Sunday, 9 December 2012

Gifts For Dogs: Harry's Favourites

Dear Pet People,

My dog loves getting gifts and we love giving gifts to him! 

In fact, Harry's sweet aunt just gave him a new furry stuffed animal. It may or may not have been a skunk; I'm not sure, because he loved that toy so much that it was destroyed within a few hours.

RIP skunk!

Even at the ripe old age of 8, Harry still loves nothing more than a new toy, new treats, and things that keep him entertained and comfortable.

With Harry's help, I've put together a list of gifts and treats that a senior dog - and other dogs - might enjoy. I've mentioned some products by name but, with the exception of, I have no affiliation with the companies.  These are things I have purchased (or plan to purchase) that my dog and I enjoy.

1. Treats

Harry loves the pumpkin pie wheat free treats made by Northern Biscuit Bakery, but the peanut butter ones are his all-time favourite.  Northern Biscuit Bakery has many different flavours of treats available, the ingredients are top-notch and they are made in Canada! 

President's Choice also makes dog treats for the holiday season.  The treats are grain free and come in a festive silver bone-shaped tin.  
These treats contain some ingredients - cane syrup and molasses - that may not be great for dogs' teeth, but I think they are probably fine for a special occasion.

2. Collapsible Travel Cup

Collapsible travel cups are a stroke of genius! An expandable travel cup folds flat and then pops up when you need to fill it with food or water. Some styles have clips that attach to your dog's leash, your backpack, a stroller, etc. Harry has the travel cup made by Popware for Pets. They are durable and BPA free.  We especially loved it this summer when Harry would need a drink during walks or visits to the park.

Several other companies also make collapsible travel cups. I've seen them everywhere from Canadian Tire to PetSmart.

3. New Collar

Harry needed a new collar this past summer. I chose a simple red collar from Smoochy Poochy (available in pet stores and online). Smoochy Poochy is also a Canadian company. His new collar is from their leather alternative selection and is perfect for dogs who like to swim because it is waterproof.

Harry's new Smoochy Poochy red collar. Glitter Paw Tag from

Harry is not a swimmer, but I like that the collar doesn't stretch out, doesn't stink when it gets wet, and is easy to clean.  It has worn well over these last 6 months and the colour has stayed bright and vibrant.

4. Antler Dog Chews

We treated Harry to an antler chew this summer. Antlers are naturally shed by elk, deer, moose etc. every year. These chews are a healthy and humane chew "toy". They won't splinter or shred and they are free from chemicals, dyes and preservatives.
While nothing can surpass a new furry skunk toy for enjoyment, Harry has enjoyed chewing his antler.  I like that I don't have to watch him every minute while he's gnawing on  the antler. I think antler chews would be great for heavy chewers.

5. Orthopedic  Bed

Orthopedic dog beds are comfy for any dog, but are especially nice for older dogs who have arthritis and other discomforts associated with old age.

Don't tell anybody, but Harry has been sleeping in the parents' bed for the last year, which gives him a lot of comfort.  However, if Harry wasn't bunking with us, I would definitely purchase a very thick orthopedic dog bed.

6. Designer ID Tag

Of course every dog (and cat) needs an up-to-date ID tag. It's a practical and pretty gift for your pets!
Rockin' Heart has the best selection of designer ID tags in Canada.

Enjoy your pets,


Monday, 19 November 2012

Saint Francis Protect My Pet: Dog ID Tag

Dear Pet People,

Lately we've had a number of requests for Saint Francis of Assisi dog id tags.

I've always known that Saint Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals, but did not know why. A little research uncovered some very interesting tidbits about the patron saint of animals.  

Read on because this may be a Daily Double or Wheel of Fortune puzzle some day!

Did You Know That ...

  • Most of the legends surrounding Saint Francis mention his extreme kindness to creatures of all types and that he referred to them as his "brothers" and his "sisters".  
  • During Christmas feasts Saint Francis requested that the animals also be well fed.  
  • There are a number of stories that talk about the extraordinary connection Saint Francis had with all animals; when he approached flocks of birds they gathered around him and sat on his shoulder and in the palm of his hand.  Fish in ponds would swim close to where he stood.
  • Probably the best known story of Saint Francis and his dedication to animals is the story of how he tamed a ferocious wolf. The wolf had been killing farm animals and terrorizing the local townspeople. Saint Francis approached the wolf who lay down on the ground at Saint Francis' command.  He then forged a deal whereby the wolf would stop killing animals and in return the townspeople would feed the wolf.  The wolf then put his paw in Saint Francis' hand to seal the deal! 

