A Dog Parents Guide: Road Trips 101 and Summer Safety

It’s no doubt that the evolution of a dogs role has come a long way. In our dog-obsessed culture, the unconditional love for our fur-children is obvious. So much so, that the age old phrase, “dog is man’s best friend” is no longer enough to describe the relationships we have with our pups. It’s more common than ever to hear pet owners refer to themselves as “dog moms” or “dog parents.” To put it simply, dogs are awesome. They’ve evolved from the traditional household pet to sharing our living spaces — sometimes even our beds — acting as babysitters for our children, having the coolest wardrobes, supporting people as service animals and being the ultimate co-pilots on a road trip.

 

As dog parents, it breaks our hearts to leave our fur-children behind when we travel, so why not take them with you? While not every dog breed can jet set, the travel industry is rising up to meet that growing demand of dog travel, making a road trip with our furry best friends more accessible than ever. Apps like BarkHappy are a great way to find dog parks, beaches, restaurants and social gatherings that can help you and your pup plan out your route and trip activities in advance.

 

Taking a road trip with Fido is a great bonding experience that can encourage you to get active, meet new people and scout out dog friendly locations. With thousands of miles of open road to cover, you don’t have to stress the anxiety of leaving your dog at home when you can just bring them along! To help with the preparation process CarRentals.com created this guide to a road trip with your dog that highlights tips for smooth travel, an essentials checklist, and safety tips to consider, so you and your four-legged BFF are ready to hit the open road together.

 

 

 

By Keilah Keiser

How to Train Your Puppy

 

Puppies are fast learners that require house training and proper socialization from the moment they can walk. Did you know that puppies as young as 7 to 8 weeks old can be taught simple commands? Although they don’t have the attention span to learn complicated instructions at that age, they can still understand one-word commands like “sit”, “down” and “stay.”

These sorts of commands are vital for the dog owner who wants to take their pup out on the town. Here are a few things you ought to know that will have you out enjoying life with your pooch in now time.

When Should You Train Your Puppy

The recommended age for starting a step-by-step training routine is around six months, but puppies can be taught good behavioral habits much sooner than that. Puppies are more adaptable earlier on because they quickly pick up on facial expressions and learn from experience by being exposed to different types of stimuli. It’s also the best time to correct problem behaviors before they become set in stone.

Remain Positive

At 7 to 8 weeks old, you can try some methods based on positive reinforcement and food lure training. To keep a puppy focused on commands such as “stand” or “go”, make sure you place a treat near its nose, only feeding it after you get the desired response. Also, compliment your puppy whenever it listens to the command to create a secondary positive association with food.

 

Leash and Crate Training for Your Puppy

There are many reasons why crate training can help you with your puppy: it makes potty training easier, allows you to transport your puppy, and helps teach them to look and listen to you. The key to crate training is to utilize your puppy’s curious nature and not make a big deal out of it.

Let your puppy explore the crate by placing its favorite toy inside – and don’t shut the door behind them. The goal is to make it a favorite location for your puppy so always associate it with a good experience for your dog. Crate training is a great first step for both the puppy and the dog owner in learning to communicate with each other.

As for leash training, you want to start in an enclosed area before you walk your puppy to a nearby dog park. To familiarize them with the leash, you can let the dog drag it around while you hold on at a clipped length. Many puppies are eager to explore and will pull on their leash. You can eliminate this behavior by making sure that you walk in front of your puppy; it emphasizes to them that you’re in charge and to defer to you.

How to Properly Socialize Your Puppy

You might want to consider a training program which gives your puppy the chance to interact with other dogs, possibly make new friends. Puppies 8-16 weeks old will benefit from socializing as it prevents them from picking up bad habits like excessive barking at facing something new. As a result, they can become less anxious about being handled and stay calm despite loud noises. The BarkHappy app is a fantastic way to meet up with other dogs and dog owners in a more relaxed setting as well.

You should start training your puppy as soon as possible if your goal is to have fun exploring the world with your furry friend. Puppies are just like children in many ways. They need to explore and discover new things to develop a healthy disposition. As long as you remain in control and positively reinforce their learning, your puppy will be ready to hit the town in no time.

 

Alex Briggs is a contributing author for VIP Pet Services.

How to Have an Awesome Road Trip with your Dog

Travelling with your canine friend brings a totally new experience to life on the road, but it also brings a few unique challenges that you don’t normally run into chauffeuring your dog around town. After all, it’s a trip for two; you must pack and plan for the journey with that in mind.

With that said, a long road trip with your furry friend can be an extremely rewarding experience that both you and your dog will love. It gives you a chance to see new things and meet new people while allowing your dog the very same treat. And if you’re the sort to seek an adventure, we have some important suggestions to keep in mind when starting a trip with your four-legged friend.

Scout your Route Carefully

Like it says above, a full-on road trip with your dog requires more thought than just loading them into the care and driving them around town. Your dog will get restless. Where will you stop along the way for its comfort? Where will you sleep? What hotels allow pets?

Planning these stops should be your first priority. Local dog owners can be a great help with your preparations if you can find one to talk to. Checking online for local blogs where dog owners discuss things. If you’re visiting a city well-known for its dog lovers like Portland, Seattle or Las Vegas, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. And when in doubt, the BarkHappy app can help you find friendly spots along the way.

