Dog Insurance

If you are thinking about purchasing dog health insurance for your four-legged friend, we have the top dog insurance questions to ask yourself. Dog insurance is not a one-size-fits-all topic, and your specific pet and individual circumstances are the most important factors to consider when shopping for a dog insurance policy.

Dog owners in the United States can be held legally liable for injuries inflicted or caused by their dogs. In general, owners are considered liable if they were unreasonably careless in handling or restraining the dog, or if they knew beforehand that the dog had a tendency to cause injury (e.g., bite); however, dog owners are automatically considered liable if local laws hold an owner strictly liable for all damage caused by their dog, regardless of carelessness or foreknowledge of a dog's tendencies. Homeowners and renters insurance policies typically provide liability coverage from US$100,000–300,000 for injuries inflicted by dogs;however, some insurance companies limit their exposure to dog bite liability claims by putting restrictions on dog owners that they insure. These restrictions include refusing to cover dog bites under the insurance policy; increasing insurance rates for homeowners with specific breeds; requiring owners of specific breeds to take special training or have their dogs pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test;requiring owners to restrict their dogs with muzzles, chains, or enclosures; and refusing to write policies for homeowners or renters who have specific breeds of dogs.In Ohio, which has declared all pit bull-type dogs to be legally "vicious",the cost of special liability insurance that covers only the damage inflicted by a pit bull-type dog can exceed US$575 per year.

Owners of rental properties may also be held liable if they knew an aggressive dog was living on their property and they did nothing to ensure the safety of other tenants at the property; as a result, many rental properties forbid pit bull-type dogs and any other breeds if the rental property's insurance will not cover damage inflicted by that type of dog. The dog breeds most often targeted by insurance companies include pit bull-type dogs, Rottweilers, German Shepherd Dogs, Doberman Pinschers, Akitas (Akita Inu and American Akita), and Chows.
Data Refer :

Dog Insurance Data

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Dog Fence Wire 18G OR 20G - Which Type to Choose For My Dog Fence

Are you confused about which wire to use when getting your electronic dog fence. The 2 most common types of dog fence wire are 18 Gage and 20 Gage. Which should you choose for your situation and why? Obviously, both gages work for all underground fence systems or Innotek, PetSafe or other manufacturers would not pack their dog fence systems with 20 Gage wire. Perimeter Technologies pack their dog fence systems with 20 g or 18 g. This dog fence wire can often be very difficult to find, as individual rolls, unless the retailer actually sells the dog fence kits and sometimes they do not even sell the extra wire rolls separately.

However, there are some recommended guidelines that will help you decide which dog fence wire will be better for you. First 18 Gage is stronger and more durable and long lasting than 20 Gage Boundary wire. Solid core copper wire is better than stranded wire.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

Use 18 Gage if you have
  • Rocky soil or rocks
  • If you are not burying the wire
  • Many trees or vegetation
  • Larger than 5 acres

Use 20 Gage if you have:
  • Loose sandy or clay soil
  • Putting wire next to a fence
  • Few trees or vegetation
  • 5 acres or smaller area
PLEASE NOTE - If installing an electronic dog fence above ground, you will need to use lawn staples every 5 feet to keep the wire in place. If the wire moves around then the dog will become confused about where his boundaries are. These are sold in packages of about 100 staples. One package will take care of one 500 foot spool of wire. Where you cut grass, it is best to bury the wire.

A few important tips to keep in mind when purchasing a fence system:

-Installing the wire underground the best tool to use is an edger, a gas powered edger or an edger that also lays cable at the same time, it could be called a cable layer or edger-trencher. The wire only needs to be buried 2 -3 in but can go deeper if you want.

-Never mix 2 types of wire! Mixed wire can give you signal problems and affect the functioning of your system. If you use 20 Gage stranded to start, then stick with 20 Gage stranded. Don't go from stranded to solid core. The same goes for all the different types and sizes of wire. If more than 500 foot is being purchased for larger areas, make sure that extra wire is the same type of wire.

- If you are using the pre-twisted wire you must use 20 Gage twisted wire with 20 Gage solid core wire and if you are using 18 Gage wire for your fence you must use 18 Gage twisted wire. Pre-twisted wire is use to create a gateway or place where the dog can cross the dog fence wire and not get a stimulation or shock from his collar.

