Dog Tested. Dog Approved. Traveling with Your Furry Friends!

Road Trips with Best Friends!

If you follow I Love Rescue Animals on twitter or facebook, then you have probably seen us post pictures of our adventures traveling with our pups. Ash and I love to travel, especially when it means going anywhere with our three boys. We’re lucky in that all of our dogs love to ride in the car, and they are wonderful on even the longest road trip (we’ve moved cross-country twice and they took it all in stride).

One of our favorite things to do is go camping. Last year, we took all the pups on a camping trip in the Ozarks and had an absolute blast. They loved it too, though in our tiny car, it was a pretty tight squeeze. I think it’s one of the reasons that Ash and I want to own a Subaru someday. Having a car with space enough for us, the pups, our camping gear, and all their camping gear (they have their own pup tent!) would be a dream come true. Especially if they got to test drive the vehicle first.

Dog Test. Dog Approved. Licensed to Drive!

But they can’t test drive it without having a license! Well hey guess what – they have an app for that! Check out the Subaru Facebook App! You can check out videos from Subaru’s “Dog Tested. Dog Approved” campaign, as well as create a license for your very own furry driver! Look, even Spunky as has one!

spunky-license

Go check out the app and make one for your own pup and share it with us in the comments (but don’t forget to come up with a fun address just for your pup – don’t use your real one!). We’d love to see what your cute furry driver looks like. And if you have any questions, don’t forget to ask the expert on the Subaru app! Now that your dog is licensed to drive, where are you headed?

Giveaway Time!

Who doesn’t love dogs AND giveaways? Enter the Rafflecopter and you could win a $300 or $150 Visa Gift Card. Everyone must like Subaru’s Facebook page to enter, but the other 4 entries are optional. So enter and see what happens! The winners will be announced within 48 hours after the raffle closes (tonight!).

a
Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Subaru. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about the Dog Tested. Dog Approved.™ campaign, but, as always, I Love Rescue Animals only shares news for things we love and support – and we’ve been wanting a Subaru long before this post!

Product Review: Walk In Sync

While attending BlogPaws for the first time a few months ago I was lucky enough to meet Alecia Evans, the creator of the Walk In Sync Humane Dog Walking and Training System. The system works amazingly well on even very hyper or distracted dogs, and the best part is that you don’t have to worry about your pup choking and gagging from pulling on a collar.

The Walk In Sync system includes a harness and leash, though I think the harness is the most ingenious part of the design. I work at a doggie daycare/boarding facility and have to deal with all kinds of harnesses that people bring in for their dogs. Many of the harnesses are so complicated and strangely built that I end up putting them on completely wrong. Thankfully, with the Walk in Sync harness, that’s not a problem at all. You slip the main part over your dog’s head like a necklace, then reach down and pull the other two straps up to the clip on the back. There’s even red color-coding on the clip to show you which way it faces. The leash attaches to the harness on the dog’s chest, rather than on his back. Describing it in writing doesn’t do the simplicity of the system justice; I encourage you to check out some of the demonstration videos on the Walk In Sync website. They’re very easy to understand and follow.

As you can tell, I really like the design of the harness, but how does it perform? I used it on my dog Azu at the beginning of a hike, when she’s generally at her most energetic. I apologize for the glare and road noise in this video, but I think it gets the idea across:

The videos on the Walk In Sync site do a much better job of describing the simple training method, but basically you walk forward until the dog puts tension on the leash. At that point you stop, and usually the slight sideways pressure from the harness will make the dog take a step back or toward you to put some slack in the leash. Once the dog does that, you praise him and continue, repeating the process as needed. As you can see from my video with Azu, she was so distracted that she needed some nudging the first couple times we stopped to get her to step back. I was amazed at how quickly she caught on to what I wanted her to do, though. After just a few stops she was automatically adjusting her speed to match mine, without straining toward the bushes to sniff things.

After watching some of the videos on the Walk In Sync site and getting to try it out on my own dog, I highly recommend the Walk In Sync Humane Dog Walking and Training System. If you give it a shot please let me know in the comments!

You can find Walk In Sync on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube as well.

The final bit of information I’d like to share is that September 27th is Train Humane Day. Train Humane’s mission is to:

…make the world more humane for dogs through the use of humane training tools and education.

Raise the bar on the tools we use to train all dogs and puppies to ensure that they are humane, safe, respectful and cause as little stress as possible without choking.

I think it’s a great sentiment. Mark 9/27/12 on your calendars!

Review Time! Nutrish: Naturally Delish!

