Should You Bring Your Pet to College?

Woman working with dog

The University of Northern Colorado made news this week, with an announcement that they would be allowing students to bring a pet to college. But this school is far from the only one allowing pets in the dorms; 38 percent of colleges allow pets, although at many of these pet-friendly schools, the policy only extends to reptiles, and not to furry friends like cats and dogs. Pondering bringing your pet to school? Keep these considerations in mind:

Does your school allow pets?

Check the rules. It’s just not worth it to go against your college’s regulations when it comes to pets — it may be that the school is using pesticides that aren’t pet-friendly, or that they’re concerned about other students with allergies. Regardless of their reasons, if you get caught breaking the rules about pets, it could be a real challenge to find your pet a temporary home if the RA demands it. Trust me on this: My suitemate junior year had a cat, and it was a tough scramble to find someone with off-campus housing willing to take care of Parker – and bringing her home wasn’t an option, since our college was hours away from our families’ homes.

How does your roommate feel about an extra furry roommate?

Do you live with other folks, either in your room, your suite, or in close quarters along the hallway? Make sure to be respectful of fellow students who may not feel as loving or invested in your pet’s health and happiness as you do.

RELATED STORY: What Causes Cat Allergies?

Will you be going on lots of trips? How’s your class schedule?

For many students, college can be a time to be spontaneous: You may find yourself spending unexpected late nights with friends, wanting to take weekend trips, and in general, having a less regimented schedule than at home. For pets, who tend to thrive with regular meals and walks, a lack of structure can be jarring. The flip-side, of course, is that a lack of structure may be jarring for you as well, and having the responsibility of caring for a pet might be welcome.

Can you afford the costs and clean-up?

You may need to pet-proof your room or suite. You definitely will need to clean up hair, vomit, accidents, and be diligent about the litter box. You may also want to have a cat-sitter or dog-walker on hand, and should be prepared to visit a vet nearby for yearly check-ups and any unexpected sickness.

RELATED STORY: What Costs to Expect at an Annual Vet Visit

If this all sounds a bit negative, don’t despair! There are plenty of reasons to bring a pet along with you to campus — for one thing, just like you’d miss your pet, your cat or dog would likely miss you. For another: Pets are a great way to meet people. And, after freshman year, when you have a greater sense of what to expect from your days, and if any friends have allergies, bringing pets to your new location may be a good option for you and your pet.

Tell us: Would you bring your pet to college? Or, would you let your child bring a pet to school? Wherever your pet will live when your kiddo is off to campus, take advantage of PetPlus, a 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.  


What Pregnant Women Need to Know About Cats

Pregnant Woman With Cat

Pregnant mamas, are you concerned about your cat? The list of things expecting moms need to avoid is long, but rest assured, cuddling with your cat is not verboten. During pregnancy, you should take a few very simple safety precautions when it comes to your cat’s care, but in general, most of your relationship to your cat can remain unchanged.

RELATED STORY: Top 5 Misconceptions About Owning a Cat

What’s the Risk?

Any risk that cats present to pregnant women is as a carrier of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can cause birth defects or miscarriages to pregnant women. Toxoplasma gondii is one of the most common parasites around, and can be contracted through raw or undercooked meat, soil, litter, or vegetables planted in contaminated soil. If your cat eats meat with this parasite, they will become a carrier. If infected, cats will go on to shed Toxoplasma gondii in their droppings.

RELATED STORY: The Truth About Toxoplasmosis in Cats

How to Avoid Contact With Toxoplasma gondii

For indoor cats fed on canned wet food or dry food, the risks of Toxoplasma gondii are extremely low. Outdoor cats are more at risk for contracting the parasite, as are cats that eat raw meat. In general, pregnant women should avoid a cat’s feces and cleaning the litter to remove the risk of exposure to the parasite. If no one else is available to tackle the responsibility, wear plastic gloves while changing the litter, avoid any direct exposure during the task, and wash your hands thoroughly.

