Dog Health 101

Whether you’re getting a new dog or looking into pet health, learning about the ins and outs of dog health is essential to having a happy dog. From food to drinks and weather conditions, you should know everything there is to know about dog health. Let’s break it down with an easy listicle.

Foods

Treating your pup to delicious human food on the regular might sound like a good idea, but it can be detrimental to their health, especially with certain items that are poisonous to dogs. Some human food is healthy and beneficial, but the point is to take the time to do the research. It is fairly common that both chocolate and garlic are harmful to dogs, but there are other less known bad foods. Remember these harmful food options when making a little snack for your fluff friend. An additional list of beneficial foods is added for your benefit below.

Harmful Foods:

  • Alcohol: Dogs should not be allowed anywhere near alcohol as it can have the same effects on them as humans: liver and brain problems.
  • Avocado: Because persin is in avocados, it is harmful to dogs. Too much can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Almonds: The shape of the almond can tear the organs and block the windpipe if not chewed properly. They are not outright toxic.
  • Bones: Be wary of bones. If they splinter, they can cause tearing and internal bleeding. Chicken bones are the most fragile of bones; do not feed them to your dogs.
  • Caffeine: It can be fatal. Avoid coffees and teas.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate is a big no. They stop the metabolic system from working correctly and cause vomiting, even leading to fatality.
  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is an irritant and can lead to digestive and liver problems.
  • Fat: Fat trimmings can cause pancreatitis.
  • Garlic: All forms of onion kill red blood cells and lead to vomiting and breathing problems. Anemia as well.
  • Grapes: Grapes are the cause of kidney failure as well as raisins. Ice Cream: Because of large amounts of sugar and potential lactose intolerance, ice cream should be avoided.
  • Macadamia Nuts: Never. Very poisonous for dogs; can cause vomiting, leg weakness, and lethargy.
  • Onions: Same as garlic.
  • Pits (Fruits): For example, peaches have large pits that can obstruct the bowels. Many pits have cyanide which is harmful to both pets and humans.
  • Salt: Too much salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning. It’s best to lower a dog’s salt intake.
  • Sugar: Same with humans, sugar can cause weight gain and teeth problems in dogs.

Beneficial Foods:

  • Breads
  • Cashews
  • Cheese
  • Coconut
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Ham
  • Honey
  • Milk: Dogs can be lactose intolerant as well. Look out for allergies.
  • Peanut Butter
  • Peanuts
  • Popcorn
  • Pork
  • Quinoa
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Yogurt

If you want a thoroughly detailed explanation of each food, go to the American Kennel Club’s website or FETCH WebMD to learn more about dog health.

Safe Weather Conditions for Walking

The 5-second rule goes for dog walking as well. Place the back of your hand on the pavement for 5 seconds. If it’s too hot for you, it will be too hot for your dog’s paws. Generally, the idea is to keep dogs indoors or in air conditioned rooms when it’s close to 100 degrees outside. For colder weather, it’s best to stay in below 40 degrees. Never take a dog out at 0 degrees.

This information can be swayed a little for a dog’s size. Larger dogs can endure more intense temperatures, but small dogs cannot. When the temp drops to 40 and below, small dogs should only be taken out for 15 minutes or less. Dog sweaters and booties are great ways to keep your pet warm in colder weather. If you want advice per temperature drop, Mental Floss has a wonderful chart for both Fahrenheit and Celsius temps in relation to dog walking. Remember, there are breeds that can take the colder weather temps, like huskies or malamutes.

When you think about your dog’s safety, you want only the best for your pet. With these tips, you will have a happy and thriving pooch. Also, take into consideration that every dog is different and has unique needs or allergies. You and your vet will be able to access your dog’s needs. If there is ever an emergency, contact the closest animal hospital or vet in town.

