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July 24, 2014

Barks and Bytes Blog Hop

Welcome to the Barks & Bytes blog hop where the greatest pet bloggers join together and talk about their favorite topic – yep, you guessed it, pets. In my case, it’s dogs and dog safety.

Before I talk about the safety of my best pals, let me first thank Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Linda with 2 Brown Dawgs for hosting this blog hop.

THANKS
In last week’s Bark & Bytes post I shared a cute video of my dogs Maya and Pierson in the car. Thank you so much Jodi and Linda for liking it and sharing it. It has had almost 50 views in just one week! And thank you, Suan and the gang with Life with Dogs and Cats for stopping by for a visit and commenting. You’re right, Lilah and Pierson do look a lot alike. They both have the same cute button noses, pierson eyes, fluffy coat and paws, and fluffy butt and tail. :)

Don't Leave Your Dog in the Car

Don’t do this to your dog, even if the weather is mild.

PET SUMMER SAFETY
Now on to the important safety stuff. Folks, I’ve been reading a lot of articles today about people leaving their dogs in their car while they run errands! This scares me so much!!! It’s hot out there!!!!! If you haven’t already, please stop by and like this Facebook page for Heat Can Kill Your Pet. Just Think First. It’s not my page, but a page I follow and they have a lot of great information about how dangerous and yet still common this practice is. They also have tips on what you can do about it, like calling the police, asking the store owner to announce it, leaving a flyer from My Dog is Cool, and/or by staying with the car until authorities or the owner arrives. I would not recommend confronting the owner yourself. People get very defensive, especially when that person is not an authority figure. They will only rationalize their actions and not really hear what you’re saying. So let a police officer or an animal control officer handle it. If the dog is truly having a heat emergency, be very careful should you decide to break the car window. It is illegal. I believe there is only one state that says it is legal if you are saving someone or an animal in distress.

Dog Left in Hot Car

We have a new article writer for Pet Auto Safety. Her name is Patrice. I may have introduced her before. She has written a great article on this and other pet summer safety topics titled, 9 Do’s and Don’ts of Summer Travel with Your Dog. Please go check it out and share. She’s a great writer, isn’t she?

Here are some pet summer safety tips from Pet360:

Pet Summer Safety Infographic from Pet360

NEW PET TRAVEL PRODUCT
Shortly after writing last week’s Barks & Bytes, I had a woman named Deb call me about her new product, the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. I’ve talked many times about the Backseat Bridge and the new Pet Dek, but the pet travel flat seat, I think, is even better. It is completely flat and there are far fewer gaps! I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet, but will be getting it by the end of this week or early next. Deb is an entrepreneur who designed the pet travel flat seat herself. She is working with her family in order to try to get it on the market. So even if this isn’t something you need, share it with your friends! I love helping out the individual business owner, especially when they have such great pet products.

Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat

Look how flat the portable pet travel flat seat is. It is strong yet thin, not bulky.

THANKS AGAIN!
Thanks again for stopping by the Barks & Bytes blog hop! If you still don’t have your pet fix, check out the posts form these other great bloggers:

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The Best Summer Dog Gear

Author: MayaAndPierson
July 22, 2014

Pierson in Dog Backpack from Outward Hound

Even though spring was late in coming this year, there is still time to enjoy the outdoors with your best friend. Bond while boating, have a happy time while hiking, and enjoy a romp at the river. When you go, don’t forget these great pet travel supplies and outdoor dog gear:

Maya Go-Tech Pet Seat Belts

-Dog Car Harness – When you go somewhere with your dog, make sure his trip is safe. If your dog won’t wear a pet seat belt, consider a pet travel crate.

Dog Pierson Collapsible Dog Bowl

-Water and a Pet Travel Bowl

-Walking Harness – The Kurgo Go-Tech Maya is wearing above works as both a car safety belt and a walking harness. It is perfect for the car and for an outdoor hike.

-Leash

-Dog Toys

-Backpack for Dogs – Your dog can carry his own water, pet travel bowl, and toys with his very own dog pack, just like Pierson is doing in the top photo.

Dougie's Dog Life Jacket

-Dog Life Jacket – This is great for dogs that like to go swimming. Rip tides, fast water, and waves can be unexpectedly sweep your dog away or under. Make sure he stays afloat with a life vest. And a pet life jacket should definitely be worn when your dog is on a boat, just like our pal Dougie from the UK.

