Everyone loves barbecue season and a chance to get outdoors and have fun with family and friends, but with all the food and fun, a backyard party can be a dangerous place for a dog. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to dog proof your summer BBQ.
I am in awe of my friend Candice.
Every year, she throws her whole heart into raising as much money as she can for her local shelter by participating in the Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA Walk to Save Animals. She sets her fundraising goal high and works tirelessly to achieve it. In fact, as of this writing, she is the #1 individual fundraiser for this year’s walk and less than $300 away from meeting her fundraising goal.
Clearly, she’s a fundraising evil genius, so I did what any self-respecting blogger would do and badgered her until she agreed to share her tips.
Luckily, she’s good people and totally welcomed the chance to talk about how she gets her fundraising goals met and shine a spotlight on the Arizona Animal Welfare League, the oldest no-kill shelter in Arizona.
The AAWL has some really creative approaches to funding their shelter. Phoenix locals can take training classes from accredited trainers. Their on-site, full-service, veterinary clinic helps support the animals in their care, as well as providing low-cost services to the community. They’ve partnered with Frye’s, so you can help animals in need just by doing your grocery shopping. They have an impressive education program, hosting kids camps, birthday parties and more. They work with Freedom K9 to help provide service dogs to veterans. It’s not hard to see why Candice is a volunteer and a passionate supporter.
So, how exactly does Candice bring in the benjamins to help animals in need?
She *claims* that she doesn’t do anything more than “beg on Facebook”, but after watching her in action for more than 7 years, I think it’s a little more than that and her successful fundraising methods are the inspiration for this post.
Tips to Make the Most of Your Shelter Fundraiser
1. Set an ambitious goal and tell people why it matters to you. People are exposed to a ton of causes every day. Tell people why you care about this cause so much and why they should too.
2. Put a positive spin on it. One of Candice’s tricks is to remind everyone how close she is to meeting her goal. It’s really easy to think “$2000 is a lot of money, my donation won’t make much of a difference.” By highlighting how every donation gets her closer to her goal, Candice makes her big goals seem a whole lot easier and everyone’s donation seem a lot more meaningful. (Plus, thank your donators is just good manners and tagging your donators means their friends see your post, as well as yours.)
3. Break that big goal down into little goals. Everyone loves to help you achieve a milestone. By creating lots of little milestones, you can inspire more people to donate and put you over the top. Most people can’t donate $300 to put you over your total fundraising goal, but a lot of people will donate $10 to put you over a mini-goal.
4. Add a donation link to your email signature. Seriously you guys. Even something as subtle as this can yield big results. If your company will allow it, add it to your company signature as well. (And hey, why not ask if they support donation matching while you’re at it. A lot of organizations do!)
5. Highlight why your cause is awesome. The AAWL is kind of an awesome shelter with a lot of really cool programs in place. Share what makes your shelter special. People are more likely to donate when they are inspired by the shelter’s mission, message and passion. (click on either image to learn more about the inspiring programs)
6. Fundraise offline. Yes, your Facebook friends are awesome, but you can’t rely on that alone to help you meet your goals. If you spend time anywhere that other humans hang out, find a way to share your message. For example, Candice works in a busy office and every year, she creates a giant thermometer on her door, tracking her progress and sharing why the AAWL is so important to her. Consider it her real, live Facebook wall 😉
7. You’ve got talents! Use ’em. Candice is super handy in the kitchen and loves baking for her dogs. (This is why we are friends, amongst about 7 squillion other reasons.) Every year, she hits the kitchen and bakes a ton of homemade dog treats to give to co-workers and friends, in exchange for a donation. She displays them in a jar on her desk or packages them in cute dollar store containers to make them extra gift-worthy.
(Psssssst, while Kol’s Notes Dog Treat Recipes are not allowed to be used for commercial sales, we would LOVE if you used one of our recipes to raise funds for your shelter.)
Even if you aren’t a baker, you can harness your own talents. Knit blankets, sew dog toys or sweaters, make cards – whatever you’re good at! Think of creative ways (like this awesome one) to get kids involved.
The real key to Candice’s fundraising success? Passion.
It’s not Facebook posts or fresh baked dog treats. It’s her. She loves her shelter, she’s a proud volunteer and when she’s telling you about why she’s involved with AAWL, her passion shines through and you can’t help but want to help her reach her goal. Every shelter needs volunteers like Candice and every town needs shelters like AAWL.
How do you help your shelter raise funds?
Candice is only $285 dollars away from achieving her goal!
Help her support the AAWL and animals in need by making a tax-deductible donation.
When you live in a rainforest, you learn a thing or two about how to deal with dogs and the rain.
I’m not talking about how to make your dogs happier walking in the rain or ways to have fun walking in the rain. No. Those are nice ideas, really, but the reality of the situation is that if you live in a place like, I don’t know, let’s say Vancouver where it’s going to rain from now until June, you don’t need cute ideas to make rain fun. You need ways to keep the rain from making your dog friendly home smell like it’s harbouring a pack of wet smelly street rats.
