Caped Canines and Festive Felines: Easy Costume Ideas for our Pals

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It’s here! It’s here! Halloween is here and we are bursting with excitement to decorate our homes, ourselves, and our pets. (Yes, we said our pets.) Of course, not every pal is super keen on being dressed in a costume (and we can’t blame them, some days it’s a struggle for us just to put on pants), so we’ve come up with a few easy ideas for them to paw-ticipate…

Harry Paw-tter – Pick your favorite Hogwarts house colors, get a scarf in the same hues,  print or order a patch with the house emblem and expecto patronum! You’ve got yourself a magical mascot for the night. (Bonus points if you can figure out how to work a pair of costume glasses into it.)

Scooby Doo – This one is super simple: all you need is a bright blue collar (or you can wrap your pet’s existing one in fabric) and make a cartoon-ish SD tag out of cardboard. Granted, certain breeds pull this one off better than others but we love any and all efforts to be festive.

Lifeguard – Does your dog have a life vest? Then you’ve got a costume. Tape the white lifeguarding symbol on it and a whistle around their neck (if you can) and consider your pup transformed.

A Simple Cape. Seriously, a little goes a long way. Bonus points if it’s personalized to make your pet into their very own caped crusader.

Pet Paint – Oh yes, it’s a thing, and it’s a great way to zhoosh up your pet’s exterior with zero discomfort to them. Be sure to test the paint on a small area of their skin first and, if everything’s okay, go for it! Turn them into a camouflaged soldier, a spotted leopard, or even draw a superhero’s emblem on their chest; just be sure to keep it below the neck and watch for their eyes while spraying.

We’re dying to see your pals’ costumes, even if they’re from last year – so be sure to share on Facebook!

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SPF: Sun Protection for Fido

1Did you know that pets can get sunburnt too? Yep, a day in the sun for certain dogs can burn their skin just like humans (especially long haired dogs who’ve been shaved down for summer.) The truth is the sun can be just as dangerous to our dogs as it can to us and, while it may seem over-the-top and worrisome to consider sun protection, if your dog frequently accompanies you on a boat, to the beach, or even hunting, you may want to consider these sun protection favorites.

  • Yep, doggy sunscreen exists, primarily for their nose and inner thighs where the fur is thin but will undoubtedly get exposed to the sun. Make absolute sure there isn’t any zinc oxide in the product, and test it on a small part of their skin before full application.
  • We love doggles – they make us laugh, make pups look like bosses and, most importantly, protect their eyes from the sun. An absolute must for dogs who frequently go on boats or motorcycles (yikes! But we’ve seen it!) with their owners.
  • Another functional product that’s good for a laugh as dogs get used to them. While these aren’t necessarily protection from the sun, they will save your pet’s paw pads from the ground that’s scalding because of it.
  • UV Shirts. Yep, just like the ones you see on kids at the beach. If your dog has skin issues or a something like a healing cut but can still have fun at the beach, consider a rash guard – just remember it won’t protect their inner thighs.
  • Shade, Duh. The most obvious sun protection is shade – and it’s an absolutely must anywhere your pet may be (especially, your backyard.) If your pet often accompanies you to sunny places, consider an umbrella or shade structure – not just for your pet, but for you too! (And, of course, don’t forget lots of water, pals.)

Show us how you and your dog fun in the sun on Facebook!

 

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5 Signs of a Responsible Breeder

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While local pet store owners should know exactly where the pups are housed before receiving them, most of them either don’t care or take the ‘wholesalers’ word that the animals are happy and healthy. The plus side: more and more cities are taking steps to either ban pet stores or enforce stricter rules on where they obtain their animals. (PS: You can get involved too. Tell your local officials that you support animal welfare laws – like those limiting the amount of pets a person can own and breed, and establishing standards of care for anyone intending to sell animals for profit. Seriously, it can’t hurt and may even elevate your community.)

Backyard breeders, on the other hand, are a little easier to spot, as they’ll have an abundance of “designer” breeds available ‘right away’ (usually around the 6-week mark, when 8-10 is recommended), they’ll be very evasive when asked questions, and will probably want to meet off site. We want you to get a happy, healthy companion from someone who cares about the integrity of their animals. If you are getting a dog or cat from an independent breeder, here are 5 things to look for to ensure they’re responsible:

✔ They don’t have multiple litters available at once; most breeders who care about the wellbeing of their animals usually have a wait list.

