Archive for December, 2017

I love Flat-Coated Retrievers, and I think it’s one of the best breeds you could own.

Why? Well, if you haven’t met one, let me explain. But first some background and a description of the breed.


The Flat-Coated Retriever breed is about 150 year old.

It was developed in Great Britain as a dual-purpose retriever, meaning it should be able to fetch both on land and in water.

Four breeds were used: Setter, Collie, Newfoundland, and the now extinct St. John’s water dog.

It was a successful mix that gave the Flat-Coat some of its hallmarks: Great scenting ability (from the Setter), trainability (Collie), strength (Newfoundland), and love of water (St. John’s water dog).

Flat-Coated Retrievers are currently moderately popular in Europe, mainly in Britain and Scandinavia, but not as much in the rest of the world.

In USA, it’s only the 89th most popular dog breed.


With a height of 22”-24”, and a weight of 55-75 lb, the Flat-Coat is a fairly large dog. Males are at the upper half, while females are at the lower end of that range.

The life span is relatively short, 8-10 years, although some dogs can live for 14 years or even more.

Black and liver are the two colors accepted by the breed standard (see image below). However, in rare cases, yellow Flat-Coats are born. These dogs are not allowed for breeding, but are equally nice dogs.

Most individuals can be described by these characteristics:


  • Young at heart.
  • Loves people.
  • Wagging tail.
  • Happy
  • Positive
  • Playful
  • High-energy.
  • Likes to carry things in his mouth.


The Flat-Coated Retriever is a relatively healthy breed except for a high rate of cancer. Malignant histiocytosis is the most common form, even though it’s rare among most other breeds.


Stimulating Activities

Because Flat-Coats are high-energy dogs, they need exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis. Suitable activities include swimming, fetching, and tracking scents.

Obedience training is necessary to control its playfulness and high level of energy. I would recommend that you start slowly from 4 months of age. Keep it fun, and don’t be harsh, because Flat-Coats are quite sensitive dogs.


Obedience training is also a great way to drain some of all that energy.


By providing the dog with these types of stimulating activities, negative behavior will not be an issue.


But if the dog is left alone for hours without sufficient exercise, things like chewing, mouthing and jumping could become a problem.

Should You Get a Flat-Coated Retriever?

Now, I want to make it clear that Flat-Coated Retrievers are not for everyone. In my opinion, you need to have three things in order to be appropriate:


  1. Patience – to cope with its high-energy puppy-like behavior (which I love).
  2. Active lifestyle – to fulfill the dog’s need for exercise and stimulation.
  3. Time for your dog – because it doesn’t like to be left alone for any longer periods of time.


If you also are prepared to work with your dog, you will get a wonderful (and fun!) companion that will lift your spirit whenever you feel down.


Happy and optimistic, constantly wagging its tail, the Flat-Coated Retriever is always ready for another adventure or fun activity.


It should be mentioned that since Flat-Coats love all people, it’s not a very good guard dog. In fact, from personal experience, I would say that it’s a pretty lousy guard dog, because an intruder would likely be welcomed by a happy dog licking his face!


If you are interested, contact a reputable breeder, and visit him or her for a hands-on experience with this amazing breed. But I must warn you. You will probably fall in love, and not want to get any other breed!

Author Bio

John Solvik is a pet-loving blogger with a special affection to Flat-Coated Retrievers.


You can read his latest posts over at his blog:

A man’s best friend deserves more than just the four corners of the backyard. Your pup most likely wants to explore the four corners of the world! The ambition is there, but let’s just start with a nice road trip. Instinctually, most people will just have their dog hop into the car and go, but there really is much more to it than that. Taking care of your dog and your health are of the utmost importance here. Trust me, if the dog starts getting upset, you will regret it. Not to mention the distractions that are unnecessary while you are driving. Here are some great tips to ensure you have a safe, healthy, and fun road trip with your pup.

Reach out to your vet

You will want to reach out to your vet, especially if you are going for a long trip. Most illnesses can be unseen to the average dog owner. Reaching out will ease your mind and keep your beloved dog safe while driving. Another good reason to check up with the vet is to see what he might say in terms of health concerns when traveling. He could be your best line of defense to preventing illness, ticks, or other problems that can occur.

