Shopping for Dog Lovers

Written by guest blogger Jessica Brody, OurBestFriends.pet

woman with aussie puppy

Got someone on your gift list who is in love with her dog? You’re in luck. Dog lovers are relatively easy to shop for because they always need new gear for their dogs. Here are some of the many things your dog lover will treasure.

A dog bed

black puppy in dog bedA memory foam dog bed with a foam bumper is a great gift. The dog may well end up sleeping better than his owner. New research shows that people who sleep in a room with one dog sleep better than people who sleep with no dog. The trick is: the dog needs to have his own bed. People who share their beds with dogs have sleep disruptions that outweigh the benefits.

Be sure you:

  • Make sure there is a good space in your friend’s house or apartment for a dog bed. If there simply isn’t enough floor space, buy another gift.
  • Get the right size bed. Too big is much better than too small.
  • Be sure the bedding material will not aggravate the allergies of the dog or his human.

Recycled wine bottle candles

Even the best dog owners don’t always love the way their houses smell. Dogs are wonderful companions, but they leave an odor behind on fabrics, especially bedding.

If the dog lover on your list already uses air fresheners or candles, consider buying her a set of recycled wine bottle candles. This great gift:

  • is original and crafty.
  • reuses resources. Since many pet owners are also environmentalists, they love to recycle or buy recycled art.
  • is so much prettier and better smelling that those installed air fresheners.

Dog coat

two dogs in coatsSome dogs, like huskies and bichon frises, have ample fur to keep them warm. Other, shorter haired dogs may need a fleece coat and rain jacket to get them through the winter. The best test is whether your friend’s dog shivers on a cold day and looks miserable. Dogs should enjoy the outdoors at almost any time. The right dog coat could make an important difference, especially if the dog’s owner is outdoorsy.

Here’s a short list of dogs most in need of coats:

  • They are both skinny and super thin coated.
  • Short-legged dogs like bassets, corgis, and dachshunds.
  • Older dogs, eight or more in years.
  • Dogs with health issues, especially diabetes.

GPS collar clip with charger

The dog owner’s worst nightmare is a lost dog. Unfortunately, microchips are of limited value. Mostly they are used by veterinarians to return lost dogs to their owners. But what if no good samaritan steps forward to take your dog to the nearest vet?

The gift of a GPS collar clip will allow your friend to track his dog’s location without having to call every pound and veterinarian in an effort to locate him. This gift also:

  • Tells the owner how much exercise his dog has gotten.
  • Tells the owner the precise locations of his dog throughout the day.
  • Keeps dog walkers and daycare personnel honest.

Dog water bottle

It might seem a little over the top, but not if your dog lover takes his dog everywhere. Dogs need to drink, but human water bottles are not contoured to let a dog easily drink from them. And some dog lovers might balk at sharing their water bottle, no matter how much they love Fido.

A dog water bottle is designed to accommodate the shape of a dog’s muzzle. So the dog lover on your list knows that his dog has gotten a real drink and not just splashed a lot of water on the ground. This is a great gift for:

  • People who take their dogs on vacation.
  • People who take their dogs camping or hiking.
  • People who take their dogs to cafes and parks.

Shopping for the dog lovers in your life is a creative and fun endeavor. Use your imagination and enjoy the experience!

The Ultimate Guide to Home Insurance for Dog Owners

Shopping for home insurance can be a challenge if you have a dog–especially if its breed is seen as dangerous. This guide will help you get a policy (and affordable rate) regardless.

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Sixty-five percent of US households have a pet, according to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association. Almost 78 million of those pets are dogs.

Impressive, right? Some might describe that figure as kind of alarming, too. After all, those pooches injure a lot of people every year.

Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that dogs bite about four and a half million people annually. And one-fifth of those bites are serious enough to require medical attention.

That last statistic surely is what’s prompted a portion of the insurance industry—home insurance providers, especially—to turn a wary eye toward “man’s best friend.”

Well, that and the similarly startling stats that show Americans file tens of thousands of home insurance liability claims due to dog bites and other dog-related injuries each year. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm recently revealed that US homeowners filed more than 15,000 of these claims in 2015.

Also, insurers spent approximately $570 million as a result of those claims, and that sum equaled a third of all homeowner-liability dollars paid out that year.

Although the number of home insurance claims tied to dog-related injuries in 2015 was the lowest since 2007, their combined value and their average cost (just over $37,000) represent record highs for the industry.

As for what caused those spikes, Loretta Worters, III’s vice president of communications, suggests they were spurred by “increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments, and jury awards given to plaintiffs, which are still on the upswing.”

Which dog breeds worry insurance carriers the most (or which dogs do insurers like the least)?

