How to Jet With Your Pet

Let’s admit it, traveling is a hassle even for us humans, between airport security, parking and travel delays. Are you planning to fly with your pet in the near future? Fortunately, millions of dogs fly with their pet owners every year. The sooner you can let the airlines know you will be flying with a pet, the better. Just as there is a limited number of people that can fly on the plane, so too is there a limited number of dogs.

Traveling can be highly stressful, both for you and your dog. But with thoughtful preparation, you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone.

If a pet is too large to fit in a crate under your seat, they are checked as personal luggage. Don’t fret – they are placed in a pressurized, temperature controlled compartment.

Here are some tips to make flying your pet as easy as possible:

  • Pet reservations can’t be made online — they must be done by phone.
  • The number of animals per aircraft is limited, so reserve ahead.
  • Fly early in the day and non-stop if at all possible.
  • Make sure your pet has a microchip for identification and is wearing a collar and ID tag. Breakaway collars are best for cats. The collar should also include destination information in the unlikely event your pet escapes.
  • No airline will guarantee acceptance of a dog it has not seen.
  • “Airline Veterinary Health Certificates” must be signed by the vet within 7 to 10 days of travel. Make sure all vaccinations are up-to-date. For travel outside of the continental United States, additional planning and health care requirements may be necessary. Contact the foreign office of the country you are traveling to for more information.
  • Sedation is not allowed by some airlines, because pets lose their equilibrium when sedated. Natural calming tablets, however, are generally allowed. All medications must be declared upon check-in.
  • Under-seat cargo crates must meet the size for federal and airline criteria. Purchase a USDA-approved shipping crate that is large enough for your pet to stand, sit and turn around in comfortably. Shipping crates can be purchased from many pet supply stores and airlines. Affix a current photograph of your pet to the top of the crate for identification purposes.

For a list of all rules applying to pet travel, click here.

As always, if you need help with ANY of your dog’s behaviors, call your local Bark Busters dog trainer.

Who Is Smarter … Cats or Dogs?

cats-and-dogs-06Who is smarter: dogs or cats? This debate will probably never be solved, much like the heredity versus environment debate that has been going on for centuries. Even though we are dog trainers, we love all pets and probably each has our own prejudices. However, let’s look at the facts versus the fiction:

What Dog Lovers Say:

  1. Dogs have bigger brains than cats. Cats’ brains account for about 0.9 percent of their body mass, whereasdogs’ brains make up 1.2 percent of their body mass. However, a bigger brain doesn’t actually mean smarter. Although the dog brain has been evolving, the cat’s brain has remained unchanged for approximately 8,000 years. Why? The theory is that dogs are more social, thus increasing the size of their brain.
  2. Dogs can be trained to help humans such as fire dogs, seeing-eye dogs, therapy dogs, rescue dogs, etc. Cats cannot be trained to help humans (ever heard of a seeing-eye cat?)
  3. Dogs have larger vocabularies than cats and generally score higher on IQ tests.

What Cat Lovers Say:

  1. Cats are more independent than dogs, as they can fend for themselves and don’t depend on their owners for hunting or grooming.
  2. Cats have twice as many neurons (300 million versus 160 million) in their cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
  3. A dog’s memory is five minutes long, while a cat can remember up to 16 hours.

It’s not just about the pet’s themselves … there is research on the owners as well. A study at the University of Bristol in England found that more cat owners have advanced degrees or college degrees than their dog counterparts in the U.K. However, a study in the U.S. by the American Veterinary Association found that dog owners are better educated. (can’t open link)

And so the debates rages on.

The bottom line? There is no scientific proof to show that dogs are smarter than cats or vice versa. Because dogs and cats are different species of animals, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Sorry.

Are you a cat lover, dog owner, or both? Give us your comments!

Take Great Photos Of Your Pets Over the Holidays

The holidays are a great time to take photos of your dog, chronicling his growth over the previous year. Even if you have a point and shoot camera, taking pictures of dogs can be tricky. Unlike their owners, pets don’t know what we are asking of them – posing for the camera is generally not in their everyday repertoire (have you ever seen a dog selfie)? They get fidgety and restless.
Here are some tips to help you create some great shots from Antoine Khater at All Day I Dream About Photography:

  • Take the photos outside whenever possible. The flash can cause red eye and scare your dog. If you want to take a picture indoors by your holiday tree, light from an outside window is best. If your pet is light colored, white fur in particular will look washed out with a flash.
  • Get down on your pet’s level so he feels more comfortable and you can get a more natural shot. Sit on the floor or lie on your belly and remember to shoot from his eye level or below. See the world as he sees it. An uncluttered background with neutral colors is ideal because it isn’t too distracting.
  • Capture your pet’s character and uniqueness. Does your dog have a favorite bone? A favorite place outside? A special way he stands when he’s happy? Remember, you’re making memories, so catch him when he’s happy.
  • Want to have a professional photo taken? Is your dog a morning dog or an evening dog? Schedule a time when he’s at his best.
  • Be patient. It may take some trial and error to get a good shot. Experiment. Try different angles, approaches and composition.


