Category Archives: Getting a Dog

Why should I get pet insurance?

The first question that dog owners ask me is whether I have pet insurance or not. The second question is whether I think they should get pet insurance and the third is what kind of pet insurance I should get.

Do I have pet insurance?

Let’s talk about the first questions “Do I have pet insurance?”  The simple answer to start is YES!

Why ? In my stories of Jackie I talked about not getting her pet insurance when she was a puppy, based on the assumption (which proved to be wrong) that I could afford a certain amount of veterinarian bills per year. However in Jackie’s case she seemed to have more than her fair share of dog illnesses to contend with.  It started with her tearing ligaments in her back legs 5 times which resulted in her getting one back knee replaced and continued with her developing Cushings disease and also going for laser therapy for her arthritis and deterioration of her spine. If I would have had pet insurance to begin with I wouldn’t be worrying about the sizable pet bills. That said, Jackie is part of our family and we will make sure that she gets whatever help she needs to improve her quality of life. To get Jackie pet insurance now since she has had a lot of things happen to her doesn’t make sense.

When Miya and Meesha came along the breeder had them come home to us already signed up with pet insurance (PetSecure Pet Health Insurance). There was no question about continuing the policy for our dogs. When Miya got sick (see post “Miya gets really sick for the first time with a virus) instead of worrying about the discussion with our Veterinarian about a bill, we could focus on Miya and getting the best help possible for her. The relief of not worrying about “how much will this cost” made sure we provided our pets with the best care.

To answer the question again, “ Yes we have pet insurance!” We will always get pet insurance for our dogs.

Should I get pet insurance?

I think I answered this in the above section of “Do I have pet insurance?” but I will provide you with more reasons to get your dog insured.  Every family has insurance of some kind. Whether it be home, car or medical insurance. So why not having your pet insured? Having insurance helps you and your family to pay for large, unexpected or unplanned expenses that could occur to your pet which without insurance you would have trouble paying for out-of-pocket.

A few years ago, a friend of mine’s King Charles Spaniel woke up and couldn’t get off the floor. Little Dudley couldn’t even move. Her dog was only two years old and her son’s best friend. They took Dudley to the veterinarian and were immediately told to take him to University of Guelph pet emergency. Her veterinarian called ahead and said they were coming. Well, Dudley had Degenerative myelopathy which is the general medical term that refers to the disease of the dog’s spinal cord or bone marrow.    Dudley underwent Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a number of other tests. Can you hear the bill mounting? In the end Dudley had emergency surgery to fix his spine. The bill came to $25,000. Throughout this whole ordeal there was never a thought of not providing the best care for Dudley. It also helped that the family had pet insurance. Dudley to date is happy dog living a wonderful doggie life.

Perhaps you are now thinking, what type of pet insurance and which supplier will fit your family’s needs.

Summary

Our next post will discuss the different options of pet insurance. How pet insurance works and what is covered.

My Name is Sophie I’m looking for my forever home

Hello, my name is Sophie. I’m looking for my forever home.

Here’s is a little bit about me:

To start with I’m an American Bulldog, if you click on my breed name you will see a little more about what kind of dog I am. Since I’m an American Bulldog I will be a very loyal and reliable part of your family. If your family has children I am very good with them as well.

I’m also a year and a half old. My vaccinations are all up to date and I’m spayed.

I’m a friendly young girl who is looking for a family that I can play with, go for walks and just love. I have been perfectly house trained. I love to go for walks and my foster family says I walk like a dream! I can be trusted to be left alone at home. I will not chew or get into any trouble.

I really love to cuddle up with my foster family at night. Can you tell that I love people? I’m told I’m very well behaved. I’m working on my socializing with other dogs. You see as a puppy I never really got to hang with other dogs and sometimes I get scared of them. The good thing is that I’m a quick learner and am working to overcome this. If you have cat though, I’m perfect with a having a cat as a friend.

Here are some pictures of me…I’m really cute!

Sophie (5) Sophie (3)

 

How to get a hold of me

I live with my foster family in London, Ontario. Caitlin is the lovely lady looking out for me and trying to find a dog forever home for me. She can be reached via email (cbillin@uwo.ca) or phone (519 868 1708). I hope to hear from soon!

 

Dog Breed List

WOOF Now What is growing its dog breed list on Pinterest! We now have 71 boards and growing. This is a perfect way to get a view into what type of dog you would like. How it fits into your family and lifestyle or what it could look like from puppy to adult hood!

