6 Tips to keep your pet safe this Fall

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  • Beware of the counter surfer-With all the food to be expected from this season, make sure you keep the counters clear of any food or candy that could make your puppy sick. Now is a perfect time to work on teaching your doggie how to stay off the counters.
  • The importance of WAIT and STAY-If you expect company over and you have a pooch that likes to escape, take some time to teach your pup to stay or wait at the door, even if it’s wide open.
  • Costume Safety-If fun costumes are in the mix for your pet for Halloween, make sure the costume doesn’t impede movement, sight or breathing. If your fur baby seems too distraught with the costume, consider leaving the clothing at home.
  • Moth Balls in the shadows-Be careful as you pull out your sweaters and winter clothing from storage. Moth balls are toxic to your love bugs.
  • Mushroom Madness– It’s that time of year when the cool air brings forth the wild mushrooms. While 99% are non-toxic, there’s no reason to take a chance on that 1% that could seriously injure your pup. Keep them away from the fungi!
  • Light them up– Make sure if your pup or kitty go out at night that they have reflective or lighted materials on them to keep them visible to traffic.

Be prepared to take your dog into the back country.

Located in Lake Tahoe surrounded by amazing places to hike, mountain bike, and enjoy the outdoors with your dog is not unlike many other places for your dogs feet.  If you are planning a journey that will include your pooch consider bringing some dog shoes.   Most dogs feet can not endure the rough terrain of the mountains, desert, sand, or other rough terrain.   The consequences of having a dog in the back country can be significant.  It has potential to ruin a good time, and result in carrying a large dog through the mountains, not to mention the discomfort the dog may experience when the pads are worn off.

If I have convinced your to try dog shoes take the time to visit stores like Dog Dog Cat in South Lake Tahoe where the excellent staff can find the right size, and model to suit your next trip, and your dog.

RuffWear makes a variety of shoes for snow, rough terrain, or urban environments that come in variety of sizes.   Ideally you can test drive the shoes to be sure you have the right size, style, and your dog adapts well.   If you have a small dog under 20 lbs it can be a little more challenging to find the right shoes for a back country trip but be confident that there are choices that will work.

Additional items I recommend for your dog prepared kit are, aspirin, medical tape, a dog safe antiseptic spray, Mushers Secret, and plenty of food (consider de-hydrated).

Have a wonderful trip that safely finds you back home without any doggy mishaps.

Basic tips for improving your pets diet.

Most vet visits could be avoided making these adjustments to your dog or cat food.  1.  Read the ingredient label and choose foods that have whole ingredients. Chicken, Lamb, Beef, not “meat”, “meat by-products”, “______ by-products”, “poultry” and any combination of those descriptions.   Avoid foods that have corn, wheat, soy, especially when they are at the top of the ingredients list and are the majority of the diet.   Ideally for most dogs multiple meats at the beginning of the ingredient list followed by fruits, vegetables, vitamins and minerals.  Another sign of quality is the preservative.  Avoid BHA, BHT, and look for natural preservatives.

Kibble is by for the most popular type of pet food, but there are numerous other types that are healthier, assuming the ingredients are still great.   Canned, de-hydrated, freeze-dried, and raw foods all have benefits over kibble diets.   All of these less processed diets are less processed, more easily digestible and more nutrient rich that kibble.

2.  If the convenience of kibble, and the economical price is the right combination for your pet consider trying supplements.  They are affordable ways to replace some of the nutrients lost in processing.

Salmon Oil is a great source of Omega 3, and Omega 6 fatty acids.   These are beneficial to your dogs immune system, and have great benefits to their skin and coats.

Do not free feed and pay close attention to your portions, and your dogs weight.   Many of the health issues later in life are caused by obesity.   Feed your pet two meals per day in the portions recommended by the manufacturer.

3.  If kibble is your pets primary diet consider adding other varieties of food into the kibble diet.   This is a less expensive strategy for giving your pet some variety.  At your healthy pet store like Dog Dog Cat in South Lake Tahoe select a variety of good canned foods and mix them into the kibble diet.   Be sure to make appropriate adjustments to the quantity.   Ask your local pet store expert about the de-hydrated, freeze-dried, and raw foods.   You can sample the varieties to either be mixed with the kibble or become the primary diets.

You will see large differences in the pets appearance, it will smell better, and it is likely the dog will feel better.   The ultimate goal is to have a happy healthy pet, and the additional benefit is a longer life with less trips to the doctor.

Choosing the right shoes for a dog?


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Believe or not there are many dog shoes that work really well, and many occasions when dog shoes are hugely helpful to take great care of your dog.

I suspect this is what a little dog feels like when he first wears shoes.

I suspect this is what a little dog feels like when he first wears shoes.






A few examples are:

  • Rough abrasive terrain -granite, rough sand, rocky, volcanic rock…
  • Extremely cold temperatures – snow, ice
  • Salt, broken glass, chemicals
  • Slippery floors

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I own and operate a busy pet store in South Lake Tahoe, California called Dog Dog Cat which is surrounded by large mountains perfectly suited for outdoor activities both winter and summer.   An amazing place to enjoy the outdoors with a dog.   We have good intentions to take the dog along but unfortunately without footwear things can turn out very poorly for both owner and dog.

