Hairy New Year

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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.

Your dog’s nemesis

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The Dog hates the mail carrier.

Is it the shorts? The pinched-off little vehicle? The Clipper Coupon magazine?

Whatever it is, our mail carrier – and it doesn’t matter which one—really sets off the normally mellow dog.

And while it is easy to be snarky about the carrier’s shorts and sensible shoes, it is pretty easy to figure out what is going on here.

The carrier comes to the house; the dog barks, barks, barks. And just keeps barking and the carrier leaves. In your pooch’s mind, she has won. Barking herself almost hoarse means the intruder has been scared off until the next day. Once again, the dog has earned her keep and maybe an extra peanut butter chew.

Well, at least the dog is happy with this scenario. It’s amazing annoying to everyone else of course but as long as you keep her inside and away from an actual encounter with the carrier, there is no actual harm.

In 2013, Phoenix was ranked 11th in the country for dog bites of postal workers, with 32 attacks. If you are worried that your dog may go from barker to biter, here are a couple of tips:

  • If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog into a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.
  • Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

So let’s be safe out there, everyone! Including that  little noisy dog at her post

Keeping safe when it is still summer

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Via Flickr – by John Liu

Well, realistically speaking, we are halfway in the summer season in metro Phoenix. Let’s be honest, the thermometer doesn’t budge until October in Phoenix. Guest blogger Vee Cecil does a great job in reminding us to keep safe out there.

You may be thinking about how to squeeze in another vacation before you have to get back to the daily grind of the rest of the year. And if you have a pet, you may be among the 53 percent of pet owners, who according to TripAdvisor.com, bring their pets along with them when they travel.

While traveling with the family is certainly enjoyable for you and your pet, it’s important to remember that they are vulnerable to many other dangers once they leave the safety of your home. Here’s some advice on how to keep your four-legged family members safe when you travel:         

At the pool. Many dogs love to swim and it truly is great exercise for them. That said if your vacation destination allows dogs to swim, it’s important to use caution when they’re in an unfamiliar pool.

First, be sure your pet knows how to get out of the pool. On his first swim, train him to find the stairs. Second, be sure the pool’s chemicals and other cleaning supplies are kept where you pet can’t get to them. This list of pool chemicals shows what chemicals are needed to clean a pool and how they’re used. It also gives a good indication of just how toxic they are. If your dog comes into contact with these chemicals or ingests them it can be very dangerous. You’ll also want to make sure the chemical levels in the pool aren’t so high that they harm your pet. Be on the look out for red eyes, which can be an indication of over-chlorination, and rinse your pet off with fresh water when he’s done swimming.

At the beach. Dogs enjoy a day at the beach as much as humans, but if you’re bringing yours along with you be sure to take a few precautions. Dogster.com provides several great tips about beach safety for dogs. For example, it stresses the importance of always keeping an eye on your dog. It would only take a split second for you to lose track of them on a crowded beach. And be aware of the dangers associated with swimming in the ocean. If your dog isn’t a good swimmer, it’s best to not let them go in too far, to have them wear a doggie swim vest, and to be on the lookout for ocean creatures, such as jellyfish and stingrays.

On the trails. If you’ll be camping or hiking in the great outdoors with your dog in tow, it’s important to know how to keep them and other hikers safe on the trails. Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) offers some do’s and don’ts for hiking with your dog. AMC notes that the weather should always be a consideration. If it’s hot and humid, don’t over do it. Choose an easier trail, and preferably one that ends with a pond or lake where your dog can cool off. Another great tip: keep your leash handy. AMC explains that you’ll want to have your dog on a leash when you encounter other hikers or if you happen to run into a loose dog on the trail.

At the dog park. If you’re opting for a staycation, there are still plenty of opportunities to get out and about and play with your dog. For example, you might try one of these dog parks in Phoenix. Just be sure to follow dog park safety and etiquette as set out by the ASPCA. In this article on dog parks, in addition to other helpful information, the organization advises that upon arrival you always check to make sure fencing and gates are secure, make sure there’s plenty of shade and access to fresh water, and always, always watch your dog so that you can quickly step in if their play with another dog takes a bad turn.

There’s no reason every member of the family (even the furry ones!) can’t enjoy a great vacation. If you do plan to bring your dog with you on your end-of-summer travels, just be sure to take the necessary steps to keep them out of harm’s way.

 Vee Cecil is passionate about wellness. She often studies the topic and shares her findings on her recently-launched blog. She is also a Kentucky-based wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor.