Cooling Dog Collar - Pink

-Pet Cooling Products – Consider a cooling collar or cooling pet mat if your dog is going to be outdoors for a long period. Make sure he can get shade as well.

Maya and Dog First Aid Kit

-Pet First Aid Kit – Never go anywhere without a first aid kit for both you and your family as well as your dog. The Kurgo first aid kit can fit right in your glove box. It includes a first aid guide in order to help with various situations such as heat stroke, animal bites, and CPR instructions. We also have very comprehensive pet first aid kits.

Be proactive in the safety of all your family members, including the furry ones. And have a fantastic summer!

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July 17, 2014

Barks and Bytes Blog Hop

Welcome to Barks & Bytes where we share recent activities at Pet Auto Safety.com. Barks & Bytes is hosted by our favorite dog bloggers, Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Linda with 2 Brown Dawgs. Be sure to check them out, but not before you see what’s been going on with us!

NEW PET TRAVEL VIDEO

I’ve finally finished the dog video I started several months ago of Maya and Pierson in the car. This is the 3rd video (episode 2) of a series of videos. I’ve only had a little practice editing videos so I’m not sure this one is very good, but we are our own worst critics. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll really like it. And if you do, please hit the like button on YouTube and leave a comment. :)

NEW PET TRAVEL PRODUCTS

Dog Backpacks

As you saw from our June Barks & Bytes, we’ve been in the process of adding several new products to our Pet Auto Safety site. One that we mentioned but didn’t have available yet is our dog backpacks. Check out our Outdoor Dog Gear page and see what we have.

The Rein Coat

I also mentioned the Rein Coat. I’m sorry to say that we don’t have it available on our site yet. I’ve asked if I could sell them and the company said yes, but they haven’t gotten back with me with more information yet. I think they forgot about me.

One of my greatest fans for PetAutoSafety saw our FaceBook post about the Rein Coat and asked if her dog Lily could wear it along with her dog car harness. Lily has terrible anxiety in the car and her mom, whose name is Lee, was hoping the Rein Coat could help. Unfortunately, the folks at Rein Coat said that although their product has been known to help dogs with anxiety in the car, it was not designed to be used with a dog seat belt.

The Car Pet Dek with Dogs Maya & Pierson

Maya and Pierson try out the new Pet Dek.

The Pet Dek

We wrote a more detailed post about Maya and Pierson’s experience with the Pet Dek, so be sure to check out the July 10th post. As always, we share both the pros and cons of the products we sell so that you have as much information as possible, should you decide to purchase.

Cocker Spaniel in Red Car-Go Pet Car Travel Shelter

Maya and Pierson wish they were small enough to ride in this Car-Go pet travel shelter.

Car-Go

We did not talk about the Car-Go in our previous Barks & Bytes post because we didn’t know about it then. But I saw a great review from Oz the Terrier and so called the company that makes the Car-Go to see if they would let me sell it on Pet Auto Safety. I’m happy to say that they said yes! And so the Car-Go Single and the Car-Go Double is now available.

Maya and Dog First Aid Kit

Maya used this much smaller dog first aid kit from Kurgo when she was injured in June (more on American Dog Blog).

Hiking Travel Pet First Aid Kit

Look at how much stuff is in this pet first aid kit!

Pet First Aid Kits

This is another new product we didn’t mention on our last post but have added. This pet first aid kit is the most comprehensive first aid kit for dogs that I’ve ever seen. It has been put together by an entrepreneur named Denise. Denise is an amazing woman who teaches pet first aid and CPR and is also an author of a number of books, including Pet First Aid for Kids!

Dog Maya with Bottle 'n Bowl Bag

It’s easy to keep Maya hydrated on walks with this easy-to-carry water bottle bag.

Dog Travel Bowls & Bottles

Yesterday we added two new travel products related to water. The cuee blue paw print water bottle with rollerball tip and the Bottle ‘n Bowl bag with collapsible dog bowl. These two items can be found on our pet travel bowls page.

Bella Kurgo Go-Tech Dog Car Harness and Sweater

Isn’t Bella adorable in her new sweater?! She’s also wearing the Kurgo Go-Tech dog car harness.

