchy and high in sugar, which means you do want to limit the amount you give to your dog (especially if his commercial or raw diet already contains root vegetables – many do).

dog eating a carrot



This includes vegetables like celery and asparagus. It may be a little harder to get your dog to enjoy these types of vegetables, but they are safe for dogs to eat. Some don’t like the taste, and some find them hard to grind up in their teeth. To help, cut stalky vegetables into small pieces and/or steam them.


Squash of all varieties are safe for dogs to eat. Pumpkin and butternut squash can help dogs with bouts of diarrhea, and most dogs don’t mind the taste of squash. Use up all your excess summer squash from the garden by steaming it up for your dog, or cut up and bake this year’s jack-o-lantern after Halloween for your dog to eat. It’s best to limit your pup’s consumption to the meat of the squash, keeping the seeds and skin away.


This vegetable group includes bean and alfalfa sprouts, mature beans such as kidney, pinto, and lentil, and peas. The topic of legumes in dog food has been in the news lately. The reason is due to a recent FDA update which states there are reports of canine dilated cardiopulmonary (DCM) in dogs eating pet foods containing legumes or potatoes high up on the ingredients list. If the protein of your dog’s diet relies heavily on legumes or potatoes, you should not only avoid giving more of this plant group to your dog, but also consider reducing the levels of legumes in his main dog food, i.e. changing dog foods.

A note on green beans: Green beans may be the most widely-fed vegetable to dogs because of their taste and easy digestion. Please be aware that, despite their name, green beans are not actually classified as beans, and therefore don’t warrant the limitations recommended for true legumes.


Alliums are bulb vegetables like onions, garlic, leeks, chives, and shallots. Do not give your dog access to these plants, as they are toxic to dogs. Negative side effects of eating onions or garlic for dogs range from a stomach ache to developing anemia which, at it’s worse, can cause organs to shut down.

Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Cauliflower, Corn and Cucumber

All of these veggies are safe for your dog to munch on but, like other vegetables, keep it to small quantities – especially if your dog isn’t used to eating these types of foods. Remember to take the corn off the cob before handing it over to your dog. Although the cob itself isn’t bad for a dog to consume, it is easy to swallow in chunks or whole, which can cause choking or intestinal obstruction.

Whenever changing your dog’s diet make sure to check with your vet, go slow, and pay attention to your dog. If you follow these guidelines, adding vegetables to your pup’s diet can help him receive a more varied, complete nutritional profile in his diet.

Tips for Feeding Your Dog Vegetables:

* Frozen bags of vegetables are often on sale. Stock up. Have a blend ready to grab in a Tupperware bowl in the freezer.

* If your pup is sensitive to the cold of a frozen vegetable put a small bowl in the refrigerator for easy treat access.

* For a summer treat add vegetables to a 1:1 mixture of chicken broth and water in an ice tray. Once frozen pop out one or true for a delicious hot day treat.

* When cooking set aside the unused vegetable trimmings that are safe for your dog to consume. A great no waste alternative to throwing it in the garbage.

* If your dog doesn’t want anything to do with vegetables and you want to supplement what he is getting in his regular diet you can chop fine or puree and mix into his meals. For treats adding some dog safe peanut butter can get your dog started. Eventually you should be able to back off on the addition and feed the vegetable plain.

* Vegetables are a great reward in treat puzzle games. As always make sure you watch your dog when those are in use and that all edible treats are cleaned from the puzzle before storing away.


5 Signs Of Dementia In Dogs & How You Can Help

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You’ve heard that dementia can affect elderly people as they age, but you may not know that dogs can get it, too.

As with humans, the condition — which impairs memory, communication, focus, and more — can also develop in our canine companions as they get older.

The tricky thing is, the signs can be gradual and very subtle. With dogs, there’s the added challenge that they’re not able to tell us that something isn’t right.

The best thing for a pup parent to do, especially as their pooch enters their golden years, is to pay close attention. Never brush off a change in behavior, routine, physical appearance, or appetite, no matter how minor it seems. A call to the vet regarding your dog’s health is never a bad idea; at best they’ll say there’s nothing worry about, at worst, they’ll help you identify the problem and form a plan.

5 Subtle Signs of Dog Dementia

1. Disorientation

Disorientation is a common sign in human dementia patients, and PedMD explains that dogs experience this, too. If your pup can’t seem to “find” his way around the house or to the location of certain things — like his food bowls, which are always in the same spot — owners should definitely take notice. Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, explains in the article:

“This often happens when the dog is out in the backyard and he goes to the wrong door or the wrong side of the door to get back in. The part of the brain that is involved with orientation has been affected.”

