4 Reasons I Don’t Write Holiday-Themed Blog Posts

DIY: Just one reason male pet bloggers are different

Thoughts on bunny ears, being a male pet bogger and the value of authenticity

With the arrival of every holiday, which seem to come faster every month, the vast majority of my pet blogging peers write holiday-themed posts and with each one they write, I feel a small pit in my stomach. I experience fleeting moments of guilt, shame, failure or some combination of the above. By not writing these types blog posts I am the odd-man out. That must say something negative about me as a blogger. Or does it?

During these moments, I wonder quietly to myself and, on occasion, out loud to my husband: Is there something wrong with me?

Am I a lesser blogger because I don’t throw bunny ears on my dogs and then craft an amazing post full of keen insights or crafty DIY projects with awesome photos?

Am I kidding myself with this whole pet blogger thing? I ask because, if one takes a closer look at the pet blogging community today, holiday-themed and pet-centric DIY posts are simply what a pet blogger does these days- or so it seems.

But the cold, hard truth is this: I’m not that kind of blogger. (more…)

5 Ways You Make Deaf Dog Parents Crazy

5 tips you should know when meeting a deaf dog.

For some pretty obvious reasons, living with a deaf dog is different than living with a hearing dog. Communication is an important example. Humans instinctively depend on our voice to communicate but since our deaf dogs can’t hear us, we forge ahead and learn to use our hands to talk to them. There are also safety and other considerations, but in the grand scheme of things, these are minor adjustments that we must make in our daily lives. Different, yes. Difficult, no.

That said, there are a few WTF moments when sharing your life lived with a deaf dog that are the complete opposite of awesome, experiences that deaf dog pet parents bond and commiserate over, and the cold hard fact is that it is usually YOU- people who don’t live with deaf dogs- that drive us to drink.

This article originally appeared on Victoria Stilwell’s Positively.com. You can read this along with other articles I’ve written for Victoria Stilwell by looking here.

You don’t mean it. We don’t hold it against you, or if we do, it is only momentary and we soon forgive you. Yes, we may laugh at you behind closed doors and an empty box of wine, but we don’t do it in a judgmental or mean-spirited way. Our anecdotes often begin with, “Bless her heart, she actually said..(insert some ridiculous statement about deaf dogs)” or “That dingbat believes that deaf dogs…(insert urban legend), bless his heart!”

So today, I’m sharing a few of these moments as a learning opportunity. My fellow deaf dog pet parents will probably nod in agreement. Perhaps they’ll even chime in with their own experiences in a comment below. Consider these the next time you meet a deaf dog. The liver of every deaf dog parent thanks you.

5 ways you make deaf dog pet parents crazy.Please STOP trying to prove that our deaf dog can hear!

Seriously, stop it. There is no need to clap your hands, raise your voice, whistle a tune or stomp your feet. He’s deaf. I promise you that he cannot hear.

I have spent every day with him for the past three and a half years. If he could hear, I would be the first one to know. I also wouldn’t be flailing my arms around like a crazy person trying to get his attention from across the dog park.

When you clap your hands inches from his ears and he turns his head, it’s not because he heard you putting left palm to right, it’s because he felt the air swooshing against his ears, eyes and face and he wants to know what it is. If he turns to look when you stomp your feet on the floor, he is responding to vibrations on the floor, not the sound you made.

Please STOP pitying my deaf dog!

My deaf dog was born deaf. He doesn’t miss the sound of birds, trucks or his pack mates barking at the hot UPS guy- because he’s never heard these things. Ever. Dogs, like humans, can’t miss what they don’t know.

He doesn’t feel different or weird, and he doesn’t need pity. He is not defective or broken in any way. He’s happy, healthy and knows dozens of hands signs. He knows love, the joy of car rides and he’s kinda famous in pet blogging circles. He is perfect just the way he is, the way nature made him.

For dogs who lose their hearing suddenly and unexpectedly, there is certainly a period of adjustment. In these rare circumstances, patience, support and training help these dogs adapt to a silent world. Give them time to adjust; they will be just fine.

Deaf dog facts and mythsPlease STOP saying that deaf dogs are more aggressive!

I’m not sure how this rumor got started, but it’s just not true. In fact, studies prove the exact opposite.

Yes, deaf dogs, if not properly trained and socialized, can startle if touched from behind or while sleeping. But most dogs, given the choice, will choose flight over fight every time. Responsible deaf dog pet parents work on preventing or limiting startle responses. We do this not only to prevent a fear bite but also to instill a calm confidence in our dog. We want him to feel safe and comfortable in every situation. By teaching him that human touch is not to be feared, he is less likely to startle when touched unexpectedly.

