Category Archives: Dr Burgess’s Blog

Finding Man’s Best Friend

What is the perfect dog? Often it is the one found spur of the moment on a Saturday while “just looking.” The rule of P’s apply here: Prior planning prevents poor performance. There are many things to consider when choosing a pup. Here are some hints to make this process easier and increase your odds of success.

Preparing for Pup

Before picking up your new pup, you should take some time to prepare financially and environmentally.

How much is that doggie in the window?
Understanding the financial commitment involved with dog ownership is something that is easy to forget when looking into those deep brown eyes and smelling fresh puppy breath. Things to consider include the cost of quality dog food, preventative veterinary care (examinations, dewormings, vaccines, spay/neuter, heartworm and flea & tick preventative, microchipping and licensing), grooming needs, training, boarding and pet supplies. The ASPCA does a good job of outlining some of these costs: 

Financial Surprises and Pet Insurance
There have been tremendous advances in veterinary medicine, but this comes at a cost. Pet insurance is a good way to mitigate unforeseen expenses. BONUS: Some insurance companies offer complimentary insurance coverage for a month! The ABC’s of pet insurance are explained at and you can find end-user supplied ratings for the major insurance companies at

Vetting Veterinarians
Now is also a good time to get recommendations from friends and family for veterinary care and visit prospective animal hospitals. Questions to ask include vaccination protocols, availability of appointments, fee structure (some hospitals have a different fee structure for sick visits), and general practice philosophy. A veterinarian should be your partner when it comes to preventative health care, illness, nutrition, behavior and overall family interactions. Request a tour of the animal hospital to get a feel for its personality; are employees caring, is the facility clean, and are pets receiving the care you would want for your loved one?  

Cozy Confines
Where will your new pal be spending their time? Training a dog to be crate-savvy facilitates potty training, keeps them safe and can allow for easier handling in the future (airplane travel, staying with family while vacationing, care when hurt, etc.). Styles and pricing vary considerably on crates, but planning ahead allows options such as online purchasing. Also be aware that you may need multiple size crates during the growth stage. Use too large a crate too soon and some benefits may be lost. One option is crates that have a divider. Another potential option is to ask your veterinarian if they have a crate loaner program for the growth phase. Lastly, while in the home, it is beneficial to partition off an area that is a safe zone for your new pet. Baby gates and exercise pens can assist with this.

Fenced in Follies or Dog Walking?
When your pet goes outside, will you be walking them or is your yard fenced-in? Invisible Fence in Crystal Lake is an example of pet fencing that doesn’t require a physical presence in your yard. Reputable companies provide a lifetime guarantee, training, and can be installed even if there is snow on the ground.

Picking a Pooch

Big or small, energetic or docile, young or old? There are so many choices when selecting the perfect pup that taking the time to research this part of the process can make the difference between happily ever after or heartbreak hotel.

Pondering Purebreds
When selecting a type of dog, first consider whether a purebred or mixed breed dog suits your lifestyle. Purebred dogs provide a predictable physical appearance, but may also come with genetic (and potentially devastating) medical problems. A good breeder can mitigate many health-related risks. Ask friends, family and your veterinarian for references when selecting a breeder. Indicators of a responsible breeder include allowing visits to their facility, encouraging interaction with the puppy’s parents, interest in whether the breed is appropriate for your lifestyle, and appropriate pre and postnatal care. Middlemen (brokers), meeting representatives halfway to deliver a dog, and puppy stores are all cause for concern that you may be dealing with a puppy mill bred dog. Puppy mill dogs are often inbred, handled infrequently (leads to behavior issues), and may be in poor health ( Lifelong behavioral and medical problems may be established before you even see that cute puppy in the window.

Breed rescue groups are another great way of finding a desired breed. These dogs are often a bit older, but most responsible rescue groups work diligently to match the right dog with the right forever home.