While it’s cats that get the bad rap for spreading toxoplasmosis, in reality, the most likely way this disease will be contracted is through eating undercooked meat. Other precautions for pregnant women to follow: wearing gloves while gardening, using a separate cutting board for raw meat and vegetables, and making sure the litter is changed frequently.

RELATED STORY:Litter Box Training for Your Cat

PetPlus is a 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.


How to Exercise Your Dog When You’re Sick


Waking up with a headache, sore throat, and stuffy nose is no fun, and the last thing most people want to do when they’re feeling under the weather is take their dog out for some exercise. But your dog depends on you to provide them with mental and physical stimulation as well as bathroom breaks (unless you have a doggie door), and it’s up to you to find a way to give your dog those things even when you’re unwell. Here we’ll present some alternative ways to exercise your dog when you’re sick.

Note: Remember that forcing yourself to take your dog out for their regular exercise could make your illness worse. Consult your doctor if you are feeling out of sorts and you’re not sure how much activity is appropriate.

Indoor Games

Indoor games are a great way to get your dog active when you’re feeling sick. Many games can even be played right from the comfort of your own bed. Here are some examples:

Laser Pointer Chase: Buy an inexpensive laser pointer and shine it back and forth across the floor. Your dog will delight in chasing the moving light, and will wear themselves out in the process. Remember not to shine the laser pointer into your dogs eyes as it could damage their retinas. Read these other tips for playing laser pointer chase for your dog without driving them crazy.

Indoor Fetch: If you have a long hallway or other large indoor space, you can play fetch indoors. You may even be able to play it from the sofa or your bed.

Tug-of-War: Another stimulating game that you can play while laid up is tug-of-war. Many dogs love to play this game with a rope toy, but remember that it can bring out your dog’s competitive side, and you should make sure that you have a solid relationship in which you are the pack leader before engaging in this type of game. Many trainers also recommend ending games of tug-of-war with you successfully winning the toy.

Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys require your dog to problem solve in order to release food or treats that you stuff inside. There are many different types of puzzle and food-dispensing toys, and a variety could occupy your dog for hours while you get some rest.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

Low-Impact Outdoor Exercises

If you’re feeling well enough to go outside but still not 100%, you can engage in some outdoor activities while still taking it easy.

Cut Your Walk in Half: If you usually take your dog for a half-hour walk, take them for a 15 minute walk instead. Choose an area with easy terrain (no hiking!) and a time of day when the weather won’t be unpleasant (e.g., in the summer, walk in the early morning or late evening to avoid high heat). Then, give your dog the rest of their exercise by playing some indoor games or offering them a puzzle toy.

Yard Fetch: Take your dog out to the yard and throw a ball or frisbee. If you’re tired, you could even play fetch while sitting in a lawn chair or reclining in a hammock. Ensure that your yard is secure and all gates are closed and locked so that you won’t have to worry about chasing after your dog when you’re feeling low.

RELATED STORY: 3 Ways to Be Safer Walking a Dog at Night

Ask For Help

If you’re really ill, you may not be able to exercise your dog at all. If this is the case, consider taking your dog to dog day care or a boarding facility while you recover. Alternatively, you could hire a dog walker to stop by once or twice a day to relieve you from your duties.

How do you exercise your dog when you’re sick? Leave a comment and let us know. And to keep your dog healthy, consider signing up for PetPlus. PetPlus is 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. Learn more at


Should You Give a Pet as a Gift?

Pet as a gift

You’ve seen it before (most likely on the big screen): a beautifully wrapped present is placed on the floor, someone goes to pick it up, and it moves! Ah, and then the delight of opening the box to find a furry angel inside! The pet-as-gift is a charming idea for movies and TV shows, but does it make sense to give a pet as a gift in real life?

Why You Might Consider Giving a Pet as a Gift

Do you have a friend who is always talking about how much they want a dog? Or perhaps you have a family member who lives alone, and you just know that a cat would make a perfect companion. Giving a pet as a gift is a well-intentioned act, and indeed very generous — after all, pets bring such joy and love to their owners. However, while you might be sure that your friend or family member would be delighted to receive a fluffy new friend, they might have a different idea, and it’s important to do your homework before you give.