Combine the above with information that points to a handful of dog types accounting for more of those costly bites and injuries than others and it’s easy to understand why some insurers restrict, refuse, or cancel home coverage if a customer owns a certain breed.

Others exclude certain breeds from a homeowner’s policy, or require homeowners to sign liability waivers for any bites that occur. Or they drop coverage or raise premiums if a customer’s dog attacks and injures someone.

Speaking of which, the dog breeds listed below tend to make insurance companies the most nervous.

  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Chow Chow
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • German Shepherd
  • Pit Bull
  • Rottweiler
  • Siberian Husky
  • Wolf Hybrid

Liberty Mutual actually looks for all of these breeds, plus “Canary dogs” (also known as Perro de Presa Canario), when reviewing applications for home insurance.

The company “does not refuse to provide homeowners coverage, or require the exclusion of homeowners liability coverage, solely based upon dog breed,” explains Glenn Greenberg, the company’s director of media relations and sponsorship PR. Still, he adds, it sometimes reviews the listed breeds “for homeowners insurance acceptability because [they] pose increased risk of loss.”

Specifically, Liberty Mutual considers any “training the dog has received, the temperament of the dog, any prior losses, and vaccinations,” Greenberg says. Also, considerations are made if the pet in question is a service or therapy dog.

“The presence alone of a dog in the home will not result in policy denial or exclusion of liability coverage,” he adds. However, “some dog breeds will require further review. If they do not meet our acceptability guidelines, we may choose not to write the policy.”

Which home insurance companies don’t discriminate based on dog breed?

Not all insurance companies operate like Liberty Mutual–as well as Farmers and Allstate–in this regard, it has to be said. In particular, the following carriers are known to insure dog breeds that some of their competitors have “blacklisted”:

  • Amica
  • Chubb
  • Fireman’s
  • Nationwide
  • State Farm
  • USAA

These insurers usually only look at an individual dog’s bite history and history of aggressiveness, rather than its breed, when deciding to extend homeowners liability coverage to someone.

You can also use QuoteWizard to compare home insurance quotes from insurers willing to cover you in order to get the lowest rates possible.

Why do some homeowners policies blacklist certain dog breeds? Also, isn’t that a bad idea?

What caused State Farm to implement this policy, which has been in place for a number of years and extends to all 50 states? Dundov responds that the insurer doesn’t focus on breed because “determining the breed of a dog based on the physical appearance of the dog isn’t an accurate determination of risk, because any dog may bite out of fear. [And] that doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is aggressive or dangerous.”

The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals-Angell Animal Medical Center (MSPCA-Angell) is similarly opposed to insurance companies and policies that target specific dog breeds.

Why? One reason is that new research documents how difficult it is to identify the breed of a dog based on looks, says Kara Holmquist, MSPCA-Angell’s director of advocacy. As such, “focusing on breed is not an effective way to evaluate risk or prevent dog bites,” she adds, mirroring Dundov’s concerns.

In addition, the Boston-based organization frowns upon these policies because:

  • They discriminate against responsible dog owners who properly train and socialize their pets. In addition, they mistakenly focus on the animal and do not consider the owner’s behavior and responsibility
  • It’s likely they cause some people to avoid adopting certain dog breeds because they’re worried they’ll then be unable to obtain home insurance
  • It’s often difficult to determine whether a dog is a mixed-breed and, if so, the percentage of the mix represented by each breed
  • Some statistics on dog bites may not take into account the popularity of a breed, making it appear that certain breeds bite more often

“Insurers that blacklist breeds are out of step with contemporary research and expert opinion about dog behavior and bite prevention,” adds Donna Reynolds, director of Oakland, California-based BADRAP.

“It’s far more practical for insurers to look to the behavior of their clients when writing new policies rather than incorrectly assume that a dog’s behavior is going to be predicted by its appearance,” Reynolds says. “For example, those who have dogs who have been protection trained, used to guard, or who have a bite history represent a potential risk compared to low-risk dogs who are well socialized, smartly managed, and treated as family members.”

As for what home insurance companies should do instead, MSPCA-Angell suggests they should “focus on preventing all dog bites regardless of breed.”

Dundov adds that insurers should work on “educating people about responsible pet ownership and how to safely interact with any dog.” Reynolds agrees. “insurance companies have a unique opportunity to educate the public about bite prevention and elevate our understanding of dog-owner responsibilities. By doing so, they can serve as an important partner as well as a resource for their clients and communities.”

That tactic combined with stronger animal-control laws could help insurance providers “achieve [their] goal of reducing the number of dog-bite claims they face,” according to MSPCA-Angell.

More Frequently Asked Questions About Home Insurance and Dog Ownership

Here are a few more questions that are sure to pop into the heads of anyone who has a dog (or is thinking of adopting one) and either is considering buying a house or already owns one and is looking to switch homeowners insurers.

