10 Tips When Caring for a Senior Dog

Older dogs have different care requirements as compared to their younger counterparts. But to most people, a dog will always be a puppy even after reaching canine years, or even after their fur turns gray.

But eventually, a time will come when you realize that your dog is panting harder even when taking short walks or is struggling to climb onto the bed or the sofa. At that time, you’ll need to adjust to the lifestyle requirements of a senior dog.

Below you’ll find tips that will help you take care of your senior dog appropriately. Read on to learn more.

1.  Watch Your Dog’s Diet

Senior dogs are less active, and therefore you should avoid feeding them a diet with large amounts of calories. This will help prevent your dog from gaining extra weight that could lead to many health problems. Talk to your vet so you can understand the right diet for your aging dog.

2.  Exercise Your Dog

Exercise is a great way to keep your senior dog lean and maintain a healthy body. Just like people, as dogs age, they are unable to perform certain physical activities as they used to do when they were young. But exercises remain an important aspect of their health and well being.

Therefore, you should involve your dog in certain physical exercises. But you should tailor the exercises to the individual needs of your dog.

If your dog has not been doing exercises for a long time, start slow as you increase the intensity gradually. It is also important to consult a veterinarian to understand the duration of exercise suited for your dog.

For more information, read this article, Exercising Elderly Dogs.

3.  Involve Your Senior Dog in Social Activities

As dogs age, they tend to be less active and some even disengage from social activities. Even if your dog is too weak to go to the dog park, he’s definitely missing his pet pals, and so you should plan for some play dates. Through this, your dog will socialize and enjoy being in a less-restricted environment.

It is also important to take your dog with you when going out for family outings, instead of leaving him alone just because he has slowed down. Create a comfortable space for your pet in the car, drive slow, and book nice a pet friendly hotel.

4.  Have a Vet Check Your Dog More Often

As dogs get older, their immune system also gets weak. It is therefore important to have your dog checked by a vet at least twice a year. Just like senior people need routine care from the doctors, pets will also benefit from these visits.

Your older pet will require additional blood tests, dental care, as well as other examinations. Besides, some breeds have predispositions towards certain health conditions such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.  Frequent visits and early detection will help you discover these ailments before they become life threatening.

5.  Consider Dental Health

It is important to maintain the dental hygiene of your aging dog. Be sure to brush and clean your dog’s teeth to prevent dental diseases, decay, and chewing problems.

If it’s a challenge to brush and clean your dog’s teeth, you can opt for dental toys and dental treats instead.

6.  Watch Out for Any Behavioral Changes

Your dog can’t speak, but looking at his behavioral changes, you can know if he is ailing or not. While a senior dog is usually less active, paying attention to uncommon behavior can help detect problems early. Some dogs get excessively cranky when they are in pain or avoid interaction.

Signs such as decreased appetite, increased irritability or agitation, changes in urination, and increased water consumption could also mean that your dog is unwell.

7.  Keep Obesity at Bay

Overweight pets are at a higher risk of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even skin disease. You should ask your veterinarian about the nutritional requirements of a senior dog because overweight dogs need a special type of diet that provides the nutrients needed while allowing for weight loss.  

For instance, there are special diets with low calories and high L-carnitine content that can help in slow and steady weight loss.

8.  Provide Special Accommodation for Your Senior Dog

Just like puppies need customized boxes to sleep and stay warm,  you should also provide special accommodation for your aging dog.

If your dog is suffering from joint issues or hip dysplasia, install ramps that your dog can use to get to climb the bed or even the car. Also, ensure that food and water are kept in places where your pets can easily reach them, especially for those with vision impairments.

If you live in cold climates, consider providing your dog with heated beds, especially those with achy joints.

9.  Consider Regular Checks for Arthritis

The American Veterinary Medical Association shows that many pets suffer from arthritis. Therefore, you should have your dog checked for arthritis more often. If you notice signs such as decreased activity, difficulty climbing stairs, difficulty sitting or standing and seemingly stiff joints, you should contact your vet.

10.  Keep Your Dog Occupied with Toys

You can use toys to keep your old dog occupied. This will not only help keep your pets entertained but also help in weight loss. Toys that require chewing or promote activity will also stimulate the aging muscles and keep your dog healthier for longer.

For More Articles About Pet Health, CLICK HERE

Pet Health – Your Love is the Best Medicine!

One of the hardest things to deal with as a pet owner, in my opinion, is the health of our pets. I struggle so much with this, because I feel such a large weight of responsibility on my shoulders being the sole decision maker for another living being. And with animals I think it’s harder than humans, because animals can’t talk.  You can’t ask them questions, they can’t tell you what’s wrong.  And as long as I’ve been a pet owner, I can’t say I’m very good at knowing when there is something wrong with my pets. Sometimes I see the signs right away, but there have also been times when my pet was seriously ill and I didn’t know it. That’s the part that sucks – when their getting sicker could’ve been prevented if I had been paying attention. The guilt is overwhelming.

We Do The Best We Can

I think the best thing (honestly, the ONLY thing) we can do as pet owners is THE BEST WE CAN. We aren’t mind readers – unless and until our pets shows real visible, noticeable signs of illness, we can’t possibly know there is something wrong.  Even then, it’s sometimes impossible to determine whether veterinary care is even necessary.  What I mean is – do we rush our pet to the vet’s office every time they sniffle?  What’s just an upset stomach, and what’s a serious illness?  I find that to be the hardest thing – never really knowing whether I should be taking the dog/cat to the vet, or if they’re just not feeling well today.  A crystal ball sure would come in handy!

