Archive for February, 2013
We made a friend in Poland and helped him get connected with the Bergan dog car harness. Now dogs in Poland can wear this great product and ride safer in the car! Our friend Adam founded the website is www.BioSante.pl for BioSante Veterinary Solutions in New Tomyśl, Poland. He also has a facebook page – HERE.
Adam’s site promotes pet safety. He wants to make it safer for pets to travel in Poland and really liked the Bergan and Kurgo products. Bergan products are currently available on his site, and hopefully Kurgo ones will be coming soon. Here are some photos of some of his dog customers in Poland wearing the Bergan dog car harness:
For more great photos from the Wordless Wednesday blog hop, check out the link below:
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We had about a foot of snow last week. And we’re expecting another foot of snow today. While my dogs really love the snow, some days I wish I were back in Texas enjoying its milder winter weather. I used to live in central Texas and there are so many pet friendly places there that I miss.
My favorite places to take my dogs were Georgetown Lake, Zilker Park and its connecting trail to the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin, and the Bastrop State Park in Bastrop, Texas. I believe much of the Bastrop State Park burned from the major forest fires in 2011, but much of it is still intact too. The image above is a drawing I made in pastels of a scene that I saw at Georgetown Lake when I hiked it with my dog Smokey. This one below is of me and Smokey at Georgetown Lake.
Another great place to visit in central Texas is Enchanted Rock. Enchanted Rock is named from an interesting rock formation which can be hiked or climbed. There are lots of places around Enchanted rock to hike and dogs love it! Go in the cooler weather in winter to avoid the rattle snakes! Here is a review from the DogTipper dog travel experts – http://www.dogtravelexperts.com/postcards/enchanted-rock-state-natural-area-fredericksburg-texas.
Another place to visit in the Texas Hill Country includes the River Walkway in San Marcos. You can almost always see people with their dogs swimming there… maybe not in winter months, but winter in Texas is very short. The Riverwalk in San Antionio is great too, although it is not really a place to swim, but a place to shop. Walk the Riverwalk in San Antionio, then sit down at an outdoor cafe for a bite to eat. The Alamo, too, is off the Riverwalk, but dogs are not allowed. You can see the Alamo very well from the street with your dog, so it would be worth stopping by. GoPetFriendly has done a great review of areas in the Texas Hill Country – http://gopetfriendlyblog.com/pet-friendly-tour-of-texas-hill-country/
I’ve also enjoyed taking my dogs to McKinney Falls State Park in Austin. The park has lots of campsites, trails for hiking and mountain biking, and fishing areas. You can go swimming too and have a wonderful family picnic.
There are many many more places in central Texas to visit. These are just a few of the ones I could think of off the top of my head. Have any of you ever been to central Texas? Tell us about your experience.
As an appreciation for our running of the Super Dog Sunday to benefit the Petfinder Foundation, Maya was given a Kumfy Koatz to try and review. Kumfy Koatz is a dog harness that has an ice or heat pack insert so that you dog can maintain optimum body temperatures in extreme weather. What does this mean? It means your dog can play in the snow longer when the insert is heated or your dog can play in the summer sun longer when the insert is frozen.
We found this product especially interesting for pet car travel. We never recommend you leave your dog in the car so we thought the product would be better for a road trip. For example, let’s say the a/c in your car doesn’t get to the back cargo area as well as it gets to those passengers riding in the front. If your road trip is in summer, perhaps the Kumfy Koatz can help keep your pet cool without the other passengers being blasted with ice cold air. The same logic can be applied to winter travel. Please note, however, that the heating or cooling will only be effective for about an hour.
But using the Kumfy Koatz for car travel is not the only use. My dog Maya got to try hers outside in the snow. Some of these photos are from the snow we had a week or two ago where we only had one inch. And some of these photos are from our huge snow storm yesterday. We got nearly a foot of fluffy white snow!
Maya is a Labrador and Labradors tend to have thick skin which helps keep them warm in cool weather so Maya seldom ever gets cold, especially since she is mostly an indoor dog in winter. For Maya, this product would be more beneficial to use in hot weather. While she is still mostly an indoor dog, she loves to play outdoors and will play and play no matter how hot or tired she gets. With the Kumfy Koatz dog harness, Maya will be able to hang out at the dog park for a much longer period.
