Posted: 05/19/2020
By: Erin Cain
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According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.3 million dogs enter US animal shelters every year, and around 670,000 of those will be euthanized because of the inability to find them a home.  Although many of the most popular dog breeds are found in shelters, many people don’t consider rescuing a puppy. Shelters and pounds are home to an overwhelming number of beautiful puppies, and they all deserve a home. Many dogs end up in shelters only because they weren’t a good fit for their owner, and the breeds below are most common because of their popularity and a few “flaws.”  These are some of the most popular breeds you’re likely to find at your local shelter, and why you’re going to fall in love with them.    Most Common Dog Breeds In Shelters #1: Pit Bulls   Why are Pit Bulls commonly found in shelters? Pit Bulls get a bad rap because of the stereotype that they are aggressive. Their sometimes intimidating look and intense energy make many people wary of them. Often, someone will buy a Pit Bull only to cast them aside when it’s time to start a family in fear of aggressive behavior.   Why should you adopt a Pit Bull? You should adopt Pit Bulls because the myth around them is just that: a myth! Pit Bulls aren’t actually any more aggressive than other breeds of dog. They simply match their owner’s personality, and media portrayal makes them popular among more aggressive owners. Pit Bulls are energetic, highly intelligent and, often, very sensitive.   #2: Labrador Retrievers   Why are Labs commonly found in shelters? Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. So, with a high proportion of people owning these dogs, a high proportion of them end up in shelters as well.   Why should you adopt a Lab? Labrador Retrievers are popular for good reason - they’re loyal and easygoing. While Labs have a lot of energy, they know when is the right time to expend that energy. You should adopt a Labrador Retriever if you need a new best friend, because they’ll become that easily. You might also adopt a Labrador Retriever if you need a work out partner - they’re one of the best dogs to exercise with!   #3: Chihuahuas   Why are Chihuahuas commonly found in shelters? Chihuahuas peaked in popularity in the 2000s, found mostly in Paris Hilton’s purse. That popularity hasn’t fallen far, though. Chihuahuas are popular among owners who “don’t have time and space for any other dog.” This concept leaves them in shelters often, because owners who didn’t actually want a dog in the first place can be distant or find a rude awakening.   Why should you adopt a Chihuahua? Chihuahuas’ popularity isn’t unfounded. While mischievous, Chihuahuas are highly intelligent and take to training very easily. Chihuahuas are great for apartment living or when you like to travel with your dog, because tight spaces aren’t so tight for them.    #4: Boxers   Why are Boxers commonly found in shelters? Boxers might not look like they have a lot of energy, but they’re bursting with it. Unfortunately, like Pit Bulls, their look sometimes leaves potential owners hesitant. A lack of research about a dog breed can lead to some poor decision making, and that’s landed many Boxers in shelters.    Why should you adopt a Boxer? If you talk to someone who owns a Boxer, they’ll happily tell you, “Boxers stay puppies for their whole life.” Who doesn’t love puppies? Boxers have a lot of energy but can be easily tired out. As they mature, they’ll keep that puppy energy but gain a new, calm temperament that makes them very nice to chill with.   #5: German Shepherds   Why are German Shepherds commonly found in shelters? German Shepherds are smart and physical. If you can’t commit to exercising both their brain and their brawn, you’ll find that your German Shepherd starts to act out. German Shepherds also don’t like small spaces, so if they can’t be out in the open they’ll do the same. This leaves them in shelters often, where they’re even less comfortable.   Why should you adopt a German Shepherd? German Shepherds are the second most frequently registered breed in the United States. They enjoy this distinction because of their sharp wit, fierce loyalty, and lively personality. Shepherds are very adaptable to a situation, able to help with police work or play with the kids. German Shepherds are big, goofy, incredible partners.   #6: Beagles   Why are Beagles commonly found in shelters? Did you know that Beagle is French for “loudmouth?” It is, and they can be … and that’s probably why they’re one of the most popular breeds found in shelters. Yapping and barking their way through life, Beagles can grate on some people’s nerves. Combine that with their popularity, and shelters fill up fast.   