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 How to Choose the Dog Breed that is Right For You

LOS ANGELES, CA - Michael Chill

One of the most common complaints among dog trainers is that many clients choose breeds of dogs whose innate behavior and temperament are totally inappropriate for their lifestyles.  In fact, many people don’t even consider behavior or temperament when choosing dogs at all.  “He has such beautiful blue eyes,” or “He looked just like a bear in the pet store window,” or even, “The one on that TV is show just so cute!” are typical of some of the many reasons people offer when asked why they chose their dogs.

People are under the impression that any dog, regardless of breed, can be trained to fit any circumstance or situation, and they discount the fact that breeds carry with them myriad traits and behavioral tendencies that cannot be “trained out of them.”  Even the late Barbara Woodhouse, in the epilogue of “Dog Training My Way” states that, when asked which breed someone should choose, she advises “choose whatever dog you fancy, for it will be the one you fancy that is the easiest for you to train.”  She couldn’t have been more wrong.

When was the last time someone saw a seeing eye Chow?  Or a police K-9 force of Golden retrievers?  Or a Malamute herding sheep?  The answer is never, of course.  And that’s not because trainers don’t choose to train these particular dogs for those jobs.  It is the very real fact that these breeds cannot do those jobs!  Genetically, these dogs have behavioral and temperament traits that make them unable to respond to certain types of training, no matter how hard someone tries.  And, yes, there are the wonderful exceptions to every rule, but as much as we can predict the size, shape and coat of a Chow, we can also predict that practically none would be able to meet the requirements of a seeing eye dog.

Many breed characteristics may actually be assets when one considers the original purpose of the breed.  The indefatigable energy of a Labrador, the protectiveness of a Doberman pinscher, even the nipping of a Border collie are really talents that have been selectively bred for generations, but can cause frustration for many of these dogs’ owners.  Other traits, such as the submissive urinating of Cocker spaniels or the excessive shyness of Shetland sheepdogs are obviously not actively encourage, but nonetheless, come with the contract, so to speak.  So, doing research about a particular breed has always been the rallying cry of trainers and behaviorists, hoping that clients could, therefore, avoid certain problems. 

However, there are problems with that well intentioned, but inadequate suggestion.

Very simply, the books describing the various breeds are written by breeders and other enthusiasts who rarely write bluntly of a breeds’ shortcomings.  And, even when they do, the statements are couched in euphemisms, much like reading the promotional material of a particular car.  Only those who can read between the lines of car magazines understand that the term “high performance” really means 11 miles to the gallon of gas; with dogs, it is much the same.

Take the phrase “loves exercise” or the slightly more honest “needs exercise.”  That statement would be much more effective if there was an accompanying photograph of the destruction done to the home of the owner of a bored and under-exercised Weimaraner, for example.  Or the term, “independent;” in “dogspeak” that simply means that he will not come when called.

This isn’t meant to stereotype all dogs into rigid categories and to imply that nothing can be done to train dogs or alter their behaviors.  Being informed and prepared, however, will certainly help in avoiding the pitfalls, or at the very least offer some consolation.  Explaining to a Bichon owner that they should expect housebreaking mistakes until 6 to 8 months of age is certainly not welcome news, but at least makes them aware that this is typical and that there may be nothing wrong with either what they are doing or their dogs.  Furthermore, a young couple would be well advised to avoid certain breeds known to be problems around children, should they plan on having kids in the future.

So, where is the best source of information when considering adopting a specific breed of dog?  Purebred rescuers, lists of whom may be found on the web, through the AKC, and at many animal shelters.  Many of these rescuers also show and breed dogs as well, and possess an incredible amount of knowledge of their breeds of choice; there is no one more knowledgeable, more objective, or more dedicated to these dogs than a rescue person.  There is also no one more willing to educate and discourage someone from adopting a dog than they are; there is no reason to place a dog in a home, knowing that that same dog will be returned due to incompatibilities with the needs of the home.

 5 Things You Need to Know About Adopting a Rescue Dog
by Michael Chill


People adopt rescue dogs for a variety of reasons, one of which is the ability to “know what you are getting.” Knowing if the dog is housebroken, not destructive, or good with kids is one of the benefits of adopting an adult dog, and an honest assessment of the dog’s training, behavior, and temperament is very important in deciding which dog is right for you.

