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Boomer Pet Magazine e-Mag Spring 2019
Finding a Dog to Fit Your Family's Lifestyle: Plan Ahead to Reap the Rewards of a Loving Family Pet

By Kimberly Blaker
Every year thousands of dogs are turned over to animal shelters because they were given as a gift without first consulting the gift recipient – or families discover they brought home a biter, barker, digger, or jumper. When pets are given away, the pets, their owners, and children all suffer. So before selecting your dog, do your homework. With a little pre-planning, you can find the dog that most closely fits your family's or gift recipient’s lifestyle.

Variety of dogs, variety of nuisances

Dogs can create many nuisances. Some of these are more common in particular breeds. A barking dog helps protect against intruders. But excessive barking can become a problem. Some breeds known for their barking include the Alaskan Malamute, American Water Spaniel, Bassett Hound, Finnish Spitz, Fox and other Terriers, Great Pyrenees, and Miniature Schnauzer.

A playful, energetic puppy can make a great playmate for your child. But as your puppy grows, that hyperactivity could become overwhelming. High-strung dogs often jump on people and tear through the house. Certain breeds tend to maintain that high energy level well into their adult size bodies. Such breeds include Airedale Terriers, Boxer, Brittany, Cocker Spaniel, Dalmatian, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Jack Russell Terrier, Labrador Retriever, Pointer, and Schnauzer.

Dogs dig for many reasons—to bury a bone, to escape from a fenced yard, to keep cool, or out of boredom. A torn-up yard can be the last straw for many dog owners. The following breeds tend to be diggers: Fox Terriers, Norwich Terrier, and Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen.

Dogs can be aggressive for a variety of reasons. Poor breeding, physical abuse, and even disease can cause aggression in a dog. Certain dominant breeds can also tend toward aggressiveness if not handled by a firm and skilled handler. These dogs should be chosen with caution and the understanding they require strong leadership: Akita, American Pit Bull Terrier, Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Schnauzer, Shih Tzu, Siberian Husky, and Weimaraner.
Grooming is another consideration. While it may sound painless, the upkeep of certain breeds can be overwhelming. In addition to keeping claws trimmed and an occasional bath, some dogs require lengthy daily brushing to remove tangles or trapped fur in double coats. High maintenance breeds include the American Eskimo, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, Great Pyrenees, Llaso Apso, Old English Sheepdog, Poodle, Schnauzer, and Terriers.

Traits to look for in a family dog

Many unforeseen problems can be avoided by finding a dog that’ll be easy for your child to handle so your child can assist in training. Easy trainers include American Water Spaniel, Australian Shepherd, Bichon Frise, Cocker Spaniel, Irish Setter, Italian Greyhound, Maltese, and Shetland Sheepdog.

Calm, gentle breeds are important for families with small children. Keep in mind size alone doesn’t dictate these traits. Gentle breeds you might consider are Bassett Hound, Beagle, Bearded Collie, Chinese Crested, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, and Mastiff.

Playful and energetic puppies work well for older children who won’t feel threatened by the dog’s full-grown size. Consider an American Eskimo, Bloodhound, Brittany, Dalmatian, Golden Retriever, Irish Wolfhound, Labrador Retriever, Pointer, Poodle, Saint Bernard, or Schnauzer.

There are many other traits to consider in choosing a new dog. Before bringing home your puppy, read a book or articles about the breed that interests you to determine if it will fit your family’s lifestyle. For personalized assistance in choosing a breed, go to or one of the many other breed selection sites. You’ll be guided through a series of questions and receive a free personalized list of matches.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 800,000 people, mostly children, are bitten annually severely enough to require medical attention. Infants and small children shouldn’t be left alone with a dog. It may be difficult to picture your lovable Fido as capable of hurting your child. But even the gentlest dogs have been known to bite.

Little kids sometimes get too close to a dog while it’s eating or chewing a bone or startle a dog while it’s sleeping. Sometimes, small children hang on dogs, pull their tails, or threaten a dog’s safety. This can lead to injury to either the dog or your child.

In addition, dogs view their family as part of its pack. A properly trained dog should view adults and older children as alpha (top dog). But a dog isn't likely to view a small child in this light and may wield its authority when no one’s around.

Apartment living is another consideration. The size dog you choose is important to both your dog’s well being and to maintaining your sanity. High energy and medium to large breeds generally need large areas to romp. Without it, your apartment could become a round-the-clock racetrack. Planning regular walks for these dogs may not be sufficient. You’ll tire long before your dog. Also, there will be occasions when you just won’t be able to accommodate your puppy’s need to exercise.

