az pet professionals



The dangers of retractable leashes

Are retractable leashes a danger to your dog?

Photo courtesy of Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. www.santanvalleyvets.com

Do you walk your dog with a retractable leash? If you do, you’ll want to read on.

Retractable leashes have been popular for a long time. Dogs have more freedom to roam while on their walks, right? You can ree
l them in safely when you want them to come back to you.

Right? Wrong.

Please read on....

Your dog on his retractable leash taking a casual, sunny day walk, when out of nowhere another dog approaches him 10 feet away from where you are with the leash handle. Do you have time to reel your dog in? You most likely don’t. The danger here is that if the dogs react negatively to each other you have a long line attached to your dog’s neck and are not able to move quickly enough to reel him back to you. Before you know it, the two dogs start fighting and one or both become entangled in the line.

There is a great probability for one or both to become seriously injured. The handler can also become seriously injured by having the leash torn from his/her hand with the force of the dog on the other end of it.

There have been reported incidents that people who have found themselves in this predicament have received painful leash burns, lost fingers, have received deep lacerations and even arms being pulled out of their sockets. There is also the strong possibility that if Fido sees a bird, squirrel or other small animal and decides to take off to investigate further, that he pulls the leash out of your hand and runs straight in to traffic. This can be deadly for your dog.

Retractable leashes are often dropped easily due to their cumbersome feel. This causes a hurdling effect towards your dog and can easily strike your dog in the head. When this happens it can easily and completely understandably, spook your dog with the possibility of him running off. If a person is not paying attention and this happens, typically their first reaction is to grab the leash. This can cause injury to the hand causing severe leash burns and even amputation of entangled fingers.

Other things you may want to consider.

Photo courtesy of Johnson Ranch Animal Clinic. www.santanvalleyvets.com

Often I’d see retractable leashes being used by clients in the vet clinic. Clients bring their pets in and forget they are not at the park but actually at the vet clinic, letting their dogs have the freedom of full length on their retractable leash. Not only is this dangerous, it’s just quite frankly, irresponsible. I actually witnessed a terrifying retractable leash incident in an exam room that could have possibly caused potential injury to a small child.

The client brought in two small children with her to her dog’s appointment. While the client was in deep discussion with the veterinarian her two small kids were getting into all sorts of trouble. After boundless times the client tried to correct the children she finally gave up and let them do whatever they pleased. While the client was ignoring the dangers her kids were getting in to, the older sister removed the leash from the dog and place it around her own neck while her younger brother pulled the cord tight. They proceeded to play with the leash around the little girls neck while the younger brother took the handle and then let it go smacking the little girl in the stomach and several times, nearly hitting her in the face. I pleaded with the client to take the leash away from the children as one of her kids was about to get hurt. She ignored my pleas. I stood up several times to tell the kids that what they were doing was dangerous and they needed to give me the leash. They just looked at me blankly and their mother looked at me as if saying to mind my own business.

After several breath holding minutes, the little girl became entangled in the retractable leash around her neck. Her fingers were now under the leash as she tried to stop it from strangling from her. Her little brother laughed and pulled harder. That was when I finally stood up and curtly informed the client her daughter was being strangled and to hand me over the leash. NOW. She turned around, gasped, reprimanded the daughter and grabbed the leash from her son’s hands.

This was one of the most unreal things that happened in the exam room with a naive client. I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed. It was simply ignorant.

So yes, retractable leashes are not only unsafe for your dogs, but they are unsafe for you and/or your children as well.

So what can you use safely?

I suggest a tough nylon or leather leash. They have a “Hand/Loop” for you to hold on to and come in all lengths. They are safe, durable and easy to use.

So how about we toss away the retractable leashes?

Thanks pet friends!

Choke, Chain, Shock, Oh My! What is the best collar and leash for my dog?

Appropriate and not so appropriate dog collars

Many people have heard the words “Force Free” and/or “Positive Reinforcement” in regards to dog training as being the most humane way to train a dog and reward them for good behavior. 

Force Free dog training has been around for some time but most recently captured the attention of numerous pet owners all over the country. While there are still many who believe in other methods of dog training such as, “Being the Alpha,” “Teaching your dog who the boss is, aka; you,” the use of shock, prong and choke collars to gain control, and other more inhumane methods of dog training, We've come to agree that Force Free training makes for a much happier and confident dog.