Be aware that there are some behaviors that are simply not possible to assess in a kennel or foster environment and that there are other behavior problems that may only show up after a period of time in the new home.

#1 - Sociability
In most cases, how a dog interacts with volunteers, visitors, and other dogs is an excellent indication of how friendly a dog is; HOWEVER, it is not uncommon for a dog to begin to exhibit territorial or protective behavior once he or she has settled in and bonded with the new family. And, since kennels are innately “neutral” territory, sometimes a dog may start to exhibit aggressive behavior towards other dogs after several months of being an “only” dog and having a territory of his own.

#2 Housebreaking
Many rescuers and shelter workers can indicate whether or not a dog “holds it” in his or her kennel as long as possible before eliminating. If a dog immediately eliminates when taken out of his run, or has an outdoor area where he eliminates regularly, this is a good indication that the dog may have been previously housebroken. These tendencies can lead a rescuer to conclude that the dog is housebroken or will be easy to housebreak, which is true in most cases;
HOWEVER, all dogs will still need to be supervised and oriented to the new home and routine for awhile (usually a few weeks) to ensure that the housebreaking is dependable.

#3 Destruction
If a dog has a dog bed or cloth pad in his or her run and hasn’t destroyed it, this suggests that the dog is not overly destructive. How a dog plays with his or her toys can also indicate whether or not the dog is destructive. If he plays with plush toys, yet keeps them in good condition for a week or longer, that indicates that the dog may not be destructive;
HOWEVER, the lack of opportunity for destructive chewing may not necessarily mean that the dog is not destructive. Also, remember that most dogs go through a teething stage at 3 to 8 months old, and many go through an adolescent chewing stage from 8 months to 1-1/2 years old. Every dog, especially those under 2 years, should be supervised as much as possible, and confined to a “puppy proofed” area when left alone while he or she is acclimating to the new home.

#4 Barking
Barking is a normal response to stimulation, particularly when there is a group of dogs in a kennel or a foster home. Although some dogs’ barking is so excessive that it indicates a problem, a normal amount of barking when people or other dogs walk by, when kennel chores are started, etc, is to be expected;
HOWEVER, some dogs actually inhibit barking when surrounded by other, more vocal dogs. Also, sometimes the motivation for barking, i.e. protection, territoriality, etc, is simply not exhibited in a kennel environment or a temporary foster home.

#5 Digging
Without having access to a landscaped yard, it would be difficult to determine whether or not the dog has a digging problem. Also, since most digging is a result of boredom and since most foster homes have multiple dogs, it would be unlikely for a rescuer to be able to assess digging or escaping tendencies.

A vast majority of these dogs can be helped with proper training and patience. A simple phone call to the rescue group for guidance or a referral to a local trainer is well worth the effort!
And, remember, most ethical rescuers give as candid an assessment as possible and would never intentionally misrepresent a dog’s behavior to a prospective home. They know that they will simply get the dog returned to them should he or she not work.

MAY 2009

 Dumb Dog Toys - Part I

LOS ANGELES - by Ann Masters

There are some dog toys-wait, let me put those words in quotes to demonstrate their ineptitude-"dog toys" out there that are just downright dumb.

Some of them are sold. We'll talk about that in the next newsletter. Others, may Oprah have mercy on us, we actually create ourselves. Old shoes. Weathered baseball caps. Worn out leashes. Stained T-shirts. Abandoned throw pillows. Even-and I'm not making this up, I saw it with my own horrified eyes-a threadbare pair of men's briefs.

Why are these toys dumb?

Because they represent items we actually care about. We have other shoes, baseball caps, leashes, t-shirts, pillows and (for some of us who will remain unnamed) tighty-whities that we DON'T want Pickles to play with - but he doesn't know the difference.

So don't confuse the poor pooch! Make sure whatever toys you "create" are dog-appropriate. Or get ready to see your favorite pair of Marc Jacobs shoes or limited edition Vans sneakers adorned with a decorative layer of slobber and sporting some nuevo chic incisor accents.

