Author Archives: Dr. Fiona Caldwell

Top 7 Tips for Apartment Living with Dogs

Choose the right sized dog breed for your apartment.The housing downturn made renting instead of owning a popular choice for many Americans. Many families have turned to smaller spaces to save money.  And in terms of roommates, one of the most agreeable cohabitants can be of the canine variety – they don’t steal your groceries or borrow your clothes, and they can be a constant source of companionship and unconditional love! Living in an apartment is possible with a dog, given a little foresight and planning. Here are some considerations when downsizing with your pooch, or adopting a dog into your current apartment situation.

1. Be realistic     

There are some breeds and temperaments of dogs that are not well-suited to apartment life. Dogs that are very high energy, such as a Labrador or Border collie, may really struggle being confined to a small space.  Often the frustration of being cooped up and bored translates into destructive behaviors like chewing.

Especially large breeds won’t fit well in tiny spaces, either. Take an honest look at your main living areas and map out space for a kennel, dog bed, food dishes and toys. You may discover you’ll be better off with a 20-lb. mutt than the Chesapeake Bay retriever you’ve always wanted.Read More…

Four Tips for Finicky Dogs

Picky dog refuses plain dog food.As the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink,” the same holds true for the four-legged members of the family. Dogs often operate on a their own internal hunger cues and getting them to eat regular nutritious meals can be tricky. Watching your pooch skip dinner can be disconcerting, but what can you do and how serious is it?

Any time a normally enthusiastic dog who never skips a meal becomes reluctant to eat or refuses food, consult with your veterinarian. This could be a sign of an underlying illness. Especially if refusing food is accompanied by other clinical signs, prompt veterinary attention is warranted. Pet health insurance is an invaluable tool to ensure your pet gets the top notch care they need!Read More…

#1 Reason Cats are Dumped & 12 Ways to Prevent It

A cat uses its litterbox.There is no arguing against the fact that cats make great pets. They are self-sufficient, affectionate and generally very clean critters.  But what if Frisky stops using the litter box?  That cuddly ball of fur is suddenly not so cute when your carpet and furniture are being used as a toilet! Inappropriate litter box behavior is one of the most common reasons for families to relinquish or re-home their cats.

Any cat that suddenly changes its litter box habits and starts to inappropriately urinate should always be evaluated by a veterinarian to ensure there isn’t an underlying medical problem. Once a medical issue has been ruled out and the problem is deemed behavioral, you might consider some  tips and tricks to help with litter box aversion.Read More…

Top 10 “Made in the USA” Dog Breeds

Dr. Fiona, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine blogs for pet insurance provider, Pets Best.

As far back as humans can remember, dogs have had a place in our hearts and homes. The domesticated canine is thought to have originated tens of thousands of years ago, most likely from grey wolves. It is theorized that early domesticated dogs likely originated from areas of Asia or the Middle East, but modern breeds of dogs have their origins from all over the world.

Here are the top ten truly “Made in the USA” breeds, with photos of each insured by Pets Best Insurance. With a little patriotism, these breeds might make their way up the popularity list!

1. Boston Terrier: Likely descended from a cross between Bulldogs and the White Terrier dog from New England. Boston Terriers have earned themselves the nickname “America’s Gentlemen” due to their black and white tuxedo look and sweet, easy-going manner. Photo: Simon and Colby

Simon has the best pet insurance for Boston Terriers.

2. Alaskan Malamute: This northern breed was important during the Alaskan gold rush in the mid 1800s and was used to help transport sleds over snow. Its thick coat made it a breed well-suited to the cold! Photo: Keiko

Keiko has the best dog insurance for Alaskan Malamutes.

3. Chesapeake Bay Retriever: This breed was developed in the 19th century and used primarily by hunters to retrieve water fowl. The Chessie is known for its love of water and excellent hunting ability. Photo: Hanna

Hanna has the best dog insurance for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

4. American Staffordshire Terrier/American Pit bull Terrier: This breed has gotten a bad rap due in part to its origins in dog fighting. Often termed a “bully-breed”, this breed of dog is fiercely loyal to their humans and capable of being extremely loving and social. Photo: Piper

Piper has the best pet insurance for Pit Bulls and Staffies.

5. Carolina Dog: Also known as the American Dingo, this is one of the oldest breeds to have originated in the U.S. Early drawings made by Native Americans of dogs tend to resemble the Carolina Dog, which was first noted to be free roaming and wild. It now can be registered with the American Rare Breed Association. Photo: Jayda

Piper has the best pet insurance for Pit Bulls and Staffies.

6. Chinook Dog: A rare breed of sled dog originating from New England, the Chinook is the official dog of New Hampshire. It is known for an easy-going temperament and friendly nature. Photo: Genghis

Genghis has the best pet insurance for Chinook dogs.

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7. American Cocker Spaniel: The first Spaniel came across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, but the breed wasn’t recognized by the AKC until 1878. The Cocker Spaniel is a long time top ten AKC most popular dog breeds contender, with 18 total years in all, from the 1940s and 50s, and again in the 80s. Photo: Phoebe

Phoebe has the best dog insurance for Cocker Spaniels.

8. Rat Terrier: An intelligent and active breed first used on American farms for pest control and companionship, the Rat Terrier shouldn’t be confused with the Jack Russell Terrier, its English counterpart. It became popular in the 1890s and is likely descended from a mix of terriers and possibly Whippets and Beagles. Photo: Brodie and Tucker

Brodie and Tucker have the best dog insurance for Rat Terriers.

9. Blue Tick Coonhound: Bred for hunting, this breed has a knack for problem-solving and is happiest with a full time job and a lot of physical activity. The breed is very intelligent and athletic. Photo: Bella

Bella has the best pet insurance for Blue Tick Coonhounds.

10. American Bulldog: this breed is typically confident and social, but can be highly emotional and strongly bonded to their owners. Traits include a stocky, well built body with powerful muscles and a vertical leap of possibly exceeding seven feet! Photo: Thor

Thor has the best dog insurance for Bulldogs.

Why pet insurance? Learn about pet insurance and how Pets Best can reimburse off your veterinary bills 70-100%!

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Five Training Mistakes to Avoid

Top tips from a pet insurance company for training your dog.The National Humane Society cites behavioral issues as the number one reason that dogs and cats are relinquished every year. Undoubtedly, a well-behaved dog will be a more accepted and productive member of the family. It’s best to start training pets as young as possible, but you CAN teach old dogs new tricks! Here are five common training mistakes to avoid.

1. Inconsistency
Nothing is more confusing to a pet than inconsistency. Why is being on the couch okay with dad, but not okay with mom? Everyone in the family needs to be on board with the rules to help enforce them. Start by having a family meeting when a new pet is introduced to the family, or when a new training regimen is started. Lay down the ground rules and ensure everyone is willing to enforce them.

2. Always rewarding with a treat
This seems counter-intuitive, but over-praising can actually have the opposite effect. Consider this human example: when we’re “rewarded” for a behavior every time, like the light turning on when we flip a light switch, we don’t keep trying to flip the switch when that reward doesn’t happen – i.e. the light bulb is burned out. Dogs who always get treats will stop doing the behavior you are asking for if the treat doesn’t present itself right away.

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