Pet Advice and Pet News

How To Decorate with Your Dogs in Mind
by Kimberly Helgeson Sams

1. Primer and Paint!
Choose paint that is easy to clean and non-toxic (in case of chewing.) I advise darker colors that won’t show the mud easily if your dog likes to get mud-spattered on stormy days. Of course if your dog has light colored fur and sheds frequently, a lighter more neutral color might be more practical. Be sure and use a drop cloth to protect your carpet unless you are planning on tearing it out and replacing it immediately. If you are covering up paneling with paint, always mud and tape first! It is virtually impossible to mask otherwise! Make sure the paint is completely dry and fumes totally aired out before allowing your pet back in the room. I would go as far as suggesting a pet sitter for a weekend paint job or any other large home improvement project.
2. Carpeting.
Does your worn out old carpet need replacing? Choose a complimentary color with the same ideas in mind as above. Indoor/Outdoor carpet is a great option for dog owners. Do your research. There are companies that actually cater to dog owners now using fabrics and materials that are sturdy and easy to clean without compromising aesthetics.

3. Flooring.
Sturdy tiles or hardwood floors work best. Linoleum is just too tempting to chew on and falls apart easily.

4. Furniture.
It depends on your dogs. Do they like to chew? Rattan is probably a poor choice. I recommend pet friendly slipcovers! Your furniture stays protected and when they get dirty or hairy, just pull them off and wash them! So easy! Plus slipcovers are trendy right now and come in a variety of colors and styles to suit your tastes. They are easy to switch out later if you change your mind. Far less expensive then buying a whole new couch and chairs!

5. Window Treatments.
Again choose sturdy, easy to wash materials in colors that compliment your walls and floor.

6. Lighting.
I advise lighting that is off the floor, as in sconces, lamps on tables or stands (with cords carefully tucked away or hidden in some fashion), and or hung from the ceiling. Floor lamps get knocked over easily, especially if you have large dogs, and the cords are right within reach to chew on.

7. Art.
I naturally advocate dog-themed art. Choose a style you love. There are many talented artists out there whose work represents a large variety of styles. From off-the-wall to photographic realism, there is something out there for you. Giclee prints are very “in” right now. Choose mats and frames that go along with the scheme you have going if possible. Sometimes an eclectic mix is rather cool and can be pulled off very well. Trust your instincts and have fun with it! Remember, you are the designer, and you are the one who has to live with it, so choose colors and art that you will love and enjoy. There are no set rules to design, no matter what anyone will tell you! I personally choose art that is bold in color, vintage or retro in style, and a little on the whimsical side.

8. Not a D-I-Y type?
You can always hire professionals for any of these jobs. I would shop around for people who cater to pet owners if at all possible.

About the Author
Professional artist Kimberly Helgeson Sams has been marketing her own work since 1989. Dogs are her favorite subject matter. She has nearly 20 years experience raising and showing Shetland Sheepdogs. For more information about this inovative artist visit her websites at Studio Stage Dragon and Designer Dog Style

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How to Correctly Socialize Your New Puppy
by Geoffrey A. English

Properly socializing your puppy is all about exposure.

Dog ownership can sometimes be related to experiences that we have as humans. For instance, when a child is going to the dentist, to school, a zoo, or any other environment for the first time, or meeting someone new, there can be apprehension and discomfort; even fear, as a result of experiencing these new events. However, we do not shelter our children from these events: we encourage them to interact with the world, and we encourage the world to interact with our children. This is known as socialization, and is a vital part of healthy functioning in any social hierarchy- including in the world of dogs.

Numerous studies have shown repeatedly that there is a peak period for socialization in puppies, typically from three to twelve weeks of age. Although socialization is a lifelong necessity, it is during this important time that a majority of the behaviors your dog displays in social situations will be determined. So how do you socialize your puppy? You take them everywhere with you, and you introduce them to as many different sights, sounds, smells, and other creatures that you possibly can.

Even the first few days with a new puppy are about socialization. They will be investigating their new home, getting to know you, and coming to understand their role in your family hierarchy. During this time, and over the next several weeks, slowly expose your puppy to everything in and around your home. Run household machinery like the dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, a hair dryer, or a generator. Introduce your puppy to your other pets and family members. While experiencing these things, try not to focus on your pup too much. Act as you normally would when around these people or pieces of equipment. Be certain to give lavish praise when the encounter is over and your puppy acted favorably.

Take your puppy for frequent walks, both on a leash and off, depending on the safety of your environment. Brush your puppy on a regular basis, and handle his feet, tail, ears and lips. Expose him to a crate or kennel, and encourage him to sleep or simply relax in it.

