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How do you know what your pet is feeling? You can watch their physical activity (sad pets are less active) or pay attention to how much they’re eating (distraught pets will eat less). But aside from the cues they give you, it can be hard to know what they’re thinking. While your pup is unlikely to start telling you about your day, there’s another way to understand their state of mind.

Your dog’s sleeping position can reveal a lot about how they’re feeling. From sleeping on you to sprawled out to curled up, each position has important body language — this is one way pets communicate with you, considering they can’t talk. Large cues like sleeping belly up or right next to your head make it pretty obvious that your pet feels a deep trust and connection with you.

On the other hand, if your dog is overwhelmed with people or other animals, they may respond by sleeping curled up. This means they want to be left alone for awhile. They feel safe and secure in their little ball, so let them have some undisturbed time, no matter how much you want to pet them.

For more insight into what your pet’s sleeping position means, Sleep Advisor compiled a list of your pet’s most common sleeping positions and what they mean. Check it out below:

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Easter is rapidly approaching and the excitement is building. Chances are if you have little ones of a non-canine variety, you are already planning your own family Easter egg hunt, or are hatching(!) plans to attend one of the many community-based hunts which are run all over the world at this time of year.

Yes, Easter can be a truly memorable time for all the family, adults and kids alike, but what about dogs? You may be instantly hesitant, because the dangers of chocolate to dogs are well known, but who said anything about candy? No, leave the sugary treats to the children (not too many of course!), but at the same time, your furry friend can also get involved in this most popular of Easter activities. Let’s consider how.

The Treat Itself

So, chocolate is out of course, so what are the alternatives for your four-legged friend? Firstly, what about real eggs? Yes, as unusual as it may sound, eggs are in fact an incredible superfood for dogs due to being a rich source of protein and amino acids, which are good for your dog’s stomach, so an Easter egg hunt involving real eggs is a great idea when involving your dog. How should the egg be prepared – well obviously you can’t conduct an Easter egg hunt with a fried or poached variety, so go with the good old-fashioned hard-boiled egg. Incredibly, even the shell is great for your dog as it’s a source of calcium.

What about other alternatives which can be used to resemble the traditional egg? There are actually a whole number of fruits and vegetables that are healthy options for dogs, and if you are a real traditionalist, you can even spend a bit of time shaping them for that authentic look.

“Great foods for dogs include apples, carrots, pumpkin and even sweet potato. All of these options are high in fibre and a variety of other vitamins and minerals, and in the case of carrots and apples, even assist in good dental health for your canine,” remarks Shaleen Robertson, a pet blogger.

One final thing about using hard-boiled eggs. You may want to decorate the eggs themselves – a very popular activity before the hunt. If you are decorating your eggs and intend for your dog to consume them upon finding them, just be sure that you use organic, natural products for the painting purposes. Something like natural egg dye paints will work brilliantly for this kind of activity.

Plastic Options

Using a plastic substitute is also a great way forward, and this can be filled with a whole variety of great doggy treats. A really good option here is the plastic eggs found in Kinder surprises, although you do need to consider the size of your dog’s mouth as you definitely don’t want a choking hazard.

As for the treat inside, you could use something particularly aromatic to participate in a bit of scent work for your dog, so something like bacon or another cooked meat or fish would work really well. It’s a good option to fill the plastic egg with treats in front of your canine so that they understand that there is a culinary reward inside the plastic when they discover it.

However, if going down this path of using a plastic substitute, there are a number of safety considerations you need to bear in mind:

  • Use a plastic egg large enough that your dog cannot possibly swallow it whole
  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times during the hunt so he/she doesn’t consume anything he/she shouldn’t
  • Don’t let your dog crack the plastic as the shards can get lodged in the throat
  • If painting, use a natural product such as natural egg dye
  • Don’t put too much in each, especially if there are several for your dog to find. Being greedy is not a healthy for your dog
  • Make sure all treats are collected at the end of the game – you don’t want to attract unwelcome guests into your garden who have sensed the food left behind. Of you don’t want your dog finding it later when unsupervised, and then consuming the plastic shell
Don’t Use Eggs at All

Okay, this is an Easter egg-themed activity, but nobody is saying you actually have to use an egg. Great alternatives here would be your dog’s favourite chew toy, doggie treats, or something with an equally strong scent. If your dog loves your slippers, use them, but just be aware that you are encouraging the habit if you do this!

Setting Up the Hunt

The rules of the game are of course the same as the regular Easter egg hunts you participated in as an excited kid, or as your children are likely to be involved in this Easter.

Firstly, ensure the garden or outdoor space you are using is free of other obstacles and any hazardous objects. A freshly-mowed lawn works best. Next place your eggs in positions that are easy for your dog to access, meaning in tufts of longer grass, behind garden ornaments, or around a walled corner and so on. It’s definitely a good idea to place the prize on a flat surface, however.

To start the search, keep your dog on a lead and walk him or her over to the first egg, and draw attention to it. Once your dog touches the egg (or alternative) with its nose, allow your dog to consume the treat, or empty the contents out if the plastic container. Also, verbally congratulate your dog and rub and pat the coat as you normally would when you are pleased with him or her – make it clear that this is a reward for some good work performed. Keep repeating the activity until your dog understands how the game works. If you use strongly scented treats, it really will come as second nature to your hungry canine friend before too long has passed.

