Gifts for the dog this holiday season

You know you are getting the dog a gift this holiday — a little something extra.

Why not shop local?

The metro Phoenix area is home to a lot of great entrepreneurs who love dogs as much as you do and their products/stores show it!

Plus, when you visit these local stores and vendors, they welcome your dog as well as you!

Coyotes in central Phoenix Part: 2

coyote in central Phoenix
So, last week I wrote about a problem in our central Phoenix neighborhood distressing to us dog people: coyotes.

I had one lounging on my front yard and others have seen them sauntering through the ‘hood. These coyotes are not particularly scared of us and the Arizona Game and Fish Department advice of walking tough and acting big and frightening isn’t working.

Worried about my dog, the neighbor’s small dogs and kids playing at Encanto Park, where apparently a den of them live, I called my City Councilperson Laura Pastor.

The City Council’s advice about coyotes

I talked with a very nice guy there who said he would do some research and get back to me. After a lot of missed calls, we connected. Got to give him an “A” for effort.

The advice….

First he suggested talking with neighbors who feed stray cats because the cat food and the cats themselves attract coyotes.

But we both realized that the kind-hearted people who do that may not want to stop feeding the cats and there is nothing that can be done about that.

Then, he suggested making sure all the garbage can lids were secure and not easy to open to deprive them of an easy source of food. Fair enough. I can do a quick survey of the alleys and report back to the city.

Lastly, he suggested super soakers. Apparently coyotes hate water as much as cats do. And a blast from a super soaker will annoy them enough to make them run off.

Ok.

I can get a super soaker and place it by the front door and blast at any coyotes from the safety of my screened front door. But I am not walking through my neighborhood streets, armed with a super soaker. Hell no. It gets dark early this time of year and the last thing my neighbors need to see is me walking through the streets with a suspicious weapon-looking like thing.

So, there’s the advice. Take it for what it is worth. The city is not calling out the coyote SWAT team.

What I am going to do

I’m sticking with the golf-club/cane as a deterrent; also I’m trying to walk with neighbors at the same time. And I’m talking with any neighbor I can find to tell them about the situation and get them to think about what they can do to stop this.

At times, I feel like I’m “chicken little” about coyotes — “the sky is falling and it’s raining coyotes” but there have been cases of dogs being attacked and there are a lot curious kids at Encanto Park who may confuse coyotes for a different type of dog. it just seems like more could be done.

Coyotes in Central Phoenix

coyotes in central phoenix

We face a problem in our central Phoenix neighborhood: coyotes.

Amid all the new condos being built, there is a den of coyotes living on the Encanto Park/ Encanto Park Golf Course. And me and my other dog-loving neighbors worry about it.

Technically speaking, coyotes are part of the dog family but they also have been known to kill their canine cousins, especially smaller dogs.

If coyotes are in your neighborhood

In writing Happy Dog Phoenix, I contacted Arizona Game and Fish Department for advice about coyotes in the neighborhood (never thinking they would make it my central Phoenix ‘hood). They told me that if you see a coyote yell at it, wave your arms, make noise to scare it off. And remove all sources of food and water.

All fine advice.

Except I live next to large fields with plenty of hiding spots and small lakes. And lots of feral cats. I have good-hearted neighbors who feed stray cats, some of whom inevitably will become coyote food. There’s also other good-hearted neighbors, who see coyotes as just another one of Nature’s creatures and say we should just let them be.

I wish I could be so good hearted

But instead I selfishly worry about my little roly-poly potential coyote entrée, the Beagle, who would have no idea how to protect herself if attacked. She’s a goofball, not a fighter.

Would coyotes go after her? If the supply of feral cats decreases and the number of coyotes increase, they may.  Also, these coyotes are not afraid. I yelled and screamed at the coyote lounging on my front yard, and he just gave me a look, a shrug and sauntered off into the neighbor’s yard. Another neighbor has to charge them with an air horn to get them to move.

 What I am doing

Normally when I write a blog, I try to offer a solution. Right now, I have none. Except carrying a used golf club when I walk the dog, further cementing my reputation as a neighborhood eccentric.

On Monday, I contacted Phoenix Parks and Recreation. The first woman asked me to repeat my address because she couldn’t believe there were coyotes this far south. She transferred me to another woman who explained that they had unsuccessfully tried  to capture the coyotes but they can’t do anything more until the coyotes become aggressive.

