Walking Gear for Reactive Dogs

9 Mar

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Ages and ages ago, during the days of our Walk to Rivendell challenge, I wrote a little bit about the gear we use for our regular walks. Over the last 2+ years we’ve tried a perhaps ridiculous number of walking setups with a variety of collars, leashes, harnesses, halters, and more. Between working on Topher’s reactivity in training classes and our usual walks, we get a lot of use out of our gear and I always want to make sure what we use and carry around truly works for us. Because, in certain scenarios, these are the pieces of equipment we rely on the most to keep ourselves and others safe. So, what do we take on our daily walks?

Martingale Collar

We switched to martingale collars after a recommendation from our trainers and have used them almost exclusively since then. We clip directly to Topher’s martingale collars on casual short walks, and we love the sturdy support provided by our go-to collars from Dog + Bone.

Identification Tags

While we’ve never had an instance where Topher has gotten off his leash and gotten lost, but that doesn’t mean it could never happen. So, it’s important for your dog to have proper identification when you go out and about. Need more convincing? Here are a few more reasons you should get your dog’s identification in order sooner rather than later.

Front Lead Harness

Up until recently we were using a head halter on walks, rather than a harness. About a month ago, we decided to switch back to using a harness. Why? It all has to do with reactive classes. While Topher accepted and happily wore a head halter without incident on walks at parks and in the neighborhood, he’d become a terror during reactive classes. When stressed, he’d take it all out on the halter, pawing at his muzzle and even scratching himself several times in an attempt to get it off. We tried more positive reinforcement with the halter, to make it as positive an experience as possible, but this did not seem to make much difference.

Currently, Topher’s lunging has diminished pretty significantly. This means the need for the halter as a method to not be knocked off my feet has diminished with it. Over the last month, we transitioned to a harness and Topher has been doing very well with it. Our training group recommended the Freedom harness, and we absolutely love it so far.

Double-Ended Leash

Because of our walking setup, we use double ended leashes—ones that have clips at both ends. We use this Halti leash because it has a ton of different ways you can use it and I’ll happily buy it again if the one we have ever breaks. Our Freedom harness also came with this great double ended leash with a handle and I’m very interested to see how much more control we’ll have with this harness and leash combination in our future classes.

Waste Bags

Can’t leave home without them! We still tend to use grocery bags (after checking for holes of course) but we have a backup roll of actual waste bags if we ever run out of the ones we get from the store.

Pepper Spray

For over two years now I’ve carried pepper spray when I walk Topher by myself. Thankfully, I’ve never needed it. However, it gives me a small sense of security, should a loose dog encounter ever go truly awry. Since the dog attack, we’ve had plenty of encounters with off-leash dogs running up to us; however, through educating myself, learning how to handle Topher, and a little luck, none have led to a scenario where I feel it’s necessary to spray a dog. I still hope I never have to use it.

Microfiber Towel

We call Topher the King of the Slobs because of his ridiculous ability to go from clean to covered in drool in about ten seconds. Nobody wants to greet an outrageously slobbery dog, so I make sure to keep a washcloth-sized towel in my walking bag for quick, on-the-go clean up. It also helps keep Topher camera-ready…most of the time. Sometimes the thought of treats creates more drool than one small towel can defeat.

Plenty of Treats

The final thing you can’t leave home without! At least, you can’t if you’re me and trying to give your dog lots of positive rewards for interacting nicely with the world. We’re lucky to be so well supplied, between treats we get from BarkBox and the ones we make ourselves.

What do you take on dog walks?

10 Stylish Gifts for Dogs & Dog Lovers

10 Dec

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that goofy guy a whole lot. He has his own ornament on the tree, his picture is the lock screen image on my phone, and I do own that sweater that says “ask me about my dog.” You could call me a crazy dog lady and not be too far off.

However, there are a lot of gifts for “dog lovers” that are just…too much. Even for me. Though crazy dog lady I may be, I also like things declaring my love for Topher to be just a little more stylish than your average painting of dogs playing poker.

