Showing posts with label Pets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pets. Show all posts

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Mothers Day Cards from the Dog

Let's review some Mother's Day cards for a dogmom.   As a dogmum myself I have to say that I have never received a Mother's Day card from the dog, but apparently it is something that is increasing in popularity. 

Mothers Day Cards from the dog - image of a dog and his dog mum/dog mom

I guess it's quite understandable that the dog would send Mothers Day cards as we lavish a lot of attention on our fur babies.  A number of people I know have a family of furbabies instead of human children whether by choice or not - why shouldn't they be celebrated?

I came across the idea of Mother's Day cards while looking at Zazzle's selection of Mother's Day cards.  If you purchase your Mother's Day cards online through a print on  demand site such as Zazzle you will get a great quality card that usually has an option for you to personalize it.   There is often a larger selection of cards and you can find a number of original designs.   You are also helping a small designer to contribute to their family's income - trust me they do a happy dance every time they make a sale!

There were so many designs to choose from that it was really hard to decide on just a couple of feature so if you don't like the ones below check out the rest here - Selection of Mother's Day Cards from the Dog.

I love this Mother's Day card as it's a  very simple design that can be beautifully personalized by adding a photo of your own dog/dogs and even changing the text:


Another card that can be totally personalized (and a picture of the dog with their mom would be perfect) is this next one. This is one that I personally prefer over the other as I love the I Woof You sentiment!



These are only two of the thousands of cards that are available, so feel free to click on the link above these cards if neither of them grab you. 

The great thing about Zazzle (besides their amazing card quality and printing quality) is the comprehensive range available so you could even search for labrador Mother's Day cards, pug Mother's Day cards etc. 

What do you think of the idea of receiving a Mother's Day card from the dog? I love it and may just have to leave this article open on the computer for my husband to see!



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Friday, April 2, 2021

Frontline Flea & Tick Drops for Dogs and Cats Reviewed


Each spring I am reminded that there are a few things I really hate about the arrival of warmer weather.  The main one is ticks.  I absolutely abhor ticks! 

I have always lived in the beautiful state of Tennessee.  There is so much to love here.  We have the benefit of experiencing all four seasons, we can grow beautiful flowers, trees and plants, plus we have a wide range of terrain that includes hills, mountains, woods and farm land.  Unfortunately, ticks love our state too. 

We enjoy walking in the woods, on trails, and exploring the world around us.  We always take our dog with us and ticks love our dog as much as they love our state.  Those mean critters hop on him with evil intentions, but he has a Frontline of defense that leaves them wishing they had chosen a different host.

I remember well the first time we armed our first dog with Frontline. After a day of frolicking in the woods with our daughter, he laid down on the entry tile to sleep.  When he awoke, a pile of dead ticks were surrounding him.  Ah, the perfect tick!  

Since that day, all of our dogs have been protected by Frontline Plus, which also kills fleas.


How & When to Treat a Dog with Frontline Flea & Tick Drops

 FRONTLINE Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for Dogs (Extra Large Dog, 89-132 Pounds, 6 Doses)Check Price When to treat you pets may vary by location. I suspect some lower southern states need to treat their pets year round.  In Tennessee, we grab the Frontline as soon as the first warm day arrives.  That is usually in late February or early March.  Since ticks go dormant during the winter (days with temperatures of under 32°), our dogs get a break from the medicine between October and March.  After that, the drops are applied once a month to keep them protected. 

The word "drops" implies that there isn't much liquid applied, but that really isn't an accurate description.  The vials contain the amount of medicine required based on the pets weight.  For our Labrador retriever, his vials contain about a teaspoon of medicine. 

The vial applicators are plastic and are vial shaped with a neck so you are able to apply the liquid all on one spot of skin between a dogs shoulder blades.  You must separate his fur and apply the medicine to his skin (it is absorbed through the skin).

Once dry, the Frontline is waterproof and will continue to protect your swimming pups.

