Pet Care Tips to Improve Pet Health and Quality of Life

Checking Health of Puppy Litters

Posted by Kay (Jax, FL Usa) on 05/21/2014

Checking the health of puppy litters: I have a friend who found a dog breeder on line and I am concerned they have found a bad one. What website would should the health line of the breeder's dogs? I have already checked the American Kennel Club.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Kay!

I recommend starting research on this site first; not all breed clubs participate, however - but the ones that do identify the most prevalent diseases in their respective breeds and actively screen for them.

Next, your friend should be able to get the registered names of the sire and dam to the litter and should be able to search for them here:

I find it also helpful when researching a breeder to google "complaints against X kennel"; if the breeder has a long standing history of selling unhealthy dogs very often they come up in such a search.

And - how's your new puppy? Did the loose stools clear up?

Replied by Kay
(Jax, FL, USA)

No, my new puppy still has loose stools. I have had him now for 4 weeks and he has been on chicken and rice probably 3 weeks mixed with different dry foods. When I transition to more dry food than rice and chicken, his stools become runny. The vet wanted to put him on a dog food called EN but I found it to be full of grain, corn meal, etc. My last dog which was a different breed, was allergic to all of that, so I am gun shy of starting my new pup. However, someone else told me to add a tablespoon of plain yogurt to his food(dry food only). He also poops several times a day. He is still gaining weight and he is now 13 weeks old. I don't know if I should bite the bullett and go for what the Vet wants to feed him or not. I have had some bad experiences with vets as they seem to want to sell their food, which isn't always better than anything else. This is a new vet for me. Any input?

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Kay!

What does your puppy's breeder say about the loose stools? Sometimes the breeder will know if there is something in a particular diet that is contrary to their breed.

I never transition my dogs on to any food - I do a hard switch and feed half the normal rations for the first three meals. This usually works for me. Loose stools in puppies can be from eating too large a portion, so you might try cutting the portion size to see if it affects stool consistency. I do find it easier to transition from home made chicken and rice to a chicken based kibble - over say a fish based kibble. I think as long as you choose a top diet you shouldn't need the EN diet - which I did look at and agree it's all corn and gluten and unidentified mystery protien. I did see that the EN is prescribed for stress based gastro issues - perhaps Rescue Remedy would help or a D.A.P. plug in. Does your puppy suffer from separation anxiety? And take the Rescue Remedy yourself in case your stress load is traveling down leash on you! The yogurt idea isn't a bad one, however there are better ways to deliver probiotics instead of dairy. I just buy varying strains of acidophillus from the refrigerator section at the health food store and dose with every meal.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)



You might try adding some activated charcoal to your pup's food for the loose stools. It's dusty, messy, fly-a-way stuff, so you will need to mix it into moistened or wet food and it will turn everything black! One half teaspoon per meal for 3 days - see if that has any effect.

Activated charcoal is good to have on hand for gastrointestinal upsets and in case of parvo or other enteritis type viruses.

Replied by Kay
(Jax, Fl, USA)

Thanks for the input regarding diet for my new pup. I started him on the EN which was the vet requested. I tried 2 other foods which were grain and corn meal free and the minute I was giving him more kibble than chicken and rice, he did poorly. So, far I am now 3/4 EN to 1/4 rice and chicken and no issues. I may try to switch him to another high quality food(dry) but I needed to settle his stomach first.

Dog Park Tips

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Jonna (Los Angeles) on 01/11/2008

I recently rescued a young border collie/chow mix and have been taking him to the dog parks every other day along with my other 2 dogs. He was most likely kept in a crate most of his life because he doesn't know how to walk on a leash nor socialize with other dogs. At first he just barked at the other dogs entering the park, but a few weeks ago he started to wait at the gate and literally pounced on dogs entering the park and nip at their ears, causing a complete ruckus! I stopped this aggressive behavior by carrying a spray bottle filled with water set to a thin but powerful stream (like a water gun)... every time I see that obsessed look as a dog is approaching the gate from the parking lot I say "NO, back off" and then spray him water on his face (doesn't hurt, just shocks him). It has also been very helpful when other dogs get into a fight. A few squirts and the dogs break apart. I highly suggest people carry a spray bottle or a water gun with them at the dog park. Just be careful you don't spray other dogs with it unless it's a bad fight you are breaking up -- the owners might get pissed off!

Replied by Diamond
(Merrimac, Ma.)

