Puppy Proofing 101: Keep Your Pet Safe


The five most common poison dangers for dogs in 2011 included food, insecticide, rat poison, NSAIDs (aspirin) and household cleaners, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. All are common in many homes. As you prepare to welcome a puppy into your home, puppy proof every room to keep your pet happy and healthy.


It’s your call on whether to allow your puppy in your bedroom. If you do, protect your puppy by:

  • Keeping any cosmetics, toiletries, hair accessories, jewelry and other small items on a high dresser so that your pup cannot ingest these.
  • Putting your clothes and shoes away so that puppy won’t grab your favorite heels and chew on them.
  • Hanging your purse on a hook or placing it on a secure dresser so that puppy cannot get into your pocketbook.


Unless it’s bath time, the bathroom is not a place for pups. Puppy-proof this room by:

  • Keeping the toilet lid closed when not in use.
  • Shutting the bathroom door when not in use.
  • Using a bathroom trashcan with a lid.
  • Storing all medication in the bathroom cabinet.


The kitchen contains food and chemicals that could harm your pup. Keep her safe by:

  • Moving food out of reach so that pup won’t get your breakfast.
  • Using childproof locks on low cabinets that may contain chemicals.
  • Tucking appliance cords out of the way in case pup has a chewing habit.
  • Using a covered trash can or keep your trash in the cabinet or pantry if pup shows interest in it.

Living room

While your living room seems safe enough, it may contain animal hazards. Protect your pet by:

  • Checking a directory such as the ASPCA’s Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants List, to determine whether your house plants are hazardous. If they are not, they’re fine to remain where they are. If you have toxic plants, place them atop high bookcases where pup cannot get them.
  • Using storage bins to organize family reading material, games, craft supplies, tech toys and other belongings that could tempt your puppy.
  • Hiding light cords, extension cords and other cords or use a plastic cord cover to prevent puppy from chewing your cords.
  • Placing a dog bed and dog toys in this room so your pup has her own things to play with and can spend time with you.


A big yard can be a great place for your pup to stay, if you puppy proof it. Start with these steps:

  • Identify any poisonous yard plants using the ASPCA list. If possible, remove these plants or place a fence around them to keep puppy out.
  • Clean up your garage, moving any chemicals to a high shelf so that pup cannot get them.
  • If you have a hot tub or a pool, cover them when not in use so that puppy cannot get into them, especially if you do not have a backyard fence around the pool. If you have a contoured pool, you can find flexible pool covers that will stretch to fit the shape of your pool.
  • Fence off your yard if you plan to let puppy outside off-leash. If she decides to chase a squirrel, she could end up in the street and at risk.

Creative Commons image by emarquetti

Posted in Dog Care, dog safety | Leave a comment

How to Make Halloween Fun – And Safe – For Your Dog

Lion DogHalloween is a festive time of year, and many humans have a great time decorating and dressing up. Your dog can also participate in the Halloween festivities, but there are several considerations to keep in mind when you are dressing up and enjoying the day. By taking the proper precautions, you and your best friend can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween together.


Super Dog
There are many great pet costumes on the market, and numerous ideas for costumes that you can make on your own. Make sure that the costume you choose for your dog fits properly. Ensure that his vision and breathing are not obstructed by his costume. And most importantly, check that the costume does not hinder the safe operation of your pet’s leash and his harness or collar. Dogs can easily become frightened and slip out of their collar, so it’s extremely critical that your dog’s restraints are secure. A harness that goes around the chest or stomach is a great choice to keep your dog from slipping away. Also, if you will be out after dark, add some reflective tape to your dog’s costume or leash for added visibility.

