Giving the discerning dog owner the "upper paw" on the best products, nutrition and training tips.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Celebrate the Dog Days of Winter and Give Back!

The holiday season is officially underway.  Let the shopping, party planning and holiday merriment begin! 

Not only is it a time to celebrate, but it is also a time to give back!  What better way to give back than to combine your holiday shopping with a worthy cause.   

On Saturday, December 8th, Magnificent Milestones Paperie will be hosting the Dog Days of Winter event.  From 12-5pm, local artist, Rosemary Fanti will be on site to sketch your dog, cat or favorite photo.  This is an exciting opportunity to meet Rosemary, who is an incredibly talented live wedding and event illustrator.  She has an amazing ability to capture a moment and to tell a story through her art.  Her body of work spans weddings, celebrity events, fashion shows and personal moments.  Be sure to check out Rosemary’s works of art for yourself at  

What could make this event even better?!  For the Dog Days of Winter event, all of Rosemary’s sketches are $100 and the proceeds from the event will benefit PAWS Chicago.  Not only is this a great way to celebrate with your friends, but a unique and special way to commemorate your pooch while supporting an amazing organization.  

In order to secure your time with Rosemary Fanti, be sure to email Magnificent Milestones at  

A Rosemary Fanti sketch.  Check out her "People and Pets" section on her website.

In addition to the Dog Days of Winter event, be sure to take a moment and explore this fabulous River North boutique.  Kara Underwood Gordon and her team are masters at creating beautifully orchestrated invitations, custom stationary, and beyond.  The shop is also filled with unique gifts and local goodies perfect for wedding gift bags, hostess gifts, baby showers or that perfect little something for you.  Be sure to check out the boutique during the event or visit their website for future events and details at

Don't miss this amazing event and enjoy this holiday season!


A & A

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving for your Pooch: The Benefits of Pumpkin

Turkey, Stuffing and Pumpkin Pie!  It's that time of year again and we can't wait to partake in all of the delicious delights of this week's Thanksgiving holiday.

Along with the holiday gatherings, it's common for your dog to be slipped a few tasty morsels of the day's feast.  While we don't recommend feeding your dog many of the rich and indulgent foods associated with your Thanksgiving meal, there are benefits to feeding your dog some of the holiday's traditional foods...or at least a version of them.

Of the traditional items served at Thanksgiving, pumpkin pie is usually a staple.  Should you serve your dog a slice of pie with whipped cream on top?!...certainly not, but pumpkin has many nutritional benefits for your dog and many find the flavor irresistible!

Sliced Oven-Baked Pumpkin

Pumpkin is a highly nutritional and flavorful food to serve your dog.  Pumpkin is packed with essential vitamins and minerals; such as Vitamin-E, Vitamin-A, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.  It is also an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, and fatty acids.  These qualities make it a great food option for your dog.

Because of its high fiber content and essential vitamins and minerals, pumpkin can help improve your dog's digestive system.  By adding just a tablespoon (or two for larger breeds) you can keep your dog's digestion consistently regular.  Aside from stabilizing digestion, pumpkin can also be used to combat bouts of constipation, diarrhea, as well as, ease upset stomachs.

The high content of antioxidants, fatty acids and natural oils can also aid in promoting healthy skin and fur.

Lastly, if your pooch is fighting the paunch, pumpkin is a way to reduce calories in your dog's diet.  Pumpkin is low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.  By replacing a portion of your dog's kibble with some pumpkin you can better manage your dog's weight and offer some variety and flavor.

So, you may be asking how can I incorporate pumpkin into my dog's diet?

Pumpkin Puree

When feeding pumpkin to your dog be sure to only feed pumpkin from these sources:

  1. Canned natural pumpkin (un-sweetened)
  2. Pumpkin seeds
  3. Cooked fresh pumpkin
  4. Pumpkin-flavored treats containing real pumpkin (found on the ingredient display panel)
NEVER, feed your dog pumpkin from the following:
  1. Pumpkin Pie filling from the can
  2. A slice of pumpkin pie 
  3. Carved pumpkins that have been sitting out on your porch since Halloween
We hope you take some time and treat your dog to the wonderful benefits and flavors of pumpkin this holiday season.

Happy Turkey Day!!


A & A

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Thanksgiving Treat for your Dog: Sweet Potato Chewies

As a nod to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we thought it would be a great idea to share one of our favorite treat recipes...Sweet Potato Chewies!  Sweet potatoes are perfectly in season during the Fall and are also a common staple at many Thanksgiving tables.