Why is this second selection of canine entertainment implements even less intelligent than their homemade counterparts? Because we actually spend money on them. With that said, I beg of you, please do not purchase stuffed animals that squeak out in agony when being mauled—I mean “played with”—by your dog.

These toys increase the prey drive and can fuel aggression.

Please do not purchase any chew toys that can break apart into pieces. These chews can choke your dog or, worse, get lodged in your pup’s stomach and/or intestines resulting in a life-threatening (and wallet-draining) situation.

Make sure any toys you do purchase are the right size for your dog. And be smart. Even the safest toy on the market can be dangerous to your dog depending on how he/she plays!


 Don't Let Allergies Split Up Your Family
How to Keep the Family Dog When Your Child is Allergic

The story is all-too-familiar. Fido has been a part of the family for years and suddenly your child experiences an allergic reaction to your beloved family pet. Rashes, plugged nose, itching -- it's unbearable to see a child suffer. Most people faced with this situation make the heartbreaking decision of splitting up their family. Ultimately, the one that loses the most is the family pet who is suddenly and tragically displaced from his/her family.

Sadly, this is an all-too-common scenario and it seems that the default response by the family doctor is simply to remove the irritant, aka your dog. This was the situation for a family that contacted the Squad to help rehome their dog.  When her child started breaking out in rashes the family doctor told Mom that the dog had to go.

We suggested that Mom get a second opinion from another pediatrician and she agreed!     

And lo and behold, the second pediatrician told Mom exactly what we hoped he would say -  she could keep the family pet with a few small
modifications to the family environment.  He said as long as the allergic reactions were not severe, there is no harm to keep the animal in the home. The child would eventually become accustomed to the animal and grow out of the allergy. In the meantime, these steps could be used to minimize allergic outbreaks:
  • Don't let Fido sleep in your child's room
  • Have your child wash his/her hands after petting or playing with Fido
  • Bath Fido regularly (once a month) to help control dander
It has been about a month now and by following these simple steps, the child's  outbreaks have not only become less frequent but have subsided. And most importantly, her family is intact!

 What’s In Your Pet’s Food?

LOS ANGELES - How much do we really question the ingredients in our pet's food? Like most pet guardians, we assume that when we purchase an expensive food, that we are assuring the best possible nutrition for our pets. But how much do we really know about the ingredients in our pet's food and the possible implications to their health?

Popular Food Brands May Not Provide Adequate Nutrition

Some of the most popular brands do not provide adequate nutrition and worse, may contain ingredients that could harm our pets. Over time, some of these ingredients could cause liver damage, diabetes or even cancer. Unfortunately, many of the ingredients in question are perfectly legal for use in pet food so it really is a case of "buyer beware". For that reason, we thought we would kick off a series on pet health and nutrition to help us all stay informed and make the most informed decisions when feeding our pets.

Cheap Fillers

Pet food manufacturers often use cheap fillers, which contain no nutritional value. For example, white rice is a cheap filler ingredient that is commonly used in dog foods. All of us have enjoyed a delicious bowl of white rice for dinner. I also have several friends who routinely add white rice to their dog's dinner without any adverse affects. This seemingly harmless staple however can cause blood sugar disorders in dogs, just as it does in people. The only difference is that dogs are more susceptible to the detrimental effects of refined white rice because their digestive systems require far more protein and fewer carbohydrates than humans. So why take the chance.

Additional fillers often used in dog foods include wheat gluten, corn gluten, soy, corn bran, corn cellulose and many more.

For a more complete list of ingredients to avoid and a detailed explanation of each item, check out  The Dog Food Project.


