Fools for Pools

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Warmer weather means pool time for us all, even for your beloved dog.

Is this the summer you capture your dog’s love for water by experimenting with some underwater photography?

California photographer Seth Casteel really sparked a trend with his totally interesting –and sometimes eerie – photos of dogs underwater.

Here are some tips if you are interested in trying out capturing your dog as she struts her stuff in the pool. (Of course, if she hates the pool and all things water, just set this one out):

  • Swim skills: First off, make sure you can be agile in the water by brushing up on your swimming and diving skills. Nothing ruins the mood of a photo shoot like having to call 911.
  • Waterproofing: If you are using your Iphone as your camera, make sure you have a waterproof case. The pros highly recommend Lifeproof.
  • Shooting blind: Unfortunately, with underwater photography, you can’t see your screen most of the time, nor can you use the on-screen shutter button. Just wing it.
  • Lighting: Try shooting different times of day for different types of lighting. During the day, sunlight can provide reflections and/or direct light on the object or person you are photographing.
  • More lighting: Play with using a flash or strobe. Put your camera in forced-flash mode when taking close-up photos. An external strobe can be a great way to improve your underwater photos.
  • Lens: Experiment as much as you can with the factory lens; macro and wide-angle lenses are especially useful if you are looking for close-up detail.
  • Shutter speed: If your dog has a lot of pep in her step, adjust your shutter speed to be able to catch up with her. Casteel goes with a minimum of 1/250th of a second.
  • Positioning: Put yourself no more than six feet away from the dog in order to reduce blurring. Try getting low and shooting at eye level with her, instead of photographing her from above.
  • Be patient: Especially in the beginning, you are going to be taking a lot of photos that just won’t be very good. Keep trying – the pros easily take up to 20 shots with only one panning out.

If after reviewing all these tips, you think it may be just too much trouble, don’t worry. We have you covered. The man himself, Seth Casteel will be in town May 22 to do some champion photographing of dogs underwater. Here’s the info



Ay Chihuahua!

Ah, the Chihuahua, such a misunderstood dog. Yappy, snappy, reminds us of a bad boss with a Napoleonic complex.

And to be completely honest, I have not always appreciated Chihuahuas.

But in the spirit of Cinco de Mayo and all things Mexican, let’s look at ten really good   reasons to love a Chihuahua:

  1. They are built for speed. Check out Chandler’s annual Chihuahua races.
  2. They are built for desert climates. They love being warm and burrowing under covers and sleeping flush up against you.
  3. If you buy one big ol’ bag of dog food, it can last a year if you have a Chihuahua.
  4. At two to six pounds, the Chihuahua is the smallest breed in the world. You have no upper body strength? No problem. You can still carry your Chihuahua around.
  5. Learning how to spell Chihuahua correctly boosts your IQ.
  6. Chihuahuas are one of the oldest registered breeds in America; they were recognized in 1904.
  7. Chihuahuas, or dogs just like them, are believed to date back to 5th century AD. They were bred as the forerunner of the doorbell.
  8. They seem to be OK with wearing funny hats.
  9. What we see as incredible unfriendliness bordering on psychosis is just a Chihuahua protecting their person.
  10. Just like with any other dog, a Chihuahua’s behavior depends on how he was raised and the experiences he has encountered.


Bee Careful!

The sign at Phoenix’s North Mountain Visitor Center says it all: It’s bee season and with reports of dogs being stung to death in Scottsdale, it’s a good time to review how to prevent your dog from getting stung and what to do it Fido meets up with a bee.

Right now, bee-removal services say they are getting 30 to 60 calls a day for people with swarms and hive problems. Typically, bee season in Arizona runs from mid-March through late October, but it often depends on the weather.

The bad news for people with pets is that there is really no way to prevent your dog from coming in contact with a bee, short of house arrest. By their very endearing curious natures, dogs are going to investigate small flying insects zipping around in the air. In fact, dogs are at greater risk from bee stings than people. They are likely to get stung in the mouth or on the nose, face, or feet.

The good news is that dogs’ throats don’t swell up like humans. In most cases, dogs will have mild swelling and tenderness.

If you know that your dog has been stung, try to remove the stinger as quickly as possible to stop the venom from spreading. Use your credit card or fingernail to gently scrape it out.Use Be careful because you may rupture the venom sac, potentially causing more damage. And sometimes, the stinger can’t be found.

To be safe, contact your vet who will most likely advise you to give your pet Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine, which dogs usually respond well to. Your vet can tell you the correct dosage based on your dog’s weight. You can also run a washcloth under some cool tap water and and press it onto the sting to help with swelling. Don’t use an ice pack as that can cause frost bite.