They may also start to lose their concept of spatial awareness, finding themselves “stuck” in a corner or behind a piece of furniture without knowing how to get back out. Sometimes, dogs with dementia will stare blankly at a wall or into thin air.

Pups can also get “disoriented” in their sense of time. PetMD uses the example of a dog no longer realizing that the darkened sky or your bedtime routine are cues that it’s time to sleep.

2. Changes in Sleep-Wake Cycle

Adding to the example above, the brain of a dog with dementia may mix up her sleep-wake cycles. This means that a pup who used to sleep peacefully through the night is suddenly antsy, active, and unsettled.

“Many dogs reverse their normal schedules, so their daytime activities become their nighttime activities,” PetMD says.

Dr. Beaver suggests using a night light or white light to fabricate daylight, your dog’s new cue for sleeping, so pet parents can get some rest. Vet-prescribed medications can also help your pooch calm down in the evening.

3. Interactions

If your dog’s interactions to people or reactions to certain things drastically change, you should definitely take notice. Oftentimes, pups seem to “forget” the relationships they once had with their favorite people, and pooches who once loved children, other dogs, or mingling with strangers are suddenly turn fearful, irritable, or even aggressive. They also may become disinterested in certain things that used to excite them, like the promise of a walk, the doorbell ringing, or your entrance through the door.

Obviously, a sudden change in demeanor can be dangerous if the dog becomes unpredictable. It’s also important to note that these behaviors can be caused by many other conditions besides dementia. Your dog could feel sick or be in pain for another reason, so it’s imperative to consult with your vet to pinpoint the exact cause.

In the article by PetMD, Dr. Denise Petryk, a former emergency room vet who now works with Trupanion pet insurance, uses this example:

“I’ve had patients whose dogs don’t recognize that their favorite cookies are treats for them. The owner’s first instinct is to buy other cookies. They don’t realize something else could be going on.”

4. Accidents in the House

This is another tricky symptom because it could be caused by a number of things, but when a house trained pet suddenly starts having accidents, it should always be checked out.

First off, never scold a trained pet who potties in the house, because there’s a good chance that something is wrong.

This could be a sign of dementia because pups whose cognition is affected may lose the ability to control their bodily functions. Or, they may no longer realize when to “tell” their humans when they need to “go.” Dr. Petryk says in the article,

“After we run tests and rule out a bladder infection, kidney problems, or diabetes, then there’s usually been a cognitive change. If your dog is staring out at the sliding glass door and then poops in the house anyway and it’s not because of bowel trouble, then he’s lost the understanding that he should poop outside.”

5. Lower Energy

This is yet another sign that can have multiple causes. It’s normal for a dog’s activity levels to decrease with age, but a lack of energy, especially accompanied by a lack of interest, could indicate cognitive issues.

Once-curious dogs may no longer care to sniff the grass outside, and they may prefer a nap over the play sessions that used to make their tails wag. Or, maybe they seem to completely lose focus or get disoriented, say, in the middle of a game of fetch.

“They may drop something when they’re eating and they can’t find it,” says Dr. Petryk. “If they don’t have sight or hearing issues, this can be a true indication that they are experiencing cognitive dysfunction.”

Again, some of these could be signs of arthritis, pain, or a number of other conditions, but no matter the cause, they should be evaluated by a vet.

In addition to a change in normal activity, a dog with dementia may engage in repetitive activities. Dr. Petryk explains:

“They may exhibit repetitive motion; things like head bobbing, leg shaking, or pacing in circles. This kind of action is more related to cognitive dysfunction or a degeneration of the brain. It’s less likely to be mistaken for anything else.”

Even repetitive barking, for seemingly no reason, could indicate cognitive disfunction.

How Can You Help a Dog with Dementia?

Unfortunately, dementia can’t be “cured,” but its effects can be slowed and its symptoms managed.

“You can’t stop the process but it’s possible to slow it down so they don’t go from one problem to three problems,” Dr. Beaver told PetMD.

Believe it or not, changes in diet can help support your dog’s cognitive function. Of course, dietary changes should be approved by your vet, but foods and supplements with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants can help keep cells healthy, according to PetMD.

Another thing that pet parents can do is introduce “brain games” for mental stimulation. Puzzle toys like the BrainBall are a great way to keep your dog’s mind active while rewarding him with treats. In fact, if he’s up any kind of activity, take some time to engage with him. If your pup is still interested in playing with friends, keep socializing him around friendly people and his canine buddies. Dr. Petryk suggests:

“If your dog doesn’t have physical restrictions, grab his leash and take him to the dog park where he can socialize with other dogs. It’s possible to slow deterioration by keeping him physically and mentally active, just like it is for us.”

