Puppy Vaccines: Your Puppies First Year

Your puppies first year may be an expensive one. They need many sets of puppy vaccines. All of these make sure that your puppy is healthy. As a pet owner, it’s important you provide your pets with the best care. Even in their early years. 

Puppy Vaccine Schedule

6-8 Weeks

Recommended Vaccine

DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)

Optional Vaccine


10-12 Weeks

Recommend Vaccine

DHLPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)

Optional Vaccine


12-16 Weeks

Recommend Vaccine

DHLPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)


Optional Vaccine


Puppy Vaccines: Your Puppies First Year

puppy vaccines

Itchy Dog: A Common Pet Owner Complaint

I love working in the pet industry. I learn something new all the time. In the pet industry, you tend to see different causes for pet owner complaints. There is no exception when it comes to the popular “itchy dog syndrome.” There are many different ways to find out these culprit behind an itchy dog. There are different ways to help cure or ease itchy dog syndrome, too. Many which pet owners are not aware of. You’re not alone if you have a dog who won’t stop scratching. In my experience, an itchy dog is a common pet owner complaint.

The pet industry is the only field I have known for 10+ years. I am thankful for that. Throughout the years my pet care knowledge has expanded. It’s a great field. You learn something new everyday. My first run in with the industry was in retail. I worked a short while at a local big box pet supply store. But, I didn’t gain much knowledge there. I’m sure if I stayed longer I would have learned more. But, that’s okay. Because it led me to greater learning opportunities.

For 5 years I had the pleasure of working at a veterinary clinic. I began as a kennel technician. For that clinic, that position was no joke. The hours were long. They were often sporadic. I spent more in gas than what I made most weeks. The work was dirty. But, that’s a given in the pet industry. I didn’t just clean kennels all day. I restrained animals. I also answered phone, educated pet owners, assisted with exams, and so much more. Plus, I studied a few veterinary technology classes during this time through San Juan College.

Now, for the past 3 years, my life revolves around a local grooming salon. This place has became home. We aren’t just coworkers. We’re a family. Thanks to my girls here I have had the opportunity to attend the Atlanta Pet Fair two years in a row. I also got my first certification in Pet CPR/First Aid. Plus, I’ve been able to expand my pet care knowledge. Not just because I see the industry at a different angel. But, because I am finally comfortable where I am. The knowledge is available but I can experience it and dive into it.

Working in a veterinary clinic and grooming salon is educational. But, educational on different levels. You also see pet owner complaints in both the veterinary and grooming fields. Sometimes the complaints are the same. Sometimes the complaints vary. There is one pet owner complaint I hear daily. That’s the “itchy dog syndrome.”

itchy dog

Itchy Dog: Common Culprits

  • Insect Bites (fleas, ants, ticks, bees, spiders, etc.)
  • Allergies (pollen, mold, food, soap, pesticides, etc.)
  • Winter Weather Dry Skin
  • Fatty Acid Deficiencies
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Pain (sore, arthritis, etc.)

Narrowing Down The Itchy Dog Culprit

  • Rid your pet of fleas and put them on monthly flea and tick preventive. There is a common misconception when it comes to flea and tick prevention. The prevention will not keep the pests off your pet. It will kill them off if they bite your pet. You have to ensure where your pet stays is flea and tick free. Make sure to wash and vacuum everything. Your home and yard may need a flea treatment from a pest control company.
  • Eliminate foods that contain triggers that often cause allergies in pets. Some of these common food allergy triggers include: dairy, wheat, beef, egg, lamb, chicken, soy, rabbit, pork, and fish. Make sure to read your pet food labels and eliminate some of these different allergen culprits.
  • Make sure your pets coat is clean and free of any debris. Sometimes a dirty or coat that isn’t cared for may cause itching.

It may be smart to take an itchy dog to the vet. Especially if the dog has visible sores, whines, loses their appetite, or acts ill at all. A veterinary visit should take place if the itching interferes in their usual activity. Also if you notice hair loss, redness, swelling, discoloration, or lumps and bumps. There are many uncomfortable and even life threatening issues that may cause an itchy dog.

