Dog Life Jackets and Boat Safety Tips

Dog Life Jackets

Summer is the perfect time to get your dog involved in some outdoor activities. There’s hiking, swimming, trips to the dog beach, and even boat rides. If you plan to take your dog on board, be prepared for the voyage with these safety tips.

1. Check Laws and Regulations Before You Go

Before heading out on the open water, check your state’s laws and regulations to ensure that your dog is allowed on the boat and that you’re following all the rules. In addition, if your boat is in a marina, call the marina ahead of time to ensure that dogs are allowed on the property.

2. Acclimate Your Dog to the Boat

Being on a moving boat for the first time can be scary for a dog. It’s fast, it’s loud, and there’s lots of strange movement. Before taking the boat out to sea, acclimate your dog by visiting the boat when it’s on dry land or parked at the dock. Let your dog explore and sniff, and offer treats and praise. The goal is to help your dog form a positive association with the vessel.

3. Bring Safety Supplies

A first-aid kit, pee pads, a life jacket, sunscreen, and fresh water are all important things to bring along for the ride. Even if your dog is an excellent swimmer, they should still wear a life jacket (or have one nearby) in case conditions change and the water gets choppy, which could affect their ability to swim. Fresh water is important because sea water can be dangerous for dogs to drink, and dog-friendly sunscreen will keep your pal from getting burnt when the sun’s beating down. Also be sure to set up a cool and shady area for your dog to rest; perhaps in the cabin or under a large umbrella.

RELATED STORY: Be Prepared for Emergency Pet Care: Steps to Take Now

4. Develop a Safety Plan

What will you do if your dog goes overboard? Have a plan before you go so that everyone is on the same page. Maybe you’ll plan to turn off the engine, and one person will be assigned to jump into the water after the dog.

5. Build Up to Longer Outings

Even if you acclimate your dog to the boat, chances are they’ll still be a little freaked out the first time on board. Keep their first trip short and positive with plenty of treats and praise, and look out for signs of seasickness. If your dog suffers from seasickness, try these steps for dealing with car sickness. If the seasickness persists, ask your veterinarian if anti-nausea medication would be appropriate for future outings.

RELATED STORY: The Most Active Dog Breeds for Your Lifestyle

6. Keep Your Eyes on Your Dog

Just like you would with a small child, it’s important to keep your eyes on your dog when they’re on a boat. A wave or wake could cause your dog to lose their footing and fall off, and too much time in the sun could cause your dog to become dehydrated (and even develop heatstroke). Know where your dog is at all times and make sure they are secure and taking breaks in the shade.

Do you take your dog out on a boat? How do they like it? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


6 Dog Safety Tips for the Fourth of July

Dog with American Flag

While we just talked about this topic with Sam’s post on Tuesday, the topic of dogs and the 4th of July is a hot one, so we’re revisiting some points and introducing a couple new ones.

Loud noises. Big crowds. Flashing lights in the sky. Leftovers from barbeques. The Fourth of July is a great day for families and friends all across America, but can be challenging for your dog. Find out six simple ways you can ensure a healthy, happy, anxiety-free day for your pup.


1. Food Safety During Barbeques

Whether or not you allow your dog to eat human food is likely a decision you’ve made a long time ago. But food at a barbeque can be particularly dangerous for dogs: alcohol is always a no-no, but so are the onions you’re having on your burger, the avocado in your guacamole, and the bones that might be in grilled chicken. Be sure to let your friends know not to share food with your pet.

RELATED STORY: The Most Poisonous Foods for Dogs


2. Prepare for Loud Noises

If you know — or suspect — that your dog doesn’t like loud noises, plan ahead. Make sure your pet has a safe spot in the house to hang out, cover up the noises if possible, and provide your pet with a Thundershirt or other swaddle-like outfit.

RELATED STORY: 5 Tips for Dealing with Dogs Scared of Loud Noises


3. Don’t Bring Your Dog to the Fireworks

The crowds of people, loud crash of the fireworks exploding, and unexpected flashes of light are hard on your dog. We recommend that you leave dogs safely at home. It’s easy for a dog to panic, run away, get lost, or generally freak out during fireworks. Since it’s not a pleasant activity for pets, leaving them at home is both the kindest and the safest option.


4. Definitely Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Car

If for some reason, leaving your dog at home is not an option, it would be preferable to bring your dog with you rather than leaving your dog alone in the car. During the heat of the summertime, leaving your dog in the car — even with the windows cracked open — is unsafe.