Bring your puppy out into the world. Take him for regular car rides, and expose him to the radio, to the beep of a horn, and to the sound of wind rushing in through an open window. Your pup should be exposed to a farm, and be introduced to various farm animals. City parks, walking trails, dog parks and beaches are all great places to expose your dog to a wide variety of stimuli. You should beware, however, to keep your puppy away from strange dogs, or dogs that appear wounded or ill. Remember that your puppy's immune system is still quite young, and that not everyone vaccinates their dogs.

Socialization with your puppy should never be rushed or forced. In addition, you should be mindful that you are rewarding the right behavior, and correcting undesired behavior. Your pup should never be soothed when it is acting unfavorable. Soothing is a form of praise, and therefore there are situations where you can actually be "praising" your dog for being neurotic, fearful or aggressive.

Like humans, dogs go through different psychological phases as they grow older. Their personalities change, and the way they respond to their environment can change. This is why it is important to continue your dog's socialization for its entire life. Besides, that's what your puppy wants anyway- to go with you and experience everything you do!

About the Author
Geoffrey A. English is the Founder of, the internet's premiere online magazine dedicated to gun dogs. Their site has a large selection of shock collars from brands such as; Tri-tronics and SportDOG.


Four Types of Feline Allergies
by D Swain

Much like people, cats can suffer from allergies too. There are four types of feline allergies. They include flea, inhalant, food, and contact. Let's take a look at these four different types.

Most cats don't have much of a reaction to a flea bite. However, some cats can have a severe allergic reaction to just one bite. The intense itching will prompt your cat to chew or severely scratch himself. This can cause the hair in the area too fall out. Your cat can also develop open sores which may open him up to a bacterial infection. It is important to practice very good flea control if your cat is allergic to flea bites.


Some cats also suffer from contact feline allergies. Various materials around your home can cause an allergic reaction. Common items bedding and flea collars. This type of allergy is easy to treat, as you simply have to keep your cat away from the offending material.


Some felines develop an allergy to certain ingredients in their food. Most cats develop this type of allergy after consuming the food over a long period of time. Common ingredients include eggs, wheat, corn, chicken, milk, and beef. If your cat develops a food allergy, he may suffer respiratory problems, digestive problems, or severe itching. You will have to keep an eye on what foods your cat eats. In some cases, your cat may have to take medications such as steroids or antihistamines.


One of the last types of feline allergies is the inhalant variety. This is the most common form. Cats can be allergic to dust mites, mildew, mold, or pollen. If your cat is allergic to pollen, he may experience flare-ups at certain times of the year, just like people. Cats that are allergic to mold, mildew, or dust mites may experience reactions throughout the year. Some cats are treated using hypoallergenic shampoo, while others undergo desensitization.

About the Author
Feline allergies can be very troublesome for your cat. However, there are many other diseases and conditions that may affect your cat in the future such as feline hypothyroidism. So, stop by to learn about more of these other conditions like feline asthma.


Can You Really Be a Dog's Best Friend? A Top 10 List
by Jay Gaulard

I think that's a valid question, and I don't ask it lightly. The short answer is yes. The long answer may be no, and let me tell you why.
I think I'll start things off with a short story. It's interesting and I think it will shed some light on what I am thinking.

Way back in 1999, I was attending graduate school at Binghamton University. I lived on the third floor of an old house in a very small apartment. The house was in a rather congested part of town, so all of the residents could get a very clear picture of what was happening in the neighborhood around them. From my apartment, I had a pretty good vantage point of a few backyards that were close by.

As you could imagine, while attending graduate school, I was required to study for a good portion of the day and night. There was no way to get around it and much of it had to be done in my apartment. In order to have a good studying session, I needed quiet. Thinking back, I should have moved into a more sparse part of town.

The day after I moved in, I remember looking out the window into the backyard across the street. There were two dogs lying down on a dirt area. They were tethered together by the same dog leash, a piece of one tied to the other. Their heads were about a foot apart and they had no where to go. Every time someone passed on the sidewalk, they would stand up and run to the chain link fence, barking. This went on day after day. Eventually, someone from the neighborhood called the ASPCA and had the dogs removed. The owners were charged with having the dogs outside without shelter and a few other things.

This brings me to the point of this piece. Why do people bring dogs into their homes, when they clearly don't have the means to properly care for them?

I'm sure we have all seen it a thousand times; the messiest house on the road with three viscous dogs chained to a stump in the front yard, the college students who thought it would be fun to get a "house" puppy, the overworked parents who thought it would be a good idea to get their young children an active puppy to play with.

What's the common theme that runs across all three examples above? Bad choices. I think the mistakes many people make are 1) they don't understand that owning a dog is a huge responsibility and 2) dogs can lead miserable lives, if not taken care of properly.