I loved reading the story of the wolf and Saint Francis - he reminded me of a cross between Snow White and Cesar Milan!

Your dog can now proudly wear a Saint Francis of Assisi dog id tag.  The tag is part of the huge selection of designer dog id tags available from

The Saint Francis of Assisi Protect My Pet id tag is handcrafted in the United States from lead-free pewter and light blue epoxy. 

Enjoy your pets,


Friday, 2 November 2012

DIY Paw Print Art

Dear Pet People,

I've always thought that doggie paw prints are totally adorable!

My sweet boy, Harry, and I decided to get crafty last week and create some paw print art. 

Harry is wearing a Blue Prince Crown ID tag from

Well ... actually I decided to get crafty and Harry, who is the most accommodating dog ever, decided to humour me with this little art project.  We both got quite messy.  And one of us may have taken some sips of the paw rinse water - after it had turned blue from the paint.  But we are both pleased with the results!

To make your own paw print artwork you will need:

  • foam board from the dollar store 
  • an inexpensive frame (I picked up one from the Superstore for $5.)
  • non-toxic finger paint
  • small paper plate
  • paper towel
  • bowl of clear water to rinse your dog's paw after painting

Follow these steps to create a picture you will want to keep forever:

  • if your dog has furry paws carefully trim the fur on the bottom of your dog's foot
  • pour a small amount of finger paint onto the paper plate
  • dip your dog's foot in the paint. (You only want a small amount of paint on the foot or the paw prints will look gloppy.)
  • place your dog's paw on the foam board in a few spots
  • repeat until you have lots of paw prints
  • rinse your dog's paw in water until all the paint is off and pat dry

Give your dog a treat for being a good boy!

Once the paint is dry, cut the board into the size you want to frame.

Cost of project: less than $8
Time to complete project: less than 30 minutes 

Smiles when I think of blue paint all over Harry and me. Long puppy ears dragging through the paint. Harry trying to drink the blue rinse water. The completely confused look on Harry's face as he wondered what on earth we were doing: Priceless

Enjoy your pets,


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Pet ID Tags Canada Style!

Canadians are a pet-lovin' bunch!

Whether your dog is small ...

or huge ...

Whether you have one dog ...

or many dogs ...

Whether your dog is a princess ...

or a rock star ...

... has the best selection of pet id tags to fit your dog's size, shape and personality - no longer do Canadians need to feel frustrated with the lack of choice in upscale designer id tags for their pets!  We bring superior quality, unique id tags from suppliers in the U.S. and the U.K. to the Canadian market; you don't have to pay customs, shipping or duty!

If you have a dog, an id tag is a must.  Come visit and have fun choosing perfect pet id tags Canada style!

Monday, 1 October 2012

October Rocks: My Dog's Favourite Month!

Dear Pet People,

I cannot believe it's October!  

My dog, Harry, loves October.  If you asked him (and if he could answer), I'm sure he would tell you that October is his favourite month!  

Here are the top reasons why Harry loves October:

1. The Weather is Perfect.  The days are neither too hot nor too cold.  Harry wilts during the hot, humid days of July and hates the freezing cold weather that January dishes up. 

2. Fall Leaves.  Harry loves walking through fall leaves and shoving his nose deep into a pile of them!  I think the leaves are full of scent and Harry is all about scents.

3. Roasted Turkey.  I don't think there are many smells more enticing to a dog than a Thanksgiving turkey roasting in the oven.  Thanksgiving fills the house and the neighbourhood with a delicious aroma that has Harry camped out by the stove hoping for a bit of turkey. 

4. Work Gets Busier.  Harry's number 1 job is chasing away the squirrels and chipmunks that infiltrate our backyard as they prepare for winter.  Harry spends a fair amount of time camped out by the back door ready to spring into action to chase away intruders.  It keeps him busy!

5. Cuddles on the Couch.  As a family, we tend to spend more time relaxing indoors during October. Harry knows that he can always find a welcoming lap for some snuggles and cuddles.

6. Trick or Treaters. Harry refuses to wear a Hallowe'en costume and we refuse to give him candy, however, he loves Hallowe'en. Harry loves kids and kids love him!  We let him answer the door with us on Hallowe'en night and he gets lots of extra love from the neighbourhood kids.

