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May 2020

Your Dog... Home Alone

This information is provided as a public service and reproduced from

By Brook Bolen for AVL TODAY

Home-office-5091293_1920As we get further along into Phase 2 of the Governor’s three-phase plan to reopen the state, more of us will be venturing outside the home more frequently, and many of us will be returning to the office. How can we best help our dogs avoid the “Back to Work” blues and prepare for added solo time?

I spoke with Pia Silvani, a pet behavioral specialist — also the Interim Director of the Asheville Humane Society’s Behavioral Department — to find out what pet parents can do to make the transition as painless as possible. Here’s what Pia suggests doing ASAP:

  • Stop taking your pets with you everywhere (even if that’s just inside your house). “If they’re clingy, and they follow you around from room to room, close the door and leave them alone,” she says. “If they’ve been sleeping in the bed with you throughout quarantine, put them back in their dog bed.”

  • Leave your furkids alone for a few hours each day. Now that we can leave home again, step outside and run some errands. “Little spurts of time away will help them get used to you leaving again,” Pia notes.

  • Stick with a routine. If you’ve been going on lots of walks in quarantine, keep them up, but get up early in the morning so you can fit them in. “It’s very important to make sure your pet gets adequate exercise,” says Pia. Similarly, if you keep music or the TV on during the day, be sure to leave it on for your pooch while you’re gone.

  • Start waking up earlier. If you’ve been sleeping in and lounging in bed, start getting up earlier so your dog gets used to it, too.

  • If you work remotely, then implement some distance at home. Start by shutting the door to the room where you’re working. Even seemingly small changes like this can help your pet acclimate to spending less time with you. 

  • Bring your dog along to the office if you can. Let your pooch join you for half a day and then take them home. 

  • Extend your lunch hour to run errands or other things you might do after work. That way, you can go directly home to see the one(s) who’ve been waiting for you all day long.

  • Talk to your neighbor and see if they can check in on your dog during the day (alternately, hire a pet sitter/walker). These folks can let your dog out to relieve themself and give a few belly rubs. 

  • Keep in touch with your veterinarian. If your dog shows signs of anxiety, there are lots of natural products to help pets feel more calm + comfortable, Pia says. In the event they need something stronger, your vet can prescribe the appropriate medication.


The Most Popular Dog Breed is...

Young-2293890_1920Carolina Mountain Dog is a bit biased, but we believe the most popular dog breed in America is the mixed breed! Any "mutt" is #1, as far as we're concerned, especially if he/she is adopted from an animal shelter or rescue organization.

Still, if you're interested in knowing the "official" results of the AKC's annual ranking of the most popular dog breeds, here are the top 10 for 2019:

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. German Shepherd
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. French Bulldog
  5. Bulldog
  6. Poodle
  7. Beagle
  8. Rottweiler
  9. German Shorthaired Pointer
  10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

The list was released on May 1, 2020. To see the rest of the list, visit


Free Support from "Fear Free Happy Homes"

Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 11.03.36 AMFounded in 2016, Fear Free provides online and in-person education to veterinary professionals, the pet professional community, and pet owners. Courses are developed and written by the most respected veterinary and pet experts in the world, including boarded veterinary behaviorists, boarded veterinary anesthesiologists, pain experts, boarded veterinary internists, veterinary technicians (behavior), experts in shelter medicine, animal training, grooming, boarding, and more.

"Fear Free Happy Homes" offers free membership to pet owners. Once you sign up, you can get free access to:

  • Videos with fun, easy-to-implement tips
  • Articles reviewed by board-certified veterinary behaviorists
  • Discounts on pet products & services
  • Downloadable handouts with games, tips & tricks
  • The Fear Free Certified® Professionals Directory

Check it out here:

Important Information from Asheville Humane Society

AHS logoAsheville Humane Society has implemented Phase 1 of reopening plans, loosening restrictions in alignment with the Stay Home, Stay Safe order issued by Buncombe County and the State of North Carolina. These phases are based on the best information available, but could be altered as new information emerges.

Current/Temporary Adoptions Procedure:  

Asheville Humane Society is conducting meet-and-greets with adoptable pets and potential adopters by appointment only. We will be scheduling appointments Tuesday - Saturday.

Please make an appointment to visit one of our available animals by calling (828) 761-2001 x312, or emailing Please leave a message and a staff member will return your call. We try to return calls within one business day, but there may be delays depending on the volume of calls we receive. 

