My Mission

Pet Peeves Unmasked is a blog about dogs and cats designed to help educate pet parents


My mission is to help push you gently to become THE BEST PET PARENT POSSIBLE.

I have written a book entitled “Perfect” Pet Parenting that covers all aspects of caring for dogs and cats. It is based on my personal experience as a pet caregiver and incorporates the expertise of professionals who focus on specific areas of a companion animal’s wellbeing.

This blog contains extracts from my book. I welcome comments and suggestions so that, together, we can keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!


Tips to help families move to a new home with their pets
Moving to a new home is stressful for humans and traumatic for pets

Moving to a new home is a stressful experience for humans and their companion animals. It requires a lot of advance planning and preparation to help make the transition as smooth as possible. 

Sometimes pet parents are so wrapped up in dealing with their own needs (new job, new school, and everything else) that they completely forget to consider what is going through the mind of an animal. They are often insensitive to the fact that an animal instinctively knows something is up and will feel confused and apprehensive and insecure.


The Packing Stage

1. While you pack furniture and personal belongings, leave your pet’s items till last.

2. As far as possible, maintain your pet’s daily routine for waking, feeding, exercise, human interaction and rest.

3. Reassure them with love, petting and play. Do not exclude them from your life just because you are busier than normal.

4. Make a check list of all pet items needed for the journey. Identify and load packed pet items last so they are unpacked first when you reach your destination.

5. On moving day, keep your pets contained in a safe place so they do not run out of the home and go missing.

Getting Settled

1. When you arrive at your new home, contain your pets in a safe place with their most essential items while you start to unpack and organize.

2. Do not let them roam around freely. Instead, confine them to a small area and gradually allow them to explore the rest of the home so they can adjust slowly and not become overwhelmed.

3. Aim to reestablish your pet’s daily routine and be attentive to any signs of anxiety.

4. Interact with your pet as much as possible to reassure him he is still loved.

5. Slowly introduce your dog to the neighborhood as you establish an atmosphere of normalcy.

Your New Home, Sweet Home

Being cautious and thoughtful will help make any moving experience as stress-free as possible for the entire family. And, for pets, take it slow. They will adapt and cope much better and enjoy their new home environment much quicker.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


Cats that spend time outdoors are affected by climate, disease, injury and prey
Outdoor cats face many dangers that shorten their lives
Photo credit: Jonatan Svensson Glad

Apart from any Ordinance that may apply to domesticated cats in your vicinity, you need to know, or be reminded, why the big outdoors can be an unfriendly place and actually a big threat to the safety of your feline companion.

Statistics show that cats roaming part of the time as well as those living all the time outdoors have a shorter life span than ones that are kept entirely inside the home.

On average, indoor cats live between 12 and 15 years.

If Fluffy is an indoor/outdoor pet, her life expectancy is around 3-5 years less than if she spent her entire life indoors.

When a cat lives outdoors by herself, she may live only two or three years.

Community cats (feral cats) typically live for five years. Why? Because…

  • they are subject to harsh and extreme weather conditions
  • they are prone to disease
  • they are exposed to poisons and animal traps
  • they are prey for birds such as hawks and owls as well as larger mammals like coyotes
  • they can get into fights with other outdoor cats, especially feral felines, and even domesticated dogs
  • they are often injured or killed by vehicles

No truly responsible and caring pet parent should allow their companion feline to experience any of these scenarios. Please take note. Think twice. A long, protected lifespan is what all domesticated animals deserve, wouldn’t you agree?

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


Feeding bowls made from stainless steel, the preferred material for dogs
Metal food and water bowls on a stand for a rather long-legged dog
Feeding bowls made from stainless steel, the preferred material for cats
Cat enjoys drinking and feeding out of metal bowls raised off the ground

Have you ever thought that the material a food bowl is made of can make a difference? “What kind of difference?” you might ask. Well, let’s find out!


This may come as a surprise but plastic is certainly not the best. Some pets are allergic to it and anything made from that material can cause a health episode. 

However, allergic or not, plastic is likely to break down over time causing harmful chemicals—Bisphenal A (BPA) and Phthalates— to seep into the food or water in a plastic bowl. Even traces of lead have been found by some researchers.


