Life is Like a Box of Chocolates

Except if You’re a DOG!

Valentine’s day is here and the abundance of chocolate will be unbearable! There will be all types of caramel, crunch, and peanut butter filled chocolates. There will be boxes filled with your favorites types of chocolates, and those pieces nobody ever touches. Do you know what all of this says? WARNING!!!!!!!!!

It’s a common saying amongst pup owners and lovers, “Don’t give the dog chocolate, they will get sick!”. But, do you really know why it is you say that? It is important to know why a pup can’t have chocolate, and what steps to take if they do.

 What makes chocolate poisonous for pups? 

There are two ingredients in chocolate called theobromine and caffeine (we all know this one). These two ingredients increase the heart rate and acts as a stimuli for the nervous system. Think of what happens when you have 4 shots of espresso with a side of Redbull, but times that by 100! This is a dangerous combination for the pup due to the fact that their heart can’t handle the stress of the stimuli.

Potency in chocolate ranges from the one type to another. According to the American Kennel Club they range from most toxic to the least.

  1. Cocoa Powder (most toxic)
  2. Unsweetened bakers chocolate
  3. Semisweet chocolate
  4. Dark chocolate
  5. Milk chocolate
  6. White chocolate (least toxic)

So how do you know if your pup ate chocolate? Well for starters if your heart-shaped box was left with the chocolate pieces that nobody likes and they are now missing, well then most likely the pup ate it. If your pup looks guilty and has a little brown smudge on their snout, it’s probably chocolate and not dirt. Other signs to be aware of are vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, increased potty breaks to pee, tremors (shaking), high heart rate, or seizures.

If you see one or more of these symptoms call your Vet ASAP. We don’t want to wait for all of these conditions to occur due to the fact that it can lead to death. Especially for older or smaller pups, and pups with heart conditions.

Depending on the chocolates toxicity and time frame in which your pup is treated, they will more than likely be fine. What you could expect from your Vet and a form of treatment is induced vomiting, IV fluids, doses of activated charcoal (helps to allow the “poison” to move thru the body without being absorbed), and in more severe cases overnight observation.

So for this Valentine’s day, and for the love of chocolate lets prevent our pups from eating any. There are a few ways to prevent this. First don’t ever offer your pup any chocolate, not even a low-dose. I mean if us humans can’t resist it what makes you think pups won’t crave more of the amazing taste once they’ve had some. Another way is to train your pup by using phrases such as “leave it” “drop it” or “ not yours”. But lets face it, the best preventative is to just PUT IT AWAY. Keep chocolate in a safe place where your pup can’t get into, or reach.  Or you can alway just eat the chocolate yourself, this way you know for sure they won’t have the opportunity to have any.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


It’s All in The Tail

What can our pups tail tell us? 

It wags like crazy, it can be short or long, it can tell us what mood their in…’s a pups’ tail! A pups’ tail wags uncontrollably when they see us. It’s something that melts our hearts and makes us feel special. It tells us that they are happy to see us, that they missed us, and that they love us. But what else can our pups’ tail tell us?

Lets first start with answering, “Why do pups have tails?”. There are three reasons why pups have tails; for balance, movement, and communication. Additionally, because they are so cute.. okay, so maybe four reasons.

Tails acts as a counter balance for a pup. While they are climbing, or running the tail helps to even out their balance by putting weight on the opposite side of their body. The tail also helps in assisting a pups movement.  When a pup is running and makes a turn the tail acts as something like a steering wheel. The tail will go in the direction that the pup is about to turn, in order to assure a smoother turn, and so that they don’t go tumbling like a gymnastic athlete (but not as graceful).

Communication is key to any relationship. Especially your relationship with your pup… being that they can’t speak human and all. However, pups don’t use their tails to just communicate with us humans. They mostly use it to communicate with other pups. Lucky for us simple humans, we have learned how to translate what the tail movements mean. Their tail can tell us if they are happy, if they like you and want to play, if they are scared, and if they are on alert (just to name a few).

One way a pup uses their tail to communicate with other pups, is in such a way that us humans won’t be able to understand. A standing tail use muscles around the anal gland underneath the tail that secrets a pups unique smell. More dominate pups will keep their tails up to let the other pups know they are there. While timid pups will mostly keep their tails low with little movement, as if flying under the radar.

Some shocking news, a wagging tail doesn’t always mean a happy dog. According to scientists the direction in which the tail is waging and the speed of the tail can help you better interpret what it is your pup is saying. Studies support the theory that a pups’ tail wages to the right when they are happy, and to the left when they are scared.

