Many dogs like to chew things they shouldn’t, others make a lot of racket, and most leave behind hair, dander, and a scent that’s uniquely their own. You can help keep Rover’s dog residue and odors under control with inexpensive homemade cleaning products, good grooming habits, and some simple steps to help make your household doggie friendly. Here are some tips to get you started.Read More
How do you indulge your furry loved one?
According to a Pet360 survey, 99.4% of respondents said they consider their pet to be a part of the family. That sounds about right. Personally, I find my dog even more agreeable that most family members (don’t tell), and he is definitely the family member I most love to spoil.
There are countless ways dog owners shower their pets with affection and indulgence. Here are a just a few ways you can spoil your dog.
Homemade Dog Biscuits
Homemade dog treats, baked with love in your own kitchen are SO much better than the store-bought kind. Surely your dog will appreciate all the effort you put into making those treats, which are chock full of natural, wholesome ingredients, no preservatives, and made with tender loving care. Here's a super easy recipe for homemade peanut butter dog treats – just roll, mix, and cut. Or, try this recipe for frozen apple treats, so healthy and just perfect for summertime. And, you can make your dog feel extra special with a personalized dog bone cookie cutter.
Disclaimer: Yes, my dog scarfs down homemade treats just as quickly as any store-bought variety. However, I’m sure that deep down he knows the difference. Right?
That look on his face when he receives a new gift – multiplied! How could your dog not love the attention of a birthday party in his/her honor? Invite all your doggie-loving friends and encourage them to bring gifts for the dog-of-honor (or, even better, encourage them to make a donation to a dog-friendly organization). You’ll need to prepare a doggie cake, made of safe, dog-friendly ingredients. Serve it alongside a second birthday cake that will satisfy all your human guests and make it a festive occasion for all.
Sign up for Bark Box, and you’ll receive a box full of new treats and toys delivered to your doorstep each month. Since Bark Box launched, dog owners have been raving about the high quality and top-notch customer service. Or, if you have a puppy, try PupBox. It's a similar service that delivers products and training information to walk you through every stage of your puppy's development.
Yes, people are hiring personal trainers for their dogs. A trainer will provide your dog with well-rounded workouts intended to burn calories. Depending on your dog’s needs, training sessions might also focus on teaching your dog essential skills such as swimming or Frisbee-catching.
Nothing feels better after a good doggie workout than a massage. Fetch Club NYC even offers custom aromatherapy treatment to give your dog a full sensory experience. Can you even imagine how amazing aromatherapy must be for dogs with their heightened sense of smell?
If you don’t have the budget to go the high-end professional spa route, you can always take the DIY approach. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Yes, dog beer. Bowser Beer is meat infused, low on the hops, and nonalcoholic. Enough said.
Does your dog crowd you off the couch? As a Brooklyn resident, I have a small couch with just enough space for two. On evenings when it’s just me and the dog, things are usually fine. But when I entertain another human there is often some jostling for space. But the solution exists – a doggie couch, of course.
A dog sized-couch allows your dog to have his/her own personal space whenever needed. This is advantageous when you don’t want his paws slowly (but effectively) edging you off the human couch. It may also prevent your dog from running to take your warm spot the minute you get up for a snack.
If you prefer a different aesthetic for your living space, you can purchase a bamboo dog hammock here.
Pet Dating Services
Yes, this is now a thing. Doggies Match describes itself as "a full-service social networking site for dog owners to find the perfect match for their favorite pooch." This service makes pet connections the primary goal, even more important than the potential connections between the human owners.
If forging connections with other humans is your objective, there are numerous platforms to help you meet single pet lovers. A few include DateMyPet.com, PetPeopleMeet.com, and DoggoneSingles.com. Special kudos go to AnimalAttraction.com for helping raise money for pet charities like the ASPCA. When you register a profile, Animal Attraction gives a dollar to the charity of your choice. The more you log in to their site, the more money they donate.
The best pics of your dog don’t have to be limited to Instagram. As a dog portrait artist, I admittedly have a somewhat biased opinion on this one, but what dog would not love his portrait immortalized forever in a piece of art? A unique masterpiece featuring your dog attests to the love you have for your furry family member, and it’s a really cute way to preserve their most adorable moments. And, a custom portrait costs less than a doggie hammock.
Yes, it’s easy to make a dog happy. They just want to eat, have a comfortable spot to sleep, an occasional belly rub, a nice walk, and then maybe eat again. But how much fun is it to spoil your fur baby every now and then when they look at you with so much love? So we do it. We all do. And it’s ok.
