7 Awesome Dog Hiking Tips


There is nothing that is quite so satisfying as seeing your dog wag his or her tail in joy as you start to pack up the bag for a hiking trip. Once they see you filling up the water bottle and packing up the frisbee, the dog backpack, and a bag full of snacks, they know that after a long week of being penned up at home, at long last they are headed out for the freedom of the trail.

While simply allowing your pup to enjoy the openness of the trail and the wide world around them is more than enough for them to enjoy themselves, it´s good to come up with other activities that can be done on the trail for the enjoyment of both. Below we offer seven quick dog hiking tips so that you, your dog, and other hikers also on the trail can all appreciate the hiking experience.

Clean up After Your Dog

The same dog etiquette that goes for the local park and your neighborhood sidewalk also applies to the hiking trail. Don´t irritate other hikers (who might lodge a few complaints with the park ranger) and bring along a couple plastic bags to keep the trail clean.

Bring Enough Water and Snacks for Two

It´s important to remember that when hiking with your dog, he or she has the same needs you do. If you are feeling dehydrated, chances are that your dog with his or her full coat of fur is also pretty dried out. Make sure to pack enough water and food for both of you or chart out a hike that runs next to a creek or river where abundant water is always available for your pup to cool off in.

Make Your Dog Carry His or Her Own Weight



Carrying around several gallons of water will obviously add a lot of weight to your backpack. If you don´t think your shoulders can take the extra burden of carrying supplies for two, consider buying a dog backpack that can easily and comfortably be strapped to your dog´s back so that he or she can carry her own weight, literally! You can read about dog backpacks here to find the best option for your needs and situation.

Consider Investing in a Microchip

If your pup has a bit too much energy and doesn’t exactly obey you when you call him or her to come back to your side, you might want to consider putting a small microchip onto his or her collar. Making sure that you make it back to your car with your faithful companion is an essential part of any hiking trip.

Bring Along Insect Repellant

Though your dog might not suffer the same number of stings from black flies, mosquitoes, or other pests that can reach biblical plague proportions when on the trail that you do, he or she will suffer from having them incessantly buzz around their face. To help keep both you and your dog bug free, consider purchasing an all-natural insect repellant made from essential oils to keep you and your dog smelling pleasant while also staying bug-free.

Choose a Trail that is Right for Your Dog´s Level of Fitness



Your 13-year-old lab with the beginnings of arthritis might initially show the same amount of enthusiasm for the trail as he did ten years ago, but a couple of miles down the trail he or she might start to show the inevitable signs of age. Try to design your hike for the fitness level of your pup so that they can enjoy themselves while not overdoing it.

Do the Mandatory Post Hike Pup Check

What for you was a five-mile hike was most likely a ten-mile hike for your dog who ran up and down the trail, up into the brush and woods around the trail, and anywhere else that he or she might have wanted to explore. Since dogs will most likely spend a good amount of time running through brush and thorns and bushes, it is always necessary to a do a post-hike dog check to look for ticks, burrs, thorns and any other not-so-appetizing things caught in your dog´s coat.


Simple Tips for an Amazing Hiking Trip

By following these seven simple dog hiking tips, you can make sure that both you, your dog, and the other hikers can all take pleasure in being outdoors and enjoying the natural world.



Can our dogs eat that?!

For most people feeding your dog is simply a matter of grabbing the dry kibble, putting some water in the bowl and hope that your pup loves it.

There is, however, a new movement of feeding dogs a raw diet or supplementing their diets with fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. Of course, dogs evolved from wolves, and therefore they enjoy a diet high in protein, specifically meat based products.

For many of us, knowing what human food to feed a dog can be a challenge. A diet that's high in fat, sugar, and fillers is bad for dogs and us so what should we feed them unhealthy food? Luckily Pet Gear Lab has produced a super handy chart which you can download, print out and stick on your fridge. It lists all the common foods which you can freely feed your pup and those which you should feed moderately, or avoid altogether. It's handy for kids or elderly parents to refer to when they feel like giving your pets tit bits.

