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Archive for August, 2013

Dog Pierson K9 Car Fance

Pierson is testing the K9 Car Fence.

“There is no way my dog would wear a dog safety belt.” “My dog will hate it.” “I bought one but my dog chewed it off.” These are some of the reasons why some people aren’t able to secure their dogs in the car. Our pets are not likely to understand why they have to be restrained, especially if they have been previously allowed to move around in the car.

“I have a car, so my dog is too big to fit in a pet travel carrier.” “My dog hates being confined in a crate.” “My dog likes to be able to see out the window.” These are some of the reasons why people can’t use a dog crate when they travel with their pet.

So if your dog won’t wear a dog safety belt or ride in a secured pet travel carrier, how can you help your best friend ride safer? We have recently come across a brand new pet travel product called the K9 Car Fence. This product gives your dog a bit more freedom than a harness or crate, so it doesn’t provide as much safety. But it certainly has some great benefits.

More freedom means your dog is less likely to try to get out of a restraining safety mechanism. The fence provides enough restriction that your dog is less likely to be able to distract the driver. The K9 Car Fence is great for big dogs too (up to 70 pounds). It fits in the front seat or back seat of most vehicles. Your dog can still see out, whether it is to look at you for reassurance or to look out the window at all the exciting stuff going on.

We were sent one of these to try out. That’s Pierson in the above photo in one. I really liked it. It is very well made and seems like it will really work for him. I even think it would work for Maya, although I didn’t try it with her. One thing I did not like about it, however, is that it was a real hassle trying to figure out how to install it. It came with detailed instructions and graphics and there are videos on YouTube, but it was still hard. The good thing is, once it is installed, it can be easily removed and reinstalled with a lot less hassle. Just leave the anchor straps in place and take the fence part out.

Two Dogs K9 Car Fence.

Up to 3 dogs (totalling 70 pounds) can ride in the K9 Car Fence.

I still believe a dog safety belt for my dogs is the safest bet. But if I had a dog that I couldn’t get used to one or couldn’t ride in a pet travel carrier, then I would definitely consider the K9 Car Fence. Go visit our site and check it out. There is the original version and the deluxe version, which also covers the seat like a seat cover. Tell me what you think. Ask questions and we will answer them on the next Follow Up Friday.

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Follow Up Friday #6

Author: MayaAndPierson
August 9, 2013
Dogs Pet Safety Belts

Maya and Pierson wearing a pet car harness. The back seat is also fitted with the Backseat Bridge from Kurgo.

We’ve had a couple of wonderful questions about dog seat belts and the Backseat Bridge this week! Donna with WeLiveInAFlat had an incident where they had to slam on the brakes, causing the dog to get thrown onto the floor. The question was whether there was a difference between a regular harness and a pet car harness.

We were happy to hear that the dog was okay. Scary!!! And all just because of a quick stop! Yes, there is a difference between a harness and a pet car harness. There is a difference in safety. A regular harness might be okay for a sudden stop like the one described. But a dog car harness is designed to fit better and to be stronger in more serious incidents.

We directed them to our site where there was information on safety as well as some videos. One of the videos found was from Kurgo.

Notice the dog still flies off the seat. WeLiveInAFlat had some concerns about this. We agree that a dog would still fly off the seat. Keeping the tether short could help. The Center for Pet Safety is continuing to do more studies on the safety of dog seat belts. The tests are ongoing so there haven’t been any new publications. But I do know that most of the positive testing results they have had were on harnesses with short tethers.

Hawk with BrownDogCBR asks: “A bridge is a good idea. What happens when one front seat passenger has the seat forward and the other has it back and somewhat reclined?”

Our reply: “Very good question, Hawk! It will still work, but there will be gaps and this could be an issue. The Backseat Bridge has a flap that goes up along the back of the front seats in order to try to cover that gap. However, if you are loose in the back seat and step in that area just right, you could get your foot caught. I would try to lessen those gaps or cover them as much as possible. The bridge fits most average sized vehicles, but if your car is wider than most, you could also have those gaps on the sides.”

I would also like to add that the Backseat Bridge could help in the situation observed by WeLiveInAFlat by keeping dogs from getting thrown onto the floor.

