Archive for January, 2014
Welcome to another edition of Barks and Bytes where we share comments and questions from other pet lovers about car travel and where we review the events of the week. The Barks and Bytes blog hop is hosted by our friends at Heart Like a Dog and 2 Brown Dawgs.
LAST WEEK BARKS
Carol with Fidose of Reality left a very nice comment, “I want to thank you for having a blog where safety and traveling with dogs is combined into one.”
Thank you, Carol! I know you’re a fan of pet safety in the car. I’ve seen photos of Dexter wearing his dog car harness. 🙂 I’d love to share one of those photos here and on our Facebook and G+ pages. Let me know!
BARKS FROM PETS THAT DON’T LIKE TO RIDE IN THE CAR
Lindsay with That Mutt had a good idea about helping cats ride well in the car, “put him in his carrier and put a towel over it and that has helped calm him down.”
Great idea, Lindsay! Sometimes pets need to look out the window in order to help with motion sickness. But if the issue is anxiety, having them ride in a carrier and covering it with a towel can be very helpful.
Tegan with Leema Kennels Rescue and Blogsaid, “You can also try feeding ginger 30 minutes before travel for travel sickness.”
You’re so smart, Tegan! How much ginger would you say? By the way, ginger is one of the primary ingredients of Travel Calm. Travel Calm is not available everywhere, though. Tegan is in Australia.
Jody with Bark and Swagger said, “Sophie doesn’t line riding in the car, but I think it’s because she took a long journey as a young puppy to get home to us. It was probably scary.”
I agree. Riding in the car for such a long trip probably was scary. All that movement of stopping, turning, and speeding up can be really hard on a puppy tummy. Then there are also the strange sights and smells whizzing by. Poor Sophie. I hope she comes to enjoy car rides someday.
I had a wonderful conversation through Facebook with someone regarding dog seat belts. She said a friend of hers bought the ClickIt dog seat belt and was not happy with how complicated it was to use. She said the same regarding the AllSafe. Although these two brands are very good for safety, ease of use is another important factor to consider when shopping for the right dog seat belt. Your dog’s comfort is another thing to take into account.
So what dog seat belt combines comfort, ease of use, AND safety? My personal first choice is the Bergan brand. Although, a small handful of people have said it is complicated too. I think it is the very first time you put it on. But once you get it fitted and put it on a few times, it is very simple. Bergan has made a great video to help you through the steps.
You may remember from the report from the Center for Pet Safety, though, that the Bergan brand failed using the 75 pound dog dummy. After speaking with Bergan, they have promised a new version in the large size will be coming out soon. In the meantime, the Ruff Rider Roadie is another great brand. It passed testing at all sizes. It is one of my favorites too, but I do like the padding of the Bergan better.
I have an interview for a radio show today. The interview won’t air until March, so I will keep you posted. It’s hosted by Karen from PetsPage.com and will play on the pet news segment on Kim Power Stilson’s Talk Radio show on SiriusXM. It’s a simple interview, but I’m both excited and scared at the same time!
WAG N GO
There is only a little bit more time and more £ to go to help out Trina with her new product. Please go check out the Wag N Go on Kickstarter.
QUICK DOG SAFETY TIP
Front passenger side airbags are not safe for pets. If your dog likes to sit in the front seat, check your vehicle specifications to see how much weight will trigger the airbags. Some airbags will only go off if the seat has a certain amount of weight in it. Others will go off regardless of weight. If this is the case, see if the passenger side airbag can be temporarily disabled. And if not, push the seat as far back as possible while your dog is sitting in it.
Generally, we recommend pets sit in the back. But I understand how a dog may want to sit in the front. That would be Maya’s first choice. But Maya would be too much of a distraction. So if your dog needs to sit in the front, don’t let him be a distraction and make sure he is not in danger of the passenger side airbags.
Thank you for visiting us today on the Barks and Bytes. Please feel free to leave us a comment or question below. We will reply with a comment of our own and address it in next week’s Barks and Bytes. If you have a question that you want to ask privately or if you need your question answered right away, please feel free to email us at nature by dawn at aol dot com (spelled out in order to avoid recognition from spam bots).
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
It seems wherever we go, we see a happy dog with his head out the window, his ears flapping in the wind, and a big doggy grin on his face. Seeing this so often, one would think all dogs love to ride in the car. Sadly, this is not the case. Here are some reasons why a dog may not like riding in the car, along with some possible solutions:
1. Unfamiliarity and/or Anxiety – If a dog doesn’t ride in the vehicle often, it can be a very strange place. The movement, the sounds, and everything moving by at a blur can seem frightening to a dog that is not used to it.
