Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Pawfessionals Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters: Should You Trim Your Pet's Whiskers?

Sometimes our furry friend’s whiskers, also called tactile hair, grow really long and we wonder how in the world they can stand it. Our first impulse is to trim them down to our liking, but those whiskers serve several, necessary purposes.


Whiskers are longer, thicker and more rigid than hair. According to, each whisker is rooted in a hair follicle that is filled with blood vessels and nerves that occasionally fall out and grow back. Most cats have 12 whiskers arranged in four rows on either cheek, but dog whiskers vary per breed. Those hairs sticking out above your pet’s eyes are whiskers, too, as well as those under the chin. Cats can even grow whiskers behind their wrists.


So what are all these whiskers for? Well, believe it or not, the primary function of whiskers is to aid with vision, especially in the dark, because they provide sensory information. They are the animal’s antennae. Even though they are filled with nerves, the whisker cannot feel anything. However, they vibrate when they touch an object, which then stimulates the nerves in the hair follicle. This makes perfect sense because the scientific name for whiskers is vibrissae, which is derived from the Latin word, vibrio, which means “to vibrate”.


Cats use the whiskers on their head to know whether or not they can fit into a narrow space and use the whiskers on their legs to sense prey and to climb trees.


40% of a dog’s brain can detect when something touches their face because of their whiskers.


Both dogs and cats can use their whiskers in the dark to warn them before they bump into things, without even touching anything. Amazing, right?


The whiskers above the eyes protect them from long grass and other objects close to them.


So, if you trim your pet’s whiskers, you take away your canine and feline friend’s ability to feel and protect themselves. The bottom line is, it’s best to leave them alone.


  • Kassira McKee

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Pawfessionals Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters: Do Cats Shed Like Dogs Do? by Kassira McKee

Well, folks, summer is upon us, which is the season for animals to shed some fur for the summer. Dogs shed their undercoat to prepare for the heat, but do cats do this as well?


According to, outdoor cats lose more hair in spring and fall and retain more fur in the winter. So, seasonal shedding is naturally common.


However, there are several issues such as medical, dietary and stress that may cause your cat to lose more hair than is normal. If you see excessive shedding or bald patches on your cat, take it to the veterinarian ASAP. Here are some things that could be occurring:


1) Allergies – could be environmental or dietary.

2) Ringworm – circular, patchy areas caused by a fungus that infects the skin, hair and nails and can be passed on to humans and other animals.

3) Fleas – also passed on to humans, other animals and the general environment.

4) Bacterial Diseases – Salmonella and other bacterial diseases caused by consuming raw or contaminated foods, licking manure off of their feet and coats and oral contact with surfaces contaminated by other infected cats.

5) Hypothyroidism – a common glandular disorder caused by an excessively, circulating thyroxine-a thyroid hormone (T4) in the bloodstream.

6) Poor diet – your cat is not eating anything you serve it, which means something is wrong.

7) Stress – caused by many different factors such as other animals in the household, a chaotic, unsettling environment, relocation or being left alone for an unusually long time.

8) Medications – caused by allergies to medications.

9) Pregnancy/Lactation – caused by morning sickness, like vomiting and lack of appetite, fatigue due to hormonal and uterus changes, and post birth when your cat stops eating 24 hours before giving birth, her temperature drops to 100 F and she is fatigued during the nursing period.

10) Sunburn – caused by being left outside too long.


Symptoms of abnormal shedding to look for are obsessive licking, biting or scratching, loss of patches of hair and loss of appetite. Take your cat to the Veterinarian immediately.


If your veterinarian determines there is no medical cause, here are a few things you can do to cut down on hair loss: 

  • Feed your cat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Groom your cat regularly
  • Check your cat’s skin and coat during grooming sessions for hair loss, redness, bumps, cuts, fleas, ticks and parasites.
  • Keep your home vacuumed to better monitor your cat’s shedding 

If a feline’s excessive shedding that is a medical issue goes unattended, its health will worsen. If a long-haired feline goes ungroomed for too long, matting occurs, which is not only painful, but can also lead to a bacterial or fungal infection.