-NEVER attach or weave dog your fencing wire through a CHAIN LINK FENCE or metal fence; it will negatively affect the functioning of the fence systems.

-If you have an existing fence that your dog jumps, climbs over or digs under, it would be best to put the electric fence wire at least one foot inside the existing fence, not attach it to the existing fence. That way the dog will be able to get the collar, he is wearing, to cross the wire in order to get a shock . If the dog fence wire is too close to the existing wooden or chain link fence then the dog will not get a shock and not be deterred.

-If you are running the dog fence wire going through a forest or heavily treed area, where you cannot bury the wire, just leave it on the surface. Use staples or trees to keep the wire in place and the ground will grow up over it. It is important to bury the wire where you will be cutting grass over the wire.

-The wire is waterproof with a Polyurethane coating and can also go through wet or swampy areas and still work just fine.

-IMPORTANT, if your are ordering extra rolls of wire, you should always order an extra set of 50 boundary flags with every extra roll of 500 foot of wire that you purchase. It is important for your pet to know the boundary. If you order 1500 foot of wire for example, you should get 150 boundary flags.

This article was written for your benefit by Barbara Cairney
Ms. Cairney has been the owner/operator of K9 Electric Dog Fence and Dog Products since 2006.

To get Dog Fence Wire and Accessories go to
K9 Electric Dog Fence and Dog Products offers High Quality Dog Products Innotek, PetSafe, SportDog, Dogtra and Perimeter Electronic Dog Fence Systems, wireless dog fences, bark control and remote dog training systems, plus all the accessories, to keep your dog safe, happy, trained and contained. They also supply other Dog Products, dog beds both heated and cooling beds, dog doors and accessories, dog crates, dog pens, dog feeders, steps, life jackets and booster baths. ALL at GREAT PRICES!
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The Proper Dog Fence

It's nice if our dogs can be kept quiet in one corner at our command. The thing though is that this can't be done every time, not even if your dog has undergone full training.

The problem now comes when you and your dog lives in a neighborhood. Normally, states have dog containment laws or leash laws that could prevent certain circumstances of dogs running around the neighborhood. However, some states don't have these laws and sadly, some owners are just indifferent of other people's welfare when their dogs become unruly.

One of the solutions that most owners look into is the installation of dog fences. There are various types of dog fences that cater individual needs. These will be discussed in this article.

The common problem though with fences is that some dogs have the habit of jumping over them. To prevent this, it is vital that you train your dog not to give respect to the fences even as a puppy. This way, you dog will find it hard to escape.

Types of dog fences

Farm fence - This is also known as sheep fence. If you go after the price this would be a good choice for you as farm fence is the cheapest type available. Its main feature are smaller rectangles at the bottom and larger ones at the top. This is available in various sizes and should be attached to either T-posts or over brace posts. During installation, one must stretched the fence fully so as to achieved maximum strength.

The problems though with this fence are- that it does not appeal to style, it easily corrodes and dogs of various sizes can easily escape through it.

Chain link - Chain link fence is normally used for kennels. Unlike with farm fence, this has relatively smaller holes where it is almost impossible even for small puppies to penetrate into. It is also available in a number of heights. If you are considering the installation of barb wires, this is a very good choice. Chain links are expensive though, however it endures far better than any other kind of fence.

Split Rail fence - If you want to use the dog fence as part of your general landscape design, your best choice is the split rail fence and the price is just right to fit between inexpensive fabric fences and solid fences. It is vital that the fabric is placed inside the fence so as to ensure that no dog can escape through the rail.

Snow Fence - This is made of 2 by 4 inch of low gauge wire fabric. Like farm fence, this is installed using T-posts and brace posts and should also be stretched to achieve added strength. Be careful though since this fence must be checked regularly due to tendency to rusting.

Hybrid fencing - There are states in America that prohibit any form of dog fences. In this case, you may use hybrid fences which can be removed if necessary.

Hidden dog fences - Dog fences are often obstructive in vision. Hidden dog fences make use of an electric system that coordinates between the weak radio field that is sent from the underground connection and the receiver that is attached to the collar of your dog. Once the dog moves outward or near the parameter of the hidden fence, the underground system will send electric shocks to deter an escape.

