Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why having dog insurance is important

To have a proper insurance for the dog is a very important issue for every new dog owner.
While most dog owners firstly think about health insurance plans, good public liability insurance, covering every kind of accident or injury is much more important. Even the smallest dog may cause a car accident by running on a road, make somebody fall and break his leg, damage someone else’s property, or bite the postman to defend his home.

Make sure the maximum cover is high enough to pay even for a heavy car accident and long term rehab. Most insurance plans have a very low coverage that is no help at all. There is many insurance companies specialized on pet insurances, so take your time to compare their plans and packages.

No matter where you live and what your neighbourhood looks like, there is always a remaining risk.

Of course then there is the possible cost of treating your dog in case of an illness. While some dogs will only see the vet for vaccination and check-up, others may suffer a chronic illness leading to repeated visits to a veterinary hospital. One in three pets need veterinary treatment each year, so pet insurance is an important consideration. If you plan to breed, consider covering that cost also. There are of course many kinds of insurances and plans to cover those costs. Some cover just treatment and medication, others even x-rays, surgeries or hospitalization. Many plans may just pay for a certain percentage of the cost, so ask for all quotes available.

If you own any other dogs or pets, look for discount packages. Ask your local kennel or breeders club if they have any cooperation or special deals for members. If you already have personal lines insurance, ask if they also cover your pet, how to add your pet if possible and for special deals on that matter.

Training your dog to Sit!

The command Sit! would be one of the first and easiest you want your dog to learn and memorize.

Whenever a dog hears his feeding dish being handled, or his leash being taken from its place it knows what’s going to happen. So the Puppy is very early able to understand the connection food - cup, or walk – leash and anticipate the outcome. This is exactly what we are going to take advantage of.

The moment the Puppy sits down by himself we say “sit”. Repeatingly using the sit! command whenever the Puppy sits down will make your dog connect action and command. As with the cup and leash example the dog will sit down although the command is happening before the action taking place. Of course the Puppy will only sit down if not “disturbed” by something of major importance.

You may start to back your command after a few days of practice, by gently pushing your dog’s croup down with one hand and keeping his head up with the other. In doing so, we repeat the command >>sit<<, >>sit<< with a comforting voice. Should the dog sit for about 5 seconds, this should be followed by exuberant praise and visible exaltation.
Your body language and voice must be a clear signal to your dog, that it has just achieved something world-shaking.

Do not start to train any other commands in that period, and don’t exercise the sit! command 5 times in a row! Let some time go by and don’t forget the celebration whenever it works out.
Slowly increase the complicacy: Both of you are laying on the floor playing and out of the sky there comes the command.

Make sure to be consequent! Never repeat your command! Enforce the execution right after the first command!
Support your verbal command with a precise hand signal. As soon as this works, try just calling the dog by its name and the use of the hand signal only the moment the dog is looking at you.

The next steps are to train the sit! command at close range. Use a light leash starting from about 1-2 yards and keep increasing the distance. At this point I suggest introducing your dog to a new kind of signal, the dog whistle, also known as silent whistle. There might come situations in your dog’s life, where your verbal commands might not be heard because of excessive noise or simply the distance. The dog whistle is the perfect tool in those situations as it has a long distance effect.

Choose a unique signal for this command and start using it in exchange to your verbal command. Make sure that this signal is clearly distinguishable for your dog from all other signals you plan to use for further commands.

taken from

Dog Shaking

Yellow Labrador Puppies

Sick Pet. Tough Economy. What to do?

From a pet owner's perspective, each pet deserves to be treated, whether the funds are there or not. Some people even question if a vet 'cares' about their pet when they won't see the pet and provide treatment for free or at an extremely reduced cost.

From a veterinarian's perspective, yes, all animals deserve to be cared for, suffering reduced or eliminated, and animals treated and cured of their illnesses or conditions whenever possible. Unfortunately, there are real costs involved in veterinary medicine -- medical supplies, the necessary medications, and diagnostic tests are not inexpensive, even to veterinarians. And things like hospital building rent/mortgage, employee costs - technicians, staff, and yes, even the veterinarian's salary and insurance all need to be paid.

It should be noted that delaying care can add to the expenses considerably. Trying to diagnose and treat a pet at home may indeed cause the situation to be worse -- your pet's illness becomes more serious, necessitating additional care, medications, tests, etc.

