Dog Park Season

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Phoenix weather, especially at night and in the mornings, appears to be cooling off so now is a great time to introduce (or re-introduce) your dog to the neighborhood dog park.

These dog parks provide a great way for dogs to meet other dogs and people and well, frankly, for people to meet other people.

Here’s a list of metro Phoenix dog parks. If you know of any others, please let us know. We are trying to update our list!

Also dog parks allow our little friends to get some physical and mental exercise. That running around makes them less likely to destroy the house.

But — and there is always a but — there’s always a chance of your dog getting in fights or picking up strange parasites and diseases as a result of going to the park.

Our friend Abby Quillen has come up with some terrific tips on dog-park etiquette. She covers getting your dog dog-park ready, health hazards, behavior and general do’s and don’ts at the park.

Important reminder for all Phoenix peeps and dogs! Bring water — just in case. The weather hasn’t cooled off that much. And you never can be sure about the quantity and quality of water at any park

Check out Abby’s nifty, visual dog-park primer:

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Frozen dog treats so delish

Next week, summer returns to Phoenix with a predicted 106-degree boom. Why not plan ahead and whip up some frozen dog treats (and maybe some for yourself)?

Here are some yummy, easy DIY recipes for you and your little buddy, they range from one ingredient nibbles to complicated (ok, three-item) delish treats.

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Very simple treats

  • Frozen green beans, sweet potatoes (both great sources of fiber for Fidos)
  • Frozen pieces of fruit
  • Frozen chicken bouillon cubes (use low-sodium bouillon if possible)

frozen dog treats
Frozen watermelon treats

Watermelon is a good source of Vitamins C and A, potassium and magnesium for dogs. But canines can’t handle the seeds or rinds.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of  watermelon (seedless, or if not, then remove the seeds)
  • 1 cup coconut milk or coconut water
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional)

Directions:

Put all three ingredients in a blender and puree. Pour the liquid into some ice cube trays and freeze.

sanka enjoying frozen treat

Frozen Yogurt Dog Treats Recipe

Makes 30-40 Cubes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups yogurt, plain
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed

Directions:

  1. Melt peanut butter in microwave for about 30 seconds
  2. Place all of the ingredients into a blender, mixer or food processor and mix well (until smooth)
  3. Pour into ice cube trays or Popsicle trays.
  4. Freeze until firm.
  5. Pop out of the tray (you’ll need a knife) and let your dog enjoy this frozen treat!

Let us know how these work for you or if you have any frozen treats you love to give to your dog. Want to go out for some treats – we have you covered.

Enjoy and stay cool!

Monsoons and your dog

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The National Weather Service is predicting storms through Friday for Phoenix but of course, Dog Radar has already given you the heads up about this week’s monsoons.

Dogs can sense a storm better than a child can sense an ice-cream truck coming.

Why dogs can sense a monsoon

With their keen ears, dogs hear at much higher and lower frequencies than we do, so they can hear a faraway rumble of thunder. And their noses can detect the smell of lightning ionizing the air. Dogs are also super attuned to changes in barometric pressure, which indicate a storm is near.

So, your dog has street cred when it comes to weather prediction.

But what to do about a dog who freaks out at storms? It all focuses on keeping the dog safe and feeling safe during the storm.

Offer the dog a safe place from the storm

If you know a storm is a’brewing, take your pooch out to potty before the storm. That way you can have them safely corralled in the house before the first thunder clap hits.

Providing a secure space like a crate or a dark room can ease their anxiety. Covering a wire crate with a quilt will muffle thunder and lessen flashes of lightning. Also, drag out that old, noisy fan which can provide some additional white noise for the dog

Dogs also pick up fear from their people, so stay cool. Let your buddy stay close and try to distract him with play or treats. Do not use sympathetic voice – this can sound like praise and may increase his nervousness and confusion.

Or consider de-sensitizing poochie by recording the storm sounds and then playing it back once the storm has passed. Keep the volume real low at first and play it back during low-key times like when you are cooking dinner. Gradually increase the volume over time.

Some people opt for a step further and use “thundershirts” that use acupressure to calm the dog by hitting pressure points.

And as last resort, there’s doggie downers. The trick with them is that you have to give the sedative usually about one to two hours before the storm.

And when would that be? Ask the dog — he’s the weather guy!

 

Ice Cream for Dogs?

Hey, dogs and their peeps: What’s better on a hot summer night than to go out for ice cream?

