Tips Archive

Recycle + Help Shelters for Earth Day…and Everyday

Shelter Dog Donate your used, unwanted towels and blankets to a local shelter for Earth Day…and everyday

In our disposable society, millions of pounds of unwanted textiles, such as towels and blankets, are unnecessarily tossed into landfills across the United States each year. These discarded textiles can easily be diverted from landfills, repurposed and reused at a variety of needy organizations, starting with your local animal shelter!

Don’t toss your old faded towels or well-worn blankets into the trash, instead contact your local animal shelter and see if they can use them. Most every shelter across the nation has a donation wish list that most likely includes blankets and towels…and this includes all kinds of homeless shelters.

Donating your old linens to your local animal shelter is a convenient and eco-friendly to put unwanted textiles to good use and help provide a little creature comfort to shelter pets waiting to be adopted into their forever homes.

Donate Today!

Get started by contacting your local animal shelter and look for “donations” or their wish list. To find a local shelter near you, visit Petfinder.com

Recycle + Re-use with Antler Chews

Digging Dog at Biergarten at The Standard Hotel NYC We spotted this adorable and clearly bored dog last week outside of Biergarten at The Standard Hotel in New York City. He was having quite the time rearranging the flower beds possibly searching for Scooby snacks that had been left by other guests. Whatever he was digging for, I am sure he was motivated by a host of reasons, not the least of which was boredom.

Mr. Spots here drew quite a crowd as he inspected and subsequently shredded the plants in the planter box. If only mom and dad had provided him with a little somethin' somethin' to keep him busy whilst they dined, they likely could have avoided what certainly was a very dirty dog at the end of the evening.

Chews Wisely

Free from dyes, preservatives and the typical smelly-dog-treat- smell, Antler Chews have become one of my favorite new super durable dog chews for my Schmoo and Zazou, particularly if I am going to be leaving them alone for a bit of time. Naturally shed from deer, the antlers natural, preservative-free composition doesn't leave stains on carpets, floors or doggies' muzzles and the antlers are nutrient-packed and marrow-filled, providing a source of calcium. Antler Chews

Starting about $5, you can find Antler Chews at Muttropolis.

Top 8 Hypoallergenic Dog Breeds

Portuguest Water Dog

Earlier this year, President Obama and the first family welcomed Bo the Portuguese Water Dog into their family, particularly for his hypoallergenic coat, since their daughter Malia has allergies. She is not alone in her plight, as approximately 10 percent of Americans are allergic to dog dander … including yours truly, which I discovered just a few months ago. With a household and office full of pets, this explains why I’ve pretty much sneezed my way through life.

While no dog is 100 percent hypoallergenic, there are many non-shedding breeds that the American Kennel Club suggests for allergy sufferers, as they produce less dander.  As well, many mixed breeds found in shelters can quite possibly be a mash-up of some of these hypoallergenic breeds (such as my very own rescue mutt Lulu Schmoo, who was found wandering homeless in the streets of Mexico) and be just hypoallergenic enough for you. So if you are specifically looking for a hypoallergenic dog to add to your family, consider your local shelter or peruse Petfinder.com for candidates!

In no particular order, the top eight hypoallergenic breeds according to the AKC are:

1. Portuguese Water Dog
An athletic and active breed, the Portuguese water dog requires daily vigorous exercise. Very intelligent and responsive to obedience training,  their profuse coat requires regular maintenance. It may be kept in the lion clip (the coat on the hindquarters and muzzle are clipped to the skin) or the retriever clip (the entire coat is clipped to one inch in length and follows the outline of the dog).

Bichon Frise 2. Bichon Frise
A naturally gentle and playful dog, they love activity and require regular exercise. Their hair grows continually and does not shed, so extensive grooming is a must to prevent mats.

3. Chinese Crested
Cresteds make alert and playful companions and do well in families with gentle children. However, they are prone to more frequent skin irritations, allergies, and sunburn than a coated dog would experience, so owners should take appropriate precautions.

Irish Water Spaniel4. Irish Water Spaniel
The Irish water spaniel is an active and energetic companion and possesses the natural instinct to please, making them elatively easy to train, but regular exercise is important. Their hypoallergenic coats require brushing every few weeks and trimming every two months to neaten and shape the coat.