Looking forward to a great month!

Enjoy your pets,


Monday, 24 September 2012

6 Tips: Choose The Best Info For Your Engraved Pet Tag

Dear Pet People,

One of the questions we often get at regards the important information pet owners need to include on id tags for their furry friends.  We recommend the minimalistic approach; the only information you really need to have engraved on your dog or cat's id tag is your pet's name and a contact phone number.  For privacy and security reasons, you may not want to put your address on your pet's tag.
Here are 6 tips to consider when choosing information to include on an engraved pet tag:

1. Your Pet's Name.  This is a must!  The person who finds your lost dog or cat needs to know the animal's name.  If your pet ever becomes lost and you decide to put up 'LOST' posters, as well as contacting animal welfare organizations, a name will aid in the identification and quick return of your dog or cat.  From your dog's perspective, being called by his or her name during a stressful 'I'm Lost!' situation will be comforting.

2. Contact Phone Number.  This is also a must!  It's wise to include the phone number where you can reliably be reached.  If you work for the majority of the day, and then have commitments after work, it's probably smarter to engrave your cell phone number on the tag than your home phone number.  Similarly, if you rarely answer your cell number, then putting your home phone number on your pet's tag makes more sense.  If space permits, you may choose to have a primary phone number and a back-up number.  Remember that if your phone numbers change, you will need to purchase a new tag for your dog or cat.

3. Medical Information. Some pets require daily medication in order to stay alive.  In this case, owners may wish to select an id tag that has room to engrave a medical alert message such as "needs medication" or "diabetic".  Special medical alert tags are available through online pet boutiques as well.

This medical alert tag is coming soon to

4.  Reward if Found.  This is a purely optional engraving choice.  Some pet owners feel that having a "Reward if Found" message will provide an additional incentive for the quick return of their dog or cat. 

5.  Spacing.  Some pet id tags are small. This means that the information that needs to appear on the engraved pet tag must be limited in order to produce the largest and most legible font size possible.  The phone number must be legible in order for it to be effective!

6. Capitals Produce Better Results.  It's true; when your pet's name is engraved in all uppercase letters the results are more legible.  However, the choice is personal and will engrave your pet id tag according to your specifications. 

For more information on engraving your pet's id tag, visit PetBling's FAQ section!

Enjoy your pets,


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

4 Tips To Help Your Dog Cope With Seasonal Allergies

Dear Pet People,

It was about this time last year (mid September), that my allergy-free dog began to scratch, bite and lick his paws. It seemed as though Harry was scratching almost constantly throughout the day - the poor boy was even kept awake at night from being itchy. 

After ruling out all the other causes of Harry's itchiness, the vet diagnosed him with seasonal allergies. She assured me that Harry would feel much better after the first frost.  In the meantime, I needed to ease the itch - his paws were beginning to bleed and the skin near his elbows was starting to crumble off.  Determining the proper treatment of Harry's allergies was a bit complicated since he has canine liver disease (diagnosed in the spring of 2011).

I am by no means an expert, but here are some things I did to help my dog cope with his seasonal allergies:

1. Rinse the paws. Harry's vet suggested that I rinse his paws and forelegs in clear water each time he came in from outside.  This helped to clear away some pollen from his body. 

2. Moisturize with Vitamin E oil.  I opened Vitamin E capsules and massaged the oil into Harry's elbows to moisturize his extremely dry skin.  The oil seemed to really help his skin and temporarily soothed the redness. 

3. Benadryl.  I try to keep Harry as free as possible from medications that may stress his liver.  However, in this case I took the vet's recommendation and dosed Harry with Benadryl.  The Benadryl only helped a little, and it made him very sleepy and spacey.  When the Benadryl was no longer effective I had to consider a stronger medication.

4 Prednisone.  This wasn't a medication I wanted to give Harry.  As a dog with liver disease I knew that the steroid content would be harmful to his liver.  However, my feeling was that Harry needed to feel as comfortable as possible in what may be his last few months.  The vet prescribed a very low dose of Vanectyl-P tablets and it helped him.  

As it happened, I only needed to give Harry three tablets of the Vanectyl-P and then frost hit!  I was never more happy to see my summer flowers die! Not long after that, Harry stopped itching!  And he's still here one year later!!!!

Harry celebrating his 8th birthday!

These are some of the steps I took to help my dog cope with seasonal allergies.  Every case of itching in animals is different. Treatment that may be appropriate for my dog may not be appropriate for yours.  It's important that you speak with your vet regarding your pet's health issues and specific course of treatment.

