Dog Sweaters: Isn’t their coat enough?

dog sweater on cute puppy

 

We get lots of letters in our in box and every so often, we like to share.  With the cold weather upon us, we thought this question regarding dog sweaters was perfect.  Of course, we took a little liberty with the wording.  😉  Not to mention, it also gives us a reason to use this cutie’s picture!  

Dear Stewart,

December 16 is Ugly Sweater Day and I really want my pet to pawticipate. I’ve already ordered our matching ensembles but this silly spirit day got me thinking… should my sweetie always wear a sweater? Are dog sweaters something pets really need in cold weather or are their coats enough?

Signed,

Coated in Curiosity

Dear Coated,
The short answer is: yes, some dogs (and hairless cats) really do need an extra layer. Depending on their breed, size, and even age, some canines simply can’t keep themselves as warm as others. For those that can’t, dog sweaters help to give their coat a boost. Of course, some breeds like St. Bernards, Malamutes, Huskies, and Bernese Mountain Dogs have coats that are meant for snow and the extra layer of a jacket may just limit their mobility or cause overheating. Some breeds whose coats could use a coat are Greyhounds, Chihuahuas, Pinschers, Shorthair Pointers, toy breeds, terriers, and even Boxers. If you notice your buddy shivering or showing hesitation when it’s time to go outside in cold or wet weather, try a sweater – ugly or otherwise! We hope this helps… and be sure to share a picture of your cutie in their ugliest attire!

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From Brrr to Bored: 5 Cold Weather Activities For Dogs

cold weather activities for dogs

5 Cold Weather Activities For Dogs

It’s no secret that as the temperature comes down so do our options in entertainment. Colder temperatures mean less daylight, which makes it far too easy to cozy up indoors and ignore your pet’s exercise and mental stimulation. As humans we can prepare for the transition from summer to winter, get in our cars and find new things to do – but our pets don’t have that luxury… at least, not without our help. Here are a few of our favorite ways to avoid a bored Buddy this snow season.

1. At-home Training or Agility.

Not only will it refresh their memory on how to behave, but training really helps to enrich your bond with your pet. Whether you enroll them in a group class or promise to train them in twenty-minute intervals a few times a week at home, a little winter refresher will stimulate them physically and mentally.

2. Let it Snow!

Some dogs really enjoy playing in that fresh soft powder so bundle up and spend an hour hiking, playing fetch, or just goofing around in the snow. You may want to consider a jacket for small or short-haired pets and be sure to clear their paws of any ice to avoid frostbitten paw pads.

3. Puzzle Feeders.

For those ultra-smart breeds who can become destructive when bored, puzzle treaters are a great way to keep them quick (and entertained.) Look online for one that matches your pups’ smarts, load it up with some Pro-Treats, and watch the cold weather concentration commence.

4. Doggy Date.

Most dog people have other dog-loving friends, making winter play dates a great way for both of you to get out and socialize. Whether you take a walk, head to the park, or just meet at someone’s house for cocoa – you get to catch up with a pal and your dog gets to burn some energy with a like-minded playmate.

5. Do a Good Deed.

If your pet has the right temperament, consider swinging them by an assisted living facility or youth group – we guarantee it will warm the attendees from the inside out.

How do you entertain your pet during the cold months? Share with us on Facebook!

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Black Friday – 9 Gift Ideas for Dog Lovers On Your Holiday List

black friday shopping for dog loversOh, holiday shopping.

It begins creeping into our minds around Halloween and doesn’t stop until about December 23 (December 24th for some!). But smack dab in the middle of that timeline is every bargain hunter’s dream: Black Friday. We know you have a lot of people to buy for, some of which you have no idea what to get, so we’re going to let you in on a little yuletide secret:

When it doubt, buy for their pet.

