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Traveling with Your Dog

When my people say “car” I’m ready to go! In the past five months, I have logged over eight thousand road miles…I’ve been a dog on the go! During my travels, I’ve noticed some other dogs that don’t seem as thrilled to travel. I thought I would share a few tips for dog owners on how they can make their pooches as comfortable as my parents make me. Of course, you know, it IS all about our comfort!

The first concern is our safety. We like to ride any which way we can, but we depend on you to ensure our safety. While I personally do not travel in a crate, it is the safest means of transportation for your dog. In the event of an accident, or even a sudden maneuver, your dog will not be tossed about the car. In fact, to ensure even greater safety, buckle in the crate if at all possible.

If you cannot/do not wish to crate, then utilize a dog harness to buckle us in! My mom most often uses a harness, with ample leash to allow me access to the window, but not so much that I would be ejected from the car if an accident occurred. Leashing me in the car also ensures I cannot jump out as soon as the door is open, giving my parents time to properly leash me for an exercise and potty break.

When I am not harnessed, I am still secured. My mom attaches my leash to my collar and then runs the seat belt through the leash handle, to provide some level of protection. Again, this will help your dog from being tossed about or ejected in an accident.

The second most important concern is our comfort. I am generally afforded the entire back seat, which is covered with my seat cover, dog bed and my blanket. At first I didn’t understand the seat cover and tried to get in the car underneath of it! My parents love it because it protects the seat, but also provides a barrier between the back and front seats, which is intended to limit my desire to ride up front, but also provides a barrier, so in the event of a sudden stop I am not thrown forward.

Regardless if your dog rides in a crate or in the open car, provide a comfortable sleeping mat, maintain a nice temperature, and from time to time let us have some fresh air.

The most important aspect of our comfort is to provide us ample exercise and potty breaks! Keep us as close to our regular schedule as is possible, and pay attention to our behaviors. Travel can upset any dog’s system…when we have to go, we have to go! Let us stretch our legs, check out who has been there before us, and do our business. If we eat a little grass, know that we may be getting car sick and need more frequent breaks, fresh air, or more consistent driving on your part. (Before you travel a great distance with your dog, you may want to visit your vet for some medication to ease motion sickness.)

While exercise breaks may be the ideal time to feed us, know that some of us may not eat while traveling and that’s ok. However, do provide us ample opportunities to have water! We can quickly become dehydrated and sick. My parent’s have a great watering contraption that includes a refillable bottle that snaps into a holder which becomes a drinking bowl. Whatever you use, just make sure your dog has fresh water often.

Finally, know that we like routine. If you normally have a quiet home, don’t suddenly blare your music in the car or argue, it will unsettle us. If it’s our bedtime, help us settle in by creating a pleasant environment.

And one more thing…if you smoke in your car, please provide your dog plenty of fresh air. We were not designed to sit in a closed car trying to breath in a cloud of smoke.

Once you arrive at your destination, be patient with us as we settle in and find our place. We will find comfort more quickly if you bring our belongings in, let us know where you expect us to sleep, eat, and show us where to play and do our business.

We love to spend time with you and most of us enjoy riding…I hope you and your dog(s) have many safe travels together!

Becca

Working our Tails Off!

Good day! We thought we’d take a moment to update you on all the goings on over at Doople Pet Products.

Since forming the company in July, 2012, we have rolled out our signature product, Doople Bag, created a website, created a second website, then combined those in our third website with online store–you know, “third time’s a charm” and all that! We have our Etsy store, our Storeboard store, and our Twitter  and Facebook accounts all up and running. We’d love you to check them out and/or follow/friend us on all of them!

We had an “Honary Doople Dog” contest. Our winner, Annie, received a Doople Bag of her choosing and was featured on our FB and Twitter sites. We are currently running another giveaway contest; this time for one of our beautiful collar and leash sets. To enter, friend us on our Facebook page and there you will find instructions for entering. Hurry, though, contest ends April 15, 2013!

We have fabricated and stockpiled Doople Bags; have designed and fabricated our collar and leash collections; and are in the process of developing other pet accessories. In our spare time we are busy researching various marketing opportunities–including attendance at some great pet expos. We’ll be sure to let you know if/when/where–we’d love to meet you!

Becca–our Border Collie–continues to be a great ambassador for Doople Pet Products and is anxious for spring weather so she can meet and greet more of you while at the dog park, out for a walk, or as she is chauffeured around!