Likewise, one thing that always sticks out like a sore thumb in my house: dog toys. Usually bright and odd colors, torn apart and covered in drool, they’re always the first thing I want to put away when company’s coming over, and they’re the thing my dog wants to pull out and give to that company. People are over! Let’s play with whatever toy is the ugliest, most slobbered on thing we can find!

Today we’re rounding up stylish gifts for dogs or the dog lovers in your life, with just a touch more style. If you don’t have any dogs or dog lovers in your life, you can buy all these gifts for us! Just kidding. Sort of.

  1. Dog Lover Great Dane Breed T-Shirt, from Golden Doodle Goods ($27)
    Wear these shirts as a line art homage to your favorite breeds! Or, if line art isn’t your style, we quite like the more geometric styles of Golden Doodle Goods more recent t-shirt designs as well, like this American Pit Bull shirt, or the ever-popular Pug.
  2. The Odin, from Up Dog Toys ($23)
    There isn’t any toy we could think of that’s got more style and versatility than the Odin, a toy that hit the market this year and fast tracked itself up our list of favorite toys for Topher and Archer. Read our review of the Odin to learn more about this treat ball created with design in mind.
  3. A Bottle of Red Wine Blend, from Chateau La Paws ($12.99)
    Who doesn’t like to unwind on the couch with their dog and a glass of wine at the end of the day? If this sounds like you or a friend’s idea of time well spent, consider gifting a bottle of Chateau La Paws for the holidays. Plus, you’ll be supporting no-kill shelters in the process!
  4. McCadden Bandana, from Billy Wolf ($25)
    For classic, yet fashion forward styles, look no further than Billy Wolf. We love their bandanas, and the McCadden is a classic color palette that’s perfect for all seasons, so you can explore and take walks in style.
  5. The Dogist Book ($17.11)
    Featuring the photography of Elias Weiss Friedman, creator of The Dogist Instagram account, The Dogist book is a tribute to the beloved dogs in our lives. It showcases photos and encounters not seen on the Instagram account, and some truly heartwarming tales.
  6. Do Your Best Hoodie, from Camp Cloon ($32.58)
    For the dog who really wants to get those commands right, they can tell the world they’re trying really hard. I might buy this hoodie for Topher just for the little extra inspiration it might provide us in class.
  7. In Dogs We Trust Print, from Camp Cloon ($12.63)
    Speaking of Camp Cloon products, show off where your true loyalties lie with this map art print. Bill Murray certainly had the right of it in saying, “I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs, but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.”
  8. Red Heart Good Karma Rope Dog Toy, from Jax & Bones ($12)
    With so many animals in need of our love and care, maybe you want a gift that will do double duty this season. When you purchase this rope toy for your pup, Jax and Bones donates a 10% of the proceeds to rescue groups to help homeless animals find their forever home. Karma, indeed!
  9. Oaked Bitter Orange Room Spray, from Sydney Hale Co. ($15)
    It’s no secret that we love Sydney Hale Co.’s candles. They’re well designed, smell fantastic, and burn forever. But we know that open flames might not be for everyone, so we were thrilled to find you can now get all their best scents in room spray form!
  10. BarkBox Subscription ($19/month)
    We sing the praises of BarkBox very often, so you may know this tune. However, we think there’s no better gift for a pet parent than this curated box of USA-made goodies. Spice up your dog’s life with toys you might never find in the aisles of that big box pet store.

10 Non-Rawhide Dog Chews for the Holiday Season

3 Dec

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During the holidays, our pets always get a little extra love from their “grandparents.” Last year, Topher got the biggest rawhide chew I’d ever seen in my life. I have some mixed feelings about rawhide, but since we were home and able to supervise him we went ahead and let Topher go to town. He loved it, of course, and it took him three or four days to finish it off—with no ill effects that we could see.

Still, it started me thinking about what we can do to steer people towards more healthy options for our pets in the holiday season. Step one? Talking about what you do and don’t feed your dog. We never mentioned our aversion to rawhide chews, so how were my (non-dog-owner) parents to know?

This year, we’ll plan on doing a better job at pointing some different options out, if they want to get Topher some extra goodies over the holidays.