RELATED STORY: 5 Must-Read Safety Tips for Pets in Hot Weather


5. Make Home Cozy for Your Pet

If your dog will be home alone while you’re out celebrating Independence Day, or even if you’ll be around, make your house into a comfortable environment for your pet. For crate-trained dogs, the crate can be the most comforting place to ride out the wild night. Close the curtains to help block out the lights from the fireworks, and think about leaving the television on, or playing music for an audio distraction. Make sure that all doors and windows are closed — even a normally placid pup can have an urge to escape when confronted a the fear-inducing situation.


6. Be Careful With Sunscreen and Bug Spray

What’s good for you isn’t necessarily OK for your pet. Don’t give your pet a spritz of bug spray, and avoid using sunscreen for people on their fur. As well, citronella and lighter fluid can also be dangers for dogs, so make sure to keep those items far away from your pup.

RELATED STORY: Top Mosquito-Borne Illnesses


PetPlus isa new benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding and more. Is it right for you and your dog?


Why Is My Dog Afraid of Animals All The Time?


Why Is Your Dog Afraid Of Animals?

A dog’s fear of other animals can have a big impact on their life, and your life too. Some dogs are afraid of all animals. Other dogs are only afraid of unfamiliar animals. And still others are afraid of certain species: many dogs are afraid of cats!

The way your dog shows fear will depend on your particular dog. Some dogs exhibit classic fear behaviors: tail tucking, trembling, panting, lip licking, trying to escape, whining, and hiding. Other dogs respond to fear by becoming aggressive. Rather than waiting for an attack to happen, they go on the defense and growl, bark, lunge, or bite.

RELATED STORY: Reading Dog Body Language

Clearly, a dog’s fear of other animals can be dangerous. A dog who is afraid and exhibiting fear behaviors could become a target for other animals. A dog who becomes aggressive when afraid may hurt other animals or people.

So what causes a dog to become afraid of other animals, and what can you do to help!

There are a number of factors that can contribute to a dog becoming afraid of other animals:

  • Lack of regular exposure to other animals: Even if you socialize your dog early, they may still become fearful if they do not have regular continued exposure to other animals.
  • Genetic predisposition: Some dogs are just born more anxious or timid. In many cases, these are traits passed on by the parents. So even if your dog is well-socialized, they may still tend to be fearful of other animals.
  • Traumatic event involving another animal: If a young dog gets into a fight with another dog at a young age and is badly injured, they may live to fear all dogs. In some cases, a dog may even become fearful if an animal was near them when something frightening happened, even if the animal was not directly involved.
  • Unknown cause: In some cases, you may not be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your dog’s fear.

RELATED STORY: How We Misunderstand Dog Aggression

What to Do if Your Dog Is Afraid of Other Animals

The first thing to do is correctly identify your dog’s fear of animals. Some pet parents mistake their dog’s fear for aggression and will punish or yell at their dog when it growls or barks at other animals, thus making the dog more afraid and their future reactions to animals worse.

So first things first: study your dog’s behavior and try to find the source of the problem.

Once your correctly identify your dog’s fear, you can go from there:

  • Manage your dog’s behavior: especially if your dog becomes aggressive when afraid. Keep your dog on a leash, stay a good distance from other people and animals, and stay calm. If you grip the leash tighter or tense up when another animal turns the corner, your dog will notice and tense up, too.
  • Do not punish your dog for being afraid: again, it can only make the problem worse. On that same note, you should not constantly reassure your dog when they are afraid. Your dog will not understand and may only become more anxious.
  • Do not force your dog to be around other animals if they are afraid. Many pet parents think that they can fix their dog’s problem by forcing exposure to other animals, and if the dog has never acted aggressive before, what’s the harm? The problem is that forcing a dog into an uncomfortable situation can actually increase their fear, and even if you’ve never seen it before, there is a good chance the dog could respond with aggression.
  • You may need the help of a trainer or animal behaviorist to correct your dog’s fear. Desensitization and counter-conditioning training — in which you to teach your dog that good things rather than bad things happen around other animals — can be very successful, but challenging to carry out.

Is your dog afraid of other animals? Leave a comment and let us know, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.