Please Note:

  • Masks are required for the safety of our adopters and staff.
  • We are unable to accept walk-ins at this time.
  • Each appointment will be one hour, and allow visitation with one animal.
  • Some of our animals are still in foster care. If you are interested in an animal currently in a foster home, please understand that it may take longer to coordinate an appointment. Foster families who have invested in their care also have first choice if they decide to adopt their foster pet.

Adoption appointments will still be made on a first come, first served basis. We will also continue to follow our practice of Open Adoptions, meaning each potential adopter will meet one-on-one with a trained Adoption Counselor to ensure the match is a good fit for both the animal and their new family. Visit to see available animals.

Thank you for your patience and ongoing support during this unprecedented time, and we look forward to helping you find your new best friend!

AHS Thrift Store:

The Thrift Store is located at 1425 Patton Avenue, Asheville. Hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM. Thrift Store operations have resumed at 50% capacity within the store, while maintaining social distancing. Please wear a mask if visiting the Thrift Store.

Community Solutions - Pet Resources and Assistance:

Drive-through clinics are being held to serve our community. Other resources and services may be available for Buncombe County residents experiencing financial hardship or other crisis. For more information or to request resources or assistance for your pet, please call the Safety Net Helpline at (828)-761-2008.

For updated information, visit:

Financial Responsibility and Dogs

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 2.55.03 PMSadly, during challenging economic times, more pets are surrendered to animal shelters simply because their owners can no longer afford them. Dogs make wonderful family companions, but being a responsible dog owner also means recognizing the financial responsibility of owning a pet.

Intuit Turbo offers some helpful information about the costs of dog ownership. For example, the annual cost of owning a medium-sized dog is estimated to be almost $900. Veterinary care can add up -- especially when it's estimated that 1 in 3 pets require an emergency vet visit every year. And, here's a statistic that may shock you: 42 percent of millennials have been in debt for a pet.

In its financial guide, Intuit Turbo displays a table of common pet expenses and a pet adoption decision chart, along with detailing six tips to help pay for your pet. Check it out here:

Image: Intuit Turbo

Is Your Older Dog Having Trouble Walking Around?

Animal-3075861_1920As dogs age, they are susceptible to aches, pains, joint inflammation and muscle loss, much like humans. Older dogs may also suffer from various conditions that can make walking around difficult. Writing for PetPlace, veterinarian Dr. Debra Primovic discusses mobility problems in older dogs and what you can do to help with them at home.

She writes that some of the more common reasons for mobility problems include hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and intervertebral disc disease, all of which she describes. Among her tips for improving an older dog's mobility at home are:

  • Create a regular exercise routine
  • Use natural remedies or, when needed, NSAIDs prescribed by a veterinarian
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Be thoughtful about your floors
  • Maintain proper hygiene
  • Enlist the help of mobility aids.

Check out her helpful article for more details about all of the above. You'll find it here.


Should You Travel with Your Dog Now?

Dog-916421_1920As states begin to open up for business during the pandemic, you may be wondering if it is safe to travel at all, much less with your dog. has prepared a comprehensive guide about how to stay safe while traveling with pets. It provides pet safety travel tips and describes how pet transportation options have been affected by the ongoing crisis. In the guide, you'll find:

  • How to prepare your pet for travel
  • Pet travel by plane
  • Pet travel by car
  • Pet travel by train
  • Pet travel by ship
  • FAQ: Pet safety in a pandemic

 Check out this helpful free guide here:


What is Really Bad for Your Dog?

Pug-801826_1920Did you know that xylitol, a sweetener that may be found in such common items as candy, toothpaste and even peanut butter, is toxic to dogs? Or that grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs? Even milk and cheese can be harmful to adult dogs.

For a very comprehensive updated list of dog toxins reviewed by a veterinarian, check this out from BetterPet:

This list contains 22 people foods that are bad for dogs as well as 29 toxins that are found around the house -- dangers in the bathroom, garage, utility room, laundry room and in other areas, as well as outside in your yard. Plus, as a bonus, you'll find a listing of healthy foods and superfoods that are the healthiest super snacks for your dog.

Want to keep your dog safe and healthy? Read the list!


Will a Mask Freak Out Your Dog?

Face-5017365_1920Wearing a mask in public may become the new normal -- but have you considered what your dog may think of it?

Here's what the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants) has to say about masks:

Many dogs get freaked out by people wearing something on their face. If your dog is nervous or reactive, help them cope with the sudden increase in "scary" people (including you!):

- Use positive reinforcement to show them that masks mean good things

- Wear your own mask for short periods indoors, let your dog see you put it on and take it off

- Keep your distance from strangers. You should be doing this anyway, but try to stay far enough away that your dog doesn't react.