But what about the present we’ll be giving our own dogs this year? Maybe instead of being tempted to buy that giant red, green, and/or white rawhide for your dog to chow down on this Christmas, how about trying some more natural holiday treats and chews? Here are some of our favorite non-rawhide dog chews we’ve tried with our dogs.

Nylabones & Hard Digestible Chews

Hard toys like Nylabones or Benebones are a great option for high intensity chewers, aka dogs that will chew anything and everything, and want to chew all the time. Topher is a heavy chewer like this, so we almost always have some kind of hard chew like this in our rotation. You can get Nylabones in flavors or plain, and there’s a bunch of varieties to choose from.

1. Nylabone Holiday Dura Chew ($14.99)
2. Benebone Rotisserie Chicken Flavored Chew Toy ($11.59)

What’s a Benebone? We reviewed this up and coming line of chews earlier in the year.

Bully Sticks

A good bully stick can last anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes, to several days, depending on your dog’s chewing tendencies. Topher, a heavy chewer, can go through an extra large bully stick in about an hour. Bully sticks are a great extra treat for the holiday season, because they’re just as affordable as your average rawhide!

Plus, over at Best Bully Sticks they have some holiday varieties that are a fun change, even though they don’t come in red or green. We had the opportunity to try a few of these holiday varieties, and they hold up just as well as their regular bully stick counterparts.

3. Bully Stick Candy Cane ($3.59)
4. Bully Stick Crown/Wreath ($6.99)
5. 12 Inch Braided Gullet Stick ($3.49)

Still not convinced? Here’s our full review of Best Bully Sticks’ bully chews.

Antlers

Antlers are natural chews that can stand up to tons of abuse. They contain no preservatives or additives, yet are still enticing to dogs without artificial ingredients. Some antlers are also a natural source of essential nutrients like calcium, glucosamine, and chondrotin. So for Christmas this year, why not try giving your pup a little piece of Donner or Blitzen to chew on?

6. Large Elk Antler ($12.79)
7. Medium Moose Antler ($9.99)

Never given your dog an antler before? Read our pros and cons roundup of popular chews on the market to see if an antler is the right option for your pup.

Durable Toys

Supplying your dog with one tough, high quality chew toy could reduce your need to buy them other chews by a pretty large margin. Many of these toys are fillable—you just need to add a little incentive, and let your dog go to town. Instead of the rawhide cane, invest in one of these toy options for your heavy chewer at home that’s built to last through more than New Year’s Day.

8. KONG Extreme Dog Toy ($10.42)
9. Zogoflex Tux Toy ($16.50)
10. Zogoflex Hurley Dog Bone ($10.95)

Not sure if Zogoflex will stand up to your extreme chewer? Read our love letter to this tried and true West Paw Design toy line.

Best Bootie Choices for Winter Dogs

29 Nov

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No, not that booty. We’re talking foot booties!

Typically, dogs shouldn’t require booties, but there are conditions where booties may benefit them and enable them to enjoy themselves in varying conditions. I promised myself I would never talk about putting little shoes on a dog’s feet, but here we are…and I can admit, yes, they are useful.

Most recently, for us, it’s been a matter of getting Sirius’ tender puppy paws accustomed to the cold ground and snow. Unlike Archer, whose paws are warn by many trails, walks, and seasons, Sirius’ paws are fresh and smooth and… not at all prepared for our northern Ontario winters. At least not yet. So, while we know his paws will be ready one day, in the mean time we’ve been looking at booty options.

So let’s share what we’ve found, and help all those pups facing new environmental conditions enjoy themselves.

  1. Pawz Dog Boots, Protex Pawz (~$15)
    While not necessarily meant to keep paws warm, these latex booties will keep the elements away from your dog’s paws! These seem especially useful in wet environments, and most of all if you’re dealing with a paw injury (like a broken nail or cut) to keep the dirt out and the paw nice and clean.
  2. Dog Boots, Ruffwear (~$75)
    Oh, of course you know Ruffwear has your pup covered when it comes to boots! All options in the Ruffwear booties seem to come with some nice tread on the base of the boot, which will give your dog traction in case of slippery rocks or ice.
  3. Waterproof Pet Boots, Colorfulhouse (~$20)
    Waterproof with molded rubber bottom for non-slip. These booties include reflective material to keep your pup visible no matter what time of day you go to enjoy the outdoors.
  4. Durable Dog Boots, Ultra Paws (~$35)
    With a pliable, grippy sole, and velcro fastener, Ultra Paws has a great option for dog booties! These boots are water-resistant, and can stand up to cold, hot, wet, or dry conditions.
  5. All Weather Neoprene Paw Protector Dog Boots, Bark Brite (~$30)
    High quality neoprene boots that are great for all weather conditions. Including reflective material for high-visibility, these booties are water-resistant, puncture-resistant, and aid in traction.