If you follow our Facebook or Twitter accounts, you’ve probably seen a few pictures of us with food (and the dogs with food, and the cats with food, etc). So it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the whole family is a family of Foodies. We love food. We love GOOD food – wholesome, tasty, natural foods that are good for the body and mind. When we were approached to take part in a review for Rachael Ray’s Nutrish Naturally Delish, her newest dog food, both us AND our awesome foster dog Angel were only too happy to help. We’ve teamed up with the Nutrish crew to help shelters before so we know what awesome folks they are.

Naturally Delish is Naturally Delicious!

Right off the bat, I loved this product. Look at the awesome packaging it came in! How pretty! (What? I’m a designer and brand strategist – I LOVE great package designs.) Rachael Ray’s got great style. But on to the food…

Due to our budget, we can’t always feed our fosters up to the same standard that we feed our own kids, so we’re really excited to have this chance to feed Angel food that we’d be happy giving to our dogs. The ingredients list impressed us before we even opened the container. Naturally Delish “is made with simple, wholesome natural ingredients plus essential vitamins and minerals, has no corn, no wheat*, no soy, has no meat by-products or fillers, and has no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.” For instance, the first ingredients in the Hearty Beef Stew recipe are beef broth, beef, dried egg product, chicken, pea protein, potatoes, carrots, and peas. Yum right?

*The Chicken Muttballs recipe contains pasta made with semolina wheat flour.)

Angel’s Verdict: Yum?

Angel thinks so! Look at her go at it! She absolutely loves it and ate it within minutes. And boy did it smell good – all the other puppies were so jealous (and it smelled good to us too)!

Big Dog Tip: Angel is a big dog, she’s a beautiful pit mix after all, so often times when we get good food like this, to make it last, we’ve found that wet food makes a great supplement to her hard food – gives it some pizzazz! So if you have a big dog too and you’d like to spice up your canine friend’s dinner, make it a yummy side dish. The stews especially make a very nice gravy for any dry dog food.

Giveaway Time!

Nutrish was awesome enough to send us an identical package to do as a giveaway. Because we do quite a bit of local rescue work, we decided to take this opportunity to share our good fortune with one of our local rescues or shelters. Below you will find links to four of our favorite local animal shelters – please take a moment to check out each of them and cast your vote by telling us who should get the package of Nutrish Naturally Delish in our comments!

01. Austin Animal Center
02. Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter
03. Pflugerville Animal Shelter
04. PAWS Shelter and Humane Society

We’ll close the poll and announce the winner on Friday, August 17th. Don’t forget to comment!

Another Reason to Love Rachael Ray

Have you heard about Rachael’s Rescue? Rachael Ray isn’t just an awesome chef (we love her cookbooks in our kitchen!) – she’s also an animal advocate and proceeds from her Nutrish dog food have gone on to help so many animals in need.

“Heartbroken by the thought of the millions of mistreated and abandoned animals taken in by shelters each year, Rachael has created the Rachael’s Rescue website to highlight organizations that are dedicated to helping animals in need. In support of their work, she’s also launched a new line of pet food called Rachael Ray Nutrish™. A portion of the proceeds from the sales of these products will go to organizations such as North Shore Animal League America, Bad Rap, ASPCA, and more.”

To date, Rachael Ray and Nutrish have donated more than four million dollars to non-profit animal welfare organizations. How awesome is she? She makes great food for people AND dogs AND she gives back to a community in need. Thanks Rachael Ray!

This is a sponsored post written by us on behalf of Nutrish for BlogPaws. All opinions however are ours.

Pure Gold: Adventures with Six Rescued Golden Retrievers – A Review

Growing up, my best friend and favorite playmate in the entire world was Brandy, my beloved golden retriever. From three years old until 17, we were inseparable. She was everything to me and almost eight years after she passed away I still miss her everyday. So when Ash and I were given the opportunity to review the book Pure Gold: Adventures with Six Rescued Golden Retrievers by Holli Pfau, I jumped at the chance. There’s something about the face of a golden, of the way their eyes reflect their deep souls, that makes you feel like everything in the world is good. And it is apparent from the very beginning that Holli Pfau feels the same way.

We are honored to be closing out Holli’s blog tour to celebrate and promote this beautiful book. The thing that initially pulled me into this book wasn’t the story – it wasn’t even the first chapter. What got me, what really made fall in love with this book, was Holli’s dedication. How could you not love a book with this at the very beginning:

This book is dedicated
to the remarkable people who rescue abandoned dogs,
to the people who care for, foster and nurse them
back to health, and to the people who welcome them
into their lives and cherish each and every soul.

