Saturday, December 28, 2013

How to choose a Pet Boarding Facility

We would all love to bring our four-legged friend with us on vacations, but sometimes it is not feasible. When that happens, you have to find someone to take care of your dog. There are many available options. It's up to you to find the right choice for your specific dog. All dogs are different and what will work for one, may not work for another.

Of course, we would LOVE for all dogs to come to Bark City!! (We think we are the BEST!!! Haha.) BUT, we also recommend you do your homework and decide for yourself. That is why I am going to post what you should look for in a boarding facility, what are big red flags and what questions you should ask when shopping around.

What Should I Look For In a Kennel?

  • SUPERVISION-- This is an important one. Whether or not the facility is partially kennel free or totally kennel free. When you have a bunch of dogs together, things can escalate pretty quickly. Dogs, like people, can get over-stimulated, tired and CRABBY.
  • Animals should look content and stress-free.
  • Proper bedding and water.
  • SANITATION-- Living and play areas should look and smell clean. They should also be free of waste and urine to prevent diseases.
  • TOUR THE FACILITY-- All Daycares should allow impromptu tours. If you ask and they act all sketchy or have a bunch of excuses on why you can't... BIG RED FLAG!
  • Always ask the daycare owner how they train their staff. The staff should be friendly and know all the animals by name. They should also know all details involving each dog's specific care and are TRAINED IN LARGE GROUP PLAY SETTINGS. Training and staff education does matter!
  •  Well managed dog play groups. Does the facility separate their dogs into groups such as little dogs, big dogs, elderly, ect... ??
  • Dogs should not be wearing collars in the facility. This is a huge safety hazard when dogs are playing. A paw could become entangled, a jaw caught or a choking hazard.
  • Safety Issues- bent wires or jagged edges on fences, areas where dogs can crawl under something and become stuck, unsupervised time with other dogs. 
  • Kennel size and cleanliness. 

 Questions to Ask Before Boarding:

  • Are all dogs immunized?
  • How does the facility handle a dog that suddenly has diarrhea, vomiting, won't eat or gets a minor injury (like a small cut or broken toenail)? 
  • How does the facility handle a dog that needs medical attention? 
  • Is there a vet associated with the kennel?
  • Do they accommodate dogs with special needs or individual diets?
  • Has there been any incidents of Canine parvovirus at the facility? This virus is EXTREMELY contagious and hardy. It can live in soil for over a year!
  • Is there grooming services available?
  • Is my dog able to bring his/her own bedding, favorite toys, ect...? 
  • How does the facility handle a dog fight or a dog that becomes irritable and aggressive? (Dog behavior can change when the dog is away from his/her parents!!)
  • Is there a quiet area free from disruption that my dog can sleep and rest? 
  • If the facility is kennel-free 24-7, how is the night supervised?  (Remember that a tired dog can become a crabby dog....)
  • How are dogs identified? 
  • How do they keep track of dog medications?
Always remember to TRUST YOUR GUT when choosing the right facility for your dog! A boarding facility may not be right for your dog or your favorite facility is booked and you can't get your dog in, there are always other options: hire a person to stay with your dog in your home or theirs (there are professional dog-sitters out there!) or find a friend, relative or neighbor that absolutely loves animals. There are options out there!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Christmas

This year, I have been making more handmade gifts for friends and family. I am still debating whether this was actually a good idea. In theory, yes. For sanity, NO. Here are a couple of my creations:

 A puppy and a bear...

 Complete with their own kennels!

 They are made out of felted wool sweaters from the thrift store, scraps of fabric around the house, stuffing from a pillow I bought on clearance and two bird cages from the craft store (at 50% off!).

There is a reason I am showing you my gift creations-- Secret Santa is coming up at Bark City!

For those signed up to participate, I thought I would inspire you with a couple of ideas for DIY presents if you feel so inclined (tutorials are linked).... but remember: Do not sacrifice your sanity!

 You could customize a bowl .

 Make a rainbow paracord dog collar.
Sew a squeaky toy....

or Make a memory ....

Whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving with a Buddy

This is Buddy. 

Buddy is about 12-yrs-old and thinks his life is really rough (this picture was taken after he ate his morning dose of scrambled eggs). As with most Bassett Hounds, he always looks depressed. Unless, he is out on a "speed walk" with his human companions.... He REALLY perks up when he hears the familiar click of his leash coming off during these walks and he is FREE to roam!

This is Buddy's best friend Ollie: 

She showed him how to use the dog door (complete with a look of superiority). She is older than Buddy, but can still bat a suspicious piece of plastic around like no other. 

This is Buddy playing "Fashion Girls":

These are Buddy's new favorite treats:

Remember last week when I said I was going to make gingerbread dog treats? Well, I got a little sidetracked and went to the movie instead (With five kids and adult family members!). The dough, which has to chill for 3.5 hrs, ended up chilling for more like three days. BUT, they turned out fine!! Baking them was a rush job since I was heading back home in the morning. So, there was no cookie cutters and kids involved. Instead, it was me using the old peanut butter cookie technique of fork impressions. The important thing to note is that Buddy LOVED them. And he is a very picky eater... unless it is Prime Rib. 