BELLA & THE KURGO GO-TECH DOG CAR HARNESS

Bella’s mom purchased the Kurgo Go-Tech dog seat belt last year and had some concerns about the looped tether. She said Bella was awfully uncomfortable with the way the looped tether worked so I sent her a Bergan tether. To be honest, I am not a fan of Kurgo’s looped tethers either. In fact, when Maya wore her Kurgo Go-Tech harness, I immediately replaced the looped tether with the Bergan one. It is believed that the more restrictive a dog car harness is, the safer it is for the dog. This may be so, because if you stop suddenly or swerve, you don’t want your dog to get tossed around. But this sort of restriction can be very uncomfortable for dogs. Safety is important, but we need to consider the comfort of our best friend as well.

NEW PET TRAVEL ARTICLES

Last month I mentioned Patrice, our new writer for Pet Auto Safety. She has created another new great article for us that we posted on July 8th. I also have another great article written by Lindsay with That Mutt, which posted on July 15th. Be sure to check out these great pet safety articles and leave us a comment. :)

That’s all the Barks & Bytes I have for you this week. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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Our friend Lindsay with Ace at ThatMutt.com wrote a wonderful article that we’ve found to be very helpful:

My 70-pound Lab mix Ace loves riding in the car because he associates it with fun places like the dog beach.

Ace the Great Dane Mix 2

“This really is my happy face.”

Ace the Great Dane Mix 3

“Where are we going? I bet it is somewhere fun.”

While I’m glad he’s eager to go places, one problem with his excitement is his tendency to barge right out of the car as soon as I open the back passenger door.

I’ve learned to anticipate and manage this problem by giving a firm “stay!” command or by physically blocking him. He always wears his leash in the car too, which I can easily grab.

Ace the Great Dane Mix 1

“My mom has me wear my leash in the car so that she can grab it in case I try to run out when she opens the door.”

But lately I’ve realized I need to step up my dog’s training (and safety) a bit more. I want my dog to automatically wait patiently in the car until I give him a command to jump out. (I plan to use “OK!”)

I don’t want to tell him “stay” first. I want “stay” to be implied. Even if the door is wide open and my back is turned, I want my dog to learn to wait for my command before jumping out.

There are just too many scenarios where barging out the door could be a small or serious problem.

For example:

-Ace could barge right into traffic, even if he’s on a leash. We live in a heavily populated area with a lot of cars.
-
He could push the door too hard, causing it to door ding another parked car.
-
He could knock or pull someone over, trip someone with his leash or give someone rope burn.
-
If we’re ever in a bad car accident, it may not be safe for him to bolt out as soon as a responder opens the door.
-
Every now and then, my husband and I will pick up a friend or family member who will ride in the back next to Ace. I can’t have Ace bolting out just because someone else opens the door! (One time he bolted out the door to follow my parents when we dropped them off at their hotel.)

So, you get the point. There are a lot of scenarios where it’s dangerous for a dog to automatically jump out of the car.

Dog seatbelts to safely keep the dog in the car

Before I get to some training tips, an obvious safety tool here would be a dog seat belt.

Not only is a dog seatbelt a safety tool for when the car is moving, but now you can see why a dog seatbelt will safely keep the dog in place even when the car is parked.

Of course, some dogs will still try to bolt out as soon as you unbuckle their seatbelts. But at least the belt will hold your dog in place while you get situated. Read more about dog seatbelts here.

How to train your dog not to jump out of the car as soon as you open the door

The following are my own training tips based on how I plan to train my treat-motivated dog. There are many ways to train a dog, so please share your own suggestions in the comments.

I am training my dog to automatically wait in the car until I say “OK.”

*I drive a four-door car. Ace always sits on the back seat directly behind the driver without a seatbelt.

Here’s what I plan to do:

When I stop the car, I will have a handful of small, highly valued treats ready such as pieces of hot dogs. I will get out, walk to the back door and open it part way, so Ace can’t jump out. Without saying anything, I will pop several yummy treats into Ace’s mouth, being careful to stand close so he won’t jump out. “Gooood boooy.”

If your dog is wearing a seatbelt, this is where I recommend you unclip it – after you have already given him some treats for remaining still. Then, unbuckle the seatbelt and pop some additional treats in his mouth. You want him to learn that the “click” sound of the belt does not signal it’s OK to jump out.

After 30 seconds or so, I will say “OK” and let Ace jump out. I will stop giving him treats at that point because the treats are to reward him when he’s waiting in the car. I will repeat this several times in all sorts of areas, every time we go somewhere.

If he happens to try to jump out before I give the “OK” I will calmly block him with my body and calmly say “no.”

