Dogs

How to train your dog to be patient around his food bowl

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Fast-eating dogs are often aggressive around their food, so it is important to train your dog to be patient around his food dish. Here’s how: Place an empty bowl on the floor and step towards your dog so he walks backwards from the bowl. When he is a few feet away, ask him to sit […]

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How to discourage cats aggressive behavior towards dog

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Dear Cathy, We recently got a cat from our local Humane Society. He is a three-year-old male. His cage card said he wasn’t good with other cats. It wasn’t until we got home that we saw the paperwork also said he doesn’t like dogs either. We don’t have cats, but we do have a five-year-old […]

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How to get your dog to not eat so fast

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How to get your dog to not eat so fast Does your dog rush to eat his food? Does he or she practically inhale the food rather then chew and swallow? If it only takes a few seconds for your dog to woof down his dinner each night, there are ways to slow him down so […]

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Help for dog whose been attacked at dog park

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Dear Cathy, I read your response to the owner of a dog, Bella, who would become aggressive at times to other dogs in the dog park. I agree with your suggestions, but would offer another one. Our dog, Latte, was brutally attacked and became aggressive to other dogs on walks. I sought a trainer who […]

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Getting dog to relax with friends

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Dear Cathy, I have a one-year-old rescue dog named Ted. He is a Wheaten Terrier. I don’t know his past. He is very social with other dogs but is extremely shy with people. He wants to approach others but darts away if they try to pet him. This includes my family who sees him on […]

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Reader takes right steps towards dog/cat introductions

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Dear Cathy, We just took in a five-year-old dog from a family friend who could not keep him anymore.  All is going somewhat well, but he does not get along with my three-year-old cat at all. We have tried to introduce them with him being held back on a leash, but he constantly keeps going […]

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How to stop puppy from being aggressive

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Dear Cathy, My eight-month-old puppy has started to show aggression. He growls and tries to bite when you try to pick him up or put on a leash. Treats are not working. Suggestions? — Eileen, Commack, New York Dear Eileen, If this is a new behavior, take him to a veterinarian to rule out a […]

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Dog still eating too fast? Here’s one more thing to try

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Dear Cathy, We have a Black Lab named Deuces who devours her food. We bought her one of those food bowls that have “bumps” in it, so she has to eat more slowly. But after we feed her, and in two servings, she still throws all of it up. What else can we do? — […]

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How to get neighbors to pick up their dog’s poop

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Dear Cathy, At our condo complex, we have a problem with dog owners who violate the rules relative to walking their pets. Some, very few, allow their pets to defecate or urinate on lawns without picking it up. While our condo is pet-friendly, there are rules about dog walking. Is there an effective and humane […]

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How to stop dog from pooping in the car

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Dear Cathy, I have a friend who received a dog from a shelter. This dog was previously with a breeder. Whenever the dog rides in my car, he usually poops (ugh!). I don’t know if he was crate trained or not, but in such a confined space of the back seat, you would think he […]

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How to stop puppy from being so destructive

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Dear Cathy, We adopted a boxer/pug/bulldog named Magento. He is three years old. Our problem is that he is systematically eating our backyard from top to bottom. He is breaking branches off trees, and chewing on branches and the other plant materials in the yard. He only stops when he gets caught. A few hours […]

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The right music may soothe dog on car rides

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Dear Cathy, I dog-sit my daughter’s lovable Yorkypoo occasionally. He happily jumps into my car, but makes the most horrendous earsplitting noises, barking, howling, all during the drive. Having him strapped in or in his kennel, having my husband hold him in his lap, makes no difference. Could he be car sick? Any idea on […]

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“Leave it” solves a host of doggie transgressions

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Dear Cathy, I have some new neighbors that moved in with an outdoor cat. The cat uses our yard as her potty box. Our two dogs have found this cat poop delectable and they eat these deposits before I can remove them from the yard. Is there something I can do to dissuade my dogs […]

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How to introduce a puppy to a home with two cats

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Dear Cathy, We have two cats, and we’re thinking about getting a puppy. The cats are two years old. What suggestions do you have for introducing a new pet into a home with other pets? – Leslie Mallard, Norcross, Georgia Dear Leslie, The good news about bringing a puppy into a cat home Introducing puppies […]

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How do I stop my dog from obsessively licking?

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Dear Cathy, We have a big 14-year-old Silky Yorkie named Howie. In November, my husband got severely sick and was hospitalized for 11 days. He recovered at home for eight weeks. During his hospitalization, I took care of Howie while working and going to the hospital, but he was alone much more than usual. During […]

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Helping your dogs with a cross-country move

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Dear Cathy, My husband and I are moving to Nevada. We have two dogs who will be making the cross-country trip with us. One will be fine, but our Westie (West Highland Terrier) concerns us. He’s not a fan of being in the car. Any advice for how to make this a stress-free experience for […]

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How to stop dog from stress-peeing in the house

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Dear Cathy, My husband shared your column about the owner of a Dachshund and Dachshund mix whose dogs peed in the house within a half-hour of being brought in from outside. I reminded him that our Dachshund pees when his routine is upset, like when we pet-sit our children’s dogs or go away on a […]

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Licking a dog licking habit

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Dear Cathy, We have a seven-pound Chihuahua mix that we found roaming the streets six years ago.  We absolutely love our dog, but he has one particular habit that absolutely drives us crazy. He constantly licks. If he’s on any piece of furniture, he licks. When not sleeping, he licks.  I’ve brought this to the […]

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Slippery floors can make dogs fearful and anxious

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Dear Cathy, I need help with a one-year-old beagle mix that has suddenly become afraid to walk on tile.  She whines in a room or hallway until you go and get her. I have tried rugs, but that has not worked, and treats, which works fairly well, but I have to go get her. I […]

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Helping scooting dogs

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Dear Cathy, My veterinarian has been trying to help my dog keep from constant scooting since age four. She is more than 13-years-old and still does it, fussing and whining because her anal sacs are irritated. The veterinarian empties the sacs, as needed. I add fiber products in her wet food as advised by my […]