Jonna;It might be good to order a few videos from Cesar Milan or watch his show on TV the history ch. I believe. I trust in his training 199% He also come on Friday eves. which is a special, I have never heard a bad review yet. Please don't give up on your dog, these animals all depend on us. I'm quite sure the dog is willing to learn we all just need the right techniques. We need the training first then the dog. :o() good luck

Don't Leave Dogs in the Front Yard

2 User Reviews
1 star (2) 

Posted by Deirdre (Atlanta, Ga) on 12/25/2009


This is a plea to all dog owners to please not leave your dog in your front yard, even if he/she has an electric collar/fence. I live in the Atlanta suburbs and another dog in our neighborhood, a beautiful white bulldog, was stolen last week out his front yard. I was out walking our dogs and encountered the family in their SUV, calling for their dog. They told me he had disappeared from their front yard, which he never left. The next day I saw that they had posted signs everywhere. I hope they find him.

I am very saddened when I hear about people leaving dogs in their yards because I know for a fact that dogs get stolen from their yards quite often. I had a roommate years ago in Los Angeles whose beautiful siberian husky was stolen from the front yard of my roommate's rental house. There is a happy ending to this story. He recovered the dog a year later when his jeep was stopped at a light in downtown LA and heard a dog howling nearby. A friend in the car said, hey that sounds just like Pierman! So my roommate pulled over, jumped out of his jeep and ran around the corner to find his dog sitting with a homeless person. The dog apparently recognized the sound of his owner's car a block away and started howling. The poor dog was in very poor health after a year on the streets and had developed an eating disorder. But how amazing that he was reunited with his owner!

So this is my plea to all pet owners to please be very careful when you leave your dog outside. Microchipping is a great idea in case the dog is stolen or runs away, but better to always supervise your beloved canine friends.

Thanks for reading...

Replied by Theresa
(Evansdale, Ia)

Microchipping is a wonderful way to ensure you will always find your pet if he/she gets lost but double check on the materials that are used as some chips may cause cancer.

Replied by Holly
(Waco, Tx)

Microchipping doesnt help you recover a dog that has been stolen. It is not a GPS device. It must be scanned by a special microchip scanner. Only if someone takes the pet to a shelter does it do any good.

And then, it does a LOT of good.

Replied by Lestine
(Chicago, Il)

Wrong, I was at the Animal Welfare facility where a very, very happy man was reunited with his boxer after being stolen 8 years ago. Eventually they have to go to the vet. Dog and man were in heaven.

Replied by Barkoutloud
(Tampa, Florida)


Re: Dog in yard... If you have a small dog, BEWARE! Hawks and owls prey on small animals, and if your dog is small, they will be swept away! I knew about that, and inherited a small dog recently. I've been taking her out into the back yard, and had forgotten about that until a hawk swept by me and landed on a branch eyeing my little dog! It made me shiver knowing that if I hadn't been right there between her and the hawk, I would have been left standing watching the hawk take her away! Now I take her out on a leash every time!! .. And I hold on tight!

Replied by Sadsagitarian
(Finger Lakes, New York, USA)

I'll second that tip of not leaving a pet anywhere where it can be seen from a road, or outside alone with no one around when you are not home. I know of some people who came from Nevada to New York with two really nice dogs that they didn't leave with when they left NY and I know they didn't have the money to buy them. At the time, I called the police and they said there was nothing they could do. To this day one of these persons still has one of the dogs (she is light brown color, longish hair) and I know someone out there somewhere is grieving the loss of this dog. If I have another dog, I will never leave him/her outdoors alone again.

Replied by Jb
(Atlanta, GA)

Front yard, back yard. Doesn't matter. NEVER Leave Your Companion Unattended! Too much at stake. You would not leave a child unattended, Would You! ?!

Foaming Water Fountain

Posted by Artekatz (Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africae) on 09/25/2012

I have recently bought a concrete water fountain for my cattery and my cats will use it as their primary watersource. The waterfall part is clear water, but the water in the bowl foams up. Any natural remedies to rectify this foaming?

General Feedback

Posted by Dr Ashkar Ve5 (Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt) on 05/06/2014

Your site is wonderful
Pleaee if you have any wayes or remedies we can use it with treatment in dogs or cats tell me
Great work

EC: Thank you for your kind words.  We have a whole section on treatments for pets.

Hardwood Floors and Steep Stairs

1 User Review
1 star (1) 

Posted by Earth Clinic (USA) on 04/10/2010

Hardwood floors can be very difficult for aging dogs due to their slippery surfaces. As your dog approaches the end of his/her life, the hardwood floor issue becomes especially pronounced. Some dogs may find it impossible to stand up on hardwood floors, especially large breeds. An easy fix is to simply cover the area where he or she walks with throw rugs and runners.