Mixing it Up with a Mutt
Mixed breed dogs have the benefit of being one of a kind. Breed specific medical or behavioral problems are seen less frequently. Petfinder ( allows prospective pet owners to filter through dogs available. Helping Paws Animal Shelter in Woodstock ( and Animal Control in Crystal Lake ( both do a responsible job matching needy dogs with the right adoptee. Desirable shelters tend to be clean, allow adopters to tour their kennels (not just bring dogs to you), and can demonstrate that their dogs have received appropriate medical care from a licensed veterinarian. Far too often dogs are unknowingly adopted with health problems that could have been prevented or treated prior to adoption. When meeting with adoptable dogs look for a willingness to interact and a generally friendly demeanor. While a quiet, submissive dog may be endearing it can also be an indicator of future issues.

Hound Sweet Home

A dog homecoming is an exciting time for everyone. The first week at home is a “getting to know you” period. For young puppies, this time can be exhausting; for shelter dogs that may have bounced from place to place, this time can be a bit unsettling. Be patient, provide a consistent schedule and a safe environment, and keep things low key until everyone has adjusted. Focus on potty training, learning your dog’s signs of fatigue, and monitor for illness (vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, coughing, excessive lethargy). 

Schedule a visit with your veterinarian of choice as soon as possible to identify any potential health concerns and preventative health care needs. This visit should also provide you with additional advice on potty training, nutrition and ancillary services. Avoid communal dog areas (i.e. pet stores, dog parks) until getting the go ahead from your veterinarian. If children are in the household, be vigilant to protect them and your new dog from each other. Children need to be taught how to safely interact with their new pet and ultimately need to be protected from any potentially harmful interactions (

Fun with Fido

Now that everyone has settled in, it’s time to have some fun! There are countless ways to have fun with your new friend. Whether it be as simple as painting a personalized dog bowl or as involved as pursuing advanced training for search and rescue, there are numerous ways that dogs can enhance our lives. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Training – Basic obedience
Training and socialization are beneficial for all dogs. Formal puppy classes, personal trainers and training books can all be of use. A Sound Beginning offers group training and 1:1 classes ( ‘The Puppy Primer’ book provides clear and concise training tips and tricks that makes training effective and fun ( For advanced training, freestyle, agility, rally, obedience and fly ball are just a few of the options available to those interested in pursuing.

Dog Parks
Lake in the Hills (, Crystal Lake ( and Cary ( all have outdoor dog parks. They offer a great opportunity to allow socialization and exercise for your pup and socialization for you with other pet owners. 

You can also check out the following trails that are dog friendly:

Vacationing with your dog is fun and has been made easier with resources found on the internet.

See these sites for pet friendly locations, services, and activities:

In Conclusion

Bringing a new furry friend home can be one of the most memorable days for a family. Take pictures, pull the video camera out, write down the funny story behind your new pup’s name. These are the memories that warm the heart and bring smiles for years to come.

Basset Hound Fun Facts

Originally bred by French monks in the Middle Ages, as early as the 1500’s Bassets were used as hunting scent hounds with fox, rabbits, and badgers being as a specialty. At the time only often nobility could afford to hunt on horseback. Basset Hounds’ short legs allowed hunters to follow more easily on foot and allowed them to trudge through undergrowth picking up scents close to the ground easier. Increasing in popularity during the 1800’s, even Napolean owned a Basset. In 1785 George Washington, one of the first Basset Hound owners in the United States, was gifted a pack by Marquis de Lafayette.

Hush Puppies

Southern hunters and farmers would throw fried corn balls at their very loud and howling Basset packs to quiet them down. These “hush puppies” as they were called silenced their dogs. After traveling to the southeast, James Gaylor Muir Farmers and hunters with large packs of Bassets used to throw the traditional southern fried cornball, known as a hush puppy, to their dogs to silence their barking and howling. As an original brand salesman, Muir named the now famous shoe brand after these lovable hounds.

Medical Facts

Basset hounds are not only known for their long ears, but also their sense of smell. They have over 220 million smell receptors. Their long ears help left scents off the ground up to their nose.Their ears do not get much air circulation so they are more susceptible to infection.

Interesting/Fun Facts

Basset hounds have been featured in many films and tv shows over the years. For example..

