Friday, December 6, 2013

Santa Paws is Coming to Town!

Love on a Leash Trusted Dog Care is hosting a dog-friendly fundraiser with net proceeds donated to Paws for Hope and Rescue a Boxer.

The event will take place Saturday and Sunday, Dec 14th and 15th from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Tisol on Grandview Highway.

Renowned pet photographer, Angie Wojciechowska, of Off-Leash Photography will be on hand to capture professional portraits of beloved pets with Santa Claus himself, amid a winter wonderland backdrop, complete with festive holiday décor and a pooch friendly Santa on his throne.

The two days will feature delectable baked goods and mulled cider for the humans and lots of doggy treats and socialization for the pooches while raising funds and awareness for two local animal organizations.

Special gift bags to the first 50 photos each day, a raffle with great prizes to help raise funds, and lots of “mixing and mingling” to get you into the holiday spirit. $20.

Holiday Safety Tips for Your Pet

The biggest safety hazard consistently witnessed by petsitters during the holidays is a pet’s access to dangerous materials in the home that can be easily ingested.
Other hazards noted were electrical appliances left on in the home, a pet’s access to dangerous plants, holiday food and decorations and issues related to weather.
Some of the most frequently recommended cautions are:
Holiday treats, such as rich, fatty scraps, bones from pork and poultry, alcoholic beverages, chocolate and other sweets and candies can be harmful or toxic to pets.
Pine tree water can be poisonous, so be sure to cover open tree stand bases. The tree should be secure to the wall with strong wire or twine because a toppling tree can cause serious injuries to dogs and cats.
Keep these poisonous holiday plants away from pets: the berries of the mistletoe, holly, hibiscus, Christmas roses and the poinsettia.
Many holiday decorations are hazardous to pets. If decorations are not pet-friendly, keep them, as well as lights, out of a pet’s reach.  House fires increase considerably during holidays.
Remember, the most common pet-related emergency that occurs over the holidays is the consumption of human pharmaceuticals. Make sure all prescription and non-prescription drugs are safely stored.

Six Holiday Foods Your Dog Should Never, Ever Eat

Make sure you keep heartache out of the season of joy. While there are some wonderful and yummy festive treats available for your dog, there are several foods associated with the holidays that you should never let your pooch eat. Even if your dog begs and tells you with every fibre in his being that this food is okay, in this instance it’s important to remember that you know better and keep these foods well and truly away!

1. Cooked Meat and Bones
This is an easy one to overlook. After all, dogs are meateaters, right? Wouldn’t they be eating meat and bones in the wild? Wrong! While they would be finding raw bones, cooked ones are not part of the natural dog’s diet. Cooked bones can splinter and can cause internal damage. While many meats associated with the holidays are too rich for the average dog whose system is used to being fed commercial dog food.

2. Nutmeg
While it would take a lot of nutmeg to actually kill your dog, little is known about why nutmeg is so very toxic to canines. And since this spice is found in so many human holiday treats, this is one to be aware of.

3. Onions
This is another one that ends up being in a whole lot of holiday foods. Equally dangerous to dogs cooked or raw, your dog must avoid them at all times of the year!

4. Raw Bread Dough
While the dough itself isn’t toxic, the yeast can expand and cause all kinds of intestinal distress in your pet. Yes: even death. Keep your dog away from pizza and bread-making activities!

5. Sage
Sage is another one that isn’t necessarily toxic in the dangerous sense but should still be avoided. It contains essential oils that might cause some stomach upset for your pooch. It can also cause central nervous system depression. Better to avoid it than take chances.

6. Grapes
Okay: grapes are not a holiday food, but they are so bad for your dog and this is one of the lesser known ones, that we thought we’d reiterate. Never, ever, ever let your dogs have grapes! They are entirely indigestible to canine stomachs.

Have a happy and healthy holiday!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The 12 Days of CHRISTMAS…. Great Gifts for your Dog this Holiday Season!

Who can resist an adorable little sweater or coat for their dogs, plus all dogs adore treats -- what dog doesn’t?

This Christmas I will give my kidlets sweaters and coats (really for me) and treats and toys (really for them) from a variety of wonderful retailers in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland who offer such a fabulous selection of fun, adorable & unique things for your pooch!

1) Three Dog Bakery carries bath products that are fur-tas-tic, including products by Fresh Dog, Dermagic, Earthbath and Buddy Wash. The smells are delicious (lots of peppermint, oatmeal and vanilla), the products are fabulous and the prices are great, too! There are also dental products to keep your dog’s teeth sparkling and breath fresh, by Kissable Dental, are also available at Three Dog Bakery in Vancouver & Port Moody.

2) A new dog bed is always the perfect gift.  Bowser dog beds, available at Bowwow Haus, are super stylish and contemporary beds made of upholstery grade fabrics in dozens of fabric options. Durable, comfortable, completely washable and best of all, Canadian made! Self warming, round, comfy sleeper beds by K&H are fashionable and super snuggly for your pooch and available at a Tisol location.

3) “Muttlucks” and “Paws” booties to protect your dog’s precious paws. With winter creeping up on us, these little boots save doggys’ feet from the salt and chemicals used to de-ice the sidewalks. The “Paws” reusable disposable booties, which look like balloons, are available at Barking Babies. Other paw-saving bootie types and styles are available online and at various locations throughout Vancouver and the lower mainland.