Cat Behavior 101

Cats are curiously strange creatures, but none the less adorable in every way. Just like dogs, they have their own ways of expressing their feelings to you and others. I’m sure you have come across a cat in passing. You know when a cat walks up to you with its fuzzy little face and
swishy tail, and rubs its body on you? That is often a sign of affection. There are plenty of cat behaviors to look into so let’s jump in.

  1. Purring: Purring is most often taken as a sign of relaxed behavior. Your cat is probably its most content when purring. However, it can be synonymous with sickness and stress. Cats calm themselves with the act of purring as it releases endorphins.
  2. Kneading: Kneading is also a sign of positive emotion. When kittens are feeding, they paw the mother to stimulate milk release. Doing this as an adult cat can bring back fond memories and pleasure.
  3. Belly Up: When a cat reveals its underside, it is in its most relaxed state. That is the most vulnerable position. You know your cat feels safe around you if they do this.
  4. Gifts: Ever have your cat bring in surprise gifts for you? A dead mouse or bird? It might be unsettling, but it’s a natural hunting instinct.
  5. Cheek Rubs: There are many scent glands on a cat’s face; the mouth, chin, and cheeks are all gland areas. When they rub their cheek against you or furniture, they are “bunting” or rubbing their scent on their claimed territory.
  6. Scratching: To sharpen the claws and leave scent trails, your cat will scratch common areas. Cats have scent glands on their paws, so it is a common behavior to scratch. If you don’t like furniture scratching, invest in a scratching post in an open area of your home.
  7. Meowing: Meowing can mean a plethora of things, from anything like “feed me” to “I want outside.” Owners generally learn to interpret their cats specific meows. It’s just their way of communicating with you. If you want a comprehensive list of potential cat meows and meanings, check out this link.
  8. Tail End: Cats will present their behinds to owners they trust. Like dogs, cats will allow other cats to sniff them with a raised tail as the “okay.” If your cat does this to you, they are presenting themselves for affection and pets.
  9. Rolling: Rolling is a grab for attention as well as a scent marker
  10. Sitting in Boxes: One of the funniest behaviors goes to this one. Cats LOVE boxes. Small spaces. You know you’ve seen photos all over the internet of cats in boxes. What’s really up with that? Confined spaces are safe, warm, and protected on all sides. Great for sleeping, but also hunting or hiding. Cats are natural hunters. A cardboard box offers a place to sit and wait quietly with no opportunity to be snuck up on. No surprises. A quiet place for careful observance. Additionally when a cat is nervous, they often like to hide from view. Bingo. Cardboard box. If you want an in depth study on cats and boxes, Purina has a great article for that purpose.

 

This list barely scratches the surfaces of cat behaviors, but it’s a great start for new cat owners and those interested in feline behavior. If you’re still have trouble understanding your cat, ask a fellow cat owner or your local vet. If you need some quick advice, Purina or American Kennel Club is a great place to start. If all else fails, pick up a cardboard box from the store or garage and enjoy the entertainment.

 

8 Tips For Keeping Your Aging Dog Healthy

As dogs age, they need a little extra love and care. Older canines often suffer from a variety or health issues at some point or another; arthritis or hip dysplasia are quite common. In order to keep your dog healthy, it’s best to start a specific age-appropriate diet and exercise regiment. Even if your old girl is slowing down, she can still have a happy, fulfilling life.

Instead of waiting until last minute to check for health problems, get a head start by considering your dog’s potential health issues in the future. Many breeds suffer from the same health problems as they age. For example, golden retrievers and German shepherds suffer from hip dysplasia. If you can pinpoint possible ailments, you can be aware of those issues earlier on to make health adjustments and tuned exercises specifically for your dog.

girl with her dog

Here are 8 tips for keeping your aging canine fit and healthy.

