Winter Health & Safety Tips

Winter is upon us!  Here are some great tips from Wapiti Labs Inc on how you can make the most of the cold season with your dog.

It's Cold - If it's too cold for small children to go outside, it's also too cold for your pets. Because of their thick "coat" we sometimes forget that pets are relatively small animals and are very susceptible to frostbite and freezing. After all, no pets really love being outside in the cold. They would rather be with you where it's warm.

Exercise - Just because you are trapped indoors doesn't mean that you and your pet do not need adequate exercise. If it's not too cold, venture out for a brisk walk to get some fresh air. When it's just too chilly, play a few games with your pet, get your blood moving and have a little fun!

Accurate Nutrients - Remember that when we are out in colder weather and our bodies are moving, we need different nutrients and more calories; this is the same for pets. If your pets are outside a lot and are very active, they may need more food or additional supplementation to maintain their weight and energy. Make sure you are feeding high quality food and natural high quality supplements.

Wipe Your Paws - Sand, salt and snow will not only cause a mess on your floors, it can also be very irritating and drying to your pets' paws. Use a damp cloth to wipe their paws every time they come through the door.

Beware - Antifreeze may seem like a sweet decadent treat for animals, but it's very dangerous for pets. Make sure you put antifreeze and other chemicals along with cleaners in high out of reach places, away from children and pets.

Summer Travel with Dogs

Road Trips and Summertime go hand in hand.  As you prepare for your vacations this season, don't forget about Fido. This article from offers great advice for including your entire family on your next great adventure. Here are a few key points from the article to keep in mind when traveling with your pet:

  • Consider age, personality and your dog's health.  If your dog isn’t up to extensive traveling, or will only end up spending lonely hours in a hotel room while you go sightseeing, leave your pet at a boarding kennel or with a professional pet sitter.
  • Before your departure, take your dog to your veterinarian to get a health certificate and proof of vaccinations. Different states have different regulations, so it is best to take your dog’s records with you in case they are required.
  • To help your dog overcome motion sickness, feed him lightly before the trip, about one-third the usual amount.
  • Rest stops should be included every four to six hours so your dog can relieve him- or herself. Water should be offered at each stop.
  • Never leave your dog in the car unattended:Even a car parked in direct sun on a cool day, with the windows cracked a few inches, can heat to more than 120 degrees F in less than 10 minutes
  • Keep your dog hydrated: Never skimp on dog food or water to avoid pit stops. Although you should cut back a little for your dog’s comfort while traveling,
  • During your trip, your pet should always wear a dog collar with rabies and identification tags.

Follow these recommendations and you are sure to have a memorable trip that's fun for the whole family.

Callie Redeems Herself

I asked my mom if she saw Callie's photo on the blog under my "Cute Labs" post.  She said she saw a photo of a really cute lab on a dock and then a photo of a dog that wasn't so cute.  I then had to point out to her that the dog she deemed not-so-cute was her very own Callie Jo.  I decided to try and take some better photos of Callie during my most recent visit back home so maybe she can be perceived as a cute lab again.

Sam Loves Snow

My mom's Cockapoo, Sam, is a very neurotic dog.  So it's especially nice to see him relieving some stress by using the snow to scratch his ears.  He lays on the snow and finds a sweet spot by digging around with his paws, then he rubs his ears and face all over the perfectly textured snow.  You can almost see him smiling it feels so godd.

Kaz On A Road Trip

I'm still trying to figure out if Kaz likes road trips.  We lay down the back seat and put her memory foam bed on top of it, so she has the potential to be riding more comfortably than either BJ or myself.  But she is always trying to wedge herself up, inbetween the driver and passenger seats.  She starts out slowly with just her face and paws, but then continues to crawl further up until she basically gets stuck.  Eventually she wears herself out and (with a little pushing from me) she backs herself out of the seat wedge position and succumbs to a nap in her back seat luxury.

(I think she looks like a hippo here)

Ukranian Girl Raised By Dogs

OXANA MALAYA WAS RAISED BY DOGS after her alcoholic parents left her outside overnight at the age of 3.  She found refuge in her family dogs' den and continued to live with the dogs for 5 years before a neighbor finally called social services.  During that time she was fully adopted into the pack and lived exactly as a canine.  After her rescue she has been rehabilitated to a lifestly defined by our human norms.

However, I CAN'T HELP BUT WONDER IF SHE EVER MISSES THE SIMPLICITY OF A DOG'S LIFE?  Granted, Kaz probably lives a better life than a slightly domesticated pack of dogs in the Ukraine.  But I would pretty much trade places with her on a daily basis.  This is such an interesting story and I wish we knew more about how Oxana has been coping with life as a human.  It really proves the humanity of dogs though, as they showed such compassion for her and raised her as one of their own.

The History of the Dog Collar

Collars have become the source for fashion for most dogs.  Especially if you're not one to dress your hound up in doggles, booties, and a matching fedora.  However, dog collars aren't a new trend in the canine world.  Proof has been found that early Egyptians, ancient Greeks and Romans have been using dog collars for centuries. This Victorian brass collar dates back to 1844.

Leather collars dating back to as early as 3000 BC were found in Egyptian ruins, depicting dogs names such as "Brave One", "Reliable", "Antelope", and "Useless".  Certainly not as endearing as our pet names today, but the Egyptians's collar use is very similar to our use of identity tags on collars.  Dogs in Ancient Greece and Rome wore spiked and studded collars as a form of armor when protecting herds of livestock.  Preserved in the ruins of Pompeii, a dog was found with a studded collar and an inscription that expressed his owners appreciation for saving his life.