4) Slip a most “pupular” peanut butter personalized stocking cookie, wrapped and ready to go with a gift tag, into your dog’s stocking. Three Dog Bakery has been capturing the hearts & tummies of people and their canine companions since 1989. All baked goods are carefully crafted to ensure the best quality for your loyal friend. This outfit is known for fresh-baked personalized celebration cakes, as well as dog treats and cookies, but they also carry great packaged specialties like Puppermint Mocha, Snickerdoodles and Star Wafers 2-pack gift sets. This dog bakery always gets two paws up!

5) Barking Babies in Yaletown has the best selection of “High Fashion-Haute Couture” coats and sweaters like no one else in this city! For the ooh-La-La and wow factor head over to Barking Babies for cashmere sweaters by Louis Dog, around the world fashion ensembles by Touchdog, leather jackets by Hip Doggy and NHL Sports Jerseys.

6) Professional Pet Portraits by Angie Wojciechowska, of Off-leash Photography, who has made a name for herself as Vancouver’s premier pet photographer. She is amazing at capturing your beloved dog on film! Angie has a huge soft spot in her heart for dogs and cats and would love to help you capture your beloved pooch as an everlasting keepsake. From personal experience, I promise that you will never regret spending the time and money to have professional photos taken of your dog. The photos I hold closest to my heart, two years after my own gal passed away, were taken by Angie. Gift certificates are available.  Contact her at

7) RC Pet Products, carried at Tisol Stores throughout Vancouver, manufacture the best selection of functional & stylish canine outerwear.  The coats and raincoats protect your pet from inclement weather while looking great with styles aptly titled “West Coast Rainwear,” “Yaletown Slicker” and “Robson Rainwear.” Many are fleece-lined or PVC-coated and are waterproof which is mandatory on the west coast. Their matching leashes and collars come in a spectacular assortment of eye catching colors and patterns which are fun, fashionable and affordable.  Tisol also carries an excellent assortment of packaged treats and goodies to stuff your dogs’ stockings at reasonable prices!

8) TOYS. TOYS, TOYS!! We love the retro dog toys available these days. Tisol and Bowwow Haus have plush versions of “Where’s Waldo,” “Lambchop” and “Mr. Bill” Squeaky Toys. Bigger dogs need tougher toys. Try the Kong Brand of toys guaranteed to survive your dog’s rough play available at Tisol. Plush puzzle toys that engage your dog's natural instincts to search, stalk and capture are de rigueur. Find a selection of these toys at Bowwow Haus and help challenge and develop your dog’s problem-solving skills while keeping them entertained for hours! Finally, award-winning, durable PrideBites dog toys come in a variety of fun designs & they float, making them an ideal toy for dogs who love water...available at Bowwow Haus on East Broadway.

9) Fruitables “Love life Together,” Calorie Smart Dog Treats are 100% natural and contain delicious, healthy ingredients like pumpkin, banana, apple, cranberry, organic oatmeal, pearl barley, cinnamon and molasses. A great little stocking stuffer for your pooch, these are available at Woof, Tisol, Bowwow Haus and Barking Babies in Vancouver and Uptown Dawg Spa in Port Moody.

10) Lampe Berger Products, invented in Paris in 1898 to purify the air in hospitals, still remain the best in fragrance and purification for your indoor environment (read: doggy smells) using its patented catalytic diffusion system. These lovely lamps and fragrances are available in many styles and scents to complement any home! A perfect holiday hostess gift and available exclusively at Bowwow Haus’ West Broadway location.

11) Created especially for dogs, Vancouver designed and manufactured, ZUKA Pooch collar jewellery uses only the best quality Swarovski crystals, Czech glass and pewter components.  ZUKA Pooch Charms are available in two styles, flower and paw print,  and are purely fun for the fashionista in your pooch. These delightful sparkly collar charms sell for $10 with $2 from every sale to be donated to Vancouver animal charity, Paws for Hope. ZUKA Pooch is for the dog about town, one who loves to stand out and be noticed. They are available at Love on a Leash's Santa Paws is Coming to Town Event at Tisol Grandview on Dec 14th and 15th or via

12) Bruno spike dog food bowls.  These gorgeous cast aluminum bowls come in two sizes (small and large) and feature removable stainless steel inserts for easy cleaning, and will compliment the décor in every home! Available at Bowwow Haus on East Broadway.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Dog Cookie Recipe: Salivatin’ Cinnamon Apple Nips

Christmas never tasted so good! For your dog, that is.

These Salivatin’ Cinnamon Apple Nips are from the Cooking the Three Dog Bakery Way: “Now the furry little apple of your eye will have yet another reason to love you.”

The book is by Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye, Broadway Books and it’s a good one. Here’s a holiday dog treat recipe that your dogs will love and that makes the whole house smell terrific!

Apples and whole oats are sweetened with a touch of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon that will definitely get your pooch’s full ears-up attention.  They make a great reward for your pup just for being so darn cute!

Salivatin’ Cinnamon Apple Nips
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick rolled oats
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup cored & diced apple
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease two baking sheets with nonstick vegetable spray.

Stir together the flour, oats, baking powder and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl, stir together the oil and honey until well blended.  Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring to combine.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir to form a smooth dough. Fold in the apples.

