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Dog at a bar

Now that more people are vaccinated and starting to travel again, many pet parents are thinking about where they might go with their four-legged family members without hassle or a lot of extra fees.

The number of hotels, restaurants/bars, and other tourist attractions welcoming pets is on the rise. According to BringFido, there are at least 150,000 hotels or vacation rentals, 61,452 restaurants, and 17,807 pet service businesses that welcome pets worldwide. While most focus on dogs, some also include cats.

The businesses featured here don’t just tolerate your pet; they welcome them with open arms, with a menu of pet-friendly amenities. Some are places where you might meet dogs and cats that need a home. So, even if you are not traveling with your pet, you can experience some pet cuddling while on the road and maybe even bring home a new friend.

Here are websites for all the businesses featured: 

Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile, Kanab, Utah

“Where your pets are welcome… and expected.”

Talk about a win-win. The Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile provides pet-centric lodging in one of the most picturesque parts of Utah.

With 40 modern and stylish rooms, the hotel offers unique amenities for furry friends, such as a dog bed, pet washing area, and a fenced dog park area with a splash zone.

Your stay supports the life-saving work of the nearby Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the nation’s largest no-kill facility for companion animals. Take a free shuttle for tours.

Dog Yard Bar, Ballard, Seattle, Wash.

“A 21+ gathering place for people and their dogs”

It’s fun to take your dog to pet-friendly bars. But what if there was a bar designed for your dog?

Well, now there is! In Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, the Dog Yard Bar is an indoor/outdoor off-leash play park and bar for dogs and their humans.

Pet parents can relax with a drink and socialize while their pups can play, exercise, and meet new dog friends. The play park features grass turf, natural boulders, tunnels, tires, and water features.

There are outdoor heaters and an inside retail and lounge area with a fire and heated floors for your pooch when it’s cold. Besides a well-stocked bar, humans can choose from tempting treats such as fresh-baked pie, pizza, and soft pretzels.

Golden Road Vineyards, Blue Mountains, N.C.

“Dog-Friendly * Dog Welcome”

This recently reopened winery welcomes your pooch to join you around the sunken fire pits for exceptional views of the vineyard.

The family-run business loves dogs so much that it planned a Dog Days in the Vineyard recently. During the all-dog-themed event, canines walked around the vines for photo opportunities and enjoyed “pup pops” from Patty & the Dogs food truck.

Humans were able to meet adoptable dogs, sip wine, listen to live music, and chow down on burgers and hot dogs.  All proceeds supported Surry Animal Rescue.

Pounce Cat Café, Georgia and South Carolina locations

“The first cat café in the South”

The Pounce Cat Café serves up a little cat cuddling with their coffee or wine, and it’s so popular that it’s been booked solid recently. All the resident cats come from local shelters, so if it’s just too hard to say goodbye to a furry feline, you can take one home with you.

Cats roam freely – no cages or crates – and sleep on comfy beds or windowsills. So while they wait for their perfect person to come along, the cats live in a friendly, loving environment where they can show off their best selves and be seen by a wider audience than they would in a shelter.

Guests pay $15 for an hour with the cats, which pays for their care. Pounce has helped find furever homes for more than 2,300 cats and kittens. You can’t bring your own cat (or dog!).

Kimpton Hotels, 64 locations in the U.S.

“Wagging tails welcomed”
This chain of boutique hotels welcomes pets of all kinds – any “furry, feathery or scaly family member — no matter their size, weight, or breed” – at no extra charge. These hotels pamper your pet with a selection of amenities such as plush pet-bed loaners, food and water bowls, mats, and courtesy poop bags. For cats, some locations offer in-room pet spa services, a “Finicky Feline Pampering Kit,” and a catnip toy.

Add to that a pet concierge service to point you to nearby pet-friendly restaurants, parks, groomers and pet boutiques and a pets-welcome nightly wine reception, and your furry family is going to feel right at home.

At several locations, Kimpton Hotels employ a Director of Pet Relations – a sort of four-legged pet ambassador — to give you and your buddy a tail-wagging welcome.

Are you someone who travels with your pets? Protect them  – and your wallet – on the road by enrolling in pet insurance. Healthy Paws offers one simple plan to protect dogs and cats from any unexpected accidents or illnesses and you can take them to any veterinarian when you travel. Start by getting a free quote.