Spiked and studded collars continued to be the norm throughout the Middle Ages, however dog collars did start to become a show of status within the upper class.  During this time period, collars made of precious metals and stones were prevalent.

In the 1500's, dog ownership expanded to the growing middle class along with the trend for reasonably priced leather collars.  The padlock collar also became popular as it was a way to prove ownership if your dog was lost.  This collar was locked together by a padlock and only the true owner held the key to unlock it.   Silver, brass, and gold collars with engravings became the fashion in the 1700's.  These collars would display the name of the owner and sometimes a clever saying.

While the style of collars has changed over the centuries the usage remains the same.  We all still want a stylish collar that will identify our dog with their owner.  Check out the latest in dog collar bling here.

Paw Protectors - Bark N' Boots

For those of you fortunate enough to be living in areas with snow right now, I thought I'd share a cool product to help protect your dog's paws from frost bite.  My Mom called from Minnesota the other day to complain about the cold and snow and how it was preventing her from walking her yellow lab puppy, Callie Jo, and cockapoo, Sam.  She was only able to walk a few blocks when Callie Jo started limping due to snow clumping Trigger gets excited about her Vibram Soles.

up between her paw pads.

Fetchdog carries custom dog boots designed to be the canine equivalent of hiking boots.  The Bark n' Boots feature Vibram soles - some of the toughest, grippiest, and lightest sole material out there.  Combined with a breathable upper, the Bark n' Boots are comfortable and supportive and offer great protection against snowy, rocky, and sun-scorched terrain.  With it's slip on and velcro design, the Bark n' Boots are easy to take on and off and won't annoy your dog too much.  Now there's no excuse to not get out and enjoy the snow.

Obama's New Puppy

Picture Puppy Here Malia and Sasha Obama were promised from Dad last night that a new puppy is on the way. With a crowd of millions there to witness the act, there's no way Barack can back out of this one. The deal was made a couple months ago, when Barack told the girls they could have get a puppy at the end of the campaign, no matter what the outcome. So, the new question is who will be the next first dog?

The new puppy will be following a long line of first pooches. Over the years, the White House has been home to over 400 animals. Currently, Miss Beazley and Barney (Scottish Terriers) and Spot (an English Springer Spaniel) reside in the White House with owner George W. Terriers and Spaniels seem to be the most popular dogs among our presidents. However, the public seems to think the Obamas will be a better fit with a rescue dog or an adopted puppy from the Humane Society.

Visit the online San Francisco Chronicle to vote for the breed and name for the Obama's New Puppy and the Presidential Pet Museum for more info on America's first pets.

Lady and Bear :: Most Popular Names for Dogs

From the American Kennel Club
Date of Article: October 01, 2008
Move over "Fido," the American Kennel Club® (AKC®) today announced that "Lady" and "Bear" top the list of most popular male/female dog names in the U.S.

A survey of 2007 AKC registration statistics showed that, in addition to Lady, Belle/Bell/Bella, Princess, Mae/May, Bear, Blue, Max/Maximus/Maxwell, Rose, Daisy, and Duke round out the top ten dog names.

"Traditionally names based on a puppy’s physical appearance or personality, such as ‘Spot’ or ‘Sassy,’ have been popular with dog owners,’" said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "Today we are seeing human names, such as ‘Jack’ and ‘Molly,’ and names that reflect a pet’s stature in the home, such as ‘King’ and ‘Princess,’ gain in popularity as more people consider their dog a valued member of the family."

The top male/female dog names, according to the AKC are:

Most Popular Male Dog Names* Most Popular Female Dog Names*
1. Bear 1. Lady
2. Blue 2. Belle/Bell/Bella
3. Max/Maximus/Maxwell 3. Princess
4. Duke 4. Mae/May
5. Buddy 5. Rose
6. Jack 6. Daisy
7. Prince 7. Grace/Gracie
8. King 8. Baby
9. Bailey 9. Molly
10. Rocky 10. Maggie
11. Harley 11. Sadie
12. Jake 12. Ann/Annie
13. Shadow 13. Star
14. Lucky 14. Lily/Lilly
15. Hunter 15. Angel
16. Dakota 16. Coco/Cocoa
17. Lou 17. Sophie/Sophia
18. Midnight 18. Lucy
19. Cooper 19. Abby/Abigail
20. Buster 20. Marie

The AKC offers the following rules to consider when naming your pooch:

  • Names often reflect the character of your pet. Observe your dog for a few days and see if his personality suggests a name. Is he regal? Does she always want to be the center of attention? If so, how about "King" or "Star"?
  • Short, sweet and easily recognizable names work best in getting your dog to be responsive. Use a name that is one or two syllables, ending with a vowel, such as "Sadie" or "Rocky."
  • Don’t choose a name that is too long or difficult to say. A name such as "Sir Barks A Lot" will only confuse your dog.
  • Avoid names that sound like commands. Names like "Joe" sound like "no" when called.
  • Pick a name that will fit your dog regardless of his age. For example, a puppy named "Fuzzy" may not be a good fit after he grows into adulthood.
  • Don’t name your dog after a friend or family member without getting their prior permission. You never know who could be offended.
  • Test out the name you would like to give your dog for a day or two. Remember any name you give your dog will be a 10-to-15-year commitment for the life of the dog.
  • After you chose a name for your dog make sure you use it often so he can learn it more quickly.
  • Don’t raise your voice every time you call him, and try to use his name in positive, playful settings, such as when you feed him, play with him or pet him.