Drop the dough by the rounded teaspoonful, 1-1/2 inches apart, on the baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

Cool to room temperature 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.)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Holidays Aren’t Just For People Anymore! Here’s a Dozen Holiday Traditions to Share with Your Canine Pal

Many of us have favorite holiday traditions we celebrate with our dogs. Dogs are part of our families and many families include their dogs in their holiday festivities. In some cases, their dogs are an integral part of the events.

And if photos with Santa
 is what you’re feeling,
come to our event
It’s for a terrific cause!
We would like to share some holiday traditions with you and even learn about some of your traditions so that we can share with other dog lovers.

Here are some of our favorite holiday traditions to share with dogs:
  • Pick Out a Tree Together. There are tree farms that allow you to walk around and tag your tree. How about doing it with your dog? What a wonderful tradition! 
  • Holiday Paw-di-cure. How about a holiday pedicure for your pooch? You can be creative and paint the nails alternatively red and green just for fun. 
  • Pet Parade. Some towns or pet stores sponsor a dog event -- even a dog parade. Dress up your dog in his favorite bandana or Santa cap and take part. 
  • Hang a Dog Stocking. Why not? If you have a stocking -- your dog should too. Many of the dog lovers I know have stockings for each of their dogs. 
  • Go See Santa. How about a photo of your dogs or you and your dogs with Santa? This also makes a great holiday card.


Holiday Care for Your Canine Best Friend

Want the best care possible for your canine buddy? Here are a few tips from a professional pet sitter.

Remember: the holidays are busy for everyone, so book early if you can. This time of year, we dog sitters become inundated with last minute requests for pet-sitting.  Please keep your pet care requirements in mind when you are making your vacation plans. I highly recommend you book peak vacation times (Christmas, Spring Break, Easter, etc.) as far in advance as possible to ensure your favorite sitter is available to care for your pooch!

Before you go away on your next business trip or family vacation, remember to speak to your family vet and forward an Absent Owner Consent form or ensure you have filled out the one we keep on file at Love on a Leash. In the event of an emergency, your wishes will be met and you will know that your pet will be able to get the care you would desire as quickly as possible.

The following list will help you make sure your dog get the best of care while you are away:

  • Ensure all your dog’s daily requirements will be met: food, water, medication, walks, kisses & hugs.
  • Inform your family vet you are away and who your pet sitter will be.
  • Discuss your pet’s current health concerns with your vet and your wishes regarding the care of your pet while you are away.
  • Ensure your pet-sitter has the following information: How to get hold of you while you’re away, vet contact details, pet emergency preferences, and adequate supply of medications and full disclosure of your dog’s health history and concerns, plus financial information for emergencies.

Remember that all pet sitters are not the same. Ask for references and credentials. Ideally your pet sitter should be licensed with the city they are working in, as well as bonded & insured. Your pet sitter should be certified in pet first aid and belong to a professional organization such as Pet Sitter’s International or the All Canadian Pet Sitters Network and your sitter should have a website that lists information and rates in a professional and concise manner.                

As an accredited pet sitter, I can tell you that we take our job seriously and will do everything in our power to ensure your dog’s stay with us is as comfortable, safe, fun and as loving as possible for your dog.

At Love on a Leash we truly adore our doggy clients and they love us right back! See our review page on Yelp and see client testimonials on our website.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Here comes Santa Paws, here comes Santa Paws...

Santa Paws is Coming to Town!

Please join us on Saturday and Sunday December 14th & 15th from 11 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for a dog friendly festive fundraiser mix and mingle at Tisol on Grandview Highway, in Vancouver.

We’ll be raising funds for Paws for Hope and Rescue a Boxer so bring your pets and have their photos taken with Santa on his holiday throne, sip mulled cider and nosh on holiday baked goods.

Special gifts for the first 50 photos purchased each day!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

You and Your Dog: Photo Special

As regular readers of this space already know, since the time I first connected with Angie Wojciechowska of Off Leash Photography a few years ago, I’ve been a big fan of her work.

Angie came to my home on short notice when I knew Casey, my beloved first Bichon Frise, was really ill and took amazing photos of my pooches together.

In the process, Angie got some of the most heartwarming (and heart-wrenching) images of my Casey. It seemed to me those photos captured her whole essence and spirit, for which I remain very thankful.

I always tell people that a professional photo shoot of, or with, your dog is something you will cherish forever. Everyone should do this at least once during the life of their beloved pets. As the holidays approach, Angie has put together a tremendous package that will make this dream a reality for a lot of people. To book your spot for this special offer, call 604-618-2236.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why Adopt A Senior Dog?

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month. But we don’t need to make excuses to adopt a senior dog: they’re awesome. Not only do they need you (so many people won’t even consider them!) but they have a lot to offer, if only you’ll look beyond the grey of their muzzle! The Senior Dogs Project helps us take a more objective look:

Top 10 Reasons to Bring A Senior Dog Into Your Life

1. Older dogs are housetrained. You won't have to go through the difficult stage(s) of teaching a puppy house manners and mopping/cleaning up after accidents.

2. Older dogs are not teething puppies, and won't chew your shoes and furniture while growing up.

3. Older dogs can focus well because they've mellowed. Therefore, they learn quickly.

4. Older dogs have learned what "no" means. If they hadn't learned it, they wouldn't have gotten to be "older" dogs.

5. Older dogs settle in easily, because they've learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack.

6. Older dogs are good at giving love, once they get into their new, loving home. They are grateful for the second chance they've been given.