It’s time to see the vet immediately if your dog is vomiting, has difficulty breathing, trembling diarrhea, pale gums, weakness or unconsciousness. If any of these symptoms occur, take her to the vet ASAP. Your vet may have to administer antihistimines, steroids or other medications to help reverse the problem.

Another good practice: Have your vet’s number programmed into your speed dial and cell phone. You never know when the bees will show up!


Nix on Ticks


Happy Dog Phoenix is excited to have Monica Gomez be today’s guest blogger:

A healthy dog is a happy dog, but ticks living in the Arizona outdoors threaten the safety of your pet. Ticks are a major problem because they carry diseases and are difficult to detect. A dog that brings home ticks can spread Lyme disease, which affects a quarter of a million Americans per year.

The best way to prevent your dog from gathering ticks is to understand how these nasty pests find a new home. This guide by Carrington College can help you protect your dog by providing valuable information on spotting and eliminating ticks. If you follow these tips, chances that you will have to take your pooch to the vet this summer will be low.





Hiking with the Hound

What to take along on your next hike with the dog?


A good sturdy pair of pliers. Because if your dog is anything like the Beagle who gets her snout into cacti, you will need them.

Also, bring along some good friends. You will need them as well because it takes at least one person to hold the Beagle, one to do the pulling of the cacti and another kiss the dog’s boo-boo. True story.

Nonetheless, the weather is beautiful and the trails beckon for you and the dog. So here are some common-sense guidelines to follow on the trail with your dog. Of course, if you have a Beagle, then all bets are off.


  • Keep your dog on a leash. Oh yes, it is just wonderful to have the dog roam free. Except of course when she gets attacked by a snake, coyote or anything else that thinks she is trespassing on their turf. Also your dog can get easily tangled up with other hikers and cause them to fall on the trail.
  • Bring water. No, bring more water than what you are thinking. You just never know and plus you can help out some poor dog whose human didn’t bring enough water.
  • Hike early in the day and select trails that offer some shade along the way.

Liz Illg, owner of Puff and Fluff Grooming and Pet Sitting in Phoenix, says a mini first-aid kit is also a must-have. “There are so many things that can happen on the trail and I like all pet people to be ready if anything were to happen, worse case,’’ she says.

Basic first-aid supplies:

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
  • Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Gauze rolls
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
  • Tweezers

And now that you are fully prepared, get out there! The weather won’t be cooler much longer!



Girl Scout Cookies goes to dogs?

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Dear Girl Scouts of America:

Well, Girl Scout cookie time has rolled around and once again, us dogs are being left out.

Oh sure, we can snag a box from a countertop and snarf some down but we all know that is going to lead to a lot of midnight hurling and expensive vet bills. Thin Mints, they are delicious but that chocolate can play havoc on our stomachs. As can all the sugar in the Savannahs. And Samoas, (Samoas? We don’t mind if we do) but sugar and chocolate…woo boy! Express Train to Tummy Trouble.

So, why not do us all a favor and make some dog cookies in your next big batch? “Scouts for Scout’’? Or “Campers’ Canine Cookies’’? “Spot’s Sunshines’’? “Bowser Brownies’’? We’re dogs. Not marketing geniuses. Come up with your own names.

From what we understand, you have had less-than-successful cookie attempts in the past. The Kookaburras, a cross between a Rice Krispies treat and a candy bar. Or the Ole Oles, which were –reduced fat and a complete bust. We aren’t so sure people want nutritious cookies from you. Let us know how sales for those Rah-Rah Raisins go over –and raisins, BTW, bad for dogs!

We are all behind your mission to support the development of girls but we think you are missing out on a huge, huge opportunity. With our endless appetites for cookies and your cute-as-a button mercenary sales force, the sky is the limit.


Your Loving Dogs

Hóunián jíxiáng Hounds!

When is your dog not a Dog?

When we are talking about the Chinese New Year, which we are doing a lot this week because the world has just embarked on the Year of the Monkey.

You’re a Dog if you were born in the years 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006… And your dog is a Dog, if she was born in those years as well. Otherwise she is Tiger, Pig, Ox, etc. Got it?

According to the Chinese zodiac, those born in the Year of the Dog are loyal and honest, amiable and kind, cautious and prudent. They will do everything for the person who they think is most important. Hmmm, sound familiar?

It is also believed that Dogs are not good at communication, thus giving them a bad rep of stubbornness. Wow, really familiar.

Dogs, it turns out, just need a quiet life and a good family. Fair enough – all the Dogs I know, human and canine could benefit from that.

