Tag Archives: toys

Spring Cleaning Applies to Your Pooch, Too!

Spring is in full swing, and if you haven’t already begun your Spring Cleaning, you’ve likely gotten the itch to start. When making your “laundry list” of cleaning “to do’s,” don’t forget to add pet care to your agenda. It’s important to maintain a clean environment both for you and for your dog’s health and safety, so pay special attention to your furry child’s things, too. Pet beds, bowls, toys and clothing should all get deep cleaned on a regular basis, so if you’re a little behind on making sure Fido’s stuff is up to snuff, take this opportunity for a fresh beginning.

Crates and Carriers
Ideally, crates or carriers should be cleaned once a week since that’s where your pup is likely spending a lot of his time. Use warm soapy water or a mild disinfectant and make sure these items are fully dry before allowing your dog to use them again. Avoid bleach for its strong scent and potentially harmful chemicals. Before using any sort of cleaning product, check the ingredients list for any toxic chemicals that could be unsafe for your dog to ingest or inhale. Once the crate or carrier is clean, wipe it down weekly to maintain spotlessness.

Bedding and Covers
Choose a pet bed with removable covers that can be washed easily and regularly (again, once a week is a good schedule to follow). It’s wise to buy a backup set of covers to use in a pinch in the case of an accident in the middle of the night or when you’re too lazy to do a load of laundry right away. A small amount of unscented, mild detergent should do the trick, but consider trashing and replacing the covers at the point when no matter how much you clean, the bedding smells or looks dirty.

Dishes and Toys
Water and food bowls should also be cleaned weekly, if not more. While hand washing with liquid and hot water is sufficient, you may want to consider throwing your dog’s bowls (if not stainless steel) in the automatic dishwasher as the machine can do a more thorough job of disinfecting and sanitizing your pup’s dishware. Toys can also be laundered in the dishwasher, depending on their material. If washing soft, stuffed toys, launder them in the laundry machine in a mesh bag to keep them separate from the rest of your load.

Clothes
If your dog wears a sweater in the winter time (or regularly – no judgement here!), avoid dry cleaning due to known toxic chemicals. Most pet clothing can be washed on delicate or hand-washed with a mild, unscented detergent. To store clothing, make sure it’s fully dry before putting it away in an air tight container. Avoid humidity, which can cause mold and moth balls.

Get Organized
Use this time to go through your pet closet or pantry and check all food and treats to make sure none have hit their expiration date. In fact, inspect all of your dog supplies and equipment including shampoos, toothbrush/toothpaste, ear cleaner, flea and tick medication, as well as collars, tags and leashes. Make sure all are in good shape, and if not, replace. Go through your pup’s toy box too. You’re likely to find toys that are dirty or ripped up. Time for a refresh!

Pamper Your Pooch!
Rejuvenate your dog by treating him to a trip to the groomer. In the Winter, many dog owners let their pooches’ hair go long to keep them warm so by the time Spring rolls around, they are way overdue for a trim. Use this time to splurge on any extra services such as nail trimming, matting removal, anal glands expression, or professional tooth brushing – you owe it to your pooch to have him primped to perfection. Plus, there’s nothing better than snuggling up to a newly groomed, fresh-as-a-daisy pup!

Pro Packing Tips for Your Pup’s Stay With a Sitter

Trip booked? – Check
Pet-sitter booked? – Check
Ready to take that vacation? – Check, check and check!

As excited as you are to take some days for yourself, leaving your furry friend with a pet-sitter can seem slightly stressful. But not to worry, this stress can be avoided with a little preparation and a well-packed bag. We’ve asked our friends at DogVacay.com, an online service that connects pet owners with loving pet-sitters, to share their best packing tips with us for the perfect pet vacation. Here is a list of essentials for a successful and stress-free stay for your pup while you are away.

An Approximate Schedule
In a dog’s mind there is comfort with familiarity and a sudden change in routine can throw them off. Sharing your pup’s normal schedule with your sitter (i.e. what time they usually eat, drink, take walks, etc) can help them acclimate quickly to their new environment.

