Monday, February 28, 2011

Pumpkin Apple Muffins for Your Dog

You’ll be surprised at how much your dog will enjoy this delicious vegan treat.

Pumpkin Apple Muffins

3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 Tbsp. ground flax
1 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
1/2 cup pumpkin
2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
11/2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, flax, hemp seeds, cinnamon and baking soda. Add applesauce, pumpkin, oil and water, mixing well. The batter will be thick. Scoop batter into the muffin pans and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before serving. Store in the fridge.

Makes approximately three dozen mini muffins.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Petition for an Off-Leash Park in Kitsilano

Did you know there are 15,000 dogs in the city of Vancouver? 2,144 dogs are registered in Kitsilano alone! That’s not including 1,505 in Dunbar, 825 in West Point Grey, and 557 in Arbutus Ridge; all adjacent communities.

Did you know that Hadden Park, the designated off-leash dog area, is at the very north end of Kitsilano and there’s no other park available in Kits?

Did you know as dog-loving owners, we get fined for having a dog off leash in the park, although the dog or the owner has done nothing to harm or cause a disturbance to the park, the other park users, or other dog owners?

OUR STATEMENT: To provide a common area, where dogs can play and learn to socialize with others dogs and people. To develop a beautiful, well-maintained space open to all dog lovers and friends who are willing to uphold the park’s rules and restrictions. To view this park as a community project, in partnership with Kitsilano Community, designed to satisfy the needs of dog-owners and non-dog owners alike.

OUR REQUEST: We, the petitioners, request a specific time for off-leash dogs in the order of preference of Connaught Park and/or the Arbutus walk area. We request times between 5-9AM and 5-9PM daily.


Please sign the Petition at

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Letters of Loss and Love: Helping Animal Lovers Through Their Grief

When Sharon Discorfano lost her beloved beagle, Pushkin, she found one of the best ways to help herself cope with his loss and her overwhelming grief was to write letters to him.

Sharon took her idea and expanded upon it, launching her new website, Letters to Pushkin, that offers people an opportunity to use letter writing as a constructive tool in dealing with the loss of a loved one, whether an animal or human.

Sharon’s site includes tips on how to get creative and a place to write and post your own letters to lost loved ones. I went into the site, my head and heart were overwhelmed by the love that each letter writer had for their pets that had passed away. This is a beautiful and heartwarming way to share your grief and to help yourself through a very difficult time.

You can visit Letters to Pushkin on the web here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Love on a Leash Employee Profile: Ellen Pratt

We love introducing you to the wonderful, loving, qualified staff behind Love on a Leash: putting a face behind the person who is caring for your dog while you are away.

Meet Ellen Pratt.

Ellen has loved dogs from childhood and fondly remembers the dogs her family had while she was growing up.

Ellen started dog sitting for Love on a Leash in the spring of 2009 and has opened the door to her home and her heart to the dogs that come into her care.

Ellen’s specialty? Cozy snuggles at home and long walks at Jericho Beach. Ellen has many repeat “dog” clients who adore her and the time they spend with her while their parents are away on vacation.

In November 2010, Ellen completed and graduated from DogSafe Canine First Aid’s Level I and II Program. This is now a baseline for Love on a Leash’s skilled caregivers because we are always looking to upgrade our skills and learn new tips and techniques when it comes to caring for dogs.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Our Community: Hand Crocheted Doggy Sweaters!

Marianne Greaves has years of experience with design and along with the passion to start her own business, she has been creating incredibly adorable hand-dyed and hand made crocheted, doggy sweaters.

Marianne’s wonderful chihuahua/miniature pinscher cross has been her “fit model” for these special sweaters as her little dog needed something that didn’t go over her head, but rather buttoned in front. Marianne designed her sweaters with buttons around the neck and body to make it easier to put them on and take them off.

The sweaters are made with natural fibers including cotton and bamboo. Many are hand dyed and then crocheted into a one-of-a-kind creation. Prices start at $25 for small sizes with extra charges for special orders and larger sizes.

You can visit Marianne at her website.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Healthy Resolutions for Your Dog!

Though we’re well into 2011 now, it’s not too late for you to make good on the resolutions you and your dog might have made coming into the new year.

Having a dog is a big responsibility. As a dog owner you are responsible for giving your dog the best possible life. Basically, it is up to you to do everything you can to keep your pet happy & healthy.

What can you do to ensure your dog has the best possible life? Here are a few tips:

1) Monitor your dog every day. Be aware of his daily routine. Is he eating? Drinking? Acting normal? Is he playful? If the answer is no to any of these questions, you need to figure out why. If he appears sick, have him checked by your veterinarian.