Oh, and the likelihood your dog will want to wear their booties is slim. Get your camera out for the first time you put those babies on them, and get a good laugh in! Then, just remember it’s about making it a positive experience! And if all else fails, maybe booties are not for them and it’s a matter of adjusting your routine.

5 Cool Toys for Your Dog This Summer

29 Jun

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Feeling the heat this summer? Us too. We’ve gone from one long, awesome walk, to multiple shorter walks at optimal times during the day (er, that is… in the morning and later in the evening) to beat the heat. We also spend a fair bit of time enjoying the sunshine from the backyard, where Archer has lots of shade to retreat to, and the house is always an option if it gets too hot for her.

As we get set to celebrate Canada Day on Wednesday (and Lucy and Topher await Independence Day on Saturday), we decided to have a look at some awesome summer toys for dogs to enjoy. Why not keep cool with an awesome new toy?

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  1. Wet Wubba, KONG ($9.99)
    We recommend KONG toys for any dog—but especially for heavy chewers. If you tend to go through dog toys fast, you need to start investing in some quality, heavy-duty toys. The Wet Wubba by KONG is just that—typical KONG toughness, but built for enjoyment in the water. It’s easy-to-spot colours and size makes it perfect for retrieving in a pool or on the lake, and the extra neoprene fabric is tough enough for a game of tug-o-war afterward. However, we’d like to take note that this is a retrieval toy and not designed as a chew toy. It’ll stand up to some inevitable chewing, but not as a dedicated chew toy.
  2. Chilly Bone, Multi Pet ($8.99)
    Soak and freeze, and let your pup enjoy this while outside in the yard. The more it melts, the messier it gets! Easy to clean (toss it in the washing machine!) and great for a hot day. It won’t stand up to heavy chewing, but for the price makes a great option for staying cool in the summer.
  3. Tugga Wubba, KONG ($10.49)
    Another awesome toy by Kong, but this one with a little more oomph! Especially great for multiple dogs to play tug-o-war with, dunk this toy in some water and toss. It doesn’t have a squeaker which, depending on your dog, may be a deal breaker. But for a pup-parent who seeks a great toy without the noise, this is for you! Comes in 3 sizes.
  4. Arctic Freeze, Hugs Pet Products ($12)
    A cool option for teething puppies and adult dogs alike! Can be frozen for summer fun, or used as an everyday treat ball (or dare I say both? Freeze some treats inside?). Not for heavy chewers, but great as a treat and even better for teething puppies!
  5. Romp-n-Roll Ball, Jolly Pets ($18.99)
    A big toy and lots of fun! Use it as a floaty in the water or kick it around in the yard, the Romp-n-Roll Ball is large and in charge with a rope attached for even more play options. It’s great any time of year, but we especially like it for it’s easy visibility (and big splash!) in the water.

Reminder: Do Not Leave Your Dog in a Hot Car This Summer!

It has to be said, and we’ll keep saying it over and over and over again until everyone understands the horror of leaving a dog in a hot car. We wrote about it last year, and think it’s worthwhile to come back to each summer. Cars can get really hot really fast. Be a responsible pup-parent and plan ahead! And as always, never ever ever leave your dog in the car unattended.

An Ode To West Paw Design’s Zogoflex Toys

18 Jun

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When you own a dog who’s a heavy chewer, you come to realize a few key things. One, the cuter the toy, the more likely it’s going to be destroyed in under a minute. Two, there is simply no stuffed toy on the planet built to withstand their jaws. And three, chewable toys that actually live up to their “indestructible” name are worth their weight in gold, and should be cherished.