Not only are sweet potatoes in season during this time of year, but they are quite nutritious for you and your dog.  Sweet potatoes are packed full of antioxidants and important vitamins, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin E, promoting healthy skin, coat, eyes and strong teeth.  This recipe is quick and easy with only one ingredient and little to no clean up.  We hope your pups love these delightful treats as much as ours!

Sweet Potato Chewies Recipe:


  1. 1 medium to large sweet potato (*Yams can be substituted as well)

  • Thoroughly wash and rinse the sweet potato (or yam)
  • Cut into 1/4 in. slices

  • Place slices on a cookie sheet
    • (Optional) - drizzle a little olive oil over the top if desired
    • (Optional) - sprinkle a little cinnamon over the top if desired

  • Bake in the oven at 250 degrees for 3 hours

Key Note:

When slicing the sweet potato, remember that the thicker the slice the chewier and softer the treat will be for your pup.  In contrast, the thinner the slice, the crispier the treat will be.

In baking, we recommend checking the chewies each hour on the hour so as not to burn them. Smaller chewies will cook faster and need less time than larger chewies.

We are sure your dogs will love this simple and delicious treat as much as ours do!!


A & A

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Products We LOVE! The Blissful Dog

During this time of year, we all start to experience dry skin and runny noses and our dogs are no exception.  You may have already noticed that your dog is starting to have dry, cracked paw pads and crusty noses in particular.  These conditions are common, but should be managed and addressed to prevent discomfort and potential health risks to your beloved pooch.  If you are proactive about providing your dog with the appropriate moisturizing agents and protective garments, you should be able to drastically minimize or completely prevent your dog from acquiring these skin issues.

With two Japanese Chins and a French Bulldog, Amanda and I understand the challenges of not just dry paw pads from the harsh Chicago winters, but also the constant battle of preventing our brachycephalic breeds from developing "crusty-nose" syndrome, also known as Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis.  In fact, many breeds that develop Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis are flat-face (or brachycephalic) breeds that lick their noses constantly due to the natural shape of their face.  This "crusty-nose" syndrome can be worse during the winter, but is truly a problem year round.  The dry paw pad syndrome is known as Footpad Hyperkeratosis.  This type of dry paw pad issue can also be year round, but tends to be worse during the winter months when salt and snow are prevalent.

Dry Paw Pads (Footpad Hyperkeratosis)

"Crusty-Nose" Syndrome (Nasodigital Hyperkeratosis)

In order to combat these issues, we LOVE using products from The Blissful Dog and thought this would be a perfect product to highlight at this time of year!  We love the products from The Blissful Dog for many reasons.  First and foremost, all of their products are made with all organic products and are thoughtfully formulated to to be safe and effective for your dog...even if he/she happens to get ahold of the container and eat the contents, HAHA.  Most of the products are made with Shea butter, avocado oil, Vitamin E oil, Beeswax, Almond oil, Coconut oil and Calendula creating not only an uber-intensive moisturizer, but a product that smells amazing as well!

Products to Check Out!

Get a special Nose Butter with your breed on the front!  I buy "Chin Butter" for my boys.

I have used the Nose Butter product on both of my Japanese Chins and they not only love the smell and taste of the product.  I love how beautiful it makes their nose look.

The Paw Butter is great for all breeds and definitely a product we recommend putting into your medicine cabinet for the winter!

This product is great for larger breeds in particular.  Many large breeds, such as Mastiffs, Newfoundlands, Great Pyrenees and so forth tend to slide into a down position, which results in their elbows hitting the hard floor rather harshly.  Over time, your dog may develop calluses in these areas and this product can definitely minimize the development and dryness involved.

Lastly, we would like to highlight a unique product that The Blissful Dog offers for "Ouchies & Owies."  This product utilizes the healing properties of natural ingredients, such as medicinal herbs and botanicals.  This is a great products to use for everyday cuts and scratches, CLEARLY DO NOT USE on gaping wounds, infected areas, etc.  In the event of a serious cut or gash, contact your veterinarian immediately.

We hope you take a look at The Blissful Dog and sample their amazing products for yourself.  Products can be purchased on or online at and search for The Blissful Dog.  All of these products are around $5.50-$6.50 for a single container and the Boo Boo Butter runs around $9.50 per container.  Be sure to check out their website for other great products, such as aromatherapy oils, Elk antlers, and fun gift ideas. Also, take a moment to learn about the great work they are doing in their Rescue Support Program to help abandoned, abused and neglected animals at

We feel confident that both you and your dog with love everything The Blissful Dog has to offer!  


A & A