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2014 Pet Blogger Challenge

Author: MayaAndPierson
January 10, 2014

Pet Blogger Challenge Badge

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.

Me and Pierson February 2012

Dawn and Pierson – taken February 2012

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.

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August 31, 2013

Last Saturday, I talked about the reasons why a dog should be restrained in the car. The post mostly focused on the benefits of a pet car harness. But let’s face it, not every dog will wear one. Plus, there are a few legitimate concerns about dog seat belts. So here are some other pet travel products to consider:

Straps for Pet Carriers

This Pet Travel Carrier secured in the car with kennel straps.

Pet Carrier
Have your pet ride in a pet carrier. Make sure the carrier is secured in the vehicle so that if the car goes out of control, the dog crate stays in place. You don’t want it and your dog to be thrown about. Whether a secured travel crate is as safe as a pet car harness is not known. Not much testing has been done on pet travel carriers. However, I imagine that a secured crate is probably just as safe (strictly an opinion). Traveling in this way covers all the reasons discussed last week about why it is better to have your dog secured in the car.

Maya Behind Outward Hound Pet Car Barrier

This is a cloth barrier. A pet car barrier can also be metal or a pet net barrier.

Dog Car Barrier
A dog car barrier can help keep your dog in the back seat and from being a distraction. Depending on the barrier, it may keep your dog from being ejected out the front windshield. However, it can’t keep your dog on the seat and it can’t keep him inside the vehicle if someone opens the door, a window breaks and he jumps out, or he hangs his head out the window and jumps or is thrown out.

Maya Showing Off Her Favorite Pet Travel Products

Maya has more room to stretch out on those long road trips.

Backseat Bridge
I can’t tell you how much I really love the Kurgo Backseat Bridge. I have two big dogs and there is no way Maya can stay comfortably on the back seat, even with her pet car harness on. The seat is too narrow and Maya is too big. And she is too energetic to sit still. So covering the floor of the car helps keep her from being thrown onto the floor. If you’ve read some of the news about how dogs should stay on the seat when wearing their dog seat belts, you can see how difficult it would be to restrain a dog to such an extent that he wouldn’t get thrown forward or onto the floor. The Backseat Bridge can help because it covers the floor. The Backseat Bridge also has a barrier that covers the center console area. If your dog is not buckled in, at least the bridge can keep him from getting thrown onto the floor and possibly keep him in the back seat so that he is not a distraction. A dog car hammock has the same benefits as the Kurgo Backseat Bridge.

Dog Pierson K9 Car Fance

Pierson is testing the K9 CarFence.

K9 CarFence
This is a brand new product. There hasn’t been much testing on it yet. But it sure looks promising. The K9 CarFence keeps your dog from being a distraction and it helps to keep him in his seat.

Pierson Breeze Guard Car Window Screens

Pierson is looking out the window fitted with the Breeze Guard car window screens.

Breeze Guard Car Window Screens
This is another product I really love. I used to let my dogs put their heads out the window. After all, they really love it. But one time, Sephi yelped. I think she got hit in the face with something, probably a small pebble. Thankfully, it didn’t hit her in the eye or nose. She wasn’t injured. But it made me think that perhaps letting her have her head out the window wasn’t such a good idea. Also, a friend of mine on Facebook told me about how a friend of hers had her dog thrown out the car window. He was hanging out having a good time when they suddenly had to swerve their car. Their poor dog flew out and ended up getting run over by the rear tire. And, one final story, I had a dog years ago that actually jumped out the car window. Luckily, we were driving slowly down an old dirt road when Huckleberry saw some cows and jumped out to get at them. He was okay. It shocked us both. But all these incidents will never happen again because of my Breeze Guard car window screens. BTW, despite having screens on my windows to allow the breeze in, I never ever leave my dogs unattended in the car.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your pet but aren’t sure about the safety of pet travel products, there are a lot of alternatives to consider. A pet car harness and pet carrier have a lot more safety benefits, but every dog and every situation is different. Consider your various options and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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December 1, 2012

I’ve tried two new pet travel products recently that I would like to share with you. I purchased both of these products in anticipation of our family trip to Texas. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my husband and I, our two friends, and our two dogs took a road trip from Lawrence, Kansas to Kyle, Texas to visit my family. These two products were to help make our trip better.