Is it legal for an insurance company to deny or cancel my homeowners policy or increase my premium because I own a certain type of dog?

Yes, it is–unless you live in Michigan or Pennsylvania.

Both of those states have passed laws that forbid insurance companies from denying or canceling coverage to homeowners because they have a certain breed of dog.

Other states have tried to pass similar laws or have pending legislation that would address the same thing, but at the moment only Michigan or Pennsylvania restrict this kind of “breed profiling.”

If you live anywhere else in the US, though, your insurance company can discriminate against what it considers to be vicious or dangerous dog breeds if it chooses to do so.

Take Washington. That state’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner “does not regulate this underwriting issue,” says Kara Klotz, public affairs and social media manager. “Insurers are free to underwrite how they want. If a consumer is interested in owning a specific breed of dog and is concerned about their homeowners or renters insurance, we advise them to talk to their insurance agent or broker.”

Adds Amy Bach, executive director of San Francisco-based non-profit United Policyholders : “as long as they’re not using unfair or illegal rating factors, an insurer is free to decide who they want to insure and who they don’t. So if an insurer chooses not to underwrite or assume the risk of selling a policy to a consumer who chooses to own dogs with a bite history or history of aggressive behavior, that is their right in our current system.”

Haven’t some cities and states passed breed-specific laws or legislation that target certain dog types?

Yes, they have. In fact, more than 700 US cities, counties, and states have passed legislation targeting specific dog breeds, according to dogsbite.org.

In addition, most states, as well as Washington, D.C., currently impose “statutory strict liability” for dog bites and attacks, which means a dog’s owner is legally liable to any victims.

The rest–or at least the bulk of them–have what are called “one bite” statutes in place. Dog owners in those states are “protected from liability as to the first injury caused by [their pets], unless liability can be based upon other grounds,” shares dogbitelaw.com. (In other words, victims have to prove the owner knew their dog had the potential to be dangerous.)

A few other states have “mixed” statutes that add some degree of strict liability to the one-bite rule described above.

What can I do if an insurance company denies or cancels my homeowners coverage because of my dog?

For starters, talk with your agent or someone else at the company, suggests MSPCA-Angell. He or she may be able to point you to another insurer that will cover you and your home.

If that doesn’t help, shop around on your own. Contact a number of home insurance providers, compare quotes, and see which ones offer you the best rate for the amount of coverage you need–no matter what kind of dog lives with you.

Something else to keep in mind here: many insurance companies don’t automatically turn down homeowners who have certain breeds. Instead, they’ll ask you to show them letters from veterinarians or certificates from obedience schools. Or they’ll have an agent visit your home and actually meet your dog before making a final decision.

Also, some insurers will sell you home coverage but exclude your dog from the policy. If that happens to you, you should be able to buy a separate liability policy for your pup. A number of companies and organizations currently offer this kind of add-on coverage that protects homeowners whose canine family members injure someone.

“Being a responsible dog owner goes hand in hand with buying homeowner or renters policies that cover our dogs while complying with local animal control regulations,” says BADRAP’s Reynolds. “Those people whose dogs have demonstrated a history of unsafe behavior are obligated to invest in the added expense of special insurance, but even more so, they’re obligated to invest in the time, resources and energy needed to house and manage their dog responsibly.”

How can I find affordable homeowners insurance even if I have a blacklisted dog breed?

Our answer to this question is similar to the advice shared above: shop around.

Don’t take our word for it. Comparing insurance companies and quotes also is Bach’s main piece of advice for consumers in this situation. “Different insurers sell different policies,” she says. “Some exclude certain dog breeds, [but] not all exclude the same breeds.”

In addition, Bach suggests that you “ask good questions.” That means asking whether specific breeds of animal are excluded from coverage, of course, but it also means asking “whether you can buy a rider or add-on that would fill the gap caused by the exclusion.”

And if you have a hard time finding an insurance company that will sell you a homeowners policy because of your dog, contact your state insurance commissioner’s office. Someone there may be able to point you in the direction of an insurer that will cover you and your pet.

What kind of homeowners coverage do I need if I have a dog? And how much coverage should I get as a dog owner?

According to the III, most home and renters insurance policies cover some amount of liability legal costs related to dog bites and attacks. Typically, they cover up to $100,000 or even $300,000 of damages.

Dog owners are responsible for any amount that goes above that limit. Given that, it’s often a good idea for homeowners and renters with dogs to either increase their liability coverage or buy an umbrella policy.

Another option is to look for supplemental or specialized liability insurance specifically aimed at dog owners.

Who is covered by my home insurance policy?

A standard homeowners policy covers spouses, relatives, and dependents who are under 21 years of age.

