postheadericon How to Choose the Best Collar for your Dog

How do you choose the best collar or harness for your dog? 

It will all depend upon your pet, your pet’s age, and even their breed. No, the leash and harness are not fashion accessories as many people think. They are tools (that luckily do come in some great collars and prints!). Tools which allow you and your dog to achieve the best possible enjoyment out of walking. There are four basic types of recommended models for you to select from, dependent upon your pets’ needs.

dog leash
Basic Collar and Leash -

This model is the most common seen in our pet stores and used thoughtout the world. The simple long leash and colar around the neck is for the low energy pup who walks well and is well behaved. If your dog is a good walker and does not pull, listens to your commands, and does not distract easy, then this will work just fine for you both.

Slip Collar -

This option is also a fairly recognizable tool used in grooming and veterinary offices. It requires no collar. You simply put the round end of the leash over your dog’s neck. It allows your dog to have freedom if they walk well and should they pull, the slip will tighten. It also allows you the freedom to control any unwanted behavior along your walks. You gently pull the leash to the left or right and it will tug on your dog’s neck – sort of popping them back into reality. This is a great option for a fairly well trained dog that may simply get distracted from time to time and need that gentle nudge. Please, ensure you are using gentle nudges and not using tons of unnecessary force on your pet. Chocking your dog is not acceptable! If you find your gentle tugs don’t get their attention then perhaps this tool is not the right fit.

dog collar

Illusion Collar -

This option is fairly uncommon but a great way to control the dog who pulls, without chocking or utilizing excessive force to reign them back in. It fits on the neck and applies pressure on their most sensitive part of the neck.

Harness -

The harness is a broad category for a large variety of options. A standard harness should be used for dogs that are easily controlled and not distracted. It is ideal for taking your dog on a walk while you rollerblade, skateboard or bike. It gives your dog much more ability to pull so it is not a good fit for some dogs. It will make them stronger.

It is a great fit for smaller dogs, dogs with slender and delicate necks, as well as breeds that have flat faces that restrict their breathing. Dogs with smaller, thin necks are at great risk of throat damage and collapsed tracheal issues when they are not fitted with a harness. The other options above are too hard on their sensitive necks and could cause damage. Fit them with a good harness and keep them comfy.

dog harness

Whatever option you choose, keep in mind that there is always a training and adjustment period. Always exercise patience and be aware that there may be a need for some trial and error with the different options until you find one that works best for you and your dog.

photo credits: kennethkonicaccho, and garlandcannon via photopin cc

postheadericon How to Get Rid of Fleas Once and for All!

FLEAS. Who doesn’t immediately begin to itch when you hear this word? Fleas are pests. Plain and simple. If you or your pets have not had an encounter with a flea at some point in your life then you are one of the lucky ones! Whoever came up with the phrase “He couldn’t harm a flea” obviously is one of the few who hasn’t!

get rid of fleas dog

Fleas, what do they do?

Well let’s start with this: cause havoc! Fleas land on a host, your pet. Once they have landed and get cozy they feed. How do they feed? Well they basically bite open the skin and drink the blood. They then are full from that little meal so they are free to mate and lay eggs. Then, they feed some more. One or two fleas are all it takes to set up a rather large family tree which results in a very bothersome infestation.

dog scratching fleas

So what can you do? Let’s talk about a game plan.

As with anything, prevention is the best key to avoid a flea infestation. You can achieve this by trying to keep the fleas at bay and away from your house and your pets (and of course you as well)!

Here are a few things you can do to help prevent a flea infestation in your home or on your pets:

-       Groom and bathe your pets regularly.

-       Vacuum frequently to pick those pests up!

-       Keep your pet healthy! An unhealthy pet is the perfect host for fleas.

-       Mow and keep your grass short.

-       Trim shrubs and plants.

-       Keep leaf debris to a minimum.

-       Keep trash cans tightly closed. Rodents that are on the prowl for your trash carry fleas!