Like most responsible dog owners, I don’t just stop taking my dogs for walks because it’s the rainy season.
We live in an apartment, so I couldn’t even if I wanted to, but walks play an important part in your dog’s emotional well being, in keeping them active and in stimulating their brains. A good, quality dog coat (like our amazing ones made by Hurtta) can go a long way in keeping fur dry and free from wet dog smell, but it isn’t a miracle cure. Unless you find a giant dog-sized hamster ball to fully shield them from the rain, parts of your pooch are going to get wet. (And if you HAVE found giant dog-sized hamster ball WHY THE WOOF have you been keeping this from me? I want links.)
Good news for you: you can totally hack a few dog training commands your pup probably already knows to make rainy day walks so much easier.
1. Potty on Command
Usually used for: house breaking puppies
Rainy Day Hack: Cutting walk time in half
We have a ton of fun ways to keep your dog busy and to provide enrichment indoors, so sometimes all we need to do outside is a quick potty break. Teaching your dog to potty on command means you can dash out and right back inside in no time flat.
Usually used for: Preventing your dog from pulling on the leash
Rainy day hack: staying under an umbrella
Not all dogs love wearing a rain coat. I get it. Still, wet fur creates wet dog smell and I am having none of that. Teach your dog to heel and head out on walks with a generous sized gold umbrella that will keep you both dry.
Usually used for: cuteness?
Rainy day hack: shaking off any additional moisture OUTSIDE instead of in your nice clean house
Even with their coats on, my dogs (especially Felix) manage to get wet on a rainy walk. Luckily, they love to shake it off like T-Swift leaving as much moisture in our parkade instead of my entry way.
Usually used for: A million things. Seriously. What a great command.
Rainy Day Hack: Getting your pooch to wait on a rubber bottomed mat to protect floors
Can we be honest? Those rubber bottomed utility mats are ugly as all get out, but MAN are they great for dogs during the rainy season. My tip? Hide one under an area rug you aren’t embarrassed to let the company see and teach your wet dog to sit there until you give them the all clear.
5. Give a Paw
Usually used for: show boating
Rainy Day Hack: Wiping muddy paws
I almost didn’t teach my dogs this one because like, what is it for?! But then I realized it has so many practical uses like nail clipping and wiping down muddy paws.
6. Roll Over
Usually used for: spacial awareness
Rainy Day Hack: Towel drying bellies
Aside from being adorable when Felix wants attention this one is perfect for getting access to what is possible the soggiest part of my short dogs: their bellies.
7. Go to Your Mat
Usually used for: minimizing begging at dinner table/impulse control
Rainy Day Hack: Keeping a dog in one, washable spot while they dry
My wet dogs are drawn to my couch like a moth to a flame. UGH, JUST NO. I think something in me dies when I see a wet dog lean in to my throw pillows. Go to your mat means I can send my dogs to lay on their own super asy to wash beds until their tolerably dry. Bonus? You can make a blanket that wicks moisture from their fur while preventing the water from soaking into their bed.
What’s your best rainy day dog smell tip?
This post is sponsored by PetSmart® and the BlogPaws™ Pet Influencer Network™. PetSmart is not responsible for the content of this article.
It’s no secret that the Kol’s Notes dogs are some of the most spoiled pups around.
Soft, warm beds, plentiful toys, puzzles to keep their brains busy and more good, wholesome food than they need. (So much in fact that I just informed Koly that I’ll be calling him Roly Poly until his lumpy winter bod has smoothed back out into the sleek, lean monster that he normally is.) Kol has never gone hungry, save for that ONE TIME I served dinner late and he acted like the sky was falling.
To be completely honest, I struggle with the the idea that I give my dogs so much while there are so many animals out there in need. I always feel like I could and should be doing more.
So, I try to do what I can to give back to the animal community while still providing my own pets the lavish lifestyle to which they’re accustomed.
I volunteer at our local shelter. I do walks for the animals, we buy dog food for our local food bank and I try to buy products from companies that give back too. PetSmart® just made that last one a whole lot easier.
In celebration of their 30th anniversary,
PetSmart® Expects to Donate more than 60 MILLION meals to animals in need with the new Buy a Bag, Give a Meal™ Program.
I know, that looks like I’m shouting, but HOLY WOOF, YO. I’m kind of shouting! This is a big deal.
I’m going to link the whole press release in at the end of the post because you should definitely read it and find out what inspired PetSmart® to undertake their largest philanthropic effort ever, but I’m going to give you the Kol’s Notes here, so we all know just how awesome this program is.
Here’s how you take advantage of the Buy a Bag, Give a Meal™ Program:
- Buy a bag of dog or cat food from PetSmart.
