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History of the Dalmatian as a Firehouse Hero


October 1 marked National Fire Pup Day, a celebration of the working dogs who assist our firefighters in search and rescue efforts.  Did you know that Dalmatians have served as a firehouse coworker and companion since the 1700s?  When we think of these dogs we immediately envision a Dalmatian in a red fireman’s helmet because they’ve always been the prevalent mascot of the firehouse. And even though times have changed and service dogs come in a variety of breeds now, we wanted to share the history of the Dalmatian as a tribute to this hero.

We’ve heard two main theories behind why these guys  are the breed of choice:

  1. That Dalmatians’ spots are easier to see in smoke/fire
  2. That the breed has poor hearing (which is true) making them immune to the sirens (not true).

The real reason dates back to when we rode in horse-drawn carriages but has very little to do with fires and everything to do with these guys’ endurance and loyalty.  Turns out, these black and white canines would run next to the horses, keeping pace regardless of how fast or far they were going. Soon they began protecting the horses from predators in addition to providing comfort if they got scared. Seeing as horse-drawn carriages were our emergency vehicles back then, the trusted Dalmatians cleared the path for the horses and were able to help inch them closer to the flames without fear, allowing them to better help the firefighters. As an added bonus, the animals kept one another company while waiting for the flames to be extinguished.

These days we have advanced vehicles to help fight fires, as well as other breeds that are specially-trained to assist our heroes in the field, but there are still a few firehouses that maintain the tradition of having a Dalmatian as a mascot, mainly to help teach kids about fire safety and keep the firefighters company throughout their shifts.

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Safety First! 5 Tips For Hiking With Your Dog

Happy couple hiking with their dog















While saying farewell to summer does make us a little sad, it’s an ideal time for hiking; the weather is coming out of it’s summer flare and it allows us one last chance to peep the gorgeous summer plants and wildlife. However, not everything out there is ladybugs and dandelions… there are lots of dangers lurking on the trail that you as an owner should be aware of and looking for to keep you and your pet safe. Here are a few things to consider (and keep your eyes peeled for) when hitting the trail.

  • Bring Plenty of Water and a First Aid Kit. Just like us, dogs need to stay hydrated, especially when being active and you cannot rely on finding a source of fresh, clean water along the trail.  The first aid kit should minimally contain antiseptic wipes, hydrogen peroxide, styptic, bandaging materials, eye wash and towels.  It’s never a bad idea to have your veterinarians number in there as well.   
  • Don’t Forget a Leash. If you spot something off to the side or up ahead that could pose a threat to your pet’s safety, you’ll need to restrain them and keep them close to you somehow. We know one of the perks of hiking is that it tends to be an off-leash adventure, but always bring one to be safe.
  • Paws are the Priority. Keep an eye on your pet’s paws, as an injury to their nails or paw pads could result in you carrying them along with the rest of your stuff. If the ground’s going to be hot (summer doesn’t always end abruptly) or jagged, consider training your pet to wear booties. As a general tip: if you can’t hold the back of your hand to the ground for longer than 5 seconds, it may cause harm to their paw pads.
  • Wildlife and Familiar Foliage. Familiarize yourself with the predators and poisonous plants in your area and keep an eye out for them. Remember, things like scorpions and snakes can be really hard to spot from afar, so if you see your pet stop and get curious about something try to deter them as soon as possible even if you don’t know what it is they’re sniffing.  Recognize the symptoms of poisoning.  If your dog eats a plant you’re not sure about snap a picture of it for reference if needed and consult a poison control center or your veterinarian.
  • Don’t Be a Stinker. Pick up after your dog, and if you see other unpleasant mementos of pups past, consider picking them up or at least getting them off the trail; it’s not just impolite, it can be hazardous to the wildlife that eat and drink in the area.

Happy hiking! We expect to see a picture or story from your Labor Day hike on our page!

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Hygiene Tips: Focusing on Eyes, Ears, Nose & Mouth













For lots of people, grooming is more or less so the dog doesn’t reek and make everyone uncomfortable but, the truth is, it’s actually a major contributor to their health. Of course trim nails and a healthy coat are imperative to their looks as well as their comfort and well being, but today we’re focusing on everything above the neck.