The upcoming Monkey year for Dogs is not going to be a walk in the park. Apparently, it is going to take a strong focus and tough skin for this to be a successful year for all the Dogs out there. Also, they need to be patient.

What about for the rest of us? What does Year of the Monkey bring for all signs of the Chinese zodiac? The theory is that since monkeys are playful and quick, this is going to be a lively year. It’s a good time for fresh starts and new chances and lot of energy.

Good luck for this Monkey year.
猴年吉祥 (Hóunián jíxiáng)

Hairy New Year

Was one of your 2016 New Year‘s resolutions to not walk around coated in dog hair?

Have you already (like me) failed miserably at it?

Yes, I have lint brushes stashed at home, at work, in the car and still walk around slightly hairy.

So clearly, I need to attack the problem at it source. Of course, I am referring to the sweet lil’ dumpling asleep on the sofa.

The first defense against dog hair is a good offense. So, regular brushing and grooming of the dog is requisite. It turns out that good dog grooming is essential to good people grooming.

If you want to take dog-hair prevention a step further, it actually begins with the fabric selection of your clothes. Basically, the more texture a fabric has, the more it will trap dog hairs. So steer clear from fabrics like velvet, velour or corduroy. Knits are going to “trappers’’ as well. Natural fibers like cotton and wool also will attract more than synthetics will. At the other end of the spectrum, smooth fabrics such as leather, pleather and silk offer the best chances for a dog-hair-free appearance.

Leather and silk. Hmmm. If the classy dominatrix look is not an option,  try the next steps in the defense against dog hair: Clothing care and laundry.

First of all, hang up your clothes. Yes, we know, easier said than done.

Next onto the laundry. This is a great dog-hair hack by Clean my Space: Pre-treat your load of clothing by placing them in the dryer for 10 minutes on a heat-free, tumble-only cycle. This will help loosen the hair, soften the fabric which helps get rid hair in preparation for your wash. Remember to empty your dryer vent.

Now, shake each garment out before placing in the washing machine to rid it of any extra hair and wash as you normally would. You can even add in ½ cup of white vinegar which will help the fabric fibers relax and of course, loosen any extra hair.

Once the wash is done, shake each garment out, again, again before placing into the dryer.  Dry using a regular cycle and ensure you get tumbling in there. Dryer sheets can also help break the bond between hair and clothing.

It will take some doing but through grooming, more careful clothing selections and a little extra time in the laundry room, you can too, walk around relatively dog-hair free in 2016.

More dog foes

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Seasons barkings!

It’s not your imagination. The dog is barking more than normal and it is because of the UPS and FedEx trucks that are trolling the neighborhoods dropping off packages for good little boys and girls or least those whose credit cards aren’t maxed out yet.

Your dog may as a matter of course bark at the mail carrier. A point we have already discussed. But the Fed Ex and UPS trucks provide even more reasons for Fido to throw a fit.

Both carriers’ trucks are designed to run on diesel and because their engines are designed differently than regular passenger vehicles, they give off a different sounding hum. A hum that is apparently the canine version of nails on a chalkboard. Humans can detect any sounds less than 20,000 Hz; dogs can detect frequencies as high as 45,000 Hz. So your dog can definitely hear the UPS truck coming down the road. And, chances are, she can hear the Amazon drones when they approach.

But a Bigger Question is “Will she hear Santa?’’ I am guessing she will and she may bark but that’s OK because Santa, being Santa, just has to be a dog lover.


Death by blankie?

4250877391_ab139f5749_bHow do dogs sleep under the covers and not suffocate?

This question comes to us from a Very Important Five Year Old and we needed to get on it pronto.

Also, since

Phoenix is experiencing its own version of Artic weather (32 degrees – how can we stand it?), dogs are now getting under the blankets with the rest of us.


So, now is a great time to discuss dogs’ enjoyment of tunneling under the bed covers. For some, it comes naturally. Dachshunds and terriers, bred to burrow underground to dislodge varmints, love crawling under the blankies. Huskies, who are genetically programmed to burrow because of true Artic temps, do it as well.

For the rest of the breeds, it comes from a desire to be back in the den, warm and safe from intruders. And it fits in nicely with their strategy for complete Bed Domination.

For most, sleeping under the covers isn’t a problem. They move so much during the night in their efforts to control the bed that they shift the covers and create fresh air supply. Being squished by others in the bed can be a greater hazard to smaller dogs than suffocation.

But people with brachycephalic breeds such as bulldogs may want to discourage their pups from long periods of hibernation under the blankets, just to be safe.

All in all, canine death by blanket suffocation should not even be on your list of things to worry about. Just cozy up with your favorite hound and let sleeping dogs lie.