Veterinary Pet Insurance
Even though this option has been available for approximately 20 years, it hasn't been available everywhere, hasn't always been cost effective for some pets/pet owners, and is not the answer for something immediate, like an emergency situation. However, this option is being used more commonly by pet owners today. Planning ahead is the key. The best bet is to sign up early -- at the healthy puppy or kitten stage if possible, and select a plan that best fits your needs. Pet insurance can definitely help for the unplanned pet emergency. Click here for more information about pet insurance plans.

Maintain a "pet emergency" credit card to be used only for unforeseen pet medical needs
For those where credit is an issue, this isn't a viable option, but many people do have a credit card that is used only for pet emergencies. This allows the client to pay the veterinary bill in full, and pay on the credit card as able.

Payment plans offered through your veterinarian
I have found that many people don't even bother to call the veterinarian when money is an issue -- assuming the worst, that the vet will refuse the patient outright. This could indeed be the case, but phone several clinics if need be! You may be surprised. Many vets do offer some sort of payment plan on a case-by-case basis. It won't hurt to ask. Some clients have even traded services or labor to pay off veterinary bills. This is not the norm, and can't be done for every client in need of course, but communicating with your veterinarian honestly about your situation will allow for a quicker resolution and hopefully treatment for your pet.

Check with your local Humane Society or shelter
Your local animal aid organizations may be able to offer assistance if they have a veterinarian on call or on staff, or they may have a list of veterinarians who offer low-cost or subsidized care to those in need.

Animal welfare groups, breed rescues, or veterinary school funds
There are a few nonprofit groups that offer funding to those in need after submitting an application.

Help-A-Pet - A nonprofit organization which provides financial assistance for the medical care of pets whose owners are unable to afford the expense.
Labrador Life Line - Labrador Life Line, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) Not for Profit Organization created to help owners or rescuers of Labrador Retrievers who are in need of financial assistance.
The Travis Fund - Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. Created in memory of veterinarian Dr. Stanley O. Travis, the fund benefits injured and ill found animals, and owned animals undergoing treatment at Tufts' Foster Hospital for Small Animals or Hospital for Large Animals whose caring and responsible owners cannot afford the full cost of their veterinary care.
IMOM - In Memory of Magic - All volunteer 501(c)3 registered charity - Founded in 1998

Text: Copyright © Janet Tobiassen Crosby. All rights reserved.
taken from

Buying a labrador retriever tips

There are several points to consider before you go making a rush decision when you are thinking of purchasing a Labrador retriever, one of the first decisions is are you buying the puppy as a pet, for show or as a working dog for hunting? If you only want the dog as a companion then you won't be as limited but should still consider where you buy your puppy from.

If you want a puppy for showing in the future then you will have to take into account that it will have to meet certain standards which are laid out for the breed. If buying for show the puppy will usually cost more than one bought as a pet, if you are buying for sport such as hunting then its parents credentials will be essential too as they will pass traits onto to the puppy .

The gun dog

If you are going to be training or have your dog trained for use in hunting then you should make sure you get proof of the puppies background. You should ask to see the field records of the puppies parents and grand parents as these skills are what your puppy will have inherited.

The show dog

If you are thinking of showing the dog when it is old enough then you will need to make sure that the puppy has all the correct papers and registration documents that are needed for entering into a show. Another factor you will have to take into account is, do the puppies parents have credentials in showing, you should never take the breeders word for it, a reputable show breeder will have certificates and cups to back up what they say.

A reputable breeder will also point out which puppy he/she thinks will have what it takes to do well in shows though of course there is no guarantee of them winning. A show puppy will generally cost more than a puppy that while still being a wonderful pet wont have what it takes for winning in shows, so this should be taken into account.

The family pet

If you want nothing more than a reliable companion then your choices are more open, you won't have to rely on the puppies colour being perfect or if it doesn't quite meet the standards of a show dog. However you should still buy from a reputable breeder and ask plenty of questions about the puppies parents and the temperament of the puppy.