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German Shepard fighting staph infection

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Dear Cathy, I have a ten-year-old German Shepherd. She has been fighting a staph infection for the past three years. She is currently being treated by a dermatologist and has been through every medication available, but is no longer healing or getting any relief. I would say approximately 75% of her body is covered in […]

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Reward tricks with treats to help dog learn new behaviors

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Dear Cathy, My neighbors moved away and could not take their dog with them. We took Buster in with us. He is a five or six-year-old lab mix. Buster took to his new surroundings very well. He is housebroken, very gentle and obedient. All in all, he’s a very nice dog and we are happy […]

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Doggie day care to help with socialization

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Dear Cathy, I read your response to the owner of a dog, Bella, who would become aggressive at times to other dogs in the dog park. I agree with your suggestions, but would offer another one. Our dog, Latte, was brutally attacked and became aggressive to other dogs on walks. I sought a trainer who […]

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Teaching a dog-reactive dog to calm down on a walk

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Dear Cathy, My wife and I rescued an adorable little white munchkin a few years ago. I was going to foster him, but that changed after ten minutes in our home. Charlie was ours. He’s a great companion, but he gets a little whacked out when we are walking and another dog comes into view […]

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Fostering as flexible opportunity to love and help animals

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Dear Cathy, I am writing in response to the woman a few weeks ago whose cat died “in God’s timeline,” and she was grateful she didn’t have to euthanize her cat. I had to make the decision twice in the last 20 years, and swore I would never do it again either. But I missed […]

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Situational doggie incontinence

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Dear Cathy, I have a problem with Buster, my two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. Buster loves attention, especially from new people or people he doesn’t see often. The problem is, he pees when he gets excited. I’ll let him out beforehand if I know someone is coming over. I also have unexpected guests go to the […]

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How to correct (or reward) a dog’s digging habit

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Dear Cathy, I adopted a lab/pug mix from a local shelter, and we just love her. Unfortunately, she’s a digger. She is digging our tree and lilac roots, which she pulls out and chews up. I’m hoping it might be a vitamin deficiency that we can fix with nutrition, otherwise any suggestions? I have put […]

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Urinary incontinence in dogs can be frustrating to manage

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Dear Cathy, We have a seven-year-old Chihuahua mix. She has a problem leaking urine all the time. We took her to the vet and she was checked out and had an x-ray, but they couldn’t find anything wrong. They recommend a specialist, which costs thousands of dollars for testing. We do not have that kind […]

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Why dogs greet you with toys in their mouths

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Dear Cathy, I have a two-year-old spayed female cocker spaniel named Roxy. She is a wonderful dog. Whenever anyone comes to the house, including myself, she picks up one of her stuffed toys and runs over to whoever came in with it in her mouth. She gets very excited and her tail wags. I think […]

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Because most dogs can’t do two things at once either

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Dear Cathy, We have a wonderful Beagle/mix who is almost 10 years old. We are constantly amazed by Tanner’s intelligence and loving nature, but he has one behavior that we cannot seem to control.  He barks at everyone who walks by our house, whether or not they are walking a dog, and everyone who comes […]

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Both male and female dogs hump for many different reasons

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Dear Cathy, Our Katie is a five-year-old Lab mix. She’s always been obedient and will lick you to death if you let her. Now suddenly, when little kids come over, she gets super excited and starts humping them. Why now, after all this time, is she doing this? I thought only male dogs hump. Any […]

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Senior dog hiding her food

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Dear Cathy, Rosie, my nine-year-old Scottie (Scottish Terrier), has been trying to hide her dry dog food with the cloth mat, which is under the bowl.  She also puts some food in her kitchen bed, which is near the bowl. She does eventually eat it all. I’ve been feeding her the same dry food for […]

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Treat dog anxiety and then train

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Dear Cathy, I have a ten-year-old and 13-year-old Boston terrier and a two-year-old cat. My ten-year-old Billy is a handful. He is the busiest dog I have ever met. He licks constantly and cries and complains all the time. I love him to bits, but his behavior is very stressful and is a lot to […]

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How to manage your high-energy dog

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Dear Cathy, We have a three-year-old Chiweenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund mix). As a puppy, she was abused and kept in a small cage. We brought her home at eight months old. When we put her down on the floor, she took off running around the house and was so excited she ran until she collapsed. We are […]

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Help for lethargic adopted dog

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Dear Cathy, I adopted a three-year-old cockapoo from a shelter. Within two days, I realized he could not hear and confirmed it with my veterinarian. The vet said there seemed to be a residual ear infection, which we treated. He also tested positive for Lyme disease. I have only had him for a short period […]

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Getting a senior dog to eat

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Dear Cathy, I have a ten-year-old Maltese/Shih Tzu mix, in relatively good health. About a year ago, my veterinarian put him on a senior diet because of a slightly raised creatine level, which now is back to normal. He was not pleased with the new food, and I had to try eight different brands. He […]

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Grass eating could mean several things

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Dear Cathy, My three dogs, Reesie, Captain Jack, and Dobie, all eat a lot of grass. I was told the dog food I feed them is a good one. When I feed them, I add a little water to the food, so it isn’t so dry.  I do not let the food get soggy.  I […]

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When dogs stick their noses where they don’t belong

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Dear Cathy, Our grand dog is one-year-old and not yet neutered. He has a habit of sticking his nose in people’s behinds. We’ve had success with eliminating his jumping up on people by using a spray bottle. But for this behavior, it is very difficult to spray when it could be effective. Do you have […]

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Dog that barks while he walks

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Dear Cathy, We have a Border Collie/Aussie shepherd mix. She’s a wonderful dog, and will be eight-years-old this September. We adopted her when she was two. We love her, but her constant barking when we take her for her daily walk is really getting on our nerves! It starts as soon as we put her […]

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What to do when your dog eats dog poop