This is what it looks like:

Can dogs eat oatmeal, lobster or apples

Head on over to Pet Gear Lab to grab the download and let us know how you're getting on with introducing human food into your dog's diet.

Children and Pets.

Parents often have a difficult time looking for nannies for their kids. There have been a lot of instances where parents had to miss days at work because the sitter did not show up and they have no one to leave the kids with. Day care is another option, but this isn’t ideal for very small kids who can be fussy and moody.

In an ideal set up where mothers don’t have to work, Moms are the best people for the job. However, since most households depend on the income of both spouses, kids are either left to their grandparents or baby sitters and daycare. It is interesting to note that supplementary care can be given to children by dogs. Yes, dogs. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t need much in terms of care and attention – but dogs can give lots of care and attention to kids under their watch.

If you’re a parent who is worried that the sitter isn’t doing a good job of caring for your little one, you can get a dog to keep a close watch while the help is around. Dogs are extremely protective and caring. They treat children like their own pups or obey them the same way they do their masters.

This infographic was created to show the amazing ways dogs can help raise kids. It truly is an eye-opener to parents who are worried about leaving their kids alone on a daily basis. Getting a dog will offer your kids a chance to interact and engage with a truly loving and caring creature.

12 Amazing Reasons Why Dogs Are Good to Help Raise Children

10 Scary Truths About Dog Food

It's hard...when you are new to owning a dog you learn things as you go. And one thing I did NOT know when I got my first pup (Romeo) was exactly how bad most commercial dog foods are for your dog, and how GOOD most companies are at marketing their products.

I feed my dogs Darwin's (www.darwinspet.com) which is raw, biologically appropriate food, but it can also get expensive. There are other ways to feed your dog well on a budget, which I will go over in the next blog post. In the meantime, here are some facts about commercial dog food that you may not know...

Source: Dogs Naturally Magazine

(I have added notes in bold/italics.)


40% of dogs are obese. 46% of dogs and 39% of cats now die of cancer. Heart, kidney and liver disease are epidemic. Like people, dogs are what they eat. Save your dog a lot of suffering, and save yourself a fortune in vet bills, by learning the truth about your dog’s diet. Here are 10 important things you may not know about what your dog is eating:

1)  Commercial dog food is “fast food.

Heavily-processed fast foods (burgers, fries, tacos, etc.) as a big diet component can cause major health problems in people. How can fast foods be good for dogs? Only dog food manufacturers think this nonsense makes sense. Dogs and people share roughly 75% the same genetic makeup, and we have similar nutritional needs. What we’re doing to our own health with processed foods, we’re also doing to our dogs. And it’s happening faster. 

(I think the author is a little unclear here. Commercial dog food is very SIMILAR to highly processed foods, such as fast foods, and the affects can be similar in humans and dogs.)

2)  People food is good for dogs.

Despite what you’ve heard from friends, vets and pet food manufacturers, wholesome ”people food” is good for dogs.  People food is only bad for dog food makers. The same fresh, nutritious foods people eat can offer your dog the nutrition he needs and save you a mountain of vet bills.  It just takes a little education to learn the small differences between human and canine nutritional needs. (Hint: no onions, grapes or raisins. Rinse off rich spices and sauces. Go easy on carbs and avoid wheat and corn.)

("People food" such as meats and organic fruits and veggies. But IF you are going to feed your dog a homemade diet, do some research and know your dog's protein/fat intake needs. You could start HERE.)

3)  Don’t presume the food your vet sells is a superior product.

Veterinarians, like medical doctors, learn relatively little about nutrition in school. Much of what they do learn comes directly from pet food company vets, sales reps, articles, studies, and seminars. If your vet hasn’t studied and experimented on his or her own with raw or homemade diets, it’s unlikely that he or she knows bad food from good, and may be acting on outdated information or superstition. And if vets profit from selling one brand, and not another, they have a conflict of interest that may influence their opinions. (Some may even be prohibited by a manufacturer from selling more than one brand.)

