Welcome to the new blog hop, Barks and Bytes, hosted by Linda with 2BrownDawgs and Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. Just about anything goes on this blog hop, so I will cover a variety of pet travel matters – comments, questions, upcoming events, news, tips, and anything else that comes up throughout the week. Here goes round one!
WAG N GO
The Wag N Go created by Trina with WagTheDogUK needs a little more help. Trina is running a Kickstarter campaign to help raise money so that she can put this product into construction. There is only a little time left, so stop by the Wag N Go Kickstarter campaign today and lend a helping paw.
PET CAR SAFETY ARTICLES
I haven’t been posting as many pet travel safety articles on this blog lately. But I haven’t been idle. I’ve written a few informative articles recently. Check them out on Ezine, PetsPage, and Hub Pages:
The following questions asked this week have been by telephone:
“Do you have any of the ClickIt harnesses left?”
Yes, but only a few. As of this moment, we have one extra small in black, one medium in black, and one large in black.
“When will you have more ClickIts in stock?”
Sleepypod, the manufacturer of the ClickIts, are hoping to have more in stock by the end of this month. This means we won’t have any more until the first week of February.
“How does that Carry-Me pet travel carrier work with the seat belt?”
At the time this question was asked, we did not have a photo showing this crate being secured with a seat belt. We indicated in the product description but no photos. The manufacturer didn’t have any either, which was a bit surprising. So I took the following photo, emailed it to the person who was asking about it, and posted it in the product description of the Carry-Me crates.
“How does the kennel straps work?”
This is another product where the manufacturer did not provide enough photos. So again, I took a few to demonstrate:
Remember our Funny Dogs Car Talk Adventures video starring Maya and Pierson? I promised more funny videos and that promise will be fulfilled around mid-March. I have written a new funny script. The next step is to record more of Maya and Pierson in the car, record the dialogue, and then edit the video.
I also want to make some instructional videos. Demonstrating how the kennel straps work would be much better if it was done in a video, don’t you think? However, I don’t want to make the videos too dry and boring. Any ideas how to make the video fun and/or interesting and yet still be informative?
QUICK DOG SAFETY TIP
Just because it is cold out doesn’t mean it is safe to leave your dog alone in the car while you run errands. While in warmer weather, your car traps heat like an oven, in colder weather it traps cold like a refrigerator. And you always have to worry about thieves or even unsavory people who don’t like dogs and will go out of their way to harass them when they think no one is looking. It is probably stressful enough for your dog if you’ve left him alone in unfamiliar surroundings. But then think about how much more stressful it might be if someone walking by purposely teased him.
Thank you for joining us for the very first Barks and Bytes blog hop. This event happens every Thursday so be sure to stop by regularly. You can sign up to subscribe to our blog in the top right column.
Thanks again and have a wonderful day!
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
I would never take my dogs Maya and Pierson anyplace where I had to leave them alone in the car. But as scatter-brained as I can be, it is quite possible I might automatically lock my car with the dogs still inside. With that being said, here is an article written by Elizabeth on behalf of the car insurance company that I have personally been using for over 10 years:
It can be easy to sometimes lock your keys in the car. Generally, this is more of an annoyance than anything else, but if your pet happens to be inside the car when you accidently lock yourself out, then there is a real problem on your hands. Roadside assistance is a great way to deal with this issue, because you can use the unlock car service. Having your pet locked in the car is a very stressful situation, so it’s good to have a plan that you can follow. Make sure to specifically tell the roadside assistance representative that your pet is locked in the car. If it is very hot outside, then you may need to take more drastic measures.
While waiting for roadside assistance, monitor your pet closely. Call their name and check that they are reacting normally. Also, try not to leave your car unattended if possible. Once help arrives and your car is unlocked, confirm that your pet still appears to be healthy. You could even consider bringing your pet to the vet, depending on what the weather was that day and how long your pet was in the car. Offer your pet water as soon as possible, since they most likely have not had access to it for the duration of being locked in the car. If it is cold outside, wrap your pet in a blanket and turn the car’s heat up.