Visit the Vet

Be sure to take your dog to the vet before embarking on a trip. This is especially important if your dog is prone to motion sickness – and many dogs are – since the vet will be able to provide medication and guidance for that.

You want to ensure that your dog is healthy not only for fun’s sake but because scrambling to find a vet you’ve never met is stressful. If your dog has a medical condition that needs monitoring, be sure to ask your vet for referrals in the areas where you will be staying just in case of an emergency.

Plan for Play Stops

We all get restless during long car rides and dogs need to stretch their legs even more than you do. A good way to go about it is to stop every two hours or so in a rest area or park where you can allow your dog to run around for a bit.

This is why it’s very important to plan ahead and find locations along the way. If you don’t, you might find yourself veering off course and stressing out in search of a park.

Pack everything – and then some

When traveling with a dog, you should think about it like you are traveling with a toddler. Planning for their comfort might even require things that you would not assume they’d need. For example, it might occur to you to bring a toy or two for your dog, but they need their favorite toys and blankets to truly feel at home. They may not even sleep well in a hotel unless they have familiar smells from home all around them.

If they are picky with their food, be sure to pack a lot of what they love to eat so that you do not stress trying to find the right brand of kibble. Beyond that, make sure you pack a first aid kit for them as well as grooming supplies. You’ll also want to crate them in the car; it’s for their safety, but it also makes those park trips even more important.

If you take care of the little things, you’ll set yourself up for the trip of a lifetime for you and your dog. They may be a bit guarded at first, but if you stay positive and encourage their curiosity throughout the trip you’ll both make new friends and many, many memories.

Samantha Tung is a contributing writer and marketing specialist for Caliber Collision. She regularly produces content for a variety of car and travelling blogs.

Unusual Places that Welcome Dogs

Sharing adventures with your dog doesn’t have to mean the same old hiking trails, car rides or dog parks. The BarkHappy app gives you access to the dog-friendly world and makes it easy to plan a unique getaway. For those interested in mixing it up with some new experiences, here are some unusual places that welcome you and your four-legged companion.


Baseball Parks: Take your dog out to the ballgame and watch a major league baseball game. Many stadiums host a pet-night event for dogs. The PNC Park, located on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, PA, is home to the famous Pittsburgh Pirates. It features Pup Nights, a popular local event where once or twice monthly, you and your dog can sit in the deck section and enjoy the game. Dog Package tickets are $35 and include one dog and one human. A portion of the proceeds goes to help local animal shelters. At the Safeco Field in Seattle, there are Bark in the Park nights where for $50, you can purchase a Dog Pack Ticket. It includes entry for you and your dog, a Mariners dog tag and a stroll around the bases. At the Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston, TX, pet owners can attend the annual Dog Day and watch the Astros play the Seattle Mariners.

Ride NY’s Fire Island Ferry and spend the day at the Sunken Forest: It’s a short hop on the Long Island ferry from the town of Sayville to Sailor’s Haven and the Sunken Forest. Seagoing dogs can enjoy the ocean views from the ferry’s top deck. There is a one-way child’s fare charge of $5.00 and dogs must be leashed. The Sunken Forest is part of Fire Island’s National Seashore that includes a 50-acre track of dunes, beaches and trails through an ancient holly forest, with trees as old as 300 years. Dogs can enjoy the 1 ½ mile hike along the boardwalk. There is also a visitor center, snack bar and picnic tables. While the Sunken Forest trails eventually lead to the ocean, between the months of March through Labor Day, dogs are not permitted on the beach at Sailor’s Haven. But for those who crave an ocean experience, grab a sea taxi to neighboring Cherry Grove, where dogs are welcome to romp on the beach all year round.

Get back to nature and take your dog whale-watching: Cape Cod, MA is known for its beautiful beaches and towering sand dunes. But it also offers whale-watching trips, some that welcome dogs. On the Dolphin Fleet in Provincetown, leashed dogs can enjoy the three to four-hour trip that exposes travelers to the beauty of the Outer Cape while viewing humpback, baleen, right whales and other marine life. Dogs must be leashed and well-behaved. Be sure to call ahead for available seating and bring along a water bowl.
Toast your best buddy on a trip to a winery: Dogs love the outdoors and open air, making California’s vineyards the perfect retreat. There are many that are pet-friendly. At the Alexander Valley Vineyards in Healdsburg, CA, visitors can attend the “AVV Going to the Dogs” event that benefits Sonoma County’s Animal Care and Control. Taste the wines while sharing a scenic walk with your dog through the vineyard. At Mutt Lynch Winery in Sonoma, a portion of every sale goes to help rescue groups. The vineyard hosts pet birthday parties and features a yappy hour. Starmont Vineyards features classic Napa wines while catering to their four-legged visitors with Frisbees, doggie biscuits and tennis balls.


Celebrate fall and take your dog apple picking: Sharing fall traditions with your fur baby is a good way to bond. A dog’s world is ruled by smell, and a walk through an apple orchard can produce an intoxicating blend of scents. NY’s Hudson Valley has many that are pet-friendly. Wright’s Apple Farm in Gardiner, NY sits on 500 acres where visitors can pick their own apples, pumpkins and cherries. Scenic Fishkill Farms at Hopewell Junction, NY is just 1 ½ hours north of New York City. There are nature trails, hay rides and pick-your-own fruits. One caveat: dogs must be leashed and well-behaved.