These various options can help you control your dog .Maybe you would want to check about your needs and find which fence can serve you best. Helping you control your dog can provide you more safety feeling, and save you time and concern.
Find the proper Dog Fence and learn more about Dogs Kennels at

Aggressive Bad Dog Behavior - Advice on How to Control This

Dogs are not born aggressive; this is usually brought on by outside influences. Aggressive or bad dog behavior is learnt and rarely an embedded trait, however, there are sometimes exceptions to the rule.

Canine dominance over you, attack by another dog or other triggers during the dogs formative first few weeks could progress to aggressive dog behavior. Ultimately, getting a handle on the root cause is the first step in resolving bad dog aggression. It is your responsibility as the Alpha pack leader to fix this problem in order to maintain control both at home and when out and about with your furry friend. Bad dog behavior may have both, dire financial and serious emotional consequences.

Aggressive Bad Dog Behavior - Puppy

First 6 weeks:Puppies should be socialized with other dogs at an early age, at least within the first 6 weeks of life. Failure to do so can lead to the onset of aggressive dog behavior and possibly the biting of people later on. At 14 weeks the pup should have good social skills; sometimes it could take longer to properly socialize your pup.

At 8 weeks:For starters some basic rules of thumb when it comes to raising a well balanced pup. Do not allow the puppy to be separated from it's litter before 8 weeks old. Remember this cuddly puppy needs a loving and gentle touch when taken from his puppy litter, so bear this in mind during weeks 8 to 10. By no means should you or any family/pack member be loud or physically abusive towards the new young puppy.

Pup at 14 weeks:Common sense tells us that bad treatment given, results in bad dog behavior returned by your young pup. Small puppy in a new and strange place, give the little guy a break. By 14 weeks of age your new puppy should be well adjusted and comfortable with his position in his new pack. This means he interacts well with people and other dogs. The down side is that your pup could display aggressive behavior going forward. Basically your good efforts with the young pup will gain you a lifelong friend and companion.

Aggressive Bad Dog Behavior - Young to Older

Genetics: Yes, dogs have this too and it can certainly play a role in your dog's aggressive behavior. Certainly there are breeds which are simply more aggressive than others. Research your breed well before making a choice of a new young puppy.

Modifications:Having dogs spayed or neutered will, in most cases, bring about a change in a dogs aggressive behavior. They will be a lot calmer around the house. There are sometime negative effects to the dogs health from some of these physical changes, such as obesity. It always pays to keep you and your dog as fit as possible and this will need to be emphasized should you elect to spay or neuter your dog.

Environment:Dogs that have been ill treated, attacked by other dogs or have terrible living conditions will tend to manifest aggressive dog behavior. This is especially true if their masters, whom they look up to, show them no love or affection. These poor dogs tend to be social outcasts. Seen from a human perspective, I think any one of us would react in the same way. Ultimately as the dog ages it will lean more towards aggressive behavior. Please avoid making your dogs life a misery.

Dominance:Young dogs, as with young adolescent humans, have a point to prove. Your dog may exhibit this in nipping, posturing or simply disregarding your instruction. In this manner they try and assume dominance which will inevitably lead to your dog showing aggressive behavior as he attempts to assert his position. This needs to be nipped in the bud. Make sure your dog knows that you are the Alpha Dog in his pack.

Aggressive Bad Dog Behavior - What can be done?

Dogs reach sexual maturity at 14 months, at which time there should be no aggressive behavior being displayed. This statement is even more true if the dog has been neutered or spayed. You must ensure that your dog sees you as the Alpha Pack Leader. The dog must look up to you.

Don't show weakness by rewarding bad dog behavior. This is exactly how your dog will perceive your well intended reward when he has been aggressive, as weakness. Isn't that what dominance is all about, common sense really.

Your home is your home, so don't let your dog take control of it. Maintain the boundaries that have been set. A well behaved, socialized dog that has a clear understanding of who the Alpha Dog is, will be a happy and contented dog. Dogs require stern control and you need to dominate at all times otherwise your dog will assume this role which could result in dog aggression in your home.

Your dog must take instruction from you. You control feeding time, walking time and all aspects of the pack. All members of your immediate family that live with you are members of the dogs pack. You need to ensure that your dog knows who calls the shots.

If your dog a shows aggression due to fear, known as defensive aggression, you need to get this under control. This could be due to your dog having low self esteem, no socialization or no confidence. When you have an afraid dog, he could lash out in panic or fear at someone or another dog. Don't allow your dog near small children until you have instilled confidence in your dog and eradicated these fear issues. More advanced or professional help may need to be sought after.