Even if you never need to use your roadside assistance club, this program could give you peace of mind. In addition to roadside assistance, you could also consider bringing a spare key with you. You may not always remember the spare key, but it would be one more way to help keep your pet safe.
Author Bio: By Elizabeth on behalf of Allstate Motor Club. Visit www.allstatemotorclub.com to learn more about our motor club benefits.
I am super-excited about a new product coming out called the Wag N Go. It is a dog travel kit designed by one of our favorite dog blogging friends in the UK, WagTheDogUK.com. Trina (blogger) came up with the idea when she was visiting New York with her adorable Beagle, Maggie. It started out as just an idea, but with a lot of research and work, it grew into a real and useful product for people who like to travel with their dogs.
I haven’t had a chance to see this Wag N Go product in person yet, but it looks spectacular. Just look at all the stuff that comes with it – a pop-out water bowl, a snuggly blanket, and two air tight food storage bowls. And the best part is all of this stuff can be carried in one handy case.
I can imagine how easy it would be for me to take this with me when I take Maya to the dog park. See, our dog park is pretty big. It is not fenced and it has a ton of trails for Maya and I to explore. The Wag N Go would be great for taking along some water for Maya and perhaps even a snack. And when we get to the water front where Maya could spend all day, I can just pull out the blanket and take a break. I could also use the blanket to dry Maya off so that she doesn’t track dirt into mud as we hike our way back to the car.
The Wag N Go is not available for sale yet. When it does become available, not only do I want one for myself but I also want to make them available on our retail site. (Can you believe we don’t currently have a dog travel kit available? We have several other types of pet travel supplies, but no carrying case.)
When will the Wag N Go be ready to buy, you ask? Sometime around March 2014. But not until the product project has enough funding. It is currently running in a Kickstarter campaign and needs a total of £7,000 to get started. As of January 20th, it has a little over £1,000 and needs your help. By funding this product, not only will you be helping Trina, an innovative entrepreneur, get her first product idea off the ground, but you will also get a little something in return. What it is you receive will depend on how much you contribute.
You can contribute as little as £1 in return for product updates. £14 will get you a treat bag. Other gifts include a doggie gift box, a Wag N Go bag, the entire Wag N Go kit, and more. Visit the Kickstarter page to find out more details. And for those of you in the US like me, you can contribute in US dollars as well. Just don’t forget the conversion rate. And don’t forget that there may be a little extra fee for shipping your item from the UK to the US.
Please, go visit the Wag N Go Kickstarter campaign and lend Trina a helping paw!
Wow, is this the third Friday of the new year already? Time goes by too quickly. Welcome to another edition of the Follow Up Friday blog hop hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. This is actually the second follow up of the year since we did the pet blogger challenge last week. Rather than cover two weeks of follow up, though, let’s just start with the fun pet blogger challenge.
PET BLOGGER CHALLENGE
Pamela with Something Wagging said, “OMD! You can write a blog post in an hour!” Glogirly said something similar, “I’m also very impressed that you can write a blog post in an hour!”
Okay, let me clarify. Yes, it does only take me an hour to actually write a post. But when you add research time into it and the time it takes to not only take photos but to edit them as well, I actually spend a good two hours or more on some posts. Plus, if you add all the time I spend procrastinating…
Also, I want to thank everyone who complimented me and my blog on the pet blogger’s challenge. The feedback you’ve given encourages me to keep on posting. Thanks to the challenge, I’ve also found some new fun pet blogs to follow. :)
A LOOK BACK AT 2013
Ann with Pawsitively Pets mentioned how nervous she is about trying new things outside of blogging, such as a radio show or her own video.
