Saturday, 31 August 2013

Happy Birthday Bear!

Maybe it's a little silly, but when he was first dropped in our laps we never thought Bear would make it to his first birthday, let alone his fourth.

Happy Birthday to my cuddle-bunny, my snuffleupagus and my ever-loyal friend;
May this year bring us many more romps, hugs and snuffle-kisses.

Keep your tails wagging
Bear's P4ws

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Roughhousing With Dogs: Rules and Consequences

Roughhousing with your fur-baby can be an incredible amount of fun!
They love it, are always willing and happy to oblige and both human and dog are up for a great time. Although men are generally more inclined to such playful activities, I've seen women and children also enjoy getting on the floor to wrestle with Fido. We push the dog around and Fido comes back mouthing, jumping and grappling with us. We roll around, we bear hug him, we grab his cheeks, we play tug-a-war, etc. It’s all fun, so what can possibly be wrong with it?

 Could roughhousing have any consequences on our dog’s behavior when we’re not playing around?

Dogs chase, grab, push and sometimes play rough with other dogs. When dogs have all the right social skills, they have many ways to keep the situation under control. They stop and pause regularly, allowing for the excitement to go down and adapt to the size and strength of their playmate (self-handicap). Some dogs however play too rough, in a hyper-aroused state. Playtime with others takes the dogs to very high levels of energy, increasing the chances for things to turn bad. When we roughhouse with our dog, because we’re not dogs, we don’t master the rules of play and will often bring the excitement level out of control.

Roughhousing with my dog is a personal choice. If we’re training for a specific task, in which speed of reaction and hard actions are needed, like in police work, playing with the dog this way could develop those needed drives. If we’re not, we have to fully understand what behaviors we are encouraging and what consequences could occur over time. Just like children, dogs need us to be consistent. If one moment we’re allowing jumping and mouthing, we can’t expect them to understand that just because we’re now wearing expensive work clothes, that behavior will no longer be tolerated. Certain movements that we make or things that we say, that are similar to those used during roughhousing could trigger rough responses from the dog.

In our house, Bear knows that he has to be gentle with people. We’re responsible for our dog’s behavior during their entire life. When a dog is allowed to play with humans like they would with rambunctious dogs, we take the chance that the dog may react in the same way with other people. We’re teaching the dog that humans are fun playmates to wrestle with and jump on. If we adopt the dog when we’re young adults, will it be OK for the dog to play this way when we have toddlers or when our friends visit with their children? Will our aging parents be able to keep the dog under control? The dog will not always know the difference and understand when it’s alright to play this way or when it’s not. Fido may also solicit attention for instance, by jumping or mouthing, behaviors that are rewarded during playtime.

If we still chose to roughhouse with our dog, a few rules will help keep the situation under control:
  • Put the behavior on cue and don’t encourage it when the dog initiates roughhousing without the cue.
  • If you like your dog to jump on you, teach her that it’s OK to jump on you, only on you and when given a cue.
  • Teach your dog to settle on cue.
  • Keep your dog under close supervision when around other people, especially children, people with disabilities or of a certain age.
  • Watch for signs that your dog is getting stressed and would rather get out of the situation (lip licking, turn away, trying to get away, etc.).
  • Do not chase the dog around or you may have a hard time getting a hold of him in emergency situations.
  • Don’t push the excitement level too high. Take short breaks and allow the dog to calm down on a regular basis. The video below shows a nice example of roughhousing that keeps the energy level under control and limits jumping and mouthing.

There are many fun and dynamic ways to have a good time your pooch, like playing fetch, that don’t encourage behaviors that are considered problematic in all other instances. The choice of roughhousing or not has to be taken wisely since it may have negative implications for the dog. Any behavior that has the potential to hurt a person can lead to injuries or lawsuits and the dog will pay the consequences. The question becomes: how important is it for us to roughhouse? Keeping everybody safe, the family, the visitors and the dog should always be the priority when making the decision to roughhouse or not.

 originally by Jennifer Cattet Ph.D

Keep your tails wagging, 
Bear's P4ws

Monday, 26 August 2013

Where Did Your Pooch Spend His Vacation?

Most pet-parents find that they can't fully enjoy the benefits of a what should be a relaxing travel experience because they spend most of their time worrying about their pets - even when Fido get's to come along for the ride. 
When travel takes an owner away from his or her furry-friend, most will turn to friends, family or neighbors to watch their fur-babies.  For those who are lucky enough to get to travel with their precious pets worrying about pet travel, theft and smugglers can come into play.  

What did you do with your fur-baby this summer vacation?  Did he or she get to travel with you, or did circumstances have them staying in a friend's or neighbor's backyard?

Bark back and let us know!

Keep your tails wagging,
Bear's P4ws

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Continued Search for Bear's Birthday Cake - Part 2

The hunt continues....

