Author Archive

  • Dog Park Rules & Etiquette

    Westerville Dog Park

    One of life’s simple joys is taking your pooch to the playground. Watching your dog running and playing with pure abandon can make your day, not to mention your pets enjoyment!
    However, the dog park can also be a scary place, for humans and dogs alike. Imagine your pet is playing and having fun with another well socialized dog when all of the sudden, another dog jumps in with hackles raised and starts bullying your dog around or worse.

    These are some simple dog rules of etiquette to follow if you plan on bringing Fido to play.

    • Your dog should be well socialized, friendly and outgoing without being pushy or overbearing. No one likes a pusher, including your pet.
    • Your dog should be confident and social. Overly fearful dogs are only scared more by new stimuli. Aggressive or reactive dogs can cause injury to humans and pets alike and are not well suited for this type of play.
    • Knowing basic commands such as come, leave it and sit are a must. This will allow you to have control and prevent your pet from harassing others.
    • Please, make sure your pets are healthy before coming to the park. No one wants to spread illnesses.
    • Pick up after your pet. Not only is it the polite thing to do, it cuts down on the chance of communicable illnesses.
    • Realize there are different types of play for different types of dog. What you may think of as aggressive, may be the breed type’s usual style of play. Dogs are very good at picking up on this and if owners remain calm, situations are less likely to escalate into something worse. If you dog is prone to playing harder, please be respectful of others who may not.
    • Please don’t bring small children to the park. Other dogs may accidentally run them down while playing or some dogs may not be used to kids.
    • Limit the use of toys/treats so as to not cause jealousy issues among others.In most cases, I do not bring toys just for those reasons.

    This is not an all inclusive list. Please check your local parks rules and obey them. They are in place for everyone’s safety.

    Area Dog Parks
    Westerville Dog Park- 708 Park Meadow Rd.
    Westerville, OH 43081
    Alum Creek Dog Park- 3992 Hollenback Road,
    Lewis Center, Ohio 43035Pooch Playground- Located in Pizzurro Park off Hamilton Rd. south of 270 in Gahanna.

    Posted on: June 4th, 2014
  • When it Comes to Summer and dogs, Coloring is Key

    By Joshua Spiert/Acme Canine


    Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, but dog lovers treat them all with the same compassion.  The sun, unfortunately, is not so kind.  It may send one dog to the door panting or leave another so scorched that it’s hot to the touch.  Several factors determine a dog’s sensitivity to heat and the sun.  These variables will decide to what degree a pooch will be praying for a pool party or a place in the shade.  Everything from the size of the dog to the color and grooming style of its fur will make a definite difference in the dog days of summer.

    A dog’s body size is very likely to determine how easily it will overheat.  “Dogs build up heat as a function of volume and lose it as a function of surface area,” writes Caroline Coile, of  “This means that larger dogs with rounder bodies have less surface area for their size, and build up heat faster.”  A pocket-sized Pekingese will not suffer the same effects as quickly as a massive Bull Mastiff.

    Another interesting note is that flat- or snub-nosed dog breeds tend to overheat easier and do not do well in hot weather.  This includes breeds like Boxers, Pugs, and Bulldogs.  Since dogs regulate body temperature partly through panting, those that do not breathe as well also do not regulate as well.

    On one particular 85 degree sunny day here at Acme Canine, the doggie daycare group lounged in the facility’s side yard.  The yard contains areas of both sun and shade.  Most of the dogs smartly stayed in the shade.  Our temporary resident dog Acme, an Old English Sheepdog, occasionally trotted back and forth from sunshine to tree cover.  The first dog to eventually need shelter, however, was Dixon, a Bernese Mountain Dog.  She informed the supervisor with her panting, while Acme was relaxing inside a plastic play house, sun relentlessly beating down (and as usual Spike, French Weiner and literal teacher’s pet, lay watching everyone, hoarding his ball and chewing on twigs in the corner by the fence).

    Acme and Dixon are roughly the same size with medium-to-long fur (or hair in Acme’s case).  Their major differences are revealed in their coat.  Acme has grey and white curly hair, while Dixon has mostly brown and black fur.  A dog with a darker coat will absorb heat much faster than one with a lighter coat.

    Light-colored dogs are not out of the woods either.  Though their coats may reflect more sunlight and heat than their dark-haired friends, they are more prone to sunburns and skin problems related to sun exposure.  Fair-skinned dogs are just as susceptible to sun sensitivity and skin cancer as fair-skinned people are.  “Cats, dogs, and horses that spend a lot of time in the sun and have a light colored coat or lacking the black pigment around the eyes, ears, and nose, can get sunburned,” writes Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, a doctor of veterinary medicine who discusses animal safety issues.  “Long term effects of sun exposure may include skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.”

    To combat these particular dangers, use sunscreen for fair-skinned and lightly-colored dogs.  According to Dr. Julie Damron of the Sierra Veterinary Clinic, sunscreen like non-toxic Bullfrog can be used.   Most sunscreen that uses titanium dioxide as the active ingredient can be used as well.  To be certain, however, one can buy dog-specific sunscreen in most pet stores.