Candy and Other Hazards

a chihuahua with a toothbrush in his mouth

Human candy is a no-no for pets. We all know that chocolate is bad for dogs, and can lead to vomiting, seizures and even death. Dark chocolate is especially toxic. But, did you know that the large majority of candy is bad for your dog? These candies are made with sugar, which contributes to canine obesity and other health problems, or artificial sweeteners which can lead to seizures or death. Opt for homemade, healthy, dog-specific treats. You can find many recipes for these delicious snacks from your vet or by doing a quick online search. Just be sure to choose recipes from reputable websites. And if you have human children, make sure you keep their treats and candy safely out of reach of your pet; as we all know, dogs have an uncanny ability to sneak into things and run off with goodies when we turn our backs for even a second. Also, keep in mind that face paints, glow sticks, candles and jack o’lanterns can all pose hazards to your dog, so it’s important to keep these items out of reach.



A great way to enjoy the holiday together is to dress your pooch up and take him out into the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. This is a great idea, but make sure you do it safely. First, even the most gentle and loving dog can become stressed out by all the noise and activity, or startled by a well-meaning child. This can lead to an accidental snap or bite. You don’t have to stay home; your dog can go trick-or-treating, too. Just keep your dog close to you at all times and remove him from the situation if he becomes over-stimulated. You can also check out your local newspaper or pet-friendly stores to see what dog-friendly activities are happening for Halloween. Many pet daycares and pet supply stores have Halloween costume contests and doggie trick-or-treating events, along with free pet pictures. These are great opportunities to show off your dog’s Halloween costume and “big boy manners,” as well as getting in some socialization for you and your dog.

Trick Or Treating

As we stated above, there are special precautions to take when you take your dog out into the neighborhood with the trick-or-treaters. If you decide to stay home and pass out candy, keep your dog in a bedroom or other area away from the front door. The noise and activity can upset your dog and lead to an unfortunate event with a child, so it’s best to keep your dog away from the flurry of activity.

Other Safety Concerns

The newspapers and media are full of stories about the bad things that can happen to pets on Halloween. Teenagers (and adults) who are up to no good look for unsupervised pets to be the target of their mischief. Keep your pet supervised at all times, and don’t leave them outside alone. Nearly all dogs just want to be inside the house resting at their master’s feet, so keep your dog inside with you where he is safe from any chance of harm. This will also eliminate any fear for your dog that could come from fireworks or strangers passing by your home.

Posted in Dog Care, dog safety | 3 Comments

Sniff Out a New App!


Skippy, the Mascot of the app, on a walk in Hoboken to play Sniff and Mark.

Words. Candy. Birds. These are a few words that have become synonymous with games for smart phones. Now, the smart-phone savvy can add “dog” to that list. Sniff and Mark is a new app for iPhone which brings the game beyond the phone screen and into real life.

Sniff and Mark takes phone engagement to a whole new level. For the first time, a dog owner and his or her favorite furry friend can both interact to play one game. This GPS-based app allows dog owners and their pets to “mark” different locations during a walk, and, in turn, earn badges for checking into different locations. Marks will fade over time, so dogs must revisit areas in order to maintain their marks. App developer Peter dreamed up this app with his family and developed the app after their adventures of traveling throughout the United States with their own dogs, and having a friendly competition to see whose dog could visit the most states. The end result is an app where any user can choose from 10 different breeds (or mix and match!) to create a dog avatar, and mark different locations throughout the country.

Sniff and Mark is currently running a competition in Hoboken, New Jersey. There are twelve different badges to be collected throughout the Mile Square City, each of which qualifies players to win different prizes. Nine of the badges can be collected at some of Sniff and Mark’s sponsors, and other locations are revealed through hints that are shared through Sniff and Mark’s Facebook page each week. Android users can also play the game by scanning the QR codes that are located at each sponsor’s location.


A boxer from Sniff and Mark

Don’t fret, Droid users, a version for the Play Store is in the works!
While the app is running its badge based competition only in Hoboken for the time being, there are still ways to get involved and win prizes. Those who access the app can earn badges in their own respective states and be qualified for other perks, including a discount to DogCollarBoutique.com!
Sniff and Mark also goes beyond a game and allows pet owners to connect with each other: when a dog “marks” an area, they can leave a message for other dog owners in the area to retrieve when they visit and mark the area themselves. Setting up a doggy playdate has never been easier!