✔ They let you see where the puppies are housed and ‘meet’ the parents.

✔ Can explain their medical background and care up until they become yours.

✔ Don’t pressure you in any way to purchase from them.

✔ Ask YOU questions, as that’s a clear indicator they care where the pup is going.

The best way you can help is to be informed and share the information with anyone who may be considering bringing a purebred pal into their life. Protect Pet Choice is a phenomenal resource in educating yourself about breeding standards and the evolution of laws and legislation regarding such. And, of course, never forget about the amazing breed-specific rescues out there – not only will you get the dog of your dreams, you’ll be giving them a new lease on life!

Don’t get us wrong, we’ve got nothing against purebred pals – so show us your beauties online! (Even if they’re not pure, we’d still love to see their floofy little faces!)

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THIS IS A PET SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: How Hot is Too Hot?

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Alright, a “Pet Service Announcement” isn’t an official thing but we’re in charge around here and we have a slight bone to pick with the humans who walk their pets during the hottest part of the day. We know their intentions are good – everyone likes a nice jaunt to maintain optimal health and that much-desired summer body – but the reality is, it may be just too darn hot for your pal. Even the most responsible pet owners, the ones who bring extra water on outings, know the signs of overheating, and would never in a million years leave their pet outside or in a hot car, frequently space the fact that mid-day exercise isn’t the safest choice for a few reasons.

People often think that since dogs evolved from wild animals that they can handle tough terrain, but most of the buddies that sleep with us and get served choice kibble in a bowl twice a day simply aren’t conditioned for such things. Your dog’s paw pads play a big role in their everyday functioning (the same way our hands and feet do) and they can burn and blister just the same. Walking your pet on pavement that’s too hot can absolutely burn their pads, causing injury, discomfort, and possible infection to one of the body parts they rely most on.

Not to worry, pet lovers. There’s a very quick and easy way to tell if the walk should wait: place the back of your palm on the pavement for five seconds, if you can’t keep it there: the pavement is too hot for your dog’s paws. Walking on grass may be safer, but the best thing to do is wait until a cooler time of day to leash up.

If your pet suffers a paw pad injury, rinse the wound with cool/room temperature water and do your best to clear any debris that may have formed. For minor burns, apply a cooling balm that promotes healing and consider wrapping the paws if your pup will let you. If the burns seem severe, let your veterinarian treat them and vow to never walk your dog in the mid-day’s heat again! (And while we’re talking summer safety: as always, be sure to provide plenty of clean water and shade if your pet does anything more than potty outside.)

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Five Must-Haves for a Puppy Party

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Nowadays, doggy birthday parties aren’t just reserved for the posh pups of Beverly Hills or NYC – it’s something a lot of doting pet parents are starting to do. While pup parties are geared toward four-legged attendees, you don’t want the soiree to be a simple play date; you want it to be a cohesive (and, ok, maybe even enviable) event that everyone can enjoy regardless of species. Of course this isn’t intended to be stressful, so we’ve gathered a few quick tips + 5 must-have provisions to guarantee a barkin’ good time.

Quick Tips:

  • The Guest List: Don’t just formulate the guest list based on people you like, base it on the dogs the birthday buddy enjoys.
  • The Location: Be realistic about the venue’s capacity in regard to the crowd you’re bringing and, of course, make sure they allow dogs if you’re thinking somewhere public.
  • The Food: You may want to be aware of food allergies in the crowd, just in case – even a dog treat with peanut butter could cause problems for an allergic human.

Must Haves:

  • Treats – Dogs aren’t any different than we are, they want some goodies when they’re at a party! Whether you make ‘em or buy ‘em, just make sure there’s something yummy for them to snack on… with their owner’s permission, of course.
  • Doggy Bags – Show your thanks for their attendance with a little something to go. Homemade treats make for a cute takeaway but any small gift, like a tennis ball or chew toy, is an adorable adieu at the end of a birthday party.
  • Games – Activities always make for a good time. A few of our favorites are:

Ice Melt – Freeze small individual cups of water with a piece of watermelon or other goodie frozen in the middle and let the pups lick until they get to it. Winner gets a prize!  Paw Prints – This one is fun because owners get involved, too. Simply set up a station with non-toxic paints, large pieces of paper, and whatever accessories you want for owners to make a fun craft with their animal that they can take with them.