A few words of caution:

  • Wear disposable gloves when treating your pet with Frontline
  • Do not touch the liquid yourself.  I found this out the hard way. I get a severe sore throat if I accidentally touch the spot, even if I wash my hands quickly.
  • Avoid petting the animal in the application area until it is completely dry (experience tells me that is about a day)
  • We apply it at bedtime which allows 8hrs before we are likely to accidentally touch the application spot
  • Do Not apply Frontline to young puppies less than 8 weeks old according to the package, but I recommend consulting your vet for the appropriate age recommendation. We have never used it on a puppy less than a year old.  
  • Don't let other animals lick the treated spot
  • Do Not apply more often than once a month

Now, you may wonder, with all of these cautions, is it really worth it. Easy answer, yes!  Ticks carry diseases that could not only kill your pet, but would also kill you should the tick or its offspring prefer you to the dog. 

I've read the numbers of people who die annually from tick transmitted diseases.  They seem low when reading, especially if you weigh that number against how many people hike regularly. However, I have personally known someone who died of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and it no longer seems as rare as one might think if you just read the statistics.

Having grown up in the south, I know ticks are common. Dogs and cats can't check themselves for ticks. Unless a human just happens to pet them when the tick is embedded and recognize the nasty "lump", a tick can live on a dog for weeks, months or even years based on the tick species and gender. One of the last things a pet owner wants is a tick infestation. 

As with any medication, check with your pet's doctor before using Frontline.  If the vet doesn't mention tick prevention to you, you now know to ask them.






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Thursday, July 16, 2020

National Lost Pet Prevention Month

Fenway Bolted Due to Frightening Gunshots

Count off two seconds with me.  One, one thousand.  Two, one thousand.  Stop.  Someone has just lost a beloved pet.  Again: One, one thousand.  Two, one thousand.  Another fur baby is missing.

This happens every day, every two seconds.  If you add it up, that is 30 missing pets per minute, 1800 per hour, and 43,200 per day.  I did the math.  That comes out to over 15 million missing pets each year.  For anyone who cannot imagine a life without animals, that is a horrifying number.

I hate to tell you this, but it gets worse.  Only 1 in 10 of those lost animals will return home.

Blessing Escaped From a Vehicle - She Has Not Been Found

Though one might be able to set aside cold, hard numbers, it is much more difficult to forget the names and faces of the missing.  Likewise, the desolation of not knowing the fate of a pet is the kind of thing that haunts a pet parent forever.

Given these statistics, it seems clear that more needs to be done to significantly reduce the number of animals that go missing, and more needs to happen to successfully reunite the lost with their loved ones.  It is no coincidence that July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month.  Over the 4th of July holiday, animal intakes in shelters across the nation increase by 80 percent.  No doubt, much of that has to do with the terrifying nature of fireworks, and how extreme distress causes so many animals to bolt in sheer panic.

Why do pets become lost?  What happens to missing pets?  Why are some found, while others seemingly disappear into thin air?  What makes the difference in giving these lost animals a better chance of being reunited with their families?

Pets become lost for any number of reasons.  They can bolt when scared or when involved in an accident (like Jade in Yellowstone National Park), escape when given the opportunity (an open gate or door), go looking for love (if not spayed or neutered), take off during a hike in the woods (in pursuit of a wild animal), become disoriented, or upset, after a move to a new home (and go looking for the familiarity of a former life), jump out of a vehicle, dig under a fence, get snatched while unattended, and so much more.

Harley Went Missing During a Move
She Was Found Eight Miles From Her New Home

What happens to your missing pet?  Many different scenarios can unfold depending on the animal's physical condition and age, her confidence and personality, familiarity with the territory, weather conditions, proximity to helpers (remote area vs. urban area), and actions taken by those responsible for finding her.

Some animals are found, but have no identification tag or microchip.  The finder doesn't know who to contact to return the pet.  That dog or cat may end up being kept by the finder, or adopted out by an animal rescue organization.  This is one reason why it is so important to notify regional shelters and online lost pet forums.  Highly visible, and widely distributed, lost pet signs are also critical in these cases.  Harley was reunited with her family last week because the finder saw her posted in a lost pet group on Facebook.

A dog missing for three weeks was found just yesterday thanks to a lost dog sign that was seen by an individual who sighted a dog dragging a leash.  Despite being lost in a major city, Coco had evaded searchers for 21 days, and was found hiding in a field one mile from where she bolted.  She ran in fear from an outside seating area at a coffee shop due to an unexpectedly loud crashing noise.  Her leash had been wrapped around the leg of a chair while her owner was picking up an order.  Just like that Coco was gone.  Never leave your dog unattended.

