Dog Spotlight – Zach Attack!

Have you ever thought that your dog deserves his or her own sitcom? Dogs can sometimes be hysterical and adorable at the same time, and they usually aren’t even aware that they’re doing it. Joyce’s seven year old black lab, Zach, has quirks that merit him a reality show during primetime. Although mellow and loyal by nature, Zach’s antics make him a comedian unknowingly.

Like a man and his armchair on Sundays during football season, Zach has “his” chair, and will sit and stare at anyone who dares to sit in “his” zach newspot- a gray recliner. When he’s not occupying this chair, Zach likes to spend his time in other’s laps. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that he weighs 75 pounds! Whether he’s on someone’s lap or the chair, Zach likes watching television with his family. Joyce isn’t sure if he completely understands the story lines, but he looks intrigued enough for her to feel bad about changing the channel.

While his comprehension of cable TV is debatable, Zach does understand basic English commands, and also instills some of his own. While he can communicate his basic needs to Joyce by walking ovenew zach picr to his food when he is hungry, or to the door when he needs to go outside, this big black dog is very picky about what he eats. Zach refuses to eat from a bowl that has been used before, and likes his water chilled with several ice cubes. If it’s not up to his exacting standards, Zach will whine and walk away from the bowls, or sit and stare at his family, as his does with his chair. Although Zach probably takes his food very seriously, to an outsider, this arrangement he has with his family is hilarious.

Of course, no star is complete without his sidekick. While Zach likes to sleep late (on his Tempur-Pedic dog bed, no less), his little brother, Max, enjoys waking him up with his sparring skills. Luckily for Max, Zach is very patient with him, which makes him the star of his home.

What funny things does your dog do? Share with us 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 Dog Stories | Leave a comment

Traveling With Your Dog – Checklist

1/ Traveling by air with your dog

Dog Traveling by Airplane

Plane travel with your pooch requires planning ahead. Begin investigating air travel six to eight weeks before your trip to meet all regulations in time.

  • Breed-specific/temperament regulations: Snub-nosed dogs such as pugs, English bulldogs and French bulldogs are prohibited from most commercial flights after many of these dogs died during air transit. Neurotic, elderly and other dogs may not be good candidates for air travel. You’ll need to evaluate whether your dog is up for the long, crated journey in cargo.
  • Convenience: Small dogs, up to 20 pounds, can often fly in the cabin with you, so long as they are in a portable dog kennel.
  • Safety: To ensure your dog has a comfortable trip, follow these tips regarding crate preparation.
  • First aid: Before you travel, you’ll need to obtain a health certificate. This certifies that your dog has no medical conditions that would compromise his safety during travel.
  • Regulations: Ask the airline directly to find out the most up-to-date regulations.
  • Gear: You’ll need a crate or portable kennel for your pet. Crates also require an absorbent cloth to line the create and a clip-on water and food bowl.
  • Read more: The FAA offers comprehensive information on flying with your pet in the passenger cabin or cargo hold. Since every airline can set their own pet policy, your best resource will be the airline you’re planning to fly.

2/ Traveling by car with your dog

Dog Traveling by Car

Car travel is probably the most frequent mode of travel with your pooch. After all, what errand isn’t made better when your best friend is riding shotgun? Use this checklist to make sure that you have everything your dog needs for a comfortable ride.

  • Safety: When traveling in car, two main safety considerations are keeping your dog restrained and keeping the car temperate. Your dog may enjoy curling up in the seat next to you, but this isn’t the safest position for him. Just as you would not want your toddler to ride unrestrained, you would not want your dog left loose in the car. If your pet wears a harness on walks, consider using a harness style restraint. Other options including crating your dog or using a pet barrier to create a physical barrier that keeps your dog in the hatchback or backseat areas.
  • Convenience: On long car trips, you’ll need to plan bathroom breaks for your pup. Get off to a good start by minimizing your pup’s water intake pre-travel, then watching his body language and listening for signs that he has to pee.
  • First aid: If your dog is prone to motion sickness, avoid feeding her before a long car trip. Don’t feed her during car travel, either since this may cause vomiting. Instead, offer her a small, protein-rich snack during a break.
  • Regulations: Depending on where you live, pet restraint during car travel may be a law.
  • Gear: Aside from a harness or barrier, you’ll also want a portable food and water dish, a dog leash and an optional chew toy or treat to keep your dog occupies during travel.
  • Read more: Learn more about pet safety harness laws here and general car travel tips here .