Pierson Wearing the Bergan Dog Car Harness

Lindsay and her dog Ace with ThatMutt held a calendar contest this past month. I entered a great photo of Pierson playing in the snow, then I begged for Like votes on Facebook. The contest ended yesterday and I am happy to say that Pierson is a tentative winner! Why tentative? He received enough likes, but Lindsay needs to make sure the photo entry meets all the guidelines. The winners will be officially announced on Monday. In the meantime, go visit her Facebook contest page and go check out the ThatMutt blog.

Thanks again for all the wonderful questions. You all bring out some great points and possible drawbacks of some of the products. Keep them coming. They help people make educated decisions and I’d rather people know what to expect in advance than to find out later. These discussions also help stimulate the manufacturers into continuing to make improvements.

Thanks again and have a wonderful weekend!  🙂

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Buckingham Fountain, Chicago

Buckingham Fountain, Chicago

Since I don’t have the opportunity to do much traveling, I’m so happy I get to visit other dog bloggers who’ve been to some great pet travel destinations. Please go check out these other great blogs by clicking the corresponding links in red:

Sugar the Golden Retriever finds pet friendly activities in Chicago, Illinois. Sugar gets to take a tour boat cruise and take a stroll along the Chicago riverwalk. Both posts are full of many wonderful photos and fully share Sugar’s experience.

Rocco with ToDogsWithLove gets to go to Woody Gap at Chattahoochee National Forest in Dahlonega, Georgia. This is about two hours north of Atlanta, Georgia. It really looks like Rocco had a lot of fun on his visit. There are many great photos to see on this blog too.

Ty and Buster with GoPetFriendly recently visited the Black Hills of South Dakota. If you’re not familiar with Ty and Buster or GoPetFriendly, this is the perfect blog to follow for pet travel destinations. Ty and Buster get to travel all over the United States and their parents are always taking great pictures. And did I tell you that Ty and Buster wear the Kurgo seat belt for dogs when they travel?

Once you’ve checked out these great places through these pawsome bloggers, come back and tell us about your favorite pet friendly travel destination. If you’re a blogger and have a post about you and your pet visiting someplace special, feel free to share the link. And ask about being featured on our Pet Travel Destination Tuesday series.


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August 5, 2013
Nature by Dawn, Inc.

Nature by Dawn, Inc.

One of our favorite bloggers, All Things Dog Blog, hosts a blog hop every Monday called Mutt Monday. A blog hop is where other bloggers get to share their posts under the blog hop topic. This Monday, we are joining the blog hop for Mutt Monday and the topic is “A Day in the Life of a Pet Blogger”. Would you like to know what it is like to run an online business and blog?

First off, let me explain what Nature by Dawn, Inc. is. My name is Dawn and I started Nature by Dawn, Inc. in 2006 with my art website, Nature by I also started Pet Auto in 2006. Today, my company Nature by Dawn, Inc. consists of a few retail sites, a couple informational sites, two blogs, and several social media sites. Pet Auto is my primary focus. My dogs have been wearing canine seat belts for over 15 years and I am passionate and knowledgeable about pet travel safety.

Pet Auto Safety Logo

Pet Auto Safety logo designed after Maya

Over the past seven years, I have learned a lot about running an online business. Let me tell you, it is not easy. But I love what I do so it is fun. Every Sunday, I start out by putting together a to-do list for the week. I have daily tasks, weekly tasks, monthly tasks, and ongoing projects.

The first thing I do every morning is fill orders. Sometimes this is quick and sometimes it takes half the morning. Then I look at my to-do list. Daily tasks include writing at least one blog post, checking emails, perusing the internet for pet news, reading and commenting on other dog blogs, and seeing what my doggie friends are up to on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, and others. These daily tasks take up most of my day.

Weekly tasks include checking and analyzing the visitor and other stats for my websites, checking and entering specific blog hops, making sure my own blog posts posted properly, and coming up with blog topics for the following week.

Monthly tasks include entering all business sales and expenses into my accounting program, completing the accounting statements, re-submitting my products to Google Merchant and other similar shopping sites, verifying inventory count, ordering more inventory, and adding new product information if I find new products I’d like to sell.

Ongoing projects are generally SEO activities. SEO is search engine optimization. I have to constantly make sure I am keeping up with Google and Yahoo search guidelines. I modify my website as needed (which is often and can be very time consuming). Other SEO activities include submitting my website to directories and writing articles for Ezine and other article sites.

