Every dog (regardless of breed) is unique. This is not an all-inclusive list, as there are several hundred breeds worldwide, but rather a glimpse at some of the more popular and unique breeds (AKC recognized or not) that we have compiled for this issue.

Akbash Dog, Alaskan Klee Kai, Affenpinscher, Afghan Hound, Airedale Terrier, Akita, Alaskan Malamute, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldogs, American Bulldog, American English Coonhound, American Eskimo Dog, American Foxhound, American Hairless Terrier, American Leopard Hound, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Water Spaniel, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Appenzeller Sennenhund, Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Kelpie, Australian Shepherd, Australian Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog, Australian Terrier, Azawakh

New Breed: The Alaskan Klee Kai is a miniature version of the Alaskan Husky who was bred to pull light loads over long distances. Linda Spurlin created the breed in the early ‘70s by mixing Alaskan Huskies, Siberian Huskies, Schipperkes and American Eskimos. Klee Kai come in four colors—solid white, black and white, gray and white or red and white—and three sizes (standard, miniature and toy). Standing as tall as 17 inches at the shoulder or as short as 13 inches, they weigh between 9 and 23 pounds. “Don’t kid yourself this breed sheds year-round,” says Kimberly Mix who owns two Klee Kai named Tikanni and Nymeria. “Double coats mean strict grooming during seasonal shedding. I adhere to the strict grooming practice of baths biannually.”

Klee Kai are intelligent, curious, energetic and quick. While loving and loyal toward family members, they’re shy around strangers. They can also be escape artists or runners. “Klee Kai have a personality where if you aren’t their person, or you don’t have treats for them, they have no use for you,” Mix says. “Patience is a must. They’re characters and will rule your roost if you allow them. Socialize. Let them experience as much as possible. You’ll end up with a much more rounded, confident Klee Kai for your efforts.”

Barbet, Basenji, Basset Fauve de Bretagne, Basset Hound, Bavarian Mountain Scent Hound, Beagle, Bearded Collie, Beauceron, Bedlington Terrier, Belgian Laekenois, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Bergamasco Sheepdog, Berger Picard, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bichon Frise, Biewer Terrier, Black and Tan Coonhound, Black Mouth Cur, Black Russian Terrier, Bloodhound, Bluetick Coonhound, Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog), Blue Lacy, Boerboel, Bohemian Shepherd, Bolognese, Border Collie, Border Terrier, Borzoi, Boston Terrier, Bouvier des Flandres, Boxer, Boykin Spaniel, Bracco Italiano, Braque du Bourbonnais, Braque Francais Pyrenean, Brazilian Dogo, Brazilian Mastiff, Briard, Brittany, Broholmer, Brussels Griffon, Bull Terrier, Bulldog, Bullmastiff

Boxers were developed in Germany during the late 19th century when Bullenbeissers were crossed with English Bulldogs. They were used to hunt bears, deer, bison and wild boar. By the late 1800s, they became butcher’s dogs, controlling cattle in slaughterhouses. The Boxer was called boxl, meaning ‘short trousers’ which may be the root of its name. Boxers are also known for sparring with their front paws while standing on their hind legs. They come in fawn, brindle or white. They stand 21 to 25 inches tall and weigh between 50 and 80 pounds.

When the Boxer is excited, it twists into a semicircle similar to the shape of a kidney bean, and turns in circles. Boxers also make a special soundcalled a “woo-woo” when they want attention. Because of their clownish sense of humor and boundless energy, the Boxer is sometimes called the “Peter Pan” of Dogdom. “Floyd makes me laugh every day. I tell people that he loves life. He wants to be with my five kids or two Frenchies whenever they’re playing,” says owner Margie Shaw. Male boxers are more social, affectionate and playful. “They have a mind of their own,” she says. “My females were more introverted and very protective of me.”

Cairn Terrier, Canaan Dog, Canadian Eskimo Dog, Cane Corso, Canary Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Carpathian Sheepdog, Carolina Dog, Catahoula Leopard Dog, Catalan Sheepdog, Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Central Asian Shepherd Dog, Cesky Terrier, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested, Chinese Shar-Pei, Chinook, Chow Chow, Cirneco dell’Etna, Clumber Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, Collie, Coton de Tulear, Croatian Sheepdog, Curly-coated Retriever, Czechoslovakian Vlcak

The Chihuahua is the oldest breed in North America and the smallest breed in the world. Named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the breed descended from the Techichi, a small, mute dog that lived with the Mayans and Toltecs as far back as 9 A.D. Chihuahuas, can have long, short, wavy or flat coats. They can be solid, marked or splashed and come in two different head shapes—apple and deer. Apple head Chihuahuas have broad, round foreheads with protruding eyes and short muzzles. Deer head Chihuahuas have the face shape of a baby fawn with a longer muzzle and larger ears. They’re six to nine inches tall at the shoulder and weigh three to six pounds.

Chihuahuas are alert, intelligent, charming, graceful and sassy. Cori Bliesner ended up with her 9-year-old Chihuahua named Nacho because he ran out in front of her car. “I pulled over to try to get a hold of him because he was really tiny and scrawny,” she says. “I spent an hour trying to coax him out from behind the fence at the Miller Brewery.” Chihuahuas have been known to exclude family members and remain faithful to only one person. They have a high pitched, mono-tone bark. “Nacho likes to make his thoughts known and thinks he’s a lot bigger than he actually is,” Bliesner says. Chihuahuas certainly have their faults, but at the end of the day, they’re proof that good things come in small packages.

Dachshund, Dalmatian, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Danish-Swedish Farmdog, Deutscher Wachtelhund, Doberman Pinscher, Dogo Argentino, Dogue de Bordeaux (French Mastiff), Drentsche Patrijshond, Drever, Dutch Shepherd

While some believe Dalmatians originated more than 400 years ago in Dalmatia, a region in modern-day Croatia, they’ve appeared in Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek frescos and medieval letters. They also traveled with gypsies which may explain their elusive heritage. By the 1600s, Dalmatians worked as English carriage dogs. In the 19th century, they became fire-fighting carriage escorts and firehouse mascots. Dalmatians would bark to let bystanders know that they should get out of the way and comfort the horses as they pulled the wagon toward a fire.They also made sure that no one stole the firefighters’ equipment or the horses.

Dalmatians are between 19 to 23 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 60 pounds. Their spots usually appear 10 days after birth and continue to develop until they’re around 18 months old. Dalmatians come in black or liver spots that range from light tan to dark chocolate. They’re smart, athletic, empathetic, inquisitive and loyal. “Pierce rode on a firetruck at 8 weeks old and ended up calming a child at a fire scene. Halligan is deaf in one ear, but he can hear a cookie drop across the house,” says owner Lori Holz. “Pierce loves water and will play in the sprinkler or swim in a river or lake. They both fly three feet off the ground to grab balls in midair.”

Egyptian Baladi, English Bulldog, English Cocker Spaniel, English Foxhound, English Setter, English Springer Spaniel, English Toy Spaniel, Entlebucher Mountain Dog, Estrela Mountain Dog, Eurasier

The English Bulldog was created in England during the 1200s for the sport of bullbaiting, where a staked bull brawled with a pack of dogs while spectators bet on the outcome. When blood sports were outlawed in 1835, the Bulldog was exported to Germany and the Southern U.S. It was used to herd cattle where the terrain was too rough to allow for fences. By 1886, Bulldog breeders on both sides of the Atlantic had created a thick-set, low-slung, well-muscled bruiser with a sour mug. The Bulldog weighs up to 55 pounds but is between 12 and 15 inches tall. Its short, smooth, glossy coat comes in brindle, piebald, red, fawn or white.

Emily Brendel found her Bulldog named Pork on Facebook in December 2016. Pork is cheerful, comical, friendly and headstrong. “He will do what I want only after I tell him a few times. I have to physically pick him up off the bed or push him out the door. He likes to sleep on the couch or floor most of the day,” she says. “Pork has tear stains on his face wrinkles that are very difficult to get rid of. He also has a deep tail pocket that I clean with Desitin cream and baby wipes. He loves to get his tail pocket cleaned. He’ll run over to me as soon as he sees me grab some paper towels.”