Spend a leisurely afternoon at an art gallery: Believe it or not, some, such as the William Second Gallery in NYC, will allow you to browse with a four-legged friend. This gallery specializes in original paintings of dogs from the 18th and 19th century as well as dog collectibles. For a starting fee of $7,000, you can even commission a painting of your own dog that will immortalize him forever. The A.T. Hun Gallery in Savannah, GA, welcomes four-legged patrons with water and a treat. This gallery features many pet-themed works of art. Check with your local art galleries for information on their pet policies.

When planning your day, be sure to use the BarkHappy app to connect to the dog-friendly world around you. It includes restaurants, bars, events, lodging, weekly meet-ups and more. Share your own finds with others through personal posts and photos on BarkHappy’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

5 Facts About Dogs You Didn’t Know

Raising a dog can be filled with discovery. Day-to-day interactions with our canine family members brings us joy and teaches about unconditional love. But there still may be a few mysteries – some facts about dogs you may not know.


Dogs like music depending on its type. Just as music influences our moods, it has similar effects on dogs. In a study done in Psychology Today, researchers found that heavy metal music incited more barking in shelter dogs. Classical music had a relaxing effect. An SPCA paper published in Scotland, found that many dogs seem to prefer soft rock or Reggae. Wind instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone or flute, tend to provoke howling. Check out Spotify’s Songs for Dog Therapy playlist. It is geared toward what dogs like and includes selections such as Fur Elise, Canon for Dogs and Dog Spa music.


A dog’s sweat glands are located in its paws. The sweat produced in the paws has a salty smell that has been compared to the scent of corn chips. On a very hot day, keeping a dog’s feet wet helps to cool them down. Because sweating through the paws has limited cooling capacity, dogs pant as a more efficient way of cooling off. Panting enables body heat to escape through the membranes of the throat, mouth and tongue.


Dogs can bond deeply with one person. A dog may see his favorite human as a pack leader, caregiver or best friend. Dogs can be drawn to someone’s demeanor, tone of voice, or way of moving. They can sense when they are loved and when they are being ignored. The bonds dogs form are based on trust and mutual respect and take time and attention to grow. Spending quality time with your dog in activities that are fun, helps to create a special closeness and emotional chemistry that can deepen the bond between you. The BarkHappy app gives you access to special places and events that you and your dog can share and enjoy together to help you form a closer bond.
A dog’s nose print is unique. While humans can be identified through their fingerprints, for dogs, a nose print is uniquely individual. A dog’s nose consists of small ridges and bumps that form distinct pattern groups and lines. In the past, paw prints were used for identification, but a nose ID is now considered to be more reliable.
Tail wagging doesn’t always mean happiness. While most of us associate tail wagging with a content dog, it can also be a signal that a dog is agitated, fearful or insecure. According to Psychology Today, dogs wag their tails as a social communication with the tail’s position and movement being the key to understanding its meaning. A tail held at middle height is a sign of relaxation. When the tail is held vertically, it’s a dominant signal. Lower positions are a sign of submissiveness, with the extreme being a tail tucked under the body. Dogs will move their tails rapidly at the sight of someone they know, and more slowing with strangers. If they are moving their tails strongly to the right, it indicates a positive interest and an excited state. A tail moving to the left is a sign of more negative emotions such as anxiety or aggression.

A dog’s nose print is unique. While humans can be identified through their fingerprints, for dogs, a nose print is uniquely individual. A dog’s nose consists of small ridges and bumps that form distinct pattern groups and lines. A nose ID is considered more reliable than a paw print.

Your dog ate WHAT? True stories of crazy things dogs have eaten

Whether they are motivated by curiosity, hunger or an insatiable need to chew, some dogs manage to swallow some bizarre and unusual things. In a recent poll, thousands of BarkHappy app users were asked to submit the strangest things their dogs have eaten. These canines have taken the art of eating to a whole new level.

Cement: “One of my past dogs ate a bag of wet cement! We rushed her to the vet and she got her stomach pumped, but thankfully she was okay. Jordan and Koda, Bellevue, WA

A floor tile: “Bo, being a Lab, eats a lot of random stuff he finds. The worst thing he has eaten was tile from the kitchen floor. He literally ripped it up and ate it. He pooped it out a day later and cried every time some came out. Guess that taught him to never eat tile again.” Caitlin, Philadelphia, PA

A poisonous spider: “Moony once ate a poisonous spider and went into anaphylactic shock. She was so sick she almost died. Thankfully she is just fine now, but she is one we have to watch carefully or she will not be long for this world. (She’s not the brightest.)” Sara, Seattle, WA

The couch: “My name is Diana. Our dogs are Bentley, Annabelle, and Joey. Annabelle is the couch eater.”Diana, Tulare, CA

Toilet paper: “He “accidentally” eats rolls of toilet paper and paper towels all the time.  He’s not sure how it happens.  One moment the toilet paper roll is sitting there, minding its business, perfectly intact, and the next minute, it’s blown to smithereens all over the room.  Dangerous stuff.” Jackie and Rango, Philadelphia, PA

Hot sauce: “My dog got into some of our hot sauce and would not stop hiccupping for a couple of hours. He stays away from any red sauce now (sometimes).” Gabi and Riker, Las Vegas NV