Increasing the challenge

In safe areas that are not too “exciting” I will do the same as above, but I will gradually open the door wider and wider as Ace’s training progresses, over several days and weeks. I will also make a point to stand a bit further from Ace and to wait longer before giving the “OK” to jump out. Giving him treats while he waits in the car will still be important at this point.

With time, I will give the treats less often, especially in “easy” areas where he is not as excited. When we go to the most “exciting” areas like the dog beach I will still have to go back to standing closer to him while he’s still learning.

Other safety tips

-Obviously I’ll have to be aware of the temperature in the car. A parked car is hot, even for a few minutes, and even with the door open. Training sessions will have to be fairly short.
-
Once your dog jumps out of the car, you may want to also teach him to automatically sit at your side (rather than straining at the leash like a maniac).
-
If your dog does manage to jump out before you give permission, just calmly say “no” and put him back in. Stay a little closer the next time so he doesn’t have the chance to “fail” again.

Of course, there are many other ways you could train your dog to wait in the car, and we are lucky to have so many training tools to help us. For example, perhaps a kennel will make it easier for your dog to remain calm and safe until you’re ready to let him out.

And now I want to hear from you!

If your dog already knows to wait patiently in the car, how did you train him to do so?

Author Bio:

Lindsay Stordahl maintains the dog blog ThatMutt.com where she writes about dog training, dog exercise, adoption and more. Read some of her most popular training posts here and here.

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July 10, 2014

The Pet Dek for Cars

Just before we made our big move from Kansas to Iowa this spring, we received and got to try out this new product called the car Pet Dek. And let me just say, it’s pretty awesome. :)

I’ve used the Kurgo Backseat Bridge for years. While I still love the bridge, the Pet Dek has some great benefits that the bridge doesn’t. For one, it is much more sturdy. Maya is 70 pounds and Pierson is 50. The Backseat Bridge isn’t guaranteed to hold that much weight (although it has). But the Pet Dek is.

Pierson in the Car Backseat Bridge

The second benefit of the Pet Dek over the bridge is that the Pet Dek is completely flat. Because of the way the back seat of the car curves, the bridge leaves a raised lip over the seat edge. This raised edge may not be comfortable for Maya and Pierson when they want to stretch out during those long road trips. Since the Pet Dek is flat, Maya and Pierson are free to stretch out with no discomfort problems. And they did just that on our trip from Kansas to Iowa.

The third advantage of the Pet Dek is with how easy it is to install and uninstall in the car. It is heavier than the bridge (12 pounds), but it is super easy to unfold and rest on the seats. The Backseat Bridge require the attachment of four straps around the front seats of the car.

While the Pet Dek has some great advantages over the Kurgo Backseat Bridge, there are a few disadvantages:

Unlike the bridge, the Dek has no divider blocking the center console. So if your dog is not wearing a dog car seat belt, he has easy access from the back to the front seat. This can be a dangerous distraction to the driver. So make sure your dog is buckled in for both your safety and for the safety of your dog. Yes, the Pet Dek does allow you to use the seat belts of your car so that your dog can still wear his safety harness.

Another negative of the Pet Dek is the gaps left around the edges. This is because the seats of the car curve and it was an issue with the bridge as well. The gaps with the Dek, however, are easier to remedy. I simply stuffed a blanket in the gaps where the Dek meets the seat. You may be able to see these in the photo of Maya and Pierson below.

The Car Pet Dek with Dogs Maya & Pierson

I did have one other issue with the Pet Dek. One of the legs kept coming off. However, by adding a wide washer to the screw that kept the leg on, I was able to fix the problem.

The Pet Dek comes with a waterproof non-slip mat. This adds a little comfort since the Dek surface is hard. The mat is stain resistant and machine washable. It is a great way to keep muddy paw prints off your back seat upholstery.

Maya and Pierson really got to test the Pet Dek when we drove 3.5 hours from Kansas to Iowa. The Pet Dek is more expensive than the Backseat Bridge but it was well worth the value. I am not discarding my bridge but I will be primarily using the Pet Dek from now on, especially for long road trips.

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Don't Leave Your Dog in the Car

Don’t do this to your dog, even if the weather is mild.