Although all of those folks will be protected from any losses tied to a dog bite or injury, they won’t be able to file a claim if they’re the victim of an attack.

Most homeowners policies also cover unpaid dog sitters or dog walkers if your pooch injures or bites someone while in their care.

Do I need to tell my insurance provider if I adopt a dog? Or what happens if I don’t tell my home insurer about my dog?

Yes, you should tell your insurance company if you have a dog. That’s especially true if yours tends to show up on lists of vicious or dangerous dog breeds.

If you don’t, you could be due for a rude awakening. For starters, any claim you file could be denied if your dog bites or injures someone and your insurer didn’t previously know about your pet. Your insurer may even cancel your policy because of your dishonesty.

“Don’t lie on the application and say you don’t have a dog if you really do,” Bach recommends. “Because if you do, and something happens that necessitates filing a claim, the insurer may be able to void or rescind the policy based on your misrepresentation and you’ll be without coverage.”

It may not even wait for you to file a claim. There are plenty of examples out there of insurance companies canceling a homeowner’s coverage after it found out they had a dog of a blacklisted breed and didn’t report it.

Given that, if you already have a homeowners policy, read it over if you’re thinking of getting a dog. If it’s not clear, contact your agent or someone else at your insurance company.

Does it matter what kind of dog I have if I’m a renter?

Do you currently have renters insurance? If so, it may protect you if your dog bites or injures anyone.

That’s not true of all renters insurance policies, though, so check with your agent (or someone else at your insurer) if you’re not sure about the extent of your coverage.

Renters insurance can help dog owners in other ways, too. Say you’re looking for a new place to live. If you have a canine that some consider dangerous, a renters policy may help convince a potential landlord to accept you and your dog as tenants, according to MSPCA-Angell.

What can I do to combat home insurance policies that discriminate against certain dog breeds?

The best and most effective thing you can do to fight these policies and prevent new ones from being introduced is to set a positive example. Put your dog through obedience school if you haven’t already. This will help you show that properly trained dogs don’t bite or injure people, no matter their breed.

Another option, of course, is to contact insurance companies. Share research and information with them that explains why policies that single out entire dog breeds are discriminatory and wrong. Or you can support organizations that do the same kind of advocacy work but have more clout than an individual citizen.

Why do dogs bite?

According to MSPCA-Angell, a dog’s tendency to bite is the product of a number of factors. They include:

  • Genetic predisposition to be aggressive
  • Early socialization
  • Training for obedience or fighting
  • Quality of care and supervision

As a result, the organization warns that “an inherently aggressive dog may present little or no risk of biting if the dog is well trained and responsibly supervised. A seemingly friendly dog with little genetic tendency to bite may become dangerous if it lacks socialization or supervision, or if it is mistreated or provoked.”

In other words, pretty much any dog can bite or injure someone if they’re subject to certain situations.

The III agrees, adding that “even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners, or food.”

Two other factors that often affect a dog’s tendency to bite, by the way: its gender and whether it is spayed or neutered. In fact, research suggests male dogs are over six times more likely to bite than female dogs, while dogs that haven’t been spayed or neutered are nearly three times more likely to bite than ones that have been spayed or neutered dogs.

What can I do to keep my dog from biting someone?

MSPCA-Angell’s Holmquist and State Farm’s Dundov suggest you do the following to prevent dog bites:

  • Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation
  • Socialize your dog so it knows how to behave with other animals and with people
  • Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased
  • Put it through obedience training
  • Make sure your pet receives preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.), as well as care for any illnesses or injuries. This is important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves
  • Mark your property so people are aware of your dog’s presence
  • Obey all local ordinances, including licensing, leash requirements, and noise control
  • Use a leash in public so you can control your dog and so you can show others you’re in control of your dog
  • If you have a fenced yard, ensure the gates and fence are secure
  • Don’t allow your pet to stray
  • Avoid tethering your dog for long periods of time, as doing do can increase the likelihood of a bite

“Responsible pet ownership builds a solid foundation for dog-bite prevention,” Dundov says.

“Your dog is part of your family and wants to be part of family life,” she adds. “But sometimes it’s difficult for us to fully understand how a dog sees the world, and providing your dog with a secure resting space and supervision in risky situations is the best way to plan for success.”

This article was reposted with permission from QuoteWizard.
Original post can be found here:
https://quotewizard.com/home-insurance/dog-breed-insurance-rates

 

Post-adoption Decompression

Too often the news headlines involve children getting mauled by newly adopted/purchased/acquired dogs.  Just today, Detroit news outlet WDIV-TV showed video of a Gordon Setter being led out of a home after it had “attacked” a 14 month old boy 10 days after its adoption.  The boy was reaching to pull a toy out of the dogs mouth at the time of the attack.