  1. Go on 10 to 15 minute walks. All dogs need exercise, big and small, young and old. Although an older dog will be much slower paced, they still need the activity to keep their joints moving. Because older dogs commonly have arthritis or physical limitations, it is best to start small with 10 minutes and go up to 15 minutes at a time. If you notice your dog is slowing down or heavily panting during the walk, cut it short.
  2. Take your dog swimming. Swimming is a great exercise for water-lovers. It’s also a great activity that eases pain and exercises joints. The benefits go on: it’s relaxing and comfortable for aging dogs. Just like walking, allow for short periods of time.
  3. Encourage indoor stair-stepping. Many homes have stairs. If your dog is still able, walk them up and down the stairs for a few rounds. If they need some encouragement, place treats at the top of the stairs vice versa. Easy indoor exercise!
  4. Buy dog food with DHA and EPA. For dogs with arthritis and joint pain, fatty acids are beneficial. Glucosamine and chondroitin are great for these issues.
  5. Brush your dog’s teeth. Same as humans, plaque buildup, gum disease, and tooth decay are common problems for dogs with bad teeth. The simple act of teeth brushing can improve teeth health immensely. Dental care bones and toys can help with teeth cleanliness as well.
  6. Add fiber to their diet. Constipation is something older dogs face. Make sure to encourage healthy bowels with added fruits, vegetables, and wheat fibers. Green beans, broccoli, bananas, and apples are great sources of fiber.
  7. Play simple games. To keep your pooch active, try some simple games for fun. For example, hide treats and let your dog find them, play soft tug-of-war, or fetch. For the older dog with mobility issues, throw the object only a few feet away – just enough to get your dog moving.
  8. Get the vet’s opinion. As always, check with your vet for the best health plan for your dog. They are professionals and know what’s best for your aging pup. They will give you specific exercises and diet plans. If you notice any health changes, call the vet as soon as possible.

To ensure a long and happy life for your best bud, use these tips to keep your dog in tip-top shape. Simple exercises, brain work, and overall hygiene will be sure to keep your dog on its toes. Remember to have fun creating a health plan and enjoy the extra time with your pooch. A happy dog makes for a happy home.

5 Tips for Socializing Your Dog

Rescuing or adopting a dog is one of the most kind-hearted things you can do, but it doesn’t come without its trials. You don’t know what that dog has been through. Abuse or neglect? You are bringing an animal into your home that has already had another owner, whether good or bad. Obviously Rocky and Snow are perfect in every way, goober smile, wide eyes, and large personality. You might be one of the lucky ones and end up with a perfectly house-trained and well-behaved pupper, but that isn’t the case for everyone. Dogs will often react in new situations, especially if there are already other dogs in the household, or just on daily walks. There are two ends of the spectrum: aggression and avoidance. Here are a few quick tips for socializing your new family member and giving them the best chance they have at a happy, adjusted life. Signs of Discomfort If you are having trouble reading your dog’s behavior, these are a few obvious signs of anxiety and aggression.

● Panting
● Barking
● Pacing
● Cowering
● Tail between legs
● Yawning
● Growling
● Teeth Baring
● Biting

Tips and Tricks

Be Positive Consistently-

Positive reinforcement is essential when teaching anyone to learn, and the same goes for dogs, especially rescues. They need all of the love and support they can get as they are coming into a new, unfamiliar environment. Treats, positive commands, and lots of attention are great ways to encourage your dog. When interacting with multiple dogs, make sure you are consistently positive and happy. Your behavior will reflect on theirs. Whenever you see positive interactions between your pups, bring in all of the rewards! The trick is to catch those good moments and be ready with treats. Just make sure to present the reward right after the interaction, not during. It might cause unnecessary quarreling over food.

Soothe Your Dog-

When bringing an unstable dog into your home, remember to keep calm. Always, always, always. Put forth your best soothing voice and calm your dog during fearful situations or stressful encounters. It is important not to raise your voice as that could become more of a trigger for your already stressed dog. Yelling will only give Rocky bad memories for these situations, and he will remember that for the next time. You don’t want to create a pattern of negativity. Even when Rocky interacts badly with your other dogs, don’t overreact. Instead, be calm and create space between the dogs.

