Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review | Kong Wobbler

The Kong Wobbler reminds me of Weebles, a children's toy from Fisher Price. The Wobbler works on the same principle as Weebles - it's an egg-shaped gadget that's weighted on one end and spins and rolls anytime it's nudged, eventually righting itself. The Kong Wobbler is described as a dog treat dispenser and feeding toy. It's made up of two halves that unscrew to allow for easy filling and clean-up. Once filled the Wobbler will dispense whatever is inside through the hole in the center as it spins, rolls, and wobbles around. The Kong website doesn't actually say much about the product so the following description comes from petsmart.com:
The Wobbler unscrews for quick filling and easy clean up, and is top-shelf dishwasher safe. It is great for playtime, providing challenge and physical activity the whole family will enjoy watching. It also presents and excellent alternative to the traditional food bowl, extending the joy of feeding time and preventing unhealthy gulping. The Wobbler is made of a durable, FDA food-approved, high strength polymer and can accommodate up to two cups of food.
I only use the Wobbler occasionally as a treat dispenser to keep Andy entertained. I like to fill it with a small handful of kibble, anything more than that and I'd actually have to start counting the kibble towards Andy's daily calorie intake. Once the Wobbler hits the ground it only takes the pup about 5 minutes to get it empty...but boy does he have a good time doing it! It's quite entertaining watching Andy knock, push, and throw this thing all over the place. With that in mind, one thing to consider with the Wobbler is that it will get knocked around, and rather violently if your dog really gets into it - so make sure the floor is clear! I'd also recommend only giving the Wobbler to your dog under supervision. We have a small size Wobbler and once Andy gets it empty he always picks it up and takes it to the couch to try to gnaw on it. The plastic is hard and durable but not indestructible.

Uh...This Cat Has "Eyebrows"...

http://instagram.com/samhaseyebrows
His name is Sam and he has "eyebrows."
Happy Wednesday.

Wednesday...Yawn...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bully Sticks Are Made of What!?!


We had some friends over for dinner on Sunday and they were kind enough to bring Andy some treats, including a "bully stick." These things have been around for some time but I only started to notice them on the market the last 3 or 4 years. At first I only saw them at pet boutiques, where they were touted as a high-end treat or natural chew. Nowadays you can find bully sticks at most big box pet retailers. While I've read mostly positive things about them I myself have never wanted to purchase one because I've always been creeped out by the fact that bully sticks are nothing more than the dried penises of cows and buffalo. What the what!?! That's right, in case you didn't know, bully sticks (also known as pizzles...haha!) are made of dried penis. I know, I know - I should just get over it. It's just protein...and yet...it's the dried penis of an animal...and smells kind of funny to boot. Ew. In either case Andy certainly enjoyed chomping on this bully stick. It kept him thoroughly occupied for about 25 minutes. Bully sticks are all-natural and seem to satisfy Andy's urge to chew so I might consider buying one in the future as long as it's made from domestically sourced cow or buffalo penis. Ew.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cool Cat

Mad Skills


Why teach a dog to drive? This video is part of a social media awareness campaign put out by SPCA Auckland, New Zealand, and car maker Mini Cooper. The campaign is meant to show people how smart and trainable many abandoned and surrendered dogs in fact are, the point being that dogs this smart deserve a home. This dog really is driving! The car has been modified with a paw-activated accelerator and brake and it only takes some high-pitched coaxing from a trainer to get him steering. Heck, this dog drives better than a lot of people I've seen on the streets here in Pennsylvania.

Check out SPCA Auckland's fan page for the campaign to learn more about these fantastically smart driving dogs.

Academia

Today's the official start of yet another Spring semester in our household. My husband has been frantically prepping his syllabi and week 1 lesson plans. I start classes tomorrow, with plans to graduate in May and attend graduate school sometime in the near future. This semester isn't going to be nearly as busy as the last, though between work and school my husband and I will only get to share dinner maybe 3 or 4 times a week. We have completely flip-flopped schedules this semester, which means there's really no need for Andy to go to day camp once a week like he did in the Fall. We still plan on taking him in now and then because he needs the socialization (and we need the occasional break!) but it won't be a regular thing. I already know the pup is going to have a lot of steam! We're going to try to offset this by taking him on more walks. It probably also means we need to be more diligent about clipping the cat's claws, lest Andy get his eyes scratched out! I hope you're staying warm, keeping busy, and ready to tackle whatever may come your way. Here we go!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Remembering Maxwell | A Year Ago Today


