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’m home from BlogPaws and I had the MOST amazing time.
Due to scheduling conflicts, I’ve missed the last two years and I always forget how incredible it is. The chance to connect with brands I love in person is invaluable. The time spent with friends I talk to every single day, but only see once in a blue moon is priceless. The speakers I met will continue to help influence the content you see here and improve this blog long after the conference is over. This year was made even more special by the chance to be a part of the BlogPaws Ambassador Team. I’ve always known a lot went into making this magical week possible, but this small peek behind the curtain was eyeopening. It’s so much more than I imagined.
My mind is still reeling from soaking up all that awesome, but I have some promises to keep.
This first is sticker related. At BlogPaws, Maggie from Oh My Dog! and I gave away blog planner stickers. The worlds CUTEST blog planner stickers, if I do say so myself!
We wanted to spread the message that a kick ass blog planner can change your blog (or your business). The first step to improving your social media stats is to understand them.
There are a few blog and social media stats we track every single month here at Kol’s Notes:
- UMV (or Unique Monthly Visitors) or how many people visited your site
- Pageviews or how many pages those people looked at
- Bounce Rate or how many people left after looking at only one page
- Time on Site or how many seconds/minutes the average visitor spent on your site
- Facebook Fans/Reach
- Instagram Fans
- Twitter Fans/Retweets
- Pinterest Fans/Repins
Tracking my blog & social media stats lets me know when something is working – or when it’s not. It let’s me track if promotional strategies are helping me achieve my goals and it helps me set new targets to grow our reach.
So to help you remember to track your stats, we have some free printable tracking stickers!
I’ve got the social media tracking set below and you can click here to visit Oh My Dog and download the blog stat tracking set.
What blog & social media stats are you tracking?
I love sharing my life with dogs.
There is something so satisfying and joyful about a house full of sassy little monster dogs. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Sharing your home with pets does have it’s challenges though. Pets are messy, yo! And I don’t know about yours, but my two are lazy little brats! They drool and shed and leave toys everywhere and never lift a single paw to help.
I am a huge believer in living a pet friendly life that doesn’t feel like it’s gone to the dogs, so keeping my home clean and well maintained is a huge priority for me.
That said, it would be SO EASY to spend all day, every day cleaning. SO EASY. Especially if, like me, you aren’t a natural born house cleaner. Chores are, well…a chore. I am not one of those people loves the challenge of keeping a clean house, but I also don’t relish the idea of living in a glorified dog kennel, so over the years, I’ve developed a plan. It all starts in the Spring when I put just a little more effort in to set myself up right for the year. I reorganize and purge. I deep clean absolutely everything and once that’s done? It’s so easy to keep up with little daily, weekly or monthly tasks.
I absolutely refuse to start Spring Cleaning until it feels like Spring out and that just started happening. Flowers are budding, people are cutting grass, it was sunny today – yeah. Spring has sprung and it is totally time for me to HOP to it and start my Spring Cleaning.
It kind of felt like the PERFECT project for the pet friendly planner that Maggie from OMD and I have been working on. #BestLifePets isn’t just about capturing fun memories, it’s about helping you live your BEST LIFE with your pets and that means the dreary stuff as well as the fun stuff. My free printable ULTIMATE Spring Cleaning check list for pet lovers is the perfect size to print out and put in a BIG Happy Planner or it can be printed at 85% and it will fit into the Classic Happy Planner – easy peasy!
Spring Cleaning Doesn’t HAVE TO be a long, exhaustive process. I swear!
I am a huge advocate of doing bits and pieces and never giving up a full day to do anything boring. I break my Spring cleaning up into small blocks – no more than 20 or 30 minutes at a time. I set the kitchen timer and I get as many things done as I can. Then I walk away. Is my always flawless? Well…no. Life happens and I let myself and my pets live in our apartment. There’s fur. There are toys. There is mess. I don’t obsess over this list, it’s just a good tool to help me know what to tackle, as I have the time.
Click on the image below to download your copy of the ultimate pet friendly Spring Cleaning List
The real key to flawless pet friendly house keeping success: ABC – Always be cleaning.