What to Do if Your Dog Is Stung by a Bee

The official first day of summer is fast approaching, and chances are you’ve already started spending more time outside with your dog. Perhaps you’ve started noticing more flowers blooming too, and with them, more bees buzzing. No one likes getting stung by a bee, but for most people it’s only an annoyance unless you’re allergic.

Dogs, on the other hand, can suffer serious kidney problems from bee stings if they are stung by multiple bees at once.

So what if your dog is stung by a bee?

There are even cases of dogs dying from multiple bee stings, so it’s a good idea to know how to keep your dog safe and what you should do if your dog is ever stung.

Bees vs. Wasps

Both bee and wasp stings can be poisonous to dogs, and if you end up needing to take your dog to the veterinarian following a sting, you’ll want to be able to tell the vet just what type of insect stung your pup.

Worker bees are rounder and smaller than wasps. Worker bees have barbed stingers that are designed to lodge into the skin, killing the bee when the stinger detaches from the body.

Bumblebees have a “fuzzy” appearance. Bumblebees have smooth stingers that can actually sting multiple times and the bee will not die as a result.

Wasps have longer, smoother bodies. Wasp stingers are not barbed, but they do tend to be more painful, and if provoked, a wasp may sting multiple times.

RELATED STORY: Poisonous Plants to Dogs and Cats

Avoiding Bee Stings

Here are some useful tips for avoiding bee stings:

  • Most dogs get stung on the face while poking around near flowers or investigating or chasing an insect that’s capable of stinging. While it’s not possible to avoid every flower, you can keep your dog away from high risk areas on walks and hikes and discourage them from playing in your garden.
  • Keep your yard clean and clear to avoid attracting bees and wasps. Put away leftover food, clean the grill after BBQing, and make sure all garbage cans are secure.
  • Check your yard regularly for bee and hornet nests. If you find one, call a professional to safely remove it.
  • If you plan to go on a walk or hike with your dog, avoid wearing strong smelling perfumes, lotions, or deodorants. Bees are attracted to strong, sweet smells, and your dog may end up suffering the consequences of your fragrance.

RELATED STORY: The 7 Unsuspected Pet Dangers of Summer

What to Do if Your Dog Is Stung

Regardless of how safe you are, bee stings can still sometimes happen, and it’s important to know what to do if the situation ever comes up.

  • Stay calm and move your dog away from the area, as there may be other stinging insects or their nest nearby.
  • Examine the sting area. If you see a stinger, you can try to remove it to reduce the amount of venom that is injected into your dog’s system. Do not squeeze a stinger or try to remove it like you would a splinter. Instead, flick it with your finger or the edge of a rigid object like a credit card.
  • In the case of a single sting, you should be able to manage symptoms at home. Apply a mixture of water and baking soda to reduce the pain, and use an icepack to minimize swelling and inflammation.
  • Keep an eye on your dog’s sting. If it begins swelling up, go to your veterinarian or an emergency clinic right away.
  • If your dog has been stung multiple times, go to the veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. Treatment typically involves fluid therapy, corticosteroids, and close monitoring of your dog’s vital signs.



The Top 5 Dog Separation Anxiety Tips


When you leave your home to head to the office, do the sounds of your dog’s whines, barks, and howls follow you out the door? If your dog feels down when he has to spend the day alone, try these tips to make it easier for you to leave, and to help keep your dog entertained while you’re away.

Here are our top 5 dog separation anxiety tips.

1. Tire ‘Em Out

Take your dog for a long walk, a quick jog, or a game of tug of war or fetch. A tired dog will rest and nap for much of the day, and will have an easier time with your departure.

2. Distract When You Leave

For many dogs, being alone during the day is just fine, but that moment when you depart can provoke anxiety. If that’s the case for your dog, make it your mission to provide a delicious distraction during that distressing moment. A food-filled toy like a kong will keep your pup occupied while you ease out the door.

RELATED STORY: Is Your Dog Suffering From Separation Anxiety

3. Hire a Dog Walker

Especially when they’re young, a full day is a long time for a dog to spend alone. Hire a dog walker to come by in the middle of the day. Not only will your dog get a bathroom break, but they’ll also enjoy some social time.

4. Provide Tons of Toys

Avoid having chewed-up slippers and remote controls: Provide your dog with plenty of stuffed animals, chew toys, and other doggy delights to keep them occupied while you’re away. Get new toys occasionally so they don’t get bored, and leave an assortment of toys readily available each day.

