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Archive for April, 2013

Dog at a Pet Friendly Beach

I am so glad spring is finally here! This warmer weather makes me think about vacationing again. And you know, I have to take Maya and Pierson wherever I go. This means looking for a friendly pet travel destination. This week I am looking at Charleston, South Carolina.

After a little research, I found a number of pet friendly places in Charleston. Firstly, there are several dog friendly hotels. The ones I would consider include La Quinta, Red Roof Inn, and Hampton Inn. There are also places for RVing and camping. If my dogs and I get hungry, we can eat on an outdoor patio at the Dog and Duck Food and Spirits, DIG in the Park, Firehouse Subs, and Danielle Island Grille.

I’ve covered the most important aspects of travel – lodging and eating. What about fun stuff? I like gardens and Charleston has quite a few dog friendly gardens. There is the Battery and White Point Gardens, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and the Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens. Dogs are allowed on leashes but be aware that they probably are not allowed inside any of the buildings.

To get around, there are a couple of pet friendly carriage tours and other tours. Charleston even sports a pet friendly kayak rental. Let’s not forget about the dog friendly beaches and a number of off-leash dog parks in Charleston. Here are a super cute video of a dog having fun at the beach.

And check out these dogs having fun at the James Island County Dog Park.

Doesn’t Charleston, South Carolina look like fun? Have you been here with your dog? We’d love to hear about your experience. If you haven’t gone and decide to go, be sure your dog rides safe in the car with a dog seat belt or pet car seat.

(Our primary resource for these pet friendly activities comes from


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April 27, 2013
Maya by Tulips

My dog Maya stole tomatoes out of our garden last year. Thank goodness she doesn’t like to eat tulips.

Last year, Maya stole a lot of cherry tomatoes from the garden. I thought it was funny. But later I found out that tomatoes can be bad for dogs. Too much tomato and it could actually be toxic. So this year, we are going to be a bit more careful about our garden. Here are some things to think about:

Cocoa Mulch
If you have dogs, don’t use cocoa mulch in your flower garden. Cocoa mulch contains a chemical in the cocoa called theobromine. This chemical is poisonous do dogs. And because the mulch smells so good, dogs want to eat it.

Before putting any pesticides in your garden, check the label to make sure it is not harmful to pets. Consider natural remedies such as non-toxic soapy water sprayed on your plants.

As with pesticides, check the label of plant fertilizers to make sure it is not harmful to pets.

Plants that can Cause Allergic Reactions
There are several plants that can make dogs itch or have other allergic reactions. Some of these plants include the purple leaf velvet plant, a male juniper bush, and daylilies.

Plants Toxic to Dogs
The ASPCA has a very comprehensive list of toxic plants. It even has tomatoes on it. There are 392 entries so far. So rather than go through one by one, know what you want to plant and search the list for that specific plant – ASPCS Plants Toxic to Dogs

It’s no secret that dogs love garbage! Make sure your dogs can’t get into the compost. Even if you are careful about what you put in the compost pile, you really don’t want your dog to eat it. Make sure your compost is out of reach of your dogs.

Fleas and Ticks
Since we have wild rabbits living under our shed, it is likely that they carry fleas and ticks too. So I make sure my dogs are protected.

Put Tools Away
Keep your tools put away so your dog can’t get to them. Not only do you not want them to step on them and cut themselves on sharp edges, but you also don’t want them to chew on them.

The easiest way to keep your dog out of your garden is to prevent him from being able to get into the garden in the first place. This year, I am having a fence put around our vegetable garden. Are you going to plant a flower or vegetable garden this year? What does your dog think about it?


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April 16, 2013
Wyatt Luckenbach Texas

Wyatt visiting the old fashioned country town, Luckenbach, Texas.

Do you enjoy hiking with your dog? Do you like country music? If you happen to be living in or visiting central Texas, then we have the perfect day planned for you and your dog.

First stop is Enchanted Rock. Enchanted Rock is located just 20 minutes north of Fredericksburg, Texas and 25 miles south of Llano, Texas. Enchanted Rock is a rock formation created out of molten lava and exposed by over a billion years of erosion. There are a lot of fantastic nature trails. Some hiking trails are short and some are for more experienced hikers. You can also go camping in the Enchanted Rock state park, do some rock climbing, have a picnic, and enjoy bird watching. If you love nature as I do, I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun you will have exploring Enchanted Rock with your dog. Here is an informational video about this great place.