Travel Calm by Earth Heart
I purchased Travel Calm from a company called Earth Heart in hopes that it would help keep my Maya from being so excitable during the trip. If you haven’t heard about how my Labrador can be in the car, watch this video of her on You Tube called “Cute Dog Whining in the Car“.

Travel Calm seemed to really work. Maya was relatively quiet the entire trip! There might have been a bit of whining at the very end of the trip when we were almost home, but that was nothing compared to her usual excited whine. Seriously, it was like the Maya in that video and the Maya on the trip to Texas were two different dogs.

I put Travel Calm on Pierson too because the product said it could help with car sickness. Pierson has been known to get sick in the car. But he didn’t get sick at all on this trip. He is good in the vehicle and always calm so it was difficult to tell if the Travel Calm helped him relax or not.

Petz on Board Sign from Extremely Boards
Because of my own delay in purchasing this product, I did not receive it in time for the trip. But I did receive it when we got back home and I did have a chance to try it. It was great! The sign attaches with suction cups. I put it on my car Wednesday, went to a coffee shop drive-through with my dogs, and left the sign on my car overnight. It never fell off but was easy to remove when I took it down the next day. The board is a thin 6″ x 6″ diamond and made of durable plastic.

And just look at the sign. It is not at all extremely boring. Extremely Boards is awesome! Maya & Pierson’s photos on the sign are perfect. You can’t see the bottom of the sign but it lists the phone numbers of emergency contacts for Maya & Pierson. Should we get into a car accident where we have to be rushed to the hospital, emergency personnel have the means to get help for Maya & Pierson too! I really love this product.

Please note, I was not compensated for these reviews in any way. These products are not available on our PetAutoSafety.com website, but I sure would like for them to be. :)

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We like to try to use our own photos instead of the manufacturer photos for our pet auto safety products. However, the photos for these pet travel products don’t always work out for various reasons. Here is a wonderful collection for the Wordless Wednesday blog hop:

 

This photo didn’t work out because Pierson was hidden behind Maya.

This photo isn’t so bad. We just didn’t use it because you can’t see the Bergan logo on Pierson’s dog car harness.

 

This is a friend’s dog, Roxy. This photo didn’t work out because you can’t really see that Roxy is strapped into the Kurgo pet car seat. And the orange car seat lining is crooked.

 

This photo is okay, but its not excellent. It makes for a cute photo, but not a product photo. The lighting just isn’t right – too much dark and too bright highlights.

 

I just don’t like how I look in this photo. Also, Pierson is looking away and you can’t really tell that he is wearing his dog seat belt. Maya looks good, though.

 

This is Sephi on the heated seat cover. The lighting in this photo is definitely not good. Sephi is the only thing that makes this photo look good.

 

You can’t really tell from this photo but Sephi & Maya are passed out in the back seat on one of our long road trips from Kansas to Texas.

For more pet photos from other great pet bloggers, check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop at Blog Paws.

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Driving Miss Daisy Crazy

Author: MayaAndPierson
September 8, 2012

According to Distraction.gov, at least 18% of injury car accidents in the US in 2010 were caused by the driver being distracted. Driving while talking or texting on a cell phone is probably one of the biggest driver distractions today. But cell phones are not the only types of driver distractions. Other distractions include playing with the radio or GPS, eating, grooming, or even kids and pets.

If I were Miss Daisy, my Labrador Maya would definitely drive me crazy. You can see how excited she is about riding in the car in this video. Imagine how much worse she would be if she could move around more. But Maya can’t bother me in the car because she is wearing a pet car harness. Yes, she can still whine, but she can’t try to jump in the front seat.