  • Eyes. Look in your pet’s eyes, not just to tell them you love them but to actually look at their eyeballs; they should be clear, bright, and white with no excessive tearing, crust, or discharge. Inner eyelids should be pink – not red or white. Make sure the hair around the eyes is trim to avoid irritation.
  • If left untreated, ear infections can cause permanent damage to a sense your pet relies on daily. It’s important to check your pet’s ears regularly for any excess redness or build up andgently clean them. If the build up is pretty significant and has an odor, chances are it’s an infection that will need veterinary-attention to eliminate it.
  • A dog or cat’s nose should appear somewhat moist and leatherlike, though if it isn’t it’s not necessarily a cause for panic. Monitor any cracks, swelling, dripping, and color changes closely; but if you notice blood, bumps that won’t go away, or ulcerations, consider calling your veterinarian.
  • Mouth. Your pet’s teeth are a major, major player in the game of pet health. Keeping them clean is one of the best ways to keep them strong, so make sure in addition to at-home cleanings once a week they go in for a professional one at least once a year.

If you have any grooming or care tips you swear by, we’d love to hear more on Facebook!

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Doggy Travel Checklist

dog in suitcase










Sadly, summer’s coming to an end… but there’s still time for a quick road trip before the roads get slick – canine included! But, before hitting the road, there are certainly provisions that need to be made to ensure their safety and comfort both on the way and at the destination. Before you take your pet on any road trips – whether it be now or for the not-so-distant holiday season – here’s a quick list of Buddy’s must-haves:

  • Doggy Bowls. For both food and water. There are amazing no-spill bowls on the market that are perfect for the backseat.
  • Food, Treats, Supplements, Medicines. Anything your pet ingests on a daily basis should be continued while on vacation.
  • Pet Restraint. Whether it’s a booster seat for small dogs or designated car harness for larger ones, this is somewhat non-negotiable, as pets can become deadly projectiles in the event of an accident.
  • Doggy Bed. Unless the hotel you’re staying at makes specific accommodations for pets, we recommend bringing their bed; not only will it remind them of home, but it designates a little space all their own in an unfamiliar place.
  • Leash/Harness. For pit stops, walks, and potty breaks.
  • Pick Up Bags. Because no one wants to step in your dog’s poo!
  • Favorite Toy/Bone. For both entertainment and familiarity.
  • Paper Towels. Sounds silly until you need them!


Well, that’s our list anyway. If there’s a travel must-have we’re missing, let us know onFacebook! Safe travels!

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Summer Getaways: Equestrian Style

couple trail riding with their horses

It seems like all the summer getaway ideas for pets are tailored toward dogs, and we get it: they’re easier to transport and maintain while on the road… but it really leaves us horse lovers out to pasture. For anybody looking to try a new trail, either with their own horse or on a guided tour, here are some of the top-ranked, must-see summer spots.

  • White River National Forest, CO
  • Napa Valley, CA
  • Yellowstone National Park, WY
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  • Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
  • Blue Ridge Mountains – Hume, VA
  • Gettysburg National Park – PA
  • Big South Fork, KY,/TN
  • Shenandoah National Park, VA

If you’d rather bring your own horse(s) on a road trip, search for some close horseback riding trails and get to planning! Also check your state parks for horse trails, especially if you are someone who camps with your horse. For those hitting the road with their horse, make sure you have the proper paperwork needed to cross state lines – most commonly you’ll need a health certificate, brand inspection, and proof of a negative Coggins test. The requirements will vary from state to state so make sure to check all the states you may be passing through. Discuss where you’re going with your vet, as they may be able to tell you what paperwork you’ll need.

While we don’t recommend going too far with your horse in tow, make sure you do what you need to ensure your companion is properly fed and hydrated during travel, even if it means putting a little apple juice in their water to prompt them to drink (not too much though, as it contains sugar.) Bring an ample supply of the hay you have been feeding to avoid any digestive upsets as well as their regular grain. Put a little bedding on the floor of a closed trailer to reduce joint stress (it’ll just get blown around in an open trailer) and rest every 2-3 hours so you can monitor your horse’s vitals and allow their legs to rest from the constant balancing they do while en route. Applying legs wraps may also help the legs from getting fatigued. Again, if it’s just a fun getaway you’re looking for, we recommend staying somewhat close to reduce physical and mental stress caused by extended travel time especially for new travelers.

If you’re someone who frequently includes your horse in summer plans, do tell! Where are your must-see trails? Share some tips and pics on our Facebook page!

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Dear Hamilton: What Makes a Mutt?

mixed breed puppy









July 31st is National Mutt Day, a shout out to the mixed breeds that keep us smiling (and guessing!)  We love this ‘howliday,’ because it reminds people that a dog doesn’t have to be purebred to bring pure happiness. Big dogs, little dogs, wiry, short, curly, or straight hair, active or lazy – whatever you want in a dog, we guarantee there’s a perfect mixed breed waiting at the shelter. What exactly qualifies as a mutt, you ask? It’s pretty much any combination of breeds not intended to make a hybrid; so, a Labradoodle, for example, does not qualify as a mutt. A German Shepherd and Lab pup, on the other hand, would – especially if the parents aren’t purebred. The fact mutts come in essentially any combination of looks and personality is just the tip of the iceberg though. Here are a few more fun facts about the pups that mix it up.

