Author: Michael Lisby

A man meeting his new dog at an animal rescue.

Take Me Home: How to Prepare to Adopt a Puppy

Few things can generate excitement like the idea of adopting a new puppy into your home and welcomed into your family. However, that excitement should come with a good amount of preparation. Keeping a new puppy safe, healthy and happy can be a challenge. By following these tips, you should be well on your way to making sure that everything is ready to go for the big day and after.


The first thing to consider with a new puppy is cost. This can be a little tough to pin down as costs can have a wide variance across the board. A designer puppy from an established breeder will be far more expensive than a shelter pet adoption for instance. Beware of “too good to be true” breeder pricing, however – that may be the telltale sign of a puppy mill. Beyond the dog itself, you will need to account for your initial vet visit – including vaccines, supplies, food, a crate or dog carrier, a spay or neuter, and all the other ongoing costs. A dog is a big commitment, and you should be ready financially, both immediately and down the road, before you make a commitment.

Choosing a Vet

It is generally a good idea to choose a vet and have a trip scheduled for shortly after puppy arrival before you even bring home the puppy. Puppies can catch diseases such as parvo or distemper very easily, which can be rapidly fatal. Getting a vet check and vaccination quickly is vital. There are many considerations to mull over in regard to the care of your new puppy. For instance, you may want a vet that also has boarding facilities, a full-time hospital, addresses breed-specific concerns or that operates between certain hours you will have available.


Before adopting a furry friend, it’s important to prepare your home for a new puppy in order to make an easier transition. Making sure you have the right supplies and toys is important, as well as ensuring your home is ready for a puppy that may chew, scratch, pee and poop in the wrong spot until they are trained. However, it is also worth considering making sure your own family is ready for the new addition, especially children. Go over ground rules with them about how to care for and handle the puppy, and ensure they are not overactive during the transition period, which may cause the puppy stress and anxiety. A calm and happy interaction will promote a bond between the dog and children that can last a lifetime.

The Right Toys

Having the right toys is also a great way to ease the transition. Puppies are bundles of energy and put to the wrong use this can be destructive. Having toys available encourages them to use their energy properly, gives them stimulation and can alleviate boredom during times when people are not home or during crate training. It also gives children a safer way to interact with the puppy. Solid KONG or Nylabone style chew toys give jaws a workout, while flappy or flossy toys generate interest and allow tugging and interaction. Just be wary of promoting tug instincts in larger breeds.

The Right Supplies

A new puppy means stocking up on essential supplies. The more you can obtain beforehand, the less the likelihood of an inconvenient run to the pet store. A new puppy will need a collar of appropriate size and leash immediately to help safely get them home. A crate or baby gates to corral the puppy and assist with training is important, especially if you will need to leave them alone at any point. Food, bowls, treats and grooming products should also be on hand and ready.

Plan the Trip Home

This can, of course, vary between situations. It’s not quite as difficult to plan a trip to the shelter just down the road than one across town, or even several hours away to visit a breeder. However, many of the same principles apply. Bringing kids can increase the difficulty, but as puppies start bonding immediately it can be worth the hassle. Collar and leash are important and bring pads or towels to keep under the puppy in case of accidents. A few treats and toys to help ease the transition and excitement is good, as is food and water for a longer trip. A final note, if your puppy has not received all vaccinations prior to pick up, avoid areas where dogs may have been such as pet stores or rest stops where canine diseases may proliferate.

Choose a Safe Spot

The changes to a puppy’s life during this period can be exhausting and overwhelming. They can feel both the joy of the new adventure and bonding with their new family while also being distressed about their removal from the familiar and their parents and siblings. To avoid this, give the puppy a safe space they can spend time in and unwind. As a den animal, many puppies enjoy crates or travel carriers, which can be especially useful for crate training later on. This lets them escape from the noise or hustle and bustle of the family when they feel overwhelmed and lets them calm down naturally. Ensure that your children know not to follow the puppy into their safe space.

