The Bark
Dog's Life: Home & Garden
Tips on Dog-Safe Gardening
Garden organically, for the sake of both the planet and your dogs.
Dogs on Grass

Raised beds protect plantings from scampering paws and swinging tails. Dogs can be taught where they’re permitted and where they are not.

Digging pit, preferably in shaded locations, give dogs places to practice their excavation skills without disrupting your garden beds. You might entice them to use it by lightly burying (as they watch you) a treat-filled Kong.

Leave a plant-free “patrolling” area around the perimeter of your yard; dogs instinctively (and repeatedly) cruise boundaries and fence lines.

Construct a barrier around plants of the nightshade family, including eggplant, tomato and potato; their foliage and stems contain dangerous alkaloids that can kill a dog. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna), Larkspur (Delphinium ajacis) have toxic effects on the heart and circulation. When dogs eat large amounts of onions, they may suffer red blood cell destruction. Rhubarb leaves (Rheum rhabarbaram) contain oxalic acid. In quantity, it damages kidneys.

Avoid cocoa bean mulches; their chocolaty smell makes them pup catnip, but they contain theobromine, which is toxic for dogs.

Cross almond or walnut trees off your list for areas used by dogs; tannin is a canine toxin, and almond and walnut hulls contain it; moldy walnuts are also a problem. Avoid trees with toxic bark, such as cherry (contains cyanide-like components). And, some stone fruit trees (apricots, plums) can provide raw material for obstruction by indigestible pits.

Do not use snail bait containing metaldehyde, which is highly poisonous to dogs and cats. Copper barrier tape is a good alternative; slugs and snails are deterred from crossing it by the tape’s tiny positive electric charge.

Protect young trees, especially if you have a male dog. Be sure to frequently rinse the trunk and soil with fresh water. Or, secure a copper or galvanized splash guard of appropriate height and circumference around the developing tree the first couple of years to divert unwelcome attention from your pup.

Weekly Smiler 5-26-14
Smiling Dogs

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.

This week: Amber, Bailey, Bruce, Daisy and Sage.

Dog's Life: Travel
Safe Travel Tips for You and Your Dog
On-the-road advice for a safe Memorial Day weekend.
Charlie riding happy

Memorial Day means warm weather, a weekend getaway and, of course, plenty of driving. If you plan on making the weekend trek with your dog, here are a few important tips to ensure everyone has a safe and happy vacation:

Keep your dog secure. You wouldn’t let a person ride unrestrained in your car, and you shouldn’t let your dog, either. Dogs should ride in the backseat, away from the dashboard and safe from airbags, and there are a few options for keeping them secure: Use a full-body safety harness that attaches to your car’s seatbelt to keep your dog buckled into the backseat. (Do not use a restraint that attaches only to your dog’s collar.) Keep your dog in a well-ventilated crate or carrier—one that’s large enough for your dog to stand up, sit and lie down in. Or use a secured barrier to keep your dog safe in the cargo area—provided that cargo area isn’t an enclosed trunk. Also, if your dog has to ride in the bed of your truck, a crate securely fastened to the bed is your safest option.

Keep heads and ears inside the vehicle. Your pup may love the sensation of wind whipping through her ears. What she won’t love is a piece of gravel hitting her face at 40 mph. Those little bits of road debris can turn into dangerous projectiles at high speeds. Make sure your dog can’t poke her head out the window, and keep those rear windows locked so she can’t lower them by accident.

Bring her ID. Make sure that your dog wears her collar and tags at all times. In addition to a tag with your home contact information, make her a travel tag with your cell phone number, destination phone number and any other relevant contact information, and keep a recent photo of your dog on hand. Also, if you are planning to have your dog microchipped, now would be a good time to do it.

Pack a first aid kit. Cuts and scrapes can happen as easily on vacation as they can in the home. Pack a first aid kit—some companies sell pre-made kits, or you can make your own based on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s checklist—and be sure to keep it somewhere readily accessible (not at the bottom of your suitcase!). Also include any medications that your dog might need on the road, and remember that human medications like ibuprofen can be toxic to dogs. Don’t give your dog any medication without first consulting a veterinarian.