5. Maltese
Despite their diminutive size, the Maltese tends to be brave and without fear. They are one of the most gentle of all little dogs, but are also full of energy and very playful, making them great family dogs. Maltese should be brushed daily, and groomed often to prevent Maltese Dog Breedmats from forming in their long, white coat.

6. Poodle
Exceptionally smart and active, the Poodle is the only breed that comes in three size varieties, and so can accommodate nearly any size living quarters. Their hypoallergenic coat requires regular professional grooming.

Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Dog Breet7. Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
Wheatens tend to be less scrappy than other terriers but they are true terriers and will be more active than many other breeds, enjoying plenty of exercise every day. They relate well to children and can adapt to city, country, and suburban life. The Wheaten is single coated and sheds minimally, but it needs regular grooming to keep its coat mat-free.

Miniaure Schnauzer Dog Breed8. Miniature Schnauzer
While all schnauzers have hypoallergenic coats, the miniature in particular adapts easily to any living situation and loves children if the two are introduced while the dog is under a year of age. Despite their small stature, the miniature schnauzer can give an alarm just as well as a larger dog, which makes them excellent watchdogs. They shed very little, but require grooming every few months.

Did we forget anyone? Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are definitely gaining in popularity as are other breeds. Feel free to share which other breeds might be considered hypoallergenic in the comments section below!

Reprint courtesy of Animal Planet's The Daily Treat with Janet McCulley

Everyone poops. Not everyone has a poop butler.

Doody Calls: The business of pet business

Dog_poop_signI recently came across a strangely interesting statistic stating that more than 300+ companies in the United States and Canada specialize solely in pet poop pick up and removal.…this according to the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (yes, there is such an association…complete with a board of directors). Fondly referring to themselves as “entre-manures” these industrial individuals have created bona fide businesses based purely upon our pet’s “business,” – and considering that 62% of U.S. households own a pet, that’s a whole lotta business coming their way!

My initial assumption about these entre-manures is that they undoubtedly must possess 1) a shovel and 2) a sense of humor  – in order be in the business of “pet business.” Judging from their company names that I managed to scoop up after a bit of Googling, I was clearly accurate in my assumption. While it may appear that I am regressing to seventh grade in sharing my findings, given their ridiculousness, I just had to share these highly amusing and creative company names. Here are my top seven favorites…enjoy!

  1. Minesweepers Pet Waste Removal
  2. ScooperDude
  3. Doodycalls (we can only imagine how they answer the phone: ”Doody Calls!….hold please…)
  4. Dr. Doo
  5. Got Dooky?
  6. Scoopypoo
  7. Doo Bandits

So if you’re looking for a poop butler in your ‘hood, feel free to visit the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists for a pooper scooper near you!

Article reprint courtesy of Animal Planet's The Daily Treat with Janet McCulley

Eliminate Grubby-Paw-Anxiety-Disorder with the Paw Plunger

The Paw Plunger

Are muddy, dirty dog paws the bane of your existence?  Take our quiz below to see if you suffer from Grubby Paws Anxiety Disorder (G-PAD):

  1. Do you occasionally avoid letting your dog outside because you know you'll have to wipe off all of his/her paws off before they gain re-entry?
  2. If you have a longer-haired dog, do you find mysterious debris, such as leaves and twigs, deposited in odd places throughout your home? 
  3. Are you embarrassed when guests see the condition of your paw-print coated floors in the light of day versus under the safe cover of dim nighttime lighting?
  4. Do you frequently suffer night sweats due to the regular sighting of dirty paw prints on your pillowcase, comforter or bed sheets?
  5. Are your car seats covered in dirty paw prints?

If you, like, uh, someone I know, answered a resounding YES to one or more of any of these questions, then you may be suffering from Grubby Paws Anxiety Disorder (G-PAD).

Hang on to your Mop-n-Glow: Help's on the Way

There is good news for G-PAD sufferers and help is now available to help lessen the effects of our condition. Available without a prescription in sizes for both small or large dogs, the innovative Pawplunger.com is a recent scientific development that can help lessen the effects of Grubby Paws Anxiety Disorder.