Coco is a Real Flight Risk

Pets riding in cars should always be restrained.  This can be done with a travel crate, a harness system that hooks into a seatbelt, or similar safety features.  Blessing escaped from a vehicle because she was not adequately secured.  Always, always secure your pet in a vehicle.  Some dogs are able to lower car windows by standing on the power window buttons (Blessing was one of those dogs).  That provides a vehicle escape route.  Be sure to activate the child safety locks in your car when traveling with pets.

Our organization microchips every animal adopted from our shelter.  It is not unusual for a pet to get away from a new owner.  Keeping your pet's chip registered and updated with current contact information is essential.

If you take your dog hiking or camping in remote areas, you might consider outfitting him with a GPS tracker collar.  Out in the wilderness, this could save his life.  It is also a good idea if you have a dog that has gotten away from you before, or that tends to be easily frightened.  A skittish dog on the run can be harder to find given the tendency toward evasion.

Some final tips: Be aware of your pet's body language.  Pay attention to the behavioral, and environmental, cues that may alert you to a potential escape.  Have a plan in place for how you will respond should one of your pets go missing.  Read up on the essentials of how to find a missing animal.  Even if your pet is primarily an indoor animal, always ensure that she is wearing a collar and identification tag.

It is said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Given the estimate that 1 in 3 pets will go missing over their lifetimes, now is the time to ensure your precious companion will not become one of those sad statistics.

It takes all of us together to ensure the safety of the beloved animals that count on us and that enrich our lives beyond measure.  Please consider supporting our new Lost Pet Search and Rescue Initiative.  Given the epidemic of lost pets, this collective effort to save lives has taken on a greater sense of urgency.  Thank you for joining forces with us.




































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Monday, July 13, 2020

Wahl Professional Dog Cordless Clipper Kit Review

It can be a challenge to groom your dog at home, but this little clipper can turn the challenge into a manageable task. Slim, lightweight and cordless this is the little clipper that could and will cut the hair or fur on your dog. In my area the dog groomers have been closed for three months and now as they are reopening it is a very long wait list for an appointment.

This is my second Wahl Arco. I had the first clipper for years and it had an unfortunate fall off a table which rendered my favorite clipper unusable. I was very happy to find the same clipper available! I highly recommend the Wahl Arco for stay at home grooming whether a beginner DIY dog groomer or advanced home groomer.



The 5 in 1 Blade

Most clippers for dogs require purchasing different blades for each cutting length. The blades can be quite expensive and novice dog groomers may not know what blade to buy for different sections of the dog. It can be a costly trial and error as one learns to DIY groom.

One of the best features of the Arco is a 5 in 1 blade feature which allows the blade number to be set on a built in dial and the blade length will change without having to switch blades. The number of the blade denotes the cutting length. The higher the blade number the closer the cut. This clipper contains the most popular blade sizes (numbers) 9, 10, 15, 30, and 40. For example on the Fluff, closely shaving his muzzle is blade #30, but the body is blade #9.

The included guide comb blades can also assist with the length of the cut. Simply pop on the guide comb blades and this is a nice safety feature to keep the cut even (vs a stripe- oops!) Luckily for me The Fluff has a high self esteem and is not offput by a few oopsy stripes when I first began DIY grooming.

The clipper is recommended for small to medium dogs. Being a poodle, The Fluff has hair verses fur which means just like everyone else in stay at home mode, the Fluff's hair began to take on a life of its' own.

Rechargeable Battery

Another feature of the Arco cordless clipper is the inclusion of two batteries with a charger. Each battery is long lasting, but there are times it may take two batteries so being able to charge one battery while clipping is a huge timesaver. Each battery has an 80-minute cordless run time and 75 minute charge time


What's Included With The ARCO Clipper?

  • 5-in-1 fine blade set
  • 2 drop-in NiMH rechargeable battery packs
  • Charging stand and charger
  • 4 plastic attachment guide combs
  • Blade oil, cleaning brush
  • Soft storage case
  • Instruction book
Of all the dog clippers I have tried over the years, this is my favorite. I first began learning how to dog groom when my prior dog had health issues and it was too stressful for the dog to be professionally groomed. This is not to say my skills are anywhere near the skill of a professional dog groomer, but skills good enough to suffice.