“Once your dog has got used to the game, definitely start to hide the eggs or treats in slightly more difficult places. Dogs are smart and will get very good very quickly at this fun activity,” comments Annie Swarthick, a pet writer.

Something to avoid is placing the eggs or treats in places that can encourage bad habits, such as places where your dog needs to tip something over (like in a plant pot) or where your dog has to leap up to access it. Bad habits are easily picked up and not so easily untrained, so don’t create a problem for yourself further down the line.

Community Options

Increasingly there are community options to get involved in if you are looking for a more social doggy-based Easter egg hunt. A lot of groups such as dog walking clubs, charities and other organizations set these up and chances are there is one happening near you.

Often these community-based events bring added bonuses to events, with examples being some of the plastic eggs that are found containing information regarding a special prize, instead of an instantly-consumable treat. These prizes will usually be some sort of dog-related paraphernalia, or a toy for your best friend.

These competitions are great fun, but are also well organized. An example would be if your dog gets over competitive or over-stimulated in any way, you have to go to the side to take a time out until your dog is relaxed enough to continue. The objective is always to have some fun, socialize with other dog lovers, and also teach your dog a new activity that you can enjoy together.  

Some Additional Safety Information

As mentioned previously, it is a really good idea to keep your dog on a lead at all times during the hunt so as he/she doesn’t consume anything they shouldn’t, and also if there are other dogs involved to prevent over-excitement. For the same reason, if you are doing a hunt with the kids too, it’s definitely better to separate the activities. Lots of little kids running around can really be an overwhelming situation for a dog even of the most placid temperament, so do not allow your dog to get over-stimulated.

And Finally, Enjoy!

It would be easy to forget in the hubbub of all this activity that the main objective is to have some fun with your loyal companion. If you have kids, you may be familiar with the guilt of feeling your dog has been left out due to safety concerns, such as what happens at Halloween, for example. Fostering a great relationship between your dog and your children is really important to a family containing both, and by having a little event for your dog, before or after the event with the children, is a great way for your dog to feel included in all the excitement. And no guilty feeling for you afterwards either, so it’s a win-win situation.

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Essential Nutrients

Let’s talk nutrients! Just like humans, dogs need an array of nutrients to keep them healthy and active. Water, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals are all necessary for your dog to survive. Carbohydrates are also included in this list because they are a large source of nutrients for most dogs but technically they could survive without them.

For an idea of what’s in your dog’s food, check out this article, From Factory to Dog Bowl.

1. Water

Similar to humans, your dog’s body is 60-70% water and is needed for most functions of the body. Dry food contains around 10% water while wet food is considerably higher. No matter what you choose to feed them, your dog’s food does not contain nearly enough water to sustain them.

Water intake will actually vary depending on the health, age, amount of activity, and other qualities of your dog. Water should be made available to your dog at all times. Dogs and other animals realize they need water themselves so they will drink as much or as little as they need to.

2. Protein (and Amino Acids)

Protein contains amino acids and is the main ingredient needed for your dog to build, maintain and repair. As they say, proteins are the building blocks of life!

Proteins are extra awesome because if your dog is lacking in carbs or fats (used to make glucose), it can use protein to make up for it. However, protein is not continuously stored in your dog’s body so he or she needs a constant supply.

Only certain types of proteins can transition into amino acids. Essential amino acids are required for you dog to survive but they cannot produce it themselves.

Because of that, you’ll want to make sure your dog’s protein is easily digestible. For example, whole, cooked eggs are completely digestible, making it the best source of protein for your dog.

3. Carbohydrates

Your dog’s body will use carbs to create glucose which is converted to energy. Although carbs are not required in your dog’s diet, they are very important. The protein and fat that your dog consumes could be providing them with the essential glucose they need but it probably isn’t. It will depend on a few things, including the age, health, and activity level of your dog so carbs are a great backup.

Carbs contain various vitamins and minerals that your dog needs (more details below) and supplies your dog with fiber as well. As in humans, fiber is used in your dog’s body to regulate their stool. Without it, your dog may experience diarrhea.

4. Fat (and Fatty Acids)

Fats are an extremely important part of your pet’s diet. To start, they provide energy to your dog in the way that protein or carbs would but fat is much denser. Fats will give your dog twice the calories than either protein or carbs, therefore twice the energy! Too much fat can be a bad idea unless you have a dog that is particularly active.

Another important role that fats play is helping with the absorption of vitamins. What’s the point of feeding your little guy all those vitamins unless he can use them?

Lastly, fat keeps dogs warm. And just like amino acids, there are essential fatty acids as well. They are also not produced by your dog and must be included in their diet via fat.

5. Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are both used for metabolism. Minerals specifically target bones and teeth health, but they have tons of other functions. Vitamins aide the immune system and with blood clots, among other jobs. Vitamins and minerals have to be provided because they are not produced by your dog at all.

Now that you know a little bit about the nutrients your dog should be receiving, let’s discuss feeding habits.

Feeding Basics

Feeding is not going to be the same for every dog because every dog is not the same! Below are some general guidelines but you should speak with your vet for specific feeding instructions for your dog or puppy.

