Lifestyle

3 ways to save money on pet care

If you were awake at 7:50 this morning and happen to have been watching San Diego 6, you’d have seen me trying with varied success to get a very sweet and nervous Saint Bernard to eat some treats. You know what they say about pets and kids. But that’s OK, because Gabana was still a precious prop to our perhaps less entertaining but still very important topic, saving money on pet care. Here’s the tips I shared:

1. Don’t skimp on preventive care.

Pop quiz: what is more expensive-

  • Regular dental cleanings on healthy teeth once a year
  • One set of extractions on a majorly diseased mouth, complete with antibiotics and an echo to check out that heart murmur the bacteremia ended up causing over time.

I brought in some Minties as an example of a home care item you can use in between cleanings. Love them within caloric reason, but again- cleanings at the vet are just an important as cleanings at your dentist.

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Early detection of problems like diabetes, kidney failure, and cancer results in lower vet bills, and more importantly, a healthier pet.

2. Ask for a written prescription

Yes, veterinarians often charge more for some meds than what you can get it for at Target or Wal-Mart. They pay more for them in the first place than the big pharmacies. The tradeoff is convenience, which is fine when you are getting one prescription but can add up if your pet needs regular medication. We all get that.

Ask for a written prescription. The veterinarian should provide one on request. Sometimes they will price match, too. The primary concern of our office is to make sure your pet gets the care they need, and the price of meds is often the difference between getting treated and going without.

3. Make your own treats

I’ve covered this extensively, from cupcakes to  donuts and jerky, but making your own treats can save money and be a ton of fun as well as give you lots of control over ingredients. Making dog treats is how I got my kids interested in cooking.

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Words cannot express my deep love for Fido’s Frosting from K9 Cakery, which is how I made the donuts above. If you recall, Kekoa like to eat this straight from the bag.

There’s only so much you can fit in a quick segment so I didn’t get to cover other topics like pet insurance, but we just spoke about that here a couple of weeks ago anyway. If you have any other tips that’s helped you save without losing out on quality care for your pet, I’m always up for ideas!

Filed: Blog, Cooking, Daily Life, Lifestyle Tagged: ,

The best day of the year is here!

It’s National Dog Day, a day to celebrate the love and bond we share with our canine companions.

It’s hard to top. What could possibly be better than National Dog Day?

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Having your birthday fall on National Dog Day. Especially if you’ve always proclaimed that dogs are pretty much the best thing ever. It is also, in a strange twist of fate that I cannot tell if it is coincidental or not, is also National hot dog day, which is a fact I’m not as excited about so I will choose to ignore.

But it’s my birthday! And the fact that it’s National Dog Day is a welcome distraction from the fact that I am now old enough that birthdays are officially depressing, so Brody and I are going to have a great walk and have some treats and I may, in a fit of generosity, even give him a bit of hot dog, even though I won’t partake myself because I watched that episode of “How It’s Made” and eew.

In another wonderful coincidence, just yesterday GoPro released their new Fetch dog harness. I’ve been waiting for this for years. Some of you may remember my failed attempts at Brody cam, when I actually commissioned a person on Etsy back when you still could do that to make me a helmet harness for the dog. He looked like a Spaceball. It didn’t work. So we waited, and finally, our patience has been rewarded.

Heck yes I have one. To make things even scarier my husband bought himself a drone for his birthday so we have all the tech. Brody cam is COMING. Be warned.

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ETA: Have also just been informed that today is also Women’s Equality Day, a celebration of the 19th Amendment ratification on 8/26/1920. The day just keeps getting better and better!

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Lifestyle, Pet Gear Tagged: , ,

Pet insurance- the good, the bad, the somewhere in between

I admit I am biased about pet insurance. I like it, mostly. Clients who had it were, in my experience, much more likely to approve necessary treatments. That dog with a case of happy tail who wagged it so hard and so fast he got a nasty deep infection that ended up necessitating a partial tail amputation? Insured. Hit by car? Insured. From my perspective, it allowed owners to focus on the pet’s immediate needs and get them taken care of.