Hardwood Floors and Steep Stairs
Posted by Earth Clinic (USA)


Stairs without carpeting can be especially dangerous too. Canines with hip weakness can and do slip down stairs, causing moderate to severe injury. You might consider buying a strip of thin carpeting, cutting the carpet into pieces, applying a do-it-yourself edging kit, and simply stapling each piece of carpet onto your hardwood stairs. We suggest you also have a stable piece of carpeting at the bottom of a staircase since dogs can just as easily slip at the bottom as the top.

You might also keep this in mind when you are about to move into a new apartment or home. Does the building have steep stairs that the dog will enter and exit from? If so, think of your strategy before you move in. It might not be an issue when your canine friend is young, but it certainly will be as they age.

Replied by Heather
(Visalia, CA)

I have a pug that is now 13 years old, and has been having trouble with our hardwood floors. We went and purchased baby socks and put rubber cement on the bottom of them. We then placed a strip of velcro around the top of them to make sure they wouldn't fall off. They bothered him at first but has gradually gotten used to them, and doesn't have any trouble anymore. So hopefully this can help others :)

Replied by Lynn
(Chicago, IL)

re: Hardwood Floors for older dogs. You can also use SoftClaws - they are rubber tips that work great. They attach using surgical glue and stay on until the dog's nails grow out. they help grip the floor. An even better product (but does not have sizes for really small dogs) are grip tex by ruffwear. These boots are amazing - they have a breathable fabric and the best rubber soul i have ever encountered. I know 3 senior dogs that wear them for gripping the floor at home.

Replied by Rob
(Dothan, Alabama)

Our 3 year old Rott mix was scared of going down the stairs in our townhouse. We purchased a $10 baby gate and placed the gate on the bottom three stairs, so that he would not be able to go further up the stairs, but would need to go back down. We hid in the upper stairs calling him to come up the stairs, once he came up the stairs and reached the baby gate, he was forced back down. We then placed the gate up a few more stairs and continued repeating the process until he came to the top of the stairs and made it back all the way down. After removing the gate completly he would walk up and down the stairs with us. Not shortly after long, he was doing this on his own.

Replied by DG
(Portland, OR)

re: Stairs without Carpeting and Dogs (pet section)-- When my german shephard turned 12, he started to have a tough time going up and down stairs. Unfortunately I moved into a second floor apartment without an elevator, not thinking about how difficult this would be for him. He ended up slipping and falling down the stairs a few times. I tried to solve the problem by putting a towel under his belly to steady him as we both went down the stairs, but he was too heavy and I sometimes lost my grasp. It was a terrible situation and I feel guilty to this day.

Replied by Darlene
(Niagara Falls, Canada)

I have a large german shorthair who is 13 and has arthritic hips. He took a couple of spills down our stairs before I came up with this idea. We already had a doggy seatbelt harness for him. He now wears it 24/7. With this on I am able to walk down with him holding the harness in one hand and railing in the other to steady him to ensure his safety. I'm thrilled and he's learned quickly to wait for me.

Replied by Monadz

I live in a converted barn with stairs to living room and all hardwood floors; my St Bernard sometimes slips or needs help going down them as she is also blind. I painted the stair runners and part of landing at top and bottom with a fine white powder used to put in paint or stain that reduces slippery surfaces. It is not noticeable and has helped her alot. I got it at a hardware store in the paint section. Hopes this helps.

Replied by Deirdre
(Atlanta, Ga)

I got my beloved dog Max, who recently passed away at age 16, a mobility harness to help him go up and down stairs during the final months of his life. I had to hunt around online for a medium but saw it in several pet stores in large. Was a very helpful item. I only found out about it after bumping into a man in the parking lot at the grocery store whose 15 year old lab (90 pounds) was wearing one. After I inquired about what she was wearing, he told me it was a lifesaver because she couldn't get up on her own.

Replied by Kay
(Knoxville, Tn)

I want to second the advice to make sure there is a stable piece of carpet at the bottom of the stairs for old dogs. I have a carpeted stairway in the small house I am renting, but it ends in the entryway which is hardwood. My older dogs can make it up and down the stairs, but in coming downstairs, they seem to rely a lot on gravity and momentum. When there was no carpet on the floor in front of the stairway, their front paws would slip out from under them and their bottom halves/hip would hit the ground hard (I only saw this happen once and then I put an anti-slip entryway carpet down at the bottom of the stairs; I think they had fallen before at times when I just didn't see it happen). Apparently when they were younger dogs, they were more elastic and could twist around quickly and compensate for slipping front paws. As they got older, they couldn't do this anymore. So please do watch your aging pets as they negotiate stairs and do what you can to make sure they don't fall. That last step was a big problem for mine until I saw what was actually happening - even after falling, my dog got right up with his tail wagging and tried to look like it didn't hurt (even though he was limping afterward).