Acquire a dog crate will prove to be useful

A dog crate will prove to be useful in stressful situations. Nobody likes putting their little pal into that jam-packed space, but it will greatly increase safety. For example, driving through a stressful city can be daunting on its own. The odds of an accident will greatly increase if your dog is free-roaming the car while you navigate. Therefore, one should pull over before the city and get the dog in the safe crate. This will help you immensely and you can just let your dog out when you are done.

Get the weather report before you drive

Nothing is worse than driving with your dog and having to embrace a bad storm. This could really cause your dog to freak out. Which means you will have to keep it in the crate for hours on end. Before you head on your road trip, watch the weather channel or check google to see the weather report for the days that follow. Hopefully, it will be all sunshine and clear skies.

Have enough space in your vehicle

If you do not have a good-sized vehicle, it is going to feel like you and your dog are both in a crate. This will put a serious damper on your road trip. The highest recommended type of vehicle for space and luxury is a Crossover SUV. This is the perfect compromise between style and space that every dog lover admires. This will allow your dog to roam free without either one of you feeling cramped. Not to mention how great it is to have space for the dog crate and your luggage.

Last minute bathroom plan

You never know when the bowels are going to start moving. This could be difficult if you are driving 70 miles an hour down the highway. Make sure you have your doggy bags to pick up after your dog and a good plan to dispose of it when you need to. This is respectful to others and something that is, unfortunately, easily forgotten by some dog owners. Hopefully, you can train your dog to notify you when the time is near to pull over.

Update the ID tag

This is very important. You never know what can happen out on the road. One minute you could be taking your dog for a walk, then the next minute your dog is gone chasing after a rabbit. Therefore, you want to update the ID tag. That way, if someone finds your pup, they can easily call you. If your dog doesn’t have an ID tag and animal control comes across them, they will consider it a stray and put the dog in the pound. That is never a good situation, especially on a road trip.

Another great option is to consider getting a GPS tracker for your pup. This will help keep your anxiety attack under control if the worst-case scenario happens.

Plan your Trip

Planning the trip is always a good idea. Try to find good spots along your route to walk your dog. You can even seek out a dog park, so your dog can make some friends. This will be good because you and your dog will get some exercise as opposed to sitting in the same spot for hours. Keep that blood moving to stay healthy.

Make sure to find the cautious areas too. Knowing where not to go could keep you and your buddy out of danger.

Now it is time to hit the road! You will have a safer and healthier trip with your dog. It will definitely be a fun and unforgettable experience now that you are prepared. Have a safe drive!

We all love our fur babies and include them in our holiday festivities. To keep our babies safe, we need to take the time to do some Petproofing, including decoration checks, setting up quiet retreat spaces, and helping them get used to new people.

A significant part of Petproofing for spending the holidays at home (or someone else’s home) means focusing on your dog’s nutritional safety. You probably know to make sure you have enough of your dog’s regular food and snacks, and to keep them on the same feeding routine. Most importantly you need to review the foods and items your dog should not have. Many pet parents already know what is on the no-no food and ingredient list, but it is necessary that others in the house know what is on the list too. Also, new items are added each year. Please use this list to share with friends and relatives who will be around your fur baby!

Alcohol – Never let your dog have access to alcohol. During the holidays, fancy concoctions are everywhere, and it can be easy for your canine friend to sneak a couple of laps before you even realize it. Depending on how much they drink, dogs can become intoxicated, uncoordinated, have vomiting and diarrhea, and trouble breathing. If a larger amount is consumed, dogs can potentially get severe alcohol poisoning that can cause coma or even death. Even if your dog has only had a few laps, you should watch him carefully. If your dog has consumed more than that, or if you are unsure of the amount, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Apple Seeds the apple seed casing is a chemical called amygdlin. When digested, amygdlin releases cyanide. It would take many seeds to reach a toxic amount, but better safe than sorry of course. Apples are still a great snack for dogs if you make sure to get rid of the core and seeds.

Avocados – Contained within the avocado skin and leaves is a toxin called persin. If enough persin is ingested, your dog can have vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing and even heart problems. The good news is that persin is limited to the skin, stem, and leaves. The bad news is that your dog could still get choked on the avocado pit. However, the edible part of the avocado is good for dogs and is now often an ingredient in dog foods.