You can shop online because, seriously, who wants to put on pants? Or you can shop at one of more than 15,000 stores across Canada, the US and Puerto Rico, so that you can loiter around the puppy training area in hopes of petting a baby with puppy breath and razors for teeth. (I’m not the only one who does that…right?)
You pick the brand, the protein and the kibble that works for YOUR pet. All brands. All Sizes. There are no exclusions.
- For every bag purchased, PetSmart® will donate a bowl of food to one of their many charity partners.
According to a recent PetSmart Charities survey involving nearly 1,800 of its animal welfare partners across North America, only 20 percent of these organizations receive pet food donations and about 8 percent are on contract with pet food brands to receive subsidized pet food.
PetSmart, along with their non-profit partner, PetSmart Charities aim to make a big difference in that number by distributing a lot pet food to pet shelters, animal welfare organizations and food banks, allowing these organizations to focus their energy and resources on what is most important: helping pets find amazing homes or helping them stay in the loving homes they already have.
No really, you guys. That’s it. It’s so simple. Feed your pet; help feed pets in need. We all have a chance to help make a huge difference by purchasing pet food that we all need to buy anyways. The program is running all year, from right now until December 31st.
Don’t take my word for it. Read the PetSmart press release here, visit your local store to talk to an associate and definitely find out if your favourite rescue, shelter or food bank qualifies to become a partner. I know my local shelter is!
Bark back! I want to hear YOUR rescue stories. Tell me about your rescue pets, your favourite local rescue or a time you were able to help a pet in need.
Together with PetSmart, we can help animals in need just by taking great care of the animals in our lives. That’s something to feel good about.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PetSmart. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.
This post is sponsored in part by Gold Paw Series. While we have been compensated for sharing their product, we only share items that we personally use and like. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase on Amazon, we will earn a small commission which we use to pay for craft supplies, grain free flours, and books. Your support helps us keep creating fun new projects and we appreciate it!
My dog, Kolchak, is pretty much always cold.
He has no clue why I insist on keep the apartment so cold or why he had to be born in a place that gets cold, but he thinks it’s straight up crap. Since Felix is always warm and I love a cozy blanket, the temperature up in here isn’t likely to change anytime soon. That’s why we have a few tried and true favourite ways to help my cold dog stay warm.
1. It’s Sweater Weather
Ok, so I know what *some* of you guys are going to say “Dogs don’t wear clothes” and other assorted thing designed to make me feel crazy, but Kolchak legit LOVES wearing a sweater. When it’s snowing, he actually cries until I put his sweater on. What that boy wants, that boy gets, so if he needs a dog sweater to feel cozy warm, he’s going to get one. We have a whole tiny dog closet full of clothes, but I love his stretch fleece from Gold Paw Series. Aside from being really affordable, it’s simple, unfussy and it doesn’t interfere with Kol’s ability to go about his day. It fits under his harness or his coat, it doesn’t bunch up and make him uncomfortable, it’s like a second, warmer skin.
2. Bottle It Up
One of my favourite ways to warm up when I’m chilly is to put my feet on a hot water bottle, so it’s no surprise Kol loves to lay up against one. We use a cheap one from the drug store with a cover because Kol is knee high to a pig’s and he doesn’t need it very large, but if you have a big dog, this oversize 3.2 qt water bottle would be perfect. Just be safe with this, OK? Don’t use boiling water (I use water the same temp as a cozy bath), don’t fill it more than 3/4 full, fully tighten the lid, make sure your dog lays NEXT to it, not ON it and NEVER let them chew it. This solution is not a good fit for every pet, so use your judgement here to decide if it’s right for supervised use by YOUR pet.
3. Blankies. Blankies EVERYWHERE.
You guys, we live in a <1000 sq. ft. apartment and there are three of us, but holy man, we have enough blankets for you and everyone you know to come over for a really cozy party. Seriously, I can see four from where I’m sitting. I know there’s like three in the living room and another heap in bed. You have to look before you sit down around here because any blankie is liable to be hiding a slumbering puggle. He has a type too: Kol prefers a thick, plush, silky micro-fibre fleece blanket, but not like a standard polar fleece blanket. Sherpa backing optional. What can I say? The boy has good taste.
4. Get their bed up off the floor (and/or invest in a thick, cozy bed)
OK, I’m not a huge fan or beds on the floor in the first place. I feel like they need a frame. But the fact is that heat rises and the floor is likely to be the chillest spot in your house – even if it’s carpeted. Getting your bed up off the floor or buying a squishy bed with a thick foam inside will keep your dog cozy.
5. Heated Beds & Blankies
So this is a pricey, extreme solution for chronically cold dogs, like my Kolchak. We bought his Nana a heated blanket for Christmas and I’m pretty sure that no one loves that thing more than he does. It’s like a moth to a flame, y’all. He seems to have a sixth sense for when it’s plugged in and he has no shame in being a blankie hog. Just like with the water bottle, this one requires a bit of judgement, as it’s a terrible idea for dogs who chew things, spill things or potty in the house or on their bed. For dogs like Kol that just want to lay in the glorious warmth? It’s perfection.