In severe case where a dogs aggression has resulted in dog on dog aggression or even worse dog on human aggression, you should definitely consider seeking and paying for the best possible professional dog advice you can afford. That is, if this is still an option. Let's hope things will never go that far. Remember, you are responsible for your dog's behavior. Let your dog be a symbol of your character and display only the best traits that are what makes your dog, man's best friend.

In closing, I'm pretty sure most of this stuff is common sense. Sometimes you just need to read it for it to hit home. Remember all your dog really wants is a safe and good place to shower his affection and enthusiasm on you and your entire family. Your dogs aggression, in some situations, can be life saving. We all know that a dog's love knows no fear. So don't be afraid, let him know you love him by being his Alpha Dog.

Hi, my names Derek and I am a Dog Lover and Enthusiast. Please join me at my website where we deliver the Best Dog Health and Training Advice and share our insights along with many top experts.

Why don't you subscribe to my free, regular and current newsletter which is packed with loads of relevant and well researched dog health and training advice. I am also giving away a free book on How to, which will give you the know how to take charge of your best friend.

Hope to see you soon, thanks for reading my article.
Cheers for now.
LIVE...LOVE...LIFE... to the MAX!!!!

Aggressive Dog Behavior - 3 Common Aggressive Dog Behaviors

Any aggressive dog behavior intended to harm a person or animal can be frightening. Growling, baring of teeth, snapping and biting are all indicators of aggressive behavior. This type of behavior, although seen as being instinctual to a dog, is unacceptable to humans.

There are many factors that come into play when a dog displays this behavior. These include how the dog was treated as a puppy - cruelty from both a human or a dog can cause the dog to become more aggressive when similar actions are displayed to the dog. There may also be health issues that come onto play - if a dog has a hormonal imbalance. This can also be an attributing factor.

Because of the way that humans and dogs communicate, a dogs behavior can be misinterpreted as threatening and as such misunderstandings can occur.

Aggressive behavior displayed by a dog can have potential consequences if it is not taken care of effectively. I recommend professional assistance if your dog's aggressive behavior is becoming unmanageable.

Types of Aggressive Dog Behavior:

There are many types of aggressions, here I will cover the three most common ones:

    * Dominance Aggression. Should your dog's social status be challenged or control over his social interaction is threatened,  your dog will display aggressive dog behavior. Dogs associate a family group as a social group, because dogs are social animals.  If your dog thinks it's social ranking is above yours, it will feel threatened and will display aggressive dog behavior. When  it is not challenged in this way, it's behavior will be friendly.

    * Fear Motivated Aggression. Whey your dog thinks that it is being attacked or is in danger, it will display aggression. Behavior that may seem innocent to you, such as raising your arm to throw a ball, may be seen by your dog as threatening. Also, when approached by another dog, your dog may become defensive or fearful because of things that have happened to it as a puppy.

    * Protective and Territorial Aggression. When a dog believes that there territory or property is threatened, it will become aggressive. Dogs will become protective when defending their food, their toys, and their property, as well as valuable possessions.

What You Can Do to Manage Aggressive Dog Behavior:

There are a  lot of reasons your dog is behaving aggressively, Check with your professional veterinarian if you believe that your dog is displaying dangerous aggressive dog behavior

    * Go to a vet and rule out medical reasons for this type of behavior.

    * Should things get too difficult, seek professional help. Don't try and tough it out.

Keep your aggressive dog in a safe place so that no harm can be done to anyone else. You are responsible for your dog's behavior!
  Avoid situations that can cause undue stress to your dog, such as situations that can scare it.

  If your dog is showing possessive behaviors towards a toy or food, keep it away from the objects and bribe it with similar objects. Don't let it have what it want, when it wants to. You are the dominant one in the pack!
Never use aggression or violence towards your dog. This will only make the situation worse. As well getting stressed out in front of the dog, his will not help at all.

Do not encourage aggressive behavior. Should you see your dog showing this type of behavior, take steps (in a positive way) to stop it.

You can do a lot to resolve your dog's aggressive dog behavior. Don't give up, but continue to look for ways to resolve the behavior Giving up only serves to send a message to the dog that they have become the dominant one in the family, thus allowing the dog to bark, snap and bit whenever it wants to without anyway of stopping it.