What’s next for this ever-changing app? The team behind Sniff and Mark is working to develop more dog avatars to choose from, as well as badges for all 50 states (they’re currently in 35), and then overseas.

Sniff and Mark can be downloaded from iTunes for instant fun on your next dog walk. Do you use your smart phone for fun with your dog? Let us know in the comments!

By Madalena, a recent graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. By day, she works on the corporate side of the beauty industry in NYC, working for one of the largest beauty trade shows in North America. Madalena’s passion outside of work is fitness- she recently became licensed as a Zumba(R) instructor, and aims to compete in both a triathlon and half-marathon this year. Madalena loves animals and enjoys meeting dogs and their owners.
Posted in Doggy Events, News, Reviews | Leave a comment

The Best Dogs on TV

Lassie Jon Provost 1961

The perfect TV family isn’t complete without a lovable canine companion. Dogs have a rich tradition in television, whether they’re saving children from rivers or sleeping on top of their houses. One of the great characters in television history tops our list, and the rest have had (or are having) long tenures on their respective shows. Featuring a heroic collie, a lovable golden retriever and even a talking lab, here are the five best dogs in the history of TV. 

Lassie- “Lassie”  

It’s hard to imagine any dog will ever reach Lassie’s level of stardom. The female collie starred as the title character in a series for 19 seasons. When she wasn’t saving Timmy from whatever troubled he’d gotten himself into, Lassie enjoyed time on the farm with her loving family. Now, Lassie is a fixture of American culture. Any situation in which an animal saves a human from harm instantly draws comparisons to this notorious hero. Little Timmy may be all grown up, but Lassie’s legacy as the most beloved dog of all time lives on. Check sites like http://www.direct.tv for listings for “Lassie” reruns. Dreamworks announced it’s making a new Lassie movie, so you’ll want to catch up on all of the loyal dog’s adventures.

Eddie- “Frasier” 

Kelsey Grammar rose to stardom as a radio talk show host on “Frasier,” but another character got his first big break. Moose the dog portrayed Eddie, the prominently featured Jack Russell Terrier who lives with Frasier’s father. In one episode, viewers get a glimpse of life from Eddie’s perspective while the other characters discuss how many words he can understand. Moose made such an impression on “Frasier” that he earned a spot on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. BBC.co.uk reported that Moose received more fanmail than any of his TV counterparts.

Comet- “Full House” 

Just about anyone who wandered in was welcome in the Tanner household, so it’s no wonder Comet found a home on prominent family sit-com “Full House.” Comet joined the Tanners in season 3 and he had a natural sense of humor. When Stephanie Tanner asks what he thinks of her goofy glasses, Comet looked in the other direction like a true pro. The Tanners even threw comet a surprise birthday party with his four-legged friends. The dog who played Comet may be best known for his role as Buddy in the “Air Bud” series.

Snoopy- “Charlie Brown” 

After his inception on the “Peanuts” comic strip, Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy rose to fame in the popular Charlie Brown TV specials, including “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Snoopy spent most of his time on top of his dog house, even through heavy rain and snow. Snoopy was an important member of the Peanuts gang, and he became perhaps the most remembered.

Brian Griffin- “Family Guy”

Technically, Brian Griffin is a Labrador Retriever, but he talks, walks on his hind legs and drives a Toyota Prius on “Family Guy.” Maybe that’s why he’s such a popular character. Fans get a chance to imagine their dogs with human qualities. “Family Guy” is going on its 12th season and Brian is only getting smarter.