A year ago today my husband and I said goodbye to our sweet beagle boy, Maxwell. We spent that last day with him knowing that later that evening we were taking him to the vet to be put to sleep, putting an end to his suffering. We spent a lot of time on the floor with him, loving on him, napping together. My husband and I shared stories and favorite memories. We fed Maxwell slices of turkey meat, one of his favorite things to eat. We laughed. We cried. The month leading up to that day had been difficult. Maxwell had been ill for some time. He had wasted away, all but stopped eating, and his kidneys were failing him. The last two weeks of his life was basically spent in hospice. We did whatever we could to make him comfortable. I spent those last weeks sleeping on the floor with him every night, preparing myself for what I knew was to come.

After everything was said and done we knew we had made the right decision. Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do but I also know it was the most humane thing we could have done for our boy. We had 7 really good years with Maxwell. He came to us as a puppy, he filled our lives with joy, and we got to return the favor by being at his side as he took his last breath. We each deal with loss in our own way. The silence in our apartment after Maxwell's passing was palpable and a constant reminder to me of what I had lost. Yes, he was a dog, but he was also a companion and confidant. Maxwell will forever be missed but we honor his memory by sharing all the love we had for him with our new pup, Andy. Today I celebrate the dogs, past and present, that have filled and continue to fill my life with happiness.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What the Boys Are Eating


Merrick Classic Real Lamb with Brown Rice & Apple Dry Dog Food is the staple of Andy's diet. It's a terrific, high-quality dry kibble which I wholeheartedly recommend. I've also been mixing in Wellness Super5Mix Complete Health, Chicken Recipe, as of late. Why the mix? Wellness is a brand I trust and I came across a deal on 6 pound bags of their Super5Mix kibble a couple of months back at Petco that I just couldn't resist - These bags normally sell for $20 a pop, but were on sale for $10, plus I had a $5 off coupon. That means I paid $5 per bag, a quarter of the the regular price, a deal just too good to pass up. The pup seems to enjoy the mix...though I'm pretty sure he'll eat just about anything I put in his bowl! 

Once the Wellness runs out Andy will be back on an all-Merrick diet, until I come across the next irresistible deal that is. There's actually a feeding philosophy some pet owners practice called rotation feeding. What I'm doing with Andy isn't exactly a rotation diet but I thought it would be worth mentioning in case you've never heard of it. A rotation diet involves varying your pet's diet on a daily, weekly, or otherwise regular basis. There are several schools of thought as to why this is a worthwhile practice. According to dogfoodadvisor some folks believe there's no such thing as a perfect manufactured dog food - that every product is either deficient or excessive in some way. The idea is that by rotating your dog's diet these deficiencies or excesses will be minimized. 

Mittens!

I hate wearing gloves or mittens (I don't like how inhibited and clumsy they make me feel) but it's just been so cold the last couple of days my hands actually ache if I don't wear them out. Andy is obsessed with my mittens. My red mittens. He can't enough of them. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Weathering the Cold


It's been bitterly cold outside the last couple of days - highs in the 20s, lows in the 10s - and that's not counting windchill. We've been spending most of our times indoors as a result and this has led to Andy having a touch of cabin fever. He's ratcheted up his harassment of his brothers a couple of notches and he's been extra needy. When we do go outside he usually wants to linger in the cold, mostly just to chomp on sticks.

I wore double layers every time I took Andy outside today, a sweatshirt topped with a jacket, and I was still cold. Makes me wonder what the cold feels like for the pup. I know he has a built in fur coat and a slightly higher body temperature than a human, but he also has a very fleshy, nearly fur-less tummy. Should I get him some sort of a full-body onesy to wear outside? Haha! Seriously though, as long as the temps stay as low as they have, we'll be staying indoors for the most part. 


Here are some cold weather tips for cats and dogs from the ASPCA you may find useful. Most of the tips are common sense, like keeping your cat indoors when it gets too cold, never letting your dog off leash in the snow or on ice, and avoiding anti-freeze. Other tips folks may not think about, including making sure your dog is completely dry after a bath before heading outside. Let's all do what we can to keep our furry friends safe and warm this winter!  