So click  WOOF and you will be able to see our boards!

If there is a dog breed that you would like us to sniff out and promote. Leave us a comment and we will get right on it.

 

Pet Insurance from a Dog’s point of view!

As pet owners, we want to provide our dogs with the best possible care, no matter what. However when accidents and illnesses come up unexpectedly, the cost can quickly run in to the hundreds, even thousands of dollars. When Miya got sick our bill was $800 cdn. That wasn’t as bad as Jackie having TPO surgery at $1,500 cdn.

Pet insurance helps you pay your unexpected veterinary bills. With pet insurance you can follow your veterinarian’s recommended course of treatment knowing that your pet will get the best care and your insurance will help provide you with financial peace of mind.

Why you need pet insurance?

As veterinary care becomes more advanced, the costs continue to rise. Pet insurance can help make sure you will always be able to give your dog the best care possible. Statistics show that one in three dogs will need unexpected veterinary care each year. This isn’t just for our senior dogs but for puppies and adult dogs. Puppies get into crazy things and like to chew. That old remote control battery you just removed and can’t find anywhere has wound up a chew toy for your puppy. Your adult pet just ran across the field and tore his ligament. Since you want to make the right decision, pet insurance helps.

How pet insurance works?

When your dog has an accident or a fall, seeing your veterinarian starts the process. First you will get your dog’s tests and recommended treatment to wellness started.  Second, as your bills are being processed by your veterinarian most offices can usually help in filing a claim to your pet insurance. Third, depending on which plan you have for your dog, determines how much you will be reimbursed. Typically reimbursement happens within 10 – 14 days of submitting your completed claim.

What pet insurance product is right for my dog?

When looking at the type of plan you will also look at (a) what is included in the coverage, (b) deductible and (c) cost of the plan. Most pet insurance companies have similar coverage’s and deductibles.  You need to look at what makes the most sense for your family i.e. which plan is easy to use, affordable and helps you gain peace of mind.

The typical pet insurance plan provides essential coverage from diagnostic testing and prescription medications to specialized treatments. Pet insurance offers life-long coverage for all hereditary and chronic conditions. Getting your dog insured at an early age will ensure that each new issue is covered in the long run. Getting your dog insured later in life will most likely not have anything covered that would be counted as a predetermined condition.

What are the top pet insurance companies in Canada?

Cherry Blue Pet Insurance                                                      Ontario SPCA Pet Insurance

PC Insurance (Presidents Choice)**                                       Pet Care Insurance

Per Secure **                                                                          Purina Pet Insurance **

Trupanions (Vet Insurance) **                                                Pet Care-Dogs

What are the top pet insurance companies in United States?

AKC                                                                                        ASPCA

Embrace Pet Insurance **                                                      Healthy Paws  **

Pet First                                                                                 Pet Plan **

Pets Best                                                                               Purinacare

Shelter Care                                                                          Trupanion Pet Insurance **

VPI

 

** Top 4 rated pet insurance companies as of December 31, 2014

 

Summary

In summary decide which pet insurance is the right one for your dog and family.  Just knowing you have pet insurance for your furry family member will be giving you one last thing to worry about when unexpected illnesses or accidents occur.

Our Series on Dog Training – Why Train Your Dog?

Why should I train my dog?

Most dog owners think about getting their new puppy trained right from the start.  Everyone wants their new puppy to understand the basic commands of sit, lay down, heel and not to jump on people. However there are many other useful commands that the dog needs to know, understand and respond to such as “Leave it” when your favorite shoe is being taken away to be eaten! and “Off” when your pup is climbing on the counter to eat that freshly cooked steak!  However puppies aren’t the only ones that need training. Your family needs training too. Everyone including your new pet has to be included so that everyone is on the same page. This means using the same command terms for the same commands and reward system.  Remember your puppy wasn’t born understanding human talk. Up til now, they have spent all of their time with like-minded puppies and their mom.

What type of dog training does my dog and family need?

Most training that is available follows pretty much the same manual.  The training offered and how the training is delivered is the same for all dogs.  A smaller boutique training center will work with what you and your dog requires. They will promote all the fundamental training as well as design the training to your breed type. In many cases they have certified dog trainers on staff.

An example of breed specific training is our future dog of the month Vangelis who is a Hungarian Puli dog. His owner Emily rescued Vangelis. She met with a specialized trainer who recommended herding classes to help with his confidence, and to transform him into a loving, happy guy. This is specific dog training to fit a specific need.

