Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hot and Spicy Foods Day

In celebration of International Hot and Spicy food day, we look at what foods are safe for dogs. Specifically, can you feed your dogs foods that humans would find spicy.

First, what makes a food spicy? It is the capsaicin oil in the food that binds to receptors in our mouth that give us the “hot” sensation.

According to this article in Psychology Today, dogs have around 1700 taste buds, significantly fewer than humans – with approximately 9000.

So, their ability to taste is much more diminished than humans, but what about capsaicin?

The Canine Journal lists Spices (including those containing capsaicin) as an irritant, and not a toxin. 

Based on this information, yes, dogs can taste spices, they probably can’t taste it well, and of ingested will be more irritating than dangerous, but since dogs wouldn’t naturally gravitate toward eating spicy foods it wouldn’t be a good idea to feed it to them.

As always, before feeding things to your dog please consult your vet.

If you encounter an emergency situation, call poison control immediately.

There are a number of hotlines available, at different costs, but the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline can be reached at 1-888-426-4435.

The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours per day and 1-855-764-7661. 

For day to day peace of mind, consider having a Pet First Aid kit, such as this one by the AKC, available.

These common plants can be toxic to dogs

Recently in the news was the story of two bears that had mysteriously died. As it turns out the bears had consumed some shrub leaves that are toxic to bears.

What plants do we innocuously believe are safe to have around dogs that may cause them harm.

As it turns out, the ASPCA has put together a surprisingly long list of indoor and indoor plants that may cause poisoning if ingested.

The complete list can be found here.

The list is not meant to be exhaustive and underscores the importance of having an emergency poison control numbers available in case of emergency.

There are a number of hotlines available, at different costs, but the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline can be reached at 1-888-426-4435.

The Pet Poison Helpline is available 24 hours per day and 1-855-764-7661. 

For day to day peace of mind, consider having a Pet First Aid kit, such as this one by the AKC, available.

Hands-On With The Details Pet Activity Link (PAL)

Disclaimer: I was part of the Kickstarter campaign which didn’t result in funding, but the nice people at R2PPet sent out a free PAL to everyone who did support them.

Keeping active and getting regular exercise are important for people and pets alike. With the explosion of human activity trackers (like the FitBit, Wifi connected scales, calorie tracking apps) came the existence of several pet trackers.

I backed the Kickstarter campaign because I was looking for an affordable tracker. Some trackers, like the Whistle, offer more features like live-GPS tracking, but all I needed was something to monitor steps, track rest time, and nutrition. At under $50, the Details Pet Activity Link fit the bill.

It arrived in a very nice retail box, with everything I needed to get started including a battery, and a link to the required free app. The production devices come in seven colors, but I received a blue one. The box contains the PAL unit, a Quick Start Guide, and a FCC statement sheet. I was initially disappointed in the lack of information, but found that the documents answered all my questions and did get me started quickly. As of this writing (5/10/16), the accompanying website was still under development and didn’t have an FAQ.

Setup was very easy. Literally, you just have to push the button on the back of the unit using a paperclip and tracking starts; you are good to go.

Details Pet Activity Link (PAL) Unboxing Box Contents

It is well designed, and they advertise it as “weatherproof”, but are careful to say it is not waterproof. The device is made from rugged yet light plastic, and the battery compartment seals with a rubber gasket.

Details Pet Activity Link (PAL) Battery Compartment Seal

Attaching the unit to your dogs collar is very easy and the band loops back onto itself to keep it securely connected.

Details Pet Activity Link (PAL) Battery Double-back Fastening to Dog Collar

The app download was fast, and discovered the device quickly. There is a battery monitor in the app showing the remaining charge. The battery is not rechargeable, but it is a common watch battery you can buy at Best Buy or most department or jewelry stores. The expected charge is expected to last four months. Aside from the internal components, there is a red LED inside the housing that flashes when data is transmitting from the device.

The sync speed is good at about 45 seconds to a minute, but since so little data has to be uploaded to the phone, I expected it to be shorter. I chose a time just before bed, or while watching TV when my fuzzy buddy wasn’t moving. The phone has to be in range and the unit was always within 5 feet of my phone during a sync.

The app is useful, colorful and well-designed. It allows you to set nutrition, activity, and rest goals, and when data is available, shows your pets percentage to each goal. I would have liked to see a “Sync Now” button rather than having to choose a date, select one of the three modes (rest, activity, nutrition), then pressing Sync. You are provided with weekly graphs with percents and totals.

After a successful sync, you get a fun “Award” screen showing progress. I couldn’t figure out the best way or time to download the data. Sometimes it wouldn’t return any data despite our daily walk, other times the data would seem a bit high. I don’t know if their proprietary algorithm needs some tweaking or if the PAL unit needs to be under the chin to record accurately (sometimes the unit would be on the side of the neck).

There are several other trackers out on the market including the Whistle, FitBark, and the SafePet Bark & Activity Monitor. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and fills a niche. From the basic PetSafe product which has more of a pedometer feel and PC but no mobile device support, to the mid-range FitBark and Details PAL (approximately $70 & $30 respectively) to the high-end Whistle (approximately $80 plus monthly subscription) there is a tracker out there for all budgets and desires.

Wordless Wednesday BlogPaws

Welcome to everyone from the BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday Hop!

I haven’t been told that I look like my dog, but here is a picture of him with one of his favorite toys. Dexter gets pretty focused on his rope moose. Sometimes he brings it over to tug and fetch, other times, he walks away with it, preferring to chew on it by himself.

He recently needed a new flea and tick collar, so I did a writeup on that experience here.

Happy Hopping!


Dexter playing with his moose toy

Check out the rest of the BlogPaws Hop at the link below!
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Woman posing with dog

National Love Your Pet Day

February 20th has been declared National Love Your Pet Day.

Its a day to give some extra love to your pets, who bring you happiness through the year.

According to the 2013 – 2014 American Pet Products Association‘s National Pet Owners Survey, this is the breakdown of pet types in American households:

Dogs – 46.7% (of households)
Cats – 37.3%
Freshwater Fish – 12%
Birds – 5.7%
Small Animal/Reptile – 5.7%
Horse – 2.3%
Saltwater Fish – 1.5%

No matter what kind of pet you have, today is the day to give them an extra hug/pet, share a picture of them online with the hashtag #NationalLoveYourPetDay, give them an extra treat, or just spend time snuggling with them.

Scroll through the National Love Your Pet Day feed here: 


Photo credit: nenetus at

Referee and puppy player congratulated on double touchdown during Animal Planet PuppyBowl

UberPuppies: Cuddles On Demand Partners With Animal Planet PuppyBowl

Uber has partnered with Animal Planet and the SFSPCA to raise awareness of rescue dogs and adoptions by offering to bring puppies on demand to your home or workplace.

All the puppies address available for adoption and are sure to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Watch the interview on CNBC

Uber had done a similar event in Canada and internationally.

The PuppyBowl will be broadcast on February 7th on Animal Planet at 3pm Eastern, 2pm Central.

Dan Schachner, referee of the PuppyBowl, recently did an AskMeAnything on Reddit. Check it out for a look behind the scenes.