I get that way too. In fact, I bought my video camera and software in February 2013, but I didn’t actually get the video done until November. Part of it was because I was trying to learn the software, but part of it was also because I was nervous. I kept procrastinating because I was afraid my idea was stupid and no one would like it. But you know what? The video may not have lived up to my best expectations, but it didn’t come close to meeting my worst fears either. So just jump on in! I promise, it won’t be as bad as you think it will. And you might even realize you really enjoy it.
NEW FOR 2014
A couple of you suggested I could do a guest post about safety on your blog. I’d absolutely love to! Email me at naturebydawn at gmail dot com to give me an idea of what your readers would like and let’s work something out. Yay! Thank you for helping me and for spreading the word about safety in the car for our furry loved ones.
WORDLESS WEDNESDAY SAFETY MESSAGE
Aimee with Irresistible Pets said, “My Chihuahua Chuy always wants to sit in my lap and whines like crazy when we put him in his seat. I guess I should have started doing that when he was a puppy!”
Good news, Aimee. It’s not too late to modify his behavior. In fact, I wrote an article about this very topic on another blog. Go check it out on Pets Page – Tips to Keep Your Little Dog Off Your Lap.
That’s a wrap! Thank you everyone for stopping by. And thank you again for the compliments and comments left on last week’s pet blogger challenge. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that 2014 continues to get better and better for you. Be sure to check out the other great pet bloggers in the blog hop below.
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
I saw the cutest photo from one of my Facebook friends and asked if I could copy it and share. At the time, I meant to add a funny caption. I didn’t realize he was actually driving this way! I thought the photo was taken when he was parked, but I see blurry background. I hope the person who let me share this photo will understand why I added a safety message rather than a funny caption.
A dog allowed to ride in your lap while you drive might seem pretty darned cute, but it is as cute as it is dangerous. I know the person in this photo knows this and I know this is not an activity usually allowed. So please, no criticizing comments. This safety message is only intended to bring about awareness. Thank you Facebook friend (who shall remain anonymous) for letting me use the photo.
For more cute (and much safer) pet photos check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below.
2013 was a great year, but we want 2014 to be better. Here is what you can expect from Pet Auto Safety.com this year:
* We want to make more funny dog videos of Maya and Pierson in the car. We also want to do some informative videos showing how certain pet travel products work. Many of those videos will also include pros and cons of the products.
* We want to write more informative articles about pet travel, and not just for our blog and not just about products. We are considering guest posts on other blogs, but mostly we want to focus on putting articles up onto websites that are designed specifically for sharing articles and information. Currently, we post articles on Squidoo, Hubs, and Ezine, but we want to branch out to websites that are specific to dogs.
* I’ve joined a group called Women in the Pet Industry Network. I’m hoping this will be a great way to meet and learn from other dog people. I know some of our readers of this blog are members of this group. What do you think of it?
* We’ve changed our business entity from Nature by Dawn, Inc. to Nature by Dawn, LLC. The expenses of running a corporation make sense for a large company but are too burdensome for a small one.
* We are considering whether to open up a new website for outdoor dog gear. After all, many of you traveling with your dogs are going somewhere fun like hiking or swimming. We already have life jackets and back packs on our pet auto safety site. It is just a matter of getting a wider selection and building a new site (not quite as simple as I just made it sound).
* We’re considering whether we should add the AllSafe dog seat belt to our site. It rated very well with the independent crash test study. However, after contacting the manufacturer in Germany, it doesn’t look like it is going to happen.
* I’d like to make a pet car safety infographic, but need some creative ideas.
We have more plans for 2014, but much of it is technical and boring. What do you think so far? Which of these things would interest you the most? Do you know of any pet travel products that you think would make a great addition to our Pet Auto Safety site?
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a pawtastic year!
From a business perspective, 2013 has been a pretty good year for us. There have been some ups and downs, but overall it has been great.
* 2013 started off with the Subaru campaign. It was great fun seeing those cute Subaru dog commercials. The one below is my alltime favorite. And there were some cool prizes given out. This was the first time we had ever done such a campaign. We wouldn’t mind doing more in the future, so long as it is for a dog product we feel is noteworthy.