Why choose a professional certified trainer vs a non-certified trainer

Many big box pet stores offer training now. However not all the trainers on staff are certified in dog training. So how important is it to be a “professional certified dog trainer” you ask? For many years, dog trainers were self-taught. Many read books, completed their obedience class with their pets and even assisted training classes to get more experience. To date there are many trainers that still follow this road, but now there are certification courses held in many locations. The Canadian Canine Training Academy in Canada and the Animal Behavior College in United States are just a couple of places where you can get Professional Dog Training certification.  You can completely rely on these professional trainers to provide you with proven training tactics but as well these professional are also taught and trained on dog psychology, basic medical, obedience and personal protection. So when looking at training and depending on your breed type you may consider asking the question on what kind of certification your dog trainer has completed

Summary

Our next post will discuss what kind of training worked for our dogs and the four quadrants of training

Tell us about your training experiences and what worked for your dog and even what did not work. We want to hear about it all!

Thinking of owning more than one dog

As I walk my 3 four-legged friends around our beautiful neighborhood, I’m seeing a trend of families having more than one dog. Two, three and even four seem to be a new number. If you are contemplating an addition to your family, you need to consider the dynamics of another dog in your day to day life.

You might want to start with my post “Things to consider before getting a dog”, and now add another dog into the equation. You will quickly see how things can double or triple in nature of taking care of multiple dogs!

Prospective multiple dog owners would ask me if working with the three dogs is easier. My answer would always be it depends! Miya (read her story) was quite easy and picked up from Jackie the routine fairly quickly. Meesha on the other hand, is much different and is much more difficult to house train. On the other hand Meesha is much easier to teach commands than Miya was. So the answer is it depends!”

Here is an excerpt from Meesha’s story:

When is the best time to get a second dog?

There are many professionals that recommend when a dog is 3 to 5 years old to introduce another dog/puppy. When we decided to get Miya we waited until Jackie was 10 years old. This in the end seemed to be a bit long. Jackie was acceptable of Miya and was happy for the company, but there was a big difference in age for playing, walking and just plain romping around. That story can be found with Jackie our Golden Girl.  Miya on the other hand loved being with other dogs. She couldn’t wait to charge into a dog play area and pick up with her pals a game of pull the rope, catch or not give back the ball and hide and seek!

Here is an excerpt from Miya’s Story:

Miya and Jackie first meet

We wanted to make sure that Jackie and Miya’s first meeting was on neutral grounds. Since Jackie has been the sole dog of the family and technically this was her home. The first greeting was a large bark from Jackie when Miya tried to hang off of her as she did with her mom Kennedy. The look on Miya’s face was priceless. The stage was now set on who was in charge!

We lead them both in the yard and we watched as Miya followed Jackie around just to make sure things were going well. Well Miya continued to follow her big sister Jackie around like a shadow which proved to be great since Jackie pretty much trained Miya to go outside to pee and poo. Miya also adapted to Jackie and my schedule of walks and errands and day to day life.

More to think about

Another regular question is “Do your dogs get along?”. Well again that is easily answered with “it depends!”.  Jackie is now 13 years old and doesn’t appreciate a puppy climbing all over her. So we tend to segregate the two of them by putting gates and keeping them a part when we see Jackie has had enough. We first tried to add a second dog when Jackie was a year old, the other dog was about 4 months old but this was too soon. Jackie was not receptive to having another dog at the time. Perhaps due to the fact she herself was only 1 year old. So another family  adopted the puppy. You need to consider the age of both dogs.

Miya (being 3 years of age) on the other hand thinks it just great to have a full time playmate in the house. They play for hours, which can increase destruction of your home as they tend to play quite hard. My yard doesn’t have much grass in it anymore due to dog’s wrestling and running on it.

When you start to train your new puppy, take him/her out on their own. This way you both have the full attention of each other. Otherwise you may have the other dogs quite interested in getting treats as well and will be quite disruptive to your training session. Miya is the instigator and has recently contributed to having Meesha forming bad habits. She wants to partake in the training as well as take the extra attention away from Meesha!

Each dog still requires their own attention. I walk Jackie separately to give her quality time with me, not to mention she can’t walk as far as the others.I also take Miya on her own, since she needs to have her quality time with me as well. This also gives Miya a bit of a break from Meesha, since Meesha tends to hang off her neck a lot. So make sure whenever you can, to provide each dog their own quality time with you.

