Winter Safety for Pets

As I am preparing all of our boys for another Michigan winter, I realize I need to make sure my dogs are winter-ready too.

Remy has a lot of hair but it is mostly fluff and he doesn’t have the benefit of an undercoat to keep him warm.  Emma is a short-haired dog and she too gets cold outside.  Their new sweatshirts will help keep them warm in the fall and for short trips outside but I have been considering what they need to keep their feet protected as well.

Many driveways and sidewalks are salted with rock salt and similar products that are harmful to pets.  Paw pads can be extremely sensitive to these products and their paws can sustain burns, cuts and infections because of winter conditions and icy roads and sidewalks.  Paw pads can be burned by ice treatments as well as packed ice and snow stuck between paw pads which can be painful.  Ice melting products can also be ingested by dogs nursing their sore paws and those products can be toxic to them.  Icy pathways can cut their sensitive paw pads which can lead to pain and infection.  Another danger I recently read about is that litter on sidewalks can be hidden in snow – I had never even considered that.  I’m going to have to be mindful of that because one of our neighborhood sidewalks always has broken glass and other trash on it.  Dogs are also susceptible to frostbite.

It helps to walk your dogs through the snow to avoid harmful chemicals people, businesses or even city services may put down on streets and sidewalks.  It seems that winter poses a whole set of safety concerns I had never given any thought to until I started reading about the best ways to care for my pups.  I’m going to be extra diligent to trim the hair between Remy’s paws this winter because that really does help with the snow getting packed in his pads.  Some dog owners suggest rinsing their feet in warm water when they come inside to melt any snowballs packed in between their pads and to rinse off any possible chemicals that they have contacted.  Last winter I tried to make booties for my dogs but after several attempts I gave up.  I can sew many things but I could not make satisfactory booties – maybe that’s because I over complicate everything.  This year I am going to try to find a few styles of foot protection and see what works best for Emma and Remy.  Many people seem to like fleece booties but I assume that’s because they are easy to make and they are much more affordable than a doggie boot.  Ideally I would prefer a boot because it would keep their feet dry and I think it would be most durable.  I’m interested to see if they even tolerate wearing something on their feet.

Of course I will review these options as soon as possible because it’s really a good time of year for all of us to start thinking about making sure our beloved canine friends are safe this winter.  If you have any suggestions for winter footwear for dogs, please leave me a comment so I can learn from your experience.

If you are interested in pet-friendly ways to treat the ice on your own driveway, or if you want to promote pet-friendly ice melting products to your community, I recommend checking out these resources:

Pet Friendly Ice Melter

Safe Paw

The Toby Time blog has good information I found helpful when I was doing some blog research.

*This is not a sponsored post.  My links are not affiliate links.  I just want our pets to be safe this winter.

Dog Sweaters

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Can I just say how much I LOVE Lands End?  I mean, they are simply the best and they even rock it in doggie department.  Last week I posted the Deal of the Day and I’m so glad I made this purchase.

I ordered Emma and Remy the Pet Hoodie Jackets on Friday and we received our package on Wednesday – hooray for their awesome free shipping deals.  I promptly put Emma and Remy in their new hoodie jackets.  I was a little concerned that they might not take to the over-the-head style but they didn’t mind a bit!  The jackets are loose-fitting with the perfect amount of stretch for putting them without it being restrictive to my pups.  I LOVE these hoodies.  I was talking them up to my mom yesterday and she right away ordered one for her dog as well.

Emma and Remy wore them all afternoon and then I had to leave for a few hours for a meeting and to take the boys to Awana.  I forgot to take the sweaters off of them and I realized it when I was too late to turn around and run home.  I had a sick feeling about them chewing on them while I was away.  I was so relieved when we got home hours later to find that both Emma and Remy were happy and hadn’t done any damage to their new jackets.

Seriously folks, a quality dog sweater for $12 is a steal!  I know they’re going to do a great job keeping my pups warm this fall and winter.

* This is not a sponsored post.

Deal of the Day

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I like cute clothes and I like to be warm and cozy in the blustery cold weather during our Michigan fall/winter seasons.  I’m pretty sure my dogs feel the chill too and I want to keep them comfortable.  Emma has a short coat and Remy has a lot of hair but it’s mostly fluff – he doesn’t have the benefit of an undercoat to keep him warm.  I’ve been looking for sweaters and jackets for my pups.  I’ve also got my eye out for a good pair of shoes as well.  I know shoes sound kind of silly but many people put ice on their sidewalks that is harmful to dogs.  I’ll blog more about that topic in November because there are pet friendly ways to treat the ice on sidewalks and it’s just a good way to be neighborly.

