6 Cool Dog Products to Covet Right Now

From a cute and convenient way to carry your dog while on the trail or traveling to delectable treats, check out some cool dog products we’re obsessed with right now.

1. Oh-My-Dog Doggy Mini Backpack/Poop Bag Holder

Oh-My-Dog Doggy Mini Backpack/Poop Bag Holder.

Oh-My-Dog Doggy Mini Backpack/Poop Bag Holder.

You no longer have to carry your dog’s poop bags when you get him one of these stylish carriers of his own. Has adjustable straps with harness and an open slit for poop bag dispensing. Comes in four designs: unicorns in the sky, bones or poo emoji on black or cute kitties on blush. For dogs 12 to 30 pounds. $32. OMG Accessories; omgaccessories.com

2. Timbuk2 Muttmover Light

Timbuk2 Muttmover Light.

Timbuk2 Muttmover Light.

Sometimes you need to carry your pup on the trail or while traveling. This heavy-duty, waterproof pack made with your friend in mind includes secure tethering options, wipeable coated liner, zippered ventilation and exterior pockets for you and your pup’s stuff. You’ll love the super cushiony backpack straps and the ventilated back panel. Comes in medium
(up to 25 pounds) and large (up to 35 pounds). $159/med and $179/large. Timbuk2; timbuk2.com

3. 1-800-Baskets Fire Hydrant Dog Treat Gift Set

1-800-Baskets Fire Hydrant Dog Treat Gift Set.

1-800-Baskets Fire Hydrant Dog Treat Gift Set.

Makes a great gift for the new or not-so-new dog parent in your life. Includes two cute ceramic dog bowls, matching treat container, a plush and burlap toy with rope plus peanut butter starburst dog treats. Easy to order by phone or online, these Max & Milo Premium Pet Products are available exclusively on 1-800-Baskets.com, part of the 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc. family of brands. $79.99. 1-800-Baskets.com; 1800baskets.com

4. Rex Specs Dog Goggles

Rex Specs Dog Goggles.

Rex Specs Dog Goggles.

Protect your dog no matter your adventure or work — hiking, helicopter deployments or running through thick brush. These goggles keep dust, debris, UV rays, thorns, bugs, etc. from harming your dog’s precious eyes. Large spherical lens allows full range of view, soft foam edge fits snuggly to the face, fully adjustable strap.
Comes in two sizes: small (10 to 30 pounds) and large (30 to 100+ pounds). $79.95. Rex Specs; rexspecs.com

5. Embrace Pet Insurance Wellness Rewards Program

Embrace Pet Insurance Wellness Rewards Program.

Embrace Pet Insurance Wellness Rewards Program.

Looking for more from your pet insurance? Embrace’s unique Wellness Rewards reimburses for everyday routine expenses like veterinary, training and grooming — just like a human health savings account. Start using the day of signup or service up to your annual allowance. The Wellness Rewards Program can be purchased in addition to your policy. Embrace offers pet insurance policies with nose-to-tail coverage for unexpected accidents and illness. Retail cost varies per dog. Embrace Pet Insurance; embraceyourpet.com

6. Blue Dog Bakery Chicken Sticks & Bites

Blue Dog Bakery Chicken Sticks & Bites.

Blue Dog Bakery Chicken Sticks & Bites.

Dogs will drool over these yummy treats from Blue Dog Bakery. New to the line are the tender, all-natural Chicken Sticks and Chicken Bites made with farm-raised USA Chicken. Dogs may already love the Beef Deli Sticks and Beef Deli Bites, but pet parents will like their new packaging. Available in 7.8-ounce bags. $8.99. Blue Dog Bakery; bluedogbakery.com

Thumbnail: Blue Dog Bakery Chicken Sticks & Bites.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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6 Household Cleaning Products That Are Not Safe For Dogs

Many dog owners keep cleaners in their homes that are not exactly pet safe out of habit or ignorance of the bad effects they have on the household. Cleaning products with ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, gycol ethers or formaldehyde can cause many problems in adults and children, but young children and pets are particularly at risk for things such as cancer, anemia, liver and kidney damage. Many toxic cleaners are also carcinogenic. So, what are some household cleaning products that are not safe for dogs? Is Pine Sol safe for dogs? Is Lysol safe for pets? Are Mr. Clean, Clorox Bathroom Cleaner and Scrubbing Bubbles safe for dogs? What about detergents like Tide and Cheer?

Several studies have been done on the dangerous effects of some common cleaning products. Many of these included data on pets which showed that Fido and Fluffy are not immune to chemicals and that many cleaning products are not pet safe. One study concentrated on measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in cleaning products. In it, the vapor pressure of various chemical compounds in cleaners was measured. Three cleaners, Pledge, Clorox Wipes and Lysol Disinfecting Spray, registered close to a thousand times more vapor pressure than a natural cleaner. This means that even when the toxic cleaners are put away and closed, the vapors left behind can continue to harm both us and our pets.

Some Toxic Ingredients and Their Effects on People and Pets

Cleaning a carpet.

