Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Dog Food Recall Notification Service

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten pretty concerned about all the dog food recalls lately. What’s up with all this salmonella getting into every kind of dog food, from dry to frozen?

A friend of mine made me aware of a great free dog food recall notification service. It’s on the website Dog Food Advisor, and they not only keep an up-to-date  listing of dog food recalls, but if you sign up, they’ll email you every time a dog food has been recalled. It’s a free service and SO helpful!

For each recall, they tell you where the recalled products are being sold, why they’re being recalled, and exactly which of the company’s products are affected.

Check out the site if you get the chance, it’s got lots of other good information too.

Before you give me that kibble, did you make sure it's safe? Hmmmmm???

Before you give me that kibble, did you make sure it’s safe? Hmmmmm???



All Harnessed Up And Ready To Go!

Daisy loves going to new places, and we wanted her to be as safe as possible in this world of crazy drivers. So I did some research and decided that a car harness is the safest way to protect our little travelin’ pup.

I read that you should use the harness several times on short trips to get the dog used to it, because they generally don’t take to it right away. Well, we tried the harness out for the first time this weekend – I think Daisy rather liked the open-air experience, what do you think? 😉

This is much better than my puppy travel crate! I feel like a person!

“Thrilled” is the word that came to mind! She was SO happy and tried out all kinds of sitting, standing, and lying positions, always with that same happy puppy-pant.

I'm so happyyyyyyyy!

I was shocked to read in a Blog Paws article that there are still a lot of people who drive with their dogs on their laps – while they’re driving! Just take a look in the article at what the AAA (American Automobile Association) says happens to dogs of different weights who are unrestrained by a car harness – it’s terrifying. You’d think that would be enough to convince pet owners to keep their pet as safe as they keep their children.

Anyway, since our first 10-minute drive with Daisy was such a success, we’re going to increase that travel time. We also have a seat protector which we’ll use on our next trip because we know this time we’ll be taking Daisy out to explore. (Isn’t it funny how Daisy’s coloring just happens to match my car interior? LOL!) 🙂

Where are we going next??


FDA Pet Food/Treats Recall Site

An email recently reminded me that there are almost as many pet food recalls as there are human food recalls. That jolted me a bit because unless it’s something hugely newsworthy (like the major Blue Buffalo recall), we don’t generally hear about it.

Treats are just as vulnerable as food, which is something I didn’t realize. I found the FDA website with all the latest pet food/treat recalls, so I thought I’d share that with you here. I’ve bookmarked the site so I can check it every couple of weeks to make sure nothing in our pantry is on the list.

It also tells you what ingredients are banned (I’ve heard  you can occasionally find an old bag of food being sold somewhere with a banned ingredient), why a food was recalled, and more.

Better safe than sorry!


How Safe Are Dog Repellents?

After writing my blog post about Christmas decorating hazards for dogs, I started thinking that maybe we should do something a little more proactive to keep Daisy away from the Christmas tree. I’d read that creating a boundary with Bitter Apple spray could help to deter her from nibbling at those toxic Fraser Fir needles.

Daisy in her new Christmas jingle collar!

So last night, while stocking up on necessities (and fun stuff!) at the pet store, we looked at some boundary sprays. They didn’t have Bitter Apple, which is supposed to be pure and not harmful to pets or humans, so we checked out some other repellents.

Forget it.

Anything that says a product should not touch an animal’s or human’s skin or eyes without severe toxic consequences is NOT for us. How can anyone guarantee that a curious puppy won’t step on that border or lie on that area before realizing they don’t like the smell? And how can we guarantee that we won’t forget exactly what places on the carpet we sprayed when we all sit around the Christmas tree to open our presents?

I read online that some dogs aren’t deterred by these dangerous chemical sprays and have licked them or laid on them – with negative consequences.

So today I looked for something more natural, since I can’t find the Bitter Apple spray around here. This article discusses several natural repellents you can make at home that will deter dogs and cats, but won’t harm them. Personally, I wouldn’t use any of these inside my home, but some may work outdoors to protect plants and gardens – as long as you keep applying them every day.

A better article at The Daily Puppy explains the risks and benefits of various dog repellents and how some can harm your carpet and furniture if used indoors. It also explains that even those commercial sprays marked “natural” might have toxic ingredients in addition to natural ones. It’s a good article and worth reading if you’re considering using one of these sprays, whether commercial or home made.

Nothing beats good training, so until our puppy is completely reliable around the Christmas tree, we’ll just have to keep a close eye on her and use the baby gate when necessary. We’ll be bringing in the tree and decorating it this weekend – let the games begin! LOL


Thanksgiving Tips: Keep Your Dog Healthy!