A great Spring process is a good start, but once it’s clean, it’s a million times easier to keep it that way than to do a marathon effort a few times a year.
Maggie at OMD! Has the scoop on her day to day routines and you can check them out here. There’s a great set of printable dashboard that will pop right into your planner. (Again, print at 100% for BIG Happy Planners and 85% for OG Happy Planners). I’ve laminated my set and punched them, so that I can use them week after week.
What is your pet friendly cleaning style like?
Are you a marathoner cleaner a few times a year? Do you do a little every day or have a specific cleaning day each week?
Will you share YOUR best tip for keeping a beautiful pet friendly home?
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?
You guys, I know the Groundhog was all “More winter for everybody!”, but I am desperately dreaming of spring.
While some of you are facing record breaking snow, here at Casa de Kolchak, it’s warm and wet. Spring is so close we can almost taste it. It’s left me and the dogs yearning for the sun, days on the deck and the Spring flowers blooming.
I have a pair of boys, but you folks with pretty little girl dogs can capture just a little of that spring magic early this year by making a pretty flower for your dog’s collar.
The beauty of DIY Fabric Flowers is that they can be as easy or as hard as you like. The flowers I made (poor poor) Koly wear for our feature photo took me less than 10 minutes and cost me under a $1 to make. Whether you’re a a novice sewer, an accomplished seamstress or you believe hot glue can rule the world (like me) there’s a fabric flower for you.
And with our help any fabric flower tutorial can be turned into a dog collar flower tutorial.
This post is sponsored by the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated as a BlogPaws Conference Ambassador to help share information about the BlogPaws 2017 Conference but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.
Seven years ago, when I started Kol’s Notes, I had no idea that pet blogging was like…a thing.
I started a quiet little blogspot – for free – with no design, no logo, and nothing special about it. You guys, they will let like ANYONE make the internet. You don’t need any particular skills or qualifications. There’s no application or license. You’re just allowed to be a part of the world wide web. This fact that continues to boggle and terrify my mind a little. I had been given the keys to a powerful vehicle and I had no idea how to drive it. I did have had a puggle who was too sassy for his own good, a rescue dog who was an adorable hot mess, a couple creative writing and journalism courses behind me and oodles of spare time. I imagined that my Mom and maybe 6 or 7 of my closest friends would read what I wrote, that the blog would be a silly creative outlet for me (I totally blogged in Kolchak voice) and that was it. In my head I was saying “I will write the things; people will read the things. There. That’s all there is to blogging.” HA! Oh man, that girl was a dreamer but she had no idea what she was getting into. NAIVE should have been the name of the blog. I frequently go back to read our early posts, as a reminder that sometimes things aren’t what you had planned, but they can be so much more and so much better, if you let them.
I can’t remember how I found BlogPaws, but I remember being totally in awe of what they were sharing.
Was it through the Wordless Wednesday blog hop? Maybe through a post on one of the pet blogs I followed, but was too scared to comment on? I’m not sure, but I remember reading about the BlogPaws conference and thinking HOLY WOOF, this blog could be so much more than I ever had planned for it. When I told my family I was spending a pretty penny to attend a pet blogging conference in Salt Lake City and travelling by myself for the first time ever, I’m pretty sure they all thought I had come unglued. Walking into the exhibit hall that first day, I was dizzied by just how many people were there, how many brands were represented and how out of place I felt. These were professionals who knew what they were doing. I promptly returned to my room for a 20 minute panic attack. Fast forward a few years and Kol’s Notes was different place. With the help of BlogPaws, we were working with some of our favourite brands to promote the things we loved. The site was self-supporting, meaning I was no longer spending a ton of money to maintain it because brands were happy to sponsor our projects and giveaways. We were giving back to shelters and rescues. The site looked like a real website with a site map and categories and social media channels. I was confidently referring to myself as a lifestyle blogger. People, actual people, WHO DIDN’T KNOW ME were regular visitors to this blog. Even today, sometimes I look at all Kol’s Notes has become, the sheer number of people who visit the site or interact with us on social media and I’m overcome by the feeling that this is so surreal. I’m incredibly lucky.
