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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!

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.

8 Fruits You Can Enjoy With Your Dog

blueberries for dogsIt’s a hot, sunny day and you, and your pooch are lying by the pool, soaking up all of those warm rays. You feel a little peckish and remember that big plate of fruit that is sitting in the refrigerator. But what about the pup?

I have good news for you! Most fruits are just as good for your dog as they are for you! Filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals, fruit can provide your dog with a number of nutrients that it won’t get from a typical all-meat dog diet.

Served in moderation, the following eight fruits are great snacks that you and your dog can enjoy together. There are a few precautions, though, so make sure you read the following points before letting your pooch dig into that big plate of fruity goodness!

Fruits That Are Good for Dogs to Eat

1. Apple

Apples are considered to be in the ‘you can give it to your dog but not every day’ pile. Although rich in numerous nutrients, vitamins and minerals, in particular, Vitamins K and C, calcium, and soluble fiber, the seeds, core and stem of an apple can be even more toxic to dogs than they can to us.

The seeds, core, and stem of an apple contains cyanide, so it’s important to remove all of these from the fruit before giving it to your dog. Once you’ve done this, it is safe for your dog to start munching away. It has been known that the tough, fibrous nature of the apple is even good to clean your dog’s teeth! Bonus!

2. Banana

As bananas are for us, they are also an excellent source of fiber for dogs. The fiber and natural enzymes in bananas make them an ideal snack for dogs that have inflamed colons or bowel problems, or even dogs that use the doggy restroom irregularly. The fiber will get things moving in your pooch’s belly and have him/her feeling a lot better!

It’s not recommended to give your dog too many bananas as this could cause constipation. However, 1-2 a day is a reasonable serving. Bananas are also a great source of Vitamins B, C, and potassium.

3. Strawberries

Strawberries are definitely one of those fruits that are made to share. They are a ‘one for me, one for you’ type of snack, and my dog loves them! In moderation, strawberries are a great source of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants for your dog, but just don’t go giving them a whole container!

I always remove the stem and leaves from the strawberry because I don’t like the texture in my mouth. Neither will your dog and it also won’t be easy for them to digest. Simply remove this part of the fruit, and strawberries can be you and your dog’s date night dessert!

4. Orange

As we tend to eat oranges to boost our Vitamin C levels, a small amount of this citrus fruit can also be good for your dog. Having a positive effect on their immune system, a large dog could be given one whole orange, whereas smaller dogs shouldn’t be given more than a third.

If your dog has been diagnosed as diabetic or has a specific diet plan, however, be sure to consider the high levels of sugar in oranges. It is also recommended to remove the rind, core and any seeds from an orange before giving it to your pet, as these could be hard for them to digest.

5. Pineapple

Pineapples have a lot of great medicinal benefits for dogs suffering with dog coprophagia; a condition where your dog eats its own poop because of their digestive system isn’t absorbing enough nutrients the first time around. The bromelain found most predominantly in the pineapple’s core, is an enzyme that makes it easier for the digestive system to break down proteins and absorb the nutrients that your dog requires from its food.

The pineapple also changes the smell and consistency of the poop, inevitably discouraging your dog from wanting to eat it. Pineapples are also rich in Vitamin C and Manganese. It is important that you don’t give your dog more than 2-3 small pieces of pineapple per day. And always remove the leaves and skin of the fruit.

6. Watermelon

dog-treat-begWatermelon is another fruit that my dog will beg for every time! Whether it’s because of the sweetness, the large amount of water stored in watermelon, or it reminds him of summer; no matter what, he always wants some! The way I keep him happy is by cutting the watermelon up into quarters. Taking one quarter wedge, I eat most of the fleshy top while making sure all the seeds are gone, and then giving him the bottom half of the flesh.

It isn’t recommended to let your dog eat the rind, as it can be detrimental to their digestive system. I just watch him munch off all the flesh and quickly snatch it off him before he starts gnawing at the rind!

7. Mango

Have you ever thought about maybe giving your dog the seed of a mango to suck instead of just throwing it away? Although it might amuse your pet for a few minutes, and even if you are watching them, it isn’t recommended to give your dog the seed of a mango in case they do choke on it.

Due to the size of the seed, it will most certainly get stuck in your dog’s esophagus if swallowed. However, you can most certainly share the delicious flesh with your dog! Like all the other fruits, as long as you serve it to your pet in moderation and your dog enjoys eating mango, use it as a healthy snack or treat!

8. Pear

Pears are part of the apple family, so you can treat them very much the same way. Rich in many of the vitamins and minerals that can be absent in dog foods, pears are a great snack for your dog.

It is just very important to remember to remove the seeds, stem and core from the pear before giving it to your dog to eat. Not only do they contain cyanide which is toxic for dogs and humans, they will be difficult for your dog to pass and can be a choking hazard.

Not just a healthy treat for you to enjoy, fruit is also a great alternative snack for your dog! Just remember that dogs weren’t built to eat too many fruits or vegetable, so don’t give them more than a few slices of apple or a small handful of strawberries. Served in moderation and using the correct precautions to ensure your pooch is safe from harm; fruit is an effective way to keep your dog healthy and strong.

See more fruits and veggies you can share with your pet here.

About the Author: Michele Hersh is a dog lover, writer and blogger. She mostly writes about dog food and nutrition based on her own experience. She is a nurse and lives with her husband and a cute Beagle puppy. Visit her website peanutpaws.com.