Adopting A New Pet? 5 Tips for Pet Owners

A rescue dog I'm working with who has biting and behavior issues.

A rescue dog I’m working with who has biting and behavior issues.

Are you considering adopting a new pet?

Awesome! There are 5,000 shelters in the USA alone. The Humane Society of the United States estimate they care for 6-8 million dogs and cats per year. Out of those, 2/3 are adoptable, safe, loving pets, yet 4-5 million are euthanized.

I am pro life for both pets and people. This is nothing other than murder. God helps us!

When I first adopted Snickers, 14 years ago, I came into adoption blindsided. Yes, I had puppies and dogs since I was a little girl, on and off growing up–but they were my parents responsibility and problem, not mine. After all, I was a kid–I simply played with the puppies and amazed my parents when they learned a few neat tricks.

I have to say, for an abused, runaway, rescue dog, Snickers was awesome. But obviously he had a few bad behaviors (like scooting his butt across the floor!) that needed breaking.

I’ve adopted AKC pups and dogs from breeders, mutts from rescue shelters, and other mixed breeds right off the streets. What I’ve come to learn is that all pups and dogs are going to display unwanted behaviors at first. We all have quirks.

What bothers me is that I see many people these days adopt a pet, and after the honeymoon period, about a week or two later, when their new pet begins to display any negative behaviors, the first thing they want to do is send them back. This is actually more damaging to the dog, your family, and your other pets. Please do some research before making this kind of decision–it can literally mean a dog’s life or death.

Here are some tips that might help.


1. BREED would best fit them, their life style, and mesh with the other pets they already have in the home. Please look beyond the “cute factor” looks can be deceiving. If you jog and want a jogging partner choose a more fit, hyper, active dog like a boxer. Select your Breed Here

2. PERSONALITY the pet has so they know if this will also mesh with their life style. Sometimes we stereotype breeds, like I did above using the boxer for example. But I’m sure you can find a more calm, not so OCD Boxer if you look through to the ends of the earth. No two dog’s personality’s are the same. Decide if you want a snuggle buddy or a dog you can wrestle with.

3.  FOOD the dog/cat/animal has been eating, so they don’t disrupt their diet and cause damage to their intestinal track while moving them to a new home, which can already cause some disruption.

4. ENVIRONMENT the pet has been living in. Just because you rescue a pet or bring them into your home, doesn’t mean they are going to adjust right away.

5. REACTION your pet will have to you, your family, and other pets by scheduling a home visit prior to adoption.

*Our photo this week is of a beautiful rescue dog named “Shadow”. He is a 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd. He has some bad behaviors, hence the reason for the muzzle. But his new pet mommy didn’t want to just take him back to the shelter, so she called me about training and working through his bad behaviors–which there are many. He’s even bitten a man once. Part of our training is teaching him to “take it” or “get it” versus “leave it” this is a great way to retrain dogs who are aggressive. After only two weeks of training he is doing well. It’s good to see pet owners who will go the extra mile and not give up 🙂

There is a great Michigan resource for pet adoption where you can help rescue dogs from kill shelters: New Hope Pet Rescue

READ: Adopt or Abort?

Lisa Freeman, a resident of Owosso, Michigan, is an award-winning author, speaker, and AKC Evaluator, dog trainer, and Certified Pet Therapist through the Love on a Leash program. She specializes in obedience, pet therapy, service dog training, and behavior modification. Her work with bullying and bully dogs has led into schools and communities throughout Michigan to educate both pet owners and families on breaking the victim mentality and becoming a pack leader.


Chew Toys–Safe or Unsafe–You Decide

Is your dog a chewer

Our dog Baby Ruth, a min pin that had an extreme chewing problem

From the time a puppy develops teeth, they have a desire and also a need to chew. If you’ve ever had a puppy, you know they are avid chewers and if they don’t have the proper chew toys, they’ll begin chewing up other things like shoes, clothes, cords, and furniture.

There are many chew toys on the market as well as dog bones that manufacturers claim are safe for puppies and dogs. Some even state that they are edible. Can you really trust what you read on the package or is this simply a way for manufacturers to make another quick buck at you and your pup’s expense?

According to an article published at Christmastime by the AKC, American’s spend more money on their dog’s than they do their own kids! Obviously, people love their dogs and want the best for them. On the flip side, manufacturer’s and pet stores are hiking the prices up, but not always delivering the quality products pet owners think they’re getting.

Safe or Unsafe? Edible or Not? Let’s review what manufacturer’s say, versus what consumer’s say:


Manufacturer’s Say: These long-lasting, durable chew toys are designed for aggressive, powerful-chewing dogs, to help keep them busy and discourage destructive chewing.

Consumer’s Say: Although these are mostly good products that will last a long time, many of the bones develop sharp, painful edges that can be a danger to others (other pets and family members–specifically babies). Also, the ones with the plastic centers break apart and are not edible, so larger parts can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestines. BEWARE!