Where is my Prime Rib?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Something for Fido

I know Thanksgiving hasn't passed and I keep posting things for Christmas (NO!!!). It's hard not to when Christmas decorations are displayed the day after Halloween! And let's face it, once that turkey is eaten, it feels like you blink once and Christmas is here.

I'm already organizing my Christmas list which involves a mad dash to the craft store for supplies and late nights doing the "DIY thing". I also like to order off of Etsy. Here are some of my favorite stocking stuffers for canine friends:

I'll start with this Bacon Pillow from ThePinkPorcupine. It can be a human pillow, a dog pillow OR you can order it in a smaller size as a dog toy. I think I will order one for MYSELF (pillow size!). Let's face it, bacon makes everything better.

This dog tag from CritterBling makes me smile.

Or your dog could be trendy with a chevron collar from BowWowCoutoure:

Be a rock star with these toys from sakurakrafts:

Or just have a donut:

Tomorrow, I will be making doggy gingerbread men with FIVE human children... wish me luck!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Felt Dog Bone Garland

This week, I got a little crafty and made dog bone garland out of a wool sweater I bought at the thrift store, left over red ribbon, snowflakes from the dollar store and embroidery floss.

I am pretty happy with the results!

Felting a wool sweater is easy to do: just throw a 100% wool sweater in the washing machine and then put it in the dryer. People do this on accident everyday! You can also buy felt at craft stores, but I find that sweaters can give you interesting textures, thickness and patterns. 

I've been thinking of pet-safe alternatives for Christmas decorating. One of the most dangerous decorations is TINSEL. Pets can be tempted to eat it. If they do, it can wreak havoc on their digestion tract causing severe medical problems to death. The garland I made will definitely be placed up high on a wall where my cats cannot reach it. The floss they will bite in half (and swallow) and the plastic snowflakes have little bits of tinsel on them.... I can also see dogs having fun chewing up the plastic snowflakes. I think a big ribbon would be more appropriate for wrapping around the tree. (I'll post pictures when I actually do it!)

Until then, we will be making some felt ornaments and more felt garland in the coming month. Another great thing about felting wool: It is great for DIY pet toys!!

FYI-- You can check out more felt garland ideas on our Pinterest Holiday Board.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Busy Howliday Season

It's a busy time of year at Bark City. We just had our annual Howl-ween Party and costume contest. It was a very tight race, but in the end TWO first place winners were announced! Here are our 1st(s), 2nd and 3rd place winners:

 1st Place: 

Ender the Bozeman BobCAT football star had the most likes on Bark City's facebook page. 
Rocco the Race horse tied with Ender by having the most combined likes from Bark City's page and shared pages.

Both 1st Place contestants win a 20- day daycare package!!
2nd Place: Goes to Katy Perry and John Mayer. They will win a one year membership for Bark Box.

3rd Place: Goes to Sylvie the Elephant. She will win an Etsy Gift Basket filled with goodies selected just for her!

We have been brainstorming for next year about adding categories (Best Homemade Costume, Most Creative, ect...)!! More opportunities for great prizes!

And on to the next holiday--- THANKSGIVING-- Don't leave your four-legged friend out of the feast! We will be preparing Thanksgiving meals for your dog. Stop by the Daycare to pre-order!!

Holidays are a time to take extra precautions to keep your pet safe. In the following weeks, I will be blogging about ways you can be prepared for whatever may come your way!! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Treats

Remember Roasting Pumpkins? I've been using those pumpkins all fall making pancakes for my two-legged kids. But, I finally got to cooking pumpkin treats for any four-legged kids that happen to come Trick-or-Treating this week.

These are really easy to make. They have four ingredients (five if you count water). All you need is:

2 c. of pureed pumpkin
1 tbs. of canola oil
5 c. of flour
1/3 c. dry milk powder 
approx. 1/3 c. water

Step 1: Throw all your ingredients into a bowl.


Step 2: Start by mixing with your spoon. Eventually, this will become difficult and you will need to work it together with your hands. You should end up with a ball that looks something like this: 

If your dough is not forming together, you may want to add a bit more water. Only add SMALL amounts at a time. Remember you can always add more, but you can't take it out! Too much water and you'll have a sticky mess. Don't worry if you have a few crumbs in the bottom of your bowl:

Step 3:  Flour your surface and start rolling out your dough.

Step 4: Take your favorite cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place them on a greased cookie sheet. 

Step 5: Bake at 350 for approx. 10-15 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown. Once golden, you can either take them out of the oven or turn off the oven and leave them in until the oven cools. Leaving them in the oven will result in a crunchier treat. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Friends

"Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring -- it was peace. "

-- Milan Kundera

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Halloween Costumes!

I have been randomly posting dog costumes on Facebook that I find on Pinterest. This week, I decided to go all out and browse etsy for my favorite costumes and post them on here! (Hopefully, they will give you some ideas for our Howl-ween Party on the 30th!!!)

Here they are:

Monster Costume by PetitDogApparel

Odie!! (We are big Garfield fans in this household) By HeavenlyPet

Could this picture possibly be any cuter?? Dinosaur Costume by IronicEmbroidery.

Despicable Me Kyle by ZayaLosya.

I think this is the cutest picture ever as well... by HandmadeMonster

Remember!!! Howl-ween Party on the 30th with prizes!!! (Refreshments for the fourlegged are provided by us!)