* Let your dog sit in the vehicle without starting it up. Praise with words and treats. Do this often. Once he is comfortable with getting in the vehicle, start taking him on short trips. Also, consider a dog anxiety treatment such as the Thundershirt.
2. Car Sickness – Some dogs get motion sickness.
* Take short trips that don’t require a lot of stops and turns. If your dog is small, it helps if he can see out the window. Let him ride in a pet car booster seat. Also, consider a pet travel remedy such as Travel Calm in order to help with car motion sickness.
3. Destination – If the only time your dog rides in the car is when you have to take him to the vet, it’s no wonder he doesn’t like to ride.
* Take your dog somewhere fun and rewarding. Go to the park, the pet store for treats, or just go to the bank drive-through and ask the teller for a dog biscuit.
Does your dog like to ride in the car?
Welcome to the new blog hop, Barks and Bytes, hosted by Linda with 2BrownDawgs and Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. Just about anything goes on this blog hop, so I will cover a variety of pet travel matters – comments, questions, upcoming events, news, tips, and anything else that comes up throughout the week. Here goes round one!
WAG N GO
The Wag N Go created by Trina with WagTheDogUK needs a little more help. Trina is running a Kickstarter campaign to help raise money so that she can put this product into construction. There is only a little time left, so stop by the Wag N Go Kickstarter campaign today and lend a helping paw.
PET CAR SAFETY ARTICLES
I haven’t been posting as many pet travel safety articles on this blog lately. But I haven’t been idle. I’ve written a few informative articles recently. Check them out on Ezine, PetsPage, and Hub Pages:
The following questions asked this week have been by telephone:
“Do you have any of the ClickIt harnesses left?”
Yes, but only a few. As of this moment, we have one extra small in black, one medium in black, and one large in black.
“When will you have more ClickIts in stock?”
Sleepypod, the manufacturer of the ClickIts, are hoping to have more in stock by the end of this month. This means we won’t have any more until the first week of February.
“How does that Carry-Me pet travel carrier work with the seat belt?”
At the time this question was asked, we did not have a photo showing this crate being secured with a seat belt. We indicated in the product description but no photos. The manufacturer didn’t have any either, which was a bit surprising. So I took the following photo, emailed it to the person who was asking about it, and posted it in the product description of the Carry-Me crates.
“How does the kennel straps work?”
This is another product where the manufacturer did not provide enough photos. So again, I took a few to demonstrate:
Remember our Funny Dogs Car Talk Adventures video starring Maya and Pierson? I promised more funny videos and that promise will be fulfilled around mid-March. I have written a new funny script. The next step is to record more of Maya and Pierson in the car, record the dialogue, and then edit the video.
I also want to make some instructional videos. Demonstrating how the kennel straps work would be much better if it was done in a video, don’t you think? However, I don’t want to make the videos too dry and boring. Any ideas how to make the video fun and/or interesting and yet still be informative?
QUICK DOG SAFETY TIP
Just because it is cold out doesn’t mean it is safe to leave your dog alone in the car while you run errands. While in warmer weather, your car traps heat like an oven, in colder weather it traps cold like a refrigerator. And you always have to worry about thieves or even unsavory people who don’t like dogs and will go out of their way to harass them when they think no one is looking. It is probably stressful enough for your dog if you’ve left him alone in unfamiliar surroundings. But then think about how much more stressful it might be if someone walking by purposely teased him.
Thank you for joining us for the very first Barks and Bytes blog hop. This event happens every Thursday so be sure to stop by regularly. You can sign up to subscribe to our blog in the top right column.
Thanks again and have a wonderful day!
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
I would never take my dogs Maya and Pierson anyplace where I had to leave them alone in the car. But as scatter-brained as I can be, it is quite possible I might automatically lock my car with the dogs still inside. With that being said, here is an article written by Elizabeth on behalf of the car insurance company that I have personally been using for over 10 years:
It can be easy to sometimes lock your keys in the car. Generally, this is more of an annoyance than anything else, but if your pet happens to be inside the car when you accidently lock yourself out, then there is a real problem on your hands. Roadside assistance is a great way to deal with this issue, because you can use the unlock car service. Having your pet locked in the car is a very stressful situation, so it’s good to have a plan that you can follow. Make sure to specifically tell the roadside assistance representative that your pet is locked in the car. If it is very hot outside, then you may need to take more drastic measures.
While waiting for roadside assistance, monitor your pet closely. Call their name and check that they are reacting normally. Also, try not to leave your car unattended if possible. Once help arrives and your car is unlocked, confirm that your pet still appears to be healthy. You could even consider bringing your pet to the vet, depending on what the weather was that day and how long your pet was in the car. Offer your pet water as soon as possible, since they most likely have not had access to it for the duration of being locked in the car. If it is cold outside, wrap your pet in a blanket and turn the car’s heat up.