7. What You See Is What You Get: Unlike puppies, older dogs have grown into their shape and personality. Puppies can grow up to be quite different from what they seemed at first.

8. Older dogs are instant companions -- ready for hiking, car trips, and other things you like to do.

9. Older dogs leave you time for yourself, because they don't make the kinds of demands on your time and attention that puppies and young dogs do.

10. Older dogs let you get a good night's sleep because they're accustomed to human schedules and don't generally need nighttime feedings, comforting, or bathroom breaks.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Exercising With Your Best Friend… Your Dog!

Is anyone ever in as good a shape as they could be? Whether you’re human or canine, it’s likely there are things you could do to look and feel better. And here’s the thing: if you look and feel better, you’re likely to be healthier, as well. Being overweight can lead to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, even cancer. Being fit through exercise can lead to a longer life and better sleep at night.

One caution: if you or your pet haven’t indulged in cardio-oriented activity before, you’ll want to check in with your vet. Young dogs whose bones haven’t finished growing will want to go easy on the hard exercise and certain breeds are more built for speed and exercise than others. Your vet will know if the course you’re charting is the right one.

Once you get the vet’s thumbs-up, there are lots of great activities you can share with your pooch. Dog Time shares a few of the top ones:

1. Take a hike: Well, a hike is a great idea, but if you are unused to strenuous exercise, start with a walk, and build from there. Many of us are pressed for time. So, if you are running late in the mornings, try to get up just a bit early if possible. You can take a 10 minute walk with your dog. If your schedule allows it, try to get in three walks a day, and make one at least 20 minutes.

2. Cut back on the treats: Instead of rewarding your dog with treats, give him attention. Dogs love interacting. If you want to give your dog a treat, break it in half and put the other half away for another day. Same goes with treats for you -- eat half today and the other half tomorrow so you won’t feel deprived.

3. Visit the dog park: If possible, walk to the dog park. When you get there, toss a ball around with your dog. Both of you will get some exercise.

4. Go for a swim: Swimming is a low-impact exercise that you and your dog can do.

5. Jog or run: Find a track that welcomes dogs and make sure your have comfortable running shoes. That is all you need for this cardio workout. Bring a water bottle and foldable bowl so you and your dog can rehydrate.

6. Tug-of-war: Play a game of tug-of-war with your dog. It can help build your upper body strength and your dog will enjoy spending time playing with you.

7. Play catch: Whether it’s a ball, a Frisbee, or his favorite toy, go outside and play a game of catch.

8. On rainy days hit the stairs: If you have stairs in your apartment building or in your home, go up and down a few flights (remember to start slow). If you have a treadmill in your home, you and your dog can use that too.

9. Sign up for an exercise class: You and your dog can take agility classes or even “doga,” a form of yoga designed for the both of you.

10. Resistance walk: This is great for all kinds of weather. Try to walk your dog in the snow, on the sand, in shallow water on the beach, or on a leaf-filled trail.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Scary Holiday: Top 10 Pet Dangers on Halloween

Halloween is super fun for everyone... almost. For pets it can be the scariest night of the year! Every year, the ASPCA goes out of its way to make sure people know that, for the most part, both Halloween tricks and treats post many potential for your pets!

Here are the top ten Halloween dangers to your pets:

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowl of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Scruffy and Fluffy. Chocolate in all forms -- especially dark or baking chocolate -- can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them.

3. Wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations should be kept out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your pet might suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise caution if you choose to add a candle. Pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire. Curious kittens especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don’t put your dog or cat in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it (yup, a few pets are real hams!). For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn’t annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal’s movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

8. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn’t dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver, increaing the chances that he or she will be returned to you

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Sweetest Dog, Evah!

It’s possible you won’t believe me, but the fact that picked the Bichon Frisé as the number one most affectionate breed of dog is not the only reason I love their article on “8 Affectionate Dog Breeds.” Even so, the Bichon stuff is terrific:
Known for their cheerful disposition and sweet nature, Bichons have been favored internationally since the 14th century, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Bichons are a happy, clownish breed that loves activity and spending time with people. They’re also a non-shedding breed and make an excellent option for allergy sufferers.
Well, of course! It’s all true. But who else made the cut?

Bulldogs are “are loveable, gentle dogs known for making wonderful family pets,” collies are “loyal, affectionate” and pugs, vizslas, Irish setters and Cavalier King Charles spaniels and retrievers in general also got the call. The final “breed” is another favorite: “The possibilities are endless when you choose a shelter dog. One thing is for certain, though. If you adopt a dog and treat her well, she will love you more than you could possibly imagine. So get ready for the kisses!” No one can argue with that!

The full piece is here.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Reading Goes to the Dogs!