(I have gotten in many an argument with vets about dog food. Don't let them intimidate you. Most of their knowledge does come from reps, and if they have separate opinions I believe they are discouraged from expressing them in the office)

4)   The quality of processed commercial foods is suspect.

Dog food may legally contain “4-D” meat: meat from dead, dying, diseased and disabled animals. Add a little road kill, mill floor sweepings labeled as grain, and corn contaminated with high levels of pesticide (yes, really) and you have a recipe for ill health. The cheaper the food, the cheaper the ingredients, the worse the nutrition. Read the labels!

(I have even read several articles where euthanized dogs have been used in very cheap quality kibble!)

5)  Kibble does not clean teeth.

Almost all dogs age three and over have dental diseases. Most of these dogs eat kibble. That should tell you something.  Although a small study once suggested that kibble might clean teeth better than canned food, better doesn’t mean effectively. Hoping to avoid brushing our dog’s teeth, we too willingly grasp at kibble’s unsubstantiated health benefits. But pretending that kibble or hard treats will keep teeth clean will only lead to huge vet bills, lost teeth and much canine suffering.

(Brushing your dog's teeth isn't as hard as it seems. Make it a routine to do it just a few times a week!)

6) “Complete and balanced” does not mean “optimum.”

“Complete and balanced” means that a food meets minimal theoretical health requirements for the average dog.  Food boasting that it conducted Feeding Trials often just test only the lead product in a line of foods.  Trials, too, are for only a small number of dogs for a short period of time. Over time, nutrient and enzyme deficiencies are inevitable. Of course, complete and balanced is better than not complete and balanced, but again, better does not mean good.

7)  Feeding the same food day after day limits nutrition.

Imagine eating corn, rancid fat and chicken wings (without meat) every meal of your life, with the same mix of cheap vitamins and minerals added. Nutritionists urge people to eat a variety of foods, both for improved nutrition and also to prevent allergies. Dogs need variety, too. But variety can cause gastrointestinal upset in dogs, right?  In the short run, yes. Nutritionally-deprived animals have sick guts. In fact, intestinal upset when switching foods is a sign your dog needs more variety. Once good nutrition has healed a dog’s digestive system, the dog can eat different foods every meal — just as people do. Just switch foods gradually over several weeks while your dog’s gut heals.

8)  Kibble is not better than canned.

Whereas canned food is preserved by the process of canning, most kibble is preserved artificially. (Ever contemplate how much preservative must be required to retard spoilage of food left out all day?) Kibble begins as a dry cooked meal whereas canned food is canned fresh.  Kibble is exposed to more heat than canned (destroying nutrients). Worse yet, kibble is linked to kidney and bladder problems in cats, and to bloat, a deadly problem especially for large, broad-chested dogs. It’s also dehydrating. Of course, canned isn’t perfect either. Fresh is best, raw or cooked. Next best is frozen prepared food and then dehydrated and freeze dried foods, all available at better pet stores.

9)  Some common foods can be hazardous to canine health.

Cooked bones and rawhide chews can cause major health problems requiring emergency surgery. Wheat-based treats can bring on allergies. Onions, grapes, raisins, chocolate, the article sweetener Xylitol and other common foods can be toxic for dogs and must be avoided.

10)  Corn kills.

Most kibble is loaded with corn, a cheap filler. Unfortunately, the corn isn’t the luscious kind you and I eat. It’s feed corn (like cattle eat), or cheap feed corn remnants. Even corn meal dust counts as corn. The corn may even have been condemned for human consumption, there being no upper level of pesticide contamination for pet foods. If that weren’t bad enough, corn (which gives us both high fructose corn syrup and corn oil) is fattening. Any wonder so many dogs are obese and suffer from diabetes?


Improving your dog’s diet can add years to your dog’s life and save you a fortune. 

Benefits of Doga: Yoga with your dog.

Article by: Everyday Health Guest Experts 

Since doga — doing yoga with your dog — is still a novelty, some dog owners have responded with positive and some with negative remarks when I mention that I’m a doga teacher.