This is a horrific accident for everyone involved.  Adopting a new dog can and should be a very exciting time.  From the time you first made the decision to adopt, to the time you walk your new dog through your door weeks or months have probably gone by.  Time, money, energy and a lot of planning went into this moment, but too often, a critical step in the adoption phase is forgotten:  Decompression.

You don’t know this dog and the dog doesn’t know you.  The background of your new dog could be unknown, or perhaps it came with a detailed history from the original owner, but in either case, everything that is happening to the dog at this point is stressful, unknown and inconsistent.

Imagine you have been up-heaved from your life, to find yourself in a temporary housing situation without your prior knowledge or consent, and without knowing how long you’ll be there.  At some point, possibly soon or possibly after a long time, you meet someone new for a few minutes and find yourself going home with them.  This is stressful!  The thought is terrifying and yet this happens to dogs all the time!  Dogs end up in rescue groups and shelters and this exact scenario plays out every single day all across the world for the “lucky” ones.  The unlucky ones don’t ever make it out of the shelter they came to.

When a new dog comes into your home it is not only important, but necessary to introduce your pet to you, your home and your life carefully.  Your dog needs time with minimal exposure to stimulus, to unwind from the stress that they’ve just lived through and to give you and your home/family a fair shake.  To skip the decompression stage of adoption is to rob your dog of the second chance it so desperately needs.

All dogs respond to stress differently, just as people do.  Some dogs can decompress in a week or two, and other dogs could take a month or more to really start to settle and adjust.  There are no magical timeline that will tell you how long you should allow your new dog time to decompress but experts state anywhere from 2-4 weeks is the minimum.

Decompression or lack thereof can’t be the blame for every incident involving a new dog, but doing it properly helps eliminate that risk.  Children should never be trying to take things from a dog, or be in the dog’s space.  Babies and kids shouldn’t be allowed to lay on the dog, pull on it, climb it, pull tails or any of those other things that kids just love to do to dogs.  Many parents believe these are cute interactions, but the dog may not be as enthusiastic and the child and the dog will be the ones to pay the price.

The take-away is this:  new dogs must be introduced carefully, slowly, and with supervision.  Children should never be left alone with a dog (new or otherwise!), and a dog needs time to destress after it comes home to a new household before any of the exciting “getting to know you” activities are planned.

Below are three examples of new adoptions that turned to tragedy.  I intentionally left out any Pit Bull examples because it’s easy to forgot that ANY DOG can bite and attack.

Links to some non-Pit Bull examples:

Links about decompressing new dogs:

 

Tips For Fun, Safe Summer Travel With Your Dog

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By Kaitlyn Manktelow @Kurgo, the dog travel experts

With the beautiful weather outside, it seems almost a crime for you and your favorite canine to stay inside, instead of enjoying the sunshine together. While it seems pretty easy to just pack up and hit the road with your furry friend, there are some hidden dangers to traveling with a dog that you may not be aware of. Here are some safety tips to ensure both parties have a safe and fun time!

Keep Arms & Legs & Paws Inside at All Times

We know your dog loves to stick his head out the window. While it may seem like an innocent and ‘cute’ thing to allow your pooch to do, it is actually incredibly unsafe.

As human beings, we have a windshield to protect our eyes from different traveling dangers. Hanging with their heads out the window, leaves our four-legged friend’s eyes vulnerable to being hit by foreign objects like rocks, twigs and other forms of debris. The cornea of a dog’s eye is very sensitive and hard to repair if damaged. It also exposes their lungs to breathing in toxic fumes which can cause pneumonia.

Even worse, an unrestrained dog with its head out the window can jump out of a moving car. If a car swerves or is involved with a collision, your pup can be thrown out the window. The severity of these injuries can be anywhere from road rash, to broken bones to even fatal injuries.

Everyone Two-legged and Four, Should Be Buckled Up

Most of us put on a seatbelt in the car without giving it a second thought. We make sure that all human passengers are strapped in, but what about our animal family members?

In addition to being injured in a crash, a loose pet can also be a possible hazard for human passengers in an accident. An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of force on anything it hits, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert about 2400 pounds of force.

A loose dog can also limit a driver’s ability to steer, use the gas and brakes as well as create blind spots.

One car safety solution is to use a dog seat belt with a crash-tested dog car harness. Now your dog is safely buckled up just like you.

Click it or ticket – did you know there are laws being put into place in the United States and across the globe making it illegal to drive with a loose pet?

Bring A ‘Pet-Friendly’ Travel Kit

When humans travel, we have our go-to items like a water bottle, favorite snack or comfy sweatpants. Make your pet more comfortable on the trip by bringing them creature comforts too. Hydration is important in the summer, so be sure to throw in water for your dog and a portable dog travel bowl. Some dogs have anxiety so giving them something that smells like home such as a favorite toy or blanket can ease their fears. And of course snacks. Treats can be an easy way to coax a reluctant dog back in the car after a rest stop break.