This week I was looking for a good dog sweater and I came across one I’d really like to buy but it is pricey and I can’t just splurge on a couple of those without a little planning.  While hunting around for the perfect sweater I found a cute dog hoodie for a fantastic price at Lands End.

The Lands End Pet Hoodie is on sale for $11.99 and is available in a wide variety of sizes.  You can order one here.  To sweeten the deal, Lands End is offering 30% off ALL regularly priced items plus FREE SHIPPING on orders of $50 or more through midnight 10/24.  I love Lands End!

Promotion Code: EXTRA30
PIN: 7632

I’m looking forward to trying out Emma and Remy’s new hoodies this week.  I’ll be sure to blog about how they work out.  In reading through the online reviews I think these will work out great.  Some reviewers make the point that the hoodies would be easier to get on and off if they had velcro closure as opposed to being an over-the-head style.  I’m hopeful that won’t be an issue with my dogs and that the belly coverage will be a benefit.

*** This is not a sponsored post and none of my links are affiliate links.  Lands End and West Paw Design don’t know me or my sweet pups.

Bow ties for dogs

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I’ve been wanting to make Remy and Emma cute accessories like bow ties and flowers.  I love bow ties and I’ve been thinking about making Remy a stash of them.  I will make Emma flowers so she can be extra pretty too.

I’ve never actually made a bow tie so today I pulled out some scrap fabric and promptly ruined my last scrap of a pricey cotton because I didn’t have a pattern.  I made some changes and used a less valuable scrap and turned out a decent bow tie.  It is far from perfect but I get the basic concept. 

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I need to pick up a few notions from the fabric store and a handful of great fabrics because all of my best stuff is girly.  I’ll share pictures as soon as I finally get a good design figured out. 

The answer to the problem of matted fur

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Remy and Emma like to wrestle and it is seriously one of the cutest things to see them play so wild.  Emma is doing so well nearly 14 months after we brought her home.  She still gets anxious around strangers and other dogs but it is better and we are so thankful she has such a good friend in Remy.  They really love each other.

Emma is at a significant size disadvantage when they wrestle but we still haven’t seen one of them take the place of the Alpha Dog yet.  They each win some and lose some.  When they wrestle they like to chew on each other.  If Emma is lucky she gets a hold of Remy’s ear and chews on it for a while.  As a result Remy has started getting little mats in his ears for the first time ever.

He doesn’t seem to mind me combing mats out of his hair, except his thin belly skin, but I wouldn’t be inclined to try to comb them out of his ears because I’m sure that would hurt.  I was intrigued last week when I stopped into The Chow Hound to pick up a new comb for Remy.  The comb I had previously used worked great but it hurt my hand all the time.

Previous comb (smaller one pictured) – Top Paw $10

New Comb – what a difference a handle makes!  – Safari Comb $7.50 here"".

While looking for a new comb with a handle I came across a kind of funny looking comb and it piqued my curiosity.  I asked the sales associate and she said she didn’t know much about that comb specifically but she did say they sold a lot of them.  The comb is the Safari Dematting Comb"" and I was intrigued.  She said I could return it if I wasn’t happy with it and all Safari products were 25% off so I brought it home.  That night when I gave Remy a bath I started grooming him and came across a good size mat on his ear.  I’m pretty careful with his ears so this was a good place to try the effectiveness of this new comb.

Basically you work the teeth into the bottom of the mat and it slides right through the mat breaking it up.  A few passes through the mat and the big mat is many little mats and they comb right out with a fine tooth comb.  This entire mat would have been out of Remy’s ear, painlessly, in about 30 seconds had I not cut my finger.  I don’t know what I was thinking other than I instinctively went to comb away the clumps of hair on the top of the comb and the razor edges got my thumb.  I really loved the way this combed right through every mat I came across.  The only issue I have with the comb is it would be nice if it had a self-cleaning guard of some sort because when it gets clogged up it is a hassle to brush it out from the back side, in my opinion.  There are a few pieces of fur still left hanging on those blades that I just didn’t feel like messing with.

These are the remnants of the mat above after just a few swipes with the de-matting comb and the fine tooth comb.  See my band aid. :(

Those teeth are razor-sharp but it does come with a snap on vinyl cover to help protect the blades.  I’m keeping it up high and in the original packaging just to be extra careful.

I love this comb and with a retail price of $12.29 it was totally worth it.  Amazon sells it for $9.99 here"".

Affiliate links included in this post.  Emma and Remy appreciate your using our affiliate links so they can try new things and chew more ropes instead of shoes.

Bad Hair Day

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So, the short story is that the groomer ruined my dog.

The long story is that Remy was a bit of a mess after our camping trip and there were too many mats in his long fur for me to cut them or comb them all out.  His belly and body needed to be shaved and my clippers were not working.  We made an appointment for Remy at The Posh Pet Salon and I prepared myself for the inevitable loss of his cute curls.

