Has Your Dog Been Discriminated Against in Housing Insurance?

David-taffet-EtFBxSdd-iw-unsplashAccording to the Animal Farm Foundation, your dog can be discriminated against because of breed:

The insurance industry uses arbitrary dog breed lists to deny homeowners and renters insurance coverage and discriminate against insurance consumers. 

People are unable to get insurance or must pay a higher premium because the insurance company deems their dog “dangerous” based solely on how it looks. These lists are not based in scientific research, nor are they based on a dog’s individual behavior.

For many, breed restrictions in housing insurance create a terrible choice: having a safe, affordable, and accessible home or separating from a beloved family member.

These restrictions do not simply run the very real risk of separating dogs from owners, they separate and traumatize families.

Check out this helpful website to learn more about this unfair practice and what you can do about it

Photo by David Taffet on Unsplash

Ingredients for a "Happy Hound"

Guest Post by Jessica Brody

Noemi-macavei-katocz-c7bUIRBqapA-unsplashAs a doggy parent, taking care of your four-legged companion comes naturally. Your dog loves your company and that seems to be all a dog needs. But the basics of dog care are important and will provide a good foundation. As much as your dog needs love, they also need nutrition and playtime. So here are some tips to make sure your four-legged friend is not only happy, but healthy as well!

Good fences make safe dogs

Your dog might prefer to have free rein over the neighborhood but as hard as this might be to believe, not everyone loves your dog as much as you do. So to protect them from all kinds of threats that range from traffic to other dogs to less-than-enthusiastic neighbors, consider installing a fence around your yard.

Craftsmanship, height and style choice are the keys to results that are both secure and aesthetically appealing. If you’re handy you can install it yourself, but if not, searching websites like will lead you to reputable fencing companies near your location.

Navigating the claims of dog food makers

There are many kinds of dog food that vary greatly in quality and price. The trend toward holistic dog food is a move in the direction of healthier ingredients. According to veterinary doctor Natalie Stilwell, however, there are no industry standards when it comes to labeling a dog food “holistic,” while terms like “organic” or “natural” are more defined. So it’s best to do a little research before being won over by the claims made by the manufacturer.

Humans and dogs are really different when it comes to digestion. So while it’s tempting, it’s best to keep table scraps to a minimum, or to at least know what’s not good for your dog, since some foods can actually pose a health risk, according to Animal Planet. For instance, common food items such as milk, chocolate, garlic, avocadoes, grapes, and raisins should all be avoided.

If you want to reward your dog, look for treats made specifically for them, such as doggy ice cream, cookies, and flavored treats. Make sure the dog food you serve is up to par too, containing plenty of protein, veggies, fruits, grains, and a clearly labeled “best by” date. Keep in mind that dogs need different food for various stages of life, so check in with your vet to ensure your dog is getting the right kind of food to promote healthy growth and development.

Walks, yes, but also playtime

You already know that your dog needs daily exercise, but a walk around the neighborhood is only half of it. Your pooch needs playtime to burn off energy, satisfy their natural need to explore, and provide physical and mental stimulation. By offering opportunities for play, you not only prevent bad behaviors such as chewing or barking, but also teach your dog important lessons with boundaries.

When you take your dog to the dog park, you don’t want to be shunned because your dog doesn’t know how to play nice. By playing with your dog, you can build up obedience while also addressing bad behavior, both of which carry over into other areas. As long as your pooch is having fun, nearly any form of play can be beneficial. Check out a new hiking trail, or try new activities such as flyball or agility courses, and keep that brain sharp with puzzle toys and new tricks. You can even get your dog speech buttons to help them better communicate.

Add doggy daycare to the mix

Unfortunately, not everyone can take their dog to work. Consider a dog walker or doggy daycare for the long blocks of time when you have to be away. At doggy daycare your dog will get to play and socialize. They may be so tired they’ll fall asleep on the ride home. They’ll look forward to going and you'll feel good knowing they aren’t bored at home all day.

Once they’re used to going, doggy daycare can cure separation anxiety. It establishes a routine and provides physical exercise. It can help ease your play and walk responsibilities for when you’ve had an exhausting day, and you still get to be together to relax at the end of the day.