We at The Pawfessionals Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters love our feline clients and are here to help you keep your kitties healthy.

- Kassira McKee


For more detailed information on feline shedding, click here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Pawfessionals Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters: Canine and Feline Obesity by Kassira McKee

As human obesity increases, pet obesity is increasing as well. The Veterinary world figured out that the epidemic in pets is connected to their owners because the bond between the two is so close.


Professor Michael Day is the chair of the One Health Committee established by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). He says, “The importance of studying the human-animal bond is justified by reference to the benefit to human health and well-being from association with pet animals. One of the key issues is obesity. Probably the most important health issue of man and pets in Western countries is the shared epidemic of obesity that is often directly related to aspects of this shared lifestyle. We cannot hope to understand feline and canine obesity without also knowing something about human obesity, the social status of owners, and the relationships that humans actually have with their dogs and cats.”


According to the Veterinary Record, in dogs and cats, as in people, a distinction is drawn between being overweight and being obese. Being overweight can be defined as having a body composition where the levels of body fat exceed those considered optimal for good health. Obesity can be defined as being overweight to the extent that serious effects on an individual’s health become likely.


In humans, the Body Mass Index (BMI) is widely used as an assessment tool. However, it is solely based on a person’s weight and height, which is not transferable to assessing dogs and cats because of diverse breeds and body compositions. Therefore, the Body Condition Scores (BCSs) was developed for both dogs and cats, which utilizes several categories, ranging from emaciated to severely obese, based on specific physical features.


Canine obesity studies in North America, Europe and Australia revealed that 22% to 44% of pet dogs are clinically obese. Although human obesity is caused by many factors such as psychological and social problems like depression and anxiety, canine and feline obesity is not suspected to be caused by the same issues.


Studies show that some dog and cat breeds have a higher likelihood of becoming overweight or obese. However, what humans and dogs and cats have in common is that higher levels of obesity occur from over-eating and lack of exercise. The results are also similar, which are lack of energy and higher chances of diabetes and cardiorespiratory disease. Dogs and cats can also develop orthopedic and dermatological diseases, circulation issues, urinary and reproductive disorders, neoplasia and complications when under anesthesia.

So, how do you determine whether or not your pet is obese? Take him/her to the vet and have an assessment done.


How do your solve the problem of your pet being overweight or obese? There are many strategies to try. Pub Med on NCBI online states, “Pet owner commitment, a proper feeding plan and regular monitoring are the keys to a successful weight loss program. Treatment of obesity involves caloric restriction and/or a diet change….the diet choice should be tailored to the individual patient. Appropriate feeding management is equally important.”


Maze bowls are widely used by dog owners these days, which forces the dog to eat slower because he/she has to work to get the food out of the bowl. Also, smaller, controlled portions are very effective, which means you never leave the food bowl on the floor for random grazing. Low calorie, high fiber, moderate to high protein, low sugar diets are the healthy route and cut down on excessive fat gain.


Studies also show that many pet owners use food to communicate with their pet. Using other ways to engage your dog or cat, instead of using food, is much healthier for them. Outdoor activities such as longer walks and extensive playtime are important in helping your dog get fit and stay fit. For cats, carpeted towers, tunnel toys or wall shelving specifically installed for cats to walk around on, provide an answer to an otherwise, lethargic indoor life.


Making healthier choices for your canine and feline kids adds more years to their lives, which adds more happy companionship for you!


Love your pets with no regrets!

For further reading click here

And check out this webpage too:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Pawfessionals Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters: The Importance of Your Pet's Dental Hygiene

The Importance of Your Pet’s Dental Hygiene

Keeping your pet’s teeth clean is essential to its health. Gum disease is common among pets with bad dental hygiene and is indicated by bad breath, or halitosis. This is a result of the bacterial infection of the gums, called gingiva, and supporting tissues.

What causes gum disease is plaque that leads to dental tartar when plaque hardens and adheres to tooth enamel and then erodes the gingival tissue. The indications of gum disease are redness, soreness and swelling. The gums will separate from the teeth, creating pockets where the bacteria, plaque and tartar build up. This creates more damage, tooth and bone loss and the final result is Periodontitis (bacterial infection of the mouth).

