Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Healthystuff.org has tested over 400 pet products, including toys, collars leashes and tennis balls. The results caused shock and awe in Happy Dog Land. The site is well organized and allows for searches by toxicity, brand or product type. Many of the entries include photographs for easy identification.
In addition to product rankings, the site provides valuable information about keeping Fido healthy and suggestions for taking action to protect our furry friends from hazardous chemicals.
Healthystuff.org also tests human products like toys, apparel and cars. This is a site to bookmark and visit often!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Given that we have spent more time that we can ever justify looking at, reading about, and trying out an avalanche of canine products, we thought we would share our knowledge with you and help make your holiday shopping easier. Thus, with no further ado, here are our picks for all the canine-loving people on your gift list:
1. Happy Dog: Caring For Your Dog's Body, Mind and Spirit
Since this is our blog, we couldn't resist recommending our own book! HAPPY DOG is top choice for all the dog lovers on your list. Whether your giftee is a new dog owner or an experienced one, HAPPY DOG will teach him/her new tricks that will make Fido happy!
HAPPY DOG is available at bookstores and on-line retailers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble. If you purchase the book on our website, we will personally sign the book and Barker and Meowsky will donate a portion of the sale to American Humane, the only national organization dedicated to protecting animals and children.
2. Richards Harness Coat
We used to cut holes in Shadow and Arthur's sweaters and coats to accommodate their harnesses. But that was before we found the Richards Harness Coat. This clever coat combines climate control, fashion, safety and convenience.
The coats are fully lined, machine washable, and come in a satisfying array of fashionable patterns and fabric choices for every weather condition. Choose fleece for winter, water resistant versions for rain, spa cooling coats for warmer weather and field coats to protect Fido when he's in the brush. The built-in harness is easy to adjust and closes with 2 simple clips. Fido's leash attaches to a sturdy ring sewn into the top of the coat.
We compared the Richards Harness Coat to others and it's no contest -- the quality and construction of the Richards coat are best in show.
Richards Harness Coats are reasonably priced ranging from $21.95 for XXS to $59.95 for XXL Long. Order on line or call 248-693-7422. Happy Dog Land readers can save 10% on their purchase by entering: HDL-2009-10 into the promo code box from now until 12/30/09.
3. WACKYwalk'r LEASHES
For all the people on your list who love to walk their dogs, the WACKYwalk'r is a perfect gift.
The leashes, which come in 14 vibrant colors, are available in 6 different sizes based on Fido's weight) and in 6 different styles to accommodate various walking environments and the pooch's strength.
The WACKYwalk'r ($24-35), which extends from 3 ft to 6 ft, is the longest leash. The URBAN ($22-$31) extends from 1.5 feet to 3 feet and allows for more control in congested areas. The STUBB'R ($27), which extends from 10 inches to 20 inches, is ideal for large dogs who are strong pullers. The X'TENSION ($8-$15) attaches to retractable leads and acts as a serious shock absorber for the dog and human.
Our WACKYwalk'rs have made squirrel watching much easier to bear when we walk Shadow, Zeke or Arthur. Purchase the WACKYwalk'r products on line or call 610-222-0679
Nobody likes hauling around a full poop bag while searching for a garbage can. The clever folks behind Port-A-Poo make life with a canine so much easier (and less smelly) with this must-have gizmo for anyone who walks their pooch.
The Port-A-Poo is a hands-free way to carry poop bags whether they're empty or full. The Port-A-Poo easily and securely attaches to any leash. Once attached, it's literally a snap to use. Just open the clip, slip in the bag and you're good to go. Now, you'll be able to throw a tennis ball instead of clutching Fido's poop bag.
At $9.95, the Port-A-Poo makes a great stocking stuffer or gift for one of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Choose from 5 bright colors and 2 sizes that fit standard and retractable leashes. Purchase the Port-A-Poo on line or in retailers in the US and Canada and around the world.