I also liked it because I didn’t have to do anything to get it taken care of, other than fill out a brief form.  The owners paid me upfront, and were reimbursed by their company after the fact. If the owner and the insurer had a disagreement about what should or should not be covered, it wasn’t something I had to get involved in. It was nothing like human medicine. The summer before I started veterinary school, I actually worked the front desk in an internal medicine MD practice and good lord, those staffers spent probably 33% of the day dealing with insurance issues.

Source: Trupanion.com

Source: Trupanion.com

Just a few years ago, I could list three pet insurance companies, tops. Now there’s almost too many to count, with good policies and bad policies and fine print a mile long and exclusions even longer, especially if you have a bulldog in which case you might as well just get a second job.

Some pay a flat percentage of your bill. Others use benefit schedules, and specify exactly what amount they will pay per procedure. Most reimburse you, but I know of at least one that is rolling out a program that will pay veterinarians directly. Some cover preventive care. Some cover accidents. Some cover breed related illnesses, and others don’t. Tooth extractions? May or may not be a pre-existing condition. WHO KNOWS.

It’s gotten so confusing, even for me, that when people ask me what I think all I can say is, “Yes, go for it, but with caution.” Caveat emptor. But even then, even knowing all there is to know and asking all there is to ask, I’m hearing more and more people tell me they just spent five hours on the phone with an insurance rep trying to figure out how a newly diagnosed endocrine condition counts as “pre-existing.”

If this sounds familiar, that’s because that’s what all of us have done with our health insurers at least once, right? It’s confusing, and getting even more so the more players that enter the field. All companies are not created equal. I think most people completely understand the need for exclusions and limits, but for goodness sake let people know when they sign up what, exactly, they are signing up for.

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While lawmakers in California had hoped that pet insurance would fall under the auspice of state insurance regulators, it hasn’t happened, and people with complaints have found they were pretty much out of luck. Fortunately, a new bill that already passed the legislature and is headed for the governor’s desk should give consumers a good deal more protection.

AB 2056 will make California the first state in the nation to specifically pass regulations about the pet insurance industry, separate from its current designation as miscellaneous property and casualty. It specifies the need for clear language about co-pays, exclusions, waiting periods, and caps- all the stuff people run into issues with now.

This is good news for everyone: the excellent insurance companies out there whose reputation is being sullied by the shyster groups, veterinarians who are able to better care for pets, and most of all the clients and pets who stand to benefit from better access to care.

So let’s hear it: what’s been your experience lately? Have you been blindsided or pleased with your insurance coverage?

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Health, Lifestyle Tagged: ,

Live from Vegas: Pet Products You’ve Got To See

FTC Disclosure: featured products provided review product and/or compensation for inclusion in the Product Spotlight.

If you’ve ever been to a trade show, you know how easy it is to get overwhelmed. A pet show like SuperZoo is an utter cacophony of sounds, sights, and row after row of many things that all look the same after an hour: treats and collars, treats and collars, rinse, repeat.

szIt’s hard for products to stand out in a crowd like that, but when Dr. Andy Roark and I hit the convention floor the last couple of days that is exactly what we were looking for. Fortunately for us, we found it.

Like two wandering corporate souls in sensible shoes and dark suits, we crisscrossed the vast plains of the Mandalay Bay convention floor searching, talking to people, and petting booth dogs until we wound up with three fantastic standouts for the Inaugural Roark and Vogelsang SuperZoo Product Spotlight. Here they are:

1. Tech of the Year: Voyce collar

Remember that moment in Up when Carl says to Dug, “I wish he could talk” and Dug’s collar says, “Hi there”? The idea of our dogs being able to speak has transfixed us humans for years with the possibilities of what they could tell us: Are you hurt? Are you hungry? Are you tired?

While the Voyce collar can’t actually make your dog talk, it is a huge leap forward in the ever growing market of wearable tech for dogs and so far, the closest thing we have to speaking their language. The Voyce collar’s technology and interface tracks and trends over time not only activity level and calories burned but heart rate and respiratory rate.