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Dog with toys

Key Takeaways

  • A new study says that the simple act of buying your pet a toy, treat, or experience might make you happier.
  • The amount spent does not seem to be material to the mood boost; even $5 will do the trick.
  • Making it a regular habit to purchase your pet a gift can be an intentional way to maximize emotional well-being, much like meditation or exercise.

Research has proven that pets make us healthier, happier, and less lonely.

Now it appears that just spending money on your pet can have mood-boosting effects for pet parents. A new study in The Journal of Positive Psychology says that the simple act of purchasing a toy or treat or spa treatment for your dog or cat will make you happier than even buying something for yourself.

Cat with toy“Buying their pet a gift might not turn a sad pet owner into a happy one, but our findings suggest an opportunity for pet owners to experience greater happiness,” the researchers wrote.

And the good news is that it doesn’t have to cost much. Even buying a $5 ball or a bit of catnip is enough to improve well-being, the study indicates. Participants reported that they typically bought their dogs and cats new toys, treats, or outfits.

And your pet will probably get a jolt of joy from it, too, at least until that tennis ball is destroyed or the catnip is gone.

The researchers tested their theory with two experiments, with 188 pet parent study participants in the Chicago, Ill. area:

  • Asking pet parents to recall a time they spent money on their pet and how happy it made them compared to spending money on themselves.
  • Randomly assigning one group of pet parents to spend $5 on their pet, and another group to spend it on themselves or another person. The group who spent the money on their pets reported greater happiness than either those who spent it on themselves or another human.

The report highlights that pet parents are willing to spend a lot on spoiling their pets, even while cutting back on spending on themselves. The pet industry has experienced steady growth, even during economic downturns. That seems to be especially true during COVID-19, when people are adopting more pets than ever and spending more time with their furry friends at home.

Boost your happiness with intentional pet gift-buying

Happiness experts say there are various intentional acts that people can take to increase their happiness, such as expressing gratitude, performing kind acts, meditating, and exercising. These researchers suggest that spending money on your pet is another of these regular practices that can maximize your emotional well-being.

The study drew several other conclusions supporting their thesis:

  • People are happier when they spend on strong ties such as family and friends than weak ties such as acquaintances and strangers. Since most people see their pets as family, these cute loved ones would fall into the strong ties category.
  • Researchers also found that happiness is associated with the frequency of positive experiences. Since most pet gifts are small and inexpensive, more than half of pet parents buy their pets a gift at least once per month and on special occasions such as birthdays and holidays.
  • Since prior research has shown that people are happier when they spend on experiences versus material items, this also comes into play with pet gifting. A pet gift is often an experience both the pet and the pet parent can enjoy together, such as a ball for fetch with the dog or a wand feather teaser for the cat.
  • People are happier when they can see the positive impact of their purchase. When giving to their pets, pet parents can witness their pet enjoying a new toy or a special treat.

So, go ahead, give your dog a bone or your cat a kitty condo. The health benefits for you make it well worth the cost.

Just in case you are at a loss for how to spend money on your pet, we have some suggestions here.

Protect your pets – and your wallet – by enrolling in pet insurance. Healthy Paws offers one simple plan to protect dogs and cats from any unexpected accidents or illnesses. Start by getting a free quote.

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dog scratching fleas

Fleas are tiny parasites that pack a big, annoying punch. They can cause intense itchiness and skin irritation for dogs and be a frustratingly hard-to-eliminate pest for dog parents.

Keeping fleas off of your dog and out of your house is essential. But how do you do that?

Fortunately, many flea prevention products and methods are available for dogs. One of those methods is the flea collar.

Flea collar in the news

Flea collars work by either emitting a gas or slowly distributing an insecticide into a dog’s subcutaneous fat, located just under the skin. The gas will kill the fleas on contact, while the insecticide will kill the fleas after a blood meal.

The Seresto flea collar is a popular flea control product for dogs. Recently, though, a USA Today article reported that, from 2012 until June 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency “received more than 75,000 incident reports related to the collars.”

Don’t get too concerned just yet, though. Elanco (the company that sells Seresto) and a wide swath of the veterinary community have widely disputed the article’s reported findings. Also, The Canine Review, an investigative veterinary news outlet, has published an article that calls into question the quality of the reporting in the USA Today article.