If you’ve ever thought that you have something to share with the pet loving world, be it advice or projects or stories or whatever speaks to your heart, the BlogPaws Conference is the place to help you figure out how to best create that message and amplify it.
Whether you’re just thinking about a blog or you’ve been doing this a while and want to reach more people or present yourself more professionally or just learn your way around the social media lingo, this pet blogging and social media conference can help. Check out this year’s conference schedule and speaker list. BlogPaws has really stepped up their game in recent years and I am so excited to attend some of the lectures on using video on your blog because that is one of my goals for Kol’s Notes this year. I’m even MORE excited to be a BlogPaws Ambassador, which means I get the chance to share some of my BlogPaws experiences with you guys and be a part of the magic behind the scenes at the conference.
I would love the chance to meet you, get to know your blog (or blog idea) better and talk about how you can take your ideas to the next level at BlogPaws in Myrtle Beach, May 18 – 20, 2017. Mark yo’ calendars folks.
(Yeah, did I mention the conference is always in some pretty fab places? Who doesn’t want to go on a work trip to the beach?!)
I know travel can be crazy expensive, especially if your blog isn’t earning it’s keep (yet) or if you’re coming from outside the US. (That US exchange is terrible right now. TERRIBLE.) I’ve been there! I’m Canadian, eh, (with glowing heart) and seeing the total cost of the trip, then converting it from US to CAD made my heart sink more than a little.
However, I truly believe the connections I made with brands and other bloggers at BlogPaws have been a huge part of my success in making this site not only professional and popular, but profitable. It’s worth the cost of the trip for the people alone, but the great sessions are like the delicious fruit topping on the delicious cheesecake. (Another BlogPaws strength: they get an A+ for desserts.)
To make travelling a little more affordable, I’ve got a few tips and tricks to keep more of your hard earned dollah billz in your pockets (or more accurately, in your pet’s pockets. Your dog called, they’d like bully sticks with whatever money you save, mkay?)
How to Save Money Attending the BlogPaws Conference
1. If you don’t already have a ticket, buy one PDQ, using my Ambassador discount code.
The closer we get to the conference, the higher the chance that tickets will sell out or increase in price. Your conference ticket includes not only all the sessions, but access to the exhibitor halls, a bunch of meals, a swag bag that puts the WAG in swag, and more. The food is always delicious and plentiful, there’s a kick ass coffee bar for the caffeine addicts like me and they usually sneak a drink ticket or two into your welcome package for the cocktail parties.
You can buy your BlogPaws Conference tickets here. Use discount code BP17-10off-Ambassador to magically whisk 10% off your ticket price.
2. Share a room (and a ride)
OK, so my secret introvert side is waving it’s hands, flashing red lights and going “YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SHARE A ROOM WITH A STRANGER?!” but honestly? Room sharing is one of the best things I’ve done at BlogPaws. I’m terrible roommate and somehow, I’ve managed to make some of my very best friends (real life and blogging) by sharing rooms at BlogPaws – even when we *barely* knew each other before the conference. Elizabth from Chronicles of Cardigan (Dewy, squeee!) is the Newbie Ambassador, but one of the coolest parts of her newbie group on the Blogpaws Social Learning Community is the room sharing and ride sharing discussion. Get in there and make a friend! It’s so awesome to be able to feel like you have a partner in crime.
3. Check your travel dates
I was able to save a TON by flying out on Monday, instead of Sunday. Maybe you can save if you arrive Wednesday instead of Thursday. I can’t make any promises, but it’s totally worth looking at. The Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel is offering it’s special BlogPaws Rate for three days before and after the conference, so you can totally take advantage of that.
Reserve your hotel room now to make sure you’ve got a place to stay.
4. Look for a sponsor (or sponsors).
I know! I know, I can see you roll your eyes like “Um, I’m coming to the conference to learn how to do this. What makes you think someone will want to pay for that?” OK, VALID POINT. But, it’s always worth asking. Is there a brand in your area that might love the idea of a local representative bringing their message to the conference? For International bloggers, maybe there’s a brand in your country trying to break into the US market? You can always ask. I’ve had a lot of success getting sponsorships for events by asking for small, itemized sponsorships (like asking them to sponsor your business card order in exchange for their logo on them and a blog post) vs. asking people to sponsor your whole trip. There are rules for sponsored bloggers, so make sure you reach out to BlogPaws to find out what you can and can’t do before making any crazy promises.