Regardless of how cute the pup and their wagging tail is, it is important to pay attention to what that tail is telling you.  This can help another pup, or human from being bit.  It can also help your pup out if they are scared, or sad. Check out this cool diagram we found from Paws First Choice.


  1. Pup is confident and dominant;  they are the leader of all dogs. Be aware.
  2. Threat.  If you weren’t aware before, be afraid now.  Ready to attack.
  3. Show off.  “Look at me” attitude.
  4. Unconcerned.  Unbothered. Can care less.
  5. Uncertain threat.  Not to sure if they should be worried but just incase let’s be scary.
  6. Eating. “Don’t mess with me when I’m eating”.
  7. Subordinate.  Usually the posture around their owner, or pup.
  8. Unsure if should be threat or defense.  In between works, just incase.
  9. Subordinate towards authority, or other pups.
  10. Really subordinate towards authority, and other pups.
  11. Obedient and submissive towards authority, and other pups.

Click the link to read more about what a pups tail is telling us.  

What a pups tail is telling us.


Why do pups bury their bones? 

Ahhh a dogs bone. Their prized possession, their treasure; dogs are the guardians and protectors of their bones. It’s pretty common that when a pup gets a bone the fist thing they do is pace back and forth, and look for a place to bury that bone. Having two pups myself (a boxer and beagle), I have sat there and pondered why…why does my beautifully tamed backyard have to now be destroyed? I love my pups and want to believe that they aren’t doing this, knowing they shouldn’t, just to spite me because, I didn’t give them half of my pizza when they begged…And so I set forth on a mission to understand why?

Sometimes we forget that pups have been around for a very long time, and haven’t always been what they are today. From size to characteristics, they have been breed to please us humans. However, we must not forget that no matter how far we breed the pup to satisfy our wants, they still have ancestral instincts that they just can’t shake off. One of those things is burying their bones.

Think of the soil and ground as a refrigerator. Pups bury their bones to preserve them. The ground no matter what time of year stays cool, dark and moist. This acts as a refrigerator and helps to aid in storing, it keeps the bone fresher longer. A plus side to using mother natures’ refrigerator is that its help to naturally age the bone. Think of aged meat, tasty right?!

Another reason pups like to bury their bones is to hide them. Yes, it goes back to an ancestral instinct. Back in the days pups used to roam and weren’t as domesticated.  As a result of this, they never really knew when they would be able to eat again. To help ensure they will never go starving, they would hide and bury their bones, so this way they knew that they would be able to eat something. The dirt also helped to mask the smell of their bones, this made it so other pups and animals wouldn’t be able to find THEIR bone.

However, burying bones isn’t always based one protection and preservation. If you’re giving your pup too many treats and toys burying the extras acts as their savings.  Just in case there is ever a time you decide not to give them a treat, they at least will have some stashed away. Other reasons for a pup burying their bone is to subside their boredom.  Sometimes a pup can become extremely bored, and so they think if they bury something you will play with them and give them attention. This “something” isn’t a bone, it’s usually a “something” of yours (such as keys, jewelry, socks, a remotes). So, if your pup is bored enough- then you better be ready for a game of hide and seek.

After all my research, what I came to find was that my boxer buries his bones due to his instincts to protect and save them for later. Meanwhile my beagle likes when I play hide and seek. Especially with my keys, when I have to leave for work. Wether it be to marinate their bones, or get your attention, your pup doesn’t ever bury to intentionally upset you.  It’s just in their nature. Click the link for tips on how to help prevent your pup from burying.

Tips to stop your pup form digging. 


Who Nose What?

What is your pups’ nose telling you ? 

Our pups’ nose is one way we can communicate with them.  Their nose can tell us if they are sick, dehydrated, or even allergic.  We all now that wet cold nose that presses up against our face to say good morning, or goodnight.  The nose that wiggles when it smells something good, and stays close to the ground when they’re on the hunt…but what is our pups’ nose really telling us?

Most of us believe that if our dogs nose is wet it means that they are healthy. Yes it is true, pups are born with a wet nose, it is natural and healthy; however it doesn’t always mean that they are okay.  One reason a pups’ nose is wet is to help them cool off.  With all that hair on a pup, they are unable to sweat through their skin. So a wet nose helps to cool them off by releasing a watery fluid that helps (kind of like sweat fora human).  Another reason a pups’ nose is wet is simply because, they lick it.  At times a pups nose just gets dry, a little lick here and there helps to give their nose some relief.  Other times a wet nose is due to a layer of mucus that allows them to absorb smells better.