Like most novices, I learned via Youtube the tips to groom a poodle. And of course each dog has its' own personality and likes -dislikes when being groomed. And of course it would be typical for the dog to behave better for the groomer then the owner, so it can be a challenge. The Fluff plays hide the paw when trying to clip his feet so it can be a bit like Laurel and Hardy at times, But then again, it wouldn't by DIY dog grooming without a challenge or five.





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Friday, April 24, 2020

Backseat Barker Dog Bed for SUV or Jeep Review

The Backseat Barker SUV Dog Bed

Dog Car Bed for Jeep & SUV - Backseat Barker Review
If Merlin had a middle name, it would be "Go"!  He never wants to be left behind.  Therefore, we sought and found a wonderful dog bed for our old jeep.

As you can see in the photo, we laid the dog bed directly on the jeep floor.  That required us to find a dog bed that was thick enough to really cushion and separate him from the hard, unforgiving surface. 

Normally the pillows on each side would lay at an angle.  In our case, we wanted the larger size bed so the pillows would stand upright on the side and give him more protection from the hard side panels of our jeep.  Merlin likes to stand up and look around even when the car is moving.  Protecting our "big dog" is always our first priority.  

When we are traveling in our SUV instead of our little Jeep, we simply move the Big Barker to the larger vehicle.  Here is a picture of Merlin on his Big Barker bed in our SUV.  As you can see, the side pillows tilt to the sides and make a great head rest for our big dog.

Backseat Barker Dog Bed
Merlin loves his Big Barker



The Backseat Barker Dog Bed for Cars, SUV, & Jeeps


There are several features about the Backseat Barker that would prompt me to recommend it for dogs.  First and foremost, the thickness of the orthopedic cushion provides a more comfortable ride for our "big dog".  
Backseat Barker Dog Bed for Jeep & SUV
I left that one side up slightly after Merlin got out, so you could easily
see the thickness of the bottom pad

The size of the bottom bed cushion is perfect for our jeep floor.  As you can see, the large 3" thick cushion goes all the way up to the back of the front seats.  Therefore, Merlin can stretch out comfortably when he wishes to lay down and still be close to us.

As I said in the introduction, I also love the side pillows!  Normally, in a larger SUV, the pillows would be slightly tilted so a pup could use them for propping his head on them.

There are several sizes of the Backseat Barker Dog Bed available.  We purchased the Extra Large (61 x 45 x 3) dog car bed so it would fit snugly in the back of our jeep, which has a smaller area in the back than an SUV.  

The cover has zippers on the bottom pad and on the pillow sections.  That allows us to remove all 3 of the foam pieces and machine wash & dry the cover when needed.  According to the manufacturers, the foam can also be washed and air-dried, but that has not been necessary for us yet.

The Backseat Barker Dog Beds come with a 10 year warranty.  We all understand the importance of a trustworthy warranty.

One note, like most orthopedic foam, the foam in the beds have a strong odor.  We let Merlins' bed foams air out for about 3 days and I washed the cover immediately.  After a few days, all was well, no more smell!










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Monday, February 10, 2020

Dog Agility Reviewed!

It is winter here in the Midwest and I already thinking warmer weather and fun activities in the yard with my pup and dog agility!

A backyard agility course for your dog is fun with a F! Fun for you, fun for the dog and a fun activity both you and your fluffy friend can enjoy.

The Agility Obstacle Course


Dog agility is the running of an obstacle course. The sport originated in the late 1970's in England. There have been many organizations through the years as the sport has evolved; the goal of the organizations were shared, though the rules and obstacles slightly differed.

Years ago when agility was a relatively new sport I enrolled in a dog agility class. The difference between the backyard agility equipment and professional equipment is size. As you can see from the video below of a professional agility competition the obstacles are BIG!

Backyard agility obstacles are smaller, portable and easy to assemble. The starter kits are easy to set up, store and all you need is grass! The agility kits are easily transported so if a backyard is not available any nice sized section of grass will work.

The Beginner Backyard Agility Sets


Staples in a backyard agility kit are the jump, tunnel and weave poles.

Tunnel


The tunnel is usually one of the first obstacles to teach your dog. A few treats and encouragement and the tunnel can be easy to master for the confident dog. As with every new activity a little practice goes along way and the dog will give you cues as to how comfortable they are with the tunnel.

I have seen very skittish and less confident young dogs who at first look at the tunnel as a looming foreign object turn into tunnel loving runners with the right encouragement and practice.

