Cleaning Dogs’ Ears

My poor Deva has an ear infection and I am having that “Bad Mom” feeling even though I know I’m a good mom. Ironically, the 5 poodles have spotlessly clean ears and the American Eskimo mix has the infection. The reason for this? Simple. I’m always concerned about poodle ears because infections are common among poodles (not among my poodles they aren’t). In fact in some reports ear infections have come up as the number one, most common ailment that vets see dogs for. Deva is the only dog here who goes to a groomer and I have assumed that the groomer cleans her ears and all is well. Deva gave no indication that she had an ear problem.  Some dogs will paw at their ears or shake their heads or even yelp when you go to scratch behind their ears if it’s bad.  It was only noticed during a vet exam when I took her to see him about her back problem.  The dogs most likely to get ear infections are those with long hair whose hair also grows in their ears and with ear flaps that hang down over the ear openings; poodles, cocker spaniels and such. I have heard that labs are also prone to ear infections even though they don’t fit the usual criteria.

If you keep your dogs ears clean and check them regularly you will stay on top of the situation and even if an infection occurs it won’t have time to get very bad before you deal with it. (Deva’s ear infection cost over $300 to deal with and I’m not certain that we’re finished yet.)

First, remove hair from ears. Some dogs, like the poodles and cocker spaniels have hair growing inside their ears and this hair must be removed regularly. If you do this about once a month it won’t be too hard on you or the dog. Most dogs don’t mind this very much and some even fall asleep on my lap when I’m doing it.   If the dog isn’t used to behaving well while having her ears messed with, use treats and start very slowly. (See the article on Grinding Nails and proceed the same way.)

You’ll need:

Ear powder, tweezers (especially for smaller dogs), ear cleaner, cotton balls and/or q-tips.

Sprinkle a very small amount of ear powder in the dog’s ear. The powder absorbs the moisture and makes the hairs easier to grip. You can do this without the powder but it’s much easier with it and a bottle of ear powder will probably last years if you only have one dog. Grasp a couple of hairs at a time between your thumb and forefinger and “pluck” them out. Do not grab a bunch of hair, do not use hemostats. If you are at all reluctant to do this or unsure of how to do it have your vet show you how on your next visit.  (Your vet should be happy to show you this. If not you need a different vet.)  Keep plucking a couple/few hairs at a time until all hair is out of the ear canal. With little dogs it can be more difficult to reach inside of the ear and you may need tweezers. Be careful not to grasp the little hills and valleys that make up the inside of the ear.

Once the hair is removed pour the ear cleaner into the ear then massage around the base of the ear.  Wipe out the inside of the ear with cotton balls or q-tips. (You don’t want to jam the q-tip down the dog’s ear but you really don’t have to worry too much about pushing too far because the dog’s ear canal is L shaped making it difficult to hurt the ear drum.) If there is black gunky ear wax be careful not to push it further down into the ear. This is a sign of infection and

The ears may have a little wax normally and some dogs – especially diggers – may have some dirt but there should not be a lot of gunky black in the ear. This is a sign of infection and should probably be seen by the vet.  Cleaning the ears every week or two and pluck the hair once a month. This should keep the ears nice and clean and alert you early to any signs of infection.

Marlene Riofrio Tepper’s Ruby Jean. Ruby Jean has her own facebook fan page.

I am not an animal rights activist and are cockroaches animals?

I had the strangest dream the other night.  It involved a palmetto bug. This is a palmetto bug:

I never knew what a palmetto bug was until I moved to the south.  Officially they are in the cockroach family but calling them that makes them seem even creepier to me. Unlike common cockroaches they don’t travel in gazillions. You might find one in your house and one a few days later but not hoards of them. (Not even if you shut the lights off really fast.)  I do not like these critters. Not at all. I admit to killing them when I see them in my house.  (I might consider catching them and putting them outside but they are too hard to catch.)

In my dream however the palmetto bug followed my commands much as my dogs do and afterward it crawled up onto my cheekbone and sat happily much as Java sits on my shoulder. And in the dream it was ok. In the dream the bug was smart and friendly and was apparently part of my pack.

Maybe I had this dream as a result of the thoughts I’d been having about PETA. I am very much in opposition to PETA even though I think 90% of what they do is good. My big opposition is because I don’t even want to contemplate a world or a life with no pets and that is what PETA would have.  Perhaps in such a world I would learn to be friends with the cockroaches. I’m not looking forward to that and even though they are God’s creatures, I’ll be killing them when they come in my house.  I’d like to be more evolved but I’m sorry. I’m not there yet.