Dogs face many dangers when they are left unsupervised in their owner’s car. The hazard of heat has been well-documented over the past few years, as many dogs have perished or become sick. Inclement weather plays a big role in the threat to a dog’s well-being while left in a parked car, but there are other risks, too. Friendly dogs could become a victim of theft. Your dog could face undue harassment from children or overzealous adults. A well-meaning passerby could assume your dog is in distress. They may break your window, trying to help. With all these perils lurking in the parking lot, it may be safer to leave your dog at home.

Last year, blog.doingsciencetostuff.com tested parked cars to determine the length of time it takes to reach 100 degrees on an 85 degree day. During their experiment, they determined it can take under five minutes for a closed car to reach 100 degrees. That same car reached a boiling 120 degrees in just 30 minutes. When a dog is left in a hot car, these soaring temperatures are dangerous enough to quickly kill a beloved pet.

While it is not talked about as often, frigid cold can pose just as many risks as heat dangers to dogs. Some dogs, like huskies, are more prepared for icy temperatures, but many, like tiny Chihuahuas or puppies, can become hypothermic or get frostbite. If your dog begins to show symptoms, like excessive shivering or lethargy, they should immediately be taken to a veterinary professional for treatment.

The range of harsh weather isn’t the only risk you and your dog face when you leave them in an unattended parked car. There are people out there who use dogs to make money, or simply might think your dog is the cutest they’ve ever seen. According to Dan Billow, of WESH News, in April of 2014, a Palm Bay, Florida man left his two dogs in his car while he made a quick trip to the drug store. Upon his return, he found only one of his dogs was still safe in the vehicle. He and his wife searched for weeks, and finally found their dog with an alleged dog-napper. The family got their dog back, but not all dog-nappings have a happy ending. Many families will never know what has become of their missing furry family member.

Even if the windows are up, with the doors locked, dogs can face pestering from strangers. Some children may not understand not to tap on the glass, or may think it’s funny to entice your dog into a fit of rage. It’s not only children who behave this way. Adults are not precluded from bad behavior, which can lead to the disturbance of your dog. This can be especially problematic for dogs who have anxiety or fear-based behavioral issues, but it may also cause these types of complications in dogs that do not already display them.

Your dog isn’t the only thing in danger when you leave them in an unattended vehicle. According to AnimalLaw.info, there are eleven states that allow law enforcement or government employees to take action to remove an endangered animal from a car. This can include breaking your window and taking your dog into custody. If this happens, you may face charges of animal neglect, which can result in fines or jail time.

Even if safety precautions, such as controlling the temperature and airflow, have been taken, an overenthusiastic dog lover could take action into their own hands. If they assume your dog was left in a hot car, they may break your window, trying to save your pet from the elements. This could cause more harm than just having to head to the window repair shop. Your dog may get cut on the glass, and need a vet visit. Your dog may get scared and bolt, which is extremely dangerous in a busy parking lot. Your friendly dog may even get scared and bite the window-smasher.

Ensure your dog’s safety by letting them lounge at home, especially on days when the weather is extremely hot or cold. Besides, there’s nothing better than being greeted at the door by your best friend, when you return home.

(Article originally published on Newswire Today.

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Five Dangers Dogs Present In Cars

Author: MayaAndPierson
July 1, 2014
Dog Distraction Clicking Cartoon

Like cell phones, dogs can be a dangerous distraction in the car.

1) Dog distractions which could cause a car wreck:
-Nosing, licking, or otherwise pestering the driver.
-Trying to climb in the lap of the driver.
-Pacing back and forth from car window to window.

Don't Let Your Dog Put Head Out Window

If I were actually driving with my dog Maya having her head out the window, she could be hurt by flying debris or choked if I stop suddenly.

2) Injury to the dog or other passengers:
-Injury to your dog’s eyes or nose from flying debris when their head is out the window.
-Broken bones, internal injuries, trauma, or death due to sudden stop, violent swerve, or car wreck.
-If a car wreck occurs, your dog could become a deadly projectile which could kill them and possibly harm other passengers.

3) Escaping the vehicle:
-Jumping out of a moving vehicle causing injury to themselves and possibly causing a wreck from you stopping suddenly or from other cars trying to avoid hitting them.
-A dog that is projected from or escapes from a wrecked vehicle could cause another wreck when he goes into the road.

4) Breaking the law:
-While it may not be against the law in all states to have your dog unseatbelted, if law enforcement sees that your dog is a distraction you may be ticketed for unsafe driving.