If your dog drives you crazy in the car, consider both your and his safety by keeping him restrained. You can use a pet car harness like Maya or keep him in a crate that is secured with kennel straps. You can also use devices like a pet net or other type of vehicle barrier. There are several pet travel products to choose from. Find one that is right for you and your dog.

Remember, stay safe and don’t let your dog drive you crazy in the car. Don’t talk or text on your cell phone either. It is not just your life at stake. It is your pet’s, other passengers in the car with you, and other people on the road. Does your dog drive you crazy in the car? If so, what have you done or what would you like to do to help him?

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March 24, 2012

 

One of our customers shared this photo of their dog with the Hatchbag pet car net.

We always love to hear from our customers. We especially love it when they share pictures of their pets. We recently received two great reviews for our pet travel products.

Viv in Canada purchased a Hatchbag pet car net. We don’t usually ship to Canada because of the expensive shipping, but an exception was made because Viv originally purchased the pet car net in the US but it was too big. So we exchanged for a different size and sent it to her in Canada.

“Got the net – see attached photo.  my puppy is VERY happy !  Thank you !”

Thank you Viv! You puppy must be the big cuddly kind.  :) Thanks for sharing your experience and for sending us a photo (above).

****

Charlotte in Arkansas purchased a Lookout pet safety seat. She has not sent us a photo yet, but here is what she has to say about her new pet safety seat.

“We received the pet safety seat and after some adjustment (pinning the harness strap to the vehicle seat belt and less slack on the harness strap) to prevent jumping out – Lucy and I are enjoying our rides together much more safely. She loves sitting up so high and looking out the window in the back seat. Good recommendation from our point of view! Thank you!”

Thank you, Charlotte! We are glad Lucy is riding safe and that she loves her new pet safety seat.

****

Have you purchased any pet travel products from us? Please email us at naturebydawn@aol.com with your experience. Please feel free to share a photo too!

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March 10, 2012

 

Maya Showing Off Her Favorite Pet Travel Products

Maya Showing Off Her Favorite Pet Travel Products

Are you taking spring break with your dog? If so, don’t forget to keep him safe in the car when you travel. There are a lot of great pet travel products out there that your dog will love. And if he doesn’t love them, well, at least he will be safe.

BreezeGuard Window Screens
The weather is warm so roll down those windows and put your nose to the wind. But keep your pet safe too. The BreezeGuard window screens allow you to roll down the windows and let your dog get a whiff of the air, but they don’t let him put his head out the window. This keeps him in the car in the event of an emergency car maneuver or auto accident. And it also keeps your dog from being hurt by flying road debris. The BreezeGuard window screens are custom made to fit your vehicle and so can take 2-3 weeks to make. It may be too late to get them for spring break but I’m sure you will still be taking your dog for rides in the to the dog park this spring and summer.

Kurgo Backseat Bridge
This is one of my most favorite pet travel products, next to the dog car harness that is. Even though my dogs wear a seat belt for dogs, the tether on their harness is long enough that they can still move around. The Kurgo Backseat Bridge gives them that room by covering the floor of the car and, in a sense, extending the seat. This is an especially great product for long road trips. Plus, your dog won’t get thrown on the floor in a sudden stop.

Seat Belt for Dogs
Since seat belts can save people’s lives in a car accident, they can save your dog’s life too. Fortunately, there are a lot of seat belts for dogs out there on the market. Many have been tested for strength and durability but only one brand, Pet Buckle, has had them crash tested. But if your pet won’t wear a seat belt for dogs, there are other safety pet travel products you can use.

Pet Travel Crate with Kennel Restraints
If your dog doesn’t like to wear a dog car harness, secure them in a pet travel crate instead. Then secure the pet travel crate with kennel restraints. The kennel restraints from Pet Buckle are made from the same strong material as seat belt webbing. Plus they have been crash tested. They work by wrapping around the pet travel crate, then being secured with the seat belt system of your car.