We all like to include our dogs in our holiday festivities, but many well-intentioned dog lovers and their equally well-intentioned guests have unintentionally hurt their loyal canine companions by “treating” them to some Thanksgiving goodies. This can result in making dogs sick or causing unhealthy weight gain; and before you say “it’s just one day out of the year”, remember that at least two more “food holidays” are coming up over the next month, not to mention all the pre-holiday parties!

I think I'll stick to my turkey dog food and curl up with a good toy!

DogChannel.com has a wonderful article about keeping dogs safe on Thanksgiving, and besides cautioning dog owners about feeding dogs “people food”, it also covers things like making sure candles are out of your dog’s way and securing trash bins so Spot doesn’t feast on your guests’ castoffs and hurt himself on trashed bones.

It’s a short article, but packed with great information!

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Choosing a Dog Kennel

The thought of leaving Daisy at a kennel doesn’t exactly thrill us, but we have no choice. Personally, a dogsitter isn’t an option for us; we just don’t like the idea of someone having complete access to our home. That’s simply a personal preference.

Which leaves the kennel. We want a place that will treat Daisy like one of the family but won’t cost us an exorbitant amount of money. We also want to get the same Daisy back – when I was a kid, we put our dog in the local kennel for a week while we were away. In those years, there was no discussion about which kennel to choose, you just put your dog in whatever kennel was near you and that was that. Well, we did NOT get the same dog back – she sat with her back to us in the car and she didn’t interact with us for quite a while – over a week – essentially she was snubbing us. She seemed hurt and angry that we’d abandoned her like that. Thinking back, I’ll bet the kennel care wasn’t very good. I don’t want that to happen again.

I'm all suited up and ready to go!

Two places were recommended by our vet’s office, which we’ll check out soon – we’re not actually going anywhere now, but we want to be prepared and not leave it until the last minute. I made a checklist of things to check for, all recommended by experts:

1. Take your dog with you so she’ll have some recollection of the place. Her first visit there shouldn’t be the one where she’s suddenly left without you.

2. Do a “pop-in” visit – any kennel that needs notice that you’ll be coming in may have something to hide. You don’t want them on their best behavior for new clients, you want to see them “as is” – the real thing that your dog will be exposed to.

3. A “pop-in” visit will also show you whether climate controls are being used – the kennels should be air conditioned during the summer and heated during the winter. Your dog needs the same conditions she’s used to at home and needs relief from extreme temperatures and sun exposure.

4. If your dog isn’t used to being with other dogs or you don’t want him socializing without you being there, make sure the kennel offers private one-on-one outdoor playtime between a staff member and your dog, without other dogs being in the play yard.

5. Some places charge extra for “cuddle time”, extra play time, administering medicine, etc. These places usually have very low daily rates, but when you add in all the extras you may need or want, you could be looking at a far more expensive daily rate. And the services that are included with the low daily rate are usually very minimal, so check the details to make sure your dog can tolerate minimal care. One low-priced place we checked out only offered 20 minutes of human interaction per day, and every extra 15 minutes would cost more; for Daisy, 20 minutes is far too little. She’s used to much more attention, so we need a place with more human contact.

6. There is a possibility that if your dog needs veterinary attention for any reason while you’re away, the kennel could charge an hourly rate plus a mileage fee to get your dog to the vet and back. Some other kennels only use their own visiting vets, which still entails a fee but you don’t know what kind of care that unknown vet is giving your dog. Check before booking to see what the kennel’s practices are for emergency veterinary care.

7. Does the kennel accept pit bulls,  rotweilers, or other potentially vicious dogs that might view your small dog as  a target? Pit bulls, for instance, are known as great escape artists, so you need to know what other kinds of dogs are being housed there.

8. How many dogs do they accept at one time? The more “house guests” they have, the less time they’ll have to devote to each dog, depending on the size of the staff.

9. Are fences and protective barriers secure? Does the kennel smell? Is it clean? Do they check dogs for fleas, parasites, etc. that could possibly infect your dog? Do they require proof of all vaccinations? Is the staff friendly? Is someone there around the clock or only during office hours?

10. Make sure the kennel allows you to bring your dog’s favorite toys and/or bedding. If your dog is on a special diet or you don’t want him given different food or treats, make sure they allow you to do that. Some kennels charge extra for that service too.

11. Size matters. Your dog’s run should give her enough room to trot around and wag her tail – 4’x10′ is the recommended minimum for a medium-sized dog.