Should you read to your dogs? Maybe. That’s what a group of students in Hamilton, Montana, have been proving once a week when they troop down to their local animal shelter to spend some quality time reading to the canine inmates. From The Huffington Post:
Once a week, students from the Keystone to Discovery Enrichment program, a nonprofit summer and after-school project for behaviorally or academically at-risk youth, head to Bitter Root Humane Association to read to shelter animals that are waiting for adoption. The program not only gives the kids a chance to work on their reading skills, but also helps soothe the animals.
"The dogs really respond to the kids. It really helps to have somebody talk to them," Bitter Root's lead animal care attendant, Charlotte, told HuffPost. Charlotte chose not to disclose her last name.
As terrific as the program sounds, it’s not revolutionary. The powerful impact reading to pets can have -- on both the reader and the readee -- has been under study for some time. In fact, in 2010 Medical News Today reported that a study had recently been completed that proved that “reading to dogs helped children improve their fluency by up to 30 per cent. Many animal organizations and libraries in the US already have reading improvement schemes where they pair up children and dogs, but until now the evidence has been more anecdotal than research-based.”
Part of the Library Dogs program, this collie
seems to be paying close attention to the story.

A program called Library Dogs has put these thoughts into strong and successful action. From their web site:
Children reading storybooks to dogs -- what could be cuter? But every day we’re learning there’s more than just cuteness when this happens. The smiles on a child’s face, the wagging tail of the dog, the excitement of doing something different (even forbidden in some public places) proves there’s anticipation when it comes to reading in this particular setting. And that’s what it’s all about. Youngsters of all ages are not only learning to read, they’re looking forward to it. They’re learning to love to read!
Meanwhile, back in Montana, Ria Overholt, the director of the program that brings student to the shelter reports that it isn’t just the kids who benefit. “We’ve seen that the sound of their voices is soothing for the dogs and cats.” Overholt said to the Ravalli Republic. “It is relaxing to the dogs to hear those calm and steady voices."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dogs in the Office

Remember casual Friday? Well, that was fun. But this? This is so much better!

The 15th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day happens on June 21st: this coming Friday! A great way to do share your canine pal with your whole crew while easing your conscience about leaving your baby.

And Take Your Dog Work Day has deeper benefits than might at first be apparent. For starters, as the web site tells us, “Take Your Dog To Work Day celebrates Dogs and Promotes Their Adoption.” And, of course, none of that is bad.

Take Your Dog to Work Day was first celebrated in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, one of the professional organizations Love on a Leash is proud to be a member of. It’s always celebrated on the Friday following Father’s Day. The idea behind the event was to celebrate the great companions dogs make
and promote their adoptions. Also, the event encourages employers to experience the joys of pets in the workplace for one day. You can learn more here.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dog Loving Dads Deserve Dog Themed Father’s Day Gifts

Though we’re a little late to the plate with dad’s day offerings, there’s still time to put together an gift package worthy of your dog-lovin’ pop. Typically men seem to be the hardest to shop for so we’ve come up with some dog themed ideas for gifts he’s sure to love. Whether it’s Father’s Day, his birthday or Christmas, these suggestions will hit a home run for the Dad that loves his pooch as much as he loves his family and friends.
Cufflinks from Fuzzy Nation.

If you aren’t familiar with Fuzzy Nation and you have pet lovers on your gift list, you need to go direct to their site and browse ASAP! Fuzzy Nation is the perfect resource for great dog-themed gifts for your pet-loving friends and family and these smoking cufflinks and cool cardholders are no exception. You can upload his pet’s photo to personalize these items and enter the code “Dad” for a 15% discount on orders over $50.

Linda Mackie photo.
We’ve said it before and will say it again: a pet portrait session, with a professional pet photographer will leave you photos that will stay near and dear forever. Capture your pet on film, along with the rest of the family, and you’ve got another great gift idea under your belt. We highly recommend two animal loving ladies whose photography work hits the mark when it comes to capturing your pooch on film.
Angie Wojciechowska photo.

Here’s a link to Linda Mackie’s Doggie Super -Soul Photo Sessions and Angie Wojciechowska of Off Leash Photography’s Father’s Day Gift Specials.

Original painting by Connie Townsed.
We’re also big fans of art featuring our beloved pooch. Two artists we absolutely love? Connie Townsend is known North America-wide for capturing the true spirit of our best friends. Her endearing and playful paintings of dogs (and cats) riding motorcycles and driving vintage cars have collectors stating she hits the mark and captures the animal’s personality to a T”.      

Locally, Vancouver artist Emily Z puts her heart and soul into capturing your pet’s personality on canvas and she is rapidly building a name for herself in our fair city.  

J Crew’s signature cotton boxers, featuring the beloved Retriever, are specially washed to be supersoft and incredibly comfortable. Order online. $21.50 per pair.

For a fun and comfy weekend away with your best guy and his best friend, head to Cougar’s Crag Extreme B&B on Vancouver Island. Just 30 minutes from Victoria, this gorgeous B&B consistently receives five star ratings from past guests for the fabulous scenery, delicious breakfasts, warm “dog friendly” hospitality, and super comfy loft-style rooms.

Cougar’s Crag has created a new style of accommodation geared to both the casual, nature-loving traveller and the serious eco-tourist. Something for everyone with as much, or as little, outdoor recreation as you feel up to.
Cougars Crag B&B incorporates the ambience of a lodge, the amenities of a hotel and the intimacy of a bed & breakfast, giving you everything you need to make your holiday or weekend hassle free.

Best of all, they will welcome your dog with open arm, so bring your pooch, your bike, even your muddy boots because they are all welcome at Cougar’s Crag!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Hitting Your Dog’s Sweet Spot!