    Dogs with undercoats, or a second layer underneath the top layer of fur, present another problem.  Stylish summer shaves are popular among dog owners, but surprisingly this can be counterproductive.  Dogs release most of their body heat from the lungs (panting), nose, and the pads of their paws.  As a result, they do not need the shaved look to cool down.  Cutting the fur too close to the skin can even increase the dangers.  Undercoats provide insulation from both cold and heat.  There will be less protection from the heat and, if the dog burns easily, it may take barrels of sunscreen to stay protected.  More important to dogs with undercoats is proper brushing routines to keep the coat neat.  Dogs with dark coats can usually get a trim, as long as it does not overexpose the skin underneath.  Owners who have dogs with light coats should use extra caution when deciding on a grooming style. “If you do shave your pet, leaving at least one-fourth inch of coat will still help to reduce burns and tumors,” writes Dr. Damron.

    For dogs that seem prone to heat or sun sensitivity, there are measures one can take in order to avoid harm in the hot months:

    KEEP WATER AVAILABLE any time the dog is in the heat.

    WATCH for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Early signs include excessive panting, stumbling, rapid heart rate, and bluish coloring on the tongue.

    USE SUNSCREENto protect fair-skinned and light-coated dogs from burns that can lead to skin cancer and other maladies.  Pet stores carry sunscreens specifically created for dogs that do not contain harmful or toxic ingredients.


    DO NOT leave a dog exposed to the elements unattended for an extended period of time (this also includes the obvious “never leave a dog in a parked car” rule).  If it is above 90 degrees, avoid leaving the dog outside for more than five minutes.

    BE AWARE of the dog’s vulnerabilities.  This rule could even encompass all the others.  If the dog is fair-skinned, use sunscreen or t-shirts to protect it.  If it is dark, do not leave it in the heat and sun as long as you may leave other dogs.  Do not walk a dog on black pavement that may feel scalding on its pads.  This basically means to simply use common sense and be mindful that dogs feel the impact of heat and the sun even more intensely than people do.  React to behavior quickly and responsibly and the dog will stay healthy, happy, and cool.


    Reprinted with permission by Acme Canine © 2011

    Posted on: June 1st, 2014
  • From Kennels to In Home Pet Care

    With the spring traveling season approaching, it is time to start thinking of who is going to care for your pet(s) while you travel. There are advantages to choosing each option as well as downfalls. The most important step you should take is to research the company or individual with whom you are entrusting your pets care to. Below are a few things to think about before finding the right option for you and your pet(s). With all options, planning in advance is always recommended as reservations can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel times.


    Professional Pet Sitter
    It is estimated that Professional Pet Sitters serve over a million clients a year (as of 2006). While this option didn’t become readily available until the early 1980’s, it is now a thriving and evolving business.

    Professional Pet Sitters do more than just feed and water your pets. They provide exercise and mental stimulation and are well versed to know when a pet is in need of medical care. Many professionals are trained in first aid and CPR as well as have hands on knowledge of animal behavior. Many sitters will have areas of expertise such as caring for aquatic animals or reptiles that are not easily boarded. Hiring a professional allows your pet(s) to stay in their own familiar environment and significantly lowers the risk of any communicable illnesses.

    Professional Pet Sitters not only offer services while you travel but also offer options such as daily walking services, transportation to vets or groomers and in some cases, training and housebreaking services. In addition, many sitters offer other household services such as mail retrieval, light and blinds rotation and taking trash to the curb to give your home that lived in look while you are away.

    What should you look for in a Professional Pet Sitter?

    • Are they insured and if they have employees, are they bonded?
    • Are they trained in first aid or CPR?
    • Are they a member of any professional associations such as Pet Sitters International, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters or Professional United Pet Sitters?
    • Are they associated with a local vet to provide emergency services?
    • Is there a back up sitter in case of emergency and how are they trained?
    • Can the sitter be easily reached in case plans change during travel?
    • Does the sitter offer a consultation before travel to meet with your pet(s)?
    • Do they appear comfortable around your pet(s) and does your pet seem comfortable in their presence?
    • Do they ask questions about your pets likes and dislikes and medical history?

    Kennels and Boarding Facilities:
    Boarding kennels have long been the most popular and frequently used option when it comes to pet care while you travel. From vet’s offices who offer in house boarding to the luxury pet resort that offers all the extras, there is a vast array to choose from.

    While boarding can be a wonderful option for many dogs, others experience stress in a noisy atmosphere where the smells and sights are far different than their own home. Other animals such as cats and pocket pets do not tolerate the stress of a new environment well. Also, be aware that some viruses are easily passed among the general population when animals are kept in close quarters or allowed to play with other infected animals. Be sure to ask what their age requirements are as many kennels will not allow dogs less than 14 weeks of age.

    What should you look for in a boarding facility?