Other Important Things to Remember for Your Pet
Don’t forget your pet’s food, water, leash, pet tags on your dog’s collar, poopie bags, and an emergency kit. It also helps to keep a copy of your pet’s vet records with you and an emergency phone number for your veterinarian. These may not be specifically pet travel products but they are important none-the-less.

Unfortunately, I don’t get a spring break. But the dogs and I will still be taking some trips on the road this spring and summer. Maya and Pierson wear a seat belt for dogs, we use the BreezeGuard window screens and Kurgo Backseat Bridge. What sort of pet travel products does your pet use? Where are you taking your dog for vacation?

(Special note on above photo: My dog Maya is wearing a sea belt for dogs in this photo, it is just difficult to see.)

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 Petmate Pet Taxi Kennel, For Small Pets 7 to 9 Inches Tall, Blue Air/Spa Teal

Here are some other great pet travel products that we have heard about. For various reasons, we do not have them available on Pet Auto Safety.com. But you can read a little about them here and purchase them on Amazon.com.

Solvit Pet Net Barrier
We like how this pet net barrier goes almost all the way to the top. It appears easy to install. And it looks like you can see through it. It has 45 reviews on Amazon and an average of 4 out of 5 stars. Most people say it works great. The few complaints from these reviews are that if it bends, it is difficult to straighten. Some say that it obstructs their view while others say they can see through it just fine. And as with all pet net barriers, some dogs have been able to circumvent it.

Traveling With Your Pet: The AAA PetBook
Amazon has this great preview feature which allows you to look through the first several pages. From what we can see, this book is very informative. It includes tips on traveling with your pet, covers some emergency situations, talks about dog friendly places and lists lodgings and campgrounds in the US and Canada. The “Traveling with Your Pet: The AAA PetBook” has 28 reviews on Amazon and an average of 4 out of 5 stars. The few bad reviews were that the listings for hotels and such were not very complete and that the lodging information is best found online and by calling the hotels directly. By the way, I will be purchasing this book soon and will do a full review later.

PetMate Pet Travel Crate
This is one of the pet travel products I really wish we had on Pet Auto Safety. One of the safest ways to protect your pet is to put them in a pet travel crate, then to strap that crate in with kennel restraints. We have kennel restraints but the only crates we have on our site are wire crates. The plastic crates from PetMate would be perfect for pet travel. We are in the process of offering PetMate Pet Travel Crate products in the future. But for now you can get it on Amazon. It has only three stars on Amazon and 82 reviews. The negative reviews said that the plastic was too flimsy for actually carrying the crate while your dog is in it. We recommend that you put the empty crate in your car, strap it in, then put your dog in the crate.

Pet Gear Travel Lite Pet Ramps
We used to have pet ramps on Pet Auto Safety.com. But they were very expensive. So when our supplier went out of business, we stopped selling them. Pet ramps are still relatively expensive pet travel products. But we have found one on Amazon for a reasonable price. Pet ramps are perfect for older dogs who have a difficult time getting up steps or into vehicles. This particular product has four stars on Amazon. The people who gave fewer stars claimed the ramp was too steep, their dog was afraid of it, or it was difficult for their dog to get a grip on the surface. Don’t get this ramp if your vehicle is really high off the ground. The grip issue can be solved with a beach towel and the fear issue can be resolved with training.

Travel Calm Chewable Tablets
Does your dog get nervous in the car? These Travel Calm tablets may help. This product has four stars on Amazon but only nine reviews. Of the nine, two were bad reviews. One person said their dog wouldn’t eat it and another person said it didn’t help their dog. My guess is that since there are seven other great reviews, this product will help most dogs but may not help some dogs. For a product under $10 it is worth a try.