Great Dane Taz-2216-2_noStethoscope

As someone vastly invested in the concept of providing better care for senior pets, one of the messages I keep trying to get across to pet owners is this: ‘he’s getting old and tired’ is only the tip of the iceberg. If your tired old man has a resting heart rate through the roof and pants 24/7, guess what- he may be in pain. This data, which up to now were only accessible by a person with a stethoscope, can be collected at home over time and accessible to both the owners and the vet.

To add value to the experience, Voyce teamed with education resource provider LifeLearn to ensure owners have access to a wide variety of educational resources to help understand the data and make all of us better pet owners through improved knowledge. The dashboard features not only your individual pet’s collected data but advice and articles from a large panel of  animal experts.

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There’s a reason it won the PC World/Tech Hive and Yahoo! Tech “Best of CES 2014″ at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. It’s nice to see the tech world finally going to the dogs.

The Voyce collar will be launching before the holidays- interested owners can sign up on the Voyce website to be notified when it is available for sale online. In the meantime you can join the ever growing community on Facebook of techie dogs waiting for their chance to have a Voyce. -JV

2. Toy of the Year: Tuggo Dog Toy

It always makes me feel good to watch a big man dance. That’s the same feeling I get when I watch a big, strong dog play wildly with a toy. I think that’s why I am such a fan of the Tuggo Dog Toy.

The toy is wonderfully simple in its design. It’s a large plastic ball with a rope through it. The ball can be filled with water to add weight and cause a “tugging” motion. Dogs grab the rope, pull the ball around, and toss the entire contraption into the air.

To appreciate what Tuggo is, you’ve just got to see dogs at play with it. Tuggo’s Facebook page  is covered with videos of dogs enjoying the toy. Here’s the video that originally caught my attention:

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I love large dogs, and one of the greatest struggles I see pet owners having with them is getting them enough exercise. While small dogs can often work out inside the house or in the back yard, large dogs may not have the space to adequately stretch their legs. If a product like Tuggo can get these big dogs out and moving and burning calories, then I’m all for it. And who doesn’t like watching big dogs frolic like puppies?

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The ball is available in red, blue, and green colors, and in 10-inch diameter and 7-inch diameter sizes. Tuggo Toys can be purchased through their website  and shipping is free.   -AR

I asked founder Adam Harrington what inspired the Tuggo, and he told me “watching my dog play with a bowling ball.” All of you people asking me for a TOUGH toy? Here it is. -JV

 3. Lifestyle Product of the Year: Kinn Kleanbowl

As a busy mom, I have to tell you: things that make my life easier make me very happy. We eat on paper plates a lot around here. While I am tempted by the ease of doing the same for my pets, if you’ve ever watched a dog try to eat out of a paper bowl you know that just ends in upended bowls wedged under a chair and food embedded in the kitchen floor, so stainless steel it is.

Here’s the bad news: according to NSF International, pet bowls are the 4th germiest place in the house, teeming with E. coli, Salmonella, yeast, and mold. This is exactly what you would expect when you leave a bowl of meat products sitting around. People? We’re lazy and don’t wash the bowls nearly enough, and that is just how it is.

Here, in an elegant form, is the solution: the Kinn Kleanbowl, a stainless steel rim that sits on top of a sturdy, compostable bowl made from recyclable yet sturdy and waterproof (yes!!) sugar cane fiber. Yup, you can use it for water too, so you eliminate that algae-goo that builds up if your bowl doesn’t go in the dishwasher every day.

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My cat eats a lot of wet food and Brody get rehydrated raw, so we know all too well how dirty and crusty bowls get. That being said, oily kibble residue isn’t much better. In addition for being a boon to time starved people like me, the Kleanbowl is a great solution for busy vet clinics who need their staff to spend less time scraping uneaten leftovers off in the trash and more time replacing the catheter the dog in cage 4 chewed out, yet again.

Klean Bowl top view

There is a small but persistent voice in my head that wants to know how this would also work with toddlers and spaghetti.

Clean. Convenient. Compostable. This is a bowl for  the people. The Kleanbowl retails for $19.95 and 50 count refills are available for $14.95 at the Kleanbowl website. To keep up on all the innovative products from Kinn including what I believe to be the world’s finest pill splitter, check out the Kinn Facebook page. -JV

 

Any of these jump out to you as must-haves? Stay tuned. Andy and I are going to be running a giveaway very soon!

