Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The dos and don'ts of microchipping your pet

This week we're working on something very important: transferring Lulu's and Jasmine's microchip information.

Both dogs have microchips registered with 24Pet Watch via my parents. But I must admit I never transferred ownership of both dogs on the microchips (and I've had Lulu going on three years). So this is a big step.

Couldn't we be playing instead, Mom?
This happens to coincide with a lot of questions I've gotten lately about microchipping pets. I was following a Facebook group this weekend where this was a big topic.

People want to know if microchipping is safe, if it will hurt their pets, is it worth doing?

Without a doubt, it is. There's ample evidence that done right, microchipping works. Pets have been found years after they disappeared. And it doesn't hurt your pet. It doesn't require surgery, it's just an injection. But there are some things you need to consider.

DO make sure your pet's microchip is registered. There are many places where you can get the microchip registered, but different shelters use different chips and registries. And did you know you can register your pet's chip in more than one registry? Some charge, some don't.

DO make sure to keep your contact information up to date. Did you move? Did you split up with your significant other? Did you change your phone number? It's important to keep the microchip up to date. If you don't, a shelter won't be able to find you if they have your dog.

DO make sure your pet's microchip number will be found. There are many databases, but some participate in a universal database that animal shelters and vets can access. This makes it easier for your pet's chip number to be found. That's the AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool. These microchip registries take part in the lookup tool:
DO consider cancer risk. I want to make it clear: there's no conclusive evidence yet that the microchip causes cancer. Testing done on rodents shows cancer at the injection site. Dogs and cats have a different biological makeup than rodents. Any instances where it might be connected appear to be rare.

The microchip is only activated when its scanned. Otherwise it lets off no radiation. And it's not a tracker or a GPS. All it does is store the registry number for scanning purposes. But should there be a risk, it is something you should consider. But is the risk worth the benefits? I think so.

DO get your pet's chip checked yearly. Your vet can scan the microchip during your annual visit. This will help make sure the chip hasn't moved (which can happen with the older chips especially) and that it's still scanning right.

DON'T implant two microchips without good reason. If you have two microchips, it doesn't hurt the pet. However, most people don't realize that a pet might have two microchips. So whichever one the scanner picks up first is the microchip number they will look up. So if you don't have information updated for both chips, you may not get your pet back.

One of the first things I did was get Jasmine her own tag.
DON'T ditch the collar tag. Just because you have a microchip doesn't mean you should get rid of the good old fashioned collar tag. There is always a chance the microchip will fail or can't be found. If your pet still has their tag with contact info, you will still find the pet.

DO consider other forms of identification. The more forms of identification you have for your pet, the better than chance you will find them again. For instance, Lulu has a collar with a QR code plate. Anyone with a red laser app on their phone (which everyone should have, by the way) can access the information via PetHub.com. PawsPrintsID is another QR code database.

Lulu's QR tag from Pet Hub. As you can see, it's a plate on her collar.
But there are other ways too. There's Tagg, which is a GPS collar. 

And now, there's a growing number of programs that involve facial recognition. There's the PiP App. You take a picture of your pet, and if the pet becomes lost, you activate an Amber Alert system. Finding Rover is the same kind of program.

August 15 is Check the Chip Day. Be sure to check out the American Veterinary Medical Association's website for more information and FAQs about microchips.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Whoever is shooting their gun near my house, you're scaring my dogs!

You know how all the dog lovers complain about people shooting off fireworks for days after Fourth of July?

How about gunfire, or something that sure sounds like it?

Today, I was in the shower when I heard a loud bang. It sounded like someone hammering into a block, I thought.  The dogs started barking like mad. Then I heard it again and again. Through my glass shower door I started to see Jasmine pacing. I know from reading about rescue dogs that pacing is a sign of anxiety. I finish my shower.

I hear the bangs again. That's not someone hammering next door.

Since I moved into this house, every once in a while, between 9 and 10 in the morning during the week, I hear a series of shots. To me, it sounds like someone firing off a gun. Whether it's someone with some Red Ryder BB Gun or someone with a .22 or someone with a shotgun I don't know.