* We updated the look on our retail site. Pet Auto Safety.com. Our web host did an upgrade forcing us to change our theme, but it really needed a new look anyway. Many aspects of our retail site became much easier when the upgrade took place.
* In July, I was in a minor car accident with my dog Maya. Fortunately, she was wearing her Go-Tech dog car harness and was not hurt at all.
* In August, I had an interview with the Radio Pet Lady. It went well, although I was pretty nervous. Be sure to go take a listen by clicking the red text.
* We only did a few pet events this year, all small and local. There were two Mutt Mixer events held at the Lawrence Humane Society. We also attended Responsible Pet Owner’s Day held at Crystal K9 in Lawrence. And we attended the Dogtoberfest event held at South Park in Lawrence. My dog Maya was attended all events to demonstrate her dog car harness. Pierson couldn’t go because he doesn’t like other dogs.
* I started a pet travel destination series on this blog that didn’t work out. I also did a pet safety Saturday theme. I haven’t done this lately, but I do plan on doing more posts about pet safety in general – not just car safety.
* I’ve made quite a few funny dog memes in 2013. Making captions for the cute looks Maya and Pierson give is great fun.
* We discontinued a few products in 2013. Sadly, the T-Flex pet auto barrier was discontinued by the manufacturer. We’re not sure why because we loved the T-Flex. We also discontinued the Pet Buckle canine seat belt. It was an innovative product when it first came out because it was the only one we knew of that used metal buckles. But other brands have since come out that have been determined to be much safer.
* With that being said, we added several new products in 2013. For seat belts, we added the Ruff Rider Roadie and the ClickIt Utility. Both of these were the top rated in safety during a recent independent study (more on that below). We also added some new Kurgo products, such as the Go-Tech harnesses, the Kurgo towels, and the Kurgo direct connect tether for seat belts. And two new products were added to help dogs who have anxiety when they ride in the car – the Thundershirt for dogs and cats and pet calming tablets from Total Pet Health. And let’s not forget the K9 Car Fence!
* The long awaited report on the crashworthiness of various canine seat belt brands came out in October 2013. The results of this study were a lot more promising than their previous report. The ClickIt Utility was number one, followed by the Ruff Rider Roadie and AllSafe. Bergan did pretty good, too.
* We finally finished our first funny dog video of Maya and Pierson riding in the car. It was quite a learning curve trying to figure out how to use movie editing software. But I had fun doing it and am happy with the resulting videos.
* We had several people share photos of their dogs with us. These guys and gals are all pretty adorable, aren’t they?
Thanks for taking the time to review our 2013 year! Stop by tomorrow to see what our 2014 plans are for Pet Auto Safety.com.
This post is inspired by the pet blogger challenge hosted by Amy with Go Pet Friendly. For this challenge, she has asked us to answer 12 questions. Here they are, along with my answers.
1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
I started blogging in June 2008 in order to promote the pet travel products on my PetAutoSafety.com website. At first I was intimidated by blogging but now I love it. I love it so much that I started my AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com just for fun in September 2009.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013 that made you most proud.
Thanks to you, traffic has doubled in the past year. Also, when people have questions about traveling with their dogs, they search Google and usually find one of my informative blog posts.
3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?
This is the first year I am participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge. I have been more involved in the dog blogging community this past year.
4.a. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?
In the past, my posts have been very technical. I am learning to be more fun, spontaneous, and have been trying to bring a more personal element into my posts. I’m not a faceless business hiding behind a 1-800 number. I am a dog lover dedicated to providing the best for my beloved furry family members. And to prove it, I feature Maya and Pierson in almost every post. These two and my dearly departed Sephi are at the heart of why I run this business.
4.b. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
How on earth do you all keep up with reading and commenting on everyone’s posts? How do you manage to post something nearly every day?
