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News: Editors
Is Your Dog Ready for the Solar Eclipse?

Monday is the big solar eclipse day. If you are wondering if you need to do anything special to protect your dog’s eyes, luckily most experts say there is little need to worry.

“On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun, and therefore don’t damage their eyes. And on this day, they’re not going to do it, either,” Angela Speck, director of astronomy and a professor of astrophysics at the University of Missouri, said at a news conference with NASA on June 21 in Washington, D.C.

Pet safety expert, Melanie Monteiro also agrees. She teaches online pet first-aid classes and is the author of “The Safe-Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out,” and she says animals shouldn’t need the same eye protection.

“There’s really no reason to be concerned about that,” she told TODAY. “Dogs and cats don’t normally look up into the sun, so you don’t need to get any special eye protection for your pets.”

But if you are taking your dog out while watching the eclipse, Monteiro said putting them on a leash is important. And make sure if you are looking up at the eclipse (with special eclipse glasses, of course), make sure your dog doesn’t take your cue if you get overly excited and “look” at what is making you freak out.

"Animals are actually quite a bit smarter than we are when it comes to looking directly at the sun," says Michelle Thaller, deputy director of science for communications at NASA, which is including the Life Responds project as part of its citizen science outreach in conjunction with the eclipse.

Some of said though that dogs might appear upset or frightened, and perhaps howl, run away, seek cover—similar reactions associated with fireworks. 

Vox, has a great piece on everything to know about eclipses, and posed that question to Bill Kramer, from eclipse-chasers.com, he told them that:

“Some dogs bark at the eclipse,” he says. “Some dogs detect the emotion of the moment, or anxiety beforehand, and react accordingly. Never heard of one reacting like some do to fireworks or gunshots. The eclipse is a silent thing, except for the ambient sounds and cheers. ... Cats, on the other hand, are cats.”

Best bet is to keep your dogs inside, but let us know if you catch your dog doing anything out of the ordinary.

 

Good Dog: Activities & Sports
Summer Dog Exercise: Six Ways to Keep Fido Cool and Happy
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The best time of year is late summer –  the weather is its warmest and the days are long. Even though fall is around the corner, many states experience hot weather well into autumn. Take advantage of the gorgeous outdoors now and be active, especially with your dog! While exercise is crucial to your and your pet’s health, it’s important to remember that the soaring temperatures can be harmful and easily lead to overexertion. Your dog doesn’t need as much exercise in hot weather and should be eased into any activity during the summer. Use the Poof Pet Activity Tracker to monitor your dog’s activities and keep your dog smiling and comfortable.

Read on for six tips to keep your furry friend safe, happy, and exercised this year!

1. Become an early bird – or a night owl

If you normally go on your daily walks during the day, it might be time to set your clock back or push it forward to stroll safely. Whether you choose to get up early or stay up late, Fido will appreciate the cooler temperatures when the sun isn’t high overhead.

2. Swim in the lake…or in the kiddie pool!

It may seem like a no-brainer, but water is the perfect solution to hot weather dog exercise. Whether you live by the beach, a gentle river is a walk away, or a lake is within driving distance, getting your pup into cool water is perfect for summer. Simply do an Internet search for dog friendly beaches, lakes, or rivers in your area and get moving!

If a natural water escape isn’t nearby, try setting up a kiddie pool in your yard! This is also a great alternative for dogs who are afraid of deep or shifting water. Ramp up the fun by including water toys like floating frisbees, splash balls, and decoy ducks. Some dogs will even dive for their toys! The Poof Pet Activity Tracker is waterproof do you don’t have to worry about your furry friend jumping in the water.

3. Take to the trees for a shady forest hike

Hiking is a great source of exercise for you and for your pup. If you have any forest trails nearby, the shade can provide a perfect respite from the hot summer sun. Plus, the dirt trails stay cool and ensure that your buddy’s paws won’t get scorched!