Books: “Oswin loves to eat books. I think it was something about the binding glue that he found particularly enticing. He’s definitely stopped doing it as much, but as a puppy he was quite the connoisseur of book spines.” Kara, Albuquerque, NM

A ceramic snowman: “When my dog was a puppy, about 5 months old, she got a hold of a ceramic snowman. My grandmother made a lot of ceramics when she was still alive and I was lucky enough to inherit a lot of her ceramic works. I had this snowman out on a side table as a Christmas decoration. I woke up to find a trail of ceramic pieces from my room to the living room and Frosty’s still intact face under the table he once stood on. I was really upset when it happened, but I look back and am able to laugh about it now.” Lindsey, Milwaukee, WI

An entire pizza:  “We once left a pizza box on the counter pushed all the way against the wall. It was at least a foot away from the edge. She was a 4-month-old Lab. When we came back from sports practice, we found the box empty on the kitchen floor.” Melissa and Midknight, San Diego, CA

Butter: “Kiba stole the plastic butter container off the counter and opened it, leaving two barely-there teeth marks in it and ate all the butter. He doesn’t even steal steak off the counter, but if we leave butter up there he thinks it’s fair game.” Erica and Kiba

Figurines: “My dog is a 13-month chocolate Lab, so anything is pretty much game for her to eat… but the worst was a couple of porcelain figurines I had on a side table. Actually I think (or hope) she just exploded them and left pieces for me to pick up. “Shirley and Sky

ChapStick:  “For whatever reason, my dog loves ChapStick. I give him the best treats and food but if he finds ChapStick he’ll eat it.” Ashley, Watertown, PA

Tin foil: “We mistakenly left a sheet of tin foil with salmon skin on it on the stove top when we left to get dessert, and when we came back it was reduced to tiny scraps. Her poop shined for a whole week.” Lauren and Coda, Denver, CO

Crawfish: “My dog ate three whole cooked crawfish. Luckily they passed and she was fine, but I bet those pinchers didn’t feel too good coming out.” Rebecca and Korra, Houston, TX

Legos: “Legos, either dog it doesn’t matter. They like plastic. The grandkid’s left them out and the dogs were bored.”Julie, Oliver and Brutus, Orangevale, CA

Glitter: “Years ago I had a beagle named Humphrey.  He was always very interested in arts and crafts and liked to “help”. One day he stole a container of glitter and ate most of it. He had sparkling poop for a week.”Christine, O’Fallon, MO

A set of false teeth: “We jokingly call my dog “the goat”. If given the chance, he will anything. My parents visited for a weekend, and my dad has false teeth. At night, he took his teeth out and put them on the side table. My dog knocked them off the table and proceeded to eat them. The only thing left behind was a few pearly whites on the floor.  Luckily we were able to get his false teeth replaced fairly quick.”Christina and Gremlin, aka The Goat

A container of hot chocolate mix: “My first reaction was to worry, but after some ingredient reading and internet research, hot chocolate mix won’t kill your dog….Cleaning up the poop for the next 3 days on the other hand might have a negative impact on you. “Will and Napa

Tinsel: “My dog ate a small box of Christmas tinsel. The next day it looked like he had a “Christmas ornament” hanging from his backside!”Melissa and Maynard, Pflugerville, TX

Leather car seats: “Our dog Roger has not eaten as many crazy things as our dog Pema, but he has still eaten some weird things. One weird thing he has eaten is the leather seats of our car. Almost every time we have left him in the car alone he often takes a couple bites. We once left him in the car with Pema for about 10 minutes and we came back but the seats were torn apart. Naughty Roger!!!!” Haven and Roger, Boulder, CO

Money: “$23 in cash.” Charlotte and Piper, Santee, CA

Furniture cushions: “Once when he was mad that we had left, he unzipped a couch cushion and ate a few big bites of the foam.  There was a huge mess but I didn’t know he had actually swallowed anything until the next morning when a huge chunk of perfectly intact foam came out in his poop!”Katie and Puzzles, Austin, TX

A bee: “Pal tried to eat a bee…yes, a bumblebee! He seemed fine after the initial pain of the sting, but a little while later he began howling in pain and we soon found out that the stinger was still stuck in his tongue!” Allie and Pal

 

Has your dog eaten something strange or unusual? Post a comment on BarkHappy’s Facebook page to let us know what it was or share a revealing picture of your guilty dog caught in the act on Instagram with #barkhappy. Be sure to follow @BarkHappy to celebrate life with dogs.

6 Dog Instagram Accounts You Need to Follow

While most of us believe our dogs are superstars in the making, these Instagram favorites really are. They amass millions of followers by stealing hearts with their sweet faces and winning personalities. Here are just a few of the top dogs of Instagram that help make us believe dogs truly rule the world and help us have a #BarkHappy day!  Try not to smile..we dare ya!

Scrappy the Doxie: (@scrappythedoxie} Scrappy first made his public debut running toward the camera in a teddy bear costume. He’s been charming followers ever since. It’s easy to see why. With his deep, penetrating eyes and soulful expression, Scrappy has managed to melt hearts on Instagram, (as well as Facebook and Twitter) and currently has over 65,000 Instagram followers. Recently he was joined by new housemate Obie. Together, the two of them bring a special kind of Doxie joy and love to the rest of the world, proving good things really do come in small packages.

