Summer Road Trip Fun with Pets

dog in a car

It’s just past Memorial Day, so you know what that means—summer road trip season! I love the feeling of packing up, getting in the car, and exploring some place new. Traveling with a dog always adds a little bit of complexity to the situation, but luckily it adds a whole lot of fun, too. Over the years, I’ve put together a good checklist for traveling with a pet. From cleaning up after your furry friend to ways to keep Fido happy, here’s my best advice for how to have a great road trip with your dog.

Consider whether your pet should travel
This may seem obvious, but the first thing to think about—before you ever get in the car—is whether your dog should travel. If your pet is sick or doesn’t have the temperament for riding in the car or changing scenery and routine, do him and yourself a favor by finding a trusted pet sitter or calling in a favor from friends or family.

Get a pet restraint
Humans can’t travel without the appropriate restraint in a car, so dogs shouldn’t either. There are lots of options to consider such as vehicle pet barriers, pet seat belts, and even pet car seats that can keep everyone feeling safe on your journey. The best pet restraint for you will depend on your dog’s size, temperament, needs, and possibly even the length of your trip. Make sure to research the safest options.

Plan your route
Traveling with a pet may require more (and longer) breaks than traveling with humans only (unless, of course, you’re used to traveling with small children. Schedule in plenty of potty and exercise breaks to allow you and your pet time out of the car for exercise. Also, allow more time than you need to for your driving in case breaks take longer then planned.

dog outside

Bring enough food and water
Having enough food and water are definitely important criteria for keeping your pet happy on the road, so make sure you bring enough for the car ride. Depending on the length of your trip and your destination, it may be necessary to bring pet food with you if you’re not sure you can find it when you arrive. This is particularly true if you use specialty or even prescription food. Bring a good travel bowl for ease.

Bring the favorites
Favorite toys will help keep Fido occupied both on the road trip and when you reach your destination. Since many aspects of your and your dog’s routine will be disrupted by your trip, having toys he loves can be very helpful. The same is true with bedding—if your dog has a bed, blanket, or other item that will help keep him relaxed or allow him (and you!) to sleep better, bring it!

Be prepared to clean up
Even if your dog regularly rides in your car, you’ll want to have extra supplies to deal with messes on the road. Getting in and out of the car a lot introduces more opportunities for messes, so it can be helpful to have seat covers, wet wipes, and other supplies. I also carry a handheld vacuum to make clean up in the car and at our destination easier.

Labrador Retriever vs Golden Retriever

golden retriever

Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are two of the most loveable breeds out there. They’re fun-loving, great for families, and big balls of energy, so how do you choose between them?

There are many things you should consider when buying a puppy. Health history is paramount. You also want to make sure you’ve done your research to make sure the breed’s activity level and temperament will fit your family’s lifestyle.

Of course, it’s hard to go wrong with either breed. However, although Labradors and Golden Retrievers have a lot of things in common, there are some differences, too.

Size – Labs and Golden Retrievers are generally a similar size—medium-to-large dogs, and the male is slightly larger than the female. One things that many people don’t realize, however, is that the body type of English and American Labrador Retrievers varies. English Labs are often stockier, with broader heads and chests. American Labs are slimmer working dogs.

Color – The biggest difference in the dogs’ appearance is the color of their coats. Golden Retrievers’ color can range from light blonde (especially as puppies) to a deeper golden (sometimes almost red) color. Their coat is on the longer side and can be wavy. Labradors have three main coat colors—black, yellow, or chocolate brown. Their coat has a short, straight outer layer and a soft inner layer.

black lab

Shedding – Both dogs shed year-round

Temperament – Both Golden Retrievers and Labradors are perfect family dogs and generally do well with children of all ages. They are affectionate, outgoing, and eager-to-please. Goldens are particularly intelligent and easy to train. Labs are often even more high-energy than goldens and can’t be left alone for long when they’re young.

Health – Goldens have a high rate of cancer in later years, which increases in neutered females. Allergies are also somewhat common. Labrador retrievers are also subject to certain types of cancer, though the rates are lower than Goldens. They also can develop joint diseases or eye problems such as glaucoma.

No matter which breed you choose, there is no “right” or “wrong” choice. Just go with the puppy that your family respond to most, and the rest will work itself out.

How Long Do Dogs Live?

Older golden retriever

Dog ownership is a lifelong endeavor, and as most of those who have owned pets will attest, no one thinks of how long their canine friends will live. Most of the time, you all you think of is how cute or adorable the dog is – especially if brought to the house as a puppy, as well as making sure that everything the dog would love to chew is not kept out of sight. On a more serious note, these furry friends provide companionship, unconditional love and smiles even much more than human friends. So, their lifespan becomes a cause for concern at times.