And most of all, to the dogs,
who reward us with love, joy and gratitude
for the gift of life.

The Goldens Behind the Story

For Holli, her journey started with one small golden ball of fluff named Nikki (an awesome name if I do say so myself). It was Nikki that was the catalyst that created a lifetime of learning, inspiring, and changing the lives of dogs and their human companions. The book is narrated from Holli’s perspective and she documents the lives of each of the golden retrievers that enter her life and how they subsequently change it for the better. Nikki, Bodie, Tucker, Sophie, Daisy, and Chatter – they all have a story and this book, these wonderfully written words penned by a talented author, give us a positive perspective on having an open heart and the power of a wet nose.

Both Ash and I highly recommend this story to any dog lover, any rescue or foster parent. It touches the heart and reminds us why we do what we do – for the dogs and for ourselves. This is a book that belongs on the shelves of anyone who has ever worked with animals. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy (and I really think you should), you can find it on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Do it. You won’t regret it.

Giveaway!

It’s your lucky day! You could win a copy of Pure Gold for your very own. Just leave a comment below and tell us a little about an inspirational animal in your life. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only (sorry). Deadline to enter the giveaway is Wednesday, December 7. Good luck!

Pet Dental Month Challenge Results

As some of you may know, for February we did a challenge with our dogs in honor of Pet Dental Health Month. The challenge consisted of feeding a Greenie to each of our 3 dogs every day. We made no other changes to their diet or behaviors. We took pictures before the challenge began and then at the end of each week to document the change. We also had our vet grade the boys’ oral health both before and after the challenge was over. I have to say that I am very impressed with the results!

You can see more on the vet’s ratings on our first week’s post here but for easy comparison, here are the results from both vet visits. To reduce bias, the vet was not reminded of the scores she gave before the challenge.

The Scores!

Spunky
Before Challenge
Grade 1-2: Moderate Gingivitis
Marked Plaque
Mild Calculus & Gingival Inflammation on the back molars
After Challenge
Grade 1: Early Gingivitis
Mild Plaque – Improvement!
Normal Rating on Gingival Inflammation – Improvement!
Normal Rating on Calculus – Improvement!
Snarf
Before Challenge
Grade 1: Early Gingivitis
Moderate Plaque
Mild Calculus & Gingival Inflammation
After Challenge
Grade
Mild Plaque – Improvement!
Mild Calculus – Same
Normal Rating on Gingival Inflammation – Improvement!
Rufus
Before Challenge
Grade 2: Advanced Gingivitis
Marked Plaque & Gingival Inflammation
Moderate Calculus
After Challenge
Grade
Moderate Plaque – Improvement!
Moderate Calculus w/ Vet Note: “Improved greatly L side” – Improvement!
Mild Gingival Inflammation – Improvement!

Video Time!

Check out this video documenting the change in our pup’s teeth over the course of the challenge!


(Here’s a link to the video as well!)

As you can see, using the Greenies for just one month had a tremendous impact on the oral health of our boys! Rufus, who started with the worst rating & most problems, had the most marked changes. It was so cool to see his teeth change as the days went on. You can see in the pictures how the plaque & calculus on both his and Spunky’s teeth broke off more and more as the month wore on. Even Snarf, who as a chewer had the best teeth to begin with, showed improvement. All the dogs had improved breath as well, which is one way we can most easily judge the condition of their mouth.

The only “problem” we encountered, which is just a learned lesson really, is that dogs, like people, tend to favor a side of their mouth. We noticed over the weeks that the dogs tended to chew mostly on one side and by the end we saw a definite difference between the two sides. I’m not sure if you can really convince a dog that it needs to chew evenly. Sometimes we tried holding it on the opposite side but they always tried to switch it back. Still, while Greenies may not be the end-all, be-all to oral health, it is a GREAT tool to improve it. And I guarantee your pups will never complain about it! Ours now beg us for them, the spoiled brats! ^_^

And the Winner Is…

Congratulations to Kelly Ann T. for winning our Pet Dental Health Month Challenge Giveaway! Because you participated in the challenge with us, you’ve won TWELVE boxes of Greenies of whatever size your dogs require! Make sure you email us your dogs’ weights as well as a shipping address which we’ll pass along to Greenies so they can get the prize to you.

We here at ILRA would like to give a huge thank you to Greenies for providing us with the product for this challenge as well as for providing the prize! But most of all, thank you for making such a great product that really, truly does what it is meant to. Our kids are healthier for it and you can’t put a price on that!