Love and Care Are the Best Medicine

I truly believe that for pets, as with children, the best medicine is love and care.  I melt when I see my miniature doxy snuggled under a blankie.  At night when I put her to bed, I think to myself, “Here she is – snuggled in bed under a soft, clean blankie – with her tummy full of nutritious food, clean because she’s bathed regularly, safe from illness because she gets regular medical care – and being tucked into bed with 25 or so of Mommy’s kisses on her little forehead.” Sounds super corny I know, but honestly, this is what I think at night. I say a little prayer for her every night, say I Love You at least three times before I turn out the light – and I thank God every day for allowing me to have this precious little dog in my life – for however long I get to have her. Pets are love. They give love. They want love. That’s all they’ll ever ask from you.

Let’s Help Each Other Help Our Pets

I try my best to provide as much information on this website as I can get my hands (paws…heehee) on regarding Pet Health. I only include credible information from credible sources.  If you have any tips you’d like to share to make caring for our pets easier, please comment below.

Thank you for visiting!  Debra

We Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!

pet healthFor More Articles About Pet Health, CLICK HERE


Advantage Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs

Collars, Sprays, Baths and Bombing Don’t Work

I have owned pets for more than 40 years and up until a few years ago, fleas were always a huge problem.  I tried flea collars, flea sprays and baths with flea shampoo.  In my experience, those things just never (ever) worked. Maybe it reduced the number of fleas – that is, if I hadn’t used those things, maybe my flea problems would’ve been worse.  But never once did any of these things eliminate the fleas.  Not even the flea bombs.  So many times I went through all those steps, only to continue to struggle with fleas.  I once had  tiny kitten die because of fleas.  Fleas can be so dangerous for your pets!

How to Get Rid of Dog Fleas and Ticks – Here’s What Does Work!

Advantage Flea and Tick Prevention for DogsAs far as store-bought flea treatments, I have found Advantage Flea and Tick Prevention for Dogs to be the best.  You put it on the back of your pet’s neck monthly during flea season and here’s what it does:

It kills any fleas on the animal, within about one day in my experience

It kills any fleas in the house.  I don’t know how it does this – perhaps fleas just keep jumping on your pet(s) and then the Advantage kills them.

It prevents any fleas from living in your house or on your pet.

Advantage absolutely works.  You can read my complete review of this product HERE.

To Purchase This Product, CLICK HERE

I Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!

For More Articles About Pet Care, CLICK HERE

Getting Help with Vet Bills – Ways to Pay for What Your Pet Needs

health insurance for petsPet Medicals Bills Can Be a Nightmare

I’ve spent an absolute fortune on my animals over the years for their medical care.  Just regular vet visits, shots, etc. can add up so fast.  But when they get sick or injured, that’s when the numbers become huge. I always found it so upsetting that not only did I have to deal with the emotional upset that my pet was injured or sick, but I also had enormous stress in having to come up with the money to pay for their care.  Fortunately, thus far I have been able to pay for whatever my pets need – but there have been times when I had huge amounts of credit card debt because of it. I wish I would’ve done more research years ago about getting help with vet bills.  It would’ve saved me so much money and stress!

Care CreditGetting Help with Vet Bills

I found some relief when a friend told me about Care Credit (www.carecredit.com). It’s a credit card that is accepted at most vet’s offices.  If you pay the balance within 6 months, there are no interest charges! Monthly payments are required, but I find them to be manageable.  The thing I like most about this is knowing I have this card in my wallet in case any of my pets have an emergency.  If they need emergency medical care, for example, I can use this card and pay for it – then have several months to pay it off.

Pet Health Insurance Plans

Should I Get Pet Health Insurance? – The answer is YES.

I made a big mistake not purchasing pet health insurance for my pets when I first brought each of them home. I have spent THOUSANDS over the years on vet bills. By the time pet health insurance became popular (or at least by the time I found out about it), I had already spent a fortune. Now I’ve vowed that any time I get a new pet (and I imagine there will be dozens more in my future) one of the first things I’m going to do is buy pet health insurance.

Most people underestimate the cost of veterinary care.

Most, for example, would estimate the cost of removing a golf ball from a dog’s stomach in the $300 range, when it would likely cost more in the range of $1500. Also cancer. Pets can get the full range of cancer that humans do, and the treatment (surgery, chemo, radiation) is expensive. The cost of treating cancer in a dog – from diagnosis, to surgery, to treatment, to follow up – can cost in the range of $8,000. And even less serious troubles – such as an unexplained “limping,” can cost in the range of $750 just for the test necessary to find out what the problem is. Not to mention just regular veterinary care. And if you have more than one pet, this can add up quickly!

Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It?

You can get more information about this in these articles:

Is Pet Insurance Worth it for Dogs?

Is Pet Insurance Worth it for Cats?

My Recommendations

Getting Help with Vet Bills

One carrier I recommend is PetPlan. They are the world’s largest pet insurance carrier and one of the things I like most about them is the fact that once you insure one pet with them, you get 10% off any additional pets you add in the future.  That can be a huge savings for those of us who have more than one (or two, or three….) pets!

 You can read my review of this company here.

getting help with vet billsOne of the top rated pet health insurance companies is Healthy Paws. They have been rated the Best Pet Health Insurance Company by their customers for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 at Petinsurancereview.com, Consumersadvocate.org, PetInsuranceQuotes.com, and other leading review sites.  They earned this praise from their customers because they offer exceptional customer service!

You can get a free quote here.