It can’t hurt to check potential kennels out with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints against them. A perfect rating with no registered complaints doesn’t mean there are no problems with the kennel, but a failing rating can help to eliminate a kennel right away.

Some kennels offer round-the-clock Doggie Cams so you can see your dog online any time of the day or night.

If you notice, there’s one important underlying criteria here – the kennel should suit your dog’s personality and the lifestyle she’s accustomed to. If you have a rugged, outdoor dog who doesn’t need pampering or cuddling, then those things wouldn’t be of consideration to you. But a family pet who’s used to a lot of affection and attention may not be well suited to a minimalist type of kennel and could suffer from her stay, sometimes with long-term consequences.

In the end, be as careful about choosing your dog’s kennel as you would about choosing your child’s preschool or summer camp!

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Baby Gate Tales of Horror :)

Loud noises have always scared Daisy, but her fear passes after a while (like with the whole dropping-things-in-the-kitchen fiasco when we’d just brought her home). Well, not so with the baby gate.

We’ve restricted Daisy to the family room and adjoining kitchen areas since we first brought her home – apparently you’re not supposed to give small young puppies the run of the house, according to vets and dog experts. They feel safer in smaller areas until they grow up a bit.

Anyway, during those first couple of months, we couldn’t get this baby gate to fit between the door frames properly. It was always either too tight and wouldn’t lock, or too loose and ready to fall over if you so much as whispered at it. The grooves to close it are pretty close together, but apparently we needed a half size (much like what happens with clothing sometimes: the small is too small and the medium is too large – where’s the small-and-a-half??)

So, depending on who secured the baby gate, it was either wobbly or so tight the wood door frame got dents. On one of those wobbly days, Daisy charged at the gate as I climbed over it, sliding into the bottom of it and causing it to fall over right on top of her! Though funny looking to us, she did NOT find this amusing in the least. I picked it up off her, and she ran into the family room. Not a good experience.

Another day she jumped up on it and must have sensed its wobbliness, so she backed off, sending it crashing down onto the hardwood floor. She raced away with her ears back like the devil himself was after her.

Things like this happened again and again.

None of this taught her not to jump on the gate, but they did teach her that the gate was something to fear when it wasn’t standing securely in the doorway.

Now, when I want to go out back to water the plants without taking her along, I make her sit and stay in the family room while I move the gate from the dining room/kitchen doorway to the kitchen/family room doorway. No problem there – the baby gate is in action and she doesn’t want any part of it. Her ears go back, her eyes open wide, and she moves further into the family room. When I come back in, she’s still deep in the family room, not trying to jump on or over the gate at all with a “please get that thing out of here” expression on her face.

As you can see from the picture, she has no problem with it when it’s in its usual kitchen/dining room spot!

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Home, The Beach House, The Mansion

Our little Daisy claimed squatting rights to three “homes” in hour house – her “main home”, her “beach house”, and her “mansion”. (Sounds similar to the life of a Barbie doll, doesn’t it? LOL) Here’s how they came about.

When we first brought our little bundle of fur home at 2.6 pounds, she was naturally a bit apprehensive about being thrust into a totally new, unfamiliar environment with totally new, unfamiliar people. Who among us wouldn’t be nervous and uncertain if we were suddenly removed from our familiar surroundings by beings not of our own kind who don’t even speak our language!??

I've gotten so big, I can stand on the roof!

We carried her into the house and put her down in the kitchen; she immediately took off into the family room and raced underneath the coffee table, where she plopped herself down and surveyed her new surroundings. Spying a small round footstool that’s very low to the ground, she decided it looked even safer, so she darted underneath it and fit perfectly!

That became her refuge – her “safety zone”, her “main home” – for quite a while. It was where she slept, napped, or just sought comfort if something spooked her….until she suddenly outgrew it. One day, about a month and a half later, she tried to zip under the footstool and – BAM – her shoulders hit the legs and she couldn’t fit underneath it anymore.

Meanwhile, she discovered a larger, higher, rectangular footstool in the same room, which she went under when she wanted to bring a toy and play. We called that her “beach house” because it was where she went for fun and a little more space. She can’t fit underneath that anymore either.

But her biggest dwelling of all still remains the space underneath the coffee table, which we call her “mansion”. This she can never outgrow, but hey, she’s really an “outdoor kinda gal” and prefers being outside the “mansion” and in the room near us (usually on us!). The only time she retires to the mansion is if she’s been naughty

My three homes!

or if something scares her and she needs to feel the safety of a smaller, more confined area….though sometimes she still loves the coziness of being squished in as tiny an area as she can find.

Wish we could claim rights to a beach house so easily!

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