Man cleaning carpet. Photography by Syda Productions / Shutterstock.

  1. Ammonia – Used in many de-greasers for ovens, glass and stainless steel, ammonia has a very high VOC, burns mucous membranes and contributes to asthma. If it is mixed with bleach, it creates a poisonous gas which can be deadly to small pets.
  2. Chlorine – Used in disinfectants, toilet bowl cleaners and automatic dish detergent to name a few, chlorine is also used to bleach coffee filters. It can cause everything from dizziness to vomiting to laryngeal edema. Avoid this ingredient and be careful about letting your pet swim in the pool.
  3. Glycol Ethers – Glycol ethers are found in many cleaning products that are not pet safe including glass cleaners, carpet cleaners and spot removers. It has been linked to anemia, lung damage and kidney damage in people and pets.
  4. Formaldehyde – The thought of a funeral home comes to mind when formaldehyde is mentioned and everyone can recognize the strong, nauseating smell. But it’s also used in products such as soaps and even some pet shampoos. It can contribute to asthma and is carcinogenic.

Some Cleaning Products That Are Not Safe for Dogs

There are many, many cleaning products that are not safe for dogs on the market. Here are a few popular cleaners that contain some of the ingredients mentioned above as well as others:

  1. Floor Cleaners – These include Pine Sol and Mr. Clean. Even if you manage to get all of the residue off the floor, the vapors linger and are dangerous to your pet. Try a non-toxic, pet safe cleaner instead.
  2. Bathroom Cleaners – These include Clorox Bathroom Cleaner and Scrubbing Bubbles. Try a product such as Ecover Bathroom Cleaner instead. Never use a continuous toilet bowl cleaner such as Clorox Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner. It is very dangerous and the temptation to drink out of the toilet is a quirk in many of our pups.
  3. All Purpose Cleaners – For use in the kitchen and around the house, the most common toxic all-purpose cleaners that scream “Danger!” are Mr. Clean Multi-Purpose Spray and Formula 409.
  4. Drain Openers – You may think that since this product is poured down the drain, it can’t be harmful to your pet. But the toxic drain openers give off dangerous fumes long after you’ve emptied them. For a non-toxic, pet safe option, try a product such as Earth Friendly Enzymes Drain Opener.
  5. Glass Cleaner – It may seem that toxic glass cleaners are simpler products and are, therefore, safe but they are not. Instead of something like Windex, try a product such as Nature Clean Window and Glass Cleaner.
  6. Laundry Detergent – It’s easy to assume that choosing a laundry detergent isn’t that important because the rinse cycle rinses it away. But there is residue left behind on clothes and pet blankets that can be harmful to your pet, especially those that chew on their bedding. Avoid detergents with toxic ingredients such as Tide and Cheer and try something like Down East’s Liquid Laundry Detergent.

Nontoxic Cleaning Products for Pets to Use Instead of Household Cleaning Products That Are Not Safe for Dogs

Instead of using toxic cleaning products around the house, try one of the non-toxic and pet safe lines of cleaners. If you do decide to keep toxic cleaners, make absolutely sure they are put away. Put child safety locks on cabinet doors and put cleaners up as high as possible. Never use them when your pet is in the same room and air out the house after cleaning with them. Never leave any residue behind. But the warning signs are clear and you and your dog will be healthier and safer if you use cleaning products that are pet safe.

Tell us: What nontoxic cleaning products to you use instead of cleaning products that are not safe for dogs?

April is Spring Cleaning month here at Dogster! Stay tuned for a few articles every week on all things spring cleaning and dog — whether that’s dog-safe ways to clean your home, spring-cleaning your dog’s grooming routine with advice on brushing and bathing — and much more.

Thumbnail: Photography by OksanaZahray/Thinkstock. 

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Dug Up at Dogster: 10 Unusually Cool Dog Products at Global Pet Expo 2018

My feet are still hurting! Every year I go to one of the biggest — if not the biggest — pet industry trade shows in Orlando, Florida, to check out all the latest and greatest cat and dog products. The 13th Annual Global Pet Expo didn’t disappoint this year with more than 1,130 companies exhibiting their pet products and services. It’s too big to get to every booth, but we sure did try to look at everything.

These products caught my eye since they were a little more unusual than the others. Some are so new that they aren’t on the company websites yet, so just email the company to find out more information and when your dog can get his paws on them! Just a note: I have NOT tested these products with my dogs, so if you do, let us know what you think in the comments section below!

1. ShadyPaws Pet Canopy Sunshade

Shady Paws sunshade.

ShadyPaws Pet Canopy Sunshade. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

This portable pet shade takes keeping your dog out of the sun’s dangerous rays at the beach or park to a whole new level. Now your pup doesn’t have to share your human shade product — he can rock his own.

2. Doog Pop-Up Pet Pool

Doog Pop-Up Pet Pool.

Doog Pop-Up Pet Pool. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

Another summer-fun product, these guys make it super easy to cool your dog down with an easy-to-put-together doggie pool. I may just get one of these for my dogs, Tampa Bay and Justice!