Getting Help with Vet BillsHope Before Heaven

In my area there is a place called Hope Before Heaven, which is an organization that raises money to help people whose pet will have to be euthanized if the owner cannot afford to pay for whatever medical care the pet needs.  You can contact them HERE to find out if they service your area, or to get help on how to find a similar organization near you.

help paying for vet billsI Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals! Debra

pet healthFor More Articles About Pet Health, CLICK HERE

Dealing With Grief Over the Loss of a Pet – Coping Tips and Comfort

Losing a pet is like losing a family member. I’ve had people over the years communicate to me that they felt weird, or guilty, or embarrassed, because they “cried more over the dog dying” than for a person who died. In my opinion, love is love. Our pets are just as much a part of our daily lives as any friend or family member. Dealing with grief over the loss of a pet is the same as grieving over the loss of any loved one. And sometimes, pets are all we have. I personally lived alone for 13 years and my pets – specifically my cat, who lived to be 20, was my only friend/companion at times.

Coping with the Loss of Your Pet

Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel or react to the loss of your pet. No one should be trying to tell you to “move on” or “get over it.” Everyone grieves in their own way, and in their own time. Let yourself feel however you feel without being embarrassed. It’s OK to be angry, to cry or not to cry. It’s also OK to laugh, to find moments of joy, and it’s OK to let go when you’re ready.

Reach out to others who have lost pets. Check out online message boards, pet loss hotlines, and pet loss support groups.  Another source for help is the website, PetLoss.com. If your own friends and family members do not understand the grief of pet loss, find someone who does. A person who has also lost a beloved pet may better understand what you’re going through.

Seek professional help if you need it. If your grief is persistent and interferes with your ability to function, you should speak to your doctor about getting help with depression.

Rituals can help with healing. A funeral can help you and your family members openly express your feelings. Ignore people who think it’s silly to hold a funeral for a pet, and do what feels right for you and your family.

Dealing With Grief Over the Loss of a Pet -Create a legacy. Preparing a memorial, planting a tree in memory of your pet, creating a photo album or scrapbook, or just sharing the memories you enjoyed with your pet, can create a legacy to celebrate their life. You can find wonderful ideas for pet memorials HERE.  You can purchase a personalized dog necklace HERE.

Look after yourself. The stress of losing a pet can really take a toll on your health. During this difficult time, be sure to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, exercise regularly to help release endorphins and raise serotonin, and drink plenty of water if you’re crying a lot so you don’t get dehydrated. I know you’re in pain, and it’s hard to worry about yourself while you’re so sad. But your becoming ill isn’t going to help – rather, it will only make things feel worse.

If you have other pets, try to maintain your normal routine. Surviving pets can also experience loss when a pet dies, or they may become upset by your sorrow. Maintaining their daily routines, and increasing exercise and play times will not only benefit the surviving pets, but will likely help you too.

If all else fails, just pray and stay busy.  I have found that for me, the best (only) way for me to get through grief is to pray often (several times a day) and keep busy.  Just doing things to pass the time helps because as time passes, you begin to feel better.  Fold laundry, go for a walk, go to the store.  Clean out your cupboards, or your desk if you’re at work.  Staying busy really does help. I personally have found going for walks to be the most helpful.

This Poem Has Helped Me More Than Anything Else

In all the years I’ve been a pet owner, nothing has ever brought me more comfort after the loss of a pet than this poem. I actually print it and include it with a sympathy card whenever a friend or family member loses a pet. I hope it helps you too.


The Rainbow Bridge

By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill

Is a lush, green meadow, where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

In this golden land, they wait and they play

‘til the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health is renewed

Their bodies have healed, with strength renewed.

They romp through the grass without even a care

Until one day they start and sniff at the air.

All ears pricked forward, eyes dart front and back

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met

Together again, both person and pet.

They run to each other, these friends from long past

The time of their parting is over, at last!

The sadness they felt while they were apart

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever

And then, side-by-side, they cross over together.

                      – Steve & Diane Pidavski

For a Printable copy of the Rainbow Bridge for yourself and to share with friends, CLICK HERE.

Dealing With Grief Over the Loss of a Pet Books Can Help

When my mother passed away in 2005, I found an enormous amount of comfort reading Sylvia Browne’s books about, “The Other Side.”  So I was thrilled to find out that she has a book about grieving the loss of our pets called,All Pets Go to Heaven.”

Book Description:  “The death of a pet is a heart-wrenching event for anyone.  Now Sylvia Browne uses her psychic gift to show us how pets fit into the afterlife, and provide relief for those who are grieving the loss of a beloved animal.  Forty years of research and stories culled from Browne’s career reveal keen insights into the creatures that share our homes and hearts.  From their never-ending loyalty and heroic deeds, to their comic behavior, our pets have a special purpose here on Earth and beyond, and now readers can understand exactly what that is.”

Excerpts:  Here are a few excerpts from the book that I found myself writing down because they helped me a great deal:

“As we believe more in the truth of the Other Side, the veil between this side and the Other Side thins because belief brings out the truth and blocks negativity.”

“Don’t be worried and stressed.  Enjoy all the beauty around you – the trees, animals, family members, friends.  We’re on this earth for such a short time (even if we live to be 100), and before we know it we’ll be back Home on the Other Side in a beautiful meadow romping with our pets and loved ones.  We can’t live like this world is all there is to creation, because it isn’t, and this existence was never meant to be the true reality of life.”

“No matter how much pain and grief we suffer after the loss of a pet, we must go on, knowing that they, just like other loved ones who have passed over, will see us again very soon.  On the Other Side, there is no time as we know it.  While it seems to us that we must wait years to see our loved ones again, to them it will seem like only a moment.”

Love your pets.  Sylvia believes there is a contract with God that reads:  “If you will take care of mine, I will take care of you.”

I hope this books helps you.  It helped me.

To Purchase This Book, CLICK HERE

DebraPlease comment below to share tips for coping with the loss of a pet.