Which is why I just continue to be amazed and impressed by West Paw Design’s Zogoflex line of dog toys. We recently received their Tizzi dog toy in our June BarkBox, and it’s holding up wonderfully! So here’s my ode to West Paw Design’s Zogoflex dog toys, one of the best lines of dog toys for heavy chewers we’ve ever encountered.

The Tux & Tizzi Treat Toys

Now seven months after we bought it, the Tux treat toy still has no more than a few treat marks. We stuff the Tux toy with treats whenever anyone comes over to visit, and Topher chews it for hours at a time. It’s the only toy aside from our Kong that’s withstood the true test of time and chewing.

The Tizzi looks to be the same way. I love that you can twist the “legs” of the toy together to make getting to the treats more difficult. Both Topher and Archer are really enjoying it! At our house, we’ll be watching this toy to make sure it can handle Topher’s chewing—the legs make it more vulnerable to being ripped than the Tux—but we’re pretty confident, considering our current track record.

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The Hurley Dog Bone

We bought the Hurley bone to be Topher’s Christmas present last year, because we like to invest in our holiday toys, in hopes we’ll get more out of them. We were not disappointed. Topher chews his Hurley bone as much or more than the Nylabones we usually give him for chewing. It’s a little unbelievable, but the Hurley bone has lasted just as long as the Nylabones. The Hurley definitely shows its share of teeth marks compared to his Tux toy, but it hasn’t shown enough significant wear for us to be worried about it falling apart. How amazing is that?!

West Paw Design’s entire line of Zogoflex toys are also BPA-free, phthalate-free, and non-toxic. This makes them FDA compliant—important when these toys spend so much time in your pet’s mouth. Zogoflex toys are also infinitely recyclable—meaning if you send your worn-out Zogoflex toys back, West Paw recycles them into new Zogoflex toys. The more Zogoflex toys they get back, the greener Zogoflex gets!

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Satisfaction, Guaranteed!

If your Zogoflex product isn’t up to par, West Paw Design also offers a one time guaranteed replacement or refund. I was sure we’d be sending a toy back when I made my first purchase. Now, I’m gleefully ticking off the months that pass until we eventually send back these toys…to be recycled into new toys! I bet they’ll last over a year—quite a feat when most of Topher’s toys get destroyed in less than an hour.

When we first reviewed the Zogoflex toys, I said we’d probably be buying more of the Zogoflex line of toys very soon, and I’m so glad they proved to be such a great toy for Topher. At this rate, we may own the whole Zogoflex line by this time next year.

Dog Life Jacket Roundup

24 May

Whether it’s a safety precaution on a boat ride, or a learning tool to help ease your pup (or grown dog!) into the swimming lifestyle, a dog life jacket can be a valuable addition to your dog’s accessories, though maybe not one always considered necessary for dog owners. If you’re out on a boat, consider a life jacket for your dog as valuable as a seatbelt might be in a car. Should the boat crash or take a turn too tight, your dog may be thrown from the boat—and a life jacket just may save his life.

As we ease into the summer months, begin taking some time off for vacation, or just start enjoying those beautiful sunny weekends (and long weekends!), we thought it was time to roundup our favourite dog life jacket options.