I explained that I thought that was just waiting for trouble, especially if the coyotes are living on Encanto Park, which can be filled with children during weekends. By her silence, she indicated that it wasn’t her decision.

Then, I then called my City Council representative, Laura Pastor and spoke to someone who promised to get back to me. For the past two days, we have played phone tag — not his fault.

I’ll let you know what I find out.

In the meantime, beware of coyotes in central Phoenix and of strange women walking dogs and carrying golf clubs.

 

Flagstaff road trip!

Attention: residents of Phoenix. It is hot, still hot. You’ve still got time this Labor Day weekend to head up to Flagstaff, which may be Arizona’s most dog-friendly town.

In fact, it may be easier to list the places that aren’t dog friendly in Flagstaff than those that area — especially in downtown, historic Flag, where there dogs in all the best places.
dog friendly flagstaff

Shopping in Flagstaff with your dog

You know how sometimes stores say they are dog friendly but you get a way-different vibe once you and poochie get inside? In Flagstaff, they offer genuine hospitality for dogs. There’s water bowls, dog treats and even resident dogs in the stores. Check out the art galleries along San Francisco street for a lot of love for dogs as well as dog-related art.

biffs bagels flagstaff

Dining with the dog

For breakfast, hit Biff’s Bagels, which is named after a beloved pet and has photos of everyone else’s dog on the wall. For lunch, wow — so many choices. Charley’s on Aspen and Leroux has a great dog-friendly patio. Or Mix.  Or Macy’s. Or Mother Road Brewery. Or any others from our fine list.

roxy at tuthill fairgrounds

Hiking with the dog

You don’t have to be a super wilderness person to enjoy a hike with your dog. There are a lot of mild trails out there — which is especially nice since you and the dog may not have been as active during this hot summer season. Altitude change can also affect breathing for you and the dog.

There are several dog-friendly park trails throughout Flagstaff. Just have a leash and plenty of water.

 

  • Wilson Meadow at Hart Prairie:  A hike that can go as short as you want it to go. Wilson Meadow offers plenty of romping room and a pond to swim in (That’s for the dog; not you).
  • Griffith Spring Trail: Another short hike that allows your dog to wade in a creek.

Drinking with the dog

After a hard day of shopping, dining and hiking, it’s great to kick back with an adult beverage. Your best friend can come into the bar with you as long as the fine establishment doesn’t serve food. And that’s why we can get great scenes like this one at Hops on Birch:

dog in bar, Flagstaff AZ

Helping dogs hurt by Texas floods

dogs hurt by Texas floods
It’s stinkin’ hot now in Phoenix but I’m not complaining. Our heat is nothing compared to the floods and resulting anguish that people and animals in Texas.

Have you seen the video of the folks who are cradling and carrying other peoples’ animals to get to safety? I tear up every time I think of it.

What can people in Phoenix do to help our fellow dog lovers and their dogs displaced and harmed by the floods?

Donate money to flood animal victims

Phoenix’s own PetSmart Charities has already made an initial commitment of $1 million that will go to pet food and other supplies for shelters and other organizations. You can help support their work by donating here.

The Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue Team has volunteers, equipment, and rescue vehicles currently working from Corpus Christi to Texas City to San Antonio.

The ASPCA is on the ground with search-and-rescue, sheltering and relocation teams in Houston and much of Harvey’s path. They are asking for monetary donations or membership within the organization to support ongoing rescue efforts.

No matter what organization you select, donating money is key. You may want to just drive over to Texas with a truck full of dog food. It’s a great idea but it is still flooding theree, the roads are a mess and you can donate safely and effectively with just a couple clicks of a mouse.

Keep it local

Want to keep your donations more local?

Go online and donate to:

Beware of flood scams

Vultures who prey upon these types of situations are already setting up phony relief efforts and telemarketing efforts. Don’t be fooled! Check out any organization you give money by looking them up at Charity Navigator which already has a Hurricane Harvey specific section.

Gimme shelter

Already shelters as far as New Jersey are flying dogs to their facilities to be fostered. No word yet if any Harvey dogs are coming to Phoenix. If we hear, we will let you know. And if your foster group is taking any in, please let us know – we would love to get the word out.

Dogs and dog lovers everywhere, take care!

Raccoons and dogs may not mix

raccoons in central Phoenix?
As someone living in Phoenix with a dog, you tend to be worried about coyotes and javalina but what about the animal kingdom’s masked banditos, raccoons?