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Dear Cathy,  Sometimes it is difficult during heavy rains and really cold weather to stand outside in the backyard when our dog poops so we can make sure he doesn’t eat it. Is there any way to stop him from this habit except to stand outside and grab its before he eats it? — Virginia […]

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Behavior changes in older dog with health issues

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Dear Cathy, I have a 14-year-old Min Pin (Miniature Pinscher) who has diabetes and is blind. She has started going in circles to the left, sometimes very rapidly. Do you have any idea what might be causing this? – Rande Repke, Naperville, IL Dear Rande, While circling could just be a new behavior, your girl’s age and […]

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Where to find adoptable pets

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Dear Cathy, Do you have any information on area shelters where you can adopt pets? Originally, I was looking for a sheltie dog, but I am expanding my preference, and just looking for other shelters where I can adopt. — Char Fiore, Franklin Park, Illinois Dear Char, You can search several animal shelters and rescue […]

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Dogs that get more anxious with age

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Dear Cathy, I have an 11-year-old Maltese. For the last two years, we’ve noticed that whenever people come over, he gets extremely anxious and whines throughout their entire visit. He humps his toys. He licks his privates. I’ve read that as dogs get older they become more anxious. I’ve tried an anxiety shirt. It doesn’t […]

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Don’t believe it; dogs can get fleas at a kennel

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Dear Cathy, We boarded our 115-lb. white German Shepherd for 10 days. A few hours after picking him up from the kennel, we discovered he had fleas. The kennel owner said the flea life cycle was 14 days and therefore, my dog could not have gotten fleas during his stay. She said that the fleas […]

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Training away an ankle-biter habit

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Dear Cathy, My miniature poodle was a rescue. I was recently put in assisted living, so my daughter agreed to take my dog. The problem is, he has a bad habit of jumping and nipping people, mostly men, in the behind of ankle. I have not been able to break him of that habit. Could […]

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How to handle approaching dogs on a walk

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Dear Cathy, I have a 16-pound Havashu. We do not have a fenced yard, so she is walked several times a day. There are quite a few large dogs that we encounter on our walks through the neighborhood. Some are being walked and are leashed, and some are allowed loose. Sometimes, the people with the […]

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Respectful and non-intimidating engagement with new dogs

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Dear Cathy, Your suggestions to James C. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who was having problems bonding with his daughter’s dog, were good ones, including bringing a special toy for the dog and helping walk or feed the dog while visiting. I also found avoiding eye contact with my in-laws’ dog helped tremendously. The dog was […]

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Finding relief for what’s itching your dog

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Dear Cathy, My ten-year-old dog gnaws occasionally on his front legs, which end up red, inflamed and bare of hair. What might be causing this and how do I treat it? – Mel Davenport, Longview, Texas Dear Mel, Dogs itch for a variety of reasons, ranging from boredom and anxiety to fleas, food allergies and […]

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Benefits outweigh risks of the Parvo vaccine

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Dear Cathy,  My son recently bought a three-month-old Boston Terrier named Riley, who is now receiving all of his necessary vaccinations. My son has been advised the next vaccination will be for the parvovirus, but because of the side effects he’s heard and read about, he is clearly leaning toward not getting this shot for […]

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You can change a dog’s diet if you transition slowly

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Dear Cathy, When my mother passed away, I inherited her cocker spaniel.  He ate dog food as a puppy, but as an adult, she fed him table scraps. He eats green beans, baked chicken and turkey jerky, among his favorites. He is eight, and I was wondering if it is too late to try to […]

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Socialize your dog before visiting the dog park

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Dear Cathy, I’m having a problem with my rescue dog, Bella, who is a 3-1/2-year-old Pitbull and Shar-Pei mix. When I take Bella and her two other furry friends to the dog park, she gets very aggressive with other dogs. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Bella will pounce, growl and snap at another dog who is […]

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Skin problems and weight loss need a vet consult

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Dear Cathy,  My son has an almost four-year-old lab mix. These past few months, her fur seems to be coming off in patches around her body, it scabs and bleeds at times. She seems to be losing weight as well. We don’t know what’s causing this. We want to take her to the vet, but […]

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How to help a shy dog gain confidence in you

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Dear Cathy, My adult daughter and her family have a female lab mix named Scooby. Despite my seeing her three to four times a year (they live in Atlanta), she is always afraid of me and will sometimes bark and growl at me. Eventually she calms down and I can pet her. Even though she […]

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Teaching a dog-reactive dog not to react to other dogs

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Dear Cathy, My daughter recently bought a three-year-old French Bulldog from a breeder who did not provide all the information about the dog. Our main concern is the dog is not friendly to other dogs and starts to bark and appears to want to attack the other dogs. Is there any way of training our […]

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Teaching the dog to “go potty” outside

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Dear Cathy, Evelyn in Las Vegas had a question about training her two dogs. We have a similar problem with our Australian Cattle dog, who is almost two years old. She rings the bell at the door about half the time but doesn’t “go” outside consistently. My carpets are a mess. She is a good […]

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Dog owner learns a colorful lesson on the dangers of chocolate

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Dear Cathy, One of your recent columns reminded me of this story. It was Christmas day, and I was expecting fifteen relatives for dinner. The house was sparkling clean, the buffet table was set up with my best china, the cold food platters were in the refrigerator, and the hot food was bubbling in the oven. […]

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Helping an adopted dog with separation anxiety

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Dear Cathy, In April, I adopted a retired four-year-old greyhound. I named him Geo. He suffers from extreme separation anxiety. He barks and whines when I am away. I tried doing the limited time apart, but after an hour, he reverts back to whining and barking. I purchased a new larger kennel and started letting […]

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How to handle your dog or cat’s bad breath

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Dear Cathy, We rescued our golden labs – a six-year-old brother and sister – three months ago, and they are great fun, and just the best. However, they have horrible breath. Despite giving them a ‘greenie’ a day, it is still bad.  We know and have kept other dogs and have never had complaints, like […]