  1. K-9 Float Coat Dog Life Jacket, Ruffwear ($79)
    We think Ruffwear put out some really great products, and this life jacket is no exception. Perhaps the best part of it (for large breed owners) is that there is no price difference between their XXS sizes and the XL sizes. The Float Coat comes in two colours (red and yellow) for easy visibility out on the water, includes a strong low-profile handle to help dogs in and out of the water, and offers a telescoping neck closure that adjusts for a range of dog sizes and is permanently attached and secure. The life jacket, with active dogs in mind, encourages a natural swimming position made possible by strategically-placed closed cell foam panels to allow for easier movement.
  2. Outward Hound Life Jacket, Kygen ($20–$45, depending on size)
    Coming in sizes from XXS all the way to XXL, the Outward Hound Life Jacket is one of the best available dog life jackets on the market today. These life jackets are carefully designed to do everything you need in a life jacket for your pup, and even some things you wouldn’t have thought of at all! They come in bright colours with reflective accents for easy visibility, include fully-adjustable chest and neck flaps, include quick-release buckles, offer an additional float on the chest to help keep the dog’s head above water, and the handles on back (top) are easily grabbed by a hand or boat hook.
  3. Dog Floatation Device (DFD), EzyDog ($42–$65)
    A little more pricey and with fewer size options than the Kygen model, this dog life jacket from EzyDog still comes highly recommended. The DFD is designed with adjustable neoprene straps form an ergonomic and secure fit, includes reflective detailing throughout the design, and has an ergonomic grab-handle to easily grab hold your dog. Unfortunately, it’s XL size caps out at about 90 lbs.
  4. Neoprene Designer Doggy Life Jacket, Paws Aboard ($20–$40)
    At a lower price, the Paws Aboard doesn’t have quite as sharp design as the other options listed, but it’s still a great choice. Including the same quick-release buckles, grab handle, adjustable straps, bright colours, and reflective accents, this is a solid option for your dog’s life jacket.
  5. Surf n’ Turf Dog Lifejacket and Coat, Kurgo ($40–$70)
    Unlike the other options above, the life jacket from Kurgo wasn’t designed just for use on the water. The Surf n’ Turf Dog Lifejacket can be used as a dog life vest or a rain coat, with a removable floatation liner. Includes two transverse handles for quick control and extraction, includes two metal d-rings for leash connections or other accessories, comes in red or “atomic drop” with reflective accents and, best of all, is machine washable.

Have fun out on the water, be safe, and enjoy the summer!

Roundup: 6 Great Dog Leashes For Everyday Walks

14 May

If there’s one thing literally every owner needs, it’s a good dog leash. When it came to picking a leash out for Topher, we did it in a hurry—considering we were buying everything you’d need for a dog after deciding to adopt one and being told we needed to pick him up the next day. (Don’t be like us, prepare for your new pup!) Your dog’s leash is most likely going to be in use every single day for their entire lives; it needs to be durable, built to last, and it needs to feel comfortable in your hands. It’s one piece of dog equipment that gets so much use that you may as well invest in one you really, really like.

With that in mind, here are seven great leashes that are great for everyday walks, training, and maybe a little extra!

1. The Knot-A-Leash, from Ruffwear ($26.99)

The Knot-A-Leash is a great everyday leash that’s inspired by rock climbing equipment. It’s a strong, durable rope with a tube handle and a locking carabiner that attaches to your dog’s collar. I think this would be a great standard leash for bigger dogs!

2. The Training Lead, from HALTI ($16)

This is our favorite leash for Topher, and the first leash we ever bought. The Halti training lead is double ended, so you can clip one end to your dog’s collar and clip the other end in a variety of ways—to make a handle, to shorten the leash to three feet, there’s a ton of possibilities. We love this leash specifically because it allows us to clip to both Topher’s collar and to his halter, for extra control during reactive classes.

3. The Quantum Leash, from Kurgo ($20)

I included this in our roundup for runners, and I’m including it again! The quantum leash is a step up from your everyday flat leash, because it adjusts to several lengths and gives you more versatility in its use. The selling point for me is that it’s so versatile at such a low price point, compared to other flat leashes!

4. The Traffic Handle Quick Control Leash, from KONG (39.99)

Ivana raves about this quick control leash! Plus, so far we’ve never met a Kong product we didn’t like. You can read more about this leash in our full review.

5. The Adjustable Leash, from Dog + Bone ($40)

We had the chance to review Dog + Bone’s expertly crafted leashes, and we’ve fallen head over heels for them. These leashes are completely adjustable, and the buckle on the handle allows you to easily tether your dog without worrying if that knot your just tied will hold. Read more about this leash, and Dog + Bone’s collars, in our review!

6. The Mountain Rope Leash, from Hurtta ($28.99)

Looking for leashes that are more tailored to an active lifestyle? We put together a great list of leashes and gear for anyone looking to get a more active workout with their dogs.

What’s your everyday leash? Tell us your tried and true favorites!