Start with Small Experiences-

With a rescue, you can’t just jump into everything off the bat. New dogs take time to adjust. Start small with each new experience in and out of the home. As you work with your rescue and your previous dogs, make a point to keep interactions short and sweet. Small periods of interaction work well because it doesn’t allow time for bad behavior. Repeat these small, positive interactions and you will eventually be able to progress as their interactions continue in a good manner. Protip: If you have more than one previous dog, keep interactions separate between all dogs for a good amount of time. You don’t want the other two dogs to gang up on the new one. This way, they are all separate interactions. As you have more successes, you can start bringing them together.

Even when starting small, it is important to expose your dog to a good amount of new things and experiences. This way, they will be prepared for all situations. Short walks around the block, time in the backyard, playing with friends and family, etc. Make sure to be patient and to assess your dog’s behavior and progress at all times.

Put on Music-

You know how music is great for babies? Yes, it’s a wonderful tool for dogs as well. It can be a calming factor in a dog’s life. While you are gone, the calming noise of music will create a filler for absent noise. Classical music can be a great start and is synonymous with relaxation.

According to Reader’s Digest, researchers found that dogs relaxed when introduced to reggae music and soft rock. Either way, try soothing music for your rescue.

Get Professional Help-

If you are still having trouble with your rescue, it is best to call in a professional. The most experienced trainer will be able to help your dog adjust to new environments and employ good techniques for future behavior. There is always help available. Don’t worry. You will get your beloved pup back on track in no time!

How Long Can You Leave Your Dog Alone?

You get up in the morning and out comes Cooper, rushing down the hallway, wiggling his way over to you. You’re a little groggy, but boy, does that big slobbery smile cheer you up in an instant. He follows you around the house as you get ready for the day, wagging his tail as he goes, happy to shadow his master. It’s time; work is calling and you head out the door on the way to the office, but not before you take one last glance back at Cooper. He’s standing on the windowsill, giving you a longing gaze in hopes that you’ll return promptly, his eyes as big as the moon. That’s when it hits you: the guilt. The guilt of leaving your precious fur child alone while you work during the day. You don’t need to dwell on those feelings all too much; dogs can be on their own for a given amount of time. So, how long can you actually leave your dog alone? The answers are all here for you, but it does depend on certain factors. Let’s jump in!

As a general rule, dogs can be on their lonesome for four to six hours a day; this goes for dogs aged from 4 months old to a year and onward. However, the younger the dog, the less time they can be left by themselves. Puppies, for example, need more frequent windows to empty their bladders. At 8 to 10 weeks, hour breaks are necessary for their tiny organs. At 4 months, four hours will do. Depending on the age of your pup, you can find out how long they can be left alone; here is a great infographic for more details. One the other hand, senior dogs might need to be let out as often as puppies. With a variety of health problems, every two to six hours could be necessary. It depends on your dog, but just be watchful of their habits. You’ll pick it up.

When you leave your dog alone during the day, make sure to give your pup things to do or play with him beforehand. A bored dog makes for mischief! You might come home to ripped trash bags, chewed furniture, and general messes. This is more common with younger dogs, but dogs with separation anxiety might also do the same. One of the first things you can do to help your dog is to tire him out before you leave. Take Cooper on a long walk to get all of his energy out; he will spend a good chunk of the day resting after an exercise. Chew toys, bones, and balls are great options to keep your pup occupied. Instead of chewing up your new couch, they will hopefully opt for a toy.

If you are going to be gone longer than four to six hours, make sure you have a plan in place. Maybe your partner, roommate, or neighbor can let your dog out for you. Make sure this is a person your trust as you want to keep your best bud in the hands of someone kind and loving to animals. There are also great options for dog-sitter services like, Barking Trails and apps dedicated to this purpose. Experienced dog-lovers will cater to your pet’s needs at all hours, and even take them on walks if desired.