Never, Ever Leave Your Pup Alone in the Car

A dog should never be left in an unattended car, no matter the season. However, in summer heat, it is even more important considering that on an 85 degree day, car temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees within 10 minutes even with the windows open!

For more tips, check out this Pet Travel Safety Tips Video.

About Kaitlyn Manktelow – Kaitlyn is a writer and videographer for Kurgo, a dog travel and outdoor products company. She enjoys filming, traveling, and singing way too loud with her rescue dog Samuel Jackson.

Tips for Bonding with a New Pet for First-Time Owners

Pet Bonding Photo

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

One of the main reasons we, as humans, decide to adopt a new pet is so that we can have a new companion in our lives. We don’t just want to open up a dog or cat hotel – we want an intimate bond with our pets. For first-time pet owners, knowing how to create a strong bond can be difficult. Sometimes it comes easy, and sometimes it’s not so simple. Here are some tips to ensure you and your new pet bond.

Start training your dog immediately

Whether you’re adopting an older dog or getting a puppy, it’s vital that you begin to train them as soon as they step foot into their new home. Dogs prefer structure and purpose, and an untrained dog is not just a pain – it’s an unhappy dog. When your dog is properly trained, you can spend more time enjoying each other’s company and less time trying to correct/discipline bad behaviors.

“Well-trained dogs are allowed greater freedom. If they come when called, they get to spend more time off leash. If they don’t go for the food on the table, they can stay nearby during meals. Training also reduces frustration because when you ask your dog to do something he’s been taught to do, he knows what you want,” says TheBark.com.

Always remain calm

Dogs and cats pick up on your energy, and if you are angry, nervous, or stressed out around them, they’re going to know it. It’s important to always be calm when dealing with your new pet – even if they’ve just eaten through your favorite pair of jeans or broken your grandma’s favorite vase.

The quickest ways to damage the bond between you and your pet is to be aggressive – physically or emotionally. And this sort of damage is very hard to reverse. Dogs have a hard time recovering from fear.

Be generous with the praise

“Praising your dog is a super easy way to let him know that you appreciate his good behavior, which will encourage him to continue making the right decisions. There are endless daily opportunities to give your dog positive feedback,” says PetMD.

You don’t have to give your dog treats every time they do anything good, a nice pat on the head, belly rub, and “atta boy” will do just fine. But it’s important that you always acknowledge good behavior, instead of just reacting to bad behavior. Physical contact is one of the best ways to bond with your new pet.

Spend lots of time with them

This may sound like a no brainer, but with cats and dogs alike, the most important way to develop a strong bond is to spend a lot of time together. Some people mistakenly think that pets are mostly solitary creatures who can spend a lot of time alone, and just a few interactions a day is enough to make them happy. If you want a strong bond, however, you have to do things together. If you work long days or your job requires you to be gone during the night or on lengthy business trips, you may need to make considerations for your pet to get some attention and exercise. You can seek out a local dog walking service, for instance. Or you can have a friend come over and play with your new pet when you’re not around.

The main ways in which you can create a stronger bond with your new pet are to give it plenty of attention, train it to the best of your ability, always stay calm and never be mean or aggressive, and be overly generous with the praise. If you start with those steps, you’ll be well on your way to forming a rewarding friendship with your new animal pal.

 

 

Dog license renewals due March 1!

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In Michigan, all dogs 4 months of age and older are required to be licensed in the county you reside.  If you have just acquired your dog, you have 30 days to license it.  If your puppy is less than 4 months old, you have until it is 4 months old to license it.

College Students with Dogs

Did you bring your dog with you to school?  You too, must also license your dog.  You may choose to license your dog in the county you’re living in now, or you can license it in the county you came from if your permanent address is in Michigan as well, but in either case, the tag must be on your dog at all times.

Some other states do not require a license, and only require a Rabies tag.  In Michigan, even dogs with a Rabies tag must have a separate license tag issued by the county you’re currently living in.

Proof of Rabies is Required

Anyone applying for a dog license must provide proof of Rabies signed by a licensed veterinarian.  Every time you Rabies vaccinate your dog, the vet clinic will give you a rabies certificate or other proof of the vaccine.  Save this paper and bring it with you to Animal Services, the Treasurer, or your licensing agency.  At this time of year, those selling licenses are extremely busy and likely won’t be able to call your vet for you to get your proof of Rabies.  It’s part of your pet-parent responsibilities to have this documentation with you, so make sure you have it, or call your vet in advance and get a duplicate copy if you’ve lost yours.