Every dog is different. Just because Maya would use this product better in the summer doesn’t mean this product wouldn’t be great for another dog in winter. My sister has a medium-sized dog with really short hair and thin skin who would really love to wear the Kumfy Koatz in winter.
Overall, we really liked this product. It is well made and the large size fit Maya perfectly. The insert is a non-toxic gel-pack that can be put in the microwave or the freezer. And it is reusable. The gel-pack is easy to remove and to insert into harness. It was probably the easiest harness to put on and adjust… easier than putting on Maya’s dog car harness.
But I do have one criticism about the product – The weight of the insert made the harness sag at the bottom underneath Maya’s chest. Even when I fit the harness perfectly, it still sagged a little. And the more Maya moved, the more it sagged and had to be readjusted. Perhaps if the insert is frozen for warm weather use, the gel-pack insert will be stiffer and will somewhat prevent this problem. We won’t really know until we get to try it out next season.
We were given a free product to review but we are not being paid for this review. Our review is 100% our own opinion. The only thing we are required to put in this review as an exchange for the free product is the following paragraph:
“The outside layer of fabric on the Kumfy Koatz warming and cooling harnesses has recently been changed to a mesh fabric, available in numerous colors. Other than the fabric change, the product remains the same. The Kumfy Pax pouch slides easily into its pocket in the chest of the harness to help your dog’s inner core organs warm or cool as needed. Your dog can now spend more time outdoors in Winter cold or Summer heat. To learn more, follow the Kumfy Tailz Facebook page, follow on Twitter, or visit their website to see the new fabrics. Our giveaway will offer a neoprene version of the Kumfy Koatz to one lucky winner. If you prefer a sure thing to an entry, simply visit the website to select and order your preference of color in the mesh fabric.”
Colors available are red, black, and blue but color choices of the winner are limited.
To win the Kumfy Koatz for your dog, enter the Rafflecopter below. The contest starts today and ends Sunday, March 3rd 11:59PM EST.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
What is Kumfy Koatz? Here is a picture of Maya wearing one. She can spend more time playing in the cold snow with this on. Find out more on Friday when we give a full review… and a giveaway!
In the meantime, check out these other great dog blogs on the Wordless Wednesday blog hop:
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Downtown Aspen, Colorado looks like a nice pet friendly destination. We haven’t been here, but our friends at GoPetFriendly.com have. They went downtown in the summer and were pleasantly surprised with how friendly the people were – pedestrians and shopkeepers alike. If you love going places with your dog and you enjoy shopping, you will love downtown Aspen.
The folks at GoPetFriendly were pleasantly surprised with how well the sidewalks were furnished with places to sit. So after a long day of shopping, sit outdoors with your dog at a cafe or coffee shop and relax. There are public benches too so you don’t need to feel obligated to buy anything (especially since you just maxed out your credit card while shopping).
Relax even further and catch a beautiful view of Aspen by riding on the Silver Queen Gondola. Believe it or not, they have a pet friendly sky car that you and your dog can ride in together to the top of Aspen Mountain. In nicer weather, once at the top you can hike, take a nature tour, catch a music performance, play disc golf, and more!
I don’t know about you, but getting to the top of Aspen Mountain for nature hiking is what makes me want to visit this place the most. Ty and Buster with GoPetFriendly are two lucky dogs! Explore GoPetFriendly to read more. And make sure that if you’re driving there with your dogs that they are wearing a dog car harness!
If Maya & Pierson could drive, where would they go? To the food store, of course! Now that Maya has a driver’s licence, I’m going to have to take away her credit card. I might also have to make sure she doesn’t hang around with the wrong crowd at the dog park. Oh, goodness! There is so much to worry about when the kids grow up and go out on their own. At least I know Maya wears her seat belt when she is in the car.
Who’s idea was it to make it legal for dogs to drive anyway? Apparently, Subaru has!!! Yep, Maya’s driver’s license is with Subaru.
How can you get a driver’s license for your dog? By visiting Subaru’s Facebook app – http://subar.us/USzh6V. This app is super easy to use. I simply typed in Maya’s name and information, then downloaded a photo of her. Please note that Subaru posts these driver’s licenses on their FB page so use a fake address. How do you like our fake address? Get it? Here’s one for Pierson too. Notice his address.
By the way, Subaru has a number of other fun apps on their FB page. You can also put your dog in a Subaru, ask a dog expert about a Subaru, and map your dog walk.