So if a wet nose indicates all of these things, when should you be worried?  If your pups’ nose is constantly runny it can mean that they have allergies to the environment, pollen, or food.  In extreme cases it can be a sign of bordetella (also known as the Kennel Cough) or canine influenza (if your pup has the vaccines don’t be alarmed).  If nasal discharge turns yellow or cloudy it can indicate infection.  If you notice there is blood in the discharge call your vet, it can indicate a tumor, or a foreign object lodged in your pups nose.  Excessive sneezing can tell you that you pup has allergies; it’s also another possible indicator that something is lodged in your pups nose.

What does as dry nose tell us?

Just like a wet nose doesn’t always mean healthy, a dry nose doesn’t always mean sick either.  After a nice slumber full of stretches, and puppy dreams your pups’ nose can be dry and warm; this is normal for all pups.  Another reason for your pups dry nose is age.  Just like us humans, the older we get the more wrinkled our skin gets (scary I know).  The same happens for pups, as mentioned before a pups’ nose acts as their skin when they need to cool off and “sweat”;  so when our pups get older, their nose tends to dry and crack.  There are creams and waxes out there that can help, such as Musher’s Secert. Dehydration is another factor that we must take into account, playing all day and lying around, a pup can forget to drink some water causing dehydration. Some water can easily solve this issue.  Another possible reason is something similar to sun exhaustion.  Sun bathing is a dogs’ past time. However, be reminded to take your pup out of the sun and heat, give them some fresh cold water to help cool them off and avoid dry nose.

To summarize, a wet nose is no better than a dry nose. You just have to be aware of your dogs’ behavior.  Poor appetite, blood, yellow or cloudy discharge, sores and scabs, pailful to the touch, and excessive sneezing or rubbing are signs to look out for when considering if you should take you pup to the vet.  To find out more information click the link below.

What is your pups nose telling you?


What makes us say aw.

Why do pups tilt their head?

We all know that head tilt that pups do. It makes almost any human say, “aw”, and lose their composure over something as simple as a tilt of the head. Maybe it’s because of their floppy ears and big eyes, or the fact that their expression seems to be of pure sweet confusion. In my onion, it’s the whole package. But why do pups do it?

There are a few known facts, and a few theories out there. One known fact is that the head tilt helps the pup to hear better. There are approximately 18 or more muscles in a pups ear; this is compared to 8 muscles in a humans ear, and 32 in a cats ear! The 18 (or more) muscles in a pups ear helps to allow them to hear all types of tones, and pitches. At times there are some sounds that need a little help so, a slight tilt of the head helps the pup to hear and understand a sound better.

Another reason for pups tilting their head is to help them see better. A pups eyesight varies depending on the snout of the pup. Bigger snouts tend to hinder a pups view, because of this these pups may tilt their head to see better.

There are also theories out their that believe the head tilt can indicate intelligence. They stand on the theory that it means the pup is trying to better understand and communicate with the human. Some may argue with this theory, however it is difficult to argue that pups lack intelligence. In todays day and age with all of the scientific studies there is proof that pups are more intelligent than we think.

However don’t just pass a pups head tilt without concern. I am not saying rush your pet over to the vet ever time they tilt their head. However, pups can experience dizziness and disruptive balance the way a human does when they have vertigo. If your pup constantly tilts their head, as well as lack of balance and vomiting it can be a disorder of the vestibular system.

Which ever true fact, or theory you may believe in we can all agree a pups head tilt just melts the heart. Click the link for more information on why pups tilt their heads.

Click: Why do pups tilt their heads?


Why Pet Insurance?

Pet Insurance is needed!

Our pets are the unconditional love that we all crave.  They love us with no “talk back” and forgive us when we leave them home to go grab something to eat.  They don’t need a reason to love us so much, they just do.  They also look to us for shelter, food, and care.  That is why it is important to have pet insurance. Pet insurance is a relatively new industry that began in 1982, making it a relatively costly expense.

The good news is that today there are affordable pet insurance plans out there that have great coverage and many options from which you can pick from.  Make sure to thoroughly read what the plan covers, what their deductible is and if your vet accepts that insurance. Some insurance companies include Nationwide, Healthypaws, and Figo just to name a few.  Click the link below to read more about the top pet insurances available and what they offer.