The bacteria from this deterioration can enter the bloodstream and affect major body organs like the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs. So, before a professional dental cleaning, antibiotics are administered to prevent bacterial spread through the bloodstream.

Dental treats that are treated with enzymes help reduce the formation of tartar and calculus, but are not an alternative to brushing away bacterial causing agents.

So, the bottom line is you gotta’ brush your pet’s teeth. You might be thinking, “Bath time is challenging as it is! How in the world am I going to get my pet to sit still for a tooth brushing?”

You’ll be glad to know there are 4 easy steps to this process. Just like training your pet to do anything else, there is a way to ease him/her into a routine of tooth brushing.

Step 1: Start the training by placing a little cat or dog toothpaste on your finger and let your pet lick the paste from your hand, like a treat. With cats, wrap a sterilized gauze strip around your finger, dipped into the paste, or use a rubbery feline toothbrush with paste on it. Do this several days in a row and follow it up each day with a treat reward and praise.

Step 2: Place a little of the toothpaste on your pet’s teeth (canine teeth for dogs) to get it used to having it placed against their teeth and gums. Again, do this for several days and follow it with a treat and praise.

Step 3: Introduce the toothbrush that will be used for brushing. Place some toothpaste on it and let your pet lick it off to get him/her used to the toothbrush and the texture of the process. You will, again, do this for several days and follow up with a treat and praise.

Step 4: Gently hold your pet’s lips back and brush at a 45 degree angle to the gum line. Brush the outside of the teeth using a back and forth motion while talking to him/her in a soothing voice and praising as you go along. The first time you do this, only brush a few teeth and increase the number of teeth each time you brush.

If time is minimal in your schedule, you may substitute brushing with dental pads now and then, which kill bacteria on the surface of the teeth.

Ideally, a tooth cleaning every day is optimal. However, a few times per week will do. ALWAYS follow a brushing with a treat and praise.  

- Kassira McKee


Friday, May 22, 2015

The Pet Degu

Is it a hamster? Or a mouse? Or maybe even a gerbil?

Nope, it’s a Degu!

A cousin of the chinchilla, it is a Caviomorpha rodent from Chile that is herbivorous. They are also referred to as brush tail rats or trumpet tailed rats, but are not related to rats at all. The word degu, derived from its Latin name, Octodon degus, translates into ‘eight tooth taste graze’.

Fully grown, these furry creatures fit in the palm of a human. They are active during the day, have brown fur, and have orange teeth and a medium length tail. They also have five clawed toes on their forepaws and five on their hind feet. Their cute little ears are shaped to capture sound and to dissipate body heat. Their large, dark eyes are on the side of their head to improve range of vision.

The female Degu has a better sense of smell than the male and has four pairs of teats, three of which are on the side of the body in a line between the front and hind legs.

Degus are semifossorial, which means they live partly underground. They also prefer to live in groups. They adapt extremely well to new environments, especially if you provide them with a stable living area. Degus thrive better in large cages with bar spacing that is a maximum of 2 cm, or less than one inch, to keep them contained and safe. The cage should also have a solid metal base with a substrate of pine wood shavings, shredded paper or finely chopped straw. NO sawdust or toxic cedar wood chips please!

The cage should also have a nest box in it because Degus LOVE to burrow. Open terracotta plant pots bedded with shredded jay cloths or soft paper work great! Because they require constant stimulation, a solid wheel without spokes or a flying saucer wheel is essential for it to run on. Also important are apple, hazel, hawthorn, kiln-dried pine, pear or linden wood branches for them to climb and gnaw on. They also really enjoy bamboo cane, coconut shell and grapevine.

When out of its cage, plastic wheels and obstacle courses are great exercise for them and entertainment for both of you! They also LOVE cardboard tubes, parrot toys and ladders, jingle balls and marbles!

Degus love to groom and be groomed and they especially like human company, which makes them easy to handle. Their high level of intelligence makes them easy to train and interact with.