Field Spaniel, Fila Brasileiro, Finnish Lapphund, Finnish Spitz, Flat-Coated Retriever, French Bulldog, French Mastiff, French Spaniel

In the late 1700s, the French Bulldog found favor with Nottingham lacemakers who worked long hours in unsafe mills. When the Industrial Revolution threatened their cottage industry, they immigrated to Northern France—where they crossed the toy-size Bulldog with Terriers and Pugs. With their snub noses and large bat ears, Frenchies became one of the world’s most popular small dog breeds. Tatiana Romanov, the second daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, had a Frenchie named Ortipo. He met the same tragic fate as the rest of the Russian royal family. Virginia’s Senator Robert Daniel also had a champion Frenchie named Gamin de Pycombe. He bought him for 150 British pounds ($15,000 in today’s U.S. dollars). They traveled on the Titanic. Daniel survived and lived until 1940. Gamin de Pycombe was last seen futilely swimming for his life in the sub-zero water.

Frenchies are 11 to 12 inches tall and weigh 16 to 28 pounds. They come in brindle and white, piebald, white, fawn, brindle and tan. Frenchies are easygoing, affectionate, attentive, smart and sociable. They don’t bark a lot, but their alertness makes them excellent watchdogs. Hillery Boyden bought her 4-year-old Frenchie named Beau from a breeder in Pennsylvania. “Be prepared for a lot of snorting and farting. They have smushed faces, so they tend to be a little bit noisier,” she says. “French Bulldogs can also have bursts of intense energy, but they always want to be with you.”


Georgian Shepherd, German Longhaired Pointer, German Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Spitz, German Wirehaired Pointer, Giant Schnauzer, Glen of Imaal Terrier, Goldendoodle, Golden Retriever, Gordon Setter, Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Greenland Dog, Greyhound

“Great Danes are like having a toddler in a dog suit,” says Jennifer Klika, president of the Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue in Eagan, Minn. “There are days I’d need a pitchfork to push my 9-year-old out of bed. Then he gets the zoomies and runs like a maniac for 15 minutes and looks like a camel whose legs are falling off.” With a lanky body and a head that doesn’t quite match, Danes pout when they want attention, slump when they’re disappointed and bounce when they’re happy.

Danes were originally bred to hunt boars. Assyrians, a major power in the ancient Middle East, traded them with the Greeks and Romans. They mixed them with Irish Wolfhounds, Irish Greyhounds and the ancestors of English Mastiffs.

By the 1500s, German nobility used Danes to protect their homes and loved ones. They considered the breed to be the biggest and most handsome of dogs, calling them Kammerhundes (Chamber Dogs). They were given gilded collars trimmed with fringe and padded with velvet.

In the 1700s, French naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon discovered a slimmer German Boarhound. He said the Danish climate caused it to become a Grand Danois (Big Danish). He didn’t develop the breed. But the name stuck.

Danes live an average of 7 to 10 years. They’re prone to bone cancer, heart disease, hypothyroidism, ear infections and hip dislocation.

According to the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW), 42 percent of Great Danes also develop bloat during their lifetimes. Treatment consists of a gastropexy (or “pexy”), in which the dog’s stomach is sutured to the body wall, preventing it from twisting. “This procedure is recommended at the time of spay or neuter, as opposed to a second anesthetic event,” says Dr. Morgan McCoy from Magnolia Springs Veterinary Center in Sturtevant, Wis.


Hamiltonstovare, Hanover Hound, Hanoverian Scenthound, Harrier, Havana Silk Dog, Havanese, Hokkaido, Hovawart, Himalayan Sheepdog

Ibizan Hound, Icelandic Sheepdog, Irish Red and White Setter, Irish Setter, Irish Terrier, Irish Water Spaniel, Irish Wolfhound, Italian Greyhound, Italian Spinone

As is the case for many of our dog breeds, the origins of the Italian Greyhound are sketchy, but we do know that they were not developed in Italy. It is widely believed that the breed came out of Turkey and Greece about 2000 years ago, where images of small Greyhound-like dogs have been found on ancient artifacts. From there, the Italian Greyhound spread throughout the Mediterranean and by the Middle Ages could be found throughout Southern Europe.

Bred for companionship and as a hunter of small game, the little dogs quickly became the darlings of the aristocracy. Royal owners included Charles I, Catherine the Great and later, Queen Victoria during whose reign the popularity of IGs peaked in England. Frederick II of Prussia especially liked the breed and owned more than 50 of the little dogs! IGs can be seen being held by their highborn owners in Renaissance art and portraits. They were especially beloved by wealthy Italians and soon became known as Italian Greyhounds. In the United States, the Italian Greyhound was recognized by the AKC in 1886 and this year was ranked 73rd out of 193 in popularity.

IGs were bred down from the Greyhound and as such have all of the larger dogs hunting and speed capabilities. They are energetic and playful runners and jumpers, but because of their strong prey drive, cannot be relied upon to stay in place off-leash. They are sometimes referred to as Velcro dogs because they like to stick close to their humans and will follow them everywhere, even under bedcovers. IGs are affectionate and don’t like to be left alone for too long. They love attention, although they are not fond of roughhouse play. They are good with children who can respectfully and carefully interact with them.

Because they are generally adaptable to any environment that contains the humans they love, Italian Greyhounds can live almost anywhere. They make excellent apartment dogs but do need regular exercise. They love to run and can go as fast as 25mph! Again, they will take off if they spy something interesting to chase, so they can never be off-leash or outside a secure, fenced-in area. Like all of their Sighthound cousins, they are born thieves! And of course, they love being held!

Italian Greyhounds are generally healthy but can be prone to some health issues. These include epilepsy, thyroid problems, cataracts, periodontal disease and hip dysplasia. They are also sensitive to pesticides.

The Italian Greyhound is a Sighthound/Toy combination. An IG combines the qualities of a cuddly, loving lap dog with the impressive speed and prey drive of a Sighthound. I’d say this is the best of two worlds found together in one beautiful, portable package!


Jagdterrier, Japanese Akitainu, Japanese Chin, Japanese Spitz, Jindo

Kai Ken, Karelian Bear Dog, Keeshond, Kerry Blue Terrier, Kishu Ken, Komondor, Kromfohrlander, Kuvasz

Labrador Retriever, Laekenois, Lagotto Romagnolo, Lakeland Terrier, Lancashire Heeler, Lapponian Herder, Large Munsterlander, Leonberger, Lhaso Apso, Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog (Catahoula Cur), Löwchen

Katerina, or Kate, our model, shares her name with Shakespeare’s famous heroine Katerina from “The Taming of the Shrew.” It seems that both Kates share a number of qualities including stubbornness, intelligence, independence, loyalty and devotion.

Like Shakespeare’s Kate, Lakelands, “Lakies” or “Laplanders” do what they want to do and can be quite bold! Owner Nora Clark says that her girl is friendly and well-behaved but likes things her way! The “Little Tank,” as Nora calls her, loves to be out in the snow but refuses to wear a coat. She loves to play, but can get a bit rough.

The Lakeland terrier originated in Cumberland, England’s Lake District, sometime in the 19th Century. This makes it one of the oldest of the terrier breeds. As sturdy little dogs with a dense, wiry double coat, they were originally bred to work independently from humans, hunting vermin over rocky terrain. Farmers also used Lakies together with hounds to keep foxes away from their sheep during lambing season. These dogs were bred to be tough, athletic and ready to take on anything big or small that got in their way. Coming from lake country, they adore water. The Lakeland is related to the now-extinct Old English black and tan terrier, the Bedlington terrier, the Dandie Dinmont terrier and the border collie. The Lakeland terrier was recognized by the AKC in 1934 and in 2018 was ranked 138 among registered breeds.

Lakies can do well anywhere, but they do best with a thoughtful and understanding owner. Highly energetic, sneaky and with a mind that never stops, they not only enjoy having a daily job to do, but MUST have one. Because they are very headstrong, Lakies need early socialization and training in order to effectively channel their natural eagerness, curiosity and intelligence. They are perfectly capable of finding their own fun around the house and can get into trouble there. So it is best for their owners to find ways to keep them busy! They love people and make especially great lap dogs! Lakies can take a long time to housetrain, but with patience and persistence they will get there! They may be overly protective of their humans or aggressive around other dogs. They are very intuitive and can really tune into the health issues and moods of their owners. Lakies are good watchdogs, but it is important that they be discouraged from being too barky. They are considered non-shedding, and they are a good choice for people who are allergic to dogs.