5. Order business cards online now
The closer you leave this to the conference, the more it’s going to cost you. I order my cards from Vistaprint because it’s crazy cheap, but I usually spring for a paper upgrade to feel fancy as woof.
6. Don’t get caught up in the swag game
I know, I always think people will like me better if I have some really cool swag to give away. It’s so easy to go overboard. You don’t have to do this. BlogPaws’ers are great folks. They’re going to be super nice, whether you hand them a business card or a cookie or anything else. Blogger swag is not a requirement.
RSVP “WOOF YES” to the conference event on Facebook, plus follow BlogPaws on the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay hip to all the news and announcements leading up to the conference.
Bloggers who have been there, help a dog out! What are your money saving travel tips? What did you get out of your BlogPaws conference experience that you couldn’t get anywhere else??
Do you have BlogPaws questions? Ask me anything! I’m happy to help you figure out if a trip to BlogPaws is the right fit for you and how to get the most out of your pet blogging conference experience.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BlogPaws. The opinions and text are all mine.
Tea season is upon us in Vancouver.
It’s never Winter that makes me crave warm cozy liquids and a blankie, it’s the BC Spring. Days and weeks on end of bone chilling rain, but with the tip tap of drops in the roof and windows that have a way of softening and soothing the soul. I have a complicated relationship with the rain. I hate it when we’re on a walk, drench and the boys smell like wet dog. I love it when I’m cozy and warm and I can just ENJOY it.
I have a really, crazy large mug collection.
I live alone, you guys and I have like 32 mugs. So, I did the only thing that makes sense and I was like “I NEED SOME DIY DOG MUGS” because that’s how my brain works. I have crazy dog lady problems. painting our own dog designs onto mugs was the perfect rainy day craft for a friend and I. e started out trying to freehand paint on the mugs. As it turns out? I am a terrible artist, I lack illustration skills on EVERY level and I would make a terrible mug designer. So, recognizing my limitations, I switched to plan B and used vinyl decals to create the perfect DIY Mug for dog lovers. Using the decals made this process SO DARN EASY that I think this would make an excellent craft project for school aged kids.
Here’s what you need:
- Ceramic Mugs
- Vinyl Decals (Get ’em on Etsy) or Scrapbook stickers
I really prefer a temporary vinyls sticker for this project over a scrapbook sticker. I found the stickers were hit and miss in quality. Some stayed on; some didn’t. Some left a crisp clean line; some let paint bleed under the stickers. Vinyl worked 100% of the time.
- Oil-Based Paint Markers, like DecoColour or Sharpie Paint Pens <- affiliate links
- Hand Sanitizer (It’s crazy, but trust me!)
- Optional: Dishwasher safe mod podge <- affiliate link
Let’s do this!
Prep the mugs by wiping them down with hand sanitizer. Wipe completely off and let dry.
Apply your vinyl decal or sticker. Decide on a pattern. The polka dot look is classic, but don’t feel like you’re stuck with it!
Keep layering the dots in the same colour or multiple shades until the design is filled in, then wait for the paint to dry.
Peel off the vinyl decal or scrapbook sticker. You don’t have to be limited to polka dots though! I actually LOVE the simplicity of just outlining the decal.
And then, you can always get a bit sassy 😉 I’m kind of loving this one.
😂 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂
If you mess up? Just wipe the mug down with hand sanitizer and start again. It’s super easy to fix areas!
Let paint dry for AT LEAST 24 hours.
Open a window or two, turn on your hood fan and put your mugs in the oven. Turn oven to 425F and bake mugs for 20 min. Turn off oven and allow to cool completely.
Your mugs are ready to use, but they need a little tender loving care. Hand wash only. Don’t soak and remember the markers are alcohol sensitive (remember how the hand san took the paint off?) so try not to toss a unfinished drink on them. (As if. Who doesn’t finish their drink?!).