4. Wet pup’s belly and paws to keep him cool

If your only option is to exercise when it’s hot, bring a wet, frozen cloth or a bottle of water along. The belly and paws are great areas to dampen and are more effective at keeping your dog cool than his back. Bring along extra water for drinking and a small, collapsible bowl. Remember: if you need a water break, so does your furry family member.

5. Keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion

During summertime exercise, one of the most important things to watch for is heat exhaustion in your pet. Excessive panting, lethargy, confusion, and bright red gums and/or tongue are all signs of heat stroke. Additionally, if Spot lies down and refuses to get up, he needs water and a break. Never force a dog to keep going if he exhibits these signs; get him to a shady, cool place to rest and recover.

Bonus: Remember that dogs can get sunburned too! Sunscreen is crucial for dogs with sparse, light colored hair. Baby sunscreen doesn’t contain toxic chemicals and is safe to use on your pets. Just keep away from sunscreen with zinc oxide, as it is deadly to dogs if ingested. 

6. Use the Poof Pet Activity Tracker

Make sure your pup stays on a path to good health by using  Poof Pet Activity Tracker. Use this light weight device to easily monitor your dog’s everyday activity and sleep 24/7. Track your morning (or evening) walks this summer with your pup and see how many calories they burned. Keeping your pet fit and well rested is the best way to ensue your dog is happy and healthy.  Plus share your dog’s activity and photos of your adventures with other Poof Pet Parents.

Bark Readers: Save 40% off the The Poof Pet Activity Tracker with the offer code BARK40.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
7 Ways to Secure Your Dog in the Car
How to keep your dog safe in the car.

Your dog is a member of your family, and it can be fun and convenient to take him with you when you hit the road. Unfortunately, without careful preparation, you may be putting him in danger. What can you do to ensure pooch has a safe journey?

Perhaps the best solution is a doggy seat belt. Most cars weren’t designed with dogs in mind, so your regular seat belt won’t fit him. Buy the right car harness, though, and you can keep any sized dog safely strapped up in the back.

This should also ensure he doesn’t go poking his head out the window. We all know how much dogs love to feel the breeze through their fur, but it’s actually pretty dangerous. He could get struck by a flying object, or even jump out.

Checkout this infographic brought to you by Budget Direct Car Insurance. It looks at the range of options available to keep your dog where he’s supposed to be in your automobile—and points out some other safety issues you might want to consider.

There’s no need to leave pooch at home if you’ve taken every precaution to make him safe and comfortable in your car. Dogs love to be outdoors and among their people—why not take him on your next trip?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Pack Dog: Five Reasons My Dog Wears a Backpack
Dog Backpack by Ruffwear

1. He needs a job. Dogs love to work. Well, some breeds do, and my Louis is a mix of many of them. He’s a rescue, some sort of Australian Shepherd/Border Collie/Terrier/lunatic cross. He’s tested our patience with his energy and psychological issues. But we love him and have always forgiven his youthful exuberance, assuming it would pass as he aged. It did not. A few months back, I dug out an old canine backpack and tried it on Louis. “You have a job now, son,” I told him. “Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to wear this pack. Time to leave that crazy behavior behind and set an example for the others.” He stood there for a minute wondering how he got hired, decided the pack felt okay and agreed to my terms. As we walked, he seemed more focused, stayed closer to my side, stopped tugging and pretty much changed how I feel about dog walking forever.

2. It calms him down. Something happened to this dog before we got him. Something bad enough to make him afraid of many, many things. Cars are number one on the list. Fight or flight? How about both? A car comes along, Lou tenses, trembles, starts lunging and barking, then—when he fails to pull off my arm—bites at my leg. A trainer helped me get him over the worst with a combination of Cheese Whiz, clicker training and sweet talk. But the pack is what really did the trick. Like a Thundershirt, a pack can make a dog feel more secure. I still talk Louis though every vehicle, but he’s 95 percent better.