Filed: Blog, Features, Lifestyle, Pet Gear, Reviews Tagged: , , , ,

Moo-eauty is in the eye of the beholder

Ever since my first $5 velvet tiger bought at a flea market when I was 12, I’ve been a fan of animal art. My mother, whose taste runs more to lighthouses and anything by Thomas Kincaid, was flummoxed but tolerant, as long as I kept it all in my room and away from her floral landscapes.

People who come to my house these days are unsurprised at the amount of animal art we have. Sure, it’s not the only thing we have on our walls, but in the grand scheme of things one could easily deduce we like little creatures. Wooden giraffe. A bronze cat. A painting of Emmett. What I did not have, however, was a cow. It wasn’t something I thought about, or laid long nights awake thinking, “You know what I need here in this house? A depiction of a bovine.” 

And yet when I saw it, I had to have it.

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I’m not sure what exactly about this cow (her name, according to the title, is Geraldine) appealed so much to me, but her face just instantly made me smile. It’s that combination of guilelessness, mild interest, and derpiness that I can’t resist. She has Brody’s eyes and Kekoa’s nose.

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HELLO I AM A COW

My husband, who had already moved past this piece in the small beachside store and was looking at candlesticks, saw me going back and forth, back and forth in front of the painting as it hung out by its lonesome out on the front porch.. He looked at the price tag. It was priced to moo-ve. Geraldine had been out to pasture for a bit, apparently.

“You like it, don’t you?” he asked.

“I do,” I said.

“Where would you put it?” he asked.

“I don’t know. Maybe the hallway outside the kids’ rooms?”

A few hours later, I left Geraldine reclining in the entryway while I gathered the kids, who would surely delight in this whimsical piece of colorful art soon to be greeting them every morning.

“What’s THAT?” asked my son dubiously.

“It’s a cow,” said my daughter. “I think.”

“YES it’s a cow,” I said. “Isn’t it cute?”

“……um, sure,” said my daughter. “Where are you going to put it?”

“In your hallway!” I said, as my son wrinkled his nose. “Or did you have a better idea?”

“It should totally go in your bedroom,” said my daughter. “It’s perfect for there.”

My son agreed. “We were going for a Frozen/Minecraft thing upstairs,” he reminded me. I think it’s fair to say tastes skip a generation. My husband looked briefly horrified at the thought that this would not be secreted upstairs but would in fact greet him each and every morning, staring him down as he brushes his teeth, but to his credit he recovered quickly.

Clearly, Geraldine and I are meant to be together, a face only a veterinarian could (does) love. I have placed her assertively across from the doorway to the bedroom so the second you open the door you are greeted with Geraldine’s quizzical face.

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Nobody puts Geraldine in the corner.

Everyone’s a critic these days. Ah well.

 

Filed: Blog, Lifestyle Tagged: ,

What to Say to Someone in Mourning

This morning, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Joanne McGonagle over at The Tiniest Tiger for a Google Hangout on the topic of pet loss. I had this whole long post about how easy it is to get wrong and how hard it is to get right, but rather than go through the long sordid tales of all the times I’ve said the exact wrong thing  I thought I would instead sum up what we, along with all the wonderful participants, concluded during the course of the talk. Some of the statements are specific to pet loss, but really, most of them are pretty universal when it comes to grief.

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WORST THINGS TO SAY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS LOST A PET

1. How old was he?

While it may be an innocent question, it sort of implies a gradient of allowable grief depending on the age of the pet. Three? Tragic. Thirteen? Well, he was old, so it’s not quite so sad. Losing a pet is sad and awful no matter the circumstances; pets who lived a long life had that many more years to seal into your heart.

2. Aren’t you over it yet?

Clearly, they’re not. Making a person feel like there is something wrong with them for feeling sad will only force their sorrow into isolation. There’s no official grief timeline.

3. Come on, it was just a dog/cat/bird. I can get you another one this afternoon.

A pet is not a yoyo, an easily replaceable object. Nor is the pet a human, but that does not mean the attachment the person felt to their pet wasn’t just as deep, nor their grief easier to bear. And that individual will never be replaced.