If you want to make these a bit tougher, you can add a coat of dishwasher safe mod podge. I’ve still never put them in the dishwasher, but rumour on the street is they’ll survive on the top rack only.
Add your favourite kind of tea, a good book and a dog or two and these mugs are the recipe for a perfect rainy afternoon.
Do you have a favourite mug? Is it dog themed? Leave a photo in the comments!
A few weeks ago, we celebrated Felix’s TENTH Gotcha Day with our family.
I can hardly believe that it’s been more than 10 years since we brought this happy little fluff ball into our home. Felix is the dog that changed me from a 20-something who enjoyed a good party, wanted to travel everywhere and who was never home into the quieter, more focused super questionable grown up I am now. He was the dog that made me want to be a better pet owner and the one who inspired this blog (which is ironically named Kol’s Notes. I know. I know.)
I had plans to decorate my Best Life Pets planner pages with some super cute stickers that I made JUST to celebrate Fe’s Gotcha Day.
They’re so cute right? Who wouldn’t want to use those? Um, apparently this girl. I sat down with a glass of wine to chronicle all the things I’ve loved about Fe’s last 10 years with us and this happened. Word vomit.
You guyyyyyyys! I totally forgot to share last week’s #BestLifePets memory planner page with you! While y’all were celebrating your doggy Valentines I was celebrating all things #TeamFe and his TENTH Gotcha Day. I started by writing out his Gotcha Day story and all my FAVOURITE things about him and it got a little out of hand. I love all the journaling on this week’s page, all the memories it captures and how easy it was to say so much about my sweet fluffy boy. I didn’t even have space to use the Gotcha Day/Birthday stickers I made!
Apparently, I had a lot to say. I mean, can you blame me? Fe is the most precious. ever. I think using the different colour pens and mixing up the “font” make it a little more interesting than if it was just PLAIN, but I really wish I had used the stickers. (Aside: can you call it a font when it’s hand written? Is there a word for that? Yeesh. I call myself a writer. For shame.)
Need ideas of ways to celebrate your dog’s Birthday or Gotcha Day in your memory planner? I’ve got you covered.
- The Top 5 or 10 things you love about your dog
- Things that have changed or improved over the years
- Peronality traits and quirks that make your dog unique
- A list of your dog’s favourite things (Pro tip: and then make sure to do all those things for their big day!
- Their Birthday or gotcha Day story and how you got them
- A picture of your dog when you brought them home and one of them now
- Your birthday celebration action plan
Seeing all these things I love about my sweet Felix, I can’t even be mad at myself for totally spacing on the stickers.
Besides, the good news is, even if *I* blew it? You can can still totally download these and use them for YOUR dog’s birthday or Gotcha Day spread. (And Kol has a birthday! Maybe I’ll be smarter when his big day roll around in June!)
Does your dog have a Birthday or Gotcha Day coming up? Download our free printable dog birthday stickers!
Major kudos to the talented artists and designer who sell their work on Etsy AND let lazy, untalented folks like myself coast by on their mad skills. Puppy Birthday Clip Art used in this set was purchased from Pretty Grafik on Etsy and the backgrounds purchased from Jessica Sawyer Designs on Etsy<- affiliate links. That paw print you see on the small boxes is Kol’s ACTUAL paw print, so he wants all the credit for that.
How do you celebrate your dog’s Birthday or Gotcha Day?
Wanna tell me their home coming story? I would LOVE to hear how you all got your pups.
Busy right now? Save this sucker for later when you’ve got time to plan in peace – Pin it!
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.
Doggy Date Nights are a time honoured tradition at Casa de Kolchak.
And not just because I am chronically single. (What? Let’s call it what it is. I could see my friends getting sassy and my mom texting me that I don’t have to be single; There’s this nice man at her [insert place I didn’t realize she went and details about a guy I don’t want to meet here].) In truth, I’ve been planning doggy dates with the boys since they first joined the family. Single or not, making time to bond with my dogs is really high on my priority list.
