Here’s a look at 5 products–each available on Amazon–designed to help our four-legged family members during these dog days of summer:
Alcott Explorer Cooling Bandana – $12.99 Soak this bandana in cool water and the non-toxic polymer beads will swell up…then it’s ready to go on your dog’s neck. We have two of these bandanas (and I’ve even used them for myself…they are definitely cooling).
The Green Pet Shop Dog Cooling Pad – $41.98 for Medium/Large This cooling pad doesn’t require water or refrigeration; after 20 minutes of non-use, it recharges and is ready to cool down your dog again.
Musher’s Secret Pet Paw Protection Wax– $12.99 You might think of Musher’s wax for use during the winter to protect your dog’s paws from ice and salt but the all-natural, 100 percent wax-based cream also protects paws cracked by summer heat and swimming.
Polar Bowl by Neater Pet Brands -$19.95 for Large We use one of these bowls for feeding refrigerated food but it’s also a good way to keep water cool on hot summer days if you keep an outdoor water bowl or if your home isn’t staying cool.
This post includes affiliate links to Amazon. We are a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. As always, we promote only products and businesses that we consider helpful to our readers. Clicking our links add no additional cost to the consumer. The small percentage we receive in affiliate income allows us to continue to operate this blog and provide you with quality content. Any time you use one of our affiliate links, we greatly appreciate it!
As you know from our photos, Barli is a fiend for sticks…
Since day one, he has searched the yard for sticks–big or small–and proceeded to destroy them…
We’ve been trying to wean Barli from his stick habit for some time now; after all, sticks can leave splinters in a dog’s tongue, throat and mouth–and more than one vacuum has suddenly stopped in our house when it hit the remains of a stick chewing session.
Recently we received the new West PawZwig (also available on Amazon), part of West Paw’s new Zogoflex Echo collection, also including the Rando, replacing the tennis ball’s potential for toxic glue and intestine-blocking fuzz with a safe alternative. These West Paw toys–each made in the USA–are soft with a hollow core, bouncy, and durable.
Last week we enjoyed a family visit, part of which was spent out at the lake. We gave the Zwig a test to see if it floated:
Once it passed the test, it was time to introduce Barli:
Barli was a little suspicious at first…
But soon he was enjoying a game of fetch in the shallow water.
We’re still working on replacing Barli’s love of sticks with the Zwig but we’ve now got a great option when we tell him “trade me” whenever he finds a stick! Our next excursion will be to the beach with Barli and Tiki, and you can bet that the Zwig is already on the packing list!
We received a Zwig for our review; all statements and opinions are entirely our own.
We received an Embark® Dog DNA Test for review; all statements and opinions are entirely our own.
As you know, we adopted Barli four months ago. Picked up alone as a stray, Barli’s background before he arrived at the shelter was a total mystery to everyone…until we took an Embark Dog DNA Test! This test not only checks your dog’s breed mix but also uses those 200,000+ genetic markers to run over 175 genetic health and trait tests on your dog so you can see if your dog is at risk or a carrier for many genetic conditions. The test was very fast and easy to run, requiring just a cheek swab test that we performed at home. We sent in the swab and tracked the progress of the sample via online notifications…until we received word that Barli’s test results were ready!
Barli’s Health and Trait Results
The first portion of the test looks at Barli’s genetic makeup and how it could potentially impact his health in the future, both his own health and, if he were to be bred (no danger there!), the risk to his offspring. Fortunately Barli came through with flying colors:
Of the 165 conditions tested for, Barli is at risk for none–what a relief!
He is a carrier for one condition:
Barli’s a carrier for Canine Multifocal Retinopathy, a nonprogressive retinal disease. Since Barli can never be bred, of course, that removes that worry. We’ve sent the Embark report to our vet so he’ll know about this, though.