-      Contact your local pest control company. Discuss organic pest control options for your lawn and shrubs.

flea prevention dogs

In addition to prevention you will also need a protection plan.

There are a variety of options to prevent flea infestations on your pet:

Oral - This is a pill form that works wonders. It will not wash out and is not messy when applied to your pet. It will protect the entire body.
Spray on – It kills on contact which can be helpful. There are toxic side effects for pets and humans so be sure to do your research before making your decision.
Spot on – These are also highly effective options. Many people find this option to be the best. It’s cost effective, easy to use, and lasts for a month. It kills the flea when it bites.

Now should you find your pet infested, immediately wash them in hot, soapy water. This will drown the fleas. Then immediately treat them with one of the options above (follow the dosing instructions carefully – do not apply any flea prevention medication more than the instructions call for).   You will also need to completely clean your home from top to bottom. This may entail having your carpets treated. Wash all bedding, and vacuum the entire home and furniture.

As always, please ensure you consult with your vet to achieve the best results for you and your pet, and get rid of those fleas once and for all!  So tell us, what’s your preferred method of flea prevention? 

Photo credits:☺ Lee J Haywood, mksystem, and Takashi(aes256) via photopin cc

postheadericon 8 Tips to Keep your Pet Happy this 4th of July!

What do you have planned for the 4th of July? Picnic? Beach trip? Bar-b-que? Fireworks display? No matter what is on your agenda for the 4th of July, if you’re a pet parent, one thing is sure to be on your mind right now … the safety and comfort of your dog or cat. Even if you are not partaking in the viewing or setting off of fireworks, there’s no doubt that you and your furry family member will hear the explosives from wherever you’re celebrating … and he’s probably not going to like it.

Independence Day Dog

All pets react differently when they hear loud noises, fireworks going off, or flashes of light. Trembling, running away, barking, howling, and crying, are just a few of the common behaviors your dog or cat may exhibit. Keep in mind that many obedient pets will behave quite differently during the stress of such commotion and may even exhibit destructive behavior. So what do you do? Read on for some top tips to keep your pet safe while maintaining your sanity.

4th of July Dogs

8 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe and Happy

• Expect the worst and plan for it! Talk to your network of pet care professionals to see how you can best set your pet up for success.
• Keep your pets inside while fireworks are going off. He will be less likely to take off and get lost, or get into any other trouble. Remember, a dog or cat is highly likely to be unpredictable.
• Give your pet a place to hide. This can include: his crate, a darkened room or basement, or a bed to hide under. The best place will be somewhere where it is dark and where he is comfortable. Where does your dog or cat go during thunderstorms? That’s probably where he’ll want to be during fireworks too.
• Turn up the televisions or radio. Your pet needs white noise to help drown out the booms of the fireworks.
• Have a few current photographs of your dog available in case he does run away when you take him out for a potty break.
• If you don’t already have cat or dog tags, get them now. If you already have a ID tag, make sure it’s securely on your pet’s collar and it displays your current phone number.
• It’s not too late to microchip your pet. It’s a quick and easy procedure. You can’t put a price tag on peace of mind, but thankfully it is also a relatively inexpensive procedure.
• Most importantly, stay calm. Don’t yell or stress. Try to act as you normally would as you don’t want to reinforce the fearful behaviors.

How do you keep your pet calm during the excitement of 4th of July fireworks? Comment below and let us know. All of us here at Waggy Tails wish you a Have a happy and safe 4th of July with your family and your pets!

July 4th Dogs

photo credits: Randy Son Of Robertgeckoam, and Xanboozled via photopin cc

postheadericon How to Travel Safely with your Dog in the Car

traveling with pets

Seat belts, airbags, car seats, booster seats.  What do all of these things have in common?  They keep our families’ safe in our cars as we travel from one place to the next.  But what about when we are traveling with our dog?  What can we do to keep them safe on the road? There are a few cardinal rules to follow when considering the safety of your dog in your car.