We occasionally hear about clients who must bring uncooperative dogs in to the vet clinic (Because they have to, Rabies vaccines are required by law!) but dread it because of the dog’s disruptive behavior on a leash.

The dog may have aggressive tendencies towards other dogs, or people, or men, or people in glasses, or the one wearing the "White Coat," the list goes on. But whatever the reason, the pet owner must bring the pet in to the vet. Immediately after entering the vet clinic the pet owner must warn everyone that his/her dog is aggressive or unpredictable. There around the dog's neck is a prong, choke or shock collar so the client can use force (which causes pain and stress) to control their pet. Ouch. That must be painful and stressful for all!

Another collar to mention is the choke collar. In the veterinary business we see plenty of choke collars around dogs' necks. Excited to be at the clinic, these dogs pull and often leave their owners frustrated and embarrassed.Heck, we see choke collars everywhere! The park, in the neighborhood on dog walks, they are everywhere! And shock collars? Don't even get me started on that one!

So what makes these collars a bad choice? Better yet, a dangerous choice.

Let us share some medical problems that can be associated with the use of a prong or choke collar around a dogs neck.

1. Damage and bruising to the skin and tissues of the neck

2. Disc disease, spinal and neurological injuries

3. Psychological problems

4. Dislocated neck bones

5. Vocal cord damage

6. Bruising of the trachea and or esophagus

7. Brain damage

8. Eye prolapse

How is that you ask?

Just imagine, or try for yourself, 50 lbs of pressure on your own neck when a choke collar is being tightened and jerked with force. It hurts doesn’t it? But dogs can’t tell us that, which unfortunately typically leads them to become fearful of the person doing the jerking, and worse yet, aggressive because the act itself is painful and the dog is unable to tell us that, so he acts out the only way he can to show his disapproval.Your pet also runs the risk of being hurt if ever in a fight with another dog while out walking. There have been reports that dogs' teeth have become stuck on choke chains while fighting which can lead to both dogs panicking, twisting, and thrashing about by the one who is stuck while the other dog is being choked by the twisting chain. Scary, isn't it? Possibly even deadly.

How about a less painful, scary approach to finding a better fit collar?


What about a buckle collar? The fact may be that it's a better choice than both the choke, shock and prong collars, but not completely a better choice. A buckle collar can also put unnecessary pressure around your pet’s neck and cause pain and physical damage. Simply said, the dog still has something around his neck.

So what is ideal?

Our opinion for a better choice would be to use either a durable, no-pull nylon harness with a nylon or leather leash along with "Force Free" behavior modification and training by a professional force free dog trainer. 
The nylon harness is safe, non-painful, prevents injury around the neck and spine and is a great way to walk your dog without causing pain. The harness puts the pressure on the dogs chest, not it's neck, making him/her less likely to dislike the walk and/or the walker. It's a win, win!

Positive reinforcement dog training works by rewarding your dog for good behavior. This includes walking on a harness/leash without pulling.

If your pet is unruly on his/her leash and you are currently using a choke chain, prong collar, or worse, a shock collar, please reconsider your choices and purchase a more effective and safe harness and collar as well as discuss possible behavior modifications with a Force Free professional dog trainer. We recommend Kathrine Breeden. www.bekindtodogs.com. Kathrine is a successful, Force Free professional dog trainer and behaviorist.

Stay tuned to our next article, Retractable leashes. The dangers they can cause that you may not have thought of.

Kim MacCrone-CVT

Jane Ehrlic-Cat Behaviorist

Jane Ehrlic-Cat Behaviorist



"Jane recently joined Az Pet Professionals and we are so proud to have her as an official member of our group! Working in the Veterinary Field I see too many, or should I say.... too few, cats come in to the clinic. Why? Behavior problems. Clients unable to get their cats into their crates for the ride is one of the biggest reasons. But wait! There are more. We often hear about "Those other cats at home" that don't come to see us, and clients are struggling with many behavior problems that are going un-addressed. We recommend that they seek the advice and expertise from Jane, as so many of these behavior problems can be corrected and kitty can live happily ever after in their home, rather than end up unwanted, deemed "Problem Cat" at the pound. If you are a reader who owns a "Problem Cat," please continue reading. Jane is an expert in her field. You will want to contact her to find out how she can help you and your cats live in harmony!" Kim MacCrone

JANE EHRLICH went to Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied under Dr. Michael Fox, arguably the first internationally-renowned ethologist and expert in canine and feline behavior. EHRLICH later moved to London for her Ph.D., and spent over 20 years volunteering as clinic assistant and feline behavior counselor with the North London branch of the RSPCA.