Don’t leave your dog in the car. Never, ever leave your dog unattended in the car. Even with the windows cracked, a car can quickly turn into a furnace on warm days or an icebox on cool days.

Remember to hydrate. Keep water with you on those long car trips (as well as on any hikes or long walks) and make sure your dog takes regular drink breaks. Unfamiliar water may upset your pup’s stomach; bring water from home—or fill up on filtered water at a restaurant—to help prevent tummy troubles.

Bring her vet records. Hotel and campground managers—and even the authorities—may want to see proof of your pup’s vaccinations. Plus, if your dog is injured or falls ill far from home, it will be easier on you and an unfamiliar veterinarian if you have all her records on hand.

Stay leashed. When she’s not in the car, the leash goes on. Remember, your dog is in a strange place with lots of scary and exciting sounds and smells. Even the most well behaved dog can run off and become lost. Staying leashed is a small precaution that ensures you and your dog will be able to enjoy your vacation together.

Weekly Smiler 5-19-14
Smiling Dogs

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Cooper, Jack, Rubie, Willow and Wookie.

Weekly Smiler 5-12-14
Smiling Dogs

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Hank, Meelo, Polly, Trumper and Whiskey.

Magazine: 2012-2014
Issue 78: Summer 2014
Bark Issue 78
Perfect for the summertime, we have oodles of good reading in store for you. From first-time book author Matthew Gilbert, a charming look at his Boston dog park scene and a good reminder that snap judgments can snap back in a positive way, and that letting go of assumptions can lead the way to a new attitude. Gail Caldwell is back with another memorable memoir, this time including a jumpstart to her life with a new pup. David Koff supplies a classic “how I found my dog” story, and Joshunda Sanders offers insights on how becoming a dog person helped her revise her own perceptions about the black community’s relationship with dogs. Jill Smolowe shows us that having a daily routine to look forward to is valuable to those on both ends of the leash. Finally, be sure to check out our editors’ top-pick summertime reading roundup.   Also on deck: Veterinarian Ilana Strubel has tips on how to get—or keep—the pounds off your pup, and we have an excerpt from an excellent new book by Linda Case, who explains what to look for (and ask for) when reading pet food labels. Then, imagine paddling a canoe down the Mississippi with a canine co-pilot and find out how Lucas Will and Tischer fared on their more than 2,000-mile adventure. For more outdoor inspiration, Suzanne Roberts recounts a backpacking expedition with her husband and their dog, Ely, along a challenging section of the Pacific Crest Trail.    On the “news you can use” front, Sheila Pell investigates the proliferation of ticks (climate change strikes again!) and what we can do to ward them off us and our dogs. We also check out stem cell and hyperbaric oxygen therapies and backyard barbecue do’s and don’ts, and serve up an easy recipe for delicious and nutritious whole-grain peanut butter dog cookies. Mardi Richmond reports on what happened when a top guide dog–training organization transitioned to clickers, and Donna Jackel looks at worthy, locally based humane groups that are making remarkable impacts on their communities. We have important safety tips about summertime activities, and many reader-supplied ideas on where to find the best off-the-beaten-track adventures this season. 

So, settle yourself and your dog in a cool, shady spot and dig into the summer issue. We think you’ll find lots to ponder and put to use. 