After you’re done seeing the beautiful landscape of Texas, you will want to relax and drink a cold beer. How about stopping by the famous old town of Luckenbach, Texas? Dogs on leashes are definitely welcome. Luckenbach is about 15 minutes southeast of Fredericksburg. It attraction is an old post office and general store, and oftentimes has folks playing some good old fashioned country music. Be sure to try the Shiner Bock beer, a Texas favorite brewed in Shiner, Texas. See what Luckenbach looks like with this video.

The song played in this video is sung by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson who started the tradition of country music concerts in Luckenbach.

We want to thank our dog friends Wyatt and Jerry for telling us about Luckenbach. Wyatt and Jerry are a couple of three-legged dogs known as tripawds. Read about them and their experiences by clicking below:

Wyatt’s take on Luchenbach

Jerry’s take on Luckenbach

The above photo is of Wyatt, shared with us by @tripawds on Twitter. Thanks for sharing, y’all!

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April 13, 2013
How does your dog ride in the car?

How does your dog ride in the car?

I seem to feature a lot. But this is not because I am being paid for it. I genuinely enjoy their website and love how much information they share about pet friendly places. The first time I really noticed them was when they were talking about visiting pet friendly places in or near Austin, Texas. Since this is where I lived for many years, I was really excited to share my pet friendly experience there. I’ve been visiting’s site ever since.

So today’s post is about one of their recent articles – Go Pet Friendly Training Update. It is about training your dog to ride in the car. In their case, it is their dog Buster who likes to bark in the car. This can be exceedingly distracting. I should know. Maya does something similar. Even though she is wearing her dog seat belt, her continuous whining is very distracting. I am constantly telling her to sit and trying to concentrate on the road and not her.

Don’t get me wrong, her dog car seat belt helps tremendously with reducing the distractions she causes. But with a little more training, it could be perfect… perfectly quiet, that is.

The article from talked about training her by distracting her with treats. This is a fantastic idea as it helps Buster associate car rides with something fun rather than something to be anxious about. This technique might help Maya as well. Reward with treats when quiet – simple as that.

But I need to take it further. I need to get her used to riding in the car by desensitizing her to car rides. What does that mean? It means taking her in the car a lot more often. But I have to be careful. I don’t want to go to the grocery store and leave her in the car. If I take her for more car rides, I either have to go somewhere that she won’t have to wait for me in the car or I have to go nowhere. Going nowhere means driving around to nowhere in particular. I generally drive around the block.

It seems a bit mean to get Maya’s hopes up that we are going somewhere fun, only to end up back at home with nothing exciting in between. But this is beneficial because she will eventually learn that getting in the car does not necessarily mean going somewhere fun. This can work for dogs like Buster who get stressed about riding in the car. By going on short, simple, frequent car rides, Buster will hopefully realize that going in the car is not a big deal.

Training your dog to ride in the car definitely contributes to safety. It may not be as beneficial as keeping your dog in a dog seat belt, but it certainly helps to reduce driver distractions. And it reduces your dog’s stress as well as your own.


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April 11, 2013

Does your dog try to climb in the
front seat when you drive?

Bergan Pet Travel Barrier

Help keep your dog in the back seat with the Bergan pet travel barrier.

Does your dog try to get in your lap?

If your dog won’t tolerate a pet seat belt or dog carrier, enter the contest giveaway to win a Bergan pet travel barrier.

Bergan makes a great car barrier that is easy to install. Simply wrap the straps around the headrest and seat body of the car. If you are wary about purchasing a dog car barrier made out of canvas cloth and netting material, enter our contest giveaway in the month of April for a chance to win one!

To enter, you must have a shipping address within the Continental US. We do not ship outside the US. If you meet this criteria, like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, tweet about the giveaway, and/or leave a blost post comment. You do not have to do all four entries, but each method gives you another chance to win. You can increase your chances of winning even more by tweeting about the giveaway once a day, every day.

This contest ends April 30th, 2013, 11:59PM EST. We will select a winner on May 1st or 2nd using The winner will be notified by email, through Facebook, and/or Twitter. If the winner does not respond within three business days, we will select another winner.

If you’d like to go ahead and order a Bergan pet travel barrier, visit our site at Please note, that the dog car barrier may not be effective in preventing determined dogs from getting in the front seat. Consider the size of your dog (smaller dogs are less likely to get over the barrier) and his tenacity. For our other pet travel supplies, start at the PetAutoSafety home page. Feel free to enter discount code, petfriend, for 10% off.