We continue to research products we feel are complimentary to our own and to connect with makers of those products. On our website, and from time-to-time on our social networking sites–we promote these products as a service to our own customers. If you have a product or service you think is a good match, let us know. Also, if you have an online or brick-and-mortar store and would like to carry Doople Bags, we will be happy to discuss our re-seller program with you. We’re all about getting Doople Bags into play all across the country!

While all these are exciting events in our realm, there is something far more exciting to share: We are germinating a seed of an idea that we hope to take world-wide! Of course, there are many, many stages of growth yet to endure–from seed, to germination, to seedling, to full bloom–but we are going to give it a go!! It will be some time before we’re ready to share our little seed with the world, but when we do, your support will help it thrive and grow into something substantial!

Want to know something funny? All of this was born because of an aggravating situation–not unlike the oyster grows a pearl from an irritating grain of sand. This was never “part of the plan”, but each and every day I thank those who irritated me to the point of creating wonderful gems in my life!

Keep that in mind next time life throws you a curve ball, introduces an irritant, or provides an opportunity out of your comfort zone. These could be the keys to your own gem mine!

As we continue mining our own gems, we will do our best to provide pertinent content here on our blog and through our social media sites. Stay connected with us so you don’t miss out on our continued progress!

Christine

Founder of Doople Pet Products

Basic Homemade Dog Food Recipe

Basic Dog Food Recipe

​This is the basic recipe I use for feeding my dog, a Border Collie. It has been adapted from others I tried and I offer my dog variety by changing up the combination of ingredients. For the past two years this recipe has been the basis of my dog’s diet. In those two years, her weight has fluctuated by only ½ pound! Her coat is shiny, her skin healthy, her eyes clear and her overall health great for an eleven year old dog!

While I cannot offer portion recommendations for you, and suggest you consult your vet about a fresh diet such as this, I have found feeding my 39# dog three ½ cup servings each day meet her dietary needs and keep her long-term pancreatitis under control. (The only time she has an attack is when we deviate from her diet!)

INGREDIENTS

1# Cooked protein: Beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish or cheese. It is best to use one, and no more than two, protein sources at a time.

6 cups starchy carbohydrate: potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, and pasta. Feel free to use a combination of these ingredients.

​6 – 7 cups vegetables and/or fruits:  choose from carrots, squash, cabbage, peas, zucchini, spinach and other greens such as kale or collards, green beans, turnips, pears, apples, and blueberries. Fresh produce is best, but canned or frozen work too.

​6 – 8 cups liquid:  Chicken, beef or vegetable broth, canned tomatoes with liquid, water. Use low-sodium products.

1 tsp seasoning:  Avoid added salt, as well as garlic and onion salt/powder, and pepper, feel free to use parsley, oregano, and thyme.

*Enzymes

*Optional ingredients

COOKING

​Start with adding 4 cups of water and/or broth to large pot. If using ground meat, crumble and place into the liquid to cook; if using chunks of meat, precook and shred before adding to liquid.

Chop and add carbohydrates and vegetables to pot; if using fruit, wait until other ingredients are nearly cooked before adding.

Cook on medium/low heat until meat, starches and vegetables/fruits are cooked. Continue adding liquid as needed. You want a nice thick soup/stew consistency when finished. Add seasoning and allow stew to cool.

Because dog’s have different nutritional needs than humans, I add vitamins and enzymes to the stew before serving. Again, check with your vet or other animal nutritionist to determine what is right for your dog.

*Optional:  Many fresh diet recipes include grain products. You are free to add them to this recipe—up to 6 cups worth—but know that they are primarily used as fillers and not for nutritional value. Rice, oatmeal and barley are all suitable to add.

This stew will remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. I generally freeze what I will not use within that time frame.

Baking for Becca

Like most of us, Becca (my eleven year old Border Collie) feels best when she adheres to a proper diet, has regular exercise, gets plenty of sleep and has an occasional treat.

We haven’t baked together–and I use that phrase in the loosest terms:  I bake; Becca watches, drools and occasionally barks for me to hurry it up–for  several weeks, but today’s schedule allowed for baking.

Since I prepare all of Becca’s food, she is used to me cooking for her. Most times she does her own thing while I’m cooking, but when I pull out the Kitchenaid, she knows it is time for treats and becomes my constant sidekick!