Puppy Proof Your Home

As with children, puppies like to try and get into everything. This makes it important to puppy proof your home. With their advanced smell, dogs are attracted to things like the trash, so make sure your cans are inaccessible. As chewers, cords are a natural target for puppies and should be moved out of reach and away from their safe spot. Double-check that your houseplants are non-toxic and keep food or products that contain dog-specific toxins such as xylitol – an increasingly common human ingredient – secured away. Antifreeze and pest poisons are especially enticing and should be carefully stored. It is easy to overlook or forget important things during times of great excitement. However, this can have tragic consequences when dealing with living creatures such as a puppy. 

By planning ahead and taking the proper precautions, your new pup will be safe and happy as they adapt to their new life with your family. This in turn will bring years of joy and happiness as your new dog becomes a loyal companion and lovable staple of your family life.

Dogs need regular exercise. If you’re not prepared to provide daily walks with your pet yourself, it’s a good idea to hire someone else to do it so your pet doesn’t get bored and suffer. Learn more here!

Health Issues That Can Affect Both You and Your Dog

Nothing can compare to the love of a dog. Through thick and thin, your dog is there for you. You may even think of your dog as if he or she is your child. As such, keeping your beloved pet healthy matters most. But even when you feed your dog high-quality food and make sure he exercises regularly, illness can occur. In fact, there are several conditions that you can catch as well.


It’s not uncommon for puppies to have worms. In fact, they’re born with them, so it’s important to start deworming as soon as the vet gives the okay. However, if your dog does develop a parasite that leads to worms, you can catch it as well. According to Petful, roundworms are highly contagious and easily transmitted via dog excrement. Always make sure you clean up after your dog goes to the bathroom, and wash your hands thoroughly.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, or Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted by tick bites. Symptoms of Lyme disease can vary. It’s not always easy to diagnose the condition in dogs. In fact, it’s usually only diagnosed via blood tests after the pet exhibits lethargy, lack of appetite or has a history of tick removal. Humans infected with Lyme disease suffer from a variety of symptoms. According to Darras Law, aside from the well-known bulls-eye rash, symptoms include fever, head and body aches, fatigue, meningitis, migraines, muscle impairment, and joint pain.


While not nearly as prevalent as before, rabies can still affect both you and your dog. Rabies is contracted when your dog is bitten by another animal carrying the disease. According to PetCareRX, dogs infected with rabies may exhibit a change in bark, seizures, lethargy, and drooling. In humans, the symptoms often include fever, drooling, confusion, headaches, and body aches. When it comes to treating rabies, it’s important to get your dog’s initial vaccination and then follow up with routine booster shots. In addition, even with inoculation, always inform the vet if you suspect your dog has been bitten by an infected animal. If you get bitten or scratched by an animal you think might be rabid, you should also make sure to visit your doctor to make sure you haven’t been infected as well.

Just like children, having a dog is an enormous responsibility. If you’ve been thinking of getting a dog, make sure you are prepared and able to give her the love, time and routine medical care she needs to thrive. Also, take time to educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of the aforementioned conditions and what to do if you suspect infection.

Here’s another article you might like: How to Cope with Unexpected Vet Bills

How to Start an Ethical Pet Store

If you have a passion for pets, but mourn the lack of reputable or ethical pet stores in your area, starting a pet store may be a fulfilling venture. The current pet retail industry is full of controversies involving the mistreatment of pets offered for sale, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference through example. And you wouldn’t be alone, either. As concerns have been voiced, more and more pet shops have risen to the challenge of becoming more ethical in their business practices. As an ethical pet store owner, your goal will be to take on greater responsibility and accountability for your animals so that potential pet owners can bring home a healthy, happy pet.

Get a Location

If you want to start an ethical pet store, one of the first steps is to gather information such as market research, location possibilities, and legal and accounting requirements. Once you determine that your business idea will be in demand in a specific location, the next step is to decide if you want to start a new business from scratch or if you choose to buy a franchise. According to Franchise Gator, some examples of ethical franchises include Earthwise, The Healthy Animal, and Scales N’ Tails. New businesses are a blank slate with ultimate flexibility, but franchises offer the security net of structure, which can be particularly helpful if you’ve never run a business before.