Upon her return to her hometown of Phoenix, she worked in animal shelters, and started her own business, Cattitude Feline Behavior. She has remained current in her field, between journals, conference transcripts, and conferences both in Britain and in the US. In April she will be attending the IAABC's feline behavior conference in Atlanta.

Ehrlich has appeared in press (presently the ‘cat expert’ contributor in the AZ Republic ‘Ask the Pet Editor’ Sunday column), on radio and TV, and gives talks to shelters, rescues and vet tech colleges. She recently did a webinar for Pet Professionals Guild, and has achieved her Associate Certification from the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

Dealing with clients worldwide, Ehrlich works with issues such as spraying, inappropriate soiling, aggression, introducing new pets--and babies--to resident cats, scratching, you name it.

Ehrlich’s had more than 27 years’ experience working with cats and their behavior. She spent over 20 years as clinical assistant and behavior adviser at the RSPCA in North London. Ehrlich set up Cattitude Feline Behavior in Phoenix several years ago, and is the only feline behaviorist in AZ with so many years’ experience, specifically, in feline behavior.

She is presently owned by three of her own kittens, all rescues, from Grace, an apricot Oriental brought back from England, Bouvier (she looks like Jackie Kennedy), a formerly-feral calico, and Lottie, a tortie sorta-Oriental. She also lovingly attends to two strays, macho Benny and stunning tuxedo Frankie.

For more information on her background and services, her website is CattitudeBehavior.com. you can also find her business Facebook page under Cattitude Behavior.

Contact Jane at: 602-410-9236

National Pet Travel Safety Day

National Pet Travel Safety Day was January 2nd, 2015

authorized use by Cow Dreamz Photography

Although we are past January 2nd, we wanted to post a very important article about travel safety with your pet/s. In today’s world pet lovers enjoy taking their fur family to many outings that not long ago would have been unheard of. There are pet friendly restaurants’, stores, parks, hotels and much more.

With the increase in pet friendly accommodations, brings many more pets traveling in cars, trucks and vans. For those of us in the pet business as well as those medical personnel in the human world, such as Fire Fighters and Paramedics, this leaves us holding our breath each time we see an un-restrained pet come out of a car once at their destination. People who have small dogs just love those Sunday afternoon drives with their little ones on their lap, head hanging out of the window, tongue and ears flapping in the wind.

So terrifying to even think about it!

Authorized for use by Visual Harmony Photography

Pets who are allowed to hang their heads out a car window are at risk for dirt, debris and anything else flying past, to embed in an eye. There are much worse scenarios than an injured eye.

We came across an article written by Colleen Paige; “Riding in Cars With Dogs” that really says it better than we could, because she’s seen these scenarios. Please click here to read Colleen’s article.

Please head Colleen’s warnings pet friends and make traveling with your pet fun and safe! Thank you!
Listen to someone who’s seen the end results of not properly securing your pet in your vehicle and letting your little fur babies ride on your lap with their heads hanging out the window. 

Thank you pet parents!

Introducing our amazing new pet experts in 2015!

Happy 2015 pet parents!! 

As promised, we have taken several months to find additional pet experts that fit our criteria to help assist you with your pet needs! 

Please give a warm welcome to our newest Az Pet Professionals! 


Pet Waste Clean up! Let someone else do the poopy work!


Second Home Pet Resort

 Amazing and Gorgeous Pet Resort in Phoenix! Your pet just may not want to come home!

747 E. Thunderbird Road
Phoenix, AZ 85022
(602) 997-6600

National Train your dog month with Kathrine Breeden!

January is National  

Train your dog Month 


Walk your dog Month

What a perfect way to start our year helping pet parents out with both of these!

I need a WALK! Woof!
As you may already know, we are pet experts who believe that "Force Free" dog training is the  humane and most successful way to train a dog. Right?
So if you've tried other methods of dog training and are still struggling and at a loss, we recommend going FORCE FREE! Yes! That's right! We have our own professional dog trainer and behavior consultant who uses 100 % force free training methods. It worked for me and I can attest that it will work for you!

Meet Kathrine Breeden. We are so honored to showcase Kathrine's years of experience and force free methods of dog training. Kathrine is widely known and trusted throughout Arizona and Texas. She was the first Texas dog trainer certified by Victoria Stillwell from "It's me or the dog" television show on "Animal Planet." Kathrine is also a member of APDT (The Association of Professional Dog Trainers), No Shock Collars Coalition, Pet Professionals Guild, Victoria Stilwell's "Positively Dog Training and more!