For more information on handling aggresive dog behavior, as well as a great deal of detailed information on a host of other common dog behavior problems, check out secrets to dog training. It's a complete owner's guide to owning, rearing, and training your dog, and it deals with all aspects of dog ownership. Go to: => to get your FREE 5 "Dog Training Myths' Report. To get the inside word on preventing and dealing with problem behaviors like aggression and dominance in your dog, "Secrets to Dog Training" is well worth a look.

Dog Training - 8 Ways to Cut Down on Behavior Problems

You've performed three of the most important tasks for a dog owner: decided if you were right for a dog, determined what dog was the best for you and taught your best friend some manners. That should be about it, right? Wrong!

You have an ongoing relationship with your pet, just like you do your children or your spouse. It's important to maintain the relationship if you want it to be fruitful. If you don't, all of that training you've done so far will be for naught.
Sometimes, though, like all relationships, the one with your dog can be rocky.

Even well-trained owners have dogs with behavior problems when things change. Dog have been known to act out when their owners being working more hours, go back to school, have a baby or get married. Dogs aren't themselves when they are ill or in pain. Some dogs are just never quite right because of problems inherited from poor breeding.

Here are nine things you can do to make sure your well-behaved dog stays that way.

1. Don't forget that you are leader of the pack. Remind yourself that your dog is genetically programmed to be part of a group and to obey the leader of his pack. If you don't provide him consistent strong, yet fair, leadership, he will try to become the leader. If he becomes the leader by default, behavior problems will increase exponentially. Here are some tips to make sure he remembers you are his leader:

- Don't let him pull on his leash.

- Don't put the leash on your dog until he sits quietly.

- Don't let him get away with bad behavior.

- Always eat before he does.

- Don't chase or play rough games like tug-of-war with your dog.

- Don't allow him to bite anyone.

- Always go through doorways before him.

- Try to always be calm, fair and confident when dealing with your dog.

- Don't give him anything - attention, food, play - without him doing something for you first, like sitting on command.

- Don't allow your dog on furniture without your permission.

- Protect your dog from other animals or people who try to harm him.

When you are a strong leader, your dog will respect you. With this respect comes an innate desire to please. He will love you and want to obey your every command!

2. Train with your dog every day. Just like with humans, any behavior you train your dog to do will be forgotten if he doesn't practice it. Work with your dog at least 15 minutes a day on an aspect of his behavior. This is important, also, to remind your canine that you are the leader of his pack. Try to teach your dog something new every month or two. This will keep him challenged and give you both a sense of accomplishment. Most dogs were bred to do some kind of work, and if you don't give your dog purpose, he'll become bored and develop behavioral problems.

3. Make sure to give your dog treats and praise. Continue the technique you've used to train your dog. People tend to get complacent, and before you know it, Spot is hogging your bed and dragging you down the street by the leash. To make things worse, he won't listen to your commands any more. To prevent this, make your dog perform an act of obedience to earn praise, petting or a treat.

4. Never strike or yell at your dog. Hitting or kicking your dog will have about the same effect that it would on a spouse or a child - it ruins the relationship and breaks down all the trust your pet had for you. Some owners use physical abuse to train their dogs to fight for money. Others believe, erroneously, that abuse will make them become better watch or attack dogs. Statistics show that thousands of dogs are killed or injured by people every year. No matter how frustrated you get with him, never, ever strike your pet.

Dogs don't respond well to yelling. All it does is get your dog more stressed, which will more than likely make his behavior problems worse. Everyone loses their patience from time to time, but remember that your dog only responds to fair leadership.

5. Get your dog proper medical care. Your dog needs a checkup at the veterinarian annually to make sure he's in top form physically and to receive yearly shots to prevent rabies and other diseases. It's important to go to the same vet every year so he or she can monitor your pet and notice any evidence of problems. All dogs need a teeth cleaning from time to time, too, to keep them healthy. If your dog is injured or sick, he needs to get proper medical attention. Your veterinarian can also give you advice on behavior as well as diet, breeding, training, and puppy selection

6. Attend obedience training. As an absolute necessity for getting a good to a positive relationship with your dog, be sure to take him to a six-to-eight-week-long obedience class, before his first birthday if he's a puppy, as soon as possible if he's an adult dog. A good trainer will teach you the basics and what a good dog/owner relationship is.