Manny the Frenchie: (@manny_the_frenchie) A pushed in face, big round eyes, and a sweet, smiley expression has helped make Manny the Frenchie a famous A-lister. Manny has his own website and regularly makes public appearances. To date, he has helped raise over $100,000 for charities that include the Special Olympics and the ASPCA. Manny’s growing popularity and social media following includes one million Instagram followers alone, and soars even higher when combined with Facebook and Twitter. Not bad for a little French bulldog whose breeder once labeled “unsellable”.

Momo:  (@andrewknapp) Who doesn’t love the intelligent and exuberant Border collie? And Momo seems to epitomize the breed. He has his own bestselling e-book entitled Finding Momo: Coast to Coast in which he is the hidden subject in variety of places and adventures throughout the country. His owner, photographer Andrew Knapp, has captured Momo in hauntingly beautiful photos on his Instagram page that boasts nearly 600,000 followers. He notes that Momo “Is the ideal travel companion…completely at peace with a wrong turn or a breakdown.”

Jiff the Pomeranian: (@jiffpom) This pint-sized peanut is small in stature but big on accomplishments. Jiff Pom is not only an Instagram star with 3.8 million followers, he is also an athlete who can do hand stands and ride skateboards. Jiff seems to be a ball of energy in motion and has modeled, appeared on the morning talk show circuit, and even made a cameo appearance in the Dark Horse video by Katy Perry. Jiff Pom has his own calendar, puzzle, moji, phone case, website and of course, Instagram page.

Tonkey: (bearcoat_tonkey} Tonkey is a fluffy bear-coat Shar Pei whose sweet comical face and innocent green eyes seem to define cuteness. At just four months old, Tonkey had more than 165,000 Instagram followers who can’t seem to get enough of her wrinkles and teddy bear good looks. Tonkey’s owner Christine Park says Tonkey is as sweet and as gentle as she looks.  Her Instagram page was created to help raise awareness about Shar Peis and made Tonkey an internet sensation.  But to her owners, Tonkey will always be a “dog child who is the best part of their day.”

Tuna: (@tunameltsmyheart} Part Chihuahua, part dachshund, with a bit of who knows what, little Tuna is a rescue who was found abandoned on the side of the road. Since the day he was adopted he has not looked back. With his goofy snaggley-toothed overbite and sad beginnings, Tuna has pulled on the heart strings of his 1.8 million Instagram followers. His rise to Instagram fame has allowed him to have his own calendar, T-shirts, mugs and travel guide book called The Traveling Tuna.  Tuna truly is a hero: He has tirelessly toured the U.S. with the goal of raising awareness about animal rescues, proving that beauty is only skin deep.

 

Every dog is unique and special.  Think you have the next social media star? Post photos of your dog on  Instagram with the hashtag #BarkHappy and share his star quality with the rest of the world.  BarkHappy loves to repost and celebrate great doggy photos! So be sure to follow @barkhappy for more fun photos of happy pups from around the world!

 

Dogs Welcome: Pet-Friendly Places to Take Your Dog This Winter

If you think winter means dogs must spend long, boring hours confined to the house, think again. The BarkHappy app makes the dog-friendly world one-touch accessible and features many short get-away places that will keep your dog stimulated and active. Use it this winter as a quick and convenient way to connect to a variety of retailers who will put out the welcome sign.

Pet Stores:  They may seem like a no-brainer, but pet stores are a great way to get your dog out and about and are a haven for all things dog. Stores such as Petco, PetSmart, Pet Goods, Bentleys, and smaller local shops, are all places where leashed dogs are welcome to roam the aisles and explore the enticing sights and smells.  Your dog will enjoy just being with you, but while you’re out shopping maybe spoil him with a new toy or treat to heighten the experience.

Lowes: If you are thinking of doing some house sprucing this winter, Lowes is one place where you and your dog can wander and shop together. The store’s wide concrete aisles provide plenty of room for leashed dogs to take in the sights and sounds that are stimulating and a good way to socialize. Or cruise the open spaces with your dog in a cart that makes shopping easy and fun.

Apple: Tech-savvy shoppers may not be aware that they can bring their dog along to Apple outings. Of course, dogs must be leashed and well-behaved at all times. Apple stores tend to get crowded on certain days, so plan a visit when there is less hustle and bustle for your dog to encounter.

The Container Store:  This store offers countless ways to organize every room and closet in your home this winter. Well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome. Shoppers will find a wide variety of pet food storage solutions and an endless array of containers.

Urban Outfitters: Take a break from the cold weather and visit this retail chain that offers apparel and home décor essentials.  You can take advantage of post-holiday discounts and sales while keeping your dog involved and by your side.

Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel:  While both retailers allow leashed dogs, due to the breakability factor, owners need to be extra vigilant. If your dog is unruly or has a large sweeping tail, choose a different store. Pottery Barn offers an assortment of items such as faux fur pet bed covers, pet food canisters, bowls and accessories

Nordstrom:  This up-scale retailer has an open door policy for four-legged shoppers. But keep in mind that smaller dogs that are easier to handle may be a better fit in a department store that attracts large crowds.

The BarkHappy app also features many smaller specialty stores that welcome dogs in 45 cities nationwide. Take advantage of its easily accessed information to shake off the winter doldrums with some retail therapy. Don’t forget to post photos of your dog on BarkHappy’s Facebook page or on Instagram using the BarkHappy hashtag to share your shopping adventures.