I often hear, “But surely dogs would rather fetch a stick or chase squirrels then do bloody yoga?”

I try to clarify that what I teach isn’t “doggy yoga” because dogs don’t actually do human yoga positions (though they can perform an awesome downward dog). I teach yoga for people.

I explain that dogs are incorporated into human yoga poses, which involves yogic breathing and has a calming and soothing effect on the dog’s central nervous system.

“My dog is already calm enough. All he does is laze around watching TV all day,” will be the next response.

There’s a difference between lazing around in front of the TV or computer with your dog and resting in a yoga pose, like corpse pose, with your dog actually participating in your relaxation.

The difference is called intention, or attention.

Your Dog Is Alert to Your Anxiety or Relaxed State

When you watch TV with your dog beside you, it doesn’t mean that you are both relaxed. You may think you are resting, but your dog actually feels your nervous tension or anxiety because your mind is focused on your favorite show, not on your breath.

The way we breathe has a direct effect on our dog’s central nervous system, and that is why yoga is so helpful.

Have you ever noticed that when a larger dog comes sprinting toward your Chihuahua, you may automatically tighten your grip and pull the leash, and most importantly, shorten your breath? You may take a sharp inhalation but forget to exhale for fear something terrible might happen to your dog. You decide to pick your dog up off the floor before Mr. Big Dog gets the chance to sniff out Mr. Small Dog.

Your breath was cut short. So was the opportunity for your small dog to sniff out a large dog and deal with the situation.

Consequently, the next time you are in the park, your dog will be more alert to your anxiety and will begin to bark before you can say, “Sit!”


How Doga Works

Here’s how yoga can help. My doga classes are all about letting go of ownership. In my class the dogs are dogis and humans are yogis. It’s their yoga class as much as it is yours, therefore we must respect each other’s space. In my class all dogs are off-leash.

At first the idea of letting your dog off-leash may sound a little daunting. But eventually, when the owner comes to grips with the art of letting go, good things can really evolve and manifest.

You’ll be surprised to see that your dog is perfectly capable of figuring out where he belongs within the pack. This gives you, the practitioner, the chance to focus your attention on your breathing and posture practice. In doga you’ll be able to learn to separate your own feelings through the art of meditation, or present-moment awareness.

On a practical note, doga classes enable you to bring your pooch to yoga. No longer do you have to feel guilty about leaving him or her at home. And here’s the good news: Dogs really benefit from doga whether they participate or not. They pick up your energy. That’s all that matters. When you become still, your dog becomes still.

Once everyone is calm, you can then incorporate your dog into your yoga poses. My book Doga: Yoga for You and Your Dog includes more than 155 pages of yoga sequencing and individual doga poses. Large dogs aid as a yoga bolster, small dogs aid as a weight.

Benefits of Doga – for You and Your Dog

  • Doga allows you to strengthen and deepen your natural bond with your dog.
  • It decreases anxiety and relieves stress in you and your dog.

In this way, doing yoga with your dog enables you and your dog to have a stress-free bond. What better way to enjoy that bond than walking your dog off-leash in your favorite park?

Now that’s what I call nirvana.

Mahny Djahanguiri, shown above with her dog, Robbie, is a certified yoga teacher, author of Doga: Yoga for You and Your Dog, and the founder of Dogamahny. Since 1999 she’s been teaching and leading international Ashtanga Vinyasa and kids’ yoga workshops in London and Switzerland. Over the last three years Djahanguiri has developed and taught doga to enthusiastic classes and clients who include celebrities and musicians. You can connect with her at  www.dogamahny.co.uk and on Twitter @DogaYogamahny.

PHOTO CREDIT: Top, Thinkstock. Center, Mahny Djahanguiri.