We’ll also want to let our vet know that for future blood tests that read liver health, Barli’s “normal” reading is actually below normal of that found on most dogs–so what’s in the normal range for most dogs would be high for Barli due to a mutation:
Barli has two copies of a mutation associated with reduced ALT activity. Please inform your veterinarian that Barli has this genotype, as ALT is often used as an indicator of liver health and Barli is likely to have a lower than average resting ALT activity. As such, an increase in Barli’s ALT activity could be evidence of liver damage, even if it is within normal limits by standard ALT reference ranges.
While we’re certainly curious about Barli’s breed mix, I know that’s really just the fun part of this test for our own curiosity. Barli is a purebred Barli, a one-of-a-kind little fellow who has so quickly become a special part of our family. But the genetic information that Embark provided us about Barli’s health is a goldmine for us and, with just a click, we were able to send it to our vet for Barli’s file!
And now the part you’ve been waiting for. We had so much fun seeing everyone’s breed guesses (many of which were our guesses, too.) But which breeds did the DNA show makeup Barli’s heritage? Drumroll, please…
We had a good idea that Barli was a mixed breed dog–but we didn’t realize just HOW much of a mix he is! Just as the shelter guessed, he’s mostly Border Collie but he’s a whole stew pot of other breeds as well:
Yep, along with Border Collie he’s everything from Chihuahua (?!) to American Staffordshire Terrier with so many other breeds in between. The Supermutt category stems from the fragments of DNA that are too minute to test but which they predict could be Cocker Spaniel and German Shepherd Dog:
The Embark test also checks for “wolfiness” which measures the bits of a wild heritage that may linger in the DNA; most dogs score under 1%. At 1.7%, Barli gets high wolfiness marks:
The test also provides a predicted adult weight, although the explanation shows that this can be off (as it is a bit in Barli’s case; at nine months now, he’s about 27 pounds).
Based on that DNA, Embark is able to construct a possible family tree for Barli:
And if you’d like to do a deep dive into DNA information, Embark even provides Maternal and Paternal Haplotype images and explanations to show how Barli’s ancestors came to this country:
We are so excited to get this peek into Barli’s past, both for the health results and for the breed results. You can see all of Barli’s DNA test results here. A big paws up for Embark Vet!
My two-year-old Golden Doodle is reluctant to go in the backyard to do her business. I coax her to do so but she seems afraid to venture out unless I stay with her. Also even though she gets taken out twice a day to our dog park, she still doesn’t always indicate (bark or make other noises) that she has to go out when she needs to do more of her business. If I am not around to notice, she does it on the rug in the front parlor. I suspect it’s because the room is seldom occupied.
Thanks for any insight into this exasperating behavior.
Thanks for your email to DogTipper…I feel your pain! We adopted Barli (now eight months old) in March, and, for the first two months, he wanted to pee in the bedroom while we were in the living room! I didn’t want to crate train him (since he’d just spent three months kenneled at a shelter) so we had to go slow and steady through the housetraining–but it has been a success.
If you’ve ruled out the possibility of a urinary tract infection or other health issue, I think your Goldendoodle might be having some of the same issues that Barli had when he first arrived at our home: he was a little afraid to go outside alone. I suspect because he didn’t have the freedom to go outside unattended at the shelter, he was worried about going out in our yard to potty.
Your dog might have had something scare her while she was outside pottying one day; many dogs go through a fear period even up to two years old when things that didn’t scare them previously can suddenly scare them.
Here are my suggestions:
Just as if you were housetraining a new puppy, start over with your dog’s housetraining. Get on a strict schedule of taking her out first thing in the morning, about half an hour after every meal, about every hour (you can later wean that back), and right before bedtime. Don’t wait for her to tell you she needs to go but just go on schedule.
When she goes to the backyard to potty, stay with her and praise, praise her when she does her business. (Be sure to let her finish pottying before praising.) Bring extra yummy treats (soft liver treats often do the trick) that she only gets after pottying. Praise her like she’s done the best thing ever!
Some dogs might be a little shy about pottying at a dog park, if they’re a little fearful of other dogs. You might want to have her potty in the yard first.
If you catch your dog pottying in the house, interrupt with a quick “uh-oh” or hand clap and rush her outside. When she potties outside, throw a party!