3. P.L.A.Y. Mutt Hatter Toy Set

P.L.A.Y. Mutt Hatter Toy Set.

P.L.A.Y. Mutt Hatter Toy Set. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

Some dogs, like mine, don’t mind wearing a hat for a fun Instagram shot, especially when treats are involved. And I have to say, I love these hats! Not only are they hilarious but your pup can chew on them, too, because they’ve got squeakies AND crinkles inside!

4. Jiminy’s Original Cricket Cookie

Jiminy’s Original Cricket Cookie.

Jiminy’s Original Cricket Cookie. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

The U.S. is behind the rest of the world in recognizing insects as a great protein source. I’m glad to see the pet world catching up by using crickets as the protein source in this treat. Let’s face it, our dogs would eat crickets even if they weren’t shaped like cookies. And what’s even better, crickets are a sustainable food source and help your dog reduce his carbon footprint.

5. Tomyln Pad Cream Deep Moisturizer

Tomyln Pad Cream Deep Moisturizer.

Tomyln Pad Cream Deep Moisturizer. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

Another great summer product — a moisturizer for your dog’s dried and cracked feet. I’ve got to tell you that I used this product on my own sore feet at the trade show! It’s specially formulated for hunting and working dogs, but this is good for any dog with calloused paws and cracked elbow joints. I like the spearmint smell, too.

6. Kurgo Tailgate Dumpster

Kurgo Tailgate Dumpster.

Kurgo Tailgate Dumpster. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

Most of us dog owners try to be good citizens, but sometimes when you’re out hiking in the woods, your dog relieves himself, you pick it up and there is just nowhere to put the poop bag. This solves the problem! It attaches to the outside of your car with super-strong magnets, plus it’s easy to clean. I can’t wait to try this one.

7. Warren London Natural Dog Sunscreen

Warren London Natural Dog Sunscreen.

Warren London Natural Dog Sunscreen. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

Yes, dogs need sunscreen like we do. (They aren’t covered in fur everywhere, after all.) It’s nice to see more companies acknowledging that fact and creating easy-to-use products for us. This sunscreen contains FDA-approved ingredients and aloe vera to help moisturize the skin. Directions on how to use specific ingredients are on the website if you want more information.

8. Doggie Water

Doggie Water.

Doggie Water. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

Now your dog doesn’t have to share your boring old human water. This pup-friendly hydrator contains vitamins and electrolytes for your dog, plus comes in flavors he would like — bacon, chicken, steak or no flavor.

9. Wet Noses Wag Soup

Wet Noses Wag Soup.

Wet Noses Wag Soup. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

Sometimes, your dog’s tummy needs a little love and you just don’t feel like dragging out the pot and making some chicken and rice. Now there’s soup for dogs — try Chicken & Rice Recipe or Turkey & Pumpkin Recipe.

10. Max & Molly Zero Bugs

Max & Molly Zero Bugs.

Max & Molly Zero Bugs. Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

It’s about time flea and tick products got hi-tech! This certainly looked interesting. It’s an ultrasonic tick and flea repeller that you can hang from your dog’s collar. According to the website, it’s splash proof and protects for up to 10 months.

Thumbnail: Photography by Melissa L. Kauffman.

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Pet Tech Products: What We Have, What We Know And What’s Next

Technology changes our lives at light speed and, as we saw at this year’s annual technology extravaganza Consumer Electronics Show (CES), it’s changing the way we care for our pets, too. Pet tech products can help pet owners better care for and engage with their pets.

Pet owners are looking for pet tech products that let them treat pets like family members

A happy dog on a computer.

Pet tech products are innovating our relationship with our furry friends. Photography ©ImageDB | Thinkstock.

“The phenomenon of pet tech is supported by the trend toward the humanization of pets,” says Joseph Hassan, a former pet health publicist turned inventor of Nitey Leash, the first LED-Fiber Optic Leash. “Pet owners look for products that treat pets as the important members of the family that they are. As part of the family, pet owners want products that have a direct impact on their own lives as well as the lives of their pets!”

For example, pet owner and millennial Violetta Finch works in the health industry. She uses various health technologies to manage her lifestyle and wants the same for her dog.

More than 50% percent of dogs are obese, which leads to health problems like diabetes, and heart and skin problems. Finch’s pooch is one such “hefty” dog, so she uses a pet feeder programmed to dispense three small meals a day of low-calorie food and uses an app to order more food when she’s running low.

“By using a pet feeder, I can automate this task and still be a responsible pet parent,” says Violetta. “This is extremely convenient in the morning when I want to sleep late, get home late from work or [if] I’m busy on the weekend.”

Pet tech products that monitor activity and head off health problems

Other pet tech products in the marketplace enhance the lives of pets and their people by monitoring activity and heading off health problems.

David Vigil introduced Tagg, a pet GPS tracking device named after his German Shorthaired Pointer, to the marketplace six years ago. Although he sold Tagg, Virgil, a former Qualcomm senior executive who knows a thing or two about tech trends, believes that other companies will continue to invent monitoring devices to help pets live longer and enjoy an improved quality of life.

