A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
The sun is finally out, birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the open road is calling. Although it may sound fun to hop in the car with your dog, open up all the windows and just drive, you won’t get far before you wish you’d packed him a bag, first.
Packing for a road trip with a dog can be fast and easy, and will help keep your pooch safe and comfortable on the drive. Here’s a few things to grab on your way out the door for a day of fun on the road, or to keep in a bag near the door for those spontaneous road-tripping urges!
Before you leave:
- Make sure that your dog is wearing ID tags and his collar (make sure that it has your cell phone number and not just your home address)
- Take the time to potty in your own yard before leaving (there might not be a good location right away, which is always when my dogs like to go)
- Check the weather forecast to be prepared for unexpected weather changes
What to Pack:
- Water dish and water (you don’t know the water quality in some areas, and a picky dog might refuse some)
- Tupperware container with food (that can be used as a feeding bowl, once the lid is removed) and snacks
- Harness or Seatbelt, for the safety of both of you
- Towels or a blanket for the seat (which can get hot in the sun)
- Extra towels/rags (for spills, wet/muddy paws, or accidents)
- Poop bags (always bring more than you think you’ll need!)
- Toys or a chew stick
- Canine first-aid kit
- Make sure that your dog is in good health and up for the excursion, including being current on vaccinations
- Spring means bugs! Remember to have flea/tick and heartworm protection for him
- Stop every 2 hours for a potty break and to stretch
- Don’t leave your dog in a parked car while you go inside for lunch. Pack your own snacks and enjoy a picnic together outdoors in the shade together.
A few minutes of packing, before you leave, can save you hours of frustration on the road. Most importantly, it will ensure that your pooch is safe and comfortable and will enjoy the ride, along with with you!
April 2, 2018 | DogGeek
The trees and flowers are blooming and your allergies are taking over. This could mean only one thing, it’s spring! While spring is a great time to get out in the yard and celebrate with your family, there are some potential hazards for your dog. Easter brings celebration but it also brings a lot of toxic dangers around for your dogs. Here’s a list to watch out for:
- Easter Grass – That colorful fake grass used to make your Easter basket so vibrant. Ingesting this "grass" can be lethal to your dogs and other pets because they can not digest it. The threads get stuck in their intestines causing damage.
- Plastic Eggs – Those shiny plastic eggs that contain goodies and sometimes, if you’re a really lucky kid, money. If chewed and swallowed the plastic can cause intestinal problems that may require surgery. Make sure you keep track of how many you put out and that they are all found by who should find them, not Fido days later.
- Chocolate – We all know that chocolate is dangerous to pets, but make sure your children know. Besides, puppies love bunnies, they just shouldn’t have chocolate ones.
- Easter Lillies – They are a sign that spring is a coming, brining new life out of winter. But, did you know that they are one of the most poisinous plants for pets? Especially cats. They can cause kidney failure in less than two days if untreated.
- Toys – Don’t forget those small and fun toy bunnies, chicks and others Easter basket stuffers that post a potential choking hazard for Fido.
Find more information about pet toxins and poisonous items for dogs and cats at the Pet Poison Helpline at www.petpoisonhelponline.com. The helpline is also open 24/7 at (800) 213-6680.
Have a happy and great Easter with your family!
March 5, 2018 | DogGeek
It is important that your dog receives lots of opportunity for exercise and recreation. Make sure your backyard can provide your dog a place to freely roam, without sacrificing the quality or design of your landscape. With a couple of tricks, you can create the perfect outdoor environment for your pup. Here are some ways to make a dog-friendly backyard landscape:
Dogscape Your Garden
Create an outdoor space that creates harmony between your dog and garden. Keep in mind the needs of your dog when designing your garden. Make sure your dog has the means for exploration, without messing up your plant presentation. Build a running track or path that weaves through the garden to keep the dog on an established path away from plants.
Make the path comfortable for your dog’s paws with small cedar chip mulch or smooth flagstone rocks set in pebbles. Your plants should be soft yet sturdy — anything too delicate can be trampled by your pet. Create stone or driftwood borders around plants for increased protection.
A dog’s good training can go out the window when distracted by the lure of a squirrel chase. Make sure a fence protects your dog from its own uninhibited excitement.
You can provide a solid boundary with a wood fence that surpasses the height of your dog’s jumping capabilities. Set your fence into the ground a few feet deep so that your dog can’t dig a hole under it.
If you’re worried about the solid and stark aesthetic of a fence, plant large shrubs or ornamental grasses along the perimeter. This will keep your yard a green oasis while also keeping your beloved hound safe.
A training course is a way you can engage your dog’s brain or condition it for any course competitions. Create a fun and ideal training course with a circuit setup with structures and fixtures that test a dog’s physical agility.
For a variety of tricks within the course, set up hurdles, a seesaw, cones and tires. Tires are great for your dog to jump through. Use your old tires as a method of sustainable recycling. This is good for the planet and also gives you an excuse to replace your vehicle’s tires with new ones.