The costs of pet ownership should also be weighed out. First, there are the obvious costs such as purchasing pet food and annual vaccinations. Other expenses include licensing, monthly heart worm pills, chew toys, damaged belongings, fencing, training, unexpected veterinary expense, grooming, kenneling, and more.

If your family has members with bad allergies or asthma, check with your doctor before bringing any furred, feathered, or finned pet into your home.

Finally, keep in mind no matter how sincere your child’s intent to care for his new pet, it’s a big responsibility. Ultimately, parents take the brunt of the work. Also, the holiday season may not be the best time of year to bring home a new puppy. Families are generally too busy during the holidays to give a new pet the attention it needs. Choose a season when you’ll be able to spend plenty of time with your new dog as it adjusts to its new home.

Where to find your dog

The Humane Society, an animal shelter, or an accidental litter of pups is a great place to find your dog at an affordable price. Giving a home to a dog that might otherwise be put to sleep or caged indefinitely and not contributing to the over population of dogs are good reasons to go this route.

Furthermore, you’ll more often find mixed breeds through these methods. Mixed breeds are less likely to inherit the diseases and disabilities often common in pure breeds. Keep in mind though, sometimes these dogs are strays or weren’t properly cared for by their original owner. If a dog didn’t receive proper vaccinations, it could be at risk for disease. A dog that was abused by its previous owner could also pose risks. Ask the animal shelter what is known about the dog’s history.

Another way to find your new puppy is through a breeder. Taking home a puppy whose history is known and hasn’t been exposed to a poor environment is a plus. But caution should be used even when buying from a breeder. While most are in the business for their love of the breed, there are exceptions.

Some breeders are only interested in profits and have little knowledge or concern for good breeding and proper care of pups. This can lead to dogs with poor temperaments, genetic disorders, or disease. Ask plenty of questions, request references, and ask to see the puppies in their normal environment.

According to the American Kennel Club, some things to watch for when selecting your puppy include: a runny nose, watery eyes, fever, or disease in the litter. If any of these conditions are present, look elsewhere.

Avoid a puppy that trembles and is shy or one that shows a bad temper. Also, understand that a kennel designated “AKC Reg.” doesn’t mean it has the American Kennel Club’s stamp of approval. It simply means the dogs have been registered.
NOTE:  Certain breeds tend to maintain that high energy level well into their adult size bodies.

Finally, keep in mind that puppies shouldn’t be removed from their litter before 6 weeks of age, and preferably 8.

Training Tips

No matter how careful you are in selecting your pet, chances are, your puppy will develop a problem or nuisance behavior. Prevention is the first step. Around 6 months, your puppy will be old enough for an obedience course. Teaching your puppy the basics will make it easier to manage problem behaviors. If you can’t take a class, purchase a dog-training manual and stick with it.

If your dog shows signs of aggression, talk with a professional trainer or your veterinary. Depending on the cause, there may be a simple solution. But if your child’s safety becomes an issue, your only option may be a new home for your pet.

Whether your dog ends up with a new owner or in a shelter, make sure you explain the reason for giving your dog away so it ends up in the proper environment.

For other problem behaviors, there are several good books to help tame your dog. When Good Dogs Do Bad Things by Mordecai Siegal and Matthew Margolis provides many helpful techniques. Contrary to popular belief, never hit, kick, or swat a dog with a newspaper. This can lead to aggressiveness or increase already aggressive behavior.

Most importantly, try to understand and accept your pet’s imperfections and adjust your home accordingly to reduce aggravations. In time, your dog will accept the household routine and become a part of it.
NOTE:  No matter how careful you are in selecting your pet, chances are, your puppy will develop a problem or nuisance behavior.
Traveling with Puppy

For some families, going on vacation without puppy is like leaving a family member behind. Therefore, hotels are beginning to accommodate families who travel with pets. Try one of the following that offers pet friendly services at some or most of its locations:

•    Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites by Marriott (800) 228-9290
•    Best Western (800) 528-1234
•    Hilton (800) 445-8667
•    Doubletree Hotels (800) 222-8733.
•    Embassy Suites Hotels (800) 362-2779
•    Holiday Inn (800) 465-4329
•    Comfort Inn (877) 424-6423
When Puppy Must Stay Behind

Traveling with your dog isn’t always feasible. When looking for boarding services ask the following questions, depending on your dog’s needs.