I once cared for a family of four cats and one of the white ones suffered from skin allergies caused by anything made from plastic. Yes, anything. Plastic bags, plastic containers, you name it, needed to be kept out of reach. I had to be extremely careful what it could come into contact with and never bring anything into the home myself that could be potentially harmful. 


This material is stable and can be sterilized but there is always the possibility that it could break. If you do choose glass, avoid products made in developing countries that often contain lead.


Generally this is a reliable material. Just make sure the label says “lead-free.” The reason being that the colors used in glazed items produced in some countries could contain lead and cadmium.

Stainless Steel

This is definitely the preferred material of choice since it doesn’t react to foods and liquids, is strong, and can be sterilized. Nevertheless, if the bowl were to become severely scratched or damaged, metals could seep out over a long period of time.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


Sign up to view a free, seven-episode docs-series entitled The Truth About Pet Cancer

Cancer is frightening.
Cancer can kill.
Cancer can be prevented.

This breaking news is so significant that I have postponed the blog I was planning to publish this week so my readers can take action.

In 2018, it is estimated that 1 in 1.65 dogs and 1 in 3 cats will die from cancer. These statistics are devastating yet, unfortunately, not exactly surprising. While, in recent decades, cancer research has focused on how it affects the human species, little has been done to highlight how this insidious disease is impacting pets and pet parents. And, the number of diagnoses and the mortality rate has been steadily rising to alarming levels without the attention it warrants.

Effective cures for the different types of cancers that affect canines and felines is one thing. But, taking steps to help prevent cancer cells from forming in the first place, makes perfect sense.

For this reason, an exhaustive study and findings have been assembled in the form of seven (7) documentaries that can be viewed over the next seven days starting on Wednesday April 4th.

The docu-series entitled The Truth About PET Cancer was created by Ty Bollinger, Co-Founder of The Truth About Cancer, whose mission is to eradicate cancer from the face of the planet—in humans AND animals. Those who participated in its making include over 30 world-renowned veterinary oncologists, holistic veterinarians and animal health specialists.

The Schedule
Episode 1: Understanding Pet Cancer & the Current “Medical Toolkit” (Wednesday, April 4th 9:00PM Eastern US time)

Episode 2: The Pet Food Industry, Healthy Diets, Ketosis & Nutrigenomics
(Thursday, April 5th 9:00PM Eastern US time)

Episode 3: Pet Vaccines – “Do’s & Don’ts”
(Friday, April 6th 9:00PM Eastern US time)

Episode 4: Pet Cancer Causes, Silent Killers & Recurrent Epigenetic Triggers
(Saturday, April 7th 9:00PM Eastern US time)

Episode 5: Cancer Roots and Remedies, Hidden Hazards, Healing Tones & Detox
(Sunday, April 8th 9:00PM Eastern US time)

Episode 6: Treatments & Preventions: Part 1 – Healing Herbs, Homeopathy & Other Proven Protocols
(Monday, April 9th 9:00PM Eastern US time)

Episode 7: Treatments & Preventions: Part 2 – Eastern Medicine, Supplementation, Surviving & Thriving
(Tuesday, April 10th 9:00PM Eastern US time)

Do Not Worry 
If you are unable to watch the docu scheduled for release on the day and at the exact time specified, do not worry. You have a 23-hour window to do so before the next docu is made available.

How To Sign Up And View
It’s quick and easy. Just click on this link to view the video trailer and sign up to receive every episode 

Cancer is frightening.
Cancer can kill.
Cancer can be prevented.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!


Avoid a confrontation with a reactive dog while walking your pet
Defensive dog walking is what a responsible pet parent does to avoid confrontations with other dogs

Be On The Defensive…Not The Offensive
When we first learn to drive a car, we are taught to be a defensive driver, not one that acts in an aggressive manner where a situation could end in an accident. Well, actually, the same applies when you walk your dog. Without exception, it is always better to avoid a conflictive situation; to take appropriate action; to stay safe.

To Share Or Not To Share…The Sidewalk
Naturally, you have the right to walk your dog on the sidewalk. Nevertheless, it is your responsibility as a pet parent, to teach him to walk properly on the leash and eliminate the urge to pull, to lunge, to bark and growl, and to become ferocious.

Likewise, it is the responsibility of other pet parents who you are likely to come across on your walks to do exactly the same.

But, this is not a perfect world. Some dogs are hard to train, some dogs have never been trained, and some dogs have acquired certain negative behaviors as a result of previously being abandoned, injured, or abused.

