5 Reasons Your Dog Should Always Be in a Safety Harness or Secured Carrier in the Car

IMG_3678 2By Jackie Brown

Most of us won’t get behind the wheel of a car without buckling up. Parents wouldn’t dream of driving without their baby or toddler secured in a car seat. For many of us, putting on a seat belt is as natural as breathing. So why is it that only 16 percent of us restrain our dogs in the car? That was the finding of a pet travel survey sponsored by AAA and Kurgo Pet Products.

Are you part of the 84 percent of people who said they don’t buckle up their dogs? Even if you’re part of the 16 percent who do restrain their dogs in the car, here are seven car safety facts all pet parents need to know:

1. The laws of physics apply to your dog

When it comes to bad things, you may suffer from the optimist mentality: “It won’t happen to me.” Lots of people think their dog will be fine even if they are involved in an accident. Well I have news for you: All pets, people, and inanimate objects are subject to the laws of physics. In an accident, an unrestrained dog can go flying — against the dashboard or backseat, out a window, or even through the windshield. Best-case scenario in a low-speed crash: Your dog is just a little dazed. Worst-case scenario in a high-speed collision or rollover? Your dog is dead.

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Do You Know What to Do If Your Dog’s Collar Gets Stuck on Something?

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By Jackie Brown

It was just another night at the Perry house. The dogs were inside, happily wrestling and playing while the family looked on. But in an instant, things took a deadly turn.

The family’s smaller dog, Blue, was playing with their bigger dog, Scout, when Scout’s tooth became stuck beneath Blue’s collar. Both dogs panicked. As they struggled to break free, the collar twisted tighter and tighter until Blue began to strangle right before their eyes.

“That’s when our daughter Julia got to them,” Jim Perry said. “She was able to cut the collar off just in the nick of time.” But Blue was in bad shape. They rushed her to the 24-hour emergency clinic where she was admitted in critical condition.

How to Hold a Pet Food Drive for a Rescue or Shelter

This article originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Lucky Puppy magazine:

By Jackie Brown

If there’s one thing all animal shelters and rescue groups need it’s pet food — a lot of pet food! In fact, food is one of the largest operational costs incurred by shelters and rescues. Help a local group by organizing a pet food drive among your family, friends, and neighbors. It’s an easy way to do your part to help animals in need.

First, choose a local organization to help. Some shelters or rescue groups list their preferred foods on their websites. Some may feed only one or a few select brands of food in order to avoid stomach upset that could occur by feeding many different types of food. Other groups will take anything you might have. Organizations might need cat food, dog food, and possibly food for small animals like rabbits, hamsters, and birds. If you don’t see any information listed on the website, call or stop by to ask if they have any preferences. Most groups also welcome pet treats.

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So You Think You Want a Puppy?

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This article originally appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Dogster magazine:

By Jackie Brown

I’ll never forget the day I met my Miniature Poodle puppy, Jäger. It was truly love at first sight. Here was my little baby! Squeeeee!!!

I didn’t get Jäger on a whim, though. That moment we met was the culmination of months of research and soul searching as my husband and I sought to bring home the “perfect” puppy. He’s 7 now, and he really is perfect for our family and just the most wonderful dog.

Even if you’ve gotten a puppy before, you still may need a refresher on where to start, so here’s some advice from the experts. You’ll have your dog for 10 to 15 years (or more!), so don’t rush. Take your time now to make a good choice, and it will pay off with a lifetime of love and happiness.

Go Back to School With Your Dog!

This article originally appeared in the October/November 2016 issue of Dogster magazine:

By Jackie Brown

You and your dog did puppy kindergarten and then graduated with honors from an obedience class. Now he’s all grown up. He’s housetrained, knows all the basic commands, and is well-behaved at home and in public.

You’re done training him, right?

Wrong!

Doctors, lawyers, and teachers don’t stop learning after they graduate and get their degrees. They take “continuing education” courses throughout their careers to keep their skills sharp and up to date. Training beyond puppyhood is like continuing education for your dog — and it has incredible benefits.

“You’re never done training,” said Penelope Milne, CPDT- KSA, CBCC-KA, owner of DubDubDog Animal Behavior Services in Laguna Beach, California. “But that doesn’t mean you and your dog need to keep attending the same classes and rehearsing the same stuff.”

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5 Wet and Wild Summer Games for Your Dog

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Dogster magazine:

By Jackie Brown

What can you and your dog do when it’s blazing outside? It’s tempting to draw the shades and hunker down inside with the air-conditioning blasting, but it’s more fun to take advantage of the hot summer days instead. Get out there, and try one of these fun ways to beat the heat.

1. Water fetch

There are two ways to play this game: floating fetch or sinking fetch. Try both ways to see which one your dog thinks is the most fun. Every so often, dive in with him so you can cool off, too!

Big pool version: Toss floating toys in the deep end and sinking toys in shallow water. Start off with one at a time, then try multiple toys to see how many your dog can collect.

Kiddie pool version: Stand a distance away from the pool, holding your dog’s collar. Toss a toy into the pool, then release your dog to run and jump into the pool. Or, set up two kiddie pools (one on each side of the yard), and stand in the middle with a pile of toys. Toss toys into both pools so your dog runs back and forth between them.

Click here to read the rest of this article at Dogster.com