RELATED STORY: What Are Puppy Mills?

Considerations Before You Give a Pet as a Gift

Here are some things to consider before you give a pet as a gift:

  • Lifespan and health of the pet and pet parent: The recipient you have in mind should be prepared to care for the pet you give them for the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the animal’s age and expected life expectancy. That’s a big time commitment, and all pets need daily care.
  • The annual cost to raise a pet: Pets cost money. While you might be covering the cost of buying the pet, the recipient will have to pay for their veterinary care, food, medications, and other supplies. Can the recipient afford that, or would they want to?
  • Real estate restrictions: Are there any restrictions that would not allow the recipient to have a pet in their home or apartment? Many landlords, for example, will allow small pets but not large pets, and many require a hefty deposit regardless of the size of the animal.
  • Allergies: Is the recipient allergic to any animals? When in doubt, ask.
  • Pet compatibility: Does the recipient own other animals? Do those animals get along with other animals?
  • Dedication, time and patience: When you see pets given as gifts in movies and TV shows, they are usually pudgy puppies or fuzzy kittens. But puppies and kittens are a lot of work. They require training, time, and plenty of patience. Presenting someone with an adorable baby animal may seem like a sweet idea, but consider what the recipient is in for once the gift giving is over and you’ve gone home.
  • Desire and commitment: Be sure that the recipient wants a pet. Saying “I love dogs!” is not the same thing as saying “I want to own a dog, care for it for the next decade, and pay for whatever needs come up!

If you do decide to give a pet, don’t put it in a closed box, even if the box has breathing holes. The pet could get hurt or become scared, and you don’t want the animal’s first experience with their new owner to be a frightening one.

RELATED STORY: Choosing The Right Dog For My Family

Alternatives to Giving a Pet as a Gift

If you still like the idea of giving a pet as a gift but aren’t sure the best way to go about it, consider these alternatives:

  • Give a gift certificate to a local animal shelter or breeder. Adoption is a very personal experience, and most people like picking out their own pet.
  • If you decide to give a gift certificate or money for a new pet but want to find a way to spice up the presentation, consider a care package. Put together supplies that the recipient will need to care for their new pet: food, a leash, toys, a bed, a gift certificate for a first vet visit, etc. That way, they won’t have to worry so much about the details and can start enjoying their new friend right away.

Another great item to add to a pet care package? A membership to PetPlus. PetPlus is 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. Learn more at

Would you ever give a pet as a gift? Have you ever received one? Leave a comment and let us know.


Should Your Pets Be Allowed to Sleep in Bed With You?


Who sleeps in your bed at night? Are your pets allowed to sleep in bed with you and your loved ones? If you’re like many pet owners, your cat or dog is one of the family members snuggled up under the covers.

According to figures from the CDC, around 50 percent of dogs sleep in bed alongside their owners, and 62 percent of cats cuddle up with their pet parents at nighttime.

Is Co-sleeping With Your Pets Healthy?

But is this good for you? According to research done by Dr. Duthuluru, recently presented at an annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, more than 60 percent of people co-sleeping with their pet reported poor sleep quality, and a third of respondents also mentioned waking up during the night due to their pet’s movements and activity.

RELATED STORY: All About Cat Sleep

So yes, there are many reasons it’s best for your pet to sleep in their own bed. Most likely, if you sleep pet-free, your sleep will be a bit sounder.

And, if you’re at all allergic to pet dander, keeping pets out of the bed will help limit your symptoms. Of course, allowing your cat or dog in the bed can increase your chances of exposure to fleas or ticks, as well as muddy paws and little bits of cat litter.

RELATED STORY: Is My Dog Sleeping in My Bed a Bad Thing?

Why Do So Many Pet Owners Allow Pets in Their Beds?