Today I made one of her favorites, Apple-Pumpkin Pupcakes, and thought I’d share the recipe so you, too, can treat your dog to a scrumptious treat! And, for the record, while I don’t recommend eating the dog’s food, I do taste test each and every item I cook/bake for Becca. (Something I would never do with commercially manufactured foods!) As dog treats go, I must say these aren’t too bad…I ate a whole one!

Bon appetit!

Apple-Pumpkin Pupcakes

Pupcake Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup quick oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 eggs

3/4 cup canned pumpkin (plain, not pie filling which has spices & sugar)

1/2 cup natural (unsweetened) applesauce

1 apple, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan by spraying with Pam, lightly greasing or lining with muffin cups. (I prefer to use a mini muffin pan as they make the perfect snack size.)

Mix together all dry ingredients. Lightly beat eggs, then add pumpkin, applesauce and apple. Blend until thoroughly mixed together. Stir in dry ingredients and mix until blended.

Fill cups 2/3 full then bake for 20 minutes for mini muffins or 25-30 min for larger muffins.

Optional Frosting Ingredients:

6 Tbs cream cheese, softened

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 Tbs. applesauce

Mix togther until smooth, then spread a thin layer on each Pupcake.

To store:

Place in a Ziploc bag or sealed container and store in your refrigerator or freezer. If stored in the refrigerator, use within a week; frozen Pupcakes will stay fresh up to six months (just be sure to thaw completely before giving to your dog!)

The Pet’s New Years Advice

two amigos

Dear friends, as we close out 2012 and move into an exciting new year, the cat and I have a few words of advice. Remember, we’re simple, drama-free creatures, and we believe you might learn a bit from us…

1. Explore something new every day.

2. Give and receive love with abandon.

3. Play when you feel like playing; rest when you’re tired; eat when you’re hungry. The rest falls into place.

4. Just get along! Don’t snarl and bristle up because of differences. Sometimes the best friends turn out to be those who offer new perspectives, ideas, or ways of being.

5. Don’t ingest garbage–or as my mom translates: don’t allow poisonous thoughts, people or behaviors into your life.

6. Welcome visitors to your home with gusto–they’ve taken time to include you in their life!

7. Live in the now.

8. Appreciate the blessings you have.

9. Trust people.

10. Wag your tail as often as you can (or in people terms: be happy, dance, smile, and slobber a little)!!

Happy New Year,

Becca and Roudy

Gretta’s Gifts–What I Learned from My Dog

(Originally posted May 14, 2012)

This past weekend, we had to put one of our beloved dogs to sleep. Gretta was an eleven-year-old Border Collie. She wasn’t simply an amazing companion to our family, she was family.

I have been a pet lover and owner my entire life. I’ve had guinea pigs, horses, rabbits, chickens, cats, a goat, ducks and many dogs. While I appreciated and cared for each animal, there were only a few I developed a deep bond with and among those few, the bond was deepest with Gretta.

After having lost our boxer to brain cancer, we were ready for a new dog. I had been looking for a few weeks and knew I wanted a Border Collie. I spent my evenings searching BC rescue and our local animal shelter’s online sites. One evening I saw her–one look at her photo and I knew she was the dog for us! There was just that special something in her eyes that pulled me in.

A few emails, application forms, background check and a two-hour drive to an adoption event later, I met my girl! When Gretta came around the corner, her attachment to me was as immediate and thorough as my attachment to her.  As they say, the rest is history.

There is a reason Border Collies are touted as the smartest breed…because they are! Life with Gretta was vastly different from life with our boxer! Gretta challenged us as pet owners. She didn’t wait for us to tell her what to do, she schooled us. She taught us her language, her favorite activities–she loved to play hide and seek–and that she was not just a dog, she was a dog with personality! She played jokes on us; she was a gracious hostess, greeting every visitor to our home with a gift; and she was refined, always crossing her front paws when she laid down. She was an Alpha dog, but also very obedient and well-mannered. In all, she was a perfect pet.

Any pet lover knows we get far more from our pets than we give. I would like to share a few of the gifts and lessons I received from my beautiful Gretta.

Acceptance–The initial photo I saw of Gretta showed a scrawny six-month old shelter dog. I looked past that and saw the warmth in her eyes. I don’t know what she saw in us, but I imagine she saw hope of a good home and family. We accepted one another for the unseen potential. Ironically, Gretta grew into a gorgeous dog and on a regular basis received compliments on her beauty! I try to look at each person I meet with the same level of acceptance–it’s not what’s on the surface that matters.