Innovations like the pet feeders and other monitoring devices specifically speak to millennials who want improved communications, media and digital technologies to streamline how they manage their lives and the lives of their pets.

It’s no surprise that humans want to automate their pets’ lives

Petrics is a Smart Bed for dogs.

Petrics is a Smart Bed for dogs. Photography courtesy Petrics.

Edward (Ed) Hall of Petrics, the inventor of the world’s first Smart Bed, believes that the human approach to smart technology will trickle down to pets and supports this theory with the example of how the coffee maker automated our mornings.

Everyone now just expects to be able to set the coffee machine to brew their morning joe at the same time, every day, at the right temperature. This type of convenience and innovation will trickle down to the lives of pets and their owners as technology expands.

“If you are automating your life with smart products, it is not surprising that you will automate your pet’s life as well when products become available,” Ed says.

The 4 categories of pet tech products

Ed breaks down today’s pet technology into four categories

  1. Health and wellness
  2. Convenience
  3. Interactive toys
  4. Safety

Health and wellness: Ed’s CES-award-winning, first-of-its-kind Petrics Smart Bed with activity collar tracker, is an example of a pet tech product that contributes to the longevity of a pet, so it’s in the health and wellness category. The Smart Bed extends a pet’s life by tracking weight, rest periods and activity levels. With a thermostatic climate control, the Smart Bed is controlled with the Petrics mobile app and works with existing smart-home technology.

Convenience: The ever-improving Litter Robot is an example of a convenience tech product. The Litter-Robot is an automatic self-cleaning litter box with a patented sifting system that automatically separates waste from clean litter. It offers improved convenience for every cat household because no one likes to clean the litter box.

Interactive Toys: As we all know, playtime activities are important and interactive toys now allow pet parents to check on and stimulate their furry family members from afar. For example, Pebby is a smart robotic ball that comes with a built-in 1080p camera, a laser pointer, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities so owners can connect and play with pets remotely. Pebby is controlled and maneuvered via a smartphone.

Safety: Lastly, Nitey Leash is a pet safety innovation that uses fiber optics and LED Technology to illuminate a dog leash completely and continuously from your hand to your dog. Nighttime or early-morning walks in the dark are safer because you and your dog are visible to traffic from a quarter mile away.

Additionally, Ed reminds us that if an item is made to benefit a human and can eventually be used to benefit a pet, it will be made. 3D printing is a perfect example. More and more veterinarians worldwide are turning to 3D printing as a way to make customizable prosthetics or orthotics for pets and wild animals.

Pet tech products and smart homes

Wagz is a smart collar that tracks a few different things about your dog.

This smart collar is just one of the many smart home products offered by Wagz. Photography courtesy Wagz.

2018 may just be the year of the smart home since devices like Google Home, Alexa and Amazon Echo have become more mainstream and artificial intelligence has become more sophisticated. In fact, Zion Market Research predicts smart home technology will reach $53.45 billion by 2022 and pet tech devices that “connect” will surely be part of this marketplace.

“One product is not enough,” says Terry Anderton, a serial entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Wagz, a company of veterinary experts, technologists and dog lovers who created a line of pet tech products that can be implemented into a smart home.

The company has a suite of products that includes an intelligent tracker to monitor the whereabouts and safety of your dog. With precise location tracking, virtual fencing, distance monitoring, pre-recorded messages and on-demand alerts, this GPS-enabled collar provides dog owners with valuable data and insights and invaluable peace of mind. Additionally, The Wagz Smart Feeder and the Smart Dog Door will be released in 2018 and eventually the system, like other smart home appliances, will even use your pet’s data to order food so that you never run out.

“The connectivity in the Smart Collar can activate the other products and save data and habits,” says Terry. “So, the technology works as a complete system communicating and sharing information.”

Wagz recently signed a licensed partnership with BLACK+DECKER™, a global brand leader in power tools, outdoor yard card equipment and home products, to introduce their new line of connected pet products under existing BLACK+DECKER channels. 

Collecting pet data with pet tech products

As technology advances and the market continues to explode with wearable devices that enable more and more self-monitoring, the quantifiable self has emerged. People are increasingly relying on technology to gather data on their life and habits and, naturally, they want to understand — and quantify — their pets, too.

Why collect pet data? The more information we have about habits and health, the more likely we can make changes, improve our pet’s health, reduce veterinary costs and improve the quality of life for our pets.

When buying pet products and gadgets, it’s important to consider how it will impact and help you better care for your pet. For example, by creating a custom profile on your pet, based on your dog specific characteristics, Ed’s company, Petrics, uses a patented algorithm to identify ideal food options and ranks them with a Food Matching Ratio Score. This allows a pet owner to choose the healthiest food for your dog.  The algorithm also identifies movement and sleep patterns so pet owners can head off potential health problems and thus, reduce veterinary costs.

Eventually, pet owners will see more products or groups of products that work together to share valuable data with your veterinarian and service providers to improve the pet’s health and longevity.

