Keep Thanksgiving Happy

How many of us treat our pups as family members?

*Raises hand sheepishly.*

Thanksgiving is a holiday of grazing. We eat, and eat, and eat. Turkey, stuffing, pies, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, casseroles (or as we Midwesterners say, “hot dish”), cookies, roasted veggies, the list goes on and on and on…and on. Then we take a turkey-induced nap, then we eat again.

When our furry relatives look up at us with those big, beautiful, pleading eyes, our hearts melt, and we hand over our leftovers.

But beware: some foods that humans can consume without a problem are toxic to dogs and can turn your holiday upside down. Erin Callaghan, a dog trainer and consultant in the Bay Area, sent me a really great list of things to be sure Bright doesn’t get ahold of this Thanksgiving:

Chocolate – Erin explains that the more theobromine in the chocolate, the worse it is – dark chocolate and cooking chocolate have high amounts of theobromine.

Onions, grapes, and raisins – These can be hidden in many different dishes, including stuffing, casseroles, and salads.

Yeast – Watch out for curious noses while you’re baking.

Coffee, coffee grounds, and other caffeinated beverages – Caffeine, a relative of theobromine, is poisonous and can cause death in small dogs.

Alcohol – Yes, I know you have a story about when you lived in a frat house and the frat dog drank beer all the time and he was fine. Don’t take the chance, though. If you’re giving your dog alcohol, it’s probably for your own entertainment, and you’d feel awful if he had a bad reaction.

Xylitol – Used as a sugar substitute and found in many sugarless candies and gum.

Hops – Brewing beer at home is getting to be more and more popular; just be sure to keep your supplies out of the reach of your dog.

Marijuana – Stuffing your bird with something special? Don’t feed it to the dog. It’s poison. And don’t comment here if you did. The DEA will find you.

That’s not a comprehensive list by a long shot, but hopefully it hits most of the things your dog is likely to encounter on the feast-iest day of the year. And remember, you don’t have to offer it for your furry ninja to get his paws on it – “I swear, all I did was blink. He ate an entire hot dish while I blinked.” Pay attention so that your holiday isn’t interrupted by a trip to the emergency vet.

On that note, be sure to have the phone number for the emergency vet on hand at all times – in the event of any ingestion of poison, your dog’s life depends on your speedy response.

In any case, if you want to include your pup in the holiday and make it a special day for him, Erin suggests extra playtime or a new toy instead of taking a gamble on new foods. When he’s not having his stomach pumped, the cutest member of your family will thank you, and Thanksgiving will stay happy.

No treats necessary - a little extra attention and a new ball will be more than enough!

No treats necessary – a little extra attention and a new ball will be more than enough!


Fake Service Dogs on NBC

As many of you know, Bright and I were interviewed by Vicky Nguyen from NBC for a story about the issue of people pretending that their pet dogs are Service Dogs. Reactions to the story have been overwhelmingly supportive, and I’m excited to see where things go from here. 

The issue raises one big question, though, and it seems that the SD community is divided on the solution. I’d like to hear what you think:

Should the US have a standardized system by which to train, certify, and identify Service Dogs? What would be the advantages? What would be the drawbacks? 

Click here to read the article, Fake.

Click here to watch the story on NBC.

Click here to see what makes Service Dogs special.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

She Had An Accident

This post was inspired by the day I had with Bright on Friday. It started like any other day; we got up at about 7:30, had breakfast, hung around the apartment for a couple of hours, then headed to work for a 12-9 shift (I hate those). About an hour into our shift, she barfed all over the floor with no warning whatsoever, then again about four hours later, then two more times about two hours after that. Then we went home early.

For all of you that are concerned about her health, fear not. She’s fine. Continue reading

Pups at Play

Remember the post “Tag! You’re it!“? I wanted to back it up with some proof. Check out these hard working CCI dogs having a well deserved pool party.

Getting Ready for Hurricane Sandy


East Coasters! You’re in for quite the storm! For those of you with pups closer to the action, I just read an awesome tip on Facebook from my CCI pal Nancy.

In your go bag, don’t forget your pup’s meds and Muttlucks/booties (in case you have to cross any floodwater that may have sharp debris in it). May also want to consider a break away flat collar (e.g., the KeepSafe Break-Away Flat Collar) that will free your dog in case he gets caught on something and can’t free himself.

In addition, I’d suggest these items:

– At least a week’s worth of food
– Quick Stop powder
– Identification
– A current photo, in case you become separated
– Important vet records
– Phone numbers for emergency vets

My hope is that none of you are forced to evacuate, but in the case that you are, be safe!

Do you have any other tips?

Rub a Dub Dub

A pup in the tub!

About once a day, someone says, “Wow! Your dog is so beautiful!”

Guess what. That takes a lot of work. Continue reading