5. Give Your Dog Something to Watch

What’s your dog going to do all day long while you’re gone? There’s napping, eating, playing — but maybe your dog needs a few more distractions and entertainment options. Think about leaving the television on (maybe to a nature program), having a fish tank, or setting up a bird feeder in your backyard to provide something interesting for your dog to watch. These dog anxiety tips have helped us at PetPlus before and we hope they’ll help you too!



Top 5 Ways to FInd a Lost Pet


One of the best ways to increase your chances of finding a lost pet these days is to have had the foresight to get your pet microchipped so that in the case your pet is found, their address can be traced back to yours.

Of course a good collar with a sturdy and clear ID tag can do the same thing, as long as your address and phone number are visible and your pet doesn’t lose their collar.

If you want to get more immediate knowledge of your pet’s location, collar clip-ons like Tagg and Pocket Finder stream GPS information on your pet to your laptop or phone.

But let’s say your pet is lost out there, microchipped or not, and you want to take action to bring your pet home. Here are some tips in finding a lost pet.

Here are our best ways to help finding a lost pet.

1. Search nearby.

Your first step is to fan out with friends and family in the area where your pet was last seen with treats and your pet’s favorite squeaky toys. You can also leave clothing or a pillow that has your scent on it outside your house.

2. Distribute a flyer.

Create a flyer with your pet’s photo, name, and your phone number. Distribute the flyer to your neighbors, plus local businesses, vets, shelters, and rescue organizations. Post flyers wherever you can in a one-mile radius.

RELATED ARTICLE: Runaway Beagle Found; Shelter Refuses to Return Dog to Family

3. Visit your local shelters.

Call local vets and visit local shelters in person every one to two days.

To avoid the chance your pet could be euthanized if brought to a shelter, be vigilant about visiting the shelter in person in case your pet was found and the shelter staff on duty at the time isn’t aware of your case.

4. Use social media.

You can start a Facebook page for your lost pet and spread the word quickly by sharing with all your friends, like this family who lost their dog, Harley.

You can also search for a local Facebook page that specializes in lost pets, like LostFoundDogsVA, and post your pet’s photo there.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Find a Lost Pet

5.  Register your pet as lost.

Look online for places to register your pet as lost. Whether your pet is microchipped or not, you can add your pet to some lost pet registries. Some options are:

Pet Key

Pet Amber Alert

Fido Finder

The Center for Lost Pets

You can also place an ad on Craigslist with a photo of your pet and details on where they were last seen, and how to return the pet to you.

Have you ever recovered in finding a lost pet? Let us know how in the comments, and consider signing upfor PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


What to Do When Finding a Stray Animal


If you’ve ever had your pet go missing, you know what a relief it is to get the phone call telling you they’ve been found. Many times, lost pets turn up thanks to the help of do-gooders who stop and help when finding a stray animal.

If you wish to intervene the next time you see a pet wandering the street, it’s a good idea to know the best way to go about it. Be safe, follow the laws, and think about what you’d want someone to do if they found your missing pet. Check out our tips on what to do if you find a stray animal.

Safety First

Consider your safety, the animal’s safety, and the safety of those around you.

  • If you are finding a stray animal in the middle of the street, don’t slam on your breaks or run out into traffic! You can’t help the animal if you get hurt, and you could cause an accident.
  • Remember that a confused, scared, and possibly sick or injured animal may behave unpredictably. If the animal looks threatening, you feel nervous, or you’re at all unsure of the animal’s temperament, stay in your car or at a distance if you’re on foot.
  • If you choose to approach the animal, do so slowly. Sudden movements and loud voices may cause an animal to bolt. Use a calm, reassuring voice and try to get the animal to come to you first by offering treats or animal-friendly food.

RELATED STORY: How to Foster a Cat

What to Do With the Found Animal

  • The Humane Society suggests restraining the animal if possible by creating a barrier or using a crate, carrier, or leash. If you cannot confine the animal and they are out near traffic or injured, divert cars around them if you can do so safely.
  • When finding a stray animal, if you cannot restrain them, call your local animal control agency or the police. Ask them how long it will be before someone can come and help. If you can, stay with or near the animal until help arrives.
  • In some cases you may be able to lure the animal into your car to wait for help to arrive. However it is usually not a good idea to transport an unrestrained stray animal in your car as they may become anxious or aggressive.
  • If you are able to safely restrain the animal, you may be able to transport them. Take them to the nearest animal shelter or veterinarian so that they can be scanned for a microchip. If the animal does not have a microchip or ID tag, you can choose to leave the animal at the shelter or take them home (if you wish to keep the animal in the event that the original owner is not found).
  • Keep in mind, however, that laws vary from state to state. Just because you find an animal, it does not necessarily mean that you automatically own it. In most states, the animal is not owned by the person who found it until the state’s holding period for strays has passed, the finder has made attempts to find the original owner (such as making flyers), and the finder has taken certain steps to prove that they wish to care for the animal, including getting vaccinations, a license, and an ID tag.