And if you’re dealing with that loss at this very moment, please accept my heartfelt sympathy and understanding. You will get through this.  My mother always said, “Just say your prayers and keep on walking.” HUGS, Debra XO

Dealing With Grief Over the Loss of a Pet For My Darling Taz

This post is dedicated to my beloved dachshund, Taz, who passed away on May 3, 2016.  Mommy loves you, sweetheart. XOXO

The Best Way to Feed a Puppy – Proper Puppy Nutrition

When you first bring your new puppy home, he may not be in love with whatever food you offer him.  He’s likely used to whatever he was being fed at his previous home.  So when you’re feeding your new puppy, don’t be too alarmed if his appetite isn’t huge at first.  If you do know what kind of food he was being given, it is wise to slowly transition to a new food (if you’re changing his food).  By that I mean mixing a little of the new food with the old food – adding more of the new food each day until (after several days) you’re serving only the new food.  This article will provide you with all the information you need about the best way to feed a puppy.

Which Food is Best for Puppies?

Before we get into advice on proper puppy nutrition, I suggest you read my article, Best and Worst Foods for Your PetIt gives great advice from a veterinarian about the different types of foods that are available, and which are best. Also, it’s important to know from the very beginning of being a dog owner what foods can be poisonous for your pet.  You can see a list in my article, Foods That are Poisonous for Dogs and Cats.

How Long Should I Feed Puppy Food?

You should be feeding puppy food for the first year, because puppy foods are specifically formulated to help them grow.  Things to consider when choosing a puppy food are:

Small bites.  Puppy baby teeth aren’t that strong, so puppies need small, not-too-hard food. Consider the size and breed of your dog when choosing what “size” his food should be.

Fresh food.  Fresh puppy foods are available at grocery stores and pet stores.  You can find them in refrigerated display cases.  They contain fresh meats, vegetables, and fruits.  This is super healthy for your dog.  A bit pricey- but worth it if you can afford it.

You should be feeding your pet the best quality food you can afford.  Whatever price range your pet food budget is in, pick the healthiest, best quality brand within that price range.

I strongly believe in serving a MOIST diet not only to puppies, but to adult dogs as well as kittens and cats.  Animals need moisture in their diet.  Serving only dry food can cause a whole host of health problems down the road.

The Best Way to Feed a PuppyBlue Homestyle Recipe Puppy Chicken Dinner

Here’s a recommendation for a healthy, natural, holistic canned puppy food. Canned food is cheaper if you buy it by the case – you can save money by purchasing it HERE. This brand has several flavors.  My mini doxy eats the adult and senior versions of this food and she loves it.  I like it because it’s more moist than other canned dog foods – less sticky and easier for them to swallow.

The Best Way to Feed a PuppyCanidae Puppy Food

Here’s a suggestion for dry puppy food.  I like this one because it’s grain free and has REAL food ingredients.  You’ll save money buying a larger bag HERE. Different flavors, plus smaller size bags are also available.


How Often Should I Feed My Puppy?

Puppies should have three meals a day until they’re about 4 or 5 months old.  After that, you can scale back to two meals a day.  Please don’t begin the habit of giving your poor dog one bowl of dry kibble every morning, and nothing else.  Puppies and adult dogs need fuel throughout their day just like we do!  Would you want to be served just one bowl of dry food per day?!  Whatever daily portion is suggested on the package for your dog’s weight, split that in half and serve half in the morning, then half at dinner time. Eating should be an enjoyable part of your pet’s life.  My dog, for example, loves that she’s included at dinner time.  We have our food, and she has hers.  She’s excited and looks forward to dinner each night.

Should I Give My Puppy Vitamins?

Pets benefit from taking a daily multivitamin just like people do.  Give a multivitamin specifically formulated for puppies for the first year, then an adult-dog multivitamin daily thereafter.

The Best Way to Feed a PuppyPro-Sense Daily Vitamin Supplement

Here’s a recommendation for an inexpensive, good quality puppy multivitamin.  My dog likes these – they’re chewable (and I think beef flavored).  Click HERE to purchase.


What About Treats?

It’s important to consider what part treats play in your puppy’s daily diet.  First, you should be using treats to train your puppy – see my article, How to Train a Dog With Treats.  So you have to count those treats when you’re considering the amount of food he’s eating.  You don’t want your dog to end up with a weight problem because you’re feeding full servings of his food, plus treats – equaling too many calories by the end of the day.  Healthy ideas for treats are fresh, raw foods like vegetables (baby carrots are a big hit!), and fruits (my dachshund loves blueberries and oranges!) Please don’t buy those pre-packaged, soft treats.  Most contain ingredients that aren’t good for your dog – and some can be downright toxic.  Whole, real food. Stick with that, and you’ll be on the right track.

Don’t Forget About Water!

Most dogs will naturally go to their water dish and drink as often as they need to.  But some dogs, particularly puppies and senior dogs, can get distracted and literally forget to get a drink.  Monitor your pet to make sure he’s visiting the water dish often enough.  Proper hydration is crucial to his overall health and well-being.  Also remember to make sure water is available whenever you’re exercising your dog.  They get thirsty after exercise just like we do!  And of course always make sure your dog has access to plenty of water during hot weather.

Remember to Incorporate Exercise

Just as important as nutrition for the health of your dog, is exercise.  Exercise burns calories, keeps their muscles strong, and keeps them happy and active.  Remember puppies have a super high activity level.  They need you to give them plenty of opportunities for play each day.  Running around in the back yard, playing with the kids, going to the park.  Even tossing a tennis ball around in the living room will help if you don’t have a lot of time.  Getting on the floor to play with the dog has been a part of my life since I was a small child.  My dad would always get on the living room floor to “wrestle” with our German Shepherd.  My siblings and I would get on the floor and play with our Poodle.  I have a friend who regularly played, “Hide ‘n Seek” with his black lab!  Really roll up your sleeves and plunge into play with your dog. Believe me, you’ll be a healthier, happier person your entire life if you do this!