So I leave you to think about what works for you and your family. I would be happy to hear of your stories of getting another dog. Especially your experiences as they grow up.

My Top Things to Consider Before Getting a Dog

You have been thinking about getting a pet for yourself and/or family. Now you have decided upon a dog. You’re not sure if it should be a puppy or an adult dog. What size should I get?; big, average or small dog.

Here are my top questions to ask yourself before getting a dog:

1. Is your Family ready for a dog?

This is a very important question that needs a lot of thought when answering. Your dog will typically be with you and your family for 10-15 years, depending on the type.

You will be providing the necessity of life items for another being in your home – having a dog is like having a child.

2. If you have children, how old are they?

Children younger than 8 years of age may not do well with a puppy. You need to test this out by seeing how they will react around a puppy. Our breeder placed our daughter (who at the time was 4 years old with Miya) into the kennel stall to see if she would be ok with the puppy jumping, biting crawling over her. Not to mention how our daughter would treat the puppy!

With children that are older than 8 years of age, you probably want them to be part of the day-to-day responsibility of taking care of the dog. Depending the age, size and how well trained the dog is, you may have them involved in daily routine of walking, feeding and cleaning up.

3. Who will be the dog’s primary care giver?

As with anything in the home each family member has a responsibility to keeping things going smoothly. The primary care giver will ensure the fundamental care of the dog is being taken care. The primary care giver ensures the dog is fed; walked; watered; yearly vaccines are completed on time; applies heartworm prevention from May to November and gets the right medical attention when needed.  These are a few of things that need to be looked after for your dog.

4. Does everyone in your family want a dog?

This is an important question, since dogs are pack animals. They can sense when someone isn’t quite into them. If you are not all on board and the dog is left with the one person who really didn’t want them, the situation could be very difficult for both the dog and the family member. For example, if you have puppy and it wants to play, puppies can be relentless in trying to get attention, the family member who wants nothing to do with the puppy could get easily get upset with it or not pay attention and be detrimental to the training of your puppy.

5. Is anyone in your family allergic to dogs?

There are many types of breeds that are now allergy free. You need to consider this since the dog will be in your home.

6. Is your home and neighborhood dog friendly?

If you rent, you are required to discuss with your landlord whether you can have a dog. Some leases even stipulate the size or weight limit of a dog you can have.  Ensure you have permission from the landlord before you get your new dog.

If you own your home you need to look at the space you have for a dog.  If you’re looking at a larger breed consider the size of your fenced-in yard. Perhaps there is a nearby leash free dog friendly park. Dog’s of any size need exercise. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking a Great Dane but only have room for a small Toy Poodle.

7. Can you tolerate some damage to your furniture and clothes until your dog is trained?

Puppies and some adult dogs do not come house trained or manner trained. You need to keep that in mind:

  • Puppies can be very destructive
  • Bored dogs = destructive dogs
  • Adult dogs come with some training depending on where you are getting them from
  • Those beautiful hardwood floors with any type of dog will get scratched up

8. What arrangements will you make for your dog during the day when you can’t be there?

Will a family member be home most of the day? Will that teenager ensure the dog gets outside to relieve itself? Will you come home during the day to walk the dog? If you’re thinking that this will be an issue for the dog, perhaps you should consider hiring a dog walker to come and take the dog out. A reputable dog walker will not only provide a dog with routine but will also play with your dog and take good care of it.

9. Are you willing to take time off with your puppy?

They will need a lot of attention when they first come home. Puppies don’t come house-trained! They need to go outside every few hours. They also need plenty of play time and nap time. You will need to take this point into much consideration in planning your days.

10. What will do you with your dog when you go on vacation?

Everyone goes on vacation and you can’t always take your dog with you. You would need to consider somewhere to either board the dog at a kennel or bring in a house/dog sitter. Either works fine, you just need to decide what works for you and your family’s situation.

11. Are you willing to invest time and money in dog training?

Puppies need training, but sometime even an adult dog will need a refresher course as he or she gets comfortable in their new home.  Also, don’t forget about human training.  It goes both ways!

12. Are you willing to ensure the best possible care is given to your dog if it gets hurt or sick?

There may come a time when your dog will get into something it shouldn’t like antifreeze. Perhaps it stumbled down a hill and broke its leg. Maybe the dog had just been diagnosed with cancer. This is where you will be pressed to making some very important decisions for your pet. Pet insurance for your dog is one way the emergency costs can be taken care of.  Believe me when I suggest to you that hopefully you won’t need to feel guilty about making decisions for your pet based on cost.