4. Too bad you didn’t try fish oil/more chemo/crystal therapy.

Second guessing what a person did in the days leading up to a pet’s passing serves no purpose other than to add guilt to what they’ve already piled on themselves. This is not a teaching moment; nothing will change what happened. If you can’t say “You did the right thing”, don’t say anything.

5. My dog had cancer too- all of my dogs! And my hamster!

While it’s human nature to want to empathize through sharing similar experiences, beware of the Pain Olympics- being the person who has to turn someone else’s grief into their own, and then top it. “Oh, you’re sad? Well, not as sad as I WAS back in 08! Boy was that a doozy!”

6. He’s in a better place.

The only place we wanted him was here, with us.

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BEST THINGS TO SAY TO SOMEONE WHO HAS LOST A PET

1. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Simple, right? Just acknowledge their pain. Those around a bereaved owner may hesitate to say anything out of discomfort, not knowing what to say, or trying to avoid having the topic come up at all. Make no mistake, they haven’t forgotten that they are sad, they’re just stuffing it down as hard as they can because that is what one is supposed to do.

2. My favorite memory is:

I love this one. Share a memory, something their pet did, or how their fur felt, or how they always leaned up against your leg. It is so lovely to have another person share with you an impact, no matter how big or small, your pet had on them too.

3. (Silent hug)

If you can’t think of any words, just go for the hug. It is another form of powerful acknowledgement.

4. Take as long as you need.

Grief is not a straight line that decreases in a defined percentage each day. Think of it more like a receding tide, waves roll in, then go back out, then roll up again, and pull back, a little bit further each time. There are good days and bad days, and having a meltdown 6 months after the fact in a Barnes and Noble just happens sometimes. It just does.

 

I’m happy to explore this topic more, as I think there is so much to learn to help us be better pet care providers, better caretakers, and better friends. If you have more suggestions as to things you’ve heard that were good or bad, please share them below.

Filed: Blog, Lifestyle, Musings, Picks of the Litter Tagged: , , ,

My husband and Her: A neato love story

herI have no one to blame but myself, of course, for the events that have transpired since Christmas.

I was the one who brought her in, invited her to come into our home and get to know the place. My husband said it was the only thing he wanted this year, so I went with it, albeit with some trepidation.

You should have seen his face when he realized what I had done. “Wow!” he said. “Finally!” The children looked on in confusion. Brody ran away. Only Penelope, the newest addition to the fold, approached her with anything resembling curiosity.

Her name was Rosie, and she was here to stay.

I don’t consider myself a jealous person under normal circumstances, but it’s hard to compete with someone who plays their role with such aplomb. I even took out my Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery cookbook and made what may be the most amazing chocolate chip cookies in existence in an attempt to regain my rightful place in his affections: “See!” I say, holding one out. “Aren’t they wonderful?” He takes a bite, nods in assent, and before I can say another word in she comes, swerving around me to clear the floors. She’s loud in her approach. You can’t miss her. Immediately his attention is gone, focused now on something newer, shinier. He smiles in admiration as she saunters away, the crumbs vanished.

Rosie is, if you haven’t figured it out yet, our new Neato robotic vacuum. I thought I was buying a household appliance. What I was getting was an obsession.

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Every day, my husband greets us after work: me, the kids, Rosie. “What did you get done today?” he asks, then turns to Rosie. “And how did she do?” He surveys the house. “Wow. Wow. This is, like, the best thing ever. Is the dustbin full? Is your brush stuck?” He turns to me. “Did you check if she was OK and if she needed anything? Did you check the dustbin?”

She is thorough, I’ll give you that. She follows Brody around and grabs more off the floor in one afternoon than I seem to manage in several gos around the house. She doesn’t get annoyed at and ignore the space under the coffee table where furballs go to retire. She flushes them out like an angry beagle.

Living with her is sometimes a drag. She drones on and on, vRRRrrrRRRRRR. She always seems to be underfoot right where I need to be. Brody is petrified of her. My husband won’t stop talking about her. One day, when I lost all patience for her and her distracting antics, I hissed “Choke on a carrot, you dumb robot.”

