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
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?
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding what to get for your dog when you want to protect him in the car. It’s not just a matter of selecting the safest product. What might be the best for one person and their pet may not be what is best for you and yours. Here are some things to consider.
SAFETY vs COMFORT
You want your best friend to be both safe and comfortable. However, the safest travel gear is not always the most comfortable. For example, the ClickIt Utility has been deemed as the safest canine car harness in 2013 by the Center for Pet Safety. But it is also the most restrictive, making it uncomfortable for dogs who insist on trying to move around in the car. If your dog is like this, you may want to consider a less restrictive brand. The Ruff Rider Roadie is just one notch under the ClickIt in safety so it still offers protection, and it’s not as restrictive.
Chew or Escape Proof?
Keep in mind, too, that if your dog is uncomfortable he may try to wiggle or chew out of a car restraint. Car harnesses are not chew proof. And none are entirely escape proof either. Some might be more difficult to wiggle out of than others, but if a dog is determined enough he will break out, or hurt himself trying.
Harness vs Crate
Another safety versus comfort concern is regarding a car restraint versus a crate. Is a safety harness safer than a crate? This has not been officially determined, but it would stand to reason that a secured pet travel crate can keep your dog from being a distraction and from getting thrown from the vehicle, just like a durable seat belt can.
So when debating whether to get a harness or crate, consider your dog’s comfort. Some dogs won’t like being restrained in a harness while others would hate riding in a travel carrier. And some dogs won’t like either, which means using a car barrier or other pet travel safety product might be ideal for you. These other kinds or products won’t provide as much safety, but at the very least may help to keep your furry best friend in the back seat.
Thankfully, the chances of you being involved in a collision are small. And if you do get in an accident, be thankful that most accidents are minor. Census.gov reports for 2009 that 0.6% of all car accidents in the US were fatal while 27.6% had nonfatal injuries, and 71.9% had property damage only. Where we may not be badly injured in a fender bender, an unrestrained dog can be. He can break his leg when he gets tossed between the seats, get severe damage to his nose if he hits the dash, get bodily injured when he gets thrown at the windshield, get squished because he is on your lap between you and the steering wheel, or get choked because his head is out the car window. All these possible injuries could be minimized or even eliminated with even the most basic restraint, crash tested or not.
TYPE OF VEHICLE
If you have a small car and a big dog, having him ride in a crate may not be feasible. Or if you have an SUV and you want your pet to ride in the cargo area, keep in mind that not all canine car harness brands can be used in the cargo area.
In general, the safest products are also the most expensive. Manufacturers making safety gear have invested heavily in quality materials and testing, thereby making merchandise that might be out of one’s price range. But paying less does not always mean making a compromise on your best friend’s welfare. Bergan has a relatively inexpensive harness which passed crash testing at the small and medium sizes (25lbs and 45lbs). Pet carriers also tend to be more expensive than harnesses, especially larger crates.
Do you want to keep your dog safe, or do you just want to keep him from trying to climb in the front seat or climb onto your lap? Perhaps you only plan on taking short trips around town and not on the highway. Maybe your dog doesn’t get to go for a ride very often. Safety is important, but your intended use is also an important factor to consider. You may not want to spend a lot of money on the safest seat belt for dogs if you don’t plan on using it that often.
EASE OF USE
What is easy to use and what isn’t is relative. If you’re not used to putting on a harness, a car harness can seem complex. The ClickIt Utility with its three attachment points can seem even more convoluted. A carrier may not be easy either, especially when you consider how you are going to strap it in and secure it in your vehicle. However, whichever method you choose, it gets easier each time.
These are just a few of the factors people think about when they look for a pet travel safety product. Which features do you consider?
Imagine your best little friend riding at your side without being a distraction. The window is down, the breeze is flowing in, and your dog’s nose is to the wind. If you have a pet 30 pounds or less, then he can greatly benefit from a pet carseat. Safety is an obvious benefit and there are two aspects of safety to consider. Plus, there are two other benefits of dog car seats.
The first safety aspect of a pet carseat is that your dog is tethered in and can’t distract the driver. The second aspect is that since your dog is tethered in, he won’t fly forward into the dash or onto the floor in a sudden stop.
Most dog car seats come with a tether. The tether is to be attached to your pet’s harness, not his collar. For ultimate safety, use a dog car harness in conjunction with the safety seat instead of a regular walking harness.
The Sleepypods do not have tethers but this is because your dog (or even your cat) is enclosed inside of it. This pet carseat is then secured in the vehicle with the safety belt of the vehicle. Sleepypods have also had crash testing.
Important note regarding pets riding in the front: Front passenger side airbags are not safe for dogs. Some airbags are designed to always deploy in the event of a front or rear end car accident while others will not deploy if there is not enough weight in the seat. So be sure to check your vehicle specifications regarding how the airbags work.