Slowly building the pet tech sector for the future

“Although the pet tech sector has mass potential, the space is moving slowly,” says Ed of Petrics.

He notes that in many cases, potential players and investors are sitting back and watching at this point. Ed cites the shutdown of Voyce, a pet health monitoring business, due to lack subscribers. Best Buy is one of the few major retailers that has jumped in to sell pet tech products while other retailers, especially brick and mortar shops, are afraid to sell these more expensive products.  Furthermore, pet industry organizations and associations are slow to embrace pet technology because they do not understand how the marketplace will benefit them, Ed explains.

How can pet tech products become more affordable and widely used?

Ed recognizes that when veterinarian associations, pet insurance companies and others work together, the space will explode. If veterinarians better understand the products and how the data collected can be used to keep pets healthier longer, he believes they will recommend them to their clients.

Joe from Nitey Leash is worried about the price of products further contributing to slow growth. “Most pet tech products come with large price tags that few pet owners can afford. Innovation isn’t cheap, but I believe we can make more cost-effective products and we look forward to introducing more affordable options for the majority of pet owners.”

Ed believes prices of most pet tech products can be reduced when inventors, organizations, retailers and investors work together and more retailers are on board to sell these products. 

Pet tech products give a sense of community

Terry from Wagz predicts that pet tech products will bring about a sense of pet community. In the next five years, he sees vets, dog walkers and other pet service providers leveraging his Wagz infrastructure, including apps, to streamline pet care. Robust systems will give dog owners one central place to manage their pets — from finding a dog walker or pet-friendly restaurant, to giving healthcare providers insights into the analytics and trends of your dog’s activity and nutrition.

“Our products will be industry-changing for humans and service providers, and life-altering for pets,” Terry explains.

What could be the downside for our growing pet tech industry?

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological and physical interactions of people, animals and the environment.”

In other words, no matter how busy we humans get, a personal robot will never and should never replace the mutual physical and emotional benefits of a good snuggle with your pet.

But, of course, technology brings us other choices. While pets are great, our modern, hectic lives make it increasingly difficult to give our four-legged creatures the love and attention they deserve. If a person does want to enjoy a furry companion every so often but not worry about feeding, walking or cleaning up after a pet, the Sony robotic dog, Aibo could be just the tech invention to meet the need.

Aibo is a white plastic puppy about 30 centimeters long with flapping black ears and a cute little wagging tail. Billed as a pet that behaves like a real dog, Aibo uses artificial intelligence (AI) not canine instinct, to learn and interact with his owner and surroundings. The upgraded Aibo is now packed with an array of sensors, cameras, microphones and internet connectivity, as well as far more advanced AI backed by cloud computing to develop the dog’s personality.

If you want puppy love without the mess, there is always a way to have it thanks to technology.

The future of pet tech products

Although we have seen a drone walking dogs, don’t be surprised if, in the next 15 tears, translators let your personally communicate with your pet about choices for food, dog parks, play dates, the best time for a walk and more; all of which are activated in a smart home, activated by a self-charging collar. Imagine a dog-walking business with K9 robots to care for and play with your pets when you can’t be there.

But most importantly, the technologies that produce data will be increasingly sought after because they allow us to give our pets the highest quality of life and help them live as long as possible in their smart, new, techie world.

Tell us: What are your favorite pet tech products? What’s a product you would love to have for your dog?

Thumbnail: Photography ©Rawpixel | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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8 Social Media Tools You Can Use Blog Hop

Every profession has tools of the trade and pet bloggers and social media influencers are no different. For this week’s blog hop, here’s a go-to list of tools you can use right away for blog posts, social content, and more.

SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS FOR BLOGGERS

8 Social Media Tools You Can Use

  1. Let’s talk keyword research: How much time do you invest in doing it before a blog post? Here’s what you need to know and some tools to use for keyword research.
  2. Instagram: Brands with business profiles can now schedule organic posts. Here’s how to make Instagram easier.
  3. Lead Magnets: Do you use lead magnets in growing your email list? Part of my 2018 strategy is to take my email newsletter to the next level. If you want to join me, one of the first things you can do is learn about lead magnets here.
  4. Twitter Analytics: Measure engagement and learn how to make your Tweets more successful, so says Twitter. I look at Twitter analytics a few times a month and use social media schedulers to show me other analytics. Twitter analytics is free. Determine what is working and when. More Twitter Tips.
  5. Blogging Editorial Calendar: Trello is a free app that is available both online and with a syncs-in-real-time iOS app for your mobile device.  Trello is based on a system of boards, lists, cards, labels, and checklists so that your editorial calendar is sharp, clean, and organized.
  6. Social Media Landscaped Images: Landscape by Sprout Social makes sizing social media images so much easier. It is a free tool that is web based.
  7. What the Font: Sometimes you see a font and fall in love. Want to know what that font is? WhatTheFont works on both iOS and Android to help identify fonts!
  8. Instagram Stories: Fastory is like Canva for Stories!!! You can make the stories, share them easily, in three simple steps. Free version means the Fastory watermark will be on your end result.