2) Make sure he is getting plenty of exercise. Take your dog for a walk and give him time to run around and get some exercise each and every day. If you don’t have the time, this is when a dog walker comes in handy. If your life is busy with work and other commitments, a daily dog walker will ensure your dog gets out and spends a good hour every day running, playing and socializing with other dogs. It alleviates boredom and helps keep your pet fit and trim.

3) Make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to play. Play with your dog every day, but also ensure your dog gets to play and socialize with other dogs. This makes for a well behaved and well-adjusted dog you can take out anywhere. As above, a daily dog walker can help you with this.

4) Feed quality food. Don’t skimp on the quality of your dog’s food. Feed quality food, whether raw, kibble, organic, etc., and base the type of food on your dog’s age and activity levels.

5) Monitor your dog's weight. As little as 20% extra weight can put your dog at a much higher risk of developing life threatening diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease -- same as humans! My dogs struggle with their weight -- they always have, but with quality food and loads of exercise I try to keep their weight under control.

6) Vaccinations. Yearly vaccinations, or yearly Titer Testing, which is a blood test to determine if your dog’s antibodies from previous vaccinations remain high, help prevent common diseases such as parvovirus. I Titer Test my dogs yearly, as I do not believe in yearly vaccinations, but keep my dogs Rabies vaccinations up to date as we travel back and forth to the U.S. Also, Vancouver has a huge skunk and raccoon population that can be carriers of rabies.

7) Treat for parasites. Your vet can provide you with preventative medicine, prescribed monthly, to help prevent fleas, parasites and heartworm disease. As recommended by my vet, I use Interceptor from April to November and Sentinel from December to March to prevent any of the above parasites from annoying my dogs.

These are simple and very basic tips that we often don’t practice for our own health and well-being. We don’t exercise enough, we don’t eat healthy enough and we wonder why the pounds pack on and we feel lethargic. Same goes for your dog! A regular walking program can add years to your dog’s life and in the cold, wet rainy months when it feels like you just can’t squeeze a decent walk for your dog into your already busy day, a reliable and responsible dog walker, such as you can find here at Love on a Leash, will be worth their weight in gold!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Best Trips With Your Best Friend: Cougar’s Crag

“The coolest place your dog can take you!” is the motto at Cougar’s Crag, a self-styled “extreme B&B” located on southern Vancouver Island.

Cougar’s Crag B&B is one of Vancouver Island’s premier dog-friendly accommodations. It offers the casual ambience of a lodge, the quiet intimacy of a bed and breakfast, and the pristine beauty of some of Vancouver island’s most magnificent coastal wilderness, all only 30 minutes west of Victoria.

You and your dog will have access to parks with hundreds of hiking trails, surf-swept beaches and coastal rainforest and the Crag Guest accomodation features fully-equipped split-level loft units, private decks and sensational breakfasts. And you can enjoy your delicious breakfast (plus an evening snack) in the dining room of the main house or in the seclusion of your own space.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Reading is for the Dogs: Tammy’s February Picks

A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to help Dogs Everywhere, by Jana Kohl (Fireside/Simon and Schuster) is a beautiful book about a dog named Baby who is a puppy mill survivor. The book has great photos of Baby with celebrities, politicians and animal lovers. When you see the love Baby shows throughout the photos you see that she has not lost her hope in humanity. Baby shows how much love dogs have to give and how much they enrich our lives. I bought this book because of the adorable less than perfect-looking dog on the cover which compelled me to flip through it in Chapters and I couldn’t put it down once I got home.

This is a heartwarming book, full of hope, certain to make you laugh and cry all at the same time and written by Janna as a way to educate people to the suffering inflicted by our fellow humans.

Andy Rooney's quote, “the average dog is a nicer person than the average person” is rather sad but true! Buy this book to share with family and friends who are animal lovers as a wonderful gift... but most of all don't forget to spay and neuter your pets.

Peter’s Poofect Pet by Tina Powell (BigFatPen) is an adorable story that Tina Powell wrote for kids but that will appeal to the dog lover in all of us.

In the story, Peter wants a pet more than anything in the world. But Peter’s parents have a list of reasons why they don't want a pet in the house. Their prime reason? Pets poo!

In this hilarious book about pets, parents and poo, Peter knows just what to do!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Recipe Corner: Mongrel Munchers

From Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way cookbook.

Not only are these cookies delicious, the recipe is so darn simple, it almost makes itself... you barely have to lift a paw! For years Three Dog Bakery’s Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye have used variations of this recipe: whether for a TV baking spot or a Humane Society fundraiser. Whip up a batch today and let the munching begin!