With all the turning and stopping you have to do, wouldn’t it be a more comfortable ride for your little dog if he didn’t have to continuously brace himself? Imagine making a quick stop, and instead of your pet sliding off onto the floor, he slides forward into the partition of his safety seat instead. The Snoozer and Lookouts have the most cushioning.
GIVE A BOOST
Some pet safety booster seats allow your furry friend to look out the car window. Sometimes, being able to see out the window can help with car sickness. Looking out the window is also a fun activity. Keep your pal entertained so that he doesn’t pester you.
Most dog car seats are for small dogs, 30 pounds and under. But there is at least one for larger dogs and that is the Full Bench Lookout Perch from Snoozer. Snoozer has a number of other different styles for smaller dogs, including the Lookout series and console seats. Sleepypods are for smaller dogs and even cats. There is also the Skybox and other booster seats from Kurgo. Check them all out and keep your best friend safe in the car.
My Maya loves the snow but she is super-excited that spring is here again. Spring means more trips to the dog park! Before we went for a visit yesterday, I considered some pet safety tips that I needed to keep in mind.
I considered bringing Maya some goodies for training, but decided against it. If it turned out to be too many dogs there, I didn’t want envious dogs jumping in me and trying to search my pockets. Nor did I want to start a fight, as some dogs may try to fight over food.
This same logic applies to toys. Some dogs are possessive of toys so it usually is not a good idea to bring toys for them to fight over. Even though Maya is not possessive, bringing toys might also mean her toys getting stolen.
Vaccinations Up to Date
A lot of dogs visit the park, so there is a greater chance of spreading sicknesses. Not only is Maya vaccinated against rabies, distemper, and the parvovirus, but she also has a vaccination for bordetella. Bordetella is not as dangerous as the other, but it is more common.
No Running with Sticks
Maya loves sticks and she always finds one. And I always get so worried. I’ve heard first hand of dogs running with a stick, the stick getting caught in the ground as they run, and the other end of the stick getting jammed into the back of the dog’s throat. Luckily, the dog I heard of this happening to was okay (after hundreds of dollars at the vet), but it could have been far worse. I know our dogs love sticks, but please be careful.
The only dog park in my area is unfenced. Luckily, Maya sticks around close so I don’t worry about her too much. But anything can happen. What if she sees a wild rabbit at the dog park? Will she run after it and out of my sight? Or will her training kick in? Maya is trained well when it comes to the recall, but she’s never been tested to this extent. If you’re not sure how your dog will do, find a fenced dog park. And always work on your dog’s recall. Coming when called should be something you always work on your dog with, even if it seems as though they’ve mastered it.
How to Handle Dog Fights
This is a tough one. Our instinct is to step in and break it up. But there are ways to break it up without endangering yourself. Here is a great article at ModernDogMagaine.com.
Watch Your Dog
Watching your dog’s behavior is your responsibility. If your dog looks uncomfortable or showing signs of getting agitated, it is your responsibility to remove your dog from the situation before it gets out of hand. It’s nice meeting other dog people, but don’t let your conversations distract you.
Keep Away from the Gate
If you’re at a fenced dog park, try to stay away from the entrances. There are two reasons for this. One, your dog will be less likely to get out and escape when other people go in and out. Two, consider the state of mind of the other dogs coming in. They are excited and tensions are high. When a dog in that state comes in and is immediately confronted by another dog, it might aggravate the situation. Keep your distance. Let other dogs come in and settle down.
Aggressive Dogs Should Stay Home
You might be wondering why I didn’t mention Pierson going to the dog park. Pierson does not do well around other dogs, so I am not taking any chances. The last thing I want is for some small dog to get hurt or some person to get bitten. You might think that bringing such a dog and keeping him on the leash will help, but it doesn’t. In fact, keeping him on a leash might make him feel even more insecure and make him more aggressive.
Pick up Poop
Dog poop is gross so pick it up. It is not just a common courtesy; it is a safety issue because poop carries bacteria and other germs.
Consider Your Small Children
If you have a small child, be aware of their safety too. Be on the lookout for big or rowdy dogs that might accidentally knock your child down. And be careful of your child being around dogs that are playing. Your child could be accidentally bitten or scratched.
Wear Outdoor Clothes
This isn’t so much as a safety issue as it is a reminder. A dog might jump on you. A dog might accidentally run into you and knock you over. A dog with muddy feet might step on your shoes. A big dog might come along and slobber all over your pants leg as he walks by. Know and expect this, and dress accordingly.