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Keep training to distract dog from chewing on household items

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Dear Cathy, We have a 3-1/2-year-old Labradoodle named Rocco. He is basically a good dog, but he has a bad habit we can’t seem to break. He constantly steals stuff- socks, clothing, paper, anything he can get his paws on- and chews them and sometimes even swallows them. He even vomits stuff up sometime. We […]

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The message is, “Adopt, Don’t Shop,” for your next pet

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Dear Cathy, I read your recent article about research showing people are not more likely to return pets acquired during the winter holidays. I work for a rescue group, and our concern has always been with potential stress for a newly-adopted animal caused by large family gatherings, travel, visitors, unusual schedules and foods during this […]

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Keeping dogs under control when walking

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Dear Cathy, The lady who wrote in saying that she found collars and leashes to be “cruel” and preferred to train her rescue dogs without leads is asking for trouble. I don’t let my dogs off lead, even in areas where it is permitted. Why? Because owners may claim their dogs are friendly, but I have […]

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Stray dog found her new palace

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Dear Cathy, Your column often reminds me of our first dog – a sweet beagle who literally adopted us. One night, she was sitting in the garage when I came out to put newspapers into recycling. That poor dog cowered and crawled backwards to get away. I can’t imagine how mistreated she must have been […]

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Expectant parents: Wait until baby is born to adopt pet

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Dear Cathy, My son and daughter-in-law are having their first baby in October. They have informed us that they plan on adopting a pit bull from a rescue. My wife and I are against it. We will fear not only for them but the baby. I know people say it’s how the dog is raised. […]

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Help for itchy dog gnawing on paws

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Dear Cathy, My ten-year-old dog gnaws occasionally on places on his front legs that end up looking bare of hair and inflamed. How do I treat that? – Ann Railsback Pitts, Moyock, North Carolina Dear Ann, Dogs chew on themselves because they itch, either from fleas, allergies, or even a habit formed by anxiety or […]

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You can help your dog cope with separation anxiety

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Dear Cathy, We recently adopted a two-year-old male dog from a rescue shelter. He is a Pomeranian/Fox Terrier mix and was neutered and housebroken when we got him. Five people live in our home and he has become a very loving, happy, and content member of the family. The problem is, when left home alone, […]

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Sensitive dog barks at movement and things on TV

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Dear Cathy, I adopted BeBe two years ago. She is a mixed breed terrier about eight-years-old. She is very devoted to me. She follows me when I leave the room and hides under the bed when I leave the house. She has two issues I hope you can help me with. First, she barks at […]

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People and pets should stay together during euthanasia

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Dear Cathy,  I have a sad question.  Since 2011, I have had to euthanize three dogs. My Dachshund Troy, almost 18 years of age, went peacefully. He went to sleep after the initial shot, and died after the second shot. My Maltese, Star, 13-years-old, did not respond to either shot. They had to take her […]

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Mourning dog’s behavior tied to loss of loved one

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Dear Cathy, We are friends with an elderly couple who adopted a young rescue about ten years ago. The wife passed away about a month ago, and suddenly the dog is peeing on the carpet three times in one day, even though he has a doggie door that he does continue to use regularly. This […]

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Keep pets safe from extremes of weather

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Dear Cathy, Though I agree with your response to the lady in Arizona who has the 12-year-old Golden Retriever who won’t drink water when outside, I also think that you should have said that a dog should not be kept all day in the heat, especially in Arizona. That poor dog. Please tell pet owners […]

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Obedience training can help with excessive barking

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Dear Cathy, We have a 10-year-old pit bull who is an excessive barker. People do not visit because the dog never stops barking. The dog is fine with my wife, but if I come into the room where my wife is, the dog barks her head off. We tried giving her commands, but it takes […]

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Keeping pup from licking paws

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Dear Cathy, Our ten-year-old rescue, Buddy, a Poodle Bichon, recently began to lick both fore ankles, just above the paws. He has licked his white fur turning it into an ugly, angry pink, and the skin looks raw.  We have checked him for parasites and found nothing. He has been to the groomer and bathed, […]

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Walking dogs off-leash can stress other dogs and people

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Dear Cathy, A few months ago we moved to a community that requires dogs to be leashed while walking. Leash walking has been clearly stated in our newsletter several times. If someone ignores this community rule, they are fined at some point, but I don’t know if that has ever happened. In our previous home, […]

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Handling a fearful Chiweenie

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Dear Cathy, We have a four-year-old Chiweenie who likes only four people and one other dog. He is afraid of everyone else. We want to go on vacation in the RV and leave him at home because otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to do anything or go anywhere. My sons are not able to take […]

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Good reasons to restrain your dog

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Dear Cathy, You really brought up a hot-button issue the other day. While walking on a trail, we came upon a large dog off-leash. The owner told us not to worry that her dog was well trained. I pulled my Shih Tzu close to me. Her dog came over though, and before we knew it, […]

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Keep the leashes on- it’s safer and it’s the law

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Dear Cathy, I’ve been fostering abused and neglected dogs for about five months. They pulled on their leashes, which produces tension on their necks and causes stridor (harsh vibrating sound) when they sleep. Leash training takes time. The vest and other walking devices also cause problems. I think collaring/leashing dogs is cruel now and prefer […]

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Pet- and kid- proofing the Christmas tree

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Dear Cathy, I read your column in the Chicago Tribune/Lake County News-Sun, and I enjoy it very much. You asked for stories about keeping a Christmas tree upright when animals are present. Here’s mine. I am a retired art teacher, but many years ago I also had some private students. One of my students was […]

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Chaos turned to peace after consistent training

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Dear Cathy, I wanted to give you an update on the training you recommended for my pups last year. They are finally learning to signal with a bark or a whimper at the door. They are so well trained now it is absolutely amazing. I can go out for hours and go to bed at […]

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Keep food gifts out from under the Christmas tree

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Dear Cathy, I live alone with Andy, my 110lb yellow Lab. (He is not fat, just a big dog.) Last Christmas, I wrapped presents and put them under the Christmas tree. The next day I went on a golf outing. When I returned, I found a small scrap of paper on the kitchen floor. Turns […]

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SSSCAT Spray pet deterrent

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Dear Cathy, SSSCAT Spray by Petsafe has kept my two cats away from the Christmas tree for years. I just put batteries in, and the motion sensor detects curious kitties and emits a harmless shot of air. They quickly get the hint. It’s available at many online retailers, and costs about $30. – Stacey, Nashville, […]

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When is the right time to help a pet pass over?