Hartz Chew and Clean:

Manufacturer’s Say: A chew toy and treat all in one. This safe and long-lasting chew has a durable nylon shell combined with tasty bacon flavored treats. Not only does this treat satisfy the natural desire to chew, it also gently massages your dog’s gums while helping to minimize plaque and tartar on his teeth.All 5 Star reviews on their manufacturer’s website, even vet recommended, one consumer states, but yet it has coloring added according to the other ingredients, listed below.

Consumer’s Say: I bought this because of all the favorable reviews. I saw that my dogs had chewed through the nylon, but I thought at the time that it was to be expected, just like with a Nylabone. I was surprised to see the large size of the pieces my dog just threw up 24+ hours after I took it away from her. I disagree with “The non-edible part doesn’t break off so no choking hazard”. I have uploaded pictures of this product with the pieces my dog just threw up. I am now concerned that there could be other pieces that could be causing a potentially fatal blockage.

Other Ingredients: Cornstarch, Sorbitol, Maltose. Rich Starch, Artificial Bacon Flavor, Color Added (Yellow #6) Sodium Hexametaphophate.

Kong Rubber Toys

Manufacturer’s Say: We are committed to quality. Everything we make is the absolute best it can be without any corners cut, ever. Safety is always at the top of our list. We would never make a bad decision for your best friend, period.

Consumer’s Say: I am a consumer of Kong. I have had some of the most powerful chewers as pets. Most of the Kong products I completely trust. Many are great and pretty much indestructible. Still, Kong products are not edible. So in light of this, there is one Kong product in particular I would not recommend–the red rubber bone. It has ridges all over and has holes at each end, which gives leeway for powerful chewers to chew chunks (large chunks!) off from the bone that can easily become lodged in your dog’s stomach.

Skinneeez Stuffing Free Dog Toys

Manufacturer’s Say: This unique, plush dog toy has no stuffing for your dog to pull out! Enjoy less mess on your floors with these super soft, flat friends. Extra-long, extra-floppy body is easy to grab, hold, and carry by almost any sized dog.

Consumer’s Say: Again, I am a consumer. This has been a favorite tug o war and fetch toy for my tea-cup Yorkie all the way to a rescue Border Collie we recently had. Although these toys are not stuffed, powerful chewers can rip and even shred them to pieces if left unattended. I only bring these out at certain times of the day for playtime. I do not recommend dog’s having these to chew on for extended periods of time.

Manufacturer Playtime Recommendations
We recommend that dogs be supervised when playing with all toys. Proper supervision can help prevent accidental swallowing of parts. All toys should be inspected periodically to ensure that parts have not been chewed loose. Do not permit your pet to continue playing with a broken or damaged toy. Remove all tags, stickers, and loose threads before you offer any toy to your pet.

Spinz 100% Edible Chew Toys for Dogs

Manufacturer’s Say: Swivel-style design gives these interactive dog chews a fling-able, twisting challenge your dog will love. Spinz 100% Edible Chew Toys for dogs feature two irregular-shaped legs that are joined in a swivel-like center. Go ahead and swing, fling, or launch them for your pet. Spinz Toys deliver a delicious treat that creates interesting motion to occupy and entertain your dog while also testing coordination and problem solving. Spinz provide a healthy challenge for both mind and body. Each is made with a gluten-free corn and potato starch base, with rich natural flavors and salmon oil. The hard, irregular outer textures help clean your dog’s teeth and added parsley helps freshen breath.

Consumer’s Say: The product is new on the market, so I could not find any reviews as of yet. But they seem to be made of better ingredients than the other chew toys. Still there is a caution to dog owner’s: With all edible treats, you should always monitor your dog’s chewing activity to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Do not leave your dog unattended while chewing, and plenty of drinking water should be available. Spinz is not intended to replace your animal’s daily diet. It is recommended not to exceed one Spinz per day.

Nylabone Healthy Edibles

Manufacturer’s Say: A great choice for your dog! Only the finest ingredients are used in these healthy chews. With no added plastic, sugar, salt or colors, you can feel good about serving these low-fat Nylabones. Bone-hard texture wears down slowly to aid in tartar and plaque control. Specified bones can be microwaved for under a minute to achieve a softer biscuit-like texture. Nutritious and delicious!

Consumer’s Say: 1) My dog loves these bones. He comes running when he sees me with one. They are a great price and I will be ordering them again. 2) My 8 lb dog can eat one of these in about 30 minutes. They are a fan favorite!!! We love them and unlike the long lasting, they do not stain the carpet. (There are many raving reviews on Amazon–both dogs and owners seem well pleased. This is one product I intend to try in the very near future).

Bottom Line: Treat your puppies and dogs like you do your own children. When buying or giving them any chew toy, read all ingredients, warnings, and supervise them just in case. It only takes one chunk or some balled up string of a toy to change you and your pets life forever. Chew toys are much safer when a pet owner is present!