SEO tips

Learn from the Pros

Go face to face with social media experts this year at the BlogPaws 10th Anniversary Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, April 18-20. We’re a 3-day conference jam-packed with educational sessions led by top professionals, networking with influencers, a busy exhibit hall, exciting brand events, more influencers, and lots of pets. Get your tickets for BlogPaws 2018.

The Wordless Wednesday Blog Hop

BlogPaws offers year-round interaction, activity, community and more to learn, earn, and connect. Visit and leave comments on other blogs to make some new buddies and maybe some new followers. You can add the button to your post and/or to your blog sidebar, either by cutting and pasting the image or using the HTML code below. Need help? Here it is:

How to Join a Blog Hop – BlogPaws Tutorial Video: Step by step help to get you started:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHBXxIwwgGE]


https://www.linkytools.com/thumbnail_linky_include.aspx?id=284781

Image:  By golubovystock/ Shutterstock

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Dogster DIY: Make a Valentine’s Day Doggie Box And Cards

Break out your crafting tools because this Valentine’s Day you’re going to make a cute doggie box and some canine-themed cards. You can do it!

Doghouse Valentine’s Day box

What you’ll need

  • Unfinished wooden birdhouse (available at craft stores or online)
  • Acrylic paint (any colors you wish)
  • Wood stain (optional)
  • Small foam brush
  • Small paintbrush
  • Colored cardstock paper
  • Tape or glue

Choose a birdhouse design with a slot to slide valentines through (like the picket fence on the house I used).

Instructions

Paint the birdhouse with a small foam brush or paintbrush. I used three paint colors: white, black, and cement. For the roof, I used wood stain, but you can use acrylic paint.

For the dog, bone, and heart cutouts, I used a Cricut machine and the Create a Critter cartridge with colored cardstock paper. You can also draw them freehand or use a basic stencil. Tape or glue them onto the doghouse.

Doggie valentines

Now that your dog has a place to put his valentines, make a special one just for him.

What you’ll need

  • Colored cardstock paper
  • Tape or glue
  • Self-adhesive wiggle eyes
  • Black pen

Instructions

You will need the following shapes:

  • 3 hearts: 1 small (nose), 1 medium, 1 large
  • 2 circles: 1 large (head) and 1 small (mouth)
  • 2 curved triangles (ears)
  • 2 semicircles (paws)

Draw shapes freehand or use a basic stencil. Cut and assemble. Tape or glue pieces together. Use the self-adhesive wiggle eyes for eyes. Decorate dog with pen or embellish with almost anything (markers, paint, glitter, stickers). You can also change the shapes, add spots, and create different dog breeds. Get creative!

Editor’s note: Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our February/March issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

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Dug Up at Dogster: 11 Sweet Valentine’s Day Dog Products For Your Beloved Pup (and You!)

Yes, I love my husband and he’s great and all. However, he’s not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. He’s one of those V-Day haters who say, “That’s not a real holiday.” Of course, I beg to differ.

My pups on the other hand LOVE to celebrate every day and every moment, especially if it involves goodies for them. They are so much fun to do something with and for on Valentine’s Day. Dogs are so easy please that anything from homemade biscuits to an extra-long walk will make them happy.

Because all kinds of dog products cross my desk, I thought it would be fun to gather those that are Valentine’s Day and/or heart themed for you or your pup, in case you want to go for that extra something-something.

1. Orbee-Tuff Nooks by Planet Dog

Orbee-Tuff Nooks by Planet Dog.

Orbee-Tuff Nooks by Planet Dog.

Boredom busting with heart! My dog Tampa Bay loves his little red nook with a heart-shaped hole, perfect for stuffing in his favorite treats. It’s a great enrichment toy, plus it’s easy to clean (which I love). These bouncy, buoyant and durable balls are minty, too. Available with other colors and hole shapes, too: the green peace sign, a yellow smiley face, a royal blue star and a red star, a green shamrock and a lime green paw. Retails for $13.95; planetdog.com.

2. Planet Dog’s Holiday Love Ball

Planet Dog's Holiday Love Ball.

Planet Dog’s Holiday Love Ball.

Planet Dog has a second item on my list and this one just screams Valentine’s Day, especially for the ball-loving dog. He’ll have lots of fun playing with the pink or red Love Ball, made of the Orbee-Tuff material that’s bouncy, chewy, buoyant and durable. Comes in two sizes: 2 ½ inches and 4 inches. Retail from $13.95 to $17.95; planetdog.com.

3. Blue Dog Bakery’s Love Bites

Blue Dog Bakery's Love Bites.

Blue Dog Bakery’s Love Bites.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Blue Dog Bakery has come out with its grilled chicken and cheese-flavored Love Bites treats. My dogs totally dig the Blue Dog Bakery treats, particularly the Gingerbread flavor that came out during the holidays. What’s so great about these soft and chewy Love Bites is that they are only 3 calories per treat. There also made with human-grade ingredients but without corn, soy, wheat and no artificial colors or preservatives. You can find them at PetSmart, retailing for $4.99; bluedogbakery.com.