 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Dog

LOS ANGELES - It is that time of year again - time to make our New Year's Resolutions. For some, this can be a bittersweet crossroads as the excitement of new possibilities is met by memories of abandoned resolutions in years past. Here at the Squad, however, our furry friends have taught us one invaluable lesson and that is to live in the present! So forget history and start 2009 with something new and fun - Make a resolution for you and your dog!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Take a class - You might be considering an art class, or perhaps brushing up on that High School French? It's good for your dog to learn new things as well.  Maybe you adopted a new pet, but have been putting off obedience class, or perhaps you'd like your son or daughter to take on more responsibility with animal care. Training is always beneficial, for both dog and owner, and yes, you can teach old dog new tricks.
Email us if you need recommendations on classes or trainers.
  • Exercise - This is probably the number one New Year's Resolution. But face it; both you and your dog need it. Set your alarm clock a half hour early and take your dog for a gentle stroll before work - it will give you more energy to face your day, and it will wear your dog out a bit before you leave him or her alone all day.  Southern California has many dog friendly hiking trails, dog parks, and even beaches, and winter is the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy our beautiful weather.
  • Get a check up - Even if your pet seems healthy, there could be something happening medically that you don't see. Just like people, dogs (and cats) need routine vaccinations, dental exams, and regular check-ups. Catching something early will make treatment easier and less expensive, and will greatly improve your pet's well being and help them live longer.  (And while you're at it - make yourself a dentist appointment as well.)
Happy New Year from everyone in the Squad - and good luck sticking to those resolutions!


 ‘Tis the Season to NOT Choke on Tinsel - and Other Safety Tips for Your Pet

LOS ANGELES - The holidays are coming! Tis the season for festive parties and sharing time with friends and family. And, if you're anything like us at the Squad, your furry friends will be part of the merriment. Now is a good time to remind us of some safety issues during the holiday. I know, I know -- we're always on the "safety" bandwagon. But we wouldn't be doing you any favors by not providing these simple reminders:

  • Tinsel, ribbons, ornaments and garland are beautiful on your tree or centerpiece -- but if swallowed, can choke your dog or damage his intestines. Place these decorations above your dog's reach or better yet, find a safe alternative. Bernie would recommend edible dog cookies but that could be tempting fate!
  • Poinsettias, holly and mistletoe add that special holiday touch to any arrangement. Unfortunately, they are toxic for your dog. Make sure they are high up and out of reach. If your pet eats any part of the plant he could experience vomiting, diarrhea or worse!
  • Christmas lights are a decorator's staple for any tree. However, some dogs acquire an unexplained taste for these beautiful orbs. Avoid locations where your dog can reach them as they could electrocute themselves.
Now enough of the dire warnings and onto the fun. There are a few fun pet-friendly holidays activities you can enjoy -- and they just happen to be free:

  • Griffith Park Light Festival - Bundle up and take a walk with your dogs for a close-up view of the light display. It is "pedestrian only" now through December 7th. The walk is approximately 1 mile. Park at the zoo.
  • Dog Park Party - Pack a holiday lunch and meet your friends at the nearest dog park or dog friendly beach. Bundle up if the weather is cold, sip hot cocoa, share holiday cookies and watch your dogs play!
If you know of any holiday dog activities in your area email us at dawgsquad@rocketmail.com and we'll spread the word!

Happy Holidays,
The Dawg Squad


 Dawg Squad Animal Rescue Thanks Generous Supporters and Volunteers

LOS ANGELES - Warm temperatures confirm the fact - Mother Nature is in denial that it is fall.  However, careful scrutiny of the Pin-Up-For-Pups Calendar confirms it is indeed November! Thanksgiving, the universal holiday, is quickly approaching. And, as we at The Squad eagerly begin to plan our sweet potato and marshmallow feast, we thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on the year's activities and marvel at everything we have to be grateful for - our volunteers, incredible adopters and generous supporters!

We dream of the day when we are no longer needed - when there are no more homeless animals. In the meantime, we want to thank each and every one of you for your continued support. Whether you have adopted or fostered a dog in need, donated your hard-earned cash, participated in one of our events or contributed your time or materials to our adoptions - we couldn't sustain this work without you. So thank you for sustaining us, and the many dogs in need that would not have survived without your generous contribution and participation!

With Gratitude,
The Dawg Squad Animal Rescue
Los Angeles, CA


 Local Heroes Save Pit Bull and Reunite Dog With Owner

LOS ANGELES - Animal rescue is often heartbreaking and many stories don't end well. Thanks to the fast action and joint efforts of a group of rescuers, however, this is one of the happy endings.

A recent police shooting in South Central Los Angeles left a homeless man dead and made national headlines: Forty-seven rounds fired by seven officers.

A dog was caught in that crossfire - Topaz, another homeless man's American Staffordshire terrier mix.