Wet or Dry Food? Image credit –

As far as the nutrients your dog will be receiving, there is no difference in wet and dry food. Wet food will definitely contain more water so your dog may drink less water but not enough to sustain him so make sure he still has plenty to drink. I think the best benefit of dry food is it is easier to store and maintain.

When choosing between wet and dry food you should go with whatever works best for your lifestyle. Any dog can survive on dry food but if they have trouble eating, wet food may be your best option. My dog is elderly and has bad teeth so I add water to his dry food because he would eat canned food until he’s sick.


Puppies need to be fed much more often than adults, just like baby humans! There are a couple reasons for this.

One, your little guy is still growing and as you see above, there are lots of nutrients he needs to grow into a healthy adult dog. The second thing is, puppies are usually much more active so they are burning more calories than your adult dog would. Their little bellies are so small that they can’t store much for later.

To be clear, just because you are feeding your puppy more often does not mean you are feeding him more food. Find the daily recommended amount for your puppy and divide that by the amount of times you want to feed him daily.


Adults can be fed considerably less often than puppies – as little as twice or even once a day. While most dogs are okay with being fed once a day, that is a long time for your dog to go, especially if he is active or a small breed.

If you include treats in your puppy or dog’s diet, be sure to include that as part of their daily intake. If you’re trying to watch your dogs weight, even a treat here or there will add up.

No matter the age of your dog, you should never change their food abruptly. This can lead to a tummy ache and throwing up. Give your dog’s belly time to adjust by mixing the foods together for a few days. Slowly wean your dog off of it’s old food until only the new food remains.

To feed your dog the very best of foods, learn how to make your own dog food here.


Water, protein, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals are all necessary nutrients to sustain your little guy. Not only do they have their own functions, they work together to keep your dog alive and well!

As a dog owner, it’s your job to ensure your dog receives everything he needs – don’t let him down!

Comment below to share any feeding tips I haven’t mentioned here. Also let me know how it turns out if you end up making your own food!!

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There are already studies that can prove how dogs and cats help with depression and anxiety. A study by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute revealed that 74% of the people surveyed said that their pet has made them improve their mental health.

However, in this study, it is most likely that the people surveyed only either own a cat or a dog. As someone who is planning to have both pets live together, you probably are thinking if this is a good idea. Such a household setting may even let you think that having both a cat and a dog will just give you more stress because of their tendencies not to get along.

In a recent study conducted by the Journal of Veterinary Behavior reveals that pet owners of both cats and dogs believe that their pets are comfortable with each other. This should already make you feel better about having both pets.

There are factors to consider when it comes to making sure that a cat and a dog would hit it off when they get together and one of these would be the breed of the dog. Definitely, you should avoid getting a dog breed that is known to be aggressive.

Here, we will list ten dog breeds that can live well with cats.

Funny Pugs Vs Cats Compilation 2016 AHF - YouTube

This may seem like an obvious choice because of its size and temperament. Pugs are generally fun to have.

You won’t really have to worry about a pug chasing your cat around as this breed has a low prey drive. What you have to be vigilant about is how a cat can easily scratch this dog’s eyes.

Norwegian Buhund
norwegian lundehund puppy vs bangal cat - YouTube

It’s a great choice for a household with cats. The Buhund can get along with a cat very well, especially if it is raised with one or more.

That said, it is best to get a baby Buhund to make it easier to train to cohabit with a feline buddy.

Puppy maltese and cat playing - YouTube

This therapy dog is known for its tiny size. It is a friendly and lively dog breed and won’t have a hard time getting along with other pets, like a cat. It’s a companion dog and once a Maltese gets used to having a cat around, they might always prefer to be around each other.

Burmese Cat vs. Havanese Dog! - Who Wins? - YouTube

This dog from Cuba may be little in size but you should know that it has a lot of love to give. A Havanese loves children and other animals, like other dog breeds and cats.

This breed tends to be quiet but it still thrives on affection. Because of its quietness, solitary cats would most likely not mind having a Havanese as a companion.

When a Cat Loves a Bulldog - YouTube

This dog breed may have been stereotyped to be aggressive or not friendly because of its face, but a bulldog is delightfully friendly and pleasant. It could easily get along with other pets in the household.

A bulldog only has moderate energy levels which would make a good factor for a cat breed that isn’t really too active.

Cat and Chihuahua in Love! - YouTube

A Chihuahua and a cat can actually be best friends – to the point that they’d protect each other. A cat may find it easier to welcome a Chi because of its size, but this is also the reason why a lot of pet owners find this breed stylish.

A Chihuahua and a cat can actually be best friends – to the point that they’d protect each other. A cat may find it easier to welcome a Chi because of its size, but this is also the reason why a lot of pet owners find this breed stylish.

Shih Tzu
Shih Tzu puppy Lacey and Blue Persian Lexi, are they friends yet? - YouTube

A Shih Tzu enjoys a lot of attention and would exert the effort to get the attention it needs. It likes to play with other dogs and even cats, so this breed will suit cat breeds that are considered active.

When properly trained and socialized, you won’t have a problem making it live with a cat.