  • Stella in Disney’s “Princess and the Frog”
  • Pops in Universal Pictures “Secret Life of Pet’s”
  • Dog in the tv series “Columbo”
  • Elvis Presley sang “Hound Dog” with a top hat wearing basset hound

Low Calorie Snacks for Your Dog

Low Calorie Store Bought Options

Licky Stik 1 calorie/10 licks
Fruitable Skinny Minis 2 calories
Zuke’s Mini Naturals 3 calories
Charlee’s Bear 3 calories
Hills T/D Small Bites 9 calories
Bravo 10 calories
Steward Freeze Dried Liver Treats 10 calories
Hills T/D Original Bites 17 calories


Low Calorie  Human Food Options

Cucumbers 1/4 cup 5 calories
Cauliflower 1/4 cup 6 calories
Green Beans 1/4 cup 9 calories
Melon 1/4 cup 12 calories
Canned pumpkin 1/4 cup 20 calories
Popcorn air popped 1/2 cup 22 calories
Cottage Cheese 1 oz. 30 calories
Baby Carrots 8 count 30 calories
Pumpkin, canned 1/4 cup 20 calories
Tuna, canned in water 1 oz. 36 calories
Turkey Breast, Lean 1 oz. 50 calories
Chicken, Lean 1 oz. 52 calories
Beef, Lean 1 oz. 64 calories
Apple 1 medium 80 calories
Mini Marshmallows 9 count 100 calories
Banana 101 calories


High Calorie Store Bought Treat Options

Milk- Bone Small 20 calories
Pup-Peroni 23 calories
Greenies, Teeny 25 calories
Grillin’ Bites Beef Steaks 30 calories
Beggin’ Stips Bacon 30 calories
Milk-Bone Medium 40 calories
Greenies, Petite 54 calories
DentaStix Regular 70 calories
Greenies Regular 90 calories
Milk-Bone Large 115 calories
Greenies, Large 144 calories
Pig Ear 182 calories
DentaBone Medium 188 calories
Milk-Bone Extra Large 225 calories
Greenies, Jumbo 270 calories


High Calorie  Human Food Options

String Cheese Stick 80 calories
Egg 1 large 81 calories
Peanut Butter 1 tbsp. 81 calories
Bologna 1 slice 87 calories
Marshmallows 4 large 90 calories
Bread, white 1 slice 94 calories
Cheese Slice 102 calories
Hot Dog 242 calories
McDonalds Small French Fry 250 calories
McDonalds Hamburger 280 calories
McDonalds Cheeseburger 330 calories

Weight Loss Program

54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.

We are excited to join you in helping your dog reach a healthy weight.  As discussed, we will determine current calories being consumed, target weight, and options for weight loss. Please bring your dog in every four  weeks for a complimentary weight evaluation. At that time feeding adjustments will be made based on progress. Just like in humans, it takes time to put weight on and take weight off.  In the first month we may see no change in weight, weight loss, or even in some cases weight gain. But with time and dedication success is possible!


Why is a Healthy Weight  Important

Some common disorders associated with excess weight in dogs include:

  • Shorter life expectancy, obese dogs have been shown in studies to live up to two years shorter than lean dogs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Respiratory and Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • If your pet has arthritis, keeping him/her at a healthy weight makes it easier to manage the discomfort associated with joint pain

Make a family commitment

A commitment to reach and maintain a healthy weight for your pet requires a commitment from the entire family – a weight loss plan isn’t going to succeed if one family member sneaks your pet extra food. Remind your family that there are many ways other than food to demonstrate and express their love for your family pet.

Common calorieintakes, human/dog/cat

10lbs 180-200 calories
10lbs 200-275 calories
20lbs 325-400 calories
50lbs 700-900 calories
70lbs 900-1050 calories
90lbs 1100-1350 calories
Male 2500 calories
Female 2000 calories
  • 20 lb dog eating 1 hotdog equals a person consuming 3 entire hamburgers
  • 20 pound dog lb eating 1 small oatmeal cookie equals a person eating 1 hamburger or 1 chocolate bar
Calorie Burning Options

  • Use a portion of your pet’s daily food as treats
  • Treats should make up only 5-10% of your pet’s diet
  • Teach a trick for a treat or introduce puzzle toys that requires the cat or dog to work for the treat. This is a great way to increase your pet’s exercise level, stimulate the mind, and give rewards at the same time.