Here is a (hopefully helpful) list of reminders that you should consider before bringing a dog into your family:

1. Dogs bark. If you like your neighbors and want them to continue liking you, be sure to consider this when choosing the breed of dog you get.

2. Dogs eat. If you have trouble paying your own grocery bill, think about the extra expense of a big bag of dog food once a month.

3. Dogs need to go to the doctor. If you are having trouble paying for your own health care, think about what you are going to do the day your dog needs to have an operation.

4. Dogs need to relieve themselves. If you like to snuggle under your warm covers at 5AM in the middle January, think about the feeling you will have when your new dog starts barking to go outside at that time.

5. Dogs need to play. If you work late and no one is home, who will be there to take the dog outside to burn off all the energy they have?

6. Dogs need love. Are you ready to spend at least two hours a day with your dog?

7. Dogs need space. Do you have the room for a dog that may become hyper when it gets excited?

8. Dogs are not welcome in many rental units. Do you rent? Be aware that by having a dog, you are limiting yourselves to about 10% of available units for rent.

9. Dogs require patience. Take a good look at yourself. Have you ever lost your temper? Many dogs may do things that will upset you.

10. Dogs need to be licensed. What are the rules of your area when it comes to dog ownership?

The above list is not meant to be depressing. It's meant to give you a realistic view of what you can expect after you bring that cute, cuddly little puppy into your home. I have owned many dogs and I write from experience.

A good friend of mine owns two rather large dogs that he adopted from a friend during his senior year of college. They are both about five years old now. He loves the dogs, but feels he may have made a mistake. He may not have been ready for them. I remember asking him how he feels about owning the dogs, to which he replied, "Yeah, that was pretty much the biggest mistake I ever made."

Now, let's discuss the brighter side of things. If you have looked over the above list and think you might be ready to give a dog a new home, good for you. Just be sure to look for that dog in the right places. There are many dogs in shelters across this country that are just waiting for someone like you to walk through the door. Do the right thing and adopt. You'll be glad you did.

About the Author
This article was written by Jay Gaulard on behalf of, a popular pet classifieds website.

Best Male and Female Dog Names
by Boris Tomson

After searching long and hard, you've finally found the perfect dog. So what's next?... Finding the perfect dog name of course!The First Time at Considering that over the course of your puppies lifetime his name will be used over 30,000 times, and that 1 in 5 new dog owners want to change their dogs name in the first year, choosing the right puppy name should be given as much care and thought as you showed when finding your pooch in the first place.Below I've listed 10 dog naming tips taken from my website to be mindful of when looking for the right name, they are...
Find your Blackdog names.

1. Avoid names that sound like common commands such as Go, Stay, Sit, etc. This might cause confusion for your puppy when trying to train it.

2. Be mindful that your dog might outgrow it's name. The name Buttercup might be appropriate for a cute puppy, but not when it becomes a full grown Great Dane!

3. Choose a name with one or two syllables. Dogs not only learn it quicker, but it makes them easier to train as well.

4. Watch out for trendy names that might cause embarrassment once the trend is passed. Do you want people to realize from your dog's name that you were once a big fan of Disco?

5. If you've adopted an older dog, it's best to keep her current name so that it doesn't become confused. If for some reason you must change it, consider a name that sounds similar or rhymes.

6. Beware of the common trend to name dogs after people. Though doing so is not a bad thing in itself, if you name your pup after a friend or family member, they might take offense. Although you might think naming your dog Sally after your favorite Aunt is an honor, Aunt Sally might not. Also, be kind to your dog and name her after someone you like.

7. Does the dog name rhyme with something negative? Or maybe with the name of a family member or friend? Once discovered, you might be one of those 1 in 5 people who want to change their dogs name!

8. Stay away from potentially embarrassing names. The name "Pee Wee" might be funny at first, but as the joke gets old, how will you feel in a year or so when you have to call "Pee Wee" home at night?

9. Pick a name that matches your dogs own unique appearance or personality. The name Electra might be a good name for an energetic pooch, but not for one that like's to sleep all day.

10. Ask your dog what he thinks! Since it's going to be his name, you might want to narrow your search down to your own 5 favorite names, then try them out on your dog. You'd be surprised how well he responds to some, yet yawns at others. Keeping in mind the above tips when searching for dog names will not only ensure a long, happy friendship with your dog, but also help to avoid a mid-life name change.

When Boris tomson isn't busy running around after his own dogs, he's busy searching for more unique, cool and funny dog names for where dog names as well as other helpful dog related topics can be found. Find your Blackdog names.

About the Author
Boris Tomson is an Internet Marketer and website developer. He publishes a blog called Strategic Online Business and Marketing Tactics on a weekly basis at . He also built a website with Video, Articles and Diagrams for people interested in Authority Site Building - recommends The Authority Site Center -

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