Irish Setter

This redheaded dog is very active and energetic. Like a Norwegian Buhund, this dog breed would have no problem getting along with a cat, especially if it is raised with one.

This dog breed will suit active and energetic cats. Just make sure that you supervise their playtime well.

Cat massages mastiff - YouTube

Known as the gentle giant, a Mastiff is generally peaceful to have. It has a good sense of things and knows if someone or something is a threat or not.

If it doesn’t have any bad encounters with cats or kittens, a Mastiff can easily get along with one.

Yorkiepoo with cat 2 - YouTube

This crossbreed of a Yorkshire Terrier and Miniature Poodle is friendly and easy to train.

Trainability is a big factor to make a cat and dog relationship work. This dog is very social and it would definitely appreciate a cat’s company once they are accustomed to each other.

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The fun and joy a dog can bring to one’s life is irreplaceable. Ideally, having a four-legged friend around can even improve your health… that is, if you’re not allergic to them.

In the U.S. 10% of the population is allergic to dogs to some degree, however, this doesn’t have to prevent you from owning a canine companion!

But are you sure you’re allergic to dogs?

First things first, you should make sure, that you are actually allergic to dogs. The fact that you had one allergic reaction doesn’t necessarily condemn you to a life without a furry friend. Before even looking up different hypoallergenic breeds, go see a doctor and make a thorough allergy test! Worst case scenario, your doctor can prescribe medications to treat your symptoms, that are far more effective than other over-the-counter options.

To understand why and how can a breed be hypoallergenic you must also understand the cause of your allergy.

What causes the allergic reaction?

Allergic reactions are triggered by Dander, microscopic skin flakes, that are attached to the hair dogs and other pets shed. Depending on the severity of one’s allergy, an allergy attack can occur even by touching the saliva or skin of a canine. Therefore, breeds that shed lightly or don’t shed at all, thus not triggering a nasty sneezing attack, are called hypoallergenic dog breeds. Fortunately for you, these breeds are not rare at all, but your options are limited. We are going to introduce you to a handful of breeds (both purebred and mixed-breeds) to help you choose the perfect furry friend, who keeps her fur to herself.

Let’s find you a hypoallergenic dog, shall we?

You didn’t think finding a hypoallergenic puppy is going to be this easy, but you’ll be surprised to see actually how many breeds you can choose from!

That said, this is not an exhaustive list of hypoallergenic dog breeds, so don’t fret if you don’t find love at first sight here. It also has to be mentioned, that there is no breed, that is a 100% hypoallergenic, but unless you are extremely allergic to dogs, these four-legged goofballs listed here won’t trigger an allergic reaction whatsoever.

Can I have purebred hypoallergenic dog?

Of course you can! There are a galore of lightly- or non-shedding breeds out there, so you can easily pick one that suits your lifestyle the best. Once you found the breed you like the most, just make sure to get your puppy from a reputable breeder.

Afghan Hound

Surprisingly enough, this fabolous, silky-looking fella is indeed a non-shedding breed. Even though his size, the Afghan hound adapts to apartment life perfectly, is absolutely kid-compatible and is always up for adventures.

They are a generally healthy breed but regular grooming and daily exercise is a must-have. Training them can become challenging, therefore you should get a puppy and train her as soon as possible. Having her in your family is something you’ll never regret.


Schnauzers can come in many shapes and sizes and they are all hypoallergenic, so regardless your home, you can find the perfect Schnauzer.

They are incredibly intelligent, protective and kind to children, but training one can be a tough case, as they all have a crazy amount of energy.

Standard and Giant Schnauzers are very healthy, however, the Miniature Schnauzer is prone to a list of health conditions such as Cataracts, Entropion, PRA, Urinary Stones, Myotonia Congenita, etc.. I’m not discouraging you from buying a Miniature size, but you definitely should read about these conditions before considering  buying a puppy.


The only hypoallergenic breed that is more popular than the Schnauzer. As a seasoned Poodle owner, I can wholeheartedly report, this is a breed you cannot go wrong with. They can be found in all sizes and colors, plus they will be absolutely fine in your apartment. They are not exactly the go-to family dog (that title belongs to the good ol’ Golden Retriever), but they are historically perfect for families and are very good with kids.

A Poodle is intelligent, in fact one of the most intelligent breeds out there. This makes training them a walk in the park, so much so, that your well-mannered, calm canine may put all the others to shame when you actually take her out to the park. I might be biased, but objectively speaking there is hardly a better choice for someone with allergies. Just make sure that you buy your Poodle from a responsible breeder, not a puppy mill.

American Hairless Terrier

Here comes one for the lovers of terriers! It’s easy to guess, how hypoallergenic are they actually… a lot. No fur, no shedding, thus the American Hairless is the only Terrier available for people with allergies.

They possess the traditional Terrier attitude, curiosity and mischief is coded in their DNA. Although they have a moderate need for exercise, they are quite out of their element in the apartment, but if you can manage to take them outside several times a day, that’s going to be fine.

Grooming them goes as far as keeping their ears clean, but sunburns prove to be a real hazard. Training is a piece of cake, as they are very intelligent and attentive. With enough effort they will become a well-mannered but playful, and ever so lovable member of your family.