I try to set aside a little time every single week just to hang out with Kolchak and Felix and do something to make them happy. A few people who are working on our #BestLifePets memory planner project with us have noticed that Friday tends to be doggy date night at our house. I like Friday because I’m usually too tired to go out with people, but I like the idea of being able to tell them I already have plans. (WHAT?! Hanging out with my dogs totally qualifies as having plans, especially if it write it in my planner. Don’t judge me.)
Last year, Jessica at Beagles and bargains shared her totally adorable Doggy Date Night Jar.
You guys it’s so darn cute. I immediately adored the idea. I’m also tragically lazy and the feeling of wood popsicle sticks against my finger nails makes my skin crawl, so I never actually got around to making one for myself. Whoops! So this year, instead of guilting myself for what I didn’t do, I’m celebrating what we did. Every week, after our date, I write down why it was special and what I loved about it on a piece of scrapbook paper. Then I fold that up and toss it into my jar. At the end of the year, i’m going to put a pocket in the back of my planner, so I can save all the pieces and start the jar a new.
I absolutely, 110% recommend scheduling some doggy dates with your favourite pooch.
And just in case you need some ideas for great ways to spend that time together, I ask a group of my favourite pet bloggers what they would do on their ideal doggy date night. Keep in mind that no two dogs are alike, so what works for some dogs, won’t be the right fit for others. Always choose outings that suit your pets and check with your vet before sharing new foods or undertaking a new exercise.
Here’s what they suggest:
Just remember to keep pizza’s dog safe – check the ingredients and make sure there is nothing dangerous like onions, fatty meats or go the dog friendly route with these homemade pizza dog treats from Doggy Dessert Chef.
It sounds ridiculous – and it IS, but it’s also so much fun to run around the yard chasing the ball and trying to teach your dogs to “herd” it. This is like a legit sport called Treiball with rules and competitions, but when we play? Anything goes. Kol’s fav. move is to body slam the ball and watch me trip over it.
Jodi from Heart Like a Dog says “Sampson, Delilah and my perfect doggie date is a long hike in our woods, then a nice steak cooked on the grill, and then a snuggle in front of the fire. (I may or may not be watching a Lord of the Rings movie.)”
Annie from Cat Obsessed might be well, cat obsessed, but that doesn’t mean she can’t plan a great doggy date. “It’s been a while but mine is getting a sitter for the cats (my husband!) and giving her an hour long massage (unlimited petting and scratching). Followed by cuddles and a nap for both of us.”
Bitey face might not be everyone’s dream date, but Flea from Jones Natural Chews blog says “The perfect doggy date night is all four dogs piled in the bed with me and Hunny, playing bitey face and having tummies rubbed, then snuggling.”
Starbucks is my happy place and you know I’m all about a dog friendly patio. Even when it’s brisk walking for a warm latte and a puppuccino or two is the best.
Hiking sounds like the worst date to me, but Alex for Happy Paws Pet blog says “Being a Denverite: Going on a fun day hike with a picnic. I carry my lunch and he carries his! Great use of that doggy backpack, and he feels like he’s working too.”
Perhaps a little pampering is in order for you AND your pooch. Christine at My Life With Dogs PDX tells us “My date with your dog suggestion is to visit a pet friendly hotel! We have a hotel here in Portland called Hotel Monaco and they have packages where your dog is pampered and you all can order room service!”
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. (No seriously, Kol wails like he’s been stabbed when we go buy without grabbing a cone.) He wants to go live with author Judy from Animal Human Connection who says “Our dogs Focus and Rosie love to go to Dairy Queen where they get a small cone every Monday.”
All this hiking and camping, yikes. Kandace from Prospector Pups tells us “The campfire thing is our perfect date night. With a twist. A hike in the late afternoon to where we would set up camp. Then enjoy the sunset with each other (AZ sunsets are amazing lol) & the some hot cocoa & treats by the campfire before crawling into our tent and passing out.”
Any date that can legit involved the GG is totally cool by me. (related: #thisiswhyImSingle). Jen from Puppy Leaks has big doggy date name plans: “My perfect doggy date night would be a trip to the park for a nice nature walk, followed up with some take out and ending it all with a nice snuggle on the couch with a great movie (or a Golden Girls marathon).”