More Itchy Dog Culprits

  • Allergic Dermatitis
  • Yeast Infection
  • Folliculitis
  • Impetigo
  • Seborrhea
  • Ringworm
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Sarcoptic Mange
  • Demodectic Mange
  • Granuloma
  • Tumors
  • Hot Spots
  • Lupus
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Impacted Anal Gland

Allergy Testing To Find The Itchy Dog Culprit

Many veterinary offices offer a comprehensive allergy panel to find out the true culprit. They range in price range from $150+. The test if often sent to a laboratory. The results are available soon after the lab receives the sample. Usually all that is required is a few blood samples from your pet. The price may seem high. But, I have read many copies of these detailed test. These things list every possible allergy out there. Allergies you would not even think of. Including the grass that grows outside your front door! These tests are specific. I think they are worth it.

Skin Scrapes

A veterinary may complete a skin scrape on an itchy dog. This is done at the clinic. The procedure is simple, painless, and fast. The veterinary is able to view results under a microscope. The test is also affordable. Prices range anywhere from $25 and up. The microscopic skin scrap view test is limited. But, some skin scrape contents may be sent to a lab for a more comprehensive review.

What A Dog Skin Scrape May Show
  • Sarcoptes Mites
  • Demodex Mites
  • Cheyletiella Mites
  • Fungi
  • Bacteria
  • Cancer Cells
  • Other Parasites

Black Light Test

The black light test is a popular method to see what may cause an itchy dog. Shining a black light over a dog in the dark can reveal an infection.

  • A Green Glow: May indicate a fungal infection like ringworm.

Helping Relieve An Itchy Dog

It’s important to identify the culprit of an itchy dog. Once you identify the culprit, you can help eliminate the problem or at least keep the dog comfortable. Because, we all know that being itchy is far from comfortable.

  • Fleas/Insects/Ticks Make sure to rid the environment of any possible pests. Vacuum and launder all belongings that you can. Make sure the surrounding area is treated. Even if you have to call in pest control. Keep your pet on a monthly flea and tick preventive. Also, make sure your pet is free of fleas. Give your pet a good bath or visit a groomer. In the veterinary clinic we often used a pill called Capstar in severe cases. It can be purchased at veterinary clinics and pet stores.
  • Food Allergies Make sure to read the ingredients on all pet food and treats. Make sure the food doesn’t contain any possible allergy triggers.
  • Skin Infections/Mites/Disease If your pet is diagnosed with a skin infection, mites, or disease that causes itchy dog syndrome your veterinary may recommend different treatments. These may include special, frequent shampoos, ointments, or medications. Make sure to do exactly what your veterinary recommends. This ensures the best result.
  • Hygiene Care Making sure your dog is clean can also reduce constant scratching. Make sure your dog is bathed in shampoo suitable for dogs and for their breed. Also make sure the coat is free of debris and matting. If you are unsure on how to care for your dogs coat, consult a veterinarian or groomer.


Home Remedies For Itchy Dogs

What if your dogs scratching isn’t severe? You may want to try a few home remedies before visit a veterinarian. But, remember this only applies for mild cases of itchy dog syndrome. Not for those with red or swollen skin. Also not for those with hair loss and open wounds.

When in doubt, always consult with a veterinarian. An itchy dog may have underlying problem. This should be addressed with a pet professional. None of these home remedies replace the expert advice from a veterinarian. Plus, I can’t be held accountable for the outcome of any of these home remedies. These are just some that I have seen work for some itchy dogs during my pet industry career.

Vitamin E

You can apply Vitamin E to a dogs skin or add it to their bath. It’s beneficial for the health of their skin.

Coconut Oil

Using coconut oil is another great way to help ease itchy dog syndrome. Just mix a little into your dogs food. Plus, it’s a yummy treat for them, too.

Topical Herbs

There are many herbs available that may soothe an itchy dog. Some of these herbs include:

  • Chamomile
  • Rose Bark
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Juniper

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is great for those pesky hot spots. All you have to do is spray 50/50 water and apple cider vinegar onto the spot.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a simple solution when it comes to alleviating an itchy dog. Just add a tablespoon to your dogs food maybe 3 times a week. Then watch the transformation!


Yep, you can feed your dog good ole plain, low-fat yogurt. This will help fight pesky yeast. Yeast is a common culprit in an itchy dog.

Chilled Tea

There are many different types of teas that can help alleviate the itch.

  • Chamomile
  • Green Tea
  • Calendula

Epsom Salt Soaks

An epsom salt soak is great for any itchy, inflamed sores your dog may have.