Good luck! 🙂
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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April 9, 2013

MP900407201 Dog on Bed

I want to go on vacation!  Going on vacation with my dogs is a must (otherwise it wouldn’t be a vacation). But it can also be a hassle. Not every place we want to visit is pet friendly and that includes hotels. Finding pet friendly hotels online is much easier nowadays since more and more hotels are becoming pet friendly. But there’s a catch. Isn’t there always a catch?

Not all pet friendly hotels are truly pet friendly. Many have weight limits and charge extra fees for your pet’s stay. And they have strict rules that pets and pet owners must follow. So how do you find a good dog friendly hotel?

Search online for “pet friendly hotels”. There are lots of great website resources that can help you find hotels in the city you are traveling to. Then call the prospective hotels directly. Many hotel chains will advertise pet friendly but many hotel chains are franchises where individual owners can modify the pet policy as they wish. So always call the hotel directly, not the hotel chain 1-800 number, and ask the below listed questions:
* Is there is a weight limit or a limit on the number of pets?
* Are there are any additional fees for pets staying at the hotel? Are the fees per day? Are there any non-refundable deposit fees?
* Are there areas for the dog to go potty, such as grassy areas or even a special gated area for dogs?
* Are the pet friendly rooms are also used as smoking rooms? For economic reasons I won’t explain here, some hotels (especially the lower-end hotels) will use the pet friendly room and smoking room interchangeably.
* What is your policy for when I leave and leave my dog in my room? Is this allowed? If so, should he be crated?

Be a responsible pet owner and give future pet travelers a good name and practice some basic courtesies:
1. Be sure to declare your pets at check in. Don’t lie. Lying might help someone in the short run, but in the long run it makes hotel owners want to reconsider their pet friendly policies.
2. Ask for an area on the ground floor, especially if your pet is older and can’t go up and down the stairs well.
3. Ask if there are any restricted areas for pets. Most likely, pets will not be allowed in the dining areas or bar, or in the activity areas such as swimming pool and gym.
4. Be sure your dog is on a leash at all times and always keep control of your pet. The last thing you want is for another hotel resident to complain about your dog.
5. Pick up after your dog. This should be a courtesy exercised no matter where you go with your dog.
6. Crate your pets when you are not there. You don’t want to scare the housekeepers and you don’t want your pets to escape when the housekeepers come to clean. Please note that some hotels don’t want you to leave your pet alone in the room (or the car) at all.
7. If your dog is a barker, please let the hotel staff know in advance and ask if there is a room that is out of the way.
8. If your dog makes a mess or chews up hotel properly, let the hotel staff know immediately. Don’t wait until checkout.

If you are wondering who some of the pet friendly hotels are, here is a list of some of our favorites:
* Marriott makes it easy to find a dog friendly hotel. Visit Marriott‘s website.
* The Holiday Inn also has a number of pet friendly hotels. Check out Holiday Inn’s website.
* Motel 6 claims that all their hotels are pet friendly and they have a very clear pet policy outlined HERE.
* On one night stay overs, I generally look for a Red Roof Inn. I’ve found that some charge fees but others don’t. Again, it depends on the hotel owner.
* I have had good luck staying at Baymont Inn and Suites. Their website recommends you call the hotel directly for their pet policies.
* There are a lot more than this. Petside has a great article on the Top 5 and more.

Much of the work in planning your vacation will be on finding the right dog friendly hotel. But since your best friend will be going on vacation with you, it is all worth it! If you’ve had a good experience at a pet friendly hotel, please tell us about it. And have fun on your traveling endeavors! 🙂

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April 6, 2013
Slumber Pet Cooling Mat

Help dogs stay cool on a pet cooling mat.

Now that spring is here, I bet you want to be outdoors more. I bet your dog does too. Perhaps now that the sun is shining and the weather is warmer, you and your dog can go somewhere for a nature hike, visit the lake for a picnic or a swim, or go to that dog park you really love but didn’t go before because it was too cold outside and all the way across town. But before you and your dog head out the door, let me make one very important reminder about dogs in cars. And also, let me introduce a new product that is perfect for pet travel in warm weather.

I want to introduce the new pet travel product first. I’m excited about it because I think it is a great pet product for when we travel long distances with the dogs. See, the a/c of my car doesn’t get to the back of the car where Maya and Pierson are as easily as it blasts us in the front. So if I want my dogs to stay cool, I have to wear a coat and have the a/c on full blast. The new product we found is a pet cooling mat and it allows my dogs to stay cooler without me freezing my you-know-what off.