Here are some scientific facts about deaf dogs and aggression that you should know.

The correct way to meet a deaf dogPlease STOP thinking deaf dogs are dumb!

By the time Edison was six-months old, he knew twenty different hand signs. Twenty! He now knows upwards of 40. Everything I say to him- every question, every instruction- is done with my hands. Are you hungry? Do you want water? Potty? Walk? Walk faster. Run! Car ride? Cookie? Sit! Lay down. Stay. Come here. Go there. Snuggle. Kiss. Drop it. Get down. Go play. No. Yes. Quit. Are you crazy? No bark! I love you! Go to bed. Good boy! And the list goes on.

Not only does he know all these and more, for many of these commands, he knows two different hand signs! I hate to make this a competition, but how many verbal commands does your hearing dog know?

STOP thinking I’m special because I adopted a deaf dog!

When I met Edison, we had an instantaneous connection. We locked eyes and we both knew something magical had just happened. Anyone who has bonded with a dog knows this powerful feeling.

I didn’t do anything heroic by scooping him up in my arms and falling in love. I simply accepted him for who he was. I made adjustments to my life to meet his needs. I allowed him to challenge me to think differently, to communicate differently and to advocate differently. I did what anyone who has ever loved a dog does: I welcomed him into my heart and my home, without reservation, and I worked to meet his needs. Nothing more, nothing less.

Whether it is deafness, food allergies, behavioral issues, arthritis or any number of other medical conditions, we all make choices and adjustments to improve our dogs health and well-being. For some, it is administering daily medication. For others, it is paying special attention to the food we offer them. We all do this for our dogs in some way at some point in their life. For deaf dog pet parents, it is learning and teaching hand signs and paying extra attention to our dog’s unique safety needs.

Though I do appreciate the sentiment, I’m not special. I’m just a responsible pet parent who adores his dog beyond words. My dog just happens to be deaf.

Help! My Puppy is Deaf. Now What?

What to do if your dog is deaf.

Tips to Help First Time Deaf Dog Pet Parents Stay Calm and Get Ready to Train

So you’ve adopted the perfect puppy, the one with a smiling, squishable face, a tail that wags at the speed of light and that intoxicating puppy breath! You’ve stocked up on bowls, holistic food, a crate, bed, leash, collar and name tag. You’ve filled a box with toys of all sorts: stuffy, rubbery, squeaky and bouncy. You’ve even erected a huge wooden stork in the front yard, painted blue, announcing, “It’s a BOY!” . You and yours have settled on a name. Let’s say, for example, Bingo is his name-o.

This article originally appeared on Victoria Stilwell’s Positively.com. You can read this along with other articles I’ve written for Victoria Stilwell by looking here.

After a few days at home, Bingo is acclimating to your family and home. He is learning the rules of where to sleep, when to play and where to poop. Well, actually, at his age, he is probably learning where NOT to poop, but still, everything is going well. It feels like a dream. You’ve found your canine soul mate, you’re bonding quickly and his cuteness quotient is off the chart.

However, after a few days of puppyhood bliss, you start to notice little things. Things that just seem off. Not right. Different.

He doesn’t jump up excitedly, ready to play, when you wake up in the morning like most puppies do and when you call his name he doesn’t wake up. If you leave the room while he’s focused on licking peanut butter out of a Kong®, he freaks out once he realizes that you’re not in the room, running helter skelter through the house, frantically trying to find you. If you come up behind him, whistling or calling his name, he doesn’t look up and he startles when you touch him.

The thought creeps into your mind: What if he is deaf?
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How to Teach Your Deaf Dog to Watch You

Why “Watch Me” Is The First Hand Sign Every Deaf Dog Should Know

Training your deaf dog to watch you

When communicating with a deaf dog, we need to flip two switches in our simple human brain.

First, we have to stop being lazy and relying on our voice. We need to remember that speaking is not enough because, well, he can’t hear us! Sure, talking to our deaf dog while we sign changes our facial expressions and alters our body language, both of which provide nuanced, supplemental information that our deaf dogs use to better understand what we are saying, but, generally speaking, dogs aren’t very good at reading lips.