Yet for all these factors arguing against co-sleeping with your pet, there’s a reason so many people do it. Having a pet in your bed is comforting and reassuring; it’s nice to have a cozy companion right there as you drift off to sleep. In a way, the reason for sleeping with a pet are similar to why we sleep with our spouses and significant others: the need for closeness.

As Jon Methven writes for the Atlantic, “We sleep together not because it’s fiscally responsible, but because we are affectionate beings. Our minds need rest, but our minds also need camaraderie and intimacy and whispering.”

My cat, Vera, was the runt of the litter, weighing in at around eight pounds.

Despite her petite size, some nights, it feels as though she is occupying fully a third or half of the bed, taking up as much room as a tiger. But for all that — the restless nights, the awkward positions to accommodate her foot-of-the-bed spot — I wouldn’t trade her nighttime presence for anything.

She’s a warm, loving, purring comfort. And bonus: on winter nights, she doubles as a foot-warmer.


How Big Will My Dog Get? Tips for Estimating Your Dog’s Full-Grown Size


Size is one of the most important factors to consider when adopting a puppy. Do you want a small dog that will fit on your lap, or a large dog that you can take hiking and camping? Or perhaps you want something in between — a medium-sized dog that is the best of both worlds?

Before bringing a puppy home for good, it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Your dog’s eventual size will have an impact on their exercise needs, grooming requirements, and cost. So how can you figure out how big your dog will get? Let’s take a look at answering the question, “How big will my dog get?”

Estimating the Final Size of a Purebred

Estimating the final size of a purebred dog is not all that difficult. You can get a good idea by looking at the pup’s parents and at breed standards on the American Kennel Club’s website, where you’ll find each breed’s typical weight range, height, and more.

Measuring Mixed Breeds

Figuring out the final size of a mixed breed pup can be more tricky, especially if you adopt a dog from a shelter and the dog’s breeds, age, and parents’ sizes are unknown. However, there are some ways to estimate a pup’s growth potential, outlined below.

Growth Considerations

There are certain considerations that can help you project your pal’s eventual size:

  • Look at the breed and size of both parents. If the parents are the same breed and around the same size, you can get a pretty good idea of how large your dog will grow. If the parents are different breeds and different sizes, the bitch’s size will have more influence on your pup’s eventual size than the sire’s.
  • Some suggest that you can estimate your pup’s size by doubling their weight at 4 months old. For giant breed dogs, double their weight at 5 months instead.
  • While it’s not an exact science, looking at your pup’s paws can help you predict their final size. A pup with petite paws isn’t going to grow to a weight they can’t support, and a dog with large, floppy paws isn’t going to end up a dainty puffball.
  • Height vs. weight: a dog will stop growing in height before it stops growing in weight. Most dogs will be at 75% of their final height at around 6 months old, but they can keep putting on weight for another 6 months to another year, depending on the breed

When Do Dogs Stop Growing?

The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including size and breed. In general, small breed dogs stop growing sooner than large breed dogs. This will help answer your question of “How big will my dog get?” and give you ample time to prepare.

No matter how big your dog get, PetPlus makes it easier to give them the care and protection they deserve!

Interested in trying PetPlus? Sign up here and get your first two weeks free!



Pros and Cons of Getting a Second Dog


My husband and I talk about it all the time: should we get a second dog?! We love our dog Wade and we often wonder if getting a second dog would make his life better (and our life better, too!) Of course, there will always be pros and cons, whether you’re talking about getting a pet for the first time or thinking about adding another furball to the family. Our minds aren’t made up yet, which inspired me to put some pros and cons on paper. Let’s take a look!

Pros of Getting a Second Dog

You’ll Have Another Dog!

Call me Captain Obvious, but if you’re already a dog lover (like I am), the prospect of adding another fuzzy face to the picture is sure to fill your heart with joy. Do you love the pitter patter of little paws around the house? What about a fluffy head on your lap while you read? Think about all of those wonderful things — then multiply them by two!