You could have raccoons in your neighborhood, even if you live in the middle of the city. Areas around the Arizona Biltmore, north central Phoenix and Moon Valley attract the intelligent, nocturnal, omnivorous creatures. They are drawn to these areas’ supplies of water (canals, golf course lakes) and tall trees in which they can roost.

Cue the raccoons

But what they love best is easy-to-get food. Does your neighborhood have a lot of feral cats and tender-hearted neighbors who like to feed these cats? Cue the raccoons. They love outdoor buffets and will enjoy going from house to house eating food left out for cats.

If you have a raccoon in your neighborhood, what does this mean for your dog? Aren’t raccoons vicious, dangerous and full of rabies? What happens if a raccoon bites your dog?

Well, good news. The Arizona variety of raccoons don’t carry as many diseases as their East Coast cousins, who can easily have rabies, according to Darren Julian, spokesman for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Think of it as karmic payback for us Arizonans having to deal with coyotes, scorpions, javalina and other desert threats to our dogs. At least we don’t have to freak out about raccoons.

What to worry about

However….

Although they aren’t carriers of disease, raccoons can get violent toward dogs especially if they feel boxed in. A cornered, angry raccoon can bite and scratch a dog something fierce. And while the Arizona variety may not have rabies, they can leave bites that left untreated could develop into bad infections.

If you have the critters in the area, just keep an eye on your dog at night to discourage any dog/raccoon skirmishes, Julian says.

And if you want to live in a raccoon-free area, he suggests changing the way you or your neighbors feed stray cats. One method would be to encourage the cats to come into to be fed at regular times instead of the free-feeding method.

Free-feeding can encourage free loaders, even those cute, pesky little raccoons.

 

 

 

 

Hiking with your dog in northern Arizona

hiking with dog near Prescott
How hot is it going to be in Phoenix next week? 117???? Yee-ow – time for people and dogs (and people with dogs) to get out of town and go hiking in the hills in northern Arizona.

We caught up with awesome Mare Czinar, Arizona hiker extraordinaire, to ask her recommendations on hiking in northern Arizona with your dogs.

Mare, who has eight dogs at home, shared some good suggestions.

Prep before you go hiking

Make sure your dog is ready to hit the trail. Get her vaccinated and protected against ticks, fleas and other summertime dangers, says Mare.

It’s also good to have the veterinarian give your dog the once-over before doing any serious long-distance hiking just to make sure she is in good shape.

Also,know what trails require dogs to be on leashes. That’s especially handy when you share the trail with horses; a loose dog can get a horse tangled up pretty fast and that can lead to some bad complications (true story!)

Water, water, water

The biggest problem Mare sees on the trails is that people don’t bring enough water for their dogs. It’s important that people give their dogs water before, during and after the hike.

Generally speaking, larger dogs might drink 0.5 to one ounces of water per pound. Dogs 20 pounds and lighter will be closer to 1.5 ounces per pound per day. And just like with people, it always pays to have more water than you think you will use.

Water is the best insurance you can have on the trails. If you or your dog get hurt, you will be grateful for that extra water you carried.

Favorite dog-friendly hiking trails

Two of Mare’s favorite hikes to go on with her dogs are Horton’s Creek near Payson and Parson’s Trail near Sedona. She loves these spots with with running water but she also cautions that that water can be harmful to your dog. Water contaminated by animal or human waste can contain bacteria, which can cause diarrhea and worse for your dog.

Hiking with dogs, is just like hiking with humans – a little prep work goes a long way.

Happy trails everyone!

Swimming for dogs

dogs enjoying swimming pool in phoenix
Hanging out in the swimming pool can be the perfect anecdote for the Phoenix heat for you and your dog!

Some dogs are just naturals around water; others, well, they don’t like it and they’re afraid of it. Some of the dogs I have had the hardest time bathing are the first ones to jump in the pool. Dogs, go figure!

Swimming can provide an excellent summer cool down for dogs as well as a way to burn off some pent-up energy. Teaching your dog to swim also makes sense safetywise since every year, more than 10,000 dogs drown in the United States – mostly because they easily found their way into a pool, but couldn’t find their way out.

Just like there is a right way for humans to learn swimming, there’s also a right way to get your dog to come into the pool, with you, say behavior experts.

