Why you shouldn't pick a breed just for looks

dalmatian unique spots
 Left: Dalmatian, Right: Siberian Husky

Left: Dalmatian, Right: Siberian Husky

How gorgeous are Siberian Huskies with those big blue eyes? Or how unique are Dalmatians with all of their spots?

I know it's tempting to get a beautiful dog like a Husky or Dal for their looks, but so many people forget to consider breed temperament and needs when choosing a pet. 

A Husky and Dalmatian might look really cool when you're walking down the street, but are you able to physically and mentally exercise them to their specific needs every day? If not - be prepared for excessive barking, destructive chewing, stubbornness, and other naughty behaviors you won't want to deal with.

These are just two popular examples of breeds that owners usually pick for their looks, but there are so many other breeds (and rescue mixes!) out there than can still provide you with a loyal friend, even if they don't have spotted coats or blue eyes!

 

Be Realistic

Unless you are willing to mold yourself into the owner that a specific breed needs, let go of the aesthetic you like and admire them from afar instead. You must be honest with yourself and where you are at now as a dog owner - don't say you will start running once you get a specific breed, if you don't even run now and are somewhat of a couch potato. Instead, look for a dog who can be a couch potato with you - then you don't have to force yourself to exercise! And if you all of a sudden become an avid runner and you two happen to become fit together, even better!

 

Do research

Picking a breed takes a lot of research, but here are some fun places to start! These quizzes can give you a good starting point for which breeds to do even more research on past your results on these quizzes, and remember to be honest with where you are at now as an owner - rather than where you want to be. 

I took a handful of quizzes and these two seemed the most accurate and realistic regarding the questions asked and results!

Life factors you need to consider when picking out a dog

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It's always fun to get to pick out a puppy from a litter or bring home a rescue from the shelter, but new owners need to make sure they know what they are getting into. When an animal is in your care, they completely depend on you to provide for their every single need. It might seem like a fun idea to bring home a new pet, but there are some major questions you should ask yourself before doing so.

 

1. Do you work full-time?

Some breeds have the label "velcro dog", this means they love to be attached to your hip and want to know your every move. Dogs that love attention and companionship don't do well sitting at home alone for long periods of time. Breeds like Golden or Labrador Retrievers are a great example of velcro dogs. 

 

2. How much do you exercise?

Get a dog that matches your current fitness level, don't exaggerate or think about where you want to be in the future, that wouldn't be fair to do. Some dogs have exercising needs that are more than you can handle and it would be unfair to not provide them with that very important need. Always keep in mind, a tired dog is a happy and well-behaved dog. 

 

3. Do you have kids?

Some breeds don't care if you climb all over them like a jungle gym. While other breeds are very aloof and are not fans of being pulled or tugged at. The current age of your kids is important to consider when getting a dog. If you have a toddler running around, a breed like a Chow might not like their spaced invaded. Or if you have a teen who is on the cross country team, an active breed like a Siberian Husky might be a great running partner for them. 

 

4. What's your living space like?

Do you live in an apartment, house, or townhouse? The bigger the dog the more room they take up. Do you have a yard? Is it fenced? Some breeds, like Terriers, are notorious for digging and escaping yards. Is your home full of nice furniture and expensive art? In that case, a high-energy breed like a Pitbull might not be for you, maybe go for a smaller breed like a Pomeranian instead.

 

5. How much money do you want to spend?

Again, the bigger the dog the more space and costs. A dog bed for a Chihuahua vs. a Doberman will be incredibly cheaper. The same idea goes for their food, vet costs, toys, etc. 

 

6. DO you already own another dog?

You'll want to add a dog that gets along well with your current dog. But even more importantly, you'll want them to have similar needs. It's much easier when all of your pets have the similar exercise requirements. 

 

7. Will you provide mental stimulation?

All dogs absolutely need this! However, smart dogs like Border Collies and Poodles need it even more. A bored dog can cause more chaos and destruction than you can ever imagine. You can provide your dog with different types of puzzle toys and work on some short training sessions to keep them focused and out of trouble.

How to make long car rides more comfortable for your dog

car ridescomfortabledogscarsick

Did you know dogs can get car sick? And they can also feel an incredible amount of stress from being in a car for several hours?

Personally, my dogs don't enjoy being in the car, their behaviors immediately changes. Boomer gets very stressed; he drools excessively and his lower eyelids begin to droop from anxiety. Ruger paces around the back seat and can't sit still. I always feel bad for them since they seem so miserable, but I've learned some simple things to help make the car ride more comfortable.

 

1. Try over the counter medications

Give your pet regular Benadryl for car sickness. Your dog will excessively drool, whine, pant, or yawn if they are feeling motion sickness. If they show any of these signs, you can give them 1 mg/lb. at least 30 minutes before the car ride starts.