The question “how long do dogs live” is no doubt an intriguing one. Let’s see how we can answer this question.

The life expectancy of a dog is affected by several factors which include:

  • The dog’s breed
  • Environment
  • Its body size
  • Weight
  • Diet
  • Heredity, etc.

As a rule, the smaller the sizes of the dogs, the longer its lifespan and vice versa. Chihuahuas may live up to sixteen years while a dog like Border collie is expected to live up to thirteen years. Great Danes are known to live for seven to eight years. According to a recent study outlined by veterinary records which can be found in the State of Pet Health 2013 Report, dogs that are more than ninety pounds in weight get to live just eight years. Dogs under twenty pounds have an average life expectancy of about eleven years.

Two older golden retrievers

The bodies of large dogs typically work harder than that of smaller dogs. Another factor that also affects the lifespan of a dog is its heredity. For instance, the inbred characteristics of purebred dogs enable them to maintain purebred stock. But some purebreds tend to have unique health issues which play significant roles in their lifespan. Great Danes are known to suffer from heart problems while Shepherd Dogs usually develop hip dysplasia as they grow older.

However, despite the health issue, size, sex, etc. of a dog, the average lifespan of a dog is 11-12 years.

The diet your dog is used to can also affect its lifespan. When your dog is obese or overweight because of its food, it could promote several health problems such as metabolic syndrome, cancer or even cardiovascular issues. Keeping your dog as slim and fit as possible can prolong its lifespan.

How to Introduce Your New Puppy to Your Cat

dog and cat meeting

It is common knowledge that cats and dogs are allegedly sworn enemies, so if you already have a cat and you are entertaining thoughts of adopting a puppy, then you should be rightly concerned. Having a cat and a dog live together in complete harmony will be ‘a dream come true’ for you, but that does not negate the fact that things could get pretty hairy when the puppy comes home.

But one thing is sure: it is possible for cats and dogs to cohabit peacefully, though it requires lots of planning, patience, and careful guidance. If you follow this guide, you will increase the chance of getting your cat to bond with your dog and becoming best of friends for life.

You should understand that there are dog breeds that accept cats as well as cat breeds that accept dogs. The reverse, of course, is the same as well. As a pet owner, understanding that some dog breeds are naturally hostile to cats and vice versa will go a long way in helping you determine the best step to take. For instance, cat-friendly dog breeds include collies, Labradors, and poodles. The most dog-friendly cat breed is perhaps the Manx cat. Other cats have some problems adjusting to the presence of another canine companion of different species.

Additionally, most cats can learn to accept a puppy or dog in the household as long as the dog respects its space and makes no attempt to violate it at any time. Cats are the primary determinants when it comes to how close they wants the dog to be.

The first thing you should do before you bring the new puppy is to consider the past experiences your cat has had with dogs. If your friends who own dogs visit you with their canine companions, does your cat react aggressively towards it or not? Does she stick around until the dog is gone or bolts off someplace? Is she pushy, excited. or curious? These are scenarios that will give you an indication of how your cat will behave when the new puppy comes home.

Secure your cat in a safe place—preferably in her carrier, and then bring the puppy home. Let the dog roam around the house for about thirty to forty minutes. This would enable the dog to meet your cat by smell virtually. Some dog experts even advise that you can do this with your cat as well. All you need to do is to stroke your puppy with a piece of cloth while it is still at the breeder’s and then using the fabric to wipe the furniture and other items in the house and vice versa. This is to make the pets to have a ‘taste’ of each other’s strange smells, and this is of immense importance in the introduction process.

dog and cat hugging

You can also put a leash on the new puppy for the first few days if it calls for it when you bring it to your home. By this time, your cat has gotten used to the ‘strange’ smell of the puppy, but it could still be wary of the puppy when they eventually meet face to face. Chances are your puppy will spring towards your cat, probably in a playful mode. This is where the leash comes to play; your cat may misinterpret the playful leap of the new puppy and become aggressive. The leash is to keep the puppy in check so that the whole introduction doesn’t get off on the wrong foot.

You should expect your cat to hiss and dash away; this is an entirely reasonable reaction. Allow them to check each other out, but be very watchful. You can give both your cat and dog treats as rewards for good behavior.