 

5 Movies Dog Lovers Can’t Miss

By Sheilah Villari

  1. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale > Based on a true story, Hachiko’s vigil for is owner’s return for over 10 years demonstrates the unwavering loyalty our dog hold for us. Friends Fur-ever
  2. Best in Show > This mockumentary perfectly displays how it’s easy to turn pampering into and obsession. To be fair it’s completely understandable how we all think our dogs are winners and treat them as such.
  3. UP > The dogs steal the show in this Pixar film. If only all dog could communicate with special collars like Dug. We all fell for him when these words translated through, “I have just met you, and I love you.”
  4. John Wick > Any dog lover can relate to avenging the death of their beloved fur baby with bloody satisfaction. This movie doesn’t skimp on action or sentiment.
  5. Marley and Me > Just because a pup is misunderstood doesn’t make them bad. Marley teaches us that learning to understand some else we learn to understand ourselves.

5films

The 7 Best Dog Friendly Restaurants in Austin for Brunch

What do you and your dog have in common? You both love food! And Austin has some of the most dog-friendly restaurant options of any city.

It’s Sunday morning. You take your dog for a long walk or a playdate at the park. Afterwards, you want what any Austinite wants late Sunday morning: some doggone brunch. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Austin to enjoy a taco and some eggs with your dog in tow.

The Park on South Lamar

With made from scratch food The Park is not your average sports bar, plus it’s dog friendly! Featuring a full Covered dog friendly patio protected from rain you can watch your favorite football game every Sunday without leaving your best friend at home. 5/5 Bones from Bark Happy users for their food, water bowls and covered patio.

Red’s Porch
From 11-3 on South Lamar, head to Red’s Porch for an awesome brunch of chicken and waffles, Tex-Mex omelets, brisket hash and other Texas-style plates. Your dog can enjoy the huge dog friendly porch and Bark Happy water bowls are provided! 5/5 Bones by BarkHappy users.

Bouldin Creek
Alright, so they technically serve breakfast instead of brunch, but if you’re eating vegetarian, Bouldin Creek is your new favorite Sunday morning spot. The eggs are grass fed and free range. The tofu is organic and locally made. The breakfast is delicious and the space is ultra dog friendly. 5/5 Bones by BarkHappy users.

Bangers
With plenty of space out back and sausage treats for your dog, Bangers on Rainey St. is a great place to relax and indulge on a Sunday morning. You can’t go wrong with anything from the brunch menu (served every Sunday, 12-3), but whatever you do, make sure to add a Lolo’s Grapefruit Brulee: Half a grapefruit sprinkled w/ sugar & blasted with a blowtorch. 5/5 Bones by BarkHappy users.

Licha’s Cantina
If you’re in the downtown area, you can take Fido to Licha’s which offers covered seating and water bowls on the patio. We recommend the Salmon Ahumado (Gravlax, guacamole, goat cheese, cucumber salad, crispy capers, served with toasted bolillo) and the Licha’s Torta (Bolillo bread, cochinita pibil, ham, pickled red onions, ancho-dijon, queso asadero – pressed on the plancha). Sunday brunch is served 11-3. View their brunch drink menu here > http://lichascantina.com/#menu-item-3025. 5/5 Bones by BarkHappy users.

Chinatown
At the West Lake Hills location, Dim Sum Sunday brunch is from 11-2:30. We seriously suggest the coffee glazed baby back ribs. Your pup can relax with you on the porch. Water bowls provided! 4/5 bones by BarkHappy users.

Lambert’s Downtown BBQ
Every Texan knows the importance of barbeque. Why not have it for brunch? Especially when you can bring your dog! We recommend the Breakfast Frito Pie (Chopped Beef, Queso, Chèvre, Pico de Gallo, Poached Egg) or the Brioche French Toast (Strawberry Butter, Fresh Berries, Maplite Syrup). 4/5 bones by BarkHappy users.

Do you and your dog have a favorite restaurant spot? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook!

Hit the Road with Your Dog: Some Car Travel Tips

Ready to take your dog on your next road trip? Cruising in the car to new and exciting places is a great way to bond. Planning and a little preparation can make the journey easy. BarkHappy can help. With over 27,000 dog-friendly places and meetups in over 45 major cities, the world is waiting for you and your dog to explore.

Safety first.  Many dogs love the car and can’t wait to hop aboard.  But they may be prone to injuries when given free reign. Car seats, pet carriers, seat belts, pet barriers or crates are all good options that will keep your pet safe.  A ramp or steps will help your dog get in and out of the car easily.

Make the car cozy and comfortable.  The more comfortable your dog is, the easier it will be for him to curl up, settle in and enjoy the ride. A warm fleece blanket is great for snuggling during winter travel and can be used as a soft cushion. For smaller dogs, pet car seats offer a safe way to sit and look out the window, keeping them engaged and interested.  Most car seats come with a safety harness that ensures that dogs will be secure should an accident occur.

Stop Frequently. Potty breaks can be a good way for your dog to stretch, burn off excess energy and gain exposure to new surroundings. Keep bottled water and a bowl on hand for short drinks and pack the car with some favorite toys or treats.