We’ve got three great places in metro Phoenix that offer something extra special for the dogs in your life.

dog in car ready to find ice cream in phoenix
But first a warning from the Surgeon General (doggie version): Ice cream can cause trouble for some dogs’ tummies. They can’t tolerate the lactose and just like humans, the sugar is not good for them.

So ice cream should be a rare goodie.

Nonetheless, these three local businesses have whipped up some special frozen treats for our four-legged friends. Take a look:

Disclaimer: The Beagle went with me to all three places. She loved devoured every single item. Beagles are like that – your dog may not love them as much. But I doubt it.

dog enjoying frozen treat hot summer night in tempe

Aloha Yogurt, Tempe

What they have: Talk about going all out. The yogurt shop’s owners have dogs and wanted to create some cool creamy treats for them. Think yogurt with peanut butter or yogurt with bacon and cheese.  Served in a cup.

What we also love: Aloha is in a cute little shopping area where you can easily walk around and let the dog enjoy a post-treat stroll.

dog enjoying frozen treat in central Phoenix

Az Pops, Central Phoenix

What they have: Pup pops! A nutritious combination of sweet potato and oatmeal whipped up into a frozen treat.  Served on a stick

What we also love: AZ Pops’ Pup Pops aren’t dairy based and have all natural ingredients. And you can get something tasty and nutritious for yourself while you are there.

dog enjoying frozen treat glendale kinda ice cream


Papa Ed’s Ice Cream, Glendale

What they have: Frosty Paws! Delicious in a cup – the original dog “ice cream”

What we also love: Papa Ed’s has a large grassy area out front where your dog can just attack the ice cream in a cup. It’s also in the middle of downtown Glendale’s cute antiques area so there is plenty of places to walk to. Bonus: Papa Ed’s helps put on Dog Days of Glendale every year so they are super-dog friendly!

Still not interested in taking the dog for a drive? Worried about the intestinal repercussions of your dog having ice cream? Don’t worry because….

Next week: Three yummy dog treats designed to cool off your dog!

New rules for hiking with dogs in Phoenix

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Starting in July, people can no longer hike in the Phoenix mountain parks and preserves with their dog if the temperature is 100 degrees or more.

Under the pilot program, which went into effect July 1 and runs through Sept. 1, someone who disobeys the rule could be cited for a Class One misdemeanor, be fined up to $2,500 and receive up to six months jail time. Phoenix officials say they will emphasize the educational aspect of the program and not the punitive measures.

Off limits Phoenix trails

In addition, the city has made Cholla Trail in central phoenix off limits to dogs altogether. Too many dogs have been off leash or in danger for heat distress on that particular trail, city officials say. Also, many people didn’t pick up after their dogs either.

Cholla, Piestewa Peak and Echo Canyon trails are Phoenix’s no-dogs-allowed trails. Anyone with a dog on Cholla trail faces the same fines and punishment as those who hike with their dogs if it is more than 100 degrees outside.

Phoenix officials said they have been more reports of dogs being in distress on the trails during this really hot summer. Already this year, six people have died on trails and there have been anecdotal reports of dogs dying but there are few statistics to back that up.

Heat is deadly for dogs

The city of Glendale reported in 2011 that three dogs passed away on trails. The only way the city knew about those deaths was because the fire department was called to help the dogs. “For everyone incident reported, we believe there are dozens of animal fatalities that we don’t hear about,’’ said Sue Breding, Glendale spokeswoman.

For many, it is really a matter of educating people how dangerous the Phoenix summertime heat is to pets. The Arizona Humane Society says it receives up to 50 calls a day during the summer for animal rescues and investigations and up to half of those involve no shelter or water for animals outside.

 

 

Stay-cations for you and your dog

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Is it time to sneak away with the dog to a Phoenix or Scottsdale resort and take advantage of some of their summer deals?

Does it get to 120 in the shade in Phoenix? Heck yes!

Happy Dog Phoenix has already done the homework for you; we have a handy-dandy list of pet-friendly resorts in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson and Sedona.

But beware: It pays to do some homework beforehand. Some resorts say they are dog friendly but what they really mean is “We are friendly to the extra bucks you must fork over to us to have your dog stay with us. Have a stale dog biscuit on us.’’

We randomly selected seven Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson resorts and checked on their sites or called their staff to figure how much it really cost to have the dog stay there.

Resorts were selected by placing a list of resorts in the path of our assistant, Miss Beagle, and having her walk over the piece of paper. Names closest to where she walked were selected. Science, that’s how we roll, at HDP.