Clean your rug with an enzyme cleaner so that she won’t return to the scene of the crime! It might already smell perfectly clean to you but her super nose might still detect that she’s peed there.
If you can, restrict your dog with a baby gate so she can’t return to the front parlor except when supervised. Until our puppy’s housetraining was completed, we wound up closing off Barli in the (rugless) living room when he was unsupervised so he wouldn’t go to our bedroom and potty. It took about two months before we could trust him to let us know he wanted to go outside.
Housetraining isn’t always a “one and done” type of event. Dogs sometimes need a refresher course in housetraining after a change–a new dog in the house, a move, an illness, or perhaps a scare. I think you’ll find the refresher course in training will go faster than her initial housetraining, however. I hope this helps!! Paris
Whether you’re just tired of playing doggy doorman or you need a way for your dogs to get outside to potty while you’re at work, you may be looking for a way for your dog to come and go from the house on his own. The answer just might be a dog door, one that can be installed either permanently or, if you’re renting, temporarily to give your dog access to your yard while you’re away. Before you start shopping, though, we’ve got five things you should know before buying a dog door.
Dog doors have gone high tech.
The days of the simple flap are gone; today you can shop for a dog door that reads your dog’s microchip and opens specifically for him. Not only will this keep visiting dogs out of your house, but it will also prevent wildlife from entering your home–or, if your dog door is extra-large, will prevent a burglar from entering. If you have multiple pets, you can restrict access to keep cats indoors while your dog comes and goes–or restrict one dog recovering from surgery or an injury while the other dog still uses the door.
You may need to train your dog to use the door.
Some dogs take to the concept of the dog door faster than others. You may need to train your dog to use the door door. As with any training, take it slowly and make it fun for your dog! Get a friend to join you in the training and, with one of you on each side of the dog door, use a favorite treat to train your dog, first working through just the opening of the dog door, with the flap removed. Take the training step by step, letting your dog proceed at his own pace, watching for signs of stress before you advance to the next training step. After your dog is comfortable going back and forth through the dog door opening, you’ll add the flap. A smear of peanut butter on the flap will encourage your dog to get his face right up to the flap, a vital step toward opening the flap on his own.
Dog doors aren’t just for doors any more.
Think of dog doors and you probably picture one installed permanently in an exterior door. That’s definitely the most popular option but it’s not your only choice. Homeowners can opt for wall-mounted dog doors, literally cutting a hole in the exterior wall to give your dog access to the lawn. Plan on professional installation somewhere in the $100-$200 range for this type of door. For DIYers and renters, sliding patio doors can be fitted with dog doors. The new dog door fits into the track and secures to the frame but, when you move, you can easily take the dog door with you.
Dog doors range from small to extra-large with a size for every canine. But don’t just consider your dog at the moment when deciding on the size. If your dog is young, is he still growing? What if you later adopt another dog–would you get a dog the same size or smaller? Let’s face it: a dog door is a fairly large purchase, especially when you factor in installation costs. If you think you might later add a larger dog to your family, it’s safer to go up in size; a smaller dog can easily use a larger dog door but it doesn’t work the other way around! While upsizing has its perks, consider the weight of the flap if you have a very small dog; some flaps have magnetic snaps that help with energy efficiency but can make the flap more difficult for smaller dogs to open.
Consider home security when making your choice.
If you need a larger dog door, spend extra time comparing security features before you make your selection. Electronic dog doors that read your dog’s microchip provide extra security. Some doors offer timers so you can automatically choose to keep the door locked at night; manual locks let you lock the door any time, including when you’re traveling. Tinted flaps are helpful for preventing potential burglars from peeping into your home to check for two- or four-legged residents.
Dog doors can be a great way to give your dog the freedom to go outside to potty while you’re away, especially important as dogs get older. Spend some time comparing the growing number of models on the market to make sure your dog door is a good fit for years to come.
Living in the country, coyotes are a fact of life for us. We hear them in the evenings and at night (and any time they hear a siren). We see evidence of them on every dog walk.