Be Choosy About How You Source Animals

There is a rising concern about the way animals are treated before they show up in a store to be sold. As an ethical pet store, it is important to source animals ethically. Many pets at large, chain pet stores actually come from pet mills. Pet mills are facilities that mass breed pets who are then kept in overcrowded, unsanitary cages until they are sold to a retailer. Many times pet retailers may not be able to give their customers any specifics of a pet’s health if the pet came from a mill. Aside from mills, many exotic pets are imported from the wild, putting strain on wild populations. Plus, according to ReptiFiles, some wild-caught exotics are actually illegal exports from their countries of origin. When you choose not to stock your store with wild-caught animals, you discourage illegal collection and take strain off wild populations.

Instead of supporting pet mills and importers, an ethical pet store should source pets from small breeders, animal rescues, and local pet shelters. However, be careful with breeders, too. According to Ethos Veterinary Health, a trustworthy breeder should seek veterinary advice, makes sure that all animals are happy and clean, and has good breeding practices.

Provide Basic Care Information

Ethical pet store owners should make an effort to make sure that their customers receive basic care information for the animals being sold in the store. Pet care can vary greatly from animal to animal. The care of a hamster is vastly different than the care of a golden retriever. And exotic pets like reptiles, fish, and amphibians, need very specific care and equipment that replicates their natural environment. While animal lovers can understand the excitement of bringing home a new pet, having accurate care information on hand to give to customers may prevent buyer’s remorse or, worse, a dead pet.

One of the best ways you can help insure the welfare of the animals you sell is to be careful about which ones you sell. For example, reptiles are gaining popularity in the pet world, but not all reptiles make good pets. Some reptiles, like reticulated pythons and green iguanas, require advanced care and should not be sold in pet stores where they can be easily purchased by people who aren’t ready for that responsibility. It’s better to offer reptiles with easier care, like crested geckos and corn snakes, instead.

Take Sick Animals to the Vet

Proper care of sick animals is essential to a pet store’s reputation. When pets are observed to display symptoms of unhappiness, pain or discomfort, it is important to not offer them up for sale. Instead, it is extremely important to take sick animals to the vet for an examination. According to Animal Health Services of Cave Creek, general signs to look for include dulled eyes, changes in activity level, hiding/isolation, or appetite changes. Since there are many other symptoms that could be involved, it is best to make sure that employees are trained to notice abnormalities and take pets to the vet as needed. It can also be very helpful to have a vet visit your store on a monthly basis and do a general check of all the animals in your inventory.
Read this next: 5 Things To Consider When Shopping For A Dog

Tips for Safe and Easy Holiday Traveling With Your Dog

The holiday season is a time of merriment and joy for all, and getting to spend it with your furry best friend enriches every moment. Having a travel plan ahead of time makes the journey for you and your dog safe and effortless no matter what mode of transportation you choose. Here are three good tips to ensure that travels with your pooch go safely and smoothly.


Before you hit the road, make sure your dog is comfortable riding in the car. Long-distance trips can be more stressful. Providing your dog with items that make them feel safe increases their level of security during travel. In order to protect your dog while riding in the car, it’s best to use a harness and seat belt to restrain your dog and to never let them sit in the front seat. Having your dog ride in the back seat helps them to relax while you stay focused on driving.


Prior to your departure, familiarize your dog with its travel crate or carrier. Getting used to being confined for a period of time similar to your scheduled time in flight prepares your dog for remaining in its enclosure. Doing this in advance gives them ample time to adjust. Provide them with a couple of their favorite toys and some clothing with your scent. These things will help to calm your buddy down while you’re in the air or walking through a busy airport. Creating positive feelings about their mobile home ensures that your pup will remain relaxed throughout the trip.

Train or Bus

Trains and buses make traveling with your pup easy and safe by allowing smaller dogs to stay with their owners in pet-safe carriers under the seat in front of them. Keep your dog calm en route by providing them with some of the creature comforts of home. A snugly blanket will not only keep your dog cozy but also provide reassurance. The motion of these modes of transportation is similar to a car, so if your dog already loves to go for a ride, traveling by bus or train should be a breeze.

Bringing your dog with you wherever your holiday travels take you allows both of you to enjoy the change. Whether you’re making the journey by car, plane, bus or train, you’ll always be in good company with your most loyal friend along for the ride. If you know what to expect and you prepare your dog for travel, your trip should be a pleasant and relaxing adventure.
If you’d rather leave your pooch at home while you travel, contact us to schedule pet sitting!