Another project I want to do very soon is make car travel videos with Maya and Pierson. They are going to be funny videos… at least I hope I can make them funny. I have someone who is going to do the Australian voice for Pierson. I will probably do Maya’s voice. They will be riding in the back of the car and having silly conversations. I hope to have the first video done before the end of August.

Dog Maya CEC Working Too Hard

Maya, CEC (Chief Executive Cuteness)

In between all these tasks, I have the opportunity to take Maya and Pierson for a walk, play with them, and perhaps do a little fun dog training.

Maya Pierson Under Desk

Maya & Pierson keep me company as I work. Generally, Maya is the one under the desk but lately Pierson has decided he wants to be there too.

I do most of these things myself, but I do get help from my family. And I have a couple of friends that help out from time to time. One such friend is Joanne. Joanne lives in the UK and she runs Fleece Dog Joanne has helped me a lot with the SEO stuff and she is currently helping me with a new website for outdoor dog gear (website coming soon). Carrie with All Things Dog Blog has also been a great help to me on the social media side. I also have great relationships with some of my suppliers. The team at Kurgo and Bergan are fantastic. Susan with The Pet Net Brand is pawsome. And Sue with Mutt Managers for the Breeze Guard Window Screens is amazing.

I also have quite a few pet forum members and pet bloggers out there to thank for mentions and reviews. I love the cato- and dogo-sphere world and am very thankful to be a part of this wonderful community. ❤ ❤ ❤

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Maya Showing Off Her Favorite Pet Travel Products

Maya has more room to stretch out on those long road trips. You can’t see it well in this photo, but she is also wearing her canine car harness.

What is a Backseat Bridge?

The Backseat Bridge is a great product from Kurgo. It neatly covers the floor of the car, the gap between the front and back seats.

The Benefit of a Bridge?

It gives your dog more room to move around. This is great if you are going on a long road trip or if you have a big dog that barely fits onto the narrow back seat. The bridge can also help to keep your dog from getting thrown onto the floor in a sudden stop or car accident. Plus, the Kurgo Backseat Bridge has a divider that covers the area between the front seats so that your dog can’t stand on the center console.

Pierson Wearing the Bergan Dog Car Harness

Notice how flat the Kurgo Backseat Bridge is and how it covers the floor. Also notice the divider that closes the gap between the front seats.

Use with a Dog Seat Belt?

If a dog seat belt is supposed to keep your dog secure in one place, why do you need the bridge? For a dog like my Pierson, you don’t. This is because Pierson’s tether is really short and he will stay in one spot. But my Maya is a different story. I have to keep the tether on her canine car harness a little longer so that she doesn’t get tangled when she moves around. This means that even though she is wearing her harness, she can still get thrown onto the floor and hurt.

Imagine a 70 pound dog falling into the small gap between seats. Most likely, not all limbs will go at once and Maya could break a leg. The bridge prevents this. When Maya and I were rear ended this past July, Maya’s canine car harness prevented her from being thrown into the front seat. And the bridge prevented the front of her body from being thrown onto the car floor.

The Kurgo Backseat Bridge is very well made. It is made with stain resistant material and can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. The bridge is reversible so you can use either the khaki side or the black side. It can hold about 100 pounds, but be careful to not let your dog jump on it when they get in the car. Jumping onto something creates more force so a 70 pound dog like my Maya jumping could generate an impact greater than 100 pounds. In fact, the bridge could have been broken in our collision (but wasn’t). However, the breakage is more like a bending. Maya would not have fallen through, only caved in a bit, which is better than being thrown onto the floor. Perhaps this crude sketch I did will help illustrate.

Sketch of the Kurgo Backseat Bridge

Yes, I know the drawing of the Backseat Bridge is crude. I tried. 😉

If it had been broken in the car accident, Kurgo has a great repair and replace policy. I could have shipped the bridge to them and they would have repaired or replaced it for a small fee, plus shipping. Kurgo also has a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects. I LOVE Kurgo products!

Are there any products we have that you’d like to know more about? Are there any products we don’t have that you’d like to see?