During the run of sunny, warm weather we’ve recently been enjoying, my dogs went absolutely head over paws for Nature’s Variety’s SweetSpots, the frozen treats that I picked up from Tisol on Arbutus.

SweetSpots come in two dog loving flavors -- Peanut Butter and Honey and Sweet Potato and Molasses, both of which my dogs really loved. No artifical coloring, flavor or preservatives, low in fat, and loaded with live active yogurt cultures for a cool treat on a hot summer's day without adding to your dog’s waistline.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rock for Paws!

Here’s an event that Love on a Leash is proudly sponsoring and that Pixie and Finnigan are swooning about already: getting their glitter on and practicing their beats! On May 31st, Paws for Hope Animal Foundation will be hosting their first ever rock show.

Rock for Paws is a fundraiser for the Foundation’s programs and will give people a great excuse to get out and have a great time.

There are three local bands and some really fantastic raffle prizes.  Tickets are only $15 and can be purchased online or at the door.

If people are unable to attend, but would still like to support the Foundation’s efforts, they can donate online. And, of course, offers of sponsorship are super welcome.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Embrace an Animal in Need

I love everything about this event, from the premise to the possibilities for helping so many animals in need. Most of all, though, I love the name and the concept of giving love (and more!) to those who have been left alone or behind.

With all of that in mind, I'm very much looking forward to attending the Opening Gala for the Embrace a Discarded Animal Society, taking place at the Sheraton Wall Centre on May 11th. Details are in the poster included here (clicking on the poster will make it larger), or click here to order tickets right now!

See you on May 11th!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

10 Reasons Dog Owners Make Better Lovers

When checking out a possible new partner, you know you can probably do a lot worse than finding someone who owns a dog. Just by virtue of them sharing their life with a canine pal, they're already demonstrating a whole bunch of the qualities we’re looking for!

Here are 10 reasons that confirm what we’ve figured all along: dog owners make better lovers!

#1: Doing Owners Are Easy Going
Dogs don’t make a lot of demands and the people who choose to hang out with them tend to value that quality in their canine companions. Dogs are just happy to be with you… and the attitude is catchy!

#2: Dog Owners are Responsible
Learning to care for another animal is a process that requires patience and commitment. Even if they want to go to dinner with coworkers, they have to first take their dog’s well-being into consideration. Putting someone else’s well-being above yours is an admirable quality that requires time and practice to achieve. Luckily, with a dog owner, they get plenty of practice with their pooches.

#3: Dog Owners are Social
Dogs are social animals who enjoy meeting others, playing in groups and exploring the world with friends. For this reason, people that choose to own dogs tend to be more social and easy to get along with. Studies have found dog owners to be much more extroverted than people that own cats or no pets. Whether it means doggie play dates at the park, pet sitting for a neighbor’s pup or bringing their pup out to dog friendly restaurants, the bottom line is dogs help dog owners stay social and more connected with their communities.

#4: Dog Owners are Active
People who own dogs have been found to be more active than people that own cats or no pets at all. When owning a dog, there are times where you’ll be woken up at the crack of dawn for a walk or a jog. There’s no use complaining about it, your dog needs you to take them out, they depend on you. This is how we care for our dogs and in turn, this is how they keep us positive about being active. Dog owners are constantly looking for new active things to do with their dogs to make sure their needs are being met.

#5: Dog Owners are Thoughtful
When you own a pet, you’re no longer just thinking for yourself. You have to be keenly aware of someone else’s wants and needs. For many pet parents, a specific whimper, growl or stance can signal a specific problem or need. Someone who has learned  to be so attuned to their pups behavior will most likely transfer those skills to their human relationships.

#6: Dog Owners are Playful
Dogs are social, playful creatures. If you’ve ever tried to ignore a pup when they were trying to play with you, chances are you had a pretty difficult time. Dogs are known to bring out the playful side of even the most curmudgeonly of us and when you’re a dog owner, this is even more so the case.

#7: Dog Owners are Understanding
Anyone who’s ever owned a puppy has come to understand that accidents happen. Whether they’ve chewed up socks, peed on carpet or pooped in shoes, a puppy owner definitely has to learn to be okay cleaning up a fair share of messes. What you learn in the process is that despite life’s messes, what’s more important is that the pup is happy, healthy and continues to grow and learn from his mistakes. This attitude is both healthy and important.

#8: Dog Owners are Loyal
When you are a pet parent, you can’t help but feel slightly undeserving of how devoted our dogs are to us. Being on the receiving end of such unwavering loyalty makes pet parents more likely to want to give that back to their friends, family and partners.

#9: Dog Owners Know How to Have a Good Time
Dogs tend to live fully in the moment. Someone that chooses a pup as their companion usually value a dog’s approach to life or shares the same approach. In a world where anxiety runs high and people are constantly stressed about money and work, having someone who knows how to enjoy themselves becomes all the more important.

#10: Dog Owners are Good Company
The majority of dog owners find comfort in the companionship they have with their dogs. This means that they are open and willing to share their life with someone. This openness means that dog owners have the tendency to be great companions themselves simply because they understand the importance of it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

True Colours

Spring has sprung and the fashionable dog’s thoughts turn to change-of-season attire. (Okay: there are probably a whole lot of other things your dog is thinking about, but it sounded like a good intro!)

