Category: Pets

Dog Pedigree Profile: German Shepherd

While it might not be the case around the world, the German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, ranking only behind retrievers and French bulldogs according to the American Kennel Club. Surprisingly, the German Shepherd is a relatively young breed, so its popularity over time has increased rapidly. Let’s take a closer look at the German Shepherd to examine its profile to see if it might be the right fit for your family.

Breeding History

In the late 19th century, herding dogs were extremely important as farming was a much more common occupation. A former cavalry officer in Germany named Max von Stephanitz thought that the working dogs of the time were good, but not quite perfect. He set out to create a breed that had size, speed, and intelligence all wrapped into one to become the standard for the working dog.

With that, von Stephanitz purchased a dog that he believed to be the closest to what he was looking for, naming him Horand von Grafarth. This dog would be used to breed with select females, creating the base for German Shepherds overall. von Stephanitz enlisted the help of several others so that the breed was held up to a certain standard, and the German Shepherd was officially recognized in 1919 after years of proving its worth in the working class.

What German Shepherds Are Known For

As we mentioned, the German Shepherd was created for the primary use of being a working dog. To this day, German Shepherds are a popular breed for many lines of work due to their physical traits and intelligence. Typically, a police department will enlist the help of at least one German Shepherd in its K-9 unit. On top of their ability to chase down escaping criminals, German Shepherds can perform many other tasks for law enforcement. This includes detecting drugs and explosives.

The police aren’t the only ones to use German Shepherds, either. They can be used as rescue or seeing-eye dogs, though not as much as retrievers. The original goal for the German Shepherd was to be a great herding dog, and they’re still a popular breed to do just that. 


There seems to be a very mixed bag in regard to a German Shepherd’s temperament. Some, even without training, are extremely gentle while others can be overly aggressive. The aggression can be curbed with a good trainer, and domesticated ones tend not to bite unless provoked.

German Shepherds are known for being very intelligent and obedient, which is why they’re used so frequently as guard dogs. Because of their strong bite, more people are sent to the hospital from German Shepherd bites than any other breed, though their high population numbers tend to skew that into making them considered dangerous as a whole.

Health Background

Like most other large dogs, a German Shepherd doesn’t have a long life expectancy. On average, a German Shepherd will live for nine to 13 years, though many factors come into play. The size of a German Shepherd can affect its health, especially when it comes to its bones. They are easily affected by arthritis and hip dysplasia, while their body types are also prone to bloat and diabetes.

Types of German Shepherd

Though the standard German Shepherd is easily identifiable, there have been some variants over the years. These are breeds that have been created outside of Germany, and mostly in the United States. These variant breeds include:

  • White Shepherd
  • White Swiss Shepherd
  • King Shepherd
  • East-European Shepherd
  • Shiloh Shepherd

No matter the type of German Shepherd, they tend to share the same traits. Make sure you have enough time, energy, and patience to commit to training a German Shepherd before adopting one for yourself. They can be a handful, but these loyal dogs make for great companions.

Is Your Dog Getting Enough Exercise? What You Need To Know

It can be tough to know if your dog is getting enough exercise, especially if your furry friend has only recently become a part of your family. Here, we’ll take a look at what you need to consider to figure out whether your pooch is getting enough time to run and play. 

Talk To Your Vet

No matter what you notice at home, your vet is the expert on your pet’s health. Talk with them about how much exercise your dog is getting, and ask them for suggestions if they tell you your dog needs to move more. If your dog is older or has joint problems, as your vet for suggestions on how to reduce their discomfort while increasing their level of activity. 

Keep an Eye on Their Weight

Weighing your dog every few months can give you a good idea of whether they’re getting enough physical activity. If your dog is a puppy, keep an eye on your vet’s recommendations for weight gain. If your dog is older, be sure to mention any unusual weight gain to your vet. While some weight gain is typical with age, too much weight gain can put stress on your dog’s joints.

Keep an Eye on Behavior

Many not-so-great puppy and older dog behaviors are simply due to not getting enough exercise. If your dog is feeling bored and full of energy, there’s a good chance they’ll find a way to take that energy out on an object within your home. If you’re noticing that your dog seems to have a lot of pent-up energy that’s tough to get out with daily walks alone, think about adding a second walk or taking them to a dog park so that they can socialize while also running off some energy. If your dog seems hyperactive, you may be tempted to put them on medicine to curb their behavior. Trying an extra daily walk can often fix the issue. 