Is your dog always cold? What’s your go-to solution to warm them up?
Got a hot dog? Stay tuned. Next week we’ll share all the ways we keep Felix cool.
This post is sponsored by Bobsweep. That said, it is our commitment to you to only ever write about products that we use and love ourselves. All opinions expressed are our own.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a squillion and 12 times: Kolchak sheds like it’s his job.
At any given time, my apartment could be mistaken for the wild west there are so many dog hair tumbleweeds. I find dog hair on myself even after I leave the house. The other day, I pulled a black hair off my lunch plate at a restaurant and I wasn’t even mad; I could instantly see that it was one of Kol’s. I don’t know how that boy isn’t bald.
It’s not like I don’t try to keep the dog hair at bay.
I groom Kolchak religiously. I vacuum pretty much every day. I’m wasting my life vacuuming! I did the math on it once and I spend like 7 thousand 300 minutes vacuuming every year. That’s more than 120 hours. Vacuuming.
For real? WHAT A WASTE OF TIME. Do you know all the great stuff I could do with 120 spare hours in a year? SO much. You can imagine how abso-woofing-lutely excited I was when BobSweep asked if we wanted to review their bObi Pet Robotic vacuum. Excited, but… skeptical. I know how hard it is to keep up with dog hair. As much as I wanted to believe that I could be done with vacuuming, it just seemed…unrealistic and too good to be true. I decided to really put bObi to the test and see what she could do. I didn’t vacuum for three days before she arrived. By then, you could have knit a sweater with the hair on my rugs. I left varying levels of debris out to get vacuumed up – just to see if this vacuum could handle it. I left toys out to get run over. You guys, I set this vacuum up to fail – hard.
Imagine my surprise when the bObi Pet took every challenge I threw her way and handled it like a boss.
the bObi Pet Robotic vacuum has totally changed the way I clean my floor.
I haven’t pulled out my canister vacuum in two weeks and my floors are cleaner than I think I’ve ever seen them. bObi encourages me to be a bit lazy with ZERO guilt and I kind of love her for that. You don’t even have to remember to turn her on every day. The bObi Pet is fully programmable, so not only can you set her to run at a specific time every day, you can vary that time each day, so if you want her to run at 2 pm on Tuesday, but 11 am on Thursdays? That is totally possible. Set her up once and she’ll practically take care of herself.
I have trust issues though. I wasn’t ready to just program bObi and let her run wild in my house.
I had to make sure she was ready to handle life with Koly and Fe. I was very concerned that my dogs would be afraid of a robotic vacuum. I was worried that Felix would leave his toys out and one would get sucked up into the vacuum gears. I was worried that bObi would ram them if they didn’t get out of her way.
My fears might have been a bit ridiculous. The bObi Pet is super quiet. Way quieter than my canister vacuum. Most of the time, we don’t even notice the vacuum is on. At first, when the dogs would notice that she was wheeling around the house they were a little apprehensive. At the first meeting, Felix and bObi exchanged words. There was a little barking. A little cat and mouse chasing, but bObi is great with nervous pets due to her sensors. She has these fancy sensors that tell her where to vacuum and where to not vacuum, so when she rolls on up to Felix, she senses he’s there, spins around and heads in another direction.
She does the same thing when navigating walls, furniture and even less solid things, like dog toys. We shared a video on our Facebook page, showing just how unconcerned Kolchak and Fe are about bObi doing our vacuuming and how cool the navigation is.
As good as the bObi Pet is at avoiding obstacles, she also knows when to push through and get the job done.
She has no problem transitioning from my carpet onto the kitchen floor or from the carpet onto our shaggy area rug. She’s gotten hung up on a throw rug with a curled up corner once or twice, but it’s really cool to see how the vacuum rocks back and forth, changing directions to get herself free. I call this her “off roading”.
There are a few things to know about the bObi Pet Robotic Vacuum though.
She is pretty darn amazing, but she isn’t…magic. I have a terrible habit of dropping hairpins everywhere I go like a deranged hairdresser and she’s made it pretty clear that I need to knock this off. (She’s not wrong.)
And as it turns out, I also shed like it’s my job and unlike Kolchak’s hair that gets sucked up into the filter, my much longer hair gets wrapped around the rollers. Taking a few minutes every few days to unwind my hair makes sure the bObi Pet can do her best work.
One of the benefits of this vacuum is that it’s small and powerful. That’s also its biggest challenge. A vacuum this small can only have a dust bin so big. We run our bObi Pet every single day and it does a great job. This means that regular emptying of the dust bin and the filter is absolutely necessary. I empty mine at least every 48 hours and man! Every time I am impressed by just how much dust has been sucked up and gotten trapped in the filter. I had no idea my seemingly clean house was so filthy.
