Dog Decor Ideas for the Pet-Lover’s Home

Dog Decor Ideas for the Pet-Lover’s Home

When I first adopted Bitsy, I excitedly shopped for all of her dog gear. I bought a crate, dog bed, and copious amounts of toys. After awhile though, I noticed that the dog items stuck out like a sore thumb-or paw! (A little dog humor.) I began to noodle on ideas for making these items blend a bit more seamlessly into my home. Bitsy can still have all her needs met while my home does not scream DOG. 

Dog Crate Decor

Whether your home is modern chic or has a classic style, you can find dog crates that will work with your decor. Crates usually take up a considerable amount of space and typical ones don’t usually blend with the aesthetic of most rooms. I did a bit of research and found some functional and stylish looking creates.

Check out Wayfair for crates that provide proper ventilation and comfort for your pet but also double as furniture. There are some pretty col ones on Denhaus too. But some of those are going to cost you!

And of course, if money is no object, design your own fancy dog crate at Maricela Sanchez! Okay, I adore my dog, but this may even be too indulgent for me!

Cavalier King Charles in dog bed

Dog Bed-Your Pet’s Refuge

One of Bitsy’s favorite places to hang is her bed. (That is, when she is not on mine!) There are plenty of bed options that can fit with your home decor. Be sure to make sure that the cushions are washable!

Restoration Hardware offers a fantastic upscale bed collection for our canine friends. Some of them are on sale over the holidays (hint, hint!) LL Bean also has a great collection of comfy and casual-looking dog beds.

Food Storage

Rather than just store Bitsy’s dog food and treats in regular plastic containers (which are totally functional so if you are happy with those, go for it!) I think I will invest in some cool looking containers from Harry Barker. (Barker, heh heh, get it!)

Un-leashed

When I first adopted Bitsy and was still negotiating my new schedule now that I had a pet, I would often be walking her at the last minute before I left the house. As a result I would often misplace her leash because I did not have a specific place to put it every time we returned from our walks. Once I decided to store Bitsy’s leash on a hook right beside the front door, it made my life a lot easier. It’s a simple and probably obvious solution, but I know it has saved me time and stress!

Dog Gates

I found several dog gates on www.dynamicaccents.com that are reasonably priced, functional, and blend into home decor. They have a variety of options so it’s easy to find one that fits with the feel of your home. Plus you can specify the size which is pretty cool.

Toys, Toys, and More Toys

If you’re anything like me, I spoil Bitsy a bit too much. Not only do I buy her toys, but she receives them as gifts so there is a large amount of these items in our home. The Container Store has lots of storage containers – go figure! For some pretty neat ideas, check out this Bark Post. You will like these! 

I would love to hear feedback about how you made your home more pet-friendly. Any other suggestions you can think of?

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Best Dogs on Instagram

Best Dogs on Instagram

They say a dog is man’s best friend and I couldn’t agree more. As an avid dog lover, I follow several Instagram accounts to get my canine fix. I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorites to share with all of you.

marniethedog instagramMarnie The Dog | Handle: marniethedog
Marnie is a 15 year old Shih Tzu adopted from a shelter 4 years ago. She is bicoastal and spends her time between New York and LA. (This little dog is more well traveled than I am.) Marnie is totally quirky and looks like she would be a blast to hang with at the dog park. One of my favorite photos is of Marnie staring at the camera with her head cocked to the side and tongue hanging out of her mouth, looking like she’s ready to down the bottle of hot sauce next to her.

itsdougthepug instagramDoug the Pug | Handle: itsdougthepug
The self proclaimed “King of Pop Culture.” This account is hilarious. Apparently Doug really likes to eat because there are photos of him with pies, French fries, chicken nuggets, and even champagne. (I think the champagne is just for show but you can never be too sure.) Doug even has his own store where you can purchase Doug merchandise. This dog is winning at life.

tunameltsmyheart instagramTuna | Handle: tunameltsmyheart
Tuna is a chiweenie with a heart of gold and a talent for melting the hearts of others. He’s also quite the well traveled pup and his owner documents all of his adventures. There is a particularly charming photo of Tuna in a suit looking dapper yet skeptical.