Please note:  There is a big difference between animal rights and animal welfare. I am an animal welfare advocate.

Things Your Dog Will Need

There are an unlimited number of things you can buy for your dog.  Some are terribly dangerous.  Some are poorly made.  Many are unhealthy.  Some are loads of fun even if they are more for you than for the dog.  There are, however, not a whole lot of things you actually need for a dog.  Here is a list of things you should have when you get the dog home. What else you need will become evident as you need it.

Absolute Must #1:  Enzyme cleaner that will completely remove pet odors. (It is easy to remove the odor so people can’t smell it, another issue entirely to remove it so that the pets don’t smell it and use the same spot over again.) No matter how well housebroken your dog is or you think your new dog is, you need to have some of this on hand just in case.

Absolute Must #2: Chew toys.  Some dogs don’t chew a whole lot and some will eat whole pieces of furniture. You need to have at least a couple of good durable chew toys to start with. Depending on the size of the dogs I recommend durable nylabones (for little dogs) and kongs which come in every size.   When your new dog picks up anything in his mouth that he should not have, take it away and give him a chew toy (and say “trade”).  If he picks up an old shoe never think “well that shoe is old” because he will pick up every shoe if one is allowed and he doesn’t know from Louboutins. All he knows is what it smells like (and he loves that smell).

Other things you’ll need are:

Collar (not a prong or a choker, just a flat collar that his leash will clip to and his ID tags will hang from.

Leash: 4 or 6 foot. (Don’t use a retractable leash on a dog unless he is expert at walking on leash. Otherwise you are helping him learn to pull.)

Halter for small dogs or dogs who pull on leash.


Food – For the first few days you should feed the dog whatever food he is used to eating. Some dogs will get sick if food is changed abruptly and this is more likely during the stress of rehoming. Beware that many shelters feed dogs lower quality food (because that’s all they can afford or it’s donated to them).  Find a premium food that will be good for your dog as soon as you can and gradually switch him to it.

Healthy Low calorie treats (more about what kinds of treats and how to use them in upcoming articles)

Crate:  Crates are good for use while the dog is getting used to his new house but we hate to see dogs spending too much time in crates. For some dogs the crate is a safe haven and they go lie in the crate to chill. Other dogs hate the crate and will injure themselves trying to get out.  If you don’t want the dog to sleep in bed with you a crate is a good place for him to sleep. Make sure it is big enough for him to stand up and turn around in.  For more info on crate training see this page of our main web site.

Car seat or restraint.  There are a wide variety of dog restraints. See our article entitled Traveling in Cars and Trucks with Dogs.

Dog Steps are a very good idea for tiny dogs. Stairs to the bed and couch will really save a lot of wear and tear on little joints and in your dog’s later years you’ll be glad you got them. Beware though that some steps are pretty expensive and not all dogs can be induced to use them.  Petsmart has some dog steps for $19.99 These are good to try and see if your dog will use them.

These are the basics that a dog will need from day one. You will probably add to his toy collection as you find out what he likes to play with.  Other necessities include health items such as flea preventive and heartworm preventive.  Heartworm preventive is a must especially in warmer climates.  Flea preventive should be on hand even if it isn’t needed yet.  See Kill Fleas Cheaper.

Lisa R. Fekete says:  Dodger Isiah–Half Labrador & half Collie…He is very sweet and gentle!

Questions to Ask the Dog’s Previous Owner (or Shelter, Fostermom)

You want to get as much information as possible to help you decide on a dog and as much info as you can get to help the dog make the smoothest transition to your household.  There is very little info on some dogs but a great deal on others, depending on where you are getting the dog from along with other factors.

If you’ve read the previous articles you already have an idea of what size dog you want, what the grooming requirements should be and how energetic (or not) he should be. You’ll also want to take your travel issues into consideration.  You’ll compare your lifestyle issues with the dogs you find and consider.

If you’ve spent much time on any dog forums online you’ll already know that there is much talk about poop among dog owners. None of us really planned on this but as it turns out, how and where a dog poops can become major issues in your life.  Even if you get a dog who has been sworn to be housebroken they can experience some setbacks when moving to a new home. For this reason you need to find out all you can about this dog’s poop habits.  Does he go for a walk or is he let out into the yard?  What surface is he used to going on. (A dog who has never walked on cement might seem to be entirely un-housebroken when in fact he just doesn’t know how to act on a new surface.)  Does he walk for 5 minutes, poop and then come straight home or does he get another 10 minutes outside after pooping before coming back in?  The more you know about how he is used to going the closer you can approximate that situation and make a gradual change away from it if need be.