If you haven’t seen any of the funny Subaru dog commercials, check this one out – http://bit.ly/WW7C2Y. Like all the funny Subaru dog commercials, it is super-hilarious!
By the way, Subaru is doing a contest for two Visa gift cards! The first place winner gets a $350 Visa gift card and the second place winner gets a $150 Visa gift card. This contest is open from today through 11:59 pm ET on Sunday, February 24th. There are a ton of ways to enter. Just do the tasks listed in the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer – We are being compensated by Subaru for this post. Please note, however, that we would not have agreed to post at all if we did not agree with the content. We love the funny Subaru dog commercials and have posted them before, unpaid. The other content we have been asked to post, like the Puppy Bowl promotion, has been a lot of fun and the Subaru Facebook app is cute.
Since we have now added the Ruff Rider Roadie and are phasing out the Guardian Gear / Cruising Companion brand dog seat belts, we are doing a new comparison. We now have four quality brands of dog car harnesses to choose from: Bergan, Kurgo Tru-Fit, Pet Buckle, and Roadie. Which one is best? They are all great, but each has a different style and feature. Compare them below:
Quality is hard to quantify. All of these four brands are well-made with strong materials. While some or all parts may have been constructed outside the United States, each of the companies that make these brands has strict quality control measures in place to ensure that each and every dog seat belt meets the same high standards.
Since each of these brands has been tested by a different strength and crash test specialist, it is difficult to determine which dog seat belt brand is the safest. We are confident in the safety and crash testing of each of these brands.
* Bergan was tested using the V9DT Pet Safety Durability standard.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit enhanced version was tested by the New Hampshire Materials Laboratory, Inc.
* Pet Buckle was tested by the Center for Advanced Product Evaluation (CAPE).
* Roadie Ruff Rider was tested by both the Commercial Test Labs and the Allianz Insurance Crash Research Center.
Can dogs get out of them? Yes to all. A determined dog can get out of any pet travel harness. Keeping the seat belt harness too tight will not prevent this and will likely only make a dog more determined to get out of it. So when we look at how it fits, we are looking for any loose spots or any place that doesn’t adjust well.
* Bergan – Fits well and adjustable at both the neck and sides, although the chest piece may be a little long for some dogs.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Fits well and is adjustable at both the neck and sides.
* Pet Buckle – Fits well on small dogs or large dogs. It does not fit medium-sized dogs.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – Fits well, and all except the smaller sizes are adjustable at both the neck and sides.
How it Works
* Bergan – Uses an adjustable length tether with a carabiner clip to attach directly to the seat belt webbing of the car.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Uses a loop that the seat belt of the car goes through.
* Pet Buckle – Uses a loop tether for the seat belt of the car to go through. An adjustable length Kwik Connect tether may be included. This tether clips directly onto the latchbar between the seat cushions of vehicles 2001 and later.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – Uses a loop tether for the seat belt of the car to go through.
Ease of Use
In trying out each of these brands, we have not found one that is particularly easier to put on than the others. All take a little thought when putting them on for the first time, but once you get a hang of it all of them are easy.
* Bergan – Padded chest piece; since no loop tether, tangling is less likely.
* Kurgo Tru-Fit – Slightly padded; enhanced version has steel buckles; allows for harness to also be used as a walking harness.
* Pet Buckle – Metal buckles; if the Kwik-Connect tether is used, tangling is less likely.
* Ruff Rider Roadie – No plastic parts; tested to ensure there is no pressure on dog’s throat; pleated design on straps under dog’s legs to prevent irritation; tether and harness is one piece and tether can be used as a short walking leash.
Listed from least expensive to most expensive:
* Kurgo Tru-Fit
* Pet Buckle
* Roadie Ruff Rider
If you have any questions regarding any other differences in these pet travel harness brands, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have had the opportunity to use these on our own dogs, including my own: Sephi wore the Kurgo, Maya wears the Kurgo with a Bergan tether (to prevent tangling), and Pierson wears the Bergan. 🙂
For our participation in the Super Dog Sunday event, we were entered into a prize drawing. We didn’t even know our participation meant a possible prize so when Maya & Pierson won, it was a super surprise! For in case you weren’t aware, the Super Dog Sunday helped to benefit the Petfinder Foundation. While the twitter party is over, Super Dog Sunday continues with more possible prizes. Keep an eye out on this blog or our American Dog Blog for a giveaway of a Kumfy Koats. In the meantime, check out the pictures of Maya & Pierson with their prizes:
This is what they won – two dog books, two toys, a paw-wipe towel, Toby & Max jewelry, a lickety stik dog treat, and a natural remedy for dog aggression (I can’t wait to try it on Pierson when he goes out and sees other dogs).