Your Dog Will Have a Companion

Human companionship is great, but there’s nothing quite like another dog when it comes to Fido’s friendships. Your dog will have someone to play with, someone to explore with, and someone to sleep with (aww). Having another dog to pal around with may keep your dog from getting bored when you’re out of the house or distracted at home. And if the new dog that you bring home is confident, it may help to bolster your original dog’s confidence, thus improving their overall behavior.

RELATED STORY: Is My Dog Weird? 5 Strange Dog Behaviors Explained

A Second Dog May Make Losing a Dog Easier

It’s something that most pet parents don’t want to think about, but at some point every dog will pass on, and having another around may help to ease the emotional burden when the time comes. No dog will ever be able to replace another dog, of course, but a second dog may offer comfort and companionship while you go through the grieving process.

Cons of Getting a Second Dog

Double Your Expenses

This is perhaps the biggest reason why pet parents nix the idea of adding a second pet. Expect to double your expenses when it comes to veterinary care, medicine, food, supplies, boarding, dog walkers… you get the idea. While many boarders offer deals for multiple dogs and you can purchase foods and supplies in bulk, at the end of the day you’re still looking at more spending.

Travel Can Be Tricky

If you like to take your dog everywhere with you, you’ll have to get used to the idea that many public places allow one dog, but not two, and that getting two crates into the car can be a bigger hassle than assembling just one. In addition, as mentioned above, boarding two dogs will cost more than boarding one. If you’re a real jetsetter, this may be an important point to consider.

RELATED STORY: What Are the Best Dogs to Travel With?

It’s Possible That They Won’t Get Along

Yep, it’s true, and I’ve seen it happen. The best way to avoid this situation is to make sure that both dogs are well-trained and free of behavioral issues, such as anxiety, fear, or aggression. Behavioral issues can not only cause tension between the dogs, they can also spread from one dog to another (so if your first dog wasn’t aggressive, they might become aggressive if you add a second dog who is).

You’ll want to introduce the dogs slowly; don’t just toss them in the same room together. Let them get to know each first other on loose leashes (a tense leash can stress a dog out), and then through a barrier like a baby gate. Don’t force interactions, but do allow the dogs to sniff and introduce themselves. Look for signs of tension or aggression, such as growling and stiff postures. Once the dogs aren’t engaging in greeting behaviors (such as sniffing) anymore, and you don’t see any signs of fearful or threatening behavior, you should be good to go.*

*Note: this is just a brief explanation of how to introduce two dogs for the first time; it’s always a good idea to consult a trainer before actually trying it yourself.

So what do you think? Should we get another dog? 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, vet visits, boarding, and more.


How Your Dog Can Help You Slim Down This Summer


As the first brave flowers of spring emerge, and the memory of a seemingly endless winter begins to fade away, your thoughts may be turning to exercise and weight loss. After all, it’s likely been a while since you contemplated wearing shorts and bathing suits. Having a dog can be a great first step to getting in shape: already, Fido helps ensure that you’re getting outside on a daily basis for walks. Find out some ideas for ways that you can work exercise into your daily or weekly routine with your dog — and keep in mind, your workout will do wonders for your dog’s health, as well as your own.

RELATED STORY: The Benefits of an Active Dog

Take a Longer Walk

When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to fall into the habit of walking your dog just far enough that he relieves himself. Take advantage of the nicer weather, and extend how far you go on each day’s walk. Bored with the usual walking path? Vary your route near your home (turn left from your front door, instead of your usual right). Or try going to a new neighborhood or hiking nearby trails. Even a few blocks more on your daily walk, especially if you’re walking briskly, can help you get back in shape.

RELATED STORY: Safety Tips for Walking Dogs at Night

Play Frisbee or Catch

Are you thinking that it’s your dog that does all the leaping, running, and bounding when you play fetch, frisbee, or catch? No way! Those trips to the park involve a ton of exercise for you, too, as you play along with your pup and run after the balls your dog fails to catch. Make your dog’s weekend: spend next Saturday in a nearby park throwing around a tennis ball.