Excessive energy isn’t the only behavioral sign that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise. If your dog becomes withdrawn or shows other behaviors that signify a change in personality, it’s possible that they simply need to get outside for extra physical and mental stimulation.  

 Lack of Endurance

When you do get your dog out for a walk or a jog, pay attention to whether they have trouble keeping up. In the event that your dog is huffing and puffing the whole way, or needs frequent breaks, you’ll want to get your dog on an exercise program that helps them build up their endurance. Taking your dog on shorter daily walks can be a fun way to help them build up to longer walks, and playing fetch with them in your yard can help them build endurance through short bursts of energy followed by periods of rest. 

Top 10 Cutest Cat Breeds

From stunning coats to distinctive markings to charmingly adorable personalities, let’s take a look at the top ten cutest cat breeds.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is fluffy, large and exceedingly friendly. Known as the gentle giant of cats, the Maine Coon is very easy to love. When fully mature, these large cats average around 12 to 15 pounds. They have a sweet and playful attitude towards life, making them an excellent family pet.

British Longhair

With cute chubby cheeks and rounded eyes, the British Longhair is one of the cutest cat breeds you’re sure to run across. As its name implies, the British Longhair’s stocky body is covered with luxurious fur. The British Longhair is a very calm, quiet and dignified feline companion.


With its gorgeous fluffy coat and striking blue eyes, the Ragdoll is regarded by many as one of the cutest cat breeds around. Their cuteness is matched only by their affectionate, calm and laid-back personality. Ragdolls love hanging out with their human family, including children. The name “Ragdoll” comes from their tendency to flop down and relax, especially loving to "hang" out in the arms of their humans.

Scottish Fold

The Scottish Fold’s curled ears give this feline a very distinctive appearance and unique cuteness all at the same time. The Scottish Fold is calm, undemanding and moderately playful. This breed of feline develops a very close bond with their human families.


With their characteristic shortened legs and small, low stature, the Munchkin’s appearance is sure to make one smile. Even adult Munchkins look kittenish. The Munchkin’s fur, which may be long or short, comes in a variety of coat patterns. Munchkins make excellent companion pets due to their sweet, friendly and playful personalities.

Russian Blue

Perhaps Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat was related to the Russian Blue whose slightly upturned mouth gives it the appearance of smiling. In addition to its winning smile, the beautiful Russian Blue cat has a beautiful silver coat. The Russian Blue is moderately active, politely playful and has a winning personality.


The Birman cat is also known as the Sacred Cat of Burma. Legend has it that the Birman was given its stunning blue eyes and luxurious coat as a reward by a goddess because of its loyalty and dedication to a priest. The Birman makes an ideal pet due to its affectionate, gentle and playful nature.


Its round face, short muzzle and luxurious fur give the Persian its characteristic cuteness. Sometimes referred to as “furniture with fur,” the Persian may remain completely still for extended periods of time. The Persian is very calm and docile. They love to be petted and to cuddle up with their humans.


The stunning Siamese is a sweet and adorable feline that doesn’t like to be left alone. It’s happiest when surrounded by its human family; therefore, they make amazing companions. They are vocal and have been known to talk to their owners all day long. The Siamese is one of the smartest cat breeds in the world.


The Bengal is a hybridized miniature of its namesake, the Bengal leopard cat. Due to their breeding, Bengals are larger than the average house cat. They have muscular bodies, are very energetic and require lots of exercise and play. Although Bengals have the stripes, distinctive rosettes and coloration of the leopard cat, they are less wild than their cousins. Bengals are both curious and intelligent. 


How To Help Your Dog Be Happy

Dogs are a human’s best friend. They provide us with pleasure, companionship and joy. In return, we can help our dog be happy and strengthen our bond in several ways. 

Provide Exercise

Exercise is essential for your dog’s physical health. Dogs also need movement to combat boredom. While you may need to crate your dog while you’re at work, offer adequate exercise, too. Take walks, runs or hikes together. And play games like fetch or tug-of-war. Even dancing and swimming keep your dog active. 