13. What you are signing up for as a responsible dog owner?

Each dog or pet owner has a few keys necessities of life to sign up for:

  • To provide a loving home for your dog.
  • To provide a safe environment for your dog.
  • To ensure the dog is fed and watered.
  • To pick up after your dog.
  • To ensure the dog is properly licensed for your area.
  • To play with your dog
  • To not leave them out in the cold all night
  • To not leave them in a hot car
  • To not give up on her/him just because they are senior
  • To not give up on her/him just because they are hurt

 

Are you ready for a dog? If you have answered all of these questions truthfully and feel comfortable with your answers. Then you are ready to get a dog. What kind of dog is your next order of business!

Meeting with your potential dog breeder

This is our second time we met with our dog breeder Valerie of Cooperslane. Her process is a rigorous one. Not just for the dogs and pups but very much for her prospective pet owners.  She ensures that the fit is just right! You don’t get to pick the dog, she picks the dog for you. (see How your puppy and you are matched). Getting as much information about your potential dog breeder and ensuring the right fit for both yourself and puppy, is very important for both of your future happiness.

Here are points to get started on meeting with your dog breeder

I’m going to assume you have already selected the dog breed you want to get. If you haven’t please look at our article on picking the right dog for your family.

First word of mouth is your best bet. Is your dog breed walking in the neighborhood? Do you think the dog has all qualities that you and your family want in a dog. Does the owner look like a responsible owner? Then introduce yourself and explain why you would like information on where the dog came from. ask questions like:

  • What are the 3 top qualities in your dog?
  • Does the dog have any problems (ie allergies)?
  • Was the dog breeder easy to talk to and willing to work with your family?
  • In the end did you feel that the dog breeder was reputable?
  • Did the dog breeder provide as much information as possible about their dogs?
  • Did the dog breeder provide you a package on what to expect from your puppy? (ie helpful hints)
  • What did the breeder provide you with when you arrived to take your puppy home?
  • Was the breeder willing to work with you after the puppy went home?

Now you may not get a chance to ask all these questions, but ask the questions that you feel will give you enough information to look into the dog breeder and whether you would select a dog from them. In the end you should feel completely comfortable with your decision.

Review dog breeders on the internet

Next look on the internet Canadian Kennel Club, as well as the American Kennel Club, provides a list of all dog breeds and dog breeders. They all provide you with questions to ask and what to look for in a dog breeder.  Also if you are not sure about a puppy and are thinking that an older dog maybe a better fit for your family look at your selected type of dog breed rescue . Here are just a few Labrador Retriever Rescue, retired Grey Hound racers, Or career change / retired service dogs. Another thought is looking into being a foster family for a dog breeder as well. Many established dog breeders look for families to look after their girl and boys in a home setting.

Go and visit the dog breeder

All reputable dog breeders will gladly have you come for a visit to see their kennel by appointment. This gives them the chance to show off all their girls and most likely boys too. If you talk to a dog breeder and they are giving you reasons on why you can’t come over…DON’T PICK THAT DOG BREEDER! This is a RED flag!  Check out their website as well.

Check the dog references provided

Ask for references of other families that have gotten a dog from them and call the reference. Here are some easy questions to ask:

  • How old is your dog now?
  • Why did you choose this dog breeder?
  • What were the highlights of your relationship with the dog breeder?
  • What are the most admirable qualities of your dog?
  • Have you had any issues with your puppy? If so, was the dog breeder willing to work with you?

Visiting your dog breeder

Once you have your information and have planned your visit make a list of your own questions that you feel are important to you for the breeder when you meet with them. If the dog breeder has the mother and father on their premises (remember that some breeders use foster parents to look at their girls and boys) ask is you can meet them. Take note of their appearance and personality because, in some ways, it’s give you a good view into your future puppy. As well, this will give you a good idea of how your pup will eventually look and act.

Look around the kennel or home in which the puppy will be raised. It should be clean and well maintained. If there are other dogs in the kennel, look to make sure they are happy dogs and well taken care of dogs (ie no fleas or ticks, well fed).

The dog breeder, as in our case, had a lot of questions for us as well. She wanted to make sure her puppy was going to a proper loving home as well.