Your dog is probably going to love you no matter what. But feeding your dog right and providing exercise and mental stimulation can keep your dog healthy and happy.

Jessica Brody created so others could find a place to share stories and photos of their beloved animal companions.

Photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz on Unsplash

How to Camp with a Reactive Dog

Guest Post by Tadej Kožar

Patrick-hendry-eDgUyGu93Yw-unsplashWould you love to bring your dog with you when you camp? What if your dog is reactive and not reliable outdoors? It is possible to take a reactive dog camping with you, but you will have to consider a few things before heading to a campsite or out in the backcountry.

The worst scenario can happen at a campsite that is crowded with other campers and their pets. If your dog will react to any of them even while just passing through you could have a stressful camping experience.

First, it is important to know why your dog is reactive so you work with him to fix the issue. Here are the most common reasons for a dog being reactive:

The lack of socialization
This is one of the most obvious factors for a dog’s reactive behavior. If your pup wasn’t introduced early on to various situations with people and other animals he can be reactive. It is best that you introduce a young puppy to new things as soon as possible as the brain is more perceptive in the first 4 months of a dog’s life.

Bad past experience
If you got a dog from an owner who mistreated him, this can be a problem. Your dog could associate people with pain and bad things and react negatively. It is important that he gets your trust. You will achieve this by working with him on a regular basis and reassuring him that he can trust people.

Your dog could be in pain
Your dog’s reactive behavior could actually be a reaction to his pain. Take your dog to a vet to determine if he has any health issues that make him reactive.

How to help a reactive dog when camping

Dogs with behavior issues require work, patience, and good techniques to overcome the problem successfully. Here are some tips for how to camp with a reactive dog:

Research the campsite

As the owner of a reactive dog, your responsibility is to find a more peaceful campground with not so many people, pets and events. Your dog will have an easier time coping with a new environment, people, and situations this way. Campgrounds that have adequate privacy between pitching plots are the best options.

Set up a dog-friendly camp

When you arrive at the campsite, let your dog research the place first. This way he will get familiar with the new environment. Then prepare a specific place for him so he can enjoy the quiet and rest undisturbed.

Get a pet-friendly tent

If your dog likes to sleep with you or close to you, get a tent that is appropriate for dogs. Some camping tents have a vestibule that is breathable and big enough for you and your dog to spend the night inside. You can even opt for a tent that has a vestibule floor made of material so your dog’s claws won’t tear apart and destroy the tent.

Set up a crate or an x-pen

If your dog is used to being outside, you can set up a place for him to relax, eat and walk. You can buy an x-pen, crate, or portable fence where he will feel comfortable and not so anxious.

Additional help

If you have a very reactive pet you can cover up his crate or place where he relaxes when you have to cook a meal or collect firewood. Use tarps, blankets, or towels to cover the place where he stays so he can’t see “the triggers” that will make him react.

What to avoid

One big mistake dog owners make is putting their dogs on a short leash. If you restrict your dog’s movement, he can be even more anxious and aggressive. Instead, give him his own place (crate, x-pan, etc.) where he will have more freedom.

Dog-friendly activities

Enjoy the outdoors with your dog and make sure you provide activities that will make him calm and comfortable.

Long walks

Take your dog for a long walk. He will be occupied with discovering new surroundings and sniffing around. Sniffing is the most basic behavior that makes dogs calm and this is exactly what your dog needs.

A walk will keep your dog occupied and mentally and physically stimulated so he won’t be able to react to the possible triggers. However, if he still finds a way to change his calm behavior, take him away from distraction and talk to him calmly.

Have a morning and an afternoon walk so your dog can explore and release his excess energy. The purpose of such action is to stop the reaction and offer him a better, calmer solution.

Play with your dog

Bring along your dog’s favorite toys that he can play with. With an interesting toy like a bone, rope, or a ball he will be occupied and less triggered by other factors and situations.