Second, and perhaps more important, we have to remember that our deaf dogs can’t hear us if  they can’t see us. As obvious as that sounds, I find that I frequently have to remind people to get their deaf dog’s visual attention before they begin signing. If you’re signing to the back of your dog’s head, he won’t know that it’s time for a walk or, better yet, a cookie. To make sure that he understands it’s time to head to the door or lick his lips in anticipation, we need to make sure he’s looking at us. (more…)

High Protein. Balanced Calories. Carnivore Approved! #WeruvaDog

#WeruvaDog Caloric Harmony is Carnivore Approved! #sponsoredI am a rotational feeder which means, among many other things, I am always seeking more options for my dogs’ food bowls. Kibble, canned, raw, dehydrated; I alternate each of these food types into Edison & Co. diet. Every day, I offer something new for them to sniff, lick, chew, gnaw, or in the case of Galileo, gulp down whole!

When choosing food options, there are a few boxes I’m looking to check off:.

  1. High levels of real meat protein
  2. Holistic fruits and vegetables
  3. Safe manufacturing protocols
  4. A brand whose good reputation precedes them

This post is sponsored by Weruva® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help create awareness about the launch of Weruva’s new Caloric Harmony™ and Caloric Melody™ Dry Dog Food but I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers. Weruva is not responsible for the content of this article.

Protein:

Technically speaking, dogs are classified as omnivores. Anatomically and physiologically, their bodies are designed to derive nutrients from meat and plant-based ingredients. Whether this is an adaptation that occurred over many years, a consequence of domestication and living in close quarters to humans, who knows. There are certainly lots of strong opinions out there supporting different views on the subject.

But you know what? When it comes to feeding my dogs, I know this much to be true: they love meat. Love love love, as in my boys and meat go together like rama lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong.

By feeding a diet high in protein, I am meeting their desire for meat and more meat while also ensuring that their caloric intake is properly balanced. The Caloric Harmony line of dog food from Weruva is crafted so that 80% of your dog’s calories come from animal-based protein.

#WeruvaDog Caloric Harmony is Carnivore Approved!Fruits, Vegetables and Plants:

The Caloric Harmony line of dog food also includes some important fruits, vegetables and plant-sourced nutrients. Caloric Harmony includes two such ingredients that stand out:

  1. Seaweed is added to provide natural prebiotic action. Prebiotics support healthy digestive function, especially in the small intestines.
  2. The pumpkin that is added is an excellent, all-natural source of fiber which also helps keep your dog’s digestive system healthy and active. As well, pumpkin provides key antioxidants and essential fatty acids.

Manufacturing Process:

We live in a time when pet food recalls are seemingly more common than any time before. In a digital world where knowledge is power and information sharing on social media can explode like wildfire, pet parents are learning about recalls faster and more frequently.

There are many reasons for pet food recalls, from unsafe ingredients, questionable processing procedures, honest to goodness human error and the list goes on. Other people better qualified than I have written volumes about pet food recalls. Here is what the FDA says.

One way Weruva ensures that the are providing the safest nutrition they can is by manufacturing their dog food in a BRC Global Standards approved facility. This is a voluntary comprehensive training, audit and certification process that ensure pet parents confidence in Weruva’s food safety program and supply chain management.

For me, a company that chooses to go the extra mile and extra buck to provide food that is manufactured in the safest way possible speaks volumes about Weruva’s values and ethics.#WeruvaDog Caloric Harmony is Carnivore Approved! #sponsored

Options:

Weruva’s Caloric Harmony line of dog food is available in 3 different flavors, with each one free of grains and potatoes.

Chicken Dinner with Pumpkin

Chicken, Turkey and Salmon Dinner with Pumpkin

And Edison’s favorite, Venison and Salmon Meal Dinner with Pumpkin

Weruva also offers a unique pumpkin supplement you can add as a topper to his meal. Check out the Pumpkin Patch Up Supplement here.

Weruva Caloric Harmony and other Weruva pet products can be purchased from Pet360.

This post is sponsored by Weruva and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network. I am being compensated for helping create awareness around the brand new Caloric Harmony and Caloric Melody premium dog food product lines, but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Weruva is not responsible for the content of this article.

Deaf Dog Health & Safety Tips To Help You #LoveYourPetEveryDay

Deaf Dog Nutrition Tips because you #LoveYourPetEveryday #Sponsored by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food.

We live in an age when seemingly every week folks are celebrating “National Something-Or-Other Day”. Some of these events seems silly, some feel like a ploy straight out of a PR or marketing playbook and others, well gosh, National Drink Wine Day sounds like any random Tuesday for me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need Facebook’s prodding or permission to enjoy a liter of fermented grape juice with my morning toast.