 

Ay Chihuahua!

chihuahua betterAh, the Chihuahua, such a misunderstood dog. Yappy, snappy, reminds us of a 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. 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 breed 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.

Scottsdale Trails

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Wanting to get a head start on your New Year’s resolution of hiking with the hound?

Try a trail that’s good for you and your buddy.

Frequently, a dog’s fitness mirrors their person’s fitness. So if you have been a sofa spud, chances are your dog’s physique reflects that. If you’re active, your dog is probably active as well.

To be on the safe side, on your first hikes, go on outings that you know you and your dog can easily tackle. Look for trails that are relatively smooth and boulder-free. Trails that are wide and that have plenty of stopping spots with shade are good as well. And try for the trails that have minimal encounters with mountain bikes and horses, until at least you know for certain how your dog will react to them.

In north Scottsdale, why not check out Brown’s Ranch or the aptly named Lost Dog Wash trail. And check out our dog-friendly Scottsdale restaurants for well-deserved breakfasts for both of you.

Just remember, keep your dogs on their leashes and bring along a lot of water and some poop bags.

Happy trails to you and Fido!

New Beagle

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Meet the new Beagle (not really the) same as the old Beagle.

After being in not-so-terrific shape for a while, HoneyBun passed away in early November and it took me only a couple days to realize that the house (and me) needed a dog.

I called Arizona Beagle Rescue and they had Artie ready and willing to check out a prospective new home. I can’t stress enough how great it was to work with a rescue group to find a new dog.  These are kind-hearted people who are dedicated to finding good homes for their dogs. They are selective when it comes to making matches; they want a good fit for canine and human alike.

I told them what kind of beagle I was looking for: sweet, active yet mellow. And the New Beagle, Artie, fits that bill exactly. If only AZBR did human match-making! That’s how good they are at pairing up creatures.

After seven years with HoneyBun, I thought I knew what to expect with having a dog and especially having a beagle. Love of food? Check. Obsession to sniff? Check. Situational good hearing? Check.

But in some ways, Artie is very much different than HoneyBun. Returning to the same breed seems to me to be the best of both worlds: you are comforted by the familiarity of the breed’s tendencies and you are amazed at their individual quirks that we all, dog and human, alike have. Every day has certainly been a new day with Artie.

For all my friends who have lost a cherished pet and haven’t yet adopted – you know who you are — I hope this story helps nudge you a little bit to adopting that new dog. After all, our story has had a happy ending and yours can too.

 

RIP HoneyBun

honeybun - a happy dog HoneyBun, inspiration of Happy Dog Phoenix, passed away Sunday. She was 16 and had been in declining health. Here are just some of the lessons I learned from this wonderful dog:

  1. There are some things worth getting up for at 4 a.m.
  2. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
  3. Eating a bag of dry Soba noodles and drinking a lot of water will give you the physique of a Sumo wrestler.
  4. Don’t spend time on things that don’t matter. Just walk away.
  5. Naps. Naps. Naps.
  6. Investigate every crack, crevice, shopping bag and shrub. Something good is bound to be there.
  7. Get excited to see your pals.
  8. Just go for it.
  9. You say it’s cat poop. I say it is delicious. It pays to think for yourself.
  10. Grow old gracefully and enjoy every last morsel.

Downtown Dogs

short leash Your dog, faithful and loyal creature that she is, is still rooting for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rest of us are wondering if we can just default on the season and wave the white flag of surrender. But you can make your dog happy by taking her to a baseball Sunday afternoon at the ol’ ballpark. The Arizona Diamondbacks is having Bark in the Park, where you can bring your dog in and watch the ballgame at Chase Field. It is a lot of fun and having the dogs there may be the only way the D’backs can salvage anything out of this season. You can salvage the outing by stopping by Short Leash Hot Dogs Sit and Stay while you and the dog are in downtown Phoenix. Short Leash Hot Dogs offers hot dogs so superior to ballpark franks it is not even funny. There’s no mystery meat, no wimpy stale buns or condiments that come out of gallon drums. My personal fave is the Igby, a hot dog topped with coleslaw and bbq sauce and blue cheese, wrapped in warm flatbread. Yum yum yum yum yum. Is this place dog friendly? The Igby is named after the owner’s dog.  As is the Oliver. Many of their concoctions are named after dogs and Short Leash runs a dog of the week contest so your little cutie can have a hot dog named after her. No matter what the Diamondbacks do on the baseball field, you and the dog will both win at Short Leash—have fun tomorrow! Hot dogs not your thing – check out our other recommendations for dog friendly downtown Phoenix