  • People Food – Don’t forget the humans! How elaborate you want to be with the people provisions is up to you, just make sure there’s plenty of food and drinks for the number of humans in tow. (Hint: We usually get by with hot dogs, which is totally low-key and also a bit punny, if you will.)
  • Decor – The decorations are really what take it from a playdate to a pawty, so have fun! Whether it’s an abundance of cheap plastic pools with balloons, beach balls, and frisbees floating in them to letter balloons that spell your pup’s name with streamers, we say there’s nothing too over-the-top when it comes to celebrating our babies’ birthdays so be as deluxe as you want, darlings.
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Tips for Pepping Up Playdates

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Alright, summer is here which means playtime is in full swing and no landscape (within reason) is off limits. But sometimes the usual trip to the dog park or typical jaunt around the neighborhood just doesn’t feel like enough – so what’s a pup owner to do? We’ve got a few small summertime suggestions to take your pup’s playtime to the next level.

  • Plan a Playdate. One or multiple! If you have friends whose dogs get along well with yours, have them over – it’s up to you if you want them all at once or to plan them intermittently as a once or twice-weekly (or monthly) treat.
  • It. Fun. Don’t just have the pups over, host them! Entertain them! Put out a plethora of toys (so long as no one has toy aggression), a few bowls of ice water, and maybe even a sprinkler toy if there’s a water dog in the crowd. Top it off with a fun new treat or epic game of fetch and pat yourself on the back for being an awesome pet parent.
  • Try New Terrains. If you trust your pet can handle a hike or trip to the beach, why not?! Even an on-leash walk on a new trail can be a treat for your animal. Either way, go somewhere new! Let them sniff new smells and allow yourself some new views, too.
  • Consider a Sleepover! Whether you and your pup go camping overnight together or you have a friend’s dog over to pupsit, there’s something really fun for both of you about waking up to a little something different. Perhaps a little turkey bacon for breakfast?

Of course, be wise in who you invite along for these fun times; be sure they’re dogs your pet enjoys being around and there isn’t aggression over things like territory or toys. It’s meant to be easygoing fun for everyone involved, so even if you love the owner of a dog your pup doesn’t enjoy, it’s best not to invite them. Otherwise, have fun! For dogs who don’t mind costumes, have a themed party! It’s all about being social.

Do your pets have a certain way they like to soiree? We’d love to see your creative playdates on our Facebook page!

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We’re Talkin’ Tanks!

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As pet people, it’s easy to get carried away in tips, tricks, and activities for animals of the four legged and furry variety but, the truth is, there are some truly talk worthy pets that live in tanks. A perfect option for people with allergies or children looking for a different type of companion, aquatic pets are really rad in their own tranquil way. In an effort to make up for an inadvertent focus on more popular pet types, here are five reasons fish (and other tank dwellers) make fantastic pals.

  1. Watching fish, turtles, or other aquatic pets float through the water is known to have a calming effect on the mind.
  2. Tank dwellers are quiet – no need to worry about the neighbors complaining or waking anyone up. A wonderful option for apartment living.
  3. Aquatic companions are less expensive to care for (though a knowledge for their environment and care is necessary.)
  4. No Time? No Problem. No need for a leash, tags, or pick up bags – these guys don’t daily walks or potty breaks. (But they will need their habitats cleaned regularly.)
  5. Pick a color, any color! Fish – and even frogs, hermit crabs, and lizards – come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, so you can customize your tank to look however you want it to.

Don’t get us wrong, aquatic animals aren’t self-sustaining pets – they still require the care and attention of a human to live. Your tank is your pet’s habitat, which will require cleaning and the right temperature and pH; so pretty please: do your research before you dive into caring for one (or ten) of these guys. We will say, though, once you’ve found the right balance and how to achieve it: it’s nothing but peaceful enjoyment (and an awesome conversation starter for visitors!)

Fish not really your fav? What about a turtle? Maybe a hermit or Red-Clawed Crab? A frog? What about a newt or axolotl? Seriously! Look them up, they’re adorable!

Do you own an off-the-wall-type critter? Do share!

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