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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fact or Fiction: Are coats and boots necessary for your dog?

No matter where you find yourself these days, chances are you are experiencing some cold and snowy weather.  You wouldn't dare go outside to brave the elements without your puff-pastry inspired, floor length coat and industrial-strength gloves (at least not if you live in Chicago).

But should you also bundle up your pooch?

I mean who doesn't love "Boo"?!
Many people see clothing for dogs as frivolous and eccentric, and if you are referring to a prom dress or a tuxedo...yes, those would not be a necessary garments.  However, when it comes to coats, sweaters and boots; it's a different story.  In extreme temperatures, there are cases where some dogs require protection from the elements.

If you have an Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky or other breed bred to thrive in extreme environments; coats and boots are not necessary.  In fact, these breeds could run the risk of overheating if covered up too much.

With that said, the majority of breeds would benefit from an additional layer of protection.  This extra layer can protect your dog against freezing temperatures and high winds that could drop your dog's body temperature to dangerous levels.

Dogs that require coats and sweaters are:

1. Toy breeds (Pugs, Chihuahuas, etc.)

2. Dogs with short or light hair

3. Senior dogs (typically age 7 and up)

4. Dogs with illnesses that weaken the immune system  (cancer, Cushing's Disease and hypothyroidism)

Lastly, we come to the necessity of boots.  There are many different opinions out there about whether boots should be worn to protect your dog's paws.  Our advice is to use only when necessary and not daily if possible.  Boots should be worn when your dog may come into contact with ice, salt, and related melting agents.  Ice and salt can cut the pads of your dogs paws, causing discomfort and possible infection.

We do Love these chocolate sued booties!

However, boots should not be worn unless truly needed.  Why?  Boots hinder your dog's natural ability to gain traction when walking; which could result in a slip or fall.  More importantly, keeping your dog's feet artificially warm can create an environment for bacteria; resulting in skin infections.

So there you go!  Coats, sweaters and booties are not just for fashion, but can serve a real function.  We hope you find this post helpful when it comes to deciding whether to bundle or not to bundle.

Stay Warm!


A & A

Check out our Facebook page for coats, sweaters and booties we love!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Gift Issue Part 2: Gifts for the Dog Lover

Welcome to this week's issue, where we unveil our top 5 list of best gifts for dog lovers.  Last week, we highlighted holiday gifts for your dog and this week we are focusing on the human aspect.


1. A sketch by Rosemary Franti

Rosemary Franti was featured in our "Dog Days of Winter" post a few weeks ago.  She is an amazingly talented illustrator and has experience painting many dog portraits.  Whether it's a live sketch or from your favorite photo; Rosemary is sure to capture the uniqueness of your dog.

Where can I buy?
Price: prices vary depending on size, scope and location

My boys...Jack and Joey Portrait by Rosemary Fanti

2. Pup Pop Art

Artist Laura Sotka can create your own "Warhol-inspired" Giclee print from your favorite photo.  This is a great way to personalize a gift, as well as, give a beautiful piece of art to the ultimate dog lover.

Where can I buy?
Price: $299 - $595

A custom Laura Sotka Design by

3. Hand Painted Dog Cookie Jar

Another great gift idea for the discerning dog lover is this hand painted ceramic cookie jar customized with the breed of your choice.  With over 100 breeds to choose from, you are sure to find the perfect gift.

Where can I buy? or
Price: $150 - $249

Over 100 breeds to choose from!

4.  Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed

This is the ultimate "on-the-go" travel carrier.  Your dog can use this product as a comfortable bed at home or at the office, and when you are ready to travel, just zip on the safety mesh top to travel by car or air.  Be sure to check out the warmer kit technology, removable plush linings to keep your pet cooler during the hot months, and fun travel bowls.  This gift is versatile, fun and stylish!

Where can I buy?
Price: $179.99
Stylish Sleepypod for dogs 15lbs or less

5. ASPCA Mug from West Elm

This year modern home decor store, West Elm, is participating in Gifts that Give Back:  Mug Project.  There are 7 mugs featured, each from a different charity.  For every mug purchased, 50% of the profits will be donated to the designated charity.

Where can I buy?
Price: $10

ASPCA Mug from Gifts that Give Back:  Mug Project

We hope you love this list of "Must-haves" and one of these options will be the perfect holiday gift for yourself or a fellow dog lover!