RELATED STORY: How to Adopt Shelter Dogs

Things to Consider When Rescuing a Stray

  • Animal shelters and control agencies are not always able to provide care for injured or sick found animals. In addition, many shelters have budget and space limitations. If you take a found animal to a shelter, understand that they may consider euthanizing the animal if it is sick or if the shelter is overcrowded.
  • If you decide to take a found animal to the vet because it appears sick or has injuries, be prepared to pay for any treatment out of pocket.
  • Think about what you would want someone to do if they found your missing pet when you’re finding a stray animal. Even if the animal isn’t very friendly or especially cute, you should make every effort to return them to their original owner. Put up flyers, post to the internet, and make sure that the shelters around you have a description of the animal and your phone number.

Rescuing an animal can be a wonderful thing — and even more so when the animal is reunited with a worried owner — but always remember that not every stray animal is safe to approach, and you should use your best judgement to keep the animal, yourself, and those around you safe.

When in doubt, contact your local ASPCA or animal control agency.

Have you ever found a lost animal? Leave a comment and let us know. And to keep your pet safe and healthy, consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.


How to Protect Your Pet From Wildlife


Most pets love the great outdoors, and with the weather heating up, you and your pal are likely to be spending more time outside. However, certain dangers lurk beyond the front door, from fleas and ticks to poisonous plants to extreme weather temperatures. And one additional danger that pet owners often overlook is the presence of other animals.

Depending on where you live, you may have skunks, raccoons, coyotes, rattlesnakes, large birds of prey, or other creatures in your yard or neighborhood. In addition to being carriers of disease, many wild animals are also capable of seriously injuring or even killing your pet.

To protect your pet from wildlife and keep the great outdoors great, follow these guidelines:

1. Make Your Yard Less Inviting to Wildlife

Wild animals often find their way into our yards when looking for food, water, or shelter. If you feed your pet outside, don’t make it a free-for-all; feed them at specific times, and collect unfinished portions when they’re done eating. Make sure that food storage containers and trash cans are secure and difficult for an animal to reach or knock over.

In addition, consider the vegetation growing in your yard. Are there berries, fruits, or seeds? You may be offering wildlife a non-stop buffet. Do you have a fountain or koi pond? It may be the perfect place for an unwanted guest to rehydrate.

Also consider cleaning up your yard to eliminate wood piles, rock piles, or other areas of clutter. These dark, shady nooks offer wild animals a cool and cozy place to curl up or nest.

RELATED STORY: Supplies for Keeping Outdoor Cats Safe and Healthy

2. If You Live In A High Risk Area, Don’t Leave Your Pet Unattended In The Yard

This is especially true for smaller pets who can be easily scooped up by birds like hawks or caught by coyotes. Larger pets can also become prey, so be careful if you live in an area with lots of predators, and remember that many animals hunt both day and night.

3. Vaccinate Your Pet

Make sure that your pet is up to date on their vaccinations. The rabies vaccine is especially important when it comes to encounters with other species, and if you live in an area known for rattlesnakes, you can also ask your veterinarian about the rattlesnake vaccine. And did you know that many dog obedience schools also offer classes for rattlesnake avoidance?! Pretty cool.

4. Practice Night Safety

Have you ever seen a skunk scurrying along a dark street? Or a band of raccoons feasting on spilled trash under a street light? Many animals come out at night, and an accidental encounter could spell trouble for your pet. When walking your pet at night, keep them on a leash, and be aware of your surroundings. Be careful about letting your pet sniff or walk around in dark bushes — this is how lots of dogs get “skunked.” And look out for groups of coyotes who may try to lure your dog away under the pretense of “play.” You can also make your yard safer by lighting it up; many wild animals avoid bright lights.