But we do our best to make sure our dogs have no close interaction with the coyotes. We walk our dogs on leash and have had a few encounters with coyotes on our walks–but with the dogs right at my side, I didn’t worry about their safety as I would have if they’d been off leash. And we work to keep our yard unattractive to coyotes, with no food, trash or dog waste to lure them inside.
Protect Your Pets From Coyotes And Other Wild Animals
Although most wild animals mind their business and don’t bother humans, some wild animals, such as coyotes, can wander into human environments and cause harm to pets.
“It’s pretty amazing how much damage coyotes can do to pets, especially when you consider that coyotes are roughly the size of a domestic dog,” said Christine Rutter, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Coyotes are very effective predators. Pets that come to our emergency room after a coyote attack often have severe injuries.”
What to do if your dog is bitten by a coyote
Because coyote bites have the potential to cause severe body and organ damage, Rutter recommends that every pet that is attacked by a coyote, bobcat, or an unknown animal be evaluated by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Owners should not attempt to address wounds at home.
A bite from a wild animal also poses another threat—the spread of potential diseases, such as rabies.
“We don’t often think of the coyote as a major vector of rabies, but it is possible,” Rutter said. “However, the most common carriers for rabies are raccoons, skunks, foxes, and bats.
“Thankfully, most pets have had a recent rabies vaccination, which will protect them from this virus,” she said. “However, saliva in the pet’s wounds can expose people who are not commonly vaccinated for rabies to the virus. I always recommend that owners wear gloves when handling pets that have been attacked by a wild or potentially unvaccinated animal.”
Steps to protect your dog from coyote attacks
While humans might not be able to control the behavior of wild animals, pet owners can take steps toward protecting pets from potential attacks.
“Coyotes and other wild animals thrive in urban and suburban environments due to the availability of food and shelter provided by people,” Rutter explained. “It seems that the only thing we can really do is to limit access to these resources. I recommend that people secure food sources, including trash, compost, outdoor pet food, and wildlife feeders. I would also be sure that outbuildings are secure and don’t make comfortable homes for wildlife.”
Since many wild animals, including coyotes, are most active from dusk till dawn, keeping pets safe during this time is crucial.
“Keeping pets indoors during this time seems the most obvious choice, but it’s not realistic in some situations,” Rutter said. “I recommend that pets be limited to a fenced area or leash walked. I would also have a good outdoor light, visually check the yard, and make a bit of noise before pets are allowed outside. Especially at night, it’s important to supervise your pets when they are outside. Pets of any size can find trouble, but pets under 50 pounds are especially vulnerable.”
If your pet primarily resides outdoors, a completely enclosed kennel with a roof may also be an effective way to keep unwanted visitors out.
“Ventilation holes in the kennel should be small enough to keep out any animal larger than a rat, and the kennel should be large enough that the confined animal should be able to at least stand up, turn around, and escape any water accumulation on the floor,” Rutter said.
Webcams and security systems can also help you monitor your yard at both day and night.
We can’t predict the behavior of wild critters, but we can take steps to lessen the chance that our pet comes in contact with a dangerous animal.
Barli is a cuddler. Since the very FIRST night he came to our house, back on March 13, he has slept in our bed, always either tucked behind one of our knees or right beside one of us. While Tiki prefers room to stretch out while she sleeps, Barli is definitely a cuddler.
If your dog’s a cuddler, he may very well prefer a cuddle bed as compared to a flat traditional dog bed. A cuddler bed has raised sides so your dog can burrow down in there and get cozy. (And this week Barli also decided that his new Martha Stewart Brushed Canvas Cuddler Pet Bed would be a good hiding place for his sheep horn chew!)
The new Cuddler Bed (available in red or tan) has a removable pillow. Each of the four bolster inserts is removable so the bed can be machine washed.
The new bed is available on Amazon along with other new items, from collars and leashes to stylish bow ties and grooming solutions, in Martha’s pet care essentials line.
Barli gives the Cuddler Bed a big paws up!
We received a Cuddler Bed for our review; all statements and opinions are entirely our own (and Barli’s). This post includes an Amazon affiliate link; if you use our link, we receive a small percentage.