Tell Me More About My Eyes

Monday, January 21, 2013

Review | Scratch Lounge


I haven't done any reviews of cat products on this blog but thought I'd throw one into the mix seeing how 2 of my 3 fur children identify as feline. Cat claw maintenance is an important part of any kitty's health regimen. Cat's claws have an outer layer, or sheath, which protects new claw growth. Cats need to periodically shed these sheaths in order to free the new growth within. They accomplish this by scratching at things, which is why it's important to provide your kitty with an appropriate outlet to direct this scratching, such as a scratching post or cardboard scratcher.  

This is where the Scratch Lounge comes in, touted as the "World's Best Cat Scratcher." This thing is pretty sweet - it's a 3-sided scratcher made of super-dense reversible honeycomb cardboard panels. The panels are no different than those found in a standard cardboard scratcher. What makes the Scratch Lounge different is sheer size - it's like a double-wide trailer. Most cats, the morbidly obese excepting, should be able to fit comfortably in the Lounge.  The Scratch Lounge provides multiple scratching surfaces, and because the panels are reversible, it'll last longer than your average cardboard scratcher. 

Monday Morning Diversion

Miyoko Ihara | http://whitemanekicat.p1.bindsite.jp/hananoyouni.html
These beautiful photos are by Japanese photographer Miyoko Ihara. Featured in many of her photos are the artist's 88-year old grandmother, Misa, and Misa's ever present feline companion, Fukumaru. Misa's beaming smile and the obvious affection Misa and Fukumaru have for one another is heartwarming. Check out more of Ihara's photos on her website. A great way to start off the week.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Poodle

Fernando Botero | Poodle | 1974

Find Momo

Andrew Knapp | www.gofindmomo.com

Momo, a black and white border collie, is being called the "Where's Waldo" of the internet. Graphic designer Andrew Knapp shares beautiful photos of his well-camouflaged pup on his website gofindmomo.com. Try your hand at finding Momo. I can only dream of having such an obedient dog. Happy hunting and have a great weekend!

*The navigation buttons for the site are easy to miss. Find them at the bottom, center, of each page.

Romance in the Park

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Diego - International Cat of Mystery

Hey, Hey, Hey Goodbye

Bye, bye WAHL Oatmeal Coconut Lime Verbena Pet Shampoo Concentrate. We had a good run, 10 months to be exact, but you're all gone now and I'm looking forward to trying something new. Sure my opinion of you changed over time, for the better and at $5.99 for 24 ounces you certainly are cost-effective...but alas, Andy and I are ready for a change. Onward and upward! In all seriousness, I bought this bottle of WAHL shampoo back in April and after 10 months of steady baths, 2-3 a month on average, we only just now finished the bottle. That's a lot of bang for your buck! All things considered it's a decent shampoo, I'm just honestly sick of smelling the same scent for 10 months. 

I already have a new bottle of shampoo waiting in the wings, Earthbath's Eucalyptus & Peppermint Shampoo for Dogs to be exact. This particular brand was recommended by a reader and when I came across it at a HomeGoods store last month at a discounted price I snatched it right up. It's a little on the pricey side for my taste but I thought we'd give it a go (it retails for around $12-14 for 16 oz but I got it for $7.99). Earthbath products are all natural, made with natural essential oils and contain no parabens, harsh soaps, artificial dyes or fragrances, phosphates, or toxins. Good for our pups and the environment. I'll let you know what I think of the new shampoo as soon as Andy rolls in some poop...it's been about 2 weeks since his last poop roll so I imagine he's about due!

Gimme Dem Sticks!

Andy didn't care that this last stick was covered in a lichen...
As soon as I snapped this picture he lunged for it.
I didn't let him have it, of course. 

Are lichens edible?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pet Valu


A new pet supply store opened in my area this past summer called Pet Valu. I hadn't heard of them prior and had to look them up online to find out if they're an independent retailer or a chain. Turns out the Pet Valu family of stores is the largest pet supply retail operation in Canada. The company is slowly making its way south of the Canadian boarder, though they appear to only have stores in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia at this time. I happened to catch sight of this store while running errands, and or course, couldn't resist taking a peak inside.