Why should you adopt a Beagle? Beagles love people, and especially kids. There’s a reason they show up in so many childhood TV shows - they’re lively and energetic, but easily bond with new members of “the pack.” Maybe it’s because their personality is so similar. Beagles love to use their nose, a feature that makes them excellent playmates.   #7: Dachshunds   Why are Dachshunds commonly found in shelters? Dachshunds are a very popular dog, which we can surmise is the main reason they’re found in shelters so often. There might be something more, though: Dachsunds commonly have spinal problems. Unfortunately, their “hot dog” cuteness comes with drawbacks. Without pet insurance, many people can’t afford the medical cost of keeping their spines healthy.   Why should you adopt a Dachsund? Many Dachsund owners are very breed-loyal. Here’s why: Dachsund’s are energetic, hyper-intelligent, and very charming. Dachsund’s have a portal to your heart, and they’ll jump through it as soon as you see them. Knowing their tendency to have back problems, you’ll want to get a pet insurance quote right away to keep health care costs manageable from the start!   #8: Australian Cattle Dogs   Why are Australian Cattle Dogs commonly found in shelters? Australian Cattle Dogs are outside working dogs. They love the outdoors. If you feel like you know where this is going, you’re probably right. Australian Cattle Dogs are one of the most popular dog breeds found in shelters because people adopt them with little-to-no outside space. Lack of space can lead to your Australian Cattle Dog acting out.   Why should you adopt an Australian Cattle Dog? As long as you have space, you don’t need to do much else to keep your Australian Cattle Dog happy. Australian Cattle Dogs are very low-maintenance and very protective. They’re a great family dog and an excellent best friend. They’re easy to train and happy to help around the house, as well! The most popular dog breeds found in shelters often crossover with the most popular dog breeds in general, and for good reason. Many breeds you’ll find in shelters are some of the most amazing dogs you’ll ever meet. They’re only looking for a new home because they were a mismatch with their owner.   References American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Pet Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics JW. (2019). 11 of the Most Common Health Issues in Dachsunds. Retrieved from https://formydachshund.com/11-of-the-most-common-health-issues-in-dachshunds/ North American Pet Health Insurance Association. (2014). Breeds with the Best Pet Insurance Rates. Retrieved from https://naphia.org/news/phi-in-the-media/breeds-with-the-best-pet-insurance-rates/ PetCareRx. (2019). How to Care for a German Shepherd. Retrieved from https://www.petcarerx.com/article/how-to-care-for-a-german-shepherd/303. Worrall, S. (2016). The Most Feared Dogs May Also Be the Most Misunderstood. Retrieved from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/07/pit-bull-ban-aggressive-dog-breed-bronwen-dickey/  

Posted: 01/10/2019
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Happy New Year from all of us!   As we start to plan for 2019, and hang up our 2019 NSALA calendar, the one thing I am most looking forward to is being able to help our charity partners do more of their wonderful work. By using our site to get pet insurance quotes and buy your insurance, you help us send regular donations to North Shore Animal League America, and Humane in Canada. It gives us warm feelings when we think of the difference we are all making to pets in need, together.      We’ve given over $13,000 to NSALA so far and you might like to know a bit more about the work you are helping to support.   North Shore Animal League America’s work They are a no-kill animal shelter organization and they celebrate their 75th anniversary this year. To date they have saved over 1,000,000 dogs, cats, kittens and puppies, but what they do is not cheap so it’s good to know our donations are valued and help them in their work.   It costs:  $15 to buy a dog a new collar and lead so NSALA can start their training.  $25 pays for a heartworm test for a dog or cat.  $50 pays for a pet’s vaccinations.  $200 pays for a neglected pet’s oral health care.  $1,000 pays to rescue, mend, nurture, rehabilitate and re-home a pet end to end, and  $6,000 pays to rescue up to 90 animals from a puppy mill and end their unspeakably sad existences.   Now we think that’s worthwhile!  You can find out more about their work by visiting their website.    