Are there any hybrid breeds, that I’m not allergic to?

Covering all the hypoallergenic purebred breeds would make a much longer read, so to give you a full perspective, let me just skip ahead and show you a few adorable designer dog breeds. There is quite a controversy around purposefully mixed-breeds, a.k.a designer dog breeds, but one thing’s for sure, these breeds inherit the good attributes healthwise from both sides. With all this said, let’s look at a few of these breeds, shall we?


This adorable little guy was one of the first designer dog breeds, being the result of crossing a Poodle and a Cocker Spaniel. Thanks to the Poodle genes in her, the Cockapoo is a non-shedding breed, making it a lovely canine companion that doesn’t give allergy attacks to her human companion.

They are a great choice for families, and training them is as easy as it gets, however, early socialization is incredibly important. These attention-seeking fluffs always require positive reinforcement, otherwise they can develop separation anxiety.


It is no overstatement, that this is the most popular breed of all the designer dog breeds. This again is a half Poodle breed (in fact, the majority of designer dogs today are half Poodle), possessing the short, curly, non-shedding fur of the Poodles, making them hypoallergenic.

They are one of the few designer breeds, that are larger, growing as tall as 2 feet and weighing 50-90 pounds. And trust me, you’re going to want one of these 90 pounds of pure love in your family, as they are naturally great with kids, given they are a mix of two family- friendly breed. On top of this, they are intelligent, playful and easy to train.


I think at this you’ve already come to a conclusion. Your allergy does not deter you from having a loyal furry friend in your life, it only narrows your choices. Still, there are amazing little pups out there looking for a loving home! (If you make a good decision you reduce the dogs ending up in a shelter)

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When our dogs are in pain, discomfort, or stress, we naturally want to do everything we can to make them feel better. This is why more and more pet owners are turning to CBD oil as a natural health alternative for their dogs. With the increased demand for CBD oil for dogs, it’s important for the safety of your four-legged friend that you know all you can before you use it to treat your pet.

CBD (cannabidiol) is an extract that is already being used in humans as a substitution for prescription medication to treat anxiety, pain, and variety of other health conditions. With such positive results for humans, why should our fur children be left out of the equation when it comes to holistic health?

CBD oil for dogs comes from the hemp plant. Unlike marijuana that contains Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), hemp has only small traces, so it won’t make your furry friend high. Studies have been done on the positive effects that CBD has on the human endocannabinoid system. Dogs have this same system as found in humans, a series of receptors that control important functions such as inflammation and the perception of pain. CBD oil naturally activates and stimulates these receptors in the endocannabinoid system, reducing pain and inflammation.

CBD has therapeutic properties that can not only help heal and treat existing health conditions, it can also promote wellness in your pooch and prevent many illnesses and chronic health ailments before they start. Dogs with behaviour problems can also benefit from CBD oil. Small doses can help to control aggression towards other dogs and excessive barking.

When pet owners are asked why they’re using CBD oil for their dog, answers always include that they want to do the best for their beloved friend. The Top 5 health reasons among pet owners for using CBD include:

  • Pain management for a variety of health conditions, such as cancer and pancreatitis.
  • Anxiety management, which includes anxiety separation, stress in a new environment, and nervousness around other dogs and people.
  • Skin conditions, such as rashes and dry skin which can be both irritating and painful for dogs.
  • Mobility and joint problems that can affect dogs of all ages, slowing them down from aches and pain.
  • Disorientation and confusion that many dogs experience as they reach their senior years.

Talk to your veterinarian about introducing CBD oil to your dog’s health regime. A small dose of CBD can boost your dog’s immune system and also help dogs who have food and environmental allergies. For dogs going through more serious health issues, such as epilepsy and seizures, CBD oil can help treat the condition so you can avoid using conventional medications, many of which have harmful side effects and are often ineffective. Still other pet owners whose dogs have been diagnosed with cancer and other diseases are turning to CBD oil to support their pet through this stressful time, not only to manage pain but to stimulate appetite as well.

Your vet will be able to help with proper dosage for your dog, which is dependent on body weight. And giving CBD oil to you dog is easy – in a tincture, in pill form, or as a treat.

When buying CBD oil for your dog be sure to use a product that’s of the highest quality, organically produced, and free of essential oils that are toxic and dangerous to dogs. A Certificate of Analysis is your way of knowing that the CBD product you’re buying is free of contaminants, such as fungus and heavy metals that can be harmful for your pet.

This comprehensive guide contains everything you need to know about CBD oil and the benefits it has for your dog’s wellness and for treating any health conditions they may be experiencing.

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The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

The phrase “man’s best friend” was uttered for the first time in 1789 when King Frederick of Prussia was referring to his beloved Italian Greyhound[1]. The phrase is still used today when referring to dogs. Dog – man’s best friend. There are so many different ways these sweet, furry little companions make our lives better. Quite honestly, I can’t imagine where I would be without mine. I got my first dog when I was 11 years old. I was a chubby, shy kid who had moved a lot and was not having an easy time with my parents’ divorce. Things were made worse by the fact that I had exactly one friend. (In hindsight, I think she only hung out with me because of my GameCube.) So, when we found this tiny, freezing little black and brown puppy outside of an abandoned apartment complex, you can only imagine the backflips my little heart did when my mom said we could keep her. I named her Jade and that little 8-pound ball of fur changed my entire life.