Mongrel Munchers

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups quick rolled oats
½ cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1/c cup unsweetened applesauce
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. degrees.

Stir together the flour, oats, and peanuts in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the banana, applesauce and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and stir to form a stiff dough.

Roll the dough into walnut-size balls and flatten on an ungreased baking sheet with the back of a spoon or your hand. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden.

Cool on a rack completely before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or wrap well and freeze for up to 2 months. (Thaw before serving.)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hats for Dogs. Hats for People.

Bad Dog Hats is a pet accessories company in Seattle, Washington, that has a huge secret under its Tiny Top Hats: they are created specially for dogs! Tiny Top Hats are one of the hottest new fashion accessories: and not just for dogs, but for people, too.

I came across the Bad Dog Hats website while preparing for a Love on a Leash special event and I instantly ordered a gorgeous little number for my own dog, Casey (shown at left).

Casey, my Bichon Frise, looked particularly chic when she sported her Bad Dog Hat. Casey’s hat was a size medium, red crushed velvet top hat decorated with a simple, elegant black bow. As you can see from the photo, it was truly unique and adorable!

You can choose from a wide variety of hat colors and add-ons, such as bows, flowers, veils or Ace of Spades tucked in the brim. Owner Rischa says her hats are made in sizes that fit all dogs well, from teeny tiny to extra large berets or top hats in small, medium and large and I know from experience that when your dog wears one of these magnificent hats people smile!

Antifreeze Warning

This is the time of year when antifreeze appears in abundance and dogs are attracted to its sweet, syrupy aroma and the taste of ethylene glycol, the highly toxic chemical component of antifreeze. Although antifreeze is not a “food” that your dog can ingest, I thought it prudent to mention how fast and furious small amounts of ingested antifreeze can kill your beloved dog.

Each year more than 10,000 dogs and cats in North America are killed by licking up antifreeze. Death occurs in 88 percent of antifreeze cases, according to the BC SPCA. Early symptoms include staggering and disorientation: trouble keeping their balance, like a bit of a drunken sailor. Besides staggering and lack of coordination, disorientation and vomiting are common. Chances of survival increase with immediate veterinary treatment. Emergency vet clinics can provide the antidote. Keep antifreeze up and out of harm’s way -- for your dog’s sake!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Foods that are Toxic to Dogs!

We all know that chocolate is highly toxic to dogs and can, in fact, lead to death.

It’s not just the high fat content found in chocolate (which is horrifically bad for dogs) but rather caffeine and theobromine. These two compounds are nervous system stimulants and can be toxic to your dog in high amounts. Levels of caffeine and theobromine vary in different types of chocolate with baking and dark chocolate having the highest levels of these toxic stimulants.

Symptoms can start with vomiting and diarrhea but in higher doses of poisoning can quickly elevate to restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and excessive panting.

Heart rate and blood pressure levels can also increase and severe cases may lead to seizure. Avoid feeding all chocolate at all times to your pet. If you happen to have an abundance of this delectable human treat around, err on the side of caution and don’t leave any around where your dog can get into it.

But chocolate isn’t the only thing that can be very bad for your canine companion. I am guilty of feeding many of the following foods to my dog over the years without realizing how toxic they can be to her kidneys, liver and central nervous system. Toxicity usually shows up immediately, but does not always show up right away and can accumulate and cause internal organ failure down the road contributing to earlier death than necessary.

Do not take chances! Do not feed your dog the following foods:
• Alcoholic Beverages: this seems like a no brainer, but many animals die each year of “ethanol” toxicity, the component found in alcohol
• Apples, Apricots, Cherries, Peaches and Plums: not the fruit but the stems, seeds and leaves contain a cyanide type compound.
• Avocados: avocados contain a toxic compound for dogs called “persin” which is a fatty acid derivative.
• Baking Powder and Baking Soda: both of these leavening agents can cause electrolyte abnormalities, congestive heart failure or muscle spasms.
• Chocolate: as above.
• Coffee (grounds and beans): Dogs that eat coffee grounds or beans can get caffeine toxicity.
• Fatty Foods: Fatty foods are the biggest cause of pancreatitis.
• High Fat Dairy Products: Another cause of pancreatitis and obesity.
• Grapes and Raisins: Both of these foods, in large amounts, will result in kidney failure.
• Macadamia Nuts: Again, the toxicity is a mystery, however it has been noted that as few as six to forty nuts have caused severe toxic signs.
• Moldy or Spoiled Food: Moldy or old food is no better for your dog than it is for you!
• Nutmeg: can be fatal. The toxic compound or component is unknown, simply avoid at all times.
• Onions: Dogs and cats lack the enzyme needed to properly digest onions. Feeding them is likely to result in gas, vomiting, diarrhea or severe gastrointestinal distress.
• Xylitol (sugar sweetener): Dogs that ingest this product may have symptoms including sudden drop in blood sugar, weakness, lethargy, loss of coordination, collapse and seizures.
• Yeast Dough: Bloat, the deadliest and one of the most hideously painful of all conditions for your dog, is highly possible.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Paws and Pray for Canine Parishioners

A Beaconsfield, Quebec church has truly gone to the dogs.