Or maybe it's a nail gun. Like a super-powered nail gun. I dunno. Here's what I do know.

Lulu has, at least outwardly, recovered.

Jasmine, on the other hand, is no where to be found. The doors are all closed, the gate is still up on the other side of the house. No windows are open or broken. She's not in the living room, the kitchen, the dining room, not in her crate. So I decide to try a hunch. I get my camera, attach it to the monopole, lay on my bed and start taking pictures underneath.

I find her.

This dog has long, long legs. She was able to fold herself up and get herself under my bed, and on the other side where it's not too easy to get around.

And she would not come out.

I called the sheriff's office, but what are they supposed to do? I don't have proof it ever happened. No one is home. I think the noise is coming from the street behind me, but where?

And here's the thing -- if it is gunshots, in Florida, the cops may not even be able to do anything!

A law on the books since 1987 pretty much allows Floridians to shoot guns on their own property with few restrictions (Florida statute 790.15). A man in Big Pine Key, Florida discovered this last January and started target practice in his backyard.

And then, in 2011, lawmakers added teeth by prohibiting local lawmakers from restricting gun use on private property. Local leaders can be fined or even removed from office.

Now if you're on a 10 acre farm, fine, have at it. But if you're in a dense residential area, like a subdivision, NO! That should not be allowed. But apparently the lobbyist behind the NRA in Florida has pictures of all the lawmakers playing golf with Satan or something, because crazier and crazier pro-gun laws are being approved in this state.

By the way, that lobbyist, Marion Hammer, also represents the groups that killed a proposal to require shelters spay and neuter animals and provide state funding to make spaying and neutering cheaper for people -- you know, the local kennel clubs and the Sportsmen's Associations.

I get the Second Amendment, I do. I get why people own guns. I don't like it, but I get it, and it's your right. But at some point I have to be allowed the right to live a life without worrying if I'm going to get hit with a stray bullet in my backyard, and my dog shouldn't have to do this all the time.

Have your guns, but lets be safe about it, huh? Take that crap to a gun range and stop scaring me and my dogs!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#SummerofPets: Cool pet products and Pet 360's summer pet tips

The Dog Days of Summer are upon us -- which has nothing to do with dogs and everything to do with Sirius the DogStar.

And while for many of you the summer is half over, in Florida the summer goes on... and on... and on...

So how can you keep your pet cool and safe this summer while everyone is having fun? We've got a few ideas.


Time for a ride, but do you find your car is a bit hot?

The inside of a car is always hotter than the outside during the summer. Other surfaces can be hot in summer too, like maybe your pool deck, for instance.

The Cool Pet Mat is from the Green Pet Shop. The light blue pad has a non-toxic gel inside that, when pressure activated, cools you down. It lasts up to four hours, and it recharges itself once you're done. It doesn't need to be refrigerated, though you can put it in the freezer if you need recharge it faster.

The dogs weren't quite sure what to make of it at first, but eventually Jasmine sat on it. The pad comes in several sizes, and are great for cars, crates and other areas. I'm thinking of getting one for myself. Cars are hot for people too!

You can find the Cool Pet Mats at PetSmart, Amazon.com or on the Green Pet Shop website.


If you're like me and you have no choice but to take your dogs out between noon and two every day before work, you know that pavement can get pretty hot. Plus, when you're dog is outside on grass at parks or other place, lord knows what they can trod on.

PAWZ is a rubber bootie that looks like a balloon and slips on your dog's paws. I've tried other boots and Lulu was able to kick them off in seconds. But the PAWZ founder put them on Lulu at the last Global Pet Expo and ran with her. She didn't love them, but she couldn't get them off either.

They come in a lot of colors, and they can be reused over and over. But they are also disposable.

You can find PAWZ in most stores. 


I've reviewed the Kumfytailz harness before.  It's a great harness designed to keep your pet hot or cold, depending on what you are needing.

The harness is designed with a pocket that comes with an ice pack that can also be heated in the microwave. The pouch is situated over the dogs chest, because that's where the dog's core is.