Sit, Stay, Come: Why Promoting Good Behavior Is So Vital for Your Dog

We all love our canine family members and want to be able to go out on adventures with them without having to worry about common problems, such as aggression and disobedience. In order to make the most of your relationship with your dog, check out these great tips on how and why to promote good behavior.

Teaching Simple Commands

Basic commands such as sit, stay and come aren’t just fun to work with, but they also build the foundation for a strong relationship with your dog as well. Teaching the basic commands helps dogs understand the expected behavior and allows a bond of trust to be developed. If you don’t have a strong bond of trust with your dog, he’ll be less likely to listen to you in stressful situations. You don’t want to skimp out on basic trust-building exercises only to have bigger behavioral problems to deal with later on in the future.

Give Them Love

Don’t forget that another key way to reinforce good canine behavior is to shower your dog with love and affection. This positive behavior will strengthen the bond that you’ve built through basic training and show your dog that he’s cared for. Dogs crave interaction and attention, and if they don’t get enough, then they’ll be more likely to solicit it through bad behavior and defiance.

Be Cautious Around Other People

No matter how thoroughly you train your dog and work with him to prepare for a variety of different scenarios, life is bound to throw you a curveball every once in a while. For this reason, it’s crucial for you to keep a watchful eye on your dog while he is interacting with others. Whenever you’re around new people or dogs, stay relaxed and always watch your pooch for signs of stress or tension. The best approach you can take to conflicts is to prevent them before they occur by exiting the situation before things get out of hand.

Provide Plenty of Enrichment

Dogs will often become frustrated once they get bored and will act out in an attempt to shake up the monotony. Regularly providing your dog with plenty of physical and mental exercise will help keep your pet from getting antsy as a result of pent-up energy. Alongside taking regular walks, make sure your four-legged friend gets to engage in activities like agility mazes and puzzles that stimulate their mind.

Promoting good behavior to your dog can help him build a stronger bond with you and achieve a greater sense of fulfillment from his daily life. It can also make interactions with others far smoother. Take the time to reinforce basic training with your dog, give him lots of love and enrichment and always be watchful for signs of stress around other people for the best results.

Looking for more behavioral advice? Here’s another article you might enjoy:
A Guide for Introducing Your New Baby to Your Canine Companion

How to Keep Yourself and Others Safe Around Dogs

Dogs are usually friendly, but in some situations, they can feel threatened and attack as a result. Some dog owners have had originally calm dogs start to develop aggression. It’s important to learn about what causes dogs to feel threatened in order to prevent those situations from happening and to handle them correctly when they do. Three other keys to ways to keep yourself and others safe around dogs are training them, vaccinating them and leashing them outside.

Train Your Dogs

The most important thing you can do to keep yourself and others safe is training your dogs. Simple commands like stay, sit and lie down make a huge difference in keeping your dog under control. You may need the help of a dog trainer to do this correctly. If a dog doesn’t consistently obey the command, then it isn’t trained.

Vaccinate Them

According to the Atlanta Humane Society, vaccinating your dogs is important not only for your safety and others’ safety but for the dogs too. Puppies are prone to illnesses like parvo that can kill them if they aren’t vaccinated when they should be. Untreated parvo, a highly contagious illness among dogs, has a mortality rate of 91 percent.

Be Especially Careful Around Children

According to Boohoff Law, many of the worst pet-related injuries involve small children that don’t understand how to avoid dogs displaying potentially dangerous behavior. You need to keep a close eye on children when they are around dogs, even your own dogs. Your dog doesn’t intend to hurt your child, but accidents happen. The reverse is also true. Young children sometimes accidentally hurt the dog because they still don’t understand the correct way of handling them. You’ll keep both your children and your dog safe by supervising their interactions. Babies should never be left unattended around dogs either because dogs might not realize the difference in strength.

Leash Them Outside

Even the most well-behaved dog can get distracted by another dog or chase after a squirrel if you take them outside off of a leash. They may jump on other people or become aggressive toward others who don’t understand dog psychology. Dogs also don’t know to watch for traffic, so they could be hit by a car when you don’t have them on a leash. You will also decrease the chance your dog becomes exposed to life-threatening illnesses like parvo and distemper because you can prevent them from interfering with feces they find.