3/ Traveling by ship with your dog

Dog Traveling by Yatch

Some ferries and yachts allow pet passengers, which makes ship travel an option even if you don’t have your own.

  • Breed-specific/temperament regulations: Some large dogs may be too big. If your pet won’t have room to roam confortably, consider leaving him at home. Likewise, dogs that dislike crowds won’t enjoy the trip. Evaluate your dog’s temperament then decide if this is right for him.
  • Safety: Just as it took you time to gain your sea legs, your canine companion may slip on board. Keep his leash on at all times for safety’s sake.
  • Gear: A canine life jacket is a must when doing any type of boat travel. You’ll also want portable food and water dishes.
  • Regulations/ laws: Most long-distance cruise lines allow only service animals on board. One of the main reasons for this lies behind country-specific ports of call regulations. Even if you brought your dog, he may not be able to leave the ship without proper documentation.
  • First aid: As with car travel, dogs that get motion sickness should not e fed prior to a boat trip. While on board, do not offer your dog food; feed a small snack when you return to land.
  • Read more: Discovery offers a handy guide for preparing your dog to travel on a personal boat. Some of their tips apply to commercial watercraft as well.

4/ Camping / Hiking with your dog

Camping With Your Dog

Active dogs get a chance to burn off steam when camping or hiking. To ensure the trip is pleasant for all, keep these tips in mind:

  • Breed / temperament specific issues: Not all breeds enjoy the great outdoors. If your dog is a watchdog, hiking may not be very pleasant as he’ll be apt to bark at every little noise.
  • Safety: Dogs do get lost while hiking. Keep his collar on at all times and consider getting him microchipped should something go wrong.
  • Convenience: Car camping allows you to introduce our dog to the great outdoors gently. Start with a small day hike or overnight trip, then work up to the longer trips you want to take.
  • Gear: Consider a dog coat if your pet has short hair. Take along a portable pet carrier or pet bed and doggie dishes.
  • Regulations/ laws: Not all parks allow pets. Before you set out, ensure that your preferred hiking or camping destination is pet-friendly.
  • First aid: To keep your dog safe, ensure he is up-to-date on all vaccines before you hike.
  • Read more: PetMD offers more tips on preparing for hikes with your dog and Petfinder offers a dog camping guide.
Posted in dog safety, Dog Travel | Leave a comment

Dapper Dozen Most Popular Dog Tags & Charms – April 2013

Here are the most popular dog ID Tags and Dog Charms on Dog Collar Boutique by views for April, 2013.

Next – The Great Gatsby Fashion >

Next – The Great Gatsby Fashion >

Posted in Dapper Dozen, Dog Fashion | 1 Comment

Earth Day 2013 Challenge – Winners

Earth Day 2013 Contest

Here are the winning pet-friendly ideas! Based on FaceBook member votes

First prize: $150 gift certificate to Dog Collar Boutique.

Alaina F., “Take old jerzee tees and upcycle them into braided chew toys.”

2nd prize: $50 gift certificate!

Andrea D., “Dogs, you know those $12 bottle toys you can buy at the store? Dogs don’t care if the toy is shaped like a squirrel or skunk. They just like chasing it when you throw it, and the sound it makes when they crunch the bottles. So take an empty water bottle, and a pair of socks you’d otherwise throw out… sew up any holes, put the water bottle in the sock and tie up the end, and let them play.”