With one more week left until Bear's 4th birthday, and the relative success of the wonderfully simple no-bake kibble/peanut butter cake option, I've decided to try my hand at a cake that is slightly (but not really) more complex and actually requires some baking.

The Peanut Butter Carrot Doggy Cake


1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1 cup shredded carrots
1 egg


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8" round cake pan or an 8x4-inch loaf pan.
2. Whisk together the flour and baking soda. Add the rest of the ingredients and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix until thoroughly combined. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
3. (Optional) Spread a thin layer of peanut butter over the top of the cooled cake - like icing
This one smelled absolutely wonderful as it sat in the oven and Bear approved of it rather whole-heatedly....and now for the ultimate decsion.....which cake will I make on the 31st!!?
I'm still rather torn - both cakes turned out well and neither was particularly difficult to make...and the pooch-friendly icing from recipie one could easily be transferred to decorate this cake as well.

So many choices, so little time!

Bark back at us and let us know which cake YOU think Bear should get for his birthday!

Keep your tails wagging,
Bear's P4ws

Thursday, 15 August 2013

RECALL ALERT: Iams and Eukanuba Dog and Cat Food Recall

The Procter and Gamble Company of Cincinnati, Ohio has announced it is voluntarily recalling specific lots
of its dry pet foods because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

According to the company, no Salmonella-related illnesses have been reported to date in association with these product lots.
The affected products were made during a 10-day window at a single manufacturing site. P&G’s routine testing determined that some products made during this time-frame have the potential for Salmonella contamination. As a precautionary measure, P&G is recalling the potentially impacted products made during this time-frame.

No other dry dog food, dry cat food, dog or cat canned wet food, biscuits/treats or supplements are affected by this announcement.

What’s Being Recalled?
(Dog food only - cat food list can be found here)

About Salmonella 
Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products. Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.
Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

This issue is limited to the specific dry pet food lot codes listed below.

What to Do? 
Consumers who purchased a product listed above should stop using and discard the product immediately.
You may also contact the company toll-free at 800-208-0172 (Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 6 PM ET).
Or visit their websites at or
You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.
Or go to

Make sure to check back with us for updates and other recall alerts!

Keep your tails wagging,
Bear's P4ws

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Search for Bear's Birthday Cake - Take 1

Birthday's are incredible, fun filled celebrations of life - and Bear's is poking it's head through the door announcing it's imminent arrival (at the end of the month).

That being said, I've already started stockpiling gifts (a new collar, a new stuffy, some steak - but shhh don't tell!).......This year's we've been contemplating a pooch-party to celebrate the fact that Bear will be turning 4.  We've started making some really wonderful poochy-friends within the walls of our condo, and it could be an exciting adventure - or an epic mess....all things depending.  

With this possibility firmly in mind, I've started the hunt for the perfect Doggy Birthday Cake recipe.  I know that there's always the option to go out an purchase a cake from one of our local pet stores, but I've always enjoyed the warmth and care put into home-made cakes.

My journey into dog-cake-making started with Created by Diane who put together a rather yummy sounding No-Bake creation.
It was surprisingly easy to make - and Bear.....well, if there's food involved, he's more than happy to try out most of my culinary experiments...

1½ cups Iams Cat or Dog ProActive Health Senior Plus food
3 tablespoons peanut butter
¼ cup pumpkin puree

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons sprinkles
1.     put dog food into food processor along with peanut butter and pumpkin puree.
2.     Pulse until it resembles coarse crumbs and sticks together.
3.     Press into a 4 inch spring form mini cake pan or any other small baking mold - cupcakes, cake pops
4.     Remove from cake pan.
5.     Mix 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons water to make icing to pour over top of cake. Spread it with a spatula and decorate with sprinkles (optional, but rather festive, so why not?)

And that's it!
Simple and super-tasty -- if Bear's rate of devouring was anything to go by..... 

Do you and your pooch have any favorite cake recipes?
Bark at us and let us know!

 Keep your tails wagging,
Bear's P4ws

Friday, 9 August 2013

Where Does Your Pooch Sleep at Night?

Bear loves sleeping.  In fact, had he been given the choice, he probably would have chosen to be born less of a pooch and more of sleep monster.

In our house, Bear and I share the bed, unless it's too warm inside - in which case he'll move to my little reading nook and sprawl himself across the entire couch (greedy puppy).

Where does your fur baby sleep?

Bark back at us and let us know!

Keep your tails wagging
Bear's P4ws

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Pooches on Parade....

Dear readers and tail waggers,

Don't worry, we haven't forgotten about you!  And no, this blog has not been abandoned - Bear and I simply went away on a short vacation.

We're back now, and to celebrate I give you this:

Look! It's a poochy play-time parade!

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Keep your tails wagging,
Bear's P4ws