Jump


The jump is adjustable and can be set very close to the ground to begin acclimating your dog to the desired height. Dogs who love to run and jump can take to the jump quite quickly. I happen to have a dog who loves to jump so the jump was quickly mastered and the height could be increased.

To teach and acclimate the dog to the jump you can see in the photo below the dog is on a leash and I am gently guiding the dog through the jump with a treat in hand ( why the dog is looking to my hand).



Last Fall we had a few doggie buddies over for backyard fun. 

The three Amigos

Within a few minutes of practicing individually we put the medium size dogs sitting at the start line and were amazed as they took off together taking the jump in unison!




 It was a race to the treat and the owners.

Because of size, as one of the three amigos was only six pounds, she was an observer while the two medium sized dogs navigated the obstacle course, and we practiced with her separately. 

She enjoyed watching and learning from afar however!



Weave poles

Weave poles can be tough! Where my dog took to the jumping very quickly, the weave poles not so much. The poles are set up for the dog to zig zag - weave in and out in a straight line. We are still working on the weave poles, but in the spirit of this is purely for fun, I think the pup and I have decided ... no on the weave poles.

But weave poles are alot of fun to watch. The video below shows a full sized Agility Course and look at those pups weave!

Sit stay box

This is a great exercise , especially for younger dogs, to practice sit/stay and down/stay. The “box” is either a marked area in a box or an actual raised solid box.

The dog either enters the box or jumps up on the box and does a sit/ stay or down/stay for a set number of seconds. If training a young dog, this exercise works right into practicing sits and stays.


Dog Personality


Of course it is imperative the personality and physical capabilities of your dog are of the greatest importance when considering agility obstacles. Dogs of any age, breed or height can participate in dog agility. The obstacles are 'sized' to the dog.

Age: Agility courses are not for puppies as their growth plates must be fully developed. Obviously this varies per breed, per dog. Pre agility exercises such as the sit stay exercise are pup friendly.

Does your dog love to run ? Try new things? Enjoy activity? Loves to figure out a puzzle? Agility may be a great fit.

Is your dog apprehensive to try something new but with proper training enjoys a new activity ? Agility could be a great confidence booster !

Backyard agility can just be plain ole good fun for the owner and pet. No need to compete, just enjoy the obstacles your dog likes and making a home agility course provides great exercise for you and your pet.

Where To Find Backyard Agility Kits


Online is where the kits can be found, this is a beginner kit I like.


DIY ers  can also make agility equipment! Here is a good resource in making obstacles for a backyard agility course .

I’ve been lucky enough to have dogs which naturally seem to enjoy agility which makes training much easier!

Whether it is one obstacle or a backyard of obstacles, I highly recommend dog agility for a few hours of amusement, exercise and bonding with you furry friend.


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Monday, January 6, 2020

Reviewing the Veehoo Elevated Dog Bed

I know someone who recently adopted a dog. I ordered a gift in celebration and welcome.  I sent them the large Veehoo Elevated Dog Bed. They both, human and dog, like it so much I thought I should share a review with you.


Reviewing the Veehoo Elevated Large Dog Bed

Radley, the dog, was adopted from a shelter. During the search for the right dog, the human noticed that all of the shelter dogs had raised beds in their kennels. I decided that Radley needed his own bed in his own home and perhaps an elevated bed would be something familiar or comforting as he gets settled in.

I chose the Veehoo Elevated Dog bed after reading many good reviews. It is made of durable mesh material and powder coated steel frame. The bed requires assembly. But that assembly does not require any tools. Veehoo offers this dog bed in a variety of sizes. Part of the reason I chose this bed was the reported durability as well as the non-skid feet. Radley is a rambunctious puppy and he's a huge 50+ lb puppy. 

Raised beds with mesh are thought to be comfortable to dogs due to keeping them off the floor. The mesh provides ventilation for cooling. Add a doggie blanket to provide warmth. Also, Radley is far too big to be a lap dog. His own bed in the living room provides him with his own spot near his new family.




Radley's human is very pleased with the Veehoo bed. He confirmed that the bed was easy to assemble and is plenty large enough to be comfortable for this big red dog. 




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Five months later, there have been no problems with the bed itself and Radley clearly loves it! 