These short visits should be repeated several times a day, always watching over the duo as your cat and leashed dog size each other up and getting used to each other. Once you notice that your cat and dog are getting along, take off the leash and then supervise your pets carefully. Depending on what happens in this phase, you may have to revert to the previous step for a few more days if things appear to be getting out of hand. Never leave your pets alone until you are one hundred percent sure they are comfortable with each other.

How to Groom a Golden Retriever

Grooming your dog is a duty or responsibility that must not be taken for granted. Time and again, many dog owners, especially Golden retriever owners are not mindful of the fact that grooming their fluffy friend must begin very early when the dog is still a puppy. This should be done to facilitate proper coat development. If you want your retriever to be happy and healthy, then what your puppy needs are exercise, adequate training, affection, proper diet, and proper grooming. This is why this article will discuss how to groom a golden retriever as well as where to find the appropriate tools to make the job easier.

A golden retriever’s medium length double coat is very striking, but it is given to shedding. While the top coat is water repellant and dense, the undercoat is otherwise substantial. Gold retrievers go through seasonal shedding—this is known as blowing the coat. At such times, the undercoat thickens during cold weather and sheds in warm weather. Long fur covers the neck, underbody, back of the legs and the tail.

Grooming is a process that takes a lot of time and patience; therefore, you should spend at least one-half hour a week to groom your furry companion. The good news is that the more you do it, the less hair you’ll find around your house.

The grooming process can start off with brushing your dog’s coat. Make use of high-quality bristle brush and apply gently on its coat. Regular application and use of the brush helps to prevent the loss of hair. You can start the brushing sequence from the head to the tail, remembering to brush the body as well as the long and short length hair of its coat. Brush the hair that covers the tail area, the rear, under the body, and the back of the legs. If you spot any loose hair, remove it and then inspect your pet’s body. Look out for signs of skin irritations and ticks. You should take immediate action when you detect any form of skin problem as it could be dangerous if delayed. Be particularly aware of hot spots, which are known to impact goldens (there is nothing worse than watching your pup suffer with one of these).

You should also consider bathing your golden retriever to help in preventing ticks and fleas. Bathing also helps in reducing shedding and allergies since golden retrievers are naturally active and playful animals. They love participating in outdoor activities and don’t shy away from water. As a result, they are prone to getting very dirty, thus potentially attracting fleas, dirt and other allergies as well. This is why you, as a dog owner, must incorporate regular bath sessions for your golden retriever. But make sure the water is not too hot to avoid getting your golden retriever scalded. Be patient enough to allow your pet to adjust to the warmth and heat of the bathing water and rinse your furry companion with sufficient water pressure.

You can use grooming tools like slicker brush, comb, thinning shears and scissors to care for your golden retriever.

What to Look for When Buying a Puppy

Three golden retriever puppies -- here's what to consider when you buy one

One of the most beautiful dogs you can buy to become part of your family is the Golden Retriever. Not only is it popular in the United States, but this breed is also well-known worldwide, thanks to its sweet character as well as its beautiful appearance. Owning a dog is no joke, and this is why it is vital to ensure that you and your home are ready before you get a Golden Retriever puppy.

When searching for a hunting professional or companion dog, you need to search for a breeder of good repute carefully. It is highly crucial for you to purchase your Golden Retriever puppy from a good breeder so that you can make some enquiries such as confirming the puppy’s lineage and health history. This is particularly important if you’re interested in registering your dog with the American Kennel Club. Therefore, it is not advisable to purchase your puppy from a pet store but a reputable breeder.

The temperament of a dog varies between males and females; so it is essential for you to select the right gender that you prefer. The size of female Golden Retrievers is usually smaller than their male counterparts. If breeding your Retriever is part of your plans, then you should go for a female puppy.

Your Golden Retriever puppy must be in sound health before you even take him/her home. This is another reason why you should purchase your puppy from a reliable breeder since they will usually carry out all health checks beforehand and receive certifications on eyes, hips, and heart. Getting and confirming these certifications are also very linortant as you need to be sure your puppy’s parents don’t have any allergies. This breed is highly vulnerable to skin problems and hot spots, so you need to ask back about two to three generation before buying the Golden Retriever puppy. Also ensure that your puppy has bright eyes, a clean coat with no fleas, and no visible health issues such as discharges from the nose or eyes.

golden retrievevr puppy in grass

When most Golden Retrievers are born, their colors are on the light side which ranges from creamy to gold. The colors of its ears are excellent indicators of the color it would portray when your puppy reaches maturity.