Rotate Toys

Your dog probably has a favorite chew toy, ball or stuffie. Even preferred toys can get boring, though. Stimulate your dog when you rotate toys. A few times a week, toss all the toys in a bin and bring out a fresh selection. 

Improve Diet

Feed your dog a nourishing and nutritious diet. After finding food she likes, follow serving size recommendations based on breed, size and age. Offer fresh water throughout the day, too. 

Promote Chewing

Chewing is a natural behavior. That’s why a bored or upset dog will chew on furniture and shoes. Offer plenty of chew toys to stimulate your furry friend. Bully sticks provide protein while dental bones clean your dog’s teeth and freshen his breath. 

Head Outdoors

Dogs love to sniff and explore. Meet this need with plenty of outdoor walks and playtime. Switch up the route or location every few days to add additional adventure and stimulation.

Offer Socialization

Dogs can be social creatures who need playtime with other dogs. Schedule doggie playdates with a neighbor’s pet or visit a dog park. If you’re new to doggie playdates, choose a neutral location, remove toys, start with introductions, and make sure your dog feels comfortable.  

Put Your Dog to Work

Some dogs thrive on hunting, digging or protecting, so give your dog a job. Hide a treat, several toys or yourself, and make them use their noses to find the objects. Or teach your dog to carry laundry and fetch your shoes. Also, consider setting up an agility course in your backyard. Give your dog a purpose and watch her thrive. 

Implement a Training Regimen

Your intelligent dog can learn tons of tricks beyond sit, come and roll over. Challenge and stimulate your dog to crawl, bow, spin, or jump through hoops. Use positive reinforcement methods and a consistent training schedule to give your dog confidence and strengthen your relationship.

Enjoy Snuggles

Pups appreciate physical touching like petting, brushing and snuggles. Maybe you don’t want your dog on your bed, but you can scratch her favorite spot. Or learn soothing massage techniques.

Study Your Dog

Because every dog is different, study your pet. Figure out what he likes and needs to be calm, stimulated and happy. For example, learn his boredom cues, offer his favorite treats and let him choose the walk route. 

You can help your dog be happy. Practice these tips as you support your pooch.


5 Strange Pets You Can Legally Own

When it’s time for a pet, who wants to stick with something boring? Everyone has a cat or a dog. Why not choose something more exotic? There are several exotic animals you can legally own. With one of these, you’ll be the talk of the neighborhood.

1. Serval Cat

Imagine a pet that looks like a miniature cheetah. That’s the Serval. Don’t worry, though. This exotic pet does well in captivity. It won’t tear through your yard at lightning speed. Also, they’re great hunters in the wild, but happily eat prepared food at home.

Servals are native to Central and Southern Africa. They live up to 19 years. You’ll love the exotic look fo their spotted coat.

2. Capybara

The capybara is the world’s largest rodent. These exotic pets kind of look like guinea pigs. Yet they can grow to 170 pounds. So they certainly are not cage pets. You’ll need more than one because they do best in groups. Because of their size and needs, pet capybaras also need a large outdoor space with a pool or pond. They are legal to own in most states.

3. Fennec Fox

The fennec fox has big ears and a small face. This adorable addition to your home may be legal with the right permit. But don’t let that adorable face fool you. These little guys are wild animals. They’re also skittish. This means they don’t like to cuddle. Also, they’re nocturnal. You’ll find they have a lot of energy when you want ot sleep. If you’re up for that challenge, this is one of the cutest exotics you can own.

4. Two-Toed Sloth

Many people are obsessed with the adorable, lazy sloth. Shockingly, it’s legal to own a two-toed sloth in several states. This exotic pet requires specialized care and doesn’t like to be held. You’ll need to give it climbing space and prepare for a long-term commitment. But one perk is that they don’t move fast. You’ll never have to chase your pet through the neighborhood if you choose a sloth.

5. Tamandua

The tamandua is a 10-pound variety of anteater. This popular pet has a personality similar to a cat. They may even be willing to cuddle. This makes them appealing as an exotic pet. You’ll draw plenty of attention walking a tiny anteater. Keep in mind that they sleep a lot. They are also nocturnal. This means they may be active at night.