1. When planning to travel in the car with your canine family member, you need to make sure that your dog is ready for the ride.  Prepare your dogs by making sure they are comfortable in these situations, so you know exactly how they will react.  In other words, spend time in the car beforehand so your dog will get used to the ride and you have time to adjust to any potential issues. Many dogs will be just fine in the car, but some suffer from anxiety or motion sickness.  Bringing the dog’s favorite pillow or toy can help to comfort them as they travel.

 2.We pack sandwiches, drinks, and other items of comfort and necessity to be sure we are ready to travel. Why not pack something similar for your pet?  Be sure to bring water, their food, a favorite bone, a Kong, and some treats with you as you prepare for a drive.  Also, we need bathroom breaks and so will our dogs.  So bring the leash, waste bags and a pooper scooper for those potty breaks.

 3. Many dogs will sleep in the car, but eventually they will become restless.  A dog hanging his head out of the window may seem like a cute way to entertain himself, but this actually can cause damage to your dog’s inner ear and create lung infections.  You can always keep the window rolled down partially so he still gets fresh air, but don’t let him hang his head out. There have also been many accidents because dogs will sometimes see something that will trigger them to jump out the window.   For entertainment, bring a chew toy and other objects to keep your traveling pet entertained.  Of course, be sure to stop often and let your dog stretch his legs and sniff the surroundings.   Bring a ball to toss at the rest stop so he can expend some energy!

dog safety in care

 4. The best way to keep your dog safe during a trip is to use some type of restraint system.  We have a seatbelt for our safety, so give your dog the same respect.  Your pet should travel in the back seat for safety in case of airbag deployment.  As far as a restraining system it will depend on the size and breed of your dog.  These are some safety travel tips to follow when considering what restraint system will be best for you:

  • Small dogs travel better in a carrier.  They shouldn’t be able to run around the vehicle and a seatbelt should secure the carrier.
  • If a crate is needed for your dog, be sure it has proper cushioning and it is well secured.
  • For proper restraint you can use harnesses that attach to seat belts or straps that attach to the ceiling of the car.
  • Your dog should have some mobility as they travel.  The dog should be able to move, lay down and turn around in the seat.

Be sure to keep your pet safe as you travel in your car and the trip will be enjoyable for you and your furry family member.  A properly restrained and well behaved pet will allow you to keep your eyes where they should be, on the road! Safe travels!


Photo Credits: photo credit: las – initially,  JKleeman,  Janet Moore-Coll via photopin cc

postheadericon Pet Friendly Events in Knoxville – Spring/Summer 2014

The days are getting warmer, spring is in the air, and if you’re like me you’re looking for fun activities to get outside with your dogs. I’m happy to say that Knoxville has several great options for you and your furry friends, ranging from dog-focused events to dog sporting groups. We’re going to take a look at 5 of my top suggestions for local pet friendly events, activities, and groups for you and your dog to take part in this spring and summer. Hope to see you out there!

Bark in the Park Knoxville 2014

1. Bark in the Park (Market Square) –

This annual event is the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley’s largest fundraiser of the year. It brings thousands of dogs and their owners to Market Square in downtown Knoxville. This year will be the 20th annual hosting of this event, and will take place Saturday, June 14, 6-9pm. Come down and eat dinner on one of the dog friendly patios at a participating restaurant, and then fido can strut his stuff in the games and contests – $10 to enter. There will also be all kinds of vendor booths to browse.

2. Walk and Wag (Victor Ashe Park) –

This 3rd annual event on Saturday, June 7th, is a dog friendly and family event held in memory of 10 year old Abby Gibson, a young girl who loved all animals and passed away due to injuries from a horseback riding accident. This event raises money for a variety of animal-focused organizations including a scholarship endowment fund at UT’s Vet school, H.A.B.I.T, H.A.L.T, and The Knoxville Zoo’s ZooFund for Kids. The event will start with Abby’s Memorial Walk at 10am, followed by festivities in the park from 11am-1pm. You’ll find vendors, prize drawings, contests for dogs, low cost vaccinations/microchipping, demonstrations by a K-9 unit, and much more.

