Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pet Blogger Hop: The Week That Was

What a week it's been! From devastating tornadoes near our neck of the woods to The Wedding (need I say more!) it's been a week filled with news, both good and bad.

So first, turning some bad news to good... we received a note from VCA Animal Hospitals that may help some of the victims of the severe weather in Georgia. The VCA Catoosa Animal Hospital in Ringgold, Ga., is providing free boarding assistance for companion animals whose families have lost homes or have been evacuated. Owners can call VCA Catoosa at 706-937-4171 to ensure the facility has space available to accept additional pets.

We loved watching The Wedding, but wondered, 'Where were the Corgis?'  Apparently they all were watching on high def. Check out this fun Corgi advert  over at I Still Want More Puppies!

We had a fun time meeting other pet bloggers this week at CatTipper's Meet and Greet. (Our Meet and Greet chit chat here.) And tomorrow we're headed to the Atlanta Braves' Bark in the Park. Let us know if you'll be there too!

And with all that activity, Cosmo sure was happy to have his new bed from P.L.A.Y.  for some much-needed naps!

Cosmo, with his favorite big green bone, relaxing on a stylish, new dog bed from P.L.A.Y.
Now let's go to the Saturday Pet Blogger's Hop!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Meet & Greet Party Blog Hop with DogTipper / CatTipper

Our pals at DogTipper are hosting a meet and greet party of sorts to introduce their new CatTipper site (maybe we'll just call it a cattail party). And just like you would do at any party, Paris and John from DogTipper are asking all of us to introduce ourselves, share a little small talk, and then party hop on over to each other's sites!

Cosmo and Diane at BarkWorld Expo
So here goes... I'm Diane Silver, by profession a writer, public relations and social media consultant. I live in Atlanta with Cosmo Havanese, the inspiration behind To Dog With Love.

It actually all started a couple of years ago when I put Cosmo on Twitter as a little social media experiment. Next thing I knew we were part of an amazing community of pets and pet lovers, and helping raise funds and awareness for animal rescue organizations on Twitter.

Cosmo and Diane at the Reindog Parade
I started To Dog With Love last July to provide a platform to share our adventures and stories about the fluffy side of life in more than 140 characters, including:

And now, to play a little party icebreaker game, here are some Little Known Facts  (LKF) about me and Cosmo.

About Diane
  • Was a sports writer in Michigan, then a publicist during 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta
  • Traveled the NASCAR circuit for 7ish years (for work, not as a groupie... not that there's anything wrong with that)
  • Bought a backyard for Cosmo (with a modest house for me that I renovated)
Cosmo shares some love at BlogPaws 2010
About Cosmo
  • Was one of the first "anipals" on Twitter @CosmoHavanese
  • Has attended every BlogPaws and BarkWorld Expo event and plans to keep his string alive this year
  • Now an agility dog, started his performance dog career in conformation
Where you can find us after the party:

What are some of your LKFs? Leave them in the comments below! Then, let's go Pawty Hopping! 


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pet Product Review: P.L.A.Y. Pet Beds

We've been on the hunt for a new dog bed for awhile... one that would be both comfortable for Cosmo AND stylish enough to look great in our living room. So when we heard about a new pet bed company that focuses on great design and quality, and uses planet-friendly materials, we had to check them out.

Cosmo takes the Savannah P.L.A.Y. bed for a test drive
What we learned
  • P.L.A.Y.  is a new (since December 2010)  pet bed company based out of San Francisco
  • Designs are stylish and creative, created exclusively for P.L.A.Y.  by local San Francisco artists
  • Most use 100 percent cotton coverings and all are entirely machine washable
  • The lofty filler is made from recycled plastic bottles (which is incredibly lofty and comfy!)
  • All beds are made in a facility that meets the strict quality standards for manufacturing infant and children products
In additional to all the above, P.L.A.Y. beds are priced right and offer the option to purchase covers separately, so you can change your look with each season. Turns out that's a great option since the  biggest problem we had was choosing just one.

Our first choice, and not our last...