If your dog knows another dog really well and they are both friendly towards each other, then there is no reason why they shouldn’t interact and rub noses. However, when this is not the case, and this is most of the time, the best advice I can give is…be on the defensive.

What I Do – When I see a dog walking towards me, I cross over to the other side. That will avoid coming face to face which could possibly result in a direct confrontation.

Sometimes, the other person walking the dog will act first and cross before you do. Sometimes, they will actually turn around and back track to find another route to walk along. Now that is one smart, responsible human!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!


This pet hero helped save a man from drowning in Northern California
Moe, the Golden Retriever, watching all that goes on at the marina
Moe, the heroic Golden Retriever, was happy to receive treats of gratitude from local law enforcement
Moe, the pet hero, was personally thanked with treats by officers of the Pittsburg (CA) Police Department

From Our Series Of Pet Hero Stories
In January this year, an elderly man was taking an early morning stroll along the marina at Pittsburg in Northern California, some 40 miles northeast of San Francisco, when he slipped and fell into the water.

Fortunately, Moe, a Golden Retriever happened to see the incident and began barking profusely. This woke up his owner who then rushed outside, saw the man struggling and helped bring him to safety.

Later that day, officers from the Pittsburg Police Department visited Moe and hailed him a hometown hero.

A heroic story about a dog being in the right place at the right time!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!


If you drive like this with your pets, you could get a hefty fine
In some US States you could be fined if you drive with a dog on your lap

Don’t laugh. It happens. In the USA, some states are stricter than others, but, yes, you can be fined if you allow a dog or a cat to sit on your lap when you drive.

Why is it that most drivers and passengers don’t think twice about buckling up themselves and strapping in a baby, infant, or child, yet it never occurs to them to secure their companion animals while on the move?

This Can Happen
An unrestrained pet can easily become injured. If it is allowed to move around freely it can also become a hazard for the driver and passengers in addition to other people who could become involved if an incident or accident were to occur.

If people can die because someone was texting while driving, people and pets can also just as easily die because someone turned to stroke their cat and fed their dog a treat!

In Tennessee
Tennessee House Bill 212 was passed in May 2011 and became law on July 1st that year. It’s a measure that helps keep pets safe by making it a Class C misdemeanor to allow a dog to ride unrestrained in the front seat of a vehicle. It restricts the movement of pets traveling in a vehicle to the following:
* it must be held by someone either in the front passenger seat or the rear seat
or else
* it must be harnessed, crated or otherwise contained

In New Jersey
New Jersey police officers have been known to stop drivers for improperly transporting an animal and issued fines as much as $1,000 per pet. Examples of citations range from dogs hanging their head out of a window, unleashed dogs traveling in the bed of a pickup truck (deemed animal cruelty), cats resting on the dashboard, and someone driving with a bird perched on their shoulder.

In Other States
Fines are issued to motorists who drive with pets in their laps in these states:

Please send me a comment. I’d like to know three things…
1. Had you heard about this law before reading this?
2. Does it exist in your state?
3. If not, do you think it should because it will help to save pets’ lives?

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!


The Nederlandse Kooikerhondje from The Netherlands was recognized as a Sporting breed dog by the American Kennel Club in 2018
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
The Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen from France was recognized as a Hound breed dog by the American Kennel Club in 2018
Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen

The number of breeds that are eligible to join the list of dogs recognized by the prestigious American Kennel Club keeps growing every year and 2018 is no exception. Both of these newcomers hail from Europe and one in particular has a name that most of us will be challenged to pronounce.

Nederlandse Kooikerhondje
Originating in The Netherlands, the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje (pronounced Coy-ker-hund-tsje) has been popular for centuries and even depicted in paintings by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt. It was bred for duck hunting, and enters the Sporting Dogs category. The name means “little cage dog,” so called because it uses its long fluffy tail as a tool to lure ducks into cage traps.

As long as the Kooikerhondje gets regular exercise it can live quite happily in an apartment. Because it is very sensitive to sound it doesn’t do well around small children that make a lot of noise. Apart from that, it is intelligent, loves to please and would make a great companion.

Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen
A relative of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen, the larger Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen from France falls into the Hound group. This breed was used to hunt wolves and deer as well as track smaller game such as rabbits and hares.