Newspapers across the nation reported that Topaz was killed.  Although the initial prognosis was not good, Topaz survived. On Sunday, August 31, she was taken to Los Angeles County's Carson Animal Shelter from Market Street, where the shooting occurred.
Half a dozen animal welfare groups in the Los Angeles basin - including Carole Pearson of Dawg Squad Animal Rescue - joined together to get Topaz out of the shelter and help her get the surgery she needed.

Topaz suffered four gunshot wounds, her back paw was shot off and a leg bone was shattered. Dawg Squad, Streetsmart Rescue, Downtown Dog Rescue, Pacific Coast Dog Rescue and Best Friends Animal Society worked for days to get Topaz released from the shelter and into a vet hospital. And we did it... We got her to Airport Cities Animal Hospital where Dr. Jackson had volunteered her services to help Topaz. On September 9th, Topaz had her leg removed. On September 14th, the bandages came off and she was reunited with her caretaker. After a lot of pain and uncertainty, Topaz is once again one happy puppy!

This is what rescue is all about.

 Why Halloween Costumes are IN but Chocolate is OUT

LOS ANGELES - October has arrived and right around the corner is Halloween! Bernie's favorite time of the year - NOT!

Now there aren't too many Halloween activities that your pet can participate in safely. There's the trick-or-treating, the bonfires, haunted houses and scary movies - but most important - the costume parties. Now before you get too excited read Bernie's article on Halloween this October. He will strongly discourage you from dressing up your furry friends. I'd argue that a few sequins never hurt anyone - unless of course they swallow them. Speaking of swallowing, there is the chocolate. Now this is an area that is off limits to your dogs and for good reason. It's highly toxic.

Why is chocolate toxic for dogs?

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that your dog cannot metabolize as efficiently as humans. As a result, it builds up in their systems until it reaches a toxic level of concentration, which may lead to a variety of problems with the most serious being death due to cardiac arrest. Also, the less your dog weighs, the higher the toxicity level. This means that even a tiny piece of a Kit Kat can be very dangerous for your Chihuahua, poodle, or other small dog.

So enjoy Halloween, the parties, and the costumes - but keep the chocolate all to yourself and out of reach of your pets!


 Back to School Means Empty-Nest Anxiety for Rover
Tips to Make the Transition Painless

LOS ANGELES - September is here!  Gone are the long, lazy days of summer.  Holidays are over - we're back to work and the kids are heading into another school year.  Our pets become used to our company and "summer schedule" and may struggle with their newly vacated home and inherent boredom.

Dogs are pack animals and thrive on company and consistency - so your pet may exhibit some behavioral changes as a result of this dramatic change in their world.

A few tips to help with the transition:

  • Leave a radio on when you're gone. The voices can be calming when your pet is used to company.
  • Take your dog for a walk before you leave. This will help wear off any excess energy or nervousness.
  • Don't make a big deal about your departure. Your pet will respond to your emotional tone and example.
  • Try rubbing a little "Rescue Remedy" (available at health and pet stores) on the bottom of your pet’s feet or put a few drops in their water.  This is a homeopathic remedy that can be very calming for your pet.

 Take Back Your Yard – Landscape Rescue for Dog Owners
By Laurie B. Heyman

LOS ANGELES - We love dogs. They are our best friends, our companions - members of our family. We also love our yards. But dogs and yards do not always get along. Whether you have 1 dog or 3 dogs, large or small, the impact of your pets on your garden can make your hair stand on end.

If you are landscape challenged due to your pet's activities, consider making some changes. For example, if your dog has raced back and forth so often that your lawn looks like a giant mole has taken up residence, consider these options:

  • Remove some or all of what is left of the lawn and install flagstone (costly and best laid down by a professional),
  • A less expensive alternative such as rounded gravel can be installed by the homeowner, is easy on the paws, and stays cool in the summer heat. Urine passes through it easily, and the poop is an easy cleanup. Even the messy stuff is easily removed with the aid of a trowel or small shovel. And when you need more gravel, just add it!
  • A third alternative, which I have used effectively, is "D.G.", or decomposed granite. It is a sandy material which, when laid down properly, will become a fairly hard, compact surface. Its attributes are varied: it is permeable, so water will pass through it; clean up is very easy; you can rake it, blow leaves off it and your kids can even ride their bicycles over it! As with gravel, when you need to fill in some holes or freshen it, adding more D.G. is relatively inexpensive. Oh, and you don't need to water it either!
By utilizing a design combination of hardscape - i.e., flagstone, pavers, concrete, or gravel, the right kind of plantings, and a little doggie psychology - you can once again have a yard of which you are proud.