Questions, please!

If you have any question about puppy nutrition, please feel free to comment below (I’ll respond!)  Or, if you have more recommendations and ideas for taking care of our sweet pets, please share!  Debra

We Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!

pet health

For More Articles About Pet Health, CLICK HERE


Best Pet Foods Ranked – Best and Worst Foods for Your Pet

If you’ve ever had a dachshund, you know they are PIGS. Honestly. My little Taz will eat almost anything, and no matter how much we feed her, she acts like she’s starving. And I don’t mean she acts “hungry.”  I mean she acts like she may perish at any moment if she doesn’t get something to eat immediately. It’s ridiculous. BUT, obviously I have to manage her food intake otherwise she’d be so fat she wouldn’t be able to walk! So it’s a constant battle – keeping Tazzie happy vs keeping Tazzie healthy. Thank God Mommy’s in charge!

Best Pet Foods RankedHow Do You Know Which Food is Best?

I worry a lot about what food Taz should be eating. It’s so confusing with all the pet food brands out there. Which is better? Dry food? Canned food? And trying to learn which ingredients are good for her or bad for her – never knowing if the information I’m getting is true and accurate or just a sales pitch from a dog food company. It’s stressful because I want to make sure she’s getting what she needs and I certainly don’t want to give her anything that’s not 100% good for her.

Advice from a Veterinarian

I got a lot of help from this video by Dr. Karen Becker.  She’s done a lot of training for people about pet food – you can look on YouTube for more of her videos where she gets into great detail about pet food quality, ingredients, etc., and you can also read more of her advice about pet foods HERE. But this video is a good one to start with, because it explains the differences between different types of food – it’s the best source I’ve seen thus far for best pet foods ranked.

Best Pet Foods RankedYou can buy the book mentioned in the video here. I bought it and started cooking for Taz.  It’s kind of difficult – you have to really study the book to make sure you’re using all the right ingredients.  After doing it for a while, I decided to research more on which brands of ready-made dog food are best for Taz, and I’ve come up with the ones shown below.  So now I do both – I give her the brands I’m showing below that I feel confident with, and also cooking for her.  She loves, loves, loves when Mommy’s cooking liver, chicken hearts and gizzards…she even got a beef heart once.  Eeeeeewwwwww!  🙂

blue 3

Best Pet Foods Ranked

blue 3Feed the Best Quality Pet Food You Can Afford

I read something about this once that has really helped me over the years with my pets, and that is, “You should be feeding your pet the best quality food that YOU can afford.” If you can afford top-of-the-line, great, but if you can only afford department store brands, then that’s OK. I think the most important thing is that we do the best WE can for our animals. Believe me, the fact that they have a home and our love is the most important thing!

Let’s Share Information!

Please, if you know of any other sources of accurate information regarding which foods we should be feeding our pets for their BEST health, please let me know by leaving a comment below. I’m always interested in improving Taz’s life. After all, according to her that’s supposed to be my main purpose for living, right? LOL!  Debra

More Articles About Pet Food

You might also be interested in this article, “Best Food for Your Cat,” or this article, “Feeding Your New Puppy – Proper Puppy Nutrition.”

Cesar Millan Dog LanguageWe Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!


pet healthFor More Articles About Pet Health, CLICK HERE

Healthy Paws Insurance Review – Healthy Paws Wins for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016!

healthy paws insurance reviewHealthy Paws Insurance Review

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation began in 2009.  They have been rated the Best Pet Health Insurance Company by their customers for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 at Petinsurancereview.com, Consumersadvocate.org, PetInsuranceQuotes.com, and other leading review sites.  They earned this praise from their customers because they offer exceptional customer service!

Listen to the story of how Healthy Paws Pet Insurance got started in this interview with founder, Steve Siadek:

Getting Better All the Time!

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation is constantly striving to improve their plan and service. They created the first pet health insurance iPhone app and did away with requiring a claim form. They made it easier to manage your policy online, add new pets, and change your policy options in their Customer Center. Most importantly, they seek to deliver compassionate customer service especially when you have a sick pet.


 Healthy Paws Insurance ReviewEvery Quote Gives Hope

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation’s non-profit foundation has helped hundreds of pet rescues and animal shelters care for sick, homeless pets through their Every Quote Gives Hope™ medical grant program. They are just getting started and are looking forward to helping even more homeless pets get healthy and get adopted in the years to come. This is why I’m behind this company, because, just like this website (we donate to animal charities), they help animals!

For every pet health insurance policy purchased, Healthy Paws donates time and services to help rescue and adoption groups care for homeless pets. Protect your pet. Save a homeless pet. What could be better?

Dog and Cat Insurance

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation covers your pet from nose to tail, for a lifetime.  Their health insurance plan covers illnesses, injuries, genetic conditions, emergencies, and much more.  If your pet needs treatment for any illness or accident (except pre-existing conditions), you’re covered.  It’s that simple. And there are no limits on claims!

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation is the only pet health insurance company who provides UNLIMITED, lifetime benefits with an annual deductible.  Your policy covers illnesses, accidents, hereditary conditions, congenital conditions, chronic conditions, cancer, diagnostic treatment, x-rays, blood tests, ultrasounds, surgery, hospitalization, prescription medications, emergency care, specialty care and alternative treatments.

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?

A pre-existing condition means that the condition first occurred before your pet’s coverage started.  Pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage by all pet health insurance companies.

What Isn’t Covered?

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, veterinary exam fees, or preventative care, such as annual check-ups, vaccinations, spay/neuter procedures and teeth cleaning. They focus more on protecting you from the unexpected – things like costly illnesses and accidents.