In 2009 Christ Church Beaurepaire, outside Montreal, began a monthly church service that includes dogs. Called Paws & Pray, the communion service features bread and wine, as well as doggie treats and bowls of water for the four-legged parishioners.

The church’s minister, Michael Johnson, said he always enjoys doing a yearly pet blessing, and was quite open to a suggestion made by an animal rights’ activist that dogs be included in a church service. Johnson claims this sermon is to “Help recognize the value of dogs.”

Feedback from members has been positive. The minister feels that bringing dogs to church may help reach a group of people who would not attend otherwise. Johnson says he hopes dogs feel welcome and honored. Johanne Tasse suggested the idea and believes this can have a profound impact. “Animals deserve our care and respect,” said Tasse, who is president of the Companion Animal Adoption Centres in Quebec. “If we can bring dogs to church, how can we turn around and abuse them?” This incredible woman believes the deplorable state of animal welfare in Quebec requires people to take a closer look at how animals impact our lives. I honestly believe that we should all look at how our companion animals, dogs in particular, enrich our lives each and every day. “Dogs help us so much and we need to recognize them as being an important part of our lives,” says Tasse.

Amen to that. I could not agree more and would love to see a Paws & Prayer offered in our own fair city of Vancouver.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How to Pick a Dog at the SPCA

Every home really does need a Harvey!

And as much as we love this video, even canine marketers less talented than Harvey will bring you so much love and joy!

Bitchi Bling Exclusive Dog Accessories

This is a tale of two sisters who love their dogs more than anything. Sisters Alicia and Aimee Keller wanted to make their dogs feel even more adorable by making them some glamorous accessories to share with the world. With a passion for their pets and a love of fashion, Bitchi Bling was created!

These gals believe that every pet deserves a little bling and nothing is more beautiful than bling in their step and a sparkle in their eye. There beautiful doggy accessories are an expression of love that makes their pets feel as marvelous as they look.

Alicia and Aimee believe pet fashion should feel as good as it looks, while standing up to the test of time. Their mission is to create fun, unique accessories for pets with two major goals in mind: comfort and quality. The gals have even developed a more “economical” line, called Ruff Rhinestones, for those that are looking for bling on a budget.

But Bitchi Bling is definitely the crème de la crème. The perfect bling for the Jet Set. Bitchi Bling’s collar and bracelet sets are handcrafted using only the finest materials: genuine, quality leather and gold plated hardware. What gives Bitchi Bling pieces their incredible sparkle? The use of Swarovski Cystals rather than ordinary rhinestones. When light hits a Bitchi Bling piece they sparkle like diamonds. And we all know that diamonds are truly every girls’ best friend!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Calling the Poo Police

The dog may be man’s best friend, but a new tool to detect the owners of dogs who don’t clean up after their pooches may end up being the best friend of homeowner associations and strata complexes.

BioPet Vet Lab of Knoxville, Tennessee, a division of EDP Biotech Corporation, introduced PooPrints to encourage pet owners to pick up after their dogs by allowing home and condo owner associations and municipalities to track down the offending dogs and their bad keepers!

“We’re trying to encourage responsible pet ownership,” said Tom Boyd, chairman and CEO of EDP Biotech, noting that the waste of 100+ million dogs in North America is creating a health hazard.

The PooPrints program recommends that a strata or home association pass an amendment to its existing rules and bylaws that requires all dog owners in the community to have their dogs’ DNA analyzed and filed with Bio-Pet’s DNA World Pet registry. Once the DNA is on file, any poop found in the public areas of the neighborhood can be sent to BioPet to be analyzed and matched up with the DNA already on file. Once the dog is identified, an e-mail report is sent to the association/strata, which can then identify the offending owner.

Participating dog owners gain several benefits in addition to a cleaner neighborhood. They will have their dog’s DNA on permanent file, providing positive proof of ownership. They receive an ID Tag printed with “DNA Pet ID” and a toll free number that will help to reunite a lost dog with its owner.

For all you bad pooper scoopers who can’t be bothered to scoop after your dogs, this might just mean that the Poo Police are just around the corner!