•    Are kennels heated and cooled?
•    Are they indoor, outdoor, or accessible to both?
•    What kind of food is provided?
•    Is one-on-one playtime or leashed walks offered?
•    What vaccinations are required?
And The Winner Is... The Wire Fox Terrier!
King wins "Best In Show" becoming the 12th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Champion in 13 Years to be fueled by Purina Pro Plan:
GCHB CH Kingarthur Van Foliny Home also known as King for short, a Wire Fox Terrier handled by Gabriel Rangel received top honors at last night's 143rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City, becoming the 12th Purina Pro Plan-fed "Best In Show" winner in the last 13 years.  
Purina Pro Plan has a long, rich history in conformation. It is the food of choice for 95 of the top 100 American Kennel Club (AKC) All Breed Show Champions1, and in addition to the "Best In Show" winner from the Terrier Group the other six Westminster Group winners are also Purina Pro Plan-fed2.
"Pro Plan continues to be the food of choice of handlers and owners for many of the top competitors in conformation, helping them perform at their very best," said Gianna DeiSanti, Brand Director with Purina Pro Plan. "We're proud to play a role in these champions' journeys to 'Best In Show,' and we congratulate Gabriel and King on their well-deserved success."
With more than 70 formulas across four specialized nutritional platforms to help meet a variety of needs, Purina Pro Plan is a leader in the performance nutrition category. Its science is backed by 500 Purina scientists, including nutritionists, veterinarians and behaviorists globally who continuously rethink what nutrition can do. 
"King eats Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon and Rice formula because it's the only food that keeps his skin and coat healthy while giving him the energy to perform like the champion he was tonight," said Rangel.
The eleven previous Westminster "Best In Show" winners fueled by Purina Pro Plan include:
  • 2018—GCH Belle Creek's All I Care About Is Love ("Flynn"), Bichon Frise 
  • 2016 – GCH Vjk-Myst Garbonita's California Journey ("CJ"), German Shorthaired Pointer  
  • 2015 – GCH Ch Tashtins Lookin For Trouble ("Miss P"), Beagle 
  • 2014 – GCH Afterall Painting The Sky ("Sky"), Wire Fox Terrier 
  • 2013 – GCH Banana Joe V Tani Kazari ("Banana Joe"), Affenpinscher 
  • 2012 – GCH Palacegarden Malachy ("Malachy"), Pekingese 
  • 2011 – GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind ("Hickory"), Scottish Deerhound 
  • 2010 – GCH Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot ("Sadie"), Scottish Terrier 
  • 2009 – GCH Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee ("Stump"), Sussex Spaniel 
  • 2008 – GCH K-Run's Park Me In First ("Uno"), Beagle 
  • 2007 – GCH Felicity's Diamond Jim ("James"), English Springer Spaniel
For more information, visit
About Purina Pro Plan:
Purina Pro Plan is the food of choice for 12 of the past 13 Westminster Best in Show winners². Our goal is to give your dog the nutrition to be his absolute best, helping him to be energetic and resilient, while maintaining an ideal body condition, healthy skin, and a stunning coat.  Because being the best he can be means something different for every dog, our wide range of dry and wet foods, sold exclusively at pet specialty retailers and online, can be found in four specialized categories formulated for a dog's unique needs. For more information, visit or follow @ProPlan on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. The brand is manufactured by Nestlé Purina PetCare, which promotes responsible pet care, humane education, community involvement, and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., a global leader in nutrition, health, and wellness.  

About The Westminster Kennel Club:
The Westminster Kennel Club is America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. Established in 1877, Westminster's influence has been felt for more than a century through its famous all-breed, benched dog show held every year in New York City. Today 204 breeds and varieties of dogs compete in Best of Breed judging at Piers 92/94 with the winners advancing to Group and Best in Show competitions at Madison Square Garden. America's dog show has expanded into Westminster Week which includes the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and the Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster, both held at Pier 94. More than 3,000 dogs entered from around the world compete in these events, making Westminster Week like no other. Westminster. There's only one. (R)  Follow us @WKCDOGS or visit:

Cat Separation Anxiety: What Are The Causes, Signs, And Possible Treatment?
By Liudas Justin

While the research into cat separation anxiety is just in the early stages of understanding, many have been noticing the signs. I will retell the story of my two cats, Bubba and Charlie.