    • Cleanliness- does the facility look and smell clean? Is the intake area organized and free of messes?
    • Are they a member of The Pet Care Services Association (formerly the American Boarding Kennel Association)?
    • How are the pets housed? Do they have enough space or get frequent enough potty breaks/exercise breaks? Are the animals taken outside for breaks or is there a room that is used instead?
    • Safety- Are kennel areas free of harmful chemicals or objects that could cause injury?
    • Is the staff trained for emergencies such as injury or illness? Do they have a vet that is on call in case of those emergencies?
    • Supervision- how are the animals supervised? Are they monitored on a regular basis?
    • Immunization Requirements- Dogs should be immunized against bordetella, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus (DHLPP) as well as rabies.

    Friend, Neighbor or Kid Next Door

    Another popular option is having a friend, neighbor or kid-next-door check in on your pet(s). Relying upon a neighbor watch your pet(s) is what most families did before boarding became popular and travel was not as frequent as it is today. This can be a good option as it usually includes minimal cost and the animals are usually already familiar with the person checking in on them.
    While this may seem to be the best option for many owners, there are some issues to be aware of.

    • Person checking in may not be trained in first aid or CPR
    • Neighborhood kids can be forgetful and miss a visit or leave a door open
    • Imposing upon a friend who doesn’t feel comfortable saying NO
    • Not bonded or insured in case of accident

    Any of these choices can be the right one for your pet. It is up to you as the pet owner to do your research and decide which option to choose that best fits your family.

    Posted on: May 30th, 2014
  • How To Find A Lost Pet

    Your puppy darts out the door, your cat sneaks past as you are bringing in groceries or your child leaves the door open on accident. Lost pets are every owners nightmare. The worry, the heartache, the anger and the downright fear.

    The best step you can take, is to make sure that your pet has the proper ID tags and is micro-chipped. Make sure all information is up to date. This will make it easy for the person who may potentially find your pet to reach you.

    If the unthinkable happens, don’t despair, there are steps you can take to better your chances at reuniting with your lost pet.

    1. Check your home and property THOROUGHLY
    Many times, a pet will not wander far or may even be hiding in the home if something has frightened them. The longer you wait to search for them, the more chance there is that they have moved further away from home turf. Check under bushes and decks, behind furniture, in trees or even on the roof (yes, cats climb up there too).
    Put out a pet’s favorite item, something that smells like home such as a tee-shirt worn by you. With cats, sprinkle a bit of their used litter around the yard. If they are close by, this may lure them back.

    2. Search your neighborhood
    Ask neighbors if it is ok to check their yards and garages also. The best time to search for pets, especially cats, is late at night or before dusk when the world around has quieted down. Use a flashlight when looking, many times the light will reflect off their eyes when otherwise you may not have spotted them. Take along a bowl of food to shake or some smelly treats.

    3. Make fliers
    Fliers are the most common way that owners are reunited with their pets. In some cities, you must obtain permission before attaching fliers to any street signs or poles. Check with your city before posting because they can and will take them down. Once you have obtained permission, post fliers within at least a two mile radius. It is best to use a color photo of your pet and to make sure the writing is large enough to see from a passing car. Offering a reward will also get people’s attention.

    4. Get your neighbors, friends and children involved
    Hand out fliers to those in your neighborhood. You can shrink down your flier so you can fit four to a page. This makes a great sized handout for when you go door to door. I highly suggest going door to door in your subdivision as well as the neighboring areas. If you have or know children in your area who have cell phones, ask if they can forward a message to their friends and so on. Children are outside much more often that adults and have a greater chance of spotting the lost pet.

    5. Internet
    Post on Craigslist in the pets section as well as the lost and found section. List your missing pet on Check daily to see if someone may have found and listed your pet. Use Facebook and Twitter to get the word out. The more eyes looking, the better the chances.

    6. Local Businesses, Vet Clinics and shelters
    While some businesses will have rules against displaying lost posters, many others will allow them. Look for gas stations or stores that have bulletin boards and are in frequently traveled areas. Always ask permission before putting up a flier.
    Don’t just call the area vet’s offices and shelters. Go to them, bring them a flier and keep checking back! Shelters are so overwhelmed that they may not have the resources to call you. Sadly, many pets go missing so it is up to you to check. Do this every couple of days at the bare minimum.

    7. Put an ad in the local paper

    While not every lost pet makes it back home, if you follow these steps you have a much greater chance at a happy ending. Yes, it takes time, effort and even money but don’t give up, your pet is counting on you!

    Posted on: May 14th, 2014
  • Scales Tails & Paws Awarded Super Service Award and Listed as One of the Best Contractors of 2011

    Scales Tails & Paws has been awarded with the prestigious Super Service award and the Angie’s List Best Contractors of 2011 in the Columbus, OH market. They won this honor due to their consistent “A” overall reports and multiple Page of Happiness nominees.

    They will be one of only a handful of contractors profiled, in any line of business, and will be featured prominently in the Angie’s List magazine Best issue in Columbus, OH, which comes out January 2012.

    Only a very select few businesses rated on Angie’s List can claim the sterling service record of being a Best Contractor. Angie’s List Best Contractor Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their clients and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

    Ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List, but members can find the 2011 Best Contractors in the January issue of their area magazine.

    Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 500 service categories. Currently, more than 2 million consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine and help from the Angie’s List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie’s List and view the latest Angie’s List news.

    Posted on: January 1st, 2012