Heating Pad for Cold Climates

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Michael (Concord, Ohio) on 01/15/2008

I have a five yr. old Jack Russell. He has had surgery on one of his rear legs years ago due to defect in his knee joint. Over the years the best thing other than drugs for the vet to stop the pain and o comfort him was Heat. We moved from Cold Ohio to Naples, Fl. for a few years and he was like a pup again. Laying in the sun and that really helped him a lot. Now due to work we have had to move back to Ohio and the winter is really starting to take it tole on him. Instead of keeping him on meds from the vet we place a heating pad in his bed during the day and really helps him. Believe me, three or four hour of that and he is good to go. Other home made cures other than a good diet just are not going to made much difference. You got a just try the heating pad. It's cheap and it works.

How to Hold Down a Cat for Meds

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Margaret (Upper Darby, PA) on 08/24/2008

RE: Holding down a cat:
An easy, friendly way to hold a cat so that you don't get shredded during care is to toss a quillt over their back, as they are unsuspecting, then wrap them up in your arms and hold them like a baby. you can hold them with one hand and give care with the other. Have all your supplies on a table beforehand, so you can easily grab them with your one hand. Eventually your cat will know that when you do this he/she does not need to be scared. My cat no longer needs to be wrapped up when I cut her nails. She growls quietly, but is never violent.

Information on Animal Rights

Posted by Diamond (Salisbury, Usa) on 06/18/2011

I hope people don't mind me sharing this information with every one?

The person that wrote this about animals and experiments on them needlessly sounds like he may know what he is talking about. I give him thumbs up for his courage and integrity as well as knowledge.

Molasses for Dogs

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Archie (West Covina, Cal) on 09/06/2007

Dogs Sad after Owner Passes are CURED!!! Well for 8 solid months Ive been taking care of 2 older dogs who are deaply saddend by the passing of there owner and very good friend of mine. These 2 did nothing but mope around depressed! They needed something soon before they would die of depression. I found out the Healing power that mollasses has given me and thought ..maybe it could help these 2 dogs.???So, I poured some on there dog food ,and,was amazed they ate it. In less than 1 day these dogs turned had turned completely around!!!They started playing & barking and to this day (2 months later)they are high spirited and ALIVE !!! Im only a Maytag Repairman & I came up with there cure of dog sadness.

Replied by Maria
(San Francisco, CA)

I liked your suggestion. It makes sense to me. Could you tell me how often and how much Molasses had you fed your dogs? Thank you.

Moose Broth for Puppies in Danger

Posted by Cassie (California) on 04/20/2016

I had a friend from Maine that raised Belgium Shepherds. One of her female dogs gave birth to puppies but had complications with the births and the female dog had to be under the care of a Vet and could not feed her puppies. My friend and her husband were up for hours trying to feed the puppies with puppy formula and nursing bottles (they lost 20 pounds each trying to keep the puppies alive). The puppies were starving because they could not eat enough or rejected the formula and everything this couple tried would not work with the puppies.

The couple had a leg of moose meat in the freezer a friend had given them. My friend as a last resort cooked the moose meat and gave the puppies MOOSE BROTH using nursing bottles and miraculously the puppies thrived and lived! I just thought I would mention this in case someone finds themselves in this awful situation.

This is a true story.

Neglected Dogs

Posted by Loraine (Florida) on 08/08/2013

Hey EC... Guys I need your input on this one. My neighbour has a beautiful golden retriever about 2 years old and recently, I noticed that they are leaving her outside in the heat (today was 99%). We live in Orlando so go figure how hot it is in August. It breaks our heart but I am scared to call ASPCA cause I know they will keep her for a few days and put her to sleep and I don't know how to address this issue to my neighbor since we barely say hi to each other. What can I do guys... Any suggestions? please guys help.... Thank you so much

Replied by Wendy
(Columbus, Oh)

Do you know the family who owns the golden retriever? If so, maybe you could offer to take care of it for them. Otherwise, please contact local rescues in your area ASAP and explain the situation to the rescue group! Here is a link of national golden retriever rescue organizations:

Replied by Mary Kate
(Santa Monica, California)

Sorry to hear about this situation. Do you know if the dog has plenty of shade and water? That will really make a difference. I know of a shelter out in the Los Angeles Valley that keeps the dogs outside all year round under very shady spots. The owner of the rescue told me the dogs can adapt to hot weather. However, I think shade and abundant water (baby pools too) are the key.

Perhaps call the local aspca, and no kill shelters or the humane society to ask for advice as to how to proceed.