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Dear Cathy, Our beloved husky Krypto is over 13 years old. He has had Valley Fever for over a year and has been taking compounded meds (Fluconazole) for eight months. He is very thin, although he eats a lot and has a good appetite. He drinks gallons of water every day. In fact, when the […]

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How do you clean a dog who is afraid of a bath?

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Dear Cathy, Our eight-year-old dog, Shea, has never liked getting wet, but has tolerated being bathed and getting wet to “do her business” in the rain. However, when my son tried to bring Shea upstairs to give her a bath the other day (she is 48 pounds), she started growling and snarling and hiding behind […]

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Newly adopted dog takes time to settle in

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Dear Cathy, I recently adopted a two-year-old dog rescue from China. She had been in a rescue center here for three weeks when I got her. She is a wonderful dog, but, probably because of her background, has no interest in any toys, not even the ones that offer a reward. I take her for […]

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Dog won’t drink water when owner not home

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Dear Cathy, Whenever I have to go out during the day, I leave my 12-year-old Golden Retriever in the backyard where she has ample shade, a covered patio and a large bowl of fresh water.  She does not drink any water when I am out even if am gone for most of the day and […]

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Dog drinking excessive water a possible sign of disease

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Dear Cathy, Your column is interesting, and I enjoy reading it. But, you dropped the ball on your advice to the parent of the husky Krypto. Krypto’s mom Darlene said, “He drinks gallons of water every day. In fact, when the vet took a sample, it was almost all water. He pees a lot too. […]

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What could cause a dog to go blind so quickly?

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Dear Cathy, What causes a six-year-old dog to go blind in less than a week? Is there anything we can do to fix it? The vet says she has SARDS. — J. Vozzo, Henderson, Nevada Dear J, While several conditions can cause your dog to go blind quickly, if your veterinarian says your dog has […]

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Woman says condo doesn’t allow “service” dogs

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Dear Cathy, I live in a condo that doesn’t allow certain service dogs. I have a certificate, a vest and badge, and a doctor’s letter, but the president of the condo association doesn’t want to look at it. I have panic attacks, anxiety and depression. When I have my lab with me, she calms me down […]

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Shaming owners to change behavior doesn’t work

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Dear Cathy, I cannot believe your answer to John who “inherited” his daughter’s 115-pound Great Dane. Substitute “dumped” for inherited and “cruel” for metal cage daily. Oh yeah, that would require critical thinking on your part – instead of “pat” answers.  Why not educate these people? Don’t buy a dog you plan on leaving in […]

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Socializing and training a fearful dog

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Dear Cathy, My dog, Major, is a rescue who was 18 weeks old when we got him and is almost two years old now. I fell in love with him in his cage huddled against the wall with his head up the wall. He is so sweet and gentle. I have taken him to dog […]

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Approaching neighbors about leash laws

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Dear Cathy, In the Newsday column on July 16, 2018, a woman from Illinois complained about her neighbor having her dog loose out in the front yard when she was walking her dog. The dog would come up to her dog. I googled it because I have problems with my neighbor’s six dogs running around […]

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Breaking the habit of growling at visitors at the front door

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Dear Cathy, My dog, a Yorkie-Pekinese mix, barks at every noise he hears. He goes into a frenzy when someone comes to the door. If I let them in, he is very aggressive and will even bite visitors. If I leash him, he gets worse. He is four years old. I adopted him three weeks […]

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When people let their dogs run off-leash

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Dear Cathy, I am getting frustrated with people with unleashed dogs. I have a six-year-old poodle-bichon, Rosie, that we rescued three years ago. She is great with people, especially kids, but is very aggressive whenever we see other small dogs.  As the summer is progressing, I encounter more people out in their yards with small […]

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Don’t leave dog in kennel all day

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Dear Cathy,  I inherited a 115-pound, seven-year-old Great Dane from my daughter. At my daughter’s house, she was kept in a very large metal cage most of the day because of work and school. No issues were ever reported. At my house, she tears up anything inside her cage, even if we are gone for […]

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Helping a small overprotective dog feel at ease

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Dear Cathy, My Chihuahua is extremely protective of me. No one can touch me or come near me. I want to learn how to teach my dog not to be defensive on my command.  – Rafael, New Castle, Delaware Dear Rafael, With a small dog, overprotectiveness is mostly related to fear. Growling and baring their […]

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Lethargic pets and possible causes

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Dear Cathy, In response to a letter from Emma about her lethargic dog, Dorie, what about depression? Can’t dogs get depressed? My border collie was treated with a short trial of antidepressants and it was quite helpful. He is a rescue and very atypical of his breed; not energetic and intense, like they usually are. […]

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Aggression in ageing dog can indicate pain

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Dear Cathy, I have a 13-1/2 year old wheaten terrier. He is in failing health. The veterinarian told us he has severe arthritis in his back legs and has a large gingival mass in the left maxillary region. We have not had the mass biopsied because of his age. The reason I am writing to […]

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Dog keeps digging at same spot in carpet

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Dear Cathy, For the past few weeks, my ten-year-old poodle has been pawing the rug in my living room. As a result, the nap is being pulled up. Please tell me why he is doing this and how I can handle this situation other than correcting him with a no command. – Evelyn, Massapequa, New […]

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Dog has begun barking when home alone

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Dear Cathy, Our 13-year-old Havanese has begun barking when we are not home. We only discovered this after installing a video camera in our home that turns on when there is noise. He barks every 10 to 15 minutes when we are not at home. Since we live in a detached home, we have never […]