I don’t know how I missed seeing the Harry Barker Harris collection at The Bay until now, but because it’s so stylish and so Canadian, clearly I’ll have to get a sweater each for the kidlets to wear on coolish evenings when we’re in Palm Springs... just so they don’t forget where they’re from! And the thought the canoe dog toy won’t make a big splash around here, but I love the idea of dogs inclined to retrieving bringing back a Hudson’s Bay canoe!

You can look more closely at the Harry Barker Harris Hudson’s Bay Collection here, or ask about it next time you’re in the store.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Annual Easter Fun with Three Dog Bakery

Oh my goodness, but the kids and I love the special seasonal events that Three Dog Bakery hosts. We try to attend whenever we’re in town and our schedules allow. How could we not? There aren’t many outfits who put so much thought and care into organizing events that are big fun for pooches and their parents!

This time out, it’s the annual Easter “Begg” Hunt in Port Moody. We’ve included the entire poster below, because it’s just so cheerful and comprehensive, but plan on being at Suter Brook Village no later than 11:45 as the festivities begin promptly at noon. 

If you’d like more details, call the Port Moody store at 604-469-3647.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wagging the Dog: Some New Scientific Data on What Your Dog’s Tail Wagging Really Means

A dog wagging his tail is a happy dog, right? Not necessarily says Dr. Stanley Coren, author, well respected scientist and Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Coren points out that, among other things, “Science is always providing new information that allows us to interpret the behaviors of dogs, or to reinterpret behaviors which we thought we understood very well-such as the meaning of a dog's tail wagging.”

Myth one, Coren says, is that a wagging dog is a happy and friendly dog. “While some wags are indeed associated with happiness,” Coren wrote in a 2011 column on the subject, “others can mean fear, insecurity, a social challenge or even a warning that if you approach, you are apt to be bitten.
In some ways, tail wagging serves the same communication functions as a human smile, a polite greeting or a nod of recognition. Smiles are social signals and are thus reserved mostly for situations where somebody is around to see them. For dogs, the wag seems to have the same properties.”
Since dogs and humans have evolved together since time out of mind, and since many of our social structures are similar, it only makes sense that some of the signals we put into the world are similar, as well.

There’s more, though. Coren feels that, like any language, there is a vocabulary and even a grammar that must be understood. Traditionally, scientists looked at the tail’s pattern of movement and its position. More recently, however, they’ve also added “a third important dimension to understanding the language of the canine tail.”

Because dogs’ eyes are much more sensitive to movement than they are to details or colors, a moving tail is very visible to other dogs. Then there is the height at which at dog holds his tail, which Coren feels is kind of an s“emotional meter. A middle height suggests the dog is relaxed. If the tail is held horizontally, the dog is attentive and alert. As the tail position moves further up, it is a sign the dog is becoming more threatening, with a vertical tail being a clearly dominant signal.

As the tail position drops, it is a sign the dog is becoming more submissive, is worried or feels poorly. The extreme expression is the tail tucked under the body, which is a sign of fear. Coren points out that, when talking about tail position, it’s important to remember that the positions are all relative to where the dog normally holds his tail: something that varies greatly from breed to breed.

Tail movement is nuanced, too, says Coren. The speed of the wag indicates the level of excitement while the breadth of each sweep shows whether the dog’s emotional state is negative or positive. Coren says to look for the following combinations:

●  A slight wag-with each swing of only small breadth-is usually seen during greetings as a tentative "Hello there," or a hopeful "I'm here."
●  A broad wag is friendly; "I am not challenging or threatening you." This can also mean, "I'm pleased," which is the closest to the popular concept of the happiness wag, especially if the tail seems to drag the hips with it.
●  A slow wag with tail at 'half-mast' is less social than most other tail signals. Generally speaking, slow wags with the tail in neither a particularly dominant (high) nor a submissive (low) position are signs of insecurity.
●  Tiny, high-speed movements that give the impression of the tail vibrating are signs the dog is about to do something-usually run or fight usually. If the tail is held high while vibrating, it is most likely an active threat.

The most recent discovery, says Coren, is the most exciting. “It now appears that when dogs feel generally positive about something or someone, their tails wag more to the right side of their rear ends, and when they have negative feelings; their tail wagging is biased to the left.”

Coren stresses that it’s “important to understand that we are talking about the dog's left or right viewed from the rear as if you are facing in the direction the dog is viewing. That means that if you are facing the dog and drew an imaginary line down the middle of his back that positive right-sided signal would appear as tail swings mostly curving to your left.”

Dr. Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: Born to Bark, The Modern Dog, Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History, How Dogs Think, How To Speak Dog, Why We Love the Dogs We Do, What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs, Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies, Sleep Thieves, The Left-hander Syndrome. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Don’t Poison Your Pet!

It’s National Poison Prevention Week, which highlights something we should always stay aware of: there are a lot of really unthreatening seeming things that can be super poisonous to our canine companions.

The Pet Poison Helpline has released lists of the top ten poisons for dogs and cats. (Quite different lists, for those who share their lives with both species!)

“Now keep in mind,” they warn, “that some of these listed are very toxic, while some are minimally toxic (like ant baits and silica packs). When in doubt, call your vet or Pet Poison Helpline to make sure there won’t be a problem.”