She’s a powerful vacuum and that means she needs power. The bObi Pet comes with a charging station that she knows to find and return to automatically when her battery dwindles. This means you never have to worry if she’s got enough juice to do her job right. In order to help you find her charging station, Bobsweep recommends leaving 2′ on each side and 10′ in front of the charging station clear. Um…that’s like my whole dining room. If we’e being honest, I’ve pushed the limits of this guideline and there isn’t *quite* 24″ on either side and luckily, so far, she seems to be doing OK.
A bObi Pet isn’t cheap.
There’s no point in me pretending that she isn’t a bit of a splurge. I get it. It can be really tough to justify spending a bunch of money on a vacuum – especially if you already have a great vacuum. The thing is? The vacuum is WORTH it. She is very cool, works very hard and has a ton of features I didn’t even mention because I’m pretty sure you guys don’t want to read a 96-minute article on how giddy I get about vacuums. All that functionality (and look at how darn stylish it is) does come at a price. Freeing up that much time and eliminating that much dust from my house holds a lot of value for me. I have big plans for ways to spend those extra hours. I can already notice that my house feels so much less dusty. Felix sneezes less. I don’t have to use up valuable closet space (which I need about 200% more of) on a big bulky vacuum. For me, the benefits far outweigh the cost. The bObi Pet is well worth every penny of her price tag and if you’re a savvy shopper, you can totally watch Amazon or other sale websites to grab one on a hot sale.
So, ask me anything. Based on all the messages and emails, I’ve gotten, you guys have bunches of questions.
I promise, I want to answer them all. And if you happen to be one of those people who are concerned that your pets will be afraid of or antagonist towards a robot vacuum, stay tuned! We’ve got some easy, fantastic tips to help you prove to your pet that bObi is their new best friend.
July is Lost Pets Prevention Month sponsored by PetHub.
All month long, some of my favourite bloggers have been sharing posts on how to prevent your pets from getting lost. They are all awesome. I feel like the black sheep because if we are being totally honest I used to kind of suck at not letting my dog get lost and I probably have no business telling you guys not to lose your pets.
No matter how hard you try to prevent it, eventually your pet might get lost.
I don’t want to point fingers here, (Felix) but some dogs (Felix) are a little harder to contain than others (Felix). That boy was born with a sense of wanderlust I will never fully understand. Back before we found the world’s tiniest hole in our fence, my dogs escaped a handful of times. Kolchak would get out, run around to the front of the house and cry until someone opened the door.
Felix, on the other hand, would take himself on a Grand Adventure. He’d follow our walk route, making friends with dogs and people along the way. I was extremely lucky that Felix met dog people who cared enough to help him get his stupid fluffy butt home.
We can’t always prevent dogs from getting loose, but we can help prevent them from getting lost.
Knowing that Felix is basically Houdini in a fur suit, I’m careful to make sure he’s tricked out with dog tags and ID at all times, but a lot of dogs escape the house naked as a jaybird. No collar, no tags, no leash. These dogs are the hardest to help find their way home, not just because you have no idea where home is, but because you have no way to contain them and keep them safe while you look. Mel from No Dog About It has a very some awesome tips on how to catch a loose dog, but what about once you’ve GOT them? I can’t count the number of times that we’ve met a nice dog on our walk and needed to Macguyver up a way to keep them close. Using a leash to make a slip collar is the easiest choice, but I’ve never met a lost dog that didn’t pull like a team of horses. Maybe I’m over reacting, but I worry about damage to their trachea and choking. What good is it if I find their home, if I accidentally choke them in the process?!
We’ve found an easy way to leash a lost dog with no collar.
I always keep an extra 6 foot leash in my dog walking bag. 6 foot is long enough to wrap around and create a makeshift leash/harness combo that will help you keep hold of (almost) any lost dog.
1. Wrap the leash around the dog’s neck and cross it over their chest, like you’re tying a tie.
2. Pass the leash under the dog’s front legs.
3. Wrap the leash around the dog’s rib cage.
4. Use the leash clasp to secure the leash around the dog’s middle.
5. Adjust until the loops fit snugly around the dog’s chest and middle.
It’s that simple. The wrap will keep the dog secure without putting pressure on the dog’s neck. Because of the fit, it’s tough for a dog to wiggle free or back out of it. You’ve got control and you can save that loose dog from being lost.
Have you ever found a lost dog? How did you help them get home?
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For someone who loves planning of all sorts, I am woefully unprepared for a real emergency.
I like planning happy things: events, craft projects, holidays. Disaster planning for your pets isn’t exactly joyful, but the truth is? It needs to be done. A few weeks ago, there was a wild fire really close to Casa de Kolchak. We had to keep the windows shut and you could taste the smoke in the air. Less than 15 minutes from home, the fire spread to more than 78 hectares fast and I realized that if we had to leave, I had no plan. No idea where we would stay and no idea what we would do or how to make sure my dogs made it out safe if the evacuation warning came while I was at work. Add that to the fact that my dogs hate change and wouldn’t exactly thrive in an emergency situation and I knew, I had to figure this one out.