Posted: 01/08/2018
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We’ve all wondered what our pets are thinking, and everyone’s guilty of having had a conversation with their pet as if they could understand us. But what if they are actually communicating their feelings to us regularly without us realising? Both dogs and cats have been learning ways of getting what they want from us ever since they were domesticized, and by learning these, along with their subconscious communication, we can form ever closer bonds with our pets. Body Language Sometimes it’s obvious when your pet is telling you he’s happy. A bouncy dog with a slack tongue and waggy tail is almost certainly enjoying himself, and a content kitty can be heard purring or seen walking proud with her tail raised high.  However, there’s plenty of other ways your pet tells you that they’re content. A dog that rests his head on his paws and sighs with eyes half closed is letting you know he’s very relaxed and happy, and similarly a cat with ears leaning forward is communicating the same. However, sometimes behaviour that seems normal can be your pet’s way of telling you that they are stressed. The key to recognising this is to look at the context of the behaviour to see if it seems out of place. For example, it’s normal for our pets to yawn when tired just like we do, but if they have no reason to be tired; yawning could be a sign of stress. Another example is licking lips or drooling – totally normal when snacks or nice smells are around, but otherwise your pet could be trying to tell you that they feel uncomfortable. Your pet’s body language may also tell you when they are sick or in pain. Some signs such as limping or nibbling one area excessively can be easily spotted by owners, but some animals hide their symptoms. Cats, for example, have been known to not complain about stomach pains or skin problems, but to avoid being touched and instead shy away from company and hide themselves away. Vocalisations Did you know that cats only meow to get the attention of humans, never to one another? It’s said that over time they have learnt to imitate the cries of human babies to catch the attention of the adults, so if you hear your cat meowing in another room, he’s trying to tell you something!  Dogs however have a much broader vocal range, which is tricky to translate but can be done with some practice. Whines and growls can indicate anything from distress to content or playfulness, all depending on the tone and body language.  Howling is normally associated with loneliness, a dog crying out for the rest of his pack. Whilst this can be true, dogs howl for many other reasons too, and sometimes for no reason at all! Take a look at the context of the howl to figure out what your dog is trying to communicate; does he want some attention? Is he bored? Or has he just heard a high pitched song or siren and thinks it would be fun to imitate it? Everyone recognises a cat’s purrs as a sign of pleasure, but dogs also communicate pleasure or enjoyment in a similar way with a low growl. This is often misunderstood as a sign of anger or aggression, but if paired with relaxed or playful body language (rather than aggressive stance and snarling lips) your pup is telling you he’s happy!   Behaviour problems Although it might seem like some pets are just naughtier by nature, many behaviour traits that owners deem to be misbehaving are actually your pet’s way of communicating with you. The biggest behaviour problem we hear people complaining about is destructiveness at home. This can be difficult to deal with but the first step is always understanding the cause of the behaviour.  More often than not a destructive pet is telling you that they are bored, especially if the behaviour occurs when they are home alone. Some breeds don’t deal so well being the only pet in the house, but many can be kept happy with interactive toys and treat dispensers such as Kong chews. Boredom can also stem from pent up energy, so be sure to play with your pet or walk them before you need to leave them for a few hours. Another common behaviour problem is pets having ‘accidents’ inside the house or outside of their litter trays. If your pet is young and still being toilet trained we can forgive them getting confused; every animal takes a different amount of time to totally get where to go, but if the problem has suddenly started from nowhere your pet is trying to tell you something. Both cats and dogs instinctively like to keep their beds and homes clean and so prefer to relieve themselves outside or in a litter tray, where available. This means that if they have started to go in their home then something is wrong, and it’s a strong sign that they are feeling stressed about something.  Think about any changes that have happened since the problem started such as a change in your pet’s routine, someone joining or leaving the household, a home move, or new neighbours, and talk to a pet behaviourist about how you can deal with the stress. There are plenty of things that our pets are trying to tell us all the time; part of the joy of having a pet is knowing that your relationship is unique and you understand them in a way no one else does. If there’s something your pet does to tell you something, let us know on Facebook!  Most of the behaviours discussed here are normal for both cats and dogs, but if you notice a sudden change in your pet’s behaviour always consult your veterinarian to rule out health reasons.