Carry some old towels or wash cloths. Some dogs seem to attract and thrive on mess. For unforeseen rain or muddy conditions, old towels come in handy and help keep both your pet and your car seats clean.

Never leave your dog unattended in a car especially in the warmer months. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, hundreds of dogs suffer and die each year from heat exhaustion. Dogs are sensitive to temperature and overheat quickly. Temperatures in a parked car can rise as much 20° F in just 10 minutes. On warm summer days, heat can quickly soar to levels that can be fatal.

Be open to new experiences on the road. The BarkHappy app is a great way to access and take advantage of the many dog-friendly places along the way. Get the most out of your trip by using the app to plan a vacation, a trip to the dog park or a special meetup that will let your dog in on all the action. Be sure to add your new dog-friendly finds to the BarkHappy map to share with other dog owners.

Eat, Drink, and Bark Happy: Holiday Meal Tips for Your Dog

Just as we enjoy holiday gatherings with family and friends, our dogs also sense the excitement. Whether they are lying next to the oven for hours inhaling the smell of a roasting turkey or gathering under the table waiting for special morsels to fall, dogs join in our celebrations and are a part of the holiday magic. Simple food tips can keep them healthy while making the day special.

Talking Turkey   The holiday turkey meat removed from the bone and served without skin, is a delectable treat for most dogs. Turkey skin, while tasty, contains fats that are hard for dogs to digest and can trigger stomach upsets, even in small amounts. A slice of lean white meat along with a small portion of veggies such as plain sweet potato, is tempting and easy on a dog’s system.  For those who want to get more creative, Rachel Ray’s Thanksgiving Hash is a good option.  The recipe is a creative combination of holiday leftovers and is available at rachelraymag.com.

Christmas means stocking stuffers like Kong toys that can be filled with healthy treats to keep dogs busy and happy. At kongcompany.com, visitors can access a variety of recipes for stuffers that can be made ahead of time and frozen.

During the holidays, watch your dog’s food intake and don’t let him overindulge. Like people, dogs can overeat to the point of illness. If you are feeding holiday table scraps, balance food intake by feeding smaller portions of his regular food.

Keep garbage containers closed.  With all the hustle and bustle during the holidays, it’s easy to forget that dogs are ruled by smell and can be tempted to raid the garbage. If you can’t keep a close watch, make sure the containers are tightly closed, and take out the garbage when full to lessen any temptation.

Forbidden holiday foods  While we want to our dogs to enjoy the festivities, certain foods should be strictly off limits. Bones may look tempting, but they can easily splinter or lodge in a dog’s throat and pose a choking hazard. Chocolate is potently toxic and should never be given to a dog. The yeast in dough can cause harmful bloating and gas. Avoid any food that contains onion, and never feed grapes or raisins.

There are many pet-friendly restaurants and inns that offer a special menu for dogs during the holiday season. The BarkHappy app makes them easy to find and can help you plan a special gathering that the whole family can enjoy. Tag your holiday photos with #BarkHappy and share them on Facebook and Instagram to make the day extra special.

Small Dogs on the Go: Some Airline Travel Tips

Exploring new places with your dog is a rewarding and bonding experience. But for some, flying provokes anxiety. Planning, preparation, and a few helpful tips can make the experience easier.

Call ahead   Pet policies vary with each airline so it’s best to call ahead.  Be informed about your specific airline’s rules with regard to size, weight and breed requirements. Small dogs, typically 15 pounds or under, can usually be crated under the seat in a pet carrier. Some airlines specify that the combined weight of the dog and the carrier cannot exceed 20 pounds. Also be prepared to pay extra fees that are usually paid at counter check-ins.  For example, American Airlines charges $125 per carrier, one way.

Carriers   Dogs must stay in a carrier for the entire flight, so when purchasing, make sure it’s big enough for your dog to stand, lie and turn comfortably and that it follows the airline’s specific rules. It should be well ventilated and cushioned with a pillow or mat.  A water bottle is optional, but monitoring your dog’s fluid intake is important to prevent dehydration. Some carriers come with removable fleece beds for easy cleaning. Others have wheels that make walking through the airport much easier.  Add a favorite toy, and rub your scent on it to make your dog feel more secure. Always include ID with your name, address, phone number and a live animal label that has your pet’s name and photo.

Inquire about health certificates   Most airlines require proof of vaccinations to ensure that a dog is current with his shots and healthy enough to fly. International flights and some states like Hawaii, may also require a health certificate that states your dog was examined by a vet within 10 days of flying.

Take direct flights and book early   Direct flights help to minimize the stress of multiple take-offs and landings and prevent unwanted stretches on a tarmac.  Since airlines restrict the number of pets in a cabin, booking early will ensure that your dog has a spot.

Explore all your options   If you are still uncomfortable with the prospect of flying with your dog, there are many ground transportation services such as TLC Pet Transport, which will deliver your dog via minivan to destinations nationwide. Companies such as Animal Airways can help you to find travel solutions and address your concerns.

When you finally reach your destination, make sure to check out the BarkHappy app for pet-friendly hotels. You can also access eateries, parks, trails and events in your locale to maximize the fun you share with your dog. Post your travel photos to Facebook and Instagram tagged #BarkHappy and share your dog’s travel adventures.