Our emergency plan was a hot mess.
I know better. I know how important a solid emergency plan is. So many pets go missing after an emergency. It’s really easy to get separated from your pets when you have to leave home fast, head to the nearest safe space and do it all with a lot of confusion around you. You can’t explain what is going on to your dogs. Naturally they get scared and scared dogs can make bad choices. In my opinion, fear is one of the biggest reasons pets get lost in emergency situations. I’ve been working on training to ensure that if the unexpected happens and we had to evacuate, my dogs won’t get lost in the panic, mayhem and confusion that follows.
5 Essential Skills to Help Prevent Your Pet Getting Lost in an Emergency
There is a ton of great information out there about what should be in your disaster preparedness kit for pets. I couldn’t find many tips on dog training for emergencies. Um, isn’t that like the MOST IMPORTANT part of emergency planning? How much good will 2 weeks worth of freeze dried dog food do me if my dogs get lost? As a weird coincidence, July is PetHub’s Lost Pet Prevention Month, so it seemed like the perfect time to talk about what I’m doing to make sure my pets don’t get lost in an emergency.
1. How to Walk Calmly on a Leash
For the most part, my dogs are pretty good, but every now and then, Kolchak pulls like a tug boat and tries to dislocate my shoulder. In an evacuation situation, when you or a stranger is walking your dogs, a pulling dog can lead to a dropped leash and a dog that has run off before you can react.
Bonus tip: Umbilical or “over the shoulder” leashes are a more secure way to tether your pet during an evacuation, leaving your hands free. Leash couplers can help you contain more than one dog without tangling leashes.
2. How to Come When Called
Do everyone a favour and teach your dog to “come” every single time the word is used. Always reward your dog handsomely for obeying this command. Never “poison” it by using it for things your dog dislikes (like nail trims or leaving the park). We have two separate commands we use to make this possible.
We use “come” when I mean business or in emergency situations. This is the most common command and the one most strangers will use if they find your pet roaming. Practice it often and reward it generously. Use high value dog treats like jerky, chicken, hot dog and liver.
We use “let’s go” for putting on leashes, going for walks, and any other time I want to call my dogs back to me that is a non-emergency. Avoid using your dog’s name to get their attention. If your dogs gets loose in an emergency, not everyone will know their name. Teaching them to “come” using only that word helps ensure that anyone who finds them roaming can call them to safety.
3. How to Be Comfortable in a Crate
Confession: Kolchak and Felix are not properly crate trained. I mean, I totally intended to crate train them…eventually and then days turned to weeks and then years and here we are. They’re 9 and 13(ish) and no one is crate trained. In our day to day life, this is in no way an issue, but if we were in an emergency, this would be a real problem. People who are unfamiliar with having pets in the house may not be as careful as you at ensuring doors and windows are shut. If you’re staying in a hotel, housekeeping staff could open the door and your pet could bolt. Many evacuation shelters require pets to be crated. A crate ensures that your pet is safe and contained while you are focusing on other things. You can help prevent your pets getting lost in an emergency by ensuring that they are comfortable in a crate. They’ll feel better in a safe place when they can relax and you’ll feel better knowing they are safe and contained.
To help Kolchak and Felix feel more comfortable, I got a wire dog crate large enough for both of them, as well as two smaller travel crates. They’re a bit co-dependant and they are much calmer when they’re crated together.
4. How to Not Fear Strange Noises
Now is the time to deal your dog’s noise anxiety. Lots of dogs freak out at the sound of alarms and sirens and apparently, dogs aren’t into wearing noise cancelling headphones. Emergencies are FULL of weird noises. In an emergency situation, an alarm or siren could panic your noise anxious dog and make them run away or hide. You can find all sorts of sirens and alarm noises on Youtube. Start out playing them quietly and then gradually increase the volume as your pet gets more comfortable with it. Use lots of treats and fun games or tricks that your dog enjoys to help create a positive association with the alarm noises.
5. How to “Hide” for Safety
A lot of dogs hide in emergencies. Alarms, smoke, shaking, noise outside – anything could trigger them to seek out a safe space. Teach them to always hide in the same location. For example, if you live in Tornado country, teach them to hide in a safe spot in the basement. In our apartment, I’ve placed their crate in an accessible spot away from windows and heavy furniture (to keep them safe from broken glass or things falling on their crate). Place things they find comforting like a blanket that smells like you, favourite toys or other items in that location. Teaching your dog to hide in the designated place makes sure they always go to the safest space (in case you’re not home to guide them), keeps them from standing at the door and bolting as soon as it’s opened and ensures that you know where to look for them when you’re trying to evacuate fast. I can’t imagine being told you have to leave NOW and not knowing where your pet is.
No one wants to plan for the worst. No matter what you do, an emergency is always going to be stressful, but a little pre-training can help make sure your pet doesn’t get lost.