This year Kumfytailz improved their design, and it's even a better fit than it was before.

You get a Kumfytailz harness in a variety of sizes and colors. Head to the Kumfytailz website for more.

Now -- there's more to summer than just keeping cool. Pet360.com has created a great infographic with some helpful reminders:

 Head to Pet360.com for more tips PLUS -- they have a great giveaway going on with summer products for both dogs and cats. ENTER TODAY!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stinky beagles? Smell it and weep, it might be true

Quick, grab your beagle and take a whiff!

Tell me, how does he or she smell?

This isn't the start to a joke. What does your beagle smell like?

"If I have baths, how can I be stinky?"
While asking for suggestions for the recent Beagle Myths story I did, one of the suggestions I got was that beagles smell.

I had not heard this before until I started researching this. Beagles smell! I asked what they smelled like. People couldn't tell me exactly why beagles were such smelly doggies. They all say their beagles smell fine.

Was it a case of we've all lived with the stench so long that we don't notice it?

Well here's the deal -- we don't necessarily wash beagles as much. In my unscientific survey of beagle parents, I discovered most maybe wash their beagle once a month, if that. Some wash them every couple of months unless they roll in something!

Thundershirt means I can roll in the grass more!
 Now, every dog does have a certain smell. Ever see dogs sniff each others' butts? They secrete that smell in their anal glands. That's where the smell is strongest.

But that smell can also be found in fur follicles. It's a chemical ID, like a fingerprint. For beagles, some experts say that smell is stronger because beagles developed it to help identify other members of their pack while hunting.

I do notice that if the dogs are running around and get dirty Lulu will have a stronger smell than other dogs, but it's nothing to worry about.

So what about bathing? Well, if you bathe a beagle too much you can strip their skin of natural oils. That can lead to irritation and itchiness. I leave it up to you how long you go between baths. Lulu gets bathed once a month. I don't want to go too long because I don't want too much oil and dirt to build up on her skin either.

You should use a good sensitive skin shampoo that doesn't have a lot of harsh chemicals. EarthBath makes good shampoos. I also like Organic Oscar.

When bathing, I use this rubber bathing brush.

I got it at Petco. It massages the soap deeper into the skin. The dogs love the feel of it. Then, it's really important to rinse and dry well.

In between baths, makes sure to brush your dog to keep the coat nice and soft and shiny. I use a Furminator. It does an amazing job of grooming and de-shedding (yes, beagles do shed).

My doggies don't smell! At least no one's told me they do. :)

PS: Ever smelled your dog's feet? Do they smell like Fritos?

So tell me... what does your doggy smell like?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Aroooo to you! Our new Life With Beagle award

Hello Team Beagle fans!

Lulu and I have been discussing it for some time. We love to receive blog awards, and we love to acknowledge the people who do amazing stuff.

So, with that in mind, we have come up with our own award. Periodically, we will post about a few people we think deserve this.

What's the criteria?

We see something you did, we like it, we offer you an award. You could be a blog. A rescue group. A business. Or just a regular person. We'll do this once in a while, at our discretion.

What do you have to do if you win?

Absolutely nothing. No surveys, no sharing, nothing. I encourage you to place the award on your website and link back to me. But you don't have to. :)

Can you nominate people for the award?

Sure! You can nominate on the Life With Beagle Facebook page, or tweet us @LifeWithBeagle. I reserve the right to choose who wins though.

So, without adieu, here are the first five Aroooo to You Award winners!

Carma Poodale and Bunny Allen

Carma is a poodle, and Bunny is her mom. Carma uses her blog to talk about her experience as a service dog and as a spokesdog for Owensboro Humane Society. Her and her mom Bunny champion dogs that may have been saved from being euthanized, but they are still living in a shelter, hoping for a home. Sometimes for a long time.

Recently, Dozer, a long time resident at the Humane Society, finally got a forever home. He waited three years. But he's home now, and it's thanks to them. Bunny does amazing work to help these dogs, and she and Carma deserve high praise.

Check out Bunny and Carma's blog at CarmaPoodale.com.