In any area where the person with custody of the dog does not know the answer to the question you will need to treat the issue as if the dog has had no training.  If you know nothing about a dog’s potty habits you need to start him off as if he had never been housebroken by watching him continually, containing him when you can’t watch and taking him out often.

Here are other questions you will want to ask.

How does he walk on a leash, ride in a car, behave when left alone, greet people entering?

Does he chew, dig, bark, jump, beg, chase, counter surf?

How well does he submit to nail clipping, ear cleaning, hair cutting, body exams (by vet or you checking him over) thunder, kids?

What are his favorite treats/foods?  What cues or commands does he understand? What tricks does he do?  Has he ever had any obedience training? Who (or what company) did the training? Does he have favorite toys or games?

Does he have any bad habits? If so, what? (Note: sometimes people looking for a new home for a dog will not be forthcoming about the dog’s bad habits for fear you won’t want him. Always ask but don’t assume you’ve gotten the whole story.)

Is there anything he is afraid of? Is he amenable to kids, cats, birds (or any other critters you may have) and visitors?

Is he crate trained? (Crate trained means he will go into the crate and stay in the crate until told to come out, without crying.  Even a crate trained dog might fuss a little on the first night in a new house. )

Finally you want to make sure you get all medical information and records. Ask about past illnesses and the resolution of them. Get the name of the vet he’s seen and get all shot records.

Now that you have all the information you can get, take it all with a grain of salt and understand that dogs will be at least somewhat different in a different household, with a different leader and different expectations.

(Note: There is one big area I am leaving out here and that is in regard to any type of aggression. I am going to assume if you are reading this that you are not prepared to deal with an aggressive dog of any stripe and that you will make this known to whomever you are dealing with in regard to adopting a dog.)

Katie Millwright says:  This is Tommy. We adopted him from the “no-kill” shelter when he was about 2 1/2. He is 7 now, and he is SO smart and happy! And when we need a babysitter for our 4-legged kids, its Gramma all the way!

Where to Find a Dog

There are a wide variety of places to look for an adult dog.  Your town probably has an animal shelter, maybe a couple.  There are many different types of rescue groups.  The majority of them in my experience are very good but some are awful. Be careful. There are a few rescue groups (or individuals) who are more like hoarders than rescues.  There are some well meaning people who rescue animals they cannot afford to take care of and then need to find homes for them without vetting or any health testing.  Sometimes these people charge as much for adoption fees as a well run shelter that provides a lot of services.  Be careful.

If you are looking for a dog of a particular breed, start with breed rescues. You can Google these.  You can contact a parent club of a breed too. For example, the Poodle Club of America will be able to direct you to some poodle rescue organizations.

Purebreds make up about 25% of shelter dogs so your local shelter may have the dog you want, or a mix of the dog you want and something else.  If you are not familiar with PetFinder, it’s a must.   I just went to PetFinder and typed in my zip code. Under animal I entered Dog and under breed I entered Poodle. I found that there is a poodle/shih tzu mix in the town I’m in.  There are about 7 poodles within 2 hours of my home and another 7 poodle mixes within the same distance.

Pet Finder advertises dogs from many different rescue organizations (and there are some who don’t appear on Pet Finder) There are no dogs for sale here.  There are adoption fees which vary as do the requirements for adoption. Some places will only adopt out to locals, others welcome long distance adopters.  You’ll get enough information with each dog to give you an idea where to go or who to contact next.

Most animal shelters and rescue organizations that I’m familiar with will make sure that a dog (or cat) is spayed or neutered before it leaves their facility except in the instance when the animal is too young in which case they will usually give a voucher for a free spay or neuter (and require you to have it done).  The animal will have been tested for heartworm and either found negative or treated and will be up to date on shots. He will also have been vet checked and found healthy OR you will be apprised of any special needs he has. Not all organizations do all of this. Make sure before you look at dogs what services are or will be performed.  Adoption fees vary widely and I have seen them range from $60 to $250 and more. Generally I see fees of around $100. When the aforementioned services have been performed it can make a dog from such a place less expensive than a free dog from a home where none of this has been done.