How many of these skills does your dog already know?
How many do you need to work on? Is there anything you’d add to our list?
I don’t know about you guys, but cupcakes are one of my favourite things ever.
I’m also pretty darn keen on puppies, so when the Vancouver SPCA announced that they were hosting a National Cupcake Day fundraiser, I was like:
Well, that’s a great idea. Who doesn’t want to buy a cupcake? And what kind of monster doesn’t want to buy a cupcake to help puppies?! You’d have to be like Cruella DeVille next-level evil. This is an idea that can only be AWESOME.
For my part, I pledge to eat as many cupcakes as I can. Oh…and I guess I should do my part by baking a few dozen too, eh? I mean, it’s kind of my thing, right? So, to get crazy inspired and get my dog lovin’, cupcake cravin’, fancy pants show off baker’s heart groovin’ I’ve rounded up a handful of the interwebs CUTEST Dog Lover Cupcakes for people of all skill levels. Pick something you love, bake up a bunch and help raise funds for pets in need.
You can RSVP “heck yeah” to all the cupcakey fun on the National Cupcake Day website.
Now let’s get down to business. How CUTE are all these dog cupcakes?!
I am IN LOVE with the adorable puppy cupcakes. The marshmallow nose makes these look larger than life and I adore that the tongues are made of flattened Starburst and not yucky fondant.
I am a huge fan of everything sisters, Julie and Lisa do and these cupcakes are no exception. The addition of candy eyes and bows are perfection. Not just a food site, check out their Pumpkin Spice Scrub (it’s heavenly) and their new book coming later this Spring.
LOOKIT THE BULLDOG. These super cute cupcakes are a great way to appeal to lots of different dog breed lovers. Choose your favourite or make ’em all.
If you’re looking for simplicity, This is adorable and oh so easy. Add a little oomph by using a great flavour combo.
Cupcakes and cookies? What could possibly be better?! Nutter butter cookies are the finishing touch on these super cuke cupcakes that are perfect for making with kids.
*Squeeeeee* Oh man, these are so cute. I’m not a huge fan of eating fondant, but I could make an exception for these adorable faces.
I think these paw prints made with Hershey Kisses and chocolate chips are simple, but totally awesome. A great trick for people who want to get in on the fun without a whole lot of effort.
OK, so it’s becoming abundantly clear that I am a SUCKER for dogs in hair bows. Remind me again why I have two little boy dogs?! All of the cupcakes are cute, but this little poodle has stolen my heart.
Oh, my heart. I can’t even with how cute this babies are. Considering how fancy as woof these are, the tutorial is surprisingly simple.
Are you making cupcakes for National Cupcake Day?
The Casa de Kolchak dogs and I spend a fair bit of time in the car.
When you have dogs who think they’re peoples, they like to go everywhere with you. Truth be told? I like to have them along for the ride. So many of our favourite things – trips to the lake house, walking in the woods, nights at the drive in, the beach – all start with a car ride, sometimes long car rides on fast moving highways. Naturally, I want my dogs to be safe in the car. I’m going to feel like a real jerk if my dogs fly through the windshield while I’m all excited about a day at the beach.
I’m still a bit of a fuss budget though, so when it came to choosing a seat belt for my dogs, I was a little overwhelmed. There are SO MANY options and our Kol’s Notes facebook peeps can attest that I have struggled with this for WAY TOO LONG. I decided that I needed to make a list of what was important to me and just pick something already.
What I want in a dog seat belt:
- Crash tested
A few years ago, this didn’t even occur to me. I mean, it’s called a seat belt, so clearly it’s for safety right? Wrong. A lot of tether-style restraints, including the ones we currently have, are designed to keep your dog from moving around in the car, not to keep them safe in event of a crash. Not all car harnesses are crash tested or safety rated and certifying that the materials will survive a crash isn’t the same as certifying that your dog should. This time around, safety is my main concern and I’m reading all of the fine print to make sure I can feel good about my choice.
- Well Made
I like when things are made of quality materials, have reliable stitching and are easy to keep clean and maintain. I’m willing to pay a bit more to ensure I’m buying canine car harnesses that are going to last and look good for a long time to come.
- Safe as a Walking Harness
Generally, when we go for a ride in the car, we’re going somewhere. The park, the beach, an event, shopping, the groomer etc. The idea of trying to wrassle my freakishly strong puggle out of a car harness and into a walking harness in a busy parking lot makes me super nervous.
- Can be worn with a jacket
We live in a rainforest, and not the cool rainforest, just the wet one. It is a long, rainy winter here at Casa de Kolchak and waterproof coats are my first line of defense against wet dog smell. If the car harness can be used as a walking harness, I also need to be able to put a coat over it.
- Easy to put on
Some days getting harnesses on these dogs is like nailing jello to a tree. If the harness can’t go from car to walk, it needs to be fairly easy to use.