Most dogs do not venture for miles and miles on rough trails on a daily basis therefore their pads are not tough enough to endure the abrasive terrain.  The pads become worn and eventually very painful, ultimately bloody.   Depending on how far you are from home base and the size of your dog you can easily see how this can become a major problem.

Let me guide you to choose protective dog shoes that will prevent the experience described above and create a fantastic visit to the Sierra Mountains or wherever your dog adventures take you.

1.  Distinguish the type of booties that you need. Designed to give the dog grip on slippery floors, wound booty, fashion booty, urban boot, snow booty, or a versatile booty for rough terrain.  Some shoes are versatile and will provide protection under many different circumstances.

This dog appears to be having a good time

This dog appears to be having a good time

2.  Preferably try the boots on the dogs feet before you buy them, but if that is not possible follow the sizing instructions very closely.  Do not assume the size because each vendor has their very own sizing.  RuffWear and Ultra Paws brand dog shoes use a system of measuring the widest part of the foot in inches or centimeters.   Place the dogs foot on a piece of paper and carefully draw a line on each side of the paw.  Measure the distance between the lines to find the appropriate size.   Be sure to measure the front and back feet because for some breeds there can be a size or more difference.

3.  Try the boots on all four feet.  Wearing one boot the dog will usually avoid putting any pressure on that foot.

Check the size is correct for all four feet.   It is usually better to put the shoes on the dog when he/she is standing.   If fitting the dog solo try to put the dog between your legs and stabilize the dog with your knees.   You will need both hands to put the booties on the dog.

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The boots must be snug.    Usually people underestimate the tension necessary to make the boots have a snug grip around the dogs leg.   A couple of tests to know if they are going to stay on once you have fitted the dog–   Pull on the boots once they are on the dogs feet.  If they slip off easily you are sure to lose a boot on the trail unless you can make the straps tighter, or in some cases you have the wrong size.   Visually for some dog boots ie. the Bark’N Boots from RuffWear you might see a significant gap behind the dogs foot, this is also a sign that the shoes are not tight enough.

Let the dog walk around in the boots.   Initially it might take a little treat bribe to get him on the move.  Expect your dog to walk like you have never seen before.   It can be an amazing display of athleticism mixed with frustration!

Generally in about five minutes the dog will get used to the awkward feeling of wearing shoes for the first time and begin to walk normally.    Larger dogs adapt quicker, super stiff new shoes can also make the process slower.

4.  Avoid the poor quality “cheap” boots.   You will be stranded with a wounded dog and annoyed that you did not buy the most appropriate boots, and soon shopping for a second set of higher quality dog booties.

5.  Take extra care if your dog has dew claws.   Sometimes the “thumb” is very poorly positioned for wearing shoes and may influence the size or brand of shoe you can choose.   One way to help is using a liner sock that will help to pad the pressure and minimize and rubbing on this sometimes very sensitive claw.

6.  Small dogs ie under 18 lbs can be more difficult to select shoes.   Especially breeds with really small feet.    In many cases we recommend the Ultra Paws brand for theses scenarios because they have a patented soft rubber padding inside the collar of the shoe that make it much easier to get a secure fit, especially on the small dogs.  Ultra Paws also has shoes that are slightly more flexible than the Ruffwear brand which makes it easier for the lighter weight dogs to adapt quickly.  If you only want to use the shoes for a weekend trip to the mountains and have a small dog the Pawz may be a perfect solution.

The simplest boot available.   Similar to a balloon but made to fit perfectly on a dogs foot.

The simplest boot available. Similar to a balloon but made to fit perfectly on a dogs foot.

7.  Try to find an experienced person to assist in showing you how to fit dog shoes and know they are on correctly.   This is critical to making the shoes a success.  You can buy these shoes and more at dogdogcat.com but if you have the ability to come into the store we can assure you will have a better experience.

The focus here has been primarily on dog shoes designed for active dogs in rough terrain. There are shoes designed for snow, urban environments, hot pavement, wet, slippery,  or some for a variety of conditions.  Try to learn the pros and cons of each type before you choose.

Ultra paws also makes a shoes that is specifically designed to help older dogs that are struggling to walk on slippery floors like many of us have in our home.  They can also double for light duty use outdoors but are not super durable.    They are a fleece boots with a grippy rubber pad.   They are a huge help to some senior dogs.   Occassionely people also use these to protect wood floors, leather seats, protect a wound.

Ultra Paws also makes a boot sold in singles made to protect a wounded foot.   It easily fits over a bandage, it is breathable and provides some grip.

Makes the often difficult healing process much easier to manage.

Makes the often difficult healing process much easier to manage.

Pawz makes our most basic booty which is a disposable boot that looks much like a balloon.   Pros are that it is inexpensive, easy to put on, and you get a dozen with each purchase.   Cons are they are not very durable and provide limited use.





Ruffwear Bark'N Boots with the Vibram rubber sole.

Ruffwear Bark’N Boots with the Vibram rubber sole.

Neo Paws, and Ruffwear both make a broad selection of boots that are for various types of terrain.   Primarily for active dogs and tend to work best on the not so tiny breeds.  Ruffwear has a fantastic return policy and a great quality product so if you are not confident that these are going to work well for your dog this may be a great place to start.

Good luck choosing your dog a set of shoes.  Please contact us if we can help you make a smart choice.

Dog Dog Cat 530-541-2322



Thank you,  George Richter