toastmeetsworld instagramToast | Handle: toastmeetsworld
Toast is a King Charles puppy mill rescue. (Big thumbs up for adopting rescues!) Toast has no teeth and her owner describes her as a “cute hobo”. She is indeed cute as is her pretty owner who is quite easy on the eyes. (Why don’t these two go to my dog park?) One of my recent favorite photos of Toast is of her relaxing on a blanket in the sun, tongue out, clutching a copy of Amy Schumer’s new book.

lacorgi instagramGeordi La Corgi | Handle: lacorgi
Geordi is an athlete, model, and food enthusiast. This dog is the epitome of charm and class and looks about 10 times better in a bow tie than I do. He also can rock a button up shirt and pair of glasses. As if this didn’t make him cool enough, past Halloween costumes include characters from Dr. Who and Star Trek. I really want to hang out with the dog. (Don’t get jealous Bitsy; there’s plenty of love to go around.)

chloetheminifrenchie instagramChloe the Mini Frenchie | Handle: chloetheminifrenchie
Chloe is a mini French bulldog who lives in New York City. She likes travel, fashion, and charity.  Chloe is certainly what some call “a fashionista” (going out on a limb here…) A recent photo of Chloe shows her wearing a leather jacket and a necklace on her head. She’s also apparently a pup who can really get into the holiday spirit! There’s a great photo of Chloe wearing a lion costume from a previous Halloween and she recently had her first visit to Santa of the season. Chloe is a canine who certainly knows how to live life to the fullest.


cartercanines instagram

Carter Family Dogs | Handle:
This account features a whole family of dogs! There is Oscar, the 9 year old golden retriever, Charlie a black lab who is also 9, Paddy, a one year old chocolate lab, and the baby dog of the family, Finn, a 6 month old black lab. This family clearly has their hands full but the dogs seem to love each other. The brood hails from Yorkshire and enjoys spending time outdoors.

dogsofinstagram instagramDogs of Instagram | Handle: dogsofinstagram
This account has 3.6 million followers and brings together various dogs of Instagram! Some are famous and others are lesser known but they are all special and awesome. This is one of my favorites because it brings a lot of favorites together in one place! They even have have a book available. (That’ll be a great stocking stuffer for my dog loving friends!)

Did you guys have a favorite account out of that ones I recommended? Any suggestions for ones that I should check out?

Introducing a Second Dog to Your Home

Introducing a Second Dog to Your Home

 

I’m a proud dog dad to Bitsy and lately I’ve been considering adding second pooch to our little family. Prior to adopting Bitsy I did a lot of research about training dogs and adopting rescues; making informed decisions is important to me. This decision is particularly important because it affects Bitsy as much as it affects me. I reached out to friends and read up on the subject and I thought it would be helpful if I discussed it with my readers.

Bitsy the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Is Your Pet Ready for a New Dog Friend?

In the excitement of adding to your pack, this simple question is sometimes forgotten. Some dogs just don’t socialize much with other dogs or just prefer the company of humans. If you don’t frequently take your dog to the dog park or know how your animal interacts with other dogs, it’s time to find out! Find a friend with a very dog-friendly dog and introduce your animal in a safely fenced neutral territory. If the introduction goes well, you can move on to step 2!

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Pick the Right Pooch!

If your current dog is an aggressive alpha dog, it’s best to look for an animal that will defer to the “top dog.” Conversely, if your dog is more submissive, adding a dominant dog could be an ideal choice.

Also think about other common dog traits. Do you have an older dog or one that likes to lounge around? Adopting a high-energy playful puppy could be quite annoying to your current dog. Find an animal whose temperament matches your dog’s personality better.

Does your dog prefer playing with males or females? If you know your dog has a preference, considering adopting from that gender. Oftentimes, dogs will enjoy playing with the opposite sex.

Another consideration is the size of the dogs. Even if your big dog is really friendly, she could accidentally harm a much smaller dog. It is possible to have canines of two different sizes, but it takes extra management and awareness on the owner’s part.

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Making the Introduction!

Once you’ve determined that your dog is ready for a new friend and picked an animal that seems like an ideal fit, it’s time to make the introduction! It’s best to introduce the two animals before you make a firm commitment to adopt dog two in case things don’t go exactly as planned.