By Kristen Lipsey: Kristen loves hiking with her kids and dogs. She writes a weekly blog about green living and various health and wellness topics, and shell pick up freelance gigs whenever she can.
Posted in Dog Stories | 2 Comments

Asking the Vet Tech Questions Your Pet Can’t Ask

Cat Check-Up

For most pet owners, pets aren’t just dogs, cats, iguanas and parrots— they are family members. Finding a veterinary assistant or technician in the exam room instead of a fully licensed vet can make some pet parents a little uneasy.

However, the doctor relies on trained professionals to provide superior care to their patients. Veterinary technicians and technologists are similar to nurses in a medical office and are qualified to perform many of the duties the doctor provides to animal clients.

Asking questions is one way for pet owners to build a rapport with the veterinarian and the office staff. The five questions below will help you gain confidence and be a better caregiver for your furry and feathered loved ones.

1. Are you licensed?

Don’t be embarrassed to ask. If you feel uncomfortable, just ask, “Where was your vet tech program completed?” If he or she hesitates or hem-haws around, ask to see the veterinarian instead. Most states require a 2- or 4-year degree or certification and licensure, according to Vet Tech Guide.

2. How can I help my dog lead a healthier life?

Numerous studies indicate pets have positive health benefits for humans. More than 50 percent of dog owners get their daily requirement of exercise, which contributes to lower blood pressure, reduces stress and often keeps obesity at bay. The question is, are humans good for their pets?

By providing nutritious food, a comfortable climate and plenty of exercise, and by making sure your pet has an annual exam, you are contributing to their better health. Find out other ways you can prevent against ailments, such as brushing your pet’s teeth or giving regular heartworm medicine.

3. Are those tests necessary?

Cat owners might notice the vet has ordered an unusual number of tests when the cat seems to be perfectly healthy. Living with a pet every day makes it easier to miss weight changes, especially in older cats. When your tech tells you the doctor ordered an indirect fundus examination, a Schirmer tear test and both blood and urine testing, it sounds ominous.

These tests are to rule out problems that could indicate everything from gingivitis (gum disease) to hyperglycemia (low blood sugar), which leads to the next question.

4. Is this routine, or is something wrong?

In a 2013 study, more than 70 percent of 100 cats in apparently good health tested positive for at least one of 11 disorders, ranging from high blood pressure to increased creatinine (an indication of kidney function) in the urine. The tech should be able to tell you if tests are preventative, or if some indication, such as weight loss or gum condition, warrants additional testing.

5. Can you spell that, please?

Sometimes, trained professionals forget pet parents don’t understand the jargon. If your vet technician says something you don’t understand, ask them to repeat it or, better yet, write it down. You can ask for take-home literature that explains illnesses or surgical procedures in detail.

What advice do you have for pet parents attending vet exams? Share your tips on what to look out for in the comments.

By Lindsay Sterling: Lindsay is a stay at home mom and Pinterest queen. Writing has been her passion since she was 10 years old.
Posted in Dog Health | Leave a comment

Wagging Tails, Healthy Hearts: Why Dogs are Good For You


“Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job,” said Franklin P. Jones, but there’s more to dog ownership than just enjoyment. When the first dog joined a human family around a fire, a bond was formed, and it has only grown stronger since. Science is only beginning to unearth the benefits of the human/canine relationship, but the proof is undeniable. Dogs have a positive impact on every major facet of our lives: our physical health, emotional health and even our attentiveness and productivity.

Worth Skipping a Beat For

You can’t walk 10 steps in this country without hearing something related to heart health. Heart problems account for one out of every four deaths in the U.S. Despite research and medical advancements, the stats aren’t getting better. We need all the heart help we can get— enter the dog. The American Heart Association (AHA) recently released a statement that highlights the numerous health benefits of dog ownership. There are approximately 78 million dogs owned in the U.S., and 39 percent of households own dogs, according to the ASPCA. Dog owners are 54 percent more likely to get their recommended levels of exercise, and they are also shown to have lower blood pressure, stress levels and obesity, according to the CDC. It isn’t just a coincidence though, as Glenn Levine, a Cardiologist with Baylor College of Medicine points out. In one study, people with high blood pressure and borderline high BP who adopted dogs saw a noticeable decrease in blood pressure, while those who delayed adoption saw no difference. This doesn’t mean that owning a dog gives you a license to guzzle MSG, it’s merely another excellent reason to give Rover another pat on the back.