Neutering Vs Vasectomy

Posted by Mistie Harris (Augusta, GA) on 07/27/2009

vasectomy for male dogs!!! If your only goal is to prevent your male dog from fathering puppies, please consider this as an alternative to castration.

Yes, castration reduces "issues" related to having testosterone (roaming, having a sex drive, possible prostate cancer, etc).

But at least he would be intact and still able to have sex. Sex is very healthy (and enjoyable!!:-) )for humans - so why not for dogs?

Shop around for vets who are willing to do it. I'm not sure if I can put this website address - but for more info go to

The vet from this website states:

"Sure, neutering will typically rid you of the roaming, the pee-peeing over any available surface, freaky behavior around bitches in heat, and the triple terror of testicular tumors, perineal hernias and prostatic enlargement. Yet sometimes owners want just the reproductive issue addressed, thank you very much.

But the jury has spoken-for now, anyway. The veterinary establishment is loath to relinquish its recommendation that full castration (neutering) is the end all and be all when it comes to canine sterilization.

Indeed, vasectomies are so rare that I recall being laughed at by my professor in my Principles of Surgery lecture when I asked whether anyone was performing this technique in lieu of castration. That was fourteen years ago when I was still stupid enough to slink back into my seat and make myself invisible after such an oratory "fiasco."

Now that I've wisely shed such inhibitions, I can proudly proclaim: Vasectomies are surgical procedures, too! They have a place in vet medicine along with the unrecommended (but still sometimes necessary) anal gland-ectomy and feline thyroidectomy. Yes, sometimes they are indicated.

Given the new wave of discussions on the potentially dubious medical benefits of castration, it seems reasonable to look to vasectomies as a sound solution for those in doubt as to whether a normal neuter is best for their dog.

Today's patient was a perfect example: A young, fit Frisbee dog, this Border mix was all muscle. His owner wanted to ensure his "safety" around her friends' breeding bitches for a couple more years of competition on full testosterone overdrive. She'd read about vasectomies online and immediately knew "Rolf" needed one.

It just made sense. "No problem-I'll do it." (Though I've never had cause to do one before.)Afterwards, I had to wonder: Why haven't I ever been asked about this before now?

Though it's an easy surgery (far less painful than a routine castration, with fewer complications, to boot), it's clear that we vets have serious power over what procedures become accepted as the norm. Yet as science advances, as it inexorably does, what was laughed at by a gray-haired professor over a decade ago may just be the most responsible thing I might advocate ten years from now. "

Think about it.....would you want your man castrated just so that he would not roam??? Not me.

Replied by Sassy
(Gold Coast, Qld)

Ummm, that's a very strange way of thinking. But did you know that humans & dolphins are the only animals that have sex for pleasure???
So regardless of desexing or giving your dog a vasectomy unless he can smell a bitch on heat he isnt going to have the urge. That's kind of how it works. But thanks for the amusing post :)

Replied by Zezette
(San Francisco, Ca)

I actually believe that we have a lot of balls to be altering animals unanimously, based on the assumption that they do experience sexual pleasure?! I choose not to do so, and to be a responsible guardian. So there, you who are being amused. if we must, vasectomies are much easier to perform and better for our pets.

Replied by Lauren Loves Green
(Florissant, Missouri)

I had to neuter my 3 male dogs to keep them from trying to kill each other. They were so territorial that I was taking care of their wounds they inflicted on each other every day. There is definitely a time when neutering is the best and only solution. They are all three best of friends now. No more aggressive behavior.

Night Lights for Aging Dogs

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by GS (Reston, VA) on 08/22/2007

A tip for your aging pet section. My 13 year old g. shephard mutt started to lose his eyesight and hearing recently. This in turn caused him to be disoriented at night -- with a hint of dementia! As soon as I got into bed and turned off the light, my dog would get up from his bed (at the base of my bed) and wander around the house looking for me. Well, one night he tripped down the stairs because it was so dark. Enough was enough. The next day I went to Home Depot and purchased 2 nightlights, one for the hallway and one for the bottom of the stairs. Now there is enough light peaking into the bedroom that he no longer gets up disoriented. Hope this helps someone! GS.

P.S. I really liked your comment about the hard wood floors and aging dogs. I totally agree.

Replied by Christel
(cambria, WI, USA)

My dog is nearing 14, and at times he likes to get up, stretch and turn around, but he started wandering if he did that during the night. When I'd turn a light on, he'd come right back and lie down next to the bed or crawl in with me again depending on his mood. I wondered if it was the dark so left a night light on, and yep, that did it for us, too. As our dogs live longer, they will have more cognitive issues just like old humans.

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