Majestic Tree Hound, Maltese, Manchester Terrier (Standard and Toy), Mastiff, Miniature American Shepherd, Miniature Bull Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Miniature Schnauzer, Mountain Cur, Moscow Watchdog, Mudi

Native American Indian Dog, Neapolitan Mastiff, Nederlandse Kooikerhondje, Newfoundland, Norfolk Terrier, Norrbottenspets, Norwegian Buhund, Norwegian Elkhound, Norwegian Lundehund, Norwich Terrier, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Old Danish Pointer, Old English Sheepdog, Otterhound

Papillon,  Parson Russell Terrier, Pekingese, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Perro de Presa Canario, Peruvian Inca Orchid, Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, Pharaoh Hound, Plott Hound, Pointer, Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Pomeranian, Poodle (Standard, Miniature, Toy), Porcelaine, Portuguese Podengo, Portuguese Podengo Pequeno, Portuguese Pointer, Portuguese Sheepdog, Portuguese Water Dog, Pudelpointer, Pug, Puli, Pumi, Pyrenean Mastiff, Pyrenean Shepherd

Queensland Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog), Qimmiq (Canadian Eskimo Dog)

Rafeiro do Alentejo, Rat Terrier, Redbone Coonhound, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Romanian Mioritic Shepherd Dog, Rottweiler, Russell Terrier, Russian Toy, Russian Tsvetnaya Bolonka

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are true Renaissance hounds. They are good at a variety of things and have an exciting history. Dutch colonists in southern Africa used the native hunting dogs of tribes and combined them with the more popular European breeds: Greyhounds and Terriers. Thus creating an athletic, regal-looking dog that could hunt in packs and track down lions. They were able to successfully find and confront these predators and keep them trapped by howling at them or baying from a safe distance. Imagine a pack of dogs surrounding the king of beasts like the hyenas did in Disney’s “The Lion King.” Ridgebacks were effective companions for South African-born Cornelius van Rooyen—big game hunter and dog breeder—in the late 19th century. Never killing the lions, the Ridgebacks would howl (bay) at them so the hunter had adequate time to pull out and dispatch his rifle. Ridgies are the national dog of South Africa.

Most importantly, today they are devoted family dogs that are good with children—two-legged children of the human variety, that is. Ridgebacks have an extremely strong prey drive stemming from their days of trotting alongside hunters on horses and chasing down prides. Owner Dan Broege says his dog Reggie may have high energy, but he is still his couch potato at heart. “Reggie is super friendly, loves people and other dogs, but is very protective of the house.” Reggie will guard the house all day yet sleeps under the covers in the bed at night. Ridgebacks are typically very strong-willed dogs that are independent, loyal and domineering.

Because they are the stereotypical strong-willed four-legged children, Ridgies need a firm trainer from youth on. The ideal candidate is someone who can positively steer them in the right direction, keeping them on a tight leash but with lots of exercise. They need training classes and early socialization in order to become well-mannered and well-adjusted companions, according to the American Kennel Club. Though this dog is extremely loyal to his or her family, this is a dog that lives indoors and needs to be fenced-in when outside and off leash due to a heavy prey drive. Broege says his Ridgeback is a freak of an athlete yet possesses some unique quirks. Reggie is a whiner and a kisser but only kisses strangers! Weird. Not the typical behavior for a Ridgie. Usually, Rhodesians are quite affectionate with their owners and more reserved with strangers. Broege also mentions that Reggie loves to watch TV and will only chew on bones that Broege holds for him. Talk about your atypical royal Ridgie.

As for appearance, this beautiful breed should look muscular, symmetrical and balanced in outline, according to the AKC. They have a signature ridge of hair down their back and range in size. Their grooming needs are small as they only require the basics: nail trimming, brushing and bathing as upkeep.


Saint Bernard, Saluki, Samoyed, Schapendoes, Schipperke, Scottish Deerhound, Scottish Terrier, Sealyham Terrier, Segugio Italiano, Shetland Sheepdog, Shiba Inu, Shih Tzu, Shikoku, Siberian Husky, Silky Terrier, Skye Terrier, Sloughi, Slovakian Wirehaired Pointer, Slovensky Cuvac, Slovensky Kopov, Small Munsterlander, Smooth Fox Terrier, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Spanish Mastiff, Spanish Water Dog, Spinone Italiano, Stabyhoun, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Standard Schnauzer, Sussex Spaniel, Swedish Lapphund, Swedish Vallhund

The Japanese use three words to describe the Shiba Inu or Shiba—a national monument in Japan—and their most popular dog breed.

FIRST WORD: “Kan-i”—refers to the Shiba’s spirited confidence, alertness and bravery.

SECOND WORD: “Ryosei”—means good natured and loyal.

THIRD WORD: “Soboku”—describes easy, natural good looks.

Indeed, Shiba Inus exhibit all of these magnificent qualities as well as a couple interesting behaviors unique to them. But more about that later.

The Shiba Inu is the smallest of six original dog breeds native to Japan, the largest being the Akita. Shiba means “brushwood” in Japanese, and Inu means dog. It is unclear whether brushwood became part of the dog’s name because Shibas hunted in dense underbrush or because its red coat was like the autumn color of Japanese brushwood. During World War II, between bombing raids and outbreaks of distemper, Shibas almost became extinct. In order to save the Shiba, the Japanese began a breeding program that incorporated the last three remaining Shiba bloodlines. The Japanese Kennel Club was established in 1948.

Shiba Inus are relatively new to the U.S. The first Shiba arrived here in 1954, but the breed really didn’t become popular until the 1990s. The AKC officially recognized the Shiba in the Non-Sporting group in 1992, and today Shibas are the AKC’s 44th most-registered breed.


Taiwan Dog, Teddy Roosevelt Terrier, Thai Ridgeback, Tibetan Mastiff, Tibetan Spaniel, Tibetan Terrier, Tornjak, Tosa, Toy Fox Terrier, Transylvanian Hound, Treeing Tennessee Brindle, Treeing Walker Coonhound

Ultimate Mastiff, Utonagan


Weimaraner, Welsh Springer Spaniel, Welsh Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Wetterhoun, Whippet, Wire Fox Terrier, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Wirehaired Vizsla, Working Kelpie

Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican Hairless Dog)

Yakutian Laika, Yorkipoo, Yorkshire Terrier




Kennel cough is characterized by an infection of typically more than one of the following infectious agents: Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine distemper virus, canine herpesvirus, canine influenza, canine parainfluenza, canine pneumovirus, canine reovirus, canine respiratory coronavirus, Mycoplasma spp, and Streptococcus spp.

Kennel cough causes a persistent hacking cough that is typically self-limiting in mild cases and may not require any treatment. These infectious agents can be transmitted through the air, direct contact with an infected dog and through fomites. Thus when dogs are in a crowded or enclosed area such as kennels, boarding facilities and dog parks, these infectious agents have an opportunity to spread like wild fire.

Clinical signs:
Dogs can have a variety of signs associated with kennel cough, but the most common is a dry, hacking cough. It is not uncommon for dogs to hack and have a terminal retch with the aggressive coughing that can occur. Dogs with kennel cough may have bouts of coughing when excited and pulling on their leash. Some of the infectious agents causing kennel cough can lead to pneumonia, fever, lethargy and nasal discharge/congestion. These clinical signs are more commonly found in dogs that are either very young, very old or immunocompromised.

Kennel cough is often diagnosed based on physical exam findings and the dog’s recent history. A veterinarian will often palpate the trachea, which can elicit a coughing fit in dogs with kennel cough. Recent history of being boarded or at the dog park can help tie together a presumptive diagnosis. Thoracic radiographs should be normal unless pneumonia is present. PCR testing or amplification of pathogen DNA, can be done for a number of the infectious agents listed above. This type of testing is typically reserved for severe cases that are not self-limiting or responding to treatment.

In the majority of cases, kennel cough is self limiting, and no treatment is required. Dogs will often have a cough for 1-2 weeks. Cough suppressants can be prescribed if a dog is unable to get comfortable or sleep due to the bouts of coughing. Cough suppressants should be avoided if a dog has pneumonia. It is not uncommon for antibiotics to be prescribed if a bacterial infection is thought to be part of the cause. Dogs that progress to pneumonia may require hospitalization, intravenous fluids, injectable antibiotics and oxygen supplementation.