Best Toys for Destructive Dogs

A Need to Gnaw

If you find that your dog seems to chew through your best shoes, carpet or children’s toys, you are not alone!  It’s common for dogs to exercise their natural need to chew on any item that might smell good and offers resistance for a strong jaw work-out.  If you find that your dog is getting into some bad habits, you can redirect this need to gnaw on more appropriate toys instead of your new leather boots or a beloved catcher’s mitt.

It’s best to nip this habit early on and reward your dog with treats for chewing on toys, rather than chewing other things in your house.  Be sure to keep your dog active and entertained as you introduce these new toys into your routine.

Keep these items in mind as you explore nearby places to find these solutions using the BarkHappy app.  You should try out a few different types of toys, based on your dog’s size, strength and obsession.  Here is a sampling of the most indestructible chew toys to help satisfy this need, and keep everyone happy!

Solid Rubber is the toughest:

  • Kong makes a variety of shapes and sizes, balls and rings; some stuffed with treats. The tires look so appealing, it’s hard to resist.
  • There are many different Y’s, bones and chews; look for ones with double layers of rubber which are very resilient, like GoughNuts or Jakpopin Dog Chews.
  • Ethical Pets, Snug or Jolly make different types of exercise balls that are not meant to deflate.
  • Flavored chews will keep a dog interested, such as Bacon Cheeseburger by Nylabone; or you can go with Ruff Dawg Mint Flavored Dog Chews –whose dog bones are made to be tear-resistant.
  • … And many other solid rubber toys in many shapes and sizes!

Other Compounds similar to Rubber are also great, but have to be replaced sooner; look for non-toxic on the label:

  • Planet Dog Orbee Tuff Dog Toy – these round balls are very strong and can be stuffed with treats; or Jakpopin offers solid versions.
  • West Paw ZogoFlex Hurley Dog Toy – not only bounces but floats.
  • Discs and Frisbees have the advantage of being used to play catch or can double as a food or water dish.

Additional Types of Toys aren’t quite as strong, but can provide variety and keep your dog interested:

  • Squeaky Toys – are not the best chew toys, so look for durability and watch out that the ‘squeaker’ doesn’t get dislodged.
  • Plush Toys – can often be shredded apart very quickly, so look for durability with extra seams and stronger fabric
  • Hard Plastic Toys – be careful about the material and quality of these because they can easily flake and crack. You do not want your dog ingesting the pieces!
  • Tennis Balls – are a short term solution, but be careful to get an appropriate size so they are not a choking hazard.

Another impressive chew toy is called Indestructabone – from Bullet Proof Pet Products.  It comes in 7 sizes and has notches on the ends to fill with peanut butter or another goody.  Created by frustrated dog owners, this toy is made of non-toxic Upvc, and has no plastics or BPA.  Or you can splurge and get your dog raw-hide treats or real bones, but watch out for splintering.

By chatting with your BarkHappy friends, you might discover other great answers from other dog lovers.  As with all toys, make sure to check them frequently in case pieces become detached which could become a potential health hazard.  If your dog is possessive, keep other animals and children away from a favorite new toy.

Stay tuned to the BarkHappy blog.  We will continue to talk about other solutions for destructive behaviors in upcoming articles.

dog

5 Ways to Celebrate Your Dog’s Birthday

It’s so easy to use the BarkHappy app to find ways to indulge your pet, and yourself on your dog’s birthday… and any day!

Revisit the Place Where You Found Each Other

Go back to the original place where you first met your dog and your dog met you!  If it was an animal shelter, give them a donation; and then give your dog and your family a treat and remember how lucky you were to have found each other.

Take a Walk to a Favorite Park or Restaurant Patio

Take your dog to visit one of your favorite places.  Look for a park that allows dogs to run free – or venture to the water.  Get your paws wet if you dare.  Nothing feels better than running without a leash; especially on your birthday!  This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a wonderful meal out at a restaurant and having your dog being admired by well-wishers.  If you are looking for a new dog-friendly place for your pup, check out the dog-friendly map in the BarkHappy app.

Celebrate with a New Toy

Play with a new game or doggie toy that you’ve been saving just for this occasion.  If you’re lucky enough to have a specialty shop near you, indulge your best friend with a new Frisbee, chew or ball.  See which one your dog would like by letting him select the new one he wants at the store!  And then, pull out the special biscuits you’ve been saving for this milestone.  Your dog will love it and so will you.

Commemorate with a Birthday Photo

Put on a big smile and take some great photos for everyone to enjoy.  You can make it a selfie together or find a local photographer to create a professional keepsake.   Don’t forget to post your new birthday photos to your feed on the BarkHappy app to share them on Instagram with #barkhappy.

Throw a Doggy Birthday Party!

Let BarkHappy help you to host an event .  Invite all of your doggy friends and find a dog-friendly restaurant patio or a dog park.  Plus, you can create the event and post it in the BarkHappy app to invite your other pack friends. Today is your day and you can sit on chairs and wear party hats while you enjoy specially made cakes.  If you’ve reached your 13th birthday, you can call it a ‘bark mitzvah’!

test

It’s fun to get together with friends and discover more and more dog-friendly ways to celebrate.  If you have some more ideas, send them into us in the comments below or on Facebook.   And don’t forget to tag your birthday pictures with #BarkHappy and your pooch might get featured!  The BarkHappy app makes it easy to enjoy your birthday or any day!