Golden Retrievers are generally very excited and friendly around people. But you still need to be careful when selecting the right puppy from a litter of Golden puppies. One way to check the personality of a Golden puppy is to hold it. If it shows no sign of distancing itself from you or of aggression whatsoever, then it is an excellent indication that the puppy has an agreeable personality.

You can also test your Golden puppy if your goal is to train it to be a hunter. When you visit the breeder, take a ducktail along with you and attempt to make the puppies respond to your antics. Then pick the Golden puppy that is most excited and even tries to bring back the ducktail to you. You just found your hunting companion without a sweat.

Why Golden Retrievers are the Best Dogs Ever

Golden retriever mom and puppy

Let’s face it—life is better with a Golden around. Golden retrievers are easy to love, they are fun-loving, and they’re utterly gorgeous to look at. Golden retrievers can be a perfect addition to any family, and it is easy to see why it is so easy to fall in love with them. There’s no doubt that there are plenty of reasons why golden retrievers are the best dogs ever:

They are incredibly cute
Just staring into their eyes is enough to make you fall in love. Two of the main reasons people opt for Golden retrievers are their beautiful golden fur and friendly faces. Unfortunately, because of their irresistible cuteness, you cannot stay mad at a golden retriever for very long.

They fit in perfectly
It does not take Golden retrievers very long to become comfortable in their new home. When you leave, they honestly miss you because they do not like being left alone for extended periods. When you come home, you will always be met with hugs and wet kisses.

They are unbelievably smart
Golden retrievers are very intelligent and are always curious. Because of their intelligence, they are used often by rescue teams and police. They also serve as guide and therapy dogs. What’s not to love about a dog that makes the world a better place?

They love to eat
Golden retrievers will eat anything, so you will never have to throw away food ever again. They can slurp up spills and chomp on fruits and veggies just as easily as they can devour a perfectly cooked steak.

They are perfect for kids
Even as full-grown dogs, golden retrievers are basically large puppies. They are so gentle and loyal that they are the perfect pet for shy kids. Because they are so curious, they also make excellent babysitters and playmates for your little ones. They also love to play around for exercise, which should tire out both the kids and the puppies.

They are always smiling
When you are down and out, a Golden retriever can cheer you up and make you feel better. Even when they are unwell or sick, a Golden will always have a smile. Having a Golden retriever around during stressful moments is a lot like having a therapist on call. They are intuitive and seem to always know when you need a cuddly hug.

A Golden retriever will increase your lifespan
People with pets tend to live longer on average than people who don’t have a pet. Therefore, by owning one, you can laugh and exercise more often. Retrievers will stay by your side every chance they get, which is a source of comfort to many.

Sporting Around: Exercise Your Golden

If you want to ensure that your Golden Retriever sticks around for as long as possible, exercise is not a luxury but a critical necessity. Just as people need exercise, golden retrievers can benefit from a daily physical routine. Lucky for you, golden retrievers typically have a good deal of energy and are always down for a good time so it is not hard to get one moving.

Depending on the age of the Golden, the type of exercise will vary. If your Golden is still a puppy, try not to overwork them, as their bones are still fragile and growing. Too much exercise can lead to constant pain as a result of injury, lameness, or deformed bones. (Just think about what it was like when you went through growing pains as a teenager.)

Puppy retrievers
If you are bringing a puppy home, it’s important for you to be well prepared so that you can know what to expect. Puppy golden retrievers can benefit from moderate exercise that lasts between one and two hours. They should attain physical activity mainly through play and should never be forced to be active. Playtime is important for creating a bond as well as stimulating your puppy’s mind.

You can also improve your pup’s socialization by introducing him or her to different smells, sounds, and experiences so that he or she can get used to your world. As the dog continues to develop nearing 1 year old, you can gradually increase the amount of exercise.

Adolescent and adult retrievers
For an older retriever, fitness should be varied and not limited to high-intensity play or activity. Retrievers can get adequate exercise by running and playing with other dogs or they can do so by playing with you. Games such as fetch, running alongside you while jogging or riding a bike, or even on a workout on a treadmill can benefit your Golden considerably.

If your retriever suffers from a disability such as hip dysplasia, swimming can be a perfect alternative to exercise that fragile body. An adult retriever will require at least 1 hour of exercise at least twice per day daily.

Elderly Goldens
Joint pains are common as your dog ages. Some ailments and conditions can be worsened by exercise so it is important to talk to your vet first to maintain your dog’s safety. Every retriever is different; some start to slow down as early as age 8 while others still maintain their bubbly and active personalities as old as 12 years and beyond. Be mindful that you are not pressuring your elderly Golden too much as he or she will probably do anything to oblige you.