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
The cuteness of Maya and Pierson. Seriously, how can you resist?
6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
Writing a post can sometimes take an hour. Taking and editing photos can take quite a bit of time as well. Reading and commenting on other blogs takes at least an hour, if not more. Other social media sites take another hour or so. Browsing the internet for pet travel news, looking at other products, gathering information for posts, and so on can take anywhere from an hour to several hours, depending on how much time I have. I don’t think I will change the amount of time I spend on promoting my blog, just the way I spend it. I would like to learn how to be more effective.
7.a. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
By the number of comments. Page views are great too, but comments tell me people either learned something from my posts or enjoyed reading them.
7.b. How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
When I don’t get any comments and only a few visits.
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
Cute stuff, insightful posts, posts that ask questions at the end.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
Yes. Generally for the products I sell, but occasionally for other products. The dog seat belt giveaways have been a huge hit. The recent figurines giveaway, not so much.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
I find that if I force myself to blog when I am burnt out that my content is lame. By taking a week off every now and then, I get recharged and write great content.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
My goal is to gain a more regular following and spread the word about travel safety for our pets. I would like for my blog to be the go-to place for anyone who has any questions about pet car travel. Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews has recommended a great book to help me with promoting my blog. I just received it from Amazon and will be reading it soon. Thanks Flea!
One more quick thing… Today is Pierson’s Gotcha Day. After checking out the blog hop for the pet blogger challenge, hop on over to my AmericanDogBlog.wordpress.com blog to read a tribute to my fluffy boy and to say Happy Gotcha Day.
While you’re here reading this, let me ask you all some questions:
- When you visit my blog, what inspires you to comment?
- Which of my posts do you enjoy reading the most?
- What would you like to see more of?
- Any tips on how I can reach my 2014 goals?
Thank you for stopping by everyone! And thank you Amy for hosting this blog hop. I look forward to reading everyone else’s answers on their pet blogger challenge.
Welcome to 2014! A new year means getting a fresh start. It means resolving to do what you’ve been putting off. You and your dog are going to get fit, you’re going to eat better, and you’re going to do more fun activities together. When making all these resolutions, don’t forget to include the safety of your best furry friend.
Use a Pet Travel Safety Device
You know, I can’t mention pet safety without mentioning dog seat belts or pet travel carriers. If your dog rides in the car, it is a good idea to make sure he rides safe. If he won’t wear a car harness or ride in a crate, at least consider covering the floor of the back seat or putting up a barrier to separate the front and the back of the vehicle. The Backseat Bridge is a great way to do both. By putting this in your car, you can help keep your dog from getting thrown onto the floor or into the front seat. The barrier might even keep him from trying to climb in the front.
Don’t Leave Your Pet in the Car
Resolve to never go anywhere with your dog where you have to leave him alone in the car. In spring and summer, you have to worry about the vehicle trapping heat. In the fall and winter, you have to worry about the car acting as a freezer. Plus, there is a danger of theft. And don’t even tell me about the sorts of people who hate animals and like to maliciously tease them.
Keep Head and Paws Inside the Vehicle
Also, make sure when your pet rides in the car that he doesn’t put his head or paws out the window. If you have to stop or swerve suddenly, your dog could choke or get thrown out of the vehicle. It’s happened, people. It really has. Flying road debris could also hurt your best friend’s eyes or nose. Not only are there small pebbles to worry about, but also trash that people toss out their windows.
Don’t Ride in the Back of a Pickup
And for goodness sake, don’t let your dog ride in the back of a pickup. This is becoming illegal in more and more places. And for a very good reason.
Wear a Dog Life Jacket
Besides protection in cars, there are other safety things to consider for your pet. If your dog likes to swim or ride in a boat, make sure he wears a safety vest. Even though my Maya can swim, I generally have her wear a life jacket when she swims in a lake. This is because she loves swimming so much that I worry about her swimming too far after a stick or a ball. I worry about her getting too tired in the water.
