March 2018

Features

Adolescent Dogs: 6 Facts To Know

It’s true that a dog's adolescent period involves a ton of changes to the dog’s biological, physical, and psychological makeup. By extension, his behavior is affected. It’s also true that there are times when this transformation is accompanied by some challenging moments. But rest assured it’s not all doom and gloom! For every challenging feature of canine adolescence, there is an equally awesome element that makes this a very special time.

Health Insurance for Dogs in 2018

Deductibles range from $50 to $1,000, with possible custom amounts available (you may have to call and talk with an agent). We were impressed with Embrace’s Healthy Pet Deductible strategy, which reduces your deductible by $50 each year you don’t have a claim. When you do have a claim, the deductible resets to the original amount.

Are You Allergic to Your Dog?

Those of us who struggle with allergies of any type can thank our immune system for its tendency to over-react to certain perfectly harmless things in the environment. In the case of an allergic reaction to dogs, the body is reacting to harmless proteins in the dog’s urine, saliva, or dander.

Whole Dog Journal's 2018 Approved Dry Dog Foods

It’s an inescapable fact that quality pet foods cost money – and the highest quality dry dog foods cost a lot of money. As much as we may want to buy “the best” food for our dogs, most of us have a budget – unique to each of us, based on our financial status, the size and number of dogs we own, and perhaps even our relationship with our dogs – to which we will respond, “No, forget it; that’s too much.” So how much does a good dog food cost, and how do we find the happy medium between nourishing ingredients and an affordable price tag?

5 Steps to Safely Pull A Tick Off Your Dog

It’s hard to say which is worse: running your hand over your dog and brushing against an attached tick, or seeing a tick skitter across your dog’s face. Either way, the unwelcome arachnid must go. What should you do?

Fecal Transplants for Dogs

A healthy microbiome destroys harmful pathogens, including disease-causing viruses, fungi, bacteria, and parasites. As a result, the microbiome is the immune system’s first line of defense. Differences in microbiomes help explain why some dogs exposed to diseases like parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, canine flu, heartworm, or kennel cough get sick while others remain symptom-free.

How Can You Know What Your Dog is Feeling?

Dog body language can be quite difficult to read, so it’s important to consider the context when interpreting behavior. Not only do you need to consider the environment (for example, dogs will pant when they’re hot, but also when they’re stressed), you also need to look at all of the body parts together. Although many people attempt to correlate each type of movement with a specific emotion, the easier approach is simply to compare the overall pictures of a distressed dog to a happy dog.

The Emotional Lives of Dogs

Traditionally, dog trainers have spent little or no energy considering a dog’s emotions when training or changing behavior; indeed, trainers or owners who did talk about emotions were often ridiculed and accused of anthropomorphizing. But when emotions are driving behavior, a dog cannot simply choose to stop doing the behavior without ramifications. The reality is that animals (including people) are quite often not rational actors. If that sounds counterintuitive to you and you believe that behavior is largely chosen rather than the result of emotional experiences, perhaps a few examples will help you understand.

The Pros and Cons of Dog Parks

Dog parks are lifesavers for the owners of dogs who need extra exercise and outdoor stimulation in order to be able to relax and behave well at home. But well-enforced dog park etiquette is a rare thing, so what happens when badly behaved dogs at dog parks start influencing your dog? Taking your dog to the dog park for the first time should warrant caution; even securely fenced parks hold risks simply because they involve lots of strange, unleashed dogs. How do you know if you should try your local dog park? Just as with so many other dog training and behavior questions, it depends!

Suggested Dog Park Rules

The most successful dog parks have rules – and people who enforce them. Registration and numbered armbands make it easier to identify rule-breakers, which helps with enforcement. Here are some suggested rules for dog parks, which you should feel free to share with your community.

Dog Food Digestibility Levels Matter

What is digestibility and why does it matter? Digestibility reflects a food’s ability to deliver essential nutrients to the dog who eats it. This ultimately affects not only defecation quantity and quality (how much your dog poops and how the poop looks and smells), and a dog’s propensity for flatulence (no explanation needed), but more importantly, a dog’s long-term health and wellness. The graphic on this page summarizes how digestibility is measured using feeding trials with dogs.

Best Dog Gear of the Year: 2017

When it comes to our own needs, we’re pretty boring shoppers. But send us into a good independent pet supply store, and we might not come out for an hour – with a store employee helping us carry stuff we just had to try out. Hunting for unique, attractive, fun, and/or useful dog gear is so much more satisfying than shopping for anything else! We found many of the following items at pet product trade shows, and the rest in our favorite pet supply stores. We hope you enjoy them as much as our dogs have been!

The Safest Types of Dog Collars (and the Most Dangerous)

What type of collar should your dog wear? It depends on your dog, your personal taste, and your training goals, philosophies, and needs. But from our force-free perspective, there are some types of collars we wholeheartedly endorse, some we support with caution, and some that we regard as unnecessary and risky.

The Best Pet Steps for Senior Dogs

Older dogs tend to develop mobility issues, whether from arthritis or injury. Many aging dogs will experience increased difficulty getting on and off furniture, in and out of cars, or up and down steps. Quality pet stairs come in many styles and prices. A small stepping stool designed for pets could be just what your senior dog needs to continue living comfortably!

Successful Dog Adoption, Part 1: Develop an Adoption Criteria

So, you’re thinking about adopting a dog. Wonderful! Your whole future with your prospective new dog is ahead of you, and all things are possible. Visions of agility, rally, obedience, trick and/or nosework titles may be dancing in your head, or perhaps long, relaxing walks in a nearby park and snuggles in front of the fireplace on cold winter nights. Maybe you’d like to give back to the community with the warm comfort of a therapy dog. Perhaps you’re looking for a pal for your child.