How to Avoid Dog Predators in “Free to Good Home” Ads

It’s one of the most gut-wrenching decisions you may ever make: surrendering your dog. There are a number of reasons you may have to give up your beloved pet:

  • Your new landlord doesn’t allow pets
  • Your dog has a litter of puppies you can’t keep
  • You can’t afford to provide the care your dog needs

So you list your dog or dogs in a classified ad for free, hoping to find him a new loving home. But sadly, some dogs are targeted in “free to a good home” ads and can end up in the wrong hands.

Puppy Doe Animal Rescue League

Puppy Doe suffered unthinkable abuse—eyes poked, tongue split, and broken bones. She was adopted off Craigslist when her owner’s landlord demanded she get rid of the dog. Photo courtesy of Animal Rescue League of Massachusetts.

That was the case with “Puppy Doe,” a severely abused female pit bull who was found starved, beaten, stabbed, and abandoned in a Massachusetts playground. Puppy Doe was just 1 or 2 years old, but she had to be put down due to her injuries.

A horrific case in West Virginia caught national attention when a man was charged with 29 counts of felony animal cruelty. Jeffrey Nally adopted dogs from printed classified ads only to torture and kill them weeks or even hours after taking them. The details are too graphic to post, but you can read about it here, if you have the stomach.

And it’s not just abuse. Some people try to turn a profit with these “free” dogs, a practice called flipping. Dogs that are flipped are often treated very poorly and can be sick or near death, as a Nebraska woman found out when she unknowingly adopted a sick four-week-old puppy from a dog flipper. Some dog flippers even try to claim lost pets as their own.

So how to you avoid these heart-breaking dilemmas? Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster tells us how online classifieds can benefit adoptable pets and we have the tips on how to properly use these ads when it comes re-homing a pet.

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Can the ThunderShirt Cure Your Dog’s 4th of July Anxiety?

Does your dog howl or hide when 4th of July fireworks go off? Does he cower when thunderstorms hit? Does he dread the car and even have accidents on car rides? Can he not stand when you leave his side and destroy things while you’re gone?

yellow dog wearing a thundershirtIf you answered yes to any of these questions, the ThunderShirt might be for you.

If you’ve never heard of the ThunderShirt, it is often compared to swaddling a baby—it applies gentle, comforting pressure in key spots, thereby calming your dog’s nerves. It is a low-cost, drug-free option for pet owners with an anxious dog or cat.

The company says it works for more than 80% of pets—based on customer reviews—for issues ranging from separation anxiety to people shyness to problem barking. The company even offers a money-back guarantee if it does not work for you.

But did it work for us? We took a trial run to see if the ThunderShirt might work for you this 4th of July.

Our trial run

dogs in car

Yellow Dog was nervous in the car prior to ThunderShirt, unlike his brother Sundown.

We adopted Yellow Dog at five months old and he was a skittish dog from the start. He pooped in the car within a minute of driving away from his foster home. He’s never been relaxed on car rides; he never lies down and sleeps like Sundown but instead sits and stares at us the entire drive, even on long road trips. He is also sensitive to loud noises—like fireworks or strong thunderstorms.

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How to Pick the Best Food for Your Dog

Yellow licking snoutDo you grab a big bag of pet food from your local supermarket without looking at the label? Or are you overwhelmed by the seemingly countless number of ingredients you can’t even begin to pronounce or recognize?

Picking the best food for your dog can be a challenge. Some subtle—and not so subtle— ingredients in your dog’s food could be depriving him of proper nutrition or even be making him sick. We talked to holistic veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney to break down the hidden dangers lurking in pet food and lay out some simple steps to improve your furry friend’s diet.

Quality over quantity

You would never give your dog low-quality junk food that could cause cancer, but sadly many pet parents are unknowingly doing just that. Many popular commercial foods are filled with ingredients dogs have difficulty digesting—like corn, beef, soy, and wheat—or even known carcinogens.

“The most important thing owners need to think about is the quality of the ingredients that go into their pet’s mouth every day,” Dr. Mahaney explains. “Most commercially available pet foods are made with feed-grade ingredients—those are the ingredients that have been deemed unfit for human consumption.”

What’s wrong with feed-grade ingredients?

There’s a higher allowable level of toxins, which then penetrate the food.

“Especially mold-based toxins that commonly grow on grains,” Dr. Mahaney adds. “These cause long-term problems like kidney disease, liver disease, and digestive problems.”

Feed-grade ingredients include:

  • By-products
  • Non-specified meat meal
  • So-called 4-D meat.

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How Doggy Breath Could Save Your Pet’s Life

smiling dog

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help. See your veterinarian for advice suited specifically to your dog.

If you’re like most pet parents, you probably think your dog’s stinky breath is normal, so you ignore it. But doggy breath is an indication of infection that can be deadly if left untreated.

Dental disease is one of the most widespread issues plaguing dogs today—in fact, roughly 90% of dogs will have some degree of dental disease by the time they are just three years old, and often it arises even earlier. PetMD says neglecting dental care is the #2 cause of earlier death in our dogs.

We talked to one of the world’s leading pet dentists, Dr. Brook Niemiec, who is shedding light on why dental disease is so prevalent and what you need to be asking your vet about your pet’s oral health.

Doggy Breath is Not Normal

Stinky dog breath is not normal and indicates an infection in your dog's mouth.

Stinky dog breath is not normal and indicates an infection in your dog’s mouth.

Although most people just accept bad doggy breath as reality, it’s a glaring sign something is really wrong.

“We have been trained to think some degree of gum disease as being normal—it’s not normal,” Dr. Niemiec explains. “It’s a sign of infection, and if your dog has bad breath, it’s a sign of severe infection.”