Change your dog's behavior in a moment

Changing your dog’s behavior is the most crucial thing to do when he starts to show signs of feeling uncomfortable. When you see a trigger that he is most sensitive to, take him away or give him his favorite toy so he can be focused on other more familiar things. It is important that you know what triggers his problematic behavior and to react accordingly.

Make your dog feel comfortable

Every dog that exhibits reactive behavior needs to feel calm and comfortable. Use your dog's name and talk to him quietly when he feels threatened. Try to get away from the trigger. This is an important step in the rehabilitation of a reactive dog.

Pack his gear

No matter where you take your dog camping you need to take care of his gear. He must have some sort of blanket or a bed where he can relax. If he is not used to resting in the vestibule of your large group tent then give him a sleeping area that reminds him of home.

Leash or harness

Use a leash or a harness when you walk with him. Don’t let him wander around the campsite by himself as he could get triggered easily by wild animals and smells. He can still enjoy a walk if he is restrained.

Treat pouch

A treat pouch is basic gear for a reactive dog. It will come in handy on walks and when you want to divert your dog’s reactive behavior. Give him a treat from time to time when he behaves and also use a small treat when you want to divert his attention to a triggering situation, human or an animal.

Having a reactive dog demands a lot of work, patience, and techniques so you two can camp together peacefully. It is crucial that you know your dog's triggers so you can prepare for them while you camp.

Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

Tadej Kožar is the founder of Camping Valley. The site is an extension of his lifestyle and passion for the outdoors. Tadej believes we live in a technological era but nature is reminding us more and more that we should go to the places where our heart and soul feel like home.

How to Turn Your Backyard into a Doggie Paradise

Screen Shot 2021-08-05 at 1.56.22 PMDesigning a space outdoors specifically for your dog is a great way to let her play and release some energy outside of the living room. Dogscaping your backyard doesn't have to be tricky or hard on your wallet. Think about employing some simple and budget-friendly backyard ideas for your dog, such as:

  • Set aside a play area with vinyl, chain link or wood fencing
  •  Designate a digging area
  • Build wandering paths
  • Create a dining and/or drinking area
  • Add a water feature
  • Construct a doggie playground

Check out all the details about these and more ideas here:

Image: CapitalOne Shopping

Asheville Humane Gets Grant to Help Senior Dogs

Screen Shot 2021-08-11 at 2.31.57 PMSenior dogs have something to wag about this summer!

Asheville Humane Society is honored to be one of 77 animal welfare groups chosen from 266 applicants to receive a generous grant from The Grey Muzzle Organization! The $10,000 grant will provide community vet assistance and adoption care packages for senior pets. These funds will help senior dogs get extra support to find loving new homes in their golden years. No one is more grateful than an old dog, and seniors have so much love to offer. Asheville Humane is grateful to The Grey Muzzle Organization for helping give senior sweethearts the life they deserve… a life worth living!

Visit the Adoption Center to see all the wonderful animals available for adoption. Open Tues. through Sat. from 10 AM to 6 PM at 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville (off Pond and Brevard Roads near the WNC Farmers Market). No appointment needed!

The Dog Days of Summer are Dangerous for Your Dog

Jorgen-hendriksen-NLYlix4HQAI-unsplashThis information is provided as a public service from Blue Ridge Humane Society:

Don't let your dog be a hotdog this summer! With the extreme temps, it's even more important to take a little extra care for your cats and dogs to keep them hydrated and safe.
Following are some tips to help keep any pet comfortable and safe this summer:
  • Never leave your pet in the car! Even at “lower” temperatures the interior temperature quickly becomes unsafe for any animal! Not only can it lead to fatal heat stroke, it is illegal in several states, including North Carolina.
  • Pets can also get dehydrated easily, so make sure to give them lots of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors.
  • When you are outside, make sure that there are shady places for your pet to get out of the sun, but even then be mindful that shade doesn’t lower the temperature that much. Get outside in the morning or evening when it’s cooler, and get your pets inside when it’s extremely hot out.
  • Be alert with your pets around water! Not all dogs can swim well! If your dog goes into the pool, rinse them off to remove chemicals like chlorine or salt, and try to keep any of your pets from drinking pool water!
  • Don’t forget that the ground can also be hot, especially if you’re walking on asphalt. The radiating heat can increase your dog’s body temp and their paw pads may burn. Look for grassy areas or ways to minimize walks on hot surfaces during the summer.
  • Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor or even collapse. Symptoms can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees.
Finally, there are many products and ways to help keep your pet cool like giving your pet frozen, filled Kongs, ice cubes, cat popsicles made from food that has been frozen, or pet-friendly ice cream from your favorite pet store.