After careful deliberation, we chose the small Savannah bed to complement our living room decor. At first, I thought it might be too small. But after a few weeks of naps and lounging about, Cosmo has convinced me it's just right.

Tip: If your dog is near the top-end of the suggested weight for each bed size, consider going up a size, especially if you have the room for it. I'm still glad we opted for the small for our bungalow-sized living room... and my bungalow-sized pup.
Cosmo demonstrates how the bed does double-duty as a pillow
Regarding style and quality, I love the look of the bed and the quality is top-notch. The piping and seams are stitched beautifully and the custom zipper on the under side makes it easy to remove the cover for washing.

A few other choices...

From the Artist Collection, the Cameo and Chandelier are suitably glamorous for Cosmo.


For my home office,  I like the whimsy of What Dogs Dream in lawn green.
Scoop! While current designs are fabulous in round and rectangle cushion-style beds, we hear a "bumper" style bed is in the works!  Can't wait to see that one too.

As far as Cosmo is concerned, he loves his Savannah bed and says, "enough already with the photos! Nitey nite!"

Where to find P.L.A.Y.
Coming up: We've had the bed just a few weeks and there's been no need to wash it. The fabric seems to stay clean and is really durable too. When we do, we'll post the results of the machine-washing.

Disclaimer: P.L.A.Y. sent us a complimentary dog bed to review. We were not paid for our review and all opinions are strictly our own. 


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cosmo's Porch

It's been springtime in Atlanta for weeks now! Hope you're getting some nice weather in your neck of the woods.

Now, head on over to the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop to see what everyone else is doing!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Atlanta Pet-Friendly Events: Braves Bark in the Park / Georgia Renaissance Festival

If you're in the Atlanta area this weekend, here are a couple of pet-friendly events that only come around once or twice a year.
Cosmo's ready for the Renaissance Festival,
looking all knightly and stuff!
Bring your dog or cat to The Georgia Renaissance Festival this weekend (April 30 and May 1) and enjoy all sorts of special activities, including owner/pet look-a-like contest and best pet costume contest! Be sure to check out the requirements before you go so you can enjoy all the festivities. The festival setting is reminiscent of a 16th-Century European Country Faire, where you can shop, eat and revel with a cast of nearly 1,000 colorfully costumed characters. I suspect there will be plenty of dogs and cats in costume this weekend, making it extra entertaining!

Then on Sunday, May 1, the Atlanta Braves are inviting fans to bring their "best friends" to the ballgame for the season's first "Bark in the Park," as the Braves take on the St. Louis Cardinals at 1:35 p.m.  A section of the ballpark is transformed into a doggie paradise, complete with on-site veterinary services, doggie pools, cool water misters and plenty of watering holes for pets to stay hydrated. Tickets must be purchased in advance and we hear seating is limited. You can purchase tickets here -- the sooner the better! A second Bark in the Park date is scheduled for Sept. 4, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dog Toys We Love: Interactive Dog Toys from Canis Callidus

When we go to agility trials, we spend around two minutes actually competing each day and the rest of the time visiting with friends, chatting about agility strategy and checking out the vendors. This weekend we met, Jasmin Bergermann, founder of Canis Callidus -- The Smart Dog, and got the chance to check out some cool interactive toys we've never seen before.

Take a look...
We've enjoyed playing with the Nina Ottosson toys before, but the Games4Brain and Dog-Intelligenz toys were new to us and very impressive. Check out more of the toys at www.caniscallidus.com. Cosmo also managed to snag quite a few samples of the Blissful Biscuits Peanut Butter Bits. He highly recommends them!

