Fun and/or Instructional Videos on Pet Travel Products
Although we’ve slowed down a bit on the video-making projects, we have no plans to stop. We want to make more. We want to make better videos that show how to use the dog car harnesses, how to install other pet travel products, and other instructional videos. We also want to do a couple more funny videos of Maya and Pierson riding in the car. Is there a video you’d like to see us make? Is there a product you’d like to see more of? Do you have any funny ideas for Maya and Pierson’s Car Talk Adventures?
I’m working on a fun project where I need to take a lot of photos of my dogs in the car while wearing their dog seat belt harnesses. I’ve added a caption to two of Maya’s photos. Is she cute, or what?
Can you think of any more funny captions that would go along with Maya or Pierson riding in the car?
More and more people are traveling with their pets and thinking of their safety. And as such, 2014 was a great year for new (or new to us) and innovative pet travel products. My dogs Maya and Pierson got to try out a few of them.
Pet Dek – We used the Kurgo Backseat Bridge for years and loved it. But then something better came along. The Pet Dek is flatter and much sturdier.
Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat – Shortly after we got the Pet Dek, a company contacted us about their new seat extender, the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. Although I love the Pet Dek, I love the Flat Seat more! I think Maya and Pierson do too.
Car-Go Pop-Up Shelter – My dogs Maya and Pierson are too big to try out the Car-Go Pop-Up Shelter, but I love the concept. It’s a great way for smaller dogs to ride in the back seat of the car or in the cargo area of the SUV. The Car-Go can even be used in the home.
Allsafe Dog Car Harness– This is not a new product. It has been around in Europe for years. The AllSafe dog car harness is German engineered and has been crash tested both in Europe and the US. Its quality is phenomenal and I absolutely love it. It looks great on my Maya.
Variocage – This is another German engineered and crash tested product. It has been so well designed and so thoroughly crash tested that no other product on the market can come close to its quality. I don’t have an SUV so I haven’t been able to try the Variocage, but I really want to someday.
ClickIt Sport Dog Seat Belt – Remember the ClickIt Utility? It was rated as the #1 safest dog seat belt by the Center for Pet Safety in 2013. It is still #1 today. But it can be a little difficult to adjust and to use so Sleepypod improved it. The ClickIt Sport came out in December 2014. Doesn’t my dog Pierson look great in it?
These products look great, don’t they? I can’t wait to see what 2015 has to offer in regards to pet travel safety. Happy New Year!
I posted a little bit about my road trip with my dogs, Maya and Pierson, on my American Dog Blog, but I thought I would share a few more details here. Namely, what I did to prepare and how we made sure our travel was comfortable and safe.
TO TAKE THE DOGS OR NOT TO TAKE THE DOGS
A few months ago, I made arrangements to see an alternative medicine doctor for my fibromyalgia in Wichita, Kansas. It is a five-and-a-half hour drive so we opted to drive. As always, we had to take the dogs into consideration. Despite living in Iowa for only a short time, we have met people we could trust to care for our dogs if we left. However, my husband couldn’t go and as a female I didn’t want to travel alone. And so I opted to take both dogs with me.
I would have two doctor visits on two consecutive days, so we needed a place to stay. The medical office gave me a list of nearby hotels. However, they either didn’t allow pets at all, only allowed pets under 20lbs, or charged over $100+ per night. And so I chose the trusty Motel 6. I knew they were both inexpensive and pet friendly. And after our recent pleasant experience at a Motel 6 in Oklahoma, I hoped the one in Wichita would be the same. I was not disappointed. Check out my reviews of this Motel 6 on my American Dog Blog from both the link above and from the August 29, 2014 post.
> Don’t Leave Dogs Alone in Hotel Room
One thing I did not take into consideration during my stay at Motel 6 is that you are not supposed to leave your pets unattended in the room. I should have made doggie day care arrangements for Maya and Pierson, but didn’t think about it.
Most hotels have this rule about leaving pets and I understand why. When some dogs are left alone, they bark or will do damage to the room. Also, there could be problems when the cleaning staff tries to enter the room. Thankfully, Maya and Pierson are familiar with traveling and do well when left alone in a strange place. Pierson had his no-bark collar on. I also put a do not disturb sign on my door so the cleaning staff would not enter.
I won’t tell you everything I packed for myself, but I will tell you I made sure I had plenty of food and drink for the road trip so that I wouldn’t have to run into a convenience store and leave my dogs alone in the car. For Maya and Pierson, I packed enough dog food for two nights, water, their food and water dishes, leashes, dog car harnesses, vet records, pet first aid kit, Petz on Board sign with emergency contact info, dog beds, poo bags, treats, and the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat.