If you have an adult dog, don't worry. That old saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" is not true! A dog of any age can learn good behavior. Both you and your dog will benefit. He will learn some good behavior and to respect you, the leader of the pack. You'll learn the subtleties of your dog's behavior and how to act in a fair, yet dominant, manner. Obedience training is great way to teach an "only dog" how to properly socialize with other dogs and people.
Whether you are alone with your dogs or in a group of people and animals, your dog will learn how to behave.

Here are some tips to help you determine what obedience class is the right one for you and your pet:

- Ask your friends, family members, vet or groomer for

- Be sure the trainer uses positive reinforcement and no methods that hurt or frighten the dogs.

- Choose a trainer that focuses primarily on group classes. Although it may seem like one-on-one training might be best, group classes give both you and your dog to observe other people and their pets. Your dog will also focus on your commands, not just those of the trainer. Some owners do both individual and group classes.

- Make sure there are separate classes for puppies and adult dogs. Dogs between eight and 16 weeks should be in puppy classes. You may also feel more comfortable with a trainer who offers beginning, intermediate and advanced obedience classes.

- Ask the trainer you are considering if you can watch a class. While you watch, note some of these details: Notice if the class is small enough that everyone can get some individualized attention. Watch to see if both and dogs and owners are having fun. See if the trainer provides lesson handouts. In a good class, you'll hear plenty of praise and commands in upbeat, yet firm, tones. Does the trainer give the owners other information about health, grooming or specific breeds? You want to make sure your trainer is knowledgeable about the whole dog, not just obedience training techniques.

- Ask your trainer if he or she knows several different techniques to work with dogs. This can come in handy if your dog doesn't always respond to the tried-and-true methods.

- Make certain that the trainer requires that dogs be vaccinated and certified healthy by their vet before enrolling in classes.

- Be sure to get a list of equipment you'll need to bring with you to your first class.

Once you find the right trainer and obedience class, make sure both you and your dog are prepared. Be sure to bring all the required equipment. Don't feed your dog before class - since treats are part of the reinforcement of good behavior, you want him to be willing to eat the treats, which he might not want if he has a full belly. Don't forget to do your homework! Practice between classes is essential to reinforce your dog's behavior.

7. Lean all you can about your dog, his breed, and canine care. You can never know too much when it comes to your dog. Learn all you can from books, television and magazines. Be sure just to take the time to browse at the pet supply store or your favorite online pet supplies merchant to see what kind of new products are on the market. A new toy from time to time is a new adventure for both you and your pet.

8. Keep your dog's home safe and stimulating. Giving your dog a fun, secure place to live will help to prevent bad behavior and may even prolong his life. Always have a number of fun toys available, including balls, chews and squeaky toys. Be sure to play with your dog daily to give him the necessary exercise he needs, to help you bond with your pet and to just have fun!
If no one is home during the day, leave a talk radio station on. Keep your pet out of areas of your home where he might eat something toxic or injure himself. Keep your fence well maintained.

If your dog starts to have behavior problems, don't despair! There's nothing to say that you can't start training him to change his behavior! With a little patience and perseverance, you will be able to eliminate most bad behavior. In the most extreme cases, you may not be able to stop the behavior, but with training your dog will show improvement.

Some problems won't be entirely eliminated, especially if you chose a dog that doesn't have the temperament for your lifestyle. But even some of these dogs can change if you have a good dog/dog owner relationship. Now we'll look at some of the most common behavior problems and how to re-train your dog to behave appropriately.

Marilyn Burnham
Author: 'Dog Owners Boot Camp'
The How To Guide, Dog Training Secrets Professional Dog Trainers Don't Want You To Know!
For More Information On Dog Training
Marilyn Burnham was the owner operator of 4 successful dog grooming stores in British Columbia, Canada for more than a decade. To spend more time with her children Marilyn made the decision to sell her business in the mid 90's. Get a copy of her book: ‘Dog Owners Boot Camp’ The How To Guide, Dog Training Secrets Professional Dog Trainers Don’t Want You To Know!

New Pet Dog Vaccination Guidelines in the USA

Vaccinations are an essential preventive care for your dog. Through vaccination, dogs can now be protected from numerous disease risks, including rabies, distemper, hepatitis and several others. Some of these diseases are zoonotic (can be passed from dogs to people) and so vaccinating your pet benefits public health too.