Preventing the spread of kennel cough can be challenging as there are many infectious agents that cause it. There are vaccines available for a number of the infectious agents that can help decrease spread. Bordetella bronchiseptica has a vaccine available in both injectable and intranasal forms. This vaccine has to be given every year. For canine parainfluenza virus, canine influenza virus, canine distemper and canine adenovirus type 2, there is a vaccine series that puppies receive and then subsequent boosters. Environmental changes or precautions should be considered as well. Dogs going to dog parks or boarding should be fully vaccinated. Stressful situations, smoke and poor ventilation can also play into the spread and severity of kennel cough.

Overall, the prognosis for dogs that get kennel cough can be very good. That being said, it can be pretty annoying when both you and your poor dog cannot get any sleep because of the loud coughing.


Acute hemorrhagic diarrhea syndrome is a combination of vomiting and bloody diarrhea that can seem to come on in a matter of minutes. The resulting fluid shifts rapidly cause dehydration. The most serious cases can be fatal. Fortunately, most dogs do very well with hospitalization and appropriate care.

Brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome (BOAS) is a polite way of saying “Bulldogs can’t breathe.” Brachycephalic dogs are the ones that are bred to have extremely short muzzles and flat faces like Pugs and Bulldogs. They frequently come with a set of anomalies including narrow nostrils; soft palates that are long enough to choke on and larynxes that are under so much pressure that they collapse. Lots of brachycephalic dogs have surgery to open up their airways so that they can breathe more easily. Do you own and love a smushy-faced dog? Ask your veterinarian whether BOAS surgery would improve your pet’s quality of life. See also Heat Stroke.

Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture is an extremely common injury that destabilizes a dog’s knee. In most cases, the ligament has worn out as much as it has been torn. Some dogs manage to hobble around on a CCL injury, but arthritis is almost inevitable. Just to make matters worse, it is quite common for dogs to rupture the ligament in both knees. Luckily, a surgical repair can restore function and reduce the development of arthritis.

Dystocia is difficulty giving birth. While many bitches whelp their puppies without drama, there are others who cannot get the job done on their own. Causes include calcium deficiency, malpositioned fetuses and several other problems, but the most common cause is that the bitch has been purposefully bred to have a tiny body. This causes difficulty accommodating the passage of a puppy especially in breeds with disproportionately big heads. A C-section then becomes a necessity.

Endocrine disease is a whole group of diseases and disorders including diabetes, hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease. A dog’s endocrine system, like a human’s, uses chemical messengers to coordinate body functions. When the system breaks down, the results can be catastrophic. Many endocrine diseases can be diagnosed with bloodwork, and many can be successfully managed though most cannot be cured. Is your dog suddenly drinking and urinating far more than usual? Ask your veterinarian to make sure the endocrine system is on point.

Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that spend most of their lives hiding in an animal’s haircoat feeding on blood. Fleas are tough little critters. They have survived for 60 million years. They transmit diseases and parasites, trigger allergies, make animals miserably itchy and in some cases literally bleed them to death. Fleas are not the least bit impressed by old-fashioned flea collars or home remedies like cedar oil, garlic and brewer’s yeast. It is difficult to even squish them because they have such hard exoskeletons. Sometimes you can’t even see them hiding in your dog’s coat. If you do see fleas, or if your dog seems itchy for any reason, job one is ensuring that fleas are under control. Ask your veterinarian which modern flea control product is best for your pet.

Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is sometimes called “the mother of all emergencies.” For reasons that are not always clear, a dog’s stomach sometimes fills with gas and twists on its axis, not only preventing the vomiting that would relieve the pressure but also preventing normal blood flow. It is most common in large, narrow-chested dogs like Great Danes and Standard Poodles. Classic signs of GDV include tense, painful abdominal swelling and unproductive retching that sounds like the dog is trying to vomit but can’t. Unfortunately, it isn’t always that easy to see. If you suspect GDV, the dog should be assessed by a veterinarian immediately. Minutes count!

Heat stroke can occur whenever a dog can’t pant enough to cool themselves down. This may be when the weather is hot or humid, when the dog is exercising, when the dog has some kind of respiratory problem or—the worst—any combination of the above. Dogs are not as good at cooling themselves as humans are, and they are not at all good about knowing their limits. If you think your dog may have become overheated, wet down their coat, get in the car to the emergency clinic and turn the air conditioning on full blast!

Intervertebral disk disease or IVDD occurs when the cartilage pads that separate the bones of the spine become worn out, swollen or slip out of place. The main reason this is a problem is that the spinal cord and nerve roots can be pinched or crushed, causing anything from pain to paralysis. Dachshunds are the poster children for this disorder, but any dog can get it.

Jaundice technically is not a disease, but a symptom and is known also by the professional term “icterus.” It refers to the yellow color that develops in animals whose bilirubin level is too high. You can see it in the whites of their eyes, in their gums and anywhere the skin is bare and thin. There are two main causes: liver disease and red blood cell destruction. If your dog is looking sallow, it needs to be seen by a veterinarian right away.

Kennel cough is a catch-all term for acute infectious respiratory disease in dogs and commonly consists of laryngitis, tracheitis and bronchitis. It may be caused by any one, or a combination, of viruses and bacteria such as canine parainfluenza virus, canine adenoviruses types 1 and 2, canine herpesvirus and Bordetella bronchiseptica. Affected dogs usually have a harsh cough. Particularly in puppies, more severe illness sometimes occurs. Treatment depends on the details of each case.

Laryngeal paralysis occurs mostly in older dogs. What it means is that the vocal folds which are supposed to open wide with every inward breath don’t do so any more. You might notice that your dog’s bark is harsher or softer. You might notice a wheezing, snoring sound when he exercises. Sometimes owners notice nothing at all until the dog gets overheated or excited and tries to pant to cool down. The harder the dog tries to pant, the more the vocal folds get in his way. This is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate veterinary attention. Luckily, a surgical procedure can improve the situation. See also Heat Stroke.

Mitral valve disease is probably the most common form of heart disease seen in dogs. It usually happens when, over time, one of the valves in the heart starts to get a bit leaky. Many, many dogs, especially small ones, develop a heart murmur in their senior years as a result of mitral valve disease. For some of them, but not all, it becomes a life-threatening problem. If your dog has a new heart murmur or a chronic cough, ask your veterinarian whether a chest x-ray is warranted.

Neoplasia, better known as cancer, is not one disease but a whole category of diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. It is the main cause of death in well-cared-for older dogs, partly because most types can’t be prevented and because it usually doesn’t respond as well to treatment as some other diseases. Exceptions do exist, though, and veterinary oncologists (cancer specialists) work every day to help canine cancer patients live the longest, happiest lives possible.

Osteoarthritis is, unfortunately, extremely common in older dogs, especially large ones. Your veterinarian may call it DJD or degenerative joint disease. You might notice that your pet is stiff and slow to get up after a nap, especially after hard exercise but seems better after they move around a bit. Osteoarthritis cannot be reversed, but your veterinarian can help your dog to stay functional and pain-free as long as possible.

Pyometra is an infection of the uterus. In dogs, it has an unfortunate tendency to turn into a catastrophe very quickly, so by the time an owner realizes the dog is sick, her life is in danger and she needs emergency surgery. Pyometra is unfortunately very common, so all owners of unspayed females need to be on the lookout for the slightest signs of illness, and be prepared to deal with the emergency. In most cases, the best prevention is a routine spay.

Quadriceps contracture can happen as a complication of a fracture of the femur (thighbone). The quadriceps femoris is a group of muscles that extends the stifle (knee) joint, so it is necessary for normal standing and walking. When the thigh is injured, sometimes the quadriceps heals by turning into rigid scar tissue, resulting in a stifle that cannot flex and a leg that cannot be used. Contracture can occur in any circumstance, but it is more common when the fracture is not treated properly. Surgical repair of the fracture not only allows the bone to heal correctly but also allows for critical rehabilitation exercises that keep the joints flexible and the muscles moving.

Rabies remains a serious health concern for dogs and for humans, even though a robust canine vaccination program can protect both populations. In countries where canine vaccinations are prohibitively expensive, rabies kills dogs and humans, horribly and indiscriminately. Fortunately, rabies vaccinations are within the means of most dog owners in the United States, to say nothing of being required by law.