Start in the shallow end of swimming pool

Ideally your pool has steps. Start there with your doggie swim lessons in the pool. It’s a good way to remind them that there is an exit from this big tube of water. If you have any doubt about your dog swimming in water (i.e water is not their middle name – Portuguese water dog, for example), start out by having them wear a life vest. Look for a lifejacket with a handle that you can use to guide your dog in the water and a D-ring to attach a leash. Attach a leash, and walk slowly into the water, letting him get used to having wet feet.

Bring some training treats, toys and your positive tone of voice to reinforce your dog as he enters the water. Gradually take him into deeper water until he must start paddling to stay afloat. Make sure he is using his front and rear legs to paddle, otherwise he will become exhausted really fast. To get all the legs moving, put your arm under his belly.

 After swimming activities

Remind him of the stairs as you get out of the pool. And now, it’s time for some more water: give him a good rinse with fresh water to get rid of all the pool chemicals. And some water to drink. All that moving in the water can be deceptively exhausting. And after that, it wouldn’t hurt for one more treat. And a big, big beach towel to get dried off with.  Learn more about keeping your dog safe around swimming-pool chemicals

Worried that you are not the person to teach your dog to swim? Phoenix has at least two companies that will provide dog swimming lessons:

 

Play (dog) baseball!

dog days at Arizona Diamondbacks baseball in Phoenix
Photo courtesy of Arizona Diamondbacks baseball

Baseball is back and that means you can have a hot dog with your dog at an Arizona Diamondbacks games in downtown Phoenix this season.

Last year, the Diamondbacks became the first of any kind of baseball team to offer an entire dog-friendly seating area through its Dog Days of Summer promotion. And because many of those games at the PetSmart Patio were sell outs, they are expanding it Mondays this year.

That means you can take your dog to 12 Sunday afternoon games and eight Monday night games at Chase Field this summer.

What you get at the baseball game

Dog Days offers a semi-private space with all the comforts for four people and one dog. You get All-You-Can-Eat hot dogs, soda, water, popcorn, peanuts, and chips. There’s also dog-friendly ice cream.

Dogs can also run around and play in Chase Field’s outdoor and indoor (air-conditioned) dog park.

In addition to having sellout games, the Dog Days of Summer were a success in another way: onsite adoptions held during the event allowed 58 dogs to find forever homes.

Check out the schedule if you are interested in taking the dog to the D’back ball games.

Does your love of dogs and baseball go even farther? Many teams in the National League West are sponsoring dog-day events. You and the dog could hit the road to catch a game in cooler place this summer.

Check out this list of dog-friendly games across the country

See you at the ball field!

Dangerous-to-Dogs Desert Plants

dog with dangerous plant
Springtime is busting out all over in metro Phoenix-land and the industrious among us are taking advantage of great weather to plant trees, vegetable gardens and landscaping — but what about the dog?

No, you really can’t get the dog to shovel the dirt for you (of course, they can dig – boy, can they dig) but you should think about the dog when choosing what is going into the ground at your house — surprisingly, a lot of common desert-garden mainstays can be poisonous to your four-legged buddy.

Plants poisonous to pooch

    • Aloe: Causes vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, depression, tremors, change in urine color
    • Bed of paradise: Nausea, diarrhea, lack of coordination, increased heart rate
    • Lantana: Bloody diarrhea, frequent urination, shock, vomiting
    • Oleander:Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, shallow/difficult breathing, cardiac failure
    • Sago palms: Black (tarry) stools, jaundice, increased thirst, bruising, liver damage

 

Our friends at Sonoran Foothills Pet Clinic have a very comprehensive list of plants that can be dangerous to your dog’s health. The chart also includes photos so you can easily ID plants. So check it out before heading to the nursery!

Keep your dog out of the plants

Follow these simple strategies to help prevent your dog from being accidentally poisoned:

  • Vigilance: Keep an eye on your dog while they are outside
  • Alternatives:If your dog loves to dig, set up an alternative spot where they can dig to their heart’s content.
  • Alternatives (part 2): Be liberal with the dog chews and chewing toys. Make your garden less attractive to your little digger.
  • Exhaustion: Exercise the dog more often; a tired dog is going to be sleeping inside instead of heading out to the Great Outdoors.

It’s also a great idea to keep a list of important phone numbers in a visible, easily accessible location and at the ready on your cell phone. Dial in:

  • Your primary veterinarian
  • One or more nearby 24-hour veterinary emergency clinics
  • ASPCA Poison Control: (888) 426-4435 (possible fee)