A & A

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Gift Issue Part 1: Our Top 5 List of Gifts for your Dog

In this week's post, we are highlighting some of our favorite gift ideas for your dog.  Of course, there are a million amazing ideas out there and it was very difficult to narrow down the "It List" but these are this year's picks!

For the Dog Who has Everything:

1. Mackenzie-Childs Dog Sweater

This adorable sweater will not only keep your pet warm, but fashionable for the holiday season.  Be sure to check out the rest of the pet accessories by Mackenzie-Childs.  The whimsical look and craftsmanship are perfect for the discerning pooch.

Where can I buy? and
Price:  $42.50 - $59.50

Mackenzie-Childs Dog Sweater

2. Harry Barker Canines for Veteran's Gift Bucket

Not only is this goodie bucket full of wonderful toys for your pooch, but it also supports a wonderful cause;  This wonderful program focuses on saving shelter dogs and training them to serve wounded soldiers as service dogs.

Where can I buy?
Price: $36 - $42
Includes customized bucket, 'Good Dog' bone, knotted fish rope toy, tug and toss toys and tennis balls

3. Jonathan Adler Harness and Leash - Jonathan Adler is known for his fun and brightly-colored, retro-inspired decor and thankfully he has also translated his style into amazing dog accessories.  It was difficult for us to select just one item, but decided on this stylish basic.

Where can I buy?
Price: $16.00
Four A-mazing styles to choose from

4.  Holiday Biscuits from Bocce's Bakery

This NYC-based bakery has some of the most exciting flavors out there today.  We recommend stuffing your pup's stocking with their 'Holiday Feast' flavor featuring chicken, pumpkin, cranberries and cinnamon or 'Lumps of Coal' featuring blueberries, peanut butter and molasses.

Where can I buy?
Price:  $9.50

5.   Jax and Bones Custom Bedding

Every dog should have a Jax and Bones bed!  There are numerous patterns and styles to choose from, which allow you to truly tailor this gift for your dog...and don't forget to monogram with your pet's initials!

Where can I buy?
Price:  $100 - $300

Jax and Bones Bedding

It was extremely difficult to narrow down our choices to a top 5 list this year, but we are confident that your dog will love each and every one of these gifts!

Be sure to check us out on Facebook for more gift ideas and holiday events!  Also, don't miss next week's post when we give out our top 5 list for dog lovers!


A & A

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Top 10 Travel Tips for Flying with your Pooch

For the Thanksgiving holiday this past week, Franklin and I flew to
Austin, Texas to visit our parents.  For many, travel can be stressful during the holiday season and traveling with a pet can add frustration.  This idea prompted me to write a few tips on traveling with your pet to make the travel experience more enjoyable for both you and your dog!

Top 10 Tips When Flying with your Pooch

1.)    Get to the airport early. Leave enough time in case the airline
has lost your reservation or needs additional information about your

2.)    Make a reservation for your pet. Some airlines only allow a
certain number of pets onboard a flight at one time and you want to
make sure yours is one of them.

3.)    Ask the airline what paperwork, if any, is needed for your pet.  

Some airlines require certain paperwork verifying your pet has
received required vaccinations and immunizations.

4.)    Bring a little water dish and treats. Just like humans, your
pet might get dehydrated and hungry.

5.)    Bring a few potty pads for your pet to use. If you are on a 

long flight or have a long layover your pet may need to use the bathroom.  
You can just lay one down on the restroom floor of a

6.)    Do not sedate your pet. Sedating pets can cause death. 

Only give your pet drugs if prescribed by a veterinarian. Try using
 other methods to calm your pet.

7.)    Be aware of the outside temperature.  This is especially important if you 

are traveling with a large dog that will have to fly as cargo. Pets are sensitive 
to extreme cold and extreme heat which can cause harm. Call ahead of your flight
 to talk with the airline about the temperature for your pet. 

8.)    Attach an identification tag to your pet. This is a precaution in case your 
pet gets away from you and allows someone to identify him/her and know how to reach you.

9.)    Bring a small towel or disposable wipes.  These can be quite handy in case your pet 
gets sick during flight. Your pet might be sensitive to flying or there could be turbulence 
which could upset your dog's stomach. 

10.)   Verify that your pet carrier is approved by the airline.  Not all carriers are airline approved and it is important to ensure yours is approved before arriving at the airport.,, and are good places to start.  Also, some airlines, such as Southwest, offer their own approved sherpas for sale.  

The Ultimate Sherpa Pet Carrier

We hope this list of tips helps the next time traveling with your pet a little easier!

Happy Traveling!


A & A