Even if you never need to use your roadside assistance club, this program could give you peace of mind. In addition to roadside assistance, you could also consider bringing a spare key with you. You may not always remember the spare key, but it would be one more way to help keep your pet safe.
Author Bio: By Elizabeth on behalf of Allstate Motor Club. Visit www.allstatemotorclub.com to learn more about our motor club benefits.
I am super-excited about a new product coming out called the Wag N Go. It is a dog travel kit designed by one of our favorite dog blogging friends in the UK, WagTheDogUK.com. Trina (blogger) came up with the idea when she was visiting New York with her adorable Beagle, Maggie. It started out as just an idea, but with a lot of research and work, it grew into a real and useful product for people who like to travel with their dogs.
I haven’t had a chance to see this Wag N Go product in person yet, but it looks spectacular. Just look at all the stuff that comes with it – a pop-out water bowl, a snuggly blanket, and two air tight food storage bowls. And the best part is all of this stuff can be carried in one handy case.
I can imagine how easy it would be for me to take this with me when I take Maya to the dog park. See, our dog park is pretty big. It is not fenced and it has a ton of trails for Maya and I to explore. The Wag N Go would be great for taking along some water for Maya and perhaps even a snack. And when we get to the water front where Maya could spend all day, I can just pull out the blanket and take a break. I could also use the blanket to dry Maya off so that she doesn’t track dirt into mud as we hike our way back to the car.
The Wag N Go is not available for sale yet. When it does become available, not only do I want one for myself but I also want to make them available on our retail site. (Can you believe we don’t currently have a dog travel kit available? We have several other types of pet travel supplies, but no carrying case.)
When will the Wag N Go be ready to buy, you ask? Sometime around March 2014. But not until the product project has enough funding. It is currently running in a Kickstarter campaign and needs a total of £7,000 to get started. As of January 20th, it has a little over £1,000 and needs your help. By funding this product, not only will you be helping Trina, an innovative entrepreneur, get her first product idea off the ground, but you will also get a little something in return. What it is you receive will depend on how much you contribute.
You can contribute as little as £1 in return for product updates. £14 will get you a treat bag. Other gifts include a doggie gift box, a Wag N Go bag, the entire Wag N Go kit, and more. Visit the Kickstarter page to find out more details. And for those of you in the US like me, you can contribute in US dollars as well. Just don’t forget the conversion rate. And don’t forget that there may be a little extra fee for shipping your item from the UK to the US.
Please, go visit the Wag N Go Kickstarter campaign and lend Trina a helping paw!
Wow, is this the third Friday of the new year already? Time goes by too quickly. Welcome to another edition of the Follow Up Friday blog hop hosted by Jodi with Heart Like a Dog. This is actually the second follow up of the year since we did the pet blogger challenge last week. Rather than cover two weeks of follow up, though, let’s just start with the fun pet blogger challenge.
PET BLOGGER CHALLENGE
Pamela with Something Wagging said, “OMD! You can write a blog post in an hour!” Glogirly said something similar, “I’m also very impressed that you can write a blog post in an hour!”
Okay, let me clarify. Yes, it does only take me an hour to actually write a post. But when you add research time into it and the time it takes to not only take photos but to edit them as well, I actually spend a good two hours or more on some posts. Plus, if you add all the time I spend procrastinating…
Also, I want to thank everyone who complimented me and my blog on the pet blogger’s challenge. The feedback you’ve given encourages me to keep on posting. Thanks to the challenge, I’ve also found some new fun pet blogs to follow. 🙂
A LOOK BACK AT 2013
Ann with Pawsitively Pets mentioned how nervous she is about trying new things outside of blogging, such as a radio show or her own video.
I get that way too. In fact, I bought my video camera and software in February 2013, but I didn’t actually get the video done until November. Part of it was because I was trying to learn the software, but part of it was also because I was nervous. I kept procrastinating because I was afraid my idea was stupid and no one would like it. But you know what? The video may not have lived up to my best expectations, but it didn’t come close to meeting my worst fears either. So just jump on in! I promise, it won’t be as bad as you think it will. And you might even realize you really enjoy it.
NEW FOR 2014
A couple of you suggested I could do a guest post about safety on your blog. I’d absolutely love to! Email me at naturebydawn at gmail dot com to give me an idea of what your readers would like and let’s work something out. Yay! 🙂 Thank you for helping me and for spreading the word about safety in the car for our furry loved ones.