Food and Treats
Be sure to pack enough food and treats for the length of the stay. It’s always best if they are eating the same food and treats that they enjoy at home to avoid any tummy aches. Don’t forget any medication or supplements they normally take!

Disposable Bags

Since your pup will be eating, they will also be pooping. If your pup normally poops on leash it’s always a nice gesture to bring along some disposable bags for your sitter to pick up after him. A healthy poop is a happy dog!

Leash and Harness
There’s nothing more exciting for a pup than a nice, long walk in a new environment- all the smells to sniff and sights to see! Make sure you pack the leash and harness they normally use so that they can explore with confidence.

Bedding
Where does your pup normally sleep? In a crate? A dog bed? On the floor? Don’t forget to pack their favorite bedding so that everyone can have a good night’s rest. If they don’t have a preference that’s ok too – just communicate this with their sitter.

Toys or Comfort Items from Home
Last but not least, having a little bit of home to take with your pup can help ease any separation anxiety they may experience. A toy, blanket or just something that smells like home can be a source of comfort for any initial loneliness.

Remember- comfort and familiarity are key. So if there’s something that your pup can’t live without when he’s at home be sure to bring it along on his stay. Your (and your pup’s) vacation will fly by and you will be reunited before you know it – both well rested!

Teaching Your Dog to Fetch

As simple as it may seem, teaching your pooch to retrieve can be quite a challenge! Depending on the breed and personality of your dog, it might be a skill they learn quickly, or the game could take some serious practice. Some dogs might enjoy chasing after a toy or item, but don’t understand the concept of bringing it back to you, while others will chase and come back to you, but not release the item from their mouths. Start with the basics, and you’ll have your pup fetching in no time!

Before You Start
It’s a good idea to master basic commands before working on more advanced tricks. Establishing a foundation of obedience is essential to your dog becoming successful at learning more difficult commands. Also, make sure you know what motivates your dog. Does he work for treats, affection, or play? Many dogs are treat-motivated, but if affection or a favorite toy is enough of a reward for your dog, consider those alternatives. It’s possible that if your dog knows you have treats, he won’t leave your side to actually fetch anything! Lastly, make sure you are teaching your dog to fetch something he is actually interested in. Whether it be a stick, favorite ball, or Frisbee, use something that will get your pup excited.

Chasing the Object
First, you want your dog to go after the toy you chose. (For some dogs, this might be the easy part!) Toss the item, verbally encourage your pup to go after it, and reward him with praise as soon as he picks it up. Take the object away and repeat this process several times until your dog is consistently chasing after the item. If your dog isn’t interested, take a step back and first reward him for touching the toy when it is in front of him. Gradually, he will figure out that he must touch the toy to be rewarded.

Bring it Back!
The next step is to get your dog to actually bring the toy back to you (usually the harder part!). Try calling your dog once he is holding the object. If he comes back and drops the object, reward him. If not, coax your dog to come back to you with your voice, a treat or another toy. You might also need to tug firmly on the item in his mouth to encourage your pup to drop it. If he won’t drop it, show him a treat or toy as motivation. He will likely drop the first toy to go after whatever new item you’re holding. Reward your pup as soon as he drops the item you tossed. Repeat this process several times, rewarding your dog immediately each time he comes back and drops the item in front of you. The repetition and consistency will encourage your dog to make a clear connection between dropping the item and receiving a reward.

Change the Variables
As your dog gets better at fetching, start switching things up by increasing the distance you toss the item. The game then becomes more challenging, as your dog has more time to get distracted on the way to retrieving. You can also start alternating the item you toss, whether it be a ball, toy, stick, Frisbee, etc. While you change each individual variable, make sure to keep yourself in the same position and practice in the same area so it’s not too many changes at once. Small steps will give your dog a chance to master each new aspect of the trick.

Be Patient
Don’t get frustrated with your dog if he doesn’t catch on right away, especially if he is young! Be patient and clear about which behaviors get rewarded. Practice for a small period of time up to several times a day, making sure to give your pooch plenty of time to relax and have fun in the process. Patience and positive reinforcement are the best ways to get your dog fetching like a pro in no time. And remember, in the grand scheme of training priorities, fetch is pretty low. Laugh through the process and have fun!