 

2. Use a natural method

Use CBD oil to help keep your dog relaxed and to alleviate nausea. I give 2 drops/lb. for each dog about an hour before they get in the car. I use the Bluebird Botanicals Classic formula that is for humans. Make sure the CBD oil you use only contains one "binder", such as hemp oil, and does not have unnecessary fillers that may be toxic to animals. You can also use a pet formula, if you prefer.

 

3. Keep them distracted

Try to give your dog a yummy bone to kill time and create a positive association with being in the car. Give them something they don't get often to make it even more special and enticing. Bully sticks or Himalayan salt chews are a great option that won't make a mess in the car. 

 

4. Don't take them if they don't need to go

Your pets don't necessarily need to ride with you everywhere you go. Unless it's a trip to the vet or a pet-friendly vacation, don't bring them on unnecessary car rides. You might think it's fun for them to always tag along, but if it causes them more harm than good they'll probably be happier at home!

How to dog-proof your home before your new bff comes

And by BFF I mean your new dog, obviously.

You want to make sure you bring them home to a safe environment where they won't get into trouble and create bad habits. Dog-proofing will help set your pet up for success and allow them to safely explore and settle into their new home.

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1. Put any breakables above head level

Move any breakables, such as glass pieces, above your dogs' head level when they are sitting. Anything made of fabric or a soft material they might be tempted to chew should be above head level when they are standing so they can't take from places like countertops.

 

2. Keep all food locked away

Put all human and animal food in locked containers or in closets/cabinets they can't easily get into. If you have medium/large dogs, don't leave anything on the counters either. You can buy all sorts of great containers for dog food that not only keep your pet out, but also keep the food fresh.

Here are a couple options from Amazon (these are not ads!): 

3. Put away prescription and Over The Counter medications

Even if they are meds meant for dogs! Put these not only above head level but also in something that properly closes or locks. We keep all medications in a small plastic drawer on a top shelf inside of a closet, the dogs couldn't reach it even if they tried!

 

4. cleaners should also be kept behind closed doors

Most household cleaning products are toxic and can easily kill a dog within a couple hours of enough consumption. Dogs don't know any better, so keep them safe by not leaving products open or left out for them to get into. For example, all of our cleaning products at home hang from a shoe holder on the door of our laundry room. 

 

5. Keep spaces open

Don't put furniture pieces in tight or narrow areas where a playful or excited dog could accidentally knock it over or get hurt. In general, try to keep your home free of clutter so your dog is less tempted to chew whatever they find on the floor. 

 

6. Check your plants

Whether you have an indoor or outdoor garden, keep everything out of reach! Keep indoor plants above head level and build a barrier or fence for your outdoor garden. Research if you have any toxic species that your pet might eat. Some common plants that are toxic to dogs include; several species of Peonies, Daisies, Aloe, and Palm Trees. Here is a complete list of toxic and nontoxic plants - click here.

Do these things to make sure your dog is drinking enough water

dogdrinkwaterdehyrdated

Water is just as important to dogs as it is to us. It's hard to pay attention each time your dog takes a drink, so you may never know what their daily intake truly is. 

 

These are some quick and easy ways to make sure they're getting plenty of water throughout the day and staying hydrated!

 

1. Always keep water bowls full. This will encourage them to drink more.

2. Refill the water bowls at least three times a day. Dogs do not like to drink water if it is not fresh.

3. Have at least two water bowls in your home. Especially if you have a house with multiple levels. Keep one bowl on each level. 

4. Bring a portable water bowl (and water!) on outings. Even if you only go out for a couple of hours, stress/excitement is dehydrating.

5. Add water to their kibble. This is a really easy way to control their water intake.

Here's how to get an amazing photo of your dog

 
amazingphotophotographydogpet
 

I don't know about you... but this is a very hard task for me! 

You'd think with my blog that I'd be a master at taking photos of dogs! The issue is my boys hate having a camera pointed at them, they always  look away so they're absolutely no help. I've learned that they aren't naturals in front of the camera, and because of this I've had to figure out how to get them to look at me and hold a pose!

While I'm still learning all the time, I have a few tips and tricks I've picked up along the way!

 
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1. Bring a special treat

Always bring a very fragrant food that they rarely get to have. A great example is bacon or anything made with fish. Hold the treat to their nose so they can smell it and then pull it up to your face or above your head. You will be able to capture their full attention and you will be able to see the focus and excitement in their expressions.

 

2. Get their attention with noise

If your dog is toy motivated and can't resist the sound of a squeaker, use the noise to quickly get them to turn their head towards you. This will get great photos with their ears perked and eyes alert. If you don't have a squeaky toy, make some crazy noises! I've had people walking by turn their heads and laugh because of the noises I was making trying to get my dogs' attention! Do what you gotta do for a good photo!