4. The Sweeter Vest by BossPup

The Sweeter Vest by BossPup.

The Sweeter Vest by BossPup.

LA-based BossPup just recently came across my radar with its stylish clothes for dogs. I heart the Sweeter Vest, and think it makes the perfect pup outfit for Valentine’s Day. It comes in black hearts, which would look sharp on my two boys, and also in pink hearts. Comes in Large (20 to 25 pounds) and XL (25 to 30 pounds). Retails for $30; bosspup.com.

5. Rhinestone Bling Necklace Dog Collar by Canine Styles

Rhinestone Bling Necklace Dog Collar by Canine Styles.

Rhinestone Bling Necklace Dog Collar by Canine Styles.

If you believe the only proper way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with something that sparkles, you’ll love this beauty! Really, it speaks for itself! Comes in sizes 10 (6.5 to 9 inches neck size) through 14 (9.5 to 13 inches neck size). Retails for $25; caninestyles.com.

6. Canine Styles’ Polar Fleece Track Suit

Canine Styles' Polar Fleece Track Suit.

Canine Styles’ Polar Fleece Track Suit.

This sweet and snuggly item is guaranteed to keep your furry one toasty warm during the cold month of February and the rest of winter (especially if it’s a long one). It’s the Valentine’s Day gift that keeps on giving back to your pup. Light pink and cranberry are two of my all-time favorite colors, and both are guaranteed to look great on your dog, plus give off that sweet-on-you vibe. A little too sweet for you? I’ll let you in on a secret — it also comes in navy and in brown. Available in sizes 8 (up to 4 pounds) through 18 (23-28 pounds). Retails for $50; caninestyles.com

7. The Pink Follard Pattern Nesting Bed from Canine Styles

 

The Pink Follard Pattern Nesting Bed from Canine Styles.

The Pink Follard Pattern Nesting Bed from Canine Styles.

I don’t know about your dog, but my two pups have five dog beds and they use them all, plus my own bed. But I think I need to move them on up to this ever-so-fine nesting bed that not only will they love but also it will look great in my home office. Comes in two sizes: 24 inches (for up to 16 pounds) and 32 inches (up to 45 pounds). Retails for $225; caninestyles.com

8. Tattooed Mom handmade wool sweater by Chilly Dog

Chilly Dog Tattooed Mom Handmade Wool Sweater.

Tattooed Mom handmade wool sweater by Chilly Dog.

Honestly, I love this sweater. It’s got that retro tattoo look, plus shows the world how much your dog loves you and keeps him warm at the same time. Available in sizes XXS to XXXL. Retails for $29.99; chillydogsweaters.com.

9. Hearts and Flowers & All Hearts collars from Up Country

Hearts and Flowers & All Hearts collars from Up Country.

Hearts and Flowers & All Hearts collars from Up Country.

I change my dogs’ collars at least twice a year, if not more. They’re both boys, so a collar is a simple way to bling them up. These tender heart collars have great patterns for boys and girls, showing that your dog is both stylish and loved. Both collars come in: wide (1 inch) or narrow (5/8 inch). The Hearts and Flowers collar also comes in teacup (1/2 inch). You can also get harnesses, key rings and leads in these patterns, plus there is a sweater in the Hearts and Flowers pattern. Retails from $12 to $23; upcountryinc.com.

Don’t worry; I’ve got a couple of Valentine’s Day items for the dog lovers out there:

1. Paws4Love Chocolates

Paws4Love Chocolates.

Paws4Love Chocolates.

Everyone recognizes the Russell Stover box of candies. It’s practically synonymous with Valentine’s Day. This year, Russell Stover selected the nonprofit organization Red Rover, which helps pets in crisis, providing emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education, to feature on limited-edition chocolate bars and signature heart-boxed chocolates. Candy bars retail for $1.49 and can be found at Wakefern stores. You can buy the 1.75-ounce hearts for $1.29 at AAFES, Rite Aid, Target, Publix, HEB, Hy-Vee, Savemart, Big Y, Food City, Dierbergs, Giant Eagle and Woodmans. Go for the bigger chocolate heart at 3.5 ounces for $2.99 at Kroger, Albertsons, Savemart, Woodmans, Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, Wakefern, HEB and Bilo.

On top of that, Russell Stover will donate $50k to Red Rover, allowing Red Rover to not only help animals in crisis but also support its mission to strengthen the human-animal bond. Red Rover created a Paws4Love contest to promote the human-animal bond. To enter, create a video that shows how much you love your animal friend. There will be prizes, which include lots of chocolate (for humans, not dogs, of course!) and other great items. The contest runs through 2 p.m. PST on February 14th.

2. The Ugly Pugline, Wilson the Pug in Love

The Ugly Pugline, Wilson the Pug in Love.

The Ugly Pugline, Wilson the Pug in Love.