The Slumber Pet cooling mat is very easy to use. Simply put it in the refrigerator to let it cool down. And then take it out for your dog to lie on. Your dog can lie on it directly, or you can put it in their pet bed. Your dog can lie on it inside the house, outside, or in the car for pet travel in warm weather. (If you use the pet cooling mat outside, use it in the shade so that the coolness lasts longer.)

This pet travel product brings me to the point about safety I wanted to make. This product does not mean that you are allowed to leave your dog alone in the car while you run inside to get groceries and such. Never ever ever leave your dog alone in the car. The pet cooling mat can stay cool for long periods, but not if it is exposed to extreme heat (such as the extreme heat that builds up in a car).

Even though the weather is not hot yet, it is warm enough to make the inside of your car hot, even if the windows are down. Don’t believe me? Go to the grocery store in the afternoon when the sun is out on a 60 degree day. I did that yesterday (without my dogs, of course) and by the time I got back to my car 30 minutes later, it was super-hot inside. If Maya or Pierson had been left in there, they might have had a heat stroke.

Heat is not the only danger of leaving your dog in the car. Someone could steal your dog. Trust me, this happens all the time. People take dogs from cars because they believe you are cruel for leaving them in there, because they want to use your dog as a bait dog, or for a multitude of other unsavory reasons.

Don’t leave your dog vulnerable to theft or to heat stroke. Always make sure someone can stay with your dog in the car, or just leave your dog at home. Plan trips to the park and such separately from your grocery trips and other errands. And don’t forget to bring plenty of water for your dog to drink! 🙂

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April 3, 2013

First, let me announce the winner of the Pet Travel Calm from the March contest giveaway. Congratulations to Danielle M. and her dog Sissy!

Now, let’s introduce one of our previos winners, Shelley and her dog Kandy. Shelley won the Bergan dog car harness in February. Just look at what a cutie Kandy is. Tell me what you think of her ears. ♥

Kandy Wearing Bergan Dog Seat Belt 1

Here’s Kandy in the car wearing her Bergan dog seat belt.

Kandy Ears and Bergan Dog Seat Belt

Kandy’s ears remind me of little angel wings. 🙂

Kandy Bergan Dog Car Harness

Kandy is sitting comfortably in the car and ready to ride safe.

What would you like to see as a giveaway for April?

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Portland, Oregon

The Best City for Pet Travelers Tournament being held by is still underway. It is now down to eight cities. Read a little bit about each of these eight cities, and then go cast your vote for your favorite pet travel destination.

Portland, OR
Besides a number of off-leash dog parks, Portland, OR has several pet friendly rose gardens and other gardens. It also has a few dog friendly wineries. More on our blog post at

Aspen, CO
Take your dog for a pleasant outdoor walk downtown. Then ride the pet friendly sky car of the Silver Queen Gondolas to the top of Aspen Mountain. There is much more for you and your dog to do on top of the mountain. Read more on our blog post at

Carmel, CA
This city has quite a few pet friendly beaches, parks, tours, restaurants, shops, and hotels. My dogs have never been to the beach, so this is one city we’d love to visit.

Charlottesville, VA
Many of the estate tours, including the ones of Thomas Jefferson’s estates are dog friendly outside. Dogs aren’t allowed inside, but well-behaved dogs are welcome to tour the outside areas. Charlottesville also has a number of pet friendly wineries.

Fredericksburg, VA
This city beat out one of my favorites, Sedona, AZ, and I see why. Fredericksburg has a number of pet friendly attractions like the Chancellorsville Battlefield and the outdoor areas of George Washington’s Ferry Farm and Kenmore Plantation and Gardens.

Bend, OR
This city has a number of off-leash dog parks. Dogs are also allowed, on a leash, at the outdoor areas of Peterson Rock Gardens and Sunriver Nature Center.

Annapolis, MD
Take your dog to the Annapolis Maritime Museum and Historic London Town and Gardens. Annapolis also has dog friendly boat tours, such as Watermark Cruises, and boat rentals, such as Annapolis Small Boat Rentals.

Charleston, SC
This city also has dog friendly beaches and off-leash dog parks. It also has quite a few pet friendly hotels and vacation rentals, a number of pet-friendly stores and restaurants, and a several pet friendly tours and attractions such as the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Tour Charleston Ghost Tours, and Fort Moultrie National Historic Site.

The only one of these places I have been to is Portland, Oregon. So this is the city that has my vote! But the others look like a lot of fun too. Go vote for your favorite pet travel destination at

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