Here is their list of Top Ten Dog Poisons:

1. Chocolate
2. Insect bait stations
3. Rodenticides (i.e., mouse and rat poison)
4. Fertilizers
5. Xylitol-containing products (i.e., sugar-free gums and candies)
6. Ibuprofen (Advil® or Motrin® in brand name or generic form)
7. Acetaminophen (Tylenol® in brand name or generic form)
8. Silica gel packs
9. Amphetamines, such as ADD/ADHD drugs
10. Household cleaners

And remember: if you think your pet might have been poisoned, your first call really should be to your vet. I can think of few times when “better safe than sorry” could be more heartily applied!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Love Behind Love on a Leash: Janet Ross

Janet Ross is a Vancouver gal who grew up in this city with a number of boisterous black labs and two cats! Animals are part of her D.N.A. She has spent the past 25 years living abroad, in a country house in Italy, which wouldn’t have been complete without a menagerie of pets including a horse, five cats, and her dog, Coco.

Janet has recently moved back to Vancouver and is happily settling into her home town, though she misses the connection she had with her animals in Italy. Currently living in Horseshoe Bay, Janet is flexible with her living arrangements, has a pet friendly car, and is happy to house sit while spending quality, caring time with your pets.

Janet is always up for a dog walk, and available for weekend or long-term house sits. Janet is tidy, reliable, quiet, a non-smoker, physically active and a true animal lover through and through, which makes her ideal for holiday house and pet sitting!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Recipe Corner: Green Monster Dog Cookies

Editor’s note: This recipe comes to us via the wonderful Jodi at Kol’s Notes, “One dog's blog about good food, good friends and the good life!” As always, thanks for your contributions, Jodi!

When you’ve got a dog that is a hot mess, you’ve got to get creative.

Take my Felix, for example. When we brought him home, he was all over the place: allergies, food intolerances, the itches and a butt like a stoplight, if you know what I mean.

I knew right off the bat that the regular crappy treats you get at the grocery store just weren’t going to do it for my new best buddy. This is something that seems to be happening more and more: whether your dog can’t eat store bought treats due to allergies or bladder stones or kidney and liver problems; tons of people have started making treats at home to keep spoiling their furry kids in style.

Felix has some crazy allergies, so we are always experimenting with alternative flours. A new favourite of ours is green pea flour. Adorable colour aside, this legume based flour is pretty good for you and your dogs. High in protein and fiber, green pea flour is gluten free, grain-allergy friendly and good to use in baked good for dogs with bladder stone’s like Love on a Leash’s own Finnigan. As an added bonus, these Green Monster Dog Cookies are SUPER easy to make.

Green Monster Dog Cookies

2 ¼ cups Green Pea Flour
2 cups Frozen Peas, defrosted
1 ½ cups ground chicken
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Over medium heat, sauté ground chicken until cooked, but not brown. In a food processor or blender, mix together defrosted peas, chicken and egg.

Stir green pea flour and parsley into the pea mixture. It should be thick, but not stiff. Pour mixture onto baking sheet and spread into a thin (1/4") layer. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven. Score treats into bite sizes pieces with a knife. Return to oven and bake for another 30 minutes.

For a soft treat, remove from oven and allow cookies to cool.

For a crunchy treat, flip cookies, reduce heat to 200F and bake for another 2 - 4 hours.

Store in refrigerator.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Animal Portraits by Emily Z

I was recently pleased to be introduced to the work of artist Emily Z. Being geared in the way I am, I was especially charmed by Emily’s pet portraits. Just look at them! Bright colours, beautiful form and what seems to me to be very real and charming expression.

On her web site, Emily points out that “custom pet portraits are a colourful and personal way to celebrate your pet.They make excellent presents for pet owners, people who have recently lost their pet, or anyone else who has a soft spot for a certain furry friend. I paint cats and dogs, as well as any other animal friend you may have. They are created with oil paints on 3/4″ profile stretched canvas. Each piece is created working closely with the client to insure that the pets expression, the color scheme, and end product meet their requirements.”

Emily Z can be reached by telephone at 778-227-5307 or via e-mail.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Hand for Homeless, Street Involved and Low Income Pet Guardians

It always makes me sad and concerned when I see homeless and street involved people with their pets: sleeping in bus shelters or asking for money on the street, their faithful dog or cat by their side, sharing their thin existence.

While on the one hand there can be an element of the heart-warming around these connections, how can people who can’t afford to put a real shelter over their own heads possibly get the kind of care for their pets that most of us take us a matter of course?

With those kinds of questions in mind, Bosley’s will be offering Pet Care Day on Sunday, March 3rd, from 10 am to 6pm. Those visiting Bosley’s Columbia Square, New Westminster location will have basic vet care available by donation, including a vet check, vaccinations, flea and worming treatments and nail trimming and other minor grooming.

This is a wonderful idea and we support it completely. Not only will Bosley’s be making pet care available to those who normally might not be able to afford it, the funds raised by donation will go to benefit animals living in at risk situations through the Paws for Hope Foundation, “a non-profit society in Vancouver, British Columbia established in 2011 out of the recognition that the majority of existing animal welfare initiatives are set up to respond to the immediate and urgent needs of animals in crisis and that in order to significantly improve animal welfare, a holistic and sustainable approach is required.”

To take part in this incredible day, visit Bosley’s Columbia Square location on March 3rd, or contact or by phone at 604-657-4183.