(later edit:) “…I forgot to mention to always take the cap off. (I just assumed that was a given, but maybe not since the toys in stores always have the caps on) When I use to buy the bottle toys I always had to cut them open, remove the cap and sew it back up. That’s what I hated about paying so much for those toys. The dogs loved them, but they would be so expensive and they’d get chewed up so quick. Plus I’d have to open it initially to take the cap off. That is when I started making my own of socks I would have otherwise tossed out.”

3rd prize: $50 gift certificate!

Maria F., “For pets such as dogs and horses, fly spray is a must. However, I worry about the harmful chemicals in the name-brand fly sprays. I have read that creating a mixture of 1 cup of water, 2 cups of vinegar, 1 cup of Avon Skin So Soft and a tablespoon of eucalyptus or citronella oil will surely keep the flys away. Or Avon Skin So Soft with 5 parts water will repell insects and give animals a healthy shine! This would end up costing less than most fly sprays and is more eco-friendly! Now I can fly spray my dogs and horses without worrying about the harmful chemicals I’m allowing them to come into contact with and I’m not spreading these chemicals into the air! Give this recipe a try!!”

Posted in Dapper Dog Lifestyle, News, Weekly Contests | Leave a comment

Dapper Dozen Most Popular Dog Collars

Get Inspired! Here are the top 12 most viewed dog collars on DogCollarsBoutique.com in April, 2013. Enjoy!

Next – Most Popular ID Tags & Charms >

Next – Most Popular ID Tags & Charms >

Posted in Dapper Dog Lifestyle, Dapper Dozen, Dog Fashion | Leave a comment

Get Your Dirty Paws Off My New Car Seats, Please

Dog inside of a car

The issue of restraining pets in cars sometimes can fluster passionate pet parents. Yet, only 17 percent of drivers restrain their pets, according to AAA. In addition to being less safe, unrestrained pets often make messes in cars, either with their dirty paws or from accidents. Most pet-advocacy organizations agree that pets and their guardians need to be “trained to restrain.”

Harness

Paws to Click warns that a 60-pound dog traveling at 35 mph could be the equivalent of a 2,700-pound projectile in a crash. Tether your pet using a wearable harness. The Tru-Fit Smart Dog Harness is recommended, which has an adjustable safety tether that can attach to the car’s seatbelt, as well as a padded chest plate for extra safety. It comes in sizes from small (for pets under 25 pounds) through extra large (for pets weighing more than 80 pounds). ASPCA.org suggest you don’t let your pet ride with his head outside the window, no matter how much he seems to enjoy it. He could be injured by objects that come too close to the car.

Pet-Friendly Cars

Browse Hondas at Jean Knows Cars or other car review sites. The Honda CR-V and other models will accommodate products purchased separately specifically designed to keep pets comfortable and cars clean. The CR-V has 37 cubic feet of cargo space, enough to keep a kennel or a tethered dog.

Petside.com says the FJ Cruiser has rugged rubber flooring that allows for easy cleanup of spills, drool and dirt and has been lauded for its generous cargo space and swing-out back door. The Jeep Liberty SUV has a truly flat surface for pets’ comfort and is available with a moon roof so they can enjoy the sky and an overhead breeze, according to DoggyLoot.com.

A Partition

To enhance traveling, there are a number of truly useful products to help with transporting pets. A pet partition separates the compartment where you place your pet in the car from the rest of the vehicle’s interior. Custom canine covers in a variety of styles especially tailored to the dimensions of your vehicle stop pet hair and can prevent claw marks and accidents from ruining your vehicle’s interior. They can cover just the bench of the back seat or be more of a hammock and extend to the back of the front seat to prevent pets from falling to the floor. A vehicle door protector that almost completely covers the inside of the doors prevents animals from damaging doors with their claws. A pet tent gives a dog or cat an enclosed den to enjoy in the back of an SUV. And consider installing a dog hitch step that attaches to the back of your SUV or bringing along a folding pet ramp. It helps your four-legged friend get in and out of your vehicle with ease, according to AutoAnything.com.

A car model that’s optimal for you and your pet and unique products that protect both your pet and your vehicle create a recipe for years of enjoyable road travel for the whole family.