WORDLESS WEDNESDAY SAFETY MESSAGE
Aimee with Irresistible Pets said, “My Chihuahua Chuy always wants to sit in my lap and whines like crazy when we put him in his seat. I guess I should have started doing that when he was a puppy!”
Good news, Aimee. It’s not too late to modify his behavior. In fact, I wrote an article about this very topic on another blog. Go check it out on Pets Page – Tips to Keep Your Little Dog Off Your Lap.
That’s a wrap! Thank you everyone for stopping by. And thank you again for the compliments and comments left on last week’s pet blogger challenge. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that 2014 continues to get better and better for you. Be sure to check out the other great pet bloggers in the blog hop below.
Dawn with Maya and Pierson
I saw the cutest photo from one of my Facebook friends and asked if I could copy it and share. At the time, I meant to add a funny caption. I didn’t realize he was actually driving this way! I thought the photo was taken when he was parked, but I see blurry background. I hope the person who let me share this photo will understand why I added a safety message rather than a funny caption.
A dog allowed to ride in your lap while you drive might seem pretty darned cute, but it is as cute as it is dangerous. I know the person in this photo knows this and I know this is not an activity usually allowed. So please, no criticizing comments. This safety message is only intended to bring about awareness. Thank you Facebook friend (who shall remain anonymous) for letting me use the photo.
For more cute (and much safer) pet photos check out the Wordless Wednesday blog hop below.
2013 was a great year, but we want 2014 to be better. Here is what you can expect from Pet Auto Safety.com this year:
* We want to make more funny dog videos of Maya and Pierson in the car. We also want to do some informative videos showing how certain pet travel products work. Many of those videos will also include pros and cons of the products.
* We want to write more informative articles about pet travel, and not just for our blog and not just about products. We are considering guest posts on other blogs, but mostly we want to focus on putting articles up onto websites that are designed specifically for sharing articles and information. Currently, we post articles on Squidoo, Hubs, and Ezine, but we want to branch out to websites that are specific to dogs.
* I’ve joined a group called Women in the Pet Industry Network. I’m hoping this will be a great way to meet and learn from other dog people. I know some of our readers of this blog are members of this group. What do you think of it?
* We’ve changed our business entity from Nature by Dawn, Inc. to Nature by Dawn, LLC. The expenses of running a corporation make sense for a large company but are too burdensome for a small one.
* We are considering whether to open up a new website for outdoor dog gear. After all, many of you traveling with your dogs are going somewhere fun like hiking or swimming. We already have life jackets and back packs on our pet auto safety site. It is just a matter of getting a wider selection and building a new site (not quite as simple as I just made it sound).
* We’re considering whether we should add the AllSafe dog seat belt to our site. It rated very well with the independent crash test study. However, after contacting the manufacturer in Germany, it doesn’t look like it is going to happen.
* I’d like to make a pet car safety infographic, but need some creative ideas.
We have more plans for 2014, but much of it is technical and boring. What do you think so far? Which of these things would interest you the most? Do you know of any pet travel products that you think would make a great addition to our Pet Auto Safety site?
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you all have a pawtastic year! 🙂
From a business perspective, 2013 has been a pretty good year for us. There have been some ups and downs, but overall it has been great. 🙂
* 2013 started off with the Subaru campaign. It was great fun seeing those cute Subaru dog commercials. The one below is my alltime favorite. And there were some cool prizes given out. This was the first time we had ever done such a campaign. We wouldn’t mind doing more in the future, so long as it is for a dog product we feel is noteworthy.
* We updated the look on our retail site. Pet Auto Safety.com. Our web host did an upgrade forcing us to change our theme, but it really needed a new look anyway. Many aspects of our retail site became much easier when the upgrade took place.
* In July, I was in a minor car accident with my dog Maya. Fortunately, she was wearing her Go-Tech dog car harness and was not hurt at all.
* In August, I had an interview with the Radio Pet Lady. It went well, although I was pretty nervous. Be sure to go take a listen by clicking the red text. 🙂
* We only did a few pet events this year, all small and local. There were two Mutt Mixer events held at the Lawrence Humane Society. We also attended Responsible Pet Owner’s Day held at Crystal K9 in Lawrence. And we attended the Dogtoberfest event held at South Park in Lawrence. My dog Maya was attended all events to demonstrate her dog car harness. Pierson couldn’t go because he doesn’t like other dogs.
* I started a pet travel destination series on this blog that didn’t work out. I also did a pet safety Saturday theme. I haven’t done this lately, but I do plan on doing more posts about pet safety in general – not just car safety.
* I’ve made quite a few funny dog memes in 2013. Making captions for the cute looks Maya and Pierson give is great fun.