The Struggles, and Triumphs

First, I had to learn how to train a puppy which meant many trips to the local library and many books borrowed and many topics researched – from chewing to housebreaking. It also meant experiencing the fresh terror of coming home to find the book titled “How to Keep Your Dog from Chewing” chewed up, and having to explain that to the local librarian.

We grew together though. I eventually learned she was part Rottweiler and would grow larger than I anticipated, in fact. She pulled me out of my shell. Things I never had to do or never felt confident enough doing I did because of having this little critter that depended on me. I learned quickly that she loved being and running outside. After a good run, she became a lot less inclined to chew up everything I held dear. (The GameCube had lasted a week.) We began roaming the neighbourhood together, exploring the parks and the streets. The combination of having Jade and being forced to leave my house led me to make friends with a lot of other kids in our neighbourhood, ones that didn’t care that my dog had eaten my GameCube. She was my outgoing friend. She always wanted to say hello to everyone we met, which meant I had to stand there and socialize while she got her pats in. Which led to me having friends! We moved a lot during my childhood and sometimes it seemed like we might not be able to keep Jade, which spurred young me into the action of finding pet-friendly apartments and living situations. I was the best 13-year-old realtor in the business.

Separation Anxiety

When I went off to University, I couldn’t imagine not having Jade with me. So my fiance and I ended up living in a house 45 minutes away from campus (the only pet-friendly building available, with a nearby lake for Jade) this inconvenience spurred me into learning how to drive, not abusing alcohol in University (because I was always the DD) and living a much more active life than I would have otherwise. When I left for University, I was very overweight but getting up and going to the lake with my dog every morning gave me the reverse effect of The Freshman 15. I didn’t realise how much having her affected my life in so many positive ways until a few years later. I found myself newly single in my mid-twenties and moved to New York City. My mom decided to keep Jade for me, as my pup was getting up in the years and moving her into a tiny apartment in the middle of the busiest city in North America seemed unfair. I had never realised how much easier my beautiful dog had made my life. Walking around any big city with Jade was never an issue because if anyone made me feel uncomfortable she was there with her hackles raised to tell them to move along. I never felt scared exploring wooded areas or forests because I knew she would warn me of other wildlife or explorers and would have my back if some sort of over-the-hedge situation were to occur. I never startled at a floorboard creak because if anyone were ever silly enough to try and break in, they would be met with a ferocious bark from a 100-lb (unbeknownst to them) sweetheart of a dog. Suddenly, without her, I was faced with all these fears and insecurities, and loneliness I had never felt before. I missed Jade more than I’d ever missed my ex-husband.

The Reunion

After a couple years of living in New York, (and luckily finding a roommate who had a big dog) it was time to come home and be reunited with my sweet girl. It was like I’d been gone for decades, but also like I’d never left. The pure joy and loyalty that comes from a dog is unparalleled. It’s unending happiness, constant positivity, having someone always happy to see you. This creature that just loves you, walks, and food. Most friendships are unending mazes of complexity, navigating feelings and baggage and different personalities.  Don’t get me wrong – human friendships are great! It forces us to grow and be better people and be more compassionate and understanding and personable. But sometimes it’s nice to just walk in the door and have a ball of fur fly at you with no expectations beyond, “give me love and food.”

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man%27s_best_friend_(phrase)

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Romantic music swells softly as you light the candles, and rose petals cover every inch of your home. You’ve picked out the perfect thoughtful gift for your sweetheart, and you’re just putting the finishing touches on a homemade dinner (complete with chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert) that’s going to knock their socks off.

It seems like Valentine’s Day has taken off without a hitch… until you spot your pup looking at you guiltily next to an empty box of chocolates. Your heart begins to pound, not with love but with panic. 

What do you do?

Many of the things that make Valentine’s Day so special for humans are the very things that can bring about danger or even death to our beloved dogs. As with many holidays, people tend to get so wrapped up in their own magical experiences that they fail to plan for the what-ifs of pet parenting. Have no fear. With a little preparation and information, you can protect your pet from the Valentine’s Day staples that can be hurtful or even life-threatening to dogs.

Image source: thegrandpaw.com

It is widely known that chocolate is not dog’s best friend, but how exactly does it harm dogs? Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical that dogs cannot metabolize as easily as humans. When ingested in large quantities, theobromine becomes toxic, with symptoms ranging from tummy troubles to, in severe cases, death. The purer or darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it will have. For this reason, cocoa and dark chocolate tend to be more dangerous than milk chocolate and white chocolate.

If you discover or suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, the first step is to calmly remove any remaining chocolate from nearby. Once your dog is secure, assess your dog’s condition. Is he vomiting? Does your dog appear restless? Or is he shaking with an increased heart rate? When your dog’s symptoms have been evaluated, call your veterinarian immediately. Armed with knowledge of your dog’s weight and size, medical history, and current symptoms, your veterinarian will know if your dog should be brought in for an emergency visit or if it would be best to keep him comfortable at home while monitoring his symptoms.