Later than day, I came home from the grocery store, expecting the usual roar but instead being greeted with a disquieting sense of silence. The floor in the entryway, sparkling clean since her arrival, had the thin sprinkling of daily dust we were accustomed to in our pre-Rosie days. Brody looked at me with an expression I couldn’t read. I heard her, finally, a quiet, desperate chirping. I followed her cries for help to the kitchen.

She had choked on a squirrel.

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Immediately chagrined, I disentangled the two battling toys and dispatched Rosie to the entryway, while I spent the time I would normally be dragging my Dyson around working on the book. When my husband got home, he didn’t even need to ask. “I emptied the dustbin. Twice.”

My husband posted about her on Facebook a few days ago, and one by one, the men all came out of lurking. “I have one too.” “Me too.” “It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.” Our friend J just bought posted that he bought two. One for each floor of the house, or one for each dog, not sure.

I’d be more insulted at the apparent poor vacuuming skills this implies were it not, if I must tell the truth, an entirely correct assessment. We have come to an agreement, Rosie and I. My husband can gloat and lavish praise all he wants, as long as she keeps those hairballs away.

*No, I have no affiliation with Neato. This post is all me.

Filed: Blog, Lifestyle, Musings, Pet Gear, Reviews Tagged: , ,

On the twelfth day of Christmas AND another giveaway!

My doggie gave to me:

12 Yummers Yumming!

12-months-of-dog-biscuits

Eleven Crunchy Carrots

Ten Snorers Sleeping

Nine Surfin’ Santas

Eight Toes a-Twinklin’

Seven Noshes Nibbled

 Six things to lay on

Five faaaavorite things

Four doggie nerds

Three Irish Hounds

Two turtles, Dove

And a cat messing up my new tree!

Thank you to Annette at Biscuits By Lambchop for bringing up the end of this crazy train :) Treats for all tonight!

Speaking of that, for those of you who are still around, I do have another giveaway to bestow upon you:

For the Holiday Hound

I’m giving away two beautiful collars from 2 Hounds Design to keep your pooch stylin’ for the New Year. They are both size medium (13-18 inch) which is by the way the ONLY reason I am giving these away, because they are gorgeous. The blue one is a Martingale and the snowman is a standard collar.

To add to the fun I’m also sending two awesome toys, a Bottle Buddy for all your crinkly noise needs and a Tricky Treater puzzle ball because the dog needs something to do while you clean up all that wrapping paper, right? Approximate retail value of this set: $90.

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You all the know the drill- enter below!

Congratulations to Leslie R., the winner!

Filed: 12 Days of Petmas, Blog, Features, Giveaways, Lifestyle, Pet Gear Tagged: , , , ,

Naughty or Nice Giveaway 1: Motorola WiFi Pet Monitor!

Has your pet been naughty or nice this year? You can find out for sure with the Motorola Scout1B Wifi Pet Monitor. I used a camera like this to verify it was indeed Kekoa and not Brody who was counter surfing while we were out.

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Here’s the description:

This remote Motorola Scout1 Wi-Fi Video PET Monitor camera allows you to monitor your pets from anywhere. Catch live action, record video and take snapshots while controlling the camera with Remote Pan, Tilt and Digital Zoom. Home or away, Motorola’s SCOUT1 gives the comfort of keeping an eye on your pet convenient and fun.

Features: Wi-Fi video camera PC, MAC, Android, & iPhone/ iPad iOS compatible, video compression image snapshot, video recording, remote pan, tilt and zoom, two-way communication, infrared night vision, connect up to four cameras
Includes: Wi-Fi Camera, User’s Guide, Quick Start Guide and Power Adapter
Dimensions: Camera: H 4.0″ x W 3.35″ x D 3.84″, Gross Weight: 0.44 lbs

Infrared night vision! It’s like having your own Predator goggles. Retail value: $299. I’m giving one away, right here, right now. You can enter below, and/or on the pawcurious Facebook page ! See the entry form for all the usual fine print. Good luck!
Congratulations to Jillian C, the winner!