I had been into The Posh Pet Salon before and the owner had told me all about the services they provide.  She detailed to me how they pluck the ears on doodles, among other things.  I blogged about that here.

I talked to my cousin about grooming when we got Remy and she warned me that groomers tend to just want to shave everything because it is easiest so I have resisted professional grooming thus far.  I am willing to spend the time to groom my dog well.  However, after camping I knew it would be helpful to have his body shaved.

I showed up early with Remy and specifically consulted with the woman who would be grooming him.  I explained in detail what I wanted and didn’t want.  I had just seen a doodle groomed in such a way that I felt like I could still keep some of his hair while getting rid of the biggest problem areas.

The list of DOs:
*Shave his body – done
*Clean and Pluck his ears – Not done at all
*Trim his beard as short as possible – His entire face was shaved much shorter than I liked but his beard was scissor cut and much longer than the rest of his face.  It was as if what I wanted was done in reverse.
*Trim his face, specifically around his eyes – done
*Trim his feet, nails and between his pads – done
*Shave his belly – done

The list of DON’Ts::
* Don’t cut the hair on the top of his head.  It wasn’t matted and I like it long. They cut it to about 1 inch.
* Don’t touch his tail.  It’s easy for me to groom his tail and I like it fluffy.  They shaved all but the tip of his tail and it looked absurd.
* ONLY cut his legs a little bit.  I like trunk-like poodle legs and I had mostly scissored them that way but they needed a little fine tuning.  His legs were scissored down to nearly the length the rest of his body and they were not at all trunk-like as I requested.
*NOT to  cut anything off of the exterior of his ears. Remy’s ears were cut short (almost squared) along the bottom.

So, 4 hours later when I went to pick up my pup and he came to me bald and hideous I really lost my testimony.  I was furious and they knew it.   Everyone knew it.

There was absolutely no responsibility taken for the fact that they butchered my dog and the fact that they ignored everything I said to the groomer.  They just kept saying he was matted and they needed to shave him because it was better for him.  BUT, I specifically gave instructions that were disregarded. At no time did the groomer call me and say she felt like x, y or z would be best and could she do it?  Further, I explained to her that I could handle any mats on his legs and tail, of which there were not many.  They assumed I would believe my dog was matted head to toe but I knew better.  I knew the condition of Remy’s hair because I evaluated him prior to making the appointment and I groom him regularly and I knew how and where his fur was matted.

I was livid because they were lazy and ignored my directions.  No woman would ever tolerate going in for a bob and coming out with a buzz.  It would never, ever ever be acceptable and this wasn’t either.  I ranted and raved  and I went home and called my husband.

Ultimately, I got 100% of my money back and they got an apology for my inappropriate behavior but that wasn’t satisfactory for either of us, I suspect.  Remy was embarrassed because  he went and hid as soon as he got home and Emma growled at him when she saw him later on.  He was funky for the rest of the day.

I found out that evening that the groomer didn’t  even touch his ears and they desperately needed a plucking.  Steve and I did it ourselves.  The groomer did every single thing I told her not to do and not what I asked them to do.  I was so upset and it took all summer for his hair to start looking normal again.

My cousin was right, groomers just want to shave everything and I’m not paying someone to ignore me.

I have since found a fabulous way to manage those mats (blog post about this coming soon) and I’m hopeful we won’t ever have to go through that again.  If I do bring Remy in for grooming – somewhere besides The Posh Pet Salon – I’ll be giving written instructions to the groomer.

In the meantime, I am very interested in taking grooming lessons.  I plan to be a lifelong goldendoodle owner so I’m pretty sure they would be a worthwhile investment.

Though I have written a scathing review of my experience with Remy at The Posh Pet Salon, I had a pretty good experience there when I had taken Emma in for a bath in the past.  They are generally a well regarded salon in our area and overall they have a great reputation.  Ultimately they failed to even deliver on what they call a “Full Grooming” as stated here.  Their Full Grooming includes:  Haircut, Bath and Blowdry, Ears Cleaned and Plucked, and Nails Trimmed.  They didn’t touch Remy’s ears even though that was fully expected and clearly relayed to the woman who groomed Remy.

I love my goldendoodle

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This is cute Remy. 

Take a good look because these were the last photos taken of him before he was stripped of his dignity.

That camping trip I posted about was such a great time for him but his fur was terribly matted after playing in the water and rolling in the dirt and sand for a week. 

I am training myself how to groom Remy – goldendoodles are high maintainance dogs and it takes me hours to groom him.  I would like to take dog grooming classes someday so I can do an even better, hopefully quicker job.   This summer I was defeated by his mats – I couldn’t keep up with them and I couldn’t cut them all out.  He needed professional help. 

To be continued…

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