Seizures, or convulsions, can occur in dogs from a variety of causes. The most common cause is epilepsy which in dogs is partly genetic in origin and manifests in young adult dogs, ranging from brief focal seizures to longer, full-body convulsions. Other causes include brain diseases, poisons and metabolic disorders. Unless your dog has a known and well-managed seizure disorder, any kind of seizure activity should warrant prompt veterinary attention.

Tracheal collapse is just what it sounds like. The trachea, or windpipe, is supposed to be round like a pipe for good airflow, but if it becomes soft, it can collapse on itself making it hard for the dog to breathe. And, just like a straw when you suck on it too hard, the harder you try to move air, the more stubbornly it stays collapsed. Unfortunately, tracheal collapse is very common in small dogs and in brachycephalic breeds. If your dog tends to cough or wheeze when he gets excited, ask your veterinarian to take an x-ray to look for signs of collapsing trachea. You can’t make it go away, but there are strategies to reduce its effect on the dog. See also Heat stroke.

Urinary tract disease in dogs often appears as blood in the urine, straining to urinate or marked increase in frequency of urination. The causes may include bacterial infections, bladder stones, anatomic anomalies or any combination of the above. It’s tempting to just ask your veterinarian for an antibiotic, but tests will be needed to pin down a diagnosis and keep problems from progressing.

Vestibular disease refers to any problem that affects the vestibular system meaning that part of the brain and inner ear that controls balance. When humans experience vestibular disease, we often describe it as vertigo. Dogs can develop vestibular disease from serious problems like tumors or strokes but also from ear infections and a benign problem called Idiopathic Vestibular Disease. Owners often assume that a dog that is suddenly too dizzy to stand up has suffered a serious stroke and must be euthanized, but this is not always the case.

Worms are internal parasites that find a way into your pet’s intestines, lungs or, worst of all, heart and blood vessels. Most can be identified through blood or fecal testing, and most can be treated. However, many worm infestations go unnoticed meaning that pets who appear healthy can go around shedding microsopic worms and eggs to infect other hapless dogs… and, sometimes, their humans too! Do your neighbors a solid and ask your veterinarian to review your pet’s worm control plan, especially if you and your pet are regular dog park visitors.

Xylitol toxicity is just an example of the environmental hazards that can poison your pet. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is apparently harmless to humans but can cause serious harm to dogs including seizures and liver damage. No sugar-free gum for Max and Bella, please!

Yeast infections in dogs most commonly occur in the ears and skin. Usually the yeast is the kind that lives in small numbers on all dogs’ skin, but in some dogs, at some times, the population grows like gremlins in a rainstorm. There is often an underlying problem such as an allergy. Your veterinarian can identify a yeast infection and provide the proper treatment to relieve your dog of this itchy, stinky misery.

Zoonotic disease is defined by medical doctors as a disease of humans that is transmitted to them by animals. Veterinarians, however, define it as a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans or vice versa. Unfortunately, we can be as much of an infection hazard to animals as they can be to us. For example, some influenza viruses can hop species, and while we know that some types of avian and swine influenza can cause serious illness in humans, we should also be aware that some animal species, like cats and ferrets, can catch some forms of influenza from us. Luckily for our pets, it is uncommon for humans to transmit serious infections to animals.

Dear FETCH Friends,

Sadly, winter is upon us. This means dark, cold days followed by even darker and colder nights. And now, with a novel virus still at large, more time in solitary. I have very little desire to remain in my home for the next 3 months praying for a vaccine, checking my kids for fevers, talking to family members on the phone or via the Internet, but what is the alternative? Finding peace in what makes you happy and giving thanks will undoubtedly get you through what may be a very dark time in your life. Unite with your neighbors, find joy at home with your kids and/or your animals, keep trying to be a good person and help those you can.

Death is all around us. This year has revealed to us the delicacy of life that we often try to forget about. If you have lost someone this year, there is nothing that can help ease the pain you feel. It’s time to make peace with what you can and focus on what you wish to change in 2021. Dog is God spelled backwards for a reason. If you feel a calling to help animals, maybe 2021 is the year to make a move. Unlike the crosses we bear as part of humanity, these innocent creatures can only thrive (or wither) with help from us.

Checklist for 2020-2021:
Start a rescue.
Volunteer for a rescue.
Bring an animal that needs you into your home.
Donate some of your resources to a rescue.
Train your dog to be a dog ambassador.
Don’t breed your dog. Spay/neuter your dog.
Don’t leave children unattended with the dog or allow them to treat the dog as a toy.
Teach children how to love and respect dogs.
Give gifts that support humane treatment and unity.
Don’t give gifts at all; instead give your time to an animal in need.
Be a good pet parent.
Don’t leave your dog in a cold car or unsafe situation.
Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to something that may poison them.
Stock up on food and medicines for your dog in case of an emergency.
Create art that supports a humane mission. Write a book, invent something…the sky is the limit.

Here’s to a humane end to 2020
and to a victorious 2021,

N. Putz

Dear FETCH Friends,

Where do I even begin…
Talk about a crazy year, and it’s not even over yet.

Fall’s theme is “Worldly Dogs” to highlight some of the greatness dogs around the world have accomplished. This not only makes me think of how great dogs are, but also what I would like to accomplish with dogs.

Have you given any thought lately to all the things you still wish to accomplish in your life? I feel like this fall is really a time for serious reflection. I believe things happen for a reason and that God plays a role in all of this. But a virus…what is the good in that?

Since this year began I have found myself trying very hard to pay more attention to the things that I am grateful for and less to the things that I am still not satisfied with. It’s so hard!

And this is the difference between us humans and our dogs right—the mentality that “Nothing is ever good enough,” versus the “Pet me please. I just love you the way you are.” These dogs are so innocent and amazing. The things they can do are signs to me that God is always present. Their uncanny intelligence, their playful nature and their endless display of unconditional love. Why can’t we be more like dogs? I’d give up my thumbs if it meant more love and less crises for everyone.

Here’s to a healthy and harmonious fall,



Let’s Test Your Knowledge!

1. Can a dog infected with heartworm
give it to another dog in the same household?

2. Should you treat your pet with
heartworm prevention all year?

3. Can humans get heartworm?

4. When should heartworm prevention start?

Read on to find out more!

Heartworm or “Dirofilaria immitis” is parasitic worms that are transmitted by mosquitoes to certain mammals and cause severe disease. Adult heartworms are very long worms (females up to 12 inches and males up to 6 inches long) that live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of the mammals they infect. Common mammals that can become infected include dogs, cats, wolves, coyotes, ferrets and foxes. There are several rare cases of human infections. Heartworm disease can be found on almost every continent in the world. This truly makes it an international problem. Where there are mosquitos, there are heartworms!

Transmission: The only way for heartworm to be transmitted is through a mosquito. An infected animal has immature worms, microfilaria, in the bloodstream. When a mosquito bites the animal, it sucks up the microfilaria in the blood. Once in the mosquito, the microfilaria develop over a few weeks, and when the mosquito bites the next animal, the worms infect that animal. Over the next six months, the worms in the newly-infected animal will mature into adult worms and settle in the heart and lungs. These adult worms will produce more immature worms, and the cycle will continue. The adult worms can live for several years in the host leading to years of increased spread of infection.

Heartworm Disease in Dogs

Disease: Canines are the preferred host for heartworms, and unfortunately that means the greatest amount of damage can occur in these animals. Heartworms thrive in dogs and reproduce at high numbers. Dogs can have hundreds of heartworms living in them at one time! Thus, the damage that these worms can do to the heart and lungs can quickly become irreversible and cause lifelong problems. The worms cause inflammation, scarring and obstructive problems and lead to pulmonary hypertension and congestive heart failure.

Clinical signs: Clinical signs can vary depending on how severe the worm burden is. Commonly, the first signs noticed are a cough and exercise intolerance. Signs then progress to coughing up blood, lethargy, difficulty breathing, ascites (fluid in the abdomen) secondary to heart failure and then caval syndrome. Caval syndrome occurs when the amount of heartworms is so numerous that normal blood flow cannot occur in the heart. This leads to a series of problems including anemia, liver and kidney failure and potential death.