Smile and ​Wag

Emotional and physical health are closely tied, and nothing brings out the best in both like a dog’s love. According to USA Today, some doctors have even suggested dogs can be a suitable substitution for antidepressants (in some select cases). When humans pet a dog, it releases the hormone oxytocin, commonly referred to as the “cuddle hormone.” Oxytocin sends messaged of happiness to our brain and lowers cortisol, which is responsible for stress and anxiety. Oxytocin not only makes us happier, it helps people heal faster, which is why therapy dogs can be so beneficial.

Dogs also help make us more social. In “The Health Benefits of Dog Walking for Pets and People,” the authors point out that dogs make a great social lubricant. Nothing ignites conversation better than a happy dog bounding toward you.

Four Paws for Working Hard

Have you ever visited a site like buzzfeed.com or petsafe.net just to browse for cute dog pictures and info (even if you don’t have a dog)? Now you don’t have to hide it, and you should encourage your boss to do the same thing. A study conducted by the University of Hiroshima revealed that looking at images of baby animals can positively impact productivity, focus and empathy. In the study, groups of people were asked to preform various tasks, then one group was shown images of puppies and other baby animals and asked again. The group that was shown the animal images improved their performance by 44 percent, and their efficiency increased by 16 percent. The “puppy pic” group also showed increased empathy and deliberateness toward the tasks given to them.

Although anyone who has ever owned a dog doesn’t need scientific proof of how wonderful they are, it’s nice to know it’s out there.

By Jacob Carter: Jacob is an animal lover, vegan and writer from Cleveland, Ohio.
Posted in Dapper Dog Lifestyle | 1 Comment

Unlikely Duo- The Spaniel and the Siamese

When you think of opposites, cats and dogs come immediately to mind. They may not be buttercup01perfect friends, but the two animals can coexist in a single home. Buttercup the Cocker Spaniel and Lynx the Siamese cat have forged a relationship that may not come easily to them, but is always interesting.

When Buttercup joined Julie and Roy’s home eight years ago as a puppy, she lived with an older cat who wasn’t interested in making another furry friend, so the two did not forge a friendship, or even interact that much. Since Buttercup was already used to living with a feline, having a kitten join the family was not an issue for her.

Lynx, as a young Siamese cat, has a lot of energy, and actually searches for Buttercup to interact, normally by biting Buttercup on the ear, and then chasing after her. They both buttercup02like to eat turkey jerky, and Lynx will steal Buttercup’s if not eaten it fast enough. Lynx also likes to drink from Buttercup’s water bowl, even though she has her own cat-sized bowl.

Although it seems like Lynx lives to torment Buttercup, the two do have a solid relationship. They sleep in different areas of the house (Buttercup and Lynx are separated at night so that Buttercup can sleep without being disturbed), but they always come to see each other first thing to say “good morning.” They also can be seen on occasion sitting, and even napping together. Even though they may not be the best of the friends, the two animals have certainly formed a special bond.

By Madalena, a recent graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. By day, she works on the corporate side of the beauty industry in NYC, working as a New Product Development (NPD) Coordinator for a prestige skincare company. Madalena’s passion outside of work is fitness- she recently became licensed as a Zumba(R) instructor, and aims to compete in both a triathlon and half-marathon this year. Madalena loves animals and enjoys meeting dogs and their owners.
Posted in Dog Stories | Leave a comment

Understand Your Furry Companion With Doggie Documentaries

According to a 2011 study published by the Humane Society, approximately 39 percent of U.S. households include at least one canine family member. Not surprising, considering dogs provide companionship and unconditional love like no other animal — even human beings. 

