Category Archives: Pet Parenting

The Importance of Reputable Breeding Practices

With this week’s focus on becoming a new pet parent I thought it would be a good idea to start off with what to be aware of when looking for a puppy. This entry is inspired out of my own inexperience when selecting my first German Shepherd. I was so caught up in the excitement of getting my new puppy that I never thought about the implications from poor quality breeding. I would come to realize that health clearances and purchasing a dog from a reputable breeder greatly reduces the risk that your puppy will deal with major health problems.

I was unaware at the time all of the health consequences that my beloved puppy would pay as the result of unprofessional breeding. My German Shepherd, Quincy, turned out to be the most wonderful companion and absolute love of my life! She brought so much to my life.  Unfortunately, I had to witness first hand how she suffered needlessly from inherited genetic health problems and the great pain she endured starting at puppyhood.

I first noticed a problem when she was the only student in Puppy Kindergarten class that experienced great difficulty in sitting. Her inability to sit was caused by advanced osteoarthritis, spondylosis, and severe hip dysplasia. At the time, her vet had never seen a more advanced case of hip dysplasia. Quincy required major orthopedic surgery at the age of two and extensive rehabilitation.

Later in life she developed degenerative myelopathy and megaesophagus. These health conditions are often attributed to the quality of breeding and genetics in the line. Quincy loved life and fought a valiant battle against all of her ailments. She lived to the age of 14 when she finally succumbed to aspiration pneumonia – a direct result of her megaesphogus.

Shelters and rescue groups are now overrun with supposed “purebreds” displaying emotional problems and health issues as an undesired outcome from poor breeding practices and puppy mills. There are now many hyperactive, aggressive, and timid puppies when by nature their breed should be calm, friendly, and outgoing.

Wonderful dogs should be spared the unnecessary pain, the inability to easily run and jump, and avoid severe inherited health problems. As potential pet parents become more educated, bad breeders are still often ahead of the game of outwitting the unsuspecting pet parent.

It is important to do due diligence in researching a breeder when purchasing a puppy. According to reputable breeders, there is no excuse to not have all four health clearances on both parents. The four health clearances consist of OFA Hip Clearance, OFA Elbow clearance, OFA Cardiac Clearance, and CERF Clearance. It is advised to stay away from any breeder that doesn’t have all of the appropriate information listed on the OFA site.  We will give more details on each of these OFA categories in a follow-up blog. Dogs must be 24 months of age before receiving hip and elbow clearances.Dogs should never be bred under 24 months of age because they are still developing and should not have puppies at that early of an age. In addition, there will also be no health clearances available.

Launch of Parenting Series for Expectant Puppy Parents

It is starting to be that time of year again – Spring is right around the corner and so are many anticipated litter arrivals. Expecting a new puppy can be equally exciting and overwhelming for any new pet parent. This is why we have decided to put together a blog series that will cover all aspects of getting ready for your new “fur” baby.

Topics covered will range from advice on how to select your puppy, fun ways to host the perfect puppy shower, as well locating a veterinarian, choosing a doggie day care, and finding the right puppy school in which to enroll your furry child.

Starting Monday, February 22nd we will launch our exclusive Puppy Parenting Series.

Finding New Playmates for Play Dates

Since today’s topic is about moving and ways to meet new furry friends, I thought I would lend my expert advice. I’m Ellie, a Golden Retriever, and do I have a lot of energy and love to play! I have moved around quite a bit with my family as we all greatly enjoy sniffing out new cities in which to call home.

What pet parents might not realize is that moving to a new home may be stressful not only for them but for us too. We tend to get very attached and territorial of our familiar surroundings and routines.  My pet parents always make sure to pack our favorite toys, blankets, and beds and set up our bedroom first. It is important to leave these items accessible because this makes us feel much more at ease in our new environment and feel less stressed.

It is important to make pets feel at ease and as comfortable as possible during the transition to the new location. The acclimation process can take awhile. It is important to get back to a normal routine as quickly as possible. For me, that is getting to go running everyday with my Mom & Dad. Running is my most favorite activity. We never let a day go by without running even right after we move – I always have my leash ready to go!

Unfortunately if I do become stressed due to a new location I cannot just talk to my furry friends back home. Instead, I have to find new ones. Finding new playmates for play dates provides a great way to experience and explore the new area and to make it possible for my pet parents to meet other parents as well. No matter where we have lived I have made some great furry friends. When we lived in Austin, Texas, my best friend Sophie even had a pool! Going to her house for pool party play dates was the best!

Ellie’s Top Tips for Sniffing Out New Friends:

1. Make sure to check out all the local dog parks – make it a special family day outing with your Mom or Dad.

2. Go online and see if there are any local Doggie Meet-up groups in the area. Some meet-ups are breed and size specific. Denver has a Yappy Hour Meet-up where pets and parents socialize and even have cocktails!

3. Start a dog walking group in your new neighborhood – great way to meet people, dogs, sniff out the neighborhood and exercise.

4. Have a pet parent volunteer at a rescue group – they often have doggie social events where you can go along as well. I got to go on my Mom’s annual picnic for the Golden Retriever Rescue group and we played games, had swimming time, and met tons of other cool Goldens like me.

5. Remember your play date “petiquette” and doggie manners when playing with others or going to the park.