Dogs provide wonderful companionship when you know how to properly take care of them. Part of taking care of your dogs involves being aware of safety tips and understanding dog psychology. All dogs should be trained, monitored around small children and babies and leashed when outside.

Mouthing, Nipping, and Biting in Pet Dogs: What’s Normal & What’s Not

Anyone who’s ever welcomed a pet dog into the family—especially a puppy or a rescue—has likely had to deal with the issues of mouthing, nipping, and biting. Since puppies communicate with one another using their mouths, it stands to reason that they’d want to continue this behavior with their human “pack.” However, it’s nowhere near as much fun for humans and can easily escalate into a serious problem if it isn’t corrected early. Here’s how to tell whether your dog’s mouthing and biting are representative of normal development, or a deeper behavioral issue.


Dogs use their mouths to explore their surroundings, and certain breeds are programmed to use them for specific jobs—for example, a sheepdog will often guide her charges by gently tugging on their wool with her mouth. This exploratory gnawing behavior is called mouthing, and it’s an essential aspect of puppy development. However, you don’t want your dog practicing on your fingers, so be sure to provide lots of indestructible chew toys for her to bite instead.


Nipping is different from mouthing in that it involves a small, sudden bite—not hard enough to break the skin, but enough to puncture your clothing. While it can be annoying and sometimes painful, nipping is not an aggressive behavior and can usually be corrected. If your dog nips, make a high-pitched yip or “ouch!” sound when he puts his teeth on you, then withdraw and ignore him for at least 15 seconds. This will teach him that he loses your attention when the teeth come out, and your attention is what he craves.


If your dog hasn’t learned to control her mouthing behavior by adulthood, the nipping could escalate into biting—hard, painful bites that draw blood. These types of injuries can require costly medical attention, surgery, pain medication, and cause scarring and disfigurement. Many states hold animal owners strictly liable if their pet attacks another person, unless the attack was provoked. Learn to read your dog’s body language. If she remains loose and relaxed while she’s attempting to nip you, she’s only playing. Conversely, if her body is stiff and her ears are drawn back, she’s warning you to stay away. Should your dog display this type of frightened or aggressive behavior, it’s best to enlist the aid of a trainer.

Mouthing, nipping, and biting are all common behaviors for dogs. Recognizing the difference between normal play and aggression is the key to raising a well-behaved, well-adjusted dog. If you begin bite inhibition at an early age, this goal will be achieved sooner rather than later. 

If you need a sitter for your dog, I’m your guy. I have lots of experience with lots of different kinds of dogs. Contact me today to set up an appointment!

3 Tips to Make Sure Your Dog Is Always Taken Care Of

Your dog is a member of your family, and it can’t take care of itself. Emergencies happen when we least expect it. Here are three tips to make sure that your dog will be taken care of if something were to happen to you. 

Keep Pet Information in Your Wallet

If you find yourself incapacitated, you may not be able to communicate that you have a dog at home. In the same way that you should keep emergency contact information in your wallet, you can also keep pet information in the same place. With this information, people will know to send a friend or family member to your house to take care of your furry companion. Include your dog’s name, if it’s friendly to other people, its size, and other essential information.

Set Up a Trust Fund

Pets can be expensive, and you can take steps to make sure that your dog is taken care of financially in case the worst happens. You can’t use life insurance directly for your pet, but there are a few ways you can still have it be paid out to them. Setting up a trust fund for your pet is like setting up any other trust. Through a pet trust fund, you can specify how you want your dog taken care of. This includes the level of care you expect for your pet, who the caregiver will be, and even the brand of food you want your pet to eat. 

Make sure you consider how much these things could cost for the rest of your dog’s life and invest the appropriate dollar amount in the trust. Then, you’ll never need to worry that your dog won’t be taken care of if you can’t take care of it yourself.

Give Instructions to a Trusted Friend

A pet trust is a great thing to have for when you are no longer around, but what if you’re out of commission for a period of time? Find a trusted friend who could take care of your dog for you temporarily. This person shouldn’t be someone who would also be taking care of you. Meet with your friend and discuss how to take care of your dog in case of an emergency. Create a pet care binder so all the necessary information will be written down and accessible.

The bottom line in making sure that your dog is taken care of is being proactive. If you wait until something bad happens, you might not get the chance to supply instructions. Start taking these steps now so that the people around you will know what your pet needs.