Which exotic pet strikes your fancy? Before you buy, make sure you research local laws. Each state has its own exotic pet regulations. Always check the laws in your state before buying a pet. Also make sure to research care for your pet. Finally, choose a reputable, captive breeder.

How To Help Your Cat Be Happy

If you’re like most people who share their homes and hearts with a feline friend, you want your cat to be as happy as possible. Although they seem like mysterious creatures, making a cat happy isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Here’s what you need to know about making sure your cat is living a happy life. 

Play With Your Cat Every Day

Even though cats seem as if they’re less sociable than dogs, they still need interaction with their humans. Cats of all ages love to play, and it also provides indoor cats with the exercise they need to stay healthy. Change your play routine and switch out the toys to keep things exciting and fun for your cat. Keep toys with strings put away when you aren’t home because playing with these unsupervised has the potential to injure your cat. 

Keep a Clean Litterbox

Cats do not like a dirty litterbox. Failing to keep a clean litterbox may result in your cat using inappropriate areas of your home for elimination, such as your bed or favorite chair. The average litterbox needs to be cleaned at least once per day. Homes with multiple cats should provide a litterbox for each animal — cats don’t like to share their bathrooms. 

Provide Your Cat With a Catio

Catios are outdoor enclosures designed to provide spaces where cats can safely enjoy being outside. These enclosures come in many forms from basic to elaborate. Everyone wins when a catio is part of the picture. Cats get to spend time outdoors, birds and other wildlife are safe from them, and you don’t have to worry about your cat wandering off and getting lost. If you live in an apartment or condo without a yard, you can get a detachable enclosure that fits into a window frame. 

Provide a Sunny Perch Near a Window

Another way to keep your cat happy is to provide a sunny perch near a window. Cats love to bask in sunlight, and being next to window provides an opportunity to watch birds and other interesting things going on outside. Cat perches can be simple, cushioned spots elevated by a post or more complex structures often called cat condos or cat trees. These structures provide cats with climbing, play, and rest areas.

Don’t Forget Flea Treatment

No cat can be happy if it’s always having to scratch itchy places because of fleas. Pet owners often think their indoor cats cannot get fleas, but that is not the case. Fleas enter home interiors in a variety of ways, including on your clothing and the bottoms of your shoes.

Have Your Cat Microchipped

No one plans on their indoor cat getting loose, but no home is foolproof. If your cat gets loose and becomes lost, neither one of you are going to happy. Having your cat microchipped improves the chances of your cat being returned to your home safe and sound. 



Does Your Cat Hate You? Here Are The Signs To Watch Out For

No one who shares their heart and home with a fuzzy feline friend expects their cat to hate them — but it happens. Cats are notoriously picky, and it’s not difficult to earn their displeasure. Keep in mind, however, that your cat probably doesn’t literally hate you. He or she just hates something that you’re doing. It could be as simple as wearing a fragrance that the cat finds unpleasant or feeding it food that isn’t tasty. It is also possible that you’re misreading your cat’s signals. Cats, especially during their kitten months, often scratch and bite as a form of play. Following are several signs that your cat may hate you. 

Your Cat Avoids You

Avoidance is probably the most telltale sign that your cat hates you. If your cat scrambles to hide when you enter a room, you should ask yourself what you may be doing to cause this behavior. It could be as simple as the cat being taken by surprise when the door opens. On the other hand, the cat may actually prefer not to be around you. If your cat accepts being petted and otherwise shows no other signs that it hates you, it’s likely that it’s just temporarily startled. Try opening and closing the door more softly and see if that helps. 

Your Cat Stares at You and Doesn’t Blink

One of the ways cats show trust and affection is to slowly blink as they stare into your eyes. Simply staring at you without blinking may not mean that your cat hates you, but it definitely means it doesn’t trust you. The next time you catch your cat staring at you, slowly blink while holding the animal’s gaze. This will convey to the cat that it has your trust. After several days of doing this without your cat blinking back, it probably hates you. 