Pet Sitting vs. Pet Boarding, Which is better for your pet? - PetMD


Pet Boarding vs. Pet Sitting - Which is Better?

by Dr. Ken Tudor


You need to go out-of town for business, vacation, wedding or family reunion. Is your biggest concern the travel plans or what to do with the dog and cat? Will she do better in a run next to other animals and daily playtime? What about at night when no one is around? Or is he too fearful and socially unpredictable in a foreign environment and would be better off at home? Boarding or pet sitting, which is the least stressful for all concerned?

Pet Boarding

Traditionally, boarding has been the most popular solution for pet owners needing to leave their pets. Fortunately, cold concrete and steel runs or steel or plastic cages with no common social space and a rather depressing environment are no longer the norm. Pet hotels with all sorts of amenities are now more common.

Fido can now luxuriate on a doggie cot in a plexi-glass elevated run and watch DogTV. He can enjoy the pool at day camp or have one-on-one play dates or even get a massage during the day. Mimi can enjoy laser or catnip bubble playtime and then retire to her suite with multilevel plush perches complete with a closed circuit fish tank screen and bird chirps providing a peaceful background. Shuttle service to and from the boarding facility can make boarding arrangements even easier.

An even newer boarding concept has individuals entertaining dogs in their homes instead of at a boarding facility. Often those offering this option have dogs of their own so it adds a canine social element while providing a more “homey” boarding environment. Such arrangements for cats are more problematic and less available.

Pricing for these boarding alternatives vary tremendously depending on the amenities and level of service chosen. These add-ons can really run up the fees. The more personal attention given to your pet tends to reduce the stress of a new environment and strange human companions, so this added expense becomes compelling.

Many pet owners prefer boarding at a veterinary facility so that their pets have access to veterinary care. Although this seems like a great idea, most veterinary boarding facilities are the old fashioned, cold, sterile type. Because medical and surgical cases are a higher priority in veterinary hospitals, boarders are likely to be short changed on attention and care. Having worked in over 20 different veterinary hospitals in my career, I can honestly say that the boarding care I have witnessed at veterinary hospitals is typically inferior to non-veterinary facilities.

Stress is indeed the biggest problem with boarding of any sort. Pets, especially cats, are uncomfortable outside of their normal environment. Often this stress results in vomiting and diarrhea, often bloody, for the majority or entirety of the stay. Fear and timidity may reduce appetites and often pets will lose weight when boarded. And of course there is always the risk of injury due to self-trauma or altercations with other boarders during social time.

Pet Sitting

Pet sitting is generally of two types: Pet sitters that come to the house at specified times to feed, allow bodily elimination, and exercise the pet are the most common. Other pet sitters will not only care for the pets but can live at the pet owner’s house so pets have constant companions, or at least night companions.

Pricing for these services are also variable but tend to be priced at basic boarding levels with few pet sitters charging for amenities. Because the pets are in their own comfortable space many of these amenities are unnecessary for stress relief. Feeding a live-in sitter can add to the total bill, but is generally cheaper than add-ons at boarding facilities.

Pets can also show signs of stress when their owners are away but it tends to be less severe when they are in the familiar surroundings of their own homes. In 30 years I have yet to treat stress induced bloody colitis in a pet that has been cared for by a sitter.

Having sitters also has the advantage of protecting the pet owner’s home. Newspaper and mail collection by the pet sitters eliminate "away from home" signals to possible “bad guys.” Live-in sitters create near normal household activity that also discourages potential robberies.

Live-in sitters can also take phone messages and care for indoor and outdoor plants without adding significantly to costs. Live-in sitters are more likely to recognize potential health problems sooner and can arrange for the pets to be seen by a veterinarian. My experience is that pets with live-in sitters tend to be less subject to separation stress.

So, Which is Better - Boarding or Sitting?

To me the obvious choice is live-in pet sitting. It is as close to a normal environment for the pets as possible and is also great insurance against crime. It is my personal choice for my pets.

What is your choice?



Dr. Ken Tudor


The fur kids take on Bark Box!

I just recently bought a subscription to Bark Box (about two months ago), and so far it has gotten rave reviews from the pups. It's always a good combination of healthy treats and toys, and there's enough for both of them to share.