Seriously, it’s foolproof. We know your local pet store isn’t the first stop in your quest for amazing deals, but you may want to consider working it into your day; not only can you get great prices on things your pet uses, but you may cross off a few more names than you expected. On a side note, who doesn’t love going to pet stores? We know people who can spend hours in them!  If you have friends, neighbors, and coworkers with pets, a gift for their animal is a thoughtful, functional gesture that you can still tailor to the person you’re buying for.

Here’s 9 gift ideas for dog lovers on your Black Friday list:

For Teachers/Coworkers:

  1. A festive toy or chew – there are several holiday themed toys this time of year!
  2. Delicious, seasonal treats
  3. Easy-to-use ball launcher

For the Athlete/Health Nut:

  1. A leash with matching collar or harness is always appreciated.  Pro Tip: If you’re unsure of the size, get an adjustable!
  2. Lean, healthy treats
  3. Dog booties (for trail safety) or backpack (to maximize workout)

For the Traveler/Road Tripper:

  1. Give the gift of safety!  A car seat belt restraint is the perfect gift for people who travel with their dogs. Just remind them to always use it with a harness, not a collar.
  2. Reflective leash, collar, or harness (for pit stops)     
  3. Travel bowls or water bottles with built-in bowls are perfect for those on the go.                

What are some purchases you’ve made for people’s pets? Share with us on Facebook!

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Outdoor Activities To Help You Fall Into Autumn

Golden dog in fall leaves

For some people (and their pets), seeing summer go is a hard goodbye (The beach! The bright colors of the trails! The warm, uplifting sun!) But, for others, the onset of autumn is what they wait all year for – the new and transitioning colors, the crispness in the air, and that lovely space between the heat and humidity and freezing temperatures can be a welcomed change. But not to worry, summer peeps, we’ve got a 4 fun outdoor activities to help you fall into Autumn.

Hiking –

In our neck of the woods this is the perfect time to hit the trail in the middle of the afternoon without worrying about our dog’s paw pads or overheating. Human Pro-Tip: take deep breaths and notice the freshness in the air and the beautiful changing colors. You never know, fall may just become your favorite.

Camping –

Since the days aren’t so hot it’s less exhausting spending the days (and nights) outside. Just be sure you bring something warm for you and Buddy to sleep in!

Pumpkin/Apple Picking –

We have a feeling your dog will LOVE being a part of the tradition of going to the pumpkin patch or the apple orchard… if you have such a tradition, of course.

Football in the Backyard –

Incredibly appropriate for the onset of the season and a great way to get your dog running

After you return home from your day of fun, treat your pet to some of our Turkey Liver How do you ring in Autumn with your pet? Share with us on Facebook!

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Ideas for a Safe, Easy Howl-oween

puppy dressed as a witch

It’s that time of year again!

It’s time to pull out the pumpkins, faux spider webs, and light-up skulls! Halloween is right around the corner! Whether you’re over-the-top or just mildly enthusiastic, no one can deny how cute it is to see a pet participating. We know lots of communities throw pet-friendly monster mashes but some pups are hesitant to wear costumes. For them, we have a couple of simple ideas that will satisfy your festive friends and neighbors. Here are our ideas for a safe, easy howl-oween. 

Top picks from our staff:

  • Hairy Pawter – Pick your favorite Hogwarts house colors! Grab a scarf and print a patch with the house emblem. Voila – you’ve got yourself a magical mascot for the night. (Bonus points if you can figure out how to work a pair of costume glasses into it!)
  • Scooby Doo – This one is a personal favorite because it’s super simple: all you need is a bright blue collar (or you can wrap your pet’s existing one in fabric) and a cartoon-ish SD tag. 
  • Lifeguard – Slap on a life vest, put the white lifeguarding symbol on it, and a whistle around their neck (if you can) and consider your pup costumed.
  • Fur Paint – Oh yes, it exists.  It’s also a great way to spruce up your pet’s exterior with zero discomfort to them. Some pets have sensitive skin so always test on a small area of their skin first. If everything’s okay, go for it! Turn them into a cheetah, zebra, or even the Superman emblem on their chest. Just be sure to keep it below the neck and watch for their eyes while spraying.