That said, National Love Your Pet Day is right up my alley. I suppose it’s true that I don’t need a special day marked on my calendar to encourage me to love my dogs- I do it naturally and without hesitation. Most pet parents probably feel the same. Yet…

I do think that setting aside a day to remind us to slow down is important, a time to focus on our dogs, listen to them and put a little extra effort into providing them what they need. There are so many ways to show your deaf dog that you love him, from healthy mealtimes to stimulating enrichment games to stuffed and squeaky toys begging to be dissected by Dr. Dog. National Love Your Pet Day– Saturday, February 20th, to be precise- is a great time to talk about giving our deaf dogs some extra and much-needed love. (more…)

Fleas Suck and Here’s Why

Five Reasons Your Dog Hates Fleas and Why You Should Too

Untitled design (7)

This week, Facebook told me it has been five years since I found Darwin running loose in the candy aisle at CVS. Five years!

In the years since, many things have changed: I’ve graduated from school, my husband and I have gone from engaged to married and we have adopted three more dogs, two of whom are deaf. The deaf dogs in particular have been a catalyst to many more changes, both personally and professionally. One of the biggest is that I now spend my days writing and advocating for deaf dogs, and not just the ones that lay at my feet, prodding me every few hours to step away from my desk, their noses nuzzling me out of my search engine and into the sunshine for fun and games- or at least poop duty.

But back to Darwin, my gift with pharmacy purchase… (more…)

How to Feed Your Dog Raw Protein Without the Muss or Fuss #MixItUp

Stop renting your freezer to your dog with freeze-dried raw meal enhancers!

Raw Feeding made easy with Instinct® Raw Boost® Mixers! #MixItUp #sponsored

Raw Feeding.

Most pet parents have heard of it, but I’m not sure that we all understand what it means. Is it as simple as those two words sound? Is this approach to dog wellness something any pet parent can follow? In short, yes and yes!

Though not every pet parent has done extensive research into the nitty gritty details of raw feeding this doesn’t mean that she or he isn’t capable of incorporating raw protein and other healthy ingredients into his or her dog’s life.

Raw feeding as a nutritional philosophy has been getting a lot of attention lately. However, like many other nutritional buzzwords, most raw food discussions have been been limited to ticking off a list of benefits without explaining the reasoning behind it.

As important as it is to know that raw feeding can improve a dog’s skin and coat, improve his immune and digestive systems and increase energy levels, I’m not sure that a conversation limited to these potential benefits helps pet parents make thoughtful, informed decisions- until they are placed in context. If a pet parent understands why a raw food diet may offer real health and wellness support, he or she can then begin to choose the right raw rood product or approach.
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Why My Deaf Dog is My Hero #MyPetIsMyHero

How a deaf dog changed my life forever and became my hero.

#MyPetIsMyHero contest by Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food. #sponsored

This post is sponsored by Chicken Soup for The Soul Pet Food and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network. I am being compensated for helping create awareness around the Brand and new product launch, but Dog & His Boy only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Chicken Soup for The Soul is not responsible for the content of this article.


I’ve been thinking a lot about hero dogs, what that term means and how a dog becomes one. You see, I recently learned that Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food, in their on-going commitment to celebrating the unique relationship between people and their pets, is featuring stories about hero dogs on their television show, “Hidden Heroes”.

While exploring this contest and learning more about the movement that Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food is cheering on, I started to think about my deaf muse Edison and his story- no, our story– and just how much I owe him.

My husband will tell you that the connection between Edison and me is palpable and one that doesn’t fit neatly into words. Our relationship cannot be explained without sharing my personal childhood experiences, for they are so tightly intertwined that one cannot be understood without the context of the other.

You see, I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I wrote of my story here. My experiences have left me with deeply rooted trust issues, which I battle everyday.

But this isn’t about me. This is about Edison. This is about a deaf dog who came into my life unexpectedly and changed my path forever. This is about a deaf dog who has helped me heal and in the process became a hero. My hero.

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Don’t Sweat the Mud with Baby Wipes for Dogs! #BayerExpertCare

There’s a very good reason that I need a good grooming product
designed to remove mud and dirt, and here’s why.

Keep your white dog white with Skin Cleansing Wipes from Bayer® Expertcare® available exclusively at PetSmart®. #sponsored

Foster, like all my boys, is a bully-breed dog which means, among many other things, he loves going outside and rolling in dirt, digging for rocks and eating mud. This also means he comes back inside filthy, leaving muddy foot prints on the floor as he makes his way to the couch where he rubs himself clean. (more…)