If your dog is diagnosed with dementia, there are certain medications that your vet can prescribe. Of course, regular check-ups are imperative in keeping track of the progress of the condition. The more you know, the better you can help him.

When we bring a dog home, it’s a commitment for life. While it can be hard to watch our furry family members age and their health decline, loving pet parents will do anything to give them the best life possible, for as long as possible. After all, it’s the least we can do after all they’ve done for us! With a little symptom management and a lot of love, you can help a dog with dementia feel comfortable and happy.

Can’t talk about this enough! …take a look!

Dear Fellow Dog Lover — the dirty truth about how top-selling dog foods could actually be harming your dog’s health!

You want the best for your dog – especially when it comes to his food. You read labels and try to choose the brand and formula that will nourish your furry friend.

That’s why you’ll be as shocked as I was, to discover that dozens of today’s top-selling brands – names you thought you could trust, like Beneful, Pedigree, Purina and more – may not contain the wholesome, healthy ingredients you want for your dog.

Take Beneful. The package makes it look like manna from heaven with a healthy pup, fresh veggies, and what look like real chunks of meat. Unfortunately, the pictures make the food seem better than it is. The reality is this stuff is AWFUL for your dog. It’s full of sugar, artificial colors, and 3 unnamed animal sources. And very little vegetables.

Or look at Kibbles ‘n Bits Bistro Meals Grilled Chicken Flavor. If only it contained the grilled chicken they show on the bag instead of loads of low-quality ingredients and “animal digest” – the real source of the chicken flavor.

Another terrible food is Pedigree Complete Nutrition for Adult Dogs. Made with an inferior, cheap source of protein, it’s a wonder it could maintain any dog’s health – much less an adult dog’s!

And wet foods fare no better than dry…The label on Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy Homestyle with Beef makes it look like big pieces of beef covered in gravy. But if this is your dog’s dinner, she’s getting some of the lowest-quality sources of protein, held together by wheat gluten! Even Iams ProActive Health Chunks is full of by-products that are often linked to all sorts of health problems.

Is your dog’s food filled with used restaurant grease?  When you see “animal fat” on a label – you probably think chicken skins or beef trimmings. But, pet food regulations allow manufacturers to use all sorts of low-quality fats, even USED RESTAURANT GREASE, as generic fat sources. To make sure your dog gets healthier fats, look for labels that use a named species of animal as a source of fat, like chicken fat or duck fat.

What’s more, you could be paying for healthy ingredients that aren’t even in the bag. For example, because omega-3 fatty acids are so healthy, dog food manufacturers started adding DHA and EPA (highly beneficial fatty acid supplements) to many dry foods. However, they are notoriously fragile and short-lived. Plus, exposure to oxygen makes them turn rancid – and potentially dangerous – very quickly.
So, how do you know which foods can help boost your dog’s health and even add years to his life – and which ones you never want to put in his bowl?  When manufacturers add low-quality ingredients imported from places without adequate safety oversight, and low-cost ingredients that are often shipped and stored without refrigeration – it makes it easy for these ingredients to become rancid. Rancid fats destroy the nutritive value of the proteins and vitamins in food so much, your dog can suffer from deficiencies even though he is eating well. What’s worse, these rancid fats can cause diarrhea, liver problems, arthritis, heart problems and even cancer! Don’t risk your dog’s health…Subscribe to The Whole Dog Journal now…the monthly publication that’s dedicated to bringing you proven, natural solutions for keeping your dog healthy and happy for life! Filled with reviews of food, dry, wet and raw, The Whole Dog Journal is unlike any other publication.

Pukka’s Promise

“Packed with important, surprising information; with wisdom, compassion, and love.” —Dean Koontz
From the best-selling author who offers “the most utterly compelling translation of dog to human I have ever seen” (Jeffrey Masson), a joyful chronicle of a dog that is also a groundbreaking answer to the question: How can we give our dogs the happiest, healthiest lives?
When Ted Kerasote got his new dog Pukka, he found that dog culture had been transformed: dizzying choices of grain-free and raw food, conflicting arguments for and against vaccinations, and battles between positive and dominance trainers. Giving The Omnivore’s Dilemma a canine spin,

Kerasote questions the common wisdom to show us how our dogs can have the best and healthiest lives today, no matter where we live. He weaves fascinating science and groundbreaking insight from breeders, vets, and animal advocates into the story of raising Pukka in the Wyoming wilderness.
Fascinating and revelatory, Pukka’s Promise “might be the most important book about dogs written in a decade” (Patricia B. McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash).
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