Filed: Giveaways, Lifestyle, Pet Gear Tagged: ,

A Dog’s Holiday Wishlist

One of my favorite holiday traditions is going over to Fox5 News and doing a bit with Rancho Coastal Humane Society talking about the dogs’ holiday wishes (next to being adopted, of course.) Just me, Santa, and a bunch of adorable dogs all doing our best to avoid any sort of Ron Burgundy stereotypes about San Diego programming.  Here’s the segment with the 6 adorable pups. :)

It’s always hard to pick just 6 items, but here is what we presented this year:

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1. The ThunderShirt ThunderCoat

It’s a Thundershirt AND an adorable trenchcoat. ThunderShirts are renowned for their anxiety-reducing gentle pressure, and now they are coupled with a preppy coat or a cable knit sweater for that nervous pup in your life who’s panicking about that big elf shimmying down the chimney as we speak.

 

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2. 2 Hounds Design Dog Collars

2Hounds uses luxe textiles and solid brass hardware to make beautiful collars that are long-lasting, elegant, and sure to impress even the most discerning canine.

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3. Chief Furry Officer Silver Sterling Paw Pendant

CFO makes items for pet lovers ranging from custom iphone covers to diamond paw prints (the designer began with a history in fine jewelry.) The silver sterling pawprint keeps your pup close to your heart (but we already knew that.)

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4. Bottle Buddy dog toy

I never review toys Brody hasn’t personally dragged around the house with great gusto. The Petlinks Bottle Buddy uses recycled plastic bottles to give your pet a toy with a satisfying crackle (and you can replace the bottles when they are worn.) For more aggressive chewers who can’t play with a toy like this, I’m also a huge fan of toys by Bionic.

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5. Kurgo Loft Booster Seat

Got a dog who can’t bear not to look out the window? The Kurgo booster attaches to the car’s seat belt and gives your pet a lift so he or she can see the world passing by. Don’t forget to also use a pet-approved safety harness in conjunction with the booster to make your car ride fun AND safe!

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6. Life is Gruff All Natural Dog Treats

Christmas cookies are a tradition, but dogs don’t do well with sugar cookies, those thumbprints with Hershey’s kisses on them, or really any of the other sugar-laden goodies we devour too much of each year. Life is Gruff makes dog-appropriate, all-natural gourmet treats (with wheat free and sugar free lines as well) so you can enjoy your gingerbread man guilt-free without making your dog miss out on the fun.

Stay Tuned For Giveaways!

I will be giving away several of these items as well as some other great dog goodies over the next few days, kicking off this afternoon with a Motorola Scout1 Wifi Pet Monitor! pPETS-16222233t300x300

Filed: Blog, Features, Giveaways, Lifestyle, Pet Gear Tagged: , , , ,

A Veterinarian’s Holiday Wishlist

I usually spend this time of year making up wishlists for dogs and cats, and with a new kitten in the house, there’s plenty she could be interested in finding under the tree (though for her, the tree itself is present enough). But then I saw a few things that I just had to stick on my Amazon Wishlist, and because I thought they were awesome I thought some of you out there might find them awesome too. If you want to get that special vet in your life something that blows the lid off a “I love dogs” keychain, here you go.

For the Glamourpuss: The Feline Hermes Scarf

OK, I don’t actually know any veterinarians who can afford a $600 scarf, or if they could would spend it on that as opposed to, say, one of those nifty electronic stethoscopes, but nonetheless it is beautiful and so I will put it here. Because you never know, lottery wins happen.

felineTendresse Feline at Hermes.

001682S27

Not that I would bring this anywhere near a vet clinic filled with claws and anal glands, but it would make a heck of a statement as a surgery cap, wouldn’t it?

For the Shoe Fiend: Give your feet a bone

I’ve made no secret of it that I love fancy shoes. Do I get to wear them very much? Well, no, I actually wear Keens 99% of the time. Perhaps it is for this very reason that I so covet designer shoes, because they are as practical to my profession as, say, a Hermes surgical cap. But look, these Charlotte Olympias have BONES on them. BONES!

charlotte

Charlotte Olympia Skeleton shoes, $785 at Net a Porter.