Photo by Jorgen Hendriksen on Unsplash

Keeping Your Dog Hydrated

Rafael-ishkhanyan-tj0XGdGWUmE-unsplashAccording to, "Dogs generally need more water compared to their body weight than their human companions do. A rule of thumb suggests that dogs should drink a fluid ounce of liquid for each pound of body weight. As with people, needs will depend on various factors. Active dogs and pups who live in hot climates, for example, may need extra water each day."

That's why it's important to have fresh water always available for your dog, at home, on hikes and when you travel. PetPlace has published a comprehensive article about this subject that includes:

  • How much water do pets need each day?
  • Why is water important to pets?
  • Signs of dehydration in pets
  • Testing for dehydration
  • Can pets drink too much water?

You can find the article here:

Photo by Rafael Ishkhanyan on Unsplash

Pet-Friendly Housing Ideas

This information is presented as a public service from Blue Ridge Humane Society

Many animals are surrendered to shelters each year because their owners have difficulty finding rental properties that allow pets.
We strongly encourage open communication and honesty between rental management and pet-owning tenants. Use the tips below to promote your pet and yourself as a responsible pet parent:
  • Create a pet resume that includes a photo, lists of training classes, your pet’s favorite activities, a letter of reference from a recent landlord, and current medical records.
  • Invite landlords to meet your pet.
  • Even if management advertises “no pets” or has breed/size restrictions, some make exceptions.
  • Be prepared to pay a refundable pet deposit.
  • Ensure that the lease you actually sign allows pets. Never sign a lease that says “no pets.”
  • Contracts like leases cannot be changed without both sides agreeing. Pet deposits or monthly fees should be specified in writing in the lease.
If rental management and pet owners work together, they can create a mutually beneficial pet-friendly environment, keeping the pet’s family intact and ensuring the protection of management’s properties.

Dog-friendly Bars and Breweries in Asheville

Screen Shot 2021-06-15 at 9.54.56 AMOur friends at AVL TODAY have published a great list of dog-friendly bars and breweries in Asheville. Here's the intro...

"Sometimes, you just want to go out on the town to wet your whistle. But if you have dogs at home, leaving them alone can be pawsitively pitifulThe good news that won’t make those sad puppy dog eyes turn your way? Asheville is a doggone dog-friendly place, with a plethora of watering holes where you can bring your pooch. We suggest bookmarking this page so you’ll know where your four-legged friends are welcome when it’s time for you to hit the town for an adult beverage."

Find the whole list here:

Image by Sektkellerei Inführ from Pixabay

The Many Benefits of Dog Ownership

Tamara-bellis-n00UuCMzVgM-unsplashIf you read this blog, you are surely a dog lover -- and you are more than likely to know there are many benefits of owning a dog. According to, there are at least 95 of them! Here are just a few of the intriguing ones:

  • A dog’s gaze (think of those puppy eyes!) induces a release of oxytocin, “the love hormone,” which is linked to a strengthened emotional bond between mothers and babies.
  • Babies exposed to dogs are less likely to develop common allergies.
  • Kids who grow up around dogs have a more positive youth development versus kids who don’t grow up around dogs. 
  • Dog owners have a 24% lower risk of death from any cause than non-dog owners. 
  • Owning a pet, including dogs, reduces the harmful effects of stress for senior citizens.
  • Petting dogs for as little as 10 minutes reduces cortisol levels, “the stress hormone.”
  • Fifty-five percent of Americans would rather quarantine with their dog than their significant other.