Coverage for Life

Your policy covers your pet for their whole life.  Whether they have an accident and end up in the emergency room, or if they develop an illness later in life, their medical care will be covered.

When Should I Start Coverage?

You can start protecting your pet at just 8 weeks old, and if you enroll them before the age of 6, hip dysplasia coverage is included at no extra cost.

What About Older Pets?

As dogs and cats age, congenital and hereditary conditions can affect them and the treatments for these conditions can be expensive. The good news is you can enroll your pet with Healthy Paws up until their 14th birthday. As they reach their senior years, rest assured that they’ll be covered for the rest of their life.

How Pet Health Insurance Works

You can go to any licensed veterinarian, including specialists and emergency animal hospitals.  Healthy Paws even covers alternative care.  After enrolling your pet, there will be a 15-day waiting period for accidents and illnesses, and a 12-month waiting period for hip dysplasia.

Making a Claim is Easy and Fast

Just send your vet bill to Healthy Paws through their online Customer Center or Healthy Paws Mobile App!  They’ll process the claim quickly and send you a reimbursement check.  If it’s your first claim, they’ll need your pet’s medical records to complete the claim.  But after that, claims are processed very quickly.  You and your vet may also ask for pre-authorization for super expensive treatments to help reduce your upfront burden.

Check your Claim Status

You can log on any time, from anywhere, and get a real-time status on your claim.

Young Ones Need Health Care Too!

There’s no doubt puppies and kittens can get themselves into serious trouble and wind up in the emergency room.  And kittens and puppies can get sick just as easily as older pets.  Cats, for example, often experience illnesses like urinary tract and upper respiratory infections.  And both kittens and puppies are also incredibly curious and have a tendency to eat things they shouldn’t!  So it’s wise to get their pet health insurance policy in place as early as possible in case anything happens.

Don’t Experience a Preventable Tragedy

I had a friend once who adopted a kitten. She and her husband named him “Smudgy” because he had a black mark on his nose that looked like a smudge.  Their two young children adored their new pet!  But sadly, Smudgy ate string (yes, string is BAD for cats!) and it got wrapped up in his intestines.  Because the surgery as going to cost upwards of $900, the family had no choice but to euthanize the Smudgy because they could not afford to pay for the surgery. It was absolutely tragic.  I don’t tell this sad story to scare you – just to point out that this type of thing is so easily prevented.  Pet insurance is not expensive – and it can save your pet’s life!

Healthy Paws is Committed to Their Customers

The Healthy Paws pet health insurance plan is easy to understand, they reimburse quickly, and you can count on them to help, especially when it comes to reducing the stress of caring for a sick pet. Knowing you have good coverage if there’s an unexpected illness or accident doesn’t make the pain or fear go away – God knows how many times I’ve cried in a vet’s office because one of my many (many, many) pets was ill or had been injured.  But knowing I can afford whatever treatment they may need because I have pet insurance makes a world of difference in my stress level!

The Best Pet Health Insurance Company!

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation is committed to providing you and your pet with the best customer service and the best pet health insurance plan in the country.  Their commitment is proven by the outstanding reviews they receive directly from their customers!

Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It?

You can get more information about this in these articles:

Is Pet Insurance Worth it for Dogs?

Is Pet Insurance Worth it for Cats?

I Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  By the way, I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals! Debra

pet healthFor More Articles About Pet Health, CLICK HERE


First Vet Visit New Puppy – How to Prepare and What to Expect

Ideally, your puppy’s first vet visit should take place within the first few days after bringing your puppy home.  Once you’ve got him settled (refer to this article, Preparing for a New Puppy), get him acquainted with your family, get him squared away at home as far as food, water and food bowls, toys, a doggy bed to sleep in – it’s OK to take a few days to get all that accomplished.  But your puppy’s first vet visit should take place within the first week at most.

First Order of Business – the Cost

First, read this article, Help with Vet Bills. I strongly recommend doing two things as soon as you get your puppy:

First Vet Visit New PuppyGet Pet Insurance

If you get pet insurance right from the beginning, you will save thousands over your pet’s lifetime on vet bills. If you wait until the dog is diagnosed with an expensive disease, you may not be able to get pet insurance because it will be considered a “pre-existing illness.” Getting insurance for a puppy is inexpensive, and will pay off bigtime later in life when the dog’s medical expenses start adding up.  For more information, read my article, Is Pet Insurance Worth it For Dogs?

First Vet Visit New PuppyGet Care Credit

Signing up for CareCredit helps a lot too, because this is a credit card that is accepted by many veterinarians and there are little or no interest charges for a long time if you use it to pay vet bills.

*NOTE:  Make sure you check before your appointment to make sure the vet you’re choosing accepts your pet’s health insurance, and CareCredit if you choose to use these to pay.

checklist for a new puppyPreparing for the Appointment

Bring Previous Medical Records. First, gather any previous records you may have relating to your puppy’s medical history to take with you to the appointment.  If, for example, you adopted your puppy from a local SPCA or shelter, they probably gave you paperwork regarding any shots the puppy may have received, the age and date of birth of the puppy, and breed information.

Get a Doggy Car Seat.  I strongly recommend purchasing some sort of car seat for your dog before you try to take him anywhere. I had this one for my miniature dachshund, Taz.  She liked it because she could sit high enough to see out the windows while we’re traveling.  Larger dogs can benefit from an auto harness (like a seat belt).  Never allow your dog to roam around the car freely while you’re driving.  It can cause an accident!  I once had a mini doxy, who had been comfortably relaxing on the back seat just a few seconds earlier, crawl under the driver’s seat and insert herself directly under my gas and brake pedals!  I almost cracked up the car!  And they can be distracting too.  It’s just dangerous – get them belted in just like a kid! 🙂

checklist for a new puppyTips for Making the Visit to the Vet Easier

By the time you get to the vet’s office, you might already be a little bit frazzled because you’ve just traveled by car with a puppy who was probably less than well behaved on the way! And your puppy (and you!) might be a little nervous. Sometimes the waiting room can be a little crazy, if it’s a busy day and the room is filled with several nervous pets and their owners. Here are some tips to make things run as smoothly as possible:

Arrive on time. If everyone arrives at their appointments on time, it will make the day’s schedule run much more smoothly for the doctors and staff – eliminating unnecessary wait time for everyone.