You’d think these little creatures would require a special diet, but that’s not true. The only things to avoid altogether are sugar, molasses, honey syrup, glucose and fructose. Other than that, they do well eating dried mix or pellets from the pet store like guinea pig, chinchilla or Degu-specific food. AVOID chinchilla mix because it contains sugary, dried fruit! Also unsuitable are hamster or gerbil food mixes.

10 g, or 2 teaspoons, of hard food once a day is plenty of nourishment for a Degu, along with hay, which is the most important part of its diet. It helps it to maintain gut function and molar teeth wear. Meadow or Timothy hay are ideal, mixed with a little Alfalfa hay to make it tastier. Also, fresh vegetables like chopped, raw carrots, cabbage, peas and herbs such as mint, chives, oregano and basil, in small quantities once or twice a week, are perfect for the Degu diet. You can even add a rose petal to make the veggie mix more enticing.

Here are some basic rules to know before you make a Degu a part of your life:

Rule #1: They prefer living in groups, so strongly consider owning more than one

Rule #2: Unlike other rodents, you cannot pick a Degu up by its tail- it will tear off

Rule #3: Let the Degu simply sit in the palms of your hands – do not encircle them

Rule #4: Use recommended foods like puffed rice or wheat, flaked corn or peas, bread crumbs, cracker pieces or rolled oats as a reward during training

Rule #5: The way to a Degu’s heart is a tummy rub. To them, it’s worth YOUR weight in gold

Rule #6: Speak to a Degu in a soothing tone of voice, even when using voice commands

Rule #7: To protect their intestinal and kidney functions, never over-feed a Degu because they have small tummies.

Rule #8: Spend a lot of quality time with a Degu, as they love and need the socialization, even if they do have Degu roommates

– Kassira McKee

For more amazing information about Degus, click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Cautions of Exposing Your Pet to Excessive Heat

Rain, sleet, snow or heat, when they gotta’ go, they gotta’ go. Walking our dogs in extreme weather conditions is unpleasant for us and our beloved canines. Still, it has to be done if your dog doesn’t do its business quickly or you don’t have an enclosed yard. There are many apartment, high-rise, townhouse and condo dwellers faced with this dilemma all the time.

Dogs and cats are homeotherms, which means they typically maintain a constant body temperature of 101 to 102 degrees. If their body temperature rises above 106 degrees, brain, tissue and organ swelling can occur as well as abnormal blood clotting, which can damage the kidneys, heart, lungs and the brain. This leads to the physical collapse of the animal, a coma, seizures and respiratory arrest.

Dogs and cats do not have the sweating capability that humans do so they release heat by coming into contact with things cooler than themselves like tile floors, cool water and cool air. When dogs pant, the evaporation dissipates heat from within their bodies, but prolonged panting without a cooling element will lead to dehydration.

As we enter into the warmer months, there are precautions to take when we are forced to take our furry friends outside in the heat so they can relieve themselves.

It is best to keep cats inside with a litter box for their convenience. Bring your outdoor cats in for the summer or at least provide them with a cooler shelter and plenty of water for them to drink.

Dogs are a different story all together and there are many things to consider to keep their temperature regulated to avoid heatstroke.

If you think the hot pavement burns your feet, imagine how it can affect your dog! Even though our dogs have thicker pads on their paws than we have on our feet, they can still get 3rd degree burns from prolonged contact with hot terrain.

Here are a few tips to help you ensure your pet is healthy and comfortable through the warmer months of the year. Keep in mind that the most ideal time of day to walk a dog is in the morning or late evening to avoid the hotter, midday temperatures.
  • Walk in the shade as much as possible if walking has to be done in the midday hours.
  • Walk in circles close to home so that you are never too far from the end of the walk.
  • Hydration is the key to avoid a heat stroke for you and your dog. Take a bottle or two of cold water for the both of you.
  • If attending an outdoor event together, make sure you take your dog to the watering areas frequently and try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Avoid taking your dog along with you on your daily runs or long walks.
  • Never leave your pet in a parked car on a warm day.
  • Watch for various signs that your dog has reached his/her limit, such as excessive panting or drooling, tender paws, shaking, sluggishness,  and red, gray or purple tongue and gums.
  • Once back inside, lead your dog to water immediately and encourage him/her to lie down on a cool tile, wood or cement floor to regulate their body temperature.
  • Avoid play time or over-exertion until your dog has recovered from the heat.