I opted to take my husband’s car instead of mine. My car is a 1998 model and has been salvaged twice so I don’t want to drive it that far if I don’t have to. I covered the entire back seat of my husband’s car with a sheet and set up the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat. I also connected the tethers of their dog car harnesses to the seat belt housings. Maya wore the Kurgo Go-Tech and Pierson wore the Ruff Rider Roadie. (Maya usually wears the ClickIt Utility dog seat belt, but it is so restrictive I didn’t want to use this one for such a long journey.)
> Calming and Preventing Car Sickness
About 20 minutes before the trip, I applied Travel Calm from Earth Heart to both Maya and Pierson. Maya needs it because she is so excited in the car and drives me nuts with her happy whining. Pierson sometimes gets car sick and Travel Calm also helps with this.
Both dogs did very well on the drive to Wichita, but Maya was a pesty-poo on the way back home. I’m not sure if she was uncomfortable or what, but the Travel Calm did not work this time. She whined so much that I made several stops thinking perhaps she had to go to the bathroom. She didn’t. In any case, it took much longer for us to get home.
> Don’t Leave Dogs Alone in the Car
I didn’t have to stop for a restroom on the drive to our destination, but I had to stop for myself on the drive back. I hated to leave my dogs in the car, but I had no choice. Pets are not allowed in public restrooms, period. Luckily, I pulled up next to some nice ladies and asked if they could keep a short eye out for my pups. They were happy to oblige. I wouldn’t always trust this tactic, but you gotta do what you gotta do and I like to think that most people are relatively trustworthy.
Have you taken any recent road trips with your dogs? Please leave a comment below. If you’d like to do a guest post on your pet travels, email me.
Maya just turned 7! Except for the rain, she’s pretty happy about it. Seven years and still a puppy.
She’s been promoting safety for dogs in the car with dog travel gear since 2007. Her birthday wish is that all doggies travel safely. And she wants you to use discount code, dogbirthday, on PetAutoSafety.com.
(Please note, the discount code does not apply to some products. It does apply to all seat belts and most travel carriers.)
Thank you for stopping by again everyone! As you’ve noticed, I don’t do Barks & Bytes every week. That is because I don’t want to inunduate you all with advertising! I have two dog blogs and this one is mostly promotional. What can I say? I’ve got two pampered pups to support! (If you’re interested in my non-promotional dog blog about Maya and Pierson, check out my personal blog, http://americandogblog.wordpress.com/)
PORTABLE PET TRAVEL FLAT SEAT
I’ve probably posted about this new pet travel product a dozen times on my social media sites already but that is because I really love it. I’ve always loved its comparable product, the Backseat Bridge, but the Portable Pet Flat Seat is a hundred times better! True it is more expensive too, but you get what you pay for. And I really got my money’s worth. Next week I’ll compare the flat seat with the other two seat extenders I have.
Despite the fact that I’m always on the lookout for new pet travel products, I did not actually find this product. The woman who designed the Portable Pet Travel Flat Seat (Deb) found me. She is a dog lover who noticed that her big dog sometimes comes off the seat even though he is wearing his dog car harness, and so designed this product to give him more room to spread out and be comfortable. The black dog in the photo, by the way, is her dog Howie.
Anyway, Deb called me one day while I was walking Pierson and asked if I would advertise her product on my site. Just advertise, I asked? What if I try to sell it too? She had never heard of dropshipping and so I explained it to her. And a relationship was born. In exchange for some graphic designs (because I am an artist too) I received a Portable Pet Flat Seat of my very own. Here is a video of me installing it for the first time.
As you can see, the installation took me less than 10 minutes. It might have taken me less time if I had read the instructions first!
Maya is featured in the video. And just so my dog Pierson wouldn’t be left out, I took some photos of him on the pet travel flat seat as well.
What do you think? Isn’t he handsome? Silly question, right? Of course he’s handsome!
PET TRAVELER’S COMMENTS
Thank you Jodi, Linda, and Lindsay (with That Mutt) for being regular commentors on my pet travel blog. I really appreciate your feedback. And I want to also apologize to Jodi for the fact that her comments do not always get posted right away. For whatever reason, Jodi, your comments are going to my spam folder! I have no idea why. It shouldn’t be doing that for people I have approved comments for in the past. And so it took me three days to notice you left a comment and for me to approve it. Since I don’t have Captcha, I get over 100 comments in my spam folder a day. If I don’t check my spam comments every day, they can build up fast. Luckily, Jodi, I found both your comments on the Barks & Bytes #8 post through the 500 or so spam comments that had built up. I’m sorry it took me so many days to find. And I’m sorry comments have to go through moderation. But I’d rather search through 100 or more comments a day than utilize Captcha.
PET TRAVEL SAFETY ARTICLES
My new writer, Patrice, has written another great pet travel article for me. Check out Plan a Great Pet Friendly Trip.
Thanks for stopping by for the Barks & Bytes blog hop! Have a great rest of the week and a great tail-waggin’ weekend!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
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.
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.
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
Thanks for stopping by everyone!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.