Baking Soda

I love baking soda. It has many uses. There’s no exception when it comes to an itchy dog. You can mix a cup of baking soda to the water when you bathe your dog.


I know, pet lovers. It’s that scary forbidden word. The word aspirin. But, you aren’t giving your dog aspirin by mouth. You have to mix two crushed aspirins with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. This mixture can be applied to itchy sores with a cotton ball.

For months we battled excessive paw licking with our senior Carolina Dog mix, Mack. After food and environment changes, the paw licking continued. Then we found out our old man was in pain. He was suffering from arthritis. Now he’s on daily medication to help ease the pain of arthritis. The paw licking has stopped.

Treating him isn’t the cheapest route. We could have dealt with the paw licking. But, he was uncomfortable. That wasn’t fair to him. The medication costs about $60/month. Plus, he has to have blood work done every 6 months. The medication may interact with his organ functions. So, making sure he’s healthy is important. The blood work runs about $110 every six months.

Are you a pet parent who battles with paw licking, an itchy dog, or dog allergies in general? How do you combat them? I’d love more ideas. Especially if I face this battle again in the future. 





Pet-Friendly Workplace | Creating One

It’s a fun thought to consider transforming an office into a pet-friendly workplace. But the reality is a little
complicated—but not un-doable.
Considering whether it’s right or wrong for your workplace involves answering some questions about not
only potential pets that could be brought in, but the people too. Both two-legged and four-legged “employees”
should have guidelines for interactions, emergencies, and spaces that are OK to use. Just because you love your
dog doesn’t mean everyone will—or even should. There are messes, toys, and accessibility to consider, too. In
addition, there may be local rules or safety regulations that provide guidelines for you.
If you get to the point where you decide it’s OK to have pets in the office, emphasis should be on the
health of the pets, as well as the friendliness of the animals toward unfamiliar people and situations. This helpful
graphic walks through various concerns in order to create the best pet-friendly office.
pet-friendly workplace

Caru Dog Food Review: Stews & Treats!

** Disclosure: A huge thanks to Caru Pet Food & Matrix Partners! In exchange for this Caru Pet Food Review, they sent over some free samples. But, of course, all opinions are 100% my own!

My family has an awesome 5 year old Boston Terrier. His name is Pluto. Well, I say we have him. But, some days, I think he owns us. He’s a ball of energy. He thinks every squirrel in the yard is his. He thinks every ball in the yard is his. He’s a happy little dog. Despite everything he has went through.

I fell in love with the Boston Terrier breed in 2009. I loved their structure. I loved their features. I loved their goofy personalities. In 2012, my granddaddy passed away. He wasn’t just my granddaddy. He was my dad. He raised me from day one. I was a bit on the spoiled side. Which, now raising my own kids, I deserved a lot more butt whoopings than I got.

My granddaddy was thoughtful. He knew how much I wanted a Boston Terrier. But, the nearest breed rescue was too far away. I waited for months, visiting the local shelters website, for a Boston Terrier to appear. One never did. When he passed, he left money for me. Not money just to blow. But, money to help me survive. Plus, he had a separate envelope as well. An envelope I never knew about. Until he passed away.

The envelope read: “Boston Terrier Money.” Inside the envelope was $250 dollars. Which, here in Georgia, is on the lower end of what a breeder would charge for the breed. I had never purchased from breeder before. That’s why I intended on waiting until I saw one that needed a home. Then a friend called me. It was a bit of a strange situation.

I worked with the person who called me when I worked in paid rescue. But, she never knew how much I loved the Boston Terrier breed. She called to let me know about a local breeder. A breeder who just didn’t treat their animals well. She was reaching out to me for help. With my own plate full, I just gave birth, I couldn’t help on a personal level. Which was heartbreaking to me.

I did tell her I would reach out to others. Other people I knew who did animal rescue. People who may have a little more time than I do. She gave me the breeders information. So, like any nosy human being, I did some research. I even visited the breeders website. Just to see what kind of front she was putting up. To my surprise, there was one Boston Terrier puppy listed. For $250 dollars.

In my head, I didn’t want to do it. Then I would be supporting this breeder. I would be giving her income. I felt like I was supporting a puppy mill. I reached out to the person who called me about the breeder. Then I explained my predicament. Ya know, my OBTD (Obsessive Boston Terrier Disorder). I also explained how I felt I would be supporting her by getting the puppy.