5 Tips Before Getting A Puppy

Do you want to come home to a lovable fluff muffin every day? Someone who will be excited every single time you walk through the door? Honestly, who wouldn’t? A puppy is one of the sweetest, most adorable additions to any family. Before you step into the world of puppydom, let’s go over a few quick tips and guidelines.

Allergies

Number one tip before getting any kind of new pet: do you have allergies? It is best to stay away from getting a new puppy if you have dog allergies, especially if they are severe. Some allergies are manageable with medications. The good thing is that there are certain breeds that are hypoallergenic.

Available Space

Unfortunately puppies don’t stay small forever ― unless you get a small dog ― and you will need to be aware of the space needed for a pet. Puppies need lots of room to romp around and play, especially bigger dogs like Great Danes. If you don’t have the space available, but still have the desire for a puppy, that’s okay! Talking your pup on lots of walks and play dates works too. Just remember to make time for bathroom breaks throughout the day.
Many owners choose to crate their dogs during work hours. It is a great way to avoid mess.

Work Schedule

New puppies need constant attention just like babies. Is your work schedule flexible to visit your puppy throughout the day, or bring it to work? If not, maybe a friend or partner can help with caring for your puppy.

Breed Choice

One of the most fun things about getting a new puppy is deciding on a dog breed. Before you decide, take into consideration work schedule, ability to exercise, desired attention level, etc. Each breed has specific temperaments and qualities. If you need help choosing, American Kennel Club has a wonderful online quiz for you.

Adoption

If you aren’t looking for a purebred puppy, animal shelters are great places to find pets who need loving homes. Purebreds are more rare, but mixed breeds can be some of the absolute cutest and spunkiest pups. Give that precious fur-ball the home it deserves.

Comforting Dogs During Storms

The Fourth of July may be over, but for many skittish dogs, that doesn’t mean the fear of loud noises is in the past. Fireworks may trigger fear in some dogs, but they typically only last during the week of the 4th. Thunderstorms can come and go year-round and may frighten your furry friends. Learn how to comfort your dog during thunderstorms so you can help alleviate some of their fear and anxiety.

Be Present

If you can be at home during a period of thunderstorms (especially during severe storms), you can provide love and comfort to your companion. Just having you home with them can bring great relief, since they won’t be alone. If you can’t be present, find a friend or family member who wouldn’t mind sitting with your dog until you get home.

Massage

Did you know you can give your dog a massage? This can evoke a calming feeling, helping to ease their anxiety and fear during storms. Gently massage your dog, paying close attention to their favorite spots, while talking calmly to the,.

Provide a Safe Place

If your dog has a crate or bed they feel comfortable in, please it in a room where the noise is less noticeable. A familiar sleeping place can provide added comfort to your dog when they are scared or anxious due to thunderstorms. If nobody is available to sit with your dog during the storms, place a shirt you’ve recently worn in their crate or on their bed. Having their owner’s scent close by will help bring them comfort until you arrive home.

Make Your Own Noise

You don’t want to blast loud music to compete with the sound of thunder but playing more calming sounds may help relax your dog. Try playing the radio for some background noise or even play white noise. You may be able to find sounds specifically designed to help comfort dogs online.

Speaking of noise, if you are trying to help your dog overcome the fear, you can utilize thunderstorm sounds. Start playing a video or CD of thunder beginning at a low volume while providing your dog with positive reinforcement and attention. As you turn the volume up gradually, introduce treats, special toys, and lots of play time. Doing this may help lessen the burden thunderstorms have on your dog or may even relieve the fear altogether. Nobody wants their furry companion living in fear, especially during thunderstorms. By learning how to comfort your dog during these times, you can ease their mind and lessen the anxiety and fear the loud noises have on them. Ensure they have a safe place to hide if they need to and utilize your own noises to help combat the sounds of thunder. You may even help them overcome the fear by playing sounds of thunderstorms and interacting with them while it is playing.