3. He carries my stuff. I never have enough pockets on a walk. Gloves, hat, phone, extra baggies, rain jacket: they get zipped into the right pocket (right for “right side to put my things”) of the pack or tucked under the elastic webbing on top. My smallest dog runs leash-free on the trail and his leash now has a place to go besides around my waist (irritating) or neck (dangerous). On the way home, we pick up the mail. This is something I could never do before. Handling three dogs plus full poop bags plus mail would be doable, but throw in a squirrel and game over. The mail is in the road, the poop bag has busted open and I’m screaming in the street like a mad woman.

4. He carries his “stuff.” There is no better way to carry poop. Anyone who has ever felt the fat, warm slap of a full bag swinging against their leg knows that carrying it yourself is just totally unappealing. Tying the bag to a leash risks tangling or tearing (eww) and fastening it to the dog’s collar just seems humiliating. Colorful bags only do so much to disguise the disgusting, and forget about reusing those see-through produce bags. Even on an unusually productive day, Louis can carry all three dogs’ offerings, and he does it without complaining. Full bags go in the left side. (Left for “best left alone, there’s poop in there.”)

5. He looks great. Oh yes. His looks have always been number one on Lou’s short list of redeeming qualities. Now that Hollywood face has red-carpet style to match. He may still be a bad boy on the inside, but he’s a supermodel on the outside.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
In Lieu of Gifts: Humane Giving
Celebrate the big day with charity.

Around 2.2 million couples marry in the U.S. every year. Surveys show that the average amount spent on a wedding is around $35,000, and the average gift carries a $99 to $127 price tag. Now, an increasing number of couples are either requesting charitable giving in lieu of these gifts or adding it as an option to their registries.

As a recent article in the New York Times noted, the trend largely stems from the millennials, “who have a growing awareness that what you do with your whole life should reflect your values.” It also is a great boost for the charities, which get “prominent billing on a couple’s wedding day.”

The Times profiled a couple who credit their rescue dog with bringing them together; they’re asking friends and family to donate to a L.A. no-kill shelter. The article also mentioned a couple who had their dog in their wedding and were able to raise more than $15,000 for the Humane Society of New York.

To make it easier to customize and track the gift giving, there are now a few websites—among them, SimpleRegistry, JustGive, Blueprint Registry and the GoodBeginning—to make such arrangements easier.

Culture: Reviews
Summertime Reading List 2017
Recommended Reading

NON-FICTION

Rescuing Penny Jane by Amy Sutherland. A survey of what it means to be a shelter dog, and strategies for shelters success.

The Dogs of Avalon by Laura Schenone. Profiles of courageous Irish women and the Greyhounds they fight to save.

Imp: The Imperfect Pup by Jody Rosengarten. A lighthearted take on the serious matter of a how the human drive for perfection might actually screw-up dogs.

The Science Behind a Happy Dog by Emma Grigg, PhD and Tammy Donaldson, PhD. Dog behavior experts explore our current understanding of canine well being in this engaging and authoritative training guide.

FICTION

The Right Side by Spencer Quinn. A a war veteran and her unforgettable dog, both with distinctive qualities set out on a quest.

CLASSICS

Pack of Two by Carolyn Knapp. It’s coming up to its 20th anniversary, this is still one of the best books on the intensity of the human-canine bond.

The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell, PhD. No one explains our relationship to dogs better.

Inside a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz, PhD. A thorough investigation into what it means to be a dog. (Plus new young reader’s edition.)

Dog's Life: Travel
Austin: Mighty Dog Friendly

Set in the green and rolling Texas hill country, Austin is known for its eclectic cultural events—think Austin City Limits and SXSW—Lady Bird Johnson's bluebonnets in the spring and the bats of the Congress Avenue Bridge. It's also a pretty dog-crazy place, as noted by Beth Bellanti Pander of Austin's own Tito's Handmade Vodka, where she's the company's Program Manger of Vodka for Dog People. Here are some of her hot spots...