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Thursday, October 3, 2019

Bark Ranger Review

Finn Earns His Bark Ranger Badge
If you are blessed enough to have a Border Collie in your life, you already know that he needs a job and a purpose.  My Finn is no exception.  His beautiful mind needs plenty of stimulation every day.  It's my job, privilege, and pleasure to find new ways of providing Finn with daily opportunities to take his immense capabilities to the next level.

Recently, when I was planning our next outdoor adventure, I came across information about the Bark Ranger Program sponsored by the National Park Service.  Why had I never heard about this before?  It seems this program is really starting to take off in parks across the country. 

Arriving at Pecos National Historic Park
Finn and I wasted no time heading for the closest national park with a Bark Ranger Program.  That happened to be Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico.  They launched their program earlier this summer.  Perfect!  A day trip to the Santa Fe area is always a treat.  

Pecos NHP Visitor Center
So Many Architectural Delights
Such a Welcoming Place
I Could Sit Here Every Day
When we arrived at the visitor's center, it took no time at all to launch Finn's new bark ranger career. The main purpose of the program is to ensure dogs and their humans have a safe and enjoyable time in the park.  Keeping the national parks dog-friendly takes some responsibility on the part of those of us who travel with our pets.

The BARK acronym makes it easy to remember the promises you are held to when becoming a bark ranger team.  First, you promise to bag your dog's waste and to dispose of it appropriately.  Next, you pledge to always leash your pet.  In parks such as Pecos NHP, a leash could save your dog's life.  Rattlesnake sightings are frequent.

Respecting wildlife is another part of the oath taken when you choose to be a bark ranger.  The very presence of a dog in any park changes the dynamic for wildlife.  In order for national parks to remain a refuge for wild creatures, it is critical to avoid any encounters between pets and the animals that call that park home.  

Finn's Access to Pecos NHP Included the Main Trail to the Pueblos
Pecos Mission and Pueblo
And finally, every visit to a national park should start with knowing which areas of the park are accessible to dogs.  At Pecos NHP, Finn was able to accompany me on the main trail to the mission and pueblos.  I chose to keep him leashed in his dog stroller rather than use his K9 Cart (wheelchair) due to the presence of rattlesnakes in the park.  I knew it would be the safer option.

In some parks, you can volunteer as a Bark Ranger Ambassador team.  This is something I want to pursue with Finn.  It is my aspiration for us to serve in this capacity at our closest national park (Great Sand Dunes).  First, I'd like to help get a Bark Rangers Program started locally.  I wasn't able to find any Colorado national parks with an existing program.  The only current bark rangers opportunity I found was at Eldorado Canyon State Park, which is a good distance from where we live.

Having previously worked in a national park (Padre Island National Seashore), I get excited just thinking about the powerful teaching moments that take place in park settings.  Even yesterday, shortly after becoming a Bark Ranger, Finn made an impact while engaging with visitors at Pecos NHP.  One couple in particular told me that Finn had made their day and had made them happy.  It takes a special Bark Ranger to do that and Finn has a gift for elevating the quality of a day. 

If you love to travel with your dog, and enjoy sharing the national parks with your pet, I encourage you to join the Bark Ranger Program (you can search online to find which parks already have the program).  I'm really glad Finn and I took that trek to Pecos NHP.  It is surely the beginning of many beautiful and fulfilling connections for us.  I can't wait to see where this leads.





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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Paws and Pals Dog Ramp Review

Finn's New Dog Ramp
As I approach the second anniversary of bringing Finn, my special needs/strengths dog, home from the animal shelter, I find myself reflecting on his extraordinary capacity for achieving things he wasn't supposed to be able to do.  Finn has grown well beyond the initial confines of his physical disability, which compels me to provide him with more and more opportunities to do as much as possible through his own initiative and power.  Yesterday, I bought Finn a portable dog ramp that will provide him with more freedom to access his world.  This review shares our first impressions and experiences with the Paws and Pals ramp.

Finn, like all of us, has his own way of approaching new challenges.  I've gotten better at understanding his learning style and anticipating Finn's insecurities (before they kick in), which helps me to be a more effective trainer.  A good starting point today was to take Finn to his favorite park for the first lesson in using a ramp.  I wanted Finn to be relaxed, and for him to associate good things with the pet ramp.