Newspapers and Craig’s List:  You can often find dogs who need new homes listed in newspapers and CraigsList.  Sometimes the perfect pet awaits you for free, other times you find someone who was not only so irresponsible that they got a dog they won’t keep but they’ll lie about him to get you to take him off their hands, for a fee.

When adopting an adult dog you want as much info about the dog as you can get.  (Our next article is about what questions to ask.)  If a dog has been in a foster home sponsored by a thorough rescue organization you may be able to get a lot of information about the dog.  If a person has to let their beloved pet go because they have gotten sick or too old to care for them you can get tons of information and possibly even establish an ongoing relationship (which may be as hugely beneficial to the former owner as to the dog).   I recently needed to find a home for one of my beloved dogs.  (Skidget started fighting and I believed all my dogs would do best if we found her a home where she would be the only dog.) I would only consider giving her to a person who agreed to stay in touch with me and keep me updated on her progress. I don’t want to interfere in this woman’s life but I need to know that my Skidget is living happily ever after and to take her back and make other arrangements for her if it ever became necessary.

One of the things that can undermine all our plans about finding the right dog is our own emotions. You can walk into an animal shelter with a list of criteria and walk out with a dog who meets none of it but was due to be put down tomorrow and you felt the need to save it. Try to be realistic. Some dog owners can do this and have it work out fine. Most can’t. There are so many homeless dogs and you cannot save them all. That is a sad fact but it also means that there are dogs out there that will be perfectly suited to you and your situation if you keep looking and don’t act on impulse.

Serge Orloff, Pender’s person says: “PENDER was adopted by me on February 22 2010, we just celebrated his 2nd birthday on March 5 2010. I must Thank the wonderful people at Southern California Labrador Retriever Rescue for uniting me with such a mellow, laid back and well trained AKC registered Red English Labrador, Everyday with him is like a box of CRACKER JACKS!!!!!”

Finding the Right Dog 4 – Lifestyle Issues – Travel and Boarding

Travel and Boarding

How you travel and how much you travel (or how much you would like to travel in the future) is a serious issue in considering what dog to get (and how many dogs to own).  There are many dogs who live in RVs and I have even been contacted by a few long distance truckers who drive with little dogs for company.   Although I have met large dogs who live in RVs the majority are little and one reason for this is that many campgrounds only allow small dogs (some require under 12 pounds). It is possible to find campgrounds who are more lenient.  I once knew a man who lived in an RV only because the campground he lived in was the only place he could find to live with his coyote and pot bellied pig.

Most people who fly a lot want their dogs to fly in-cabin with them. I have flown this way but I have also flown with the dogs in cargo.  The price is usually not much different. We never had a problem with dogs in cargo and the airlines have very few problems with them in general. They are required to file incident reports that are viewable online and I have looked at all of them.  The problems are rare and they are those you would most expect: Dogs who are not crate trained sometimes hurt themselves or on rare occasions escape.  Brachycephalic dogs have the most trouble flying and if you plan to fly this is not the type of dog for you.  These are the dogs with flat faces like pugs and all bulldog related varieties. Respiratory problems are common in these breeds but are greatly exacerbated by flying. Some airlines won’t even transport bulldogs.  If you want a dog to fly in-cabin with you they need to be pretty small and their carrier needs to fit under the seat in front of you.  Under 7 pounds is best but you might get away with a dog up to 12 pounds, depending on the dog and the airline personnel.  (See my article on dog carriers.)

Some pet owners travel a lot and are lucky enough to have family or great pet sitters who will take care of their animals while they are away.  This is a great option if it’s available to you and if you can stand to go on vacation without your pets.  Sometimes dogs need to be boarded. Your vet may offer boarding but there are a lot of new places, doggie daycares and pet hotels, that might be a better option.  Whoever you talk to about leaving your pet ovrenight make sure there is someone there with them. My vet’s office boards dogs but there is no one there from 6 PM until 8 AM. The animals are left alone all night and no one volunteers that information when you book the boarding time.  I am too afraid of fire to leave the dogs locked in and unattended a night. (Boarding facilities also generally require that your dog have a bordetella vaccination so if you don’t generally get that one you’ll want to plan on it if needed.)

Finding the Right Dog 3 – Lifestyle Issues – Exercise Requirements

Exercise Requirements

Dogs need exercise. You will find some dogs who are couch potatoes and whose behavior is not as notably different if they have not gotten exercise but these will often be the ones you have to put on a diet and try to exercise or they will get fat. I believe that every dog should be able to fetch. I believe this because it allows me to exercise a dog while sitting in one place. I confess I have become a very sedentary human. Java does not fetch but he “touches”. He will touch his nose to a target stick. This too allows me to exercise him without a whole lot of movement on my part. Java is 4 ½ pounds and it does not take a tremendous amount of time to exercise him.