RELATED STORY: Our 10 Favorite Dog Toys

Go for a Jog

Depending on your dog’s size, training, and health, she may be a great running partner for you. Before you take up jogging, make sure your dog’s health is up for the challenge. You’ll also want to make sure it’s reasonable for her to jog alongside you — interval runs would be a real challenge for a chihuahua. Finally, you’ll want to make sure she won’t get the leash tangled up in your feet. Once you’re off and running, you may find that as a creature of habit and routine, your dog makes an excellent running companion and motivates you to hit the pavement.

RELATED STORY: Teach Your Dog to Heel

Try Something New: Doga

If you love yoga, try this twist: do doga, or dog yoga, with your dog. Doga may be the perfect pup-and-person workout for you if you like a bit of structure to your exercise, respond well to classes, and thrive on schedule and routine. Generally, the joy of a doga comes from doing the stretches and chants together with your dog in a group, classroom setting.

RELATED STORY: The Doga Fad Explained

Do you enjoy exercising with your dog? Leave a comment and share your workout tips! 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. 


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


How To Pick The Perfect Pet Name

Bringing a pet home for the first time is one of life’s greatest joys. To prepare for your new pal’s arrival, you’ll need to select food, toys, a veterinarian, household supplies, and oh yes, a name! The sooner you begin using your buddy’s new name, the sooner they’ll learn it and start feeling right at home. So how does one come up with a good pet name? Check out these useful tips.

General Tips For Choosing A Pet Name

When it comes time to choose a pet name, consider these basic guidelines:

  • Pick a name that your pet will easily understand. One or two syllable names tend to be the best.
  • Avoid names that sound similar to command words. The name “Bo” might be too close to “No,” for example.
  • Avoid names that sound like the names of other people or animals living in the house. Is your son named Jack? Don’t name your dog Max.
  • Don’t change the name of a shelter pet or pre-owned pet. Trying to a force a new name on your pal may confuse them and make them feel anxious.

RELATED STORY: How To Adopt A Dog Or Cat: Every Question Answered

How To Come Up With A Pet Name

Ready to start brainstorming names? Need a little inspiration? Here are some ideas:

Pull From Pop Culture
Are you a movie buff? TV fanatic? Music enthusiast? Bona fide bookworm? Why not take inspiration from your favorite form of entertainment? If you’re a David Bowie fan, you could name your furball Ziggy. Do you love the Star Wars movies? How about the names Obi, Yoda, or Leia? The possibilities are endless when you look to what you love.

Answer The Call Of Nature
Nature is filled with loads of lovely names for pets. If you have a fluffy Chow Chow dog, you could name them Bear! Or how about a gray kitten named Pigeon? There are plenty of great flower and plant names, too. We like Aster, Quince, Fig, and Tulip.

Explore Other Cultures
Consider your breed’s heritage when choosing a name. Do you have a German Shepherd or German Pinscher? Check out some German human names, such as Wendel or Bamey. Bringing home a Persian cat? Look up Persian names like Gita, Ebi, and Lila.

Pick From The Most Popular
Looking for a name that is a guaranteed winner? These are the top dog and cat names of 2013 according to

Top 5 Female Puppy Names:
1. Bella
2. Daisy
3. Lucy
4. Molly
5. Sadie

Top 5 Male Puppy Names:
1. Max
2. Buddy
3. Charlie
4. Rocky
5. Cooper

RELATED STORY: The Most Popular Dog Breeds

Top 5 Female Kitten Names:
1. Bella
2. Lucy
3. Kitty
4. Luna
5. Chloe

Top 5 Male Kitten Names:
1. Oliver
2. Max
3. Tiger
4. Charlie
5. Simba

RELATED STORY: The Top Cat Breeds In The U.S.

Once you choose a name for your pet, start using it right away, but only when you want to get your pet’s attention. If you use it too often at first — for example, in conversations with your significant other – your pet may simply think it’s just another common word.

When you do use your pet’s name, offer them praise, attention, and treats when they look at you. Eventually, your pet will recognize their name and you can stop rewarding every acknowledgement.

How did you come up with your pet’s name? 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.