OK, I realize these are the veterinary equivalent of the Victoria’s Secret 10 million dollar bra, so let’s bring this on down to reality and share a couple of things mere mortals might actually buy:

For the Christmas Nut: Veterinarian Nutcracker

Come on. COME ON. I need this like the desert needs the rain.

Nutcracker Set with Vet from World Market

I’m sure I could find a coach and a painter to foist the other two in the set off on. $44.97 at World Market.

For the Art Lover: The Most Adorable Sculpture Ever

It really is. Anthropologie, I just can’t quit you. Wire sculpture here:

Wire Dog Sculpture By Kaitlyn McCane - anthropologie.com

 

Art not your thing? How about the perfect coffee table book?

Old-Dogs-are-the-best-Dogs-Cover1

Old dogs ARE the best dogs.

For the Person Who Can’t Resist Nativity Sets: Dachshund Nativity

I don’t care that dog nativity sets routinely round out top ten lists of worst nativity sets ever, I would put this out on my mantel every year with absolute glee. And given this Etsy lady’s shop is backordered, I don’t think I am the only one.

doxie

 

Custom breed nativity set, $106 on Etsy. I can request a Golden nativity set? Why do I never figure this stuff out until late December?

For the Vet with the Huge Tree in the Lobby: The Ornament that Says it all

This one, perhaps:

vet_career_goals_ninja_pirate_ornament_roundOr maybe this one:

instant_veterinarian_oval_ornamentEither works.

For anyone, anytime: The Freebie

The holidays are rough, tensions are high, tempers are low. When the vet or the tech comes out to meet you in the lobby covered in scratches, fur, and the apologetic cup of Nosorb indicating that, in fact, she was unable to obtain that urine sample after all, consider the wise words of Shel Silverstein and hug it out:

hugs

 

While I don’t advocate tackling your vet to the ground for a kissing and rolling match- it doesn’t generally go over well, so leave that part to the dog- a hug can sometimes be the best gift of all.

 

 

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Lifestyle Tagged: , ,

World’s Most Adorable Degenerate Produce

A grape. So benign. Frozen, so delicious. Dehydrated, so raisin-y. And in large quantities in dogs, the unassuming grape goes Breaking Bad and becomes a killer. Da da duuuuum…. so let’s talk toxic foods for a minute.

When my friend Lili Chin over at Doggie Drawings asked if I would look over a poster she was designing of toxic foods for canines, I was so excited, because her drawings rock and I couldn’t wait to see how she interpreted “bulb of garlic.” The idea was to create a simple, cute piece about toxic foods for dogs, and she wanted my thoughts.

As soon as I looked at the list, I realized this would be a challenge, because toxicity is not always linear. Sometimes a dog eats a bag of grapes and is fine and other times a dog eats one bite of pork fried rice and dies of pancreatitis. Sometimes only portions of a fruit are toxic and other parts are fine. Sometimes there are at least three variables that must be calculated before you know if a food was ingested at a toxic amount (chocolate, for example.)

There is a reason this poster does not have in-depth detail about toxicity doses, etc. Determining toxic likelihood on a case-by-case basis is exactly what veterinarians are for, so if you swear up and down onions have made your dog’s life better don’t email me complaining, talk to your vet and go forward in peace. Consider this a lighthearted PSA that you can do with what you will.

At the end of the day, the world will always be improved by more of Lili’s drawings. Macadamias packing heat will NEVER go out of style.

toxiclili

Source: Lili Chin, DoggieDrawings.net

What this is: a cute graphic with limited specifics intended to share knowledge about foods that might cause a problem for your dog, so that you can discuss it with your veterinarian if you are concerned.

What this is not: An exhaustive treatise with toxic dose approximations, a prediction of your dog’s demise if he eats a piece of cheese, an academic piece in a peer reviewed journal, a substitute for your vet’s opinion.

It’s a poster, and a really cute one at that. Lili has them available for download here as well.  Hope you like the hooligan chocolate bar as much as me!

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Dogs, Health, Lifestyle, Picks of the Litter Tagged: , ,
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