Testing: A simple blood test can be performed that detects antigens to adult female worms. This test can be performed in any dog older than seven months as it takes the worms six months to become adults.

Treatment: If a dog is positive for heartworm disease, more testing will likely be warranted to see how severely the dog is infected. Dogs that are severely infected will need to be stabilized prior to treating the heartworms themselves. Treatment then consists of a series of injections, antibiotics and commonly steroids. Treatment is not only painful and expensive but has risks as well. During the course of treatment, which is typically over several months, dogs have to be strictly exercise restricted. Exercise can lead to the heart and lungs working harder, which can cause the worms to act as emboli, thus stopping blood flow to organs, causing organ failure and potentially sudden death.

Prognosis: Dogs that have low worm burdens or minor symptoms typically have a good prognosis with treatment. Dogs with large worm burdens can also successfully be treated but may have more complications and are more at risk for unsuccessful recovery.

Heartworm Disease in Cats

Disease: Cats are not the primary host of heartworms, and thus the disease process is very different. Heartworms are much less likely to make it to the adult stage in cats. While fewer adult worms means less disease, it also means many cats that are infected with heartworms will not show up positive on tests. The immature worms can still cause significant lung disease and, unfortunately, cats are more likely than dogs to die from a heartworm infection.

Clinical signs: Cats infected with heartworms will commonly cough, have respiratory changes, lethargy, weight loss and decreased appetite. However, if a cat has an adult worm and that worm dies, the body’s reaction to that worm can cause respiratory distress, shock or sudden death.

Testing: Testing for heartworm disease in cats is more challenging as the commonly-used antigen test is only positive with adult worms, and cats will often only be infected with immature worms. An antibody test would come back positive with immature worms but is much less commonly performed unless clinical signs are present.

Treatment: Unfortunately, the medication used to treat dogs for heartworm disease is not safe for cats. Treatment is generally supportive care and can include hospitalization and sometimes surgical removal of the adult worms, if possible. This is why heartworm prevention is so very important.

Prognosis: Cats with heartworm disease can survive with treatment, but prognosis varies depending on the severity of disease at the time of treatment.

Prevention: PREVENTION IS KEY! The good news is that heartworm disease is completely preventable! Heartworm preventative is recommended year-round as it only takes one bite from one mosquito to infect your dog or cat. There are many forms of heartworm prevention at this time such as topical treatments, chewable pills and injectable medication. These products do have to be prescribed by a veterinarian as there is currently no “holistic” or “natural” heartworm preventative. An added benefit of many of the heartworm preventative medications is that they will kill other parasites such as fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites. These preventatives are generally safe and inexpensive in comparison to the cost and severity of disease your pet could have if they become infected with heartworms.


Most people, when they think of veterinarians, think of a doctor who works in a clinic or makes house calls to take care of small companion animals, horses and livestock. But there are many different ways to be a veterinarian.

As a profession, veterinary medicine had its earliest beginnings in the care of horses. These days in the United States and many other developed nations, veterinarians work in animal shelters, farms, racetracks, laboratories, meatpacking facilities and military bases caring for all kinds of species. With advanced training there are dozens of specializations and certifications that veterinarians can achieve, such as surgery, internal medicine, emergency/critical care, dermatology, cardiology, rehabilitation, oncology and so on. A single pet in the US can have a whole team of veterinarians to care for its every need. But it is clear that not every country can afford, for example, kidney transplant capabilities for companion animals. What do veterinarians do there?

Consider Cambodia. It is considered a “least-developed country” by the United Nations, and one could hardly blame the people of Cambodia if they chose to focus their resources on human needs instead of those of animals. But it turns out that in Southeast Asia as well as in the United States, human needs and animal needs go hand in hand.

The Royal University of Agriculture in Phnom Penh has a Department of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine. Rather than emphasizing care for individual animals, they work to develop livestock and feed sources that can thrive in Cambodia’s climate and provide extension services to help farmers take better care of their animals. Along with university-trained veterinarians, Cambodia has 12,000 village animal health workers who are trained to vaccinate livestock, deal with common animal diseases and teach good animal husbandry to the farmers. In a country where 80 percent of the labor force works in agriculture, recognizing the interconnection between people and animals is critically important. For a smallholder farmer, the loss of a single animal can be financially devastating, so a veterinarian or animal health care worker who prevents that loss is protecting the family food supply. This is no small matter in a country where 21 percent of the households cannot afford a nutritious diet.

The connection between human and animal health is most striking in the area of rabies control. Cambodia is regarded as a high-risk country when it comes to rabies exposure. Cambodians own more dogs per human than any other country, and most of them have not been vaccinated against rabies. Bites to humans are unfortunately frequent. There is no coordinated rabies surveillance in Cambodia, so true prevalence is impossible to judge. Fewer than 5 percent of the people who are bitten by dogs there receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP–the treatment that prevents the development of rabies in a human that has been bitten). This is partly because even though medical care is subsidized by the government, traveling to an urban center to receive PEP costs more than a month’s wage for the average rural Cambodian. Without PEP, a bite from a rabid dog inevitably leads to a gruesome death. Official estimates of 800 deaths per year in Cambodia are likely to be low.

The most efficient way to keep humans from dying of rabies is to control rabies in the canine population, thus greatly reducing the need for PEP. In the developed world, canine vaccination programs have nearly eradicated rabies as a disease in humans. In Cambodia and other areas of need, veterinarians are working hard to vaccinate dogs, thus saving human lives as they do so.

Approximately 3,400 miles away from the moist forests of Cambodia, some of the desert nations that border the Persian Gulf have much less trouble from rabies, but veterinarians are still important. Falconry, which is a rare and highly-regulated hobby in the United States, is a more common pastime in the Arab world with the fierce birds living as family pets, as hunting companions, as status symbols, as racing competitors and as an emotional connection to the region’s ancient Bedouin culture. Although the Persian Gulf area is considered “developing” in terms of industrialization, it is a world leader when it comes to the medical care of falcons.

There are no less than a dozen veterinary hospitals in the Gulf States that cater to falcons and their owners. The largest one, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital in the United Arab Emirates, is a public institution and sees around 11,000 falcons a year. The veterinarians and their staff tend injured and ill birds, provide wellness care, replace damaged feathers, perform prepurchase exams and attach high-tech tracking devices. The reason for the latter becomes clear when you realize that while a starter kestrel can be had for a few hundred dollars, the most valuable gyrfalcons and peregrine falcons can sell for over $100,000.

Most falcon hospitals remain devoted exclusively to the care of these magnificent birds, but veterinarians continue to adapt to changing times. In 2007, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital moved to accommodate the more Western tastes of some local citizens when they opened a new Pet Care Center… to treat dogs and cats.


Hi friends! If you’re like me, you love to play! I mean, who doesn’t love to play, right? Today we’re going to talk about whether, or not, we should include our pets in our play time, and if so, what are the best ways to play with them.

When we went to our vet clinic for Bella’s puppy vaccines, our vet Dr. Lacy wanted us to understand very clearly that “Animals are not toys!” At first, when she said that, I thought to myself, “Of course pets aren’t toys—what a silly idea,” but just a day later when I was setting up a tea party for my dolls, my sister and myself, I thought… “Hmmm, I wonder if Bella would like to have tea with us?” The image of Bella sitting at our little table with a bib around her neck and wearing a cute little hat popped into my head, but then I remembered that it wasn’t right to force Bella to take part in our tea party. So I pushed that thought out of my head.

So how should we interact with pets, and what things should we avoid? My mom says that it is pretty much common sense since dogs and other pets are “thinking, feeling, living things” just like us, so if there’s something “we” don’t like, then “our pets” won’t like it either. Also, there are a lot of things people do that animals don’t understand, and this can be scary for them. We need to remember that when dogs (or other animals) are scared, they can bite. I know it is tempting to look at our little puppy or cat and think they would look so cute wearing doll clothes. But my mom explained to me that this type of interaction could be very scary to the animal. She suggested that I pretend one of my stuffed dogs is Bella and include it in my tea party and other play. That was a great idea.

Here is a list of things that I don’t like,
so I know Bella wouldn’t like them either:

• I don’t like people bothering me when I’m trying to sleep, and I get startled when someone pokes or touches me when I’m sleeping.

• I don’t like when someone touches my food or tries to pull something I have away from me like a cookie or a toy.
• I really don’t like when people get right in my face or if they make loud noises right near me.