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Young reader worries about her lethargic dog

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Dear Cathy, I am a thirteen-year-old girl. My parents and I adopted a three-year-old mixed-lab female dog last August from a rescue group in South Carolina. At first, Dorie was very timid and thin, but she has gained a lot of weight and is not at all active. She prefers to either lay on her […]

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Get the vet to recheck growing spot

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Dear Cathy, My seven-year old brown Shih Tzu has a black “hot spot” on his right-hind quarter. It was a small dot but has grown to over three-inches and is raised. The vet said not to worry about it, but we are concerned. Is it a mole, is it cancer, is it nothing? While it […]

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Possible reasons dog has become a hoarder

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Dear Cathy, We have a nine-year-old, 14-pound female dog named Bernie. We believe her parents were Bichons. We brought Bernie home when she was only four weeks old because of the desperate condition she and the rest of the litter and parents were in. Our recent concern is that Bernie has become a hoarder. On […]

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Neighbors and pets

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Dear Cathy, I am a very responsible pet owner. I currently have two small breed dogs, a 13-year-old toy Rat Terrier, and a nine-year-old tricolor Chihuahua. I walk my doggies every day but, for the most part, they are home bodies. Recently, a disgruntled neighbor called animal control and filed a ‘Citizens Complaint’ against me […]

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When should your dog’s pricked ears stand up

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Dear Cathy, My wife and I recently purchased our fourth German Shepherd. Two have passed, and we have one who is 11-years-old. Our previous puppies’ ears stood up at about two to three months, but our new addition turns four months tomorrow, and her ears still droop. We feed her a brand of puppy chow, […]

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Dog paws out special space before sleep

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Dear Cathy, I have a one-year-old terrier mix who is very calm and sweet all day until bedtime. She comes to bed with us and immediately begins to scratch and paw at the bed covers. This behavior continues until I pick her up and calm her down. Finally, she will lie down and then sleep […]

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How to control a dog trying to control you

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Dear Cathy, We rescued a miniature poodle in 2016. He was five months old. It has been a trying 18 months. We took (obedience) training with him and he got the basics. He just turned two and no longer eats everything he finds. But he has bitten both my husband and me on multiple occasions. […]

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Teaching energetic dog to relax

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Dear Cathy, My son’s dog, a beautiful two year old German Shepherd, is great in so many ways except for one habit/compulsion: she constantly wants to play ball. Even after a two-mile run she can’t just sit down and relax. We love her and want the best for her, but she is relentless with this […]

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Discouraging dog’s distressing poop eating

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Dear Cathy,  What can I do to discourage my doxie’s occasional dog-poop eating? I try to pick it up every day but sometimes she gets back outside before I do. Also, my daughter can’t clean her yard every day and her dog “snacks” as well, sometimes bringing dried poop back inside – yuck! Is there […]

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Older dog experiencing new separation anxiety

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Dear Cathy,  We have a 16-1/2-year-old rescue Jack Russell. He is the love of our lives. He recently went deaf and now is almost blind as well. He recently underwent surgery to have 13 teeth pulled. He’s a real trooper. Even though he has all these old age issues, he remains spry when he’s up. […]

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Research ongoing for dogs with CIL disease

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Dear Cathy, I would like to bring some attention to a terrible disease that strikes all breeds of dogs, but rarely gets any publicity – Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasis, which is an intestinal disease, causing diarrhea, swelling, and malabsorption. I had never heard of it before my eight-year-old Bulldog Daisy was diagnosed through an ultrasound and […]

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Reining in the excited loud barking

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Dear Cathy, My eight-year-old dog Zoe is part cattle dog and border collie. When we go for walks, she is very excited, grabbing on the leash and growling and barking. She is fine in half a block and doesn’t make any noise the rest of the walk. I have tried bringing treats to distract her and looking […]

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Teaching a teething puppy not to bite you

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Dear Cathy, My 15-week-old silver Labrador is our pride and joy, but she just won’t stop biting. What do you suggest? – Frank, Oro Valley, Arizona Dear Frank, Puppies teethe around four-months-old and need teething toys and lessons from you on what’s acceptable to put in their mouths.  Don’t use your hands or arms to […]

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Dog afraid of going outside

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Dear Cathy, I catch your column in the Allentown Morning Call. I found your column about basically taming your house cat very helpful. My parents are amazed at how our 10-year-old cat has been transformed over the last year. Who knew you could teach an old cat new tricks? I am hoping you could help […]

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How to find pet sitters in your area

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Dear Cathy, My daughter is getting married in a few months, and I need someone to pet-sit my Boston Terrier, age seven. Is there a legitimate list I can get somewhere that offers pet sitters in my area? — Ted, Merrick, New York Dear Ted, There are several sites where you can search for pet […]

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Tips for getting dogs to pee outside

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Dear Cathy, During wintery weather, our 14-year-old 10-pound female Chihuahua mix dog doesn’t want to go outside. Normally, we go for walks two to three times daily to take care of her toileting needs. Because of the snow and cold weather, however, she refuses to have bowel movements outside and will wait almost the entire […]

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Techniques to train a dog to not “mark” around the house

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Dear Cathy, We have four miniature dachshunds. We started with a brother and sister. Years later, we bred the sister, and we kept two of her female puppies. After that, the male began to mark in the house. He was always neutered and had never done this before. We used wraps to contain this, and […]

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Possible causes and solutions for hair loss in dogs

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Dear Cathy, I adopted a four-year-old Maltese mix several months ago. He has a very sparse amount of hair on his chest area and inside of his legs. The rest of his hair is fine and thin.  I thought this might be due to stress and diet. He eats well and is a very happy […]

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Obedience training essential to correct over-protective dogs

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Dear Cathy, I have a Havanese dog who is approximately seven years old. My daughter and I adopted him from North Shore Animal league five years ago, but since she moved out he’s become very attached to me. He is very loving. He follows me all over and sleeps with me. He is walked at […]

