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Trupanion's Blog is dedicated to help educate people with pet insurance and pet health information, but more importantly, to have fun!

How to Design Your Home for a Happy Pet

Happy Pets 1: Dogs in Design, original photo on HouzzBeing around nonthreatening animals, domesticated or otherwise, calms humans. The reason for this seems buried in our prehistory: Back then if we were around other creatures and all was peaceful, that meant predators weren’t lurking nearby, about to pounce on us.

When we’re less tense, we have more mental energy at our disposal to do whatever we’ve set out to accomplish, whether that’s having a good time hanging out with family members, writing a novel or planning dinners for the next week. But there’s a catch:Having pets in our home is good for us psychologically only if those animals are happy and healthy. If they’re not, they can add to the tension in our lives. (A moping dog or an out-of-sorts cat doesn’t enhance anyone’s day.)

The good news is that design can make animals happier, just as it can people. You can create a home where your pets feel as good as you do. It’s hard to read the minds of pets, but when you learn more about them as they spend time in your home, you’ll find ways that you can make your special animal friend feel particularly happy. Here are just a few ways to keep pets in good spirits.

6 Questions to Ask Your Breeder

litter-puppyIf you’re looking to bring home a puppy or kitten from a dog breeder or cat breeder, you’ll want to do your research to be sure you adopt from a reputable breeder. We asked the cat and dog breeders in our Breeder Support Program what questions pet owners should ask before buying a puppy or kitten.

1. Why shouldn’t I own this breed?

Everyone knows why they want to own a particular breed. A great breeder will tell you the other side of the breed and identify some of their faults. They want to make sure you are a great fit for their litters just as much as you want to offer a great home to your new family member. A responsible breeder will not hesitate to discuss the challenges of the breed.

2. What is included in the price of this puppy or kitten?

Is the puppy or kitten up-to-date on vaccines? Do they offer a health guarantee? What comes in their puppy or kitten pack? Although it may look great at first, a low price often means that you will spend more later on to take care of these basic needs.

3. Do you have a contract?

Responsible breeders will often ask potential buyers to sign a contract to make sure their litters are going to a great home. They may require that you spay or neuter your puppy or kitten, or ask that you insure your new pet to get them off to a great start in their new home.

Contracts are often for the benefit of everyone involved. Make sure you read the contract and are comfortable with everything listed. This will also give you more insight into the breeder’s philosophy.

4. Have you ever had an on-site inspection by a licensed veterinarian?

It may seem simple, and many breeders have not been inspected, but this shows another level of dedication to be a responsible breeder. It may offend some, but it is a conversation worth starting.

You shouldn’t turn away simply because they haven’t had an on-site inspection, but if they have it just shows another level of commitment to the breed and their litters.

5. Have you health tested the parents and grandparents? Can I see documentation?

A responsible breeder will pay close attention to the health of the parents to give their offspring the best chance at a great life. Many breeds have congenital and hereditary conditions associated with them, and your breeder should be well aware of this. Be sure to ask for proof of health testing. Knowing that the veterinarian said the dog or cat was healthy enough to breed are not the same as health testing the parents and grandparents.

Depending on the breed of your potential new puppy or kitten, look for health certificates from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), DNA Diagnostics Center (DDC), Paw Print Genetics, and Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF).

6. Do you have any questions for me?

A responsible breeder wants to make sure their litter is going to a great home and will typically have questions for you before you can take a puppy or kitten home. Don’t be surprised if you have to fill out a lengthy application to be considered for a puppy or kitten. Not only will it help them determine that your family is a great fit, it will give you the opportunity to make sure you’ve thought through everything before bringing your new family member home.

Fun Facts About Puppies

puppiesCurious tiny noses, clumsy movements, and wiggly butts make puppies undeniably adorable. While many of us have had the pleasure of spending time with puppies, there’s always more to learn! Here are some fun facts about your little canines.

6 Facts About Puppies We Bet You Didn’t Know

  1. They are born blind, deaf, and toothless.
  2. A puppy spends about fourteen hours of every day sleeping.
  3. They develop their sense of smell at the age of three weeks.
  4. Every year in the United States, more than 5 million puppies are born.
  5. During the first week of a puppy’s life, it spends 90% of its days sleeping and 10% eating. A lot of growth happens during these first few weeks!
  6. By the age of one, a puppy is considered to be an adult. In human years, this is the physical equivalent of being 15 years old.

*Courtesy of Facts-about.org.uk

Prepare for Pet Fire Safety Day

pet-fire-safetyAll pet owners understand that their animals are important members of the family. Each year, over 1,000 residential fires are started by curious pets. In the late 2000’s, National Pet Fire Safety Day was started in to communicate the necessity of taking preventative measures to protect all cats and dogs from the dangers of smoke and flames.

On Friday, July 15th, take a moment to go over the proper steps to keep your beloved pets safe and healthy. Remember that they don’t necessarily know what’s good or bad for them, so it’s up to you to act wisely on their behalf!

Put Out Candles and Flames

Pets are often drawn to flickering light and small flames, which can be knocked over and kindle a blaze. Candles or dislodged embers from your fireplace are capable of setting your home on fire, so it’s important to act wisely and extinguish these tempting targets before you leave the house or go to bed. Cats especially are known to inadvertently overturn candles by swishing their tails, so try battery-operated candles instead.