As an artist who specializes in pet portraits, I decided to research the lives of famous artists, writers, and designers to learn more about their pets. As I expected, eccentric personalities like to surround themselves with interesting and (at times) unusual pets.Read More
The whole thing happened in just a few minutes time. I came home after an especially tiresome day at work, crashed on the couch, and kicked off my shoes. In my post-work-day exhaustion, I failed to notice that my puppy had grabbed my brand new beautiful black heels, dragged them behind the couch for some privacy, and began to happily gnaw away. Infuriating.
I suspect that I am not the only puppy parent who has felt this frustration. So, why do they do it? Why, oh why, do puppies chew?
It starts with teething
Puppies begin teething at 6-8 weeks, which makes their gums sore. Chewing brings relief. Shoes are especially desirable because they are easy to get a hold of, come in plenty of fun shapes and sizes, pick up a wide variety of interesting scents, and have textures that feel good to sore gums. While the teething process only takes about six months, many puppies continue to explore their surroundings with their mouths for as long as the first two years.
A few solutions
For starters, a little doggie proofing doesn't hurt. Put your shoes in the closet, behind closed doors, or otherwise out of reach. Restrict your puppy’s access to limited, doggie-proofed areas of the house by closing doors, or using gates or other barriers.
Another way you can help reduce your puppy’s urge to chew is by taking a damp rag, twisting it into the shape of a bone, and freezing it. The texture and temperature will help provide relief to your puppy’s sore gums.
Engage their brain
The majority of dogs spend 90% of their time lying around. And when they get bored, they look for something to occupy their time. This could be your new pair of Nikes.
To mitigate boredom, give your puppy other options. Toys can provide more constructive activities. Make a visit to the pet store. Select toys that are the right size for your dog’s mouth (not too small to be swallowed) and do not have small pieces that will break off.
Don’t confuse toys and chews, however. Toys are made to be throw, or tugged while playing, but are not designed to be chewed. They should be picked up and put out of reach when you are finished playing. This helps prevent the toys destroyed by chewing, or your dog being harmed by swallowing pieces that break off.
Make sure you do not make “toys” out of old shoes or other items that could be found laying around your home. Puppies can not differentiate between your old shoes and new ones.
Try to find toys that are engaging and will keep your dog’s mind busy. My favorite is the Kong. Just fill it with a treat or stuff it with peanut butter and freeze. It keeps my Cooper busy for hours.
And, be sure to rotate in new toys frequently to keep your pet from getting bored.
They love and miss you
Puppies may resort to chewing when they get stressed, and separation anxiety can be a big stressor. When they miss you, dogs of any age may resort to chewing or exhibit other destructive behaviors. Your shoes smell like you, which is comforting. They therefore become a target.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, slowly increase the duration that you are leaving him/her home along. It may help to leave a piece of clothing behind when you leave. A pet sitter or dog walker can also help keep by keeping your dog busy and providing some mid-day exercise.
If a dog isn’t getting enough activity, it can lead to chewing. Depending on your dog’s breed and energy level, a walk may just not be enough. If you think your pet has too much pent-up energy, increase their exercise. Some active breeds might need a good game of fetch, tug-of-war, or some time running around outside to tire them out. Take your dog running, or schedule a doggie play date.
On the other hand, having too much stimulation or being over tired may also result in bad behavior. Nap time can help, either in a crate or other quiet area. Dogs have a denning instinct, and sometimes just need to spend time by themselves.
Even a small change to a dog’s routine can make them anxious. This could include a change in schedule, a new pet, or even something as simple as a new piece of furniture. Chewing is a natural, instinctive way to relieve stress and release endorphins that make the dog feel good. Try to figure out what’s causing your dog stress because alleviating the stress will help reduce the chewing.
Reinforce good behavior. Reward your dog with positive attention when its calm or chewing on an appropriate toy. If you see that your dog is about to chew the wrong thing, draw its attention to an appropriate chew, and provide positive reinforcement and praise when it goes for the right item. The earlier you can break bad habits and establish good behavior, the better.
Punishing and scolding after the fact will not be effective if the perpetrator doesn’t associate his actions with the punishment. Remember, they’re not deliberately plotting to destroy your possessions out of spite.
If you do catch your dog with that shoe in its month, be calm. Rather than yelling and giving chase, try to calmly trade the item for a treat and avoid further damage. Tossing the treat (or Kong) so your dog will drop the shoe and run for the treat.
There’s no one-size-fit all solution. Patience and trying to understand what makes your dog tick will help you find the right solutions.
If all else fails, you can sell the chewed shoes as art, as shown in this video.