Is It Worth It To Make Your Own Dog Shampoo?

24 Apr

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you’ll know that I enjoy DIYing things. From toys to bow ties to paw wax, I find a lot of enjoyment in making things. Sometimes, it’s because I can make what I want for a lower price than I’ll find it in a store. Other times, (in the case of dog treats, especially) it’s because I want more variety than what’s offered. And sometimes, it’s just for fun.

Recently, I got the itch to see if I could make my own dog shampoo. We have shampoo already, but I was curious about what went into making my own—the ingredients, the cost, etc. Is it feasible to make your own dog shampoo, rather than buying it? Here are my thoughts.

Making Your Own Shampoo

There’s a ton of recipes for DIY shampoos floating around, and each calls for a slightly different set of ingredients. Here are some popular ones I’ve found and liked.

  • “Standard” Dog Shampoo
  • Oatmeal Shampoo
  • Anti-Flea Shampoo

Looking at all the ingredient lists, dog shampoo sounds pretty easy! However, in the end, I decided not to make my own shampoo. Why?

The main reason why a lot of folks, myself included, choose to make their own shampoos, or paw wax, etc., is because the ingredients in most commercial products leave a lot to be desired. However, we started out with Burt’s Bees natural dog shampoo, because I wanted to keep away from things like sulfates and colorants.

So, when it comes to making my own dog shampoo, it turns out that I’d already avoided any (and possibly all) the ingredients I was looking to cut out. A few years ago, finding natural dog shampoos wasn’t nearly as easy, but I’m glad the natural product market is continuing to grow.

Does that mean nobody should make their own dog shampoo? Of course not! With such a short list of ingredients in most cases, making your own dog shampoo is a pretty economical move if you already use most of the ingredients in your home. Or, maybe you’re already interested in things like making your own cleaners. (I’ll be sticking to dog treats) The choice is yours.

Do you make your own dog shampoo? Tell us why in the comments!

Does Your Dog Have Proper Identification? Here’s How ID Tags Save Pets

23 Apr

I have a confession to make: we’ve been a little irresponsible when it comes to Topher’s tags. I kept meaning to get a tag, but then I’d forget. Don’t worry, this isn’t turning into a “remember that time we lost the dog” story, but the risk is always there! While Topher spends his outdoor time on a leash, making sure he’s wearing all the necessary ID tags could make the difference in whether he gets returned to us if he ever managed to get lost. While identification doesn’t seem like a critical issue, here’s why a little prevention can go a long way in keeping your dog safe.

Why You Need Tags, Regardless Of Your Pet’s Lifestyle

A lot of owners (myself included, until recently) decide not to invest in ID tags for their animals because they stay indoors, or because their pets never leave the yard area. However, even when you take precautions, pets can get lost unexpectedly: a gate or window left open is all it takes. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP), 15-20% of lost dogs are ever returned to their guardians. Providing proper ID is the most important step you can take to making sure your pets are reunited with you.

Furthermore, consider this: during natural disasters, animal welfare agencies spring into action to save lost pets and reunite them with their owners. An ID tag is one more way to help your pet find a way back to you in any emergency.

What Identification Your Dog Needs

Depending on where you live, your dog may need more than one form of identification. Here are some of the most common recommended forms of identification.

  • An ID tag with your name, phone number, and address
  • A proof of rabies vaccination tag
  • A license from your local jurisdiction
  • An ID listing the company of origin and phone number of your dog’s microchip

You may not need every single one of the tags on this list—many states do not require an extra licensing tag, but may require your dog to wear a proof of vaccination. You can look up your local laws to be sure.

A Tagged Dog Is A Safer Dog

There’s no hard and fast rules or laws about what you should put on your ID tags, and many owners will continue to skip out on buying them. However, even if your dog is microchipped, you should consider the benefits of proper ID for your pets. While vets and shelters can scan microchips, the average citizen can’t. Proper ID could save your dog from a trip to the local shelter in the event they end up lost in your neighborhood.

If you notice a friend or family member’s pet does not wear ID, consider giving them a collar and tag as a present. There’s no better gift for the pet parent who treats their pet like their favorite child!

Does your pet wear ID?