5) Stress to your dog:
-Unharnessed or uncrated dogs can get stressed out in a car. Stopping, turning, etc can prevent them from keeping their balance. They don’t understand all the movements and can be stressed by it.
-Dogs can get carsick – especially little dogs who can’t see out the window.
-A stressed dog can vomit or make other types of messes in your car.
-Don’t leave your dog alone in the car, even in mild weather. Heat dangers, stress from being left alone, stress from being harassed by a passerby, danger of being stolen.

Our message does not mean that you shouldn’t take your dog with you in the car. We just want you to think about you and your dog’s safety when they are in the car. Consider a dog car seat belt, keeping them in a crate or pet car seat, or putting up a pet barrier between the front and back seats in order to keep them in the back. For more information on dog car safety, visit our pet travel safety articles page.

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Barks & Bytes #6 Catch Up

Author: MayaAndPierson
June 26, 2014

Barks and Bytes Blog Hop

I’m back to blogging! (I think.) I’ve really missed blogging. But then again, it was good to have a break amidst all the chaos. I even took an extra few days off from blogging in order to take a breather. Before I catch up on all that’s been going on, let me thank Jodi with Heart Like a Dog and Linda with 2 Brown Dawgs for hosting this blog hop. Thanks gals!

NEW PRODUCTS
While I haven’t been blogging much, we have still been keeping up with business activities. We’ve purchased a bunch of new products. I’ll give you more details as the weeks progress, but for now let me give you a brief glimpse.

The Pet Dek for Cars

Pet Dek
The Pet Dek is a lot like the Backseat Bridge. It is better in many ways, but not in others. I installed it in my car fairly easily and Maya and Pierson used it for the first time when we drove from Kansas to Iowa. I like the Pet Dek a lot!

Bitter Apple
We’ve been meaning to add this product for some time, but for some reason we never got to it, until now that is. We get a lot of questions from people about how to keep their dogs from chewing on their new expensive dog seat belts. Along with training tips, we’ve also suggested enhancing training success by using a product like Bitter Apple. For some, this stuff works miracles. Other dogs, however, are not deterred by the taste. You never know what is going to work until you try, though.

Maya and her dog life jacket.

Dog Life Vests
We intended on building a new website this year for outdoor dog gear. It probably isn’t going to happen, though, until next year. In the meantime, we’ve added a new page on the PetAutoSafety.com website for Outdoor Dog Gear. There you will find a good-sized collection of life jackets for dogs. We will also be adding dog backpacks over the next week or so.

Maya Wearing Dog Backpack from Outward HoundPierson in Dog Backpack from Outward Hound

The Rein Coat for Dogs

The Rein Coat
This product hasn’t been added yet, but will be soon. Check out my AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com blog to see what I’ve written about it so far. It is more than just a rain coat. It also helps with calming pets and I’m really hoping it will help calm Pierson when he sees other dogs and when he goes to the vet. We shall see. It can help dogs that are nervous about travel too, so hopefully the Rein Coat will be available on PetAutoSafety.com soon.

Other Pet Travel Products
We will also be adding a more comprehensive pet first aid kit next week, more dog backpacks, and handy bottle & bowl bags from Outward Hound. We’d also like to find more pet travel crates.

PET TRAVEL ARTICLES
We’ve hired a new pet travel safety article writer recently. I will still be writing the blog for the most part, but Patrice will be writing articles and sharing them around the web. She is a fantastic writer. She does her research very well. And best of all, she is a dog-lover. I posted one her articles on this blog last week. And the other was posted on ezine – about Why You Need to Restrain Your Dog in the Car.

By the way, if you’d like PetAutoSafety to do a guest post on your blog about pet car safety, let me know!

BEHIND THE SCENES
Now on to the personal stuff. Some of you may know why I stopped blogging, but for those who don’t, let me give you a brief recap. My mom was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. At about the same time I found that out, my husband was hired for a new job in Iowa. So when I got back from visiting my mom in Oregon, I started fixing up our house so that we could put it on the market. While my husband moved ahead to Iowa, Maya, Pierson, and I stayed behind in Kansas to pack and to supervise the work on the house. When we found a great place to live, we had a moving company help us get there. After that, I had a lot of unpacking and organizing to do. Other things have happened too, but I will fill you in on my personal blog, AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com soon.

Things are not over yet, though. Our house in Kansas is not sold yet, but we do have a buyer. And sadly, my mom is not doing well. Her positive attitude kept her going for longer than the doctors expected. But things are getting worse. Nevertheless, my mom is a real trooper. I love her spirit. She has her moments when the reality of her situation really sinks in, but she still finds things to smile and laugh about. I’m trying to take my lead from her by also being positive.