Some counties do things differently!

Michigan requires it, but they’ve left it up to each county to figure out how to manage it.  Make sure you know the requirements in the county you reside in, because if you’ve recently moved from one county to another, things could be a little different than you’re used to.

Service Dogs must be licensed, too!

Your service dog is entitled to a license at no charge, but you must still apply for it on time.  Service dogs are different from emotional support dogs and therapy dogs.  For questions about service dog licensing requirements, contact your local dog licensing agency.

Where to get your License in Kalamazoo County

kcase-logoIn Kalamazoo County, licenses are issued for 1 year at a time.  All renewals are due March 1 and can be purchased at Kalamazoo County Animal Services or the county Treasurer.  Many veterinarians are also selling them, so if you’re upping your Rabies vaccine this week, don’t forget to ask your get to sell you a license too!

Kalamazoo County Residents can visit or mail your license information to:
Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement
2500 Lake St
Kalamazoo, MI  49048

KCASE also has a convenient drop box in their lobby, so you can put your renewal, proof of rabies and payment in an envelope and drop it off in the box without having to wait in line during regular business hours!

Their website is also a wealth of information:  KCASE Licensing Page
Printable Kalamazoo County Dog License Application:  Click Here for PDF

Residents outside of Kalamazoo County

Check with your own licensing agent to find out more about fees and due dates.  Here’s a quick list of whom to contact:

Southwest Michigan Area dog licensing agencies can be reached at the following numbers:

• Allegan County residents call the Allegan County Treasurer’s Office at 269-673-0260
• Barry County residents call the Barry County Animal Control at 269-948-4885
• Berrien County residents call the Berrien County Animal Control at 269-471-7531
• Branch County residents call the Branch County Animal Control at 517-639-3210
• Calhoun County residents call the Calhoun County Treasurer’s Office at 269-781-0807
(Residents in the Battle Creek City Limits must purchase from the Battle Creek City Offices)
• Cass County residents call the Cass County Treasurer’s Office at 269-445-4468
• Kalamazoo County residents call Kalamazoo County Animal Services at 269-383-8775
• Kent County residents call the Kent County Animal Control at 616-632-7100
• St. Joe County residents call the St. Joe County Animal Control at 269-467-6475
• Van Buren County residents call the Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office at 269-657-8228

dog-license

 

 

Senior Services Pet Food Drive

Senior Services is one of the largest and most comprehensive organizations serving older adults and persons with disabilities.  They provide vital, life sustaining services to their clients.  Serving Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties, as well as other portions of Southwest Michigan, Senior Services has been caring for those in need for over 50 years.  Their integrated model of care helps keep their clients living safely within their own homes.  With just one call to Senior Services a complete array of services become available.  When you call Senior Services of Southwest Michigan, “One call does it all”.

Donate Pet Food to help keep seniors and Pets together –

Monday October 10th marked the kick off for the annual Pet Food Drive, a project of RSVP – Your invitation to Volunteer and Cool 101FM. The drive will run from Oct 10-14. Pet food collected will help seniors who may be struggling financially to feed their pets while meeting their own needs.

Here’s how you can help: spread the word, make a pet food or monetary donation at Senior Services in Kalamazoo or at Cool 101 collection events listed below.

Needed:  Dry dog and cat food in 10 pound bags or smaller for easy handling by seniors and monetary donations.

  • Senior Services of Southwest Michigan 918 Jasper St.
    Monday, Oct. 10—Friday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m.— 4:30 p.m.
  • Cool 101 FM Live Broadcasts at these Harding’s Friendly Markets:
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Mon., Oct. 10—5161 W. Main, Kalamazoo
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Tues., Oct. 11—618 N. Riverview, Parchment
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Wed., Oct. 12—3750 W. Centre St., Portage
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Thurs., Oct. 13—6330 S. Westnedge, Portage
    • 4 to 6 p.m. Fri., Oct. 14—6430 W. Stadium Dr., Oshtemo
  • For more information: Call Senior Services at 269-382-0515 or call Cool 101 FM at 269-343-1111

Get the PDF flyer here!

 

Pets Left in Vehicles Pose Deadly Combination

Kalamazoo Humane Society Educates Owners: Extreme Heat Puts Pets at Risk

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This summer’s high temperatures have sparked an explosion of calls to local law enforcement about animals being left in cars. The Kalamazoo Humane Society warns that leaving a pet alone in a vehicle for any length of time can be deadly.

“It’s not enough to leave the car running or to crack open the windows,” said Aaron Winters, Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Humane Society (KHS). “Cracking a window makes no significant difference in the internal temperature of a vehicle. Even leaving the vehicle and its air conditioning running might not be enough to keep a pet safe.”