Make for Easy Exits

Whenever you need to leave your critters at home unattended, make sure their crate or enclosure isn’t so far from the entrance of your home as to make rescue difficult. In the event that a fire occurs, responders should have unobstructed access to your pets for easy evacuation. To go the extra mile, you can fasten a sticker on a window or your front door with specific information about how many pets you have and what kind of animals they are. This will allow firefighters to locate them as efficiently as possible.

Protect Small Pups and Kittens

While older animals may have been trained in how to act around loud sounds and chaotic activity, kittens and puppies lack this experience. What’s more, these young ones display a level of curiosity that, although endearing, can lead them into hazardous situations. You can prevent them from harming themselves when you’re not present by putting them in a crate or an area of the house that’s fenced off from threats. You’ll also want to pet-proof the home in such a way that deters them from fireplaces, stoves, electrical outlets, wiring and extension cords.

Check Out New Tech

Monitored smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can save your pets’ lives if a fire should occur. These alarms will automatically alert the authorities in the event of an incident, so your furry friends will have a measure of protection even when you’re not around. The addition of “smart” home monitoring apparatus, like cameras and temperature sensors, further allow you to enhance the safety of your pets. Many new monitoring devices now offer remote access, so you’ll be able to keep tabs on your animals no matter where you are.

Keeping an Eye on Curious Paws

Wandering paws can turn on the burners of your stove and thereby cause burns and start fires. Before you leave the house for a longer trip or errand, counter this possibility. You can remove the knobs from your stove or place covers over them. Homes have burnt down from incidents involving animals and both electric and gas stoves, so taking the proper precautions is called for no matter what type of unit you own.

It’s just as important to make a fire safety plan for pets as it is to make an emergency safety plan for your family. To take further action, concerned pet owners can pick up a free Pet Safety Pack, or click here and here for more helpful fire safety tips online. Fire safety is often taken lightly until it’s too late – choosing to spend a few moments taking inexpensive and straightforward actions to safeguard your pets from fire hazards today will help prevent real life-threatening emergencies from taking place tomorrow.

About the Author: Emma Jane is a freelance writer living in Chicago with her cat, Mochi, where they explore the newest neighborhood pet shops and pet friendly boutiques. Emma writes about sustainability, all the newest tech and of course, furry companions.

5 Dog Breeds with Long Lifespans

When you compare the average longevity of a dog to a human, the results are disheartening. Dogs go from puppyhood to their golden years in the blink of an eye. Nevertheless, there are some breeds that tend to live longer lives than other breeds of dogs. When looking for dog breeds with long lifespans, a few characteristics stand out.

Note: There are many more dog breeds with long lifespans than what appears on this list. This is just a sample of some of those breeds.

Toy Poodle


These small dogs are intelligent, energetic animals eager to please their owners and perform tricks. The Poodle – whether Standard, Medium, Miniature, or Toy size – possesses an unusual long lifespan for dogs. Although  available statistics vary to some degree, a Toy Poodle‘s average life expectancy is about 14 years old. Lady is the oldest poodle on record, having reached a staggering age of 28 years in the early 20th century.

Miniature Dachshund

These cute and charming dogs are bred in different sizes, similar to the aforementioned Poodle. Standard, Miniature and Rabbit are the kinds of Dachshunds in the world today. Affectionately nicknamed the “wiener-dog,” Dachshunds are a loving breed that – although prone to back and spine issues – live a long time. Again, the median estimates vary, but Miniatures on average live to be 14 years old.

Bedlington Terrier

Bedlingtons are named after the town of Bedlington, England, where the breed first developed in the late 18th century. Calm, quiet, and jolly, they make excellent pets for families and single owners alike. When it comes to their health, they are fairly resilient pooches. In fact, old age is one of the leading causes of death for the breed, which also average out to be about 14 years old. Bedlingtons can and have lived to be much older in some cases though.



Members of the Sighthound family, Whippets bear remarkable physical similarities to Greyhounds. Their gentle, good-natured demeanor makes them a natural favorite for many pet owners. They also possess uncanny speed and agility, often being employed in dog shows and races as a result. Although a wider age range attributed to the breed places them between 12-15 years of life, 13 years is usually their average lifespan.

Border Terrier

Weighing between 11-14 pounds when full grown, Border Terriers are little dogs packed with big hearts. They are observant, friendly and at times stubborn pooches. For a small dog that gets along swimmingly with children, they are a wonderful choice. Their median age also hovers around 14 years, with a handful of cases living much longer.

Size of Breed Helps Determine Long Lifespans

WebMD asserts that upwards of 40% of small breeds live to be 10 years or older, while only 13% of large breeds account for the same longevity. Simply stated, smaller breeds typically face less medical complications and health problems early in life. It is not so much a dog’s height or length that is the determining factor for size, but rather its weight.

No matter what breed you have, a healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for improving a dog’s longevity. Attentiveness to illness and disease, as well general attention and love for your pet is imperative in order to help them live out a long, fulfilling life. Medical insurance for your dog can help you care for your dog throughout their life, allowing you to get the best veterinary care without the cost. Enroll when they are a puppy to get the most out of your coverage, before your dog develops a pre-existing condition. That way, if your dachshund has a back problem or your poodle develops Addison’s disease, you can get them the best care possible and give them a long, happy life.