Then, that same person, made a legit point. I may be in a way supporting the breeder. But, there was a bigger picture behind that. I was saving that Boston Terrier puppy. I was at least getting one out of the situation. I was helping with the rescue efforts. Plus, maybe I’d be able to get a behind the scenes look as well. That way I could speak more on the condition of the breeders space.

Still feeling guilty, I was already in love with the puppy on the computer screen. I arranged to go to the breeders house to buy the puppy. She lived about an hour from me. The breeders house was out in the country. Which isn’t rare for Georgia. Dirt roads, a lot of land. All that was there. A secluded type place.

When we arrived, you can not see the property. The over grown trees in front of it block the view. There is also a huge iron gate blocking the driveway. The gate has a padlock on it. Behind the overgrown trees, you see a few horses grazing in the pasture of weeds. Once we find this place, after getting lost, I call the breeder. Letting her know I was there.

Five minutes after we got there, she walked down to the gate. Behind her were two large Labrador Retrievers. They barked and jumped at my car. She had zero control over them. Unlocking the gate, she motioned us through. This just lead to another padlocked gate. A padlocked gate she did not unlock for us.

We got out the car. She didn’t invite us through the gate. Instead she told us to wait there. Then she brought out a skinny 8 week old Boston Terrier puppy. She handed me his paperwork. It listed the dewormings he already had. It also listed the one vaccination he already had. She made me sign an agreement. Pretty much saying, you get what you got. I don’t guarantee anything. Pay me and go away.

By this time, I’m ready to get out of there. I sign the agreement. She hands out her hand for the money. Once I pay her, she throws me the puppy. I’m pretty much in shock by now. I can’t believe this lady has dogs. I can’t even believe she’s allowed around people. Now we’re driving home with our newest addition.

Pluto was underweight when we got him. His fur was dull. His skin was flaky. His whole body had a strong urine smell to it. He hated eating. He was also loaded with fleas. Well, not just fleas. After his first fecal exam, we found out he had worms, too. Just a sad, sad puppy. Plus, for a puppy, he was scared, too. Not bouncy like other Boston Terrier puppies I have met.

Little guy went through a lot his first 6 months of life. We had a liver shunt scare. Which resulted in a lot of expensive tests. Then, our roommate left our back gate unlocked. Plus left Pluto outside. Pluto, being the Boston Terrier he is, ran out into the road. He got hit by a car. He made it back to our house. I found him when I got home from work. Covered in blood. Both legs hanging under him. That was an expensive fix. But, he was worth it. He still is worth it.

He’s calmed down as he’s got older. A little bit. He doesn’t roam anymore. I give thanks to the wonderful power behind neutering for that. He’s gentle with our kids. There is one thing that remains with him though. His picky eating habits. There are many times when he will turn down a treat quick. I don’t believe this is typical Boston Terrier behavior. But, I don’t believe he’s typical either.

When Matrix Partners contacted me about samples, I was all in. Maybe this would be a game changer for Pluto. I didn’t have a lot of faith. He is picky after all. But, I was willing to give it a try. Plus, they were sending me an awesome brand to sample. They were sending me a stew and treats from Caru Pet Food! I knew of the brand. I heard amazing things about the brand. I was ready to see it in action myself.

caru pet food review

Caru Pet Food Review | Stew & Treats

What is Caru Pet Food?

Caru Pet Food is all because of a Golden Retriever. His name was Karu. Karu suffered from a common dog problem. He had ear infections. Not just once in a while. He suffered from constant ear infections. If you’ve ever had one, you know how awful they can be. That’s when Karu’s veterinarian suggested a homemade diet.

When I say homemade diet, I mean homemade diet. Karu’s new diet consisted of food that was healthy, nutritious, and pure. The homemade diet resulted in a huge change in Karu’s life. He became the happy and cuddly Golden Retriever he should be. That’s when, after consulting with a animal PH.D nutritionist, Caru Pet Food came alive.

Caru Pet Food has some great features they stand behind. Some of them include:

  • Family owned & USA Made
  • Doesn’t have GMO ingredients
  • Gluten, wheat, & grain free!
  • No artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.
  • There are no by-products
  • Made with ingredients that they are careful to select.

caru pet food review

 Caru Pet Food Review: Natural Rabbit Recipe Bites for Dogs

Don’t get me wrong. Rabbits are adorable.  Contrary to popular belief, just because I live in Georgia, does not mean I go hunting. I know plenty of hunters. But, I’ve never been hunting. Now, I do love to fish. But, never hunting.