Canines have a thick undercoat of fur as well as an outer layer. In warmer months, they shed their undercoat, which they use for insulating because it isn’t needed. The outer coat remains as a thermal regulator to slow down the process of heat absorption.

Many owners have their dog’s fur shaved or cut extra short for hot weather, which is not advisable. Animals need their fur to protect them from sunburn and insect bites and to avoid over-heating.

Although you may continue to run or jog in the heat for exercise, do not take your dog with you. The activity has their metabolism generate internal heat, which blocks their ability to discharge external heat, leading to excessive panting and dehydration.

There are specific dog breeds that are intolerant of excessive heat. Breeds with “pushed in” snouts are at the top of the list, as well as those with cold-weather coats.

Because of its bulk and breathing system, the French Bull Dog cannot regulate its temperature efficiently. Once overheated, a heatstroke can occur, causing death. Short walks are a must in warm weather.

All other Bulldog breeds, Pugs, Boxers, Boston terriers, as well as Himalayan and Persian cats cannot efficiently pant to cool themselves when overheated.

Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Akitas and chow chows are cold weather breeds that are also intolerant of excessive temperatures.

The bulk of obese or overweight dogs interferes with thermoregulation, which means they cannot radiate heat away from their body sufficiently enough to cool down.

So when you’re outside with your pet in hot weather and your pet begins to pant heavily, take it into cooler temperatures, hose it down in the back yard or run tepid water all over its body, especially the head, neck, chest and groin, to start the cooling process. You can also wrap it in cool, wet towels, but you’ll need to replace them when they warm up from the heat the animal is releasing.

– Kassira McKee

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bella the Gorgeous Goldendoodle

This is Bella, a 6 week old Goldendoodle and a client of The Pawfessionals Dog Walkers & Pet Sitters.

This cross breed of Golden Retriever and Poodle started in America and Australia in the 1990s to develop guide dogs for visually impaired people with allergies. Now, the Goldendoodle, also called Groodle, is categorized as a Hybrid breed and is bred to be a wonderful family dog, especially for those with allergies, as the Poodle coat is highly hypoallergenic. Though some of these cross breeds are not completely shed-free, most of them are low to non-shedding. Goldendoodles also make great bird dogs. 

The double characteristic of this breed makes it intelligent, highly trainability, and affectionate with humans and other pets. Because of these traits, Goldendoodles have been utilized as guide, therapy, search and rescue dogs since 2005.  

This breed typically develops extremely strong bonds with their owners, and children, and is calm with a level temperament. However, they need regular exercise and attention from their owners. They are prone to separation anxiety so it is a good idea to crate them when left alone to avoid destructive behavior. They also possess aggressive traits, so they need proper socialization from puppyhood to avoid fearfulness. 

As popular as this breed has become, the Goldendoodle is not recognized as a breed by the AKC, UKC or the CKC, although some kennel clubs allow the breed in agility and performance events. 

Both Golden Retrievers and Poodles tend to be quite healthy, although they are both susceptible to hip dysplasia, inherited eye disorders and ear infections from swimming. Poodles also tend to develop a bleeding disorder called Von Willebrands disease (vWD).

Goldendoodles range from small to large sized dogs and have wavy to curly coats, two to three inches long. The coat variety can be black, copper, white, cream, gray, gold, apricot or red and it requires frequent brushing. These dogs also require less bathing than most because their natural, moisturizing oils are necessary to keep their skin conditioned.

Their ears need to be checked weekly for redness and odor to detect a possible infection by wiping them with a pH-balanced ear cleaner on a cotton ball. Do NOT use a swab stick or insert anything into the ears.

With a life span of 10 to 15 years, the Goldendoodle is considered to be a “Designer Dog”, which is a late 20th Century term, because of their particular combination of such desirable characteristics.