Critter Fest Maryville 2014

3. Critter Fest (Maryville) –

This annual event is held June 17 from 12pm-5pm on Maryville College Campus to benefit the Blount County Humane Society. It’s a family friendly event with free admission that traditionally includes silly pet contests, a K-9 demonstration, a blessing of the animals, kids games/face painting, and plenty of adoptable pets. More information on this year’s event should be coming out soon.

4. East TN Dog Meet Up Group -

This group is for dogs and their humans to get out and explore East TN together. They have “meet ups” in Knoxville and surrounding areas, and are open to singles, married, and kids. Their events normally include going to dog parks, hiking, walking greenways, participating in dog events, and eating at outdoor cafes together. They schedule meetups in Knoxville, as well as Oak Ridge, Maryville, and other surrounding East Tennessee cities.

Knoxville Dock Dogs

5. Knoxville Dog Sports –

There are several local organizations that promote dog sporting events. Smoky Mountain DockDogs participate in dock diving, a sport for dogs of all sizes that love the water and jumping off docks into it! Big Orange Blast is a flyball club in Knoxville . If you don’t know what flyball is, it is described as a dog sport in which teams of dogs race against each other from a start/finish line, over a line of hurdles, to a box that releases a tennis ball to be caught when the dog presses the spring-loaded pad, then back to their handlers while carrying the ball. Barn Hunt Knoxville is another dog sport that humanely demonstrates a dog’s vermin hunting ability in finding and marking rats in a “barn-like” setting, using straw/hay bales to introduce climbing and tunneling obstacles in the dog’s path.

As you can see there are multiple events, groups, and activities that promote dogs and all the fun that can be had with them. So this spring and summer I encourage you to get out with your family pooch, and explore all that Knoxville has to offer!

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I started using Waggy Tails 3 years ago when I adopted my cat, Knoxy. My hometown is St. Louis, so my husband and I travel home a lot and because an 8-hour drive home is not conducive to bringing along a cat, we needed another option. We didn’t want to kennel our cat because it’s […]

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Love the crew at Waggy Tails! I’m a veterinarian, so I’m always extra critical on who I let take care of our four legged kids and Waggy Tails did not disappoint! The entire experience was very personal and professional. From the initial ‘interview of our kids’ to the eventual pet sitting, the process was easy […]

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My husband and I moved to Knoxville last year and have been using Waggy Tails for our dogs regularly since then. They do an excellent job and the dogs love them! I am a veterinarian and I have been very satisfied with their work. They have braved snowy/icy conditions to come see my girls and […]

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I moved here about 6 months ago and my dog trainer recommended Waggy Tails for my 3 dogs when I travel for work. Every experience has been wonderful, the dogs and my home are cared for very well and I enjoy the updates while I am away. The cost is actually cheaper than keeping the […]

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I recently moved to the area and was searching for a professional dog sitting/walking company. From my first contact with Waggy Tails I have been very impressed with their professional service, great communication and most importantly excellent care of my two toy poodles. Their consistent attention to details and dependability have been amazing!! The pet […]

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Summer and her associates certainly put their heart into caring for animals of all types. Waggy Tails is the only organization I trust to care for my pets while away. They are trustworthy, reliable, and without question, the best pet sitters I have ever used. I wholeheartedly recommend them to others.

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Waggy Tails does a great job taking care of my two dogs. Our sitter is thorough with the needs of each dog and very loving and caring towards them. My dogs are always very excited to see her. I have an older Golden and she is upset when I have to board her, so Waggy […]

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Waggy Tails has truly been a blessing in taking care of all our cats (our babies). Our sitter is very understanding and patient with us regarding how picky we are about how they are cared for. I trust her and feel at ease knowing she will be looking after them. (They are not an easy […]

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Summer handles her business very professionally, and left me feeling very confident that the dogs and I were in good hands. From what I have seen it’s a very well run organization, and I can absolutely recommend her service!

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