Just a few reasons to call Kathrine:
  • You adopted a new puppy or dog and need assistance into introducing them into your current pet household.
  • Your current method of training is not quite doing the job.
  • You'd like to know what you can do to assist with your dog's training at home.
  • A current dog has developed undesirable behaviors

Call Kathrine today!



The weather has been chilly which of course for us Arizonan's is wonderful, but this weeks forecast is absolutely beautiful! It's dog walking weather!

If your working all day but your dogs are home with no one to play, please consider treating them to a special week by hiring one of our professional pet sitters to take them out for a Paw-some sunny dog walk! They'll lap it up and you'll love it because you won't feel guilty when you come home from work! 

Our members are educated and trained in pet CPR and 1st Aid in case of an emergency, sudden illness or injury while being with your pet. Why would you hire a pet expert who wasn't, right?

So take advantage of our beautiful weather and get moving with your dogs!

Thanks pet parents! 

Animal Medical Center of Chandler. Voted Best of 2014!

Introducing our Paw-Some Chandler Veterinarians!

(480) 339-0406

Do you live in Chandler and own pets? 

Are you looking for a Trusted and Professional Veterinary Clinic with professional yet compassionate doctors and staff?

We can testify then that Animal Medical Center of Chandler is the place you have been looking for!

Animal Medical Center of Chandler is a family owned and operated veterinary medical center.  The brand new state-of-the-art facility is fully equipped to handle all of your pet’s medical needs.   

Voted Best in Chandler Veterinarians 2014

Animal Medical Center of Chandler is accredited with American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).  The American Animal Hospital Association is a non-profit organization for companion animal veterinary hospitals. Established in 1933, the association is the only accrediting body for small animal hospitals in the U.S. and Canada. To become accredited an animal hospital must past over 900 standards. 

Animal Medical Center of Chandler is also a member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners.

Animal Medical Center of Chandler has also been recognized as a Cat friendly Practice. In order to become a recognized Cat friendly Practice certain requirements for feline care must be met.


Watch a tour of our facility here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80cvF4seIxc

Meet Dr. Andrea Stickland, Practice Owner:
After practicing several years with a different veterinary clinic, Dr. Stickland decided to branch out and open up her own veterinary practice! A huge move and a huge and success!
We are happy that  and honored to represent her as our trusted Chandler Veterinary Practice! 
Dr. Stickland is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine class of 2001.
You can read more about Dr. Stickland here: http://amcofc.com/team/andrea-stickland-dvm/.

Meet Dr. Duregger!
Dr. Duregger is a graduate of Colorado State University Veterinary School, class of 1992. Professional, compassionate and driven to be the best for your pets!
You can read more about Dr. Duregger here: http://amcofc.com/team/carolyn-duregger-dvm/.

Dr. Duregger and Dr. Stickland
"Not only do I get to have a great time learning about the latest in medicine, but I get to meet some pretty great animals. This is Shamus a Pyrenean mastiff . He is the representative from Comfy Cone."  Dr. Stickland

Meet our fully trained, competent, and compassionate staff.

Below are several educational videos the doctors and staff have made to share with their clients.

Animal Medical Center of Chandler

270 W Chandler Heights Rd Ste 3
Chandler, Arizona, 85248
Phone Number: (480) 339-0406


Thank you Doctors and Staff! We are proud you are an Az Pet Professional and trusted Veterinary Practice for many Pet Parents! 



  1. Never, ever leave your dog in the car;
  2. Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water;
  3. Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside;
  4. Take walks during the cooler hours of the day;
  5. When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces (like asphalt) because it can burn your dog's paws;
  6. If you think it's hot outside, it's even hotter for your pet – make sure your pet has a means of cooling off;
  7. Keep your dog free of external parasites (fleas, ticks) and heartworms – consult your veterinarian about the best product for your pet;
  8. Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats, and apply sunscreen to your dog's skin if she or he has a thin coat.


Household pet tip for dogs from Blue Ribbon K9 Academy:

Train your dog to use a pet door by putting a dab of butter on the bottom edge of the flap. Have another person hold the dog on the side with the butter and you stand on the other side with treats. Your dog will lick the bottom of the flap, pushing it open while you encourage it through and offering treats. Happy Training!



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