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Teaching a rescue dog to play

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Dear Cathy,  My husband and I rescued a six-year-old yellow lab/ greyhound mix. He must have been abused because he has scars on his front legs and he was very skittish in the beginning.  We love him so much, but he doesn’t know how to play. We throw the ball or Frisbee and he just […]

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Distract and treat for timid dogs afraid of cars

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Dear Cathy, My son, who lives with us, has a three-year-old 106-pound female German Shepherd/Boxer mix. She is a very sweet and loving dog, but very timid. We have a large fenced-in yard, which is where she typically goes, but we live at the end of a cul-de-sac and when we take her for a […]

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Oral hygiene options for your dog and cat

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Dear Cathy, My dog is six and a half years old and had to have her teeth cleaned about a year ago. Since then, I had started brushing her teeth almost every day, as the vet suggested. Now she will not let me get near her mouth to brush her teeth. She doesn’t growl or […]

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When routine behavior changes look for a health problem

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Dear Cathy, Our wonderful sweet rescue dog, Pippin, has developed some sort of anxiety at bedtime. This behavior has come out of the blue. He is about eight and we have had him almost five years. Until recently, he seemed to really love bedtime. He would jump into our bed and cuddle. When we turned […]

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Keeping your birds safe when painting in the home

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Dear Cathy, We would love to have the interior of our home painted professionally, but we have two birds. One is a Cockatoo that we’ve had for 32 years, and the other is a parrot that we’ve had for three years. I’ve done research on using low VOC paint, but I still don’t trust what […]

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Training older dogs keeps the mind young

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The other day I was in the office supply store and found my heart racing. I looked at the pens and pencils, the notebooks and back packs that line the aisles this time of year, and all I could think about was how great it would be to go back to school. This is not […]

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Do you have a gassy dog?

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If you have a dog, you may have passed gas and then blamed him for it. “Max, did you do that?” Your dog, the loving canine that he is, silently accepts responsibility for the social infraction without missing a beat. But maybe you really do have a gassy dog and you find yourself constantly explaining […]

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Teaching a shy dog to have more confidence

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Q: We have had our dog Schageh for about three years now, and he is still fearful, even of us. He was in the shelter system for about a year before we got him. He is more confident when the other dogs in the house are near us, but doesn’t like to be by people […]

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Prepare pet for baby’s arrival

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At the shelter the other day, a young couple was waiting to adopt a Labrador retriever puppy. The puppy was bouncing around and the couple was smothering him with attention. I was distraught over this possible adoption. The woman was pregnant and only a few weeks from having a baby. I guessed she was adopting […]

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How to handle your dog's leash aggression

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Dear Cathy: I have a 3-year-old terrier mix that loves to go for walks. She is usually friendly with other dogs, but not when she is on a leash. When she meets a dog face-to-face on a leash, there is usually some ugly growling exchanged. Her ears go back and her hackles go up. How […]

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"Resident dogs" are usually the biters

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In a sensational world, headlines about dog bites and canine aggression tend to focus on certain breeds rather than the circumstances that create these behaviors. If you really want to understand canine behavior, then you need to know there are two types of dogs living in the United State, according to the National Canine Research […]

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Take the jump out of your dog

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The other day while teaching a pets and babies class for new parents-to-be, I asked the group what their biggest concern was about their pets and babies interacting. On this day, the concerns were almost unanimous: Everyone who had dogs was concerned about their dog’s jumping behavior. Rambunctious pooches jump because they are excited and […]

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Dogs don't always listen? Here's why

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Letters about “stubborn dogs” that don’t seem to listen flood my e-mail. Margie G. says, “Whenever we go for walks, I say my dog’s name, but she doesn’t turn her head to look at me.” Gina says she must ask her dog to “sit” several times before her dog will even think about complying. “What […]

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Why do dogs like squeaky things?

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Does your dog go crazy every time you bring home a squeaky toy. Does he grab it and shake his head back and forth as if he is trying to kill it. After the squeaker stops working, does he drops the toy and never touch it again. Well, once upon a time, when dogs hunted […]

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Can dogs watch TV?

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A reader says her mom’s dog Jack watches TV. “He actually follows objects as they move across the screen and loves animal shows and sports shows that my dad turns on,” she says. “Is this really possible?”  Many people say their dogs watch TV and it seems they really are following some of the action on […]

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Dogs as smart as two to three year olds

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When it comes to intelligence, the latest researchs shows dogs are apparently as smart as two to three year old kids. They can comprehend about 165 words, learn signals, and can even count up to about 5, according to Stanley Coren, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of ” How Dogs […]

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Top ten wild animals that most commonly attack pets

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Wild animals can and do attack our pets, leaving lacerations, bite wounds, puncture, and soft tissue trauma — and a trip to the pet emergency room for you. Snakebites, which are the most commonly reported injuries, may require anti-venom whereas scorpion stings may cause allergic reactions requiring antihistamines. Treatment may vary depending on the severity of the attack and […]

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Unsafe levels of fluoride found in dog food

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The Environmental Working Group recently commissioned an independent study and discovered that eight national brands of dog food, marketed to puppies and adults, had unsafe levels of fluoride. In fact, the fluoride was 1.6 to 2.5 times higher than what the EPA has deemed a safe amount in human drinking water. Why is excessive fluoride a problem for […]

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Report sheds light on pit bull attacks

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DogsBite.org, a national dog bite victims’ group, released their 2008 report on pit bulls shot for public safety reasons. The 20-page report documents 373 incidences in which U.S. law enforcement officers and citizens were forced to shoot a dangerous pit bull to prevent an attack or to stop an ongoing attack. The report tracked 12 […]

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Pick up after your pet; President Bush does

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Former President George W. Bush appeared at a reception for high school seniors in New Mexico recently and talked about life outside the Oval Office, which including walking his dog, Barney.  “There I was, former president of the United States of America, with a plastic bag on my hand,” he said. “Life is returning back to normal.” […]

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Why do dogs hump?