Recently, several studies have shown that vaccines protect dogs for a longer period than previously believed. There have also been many improvements in the quality of the vaccines produced. Pet owners are now also aware and concerned that vaccination is not as harmless a procedure as once believed.

To assist veterinarians with making vaccine recommendations for their pet owners dogs, the American Animal Hospital Association has now issued a set of canine vaccine guidelines. These guidelines were developed by a group of experts and practicing veterinarians together.

A key recommendation is that all dogs are very different and therefore vaccine decisions should be tailored to the individual dog. Factors including age, breed, health status, environment, lifestyle, and travel habits of the dog should be always be considered. Infectious disease threats differ from place to place and so you should work with your veterinarian to tailor an immunization program that best protects your dog based on his / her risk and lifestyle factors.

Am I Putting My Dogs Health at Risk When Vaccinating?

All medical procedures, no matter how routine, carry some inherent risk and so it would be wrong to say that vaccinating your pet is risk free. As with any medical procedure the benefits of performing that procedure must be balanced against the risks. Veterinarians recommend that no needless vaccination risks should be taken and that the best way to go about this is to reduce the number and frequency of administration of unnecessary vaccines.These decisions should be made after considering your dogs age, lifestyle, and potential exposure to infectious disease.

What are the risks associated with vaccination?

Vaccine reactions are infrequent in my experience. In general, most vaccine reactions are mild and the side effects (local pain, itchiness and swelling) are self-limiting. Allergic reactions are much less common, but if untreated can actually be fatal. These can occur soon after vaccination, usually within a matter of minutes to hours. If you think this type of reaction is occuring, please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Also, in a very small number of patients, vaccines can sometimes cause the patients immune system to attack their own cells, resulting in diseases that affect the blood, skin, joints or nervous system. Such reactions are very rare but can again be life threatening.

There is also a possible complication of tumor growth developing at the vaccination site, but this occurs most frequently in cats.
Please just remember, that if you have any reason to be concerned, just call your veterinarian for advice.

There are so many vaccines available - How do I know which vaccines my pet needs?

There are two general groups of vaccines: core and noncore vaccines.
Core vaccines are recommended for all dogs and protect against diseases that are more common and are more serious. These diseases are found in all areas of North America and are more easily transmitted than noncore diseases. The AAHA guidelines define core vaccines as: distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and rabies.

Noncore vaccines are for patients at an increased risk for infection due to exposure or lifestyle. The AAHA guidelines define non-core vaccines as: kennel cough, Lyme disease and leptospirosis vaccines.

How often should my dog be vaccinated really?

It is essential that your dog has the complete initial series of puppy core vaccines, as well as booster shots at one year of age. The young dog is at high risk of contracting infectious disease and so every step should be taken to prevent illness. Following the one-year boosters, the AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines recommend that the distemper, adenovirus and parvovirus core vaccines be administered once every three years. Your state and local municipality govern how often rabies boosters are administered and so please contact them or your local veterinarian to get more information (some areas require an annual rabies booster whereas others only require a three-year-effective rabies booster every three years ).

Noncore vaccinations should be administered whenever the risk of the disease is significant enough to override any risk of vaccination. For example, a kennel cough vaccine may need to be given every six months to a dog that is repeatedly kenneled or exposed to groups of dogs at grooming salons or dog shows.

If my pet doesnt need annual vaccines does this mean I only need to see my veterinarian every three years?

Regular health checks (once or twice a year) are a very important disease preventative for your dog. Vaccinations are just one component of a health check. Your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your pet to ensure that all is well. your veterinarian has an opportunity, therefore, to detect and prevent problems at an early stage. Just think, dogs age more quickly than humans, so an annual exam equates to a human getting a physical every 5-7 years. Plus they dont always show signs of early disease, and they cant easily communicate discomfort to us.

Can my veterinarian do tests to see if my dog needs to be vaccinated?

The answer is yes. Tests that measure protective antibody levels for diseases are called titers. Reliable titer tests for canine distemper and parvovirus now exist. Your veterinarian can provide you with more information.

Dr David Brooks is part of the online veterinary team at []. Veterinarians, Vet Technicians, Nurses, Trainers, Behaviorists, Breeders and Pet Enthusiasts are here to answer your pet questions and concerns... Our dedicated community of caring experts are waiting to offer you advice, second opinions and support.