I still have fantasies of owning a big dog but I probably will not get one because it is unlikely that I would ever provide it with enough exercise. (Opening the back door to the fenced yard is NOT exercising your dog. I wish it were, but it’s not.)

My very hardworking neighbor has come home every night for the past 10 years and played fetch or Frisbee with one or two golden retrievers for a good 45 minutes regardless of how tired he’s been or what the weather is. That is a good dog owner.

No, you cannot leave this to the kids, no matter how many times they promise they will do it. It needs to be done and you are ultimately responsible when the kids don’t come through.

It can be very hard to guess how much exercise a potential rescue dog might need when we can’t even always tell what breed they are and even if we know the breed, there is a pretty wide range of personal differences within breeds. This is where good shelter workers can make a huge difference in your selection. If they know the dogs temperament they can be a huge help to you in selecting a dog. (More on this later in this series on Where to Find Your Adult Dog.)

In a perfect world we would probably provide a 45 minute walk twice a day to average dogs and an appropriately shorter walk for the little ones or older ones. Some dogs will be terrors if they do not get enough exercise. (Lab puppies are notorious for this even though they are pretty mellow as adult dogs.) This walk is tremendously beneficial to us also as we all know. It is wonderful when we can do this with our dogs and if you can make yourself do it you will feel good. I did this for some years but I am realistic in knowing that I would not do it now. If you are going to get a dog you need to commit to providing appropriate exercise. (I admit I know people who exercise their dogs on treadmills. If this works for you and your dog, more power to you.)

If you get a small dog because you don’t want to have to provide a lot of exercise beware of terriers. Although not all dogs adhere to breed standards and many of the dogs you’ll be looking at are mixed breeds terriers can be terrors. They often need a good deal of exercise and they can be very stubborn. Do not mistake the small sized terriers for a dog who is automatically a lap dog. All of the terriers were bred to be ratters or chase some other type of vermin and sometimes to fight it to the death. Their personalities often reflect this. They can be very hard to train and they can be perpetual motion machines. Please don’t let me scare you into overlooking a terrific terrier but do get all possible information from the shelter about the dog’s traits.

Finding the Right Dog 2 – Lifestyle Issues – Grooming/Shedding

This is the second article about finding the right adult dog for your family. First we looked at the issue of size. This article looks at issues of grooming/shedding. Next articles cover exercise and your travel habits.

Grooming or Natural?

A major item in life with dogs is dog hair. You need to consider the amount of grooming needed and whether you can do it yourself or not. Along with grooming is the issue of shedding. The reason these two items are related is that most dogs who don’t shed need a lot of grooming.

All dogs need to have their ears cleaned and their nails cut and most should have it done at least once a month. As an owner you should be willing and able to do these things. (Willingness is key. Ability is attainable.) You should also be willing to brush your dog as often as is needed. (This can be daily for some dogs and hardly essential for some other short-haired ones)

Haircuts are the other essential of grooming. Many breeds have a style they would wear if they were show dogs and a casual style that most owners keep them in, the Yorkies & poodles for example. (About 25% of rescue dogs are purebreds and many mixes have the hair that most resembles one breed or the other of its parents.) These haircuts need to be done every few weeks (4 – 8 is recommended and varies depending on your dog and how picky you are about style) and these dogs should be brushed daily which usually only takes a few minutes. You can learn to cut your dogs hair yourself but be realistic when thinking about it. Are you really likely to do this yourself? It can get pretty expensive to take a dog to the groomer every month or two. If you do it yourself you’re probably going to want a couple hundred dollars worth of equipment but I’ve known people who used nothing more than a pair of blunt scissors.

Give this some thought before going to the shelter to look at dogs. This is a very big issue for some people and you may not even know when you look at a shelter dog whether it’s a shedder or will need a lot of grooming. If it’s important to you you’ll have to be sure to ask. In general the non-shedding dogs are more tolerable for people with allergies but there is no truly hypoallergenic dog  for all people.

Finding the Right Dog 1- Lifestyle Issues – Size Matters

What size dog do you want? Here’s my own breakdown of dog sizes after having given it a lot of thought. Most dogs fit into carry-on, lap, med/large and big. The actual poundage varies depending on your own poundage, strength and stamina.