Sherri from Dog Trotting loves getting away from it all and says her dream date is a “weekend away at a dog-friendly hotel and then a snowy romp in the nearby state park.”
The drive in is legit one of my favourite places to chill out with the dogs. They love being out. I love the big screen and the outdoors. Beth from the Daily Dog Tag totally agrees saying, “My old dogs loved to go anywhere with us, including the drive-in movies.”
I’m lucky that my small town has some exemplary window shopping, but the adorable heritage town give it a run for it’s money with it’s old timey candy shops and antiques store. For maximum awesomeness, make this a group date, so you can pop into one of the stores if you see something you love.
Is there anything quite as lovely as watching the sunset? Jeanette from Fido Universe doesn’t thinks so. “Spike and I like going to our local trattoria on Ventura Boulevard a little before sunset. I have a glass of wine; he has a bowl of water. We watch the world saunter past, the sun set and the lights of the city come on.”
There’s nothing quite like a quiet Friday night in and this is one of our favourites. I set up a few of the boys favourite puzzles to play with, then they settle down with their favourite chew, while I enjoy a glass of wine and a magazine.
Snuggling is like 85% of all my favourite date nights. I love cozy movie nights at home and so does Carleen from Some Pets who tells us her favourite date night is “Cuddling on the double wide chair with popcorn and a movie. My dogs love popcorn.”
There is something so freeing in allowing your dog to follow their nose where ever they please. We’ve discover so many cool things and shared so many happy walks this way. You have to try it sometime. (Fact: This is how we discovered the great new restaurant at the end of our block!)
I love when I can share a meal with my dogs. One of my favourite things to do is whip up a dog friendly story fry and share a taste with my to favourite food hounds.
Dogs get so much mental stimulation from their sense of smell. Checking out a new place isn’t just physically tiring, it gives their brains a work out too. I love watching as they sniff every inch of a new park or walking trail.
Did you know a lot of wineries are dog friendly? Call ahead to see if any of the spots in your area will allow you to bring your dog, then as Denise from DeniseGruzensky.com suggests, enjoy a day of wine and cheese with a dog friendly picnic.
If there’s anything better than brunch, I don’t know what it is. I love making eggs and hash browns and my dogs love knowing that they just might get a taste.
My computer got broken a few months ago and went to the shop for a few days. While it was there, I discovered a crazy thing: when there’s no computer in my lap, a dog almost finds his way to cuddle there. I love reading books like The Art of racing in the Rain while snuggling my own favourite boys.
Kol loves to smell food. He loves it. anytime he gets to follow his nose is a great night. Play nose work games by hiding treats around the room and letting your dog find them.
Learning tricks can be fun because there’s a ton of treats and at the endm maybe a cool new skill to show off.
OK, so this is a tough one because like…the dog DIES in too many moves. At Casa de Kolchak, we like Milo and Otis.
We love doggy games night. We play tug of war and chase,I hide snacks, there’s some wrassling. It’s just good, silly fun.
There are pet friendly events springing out all over the place. Check out a local pet expo, join a local choir in the park, visit a food truck rally – there’s almost always something going on that you can bring your dog to. (When in doubt if dog’s are welcome at an event – ask!)
Rebekah at My Rotten Dogs loves to drink on patios 😉 “There are plenty of dog friendly breweries around me. craft beer and a bite to eat on the patio with my dog at a local brewery.” As a blogger whose entire site is dedicated to dogs and beer, Brynn from a Dog Walks Into a Bar echoes that sentiment: “There are many dog friendly breweries, wineries and distilleries. I’m currently working on surveying all of the breweries across the country to see if they’re dog friendly. I just got past the A states, so I have a ways to go!”
Nothing fancy! Jump over chair cushions, weave around traffic cones, and dash through through ikea laundry baskets with the end cut out. It’s about running around and having fun.
My dogs won’t fetch, but they love to play fetch it yourself. (A horrible game designed to humiliate humans. You throw the ball and they chase it, but never retrieve it. Every throw, you race to get to the ball before they do.)