Must Love Dogs

Yes, the name of this post is copied from the truly terrible rom-com Must Love Dogs starring a young Diane Lane and John Cusack. Critics say the film “… was like eating candy Pop Rocks—there’s a bit of fizz, but it leaves no lasting impression…” and received a whopping 35% on Rotten Tomatoes. While I happen to agree with this review, one of the main ideas will remain important to me with an almost jawbreaker-esque longevity.

You. Must. Love. Dogs.

They’re quite literally some of the best people I’ve ever met. Nothing is better than coming home after a long day to smiling dog face. And yes, they’re a lot of work. And yes, sometimes you don’t want to walk them at 6:00AM. And yes, they’re basically just poop machines. But you love them nonetheless because they love you, no questions asked.

My parents have two large golden retrievers whom I just dogsat for and I love to the moon and back, but they’re an absolute nightmare to walk down the streets of San Francisco. Tanner (the larger of the two) is always at the end of his leash pulling me either up or down the large hills, and Kai (the lazier of the two) will walk right beside me, until he decides that the step he has just taken, is his last. When these pups ultimately choose the exact same moment to exhibit their stubborn behaviors, I end up arms spread, stuck in one place on the sidewalk–usually to the amusement of tourists or people eating in the restaurants we pass.

So it’s hard for me to comprehend the people who don’t love dogs. It’s understandable to be a little cautious around them especially if you don’t know their disposition. However, to outright dislike dogs doesn’t make any sense. One might argue, what about a traumatic incident with a dog? Well, my little sister was bitten across the face by a dog when she was 5 and required reconstructive surgery, and yet she’s still the one most likely to stick her own face in a dog’s face.

But I get it. Everyone doesn’t love every dog, and that’s okay–and even if you’re not smitten with them, you can still love dogs… just from a distance.

Here is an homage to my favorite dogs throughout the years!

Tanner

The ever energetic dog we’ve watched grow from a rambunctious puppy, to rambunctious adult, to a “seriously you’re still rambunctious” older dog. Aloof as always, but always ready for a snuggle or a walk.

Kai

The sweetheart foster dog we’ve loved for 2 years. If your lap is free, his head is in it. If your napkin is exposed, he’s snatched it. And if you come through the door, he will bring you whatever he can find, sock, egg carton, tissue, you name it.

Leo

The newest addition to our Golden clan. My little sister’s puppy and one of the sweetest little stinkers around. Good natured and always down to play or snuggle or both.

Genna

Our first dog addition to the family who passed away when I was a Junior in High School. Sweet, lazy and a wonderful dog, she put up with 3 teenagers and a whole lot of attitude, but was never anything but loving in return.

Thanks for reading! Have a favorite story about your pups?

Goldilocks and the 4 Bears

My family owns a cabin on a small lake called Fallen Leaf Lake, in South Lake Tahoe. This home as been in my family for nearly a century, having been built by my great grandfather Leslie (ironic, I know.). Now, this article isn’t about our cabin… but if you’d like to read about it, it’s next on the list of blog articles. This post talks about some fun furry friends we met on a hiking trip with our own furry friends.

**No animals or humans were harmed in the making of this story**

I had taken advantage of my company’s work from home policy and planned on spending the greater half of my week up at the cabin. Both of my parents and my little sister were up there, as well as our 3 golden retrievers. Two of them (Tanner & Kai) belong to my parents, and our newest addition is Leo, my little sister Maddy’s six month old puppy.

Later in the week Maddy and my dad left to go apartment hunting in LA, since my sister was just accepted into USC’s Master Program for Social Work–woohoo! So they left all 3 pups with me and my mom.

Having gone up to this lake every summer since I was born–and a similar legacy for my mom–we decided to go for a quick walk around the northern end of the lake with the dogs. We knew this trail like the back of our hand.

We leashed up the dogs, hopped in the car and headed to the trailhead.