Enlist the help of a friend and bring both dogs into the space on leashes. Each of you should have treats and calmly enter the space with your respective dogs. Once the dogs notice each other, calmly begin feeding them and make sure they keep the focus on you. Once they start to notice each other, start feeding them more slowly until they are focused both on you and the other animal. Watch carefully for body language. The dogs may be anxious or hesitant, playful, excited, fearful, or aggressive. If either animal gets overly worked up, such as lunging, frenzied barking, or snapping, stop the interaction immediately.

If the dogs seem relaxed and happy, drop the leashes while still at a distance and allow them to greet each other. To be safe, leave the leashes on for a few minutes in case they get aggressive and you need to pull them apart. Once it’s clear that they are getting along, call them back so you can remove the leashes and allow them to interact without getting tangled.

Once you’ve observed them playing together safely, bring them both into your home. You must carefully observe their interactions over the next 24 hours so that you can stop unwanted behavior before it escalates into fighting.

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Set Yourself Up for Success!

You have done much to prep for the arrival of this second dog in your home so you are probably breathing a sigh of relief! It’s great to celebrate the success thus far but make sure you set yourself up for success in the future. Remain vigilant throughout the entire “getting to know each other” process.

Equip your home with baby gates or find a way to separate the dogs when you’re not home to supervise. Also make sure to feed them separately so there are no territorial issues over food.

Remember that your new dog needs more attention than an established dog, but it’s also important to spend quality time with each pooch individually and together.

At this point, I am not sure whether I will be adding another dog to our pack, but after doing the research I feel confident that I will be able to handle it if I decide to get Bitsy a playmate. What do you all think? Do you have experience with multi-dog households or other suggestions on how to make it work? Please share your stories of triumph or disaster. I would love to read your comments below!

Is Your Pooch Prepared for Winter?

The northeast got a surge in warmer temperatures this fall, but I’m not fooled. I know frozen puddles are just around the corner and I’m already pulling out Bitsy’s winter sweaters for our morning walks.

It made me wonder what other steps dog owners take to keep their furry friends warm throughout winter.

sherpa dog bed
Bitsy rests on her favorite sherpa dog bed.

Warm Bedding
Bitsy sleeps with me at night so she stays plenty warm, but during the day she is on the floor. I’ve tried different dog beds and she currently likes her fleece mat. Lately I’ve been looking at heated beds and stumbled across this self-heating product from The Lakeside Collection. The reviews are mostly positive and at less than $20 I will happily give it a try. I’ve seen others online that cost much more so I will test this one first.

Heated Dog House
As an indoor dog, Bitsy only scurries outside to join me. In fact she is kind of pathetic if left on the back deck alone. She peers through the door with eyes pleading for me to let her in.

I know some dogs like to hang outside for longer periods to sniff the air, listen to the sounds of the neighborhood, and protect their territory from squirrels and chipmunks. In that case, an insulated dog house may be a worthwhile investment. I cannot recommend any brand, though I think Wal-Mart has a pretty decent selection.

 

Dog Booties
I have friends who trained their dog to wear boots during winter walks. It took several sessions at home, a few minutes at a time and gradually increasing, to get him used to the feeling it created on his paws. He eventually warmed to the idea and I imagine was grateful when traversing icy sidewalks!

Bitsy’s little paws are pretty furry and we keep our walks shorter on those icy bitter days. I avoid walking her on salted driveways and sidewalks. If we come upon one, I just scoop her up and carry her to a safe spot. I found this small company called Hound & Tail that has a great entrepreneurial spirit I’ve considered buying from. However, there are plenty of companies that sell doggie boots with positive reviews.

dog holiday sweater
Bitsy poses in her new holiday sweater.

Sweaters for Warmth and They Look Good Too
My favorite way to keep Bitsy warm once winter kicks in is to put her in a sweater. She has several and is a good sport about wearing them. I think she secretly likes the positive attention everyone gives her whenever she gets dressed for a walk! Some folks say their dogs act embarrassed when wearing clothes, but it’s not like I dress her up in a tutu. And if you know anything about the spirited (and vain) Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, they love positive attention. Mine is a total camera ham.

What products do you use to keep your dog warm once temperatures plummet? Please add a comment below!