Maya had a great time at the dog park. Being a Lab, the first thing she did was find a body of water (which also happened to be a mud puddle). So we even walked a distance to the river so she could go swimming. At the area of the water, I also had to be careful of garbage. While swimming, Maya found a plastic bottle full of liquid. Unfortunately, trash is common at almost every park. So if you see it, perhaps for pet safety and for the consideration of others you can pick it up like Maya did and throw it away.
What else can you think of for dog park safety? Enjoy the spring weather and be safe!
Win a $25 Gift Card On Our First Monthly Photo Contest From PetAutoSafety.com
Have you traveled somewhere fun with your pet? Share a photo with PetAutoSafety.com and enter to win a $25 Visa gift card!
There are three simple steps to win:
1. Like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/petautotravelsafety.
2. Follow us on Twitter @naturebydawn.
3. Email a photo of your pet on vacation at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “October Pet Photo Contest” in the RE section, attach 1 .jpeg image, and tell us about your vacation.
The contest entry below asks you to tweet about us and leave a blog comment but these two items are not required and do not increase your chances of winning. To win, you must complete the three above steps (exception may be made for those not on Twitter). The winner will be judged by us based on the quality of your image, the aesthetics of the photo, how apparent it is that your dog is at a vacation spot and not at home or near home, and how happy and/or cute your dog looks in the photo. We will allow our definition of vacation to be as simple as a one-day trip such as a hiking expedition or day at the beach.
1. Sorry, US entrants or people with an AE address only. We are not able to mail your gift card outside the US (unless it is an AE address) and if you opt for a $25 discount from our site instead we are not able to ship outside the continental US (unless it is an AE address).
2. One entry per person, even if you have multiple pets. If you don’t win this time, you can enter our next month’s giveaway even if it is the same photo, but the same photo cannot win more than once in a 12 month period.
3. You must like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Please don’t unlike us after the contest. We will have more contests and giveaways, will give discount codes and sales, and share fun and interesting stuff.
4. Contest entry must be received by October 31st, 2012. Winner will be determined November 1st or 2nd (depending on the number of entries) and announced on this blog on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012.
5. Your Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter must be current at the end of the contest, October 31st, 2012.
6. Since the prize is a gift card, it can be used anywhere that accepts gift cards. Our PetAutoSafety.com website accepts gift cards, however, if the item you are purchasing is over $25 the gift card won’t work since you can’t make partial payments on a website. If you are a winner and wish to have $25 off an item from PetAutoSafety.com, please let us know so we can send you a discount code instead. The discount code will only be able to be used once and will only be usable for a limited time.
7. The photo must include your pet and should include indications that you are somewhere other than at home or at the local park.
8. Employees of PetAutoSafety.com and Nature by Dawn, Inc. are not eligible.
Terms & Conditions:
1. We will not share your personal information or email address.
2. We will not send spam email or email you for any other reason other than that related to your contest entry.
3. By emailing us your photo, you agree to let us use the photo on our social media sites and for promotional purposes.
4. You understand and accept that the contest is judged subjectively and our winner decision is final.
5. We promise not to judge with favoritism so if you are a regular commenter on our blogs or have purchased from us in the past, don’t mention it in your contest entry because it won’t help.
6. Although we encourage that you travel safe with your dog, it is not required that your photo show your dog traveling safe in order for you to win. Whether you use a pet travel safety device for your dog when he rides in the car is not the subject of this particular contest and so will not increase your chances of winning. We do appreciate that you travel safely with your pet, though! Perhaps this will be the subject of a future contest.
7. By entering the contest, you agree to all the rules and terms & conditions.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Perhaps a few words on this nearly Wordless Wednesday photo… My Maya is so cute but why the circle with the red line? 1) Don’t leave your dog alone in the car (heat and theft danger), 2) No dogs in the front seat (airbag danger), 3) Don’t let your dog put their head out the window (danger of flying debri), 4) Buckle up your dog (safety concern).
Many dogs love to ride in the car. You see them often with their noses to the wind and a happy doggy grin on their face. So you know dogs can enjoy a car ride but perhaps you are not sure how to get your dog to enjoy it too. Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, here are a few tips to help help your dog enjoy the car ride.
First, you need to consider using a pet auto safety device such as a pet car seat, dog seat belt, or pet carrier. If you use a pet auto safety device for your pet, you need to allow your pet time to get used to it. If you are using a pet car seat, for example, allow your pet to use as a bed for a short time before putting it in the car. If you are using a dog seat belt, put the safety harness on the dog (without the buckle strap attached) and allow them to wear it around the house (with supervision). If you are using a crate, crate train your pet first.
Tip #1 – To Help to Prevent Vomiting or Voiding in the Car
* Do not give them anything to eat for an hour or two before the ride.
* Don’t allow them to drink excessively.
* Allow your dog to take a potty break just before going for a ride.