We are free to do all things, but there are things which it is not wise to do. We are free to do all things, but not all things are for the common good. (I Corinthians 10:23 BBE)

Have a great week both you and your canine pal 🙂

Lisa Freeman is a an award-winning author, speaker, and AKC Evaluator, Certified Pet Therapist, and Dog Trainer who specializes in bullying behaviors and behavior modification with people and dogs. She works in rescue and recovery and is the Healing Projects Specialist for the Bully Police USA. She holds anti-bullying seminars in schools, churches, and work places. Contact Lisa

The Truth About Cats and Dogs–5 Lies Pet Owners Buy


Don’t Buy The Lies:

1. Affordable food will work: Just because dog or cat food is affordable doesn’t mean it’s good and safe for your pet. And just because it’s the most expensive brand on the market doesn’t mean it’s the best, either. Dogs and cats have specific needs, cats need more protein, where dogs need a balance of protein and good carbohydrates. Watch for foods that have bone meats. Strive for foods that have eggs, fish, and good sources of protein like liver. Corn is often used for a filler. With these foods, pets often eat more, mess more, and gain more weight. Healthier foods are more filling, so you use less, there’s less mess, and your pet stays in shape.

2. Dry food cleans your pets teeth: Dogs and cats have more pointed teeth, so maybe the hard chomping cleans the tips of their teeth, but it’s really just a big myth. Raw meats and bones are the best way to promote dental health because they message the area of the tooth closest to the gum where tooth decay begins.

3. People food is a no-no for pets: Actually as long as you feed your pet good, cooked or raw meat, veggies, and fruits, it is very healthy for them to have table scraps. However, to avoid them gaining weight, when you give them people food, cut down on their pet food serving for that day. I also wouldn’t recommend feeding them from the table, as that will instill poor manners. And do avoid grapes, onions, raisins, and other foods that are toxic for dogs and animals.

4. Changing food is dangerous and should be done over time: Holistic veterinarians actually encourage changing your pets diet frequently to avoid allergies from building up. When pets are given highly healthy food, their system has the capacity to digest even raw foods quickly. The only time their system may be upset is if they are hyper allergic or have been feeding on one of these less healthy diets high in corn, grain, and filled with meat by products.

5. It is okay for dogs and cats to share the same food: Wrong! Although there are a limited amount of canned foods that meet the needs of both cats and dogs, most cat foods are strictly for cats and most dog foods are designed only for dogs. If left to eat cat food, dogs can become overweight and develop pancreatitis. Since cats need less carbohydrates than dogs, they too can also gain weight but become deficient in a necessary amino acids such as Taurine.

References for this article can be found here


We’d love to hear from you.

What do you think is the best diet for your pet? What food or foods do you feed your dog or cat? Has your pet developed allergies?

Other health articles for families: Paws for Healing

Lisa Freeman is an author, speaker, and AKC Evaluator, Dog Trainer, and Certified Pet Therapist, who has founded two non-profits. She specializes in rescuing and recovery of people and pets. She is the Healing Projects Specialist for the Bully Police USA and rehabilitates bullies (both people and dogs). Click here for more information

7 Ways to Get The Best Morcels for Your Money


As a dog trainer, a non-profit rescue, and an owner of three dogs, I am always looking for the cheapest way to do things. However, I’ve found that in dog food, cheaper might seem like a good solution for the pocketbook, but it’s not always the best decision for the dog’s health. The news has been a blatant reminder of this. Many dogs have become severely ill or have even passed away because of eating the wrong food.

Even if your dog isn’t seriously ill, they can develop allergies, like their human masters, because of the additives and preservatives in certain dog foods. And just as many of the foods we buy in the store for us are genetically modified (GMO), so are they for our canine friends. We need to be reading labels.

In the wild, dogs did not live on grains such as corn and wheat, which can cause allergies and digestion problems. Dogs are considered carnivores, meat eaters, so they ate meat–other animals. However, they also can be herbivores, plant eaters. So thus we’ve concluded that dogs can be classified as omnivores, eaters of both meat and plants. Over the years we’ve learned that dogs can live on just about anything from table scraps to plants and wild life. 

We went from Purina’s Puppy and Dog Chow to having hundreds of brand name dog foods on the market. Most of which have added harmful, useless waste counterparts that make dogs sick. So which is the best food for you and your dog? Here are a few tips when looking for the Best Morcels for Your Money…

“7 Ways to Get The Best Morcels for Your Money”

Choose a Dog Food:

  1. Higher in meat-based protein
  2. Higher in natural fats 
  3. Lower in carbs
  4. Created from a named (non-generic) animal source
  5. Without animal or vegetable by-products
  6. Without artificial flavoring, coloring or preservatives
  7. With all essential vitamins and minerals

Here is a list of the best grain free dry dog foods

Here is a list of the best grain free wet dog foods 

“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 (NIV)

Please read my article on “9 Worst GMO Foods” regarding the human diet and what garbage the retail stores are trying to sell you.