My mom taught me two very important things, for which I will be forever grateful: 1) No matter what life throws at you, there are still things to be happy about. 2) One of the things in life that can give you the most joy is a dog. Dogs are the best. I swear sometimes, my mom loved her dogs more than us kids. JK… I think ;)

My Mom and Her Dog Rocky

My mom and her dog Rocky.

Thanks for stopping by everyone!

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Dog Car Seat Belts: Safe or Unsafe

Author: MayaAndPierson
June 18, 2014
Maya ClickIt Utility Dog Seat Belt

The ClickIt Utility was rated the number one safest dog car harness by The Center for Pet Safety in 2013.

In 2013, Subaru of America and the Center for Pet Safety teamed up to test dog safety-harnesses. Their main goal was to ensure pets are kept safe while being transported and that each manufacturer’s claims of “crash protection” are valid, and able to perform as promised. Throughout the 2013 Safety Harness Crashworthiness Study, a range of harnesses, which the manufacturers claimed were “Testing”,“Crash Testing” or offered “Crash Protection”, were tested to determine if their statements were true and correct.

It should be noted, the Center for Pet Safety ran a preliminary crash study test in 2011. Four safety harnesses were tested. All four failed to provide proper protection for their canine counterpart. Admittedly, this study was not thorough enough to provide helpful statistical information regarding the use of safety harnesses, as only four undisclosed brands were tested, while there were over a dozen brands on the market at the time. The unintended, yet virtuous, outcome of this testing is that many of the top harness manufacturers have become more rigorous with their own safety testing, and have made improvements to their existing products.

Out of the seven brands that were found to be stable enough to test in the 2013 study, the clear top performer is the Clickit Utility, which is manufactured by Sleepypod. While the Clickit Utility provides the best protection against car accidents, it limits range of motion to the extreme. Some dogs may get anxious if forced to use the Clickit Utility, which may cause them to panic and hurt themselves or encourage chewing through the safety device. That being said, some dogs may not mind the harness, or with proper training could be desensitized to wearing it. While the Clickit Utility passed the test with flying colors, it isn’t for every dog. There are other options that met the safety standards set in place by the Center for Pet Safety, like Klein Metal’s AllSafe Harness or Cover Craft’s RuffRider Roadie.

The danger associated with auto accidents does not only apply to our pets. Safety regulations for people regarding seatbelt use has been in place for decades, yet there are many cases in which the use of a seatbelt has caused injury or has still resulted in death. Each car accident is unique, and no matter how much safety testing is done, there is always a risk involved. This does not stop people from wearing seatbelts, and it should not stop us from strapping our dogs in.

Having extra protection, such as a dog car safety harness, not only provides peace of mind, but keeps dogs in place. At the very least, your strapped in dog will be less of a distraction while you are driving, reducing your risk of getting into an accident in the first place. There are other methods to restrain your dog in the car, such as crates, barriers, fencing and screens. These will also help provide distraction-free driving, but they have not been properly tested, and it cannot be concluded that they will keep your pet safe in the case of an accident.

The Center for Pet Safety is leading the way in discovering the best way to keep people and their pets safe while traveling. Their research is still in an early phase, with only two studies under their belt. Without prior data, it is hard to conclude what testing method will provide the most accurate information. The methods will surely be modified in the future, meaning we will be able to make more informed decisions regarding the safety of our dogs as time goes on.

By Patrice Marrero

Source: Newswire Today

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Moving With Our Dogs

Author: MayaAndPierson
April 23, 2014
Moving with Our Dogs Maya & Pierson

What’r all these boxes for? Where’re we goin’? Do they have cookies there?

Yes, we’re moving! Our online website will remain the same, but our home base is moving from Lawrence, Kansas to Des Moines, Iowa. Why, you wonder? My husband is moving for a new job. And since my job is with a virtual online company, I can move with him quite easily. And, of course, we are moving with our dogs too. Moving a family is a challenge, but put dogs in the mix and there are a few more challenges to add to our list. Here is what we’ve encountered so far.