An additional threat is posed if your dog has ingested chocolates still in the wrapper. Bundles of foil in your dog’s digestive system can cause obstructions, and sharp edges can lead to internal bleeding. Be sure to tell your vet if you have reason to believe your dog has eaten a foil wrapper. Often a vet will recommend that you induce vomiting and treat your dog with activated charcoal to remove toxins from the bloodstream.

To prevent an unfortunate run-in between your dog and chocolate, keep such treats tucked away, preferably inside drawers or cabinets that your dog cannot reach. Good training can go a long way; teaching your dog to not to jump onto counters and to respect boundaries can also prevent such unfortunate mishaps.


The gift of fresh flowers is a romantic gesture that most would appreciate, but certain flowers can pose health threats to dogs. Some of the most common flowers given on Valentine’s Day are roses, tulips and orchids, but what effect do these beautiful buds have on our dogs?

The good news is that roses and orchids are generally considered non-toxic to dogs, although some gastrointestinal discomfort can occur. However, when it comes to roses, make sure your pup’s paws steer clear of their thorny stems. Thorns can easily bury themselves in your dog’s paw pads, causing irritation and even infection. To remove thorns, clean your dog’s paws with soap and warm water, use clean tweezers to gently extract the thorn, and thoroughly dry and bandage the wound.

Tulips, on the other hand, can pose severe health consequences, especially if your dog has ingested the bulb. Tulips contain Tuliposide A, a toxic alkaloid that can cause a range of symptoms such as pain, shortness of breath, vomiting, and even death. If your dog eats tulips, reach out to your vet immediately. Keep your dog safe from eating toxic flowers by keeping them out of reach and by placing bouquets in protective vases immediately.

Artificial Sweeteners

Love is sweet, and so are the candies and treats associated with February 14th. Usually only chocolate comes to mind when considering dessert dangers, but artificial sweeteners can also bring harm to your pup, especially since many Valentine’s Day candies include artificial sweeteners such as xylitol.

Xylitol is found in a range of products, from mints to peanut butter. When ingested, xylitol causes an insulin spike in dogs (hypoglycemia) and, in larger quantities, liver damage (acute hepatic necrosis); symptoms associated with xylitol consumption include shaking, seizures, diarrhea, and death.

While xylitol can cause extreme health problems in dogs, it is important to stay calm if you discover your dog has eaten an artificially sweetened product. Other artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and stevia, are not toxic to dogs. Be sure to check the product’s packaging; the danger is greatest when xylitol is listed in the first 3-5 ingredients.

Xylitol consumption warrants an immediate call and trip to the vet’s office.


Nothing sets the mood quite like candlelight, but the open flame and different scents radiating from your candles can be harmful to your dog. Candles should always be lit in a well-ventilated area and kept out of reach of animals, and a burning candle should never be left unattended.

In addition to the danger of an open flame, most candles contain paraffin, a petroleum-based wax, and synthetic fragrances. Such ingredients can cause respiratory infections and asthma in dogs. Candles with lead wicks also pose a significant threat to your dog’s overall health and well-being; lead wicks are associated with nervous system damage and hormone disruption.

Soy or vegetable-based candles with cotton wicks are the safest bet to ensure your Valentine’s Day is romantic for you and safe for your pet.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and companionship, two things that dogs provide us with in abundance each and every day! Being aware of the potential dangers that could befall your best (canine) friend helps you extend the love their way on this special day, and a mindful and prepared approach to Valentine’s Day will leave you and your dog able to enjoy the holiday.

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The New Year is here! It’s an exciting time to start planning your New Year’s resolutions, and whether you just got a new dog or have had your faithful companion for many years, including them in your resolutions is beneficial for both!

Picture from vetstreet.com

Probably the most common New Year’s resolution to have is exercising! However, your dog does need exercise to live a healthy life, and if you are not giving them plenty of exercise you might find yourself with an overly energetic dog that seems problematic. Giving them the proper amount of exercise is vital and will improve both of your lives! Not only will your dog be more calm within the house, but you will both lead healthier lifestyles!

You can exercise with your dog in several ways, but the appropriate method depends on your dog’s breed. Smaller dogs tend to be okay with short or long walks. Medium sized dogs tend to like long walks or running more. And large dogs usually prefer long walks. Of course, this does not mean it applies to every breed that is small, medium or large, but doing a little more research on your breed will definitely pay off!

Picture from Krisers.com Making more friends

While you’re exercising, it is ideal to also be socializing! This means that your short or long walks can be to and from a dog park, the perfect place for both of you to make more friends. It is important for dogs to socialize, or they might become anxious around other people and animals and sometimes even aggressive.

In a dog park your dog can play around with other dogs while you start a conversation with their owners. Becoming a regular at a dog park will mean a part in your day when you can happily chat with people who have things in common with you while your dog runs around with the other dogs. Happiness all around!

Picture from akc.org Eating right

This is another common New Year’s resolution, however, it is very different from dieting. Limiting your dog’s food is not ideal, making sure they’re eating what’s best for their body is! Many dogs have food allergies, or the food simply does not seem to be the ideal one for them. Many veterinarians recommend grain free food for dogs, but it all depends on your dog’s specifications.