Check out lots more fun facts here:

Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash 

ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center

Did you know that Weaverville, NC is home to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center? The state-of-the-art facility can house up to 65 dogs at a time. It includes a dormitory and several teaching spaces where shelter professionals can learn behavior modification techniques, to further help behaviorally challenged dogs across the country become suitable for adoption.

Homeless dogs of all ages and backgrounds are eligible for the program, as long as they are physically healthy and meet the behavioral inclusion criteria. Only dogs whose fear is so severe that it compromises their quality of life and makes adoption challenging or impossible are accepted.

The Weaverville facility has individual kennels, along with “real-life rooms,” designed to help dogs get used to life in home environments, outdoor play areas, and a large indoor training area where our behaviorists and trainers work with dogs in the program. On average, rehabilitation requires 13 weeks of treatment. However, that timing depends heavily on the severity of each dog’s behavior problems and how responsive he or she is to treatment. Once the dogs have completed the program, the transformed graduates are placed within the ASPCA's network of partner shelters and rescue groups to be made available for adoption. 

Screen Shot 2021-04-10 at 1.15.15 PMYou can watch a free film about the project here:

The Center is seeking foster homes for dogs, as well as volunteers. For more information visit:


Do You Live in an "Animal-Friendly" Community?

Shane-QBzYEojdNB8-unsplashThere are any number of ways to define "animal-friendly" -- among them, how a community views the relationship between humans and animals and whether or not the community believes in protecting the rights of animals. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), public policy and, specifically, local ordinances can set apart any community as animal-friendly. Check out the five ordinance types suggested by HSUS below and see if your community has implemented any of them:

  1. Establish a funding mechanism for low-cost or free veterinary care and remove barriers for nonprofit clinics
  2. Remove barriers to pet-inclusive housing
  3. Prohibit lethal trapping or poisoning of wildlife
  4. Establish comprehensive, breed-neutral dangerous dog laws and eliminate breed-specific regulations
  5. Protect pets who live outdoors by strengthening care standards

The HSUS also cites five additional ordinances that "may seem to help, but can hurt." You can see which those are, as well as read more about the ordinance types above, here:

Photo by Shane on Unsplash

Testing Your Dog's DNA

Dog-2520857_1920One of the most popular dog breeds isn't a breed at all -- it's the mixed breed, sometimes affectionately known as a "mutt." The mixed breed is found throughout dogdom, very often available at animal shelters and rescue organizations. It turns out that mixed breed dogs are typically healthier than pure-bred dogs, so they are among the best dogs to own. Still, many dog owners would like to know the breeds that actually make up their dogs. This is the main reason dog DNA tests have flooded the market.

Testing your dog's DNA is likely to be the most accurate way to determine the breed mix. has put together a helpful, comprehensive guide to DNA testing. It includes:

  • Why Do a Dog DNA Test?
  • How Dog DNA Test Work
  • The Best Dog DNA Tests - Our Thoughts
  • Reviews of four DNA test brands

You can access this free guide here:

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

Taking Care of Your Senior Dog

As dogs age, they slow down, exhibit behavior more typical of seniors and sometimes develop health conditions -- just like Jairo-alzate-L-pkb93pBP8-unsplash humans. If you have a senior dog, you probably already deal with some of these issues. If so, you will want to read an excellent and informative article, "Preventive Care for Senior Dogs" from the Dog Aging Project.

This article offers comprehensive, authoritative answers to the following questions:

  • How often should I take my senior dog to the veterinarian?
  • What signs should I look for that would prompt me to take my aging dog to the veterinarian sooner than six months?
  • Once I get to the veterinarian's office, what should I discuss with my veterinarian? What information about my older dog is important to mention?
  • What does a veterinarian assess during my dog's physical exam?
  • What vaccinations should my senior dog receive?
  • What preventive medications should my senior dog take?
  • What diet and supplements should my senior dog take?
  • Is dental care important for my senior dog?

Read the entire article here:

Photo by Jairo Alzate on Unsplash

National "Love Your Pet" Day - Feb. 20

Ryk-porras-kIqfIajglwY-unsplashYou love your dog every day, of course, but on Saturday, February 20, you can show even more love (if that's possible) because that day is designated National "Love Your Pet" Day!