Now let's go to the hop!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pedigree Canine Nutrition Summit: Behind the Scenes

I couldn't keep from smiling when entering the Mars Petcare headquarters
when I saw all the happy dogs who come to work here every day!
During a recent trip to Mars Petcare Headquarters US in Nashville, Tenn.,  for the Pedigree Canine Nutrition Summit, we had the opportunity to learn a whole lot of great things about the Pedigree brand and what it's like to work at Mars Petcare, including:
  • Poop is a daily topic of conversation (more on that later)
  • The science behind the newest Pedigree Dry Recipe
  • Employees bring their dogs to work. Yay!
  • There's an endless supply of chocolate (the next best thing to dogs)
  • The new X-shaped kibble tastes a little like a Triscuit. Not too bad, I might add...
Along with 11 other bloggers, we got the chance to tour headquarters and meet with lots of knowledgable folks from Pedigree US and the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. Here's a behind-the-scenes peak at our visit!
How can you not love coming to work everyday, when you get to bring your favorite four-legger! Everyday is bring your dog to work day at Mars Petcare HQ, and they even host pet adoption fairs on-site!  At Pedigree, they say "pets make a better world for us and we make a better world for pets." That came through loud and clear during our visit.

Pets even got to attend our sessions during the summit! During one of the sessions, Dr. Ralph Merrill, left, told us all about the 4 Universal Needs of Dogs, a breakthrough in canine nutrition developed by the Pedigree Brand team and the researchers at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in Leicestershire, England. On the right, that's Lisa Campbell, a Pedigree senior brand manager, and her pup Sweet Pea! Campbell explained how the new Pedigree dry recipes were formulated based on the 4 Universal Needs so that all dogs have access to leading nutrition.

On one of our favorite topics, Merrill explained that poop should be almost kickable. Thanks Maria Goodavage for summing up the scoop on poop on Dogster's For the Love of Dog Blog

We played some fun games to learn more about pet nutrition, and of course had an endless supply of Mars candies from which to choose! 

A few of my favorite things: Dogs and Candy...

Then, we got a closer look at the new Pedigree dry food formulations...

And even got to taste the new X-shaped kibble, which which helps reduce plaque and tartar build-up.  Not everyone opted for the tast test... but believe me, it's pretty darn palatable!

We met the fabulous Rosie, a rescue dog who was featured in a Pedigree Foundation poster during last year's pet adoption drive. Rosie has since been adopted by a Mars Petcare employee!
And we got to visit with some fabulous bloggie buddies and the Pedigree folks we met at BlogPaws last year.  Bloggers in this photo include, Felissa Elfenbein, Two Little Cavaliers; Paris Permenter and John Bigley, Dogtipper;  Deborah Flick, Boulder Dog; Debbie Jacobs, Fearful Dogs;  Ashley Niels, I Love Rescue Animals;  Maria Goodavage, Dogster Dog Blog; Michelle Maskaly, My Tail Hurts from Wagging So Much; Ryan Rice, Houston Dog Blog; Sharon Castellanos, Grouchy Puppy; Janet McCulley, The Daily Treat: Animal Planet, and of course me, Diane Silver. 

Can't wait to see you all again real soon. And thank you Pedigree for sponsoring this trip!


Monday, April 18, 2011

How To Transition Your Dog's Diet

Cosmo indulged during his birthday celebration
at BlogPaws last September 
Unlike humans, who typically can indulge in new foods with few consequences, changing your dogs' diet too quickly can make his tummy very unhappy. And the "backend result" can cause not only an unhappy dog, but also an unhappy owner, who may be dealing with some messy clean-up.

The experts at Pedigree say the transition period may take about a week, and offer these tips to make the process a pleasant one.*

* If your dog is on a special diet, please consult with your veterinarian before switching to a different type of dog food.

Days 1 to 2 (25% new, 50% old)
WHAT TO DO
Introduce your dog to the new food gradually. For the first two days or so, your dog's meals should be about 75% old food and 25% new food. Mix the two foods together, don't keep them separated.
FEEDING TIP
The percentages of food and the number of days suggested are a general guide for a smooth transition. Your dog's specific "transition rate" may be different if he or she has a sensitive tummy. If you notice that your dog has an upset stomach or loose stool, feed less of the new food for a day or two more, before upping the percentage of new food.

Days 3 to 4 (50% new, 50% old)
WHAT TO DO
If the first couple of days of the transition have gone smoothly, you can now mix 50% of your dog's old food with 50% of the new food.
FEEDING TIP
Always make sure you're feeding your dog the right amount for his or her size and weight. You can find this information on every bag of PEDIGREE Food for Dogs. Overfeeding is the No.1 reason dogs become overweight, so follow the guidelines and keep track of your dog's weight to make sure the right amount of calories are being fed -- and no more.