Call Laurie B. Heyman at Landscape Rescue, 310.200.3589 for all your landscape needs.


 Plan Ahead And Keep Your Pet During a Housing Crisis

LOS ANGELES - Some of us are feeling the heat more than others this August.  Due to the downturn in the housing market some homeowners - and by default their pets - are having the proverbial rug yanked out from under them.  Sadly, this downturn has affected pets in a way that is surprising to many people. As more and more home owners are forced to downsize and move they are finding it difficult to keep their pets with them. What started as a dream house with a picket fence has turned into a kennel run at the shelter for many dogs.

Here at the Dawg Squad we have had an increase in people looking for help when facing foreclosure.  Our mission is to help animals whenever we can and we are working with as many families as possible. Unfortunately, we can only take in a certain number of displaced pets. However, there are a few options you can explore if you or a friend find yourselves in this heartbreaking situation:

  • Start exploring your options early. Don't wait until your moving date to look for options for your pet(s)
  • You can find lists of pet friendly rentals are on several web sites. Google "pet friendly rentals" and you will find quite a few options to get you started (send us your suggestions if you have had good luck with any sources as we would love to share the with our readers).
  • Talk to friends and family members and see if you can place your pets with them until you get settled in a new place.
  • Be sure your pets are well socialized so they will adjust to their surroundings quickly
  • Make sure they have current tags and a microchip in case they escape their new or temporary home. This transition is just as traumatic for your pet as it is for you so plan for any event.
Change is hard on all of us but with a little preplanning and compromising things always find a way to work out after all.

JULY 2008

 Choosing the Right Pet Sitter

LOS ANGELES - Hello all you wonderful Dawg Squad readers. My name is Geoff and I am the owner of True Blue Pet Sitting.  I would like to offer you some tips on how to choose the right pet sitter for you and your dog.

First the easy stuff:
  • Be sure they have a valid business license and are insured. You wouldn't trust an unlicensed mechanic to do your brakes would you?
  • Get at least three references from current clients. Good pet sitters will have plenty of happy customers.
  • Don't choose just on price. Compare rates for several sitters in your area and pick your sitter based on the best fit for you and your pet.
Now the other stuff:

The whole goal of having a pet sitter is to reduce the stress your animal feels when you are gone. A stranger in the house can be upsetting so be sure to schedule some time to meet your pet sitter in your home and introduce your pets. One of my favorite tricks is to take the dog for a nice long walk as the family departs for their trip. When we get home the family is gone and I am the only one there. They just had a walk and are usually feeling really good. This helps them associate me with that happy feeling when I return later. The hardest time a pet sitter faces is the first time we come into a big dogs home after the family has left. The more time I have spent with you and your pet the easier it is for your dog to accept me while you're gone.

Remember when you hire a pet sitter we are not veterinarians or psychics. Let us know what you expect from us so that we can meet those expectations. Most of us are fine with giving medications, bringing in the mail and watering the plants. We try to keep your pets routine and give them as much love as we can. The best pet sitters are the ones that become like family.

Pay attention to your animals when you return. If they are happy clean and comfortable you can bet they were well taken care of.

You can find a reputable pet sitter by following the links Harriet mentioned above or by asking for referrals from your vet, a friend or local rescue (I know a pretty good one if you need a hint).

Geoff Lee
True Blue Pet Care

JUNE 2008

 Summer Holidays – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

LOS ANGELES – Summer is upon us - time for fun in the sun, road trips and play dates. We at The Dawg Squad hope that you have a wonderful summer and are able to include your furry family members in all of your activities.