Your Cat’s Tail is Twitching

A twitching tail is a sign that your cat is annoyed. It may not hate you, but something in the environment is causing it consternation. Check to see if something is unusual or out of place. Perhaps a strange cat is lurking outside. Always be careful around a cat with a twitching tail. This is a sign that the animal is on high alert and prepared to defend itself with teeth and claws. If your cat’s tail is twitching, do not pick it up and try to pet it. 

Your Cat Has Its Ears Laid Back

When a cat’s ears are flattened on the back of its head, that means the cat is very angry. Do not attempt to physically engage with a cat while its ears are laid back. This is a sign that the cat is about to attack. Try to find out what is bothering the cat while keeping your distance. 

Keep in mind that your cat may be temporarily annoyed with you, but not really hate you. 

5 Most Expensive Cat Breeds In The World

If you’re a cat lover, you probably don’t think of your pet in terms of their price tag – after all, your cat is a family member and a supportive friend (at least when he or she feels like it), not an investment vehicle or a designer item. But when there are cats out there who cost more than a house, we thought you’d be interested in what the going rates are for these exclusive kitties. Check out the 5 most expensive cat breeds below.

1. Ashera Cats 

Asheras are definitely not your average housecat. And, the insane price for one of these babies is enough to let you know: an Ashera can go for as much as $125,000. These cats are said to be a designer breed, which means they have the genetics of several other cats, including African Servals, Asian leopards, and potentially others. In any case, the Ashera looks a lot like a wild cat with its spotted coat and large ears, yet it is closer to the size of a domestic cat. 

2. Savannah Cats  

Savannahs are a mix between the African Serval and a domestic housecat. Much like an Ashera, these cats have uniquely patterned coats and large ears, but they have shorter tails and long legs for a long and sleek appearance. They can range in color from smokey gray to golden with black stripes and spots. Want a Savannah car of your own? Be prepared to pay as much as $50,000 or more.  

3. Bengal Cats 

Bengals are a mix between a Snow leopard, a domestic cat, and other wild breeds. The end result is a beautifully spotted feline with a muscular physique and totally exotic look. Bengal cats have been around for a while—since around the 1970s to be exact. If you want to bring one home, the costs can run as much as $25,000 or more. But be careful, some states have outright banned the ownership of these cats because they can have wilder tendencies. 

4. Khao Manee Cats 

Originally from Thailand, the Khao Manee was actually once said to be a protected feline species. These solid-white felines were brought here in order to elevate the numbers and protect the lineage, but the Khao Manee is also not yet a registered cat breed in the United States. Now, the cost of one from a breeder rings up to at least $11,000. One of the reasons this particular cat is so unique is its eyes. Most are born with one amber or green eye and one blue eye, which creates a captivating appearance on a white-furred kitty. 

5. Sphynx Cats 

With no hair and glowing eyes, the Sphynx is one of the most recognizable cat breeds of all. While the hairless body is actually a gene mutation, these cats are still considered to be one of the healthiest feline breeds you can own. But, if you want to bring home a hairless baby, be prepared to spend as much as $9,000 or more, especially for one with a unique bloodline or color. 

5 Most Expensive Dog Breeds In The World

Almost everyone loves dogs whether they have one or not. After all, almost 40 percent of homes in the United States have at least one dog, with a strong share of just about every breed imaginable. We all know that owning a dog isn’t cheap, costing around $1,800 per year with vet visits, food and more. What are the most expensive dog breeds, though? Here are the five costliest. Note: This list is in no particular order, also, as prices vary greatly by region. Naturally, there’s no MSRP on a dog.

5. Chow Chow

When you think of fluffy dogs, one of the first breeds that comes to mind is the Chow Chow. A breed that’s native to China, Chow Chows are very sturdy and large dogs that are ideal for families due to their loyalty and ability to protect. Chow Chows require a lot of grooming, which can help rack up the bill for keeping one quickly over its lifespan of about 12 years. At the very lowest, it costs around $1,000 per year to raise a Chow Chow. However, most find themselves paying $2,300 just to obtain one and spending around $3,200 per year.

4. Samoyed

Affectionately referred to as “Sammies,” the Samoyed is one of the most beautiful looking dogs no matter their age. Samoyeds hail from the Siberian region of Russia and are a medium sized breed that grows to around 20 inches in height. Mainly pure white in their coats, Sammies are also one of the most requested dogs for breeders. Getting a Samoyed isn’t overly expensive at around $1,000, but some can be up to $3,000. The average cost per year runs between $750 to $3,600.