Generosity–Like I mentioned, Gretta met each visitor to our home with a gift.  She didn’t fret over what to give–sometimes it was mail from the wastebasket, sometimes a hat or shoe, other times a dog toy or chew bone–she just gave. She did this because she wanted to, not because she expected anything in return. I learned to do the same. While I am a little more discerning in my gift giving, I stopped worrying about buying just the right thing or spending a certain dollar amount, and instead give from my heart.

Honesty–A dog is not capable of deception and their lives seem so uncomplicated. If Gretta liked you, you knew it; if not, you knew that too (for the record, there were only two people Gretta did not like–she was far better at acceptance than I ever will be!). If she was tired, she slept; hungry, she ate; and bored, she made me get up and do something with her. I loved the simplicity and honesty of her life.

Patience and understanding–Because I work from home and Gretta and Becca were my daily companions, I learned a great deal about patience and understanding. We had our routine, but like people, sometimes dogs are off. Reading Gretta was easy, but understanding what was going on often proved challenging. This lesson is probably the most utilized–I am good at realizing each person and/or their situation is more than what shows on the surface and I take time to see what lies beneath a mood or action. Gretta taught me greater empathy for others.

Live now!–While dogs are creatures of habit, Gretta was also spontaneous. There were times we would be hanging around the house and she would jump up and start running around. She would entice me into a game of tag or to go out and enjoy the day. Gretta loved the warm sunshine, but she also loved to stand and feel the rain on her coat. She lived in the same house her entire life, but each and every day she explored her surroundings, found new things of interest, and connected with her doggy friends. She lived in the moment and taught me to do the same. Her passing has reminded me there are people and activities in my life that are draining and I need to eliminate them in order to live more fully.

Trust instinct/intuition–As humans, we want to control every aspect of life, but a dog knows how to just be. We are also equipped with instinctive and intuitive capabilities and need to trust ourselves more. I used to seek outside approval, input, and influence, but over the years I have relied less on that and more on myself and it has served me far better.

Be yourself–I am smiling as I reflect on Gretta’s personality. She was such a big ham! I bought her and Becca (our surviving BC) bandanna scarves all the time. Gretta loved getting dressed up to go out! I would tie a scarf around her neck and she would prance around like she was wearing fine jewels. Sometimes she would work the scarf off her neck and onto her head and come into the room looking like a grandma wearing a head scarf. Honest-to-God, Gretta would smile when she made us laugh! She loved her winter coat, but she must have believed Becca’s was bad…she liked to pull it off her and throw it on the floor, then both dogs would run from it! Gretta loved going shopping at the “doggy store” for new collars, the more princessy the better! The point I’m trying to make is, Gretta didn’t need designer duds to define her, but she loved a good accessory to reflect her personality.

Accept attention–By nature I’m a caretaker, I give more than I accept, but Gretta taught me to allow others the opportunity to take care of me, too. Gretta loved to be brushed and could never get enough. The time and attention I gave her while brushing her was her favorite time; it also became my favorite time. It was a time for us to bond, a time for her to receive my undivided attention, and a time for her to be cared for. In brushing her, I relaxed, focused my attention on Gretta instead of the million other things going on in life, and we both let down our defenses. The pure joy and relaxation I saw in her often brought me to tears, longing for that same peace. I have learned to schedule more massages, enjoy a good spa day, and to let others care for me (a little) more.

Love–It’s funny to reflect on love and realize there was not one single moment of life with Gretta that I wondered, “Does she love me?” I knew it, without doubt. She would snuggle, she would wag her tail, she would talk to me, and I could see it in her eyes. I can truly say she never doubted the love I had for her either. There were no games, just connection. I have made it a point to communicate with my loved ones more clearly, to let them know I love them and appreciate who they are on a regular basis. Do the same, don’t leave people wondering.

Gretta’s end came too soon for me, but she left me with a heart full of love and memories. On Gretta’s last day–not knowing it would be her last–I am happy to say all the things she taught me came into play.  I played with her, brushed her, talked to her, gave her a home-cooked meal, snuggled with her, went exploring with her and allowed her to make me laugh. I had things to do, but they could wait…spending time with my girl was what my heart wanted and needed in the moment. I am grieving, but know I gave Gretta unbiased, unrestrained love and a great place to live out her life. She gave so much more than that.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Have a great day and live like Gretta lived!