  • Mutts tend to be healthier. Studies from both North America and Europe have found that mixed breeds are less susceptible to certain health issues than their purebred counterparts and have longer life spans, too.
  • You’re potentially saving a life. By adopting a mutt from your local shelter you are giving them a second lease on life. 
  • Not-For-Profit Pets. Most breeders are reputable and hold the health of their pups (and mother dogs) first with respect to lineage.  There are however, irresponsible breeders that look to make fast money with no regard to the breed’s health or integrity.
  • Mutts Save Money. Not just potentially on vet bills, but their adoption cost is much lower than purchasing a pure breed. (Seriously, they can save you thousands.)
  • Mutts Lie in the Middle. Meaning you don’t run into as many extremes in temperament as you do with pure breeds; in fact, mixed breeds tend to rank better in regard to stability, friendliness, protectiveness, shyness, and aggression because they’re an even-keeled mixture of personalities.
  • They’re One of a Kind! If you like your things to be original, there’s nothing more unique than a mixed breed. There’s no way your neighbor will also happen to have a chow/corgi/shepherd mix with four different colored paws.
  • Their Care is the Same. Whether you dole out big bucks for your dog or adopt a perfect mixed breed, their eyes, ears, teeth, and nails can all be cared for the same way. All of our care products are thoughtfully designed to enhance the health of any dog, regardless of genetics.

We love hearing about new canine combinations… Show us your mixed breed beauties on Facebook!

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Mother ‘Mare’ I? Gifts for the Horse Lover in your Life

horse shoe with hearts














Mother’s Day is coming up quick (May 14 for all you forgetful folks out there), and sometimes it can be really hard to think outside the box for a gift. Flowers are great, and adding another necklace to her collection isn’t a bad idea, per se, but what about something she could use all the time, something that goes hand-in-hand with one of her favorite things: her horse. Even women who don’t have human children of their own deserve recognition for being a horse’s caregiver, because it’s no easy feat! Here are a few of our favorite gift ideas for the mare mom in your life.

  • The Gift of Beauty. Horses are such incredibly beautiful and majestic animals, which makes their grooming important – not just aesthetically, but for their overall wellbeing. Consider getting Mom a new brush for her horse or maybe it’s time for a new hoof pick.
  • The Gift of Warmth. Most horses need blankets in the wintertime and, while we recognize Mother’s Day is not a winter holiday, it’s certainly a gift that will keep on giving. Plus, she’ll have a new one ready and waiting as soon as the weather starts to turn.
  • The Gift of a Clean Barn. Perfect for the tidy caregiver, our hay bag and soft hay bale are perfect for travel or just cleaning up the horse’s stall; a considerate and useful gift without being an over-the-top gesture.
  • The Gift of Style. Especially if Mom is a trendsetter (or simply likes nice things), buying her a new leather lead or halter will surely make her smile. Not only is it more durable, but there’s just something about leather that looks so polished and professional.

Did we miss anything? What are some gifts you’ve been considering for Mom? Share with us on Facebook!

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A Clean Barn: Not Just For You, Horses Love it, Too

horses out side of a barn














Believe us, when  it comes caring for large animals, we know how many supplies go into it. We also know how quickly those necessities can become disheveled and, if you spend a lot of your day in disarray, it can honestly have an effect on your mood and mental clarity. With nonstop days of feeding, cleaning, and tending to the animals, it’s easy to put organizing off until later but it’s not just you who benefits from an organized barn – think of your horses. Not only will you be at the top of your game by having a clean, orderly space with all of your tools at your fingertips, but don’t your horses deserve a clear pathway to their stalls and a tidy environment to thrive in? It’s been said that when your space is de-cluttered, so is your mind – so if you’re someone who spends a considerable amount of time in the barn, here are a couple of quick tips to help organize that messy barn and take optimal care of your animals:

  • Get it Off the Ground. Hanging things up not only maintains the life of your materials but it makes your barn safer by eliminating trip hazards. Not to mention that by hanging certain things up, you give them a designated space for everyone to return them to. Don’t discount the ceiling if you don’t have much wall space, as it’s great for draping ropes and hoses.
  • Group similar items together. A basic organizing tip is to group similar items together based on their function – like keeping all the feeding tools or outdoor necessities together.
  • Know What You Have. Knowing what tools you have makes your life easier and ensures you don’t waste money by purchasing something you have but can’t find. If possible, give each of your tools a hook and a label, as you can quickly see what you have and if something’s missing.
  • Purge! If you come across something that you can’t remember the last time you’ve used or thought of using, get it out of the barn. You can repurpose it, recycle it, sell, donate, or toss it, but it’s always best to get rid of things you don’t use – it’s just unnecessary clutter.