Help them cope, like they're helping you cope!

For more, check out the IAABC's Facebook page:


Blue Ridge Humane Announces Contactless Adoption Procedures

Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 10.10.57 AMFrom Blue Ridge Humane Society:

In order to continue to help find loving homes for pets in need Blue Ridge Humane is excited to resume adoptions with new procedures that will ensure a safe and contact-free adoption process. “Our goal is, as always, is to ensure the highest quality adoption counseling experience possible while continuing to follow CDC guidelines to protect our customers and staff.” says Executive Director Angela Prodrick.  “We feel confident that our new procedures will help us to reach both these goals as we move forward with our lifesaving work during this pandemic.”

All animals currently available for adoption will be listed on Due to current staffing and operation procedures the public may expect to see fewer available animals at this time. If an adopter is looking for a certain age or type and doesn’t see it listed (for example: looking for a kitten), they are encouraged to fill out the Animal Request Form and our staff will reach out when a match is available.

After finding an animal they are interested in, the adopter can fill out the application form and BRHS staff will be in touch to provide adoption counseling, including information about the animal, current or needed treatments, tips, and more, as well as to set up a contact-free or virtual Meet and Greet.  Cats, kittens and puppies in foster homes will only be available for a virtual Meet and Greets. Adult dogs will have a contactless Meet and Greet on site at the Adoption Center in Edneyville by appointment only.

Adoptions will be finalized digitally as well before pick-up is arranged. All adopters will be required to pay adoption fees with debit or credit only.  Adoption Delivery may be available for Henderson County residents only if an adoption is confirmed and the animal is currently housed as the Adoption Center (not in foster care).

Note: Potential adopters will be asked not to come to the Adoption Center if they have experienced any coronavirus symptoms and will be asked to adhere to best hygiene practices. We are not accepting walk-up adoptions or visits at this time due to the safety precautions we are taking in response to COVID-19. All staff at the Adoption Center will practice social distancing, hand hygiene and will wear a mask. Potential adopters are encouraged to do the same.

Review the entire procedure below and reach out to with questions!

Digital and Contactless Adoption Procedure:

  1. Check out the available animals online and find that special one!
  2. Fill out the online application.
  3. Our staff will reach out soon during our current regular business hours of 8am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday to provide adoption counseling and information about the animal, as well more details about our current adoption procedure.
  4. A Meet and Greet may be scheduled for you virtually or contact-free at our Adoption Center (these are only by appointment and following application and adoption counseling). Cats, kittens and puppies in foster will only be available for a virtual Meet and Greets. Adult dogs will have a contactless Meet and Greet on site by appointment.
    Note: Potential adopters will be asked not to come to the Adoption Center if they have experienced any coronavirus symptoms and will be asked to adhere to best hygiene practices. We are not accepting walk-up adoptions or visits at this time due to the safety precautions we are taking in response to COVID-19. All staff at the adoption center will practice social distancing, hand hygiene and will wear a mask. Potential adopters are encouraged to do the same.
  5. Pickup will be arranged and all details shared for a contactless encounter.
  6. Adoption Delivery may be available for Henderson County Residents only if an adoption is confirmed and the animal is currently housed as the Adoption Center (not in foster care).
  7. All adoptions will be processed with credit or debit only.
  8. Have questions? Send us a message or email!

Free Guide: Keeping Your Dog Happy at Home

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 3.43.53 PM has published Your Essential Guide to Keeping Your Dog Happy at Home. This handy publication has "top tips for sheltering in place with your dog... and how to prep for what come's next."

The guide includes:

  • Tips to keep your dog happy and healthy
  • Fun activities to entertain and engage your dog
  • At-home activities just for dog lovers.

The guide is loaded with helpful information. Get your free guide here:

Participate in a "Dog Choices" Study

Screen Shot 2020-04-24 at 2.01.26 PM
Would you like to take advantage of being home and spending lots of time with your dog -- while contributing to dog research? Then participate in a "dog choices" study by the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York.

Designed to understand dog choice-making, this study is a game you play with your dog, wherein you offer him or her 7 choices each day for 7 days. It uses materials, food, and spaces in and around your home: all the choices can be incorporated in an ordinary day with your dog and it should take less than 30 minutes per day.

If you are interested, you must complete an online form, as well as a spreadsheet, by Wednesday, May 20. Start by filling out the form linked here.