Prepare yourself to provide the best care for your dog with these Woof Report tips, a round-up of reader favorites.

Pet parents need to be knowledgeable and ready for anything to offer the best care for their furry friends. So here are just a few of your favorite Woof Report dog care tips. Find others in our Tip Archives and stay tuned for more of your top tips in the days to come!

Pet Insurance Tip Sheet

Times are tight. The last thing you need is a monster vet bill. Should you get health coverage for your dog? Deciding whether or not to purchase it requires serious consideration. And, if you decide to go ahead, figuring out which company is the best fit can be overwhelming. Thanks to Dr. Nancy Kay, DVM, Diplomat, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, you’ll have all the information you need to make your decision. Read on for a few quick pointers from Dr. Kay, then read or download the Woof Report Pet Insurance Tip Sheet we’ve created with Dr. Kay for more information.

The Extraordinary Bond

Praise for the pet pup. Unlike our complicated human relationships, unconditional love and dedicated friendship just come with the job. But like any good friend, the bond grows over time. It’s the one-on-one time together and the daily routines that foster attachment and transforms your dog from family pet to family member. Kathy Diamond Davis, author of Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others offers insights into maximizing this human/dog dynamic. With some surprises, some pointers, her article “Bonding with Your Dog” is nothing if not heartwarming.

Plants to Pass Right By

When all the gardens and parks are abloom, who can resist the first glorious buds bursting with new life? Certainly, not your dog. Whether he’s a sniffer, a digger or a voracious chewer, your dog’s idea of communing with nature isn’t always safe. Some of the season’s most common plants are actually toxic to dogs. Thanks to the ASPCA and Cornell University, Woof Report brings you the links to find the garden’s worst offenders and a printable list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to dogs (there’s a list for cats too).

Is Rawhide Safe? Chew On This

Your dog can’t help it. He’s genetically programmed to chew stuff. So to spare your shoes the slobber, you do what any self-respecting pet parent can – you serve up the rawhide bones and chews. And just like that, your dog’s engaged. The hours pass, the days march on, and your pet happily munches away, cleaning his teeth while he’s at it. So there you have it, rawhide rules. It would be criminal to take them away. Or would it? Get pros and cons to consider with your vets.

Losing It!

We’re such hypocrites, we know. We bemoan our portly pooches while we sneak seconds at dessert. It seems so mean. But at least we care enough to cut back on the milk bones when last year’s collar starts getting snug. This is important stuff – those extra pounds can put up to 40% of dogs at risk for osteoarthritis, heart disease, respiratory conditions, heat and exercise intolerance, and (we can hardly even say it), shorter lives. For that gentle little push every pudgy pup needs, we turned to renowned veterinarian and author Betsy Brevitz, D.V.M. Read on for her doggie diet tricks from The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook.

The Scoop:

See more past tips about caring for your dog in our K9 Care Tip Archives

Updated October 2016.