Enjoy your pets,


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Hair Accessories For Dogs - What Would Clairee Belcher Say!

Dear Pet People,

One of the most famous quotes from the 1989 hit movie,  Steel Magnolias, (remember that movie... it was one of Julia Roberts' first roles) was this goodie from Clairee Belcher:

"The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."

Well, the times they are a-changin'!  It's commonplace these days to see doggies wearing fancy collars, designer leashes, necklaces, barrettes and bows.  Gotta say... they look pretty cute!

My dog hasn't embraced the whole accessory approach to dressing just yet.  I wish he would humour me at least once by trying on a ballerina bow - but he refuses.  He will only agree to wearing a festive bandanna on the major holidays.

Dogs with hair covering their eyes seem to love wearing their hair in cute topknots and ponytails, adorned with bows and barrettes. I've seen many small and toy breed dogs, proudly showing off their bling.  I recently met a delightful Havanese named Tiger-Lily who had an entire wardrobe of fancy hair accessories. Tiger-Lily had such spunk! Her barrettes were the perfect complement to her personality.

Princess Tiara Barrette encrusted with Czech crystals available at

Dog fashion shows are always well-attended events at the dog festivals that have become popular.  Every small dog in these fashion shows wears some style of crystal barrette, bow, necklace or tiara. The dogs revel in the extra attention they get from looking incredibly cute.

It seems to me that many dogs excel in 'Accessorizing 101'.  

So, Clairee Belcher - what do you have to say now?

Enjoy your pets,


Sunday, 9 September 2012

How To Choose The Perfect Pet ID Tag

Dear Pet People,

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

With all the gorgeous pet id tags available, choosing the perfect one for your dog can be very difficult.  Once you've selected the appropriate size of tag for your dog, it seems that the options are endless.

More and more pet owners are choosing designer id tags as a way of expressing something special or unique about their dog or cat.
Here are some tips to help you choose a perfect id tag for your furry friend:

National Pride

A flag id tag can be a great choice for owners with a strong sense of national pride.  Perhaps your family originates from a different country than the one where you currently reside. In that case, a flag id tag is a lovely nod to your homeland.

Alternately, you might consider honouring the origins of your pet's breed type.  I think an Irish flag tag would look fantastic on an Irish Wolfhound! How about a Scottish flag id tag for your little Cairn or Scottish terrier?

Scottish Flag Bone Pet ID Tag

Personality Plus

When you think about your dog's personality is there one particular trait that stands out?  If your dog is a happy-go-lucky pooch with lots of love to share, perhaps a tag featuring a heart shape may be the perfect choice.

Louis is wearing a Rockin' doggie id tag 

Rockin' Heart ID tag

If you and your dog are the groovy type with a definite retro vibe, then a vintage inspired tag could be a 'far-out' choice! 

Glitter Daisy Tag

I would love to see this Grrr tag on a feisty little dog who's got a big dog attitude!
Grrr... Tag

Some dogs have a distinctly regal disposition.  These are the dogs who prefer "livin' the cushy pillow life". (Bonus points if you know where that quote is from!)  A crown tag, or a prince or princess id tag is a must-have for these precious pooches!  You can even kick it up a notch with sparkle or crystal accents!

Harry is wearing a Blue Prince Crown ID Tag.

Pink Princess Crown ID Tag

Or, maybe your dog is the strong and silent type, with a rock 'n roll edge.

Guitar pick id tags honouring the legends of rock are a great choice for this type of dog. 

Born To Run Guitar Pick ID Tag by Rockin' doggie

Complementary Colours

To get the maximum number of compliments on your dog's new id tag, choose a tag in a colour that will stand out against the colour of his coat.  

Any colour of tag will look great on white dogs, but I think that black tags look particularly amazing! 

Harry is wearing a Crystal Crown Tag in Black

Vibrant colours such as blue, red, pink or green look fantastic on darker dogs.  Try to avoid choosing a tag that blends in with the colour of your dog's fur; a gold disc tag will be hard to spot on a golden retriever or yellow lab. 

Classic and Traditional 

You really can't go wrong choosing an id tag that features traditional pet designs: paw prints, dog bones and stars never go out of style!  If this style of tag is your first choice, you can still add glitz by choosing a tag that features glitter or crystal accents. 
Small Silver Disc With Blue Paw Tag

Seasonal Designs

For pet owners who want their dog to have a wardrobe of id tags, then one tag is just not enough! 