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One day, while giving a tour to some middle school students of the shelter, two dogs began humping.  The kids giggled and pointed, whispering under their breath to each other that the dogs were having sex. Certainly, that would seem to be the case, except the dogs were both females. Here was the perfect opportunity […]

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Rescue Waggin' gives pets a guaranteed second chance

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Meet Ernie. He is the 25,000th dog to take a life-saving ride on a PetSmart Charities® Rescue Waggin’® vehicle. The Rescue Waggin’ program, which celebrated its 5th anniversary this month, is a unique shelter transport program operated by PetSmart Charities, a nonprofit organization, that moves adoptable dogs from shelters with very high pet populations to shelters elsewhere […]

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Scientists study what dogs are thinking

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When it comes to studying animal behavior, dogs have rarely been on the top ten list. Not since Pavlov became interested in learning the secrets of a dog’s digestive responses have scientists given much attention to canines in the animal behavior arena. But today, Harvard scientists are wondering what dogs are thinking and using a series of […]

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100 people cited for chaining their dogs

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In Macon, Georgia, 100 dog owners were cited for chaining their dogs outside. And I say hooray to the city for boldy enforcing its chained dog ordinance. Last year, Macon passed an ordinance outlawing the chaining of dogs and cats and gave pet owners sufficient time to build runs or fences to secure their pets. Pet owners may […]

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AKC releases most popular breeds for 2008 (and 1884)

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The American Kennel Club’s top ten most popular breeds for 2008 shows the Labrador Retriever in the #1 spot for the 18th year in a row. There were twice as many Labs registered last year than any other breed making it a likely leader for many years to come. Docile and easy-going, it’s easy to see why people love […]

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"Hotel for Dogs" features former shelter pets

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  In the movie “Hotel for Dogs,” many of the 35 plus dogs on the set, according to American Humane, were once former shelter dogs.  In fact, 75 to 80 percent of pets in film are discovered in animal shelters only to be adopted by cast or crew after the filming ends, they say. It seems only […]

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Obama family down to Labradoodle or Portuguese Water Dog

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President-elect Obama announced this week that their family has narrowed down their dog choices to two possibilities – the Portuguese Water Dog and the Labradoodle. One is a curly-headed mop top, the other a relaxed version of a poodle. Both shed very little, which is what the Obama’s were looking for in a pet since […]

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Elephant and dog: two unlikely animals become BFFs

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BFF — the text jargon meaning “best friends forever” — may not just be the mantra of young girlfriends, but the pledge of happy elephants too. According to a story on CBS Sunday Morning, elephants arriving at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee seek out the special friendship of a single pachyderm at the sanctuary, a best friend they can spend most […]

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New Year's resolutions learned from dogs and cats

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While everyone is pondering their New Year’s resolutions, I have decided to venture forth this year as if my dogs and cats were my closest advisors. Here’s what pets teach about the important things in life. There’s always time to stop and smell stuff. Sticking to your diet means eating only what’s on your plate, not the plate itself. Ice cubes can be good […]

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Training remedies for Marley-like pups

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As an animal person who has spent 20 years helping people better understand their pets, the movie Marley and Me was a bit stressful. While everyone was giggling and laughing at Marley’s on-screen antics, I found myself clutching my seat and making mental notes of what they could do to get Marley under control. I […]

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10 tips for selecting the right dog – for you – at an animal shelter

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You can see him through the cage door just begging for attention: cute little brown eyes, soft plushy ears, and a wagging tail, designed to pull on your heart strings. It’s so easy to lose your heart at an animal shelter. There are so many adorable animals vying for your attention that you may find yourself wanting to […]

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Treating dogs fairly, important to other dogs

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The very first test on dogs to see how they perceived fairness was conducted and much like primates, the results, reported in the December 8, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that dogs had a real sense of what humans would call “fair play.” Researchers asked a dog to shake a paw. The dog would […]

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Tips on finding your lost dog or cat

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Losing a pet is very stressful and a cause for anxiety. As you worry about your pet’s whereabouts and safety, you might not be thinking straight, so it can be helpful to have a handy “to do” list to make sure you cover all your bases. By following a few simple tips, you will stand a […]

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Top 10 most popular–and unusual–dog and cat names of 2008

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When you can name your pet after anything from good fortune (Lucky) to food and drink (Muffin and Brandy), you would think that we would be much more original with the names we select for our pets. But, it turns out, that most people select the same names over and over again. When my sister […]

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Top 10 reasons people give for giving up their dogs

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It’s a myth to think that most pets end up at shelters because they have behavior problems. The truth is, most pets are turned into shelters because of changes in people’s lives, which means there are lots of great pets at shelters — and lots of people who have trouble adjusting to change. Here’s a […]

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Poor economy hurts dogs and cats too

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A poor economy means that more pets are ending up in animal shelters than ever before. Shelters all across the nation report rising populations, as people surrender their dogs and cats in record numbers. And, as people hold on tighter to their purse strings, shrinking donations are leaving animal shelters with fewer resources to care for this […]

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10 Steps to Starting a Dog Park

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Looking for a place for your dog to run and play off-leash? If you don’t already have a dog park in your community, your dog may thank you for helping to get one started. Dog parks exist thanks to determined dog lovers working together to bring this dedicated play area to the community. If your […]

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The truth about cat people and dog people

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Among the many burning questions that perplex our society today, none is more debated in low whispering voices than whether or not you are a dog or cat person.  Cat people claim to love the independent nature of their pets, while dog people go with the loyalty factor as a reason for their partiality. Cat people […]

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Cleaning tips for people with dogs and cats

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Cleaning up after your pets has never been easier, thanks to the new pet cleaning products available today. You don’t have to settle for dark stains on the carpet, pet hair all over the house, or an obnoxious odor. In fact, many of today’s cleaning products can remove any trace “an accident” ever happened. It’s just […]

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