The temperature inside a car left in the sun on a 70-degree day can reach 104 degrees in half an hour. On a 90-degree day, that temperature can reach 124 degrees that quickly.
Stephen Lawrence, Director of Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement, said KCASE is receiving up to five calls a day this summer. “As the temperatures increase, so do the number of calls we get about dogs being left in hot cars,” he said.

In many of these cases, the vehicles are either no longer there when the officers arrive or the dog is not showing signs of distress. If a dog is in distress, it is removed. According to Lawrence, so far this summer three dog owners face neglect-related charges after leaving their dogs in hot vehicles.

Even leaving a vehicle and its air conditioning running is no guarantee. In late July, 14 dogs left for two hours in a transport vehicle died after its air conditioner failed.

According to Winters, there is no magic temperature that makes it safe to leave pets in vehicles. Heat can rise to deadly temperatures inside a car even when the outside temperature is relatively cool. “The sun shining through the windows works like a greenhouse, raising the temperature substantially,” Winters said. “This can happen at any time of year.”

The Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety encourages citizens to dial 9-1-1 if they believe a pet in a vehicle is in distress. KPS does not condone or recommend anyone attempt to remove pets from vehicles themselves. Winters added that trying to rescue a pet from a vehicle can leave a would-be rescuer facing an aggressive animal, a runaway animal or an angry owner. “Leaving these situations to trained law enforcement is the best thing to do,” Winters said.

The Kalamazoo Humane Society has vehicle sun shades available for sale to help spread awareness for pets trapped in hot cars. These shields urge concerned citizens to call 9-1-1 if they spot a pet in distress.

Windshield Sun Shades

Windshield Sun Shades $20, available online and in our office. $10 is donated back to the Kalamazoo Humane Society!

Facts:

  • Every year in the US, dogs die in cars that are running due to mechanical failures
  • A normal body temperature for a dog is 101°-102.5°; heatstroke occurs when body temps are at 108°-109° and higher.
  • A dog can experience heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes in a hot vehicle
  • All dogs are at risk for heatstroke, but certain dogs are considered to be at an even higher risk such as flat-faced dogs like bulldogs and boston terriers, very old dogs, very young dogs, dogs with existing medical conditions and dogs that are extra-active or don’t know when to  quit
  • Signs of heatstroke and respiratory distress include excessive panting and drooling, bright red tongue and/or gums or very pale gums, thick saliva, dizziness, vomiting with or without blood, diarrhea and loss of consciousness
  • Dogs are unable to sweat and release excess body heat through their paw pads and by panting
  • Owners can face charges for neglect, torture or inadequate care for dogs left to suffer in hot cars

More Info:

KHS starts collection to help hoarding victims

The Kalamazoo Humane Society is happy to offer assistance to Van Buren County Animal Control.  On June 29th, 2016, 117 animals were removed from the home of a couple in Lawrence.  During the course of the investigation and recovery of these animals, caring for them will be an enormous burden on the staff and resources of Van Buren County Animal Control.

Immediate needs include:  Towels, Dawn dish soap, puppy food both canned and dry, Clorox wipes, and baby wipes.

Through our Emergency Pet Food Bank program, we’re able to donate 10 bags of puppy food, with Pet Supplies Plus matching that donation for a total of 20 bags to be delivered today.

KHS will be accepting donations of supplies at our office at 4239 S. Westnedge and deliveries will be made on Friday July 8th and Friday July 15th with any donations collected.

Feel free to deliver the donations yourself to:

Van Buren County Sheriff Dept.
205 S. Kalamazoo St
Paw Paw, MI  49079

or

Van Buren County Animal Control
58040 CR 681
Hartford, MI 49057

Thank you for all of your help during this time!  This is definitely an emergency situation that will require the help of our local communities while Van Buren County does what they can to house, evaluate, and care for these victims or hoarding.

It will be a long time before the outcome of these pets is determined.  Please, do not ask about the adoptability of these pets.  The staff at Van Buren County Animal Control are extremely busy, working to care for all of these pets.  Potential adopters should wait until adoption information is released to find out what is available.  Until then, please offer them your support while they work through this case.

Thank you!

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KHS Logo - Horizontal Color - Medium

 

Doggie In The Window for 4/20/16

Catch the Doggie in the Window show on local channel 190 (Local Government). Click here for the Channel 190 Schedule. Doggie In the Window is a collaborative show between Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement (KCASE), Save our Strays, the Kalamazoo Humane Society and Public Media Network. The show features animals from KCASE and is updated each Thursday. If you are interested in a pet, or are missing a pet, please contact KCASE. The best way to view a pet is to go to the shelter in person. Shelter staff cannot tell you if a pet is yours or sign you up to adopt a pet over the phone.

Cats at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


Dogs at Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement


KHS Blog Authors

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