Posted in Dapper Dog Lifestyle, dog safety | Leave a comment

Ten Tips for Going Green With Your Dog

Shame My HumanBeing shown how to recycle by your pup may well be something to be ashamed of, but perhaps not if you consider the many enjoyable activities you can do with your dog while trying to reduce you and your pet’s carbon footprint. Let’s explore ways to “go green” that benefit not only the health of the Earth but the health of your pet as well.

10 ways you can go green with your dog:

  1. Giving your dog biodegradable or recycled toys with which to play. Old towels, sheets, clothes and shoes make great chew toys for growing puppies. Tie several rags together and have a tug-fest with an older dog or make a rag ball and go outside for a fun afternoon of playing fetch with your favorite pal.
  2. Embrace your green side by ditching the plastic bags and scooping your dog’s poop into biodegradable poop sacks that can be buried in your garden or compost pile. They also contribute to keeping sewage systems clean and free of bacteria.
  3. All dog owners have had aggravating encounters with flea circuses deciding to put on a show using your dog’s body. Go green when fighting these high-wire pests by using organic shampoos instead of pesticides. An example of a homemade flea treatment involves mixing essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint with warm water, white vinegar and citronella oil.
  4. Make your own dog food instead of buying food that often contains hormones and antibiotics. Search for tasty recipes on the Internet or purchase a grinder and give your dog fresh chicken, turkey and beef instead of packaged food.
  5. Most dogs love to play in water but those streams and rivers that attract him like a magnet may contain chemically-laced run-off from farms and treatment plants. Go green with your dog by investing in an appropriately-sized swimming pool and letting him practice his dog-paddling in your backyard.
  6. Before treating your lawn this spring and summer, go green with alternative methods that can naturally stimulate your lawn’s growth. Use oganic fertilizer made with fish, bone and kelp meal and organic pesticides containing dishwashing soap and canola oil.
  7. Make homemade dog treats that are free of preservatives, artificial flavors and additives. Dogs love chewy, natural treats made from honey, yogurt, dried fruits and peanut butter.
  8. Bathtime for some dogs is an experience more frightening than having a nightmare about the neighbor’s Doberman getting loose. You can soothe your pet’s fears and go green at the same time by using a dry dog shampoo that cleans his coat without using soap and water. Warm some oatmeal or bran in your oven, rub the grains into the dog’s coat using a soft towel and then brush the dog afterwards with his favorite brush.
  9. Use cleaning solutions powered by enzymes instead of chemicals to clean up pet accidents.
  10. Don’t forget about your local animal shelter. Instead of throwing away old pet toys or bedding, clean them with bleach and water and donate the items to the shelter.

Do you have ideas of how you and your pet could make the earth a better place? Be creative and start today! It would be a real shame if Earth Day was the only day of the year we did anything about it!

Posted in Dapper Dog Lifestyle | Leave a comment

Choose a Veterinarian Who Doesn’t Make You Feel Like Crap!

Female veterinarian and young boy petting kittens

I chose a veterinarian who made me feel like crap.  Actually, I made me feel like crap.

A secret about me is that I’m crazy insecure when I’m stressed.  It has a little to do with (probably a lot) my upbringing.  I want people to like me so it sucks when someone doesn’t share my enthusiasm for the topic of the day.  It’s a little pathetic, but I bet a lot of people can relate.

One day I took our dogs to the veterinarian and wanted to discuss something I’d read while researching an article.  That’s the cool thing about being a pet blogger, we’re always learning new things and a trip to the veterinarian is a great time to get clarification on a topic; or so I thought.

My veterinarian showed no interest in the discussion; I imagine that he was sighing internally at another Google diagnosis.  He may have been busy that day, but this attitude wasn’t new with him and I decided that he wasn’t the vet for us.  I paid the bill and went home.  That was our last visit.  I knew that I needed to choose a veterinarian who would listen to me.