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Follow Up Friday #5

Author: MayaAndPierson
August 2, 2013

Follow up from Pet Safety Saturday’s post on Why My Dog Wears a Pet Car Harness:

I was in a rear end collision last Thursday. My dog Maya was with me. I was really sore the following Friday and Saturday but felt much better on Sunday and was 100% better by Monday. Maya seemed not to have been affected at all. She and Pierson were playing as normal on Friday and she has been just as rambunctious on her walks. The auto repair shop told me it is not just the rear bumper that was damaged on my car, but the frame as well. They also told me the cost to repair my car is likely more than my car is worth. So instead of getting my car repaired, I will most likely only receive a 2k check from the other insurance company. My car is a 1998 Ford Contour and doubtedly not worth more than 2k. Makes me wish I had a Toyota instead. 🙁

Follow up on questions received on the blog this week:

Jodi from Heart Like a Dog asks, “How frequently should you stop when driving with dogs?  You should you keep to your regular feeding schedule?  Typically our thought is we stop to let them eat and then when we stop for gas or to use the rest areas, they get a quick walk too.”

That’s a great question, Jodi. When we took a long road trip to Texas with Maya & Pierson we stopped every couple of hours or so. This coincided with the stops we made to get gas, at rest stops for our own potty breaks, and stops we made for food. I would start out with this as your plan. But watch their behavior. If they are generally quiet on the ride but suddenly get restless, it may mean that they need a break. Also, more active dogs may need more frequent stops.

For feeding, it really depends on how your dogs handle car rides. Do you know if they tend to get car sick? Pierson tends to get car sick so I gave him several small meals instead of his normal two big meals.

Hawk, Brown Dog CBR says, “Buying a seat belt really perplexed my Human. I ate one. She bought a different brand and I chewed the seat belt. I prefer my crate but it’s too big to go in the sedan. Now she’s talkin’ about gettin’ a different strap attachment that is longer. Do you think she thinks I won’t find a way to outsmart the dang thing? (smirk)”

LOL! Chewing through harnesses is a common problem. We usually provide a tip sheet for people who buy a pet car harness in order to give some ideas on how to keep a dog from chewing through or escaping from it. One tip is training the dog to get used to the harness. This can take time. A short-term solution is to use a no-chew spray on the harness. And your idea of a longer strap is a good one too. Here’s a link to an article we wrote on the subject a couple years ago – Tips to Keep Your Dog from Chewing on His Dog Car Harness.

Just so you know, there is no such thing as a safe chew-proof or escape-proof pet car harness. The only chew-proof material I can think of is Kong material or metal. I can’t imagine metal being safe. I don’t know how safe a hard rubber one would be. One hasn’t been invented or tested yet, as far as I know. Escape-proof is difficult as well. Imagine if the harness is too tight. This would be uncomfortable for the dog and the dog would be even more likely to try to get out of it if he is uncomfortable. And if he did try to get out of a pet car harness that is too tight, he will be more likely to hurt himself.

Follow up on questions received by telephone or email this week:

Sarah asked whether I like the Kurgo or the Bergan brand pet car harness the best. This is a very common question and it is difficult to answer. I like both of them for different reasons. I like how the Bergan fits Pierson. He has a small frame and both the neck and the chest straps are fully adjustable. I also like the Bergan’s tether for Maya because she likes to move around a lot. I like how the Kurgo fits Maya. The large size is like it was made just for a Lab. But I don’t like the Kurgo tether for Maya. It works well on Pierson and I like how it is shorter and safer for him. But the Kurgo looped tether just won’t work for Maya.

If someone asks how I like the Ruff Rider Roadie, I honestly haven’t tried it on Maya and Pierson yet. I really like how padded the Bergan and Kurgo is. The Ruff Rider isn’t. But the quality if the Ruff Rider Roadie is obvious. It has a lot of features that the Kurgo and Bergan don’t seem to have. It is pleated under the dog’s legs so that it doesn’t cause irritation. The strap can be made short or long. And the strap can be used with the seat belt of the car as well as in the cargo area of the SUV (The Bergan tether can too).

Follow up on southern Florida as a pet friendly travel destination:

Gizmo from Terrier Torrent loves Florida and says his favorite part is the Jupiter dog beach. Flea from DogTreatWeb for Jones Natural Chews has only experience central Florida and was not at all impressed. She says central Florida was not at all dog friendly. Pamela with Something Wagging This Way Comes says that she’s had luck finding dog friendly tours up north, but not dog friendly sailing tours. That’s too bad because I’m sure her dog Sunny would love to go.

Do you have any pet travel safety questions? What about a favorite pet friendly travel destination? Feel free to chime in on the comments below or email us at

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