Visiting your veterinarian to establish the appropriate food for your dog is the best approach to continue on the healthier lifestyle that will make both you and your dog extremely happy! Remember, however, to not change your dog’s food suddenly, but little by little, always with the help of your veterinarian.

Picture from petwants.com Playtime

Playtime is an important part of the day for your dog, whether you spend it at the dog park playing frisbee or in your backyard throwing a ball. Playtime teaches your dog the right ways to behave, as well as keeping them healthy. However it not only exercises them, but it helps relieve stress for the owner! If you don’t have an established playtime, this is the perfect year to start.

If you are going to the dog park and making friends, you can even set play dates with the owners of other dogs your dog gets along with. This is an opportunity to teach your dog what kind of behavior is appropriate with others as well. Teaching them not to be too rough and obey commands even in the middle of play will help avoid aggressive behavior and make the experience fun for everyone!

Picture from mnn.com Going on Adventures!

Many dog breeds are built for hiking, running, etc. Going on adventures with your dog will give them a life well lived. Whether you take them to the beach, hiking on the mountains, or simply to a new dog park, new experiences are something that will make your dog happy, especially because they are sharing these experiences with you!

This also includes trying out new things, such as “Doga”, which is yoga with your dog, or entering competitions with your dog, etc. They also classify as new experiences, and can include several physical and mental health benefits to give you and your pet a long and well lived life.

Picture from theodysseyonline.com

These New Year’s resolutions will not only help you and your pet live a healthier lifestyle, but a happier one! If you decide to follow them for the rest of the year, you might find yourself living a much better life when the next year comes around.

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When the holidays are coming up, one of the most special presents people can give are pets! Often times our first dog is a present from our parents for a holiday or birthday, and it is only logical that we want to give others the joy of having a dog to cuddle as a present. However, it is important that when gifting a pet it is done in a responsible manner, to ensure that both the new owner and the pet are content with the outcome. If you are looking for the perfect gift to give a dog you already own, you can find some options here!

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A post shared by Thunder’s Treasures (@thunderstreasures) on Dec 13, 2018 at 8:09am PST

Make sure the person wants a dog

The first step to take when gifting animals is to make sure the recipient actually wants them! Gifts are usually a surprise, hence the wrapping and excitement of opening the present without knowing what it is. However, when it comes to live animals, it is not the best idea for them to be a surprise. After all, you have to make sure they actually want a pet!

It could be that they have always wanted a pet but it would be really complicated for them to own one at that moment. Maybe the place where they live doesn’t allow dogs, or maybe they do want a pet, but of a specific breed and gender. Meaning, they want, for example, a female Golden Retriever. If you are gifting a child that is not your own the dog, speak with the parents first to see if they are okay with it. This is why it is so important to discuss the subject with the person before gifting them the dog.  

Can they take care of the dog?

The second step to make sure that everyone is happy is to make sure that the person can take care of the dog. If the person is impaired or has a disability, it is best to research the type of dog suited for them. If you are gifting someone of older age a dog, maybe a smaller dog would be ideal since they do not have the strength to handle a larger dog. And in this case maybe even gifting them an older dog that is already trained would be better, given that they might not want to train a puppy. If you are gifting a child a dog, make sure they know the right way to treat them and are not too harsh with them to ensure the safety and happiness of both.

It is also important to make sure that they can afford to own a dog, so the dog never lacks what it needs, such as food and water containers, the food itself, a bed, a leash and a collar, etc. As per usual, if gifting it to a child that is not your own, speak to the parents to make sure they can afford to have a dog before speaking to the child.

Should it be a Present Under the Tree? Giving a dog as a gift for the holidays may not be a bad idea, but be sure to think it completely through before purchasing it. Image source: tribunecontentagency.com

Even though gifts are usually wrapped in paper, put in boxes or bags and then placed under the tree for people to open, this is not recommended when gifting a dog. Despite what movies may suggest, poking holes in a box will not suffice for the dog to be okay, even if it is only for a few minutes. They will not be able to get enough air and will feel suffocated in such a small and confined space. Instead, you can simply put a ribbon on their collar and make the person close their eyes and open them to find you holding a puppy! This way the puppy will feel more comfortable.

It is also important to take the ribbon off as soon as possible, given that if the puppy manages to get it off and starts chewing on it unsupervised, they might get pieces of it stuck. Always make sure your pet is safe!

Happy pet, happy life!

Last, but not least, you have to introduce the dog to its new environment properly. This ensures that the dog does not become overly shy, scared or violent in the moment or later on. Let the dog explore its new home and its new owners! Letting it sniff around and familiarize itself with everything is ideal, even if it takes a while before you can play with it. It is also recommended to have food and water ready as well as a toy for the dog to play with its new owners.

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A post shared by Maltese Cotton (@maltesecotton) on Oct 20, 2018 at 7:50pm PDT

If it is an older dog, they might take longer to become confident. If it is a puppy, it will most likely be extremely curious of everything. Either way, they might take a while, but it is important that you let them take their time.

The most important thing during holiday season is to ensure everyone is happy with the result! So enjoy this time with your family and friends, and if you do decide to get a dog for someone, make sure the dog enjoys its time as well! And remember to give your dog as much love as it gives you!

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