Can you imagine how happy Koly would be if I pampered him like this?? Joely from Fashion Beyond Forty says “Mine and Lyla’s perfect doggie date night involves us both enjoying a spa night together. She gets a puppy massage, I do our nails, she gets an oil treatment for her dry skin, I do my favorite mask and eye treatment, and she gets warm cotton pads on her eyes to help break down the matted gunk from the corners of her eyes.”
Only good things start with a shopping spree, right?! Jane at Pawbellish thinks so. Tootsie & I would consider a perfect date night to be a shopping spree at Petsmart, followed by a nice bubble bath and then snuggling on the couch to watch a chick flick.”
Kongs are like tasty puzzles and my dogs LOVE Kong night. I love relaxing in the bath while they lay on the floor trying to solve their Kongs.
I mean, food is love, right?? I love to get in the kitchen and Kol loves to taste test the batter, lick the beaters and cry at the oven until his treats are done.
Felix is ALL ABOUT a new toy. I love picking up something he’s never seen before and the way he runs around so excited to play with it.
I had no idea so many bloggers were so particular about their snuggle chairs! Where do you snuggle your dog? Rebecca from Mattie Dog says” a long walk in the crisp, cool fall air taking in the explosions of colorful foliage – followed by a snuggle, wrapped in a blanket in a sturdy adirondack chair!
This is a great way to work on a rock solid stay, while playing around. Place your dog in a stay in another room and then hiding, making little sounds to help them find you. Celebrate like a crazy person when they do.
OK, so this one is probably seasonal, but it’s one of my very favourite things to do and the thing that most gets me in the holiday spirit.
My dogs LOVE the car. Anywhere we’re going, they really want to come. Go somewhere unexpected.
Not all dogs are cool on Halloween, but my dogs love the people. We’ll always go for an early walk while the little trick or treaters are out.
Alison from Sarcastic Dog knows human dating can be tough – especially when you’re dog crazy. Her perfect doggy date night? “An outdoor activity with the dogs followed by a meal we cook together. Really, any date with a guy who embraces my crew, doesn’t freak out about dog hair and who thinks that having three dogs along for the ride makes the date even better!”
Did you know lots of home stores like HomeGoods, HomeSense and Winners are pet friendly? Yeah. It’s awesome! Check with your local store before you go to make sure they’re cool and then venture out to find a neat, one of a kind item for your house. (They even have pet stuff!)
So many teams offer “dog days” events now where you can see a game with your dogs! Terrie from Barks and Tails says “We have several minor-league sports with dog friendly games or events (baseball, hockey, soccer, etc.). If we are in town we always attend with Lacey and Clayton.”
One of my favourite things about my neighbourhood is that we are less than 4 blocks from an amphitheatre! In the summer, there is always something going on down there and many times, these outdoor concerts and shows are free to attend and totally dog friendly.
At the end of our block is a retirement home that doesn’t allow pets, except for in the tea room downstairs. Visitors are allowed to bring dogs to hang out while their peopel chat, have tea and play cards. We have a couple friends that we’ve made on our walks who we try to visit regularly. I love hearing about the dogs they had in their life and Felix thrives on the attention. (Check with the home before you drop by. While many retirement buildings allow pets to visit, usually only certified therapy dogs can visit care homes.)
Ok, so this one is a little crazy, but i love love love making good memories and getting paw prints of my dogs. Check out our LOVE plate tutorial, this post on how I took ink prints of the boys feet (which later became my tattoos) or consider ordering a kit to put your dog’s paw in plaster.
Kol is a tugging MACHINE and this game gets wild and crazy FAST.
Have you heard if it? It’s basically like a scavenger hunt with an app to tell you where to go. It’s so fun. Google that and then give it a try.
There’s nothing quite like dancing in the rain, splashing in puddles and just letting the rain wash away the stress of the week. Felix soaks up water like a roll of paper towl, but man, does he love romping through a fat, deep puddle.
Our local garden conservatory allows leashed dogs on the walkways of the garden. It’s such a lovely place to walk around and see how skilled the gardners are.
We love the beach. The sand, the surf, the fish and chips smell. *swoon* This is definitely one of my FAVOURITE doggy dates and a summer staple at Casa de Kolchak.
Head over to Fidose of Reality where Carol is sharing some tried and true tips for making romance and rover mix.