As animal lovers, we all know that rescue pets actually rescue us, but that phrase is never more apt than for former “unadoptable” shelter dogs who use their new lease on life to save lives.
Since its start in 1996, the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation has trained dogs who many have given up on to never give up the search and rescue of those who have been struck by disaster. Based in Santa Paula, California, the non-profit organization rescues dogs in need from coast to coast whose dogged determination, temerity and boundless exuberance held them back during their days in the shelter system, but now serve as assets as they assist firefighters and other emergency responders in times of crisis.
In honor of the work of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation, founder Wilma Melville was presented with the Helping Heroes Award at the annual Petco Foundation Lifesaving Awards gala. Melville, a retired schoolteacher, embarked on her mission to increase the number of canine search teams in the United States in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, where she took part in rescue and recovery efforts as a FEMA-Certified Canine Search Specialist.
The following video offers a look as dogs learn lifesaving skills at the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s training center– the only one in the nation designed specifically for canine disaster search:
2018 Petco Foundation National Disaster Search Dog Foundation Helping Heroes Award Winner - YouTube
The Petco Foundation’s 2018 Awards Gala, which was co-hosted by Daymond John of ABC’s Shark Tank and Petco Foundation Board Chair Charlie Piscitello at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California, also helped to shine a spotlight on:
The Southern Pines Animal Shelter in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which received the Paul Jolly Compassion award.
Shannon Wells of the Kansas City Pet Project, who was presented with the Unsung Hero Award.
Front Street Animal Shelter, recipient of the Innovation Award.
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), which received the Lifesaving Impact Award.
Dogs Playing for Life, which received the Love in Action Award.
Steven Latham of the PBS series Shelter Me, who was presented with the Love Amplified Award.
When we adopted Barli in March from the Hill Country SPCA, we didn’t know what breeds might make up his heritage. The shelter guessed Border Collie and Australian Shepherd but, of course, it’s anyone’s guess–unless you do a DNA test…which we did!
Thanks to a review kit we received from Embark Vet, we had the opportunity to test Barli’s DNA, not just for his breed mix but also for over 160 genetic conditions that he could be at risk for. We’ve received his results and can’t wait to share them…but first we wanted to have a little fun and see what breeds you thought made up our Barli!
Win a $50 Gift Card
Guess one of Barli’s breeds and enter to win a $50 gift card to our PawZaar gift store; you’ve got until 11:59pm on Saturday, July 14, 2018 to enter! The giveaway is open to readers everywhere; the prize will be send as a $50 PawZaar gift card. The gift card doesn’t cover international shipping or duties (U.S. shipping is free).
To enter, just leave a comment below with your guess as to one of Barli’s breeds. Each comment with one of his correct breeds (yep, there’s definitely more than one!) will be put in a pot and we’ll draw one winner at random. You can enter with one comment for all your breed guesses or multiple comments…it’s your choice. We can’t wait to see your guesses!
Here are some physical and behavioral clues that might help you with your guesses:
At eight months old, Barli now weighs 27 pounds.
Barli’s neck is 12 inches.
Barli does not have rear dewclaws.
Barli’s fur is curly, both on his back and even his whiskers!
He has short fur on his legs and muzzle.
He loves to run!
He likes to bark.
He loves to swim and to splash in water.
He’s super smart (he even learned how to use the dog bells we have on the front door within five days of arriving…just by watching Tiki).
He loves our cats and loves other dogs.
He loves new people but can be just a little standoffish with new people until he has a chance to know them…then brace yourself and be prepared for a kiss!
All of his nails and paw pads are black.
His tail is held up over his back.
And here are a few photos to help your guesses:
Baby Barli when he first reached the shelter in mid-December at about two months old?
Barli on the shelter website in the photo we first saw of him on Petfinder at about five months old.
Barli’s eyes are a deep chestnut color.
Under all that fur, he’s a slender little fellow!
His ears are folded (and furry!)
Barli’s muzzle is slender.