I Want a Vet Who I Can Talk To

Our dogs and cats can’t tell us what’s wrong so I think it’s only natural that we’re going to race to Google to try and figure out what’s going on.  Having lost a pet this past year, I’m a little sensitive when we have a sick pet at home and try to learn as much as possible so that I can…

  • be prepared
  • know what to look for
  • speak intelligently to our vet about their symptoms

Veterinarians Don’t Know Everything

I think that most vets keep up on the advances of veterinarian medicine, but there are hundreds of dog breeds out there and a fellow blogger (Amanda, A Mastiff Blog) taught me that “Vet schools teach our Veterinarians about dogs, not specific breeds and these 161+ breeds are all a little bit different.”  So I try not to be too hard on veterinarians.  I don’t expect them to know it all, but I do expect them to help me understand our dogs better.  Give me a little peace of mind please.

When a Vet Won’t Speak to Pet Owners

If you have a vet that won’t speak with you about your pet’s health – Run.  This is not the vet for you.  In my opinion, the best way to help us raise happy, healthy dogs is to arm us with information.  So when I was speaking with our new vet, I asked her for 10 minutes of her time (yep, made an appointment) to ask her some questions that she was only too happy to answer.  Both my boyfriend and I love to ask questions and she has been nothing but patient and we couldn’t be happier.

If You Don’t Have the Option to Change Vets

We’re lucky.  We live in a town of pet lovers and I can think of 5 veterinarians as I type this and I know that there are several more within 10-15 minutes of our home.  Not everyone has this luxury.  So if you have a vet who won’t speak to you and you don’t have the option of running, then explain what you need.  Explain that you would like to better understand your pet’s health so that you can give them a good life.  And keep explaining this until they hear you.

I’m not a fan of conflict and sometimes being a little pushy can feel uncomfortable.  But, it’s not about confrontation; we’re just asking for clarification.  So find a vet that you feel comfortable talking to; our pets count on us to speak for them – so speak up! Loudly!!!  Choose a veterinarian who will listen.

What do you love about your vet?

Kimberly Gauthier is a dog mom to three herding mix dogs and two tolerant cats. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her boyfriend where she’s the Editor in Chief of Keep the Tail Wagging magazine. Kimberly shares dog care tips from the perspective of a woman who lives in a multi-dog household.
Posted in Dog Care, Dog Health | Leave a comment

Best Friends Forever – Tips on Caring for Your Aging Dog

A life-long friendship

There’s nothing quite as captivating as a new puppy. Who could resist those big, trusting eyes, that wiggly bottom and those wonderful, wet kisses? But, while puppy charms may fade, the relationship between pet and pet parent only deepens with the passing of time. Charm quickly grows into love, trust and loyalty. A dog can be both a friend and a companion: someone who will listen when no one else is there. Even the worst day is suddenly brighter when you walk through the door at night and are greeted by an exuberant ball of fur who loves you without reservation.

Your aging pet

Old Labrador retriever.

Eventually, though, every dog starts to show its age. Now it’s time to give back a little of the undying devotion they have showered on us over the years. Just as a puppy needs house-training pads and its first set of shots, older dogs have their own set of physical and emotional requirements. Here are a few things to keep in mind while helping your devoted companion through his or her golden years.

  1. Diet – Many things affect the dietary needs of dogs as they age. They may have tooth and gum problems that require softer food, for instance. They may also have some loss of smell which can affect their appetite. Elderly dogs may not absorb as many nutrients from their diet as they once did. You can help your pet by choosing a well-balanced dog food that is designed for older animals. Offer wet food if your dog has trouble chewing kibble. Supplements are also available for pets now. A once-daily chewable vitamin can help ensure that your older dog is getting all the nutrients they need.
  2. Vaccinations – In the past, it was thought that dogs needed to be vaccinated at regular intervals throughout their lives to maintain their immunity to illness. Recently, it has been learned that older dogs can now safely go longer between vaccinations. Not only will their immunity not be compromised, they will also be spared the physical stresses that accompany vaccinations. Of course, you should always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s vaccination schedule.
  3. Exercise – Physical activity is as important for an old dog as it is for a pup. Health problems, however, can make exercise more challenging as pets age. They may be more sensitive to heat and cold, for instance, or they may have joint problems that make it more difficult to get around. Talk with your vet about safe ways for your dog to continue being active. Swimming may be a good choice because it takes the stress off of old joints. Walking your dog in the early morning might be one way to avoid the heat of the day. Your vet might also recommend medications that can make your pet more comfortable while on the move.
  4. Accidents – Many older dogs develop incontinence. Sometimes they have lost the cognitive ability to remember their house training, other times they simply have aging bladder muscles. You can minimize clean-up time by purchasing a waterproof bed for your pet and simply tossing it in the washer as needed. You can also buy cheap, disposable under-pads and place them on your couch or anywhere else your dog likes to sleep. Keeping a good enzyme-based cleaner on hand is a good idea, as well.