• I don’t like when kids tease me.

Animals have likes and dislikes just like us, and we need to respect how they feel. Have you ever had someone force you to do something you didn’t want to do? One time my cousin made me hide in the spooky basement during hide and seek, and that made me feel scared and frustrated that I couldn’t hide where I wanted to hide. I don’t ever want to make Bella feel frustrated or scared. I want her to trust me, so we can be best friends.

So what kind of play is okay to do with dogs? With adult supervision and assistance, fetch and hide and seek are great games for kids to play with dogs such as having the adult take the ball from the dog and letting the child throw the ball for the dog. Including the child on the walks with the dog are great, too, as well as helping to teach the dog tricks. All these activities are things dogs understand and enjoy.

Just remember that your dog thinks like a dog and likes “doggie” things. With lots of rules in place and your parents watching over all your interactions with you and your dog, you can form a trusting relationship with your dog.

Summary for parents:

• At younger and younger ages, kids are being taught about the concepts of consent, personal boundaries and saying No to unwanted touch. We need to extend these concepts to our pets. For more information, see the “New York Times” article below.
• Adults need to actively supervise ALL interactions between kids and dogs and limit when and how kids behave around and interact with pets. It is never okay for a child to poke, climb on or pull body parts. That is scary and can also hurt. Your family dog should not be expected to tolerate these things. Also, their likes and dislikes can vary from one day to another.
• Studies show that most bites to kids are from the family dog or another dog the child knows well and occur in contexts where the child is trying to initiate an interaction with the dog or approaching it when it is resting. Making direct eye contact with the dog, innocent as that might seem, can make a dog nervous and provoke aggression.
• We want to make sure our kids are learning kind and appropriate interactions with dogs so that when they encounter dogs elsewhere (i.e. playdate at a friend’s house), they’ll behave safely with the dog.

Note to parents: Use this article and the resources to prompt/support a family discussion on what interactions are appropriate and which are inappropriate between kids and dogs (or pets in general). Each of the “Maddie” columns focuses on a different topic, and each issue builds on the skills learned in past issues to some extent. For access to past issues, visit www.fetchmag.com.

If you would like a signed copy of “Bella’s First Checkup” please email Dr. Kohler at [email protected] You can also buy a copy on Amazon.

QUESTIONS for Maddie can be emailed to [email protected]




You thought Marco Polo was well-traveled? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. From Caracas to Tasmania, these Instafamous pets capture the spirit of adventure—follow them now.

1. [email protected]_traveller_dog

Miami is one of the world’s most jet-setting pets. “He’s an unusual Chihuahua because he’s sweet and friendly with everyone,” says owner Marianna Chiaraluce. She adopted him when he was 7 months old. He was unsuitable for canine competitions because of a minor health issue. “But this made me love him even more,” she says. Their very first adventure was a three-month road trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. Since then, Miami has visited President Lincoln’s house in Springfield, Ill.; Elvis’ birthplace in Memphis, Tenn.; and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo. He’s also the Pet General Manager at The Box in Riccione, one of the best-known seaside resorts in Northern Italy.

2. [email protected]

Photographer Hunter Lawrence shares Aspen with 284K followers on Instagram. He adopted the Golden Retriever from a small coastal town near Houston, Texas. On Thanksgiving morning in 2012, he saw a listing for a new litter of puppies posted online. He immediately ran out the door to go check them out. Aspen loves getting buried in the snow, even if he sometimes eats snowballs, and diving into icy water. He’s visited eight different states and Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada—one of the prestigious stops on the World Cup skiing circuit. The 8-year-old currently lives in Santa Barbara, Calif. Whether he’s basking in the sunshine or in an ice cream coma, he always has the biggest smile on his face. “He’s genuinely happy…if we’re near him, he just lights up,” Lawrence says.

3. [email protected]_z_pazurem

Snupi (which means sweet in Dutch) is undoubtedly the most famous dog in Poland. He has his own comic book called “Travels with Claw.” “We know very little about his past,” says owner Izabella Miklaszewski. “He was adopted by a family but returned after a week, possibly because of the cost of treating his kennel cough.” The 12-year-old mongrel has visited 36 countries on five continents. He’s also traveled over 3,200 nautical miles crossing the Amazon River and the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco to Brazil. Snupi has also conquered the 13,123-foot peak of Toubkal in Morocco. His record altitude is 19,101 feet above sea level at the Misti Volcano in Peru. He’s also trekked through the Cordillera Huayhuash, an 81-mile trail with an elevation between 10,826 and 18,012 feet.

4. Rio and [email protected]

Best friends Rio and Bruce have been to eight states and nine national parks. Rio is a 3-year-old gray and white domestic longhair. She didn’t instantly warm up to her 1.5-year-old dog sidekick. “It took a little while for them to really become friends. But Rio is a very brave kitty and quickly figured out that Bruce is a great play buddy,” says owner Maria Roper. “When we go hiking Rio normally follows Bruce’s lead. When we’re exploring a campsite, it’s the opposite. Rio explores and Bruce follows her around, and they’re just so cute together.” Last summer, the traveling cat and dog duo camped in the Black Hills. They napped on rocks together whenever they got tired. Then Rio and Bruce visited Sequoia National Forest and the Pacific coast, where they saw the ocean for the first time.

5. [email protected]

Unhappy after 10 years in the corporate world, Rich East sold his house and all of his possessions. Then he quit his job to travel with his rescue cat Willow in a campervan. Since leaving their hometown of Hobart, Tasmania, they’ve covered more than 31,000 miles. “Willow spends most of her time off leash with supervision. She rarely wanders more than 100 yards from the van, but when she does, I can find her with her tracking collar,” East says. “She’s made my van a home and the whole of Australia her backyard.” The 6-year-old has visited New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory.

6. [email protected]

An Iraqi war vet with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, Stephen Simmons was homeless. For five years, he lived out of his Jeep with his military service dog Puppi. In April 2013, he was sitting outside a grocery in Grants Pass having a sandwich when a homeless girl came up with a box of free kittens. Simmons held Burma and couldn’t resist him. The black cat spent the first eight weeks of his life in a damp tent during the cold, rainy Oregon winter. Burma, who has 73K Instagram fans, has traveled to 31 states with Simmons and his girlfriend, Nicole Rienzie. She and her two Instafamous cats, Monk and Bean, have also joined the trio, becoming a blended family of six. “Although Burma grew up on the go…he’s made me believe in something much bigger than us and this world again,” Simmons says.

7. Max and [email protected]_et_louise

Thiago Ferreira documents the adventures of Parson Russell Terriers Max and Louise who have 68K Instagram followers. Max arrived in 2009 for Christmas. He was only 49 days old. Louise was Max’s Christmas gift a few years later. Before she was adopted in Caracas, Venezuela, Max used to sleep most of the time. But since that day, he’s had his own partner in crime. Max and Louise have lived with the photographer in Paris and Lisbon and accompany him every year when he visits Rio de Janeiro for Christmas. “They love to jump off boats for a dip in the water,” Ferreira says. They’ve visited the French Alps, Las Vegas, the Greek island of Mykonos, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Miami Beach.

8. [email protected]_lilo

Lilo is a 4-year-old Pembroke Welsh corgi from Calgary, Alberta. Wearing bandanas and Corgi goggles (or “coggles”), she’s been adventuring in the Canadian Rockies since 2016. “We started Lilo on short hikes with barely any elevation first, then slowly built up her endurance and stamina to longer and harder hikes,” says owner Aiko Dolatre. “Even with that, we still have to be mindful of her health, not letting her jump down from high places on the trail and keeping a closer eye on her in hot weather conditions.” Lilo has ridden a wooden horse in the Enchanted Forest and braved the Capilano Suspension Bridge. She’s also visited Prairie Mountain, Sunwapta Falls, Johnston Canyon and Moraine Lake.

9. [email protected]

Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Stephen Martin joined the Army in 2005. Seven years later, he moved from his duty station at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium to Colorado Springs. That’s where he adopted Ollie, a Wirehaired Fox Terrier mix, who’s climbed 37 of Colorado’s 14ers. Ollie, who has 21K Instagram followers, loves drinking out of creeks and lying down in them. Martin and Ollie start hiking at 3 a.m. and sit on the peak for an hour or two before sunrise. Because dogs see in dichromatic color, Martin doesn’t really know what a gorgeous sunrise looks like to Ollie.“But he’ll sit there on the rock next to me…and I watch him enjoy it,” he says. “I feel like he knows when we reach the top.”