Tip #2 – Take Short Fun Trips
Once your dog is used to the pet auto safety device, start taking them somewhere they will enjoy. This will help them learn to associate a car ride with these special places.
* Go to the park.
* Visit the pet store.
* Take your pet with you to visit a friend.
* Take your pet with you when you are only going to a drive-through such as at a bank or fast-food place.
* Go to a coffee shop or restaurant where you can sit outside.
Never take your dog someplace where you will have to leave them unattended in the car. The inside of a car is not safe for a pet, even if it is not hot outside or the windows are rolled down. Not only are there dangers, but it could also cause your pet to get lonely, anxious, or nervous. If your dog already fears a car ride, leaving them alone in it is not going to help.
Tip #3 - Distract Your Pet
* Give your dog a familiar object like their favorite toy or blanket.
* Talk to your dog while you drive, but don’t use a soothing voice. Talking to them in a soothing voice may confirm their thinking that the car ride is a bad thing. Use a regular tone of voice and talk as if nothing is wrong. However, every dog is different. Some dogs may get more excited by the sound of your voice, in which case you should ignore them. Try both talking and silence to see which works best for your pet. Try not to scold your pet. Positive reinforcement is the best way to make a car ride enjoyable. Do not let your talking to the dog distract you from your driving. It is also recommended that you do not pet them while you drive. Not only can this distract you from the road, it may also encourage the dog to pester you for more attention.
* Try playing the radio for your pet. Soothing music may have a calming effect on some pets. But most importantly, the sound of music will help cover the loud and unfamiliar sounds of the road. A passing semi, for example, may be a familiar sound to us, but the rumbling of these big trucks can be terrifying for a dog who has never heard them before.
* Open a window. Even if the loud sounds of the road are a problem for your pet an open window may provide a distraction of new and interesting smells for your dog. Most dogs seem to love this aspect of car rides. Your dog should not be able to stick their head out the window while using a restraint, but they should still be able to catch those exciting scents.
* If possible, have someone sit in the back seat with your dog. They can provide a distraction that you, as the driver, can not. This person, however, should not use a soothing voice and comforting manner. Remember, you want your dog to think that riding in the car is no big deal.
Being safe in the car is of utmost importance for you and your loved ones. New parents comb through products looking for the next big improvement to protect their children. There are hundreds of child protective seats available that are designed for children of varying ages which help reduce the impact of any car accident.
It goes to reason that this same product should be available for dogs which obviously cannot be secured in a safety device designed for human use. Having a special seat that can protect your dog is imperative for those that care about the safety of their most beloved pets. Dog car seats are an incredible innovation.
Even though I only live four hours from St. Louis, I have never been there. So I made plans to visit this 4th of July weekend. The first thing I had to do was decide whether or not I was going to take the dogs. I considered a boarding kennel, a pet sitter, or leaving my dogs with a friend. But because it was a holiday weekend, these options were going to be hard to come by. So I decided to take them with me. Once this was determined, I needed to find a hotel that would allow my pets. After some research online at www.PetsWelcome.com, I found that the Sheraton generally accepts pets.
Once the hotel was booked, the next thing was to prepare for the trip. I had to not only pack for myself, but for the dogs as well. I packed their food bowls, water bowls, leashes, food, doggy biscuits, doggy poopie bags, crates, dog beds, and most importantly, extra water. I made sure they were in good health (both just had check-ups at the vet a couple weeks ago), that their tags were secure on their collars and up to date, and that my car was prepared for them. The back seat of my car has a car seat cover and I added the Kurgo Backseat Bridge which would give them extra room and keep them off the floor. My dogs wore their pet auto safety belts. The strap which buckles into the seat belt receptacle of the car was extended a little so that they had more room to move around but were still safe and secure.
On the way to St. Louis, we stopped at the rest stops along the way. There were three of them, each about 40-60 miles apart. Every interstate highway in the US has rest stops. I made sure the dogs only did their business in the pet area since the rest stops had a place designated specifically for pets. And I made sure I picked up after them. I also gave them water at each stop. Both dogs did great. No one got car sick. Maya was bored and tended to move around a lot, but because of her pet seat belt and the Extend-A-Seat, she was not able to bother me while I drove.
At the Destination
Both dogs were well-behaved at the hotel as well. Maya was a little hyper and wanted to greet everyone but I kept a hold of her leash and made sure she did not jump on or lick anyone. When I left the hotel and had to leave them behind, I kept them in their crates as required by hotel policy. I did not get any reports about them so I assume that they did not bark after I left. I did not always leave the dogs in the hotel when visiting St. Louis. I took them walking even went to a couple of nearby parks.
All-in-all it was a great trip. We all had a good time and we all kept safe. You and your pets can have a safe and pleasant time traveling as well. Just remember the four basics: Accommodation, Preparation, Travel, and Destination.