Days 5 to 6 (75% new, 25% old)
WHAT TO DO
At this stage, your dog's meals should be about 75% new food and only 25% of the old food. Always look for signs that your dog is making the transition smoothly and without any sign of an upset tummy
FEEDING TIP
If you have more than one dog in your home and are only transitioning one of them to the new food, it's best to feed the dogs in separate rooms. And, when they are finished with their individual meals, remove any uneaten food. That way you can be sure your dogs are eating the correct foods.

Day 7 and beyond (100% new)
WHAT TO DO
At this stage, your dog's meals should consist of 100% of the new food. Which means your dog's old food is officially the "old" food.


Pedigree sponsored our trip to BlogPaws last year
as well as our trip to the Canine Nutrition Summit
We recently had the opportunity to attend a Canine Nutrition Summit at Pedigree headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., where we learned about the new PEDIGREE® Dry Food recipes as well as lots of other interesting information about canine nutrition.

Thanks to Pedigree, we had a terrific time catching up with a group of our pet blogger buddies, learning a ton about Mars Petcare US -- the makers of Pedigree Food for Dogs -- and the WALTHAM® Center for Pet Nutrition.

Check back Thursday for our behind-the-scenes look at our trip to Mars Petcare US!




Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pet Blogger Hop: Every Home Needs a Harvey

You ain't seen nothing yet...


This nifty little ad was developed by Thinkbox to show the power of TV advertising. but we think it provides the perfect dose of humor on a Saturday Pet Blog Hop morning! Now we just need to teach all shelter dogs to be so clever.

The soundtrack is Bachman-Turner Overdrive's 1974 classic "You ain't seen nothing yet"...
b-b-b-baby you ain't seen nothing yet! ... now let's head on over to the Hop! 



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: P.L.A.Y. Bed for Cosmo!

Here's a sneak peak at a review Cosmo is working on for our snazzy new P.L.A.Y. dog bed. I think the bed makes Cosmo look extra handsome! Cosmo needs a chance to give the bed a proper testing with a few weeks of sleeps, so stay tuned for our review later this month!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Veggie Meatball Treats for Your Dog

At a recent Havanese play day, the dogs were treated to lots of homemade goodies baked especially for them.  These were one of Cosmo's favorites, and mine too. Nice and dry on the outside so they are easy to handle, but moist and meaty on the inside for optimal pup enjoyment! 

Doggie Chicken/Veggie Treatballs
Thanks Sharlene for sharing this recipe:

Ingredients
2 cups of chicken, cooked and cut up into chunks

1/2 cup applesauce unsweetened

1/2 cup veggies - can be green beans, spinach, zucchini, etc. These were made with green beans.
 
1/2 banana

Preparation
  • Cook the green beans.
  • Place all ingredients in blender or food processor to make a paste-like consistency. Drop by teaspoon or smaller drop for smaller dogs. In this batch, Sharlene used about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp because, she says, "I knew the dogs would be pigging out on treats!"
  • Dehydrate for 3 to 5 hours depending on size. They should be dry on the outside and moist on the inside. Store in refrigerator and freeze if they won't be eaten within a week.
Since I don't have a dehydrator, I looked for an alternative. Sharlene suggested it might work in an oven at about two hours on low 200-250ish heat. These treatballs are all precooked so it's just a matter of drying on the outside, moist on the inside. I found a few other tips online for dehydrating in an oven.

I haven't tried to make these myself yet, since I imagine I may get a better result with a dehydrator.  A quick search also showed a wide range of dehydrators available. Does anyone have a favorite dehydrator and have you found them useful? Please comment below!

Now, grab yourself a Treatball and let's go to the Saturday Pet Blogger's Hop!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cosmo on the Move


Using his tail as a wind rudder, Cosmo is in hot pursuit of something during a recent dog park outing at Atlanta's Piedmont Park!