Pet Insurance Options


Have you found your match?

Know Your Breeds

Yes, its true all pups are cute! But are they the right pup for you?  Whether it be buying a new pup, or adopting, it is important to know what pup is the right match for you.  There are plenty of stories out there about pet owners who, yes love their pets but, they just can’t properly take care of the pup. There are several reasons as to why…

One reason may be that the dog is super energetic and needs a lot physical attention and an owner who is consistently active.  Another can be that the pup is an elder pup and is not energetic enough: we see this in families with younger children. Other times the dog is stubborn, and needs A LOT of patience- point is that every breed needs to be trained and treated differently. Now, just because they may not be the pup for you, doesn’t mean they come from a bad breed…this just means they are not your perfect match.

Not knowing the breed’s specific needs can lead to unhappy pups and owners.  A lot of the time we hear statements such as, “he/she is a bad dog”, “the dog never listens”, “the dog bites and doesn’t like other dogs”, and other things similar to these statements.  These are all things that can be avoided if the pup owner is knowledgeable about their pup’s breed. Moral of this story, do your research and know your breed.   If only there was a or an e-harmony for pets and humans.  Till’ then we found the closest thing.   Click the link below to take a test that helps to best match you to a breed that fits your lifestyle.

Dog Breed Quiz


Pet Sitting 101




cropped-6bd702cd-d928-4665-baf3-44bce6b223921.jpegWhy at home pet sitting is the way to go. 

No matter the kind of travel you are doing (daily, work, or pleasure), it is no secret that finding the right care for your dog is difficult. There are many options out there when it comes to pet care, there is no question about that.  However, with so many options how do you know which service is the right service for you?

First, let’s talk about the types of pet care that are available. When looking at the big picture there is at home pet care and drop off pet care; these both provide unique services. Drop off pet care is a service in which you take your pet to a location and drop him/her off.  These locations offer anything from private rooms, to grooming, boarding and group sitting. The positive is that they get to mingle and make new friends.  However, the upside to at home pet care severely out ways those of drop off services.

When hiring an at home pet caregiver you and your pet get a personalized service.  Most importantly your pet gets to stay in a familiar comfortable environment.  On top of that, the options of which service you may want and need are endless. There are some services that offer overnight (certain ones even collect your mail for you and take out the trash), others offer 1 or 2 daily visits, hiking, dog park visits, and anything in-between.  Additionally, if you have an elderly pet or a pet who has medical needs, being in their environment is what is best for them.  The point is that you can find the right service that fits your pet’s needs.

Now let’s address what many of you may be asking, “How can I trust someone I don’t know in my home?”. Well there are some steps you should follow before choosing a pet sitter/walker/caregiver. Let’s start off with finding out if they are certified, insured, and bonded. These are 3 major components that we highly suggest you take into consideration when deciding on a pet sitter.

What do these things mean? When a sitter is certified it means they read on the proper material and passed a test on the safety and care of a pet.  Insured means that once your pet is in their care, any non-pre-existing injuries are coved under their insurance. Bonded is very similar to being insured, but its holds the company to a moral standard such as protecting your property from things such as theft. The Business of The Carolina’s is the main company that offers this for pet professionals.  In-addition you want a sitter who is part of organizations such as Pet Sitters International (PSI), The Humane Society, or Professional United Pet Sitters (PUPS).  Being apart of these organizations help to show their dedication and passion for animals; meaning your pets will be in the best care.

Other steps to take when deciding on an at home pet sitter is to check out their reviews. Do they have a website or blog?  Are they on Yelp or Google?  If they are local, are there others who endorse them? Lastly, does your pet professional offer a service such as a “meet and greet”?  This is huge!  An at home pet sitter should absolutely offer such a service. A meet and greet allows for you to meet the person and get a feel, make sure you are comfortable with them. Most importantly to make sure your pet is comfortable and trust them. At Pass the Pup, we offer a free 30-minute meet and greet.  In this meet and greet, the dog sitter gets to know the pet (Do they like belly rubs? Which commands work best for the pet? etc.…), the pet gets to know the sitter (Do I trust this human?), and the owner gets to know their sitter personally (Do I feel comfortable with this person).

In conclusion, at home pet services are the way to go. You get a piece of mind that your dog is getting one-on-one attention and most importantly your pet gets personalized care and comfortability. Now, head on over to to get your personalized pet service today!

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