Features Tick Talk Is climate change behind the rise in the numbers of ticks and the diseases they  bring? By Sheila Pell Dog Paddling the Mighty Mississippi Down the river with a dog. By Lucas Will Backcountry Trek A dog with a job makes a perfect hiking partner. By Suzanne Roberts Label Smarts Ways to improve your dog-food-selection skills. By Linda Case On View In the Company of Cats and Dogs. By Cameron Woo Tula The challenges and rewards of a new pup. By Gail Caldwell Cell Phone Lady Dog parks are full of pleasant interludes. By Matthew Gilbert Walking Misty Daily routines provide welcome relief at both ends of the leash. By Jill Smolowe Finding Carson A stray meets her match. By David Koff Color-blind Love  Opening our eyes to stereotypes and dispelling racial myths. By Joshunda Sanders DogPatch Guest Editorial: Go Walk Shelter Dogs Bark’s Summer Tips Travel—ideas from our readers. Dogfroyo; Instant harness; Tails to Trails Last Chance IPA; Keeping it clean; Beware Compost SMILING DOGS: Simply irresistible Healing oxygen by Susan Tasaki Recipe: Whole Grain Peanut Butter Cookies Grooming: Summer Shedding Secrets Pop Art: Vintage Labels   It’s A Dog’s Life THEATRE: Of Mice and Men + dog by Amy Kantor, DVM HEALTH: Pounds be Gone Help your pup shed excess weight. By Ilana Strubel, DVM HEALTH: Self Healing Stem Cells. By Megan Cassels-Conway, DVM SECOND OPINION: The Barbecue Blues Tips. By Nick Trout, DVM BEHAVIOR: Lessons learned from aggression cases. By Karen B. London, PhD WORKING DOGS: Clicker training conversion. By Mardi Richmond WELFARE: Grassroots Animal Welfare: Helping dogs, one community at a time. By  Donna Jackel REVIEWS: Off the Leash by Matthew Gilbert; New Life, No Instructions by Gail Caldwell; A Dog’s History of the World by Laura Hobgood-Oster; From Birdbrained to Brilliant by Dawn  Antoniak-Mitchell; Paw and Order by Spencer Quinn; The Mountaintop School for  Dogs by Ellen Cooney; Citizen Canine by David Grimm; Puppy Savvy by Barbara Shumannfang ENDPIECE: Murphy: A most unusual adoption arrangement. By Lisa Leshaw


News: Guest Posts
Adorable Adoptable Dogs
Volunteer photographer shares dogs in need of a forever home
 Adoptable Dogs from Coshocton county shelter

These are some totally wonderful, eminently adoptable dogs available now at the Coshocton county shelter in Coshocton, Ohio. Phil Samuell, a retiree extraordinaire who generously volunteers his talents to take these great photos, tells us that they only have a 3-day “hold” period there, so gotta act quickly. It’s too heartbreaking to think of what might happen to these lovely dogs!

Weekly Smiler 5-5-14
Smiling Dogs

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Cocoa, Josie, Misty, Muffin and Vela.

Weekly Smiler 4-21-14
Smiling Dogs

Our featured smilers of the week. See more in our Smiling Dogs Gallery.
This week: Cano, Chompers, Rocco, Tom, and Webster.

News: Editors
Foster Mom Reconnects with Rescue Dog
The Little Miracles of Social Media

At its best, social media can spark connections one only dreams about. Such was the case involving a series of photographs we posted recently on Facebook. Last week we blogged a new series of photos by Bark contributor Grace Chon, showing her 10-month-old son Jasper and 7-year-old dog Zoey in matching apparel. The photos are adorable and our followers agreed, “liking” and sharing the pix with tens, then hundreds of thousands of people. Zoey and Jasper had gone viral—appearing on HuffingtonPost, Mashable, BuzzFeed and Good Morning America to name but a few. As the images brought smiles to viewers around the world, one woman far away in China thought Zoey looked familiar. It was a woman named Joy who had fostered little Zoey in the first months of the pup’s life in Taiwan. She had been waiting 7 years to hear news of the little puppy she nursed back to health before sending her halfway around the world to a new home in California. All she knew was that a Korean girl in Los Angeles had adopted her. Following her intuition, Joy reached out to Grace, and piecing the puzzle together, they concluded that Zoey was indeed the little pup she had fostered. The two women shared photos of Zoey— of her early life in Taiwan, including her first night with Joy—and Grace’s photos of life in Southern California. Each had wondered about the portions of Zoey’s life they had missed, and are grateful for this serendipitous reunion. Deep down inside, they both knew that this little black dog was loved and well cared for—in both Taiwan and in Los Angeles. Now they have the stories and pictures to prove it. Read more about their reunion.