During Hallowe'en, tags with bones or skulls become a spooktacular choice.  At Christmas, any tag in red, silver or gold will help your dog appear festive and extra special.

Red Glitter Bone - arriving in time for Christmas!

For some people it's easy to choose a perfect id tag - a particular tag just seems to be "the one".  Other pet owners need a few suggestions; sort of like trying to decide which pair of earrings go best with an outfit!  

Either way, have fun deciding (it will be hard to choose just one!) and as always...

Enjoy your pets,


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Back To School Blues

Dear Pet People,

It happens every year; the kids head back to school and for about a week afterwards my dog gets sad. And mopey. And a little bit depressed.

All summer long, Harry is on the receiving end of mega doses of snuggles, cuddles, games, treats and general undivided attention.  He is one loved-up dog!  When the first day of school hits it's bit of a shock to Harry's emotional system.  It makes me sorry for the old boy.

In the old days of Harry's youth it was easy to fill the void with a few extra long walks.  Now that he's a bona fide senior with some serious health issues, long walks are out of the question. 

Do you experience a similar situation with your dog?  Sometimes life events (illness, job or school demands, family changes, new baby) can necessitate a change in your dog's day-to-day life as well.

Here are a few games and activities that will help your dog adjust to a quieter house:  

Something New To Chew

A new chew toy can go a long way in filling the time until the family is home for the day.  Make sure the toy is safe, long lasting and one that your dog will consider "high value".

Mine is Better

This is a favourite game that I used to play with Harry when he was a puppy.  Now that he can no longer walk for long distances, it's a great game to play for a few minutes every day.  Here's how the game works: Get two of your dog's toys.  Give one to your dog and keep one for yourself.  "Play" with your toy. When your dog gets interested in your toy, give it to him and then pick up the one he just dropped.  Keep alternating toys and have fun!

Is The Mail Here Yet?

True, my dog can't walk very far without sounding like an out-of-shape runner, but he can walk down the street to the mailbox to check if we have any mail.  I allow Harry to walk at his own pace and smell and pee on every tree and fire hydrant.  Harry seems to consider it "his job" to visit the mailbox and we actually do this a few times a day.  

Even short walks with the chance to smell something new or see something different can do wonders to break up the monotony of a dog's day.  While not necessarily fulfilling a dog's exercise needs, these trips out of the house can be a great mental stimulant. 

You've Always Got Time For Tim Horton's

My dog loves going in the car!  And he really loves going through drive-thrus.  Sporting his new collar and pet id tag, Harry and I do a coffee run to Tim's.  I take a medium regular and Harry gets a double double ;).  The short ride in the car provides a change of scenery and mental stimulation.

It's little bit of extra work, but your dog will appreciate coming with you in the car whenever possible.

**Remember to never ever leave your dog alone in the car.**

All You Need Is Love

Extra snuggles from anyone who is home will go a long way towards easing the loneliness and boredom your dog may experience.  

As well, some brief training sessions - perhaps teach a new trick or practice the old ones - will help keep your dog's mind active and sharp. 

I know that after a week or so of these activities, Harry returns to his normal happy-go-lucky, tail wagging self.  

Enjoy your pets!


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Tail Wagging Good Time: Harry's Dog Party

Dear Pet People,

My dog, Harry turned 8 this week and we celebrated with a special doggy birthday cake and a little party. The recipe for the cake is here.  As with any great party, part of the fun is the recap.

Harry was on his best behaviour, and aside from wolfing down his share of the cake in five seconds flat, he didn't embarrass me with any 'Frat Boy' antics.

Here he is waiting for the cake.  It was Harry's own idea to hop onto one of the chairs.  I guess dogs who get birthday cakes don't have to sit on the floor.

Harry is wearing the Red Glitter Paw tag.  

Notice the expression of focus and patience giving way to frantic anticipation.  It's the same look he gives the pizza delivery guy.

Harry loved the cream cheese frosting.  Again, this cake looks good, but the human taste-tester (who prefers to remain anonymous) gagged when she took a bite.

Some action shots:

The cake was a bit/a lot chewy, which slowed him down a little.

We gave Harry a new chew toy at which point he ran inside to enjoy some chewing time - alone.  No diva type behaviour from this dog!

You can read my tips for planning your own dog birthday party here.

Enjoy your pets,