Dr. Niemiec believes the common misconceptions about pet dental hygiene and health are due to lack of education.

“Less than one-third of veterinary schools actually have a vet dentist on staff,” Dr. Niemiec says. “The new grads are learning from people who graduated 20 or 30 years ago, and they didn’t get any dentistry training either. Almost all the dental knowledge is picked up off the street.

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4 Signs Your Dog Was Exposed to Pool Chemicals

By: Vee Cecil, Guest Writer

You can take every precaution in the book to keep your dog out of harm’s way, but as any owner of a curious pooch knows, they’ll do their best to get around the obstacles you put in front of them. That was the case last summer when my parents’ dog found his way into the small shed where they keep their pool chemicals.

If your pooch loves the pool, keep him safe from toxic chemicals and know how to react if he gets his paws on something he shouldn't. Image via Flickr.

If your pooch loves the pool, keep him safe from toxic chemicals and know how to react if he gets his paws on something he shouldn’t. Image via Flickr.

Though my parents always kept the door locked, on this occasion the last person out had forgotten to latch the door. So it didn’t take long for their always curious dog to find his way into the space that he’s normally locked out of.

By the time my mom found him, he’d already managed to knock over the chlorine container. Of course, my parents were extremely worried about the possibility of a chemical poisoning. They immediately researched what symptoms to look out for and monitored their dog closely.

Knowing these symptoms is important for all dog owners. Immediately recognizing what signs indicate a poisoning instead of wasting critical time researching could save your dog’s life. Here are key symptoms of a chemical poisoning.

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The Best Way to Stop Dog Allergies

Itching, scooting, sneezing, redness—these are all signs your dog may be an allergy sufferer! Environmental allergies are on the rise for our furry friends but our dogs don’t have to suffer in silence. Yellow Dog Blog’s most recent article for Rover.com details how to spot and stop dog allergies with expert advice from veterinary dermatologist Dr. Nicole Eckholm.

You’ll learn what allergies might look like in your dog:

allergies collageWe talk about all the treatment options—yes, you can give your dog Benadryl but you must consult your vet for dosage information. Also learn about the most effective way to treat allergies—immunotherapy (a.k.a allergy shots). We’ll cover the testing process and what you can expect. Check it out!

allergy testing

 

How to Keep Your Dog Safe from Deadly Diseases

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Poor Yellow Dog after emergency surgery. Avoid this harrowing experience by arming yourself with the right knowledge.

Our furry friends can’t tell us when they don’t feel well. If they could, chances are we could prevent serious illnesses or complications. But since our pups can’t tell us when they’re sick, we’ve got you covered with a list of some serious, yet preventable, diseases and how to catch them early. From kidney disease to cancer to the little known but dangerous fungal diseases, check out our latest article for the Rover.com blog covering 8 Potentially Deadly (and Preventable) Dog Diseases.

And if you haven’t seen the Rover.com blog yet, check it out! It’s full of fun tips and resources for pet parents and animal lovers.

Road Trip! Tips for a Happy Dog Traveler

Spring break is around the corner and summer not far behind, so many pet parents will soon be hitting the road, possibly with their dogs in tow. But is your pooch miserable during the trip? There are things you can to do help!

Travel By Car

First, make sure you are getting your dog enough exercise before you head out on the open road.

road trip

Road trip! Make sure your dog is prepared for a long car ride.

“Just like kids, you need to tire them out so they can rest or sleep during the ride,” behavioral therapist and trainer Beverly Ulbrich says. “It will cause less stress and anxiety for them if you drain some of their energy first.”

We usually head to the dog park for an hour before getting in the car. You have to factor this into your travel time for a happier ride-a-long.

“I recommend walking your dog the minimum you typically walk him every day,” Ulbrich says. “So if he’s used to at least a 45-minute walk every day, then you need to have a 45-minute walk before putting him the car for a few hours.”

Extra exercise isn’t necessary on trips less than an hour but make sure your dog goes potty before you leave.

Also make sure to bring plenty of water and a dog-friendly dish. Our favorite to-go water dish is Gulpy, a portable water dispenser that comes in different shapes and sizes.

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New Year’s Resolution to Get Fit? Your Dog Can Help!

workout dog

Mocha adds 10 pounds of resistance by sitting on mommy as she does push-ups! But walking your dog is a sure way to keep you both fit.

This time of year, a lot of people make the resolution to get fit. But instead of navigating crowded gyms with complicated equipment or struggling through workout videos at home, how about trying another way to lose weight that you’ll actually enjoy? It’s as simple as walking your dog.

Your dog needs the exercise as much as you do.

“In general, even a leisurely walk is good for your dog, both mentally and physically,” Bay Area based veterinary dermatologist Dr. Nicole Eckholm says.

That’s because many health problems can arise from sitting still.

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Switching to a Raw Diet

The commercial pet food industry is a scary business. From questionable ingredients that can make your dog sick to misleading marketing tactics, navigating the shelves to choose a healthy and affordable food is a daunting task.

We consulted canine nutrition expert Sabine Contreras, author of The Dog Food Project, to find out what’s really in commercial dog food and now, we’re going raw.

The health benefits of a raw diet made it a no-brainer.

The Honest Kitchen dehydrated chicken food

“It’s species-appropriate and addresses many health concerns, including dental care, digestive health, skin problems, allergies, obesity, and more,” Contreras says. “I don’t recommend it for immune-compromised animals and it’s important to be careful with dogs who don’t tolerate much fat, but the average dog will benefit greatly from eating a raw diet instead of processed kibble.”

Some folks may have the time to whip up homemade food for their pets, but I’m not one of them. I want to give my dogs the best but I need convenience, too. So we decided on The Honest Kitchen’s dehydrated food, which Contreras assures is quite a step up from kibble.

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