Bacon – While not toxic, bacon contains too much salt and fat for your dog, and you should really refrain giving it at all. Too much fat in any food can cause a dog to get pancreatitis.

Baby Food – Although baby food seems harmless, certain varieties can be toxic to dogs. Some foods contain onion powder which is toxic to dogs.

Bread Dough – The yeast in bread dough can rise and expand blocking the airway and cause your dog to become extremely bloated. If left unattended, their stomach and intestines can even rupture. Another problem is that the yeast produces ethanol as a by-product causing your dog to become intoxicated. You should seek medical attention if your dog ingests bread dough.

Caffeine – Caffeine is toxic to dogs. According to the ASPCA, caffeine is a powerful stimulant. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, increased thirst, restlessness and an increased heart rate” in pets. If enough is consumed, tremors, seizures, and even death can occur. If your dog ingests a food or drink with caffeine, you should seek prompt medical attention.

Capsaicin – Capsaicin is found in many spices such as paprika, chili powder and most peppers. It can cause your dog sever stomach irritation.

Cat Food – Many dogs love to chow down on a bowl of cat food if given the chance. However, cat food contains too much protein and fat for your dog. Though not toxic, it is not healthy for your dog to eat any food that is really meant for a cat.

Cherry Pits – Like many other fruits, the danger of cherries is in the, stems, leaves, and pits. They contain cyanide, which is highly toxic to dogs if enough is consumed. The pits can also become lodged and cause intestinal blockage, resulting in serious problems.

Chewing Gum and other candy – Not only does candy contain sugar, but it often contains xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be fatal to dogs. Never give your dog candy or gum, and beware of chewed gum on the ground when you are walking your dog.

Chocolate (and cocoa powder) – You’ve heard this before, but chocolate is one of the single most toxic foods for your dog. It’s not just about the caffeine content. It contains two substances, theobromine and theophylline, that are toxic to your dog. If chocolate is ingested, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, damage to your dog’s heart and nervous systems, and death can occur.

Citrus Fruits – The fruit, seeds, peels, stems, and leaves of any citrus fruit contain citric acid. When small amounts are ingested, your dog may experience vomiting and diarrhea. However, a large amount can serious problems with the central nervous system. So, if you catch your dog eating part of an orange, there is no need to panic – but you may have a mess to clean up later.

Coconut – The coconut and its milk can cause your dog to have stomach irritation, including vomiting and diarrhea. Also, coconut water has too much potassium for dogs, so do not give it to yours.

Coffee – Coffee can be very toxic to dogs, due to the caffeine content. As mentioned above, ingestion of caffeine can cause diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness, and an increased heart rate in pets. If enough is consumed, tremors, seizures, and even death can occur. If your dog ingests a food or drink with caffeine, you should seek prompt medical attention.

Cooked Bones – Contrary to what many people believe, you should never give your dog cooked bones. The bone can easily break apart and splinter when your dog begins to chew, causing serious and sometimes fatal stomach and intestinal problems.

Corn – Corn is hard on your dog’s digestive system, so do not feed them too much. However, corn on the cob can be hazardous. If your dog ingests a corncob, his intestines can become blocked, and it can even become fatal if it is not removed.

Dairy Products – Dogs are naturally lactose intolerant and don’t digest dairy products well. Although not toxic, dairy products can wreak havoc on your dog’s digestive system. There’s no need to give them cheese knowing it will make them miserable later.

Energy Drinks – Letting your dog have access to an energy drink is a certain dangerous situation, especially due to the amount of caffeine found in most of them. If you think your dog has ingested even part of an energy drink, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Egg Whites – Raw egg can deplete your dog of biotin. This can lead to hair loss, general weakness, and growth issues.

Fat – Any amount of fat pieces can cause your dog intestinal and digestive problems, and can even lead to pancreatitis.

Fish – Certain fish can be especially fatal to dogs if eaten raw. Salmon, for instance can be infected with a parasite. The parasite isn’t dangerous to dogs, but it is often infected with bacteria called Neorickettsia helminthoeca, which can be fatal to them. Also, Thiamine deficiency can result if too much raw fish is consumed on a regular basis. This can cause loss of appetite, seizures, and even death.

Garlic – Garlic is in the onion family, which is toxic for dogs. Just avoid it.