3. Afghan Hound

Afghan Hounds are among the most identifiable breeds because of their unique coats and tails. These gorgeous dogs are large, but not very thick compared to those that are in the same height class. Coming in many different colors, Afghans have long legs and live for about 12 years on average. Getting an Afghan from a breeder runs about $1,000 and the yearly costs tend to fall between $2,000 and $3,000.

2. Tibetan Mastiff

One of the largest dog breeds in the world, the Tibetan Mastiff is also majestic and speedy. Keeping itself warm with a double coat, these dogs can thrive in harsh conditions and are used to doing work while also having a longer lifespan than most others of its size. Naturally, these dogs love to eat, so get ready to spend a lot on food. These boys are expensive as puppies, costing up to $5,000 from a breeder and $1,500 as a rescue while also adding $2,500 to $4,000 in yearly costs.

1. Shikoku

Not to be confused with the very similar looking Shiba Inu, the Shikoku is one of just a handful of dogs that are native to Japan. The Shikoku is a blend of several other breeds including Great Danes and St. Bernard’s, making them a very powerful and sought after dog. Standing at around 20 inches tall, Shikokus are a medium size dog that require a lot of care. A puppy from a breeder is around $4,000 with yearly costs reaching north of $3,000 on the lower end.

4 Ways to Keep Insects Away and Keep Pets Safe

Organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals report that cats and dogs, among other pets, are highly sensitive to everyday mosquito and bug repellents. What’s particularly concerning is the use of N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, commonly called DEET. This compound reportedly causes tremors, seizures, and neurological conditions that may prove fatal to beloved four-legged family members. That’s why it’s essential to talk with your veterinarian about healthy pet-friendly ways to keep pets away, such as the following.

1: Employ Citrus Juice

One of the things mosquitoes cannot stand is the scent or taste of citrus. Pet-lovers can squeeze a ripe lemon and rub a little on their skin to deter mosquitoes from biting. You can also chop up a citrus fruit and boil the pieces in water. After bringing to a full boil, steep the liquid for an hour and use it as an insect repellent spray. If flying pests irritate the family dog or cat, spray a little on their coat and give them the relief they deserve.

2: Put Flora To Work Repelling Insects

There are certain plants that biting flies and mosquitoes dislike. The good news is human beings often enjoy their smell and pets remain comfortable around them. The following is a list worth considering.

  • Citronella Grass
  • Sage
  • Allium
  • Marigolds
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Bee Balm
  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rosemary

Strategically placing potted plants on porches, decks, and patios can reduce the number of unwelcome insects. Planting things like basil, marigolds, and mint, among others, also deters bugs and varmints that harm vegetable gardens without impacting pets.

3: Rethink Bug Repelling Home Remedies

There are plenty of so-called home remedies used to rid homes of ants, roaches, and other bugs that pose a health risk to unsuspecting pets. For example, homeowners in rural areas use products such as Borax to reduce the number of crawlers infiltrating kitchens.

Mixing white, powdery Borax with confectioners’ sugar creates an attractive and deadly bait for carpenter ants. Unfortunately, the household cleaning product has a debilitating effect on family pets. Comprised of sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, it causes stomach problems and injures the kidneys if a significant amount is ingested. The point is to check the ingredients in these seemingly effective home remedies and determine whether they are pet-safe.

4: Deploy Alternative Pet-Safe Products

Pet-supporting companies have developed wide-reaching products that help humans get rid of insects without harming pets. For instance, a fossil-based product called Diatomaceous Earth targets bedbugs, fleas, and roaches, among others.

Property owners can sprinkle it on the ground, and insects suffer dehydration when they come in contact with the substance. The product is considered pet-safe, and some reports indicate it can be applied to their fur to deter parasites. That’s a win-win.

There are also effective sound devices that repel biting insects that may be suitable for homes with four-legged family members and citrus-based sprays that can cover your yard’s perimeter. It’s important not to employ popular chemical insect deterrents simply because they are perceived as effective. How they affect pet-life matters.