LOOKING FOR A PET FRIENDLY PLACE

Since we have discovered that we are not good home owners when it comes to home repair and routine home maintenance, we’ve decided to rent instead of buy. And finding a pet friendly place to rent has not been easy. Over 80% of the places I called either said no pets or only allowed pets under 25 pounds. Pierson is 50 pounds and Maya is almost 70 pounds. I also found that a lot of places in Des Moines have breed restrictions. Maya is a Lab and Pierson is an Australian Shepherd / Border Collie, so there was no trouble there. But if I still had my Chow mix, Sephi, we might have had more trouble. So unfair, but it is the reality.

We finally found a great house to rent that is very pet friendly. Our landlord is our neighbor and she has a gorgeous Mastiff girl named Bella that she rescued, as well as a cute older Jack Russell. Our landlord is charging neither an extra pet deposit, nor an extra monthly rental fee for the pets. This is different than many of the pet friendly apartment we looked at, who charged an extra $25 per month per pet, plus a non-refundable pet deposit.

PACKING

Some dogs and cats might get stressed from all changes going on with packing. Stuff is being moved around. Boxes are piling up in the corners. Things are getting a good scrubbing. And there is more noise than usual because of all the cleaning and packing. If you have time, get started early and take it slow. Introduce boxes and packing slowly. And try not to change your pet’s normal routine.

Luckily, Maya and Pierson have not been affected at all by the changes. Maya is very curious about what I’m doing and is constantly sticking her nose in the boxes I’m packing. Pierson has been a little more cautious than Maya. Loud noises scare him and he has been a little intimidated when we move big stuff around. But he is doing really well for the most part.

STRANGERS IN AND OUT

Because we need to sell our current home, we have had people in and out of our house doing estimates and repairs. So when strangers come over, I generally put Maya and Pierson outside. I could say, “This is my house and if you want to come in you are going to have to accept the dogs.” But there are two very big reasons why I don’t.

Safety for Visitors

Although Maya and Pierson are friendly, some people are afraid of dogs. Allowing my dogs to approach someone who is afraid of them opens the door to trouble and it is also unkind. Also, despite my efforts to keep Maya from jumping on people, I still have trouble. She just gets so darned excited that she forgets her manners. She’s scratched a friend of ours who came to visit because of her crazy jumping antics. And she has also caused someone to bite their tongue because she jumped up and hit them in the chin.

Perhaps your dogs are better behaved than my Maya when it comes to jumping, but just because your dog doesn’t jump on you, doesn’t mean he won’t jump on strangers. And another thought, just because your dog likes most people doesn’t mean he will like everyone.

Safety for My Dogs

If you have a dog that likes to sneak or squeeze out the door at the first opportunity, then you have to be especially careful about visitors. I believe that it is unfair to expect a visitor to my house to be careful about not letting the dogs out. They don’t know my dogs or what they will do. Yes, visitors should be considerate and take care to close doors behind them. But ultimately my dogs are not their responsibility.

ROAD TRIP

If your dog doesn’t travel much, it will be very helpful if you can get them used to traveling before the big move. Start out by taking them on short road trips. And take them somewhere fun so that they learn the rewards of traveling. If you have a dog that gets car sick, consider a natural pet remedy like Travel Calm, which has ginger to help with car sickness as well as calming ingredients to help with anxiousness.

Don’t forget your pet’s safety when you travel on the road. Thankfully, Maya and Pierson are used to wearing a dog seat belt. If your dog isn’t used to a dog car harness or a traveling crate, be sure to help them get used to these devices as well as used to car rides. Check out these additional tips for helping your dog get used to riding in the car and used to a dog car harness.

Dogs Pet Safety Belts

Maya and Pierson are wearing their dog seat belt harnesses and are ready to go!

SETTLING IN

Letting your dog explore the new place is great. But depending on your pet’s personality, you may want to take it a little slow. Go through one room at a time. Reward them with treats, if needed. Set some of their belongings like toys and bedding in place before they explore in order to help them familiarize themselves to the new surroundings. Supervise them as they explore, especially in the yard area. Your dog might find a hole in the fence that you didn’t see or there may be wild animals living in the yard that you weren’t aware of.

At this moment, I am still in Kansas with Maya and Pierson. They have not yet made the road trip to Iowa or seen their new house. For them, the road trip should be no problem. Maya will have no trouble getting used to her new surroundings. I have no doubt she will be very excited about it. Pierson may be a little more wary about the new place, but he will adjust easily when he sees Maya do it. Our official move date is May 10th.

Have you ever had to move with your pets? Are there some concerns you had that I forgot to mention here? How did your dog adjust to the move?

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