To help you celebrate, here are "10 Ways to Love Your Dog" on Love Your Pet Day from :

  1. Take an extra-long dog walk
  2. Spend time together at your pet's level
  3. Plan a trip together
  4. Take your dog to lunch
  5. Make a new pet toy
  6. Go shopping with your dog
  7. Teach a new trick
  8. Bake some homemade treats
  9. Learn pet massage
  10. Experience the moment.

More about each of these tips here:

Photo by Ryk Porras on Unsplash

Pros and Cons of Pet Insurance

Matthew-henry-2Ts5HnA67k8-unsplashIf you've taken your dog to the vet recently, you know that the cost of veterinary care can be substantial. Some pet owners might find it beneficial to purchase a pet insurance policy, especially if their pet has chronic health conditions or is older. has put together a helpful guide to ten of the pet insurance providers they consider to be the best. The guide covers pet care (urgent vs. routine check-ups), Covid-19, important facts about pet insurance plans, pet insurance companies’ pros and cons, and detailed FAQs.

The guide is a must if you are considering pet insurance. You can find it here:

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week - Feb. 7 - 14

Screen Shot 2021-01-23 at 1.24.20 PMFebruary 7 - 14 is designated "Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week." It's a time when all dog lovers should be advocating for dogs who are left chained and unattended, even during the harsh weather of winter. You've probably seen your share of chained dogs all around our area.

Dogs Deserve Better is a national nonprofit organization that concentrates on helping chained dogs. Here is some information from the Dogs Deserve Better website:

"Dogs Deserve Better, a national and award-winning nonprofit organization, is a voice for chained and penned, abused and neglected dogs. We rescue dogs of all breeds, all ages, all medical issues, and provide the love, medical care, socialization and training they need to be happy, healthy and loving companions. 

"In 2011, Dogs Deserve Better was able to purchase our current headquarters in Smithfield, Virginia.  The property was once the home of the Bad Newz Kennels, the dog-fighting compound owned by Michael Vick. Thanks to an outpouring of support from supporters and donors, we were able to purchase the property and transform it into the a fully functioning rehabilitation center for abused and neglected canines. Every year, we are able to assist more dogs in need and in 2015, we were able to make significant changes to the living space. The area, which comfortably housed 12 dogs, now supports 20 dogs, and even more when puppies arrive.

"In addition to our center in Smithfield, we have volunteers all across the country working to free dogs from life on a chain or living outside. Our National Rescue Coordinator helps individuals and rescues every day. Our DDB branch reps also serve as adoption/foster facilitators, fence builders, and advocates for our mission. It takes a village to be successful and show positive results - the DDB Village is growing in numbers and determination. Join us and help us continue to grow!"

Check out Dogs Deserve Better here:

Shelter Dog in the White House

Screen Shot 2020-11-17 at 12.54.47 PMRegardless of your political persuasion, as a dog lover you will likely be happy to learn that, after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20, two German shepherds, Champ, 12 and Major, 2, will occupy the White House. According to MarketWatch, Major, "whom the Bidens adopted from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018 after fostering him for several months, will be the first rescue dog from an animal shelter to live in the White House."

The ASPCA is all for it. Matt Bershadker, ASPCA CEO and president, says, "We're thrilled the Bidens' dog Major will be the first shelter dog ever to call the White House his home. This is a wonderful opportunity for people to see how fostering and adopting animals saves lives, helps animal shelters, and brings love and joy to families."

Obviously rescue pets have taken the nation by the storm, especially during the pandemic -- they were named TIME magazine's "2020 Pet of the Year"!

Image: Stephanie Gomez/Delaware Humane Association, via Associated Press


Kitchen Safety for Your Dog (and Cat)

Screen Shot 2020-11-20 at 4.44.34 PMYou may not realize it, but your kitchen can be a dangerous place for your dog -- and cat.

That's why you'll want to take a look at this handy infographic: In it you'll find some important information, including:

  • Dangers lurking in the kitchen for your dog, including toxic foods
  • How to safely keep your cat off of your kitchen counters
  • Helpful kitchen safety tips for all animals.

Check it out!