Spring is coming soon… just a few weeks away for the official spring equinox. I’m not only excited because of the nicer weather, but also because spring break is coming! I’m not sure what we are going to do yet, but I do know that we will be taking the dogs with us. What are you going to do for spring break? How about visiting somewhere that is pet friendly so that your best friend can come? Here are some pet friendly ideas from our previous posts and from GoPetFriendly.com.
Here is a fun place just for dogs at Lake George, New York: Canine Camp Getaway
We will probably visit Clinton Lake, Kansas, which is a 15 minute drive from home. If you’re in Kansas or western Missouri, stop by and say hi!
Portland, Oregon is also on the list as one of the top 10 dog friendly cities.
Tampa Bay, Florida has some fun things you can do with your dogs.
So does Colorado Springs.
Years ago, my dog Smokey and I went to Sedona, Arizona. That was the best pet friendly vacation ever!
Austin, Texas also has a lot of pet friendly places to visit. I should know, I used to live there!
Austin is in the Texas Hill Country which is a very beautiful part of Texas. The Hill Country covers a number of cities and towns in central Texas. GoPetFriendly has visited quite a few places in the Hill Country that are dog friendly: Pet Friendly Tour of the Texas Hill Country
How about visiting a pet friendly beach? More specifically, how about taking your dog to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina?
Camping would be a fun thing to do with the dogs. Believe it or not, my husband has never been camping. Hmmm. Here is a pet friendly camp site in North Carolina worth checking out: Four Paws Kingdom
I hope you liked my first edition of Pet Travel Destination Tuesday. I am going to try to do this every Tuesday – the key word being ‘try’. 😉 For the most part, I may only feature one place a week instead of an entire list like today. If you would like to recommend a pet friendly place to visit, please email us at email@example.com. Feel free to send your recommendation along with a photo of your pets!
How to Get Your Dog to go into the Car Willingly
Cesar makes it look so easy. Doesn’t he always? But how did he do it, really? Many would like to think that he just has a magical touch. But I promise that this probably took a lot longer than his video conveyed. Listed below are our steps on how to get your dog to go into the car.
Before I list those steps, however, let me just point out that these steps are not meant to all be done in a single day. They can be, depending on your dog. Each step can take as long as a few minutes, to a few minutes every day for a week or more. So if your dog has no problem with step 1, you can move on to step 2 right away. But if he hesitates at that step, you may have to spend more time on it. Keep training sessions short and positive, but do it daily as needed until getting your dog to go into the car is easy.
Step 1 – Walk with your dog around the car. Get as close to the car as you can without making your dog uncomfortable. As soon as the dog reacts negatively to the car, back off. Encourage him with soft words, use kissy noises, and feel free to bribe with treats.
Step 2 – When your dog has no trouble going all the way up to the car, allow him to sniff it on his own. Let him investigate.
Step 3 – Open the car door and have your dog approach you while you are standing by the open door. If your dog is intimidated by the open door, squat down and coax him to you. I noticed that when I am down on my dog Pierson’s level, he is more likely to approach me. Use treats to bribe.
Step 4 – After your dog passes step 3 comfortably, sit in the car and coax your dog to you. Over a period of time as your dog gets used to approaching you while you are in the car, move further back inside the car so that your dog has to stretch or step in to reach you. You may use the leash to give a quick and slight tug, but do not pull on the leash.
Step 5 – The very first time your dog gets into the car, celebrate with lots of treats, love, and a happy voice. Repeat the same excitement every time your dog gets in on his own until he is comfortable doing it without coaxing.
Step 6 – By the time your dog is comfortable getting in the car with you, try to coax him inside without you actually being in the car too.
As stated above, some dogs will move through these steps quicker than others. But if you need to take your dog somewhere in the car and he is not through all these steps yet, gently pick him up and put him inside. Give lots of praise. Try to make the car ride as pleasant as possible. Here is a great article we wrote back in August 2010 about how to help your dog learn to enjoy riding in the car – http://www.petautosafetyblog.com/?p=542.