- Would it be asking too much if it was stylish?
I took to the interwebs to research all the choices that are out there.
I immediately rejected a handful of harnesses, including the Ezy Dog harness we currently use, as they didn’t offer any form of crash or safety testing. That left me with only a few choices and it was a lot less overwhelming.
Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength Harness
$25 on Amazon
- Well made and long lasting. Felix has been wearing an older version of this harness for nearly 5 years and it still looks nearly new.
- Tested using the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for child restraint systems – see the brand’s certified crash test report here
- Works as a walking harness.
- Can be worn with or without a jacket
- It’s not terribly easy to put on or take off
- The size of the clip on the harness is a little awkwardly sized – it can be awkward to clip small leash hardware on and off
- It sits a little high on the neck for my liking. If your dog is a puller, it could possibly contribute to tracheal injury.
Ruffwear Load Up Harness
$80 on Amazon
- Great online reviews
- I like the V cut of the front panel
- The tether is sewn right into the harness, which means you can’t lose it or forget it at home.
- Tested using the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for child restraint systems – see the brand’s summary of test results here.
- Not designed to use as a walking harness
- I’m not 100% confident in the design of the hardware. They kind of push in and then are kept in by pressure and not by securing them. I have a puggle that thinks he is Houdini. I feel like he could figure these out, maybe?
Canine Friendly Dog Safety Harness
$75 on Amazon
- Crash tested
- Works in the car or as a walking harness.
- The V-cut of the neck means it wont press on Felix’s trachea when he pulls.
- RC Pets is a local company and I love shopping local!
- While the brand says the harness is crash tested, I couldn’t find any reliable information as to what standard it was tested against.
- After reading a few reviews, it seems like tangling is a fairly common challenge and we know Koly will want to get tangled up.
- Won’t work with our coats without alterations.
AllSafe Seatbelt Dog Restraint Car Safety Harness
Up to $160 on Amazon
- Crash tested in Europe and the US and apparently, it’s Europe’s #1 Crash Tested Pet Safety Harness
- Can be used as a walking harness
- Leash hook is placed so it can be used under our coats.
- V cut of the neck means it doesn’t put pressure on the dog’s trachea
- It actually is pretty snazzy with it’s stylish V-neck and reflective striping.
- You can buy 6″ and longer tethers to allow your dog more freedom on the seat that can make this harness unsafe. The company acknowledges that the safest use of the harness is without a tether, but still offers them.
- The excess strap material (see photo above) looks really silly to me and I can see it being annoying and dragging in mud etc.
Sleepypod ClickIt Sport
$70 on Sleepypod.com
- I’ve been humming and hawing over the Sleepypod harnesses since they introduced their Clickit Utility harness a few years ago. That harness needed special hardware to use it, making it impractical for us, as we often travel in different vehicles and with friends. The Clickit Sport is much more accessible and practical for us.
- It’s tested using the same dynamic crash tests used to test child safety restraints.
- It can be used as a walking harness
- The position of the leash clip allows it to be used under our coats
- Oh heck, is it stylish. It even comes in our site colours (turquoise and orange). I heart that real hard.
- A few reviews say it doesn’t allow for much movement/comfort for the dogs
- It looks a bit complicated to fit/use
- While it’s good for some walks, reviews suggest it’s not a good choice for long or rugged walks
Even after narrowing the field, I was still really confused as to which safety harness was going to be right for my dogs.
I spent a lot of time going back and forth between the Allsafe and the Sleepypod harness. Both had a lot going for them. I love all the safety features about the Sleepypod ClickIt Sport, but the whole comfort/usability thing made me nervous. The Allsafe just looks…easy. I like easy.
Then I discovered the Center for Pet Safety website.
CPS is a non-profit dedicated to studying pet safety in the car. These folks know their stuff and even created their own standard for pet safety in the vehicle, setting a maximum distance your pet can travel from the seat, the maximum their neck can move safely and more. This standard doesn’t just test if your car harness is strong enough to survive a crash, it tests to see if the harness is designed in such a way that your pet can survive too. Luckily, four of my final fivewere tested, some with scary results. You can see all the dog harness crash test videos on their website, but the run down is this: all but one of the harnesses tested were deemed insufficient to meet their tough standards. *UGH* In fact, two tested so poorly they were given a “catastrophic failure” rating in some sizes. THIS IS WHY I CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO MAKE MY OWN CHOICES, YOU GUYS. We’re going for the only harness that meets the CPS guidelines: the Sleepypod Clickit Sport.
I’m becoming that crazy dog lady that has too much dog gear, but I want the safest harness for the car and the best harness for walking and if that is two harnesses, so be it, I guess. JUST TAKE MY MONEY. These dogs are real lucky they have a job. I’ll let you know what we think and if the harness is as complicated as it looks. I can figure it out…right?
Does your dog have a harness to wear in the car?
What brand is it? What do you love or hate about it?