I must confess that we have not tried these products out ourselves. But they have good reviews on Amazon. And they are products which we may consider having on Pet Auto Safety.com in the future. For now, you can visit our Amazon Pet Travel Products Store for these great pet travel products.

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February 11, 2012

kurgo_black_hammock.jpgAuto Zip Line for a Dog Car Harness 2 

The manufacturer of our Kurgo brand pet travel products is so confident of the quality of their products that they have instituted a lifetime guarantee on almost all of their products. Since we carry many of the pet travel products from Kurgo, we get to pass on this fantastic Lifetime Guarantee.

The Kurgo pet travel products that fall under this lifetime guarantee include the Tru-Fit dog car harness, the Auto Zip Line for a dog car harness, Car Door Guards, Kennel Straps (also called Carrier Keeper), Backseat Barrier, Backseat Bridge, Skybox Booster pet car seat, Cargo Liner Cape, the Wander Hammock, and others. All the ones we have just listed here are available at Pet Auto Safety.com.

The best part about the Lifetime Guarantee from Kurgo is that it covers all sorts of damage. Not only does it cover natural wear and tear, but it also covers chewing damage and soiling damage. So if your dog chews his dog car harness or leaves an ugly poo stain on the Wander Hammock, then Kurgo will repair or replace it.

There is a nominal fee for this service. The Tru-Fit dog car harness, Auto Zip Line, Car Door Guards, and Kennel Straps will cost $6 to repair or replace while the Backseat Barrier, Backseat Bridge, Skybox Booster pet car seat, Cargo Liner Cape, and Wander Hammock costs $10 to repair or replace. Please note that the shipping cost is also charged. But the shipping cost is not inflated. Kurgo will charge the exact same shipping charge to you as it costs for them to ship it. No packaging or handling fees.

So if you have one of these Kurgo pet travel products and need it repaired, we will get you in contact with Kurgo for instructions. They will need you to complete a return and exchange form and ship the Kurgo pet travel product to them. It doesn’t matter how long ago you bought it. And it doesn’t matter whether you bought the Kurgo pet travel product directly from them or from any of their distributors (including Pet Auto Safety.com).

To find these great pet travel products from Kurgo on our website, enter ‘Kurgo’ in the search field. Please note that other pet travel products may show up in the search. Clicking on the specific pet travel product will bring you to the product description page. This page will tell you if that particular pet travel product is from Kurgo and if it has the Lifetime Guarantee.

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January 17, 2012

new-pet-travel-products-in-my-car-004.JPG

I love this product! In the past, I have used a similar product from Outward Hound. When I found out about one from Kurgo, I had to try it out. Kurgo makes very high quality products including the Tru-Fit Smart dog car harness, the Wander Hammock, and the Kurgo Cargo Cape. These products are a bit pricy as compared to similar products but they are far more durable.

The Backseat Bridge has lots of other great features that the one from Outward Hound didn’t have. The flaps that go up from the back of the seats help to keep my dogs from stepping in the crack between the Backseat Bridge and the back of the seat. The barrier in the center of the Backseat Bridge is sturdier and my dogs can’t push it down to get their heads on the center console. The Backseat Bridge is waterproof so that muddy paw prints and other liquids are easy to clean. The Backseat Bridge also matches better with your car’s interior. The one from Outward Hound only came in blue. But the Backseat Bridge is black on one side and khaki on the other, so you can choose which color is best for your car. I chose the khaki and matched it up with a brown houndstooth pet car seat cover.

The Backseat Bridge from Kurgo attaches easily. Simply wrap the top straps around the front seat headrests of your car. Then wrap the bottom straps around the bottom part of your seat, between the back and cushion. When you tighten these straps, anyone sitting in those front seats won’t even notice them.

The Backseat Bridge and other pet travel products from Kurgo and other companies can be found on Pet Auto Safety.com. Stay tuned for reviews on some of our other new pet travel products.

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