This particular store is about a quarter of the size of a PetSmart or a Petco and has a slightly more upscale or boutique feel to it. While they do carry supplies for all sorts of pets the bulk of their products are for cats and dogs. The store appears to only carry high end brands, such as Canidae, Blue Buffalo, Merrick, Taste of the Wild, etc. - you're not gonna find your run of the mill Purina or Alpo products here. They have a terrific selection of high quality treats, high-end grooming products, and unique accessories. I was happy to discover that they carry some of the harder to find dog toy brands, such as West Paw Design and Planet Dog.


If you've never been to a Pet Valu, and you have one in your area, it's definitely worth checking out. Things do tend to cost a little more there. Personally if I can save a little on dog and cat food at PetCo I will, but if you're not into shopping at big box retailers and are willing to shell out a little extra in exchange, Pet Valu is a great alternative. Also, if your pet has food allergies or diet restrictions they offer some great options. They also have an interesting selection of treats and toys that you might otherwise not come across. Check 'em out if you get a chance!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Double Portrait

Lucian Freud | Double Portrait | 1985-1986

Fraidy Cat

Andy's not rattled by much but boy was he spooked by this bird feeder hanging on a shepherd's hook out back (far right in photo). The feeder's actually been out there since this past summer but he only just noticed it for the first time the other day. As soon as he saw it swaying gently in the wind he went into high alert mode and stooped low to the ground. He eyeballed it for a good while before starting a slow approach. He stopped any time it moved and this was about as close as he wanted to get. I think Andy has a new nemesis!

PSA: Dog Jerky Recall


I normally reserve Fridays for more lighthearted fare but think this is important enough to post about today. In the continuing saga of chicken jerky treats for dogs manufactured in China, several companies (Nestle, makers of Waggin' Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats, and Milo's Kitchen) are voluntarily recalling select products sold in the U.S. market because they may contain trace amounts of antibiotics that are not approved in the U.S. While these antibiotics have been approved in China and Europe, and according to these companies, pose no health risks to pets, the fact that these products made it on to U.S. shelves where the antibiotics are not approved is worrisome...I can't help but wonder what else is slipping in under the radar.

For years now, as a rule of thumb, I've only purchased dog/cat food and treats that are manufactured in the U.S., with domestically sourced ingredients. Of course edible pet products made state side are also regularly recalled but I personally feel better about feeding my boys treats and food items that have been manufactured closer to home, and one would hope, products that have been subject to closer inspection and oversight by the FDA. That being said, it's also important to keep in mind that not all pet products manufactured in the U.S. are created equal. I only purchase brands that use high quality protein,
no animal byproducts, and no fillers or artificial ingredients or preservatives. A few excellent brands I trust include: Merrick, Wellness, Blue Buffalo, and Get Naked. 

Check out this Washington Post article for more information on the recall.

Is it Friday Yet Ma?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Well Hello There!

This year has gotten off to a slow start as far as blogging is concerned! I've been out of town but now that I'm home I plan on getting back into my groove asap. I've got lots of things to share: tips on how to medicate (or pill) your pup, product reviews, and lots of photos to share.

Let's start with a picture of Andy at Camp Bow Wow! Here he is, soaking in the afternoon sun, on the ramp in the play-yard with some of his buddies. The injury he got back in December is completely healed (it took exactly 2 weeks for the wound to close up and the scab to fall off) and this was his first trip back to Camp. I'm looking forward to the New Year and hope you continue to stop in and live and learn with us!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Freestyle Peeing

Andy's all grown up! The pup has mastered the 3-legged pee squat and now consistently lifts his leg, always his right leg, to do his business. I wonder why it is some dogs do this and others don't. I never once saw Maxwell lift his leg to pee...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Andy!

Andy was around 3.5 months old when we adopted him from the humane society back in April. Since we don't know for sure when Andy was born we decided to make January 1 his birthday - which makes him 1 year old today! To celebrate the pup got a brand new toy, a West Paw Design Hurley bone (which I've read really good things about), some Zukes Mini Naturals Peanut Butter Dog Treats, a bag of Carolina Prime Sweet Tater Fries, and a can of Merrick New Zealand Summer (Lamb) canned food. It's hard to believe Andy's only been with us for 8 months and that he's already a year old. My boy is growing up!