My senior dog Mac loves rabbit treats. We did buy some for him in the past. Pluto had never enjoyed rabbit though. Just because, well, to be honest, the thought of rabbit just doesn’t appeal to me. Then we got the free sample of the Caru Pet Food Natural Rabbit Recipe Bites for Dogs

Caru Pet Food Natural Rabbit Recipe Bites for Dogs: Features

  • The #1 ingredient is USDA inspected rabbit. (The #1 ingredient is the most IMPORTANT ingredient!)
  • The best ingredient is not only real rabbit. They’re also made with blueberries and cranberries.
  • They are wheat, grain, and gluten free.
  • No animal by-products. Plus, no corn or soy!
  • No GMO ingredients!

Caru Pet Food Review: Trying The Rabbit Treats Out!

I decided to give the treats a chance with Pluto. I wasn’t sure if they would work. We never tried rabbit treats. But, we’re always up to try anything that may work. Especially if it would get him to take a treat at all. These could be a game changer in our furry household.

I am not exaggerating when I say it was love at first sniff. He grabbed the Caru rabbit treat out of my hand fast. Then ran off with it. Not even 30 seconds later, he returned. He seemed like he was begging for another one. So, I pulled the bag out. He was begging for another one. This was amazing. Ya’ll don’t understand. He is the picky of pickiest Boston Terriers ever!

This is great. We already know Mack loves rabbit treats. But, he’s not picky. Now we have a treat they both will love. Of course we shared some with Mack, too. There was no hesitation on his end. He gobbled the rabbit treats down fast.

I don’t know if there is a dog rating scale. But, if there was one, I’m sure Pluto would give Caru Pet Food’s Natural Rabbit Recipe Bites for Dogs 5 paws up!

Caru Pet Food Review: Real Chicken Stew for Dogs

The Caru Real Chicken Stew for Dogs was another winner with Pluto. We’re not huge on wet food. But, we’re not against it either. Plus, with all the good things in the Real Chicken Stew, I wasn’t worried.

The instructions on the back say you can do the stew two ways. You can use the whole packet of food as a meal. It’s 1 packet per 13 pounds. You can also use it as a topper. You reduce what you feed your dog by 1/2 cup and then add the whole packet.

caru pet food review

This packet is full of veggies. It seems like a lot. But, our 12 pound Pluto didn’t mind. He ate it before I could even take a picture! I even topped it with a few treats. He usually eats 1.5 cups – 2 cups a day. So, I did a cup of dry food. Then I mixed in a whole packet of the Caru Real Chicken Stew.

caru pet food reviewcaru pet food review

There’s great features to Caru’s chicken stew, too!

Caru Pet Food’s Real Chicken Stew for Dogs Features

  • The #1 ingredient is chicken that is USDA inspected.
  • There are fatty acids and Omega 3 in the stew.
  • High quality protein
  • Vegetables and fruit that are rich in fiber.
  • Wheat, grain, and gluten free
  • Ingredients that are Non-GMO
  • No artificial preservatives
  • There are no flavors or colors
  • Smells homemade (I can attest to this!)
  • Tastes homemade (I can’t attest to this. But, Pluto can!)
  • You can heat it up, too.

Nutritional Information

The First Ingredients Are:

  • Chicken
  • Chicken broth
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green beans
  • Apples

Caru’s Guaranteed Analysis

  • Crude protein (min): 3.5%
  • Crude fat (min): 2.5%
  • Crude fiber (max): 2.0%
  • Moisture (max): 85.0%
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids (min): 0.05%

Calorie Content: 768 kcal/kg, 272 kcal per pack

Like I said before, Pluto gulped this down so fast. Plus, it’s good for him. Without a doubt, I think Pluto thinks Caru’s Pet Food is the best thing since sliced bread.

As for the Caru Pet Food’s Real Chicken Stew for Dogs, Pluto gives it another 5 paws up! 

I think our furry family has found a new favorite. There’s no GMO’s which is important to us. Plus, the first ingredients are important. They have all the right ones.

We give our Caru’s Pet Food Review 5 Paws Up!

caru pet food review

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