You should also get the relevant papers for the breed as most breeders of pedigree dogs will have the dogs registered whether they are for show or not. You will of course want to check that the puppies parents have been tested for hip dysplasia as this is a common problem in Labrador retrievers and one which is hereditary.

taken from

How To Care for Labrador Retrievers

By Samantha Harthy

Owning a Labrador Retriever is an amazing experience! They are sweet, loving, caring animals that need your love and care to become the best dog they can be. Here are some tips on how to care for your Lab:
Be sure to feed and water your dog. As with any breed of dog, Labs need food and water. Set up a feeding schedule for your dog as soon as she comes into your possession. Your Lab should have access to water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Feeding can be done once or twice a day, depending on your preference. Choose a good, healthy brand of dog food and feed according to the instructions on the bag. When you give your dog his bowl of food, tell him to sit, and don't put the food on the floor until he has sat. Once he obeys the command, sit the bowl on the floor for him, make him look at you (away from the bowl of tasty food), then release him so he can eat his meal. This will teach him that you are in charge of feeding him, not merely obeying his request.
Give her a place to sleep that is her own. Many people don't enjoy sharing their bed with a large, hairy dog (these people are crazy... just kidding, of course); if you don't want your Lab to sleep with you, give her a bed that is her own. A large kennel with a blanket or dog bed should do the trick. As a puppy, train her that this is her bed, and stick to putting her in it and telling her to lay down when you are ready for her to go to bed. Many people think it is "mean" to put their dog into a pen or crate to sleep, especially when the dog cries because she wants to be with you. Though she may not like the idea of being away from you, it is really best for her to have her own place to sleep. This is true for any dog, as their ancestors used to sleep in a cave-like bed either on their own or with their pack. By providing your dog this "safe zone" in which to sleep, she knows where she can go to get some peace and quiet.
Take them to a puppy/dog training class. If you get your Lab when he is a puppy, or even if you get him when he is older and already trained, taking him to a class will teach him that you are his master, and allow him to interact with other dogs. If he knows his stuff, a refresher course never hurt anyone, and it will give the two of you some great bonding time. If your Lab is a new puppy and doesn't know "come" from "sit," this will help teach you what you need to do, and help your puppy learn how to actually obey. Bring plenty of treats, love and patience to each class!
Groom and bathe your Lab regularly. Though there isn't a lot of grooming involved for a Lab, the breed tends to shed quite a bit, and brushing and bathing them can help keep down the amount of hair that gathers on your floors. Clip their nails regularly as well (if you can hear them clicking on the floor, it is time to clip them!).
Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Labs tend to become overweight if fed too much and exercised too little. The good news is that lab's love to run and swim. Though it may not be convenient for her to take a dip in a pond, she needs to get out and walk or run everyday. At least 30 minutes of exercise should be given to the dog each day. This is a great chance to spend time with your dog and get outside. Don't make it a chore -- make it fun for both of you!
Get your dog his shots and licenses on time. Not only are puppy shots, rabies shots and heartworm checks necessary to keep him healthy, they could save his life! Take him to the vet regularly, and be sure you get his licenses on time to keep both of you out of trouble!
Owning a Labrador Retriever means you can expect some general traits in your dog.
You now own a dog that loves the water. Labs were originally bred as a hunting dog for marshy/wet areas, and their job was to retrieve ducks and other waterfowl. If you live near water, his instinct tells him to run and jump right into it, so be prepared for that!
Labs are typically very gentle, loving dogs that get along great with children. My experience with labs tells me that if there is a little kid nearby, your lab is going to want to be right there, licking her face! If you have small children, make sure you let them around your lab and teach your dog not to jump on people, as he could accidentally knock down a child in his race to lick her face.
Prepare for the large amount of shedding typical of the breed. If your Lab is indoors, make a habit of brushing it regularly (at least every other day) and be prepared to vacuum a lot of dog hair! If you have allergies in the family, a Labrador Retriever may not be the breed for you.
Labs have a tendency (especially as a puppy) to chew on anything and everything in sight. If your puppy sees a shoe, she interprets it as a chew toy. This being said, keep lots of "real" chew toys accessible, train her early not to chew on chair legs, and keep anything off the floor that you wouldn't want chewed.

Labrador Retrievers make excellent companions for people of any age. If properly cared for, they can be the perfect addition to any family. I hope this helps and that you and your lab are very happy together for a very long time!