Being the dog people we are, we like to let our pups roam free on trails since they never get the opportunity to be off leash in the city. So we released the beasts. We started walking the trail with Tanner, Kai and Leo each taking turns to run into the bushes, up the path, or simply lie down and eat grass. They were loving it!

We made a left at a fork in the road and continued into a meadow. The trees were beautiful, tall, and rose up in clumps around us. Our trail was fairly quiet and we didn’t encounter folks for a few minutes. As we passed a clump of trees Tanner took off running, sniffing and jumping excitedly at a smell he found at the base of a large tree. Within a few seconds Kai ran over to that spot and was anxiously pawing the ground as well. This is when our red flag went up. Kai, the loveable, lazy dog that he is, doesn’t move unless absolutely necessary–or if food is involved. We started to call them back fearful they’d found a porcupine or some dead animal, and we’d already taken Tanner to the vet with a face full of porcupine quills a few years earlier and none of us was keen to repeat the experience.

In a surprising turn of events the dogs listened and started our way.

That’s when I looked up. And there it was. Only 15 feet away from us, clinging to the tree above where the dogs had been investigating, was teenage bear cub. Luckily these are California Golden Bears, and aren’t violent unless provoked. However, this one was young enough to be considered a cub. And if you’ve know anything about bears you know that where there is a cub, there is also a mom, and she will do anything to protect her babies. We grabbed the dogs, leashed them and basically sprinted away from the bear in the hopes that Momma was nowhere near.

Once we made it a bit further down the trail towards a more populated camping area and where the trail touched the water, we felt a bit better about letting the dogs off the leash again. Surely no bears would be this close to a heavily populated campsite at 2:00PM.

We hung out near the water for a while, throwing sticks for the dogs, and getting sprayed when the dogs shook themselves dry.

We slowly made our way down the beach, wandering around folks gathered to play in the water and onto the next part of the trail.

Once again, Tanner took off running.

Leo tried to accompany him but couldn’t make it over the large log blocking his path. Grabbing him, and shoving him at my mom to leash, I ran after Tanner.

It wasn’t a porcupine.

Tanner was running directly at ANOTHER bear. And this time it was a Momma Bear. She was encouraging her 2 babies to climb into a nearby tree for protection. As Tanner ran up to her barking wildly, she whipped around and stopped, staring at him, daring him to come any closer. Tanner and this bear stared each other down for a few seconds, only 15 feet apart. I finally came to my senses and stopped running, only about 40 feet from the two animals.

In that moment I realized 2 things. 1) How much I love my stupid dog and 2) How quickly I’d sacrifice him if that bear charged. Fight or flight, baby, it’s real thing–and I was only in flight mode. I know it’s sad, and I’d never willingly sacrifice a dog, but why is it that some dogs are wired to walk (run) directly into death’s arms? You’d think 50 porcupine quills to the face would have taught Tanner not to go poking around with animals he doesn’t understand. But no…

Finally after screaming myself hoarse trying to call Tanner back towards me, he realized that he couldn’t defeat this bear and probably shouldn’t try. He came quickly back towards me, where I shoved him roughly over the log and re-leashed him with a few harsh words and sharp smacks to his nose.

We stayed and watched the bears from a safe(r) distance. The babies climbed back down the tree, staying close to their Mom, and slowly started making their way off into the forest. They crossed a rather large trail in the process and you could hear dogs sounding the alarm in the distance as the bears traveled away.

Deciding it wasn’t worth it to try our luck a 3rd time with the dogs off leash, we called it a day and quickly walked back to the car, only stopping to warn fellow hikers about the bears.

All 3 dogs are happy and healthy, and I’m 99% sure if we saw another bear Tanner would do the exact same thing again. But we love them!

** Kai throughout this last adventure was infatuated with a few kids eating sandwiches and was safely out of harms way**

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Roommates in college, Tristan Alleyne and Adam Goldberger founded Barking Trails in 2015 with the goal of providing pet parents a safe and affordable option of care for their four legged family members.

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