A fast and easy way to clean your dogs paws before they gain re-entry into your house (or car) simply Paw Plungerfill the Paw Plunger with water and the soft bristles inside the container gently yet effectively remove dirt and debris from your dog's paws.  It can also be used without water to brush off sand and dirt.

Starting at $24.99 for the small size, the Paw Plunger is available Muttropolis.com. Get one and GET LIVING! : )

Blog reprint courtesy of The Daily Treat with Janet McCulley at Animalplanet.com

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Fun Summer Dog Dresses and Dog Harnesses for Furry Fashionistas

Muttropolis Pink Small Dog Dresses

Some folks admittedly roll their eyes at the sight of a dog all dolled up in a foofey dress, the innocent dog looking none too thrilled to be sporting a tutu, fedora, gladiator sandals or other ensemble.

However, I must say that there are some absolutely darling little dog outfits and functional dog harnesses to be had these days, and the entertainment value can be quite high as long as pup is comfortable. Naturally, if you are indeed going to pimp your pup in a Seersucker Shift, its best if they do not resemble a sausage encased in said lightweight puckered fabric.

Does this dog dress make me look fat?

Some of the fuller figured dogs should just say no to parading around resembling a dog stuffed into a frilly sausage-casing. To help you best dress your dog according to his or her body type, I suggest you review some of the handy guidelines provided by the folks over at Howcast.com.

Some of their tips on how to Dress Your Dog According to Their Body Type include how to: 1) Avoid too tight clothes  2) Accentuate your Bulldog's head  3) Work with problem hair  4) Avoid horizontal stripes for Boxers and my personal favorite, 5) Elongate your Dachshund's legs.

Once you've gotten these important details all worked out, you can find some of the cutest tees, dog dresses and functional dog harness dresses around at Muttropolis.com. Some of my favorites are below…particularly the Watermelon Dog Dress and the Pink Watermelon Dog Tee. Dresses and harnesses start at $20.

Pink small dog dresses and dog harnesses

Article reprint courtesy of The Daily Treat on Animalplanet.com

Dog-proof Trash Can: And it was all yellow

Vipp Trash Bin - Design Within Reach 

There's nothing like returning home from a fun night out to find yesterday’s coffee grounds, orange rinds, fish skins and other unsavory discards spread across the kitchen floor with Jackson Pollock flair. When you find yourself faced with this situation, your dog can typically be found either 1) skulking around in the darker recesses of your home, or 2) joyfully greeting you at the door as if none of it ever happened.

After the requisite pulling of your hair and retrieval various treasures from beneath the couch, calm down and consider getting yourself a kick-ass, ironclad trashcan (and maybe some training too).

The happiest darn trash can you ever did see

Originally designed in 1939, this super durable stainless steel Vipp Trash Bin is hand-crafted by skilled craftsmen and consists of up to 42 components. The tight fitting lid can keep curious noses out and trash smells in. Very likely one of the happiest-looking trash cans you’ll ever see, it is available in a range of sizes and colors, and is great for use in the bathroom, kitchen, workspace or living space. A removable inner bin makes changing out the bags easy and a roll of biodegradable liners is included.

Find the Vipp Trash Bin at Design Within Reach.

Article reprint courtesty of The Daily Treat at Animalplanet.com

Drooley floors no more with the Drink Better Pet Bowl

Slobber Face Baloo Black Russian Terrier My neighbor’s dog Baloo resembles a cross between Sasquatch, Cousin It, Slash from Guns N’ Roses and a whole lotta Pigpen. Weighing in at more than 125 lbs, Baloo is a furry bundle of love and Lulu and Zazou love having him over for play-dates.  However, a dog that rocks a fro of this magnitude (see photo), requires more than just a proverbial !Cleanup on Aisle Four!, particularly when it comes to the mess he makes when he drinks water. 

As you will see in this week’s video, Baloo’s beard releases the equivalent of Niagra Falls when he drinks from a water bowl, whether outside or inside the house. And don’t even talk to me about what happens when he shakes his head after drinking…it looks like someone let loose with a hose on the windows.

Enter the Drink Better Bowl

In an attempt to reduce the Slip-n-Slide that Baloo leaves behind when hydrating, I did a little research and found The Drink Better® pet bowl.