Step One - Explore the Ramp Flat on the Grass
First, to allow Finn to discover the scent, texture, and sound of being on the ramp, I laid it flat on the grass.  This was a very nonthreatening way for him to check it out.  I brought a high-value treat to reward Finn's every success (cheese works magic).  By strategically placing three cubes of cheese on the ramp, it was very easy to entice Finn to take his first steps up onto and across the ramp.  From his second crossing on, I could tell by reading Finn's body language that he was already feeling confident, and even enthusiastic, about this new game.  After the third ramp crossing, I didn't even have to offer a treat.


Having mastered the low-risk, no fear element of ramp exploration, I decided Finn was ready to take it to the next level.  I found a broad tree stump with a height a few inches above ground level.  Because I thought the surface of the plastic ramp might be a little slippery when elevated, and because Finn is very sensitive about his footing, I covered the ramp with some inexpensive rubberized shelf liner.  The new ramps come with sheets of grip tape, but the gently used model I bought did not have that option.  My solution worked perfectly.  Finn climbed the gentle slope with no hesitation.

Nonslip Liner on Ramp
Since Finn appeared to be having fun with our lesson, was having complete success, and didn't appear mentally or physically fatigued, we forged on.  Had that not been the case, I would have spread these ramp lessons over several sessions on different days.

Next, I used a park bench to elevate one end of the ramp about 14 inches off the ground.  We were now approaching the level Finn would need to master to use the ramp for getting into a low vehicle, or for getting up on furniture.  One great thing about this dog ramp is that it can be used indoors or outdoors.

Park Bench Height Ramp Elevation
I lured Finn up the elevated ramp by leading him with a piece of cheese.  It was important to keep him on a short leash and to walk alongside him on this first climb up a steeper angle.  I didn't want Finn to be tempted to jump off the side of the ramp.  We took it slow and he had no problems making it up onto the bench.  At that point, I felt Finn had done enough for day one.  As always, Finn accomplished even more than I had planned for him, and he laid to rest any concerns I had about whether or not a dog with only partial use of his rear legs could balance on, and ascend, a fairly narrow elevated ramp (it's thirteen and a half inches wide between the rims).

Finn will mostly use his Paws and Pals ramp inside the house.  My vehicle is not really conducive to having Finn load himself, although I won't rule it out until I let him give it a try.  He's sure to surprise me.  A car, van, or hatchback vehicle would be more ideal for the use of this ramp (nothing requiring too steep an incline).  I mainly want Finn to be able to get up and down off the bed for starters.  From there, we'll work on graduating to ever greater challenges worthy of Finn's capabilities.

Light, Compact, Easy to Carry and Store
Given such fast success with the ramp, especially for a cautious dog, Finn and I are giving it a Four Paws Up rating.  I really like all of the main features:

  • Folds up compact for storage (15.5" wide x 10" long x 16.5" high).
  • Lightweight (just eight pounds).
  • Made of a durable, easy to clean plastic.
  • Easy to carry with the attached handle.
  • Simple to use (no assembly required).
  • Long enough for typical uses without being too bulky to handle (60" when fully extended).
  • Strength rated for up to a 110-lb. dog.
  • Multiple applications for indoor or outdoor use.
  • Good value and quality for the price (least expensive ramp I found).
Who could benefit from a pet ramp?  Senior dogs, puppies, injured dogs, disabled dogs, small dogs, convalescing pets, and any weak dog or cat.  It is also a major help to those who care for animals (especially those who are physically unable to carry or load a large, heavy dog).  Even totally healthy animals enjoy using ramps.  It's good, stimulating exercise for a pet to try new ways of balancing and climbing.  

We'll keep you posted and continue to add photos as Finn becomes the master of his domain.  I'm sure he will continue to push the boundaries and to constantly redefine what it means to be a special strengths dog who just happens to have been born with legs that work differently.  Finn acts as though he has no limitations.  I feel it is my responsibility to give him as much rein as possible and to not do for Finn the things he can do for himself.  We're learning together how to be the best versions of ourselves in ways that elevate one another.



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Friday, June 28, 2019

Easy Carry Fabric & Collapsible Travel Dog Bowl Reviewed

Don't Leave Home Without a Travel Dog Bowl!

Easy Carry Fabric & Collapsible Travel Dog Bowl Reviewed
We were surrounded by lake water, but Merlin drank cool, clean water
from his Good2Go Collapsible Dog Bowl
We enjoy taking our pups for walks, we even take them on longer hikes with us.  After all, none of our dogs have ever wanted to be left at home when we go on adventures. However, it is important to remember they have needs too when they are away from home.