If you need a little extra help with your dog, check out our services! We offer dog walking, poop scooping, and pet sitting to help you out.

Spring Cleaning Tips for Pet Lovers

Pets are wonderful creatures, but between their toys and pet hair, your house may become a bit messy. Here are 3 useful tips for Spring cleaning your home whilst having a pet.

Get a Pet Sitter

Finding a pet sitter is an excellent way to help you find time to clean if your fur baby is prone to getting in the way. Animals tend to follow wherever their human goes, which can get tricky when you are organizing your closet of shoes or cleaning with chemicals. There are many ways to get a break for a few hours. Hire a family member, a friend, or take advantage of our animal daycare for when you need some extra help. Plan to clean and organize the parts of your home that are the most difficult to do when your pet is home. This will make the most of your time and give you a great sense of accomplishment when you finally pick up your pet from their sitter.

Donate Extra Pet Toys

As you are spring cleaning, you may find you have some pet toys that you or your pet don’t use. If that is the case, donate them to certain nonprofits to help declutter your home. Doing this will not only clear your home of unused items, but it will also help benefit someone else’s pet and make you feel happy. Donating toys is also a sustainable and eco-friendly way of showing care to the earth. Most likely, your animals will not miss the toys that they never played with in the first place.

Deep Clean and Refresh Your Home

Spring cleaning season is a great time to rid your home of all the pet dander and hair that accumulates in your carpet and furniture over the winter months. Take time to open up the windows to let some fresh air in and get the dander out. It is wise to also plan a day when you are free to shake out, wash, or vacuum any pillows, blankets, and dog beds that your sweet pet frequently lays on. Most importantly, Spring is the best time to deep clean your carpets. Carpets tend to hold onto dirt, pollen, mold spores, and other outdoor pollutants, so a thorough cleaning can create a healthier home for you and your pet. Having a fresh and clean home is a wonderful way to kick off the spring season.

Pets are wonderful companions that make life worth living a little bit more. But housing a pet comes with its challenges. Hire a pet sitter to get more cleaning accomplished, donate unwanted pet toys, and deep clean your upholstery and carpets for the ultimate spring cleaning list. You will feel clean and fresh while you cuddle your fur baby.

The Benefits of Milk Thistle for Senior Dogs

As dogs begin to age, they often encounter health issues similar to those that humans deal with as they get older. There are supplements available that are specifically designed for dogs to help with many of these health issues. Milk Thistle is one type of supplement that can be helpful in promoting health and well-being for your senior dog.

What is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle is a flowering plant that belongs to the Aster family. The plant is native to Europe and has long been used for medicinal purposes. While traditional medicine tends to discourage the use of homeopathic remedies, Whole Dog Journal says milk thistle is actually one of the few herbal treatments that has been accepted by the medical community as a way to treat diabetes, liver issues, and other health concerns in humans and dogs.

What it Does

According to Erbology, milk thistle seeds contain high levels of silymarin, raw flavonolignans that can positively affect the regeneration of liver cells and protect them from the damage caused by free radicals. The active ingredient in this flowering herb has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties which makes it ideal for older dogs who may be dealing with inflammation. The plant also has antioxidant properties and detoxifying actions to help promote cell regeneration. Milk thistle may have some mild side effects like loose stools or digestive upset.

How Can You Give Milk Thistle to Your Dog?

This herb has been shown to be safe for use in dogs when the recommended dosage is followed. Some studies have shown that it’s more effective to give the supplement in 3 or 4 smaller doses throughout the day rather than one large dose at one time. VCA Hospitals explains that milk thistle comes in several forms including capsule, extract, or tincture. You don’t need a prescription to buy this supplement for your dog, but it’s important to purchase from a reliable source that uses quality ingredients in their products. The supplement is palatable to most dogs and can be mixed into their food or given with a syringe.

Much like humans, dogs can suffer from many health issues as they age and they require attentive care for these conditions. Herbal treatments for conditions related to liver health, diabetes, and inflammation can be beneficial for senior dogs. Milk thistle is a supplement that’s safe for dogs, has little side effects, and is easy to administer through their regular food or the use of a syringe.

Does your senior pet need some care while you are away? We would be happy to help watch your pet!

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