 

Name Fees Weight restrictions for dogs Limit on number of dogs
The Boulders $100 flat fee 75 pounds
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess $25 fee per day None None
FireSky None None None
Hotel Palomar None None None
Loews Ventana Canyon $100 fee None None
Omni Montelucia $100 fee per dog 30 pounds None
Wigwam Resort $25 fee per dog per day None None but if you leave the room, you must kennel the dog

 

Some resorts say they charge deposits. But what they mean to say is that they charge non-refundable deposits, which is just the same as a fee.

But some places seem genuinely happy to have dogs there. They offer special beds, treats and lists of nearby dog-friendly places.

At Hotel Valley Ho, for example, pets stay free, with no restrictions on number or weight of dogs. Dogs’ swag bags include treats, a double-sided bowl for water and food, clean-up bags, and a ‘Pet in Room’ sign. The hotel’s grounds are great for a stroll and it is close to the Arizona Canal for a longer walk if weather permits.

Just remember to ask some questions before selecting a resort and all of you, including Fido, can have a great break from the summertime heat. See you all for cocktails!

 

 

Buzz on Summer Cuts

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Are you tempted to give your dog a buzz cut for the summer?

Phoenix temperatures have been at an all-time high and we are all looking for a way to keep our dogs cooler in the summer.

But back away from the clippers!

It’s tempting to get out the extreme scissors when you look at your long-haired Golden Retriever but actually that longer hair helps keep your dog cooler. The hair helps block the heat and regulate your dog’s temperature at the skin level.

“A dog’s coat is kind of like insulation for your house,” explains Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing.”

Your dog’s coat also prevents her from getting sunburn and bug bites and helps protect her from skin cancer, according to Murray.

It’s totally OK to give your dog a “summer cut’’, a trimming to make her hair more manageable and that is a job best left to professionals. Summer cuts can also help reduce the amount of natural shedding that your dog and your house are experiencing.

All dogs benefit from a good brushing, and you don’t have to be a pro to do that. It’s important to select the right kind of brush for your dog’s coat. By brushing your dog regularly, you can strip out loose hair so air can circulate against his skin. Regular and thorough brushing also prevents mats, which are not only painful but also trap heat and moisture and can result in skin infections.

So, to recap, your dog just has to be well-groomed for the summer. No skinhead-look needed!

 

Dogs and Swimming Pools

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After an extraordinarily mild May in Phoenix, it’s getting to be that time of year when we all start enjoying the pool, dogs included!

It’s important to remember, however, that Fidos with their wonderful senses of smell can get into what we use to clean our pools, so keep those chemicals in a locked, safe place.

Pool chemicals, including chlorine tablets, muriatic acid and brominating tablets, are generally safe once they are diluted in the pool. But in their purer form, they are corrosive and if swallowed by your dog, can result in severe life-threatening ulcers in the digestive tract.

Also be careful if you are mixing chemicals in a small, confined space, that you don’t let the dog in the area; they could develop respiratory problems from inhaling the chemicals floating in the air. And wipe away any spills since some agents have a sweet odor to them and could attract your dog’s attention.

Once you are all ready for swimming, just know that dogs’ eyes, noses and ears are more sensitive than a humans’ and as such they may be more susceptible to chlorine’s effects. Rinse off and dry your dogs after they swim in the pool to reduce any risk of skin allergies caused by exposure to chlorine.

Many people believe that chlorine is the culprit behind dogs’ ear infections but actually it’s just moistness that can be harmful, according to the American Kennel Club. To prevent infections especially among floppy-eared dogs, give the ears a quick wipe down after pool time, they suggest.

Make sure your dog has plenty of drinking water so she is not tempted to keep drinking that chlorinated or salty pool water. Yes, we know, easier said than done when it comes to directing your dog to a proper water bowl. Exhibit A: The bathroom water bowl (aka toilet).

Overdoing it on the saltwater can cause your dog to have vomiting and diarrhea. The condition can become worse and cause seizures, depression, in-coordination and brain swelling.

As a precaution, check to make sure your dog is not experiencing red eyes, trouble breathing, and throat or stomach pain. It’s a good practice, in general, to have your vet’s number on speed dial. And another great resource to have just in case is the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Available anytime, their number is (888) 426-4435.

With a swimming pool at hand, summer in Phoenix can be bearable and sometimes downright pleasant for you and your dog. Just take a couple precautions and enjoy your summer!

 

 

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!

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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.