Big dogs have two major characteristics: You can’t lift them up and they can’t sit in your chair with you. These are dogs you need to have a training plan for when you get them home because they will be too big to be allowed to behave badly. You will also need an exercise plan since they will not be able to get sufficient exercise in your small house or apartment. (More about exercise in upcoming articles this week.)

Carry-on dogs are the other end of the spectrum, generally up to 7 or 8 pounds. If you travel by air often and want to take your dog you need one about this size. The carry-on size is also for the small woman or older woman who wants to take her dog everywhere with her. They fit in a bag and don’t get too heavy when you shop or stroll with them. These little dogs should get the opportunity to walk like dogs but you want to do this on empty sidewalks, not at group events. They are too little for people to pay attention to and get stepped on or become nervous walking among people.

Lap dogs run up to around 20 pounds. (I’m thinking Pugs here. They are about the heaviest of the lap dogs although I know a Lhasa who’s about that big.) A ten to twenty pound dog can walk well at most events without getting stepped on unless the crowd is really tight. A lot of terriers fit in this group but terriers are a world unto themselves and many terriers need to be worn out before they will sit quietly on your lap for any period of time.

Medium/Large dogs are about the biggest dog you can lift up easily into your car or onto the vet’s table. They give the impression of “big dog” rather than “little dog”. My Deva fits this category at 40 pounds. It sounds smaller than it looks. This dog is big enough to intimidate people by its size (although in fact, most people who will be afraid of dogs will be afraid of the little ones too.). This dog will still need exercise but throwing a ball or Frisbee for her to fetch will be within the realm of any relatively healthy adult, including seniors. She’s a little too big to sit in my chair with me (although we can do it if we are really motivated).

Note: This article pertains to adult dogs. Predicting the size a puppy will be can be very difficult especially if the exact parents are not known. If the size of the dog is crucial, you need to pick an adult dog.

This is the first of a series on finding the right dog for your family. Be sure to join our mailing list to be notified of other articles as they are published.

Getting a Dog – Adult or Puppy?

In your consideration of what kind of dog to get this is a big choice. There are great benefits and advantages on either side of this choice.

There is nothing cuter than a puppy and cuteness does a lot, it also costs a lot in training and energy. Are you prepared to train a puppy to be a well rounded dog? Do you even know what training is involved beyond housebreaking? Do you have the time for a puppy? Some rescues won’t allow people with full time jobs to adopt a puppy because housebreaking and training can be really difficult for people who have busy lives outside of their homes. Many people with full time jobs have raised puppies but it really can be a handful. If you really want a dog but have a busy life a mellow adult dog without major behavior problems might be waiting for you at your local shelter.

Adult dogs can come with built in problems, existing bad habits that need to be broken, but they don’t always. Don’t take the idea of “bad habits” as one issue. Bad habits include everything from major aggression to a dog who jumps up on you to welcome you home. Jumping up is a bad habit (and one of the most common ones) that you can break. Aggression is a whole different story. Adult dogs are available for a wide variety of reasons besides bad behavior. The saddest to me are from owners who have died or gotten too old to care for the dogs. There are also families who must relocate and cannot take the dog with them. Consider an older dog or a pair of dogs who have always lived together. These have a harder time finding homes and there are good reasons to take them. I think the perfect age for a dog is 5. At that age they have grown into the best dog they will be. This doesn’t mean they can’t learn more. Then can. (Dogs learn all during their lives.) It means their personality has matured and mellowed. For a small dog, 5 is still a young age. While dogs’ life spans are never long enough a 5 year old dog still has most of his dog left in him.

Don’t think that adopting an adult dog will end up costing you more in medical bills than adopting a young one. In fact, the opposite may be true. By waiting until a dog is an adult you will be able to bypass all puppy issues and many of the congenital issues such as hip dysplasia and luxating patellas, which are most likely apparent by the time the dog has reached adulthood.

Many people think they need to get a puppy in order to bond with the dog the way they want to. This is just not the case. Those who have rescued dogs often believe that shelter dogs know how lucky they are when they have been well adopted and show gratitude accordingly. I’m not sure if this is true but I do know that the dog who made me into a “dog person” was an adult when I met and fell in love with him.

If you take your time (and it usually isn’t much time) you will be able to find the perfect adult dog for you. There are millions of homeless pets, a very sad state of affairs. You will fall in love with one of them and life will change for both of you.

My next article will help you find the right dog for your household.