 

3. Bring another human

An extra set of hands is so helpful! It's difficult to juggle a handful of leashes, treats, and a nice camera... especially while trying to get animals who don't speak your language to pose! Have that person hold a toy or treat directly behind you to get the dogs to look in your direction. 

 

4. USE a trick to make them stand still

A great one to teach is "watch" so they can make eye contact, or at least look in your general direction on cue. This is taught by holding a treat to your nose while using the command "watch" or whatever else you'd like. You can also use your pet's name so that they learn to look directly at you when you call them. And of course, every dog should know come and stay - especially if you're taking photos out in public!

HOW TO USE CBD OIL FOR DOGS - EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

I first learned about Cannabis Oil, also known as CBD or Hemp oil, from my (amazing, wonderful, and life-changing) acupuncturist. I'm obsessed with her because she helped me in so many ways, but that's a whole different story for another time. She started giving CBD oil to her elderly dog when he was first diagnosed with prostate cancer and supposedly only had a couple months left to live... This was several years ago and he's still alive and doing very well! How great is that?

I'm sharing both of my pups' experience with hemp oil to give you an idea of its benefits and what a game changer it has been for us. I've also included info about finding the best brand and type to use, along with the correct dosage for dogs.

 
 Boomer on the left, Ruger on the right

Boomer on the left, Ruger on the right

 

Ruger's Experience:

I started researching all of the incredible benefits and decided to use it on Ruger, my two year old Labrador Retriever/Border Collie mix. I believe his breed type and him being a rescue, contribute to his anxious personality. He's incredibly sensitive to noise and his ears are would always be pinned back (see the photo of him above for example). This can be a sign of being scared or uncomfortable in dogs. He would usually be hiding in a closet and was very timid, I took him to the vet a couple times because I was so worried about him. The vet suggested a doggie version of Zanax but that was not an option in my book. Within a week of starting him on CBD oil we began to see the changes. He has become more confident and outgoing, and I can tell he feels more comfortable in general. His ears are in a more relaxed position which make him look much happier, which makes me happier. We've had him on it for over a year and I'm sure we will keep him on it for the rest of his life.

Boomer's Experience:

About 6-7 months after we got Boomer we started giving him hemp oil as well. We used it as a wellness supplement to (hopefully) prevent cancer and any other chronic diseases because of his age. The biggest benefit we've seen with him is a major positive change in his limping. He has severe arthritis in one elbow, we think it came from an injury (before we had him) that was never properly treated. In my opinion, CBD oil works in the sense that is brings you to a normal baseline with whatever issue you are treating. For example, if you use it for depression - you won't all of a sudden feel extremely happy and never have any worries again... Instead, one day you will notice you don't feel sad anymore, there will simply be an absence of the depression. Boomer used to limp every day and it was heart breaking to watch. He would be worse after laying down for a long time or from playing fetch and we would give him Rimadyl for the pain. I felt uncomfortable giving him that medication every single day when it's known to have other negative side effects. After starting him on the CBD's we noticed Boomer hadn't been limping anymore. And the more we thought about it, the more we realized we actually hadn't seen him limp in several months! (We did give him Dasuquin with ASU for several months before trying CBD oil and we barely noticed a difference). 

 
 Happy dog. He actually hates being in the car, he becomes stressed and sheds like crazy. This is a great time to add some extra drops of oil

Happy dog. He actually hates being in the car, he becomes stressed and sheds like crazy. This is a great time to add some extra drops of oil

 

Use CBD oil for these symptoms:

  • Reducing inflammation/pain
  • Reducing stress/anxiety
  • Increasing cognitive function
  • Reducing or helping to control seizures
  • Inhibiting cancer cell growth

And if your dog suffers from anything else not on this list, do some research and see if it might help because the benefits include a long list that goes on forever. Another bonus - you can also look into how it can help you, too!


Where to buy:

I use Bluebird Botanicals, they are one of the top companies in the industry and have amazing stuff. My acupuncturist got me hooked on this brand and advised me to use the Classic formula, which has no unnecessary fillers. So, this is not an ad in any way, I just genuinely love them! Whatever brand you choose to buy, make sure you do your research. You definitely get what you pay for, and quality really matters.

 
 A quick photo of a bottle of the  Classic formula  from  Bluebird Botanicals

A quick photo of a bottle of the Classic formula from Bluebird Botanicals

 

Dosages:

For dosing, I give about 1 drop per 10 pounds. So, Ruger gets 5-6 drops and Boomer gets 8-9. If one of them is particularly anxious from a stressful vet trip or from being bathed (because we all know how traumatic that is), I give them a few extra drops for a bit of a bigger dose.

 

We hope CBD oil works for you and your pups!