Healthy Paws is not going to take sides on this issue, but we do want you to be aware of this current development in the world of canine flea prevention.

Below, we’re going to go into some detail about flea collar alternatives. Always talk with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate flea prevention method for your dog.

Flea collar alternatives

Spot-on treatments

Spot-on flea treatments are applied to the skin between a dog’s shoulders, where a dog’s tongue can’t easily reach. They absorb slowly into the skin, get into the bloodstream, and are effective for one month. These treatments primarily target adult fleas: when the flea makes the unfortunate decision to take a blood meal from the dog, the toxic treatment enters the flea and kills it.

Some spot-on treatments go further by preventing flea larvae from developing into eggs or preventing those eggs from hatching in the environment.

Oral flea treatments

Oral flea treatments also target adult fleas and prevent flea eggs from hatching. The pill’s flea-killing ingredients get absorbed into the bloodstream. After an adult female flea takes a blood meal and lays her eggs, the eggs won’t hatch, ending the flea life cycle. She probably won’t survive the ordeal, either.

Flea shampoos

Flea shampoos are a quick fix for a heavy flea infestation, killing adult fleas. They are effective for about 24 hours.

When a dog has a heavy flea infestation, that means that there’s also a big flea problem in the home. After the bath, the dog quickly gets reinfested.

Flea powders and sprays

Flea powders and sprays last a little longer than flea shampoos, but not by much. They can target adult fleas and prevent flea larvae and eggs from developing into adult fleas.

Regardless of which flea prevention method you use, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use flea prevention year-round. Winter temperatures may not be cold enough to kill all fleas in the environment, so your dog needs year-round protection.
  • Don’t use multiple products. More is not better when it comes to flea prevention. Using more than one product could expose your dog to toxic levels of flea-killing ingredients.
  • Treat all dogs at the same time. If you have a multi-dog household, treat all dogs simultaneously to ensure that they’re equally protected.
  • Follow all product instructions. Flea prevention products are most effective when used correctly. Read the instructions carefully and contact your vet if you have any questions about using the product.
  • Tell your vet about side effects. Most dogs don’t experience any adverse side effects from flea prevention products. However, if you think that your dog has had a reaction to a product, contact your vet.
  • Use a flea comb. A flea comb will rid your dog’s skin of adult fleas and flea dirt (aka flea poop).

Environmental flea prevention

If your dog has a flea problem, there’s an even bigger flea problem in the environment. Even the best canine flea prevention product can’t be fully effective if your home has become a perpetual flea haven. Thus, effective flea prevention requires a multi-pronged approach.

Follow these tips to keep your home flea-free:

  • Vacuum regularly. Vacuum all carpeted areas, couch cushions, and hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Place a flea collar in the vacuum bag to break the flea life cycle and go outside to throw away the bag.
  • Wash all bedding—yours and your dog’s. Use the ‘hot water’ setting on the washer to kill the fleas. Consider taking the bedding to a commercial laundromat.
  • Cut your grass. Keeping your grass short will take away one of fleas’ favorite outdoor hiding spaces. When you’re raking the leaves in the fall, dispose of the leaf piles promptly to take away another flea hiding place.
  • Call an exterminator. Sometimes, it’s just better to call in the professionals. An extermination company will make sure your home, inside and out, is protected from fleas.

Bringing it together

Flea prevention is a critical component of responsible dog ownership. Work with your vet to choose the flea prevention method that works best for your dog and use the product correctly for maximum flea protection.

Content provided by JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM. Dr. Pendergrass is owner and founder of JPen Communications, a medical communications company specializing in consumer education.

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A cat and a glass of wine

As a pet parent, you probably know that dogs and cats absolutely should not consume alcohol, as it is toxic to them. So how can you involve your furry friends in National Drink Wine Day today?

If you really want to be able to clink a glass of wine with your pet (if your pet knows how to hold a wine glass, congrats on your advanced training skills!), you actually can buy nonalcoholic “wine” that is safe for pets. Companies offering these products include Pet Winery, Pet Wine Shop, and Apollo Peak with fun names such as Chardognay, Purrgundy, and Pinot Meow.