Grapes and Raisins – Grapes contain a toxin that is especially harmful to dogs. Although the exact toxin has not been pinpointed, even a small amount can cause severe liver damage, kidney failure, and death.

Liver – In small amounts liver is harmless and even thought to be beneficial to dogs. However, eating too much liver can result in too much Vitamin A. Too much Vitamin A can cause your dog to have bone and muscle issues.

Marijuana – Like other drugs, marijuana can prove harmful to dogs. It can affect your dog’s heart rate, nervous system, vomiting, and diarrhea. You should seek medical attention if you think your dog has ingested marijuana.

Meat and Eggs – This is currently a controversial issue. However, the ASPCA still says that raw or undercooked meat can be dangerous to your dog. Both can contain bacteria including Salmonella and E.coli that is harmful to your dog. Raw eggs also contain avidin which is an enzyme that decreases absorption of biotin. This can lead problems with your dog’s coat and skin.

Mold – Never give your dog moldy or spoiled food. Moldy food can contain tremorgenic mycotoxins, which can cause muscle tremors, convulsions, and worse. Beware of fruit that has fallen off trees and become moldy.

Mushrooms – Never give you dog food with mushrooms. Also, watch for wild mushrooms when outside with your dog. Certain mushrooms contain toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, liver and kidney damage, coma, and death.

Mustard Seeds – Though not toxic, your dog will certainly have an upset stomach if he has eaten mustard seeds.

Nuts – Never give nuts of any kind to your dog. Certain varieties of nuts, like macadamia and walnuts, contain an unknown toxin that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and nervous and digestive system issues. Even nuts that do not contain this toxin still contain a high concentration of fat that can lead to pancreatitis.

Oils – In addition to cooking oils, there are also natural oils many people keep around the house for allergies, massage, and to make other homeopathic remedies. These oils are extremely concentrated and can be fatal to your dog. Seek medical attention immediately if your dog has come in contact with these.

Onions – Onions, leeks, and chives are very toxic for dogs, regardless of what form – raw, cooked, dried, powdered, or as an ingredient in other foods. Onions contain disulfides and sulfoxides that can cause dogs to have stomach irritation, anemia, and damage red blood cells which can cause organ damage and even death.

Peach, Persimmon, and Plum Pits –  Like many other fruits, the danger of the peach pit contains cyanide, which is highly toxic to dogs if enough is consumed. These pits can also become lodged and cause intestinal blockage, resulting in serious problems.
Potatoes – Unripe potatoes as well as their plant contain a toxin called solanine, which can cause your dog stomach problems, weakness, lethargy, and confusion.
Rhubarb – Rhubarb contains oxalates. When consumed, dogs can have digestive and nervous system problems.

Salt – Excessive salt intake can cause sodium ion poisoning which may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and even death. Just skip sharing your salty snacks with your dog.

Sugar – It seems that sugar is in most of the food we eat. Too much sugar for your dog on a regular basis can cause obesity, dental problems, and eventually diabetes. This includes corn syrup too.

Tea – Just as coffee, teas that contain caffeine can be very toxic for your dog. Diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness, and an increased heart rate may occur. If enough is consumed, tremors, seizures, and even death can occur. If your dog ingests a food or drink with caffeine, you should seek prompt medical attention.

Tobacco– Tobacco contains nicotine, which is a major toxin for dogs. Nicotine can increase a dog’s heart rate, affect the nervous and respiratory system, and even result in death. Seek proper medical attention.
Tomatoes – Only green, unripe tomatoes as well as the leaves and stems are the problem. Like unripe potatoes, they contain solanine, which can cause your dog stomach problems including weakness, lethargy, and confusion.
Xylitol – Xylitol is a sugar substitute often found in candy, gum, baked treats, now some peanut butters, and many other foods. Even small amounts can cause vomiting, lethargy, seizures, liver failure, and even death.

Yeast – Yeast can cause several problems for your dog. The yeast can rise and expand causing your dog to become extremely bloated. If left unattended, their stomach and intestines can even rupture. Another problem is that the yeast produces ethanol as a by- product, causing your dog to become intoxicated.

Again, please share this list or even post it on the refrigerator for all to see!

Be on the lookout for parts two and three about Petproofing the entire house for the holidays, and foods and tasty treats you can give your dog during the Holiday Season!