Welcome to the Worldless Wednesday BlogPaws Blog Hop!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Japan Pet Aid: P&G Pet Care to match donations

If you're looking for more ways to help the pet victims of the disaster in Japan, here's one way to make your donation go twice as far.

P&G Pet Care has activated the
Friends for Life Fund, and will match all donations received through April 30th (or up to $50,000).  This potential $100,000 donation towards pet aid relief is in addition to the 1.2 million already committed by P&G for Japan tsunami and earthquake relief, which includes monetary and product donations for both pets and people. 

The Friends for Life Fund is established through the Greater Cincinnati Foundation to give pet lovers everywhere the opportunity to donate towards the pet aid relief efforts in Japan. One hundred percent of the donations will benefit the non-profit animal welfare organizations that have been affected by this natural disaster in Japan.


The funds collected will be used for whatever is needed to ensure the health and care of pets affected by the disaster in Japan. A P&G Advisory Committee will be working with the Japan Pet Food Association to determine where to distribute the funds.


Information on several ways to donate can be found on the Friends for Life Fund website.  


We always like a story with a happy ending...



Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pet Blogger Hop: Post April Fools' confession... The Hundstol Dog High Chair from Ikea ... not so real!

No, Cosmo did not really visit the Ikea factory
in Sweden for this photo shoot, but thank you
for believing that he did!! LOL BOL
We love a good laugh at To Dog With Love, and yesterday provided just the right backdrop. If you forget to check your calendar, yesterday was April 1.... April Fools' Day!!! So for everyone who commented on the fabulous new creation from Ikea, the Hundstol Dog Highchair, we thank you for your comments and assure you that Ikea heard your desires to bring the Hundstol Dog Highchair to the U.S. *snicker*

Yes, it was an April Fools' joke -- an elaborate one conjured up by Ikea Australia. Thank you all for playing along with our Hundstol post yesterday. We were hoping to get you good didn't mean to trick you... much!

So for everyone who REALLY wants a pet high chair (yes, cats can play too) we found a few options for real! (sorry big dogs, it seems the pickin's are a bit slim for you unless you want to pony up some big bucks)






For the most discriminating dog, the hand-painted Bone Appetit Seat boasts a "bone" back that opens like a doggie door and steps up the rear for easy access. This seat can support up to 30 pounds. Custom chairs are available for larger dogs. ($990 at bitchnewyork.com and pet boutiques nationwide).
                                                                                                                                    

Pet Gear Dog High Chair (Sage)







For tiny dogs and cats up to 10 pounds, the Pet Gear Clip-On High Chair clips on the side of the table and comes with a more affordable price tag. ($30 at amazon.com)



*Dog not included
Looks like Ikea might be on to something since options are few in the mid-range price point. Next year, how about launching "Take Your Pet to Dinner Day," whereby restaurants across the U.S. will allow customers to bring their pets to dine (like we did in Italy).  Ikea... yoohooo.... will you get behind this breakthrough event?!!

Thanks Mary Haight of Dancing Dog Blog for your comment yesterday that sparked this idea!!

Enough Tom CosmoFoolery. Let's go to the Pet Blogger Hop!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dog Product Review: The Hundstol Dog Highchair from Ikea

Cosmo had the chance to test drive a Hundstol
during a recent trip to the Ikea factory in Sweden        
Dogs are an important part of the family. We've always known that and now Ikea confirms it. Enter its newest design -- The Hundstol Dog Highchair.

Launching in IKEA stores this month, the Hundstol is painted in pooch-friendly lead free paint and is designed to accomodate dogs up to 75 pounds, which includes popular breeds such as Labradors and of course, the Havanese.

There's only one catch. IKEA chose Australia as the international test market for the Hundstol but if we bark loud enough in the U.S., Ikea says it will release the product here!

So here's where you can help! Just leave a comment on this blog post why you want the Hundstol Dog Highchair and we'll send them on through our direct line to the nice folks at Ikea! If we get enough interest, Ikea says there will be a seat at the table for all American dogs too!


Now that's something to bark about! BOL! LOL! 


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