PLAY

Ahh … the water, the trees, the squirrel sightings: Red Bud Isle and Emma Long Metropolitan Park’s Turkey Creek Trail are great places for a leash-free dog to unwind. Dogs can go also off-leash at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park, 293 acres of trails (which, FYI, they share with cyclists), hills and creeks. For a more contained experience in the central city, give Norwood Dog Park a try; it’s fully fenced and has a large, shaded main section and a separate area for small dogs. For time on the water rather than in it, stop by Zilker Park Boat Rental, where your dog’s welcome to join you in a canoe (bring his life jacket, as the rental company doesn’t provide them for dogs). Finally, if you and the pooch are in the mood for a movie, look into Austin’s “Movies in the Park” series, which started in April and runs through November in parks across the city; the pup will need a leash, but you'll both enjoy being entertained under the beautiful Austin night sky.

STAY

Consider taking the HomeAway route; at press time, the online booking site had 157 pet-friendly listings in Austin—which, coincidentally, is its home base.

EAT/DRINK

Dog-friendly eateries are thick on the ground in Austin. Jo’s Coffee not only welcomes dogs, it also sponsors the annual Lyndon Lambert Easter Memorial & Pet Parade. Perla’s serves some of Austin’s tastiest seafood, which can be indulged in on the patio in the company of your dog. Likewise, Mozart’s Coffee Roasters has patio seating (in this case, fronting Lake Austin) as well as—you guessed it—fine coffee drinks and a decadent selection of desserts. Three venues go the extra mile when it comes to kicking back with canines. Banger’s Sausage House and Beer Garden not only provides a leash-free area, it also makes a sausage just for dogs. At Dog House Drinkery, dogs are welcome to congregate with their people in the bar area or run off some energy in one of the Drinkery’s fenced OLAs. Wet your whistle under a shady tree at the Yard Bar’s off-leash dog park while your dog goes nuts on the agility course; the bar’s full-meal menu includes two “Dog Food” entries: Bones and Co sliders and house-made ice cream.

Beth notes that on Amplify Austin day, Tito’s Handmade Vodka does its part to raise money for local charities by creating a special cocktail served at participating watering holes.

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Halloween Dog Safety Tips

With Halloween’s ghosts, goblins and treats around the corner the good folks at the ASPCA Pro have these important safety tips for us:

1. Lock candy safely away.

Kids love to stash candy in their rooms, but a dog’s keen sense of smell will lead him to even the most cleverly hidden treasure. Contact a veterinary professional right away if your pet does get into Halloween candy, especially if it contains chocolate or is sugar-free and contains xylitol.

2.  Don’t leave glow sticks lying around.

Glow sticks are used to help keep kids safe while they are out in the dark. Pets (especially cats) find these glow sticks to be a lot of fun as well, and we commonly get calls about pets puncturing the sticks. While most of them are labeled as non-toxic, they do have an extremely bitter taste and we will often see pets who bite into them drooling and racing around the house. A little treat or sip of milk will usually stop the taste reaction.

3. Keep your pet identified and visible.

There are a lot of extra people on the streets at Halloween, and that combined with strange costumes can spook pets and cause them to bolt. If you take your pet out after dark, make sure he or she wears a reflective collar and is securely leashed. And make sure your pet has proper identification on the collar.

4. Calm your pet.

Even pets who are kept indoors may experience intense anxiety over the large number of strangely dressed visitors. Keeping your pet away from trick-or-treaters may do the trick, but if you think more will be needed be sure and speak with your vet well in advance about options to help calm your pet.

5. Check those costumes.

Costumes can be fun for the whole family. If you are planning on dressing up your best bud, ensure that the costume fits well and isn't going to slip and tangle the pet or cause a choking hazard if chewed on. Never leave a costumed pet unattended.

Good Dog: Studies & Research
How Do Dogs Know We Are Coming Home?