The pet wines do contain beneficial ingredients such as salmon oil, peppermint, and chamomile.

If spending $10 on a bottle of wine that your pet may not fully appreciate seems like too much, you can always get a bottle of wine that you will enjoy, with your pet pictured on the label.

Several makers on Etsy will print a custom wine label for dogs and cats with your pet’s photo, name, and even a message or story about your pet. Cork Tales makes customized labels via Amazon that make it look like your pet has his own winery.

For some inspiration, this Pinterest enthusiast has put together a collection of labels featuring dogs.

A few wineries have even made animal rescue a part of their business. The Mutt Lynch Winery in Sonoma County is a dog-themed winery that dedicates a portion of its profits to animal rescue groups. You can also send a photo of your dog to have a custom label placed on any wine you order.

Regardless of what’s in your glass on National Drink Wine Day, we’re sure your trusty furry companion will be close by to provide smiles and snuggles.


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Dog with GPS

Dog tracking

Stories of lost dogs showing up at home or locating their families after a long and perilous journey have been making the rounds for decades.

The movies and TV show “Lassie” that aired from the 1950s to the 1970s have recurring themes of Lassie making incredible journeys to find her way home or locating her pal Timmy, who always seemed to be falling in holes spurring the “Timmy fell in the well!” expression.

During World War I, highly trained “messenger dogs” were used as couriers to deliver sensitive information across battlegrounds or locate injured soldiers, and then return to their home base.

And then, there are more recent reports of dogs traveling incredible distances to find their pet parents, such as a four-year-old Labrador in Kansas who trekked 57 miles to her previous home in Missouri. Her family had not lived in the house for more than two years.

Recent study finds ‘special’ canine navigating skill

Dogs running in grass

Despite many anecdotes and mythologies about dogs’ unique ability to find their way home, their homing strategies are still not fully understood. A recent study sheds some light on this, concluding that some dogs have a remarkable ability to navigate using the Earth’s magnetic fields.

For the study by both Czech researchers and scientists at Virginia Tech in the U.S., they equipped 27 hunting dogs – 10 different breeds — with GPS collars and a small camera and let them freely roam in forested areas. After a while, the owners, who the dogs couldn’t see, would call them back, and the dogs had to figure out how to find them. The dogs completed a total of 622 runs at 62 different locations.

The researchers saw that the dogs used one of two tactics, or a combination, to find their way to their owners. The dogs either:

  • Followed their outbound track (tracking)
  • Used a new route (scouting)
  • A combination of both

The dogs that looked for a novel path did something extraordinary. Before they started toward home, they ran about 20 meters along the north-south geomagnetic axis, even if that was not their way back. It’s as if they are taking a compass reading before deciding which way to go. Doing so significantly increased their speed in finding home, as they could take shortcuts.

This means these dogs perform true navigation without the benefit of landmarks or smells they may have detected on the way out. While most dogs returned using the tracking strategy, 33 percent used the scouting approach, and 8 percent used both. While faster, the scouting approach is riskier if the dog should get lost.

Dog with GPS

“We propose that this run is instrumental for bringing the mental map into register with the magnetic compass and to establish the heading of the animal,” the researchers said.

The Earth’s magnetic field is a useful navigation tool as it provides a stable, always available cue, regardless of seasonal variations, the availability of visual cues, or weather conditions.

Hunting dogs, particularly the so-called scent hounds, are especially skilled at navigation as they’ve been bred for generations to detect and pursue tracks of game animals and, if not followed by the hunter, return to the place the pursuit started.

The researchers conclude by suggesting further studies on the role of magnetic cues in navigation for canines and other mammals as there are still many unanswered questions.

Of course, dogs don’t always find their way home for various reasons.  If your dog ever gets lost, here are some tips for finding them, and here is a story about a real-life pet detective who finds lost pets.


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Scholarship winners

Healthy Paws is happy to start the Spring 2021 school year by awarding scholarships to two worthy college students. Recipients were chosen based on educational merits and extracurricular dedication to improving animal welfare.

There were two different scholarship categories, each with a $1,000 grant to help pay for tuition.

  • The Animal Advocate Scholarship is designated for a student with significant volunteer experience enrolled in an accredited institution in the U.S.
  • The Veterinary Student Scholarship is designated for a student enrolled in an accredited vet medicine program in the U.S.