5. Nose Print Jewelry By Robin's Loving Touch
Robin's nose print pendants, charms and identification tags are made from an impression of your pooch's schnoz in yellow gold, white gold, sterling silver or solid chrome ($195-$625 depending on the metal and most include a matching chain).
Robin's jewelry keeps your best friend close to you at all times. Robin also offers finger print pendants to keep your human loved ones with you.
The pendants, charms and tags are personalized and instant heirlooms. Included in the price of the jewelry is a kit with easy-to-follow instructions for making the impression for the piece.
Both Jill and Billy have put in their orders. Jill will be wearing Shadow's nose print and her son's fingerprint. Billy will be sporting Zeke and Arthur's nose prints. Order on line or call 260-489-0671.
8. No Ears In Here Dog Bowl
Here's some welcome relief for all the long-eared dogs on your list. The cleverly designed No Ears In Here Bowl keeps pendulous ears out of the food or water so Fido's ears and the floor stay clean and dry while he eats or drinks.
The bowl is 9 1/2 inches tall so it won't tip over. The inner bowl, however, is just deep enough to hold 2 cups of food or water. This means that Fido is less likely to gulp his food and swallow excess air, which might upset his tummy.
The bowls are made in the USA and at $9.35 a piece make an economical and practical gift. Fill the bowl with treats, wrap it in cellophane and voila you have a snazzy gift that didn't break the bank. Order on line or call 574-267-6258.
7. DONATION TO A PET CHARITY OF YOUR CHOICE
Honor the people or pets on your gift list by helping animals in need. Making a donation to a favorite local or national animal welfare organization, shelter or rescue is a perfect gift for any animal lover. Most charities will be happy to notify the honoree of your gift, which saves you the time and effort of sending a card.
WARNING: NEVER BUY A PET AS A GIFT!
We hope our suggestions help make your holidays easier and removes some of the stress of finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. One thing you will never see on our list is a live animal: dogs (or any pet) make lousy gifts! Taking on the responsibility of pet ownership is something that should not (and cannot!) be "given" to someone.
Everyone doesn't share our love of animals, and even animal lovers may be reluctant or incapable of assuming the responsibilities, time commitment and expense of a new pet. Animals are not returnable or disposable and, therefore, should never, ever be given as a gift.
Instead, wrap up a creative stand-in for the living, breathing animal, such as a picture, toy, food or cute collar and leash. Better yet, purchase a gift certiﬁcate from a local shelter or rescue. This allows the recipient to decide for him- or herself whether she’s ready, willing and able to welcome a pet into her family.
Moreover, the holidays are a dreadful time to introduce a new pet into a household. Routines are altered, celebrations take everyone from home and everyone is probably too busy to provide a new family member with the required care, stability, love and attention. Wait until after the holidays. Local shelters and rescues will be overﬂowing with rejected holiday gifts that are anxiously awaiting their new home.
We hope that this provides you with some good ideas on how to make your holiday season doggone amazing!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Get the full scoop here.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
We met many wonderful people and pooches at the Greater Philadelphia Pet Expo and gathered a ton of fur for the Pledge folks to demonstrate the Pledge Fabric Sweeper For Pet Hair.
See the photos from the event here.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
- NEVER let Fido swim unattended or unsupervised.
- Verify that your dog knows how to exit the water.
- Be realistic about your dog's fitness and agility level and her desire to swim. Some dogs are perfectly happy walking around in ankle deep water, some dogs could spend all day paddling around the deep end of a pool and some are terrified at the mere thought of putting paw to water. Listen to your dog!
- Don't toss Fido into the water, introduce him gradually so he doesn't panic and sink.
- If you own a pool, be sure it is securely fenced in and covered when not in use.
- Use safety equipment like entry and exit ramps and canine life jackets.
- Wash your dog after his swim. Chlorine and lake or ocean water can leave stinky and irritating residue.