Finally, be aware of your pet in public places and make sure they don’t eat or drink anything they’re not supposed to. Keep their treats pet friendly and make sure the kids keep their new candy stash out of pets’ reach (because we all know chocolate and animals don’t mix.)

We’d love to see your caped canines and festive felines! Show us your costumed companions on Facebook!

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3 Pet Businesses that put the WOW in Bow-Wow

dog walker with dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems more and more households are treating their pets like family, which means more and more businesses and manufacturers are thinking outside the box to help owners spoil their pets. It’s no longer a world of kibble, kennel boarding, and paying the neighbor to walk your dog twice a week – no sir-ree, businesses are taking it one step further to really pamper pets… and here are a few of our favorite pet businesses.

Meal Prep.

Perfect for the health-conscious pet owner or an athlete who wants to make sure their companion eats as lean as they do, there are businesses popping up all over the country that provide pre-prepared, nutritionally balanced meals tailored to your pet’s body type. As you can imagine, services like this costs more than a pretty penny!  Of course, for those who are looking for convenience and high quality blended with affordability, should look to a freeze dried diet like like Stewart Raw Naturals.

Assisted Adventures.

Paying the neighbor’s kid for a 15-minute jaunt around the neighborhood seems so 1950s when there are services out there that’ll leash up your pet and take ‘em on a full-blown adventure while you’re at work – complete with their own pack of playmates. These services aren’t necessarily available everywhere but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t track down a dog-loving outdoorsy person you trust and strike a deal (or start your own little business venture?!)

Doggy Hotels.

Because boarding can be stressful on both pets and, ultimately, their owners, many boarding facilities are upping their game from concrete kennels to full-blown private rooms with both beds and couches for pups to rest their weary heads. Some places even have a live feed of security cameras so owners can check in and see their pet in real time. Talk about fancy!

Of course, not indulging in these things doesn’t in any way make you a less-than-great pet owner, we just like to share new trends and gauge their popularity! Does your dog get any of these royal treatments? Snap a pic and share with stewartpet on Facebook!

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Dear Stewart: Should I Bring My Dog to Large Events?

bring my dog to large events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, you got us, we don’t really have an advice column.

But, as pet people, we think this is an important topic for both people and their pets. The truth is, there’s obviously no one-size-fits all answer to this question because it depends on a variety of things like just how large the event is, how your pet does with a lot of commotion as well as other animals, and also how you handle what could be a stressful situation.

The first thing we consider is how large the event is;

is it a busy farmer’s market or food festival with lots of foot traffic, trash, and tight quarters? Or is it an outdoor concert with grass, blankets, and room to stretch out? Clearly the latter is going to be a much more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. 

Next, consider your canine.

Are they usually the relaxed, stick-by-your-side type or are they an overeager leash puller who get easily distracted? Has your pet ever shown aggression toward people or other animals? If so, just leave them at home where they’re happy.

Remember:

Just because you think it’s good for them to go out and about, doesn’t mean it’s actually going to fulfill that expectation. And, of course, size matters; bringing a Great Dane to an event is obviously much different than bringing a Maltese so consider their size in relation to the event’s space.

Lastly, be honest with yourself –

is it fun for you to bring your dog? Are you good in stressful situations? Just because your dog is well behaved it doesn’t mean you won’t run into one that isn’t. You’ll need to feel confident you could handle a dog-on-dog problem. 

We will say, if you do opt to bring your dog along, it never hurts to carry a few of their favorite treats to make them want to stay by your side.

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Time’s Running Out: Enjoy Summer Dog Activities!

summer dog activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always shocking how quickly August creeps up; and before we know it we’re pulling out our scarves and light sweaters for fall. Don’t get us wrong, we love those autumn temperatures, but they certainly don’t allow for the abundance of activities that a warm summer day does. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions for soaking up the last of the summer sun with your pet.