The innovative pet bowl integrates the use of a floating obstacle within the bowl to control the flow of water, encouraging dogs to drink at a slower, healthier rate, and make less mess while they’re at it…. just the thing I need for Monsieur Pigpen. According to Contech, the manufacturer, dogs that drink too fast (puppies do this a lot) can also experience digestive problems such as indigestion and vomiting and light-haired dogs may experience staining of the muzzle (from chlorinated water).

Check out this week’s video and see what happens when we test the Drink Better pet bowl with uber-slob-face Baloo!

Baloo

Article reprint courtesy of The Daily Treat at Animalplanet.com

Top Tips to Keep your Pets Safe on July 4th

Stars Dog Bandana As much as we all enjoy watching the "big lights go boom" in the sky every Fourth of July, our pets are not so up on the holiday. Courtesy of our friends over at the ASPCA, here are some top tips to keep your pets calm and safe during the Independence day activities and prevent them from becoming one of the thousands of missing "July 4th doggies" that are traumatized every year by fireworks and other scary noises (…like Uncle Stan at the Karaoke machine, etc.)

  1. Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  2. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  3. Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems 
  4. Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
  5. Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
  6. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
  7. Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  8. Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home. 
  9. Consider calming your pet with a homeopathic calming remedy, available over the counter at most natural pet stores. If your pet has severe anxiety with loud noises, you might consider consulting with your Veterinarian for other options.

Please pass these tips on to any new pet parents you might know, to make sure they understand how to best prepare their pup or kitten for the holiday weekend and feel free to leave a comment with other tips you have found helpful. Happy Fourth!

Reprint courtesy of the Daily Treat at Animalplanet.com

Hot Dogs + Cool Cats: Seven Top Tips to Beat the Summer Heat

Dogs at Dog Beach Del Mar Summer 2009 is at long last upon us and nothing makes a summer adventure more enjoyable than having our beloved four-legged companions in tow! However for animals, the summer heat can be quite uncomfortable as our furry friends are covered with fur and walk directly on hot surfaces that can severely effect their body temperature. 

To help keep our critters safe and comfortable all summer long, check out the following  tips, ideas and products to keep summer from being a bummer for our pets!

1. Car Heat: Avoid heat exhaustion and DO NOT leave your pet alone in the car during the remotelyFurminator Deshedding tool for dogs warm weather. During warm weather the inside of your car can reach 120° in a matter of minutes, even if you're parked in the shade with the windows opened a little. Pet owners that carelessly leave their pets unattended in a hot car are now subject to hefty fines and possibly jail-time, so don't even think about it!

2. Let the Fur Fly: Dogs with extremely thick or long fur should be trimmed during the hot summer  months. Regular use of a deshedding tool, such as the FURminator deshedding tool can remove tremendous amounts of undercoat hair.

 3. Creative Cooling: Water or gel-filled cooling mats or cooling vests are great for dogs that are kept outside or if you do not have air conditioning in your home. As well, an elevated pet bed can help keep pets cool and comfortable and the raised sleeping surface keeps your dog off the hard ground, away from bugs and has an added bonus of great air circulation

Travel Water Bowl 4. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: Provide plenty of water and shade for your pets so they can stay cool. Be aware that water will vaporize on extremely hot days. Collapsible Water Bowls and Gulpy Water Bottles are convenient portable water sources for your pet, especially if you're on the road. As well, the new ASPCA doggie travel water bottle can help you both hydrate and save lives…I'll drink to that!

5. Exercise at Dusk & Dawn: Pets need exercise, but on very hot days it is best to limit  exercise to Gulpy Water Dispenser for Dogs early morning or evening hours. Keep in mind that asphalt and beach sand gets very hot and can burn your pet's paws. Consider protective booties to protect sensitive paws from hot pavement.

6. Avoid Sunburn: Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen his or her nose and ear tips. Especially pets with light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears.

Protective Dog Boots 7. Be aware of the Signs of Heat Exhaustion: Heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting, or a deep red or purple tongue are all  signs of possible heat exhaustion.  What to do: Move the animal into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest or immerse them in cool (not cold) water. Let them drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes and consider taking them directly to a veterinarian.

Do you have some favorite tips to share to help our pets beat the heat? I welcome you to share them with fellow pet parents in the comments below!

Article reprint courtesy of The Daily Treat on Animalplanet.com