These few simple steps can help make your pet’s golden years the truly enjoyable time they deserve.

Posted in Dog Care, Dog Health | Leave a comment

The Best TV Shows For Dog Lovers

TV Dog

Animal lovers can attest: There’s no such thing as too many puppies. According to HumaneSociety.org, more than 78 million dogs have homes in the United States. For this legion of puppy-possessed owners and the ranks of wanna-be pet parents comes a growing collection of dog-specific TV programming. From behavior tips to dog contests to highly trained canines, these shows offer an intimate look dogs from all angles.

If you love man’s best friend, enjoy the entertainment provided by these best puppy-loving programs:

‘The Dog Whisperer’

No bark is too loud for renowned dog trainer Cesar Millan. On National Geographic’s “Dog Whisperer,” Millan travels around the world rehabilitating dogs and demonstrating effective training tactics for owners. In a recent episode, Millan described why a couple’s dog goes into a frenzy when its owners kiss. Hungry for attention, the dog responds to Millan’s snaps and quiets down. Millan’s list of celebrity students includes Jillian Michaels, Kelsey Grammer and Hugh Hefner.

Owners looking to foster better relationships with their dogs can learn tips and tricks from Millan. Even if your dog is well behaved, Millan’s uncanny ability to connect with man’s best friend is a sight to behold.

‘Puppy Bowl’

A long NFL season culminates with the Super Bowl, America’s most-watched television event. Die-hard animal lovers aren’t focused on football, halftime or commercials, however, because over on Animal Planet there’s an even more exciting competition: “Puppy Bowl.” Watch puppies of every shape and size in a miniature football field as they wrestle for toys. This annual event uses slow motion cameras to capture the cuteness. Forgive the pups if they don’t play by the rules.

For dog enthusiasts, the chance to gather so many different breeds in one place is an elusive dream. “Puppy Bowl” is the next best thing.

‘Alpha Dogs’

Some dogs are destined for greatness. “Alpha Dogs” chronicles the development of police and military dogs from around the world. Physically gifted canines need training and practice to master skills like finding illegal substances, pursuing criminals and scaling walls. These dogs go through boot camp just like regular soldiers. Soldiers and dogs compete in challenges that test the strength of their bonds. Lead trainer Ken Licklider demands excellence from his dogs. “Alpha Dogs” airs on National Geographic Fridays at 9 p.m.

Watch “Alpha Dog” to see dogs perform at the highest level. The next time you see a police dog, you’ll appreciate the hard work that goes into its training.

‘Dogs 101’

If you’re ready to own a dog, but you’re not sure what kind, “Dogs 101” is a good place to start. Highlighting a different breed each episode, “Dogs 101” reveals the personalities, temperaments, likes and dislikes of dogs. Learn whether a certain breed would fit in with your lifestyle, and get to know more about dogs in general. Episodes that highlighted the affenpinscher, the English bulldog and the golden retriever have garnered the most attention so far. If your passion is pups, “Dogs 101” will be your favorite class.

Catch “Dogs 101” every weekday morning at 8 a.m. on Animal Planet.

by: Maren Krauss
The two things Maren loves most is traveling the world and hanging out with her dog, Maxine. She writes about both of these subjects often.
Posted in Dog Shows, Dog Stories, News | Leave a comment