More attention is being been paid to studying dogs, their history and their psychology. If you’re one of the millions whose life has been touched by a four-legged furry canine friend, spend some time with one or all of these documentaries and gain some insight into understanding your pooch.

The Secret Life of Dogs

It might seem to you that your dog is better at understanding your moods and emotions than your spouse and, according to “The Secret Life of Dogs,” you’re probably right. This documentary details a number of research studies focusing on dogs, but one specific report spotlights their unique ability to recognize and comprehend the emotions of humans.

Spoiler alert: Turns out dogs analyze human faces the same way humans do. 

The Dogs of New York

There’s not a lot of data on what caused a decline in the dog pup-ulation in New York in the 1970s and 80s, but dog lovers of the world, take heart. “The Dogs of New York” reveals that the number of dogs who have taken up residence in the Big Apple is currently at an all-time high — 1.25 million.

Some speculate that, since the number has surged over the past five years, 9/11 was the event that gave impetus to New Yorkers rediscovering their need to have someone to come home to, a furry someone who could be the source of unconditional love. It’s heartening to see how pampered these NYC pooches are. Some go as far as providing their dogs with Macys.com luxury bedding fit for royalty, while others take their pups for nonfat kosher ice cream. Some big city dogs are livin’ large.

Dogs Decoded

If by understanding your dog, your aim is to learn the difference between his woof and his bark, “Dogs Decoded” is a must-see documentary. In the wild, wolves only bark as a warning, so researchers have come to the conclusion that having evolved from wolves, dog communication techniques have matured as they interacted more and more with humans. This documentary offers scientific research to back up what you’ve known all along: that your dog really does talk to you and there’s a rhyme and reason to his groans, mumbles and yips.

These are just a few of the many doggie documentaries that have recently been produced. The existence of such a wide selection of different topics is testament in itself of the significant role that dogs have in human lives. You already know how important your canine companion is to you. It’s satisfying validation to know that you’re both in good company.

By Vicky Kelly: Vicky is a part-time tech assistant for an animal hospital and a freelance writer for several blogs about pet care.
Posted in Dog Stories, Dog Training | Leave a comment

Dapper Dozen – The Great Gatsby Fashion

Gatsby Inspired Dog CollarsCelebrating the Art Deco Style of the Roaring 20’s. Inspired by the film and book by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Next – Most Popular Dog Collars >

Next – Most Popular Dog Collars >

Posted in Dapper Dozen | Leave a comment

A Four-Legged Fiesta

Bellmore Barks

Here in New York, we have plenty of things to celebrate. Spring is (finally) here, the Knicks and both of our hockey teams are in the playoffs, and the Mets aren’t losing terribly… yet. But all of our celebrations don’t pertain to sports, or even humans, for that matter. Since dogs are a part of our families, why not celebrate them, too?

Bellmore Barks

The town of Bellmore on Long Island (and my hometown) celebrated our four-legged friends this past weekend with an event exclusive to dogs. Hosted by the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce, Bellmore Barks encompassed a day of activities for pets and their families. The event included a doggy fashion show, games, and a chance for pups to socialize with each other in their Sunday best. Dogs walked the red carpet in a dog fashion show in bowties, dresses, and even a sombrero and maracas in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Dogs also had an opportunity to play musical “chairs” with the other pooches, using mats instead of chairs so that all could play. All of the participants were rewarded with chew toys and Frisbees for their efforts.

Does your town have any events for pets? What kind of events do you like?

By Madalena, a recent graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. By day, she works on the corporate side of the beauty industry in NYC, working for one of the largest beauty trade shows in North America. Madalena’s passion outside of work is fitness- she recently became licensed as a Zumba(R) instructor, and aims to compete in both a triathlon and half-marathon this year. Madalena loves animals and enjoys meeting dogs and their owners.
Posted in Dapper Dog Lifestyle, Dog Stories | Leave a comment