Make sure your puppy is on a leash. (I actually recommend a harness instead of a leash.  They are less of a choking hazard, make training the dog much easier, and prevent collapsed trachea issues later in life).

Don’t allow your puppy to approach other pets.  Even though your puppy might be excited to make new friends, the other pets in the room may not feel the same way.  Senior dogs, for example, often have no use for puppies and may snap.  Cats – well, do I even have to say it? – will scratch your puppy’s face and draw blood if they don’t want to be approached!  Not to mention the other animals may be there because they are ill – making it unpleasant to socialize, and also dangerous if the animal has something that is contagious.  Also, some owners have trouble controlling their pet in the waiting room at the vet’s office.  These owners won’t appreciate having to deal with your puppy’s advances as well. This rule applies to children also.  Don’t allow your kids to approach pets in the waiting room without first asking permission from the owner.

Let your puppy pee before entering the building.  The staff at vet’s office are most certainly ready, willing, capable, and used to cleaning up pet messes!  But preventing it makes it easier for everybody.  Also, your puppy will be a little more comfortable during the wait if he doesn’t have to go potty.

Don’t hesitate to say something if someone is bothering you or your puppy.  If other pets or children are invading your space, feel free to say something.  You might say something like, “He’s a little nervous – I think it would be best if we let him be.” If your puppy is particularly frightened or ill, ask the receptionist if you can wait in an available exam room instead of in the waiting room.

gifts for petsWhat to Expect at the Appointment

Your veterinarian will perform a physical exam on your puppy which will include looking into your puppy’s eyes and ears, and looking into his mouth to check his teeth.  He will listen to your puppy’s heart, and feel around on his belly and abdomen. Your puppy’s weight will also be taken and noted.

Questions You Might Like to Ask Your Vet

While your vet is performing the physical examination, feel free to ask questions.  Here are some suggestions:

How much does my puppy weigh? How much food should I be feeding him each day?

Do you see any problems or issues with my puppy’s health?

What should I be doing as far as grooming?  How often should I bathe my puppy? How often should I clean his ears?  Can I clip his nails at home? How do I do that, and how often?

Ask your vet about inserting a microchip – a tiny device injected under the puppy’s skin to help locate him if he should ever get lost.  These last for life.

how to help an aging catDeworming

Your vet will likely deworm your puppy at his first visit to prevent intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms and whipworms  This is important, as this can be a major health risk to puppies and some parasites can be transmitted to other animals – and humans!


Dogs are most susceptible to infectious, deadly diseases during the first 3 to 9 months.  Depending on your puppy’s age, he may have already gotten his first few shots already.  Make sure you show your vet any shot records you’ve been given by the puppy’s previous owner or shelter.

Vaccinations are usually recommended for all puppies.  These vaccines help to prevent infectious or even deadly diseases including hepatitis, distemper, parinfluenza, parvovirus, bordetella, lyme disease, coronavirus, giardia, and prophyromonas. Your veterinarian will be able to determine which vaccinations your puppy should receive.

buy pet medications onlineYou May Be Given Homework!

Your vet would likely agree that you should establish healthy habits right from the start regarding your puppy’s health.

Dental Care. Providing proper dental care for your puppy, for example, is something you should start when they are young so they won’t be afraid of getting their teeth brushed.  My elderly doxy would not allow me to brush her teeth.  I wish whoever owned her as a puppy would’ve started and maintained this practice – if they had, perhaps it could’ve prevented the THREE dental surgeries this poor little dog had later in life.  She’s had to have so many teeth pulled due to decay, that she only had 12 teeth left.  🙁

Nail Clipping.  Puppies’ nails grow fast.  If nails aren’t trimmed on a regular basis (or of they don’t wear down naturally), they can cause pain, cut into the pads of their paws, or even break off.  I suggest watching this video, How to Trim Your Pet’s Nails.  Learning to do this yourself at home will save you a lot of trips to the vet for nail clippings, and save you a ton of money as well!  And just like with the dental care, it’s best to start early so they get used to having it done.

Prevention is Key

Taking our puppy to the vet regularly is the best way to 1) learn how to properly care for him and 2) prevent serious illnesses in the future.  I hope this article has helped.  Please comment below if you have any questions or would like to give more ideas and suggestions! Enjoy your new puppy!

help paying for vet billsI Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals! Debra

For more information about training your puppy, check out these articles!

Exercising Elderly Dogs

As dogs get older, they don’t need as much physical activity.  Unlike puppies or younger dogs, they don’t have a ton of energy they need to burn off every day. Senior dogs are usually content to sleep a lot and relax, and at this stage of their lives, that’s exactly what they should be allowed to do.  However, exercise is important, at any age. Exercise stimulates blood flow, which helps deliver oxygen to all tissues and helps remove toxins.  Exercise helps bowel function enormously, and this is especially important for older dogs. Exercise helps keep muscles strong and joints flexible, and helps burn calories so the dog doesn’t suffer with a weight problem.  So exercising elderly dogs is important. Here are some tips to keep in mind as your dog enters his senior years.