For those of you who enjoy a great love story for Valentine’s Day, we’ve actually found a dog-themed one for you. Check out The Ugly Pugline, Wilson the Pug in Love by Wilson the Pug with Nancy Levine, published in January 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing. When Wilson falls in love with Hedy, a Mastiff puppy, challenges and comedy await! This book reminds us all that when it comes to love, it’s what inside that really counts. Retails for $14.99 and available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and indieboundo.org.

Tell us: What Valentine’s Day dog products do you love? What are you gifting your dog or the dog lover in your life this V-Day?

Thumbnail: Photography ©Fly_dragonfly | Thinkstock. 

Stay tuned for more from Executive Editor Melissa L. Kauffman on Dogster.com’s Dug Up at Dogster column and on social media with #DugUpatDogster. 

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8 Dog Products We Love Right Now

Executive Editor Melissa L. Kauffman compiles some of our favorite dog products out there right now.

1. Chilly Dog Tattooed Mom Handmade Wool Sweater

Chilly Dog Tattooed Mom Handmade Wool Sweater.

Chilly Dog Tattooed Mom Handmade Wool Sweater.

What better way to show the world that your fur baby loves his mama than to get him or her a tattoo — a sweater one, of course. The Tattooed Mom handmade wool sweater comes in sizes XXS, XS, S, M, L, X, XXL and XXXL. Starts at $29.99. Chilly Dog; chillydogsweaters.com

2. Zuke’s Enhance Functional Chews for Mobility

Zuke's Enhance Functional Chews for Mobility.

Zuke’s Enhance Functional Chews for Mobility.

Your fur baby’s joints will feel the love with Zuke’s Enhance Functional Chews for Mobility. Made with antioxidants and supplements to support joint health and free of grain, gluten, wheat, corn and soy. Available in chicken and peanut butter flavors. Other Functional Chews include Calming, Cognition, Digestion, Fresh Breath, Immune Support and Shiny Coat. $9.99. Zuke’s; zukes.com

3. Solvit Premium Bucket Seat Covers

Solvit Premium Bucket Seat Covers.

Solvit Premium Bucket Seat Covers.

Adore bringing your dog along for the ride but not so in love with the fur that comes along, too? It’s an easy fix with Solvit’s Premium Bucket Seat Covers, designed to fit all automotive bucket seats. Easy to spot wipe or machine wash. $59.99. Solvit Products; Solvitproducts.com

4. J Clay Pottery Urns

J Clay Pottery Urns.

J Clay Pottery Urns.

Your pup stays forever in your heart even after moving over the Rainbow Bridge. These handmade, beautiful urns from j clay pottery are truly as unique as your special fur baby. They can be custom stamped or hand inscribed with a name/date/symbol or special sentiment. Sizes available are XS, S, M, L and XL. $60 to 180. j clay pottery; jclaypottery.com

5. UpCountry Hearts and Flowers collar and the All Hearts collar

UpCountry All Hearts collar.

UpCountry All Hearts collar.

Show the world how much you love your dog with these unique collars from Up Country. The Hearts and Flowers collar and the All Hearts collar come in several widths: wide (1 inch), narrow (5/8 inch) or teacup (½ inch — Hearts and Flowers only), plus a variety of lengths. Harnesses, key rings and leads also available in these patterns. Sweater available in Hearts and Flowers. $12 to $23. Up Country; upcountryinc.com

6. Saltsox Waterproof Dog Booties

Saltsox Waterproof Dog Booties.

Saltsox Waterproof Dog Booties.

Protect your pups’ footsies with Saltsox’s high-performance, weatherproof booties designed to keep your dog’s paws warm, dry and protected. Available in five sizes: XS, S, M, L and XL. Choose one of four colors: Arctic Blue, Ice Fire Red, Blizzard Black and Glacier Bay. Get them in a pack of four or in singles. $14.95/single and $54.95/set. saltsox; saltsox.com

7. Safe Paw Traction Magic

Safe Paw Traction Magic.

Safe Paw Traction Magic.

The last thing you want is for your happy on-the-go pup to slip and slide down the steps or walkway this winter. Safe Paw’s Traction Magic is safer for pets than salt. Simply spread it on icy surfaces to create a gritty, non-slip, high-traction surface for people, pets and tires. It’s both safe to handle and won’t harm pets. $24.95. Safe Paw; safepaw.com

8. The Farmer’s Dog Subscription Made-to-Order Meal Plan Designed by Vets

The Farmer’s Dog Subscription Made-to-Order Meal Plan Designed by Vets.

The Farmer’s Dog Subscription Made-to-Order Meal Plan Designed by Vets.

If the way to your dog’s heart is through his stomach, you’ll get there fast with The Farmer’s Dog. It’s not just a food, but rather a subscription made-to-order meal plan designed by veterinarians. Meals are customized using smart technology and proprietary algorithms based on your dog’s individual profile. Made up fresh, the pre-portioned food ships directly to customers ready to serve. Starts at less than $3/day for smaller dogs. The Farmer’s Dog; thefarmersdog.com

Tell us: What dog products do you love right now?

Editor’s note: This article appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you! 

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