Spring 2021 Recipients

Animal Advocate Scholarship: Aarthi Sankaran

Aarthi Sankaran

Aarthi Sankaran

University of Minnesota– College of Veterinary Medicine, small animal veterinary track

Aarthi has been involved in animal welfare since high school when she volunteered with local rescue organizations. Through the Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation and the Richmond SPCA, she worked on adoption events, fostering, veterinary visits, home checks, and adopter communication.

This experience led to her becoming a veterinary student and deciding to dedicate her life to the lives of animals. It also instilled in her a sense of community-mindedness and a determination to serve low-income communities.

“I’m so grateful to Healthy Paws for awarding this scholarship. Over the years, I’ve seen the human-animal relationship manifest in hundreds of different ways; it’s driven me to advocate not just for animals, but also for the people who care for them. I hope to be a voice for thousands of animals as I continue to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, ” she wrote.

Veterinary Student Scholarship, Stephanie Jankowski

San Juan Community College, veterinary technician program

Stephanie Jankowski

Stephanie Jankowski

Stephanie has already worked as a veterinary nurse for 11 years, but she wanted to continue her training to become a behavioral specialist.

She works a full and part-time job, as well as running an animal rescue called Ghandi’s Refuge in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, all while taking online classes to earn her certification.

Stephanie has worked in general practice, but shelter medicine is her real love.

“Being able to care for these animals that have been deemed as less than because they don’t have families inspired the tag line for my rescue: ‘Your value does not decrease based on somebody’s inability to see your worth.’ And thanks to this scholarship, I can continue on my mission of making sure every animal’s value is honored and respected,” she wrote.

Healthy Paws wishes these students, as well as all of the other candidates, the best of luck in their endeavors.

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Joe Biden and his dog Major
Joe Biden and his dog Major

President-elect Joe Biden with his dog Major in a screenshot taken from a campaign video.

When Joe R. Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States tomorrow, he will be making history on several fronts, but our favorite reason has to be the two rambunctious German Shepherds he brings with him to the White House.

After a four-year absence of any pets in the presidential abode – the only time in modern history when there has been no presidential pet of some sort – dogs will be returning in the form of the Biden family dogs named Champ and Major, or the DOTUS’s (a play on the POTUS: President of The United States) as some on social media are calling them.

Major to be first presidential shelter pet

The history-making part of the ascension of these “first dogs” is that Major will be the first presidential pet to have been adopted from a shelter. Joe and Jill Biden rescued two-year-old Major from the Delaware Humane Association in 2018. According to Wikipedia, Major was part of a litter that had been exposed to “something toxic” and the owner was unable to afford the expense of veterinary care. The Bidens had been fostering him and decided to adopt him.

Major is believed to have been named after the Biden’s son Beau Biden who died in 2015 of a brain tumor and was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.

Champ, the older dog at 12 years old, was adopted by the Bidens in 2008 from a breeder in Pennsylvania, apparently after Joe Biden promised his wife he would purchase a dog if Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, which he did. Jill Biden had taped photos of different dogs on the seats of Biden’s campaign plane (when he was running for vice president) until he chose one. His granddaughters named the dog Champ.  Biden would give children little plush toys of Champ during his vice presidency.

Presidential pets are already in the news

In addition to bringing their dogs to the White House, in a show of bipartisanship and unity, the Bidens also plan to get a cat.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Delaware Humane shelter hosted a virtual “Indoguration Party” on Jan. 17 hosted by the Today Show’s Jill Martin and special guest Sir Darius Brown. Brown is a 14-year-old entrepreneur and animal rights activist who makes bow ties for shelter dogs.  Attendees were asked to pay $10 to attend the online event, with all the proceeds going to support the shelter.

“From shelter pup at Delaware Humane Association to First Dog at the White House, Major Biden is barking proof that every dog can live the American dream,” the shelter wrote.

Major has already made the news when Biden apparently fractured his foot while playing with the dog in November, requiring him to wear a walking boot for a few weeks. The transition team even released a hilarious press release about the accident written from the perspective of “Co-First Dog-elect Major” from the “Oval Pawffice.”