Provide your dog with access to water for refreshment after a hearty play session. You can create a natural spring or pond within your landscape that has regular circulation of water. However, if you live in a mosquito-prone region, a large body of water will draw them onto your property.
Alternatively, consider a small drinking fountain for your dog. You can install a water circulation pump within a galvanized tub or trough. This will look rustic and stylish, while providing a water source for your pup.
If you want a more transportable option, iMounTEK makes a hygienic dog fountain. Your dog can quickly be trained to use the paw-pressable pedal that controls the water stream. Since the water is never stagnant, there is less threat of bacterial growth or water contamination.
March 4, 2018 | DogGeek
Springtime is coming and everyone wants to get outside. Here are a few tips to keep your dog safe:
- Make sure your vacuum is cleaned. Flea larvae that can live in carpets and furniture can get sucked up in your into your vacuum and can hatch. Make sure that you empty your vacuum often. Bagless vacuum cleaners are great to ensure that flea larvae do not hatch.
- Find organic/chemical free ways to rid your yard of fleas and other pests.
- Get your dog groomed as to not get matted as easily. Find a dog groomer.
- Keep dog beds clean as to not let any larvae hatch.
- Everyone likes to get outside and run in the spring, remember to ensure that your dog’s tags are readable and up-to-date in case he gets out.
- Be mindful of chemicals used to keep yards up during the summer which can be harmful to pets. Some fertilizers can be highly toxic.
- Roads and the sides of roads can still have salt residue, make sure to wash your dog’s paws after a walk.
Have fun playing outside this spring with your dog(s)!
March 4, 2018 | DogGeek
Springtime is here and it’s time to get out in the yard. When planting, remember some plants are toxic to dogs and other pets. Here’s a list of items to stay away from:
- Oleander – It can cause serious issues including gastrointestinal tract irritation and abnormal heart function.
- Lilies – They are toxic to cats and can cause severe kidney damage.
- Tulips – The bulbs contain toxins that cause drooling, loss of appetite, depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and heart abnormalities.
- Cocoa mulch – Reacts like chocolate to dogs causing vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, hyperactivity and seizures.
- Aloe – Can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea, anorexia and tremors
- Azalea – May cause vomiting, diarrhea, weekness, and other issues.
Stay safe this spring and for more information about toxins in plants, visit the ASPCA.
March 4, 2018 | DogGeek
At Christmas time, Santa fills special small stockings for your dogs, and you’ve been known to send them postcards when you are on vacation. To say that you love your dogs is probably the understatement of the year.
So, for a holiday that is devoted exclusively to love, why should humans have all of the fun? Get your precious pooch involved in Valentine’s Day with gifts and special treats just for them or by getting them in on the gift giving action. If you need some help involving your pets this year, consider the following four ideas:
Give Your Pup a Special Gift
Dogs know when a gift is just for them. This Valentine’s Day, show your adoration for your furry friend with a new heart-shaped collar. Elmo’s Closet features a selection that suits both boy and girl dogs. When giving the new collar to your dog, put it in a gift bag along with a couple of other goodies like a new squeaky ball, a Nylabone and a small bag of fancy dog treats. Then, add some loose Milkbones to the packaging so your dog can smell the present and will entice him or her to start pulling the tissue paper out of the bag. This way, your pup can find all the goodies and gifts himself.
Schedule Time for a Long Walk
Dogs love going for walks with their beloved humans. While you probably enjoy getting out with your four-legged friend, work, school, family commitments and other obligations sometimes cause that leash to go unused. So, a great way to show your dogs some love, set aside a good chunk of time on Valentine’s Day for a nice long walk around the neighborhood. Instead of walking as quickly as you can, go at a leisurely pace and let your dog stop and sniff the roses—or bushes, lawns and fire hydrants.
Plan a Doggy Spa Day
If your dog loves getting groomed, schedule a special spa day on or near Valentine’s Day. Call your favorite local groomer to set up a time for your dog to be pampered, massaged and shampooed. Or, if your dog gets a bit nervous at the groomer but likes getting a bath, do it all yourself at home.
Paw Nation offers great tips on how to do a spa day at home. For example, put on some music that your dog loves, give him or her a nice rubdown and massage before putting him or her in the tub—this will help to remove loose fur and prevent your drain from getting clogged. Then, give your dog a good shampoo with a special doggy spa scrub, like Doggie Vogue’s vanilla and blueberry scrub that will leave your four-legged friend smelling great.
Let Your Pup Give a Gift
Dogs love to be part of whatever you are up to. So, if you are giving your significant other a gift this Valentine’s Day, buy another goodie from your dog. For example, FTD sells Valentine’s Day arrangements that come with flowers, chocolates and a plush puppy. This way, when the big day rolls around, your beloved dog can give him or her a Valentine’s Day gift, too.
January 19, 2018 | DogGeek