  • A [Dog-Friendly] Beach Weekend. We’re talking a small retreat that requires a drive to get to the destination. Get away from the buzz of your everyday and listen to the waves crashing while the sun warms your face and water cools your toes. Ah, we can feel it now.
  • We consider kayaking the best of everything: it’s an outdoor workout that involves a day on the water and our dog can just relax close and keep us company. Kayaking is a great way to explore and discover new places while getting that always-welcome vitamin D.

(Pro-Tip: if your dog frequently accompanies you on the water, consider doggy sunglasses; Not only will they look cool,  but they’ll be protected from the reflection off the water which is just as harmful to their eyes as our own.)

  • As August slowly transitions into September, the temperature is less intense but it’s still sunny and beautiful. Grab Buddy’s backpack and hit the trail while you can still enjoy the bright greens and beautiful blooms of summer. Make sure to bring sun protection, treats and plenty of water for both of you.

What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy the summer sun? We’d love to hear more on Facebook!

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The many Ways of Educating Kids – Classroom Pets

ferret on white background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pets and education

August always gets us thinking about back to school and new ways to keep education fun and interesting. Seeing as our kids are animal lovers, we searched “pets and education”, just to see if there was a correlation. Not only are there a multitude of benefits when it comes to pets and learning but there’s even a grant program! Pets in the Classroom covers the costs of classroom pets (how rad is that?!). The reason is simple: Most children respond well to animals because there’s no fear of judgment or rejection. Why? they are and interactive accessory to lesson plans! Classroom pets teach children responsibility. They increase emotional intelligence (a.k.a. empathy) and ultimately  self-esteem.

Additionally, classroom pets boost immunity, prompt interest in otherwise mundane lesson plans, and can even ease classroom tensions. Of course, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a classroom pet – pet ownership at home will also help teach, comfort, and progress a child in their formative school years.

If your child is in grade K – 9 and you think their classroom could benefit from a small animal, talk to their teacher about applying for a Pets in the Classroom grant. The studies don’t lie! It could change your child’s whole perspective on going to school.

Do you have a picture of your kid reading to your cat or practicing a speech in front of your dog? We’d love to see it on Facebook!

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We’re Talkin’ Hottest Cat Trends Right Meow

cat trends

August 8 marks International Cat Day,

which got us thinking: we’ve been seeing a LOT more cat stuff lately. From merchandise to actually-famous felines, it’s no longer crazy to be a cat person… in fact, it may even be considered trendy. As an ode to this newfound feline fabulousness, we’re presenting you with some of the coolest cat trends happening meow.

HOT TRENDS FOR HUMANS:

Accessories:

From cat ear headbands to sweaters, purses, sunglasses, socks, and more, there are SO many ways for people to express their inner feline.

Home Decor:

Pillows! Mugs! Even stationery and clocks… They’re all a wonderful way to let friends and visitors know you are, in fact, a cat person.

Themselves:

For the die-hard (and probably more explorative) types, some people have dyed or shaved the shape of a cat into their hair or even gotten a cute cat tattoo. For the right people, it’s an adorable way to commit to their love of cats.

CURRENT CRAZES FOR CATS:

Walking:

More people are trying to mainstream cat walks (literally, not the fashion kind.) We’ve seen lots of kitties on our social media feeds being leashed up and walked around the neighborhood much like their canine counterparts – which was seemingly unheard of five years ago. (Check out semi-famous feline Honey Bee on a hike with her owner. Curveball: She’s blind!)

Names:

More and more people are giving their companions human names like Oliver, Chloe, Charlie, and Lucy, to name a few of the tops. Scope out the full list of last year’s most popular monikers and see how trendy of a cat owner you really are.

Outfits:

Oh yeah, cat outfits and kitty costumes are absolutely a thing… A wonderful way for your cat to progress with the trends of the time!

Which feline trends are you most into? Share your thoughts and pictures on our Facebook!

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