During the election, the Biden campaign even produced an ad touting the importance of bringing presidential pets back to the White House with the tagline “Choose your humans wisely.” And Jill Biden adapted the campaign slogan “Build Back Better” to “Bark Back Better” in one Instagram post.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dr. Jill Biden (@drbiden)

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girl with cats and dog

We welcome the turn of the new year with optimism and excitement. But before we fully dive into 2021, we’re taking a peek back at 2020 to answer the curious question: which pet names were the most popular in 2020? We reviewed our data for pets that were newly enrolled during the 2020 calendar year to narrow down the top most popular names for dogs and cats.

The top most popular names for 2020 were:

  • For dogs: Charlie and Luna (for the second year in a row)!
  • For cats: Leo and Luna!

Top Male Dog Names for 2020

  1. Charlie
  2. Milo
  3. Cooper
  4. Max
  5. Teddy
  6. Leo
  7. Oliver
  8. Rocky
  9. Buddy
  10. Winston

Top Female Dog Names for 2020

  1. Luna
  2. Bella
  3. Daisy
  4. Lucy
  5. Lola
  6. Coco
  7. Penny
  8. Bailey
  9. Stella
  10. Sadie

Top Male Cat Names for 2020

  1. Leo
  2. Oliver
  3. Milo
  4. Simba
  5. Loki
  6. Max
  7. Charlie
  8. Jasper
  9. Jack
  10. Oreo

Top Female Cat Names for 2020

  1. Luna
  2. Bella
  3. Lucy
  4. Nala
  5. Lily
  6. Mia
  7. Willow
  8. Chloe
  9. Cleo
  10. Olive

Are you curious as to how these lists compare to previous years? Check out our 2019, 2018, 20172016 and 2015 lists.

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Dogs and DNA tests

Dogs and DNA tests

Whether we call them mixed-breed, mutts, or Heinz 57 hounds, Healthy Paws pet parents love their dogs of uncertain ancestry, based on the responses to a social media post asking them to share results of their DNA tests on their dogs.

Deoxyribonucleic acid, better known as DNA, is a material present in nearly all living organisms and is the main ingredient of chromosomes and the carrier of a unique genetic code. Tests for humans to learn about their lineage have been available for years and increasingly, people are having their pets tested as well.

While most people have their pets tested out of curiosity or just for fun, it can be quite useful to know your dog’s breed composite.

For example, certain breeds have specific medical vulnerabilities, so if you know the primary breed makeup of your canine, you can anticipate and be on the lookout for certain ailments. It also allows you to do more research on your pet’s personality, lifespan, proper weight, and behaviors, which can help to provide more specialized care for your pet.

There are many DNA pet test brands to choose from, including Wisdom Panel, Embark, and DNA My Dog for dogs. While less useful for cats as there is less genetic diversity, there’s also a number options for our feline friends too: Basepaws, Orivet Feline DNA Testing Kit and Neogen GeneSeek Operations Lab. The kits range in cost from $70 to $150.

Accuracy of DNA testing

While human DNA tests are considered highly accurate, there’s more room for error with pet DNA tests, and some results are inconclusive, experts say. There’s not much oversight of the companies. Some use the designation of “supermutt” as an identified breed, which is not particularly helpful to pet parents.

“It’s hard to know how accurate they are. Different test companies use different methodologies as far as we know, ” Lisa Moses, a veterinarian and a researcher with Harvard Medical School Center for Bioethics, told National Public Radio (NPR).

Most customers who responded to our unscientific poll expressed some surprise at the breeds the tests were said to reveal, and a high percentage found that their dog supposedly had Australian Cattle Dog (#55 in popularity in the U.S.) and Chow Chow (#77 in popularity), neither of which are among the most common breeds, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The results of Healthy Paws customers DNA tests

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2020 has definitely been a year of growth and new experiences as we all have been faced with the task of learning to be flexible and adapt to the unexpected. Though it has had its challenges, we are reflecting back on the positives of this year. We’ve analyzed our blog and social channels to reveal the most popular posts for 2020 as well as rising pet trends. Check them out!

Most Popular Blog Topics of 2020

We regularly add new content to our blog, whether it’s helpful pet care tips, pet health education, or trending topics. However, some of our blog articles from previous years continue to be the most-read topics. These are the top three blog posts that caught the most interest in 2020.