Posted: 01/08/2018
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It’s that time of year again where couples all over the country get together and exchange gifts with their special someone in honour of St Valentine’s Day. But what do you do if your special someone already has a number one in their life… a furry, four legged one! We’ve put together a list of 12 great gifts which are sure to win over any animal lover, and their pets, this Valentine’s Day. “I woof you” dog toy, plush squeaker $2.99 | Pet Smart What better way to win over an animal lover than with a squeaky toy for their dog that carries a cute, romantic message. This “I woof you” plush squeaker is a bargain at $2.99 from Pet Smart and is sure to put a smile on the face of both your valentine and their pooch!   Paw print heart bumper sticker $4.95 | Café Press Romance and pets are purrfectly combined in this cute bumper sticker from Café Press, allowing your partner to share their love of animals with the world! This is especially a great gift for established couples who share a car; and extra special if you first bonded over a love of animals.   Handmade paw print bracelet $5 | Etsy This beautiful handmade paw print bracelet is great as a romantic gift on a low budget. The waxed cotton strap is available in various colours and the paw charm in silver, gold or bronze finish, making this accessory a perfect gift for either him or her.   Nori Cat Kawaii Friends water bottle $8 | Sass & Belle This cute and convenient water bottle makes a personal gift for a sporty animal lover, or someone who’s out and about a lot. The bottle is small enough to be handbag friendly and promises to keep its owner smiling (and hydrated!) all day long.   Doug the Pug hardcover book $9.60 | Amazon Any social media savvy animal lover will know Doug the Pug! Doug is an internet sensation who documents his exciting adventures exploring America and meeting celebrities through his social media channels. His book is a photographic collection of some of his best adventures, offering great inspiration for dog friendly dates.   Home Cooking for Your Dog recipe book $14.06 | Amazon If your partner’s both a dog owner and a whiz in the kitchen, they’ll love this bestselling book of healthy recipes that they can make for their dog. If they aren’t any good at cooking, perhaps the idea of cooking for their pet will encourage them to get in the kitchen and learn!   Personalised custom printed “You had me at Meow” or “Love at first bark” socks $16.95 | Etsy The best thing about these corny and romantic socks is that they will print your own picture as the image, so you can send in a picture of your or your partner’s pet to be featured on a freshly made and totally unique pair. Whilst pretty pricey for a pair of socks, the uniqueness and valentines charm meant they just had to make our list!   Cat Eyes notebook $18 | Paperchase This stylish notebook is a gift you can make totally your own. Leave blank for your Valentine’s imagination and creativity to flow through, or fill the pages with something of your own. Why not be ambitious and start the notebook with a pet themed love poem for your date?   Dalmation print Crown Joules Boxer Shorts $24.95 | Joules These stylish boxers are sure to be loved by any dog loving man. Personal and fun, they’re also available in a multipack which includes a dachshund and a mastiff version. At $24.95 they’re not cheap boxer shorts but the high quality of the shorts and gift box really show the value for money.   Pug Valentine’s hottie $26.95 | Paperchase What better to keep your partner warm when you’re not around than this microwavable pug heat pack? This hottie is not only cute and practical but is part of a limited edition Valentine’s range, spreading the love with his adorable heart shaped paws.   Monki Fluffy Cat PJ Set $32 | Asos Show your Valentine that you think they’re the cat’s pajamas with this cute set from Asos. This gift is perfect if you’re planning a cosy night in for Valentine’s day, just add popcorn and hot chocolate and any cat lover is sure to be won over by these.   Purrfect Together Kittens Charm $45 | Pandora If your partner owns any Pandora charm jewelry then this could be the perfect addition to their collection. Named “Purrfect Together”, this romantic charm features two cute kittens with interlocking tails forming a heart behind them.    Thinking of insuring your pet?Get Quotes & Compare

Posted: 01/08/2018
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We are delighted to announce that our new quote comparison tool is live and kicking! As part of our service we are committed to making it as easy as possible for you to compare pet health insurance quotes and policies, and choose the right product for you and your pet. We have been working with our pet insurer partners to produce a quote results page that enables you to compare quotes and policy benefits from all the leading pet insurers in one place – and it is finally live!    We currently have 7 leading insurance brands delivering quotes onto our site and several more brands will be joining soon. Now it is easier than ever to see exactly what each policy offers, compare benefits and prices, and get multiple quotes so you can find the perfect policy for you and your pet.   How it works When you complete our quote form we fetch the best possible coverage quotes from each of our 7 brands (Petplan, Pets Best, Trupanion, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, Hartville, Pet First and Nationwide) and present them to you on one page.    When you click “Read more and Buy Now” you can see all the policy inclusions and exclusions summarized on easy-to-read information tabs, and decide which coverage is right for you. Some policies cover vet exam fees, some don’t. Some cover pre-existing conditions or hereditary conditions, some don’t. Some polices cover accidents and illnesses while some cheaper options only cover accidents, so we’ve included all the information on the tabs so you can make sure you know exactly what coverage you are buying. See customized quotes just for you If you want to consider a customized quote with a higher deductible, lower reimbursement rate or lower cost, just use the filter at the top of the page and we will fetch all possible policy options that meet your criteria. You can do this as often as you want to, until you find the combination of coverage and cost that is right for you and your pet. We will also save your quotes for you, so if you need to come back later to buy, you can.      Once you have made your choice, just click the “buy now” button and we will take you to your chosen insurers site to add any additional pets and buy your policy. And for every policy bought through our site we will make a donation to our animal welfare charity partners, so not only are you protecting your best friend, but helping less fortunate animals too.            Thinking of insuring your pet?Get Quotes & Compare