* We discontinued a few products in 2013. Sadly, the T-Flex pet auto barrier was discontinued by the manufacturer. We’re not sure why because we loved the T-Flex. We also discontinued the Pet Buckle canine seat belt. It was an innovative product when it first came out because it was the only one we knew of that used metal buckles. But other brands have since come out that have been determined to be much safer.
* With that being said, we added several new products in 2013. For seat belts, we added the Ruff Rider Roadie and the ClickIt Utility. Both of these were the top rated in safety during a recent independent study (more on that below). We also added some new Kurgo products, such as the Go-Tech harnesses, the Kurgo towels, and the Kurgo direct connect tether for seat belts. And two new products were added to help dogs who have anxiety when they ride in the car – the Thundershirt for dogs and cats and pet calming tablets from Total Pet Health. And let’s not forget the K9 Car Fence!
* The long awaited report on the crashworthiness of various canine seat belt brands came out in October 2013. The results of this study were a lot more promising than their previous report. The ClickIt Utility was number one, followed by the Ruff Rider Roadie and AllSafe. Bergan did pretty good, too.
* We finally finished our first funny dog video of Maya and Pierson riding in the car. It was quite a learning curve trying to figure out how to use movie editing software. But I had fun doing it and am happy with the resulting videos.
* We had several people share photos of their dogs with us. These guys and gals are all pretty adorable, aren’t they?
Thanks for taking the time to review our 2013 year! Stop by tomorrow to see what our 2014 plans are for Pet Auto Safety.com. 🙂
This post is inspired by the pet blogger challenge hosted by Amy with Go Pet Friendly. For this challenge, she has asked us to answer 12 questions. Here they are, along with my answers.
1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
I started blogging in June 2008 in order to promote the pet travel products on my PetAutoSafety.com website. At first I was intimidated by blogging but now I love it. I love it so much that I started my AmericanDogBlog.Wordpress.com just for fun in September 2009.
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013 that made you most proud.
Thanks to you, traffic has doubled in the past year. Also, when people have questions about traveling with their dogs, they search Google and usually find one of my informative blog posts.
3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?
This is the first year I am participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge. I have been more involved in the dog blogging community this past year.
4.a. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites?
In the past, my posts have been very technical. I am learning to be more fun, spontaneous, and have been trying to bring a more personal element into my posts. I’m not a faceless business hiding behind a 1-800 number. I am a dog lover dedicated to providing the best for my beloved furry family members. And to prove it, I feature Maya and Pierson in almost every post. These two and my dearly departed Sephi are at the heart of why I run this business.
4.b. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
How on earth do you all keep up with reading and commenting on everyone’s posts? How do you manage to post something nearly every day?
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
The cuteness of Maya and Pierson. Seriously, how can you resist?
6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
Writing a post can sometimes take an hour. Taking and editing photos can take quite a bit of time as well. Reading and commenting on other blogs takes at least an hour, if not more. Other social media sites take another hour or so. Browsing the internet for pet travel news, looking at other products, gathering information for posts, and so on can take anywhere from an hour to several hours, depending on how much time I have. I don’t think I will change the amount of time I spend on promoting my blog, just the way I spend it. I would like to learn how to be more effective.
7.a. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
By the number of comments. Page views are great too, but comments tell me people either learned something from my posts or enjoyed reading them.
7.b. How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
When I don’t get any comments and only a few visits.
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
Cute stuff, insightful posts, posts that ask questions at the end.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?
Yes. Generally for the products I sell, but occasionally for other products. The dog seat belt giveaways have been a huge hit. The recent figurines giveaway, not so much.
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
I find that if I force myself to blog when I am burnt out that my content is lame. By taking a week off every now and then, I get recharged and write great content.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
My goal is to gain a more regular following and spread the word about travel safety for our pets. I would like for my blog to be the go-to place for anyone who has any questions about pet car travel. Flea with Dog Treat Web for Jones Natural Chews has recommended a great book to help me with promoting my blog. I just received it from Amazon and will be reading it soon. Thanks Flea!
One more quick thing… Today is Pierson’s Gotcha Day. After checking out the blog hop for the pet blogger challenge, hop on over to my AmericanDogBlog.wordpress.com blog to read a tribute to my fluffy boy and to say Happy Gotcha Day.
While you’re here reading this, let me ask you all some questions:
– When you visit my blog, what inspires you to comment?
– Which of my posts do you enjoy reading the most?
– What would you like to see more of?
– Any tips on how I can reach my 2014 goals?
Thank you for stopping by everyone! And thank you Amy for hosting this blog hop. 🙂 I look forward to reading everyone else’s answers on their pet blogger challenge.