Other examples of Designer Dogs are the Cockapoo, Labradoodle, Buggs (Boston Terrier/Pug), Pomapoo (Pomeranian/Toy Poodle), Pomsky (Pomeranian/Husky), Yorkiepoo, Myorkie (Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier), Maltepoo (Maltese/Yorkie) and the Chorkie (Chihuahua/Yorkshire Terrier).

– Kassira McKee

For more information on the Goldendoodle, click here:

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Importance of Pets to Seniors

We love the company of our pets and can’t imagine being without them. Imagine how a Senior Citizen feels when the time comes to relocate to an assisted living facility. The prospect of losing the companionship of a pet can be traumatizing, especially if the Senior is single or widowed. It also adds another loss to their list and creates added anguish when worrying about the animal if it is taken away. 

The other side of this situation is the trauma to the pet. Yes, as owners get older, their standard of pet care often diminishes, which can affect the pet. Still, that doesn’t negate the emotional results of a pet/owner separation.

Studies show that a Senior’s regular contact with an animal is highly beneficial. The relationship lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduces depression, boredom and feelings of hopelessness and gives the owner a sense of purpose in caring for another living thing. Plus, health improves, which lowers medical needs, and adds more physical activity to a Senior’s life. 

According to Michelle Cobey, spokesperson for the Delta Society, a Bellevue Washington volunteer organization, “Many homes allow pets on the premises. But sometimes it can be difficult to manage without help from the staff or volunteer case workers.”

There may also be complications if the animal is not well socialized. 

There are great alternatives to this dilemma. Firstly, the Senior’s family can bring the pet to visit the facility on a regular basis. Also, volunteer organizations such as the Delta Society’s Pets On Wheels can bring in therapy dogs to visit. 

Here’s an even better idea: if the Senior can keep the pet in a facility, a local dog walking and pet sitting service can visit daily to help take care of the pet! 

Darren Burleson, co-owner of The Pawfessionals Dog Walkers & Pet Sitters in Dallas, has several assisted living clients that he visits regularly to clean up after cats and to walk dogs for Seniors. He experiences the incredible bond Seniors and pets have and how important it is to try to maintain the relationship.

“The interaction and bond a pet has with their Senior owner is heartwarming and I get to see first-hand how healthy and beneficial it is for both the owner and the pet to have this relationship,” says Darren. “I love my pets and couldn’t imagine being separated from them. I can only imagine how my Senior clients would feel if that separation occurred.”

So, with proper support and assistance, elderly loved ones can continue the special bond they have with their pet and receive the love, motivation and happiness they deserve. 

– Kassira McKee

Friday, May 15, 2015

"Can I Have a Quokka as a Pet?"

We’ve seen posts lately featuring selfies with humans and quokkas, those little furry balls of joy that look like a cross between a prairie dog and a teddy bear. But what in the heck is a quokka?

The quokka, which rhymes with wokka, is a short-tailed wallaby with a short face and round ears at the top of the head. They are macropod (big-footed) marsupials about the size of a domestic cat, weighing between 5 ½ to 10 pounds. They typically give birth to litters of one, which they raise to adulthood

The word wallaby is a clue that they are native to the Western Australian islands. Nocturnal, with the ability to climb small trees and shrubs, quokkas are also herbivorous, meaning they feed on plant life.

Before you get any ideas about having one as a pet, you must know that they are classified as a “vulnerable” species and live in a restricted range on the Mainland of Australia as well as Rottnest and Bald Islands. Its main predators are foxes and cats and the islands are free of those. However, on the Mainland, not only has their population been diminished as a result of natural predators, their numbers have dramatically declined due to logging, agricultural development and the clearance of swamp lands.

Also, as sweet and happy as they look, they can do some damage with the sharp claws on their big feet and their sharp teeth.  They are afraid of nothing and no-one and are ready to battle it out if humans get too close.  Quokkas are also as mischievous as monkeys. They reportedly raid campsites and homes and show up at cafes and restaurants for nightly snacks.

So, quokka loving friends, you’ll have to admire these adorable creatures from afar.