RELATED STORY: Hiking With Dogs: A Pet Parent’s Guide

5. What to Do if You Encounter Wildlife

If you encounter a wild animal while you are out on a walk, don’t panic; most animals are more afraid of you than you are of them. Your response to an encounter will depend on the animal and your distance from the animal. In many cases, an animal will run off on their own, but other times you may need to scare them away or defend yourself. Runner’s World has a great article on handling animal encounters.

Do you live in an area with wildlife or have you ever had a wild animal encounter with your pet? Leave a comment and let us know! Another way to protect your pet? Sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. Check it out at


How To Choose A Dog Collar


Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and temperaments, and your dog’s unique body and personality type will determine what kind of collar will suit them best. Is your dog a serious puller? There are collars for that. Does your dog have a small head that easily slips out of traditional collars? We’ve got a solution. Take a look at the following collar options to find the best one for your particular pup.

Traditional Flat and Rolled Collars


Traditional collars are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are made of nylon, some are made of leather, and there are even some earthy-friendly ones made of hemp. Many traditional collars have decorative features too, such as printed graphics or tough-guy spikes. And you can choose from a wide range of widths; there are small, thin collars for mini dogs and wide, sturdy collars for large dogs.

Most dogs wear a traditional collar all of the time, and may wear other collars when training time rolls around. Make sure that your dog’s primary collar fits appropriately; it should sit high on the neck and you should be able to fit two fingers between your dog’s neck and the collar. Also make sure that your dog’s collar has their ID tag attached at all times.

RELATED STORY: Cat And Dog Leash Options Your Pet Will Love

Head Halter


Head halters allow you to have great control over your dog, and can be very useful when training your dog to “heel.” Head halters look similar to a horse’s halter, and indeed they serve the same function. One band goes around the back of your dog’s head and another goes around the nose, snapping into place under the dog’s chin. When you pull on the leash, your dog’s head will go down, to the side, or back to you, but they won’t be able to pull forward. This not only helps your dog to walk nicely, it also trains them to keep their attention on you rather than focusing on other dogs, cars, or whatever else might interest them.

There are two potential downsides to using a head halter: for one, most dogs really don’t like them at first. You’ll need to train your dog to enjoy wearing the halter, and it may take some time. Secondly, you may end up fielding questions from neighbors about why your dog is wearing a muzzle. Because of the way the halter wraps around a dog’s nose, some people mistake it for a muzzle, but unlike a muzzle, dogs wearing a halter are able to comfortably open their mouths, eat, and drink.



Harnesses are a popular choice for dogs with upper respiratory or throat disease that can be made worse by traditional collars that put pressure on the trachea.

Certains types of harnesses can also help with pulling. Look for ones that evenly distribute weight, attach in the front, or redirect leash tension to the area behind your dog’s front legs.

Chain Slip Collars


Chain slip collars, also known as choke collars, are usually used to correct very stubborn dogs. These collars can be safe and effective when used properly, but you should always consult your veterinarian and a trainer before trying one out on your own. The key is to use a “yank-and-release” motion, and to only employ this collar during training sessions. If you are uncomfortable using a chain slip collar, you may want to look into the Martingale.

RELATED STORY: Products To Improve Your Dog Training

Martingale Collar

Martingale collars were originally designed for dogs with small heads and necks — such as Greyhounds and Whippets — who can easily slip out of traditional collars. While they are still commonly used to keep these breeds from escaping, they have also become a popular choice for trainers and pet parents who want to teach their dog not to pull. Martingale collars are made with two loops. The large loop is placed around your dog’s neck and adjusted to fit loosely. The small loop — sometimes referred to as the control loop — is attached to the leash. When the dog pulls, the tension on the leash makes both the small and large loops taut and distributes even pressure over your dog’s neck.

Prong Collar


Prong collars, also known as pinch collars, can help with extreme pulling. They may look like torture devices, but the blunt prongs that protrude inward are actually very dull — try them on your own arm to see how they feel. It’s more of a “pinch” than anything else, and unlike chain collars, prong collars distribute pressure evenly over your dog’s entire neck, which may make them safer. If you wish to use a prong collar on your dog, you should first consult your veterinarian and a trainer to learn how to use it properly. Improper use could not only injure your dog, it could also make their problem worse or cause them to become fearful if the “yank-and-release” motion is used at the wrong time.