We hope these clues help…and can’t wait to see your guesses in the comments below. Then watch for our Embark Vet post on Monday, July 16 for the winner and for Barli’s Embark Vet DNA results!!
This post is sponsored by CEVA Animal Health, makers of ADAPTIL® for dogs. All statements and opinions are entirely our own. As always, we only share products that we use with our own pets!
Summer is synonymous with summer fun, family outings…and, all too often, terrified and even lost dogs thanks to the alarming sounds of fireworks and thunderstorms.
More pets go missing on Independence Day due to fear that sends them bolting. That fear is also triggered by many of summer’s other frights: thunderstorms, an incoming tropical storm, the sound of gunfire (in preparation for fall hunting, target practice increases during late summer), and even summer guests.
Pheromones are a great way to help your dog deal with the stresses of summer–without resorting to medication. ADAPTIL® for dogs products (available as a spray, diffuser and collar) copies the natural, canine-appeasing pheromone that dogs have known since birth. According to ADAPTIL®:
Mother dogs naturally emit a scent to their puppies known as the dog appeasing pheromone. These “comforting messages” are a strong signal of security and comfort to puppies as they face new challenges. ADAPTIL® mimics the natural pheromone and is clinically proven to reduce signs of stress in puppies and adult dogs that leads to unwanted stress-related behaviors.
There might be no better time for that “comforting message” (that’s odorless to humans and has no impact on humans or cats) than July. We know that Tiki doesn’t like fireworks but this is Barli’s first Fourth of July with us (actually his first Fourth of July on Earth!) so we’re unsure how he’s going to handle the sound of fireworks–but we do know how we’re going to handle the potential stress before it ever begins.
Rather than reducing the stress once it starts, it’s important to keep your dog calm before the stress ever has a chance to build up. We recently told you about the ADAPTIL® Calm On-The-Go Collar that Barli wears for car travel and hotel stays; it’s also a great way to keep him calm throughout thunderstorm and fireworks season–because we all know that fireworks don’t just happen on the night of July 4th! With the holiday falling on a Wednesday, I’m anticipating fireworks through the weekend.
Rather than running the risk of him becoming frightened then trying to calm him down, Barli will be wearing his ADAPTIL® Calm On-The-Go Collar throughout. The collar lasts for four weeks. The collar comes in two sizes; Barli wears a M-L which is a little bit long on him so I trimmed it to the proper length–then I sewed the leftover portion inside a favorite plush toy of his, an additional way to help calm him during this tense time.
Stay Away from Triggering Situations
We recently saw a discussion on a neighborhood forum about dog-friendly fireworks displays. Now, we don’t know the person–or their dog–so there’s a possibility that perhaps their dog is oblivious to fireworks…but that would certainly be the exception. It’s far safer to stay away from fireworks displays with your dog; if you must attend, please hire a pet sitter to come to your home and let your dog stay home indoors and safely secured. Plug in an ADAPTIL® Calm Home Diffuser, the clinically-proven, veterinarian-recommended diffuser and let your dog chill out at home while you watch the fireworks. (If your dog is wearing the ADAPTIL® Calm On-The-Go Collar, it’s fine to also use the ADAPTIL® Calm Home Diffuser.)
Drown Out the Sounds
On July 4th, we’ll be watching a movie with the volume up, a technique we also use during thunderstorms. We have known dog families whose houses are adjacent to fireworks displays and who have to load up their dogs and either head to a hotel or just drive around with the radio playing until the fireworks are done. ADAPTIL® Travel Spray is a great option to use either in the car or at the hotel. Spray a Nuzzle Buddy, a favorite toy, or a doggie bandana; never spray it directly on your dog.
Stay Calm and Enjoy Summer
Before the fireworks begin–or before the next thunderstorm or tropical storm–I’m going to do my best to take a deep breath and stay calm myself. Whether we’re experiencing irritation over nearby fireworks or apprehension over an incoming storm, dogs can read our moods. Knowing that I’ve taken steps with ADAPTIL® to keep Barli and Tiki calm, I can relax and enjoy the season.