Oh, and good luck with those selfies!

– Kasirra McKee

For more information about Quokkas, click here.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Bruce the Bouncing Boxer

This is Bruce, a Boxer puppy and a client of The Pawfessionals in Dallas. Bruce is around four months old and is already house trained, due to the diligent attention of his owners, Deanna and Phillip, with the help of his Pawfessionals Dog Walker.Bruce, like most Boxers, is eager to be trained and really enjoys it. In fact, Boxers, a cross breed of a now extinct, small Mastiff breed, called the Brabant Bullenbeisser, and the Old English Bulldog, have great love for, and are quite faithful to, their masters.Although some claim that the name “Boxer” came from the breed’s tendency to play by standing on its hind legs and boxing with its front paws, the truth is the name came from one of its original cross breeds, the Bullenbeisser, nicknamed “Boxi”.First bred in Germany in 1894 as a guard dog, the Boxer is temperamentally suited for obedience and agility and protector of the family home.The American Kennel Club registered the first Boxer champion in 1915 and the breed was used in World War I as a messenger dog, pack-carrier, and attack and guard dog.Bruce, like most Boxers, loves to run, jump and bounce and gets very excited after he’s done his business outside because he knows it pleases his owners.
Boxers also make great search and rescue dogs and are excellent Therapy dogs.Because of their playfulness and natural desire to protect, Boxers make great family dogs as they are wonderful with children. For more information about Boxers, click here.

– Kassira Mckee 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sydney the Shetland Sheepdog

This is Sydney, a tri-color Sheltie puppy who is a Pawfessionals client in Dallas. 

Shelties are a breed of herding dog that is small to medium sized. They are bred in a variety of colors – sable, tri-color and blue merle.  Their temperament is typically playful, alert, intelligent, affectionate and trainable, which describes Sydney perfectly!

The Sheltie is relatively new, originally bred in the Shetland Islands and first registered in Lerwick in 1908, with the Scottish Shetland Sheepdog Club in 1909 and recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1911.

First named the Shetland Collie, the breed name was changed due to objections by Collie owners in Scotland. This breed is also nicknamed Lilliputian Colie, Toonie Dog, Peerie Dog, Fairy Dog and Miniature Collie. 

A cross breed of mysterious origins, the Sheltie is rumored to have begun with the Scandinavian Spitz, The King Charles Spaniel and the original Pomeranian, bred with the Scottish Collie.

The original purpose of the breed was for herding and farming, but it has become a wonderful household pet and family dog.

 – Kassira McKee

 For more information on the Shetland Sheepdog, click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

How and Why Does Your Cat Purr?

We’ve often heard that cats purr because they are happy or contented, but that’s not always the case. 
Cats also purr when stressed, like at the veterinarian’s office or when recovering from an illness or injury.

Purring is produced through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles and occurs through inhalation and exhalation. Therefore, purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy, which helps a cat conserve energy and heal bones and muscles. 

So, when your cat purrs, he/she may be contented, but may also be healing and communicating.

– Kassira McKee

For more information on purring, click here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is Walking Your Dog in the Rain a Good Idea?

Most of us don’t relish walking in the rain if we don’t have to, so why should our dogs feel any different?  

Of course, there are some canine kids that will go outside in any weather, but most dogs like to avoid extreme weather conditions.
The trick is to make the experience as comfortable as possible. In rain and snow, you can start with a doggie coat – one that repels moisture and one that keeps the dog warm in colder weather to prevent hypothermia.

The next step would be to walk your dog under the cover of trees, awnings, indoor-outdoor hallways or any area that may block rain, hail or snow.  You might also consider pet umbrellas that you can attach to your dog’s collar or rain boots, if your dog is willing.

Another suggestion would be for you to carry an extra large umbrella that covers both you and your dog if you walk him/her close to your side. 

Finally, you’ll want to keep some “dog towels” inside the door of your home to dry your dog off as soon as you get inside – not only to keep your floors clean, but to maintain the dryness and warmth of your dog.

– Kassira Mckee

Check out a great article on the subject by clicking here.