  1. Pepto Bismol For Dogs
  2. How to Make Vet-Approved Homemade Dog Food
  3. What Can I Feed My Dog When I’ve Run Out of Dog Food?

Favorite Healthy Paws Instagram Photos of 2020

Which of Healthy Paws’ Instagram photos were the most-liked? These three landed on top:

2020 Pet Trends

  • Can dogs get coronavirus: With an unprecedented pandemic sweeping the globe, pet parents took their concerns to their pets. One of the most popular dog-related topics searched for in 2020 was whether or not dogs could contract COVID-19.
  • Cats and COVID-19: Similarly (and as expected), pet parents also wondered if their beloved feline companions could be affected by the novel coronavirus, especially after news broke that a tiger was diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Pet adoption and fostering: With so many folks shifting to working from home full time, many animal lovers realized they now have the flexibility to care for a dog or cat and took to opening their home to a foster animal, or adopting a pet as part of their family. The great news: “Animal shelter intake in March [2020] was down dramatically compared to last year, with 24% fewer cats and dogs entering shelters or rescues,” said Sara Kent, Chief Executive Officer at Shelter Animals Count.

Healthy Paws’ Top Facebook Posts

Here’s what you loved on our Facebook page in 2020.

1. The Healthy Paws Foundation’s donation for COVID-19 relief efforts

2. Nash the puppy’s bone marrow search

3. Neighbors’ names conversation

How do these compare to last year? See what Healthy Paws’ trends were in 2019!

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What is it about cats and Christmas? We humans labor to make everything perfect and beautiful – especially this year when most people are spending more time at home –  just to have our furry felines come in and wreck it all. The combination of a tree in the house, delicate shiny objects, and soft hanging stockings full of goodies just seem to be too much for playful pets to resist.

Warning: Do not leave cats unsupervised with any of these items. Trees can fall on them, broken ornaments can cut them, they can swallow ribbon, causing an obstruction, and plastic bags can suffocate. See our Holiday Pet Safety Tips.

View a PDF version of this infographic.

Infographic: How cats see Christmas

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A decorated dog in Nepal

A dog celebrated in Nepal

Nepal boasts the highest mountain in the world (Everest), stunning scenery, warm and friendly people, and one charming tradition that we think is worth highlighting: an annual festival of lights with one day specially set aside to honor dogs.

On this day, known as Kukur (dog) Tihar, all dogs, whether pets or strays, are offered treats and worshipped by placing a tika (red mark) on their forehead and garlands of marigolds around their necks. The “day of the dogs” marks the special relationship between humans and their four-legged friends, where dogs are thanked and celebrated for their loyalty, service, and companionship, according to Wikipedia.

On other days of the five-day festival, residents worship other animals, including crows, cows, and oxen.

Nepal’s Connection to Dogs

Nepal is a mostly Hindu country, and dogs occupy a special place in Hinduism as the ancient bond between man and dog appears frequently in their mythology.

In an epic Hindu poem, dogs act as messengers and guard dogs for Yama, the God of death. And the fearsome deity Bhairava is frequently depicted with a canine steed and companion.

In another story, five sons of a king are followed by a dog as they ascend to Svarga, the Hindu version of heaven. The eldest son is the only one of the brothers to complete the journey, but legend has it that the dog loyally follows him. At the gates of the heavenly place, the man refuses to enter without the dog, according to Wikipedia.

Dogs depicted in Hindu scripture

The deity Bhairava is frequently depicted with a canine steed and companion in Hindu scripture. Photo from Wikimedia commons, public domain.

The Tradition of Nepal’s ‘Day of the Dogs’

Not many tourists will be traveling to Katmandu, Nepal this year to climb Mount Everest or celebrate the festival of lights due to the ongoing pandemic. However, the people there are still marking local traditions. The day of the dogs this year falls on Nov. 14, day two of the five-day festival.

The idea has gained popularity on the internet and was even adopted by a Mexican animal rights group in 2016 for similar celebrations in Mexico.

If you want to celebrate your dog on this day in Hindu style, just create a lei out of marigolds to place around their neck, put a splotch of nontoxic and washable red paint on their head, and give them lots of extra treats. Or worship them every day, as they deserve to be, with love, walks and cuddling.

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