7 Pups Who Want to Show You Their Toys

Every pup parent knows a busy pup is not only a happy pup, but also less destructive. Not to mention, puppies happen to look “doggone” adorable with a toy in tow. So, we put together a compilation of pups playing with their favorite stuffy and chew toys for your viewing pleasure.

lamby-thumbnail

This pup’s lamby may be almost as big as she is, but that’s not stopping her from taking a bite out of her furry friend.

 

 

 

wooden-toy-thumbnailThis puppy is into the simpler things in life, like a wooden toy train.

 

 

 

 

whale-thumbnailThis white ball of floof is ready for you to reach for her whale, but at the last second she’ll scoop it up and run away.

 

 

 

loot-thumbnailOkay, this is more of a treat than a toy, but this puppy is still proud to show off his loot.

 

 

 

 

foxy-thumbnailThis pup is feeling foxy and isn’t afraid to show it.

 

 

 

 

mickey-thumbnailThis pup just got back from Disneyland and won’t put down his new friend Mickey.

 

 

 

 

toys-thumbnailThis little guy has all the toys and refuses to share any of them with you.

 

 

 

 

 

The Hottest Eco-Friendly Pup Products: A Green Gift Guide

Making an environmental difference for the planet may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, but even the smallest of conservationist efforts is worthwhile in helping the greater cause. And some of those changes can be made at the pet store aisle alone! By simply being aware of what products you are buying for your pup and choosing items with environmentally-friendly ingredients or materials, you’ll not only be doing your part, but you’ll feel better about spoiling your puppy. In celebration of Earth Day, here’s our curated guide to some favorite planet-friendly pooch goodies.

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Image from mollymutt.com

Beds
Molly Mutt is a fashionable dog bed brand that has redesigned traditional dog beds to be sustainable as well as high-quality. Their duvet covers are meant to be stuffed with old textiles provided by you, which eliminates 100% of the energy and gas emissions associated with other doggie bedding. Bonus – Molly Mutt is affordable too, with most of their products priced at under $50. Check out their adorable beds, crate covers and accessories!

thumbnail-collar-leashes
Image from cycledog.com

Collars & Leashes
Cycle Dog is another company dedicated to producing “earth-friendly” pet products. Made with post-consumer recycled materials, Cycle Dog products include collars, leashes, toys, beds, treats, and travel bowls. Take a look at their large assortment of “eco-weave” webbed collars and leashes. They come in many fun colors and patterns, and are all priced at $25 and less!

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Image from earthrated.com

Poop Bags
While picking up your dog’s poop is a less glamorous side of pet ownership, it’s essential, so why not do it guilt free?  Amazon has an excellent earth-friendly waste bag selection, including these Flush Puppies Doodie Bags ($8.22 for a pack of 60 bags, which are flushable and certified compostable!) Prefer a more traditional waste bag? Try these Earth Rated Poop Bags ($11.99 for 270 bags) – they’re made from recycled plastic, are completely leak-proof, and even smell like lavender!

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Image from thegreenpetshop.com

Training Pads
Another not-so-attractive part of the job – but this is another dog product essential where you can really make an environmental impact. When you first bring a puppy home, a lot of time is spent on potty training. Training pads can make the process easier (and less messy!). The Green Pet Shop sells eco-friendly pads made of bamboo ($24.99 for 50), and Amazon carries these Eco-Care Training Pads ($12.48 for 50), so you can reduce waste, while picking up waste!

thumbnail-toy
Image from becopet.com

Toys
These toys by West Paw Design are adorable, soft, and made from organic hemp and recycled polyester ($15-$20). Looking for something more durable? Cycle Dog (mentioned above) makes durable rubber toys out of post-consumer recycled materials (all $10-$15). The Becoball by Beco Pet ($11.13) is another strong eco-friendly toy made from rice husk rubber with a hollow design perfect for hiding treats, not to mention it’s vanilla scented!

Remember, these products are just a small sampling of green pup products available, so this Earth Day, do some digging to find the best goodies for you and your furry friend. Then give yourself (and Fido) a “round of a paws” for making a valuable contribution to preserving planet Earth!