What kind of collar do you use on your dog and why? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. Check it out at


City Dog Etiquette: 7 Rules To Follow


Living in a city is a wonderful thing, and I should know; I lived in New York City for 6 years and I’ve been soaking up sunny Los Angeles for the past 3 years. What do I love about living in a city? So many things, including the diversity, access to art and culture, amazing food, and always finding a new bookstore, coffee shop, or hidden corner to explore.

As a dog owner, I also know what it means to live in the city with a pooch. For one, I don’t have access to a fenced-in backyard, so that means that my dog Wade and I spend a lot of time pounding the pavement. Secondly, we’re surrounded by lots of people — and dogs! On our walks we are always crossing paths with new and familiar faces, and when we’re hanging out at home it’s not uncommon to hear a furry neighbor “greeting” the mailman with a bark.

While I’ve made an effort to become a responsible and courteous urban dog parent, I often see less-than-polite behavior from the people and pets around me. With that in mind I’ve put together a list of city dog etiquette rules that will make living in a metropolis with your pup safer and more pleasant for you, your dog, and your fellow residents.

Rule #1: Keep Your Dog On A Leash

Even if your dog is perfectly content to amble along behind you, you should still use a leash. It will not only keep your pal safe from traffic and prevent them from running off to investigate other dogs, playing children, or spilled trash, in many cities it’s also the law. Keep your leash to six feet in length or less.

Rule #2: Train Your Dog To Walk On A Leash

A dog who is pulling, lunging, or jumping while on a leash can be a danger to themselves, to you, and your neighbors. Train your dog to “heel” by your side so that you can walk safely and comfortably past other walkers and dogs. Other useful commands for walks? “Sit,”“stay,” “leave it,” and “come.”

RELATED STORY: 3 Ways To Be Safer Walking A Dog At Night

Rule #3: Ask Before Letting Your Dog Interact With Other Dogs

It may be tempting to let your dog approach, sniff, and say “hello,” to other dogs, but you should always ask first. The reason for this is that you never know the other dog’s situation; maybe they were recently bitten, and they are feeling a little gun shy around other dogs; maybe they are sick; maybe they are aggressive. For your dog’s safety and the other dog’s safety, always ask the other owner if it’s OK to say “hello.” This rule is true for people, as well (see Rule #6).

Rule #4: Pick Up After Your Dog

No brainer? You’d be surprised. I regularly come across abandoned dog poop on my walks, many times smack-dab in the middle of a sidewalk. This is not only inconsiderate to other walkers and frankly, a bit gross, it also poses a safety hazard to other dogs and people as diseases and parasites are often shed in dog feces. Pick up your dog’s poop, put it in a bag, knot the top, and toss it in a trashcan.

Rule #5: Make Sure Your Dog Is Allowed Where You’re Going

City-dwellers love to take their dogs everywhere — coffee shops, clothing boutiques, even restaurants, where I’ve often seen dogs posted up under tables while their owners dined. While it’s great to socialize your dog and take them out and about in the world, make sure that your dog is allowed where you’re going before you leave the house. Leaving your dog tied to a lamp post puts them at risk for being stolen or getting injured, and you should never leave your dog unattended in a car.

RELATED STORY: 5 Steps To A Safe Drive With Your Dog

Rule #6: Remember That Not Everyone Likes Dogs

If you own a dog, it might be hard to imagine that someone wouldn’t love them as much as you do. But the truth is that some people are afraid of dogs, some people are allergic to dogs, and some people just plain don’t like them. If you’re in a public space with your dog, you should remember this. Don’t allow your dog to say “hello” to strangers without first asking if it’s OK. If you’re in a crowded space, keep your dog by your side; don’t let them jump up, sniff, or otherwise bother the people around you.

Rule #7: Don’t Let Your Dog Bark Excessively

I’m always amazed when I learn that a dog who is barking excessively in a yard is doing so with their owner right inside the house. (FYI: I’ve learned this because I’ve confronted those owners before!) Living in a city means that you are probably living pretty close to your neighbors. A dog who is barking excessively is not only a public nuisance, it may also mean that the dog needs some help or attention. Dogs bark for a number of reasons, including boredom, anxiety, fear, hunger, illness… the list goes on. Train your dog not to bark, and if you ever hear a dog barking excessively, go and check-in on them. If you see that no one is home, don’t hesitate to contact your local animal control; the dog may be in trouble.

Do you live in a city? Do you have any etiquette rules to add to this list? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, boarding and more. Check it out at