Category Archives: I ♥ my lab…dog tips

I ♥ my lab…Things to keep in mind before getting a dog

When my boyfriend and I found our dog (literally), we thankfully had talked about getting one eventually.  At the time we weren’t quite ready, but we quickly became ready to have her in our lives.  One thing that everyone thinks about, but never really actually realizes until they get a dogs just how expensivethey are.  Dogs aren’t quite as expensive as children, but you’re still a parent when you welcome a dog into your lives, so you want to make sure that they are well taken care of & healthy.  My boyfriend and I found an extremely malnourished dog, so she also took some special TLC to get healthy…We’re talking additional raw protein, supplements & many doctors appointments.  We are very grateful to have her in our lives (as we like to think she is of us), but it didn’t come cheap or without a lot of time & effort.

Picture above of our lab - skin & bones when found. Thankfully she's now, 4 months later, up to her target weight!

Whether you are rescuing a dog or purchasing a dog from a qualified breeder, here are some things you need to keep in mind BEFORE you embark on the journey of doggie parenthood…

Dogs take time, money & attention


  • If you work ridiculous hours and/or travel a lot, then now may not be a good time to have a dog in your life.  It isn’t fair for a dog to be sitting at home alone for more than 8-9 hours a day…Especially if it’s a puppy & they don’t have access to a place where they can relieve themselves.
  • Puppies and rescue dogs should go to training classes, which are usually an hour or two a week.  Training doesn’t stop in the classroom, though, it is important to do training at home, too.
  • For a healthy dog, dogs require a few hours of exercise a day.  Make sure you set aside time in the morning and evening to take your pup for long walks and/or playtime to tucker them out.  A tired dog is often a happy dog (and is less likely to get into trouble when you’re not at home).


  • Purebred dogs can be expensive & it takes time to wait for a litter to be ready.  Some people are on breeder’s waiting lists for months to years!
  • Rescue shelters have adoption fees & often require you to go through a process to ensure that you are well-qualified.
  • Vet visits aren’t cheap.  A new puppy requires shots, neutering/spaying & medication for ailments!
  • Food, especially good food, is expensive.  Some may choose to go on a raw diet, which can also add up.
  • Toys…puppies destroy toys pretty quickly & tougher ones are even more expensive.  Unless you want your expensive shoes being used as play things, toys are highly recommended.
  • Bedding, crates & mats…While these are somewhat optional, they are highly recommended…but aren’t inexpensive.
  • Misc supplies you’ll need: leash, collar, tags, bowls,
  • Pay attention to the type of breed you want to get.  Not all breeds are good for young families, city life, being left alone, apartments, etc!
  • Dogs aren’t just some nice piece of artwork you look at on the wall.  Dogs deserve love & affection.
  • Grooming: some dogs require this more than others, but all need their nails trimmed and their fur/hair to be brushed on at least a semi-regular basis.
  • Puppies can get into things when you aren’t looking, so it is important that you are able to keep an eye on them when you are home!

Additional reading & info:
American Kennel Club: About Buying a Dog

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I ♥ my lab…Tips on how to keep a clean home with a dog

Let’s all be honest, we’ve all walked into a house and immediately know that a pet lives there.  In fact, we might be the culprits.  Here are some tips on how to not have a gross house that no one wants to stay at because you have a dog…

If you have carpets in your home, it is very important that you vacuum at least once a week to help get out the grit and dander that can build up within the carpet.  Get a good vacuum, too.  Even if you have wood floors, it’s important to vacuum often, as those fur balls can collect dust in the corners.  Dust = allergies for many!

Clean up those “oops” immediately
We all know that training a puppy isn’t fun/easy/clean.  It is important to clean up those “oops” ASAP, so they don’t stain.  It is also important to clean up those “oops” well, as you don’t want the dog to go back to that spot because it has their smell!  Speaking of smell, don’t use anything with ammonia, as it smells like urine to dogs.  Go to the pet store and buy products that are especially made to clean up those messes!

Wipe your dog down at the door
Keep a designated dog towel by the door.  If it is raining out or mud season, wipe down your dog when they come in, to avoid tracking in the mess!  Having a rug (especially a mud-absorbing one) at your door entrance can also help with this, as hopefully their paws will get wiped off when they come in.

Brush your dog often
Cut down the amount of hair flying around from the source…Get a good dog brush & brush Fido (OUTSIDE) once a week (more often for longer-haired dogs or during season changes).  It’s also a good idea to get your pup professionally groomed once a month or so, if they have long hair.
Tip: Start brushing your dog as a pup, so they get used to it & it is a bonding experience for you both.  It is a good task to do at the end of the day or after a romp, when they are tired & not squirming!   

Get a dog bowl mat
Water dishes and meal time can get a bit messy, so mats are highly recommended.  A small (washable) rug will do the trick, too.

Don’t let your dog on the couch
This may be hard for some, but if you don’t want a fur coat every time you sit on your furniture, keep Fido off the couch.  Dog beds are made for a reason.  It is important that dogs have some boundaries.  Allowing dogs on the couch also means that your couch’s life will be cut almost in half (which means you’ll be buying new furniture more often=$$).  Dogs nails can also be extremely detrimental to couches, especially leather!
~If you do allow your dog on the couch, roll the couch often with a lint roller & vacuum over the couch at least once a week (make sure to get under the cushions, too!).  Also make sure their nails are always clipped or else you’ll have scratches/holes all over & the couch/chair will be ruined.  Another option is to get a sofa cover, which can be removed when you have company.

Orvis Grip-Tight Furniture Protector

Keep your dog out of the bedrooms (or at least off the bed)
This is especially important if you have a guest room.  It is best to keep the dog out of the guest room in case you have a visitor that has allergies, so at least they’ll have a place to breath a little easier.  If you are prone to allergies, it is best to not let your dog in your bedroom, either (especially on your bed).  Dogs have a way of carrying things in that you want to keep out.  It is also a good way to avoid fleas & other bugs, which often looooove mattresses & pillows!  It’s a big debate, but keeping dogs off the bed is just plain healthier.  

Tips for when you’re redecorating your home & you have a dog:

Carpets: Buy all-synthetic fibers, as unfortunately natural fibers tend to absorb everything!  Loops are suggested versus a shag & also get a color that will be able to hide stains (aka white is not suggested).  If you can, get a carpet that has a stain-shield.  It also isn’t a bad idea to get carpets that somewhat match your dog’s fur, which can mask it between vacuumings.

Upholstery: Tightly woven fabrics are recommended.  If you can, try to scotch-guard your fabrics, too!  Couches or chairs with removable/washable covers are also ideal.  Leather is fine, but make sure you treat it before you use it.  If you really like the look of leather & have to snuggle up to your pup on the couch, opt for pleather instead to avoid scratches/ruining it.  Avoid velvet & velvet-like fabrics at all costs-they are fur-magnets!

Furniture: Wicker is honestly not suggested.  While it looks nice, it can fray easily and then be very tempting to Fido to chew on.  Hopefully you have a well-trained dog, though.  Get durable furniture & lamps with a solid (not tippy) base.

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I ♥ my lab…some dog owner tips

This post is a little different than my others…It doesn’t have to do with food or decorating, it has to do with my dog!  My boyfriend and I rescued a female chocolate lab earlier this summer, so our lives have been quite consumed by her.  She’s about a year & an absolute sweetheart.  She’s also smart, active & a lab…so she destroys toys like nobody’s business.  I’ve created a Pinterest Board for fellow lab owners to take a look at, with some tips on smart purchases we’ve made.  Enjoy!


P.S. Keep an eye out for more dog tips…just created a new category!



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