This month's was "Sherlock Holmes" themed, and it came with a cute little smoking pipe shaped squeaky toy, and shephard's pie flavored cookies...among other things. And they just LOVED it!

Monthly surprise boxes are all the rage these days, and I am definitely a fan. Bark Box is worth a shot, the customer service is fantastic and you can cancel at any time. Just a quick little review for anyone who's been on the fence about trying it out! <3

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Thanks for the presents, mom!

Guest Post from Rob Haddix - Some things you may not know about the dog food industry.

Feeding your dog does not have to be science, but it certainly should not be part of an industry's profit plans either!  With nothing but your own knowledge to protect you and your dog from commercial exploitation.

What you feed your dog is the most important base for its health.  I assume that your dog’s health is a very high priority for you.  Also much higher than your own emotional reactions to certain things that might appear offensive to your own taste buds!    For this reason, this chapter will discuss what is good for your dog, and I will honestly not care about it stimulating your appetite or not…  that is simply not the point.    Likewise, I will not discuss things like whether or not this feeding is convenient, easy, affordable, or anything like that, referring to traditional consumer demands.  Such issues should not be determining for what you feed your dog, if your choices make a difference for his/her health.    I do not mean to be offensive with this, but I do feel an obligation to make it clear. This does not mean that you cannot also do many things to accommodate your own personal preferences – but just not if such choices make the dog pay a price with his/her health.

The domestication process of our dogs has changed their exterior quite dramatically, but their gastrointestinal system is still like that of their forefather, the wolf.  Recent genetic studies even lead to the conclusion that wolf and dog are one and the same species!

The wolf is a carnivore; therefore, the dog is a carnivore.    The Gage Canadian Dictionary defines “carnivore” this way: “Any of an order (Carnivora) of mammals that feed chiefly on flesh or other animal matter rather than plants.  Cats, dogs, weasels, raccoons, bears, seals, etc. are carnivores.” Please note the word “chiefly”-it does not say “exclusively”….  Bears, for instance, eat a considerable amount of vegetables and are sometimes classified “omnivores” for that reason, although they still biologically belong to Carnivora.  Carnivores prefer to eat raw meat as their primary source of nutrition. They do not thrive without it, and they certainly do not cook it! Most carnivores do eat vegetables too, such as fruit, berries, vegetables, crops etc., as a supplement to their diet, yet their primary source of vegetables is the contents of the stomachs of their prey.  Although wolves/dogs can survive for some time on a purely vegetarian diet (if that is all they have access to), they do not maintain their body functions and their health very well without some serious contribution of raw meat.   It is scientifically well documented that raw meat contains at least 30 known proteins that are as essential for dogs as vitamins are for humans (and that's only what has been discovered so far), yet all those proteins get destroyed when heated.2Regardless of the efforts and the funding, all scientific research will only give limited information.  No scientist can provide answers to questions that have not been asked.  Through analysis, we can only find what we look for.  We cannot find what we don't know exists - except in very rare situations when new discoveries are made.  Such discoveries are very expensive to pursue and the work involved goes far beyond standard analysis.  The consequence of this is that no human will know exactly what your dog needs, in terms of nutrition.  Any dog food manufacturer who claims, "This food contains EVERYTHING your dog needs" is going beyond honesty.  There is no way of knowing that for any human being. This leaves us with only one relevant guide for what to feed and what not: what Mother Nature would feed a wolf in the wild. Getting as close as practically possible to that standard is the only responsible way of approaching the task of feeding your dog a healthy diet.  Fortunately, quite a lot is known about this, so we do have a strong basis for making good decisions.  One note of caution: Many people like to believe that because dogs have been domesticated for such a long time now (probably about 10-20,000 years), they have become adjusted to the kind of food we feed them.    Here are some strong reasons for classifying this as an outrageous postulate that simply cannot be right:   It is only in the last few hundred years the domestication has been serious and deliberately manipulative.  Before then, it was more a "co-habitant" relationship with no systematic attempts from man's side to change the dog's nature.