Provide a Level of Physical Activity that’s Appropriate for the Dog  

It’s always important, when choosing a dog, to get a breed that matches your energy level and lifestyle.  You might, for example, choose to get a dog who will love those morning runs with you.  But as that same breed ages, he will slow down. So even if a dog was extremely physically active in his younger years, don’t expect that same level of intensity as he ages.  Let the dog dictate what his exercise level is going to be.  Let him decide whether he runs or walks – whether he goes fast or slow – and whether he goes for two hours or ten minutes.  You really have to pay attention to what the dog is physically capable of doing. A dog who used to run five miles with you each morning may, in his old age, have difficulty walking over to the neighbor’s house and back.  And that’s OK. Let him enjoy the level of physical activity that he’s comfortable with.

Taking Your Senior Dog for a Walk

If you choose to exercise outside with your dog, make sure the weather is suitable.  Dogs can get heatstroke or frostbite, and you have to be especially careful with senior dogs, as they are more vulnerable to this. If you’re walking your dog in the winter time, please read this article, Dogs and Cold Weather – When is it too Cold?

Walking is a great exercise for senior dogs.  Start slow with just a short walk each day, then slowly increase the distance (or not, if you think your dog is doing the most he can).

Exercising Elderly DogsPlaytime!

Interactive playtime is another great way to provide exercise for your dog.  Playing fetch if he’s still able, tug-of-war (gently – old teeth!), throwing a frisbee.  Here’s a great item I found recently – it’s called a Tail Spin Flyer.  This item is fun and safe for your dog, and it’s soft and gentle on your senior dog’s teeth and gums. And it comes in several different sizes.

Exercising Elderly DogsInteractive Toys

Interactive toys are a wonderful way to not only provide exercise for your senior dog, but to help keep his mental abilities sharp.  CLICK HERE for a list of really fantastic toys for older dogs.

Exercising Elderly DogsProvide Good Nutrition

Good nutrition is important at any age, but particularly so for an older dog.  Make sure you provide your senior dog with a high-quality food.  You can learn more about this by referring to this article, Compare Healthy Dog Foods.  Weight is a big issue as they get older as well.  Gaining too much weight will cause all kinds of preventable health problems, so it’s important to pay attention to what they’re eating. It’s also important to provide your dog with a high-quality vitamin and mineral supplement

Swimming is a Great Way to Exercise a Senior Dog

Swimming is a great activity for dogs of all ages, but it’s particularly beneficial for older dogs because it’s low-impact and easy on weakening joints and muscles. Swimming also builds strength, provides a good cardio workout, and it’s naturally relaxing and comforting for most dogs.  But only expect your dog to swim if he wants to and enjoys it.  Never force a dog into the water against his will. Never leave your dog unsupervised near water, and I would strongly suggest purchasing a life jacket. Senior dogs can easily tire – they need the help to stay afloat. You can find a nice variety of life jackets with good prices at Amazon.com.

checklist for a new puppyMake Sure Your Dog Gets Outside

Even though he may not be able to go for walks as often, or play Frisbee in the back yard with the kids, or chase a stick for hours at the lake, your dog will still enjoy being outside.  He needs sunshine and fresh air like everyone else!  So if nothing else, let your dog be outside with you and your family. He may be content to relax in the grass while you do gardening, for example, or he may enjoy snoozing in a dog bed on the patio while you BBQ.  Grass.  Dirt.  It’s all good. 🙂

Be Open Minded About Making Modifications for Your Dog

Some things become habit, and a lot of our lives are spent doing the same things we always do – because that’s the way we’ve always done it.  But as your dog gets older, he may not do things the way he always has, and you have to be willing to adjust to that.  Maybe your dog used to get you up at 5 a.m. every morning.  Now he’s still snoozing at 7:30.  It’s ok! Or maybe he used to wolf down his breakfast in 90 seconds flat, but now he munches slowly and it takes him all morning to finish it. Again, it’s ok.  Your dog might need more help with things as well.  He might need you to carry him outside or up and down stairs or at least install a dog ramp to make his getting around easier. He may need you to help him eat. He may need you to switch to canned food because he doesn’t have as many teeth as he used to. He may lose his sight or hearing and need you to be his eyes and ears. Please, try as hard as you can to pay attention to any difficulties your older dog might be having and do everything you can to make his life easier.  For all you two have been through together, he deserves it!

checklist for a new puppyDon’t Expect Them to Behave Like a Young Dog.

And certainly don’t punish them if they don’t.  Bladder control issues, for example, become a big problem (for people too!) in old age.  A senior dog having trouble controlling his bladder is not something to punish, nor is anything else he may be having trouble with.  An older dog will be more work for you – you have to accept that.  He’ll need to go outside far more often, he’ll need help doing things, he’ll need you to watch out for him more. Accept him for what he is – an old dog who’s been around a long, long time. Give him the respect he’s earned!

Watching Them Slow Down Can be Difficult

It can be heartbreaking to watch the activity level in our dogs decrease over time.  But just like with humans, slowing down is a natural part of life and is a part of aging.  It may help to think about it this way:  When you’re 90, do you really want someone tossing you into a swimming pool, or dragging you for walks at the park every morning, or tossing a ball and expecting you to run after it?  No!  You want to sit in your recliner and read – or sit on the porch in the sun and relax.  Your dog is the same way.  You don’t necessarily have to provide stimulation at this senior stage of your dog’s life. What you want to provide is relaxation. Enjoy this time and celebrate your dog’s life!

exercising senior dogsI Donate to Animal Charities

Thank you for visiting my website.  I donate 10% of all commissions I make on this website to animal charities.  You can see a list of the charities I donate to here.  If you like this website, please share it with your friends – every purchase helps animals!

pet healthFor More Articles About Pet Health, CLICK HERE