These athletic, high energy dogs would hunt in packs so they thrive being part of a group and staying extremely active.

The GBGV has the typical Griffon wire coat and its short legs and droopy ears give it a most endearing appearance. It is friendly and mostly low-maintenance except for the fact that it needs a lot of space to run and express its hunting instincts.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!



More regulations are needed in the pet grooming sector
Too many pets suffer mistreatment at the hands of pet groomers

It doesn’t take much to call yourself a pet groomer and start charging clients for grooming services. Anyone can do that.

You don’t even have to have taken a course. What’s more, you can study online and not get any practical, real life experience at all before being actually coming into physical contact with a dog or a cat.

I find this absolutely mind blowing and I’m dismayed that there are little or no regulations in place to protect pet parents and their pets from potentially harmful situations. And, I’m talking about scenarios where a pet can actually lose its life because of negligence.

It’s hard to believe that an individual can actually get a pet grooming license without being certified and without having acquired any formal pet grooming skills whatsoever.

While most states in the US require pet groomers to be licensed, others do not. Most licensing requirements apply to operating practices at grooming facilities and that may also include employees working at that location. Some groomers are required to have a domestic animal pest management license if they provide flea baths.

Not All Pets Enjoy Going To The Beauty Salon
Some pets will refuse to cooperate with grooming staff and actually put up physical resistance which is unacceptable and should never be allowed to happen. Even the gentlest and most experienced groomer can make a mistake when their fur client makes an unexpected movement, probably just a tiny nick. However, when a pet is belligerent, something far worse can easily happen.

PET PEEVE: While a mix breed dog, with a double coat, short stubby tail, and a nervous disposition, was in my care, I noticed that he had a cut on the tip of his tail. I immediately reported this to my client who told me that his dog had gone to a new pet salon and that it had taken three members of staff to control him. To this day I am shocked that the groomers had provided the clipping service in the first place knowing how distressed the dog was, and, second, that they hadn’t notified their human client of the nicking incident. In my book, this attitude is fraudulent and unethical.

The Human Element, The Risks
This is not an attempt to scare you. It is just a wake up call and a reminder of a devastating act of negligence that happens far too often at brick and mortar groomers all over the country. Dogs have died and continue to die because of this. Hyperthermia.

Hyperthermia occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. It affects brain function, damages internal organs and can rapidly cause unconsciousness, coma and death.

Incidents where this medical emergency has occurred are when drying cages are inappropriately regulated and left unattended as well as when a pet is left to dry outdoors in sunny and humid conditions.

Unfortunately, this is not as infrequent as you may think and, sadly, has happened to several clients of mine.

So please be cautious and check out as thoroughly as possible the reputation of any grooming facility you contemplate using. Better safe than sorry.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!

NOTE: Rather than post a disturbing video showing pet groomers mistreating dogs and cats, I decided to publish this photo. Animal abuse of any kind must not be tolerated and those who commit such acts need to be held accountable.


Pet groomers can obtain certification through one of three organizations
An experienced pet groomer beautifying a Yorkshire Terrier

There are great groomers. There are terrible groomers. And there are those that are sort of in the middle.

The bad and really bad ones are what enrage pet parents everywhere and their stories are what make the news.

So, let’s take a look at some basics which I’ll be presenting today and next week.

Training To Become A Groomer
By acquiring an education to become a proficient pet groomer, an individual can gain respect in the community they serve either as an employee or by working independently.

Training programs are often available at a local community college, a career school, online and/or blended course, or one can serve an informal apprenticeship with a licensed groomer. The duration of a course varies, the longest being 480 hours (16 weeks).

Besides learning how to handle cats and dogs of varying sizes and temperaments, as well as bathe them, style their hair and trim their nails, they should be able to recognize the signs of certain health issues or diseases and take the necessary precautions. To this list we must also add knowing how to sterilize equipment and maintain a hygienic work environment.

The ultimate achievement is to become a Master Groomer.

How Groomers Get Certified
Like all professions, becoming certified is proof you have learned the basic skills to begin a successful career in your chosen field.
Pet groomers are no exception and they can obtain certification through one of three organizations. These are…

National Dog Groomers Association of America
International Professional Groomers, Inc
International Society of Canine Cosmetologists.

Watch out for next week’s blog that highlights how the pet grooming profession is regulated.

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!