Friday, November 6, 2009
This past week, the New York Times took a look at one such furry friend named Jet. If you don't feel inadequate after reading this, well, you're probably more interesting than the two of us:
He is both a seizure alert dog and a psychiatric service dog whose owner has epilepsy, severe anxiety, depression, various phobias and hypoglycemia. Jet has been trained to anticipate seizures, panic attacks and plunging blood sugar and will alert his owner to these things by staring intently at her until she does something about the problem. He will drop a toy in her lap to snap her out of a dissociative state. If she has a seizure, he will position himself so that his body is under her head to cushion a fall.Sounds pretty amazing, eh? You're not the only one who is impressed:
In September, the Army announced that it would spend $300,000 to study the impact of pairing psychiatric service dogs like Jet with soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder. Both the House and Senate have recently passed bills that would finance the training and placement of these dogs with veterans.Well, here's the rub: are these dogs aware of what they're doing? Are they "thinking" or are they merely responding in conditioned ways to certain stimuli (the way, for example, Jill does when she is near a french fry).
One researcher at the University of British Colombia has attempted to figure this out, by giving dogs language tests and other intelligence exams meant for toddlers. Based on that, he has categorized different dogs by how many commands they can learn. Shadow, Jill's dog, will be pleased to know that Poodles are one of the smartest dogs according to this researcher. Another researcher, however, at the University of Florida, argues that dogs are simply deeply sensitive to the human beings around them, and that through conditioning they can effectively mimic the traits of human thought.
We're not sure of the truth. But we challenge anyone to deny that Zeke, Billy's Portuguese Water Dog, is not interested in the latest developments in fluid dynamics....
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The answer is here. It turns out that there is a designated Presidential dog walker, who has walked our national canines since 1972. His name, is Dale Haney, and we can now report that his favorite Presidential dog was Spot, the dearly departed dog of President George W. Bush (and ironically a puppy born of Millie, the dog owned by the elder President George H.W. Bush).
It's really quite an interesting tale!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
If you live near Philadelphia, we'd love to meet you! We'll be at the The Greater Philadelphia Pet Expo on November 6-8 at the The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, 422 Business Center, Oaks PA. Billy will be speaking several times during the event and answering all your dog care questions.
In addition, stop by the Pledge® Fabric Sweeper for Pet Hair booth to get your copy of Happy Dog: Caring For Your Dog's, Body Mind and Spirit signed by Billy and Jill and pick up some valuable coupons. Billy and Jill will donate $1 from every book purchased to the American Humane Association.
Many shelters specialize in placing older dogs in new homes. Check Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet, where you can search for dogs by age.
Puppies are incomparably cute and incomparably entertaining, and, best of all, they smell exactly like puppies. At middle age, a dog has settled into the knuckleheaded matrix of behavior we find so appealing—his unquestioning loyalty, his irrepressible willingness to please, his infectious happiness. But it is not until a dog gets old that his most important virtues ripen and coalesce. Old dogs can be cloudy-eyed and grouchy, gray of muzzle, graceless of gait, odd of habit, hard of hearing, pimply, wheezy, lazy, and lumpy. But to anyone who has
ever known an old dog, these flaws are of little consequence. Old dogs are vulnerable. They show exorbitant gratitude and limitless trust. They are without artifice. They are funny in new and unexpected ways. But, above all, they seem at peace.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
However, we may make an exception here. The Big Apple Circus, apparently, does not use exotic animals (no elephants, etc.). Instead, this circus adopts homeless domestic animals and then trains them to become circus performers. Even more importantly, these dogs live with their trainer as pets.
One detail, however, was particularly striking:
Mr. Anastasini is adamant about taking care of the dogs after they retire. They still long to perform, he says, so he often runs them through their old acts to keep them happy. One of his goals is to build a shelter to rehabilitate problem animals and return them to their owners or give them to others. And where does Mr. Anastasini take the animals during their three-month stay in New York? Central Park, of course. “A lot of people think I’m a dog walker,” he said.
Now that's a circus we can get behind...