One of the best things about living with dogs is the unbridled joy with which they greet us every time we come home—no matter how long we’ve been away. It has long been thought, and oftentimes documented, that dogs have a sixth sense that allows them to “know” our ETA in advance. Just how do they do it?

In Alexandra Horowitz’s new book, Being a Dog, she offers what seems to be a very reasonable explanation. It isn’t that they can smell us from afar or hear our footsteps or the car motor. Rather, as she writes, “there was a potent combination of two forces leading to these dogs’ abilities. The first is the distinctness of our smell to our dogs. The second is the ease with which dogs learn our habits.”

As she goes on to say, “It might be that the odors that we leave around the house when we leave lessen in a consistent amount each day.” Basically, our smarty dogs’ amazing noses know that “over the hours we are gone, our home begins to smell less of us.” 

She tested this theory by recruiting a colleague to sneak one of her partner’s stinky t-shirts into the house hours after her partner left, once again infusing the house with his odor. And yes, the ruse seemed to work. That day, their dog, who had reliably demonstrated that he knew when his person was nearing home, was found snoring on the couch.

Dog's Life: Home & Garden
Designer Tips From A Leading Expert
Home Design Tips for Dog People
Designer Tips From Vern Yip

When Vern Yip talks style, we listen. Not only is he a multi-talented fabric and accessory designer and an HGTV Design Star judge with multiple seasons under his fashionable belt, he and his family share their Atlanta home with big dogs. Following are a few fieldtested pointers. For more decorating advice, pick up a copy of his new book, Vern Yip’s Design Wise: Your Smart Guide to a Beautiful Home, from Running Press. 

• While I prefer the idea of a comfy dog bed with a great-looking, washable cover next to the main seating area, if you want your dog on the sofa, go for a low-maintenance, stain-resistant indoor/outdoor fabric or distressed leather. Many leathers scratch easily, so it’s best to avoid anything with too fine a finished surface. (Washable slipcovers also work in these instances, but staying on top of keeping them laundered does add to the chore list.)

• Does your dog sleep in your bed? If so, avoid dry-clean-only fabrics for duvets and decorative bedding items. Sending bedding out to the dry cleaner with any frequency can get expensive. Alternatively, place a dog bed alongside your bed. Having multiple dog beds throughout your home is a great way to keep your canine companions with you but off the furniture.

• To keep your house looking clean, go for rugs and upholstery with patterns, which tend to hide dirt and hair better than solids.

• If you have tall dogs with long tails or active dogs who run through your rooms, secure your easily damaged decorative items with museum wax. Museum wax can be purchased online and in many hardware stores, and doesn’t permanently stick to surfaces. However, objects secured with it won’t move until you intentionally sever the bond. Test a bit of the museum wax in an inconspicuous spot to be sure it won’t harm whatever surface you’re working with.

• Select furniture that goes all the way to the floor or has taller legs, which will allow you to see under the piece. Dog hair is notorious for traveling everywhere; when your sofas and chairs are on small, low-profile, block legs, it’s easy to miss all the hair that collects underneath, and vacuuming it up means moving the furniture.

• Is your dog a drooler? If so, avoid silk for upholstery, curtains or any other material surface. Silk is a beautiful home décor fabric but it does stain.

• When you refinish wood floors, choose a durable product such as Bona Traffic, a waterborne commercial and residential hardwood floor finish, to help ward off claw dings.

• Consider carpeting your stairs or installing a runner. Smooth surfaces such as wood, stone and tile may be easy for your dog to negotiate when he’s younger but can cause problems as he ages. Carpet not only protects your steps, it also provides dogs with reassuring extra traction.

• Putting in a tiled floor? Use bigger tiles to minimize grout joints. Tile is wonderfully hard wearing, but grout can become stained, dirty or damaged; smaller grout joints (¹/₁₆-inch is ideal) help keep that to a minimum. Fewer and smaller grout joints are also beneficial if your dog has an accident, since grout tends to be porous.

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