Charlie was my future wife's cat of 4 years. Some 6 years ago, when we moved in together, Charlie was aloof and avoided me, at least at first. Once she realized I was here to stay, she started accepting me. At first, a bit stand-offish, but slowly accepting me to the point that she'd lay on my lap to the dismay of my wife. My work at the time was on the road, with periods of time at home. We soon noticed that when I was away, Charlie would groom herself excessively, to the point of creating a bald spot on her flank. When I was home, the excessive grooming would stop. On my retirement, the only time we were away was every two weeks, my wife had to return to the hospital she worked for to do their payroll. We would be away for 2 -3 days every 2 weeks. On our return, we would find that Charlie had vomited all around the house, and on our bed. The reason we know this, once on arrival at home, we walked in on her vomiting. As soon as we brought out our suitcases to pack for our trip, Charlie would hide away, under the bed, the sofa, or under the dining table to avoid us.

Bubba, on the other hand, was a stray that I adopted about a year after I had moved in, my best guess was that he was about a year old. It took a while but Charlie and Bubba became good buddies. The only sign with him was on our return he would not let us out of sight. If you went to the bathroom, he had to also be there. He would walk with me, rubbing up against me, to the extent as to almost trip me.

In doing research, these are all signs of separation anxiety in cats. Speculation of the cause range from genetic to environmental factors being involved. Some say being orphaned or being weaned early may predispose the development of separation anxiety. As this subject gets more study, there might be more information garnered.

Things to do are subjective. The first thing would be to have the veterinarian do a complete physical to make sure the behavior is not caused by some underlying physical problem. This will maybe involve blood work, urinalysis, thyroid testing, or a blood pressure check.

Some other suggestions include making the time of departure less stressful by making changes in the normal routine. Some experts suggest that for 15 minutes prior to leaving and upon return home, the owner should ignore the cat. Leaving a distracting toy can be helpful. Someone suggested hiding tasty treats in various places in the house. Making the environment more stimulating may help. A cat tower with toys attached near a window could help. Sometimes they just enjoy seeing what's going on outside.

Some experts have stated that in some situations the short-term use of anti-anxiety medications may be needed. You must be aware that these are not labeled specifically for use in cats and should / must be prescribed and monitored by your veterinarian.

In the future research should be able to give us more information about the cause and treatment of separation anxiety in cats and make life better for our little feline friends.

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Six Tips To Keep Pets Safe During Storm Season

While no one is immune from the devastation of a natural disaster, preparing before a storm hits is key to keeping everyone in your family—including your pets—safe.

Here are six ideas to keep in mind for your pet as you map out your disaster preparedness plan.

• Have your pet microchipped. In the event of an emergency—natural or otherwise—you want to ensure your pet can get back to you if you're separated. Collars and ID tags, though important, can break or detach. Microchips—computerized and scannable implants about the size of a grain of rice—are more fool-proof since they're inserted under your pet's skin.

• Bring your pets inside at the first sign of danger. Disasters can be disorienting for pets, and they could run away or hurt themselves reacting to loud noises and strange changes to their landscape. Also, rain, flying debris and high winds pose a danger.

• If you have to leave, keep your pet with you. Leaving your pets behind during a natural disaster is never a good idea because they could escape or become exposed to a number of life-threatening hazards. Keep them on a leash or in a pet carrier so they don't escape even in a "familiar" neighborhood.

• Determine where you'll go. Coordinate, in advance, to stay with friends or family members, or find a pet- friendly hotel outside the disaster area. Have those conversations and do your research well ahead of time so you have a plan in place when needed.

• Create a pet-friendly resource list. Not all emergency shelters will accept pets, so you need a Plan B. Develop a list of the pet-friendly hotels outside your immediate area. Research a list of veterinarians in the area should your pet need medical care (your regular vet may have some recommendations). Also, figure out which boarding facilities are nearby in case you need to separate from your pet for a time.

• Pack an emergency bag. You'll want emergency provisions packed for your pet well in advance of a catastrophe so you can evacuate your home quickly if needed. Choose an easy-to-carry bag, label it and keep it where everyone in the family can find it quickly. The bag should include a pet first aid kit; enough food and bottled water for a week (rotate this every couple of months to keep it from going bad); medications (check periodically to ensure medicines in your emergency bag don't expire); cleanup supplies; food and water dishes; bags (or litter for cats) for collecting waste; an extra collar and leash; photocopies of medical records; towels; recent photos of your pets; and a favorite toy or chewy for comfort. It's also a good idea to have a sturdy carrier or crate for each pet.

"What's good for us is good for our pets," said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. "My dog Lucky the TurfMutt is a member of the family, so we have a plan for keeping him safe in the event of an emergency, and we encourage all pet parents to do the same."

By having all this in place, you can immediately put your pet preparedness plan into action when you know a storm is coming instead of spending valuable time trying to determine what needs to be done to best protect your pet.

Learn More

For facts, tips and fun activities for families from Lucky the TurfMutt, visit

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