Feeding an animal first is always a good idea if shooting portraits as it leaves them relaxed. Have fun with it. If you’re having fun, your dog will too! It may take 25 pictures to get one good one, but it will be worth it!


Tips for A Safe Thanksgiving With Your Dog

dog_dressed_as_turkey_01It’s important to keep the “Happy” in Thanksgiving by ensuring that you and your dog have a safe and fun-filled holiday season. Thanksgiving is the launch of a frenetic time, one in which we celebrate all we are thankful for, including our pets, our family and our friends.

Here are some tips to remember

  • Foods. Do not give your dog spicy or fatty foods including bread dough, herbs, sweets (especially those with chocolate) or caffeine. Specific foods to avoid include:
    • According to Bark Busters’ experts, when raw bread dough is eaten, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach, causing severe abdominal pain and vomiting.
    • Onions and onion powder, which people often use to spice up their stuffing, will destroy your dog or cat’s red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.
    • Chocolate can actually be fatal to your dog or cat, so keep the pies and cake well out of reach.
    • Although alcohol may be on your menu, do not give any to your dog.
    • Grapes and raisins contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage to both dogs and cats.
    • Turkey bones can easily splinter, causing your dog to choke or get stuck in his gums. Give your dog bones designed for dogs! A little bit of turkey or mashed potatoes is okay, but don’t let them overindulge. You can also fill a Kong toy for your dog, keeping him busy for hours while you and your guests happily sit around the table in peace.
  • All the commotion at Thanksgiving can cause your dog to get overexcited when guests arrive. To help your dog stay calm, exercise him before your guests arrive.
  • Ah, the delights your garbage can contain! Make sure you keep the lid firmly secured, because if your dog or other critters get in, they will think they hit the jackpot! Also, aluminum foil, wax paper and other food wrappings can cause intestinal obstruction. Make sure to place these items securely in the garbage.

Fun Facts About Thanksgiving

Although most of us know that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts, here some other tidbits to stump your guests:

  • What was served at the first Thanksgiving? Rabbit, chicken, squash, beans, leeks, dried fruit, and honey.
  • How many turkeys are sold in the U.S. for Thanksgiving? 280 million.
  • What was the largest turkey ever raised? 86 pounds.
  • How many feathers does a mature turkey have? 3,600 feathers.
  • True or false. Commercial turkeys can fly. False.
  • What part of a 15 pound turkey is white or dark meat? 70% is white meat and 30% is dark meat. (would this ratio differ in a larger or smaller turkey?)

Bark Busters wishes you and your family a safe holiday season … let the festivities begin!

Does Your Dog Have Diabetes?

With November being National Diabetes Month, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and treat your dog if he develops diabetes. Diabetes in dogs occurs when after a dog eats, he is either unable to produce insulin or utilize it normally, causing an elevation in blood glucose levels. Diabetes occurs in 1 in 500 dogs and is very treatable with proper diet, exercise and medication.

There are many similarities between human diabetes and diabetes in dogs according to PetMD.  These include:

  • There are two types of diabetes: Type I (lack of insulin production) and Type II (impaired insulin production along with an inadequate response to the hormone.) Type 1 is the most common and it is often referred to as “juvenile diabetes”.
  • Diabetes often occurs as a result of obesity.
  • Just as certain humans are more prone to diabetes based on genetic factors, so too are certain breeds, including Australian terriers, standard and miniature schnauzers, dachshunds, poodles, keeshonds and Samoyeds. Juvenile diabetes is particularly prevalent in golden retrievers and Keeshonds.
  • If managed correctly, many diabetic dogs can lead happy, healthy lives.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Dogs

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Cloudy eyes
  • Chronic skin infections
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Sweet smelling or fruity breath
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis and Treatment
To accurately determine if your dog has diabetes, a veterinarian will perform a physical exam, accompanied by a urinalysis and blood test. Treatment depends on the severity of the illness. Some dogs may become seriously ill and require hospitalization to regulate their blood sugar. Many dogs require insulin injections and your vet should show you how to perform glucose tests at home. You will need to give your dog the insulin injections at the same time every day in addition to feeding him regular meals. Do not feed your dog treats that are high in glucose. Monitoring and consistency will be a key factor in your dog’s health.

In fact, here is an easy recipe provided by for diabetic dog treats:
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1 ½ pounds beef liver cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Place the liver into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. If you have room, add the flour and eggs, and process until smooth. Otherwise, transfer to a bowl, and stir in the flour and eggs using a wooden spoon. Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven,  or until the center is firm. Cool, and cut into squares using a pizza cutter. The treats will have a consistency similar to a sponge. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

In less severe cases, dogs can be treated with oral medications or a high fiber diet. Although a certain form of diabetes-the type found in dogs less than a year of age-is inherited, proper nutrition and a regular exercise program can help prevent the onset of diabetes in more mature dogs.

If diabetes goes untreated, it can lead to secondary health problems, such as cataracts or severe urinary tract problems, and in extreme cases, coma and death.

To find out more about diabetes in dogs, go to the Diabetic Pet Connection.

If you have any questions pertaining to dogs, feel free to Ask The Expert at Bark Busters or talk to your local Bark Busters dog trainer.