4 Hidden Travel Dangers for Pets
Want to live with no excuses and no regrets?
Here are 4 dangers to watch out for.


Anxiety: According to “Scientific Reports”—an online multidisciplinary open-access journal—50 percent of dogs are afraid of loud noises, heights and walking on metal grids. Cats are commonly stressed by another person or pet. “So let your pets sniff all the things they want to sniff. Let them hide if something spooks them—in your arms or a backpack, so you become their safe space,” Roper says. “They’ll gradually build more and more confidence and learn to love new experiences.”

Fishing Gear: Keep them away from your tackle boxes and bait buckets. Dogs often get fishing hooks stuck in their nose and tongue. It’s not rare to see dogs that have swallowed, well…hook, line and sinker. If you’ve got any lead sinkers or jigheads lying around, be careful. If your dogs are naughty enough to swallow one (or several), they can cause lead poisoning.

Pressure-Treated Wood: Pressure-treated wood is coated with chromate copper arsenate (CCA) that protects it from insects and rot. Because it lasts 20 years or more, it’s been used to build 90 percent of all outdoor wooden structures in the US, says the Environmental Working Group. CCA is dangerous because it’s made with arsenic. It can seep into the soil and pool on wooden surfaces. Whether you’re picnicking or fly fishing on an arsenic-treated deck, keep an eye on your pets. Don’t let them lap up puddles or play in dirt that could have ashes from a CCA wood fire. One tablespoon contains a fatal dose of arsenic.

Snakes: According to a new study published in “Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology,” cats are twice as likely to survive venomous snake bites than dogs. That’s because they often swat at snakes with their paws while dogs investigate them with their nose and mouth. Venom acts faster on dog plasma than cats or humans. Without snakebite first aid, dogs will quickly bleed to death. “Dogs are usually more active than cats, which isn’t great after a bite has taken place,” writes Lead Researcher Bryan Fry. “The best practice is to remain as still as possible to slow the spread of venom through the body.”


One of the most independent breeds when it comes to working breeds is the Czechoslovakian Vlcak (pronounced like Vull-check). These beauties are also known as the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog and are not for the faint of heart. This hearty, intelligent, loyal and active dog is not recommended for first-time dog owners. So like the song, “Waterfalls” by TLC suggests, “Please stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to” or in this case dog breeds.

But for those seeking out an adventure and a challenge, this could be the dog you’ve been looking for. Dawn Ziarkowski, president of K9 Country Club in Waukesha, refers to this breed as the “Velociraptors of the dog world.” Their faces are so expressive. “You can actually see them thinking and figuring things out,” says Dawn with a chuckle. Just like when the raptors are testing the fences in “Jurassic Park.” Yikes!

An Uncanny Intelligence & Notable Bond

The key to understanding the Vlcak breed is learning how they communicate. “This breed’s intelligence is beyond anything I have ever experienced,” says Dawn. As a kennel owner, she has experienced a variety of breeds. “Their ability to think independently is both amazing and challenging,” she says. And now as a Vlcak owner herself, her dog Loki keeps her on her toes. He likes to check on her to see if she is busy. Then when he feels she is preoccupied, he will sneak away to go do bad things. Busted!

“He opens up the refrigerator and helps himself to hot dogs!” declares Dawn’s husband Jim Ziarkowski, owner of the K9 Country Club. Jim admits that it was not only the look of this breed that captivated him at first but also their intelligence. When their dog Loki wants to go outside, he will nudge the doorknob with his nose so Jim can hear the clink sound it makes. Not the typical dog-like behavior, however it is Vlcak-like behavior.

Vlcaks are currently used throughout Europe and in the US for search and rescue, tracking, obedience, agility, drafting, herding and working dog sports.

Alex Kaftan, dog owner and Vlcak enthusiast (and now friend residing on the same property as the boarding facility), was the person who originally introduced the Ziarkowskis to the breed in 2018. Alex was in need of the right boarding facility for his dog Mars—a known “flight risk.” So Alex decided to start out with a two-day trial period prior to leaving for a whole month, and by default, thus began an adventurous journey for the Ziarkowskis into the Vlcak world.

Alex notes the bond this breed has with their humans is impossible to briefly describe. Within just two hours of being left at the kennel, his dog Mars ripped through a window screen and ran for the road. Jim, who was conveniently doing dishes when he heard the noise, dropped everything to go chase Mars through a cornfield. Dawn notes that Jim frantically called her and told her to call Alex. Upon her calling Jim back, Mars stopped dead in his tracks when he heard Jim’s ringtone of wolves howling. Luckily, Mars was recovered because of Jim’s unique ringtone.

That was just the beginning. Mars did return for his month-long stay as intended. For the Ziarkowskis, this became an eye-opening experience. After about two weeks, the girl that helped out at the kennel came to start her shift and noticed Mars was staring at her through the glass door from inside the office. There was also now a hole next to the window air conditioner. Apparently, Mars had figured out how to unlatch his door to the kennel, open the door that lead to the hallway, jump over a gate in the hallway, chew through the accordion-type material that secures the air conditioner to the window and went outside. Hence, the need was established to “Marsproof” the kennel going forward.

Vlcaks are extremely devoted to their owners and canine packmates. As an Italian citizen now living in Wisconsin,

Alex says Italians refer to this unique bond as “morbidly attached.” In fact, Mars has extreme separation anxiety (if you haven’t figured that out already) and has broken out of several kennels, apartments and houses in search of Alex. They are not at all like the “I just met you but loooove you!” dog.

Fun Fact 1: Mars will grab Alex’s wrist with his mouth, take him from his bedroom to the kitchen and then from the dog bowl to the sink in order to fill it up for his daughter Ceres (Alex’s other Vlcak). Both in photo above.

An Experimental History & Active Lifestyle

Originally bred in Czechoslovakia in the 1950’s to work border patrol, this breed evolved from crosses between German Shepherds and Carpathian Wolves and was essentially the result of a biological experiment that ended in 1965. In 1982, the Vlcak became a recognized national breed known for its versatility and ability to survive harsh elements. Loki’s history began in the Czech Republic from a breeder (Hana Kaufmanová OdÚhoště), but it surely didn’t end there. Loki is now a UKC Show Champion, AKC-registered, a movie star (“Deep Woods”), beloved Wisconsinite and FETCH cover dog.

The AKC says Vlcaks are great for tracking or trailing sports or as a companion for active owners who enjoy spending time doing outdoor activities such as biking, running or hiking. Jim warns that they need daily exercise, mental stimulation and extensive socialization. Give your highly-energetic Vlcak a job that changes often, has purpose and is not boring. Alex warns possible new owners that this breed can be very challenging and will require lots of attention, work, patience and much willingness to learn on the owner’s part. “But it is worth it a thousand times over.”

Tips For Boarding One

Precautions should be taken when boarding them. “Because of their intelligence, this breed can scale a chain link fence like an expert rock climber. They will effortlessly climb and leap over fencing as high as 6 feet if there is no deterrent at the top,” says Dawn. Full disclosure to the boarding facility about the breed’s tendencies is HIGHLY recommended. To properly and safely board a Vlcak, the person responsible must know everything up front. For instance, if the dog can open doors or if he/she is a climber, this is all important information to disclose.

• Outside chain-link kennels must have complete fencing over the top and secured with metal bindings (not plastic as they will chew through it) to prevent escape. Fencing should go to the ceiling on inside and outside of kennels, or they will squeeze through impossible spaces and escape.
• Any area where the dog is kept that has a gate would need to have a padlock. While you do not need to lock it, the lock on the door prevents it from being moved.
• Unless fenced-in area for play is completely enclosed, a Vlcak should be tethered by a long lead to prevent fence climbing and escape.
• Cables to open or close kennel run doors must be removed. These dogs know how to pull the cable to open the door and go outside all by themselves.

Fun Fact 2: According to Dawn, the hardest thing she has learned about this breed is that if one would escape, you need to run away from them and not at them. This goes against our instinct to run after the dog to recover it. The Vlcak’s strong bond with the owner is what makes them come back to you.