Think about it.  When you go on a long walk or hike, what do you need?  We always carry water with us.  We don't rely on the possibility of coming across a water fountain or running water in a stream.  Dehydration is serious, so why take unnecessary risks.  Not only do we carry water for ourselves, but we carry a canteen of cool water for our dogs.

How do we give our dogs a drink, you may ask?  Easy!  We carry a fabric, collapsible dog bowl in our back pocket.


The Good2Go Collapsible Dog Bowl


Collapsible Dog Travel Bowl Reviewed
For many years now, we have carried this fabulous and durable fabric dog bowl.  It is so lightweight, you don't even notice it, but you are most grateful to have it when needed.

Dogs can dehydrate just like we can.  They may be a lot cuter than we are when they are panting and slowing down, but the lack of water can be serious.  

When dogs are thirsty, they tend to drink whatever water they come across, including stagnant dirty water.  We all know the dangers of drinking stagnant water.  It is easily contaminated and can harbor all kinds of parasites and bacteria.  

We love our dogs enough to take them with us instead of leaving them at home.  Why wouldn't we also love them enough to provide for their needs by simply taking water and this easily pocketed dog bowl along for the walk.

We also use this water bowl in the car when traveling.  It is easy to set it down and let them drink from their doggie travel bowl.

Once we are back home, we wash the bowl inside and out with dish soap and allow it to air dry.  Then, it is ready to go again when we are!

I can't recall when we first purchased our Good2Go collapsible dog bowl, but I do know it has been many years ago.  It still looks brand new. 

 







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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ruff Relief Organic Pet Paw, Nose, and Skin Balm - Review


My adventure dog, Finn, is finding winter conditions to be hard on his sensitive paws.  When I rescued him, the pads on Finn's feet were as silky smooth as baby skin.  That is because Finn had never been outdoors.  Recently, during a walk at the park, Finn stopped moving and started whimpering a bit.  After quickly checking his feet, I realized he was communicating discomfort related to an ice ball that had formed between the toes on a front foot.  Not long after that incident, Finn let me know that he could not tolerate any small amount of the chemical de-icer that was present on city sidewalks and roads.  What to do?

As I considered possible solutions, such as dog booties and paw wax, or hibernating until June, I came across a highly rated organic paw balm called Ruff Relief.  The key factor that sold me on this particular pet product had a lot to do with the fact that it is rated at a human grade food level (the first time I have seen that).  Given that dogs frequently lick their feet, it was really important to me that anything Finn put in his mouth was natural, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic (along with made in the USA).  The fact that Ruff Relief has earned a USDA certification sealed the deal for me.

You may be wondering about the ingredients.  That was the first thing I wanted to know.  Here they are:
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Organic Beeswax
  • Organic Carnauba Wax
  • Jojoba Wax
  • Non-GMO Vitamin E
These natural ingredients are safe to use on paws, noses, and other skin hot spots.  Though I think of winter as the toughest time to keep my animals' skin protected, summer presents its own challenges (think burning hot pavement and concrete).  Ruff Relief provides year-round protection from ice, snow, and heated surfaces.  If your pet ever suffers from cracking, chapped, or dry skin, you may wish to give Ruff Relief a try.  There's really no risk given that the company provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  You have 30 days to test drive this product.  If you aren't happy with the results, simply request a full refund.

Since I have just started using this balm on Finn's paws, I'll have to keep you posted about our longer term results.  I am fully expecting good outcomes given all of the positive online reviews.  Stay tuned for updates.

Before closing, I thought I would share some fun facts I discovered while searching for information about dog feet.

Fritos Feet
What is that corn chip smell??  Why do dogs have feet that smell like Fritos, Cheetos, or popcorn?  Actually, that is totally normal.  The smell comes from natural bacteria that grow on canine paws (mixed with a dog's unique paw sweat gland odor).

Did You Know?
Some dog breeds, think Greyhounds, Dobermans, and Akitas, have "cat feet" (smaller feet with high arches).  These features, along with the lightness of their feet, enhance their endurance.

Pop Quiz
Does your dog have webbed feet?  If so, you should ace this quiz.  In the comment section, please name a breed of dog with webbing between the toes/pads.

Finally, have you had to treat your pet's feet at certain times of year?  If so, what worked well for your four-legged friend?








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