If you are taking your dog along for the holidays remember you are taking your dog into unfamiliar territory. Some dogs are excited about the adventure while this may cause some stress for the shy dog. Here are a couple of important ideas and reminders to ensure your dog is safe and happy:

  • Water - take plenty of water. Make sure your dog is always hydrated.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car - the car traps heat and acts like a greenhouse causing the temperature to quickly rise to dangerous levels – even with the windows cracked. Even moderately warm temperatures outside can quickly lead to deadly temperatures inside a closed car.
  • Vaccinations - make sure your dog is up-to-date on all shots and vaccinations. If you’re anything like our dogs, your pet likes to put their nose into everything – especially when in a new environment. Unfortunately, this can expose your animal to viruses. Keeping them up-to-date will avoid undue illness.
  • Microchip - if something were to happen and you were separated from your pet, a microchip is an extra (and permanent) measure that can reunite you with your dog when all else fails
  • Collar & tag – make sure your dog has a collar and tag with your most current contact information.
  • Pet Friendly Hotels – call ahead and book a hotel that is dog friendly. There are many properties that allow pets. If you’re staying with friends, make sure they are prepared for your four-legged visitor.
  • Crate – we recommend that you take a crate along (hopefully you have already crate-trained your pet so this isn’t a new experience). If you plan to go out for dinner this is an ideal option to ensure your dog is secure in unfamiliar territory.

Leaving your Dog at home?

Pet sitters are a great way for pets to have summer vacation too. Some boarding kennels are as nice as human spas and in-home sitters are perfect for dogs that stress easily.

Check out potential kennels in advance and interview sitters thoroughly so both you and your pet keepers have the same expectations.  

MAY 2008

 An Ounce of Prevention Makes for a Summer of FUN

LOS ANGELES – Time to hit the beach, the BBQ and the road. However, along with the fun are plenty of opportunities for unfortunate accidents and mishaps. Here are a just few tips to enjoying the season trauma-free:

  • School is out and kids are everywhere. Remind your own kids to be aware of how their friends interact with the pets of the house. Some kids who don't have pets of their own might need a few pointers on how to treat animals. Be a good pack leader and teach your children how to be positive role models for their friends.
  • New friends and new situations can be unnerving to pets. Keep pets safely locked in a room during parties so they don't escape through open doors.
  • Not all dogs are water dogs. Introduce swimming slowly and remember just like any other kid not to leave pets unattended around the pool - especially puppies!

Summer is a great time to make memories that will last a lifetime. The Dawg Squad wishes you all the best in "SAFE" summer fun!

APRIL 2008

 Protect Your Pet and Keep LA Healthy – Stormwater Alert

LOS ANGELES – Do your part to help keep Los Angeles safe and healthy by always picking up after your pet!

With Los Angeles County being home to almost 3 million dog owners, there is an increase in the potential for environmental harm if dog owners don't pick up after their pets.  The problem is that whenever people do not pick up after their dog, the waste gets washed down into the storm drain system and this untreated water flows directly into the ocean.

On a larger scale, this type of waste affects the life in the ocean, the tourist industry (the economy) and the health of the people who swim in the water.  On a more immediate level, unattended dog waste can cause an increase in disease spread throughout our communities, exposing healthy pets and humans to diseases such as canine parvovirus and Giardia.

For more information on how you can help prevent Stormwater pollution, please call 1-800-974-9794 or visit the Los Angeles Stormwater.

 Spring Cleaning for your Furry Friend

LOS ANGELES – HELLO Dawg SquadERS! Spring has sprung! The days are getting longer and this time of year can only mean one thing: It's time to spring clean your pets.

Before you head out for those long walks in the evening be sure to check that your leashes and collars are in good shape and that the tags are updated. If it has been a while since your last dog park trip you may want to consider a refresher obedience class to brush up on those social skills. Double check those vaccination records and remember that indoor only fur-kids still need flea control and regular vet visits too.

We at the Dawg Squad hope that you will enjoy everything the new season has to offer knowing that your spring cleaning chores are done and you can take off some well deserved leisure time and join us at our annual fundraising event BOWLING FOR COLLARS! Last year was a ton of fun - we had amazing prizes and the event was a huge success.

So dust off your bowling shoes and join us May 4th!

Contact the Squad if you would like to bowl or sponsor the event.