And, of course, make sure to keep your horse’s stall swept and bedding dry and clean to avoid rodents and other unpleasantries that could affect your horse’s health and happiness.

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Fighting Fleas and Tackling Ticks: A Few Home Remedies

dog scratching fleas














As the weather starts warming up, the more alert we need to be to pesky fleas and ticks and keeping them off our pets. Of course there are shampoos, like our premium dog shampoo, and other manufactured ways to keep the buggers at bay (which never hurt to keep on hand), but we wanted to dole out a few natural ways to repel these pests in the hopes you don’t have to deal with them dining on your pet.

  • Beneficial nematodes. Oh yes, you heard that correctly. These are small worm-like creatures that can be ordered online and will put a huge dent in your yard’s flea population by eating them.
  • Natural repellents. Plants like lemon balm, sage, catnip, rosemary, basil, mint, or lemongrass emit oils that repel fleas – perfect for placing near doggy doors or any other place they may be able to enter your home, on your pet or otherwise.
  • Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic powder made of organisms called diatoms that dry up and break apart flea eggs before they can develop; it can be purchased at most holistic pet stores and should be food grade, industrial grade is too strong for your pet to inhale. (Pro-Tip: Wear a mask while distributing diatomaceous earth, as the dust can irritate lungs but isn’t harmful.)
  • Garlic is another natural deterrent and can be used inside and out: garlic water, made by steeping 8 heads of chopped garlic with 1 gallon of near-boiling water for 12 hours, which can be sprayed on your garden.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar is another way your dog can repel fleas from the inside out; try feeding your dog ½ teaspoon per 25 lbs of weight daily. You can also make a solution mixing 4 oz of warm water, 6 oz of unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt and spraying your dog’s coat weekly, being sure to avoid eyes and open sores.

Do you have an at-home repellent routine you swear by? Share with us on Facebook!

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Leashes, Harnesses, and Muzzles, Oh My! Which Lead is Best?

man walking many dogs










February 22 is Walking the Dog Day, and, if you can’t already tell, we are all about this cause. There are so many benefits to walking your dog – not only are you both getting some fresh air and exercise, but you’re enriching your bond by spending quality time with each other doing something a little different. But there’s a big part of this equation that a lot of pet owners struggle with, and that’s how their pet behaves on a leash. 

Of course your pet’s manners, strength, and excitability play a large role in how they behave on walks, but using the right leash can actually make quite a difference. While there’s no one-size-fits all answer to which lead is right for you and your pet, we think this little breakdown may help.

The Everyday Leash – A simple nylon leash is all you need if your dog doesn’t pull often or isn’t very strong when  he does pull, but not ideal if your pet sometimes chews on their lead (if that sounds like your dog, consider a leather or metal option.) Retractable leashes are intended for small dogs and allow for you to control how far your pet can go, which is nice if your little guy tends to take off after bigger dogs you don’t know.

The Hold ‘Em Harnesses  – Many pet owners prefer a harness simply because it doesn’t put any pressure on the pet’s neck in the event they pull. Generally speaking, though, harnesses are used for larger pets who don’t pull too much but may sometimes get excited and need a little extra control. Whether you opt for a full coverage mesh harness or simple step-in, these hold dogs by their chest, giving you more control.

The Trainer – For major pullers who need to learn the ropes, there are also leads that gently wrap around your dog’s snout for ultimate control. These are generally effective and intended for large, strong dogs who aren’t aggressive when on-leash but pull excessively.

The Preventative Muzzle – Muzzles catch a bad rap but, for some dogs, they’re the only way that everyone can get outside with the peace of mind nothing will happen (which is a win/win in our eyes.) If your pet is sometimes aggressive on leash, – consider a soft nylon muzzle, it still allows for panting and drinking but avoids bites .

If you plan on walking your dog on February 22 (or any day!) be sure your pet’s tags are up-to-date, don’t forget poop bags, and try to be patient.  And who says it has to be your dog? Walk your cat! Your horse! Even your chicken!  We just want to get you outside with your animal!

Have pictures of you and your pet on a walk? Sh  are them to our Facebook page!




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