Protect From Weather
Keep your dog safe then they are outdoors in adverse weather. Adverse weather includes rain, sleet, snow, and even the sun. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure he has shelter. Shelter can help protect him against all sorts of weather. Always make sure he has fresh water. This is vital, but even more so in the heat. Protect paws from hot pavements and icy sidewalks, have short-coated dogs wear coats or sunscreen, and if hiking in nature watch out for wild animals and insects.
Wear a Lighted Collar
If you walk your dog at night, be sure your dog wears a lighted collar or reflective safety vest. If not your dog, at least yourself. Well, don’t wear a collar but at least carry some sort of light with you. You may see a car coming because of their headlights, but they can’t always see you.
Get Safe Chew Toys
If your dog is a chewer, resolve to find more dog toys that are indestructible. Resolve to supervise your dog whenever he plays with certain toys. Keep things that are unsafe to chew or eat out of his reach.
There are a lot of other pet safety things to consider, but I can hardly think of them all. Besides, pet car safety is my specialty.
What do you do to protect your best friend’s safety?
Welcome to the first Follow Up Friday of 2014, hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. I hope you all enjoyed the end of 2013. Ours was quite adventurous. Let me do a quick recap.
On our road trip from Kansas to Texas, Motel 6 saved us from having to traverse a dangerous ice storm in Oklahoma.
Sue with Talking Dogs said, “We got hit hard with that same ice storm and I can’t imagine being out on the road!” and “We’ve stayed at Motel 6 when we’ve traveled with our dogs and have always found the rooms to be simple, but clean (and not smelly).”
Ann with My Pawsitively Pets said, “That is so awesome! I too have certain images of Motel 6 in my head. It’s probably all about location and age of a motel too.”
It must be true because Jodi with Heart Like a dog said, “We stayed at one in St. Louis and it smelled musty.”
Even if our room happened to smell musty, I’m still grateful for Motel 6. Our room was under $60 and we had a safe place to stay. I feel bad for Sharon with G8 Canine Dogs. She says, “Here in the UK it is impossible to find motels etc that are pet friendly. Glad you made it safely with your dogs.” That’s awful, Sharon. I always thought the UK was ahead of us in regards to being pet friendly.
WINTER ROAD TRIP
A lot of comments on this post were about how cute Maya and Pierson are when they cuddle. Sephi and Maya did not cuddle. Sephi hated to be cuddled with. She was probably much like Delilah and Sampson from Heart Like a dog. Jodi said, “Sampson and Delilah do not cuddle with each other. In fact, one of them usually growls if the other touches them while their sleeping.” Silly! That’s definitely not Maya and Pierson. They are quite the pair. Here are more cuddle puppy photos.
This is just a quick recap. I will do a more detailed one later this month. Pierson had two seizures in 2013. The last one was in May so these seem to be just isolated incidents. Thank Goodness!
I got into a car accident in 2013 with Maya in the car. She was wearing her dog seat belt, of course. The accident was fairly minor, but it caused my car to be considered totaled. I managed to get it repaired, but I felt better about taking our road trip to Texas this holiday in my husband’s car.
The long awaited crash test results for dog seat belts came out in 2013. I was disappointed about Kurgo, but glad we had decided to start selling the Ruff Rider Roadie. We also began selling the safest dog seat belt brand – the ClickIt Utility. It has been consistently sold out and the manufacturer won’t have any more until mid to late January!
I finally finished making a video of Maya and Pierson in the car. This was the first episode and I plan on doing another one very soon.
I’m happy about all our new followers in 2013. Our commenters, subscribers, likes, followers, circles, etc. seem to have doubled this year. And it is all thanks to you!
Vizify made a great video year-end recap regarding Twitter followers.
Thank you everyone, for joining me on the first Follow Up Friday of 2014. I hope you all have a very wonderful 2014!!!
Dawn with Maya and Pierson