Caren Gittleman

Caren runs two blogs: Cat Chat with Caren and Cody and Dakota's Den. She also is an ambassador for BlogPaws. She is the one who makes all the new bloggers feel most welcome in the blogging world. She is always great to all of us.

Caren deserves to be honored for the work on her blog, and also for just being a great advocate for dog bloggers every where.

Check out Cat Chat with Caren and Cody and Dakota's Den.

Kol's Notes

 Jodi Chick's blog is all about ways to raise a pet the homegrown way. Check out their archive of recipes, and tips and tricks from handmade birthday cards to making doggy pillows. Great pictures, nicely designed blog! And great info too, that's easy to follow. I love Jodi's projects, plus Kolchak the puggle and Felix are adorable, if cantankerous.

The Pet Blog Lady

Lisa at the BlogPaws Nose to Nose Awards.
Lisa is quirky. It's what makes her blog so fun. That and her absolute adoration of animals. Lisa's blog celebrates all animals in fun and funny way. Her posts always make me smile, especially on Facebook. Whether she's talking about Oscar, her dog, Frank (the fish) or her trips to Mexico to help SPCA, or even Squirrel Appreciation Week, you will always enjoy what you're reading, and you'll learn something.

Follow Lisa at The Pet Blog Lady.

Oz the Terrier

Oz the Terrier is funny Cairn Terrier who writes beautiful poetry. Ok, they're dirty limericks about his friends. But he has their permission, so it's ok.

Oz and his mom Gina are also always traveling around Florida, camping out in all kinds of places and showing how to make these camping trips enjoyable for dogs of all shapes and sizes. And one of the first things I also enjoyed about his blog was how the title graphic used the same fonts you'd find in a copy of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Toto was a Cairn Terrier, you know.

Follow Oz and Gina at Oz the Terrier.

Congrats to all these first winners of Life With Beagle's Aroooo to You Award!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Texas-sized beagle rescue and a new cruelty-free app

Courtesy Beagle Freedom Project.
This beautiful beagle is free.

This week Beagle Freedom Project announced its first rescue in Texas. Seven beagles rescued from a lab on the border of Texas and Mexico.

Beagle Freedom Project will not say what lab it was, that's part of the agreement. And they can't say what these beagles (named Candy, Luca, Frida, Dolly, Nina, Bobby, and Grumpy) have been through. But some of them have been waiting to be freed from the lab for nine years!

Some 96 percent of animal testing is done using beagles because they are such sweet dogs. Your prescription meds, makeup, household cleaners and even your toothpaste may have been tested on a beagle.  

Courtesy Beagle Freedom Project.
Thanks to BFP these dogs are getting their first experience with a soft bed, grass and sunshine. They'll be fostered before they are adopted out. And it takes a lot of patience to foster and adopt a lab beagle. They don't know what it's like to be a dog. Some have trouble trusting humans. They've never had a treat. They've never walked outside to go potty. 

How can you help?

Beagle Freedom Project is trying to build a new recovery center. You can donate to them.

You can also sign up to foster or adopt a BFP dog. 

You can sign the petition and contact your state lawmakers to get them to sponsor the Beagle Freedom Bill, which forces labs to retire their lab beagles to rescue groups instead of killing them.

But you can also send a message to companies that test on dogs.

These companies, and many others test on animals.

Beagle Freedom Project came out with an easy way to find companies that don't test on animals.

If you have a smart phone, you can download the Beagle Freedom Project Cruelty Cutter app. You can use it to scan products in your house and find out if they are tested on animals. You can also find cruelty-free alternatives. Start telling companies that you want products that don't test on animals.

This is just the latest story I've written about the Beagle Freedom Project. You can read my other story here, including my two-part interview with BFP president Shannon Keith, below.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Calm on the Fourth of July: Easy ways to keep your dog safe

Fourth of July -- barbecues, parades, patriotism, red, white and blue --

What does your dog do when the fireworks go off near your house? Have you ever watched your dog when there's loud booming noises?

Many dogs freak out over loud noises, particularly thunder and fireworks. In Florida you have both in abundance in July. Even though Fourth of July is one day, fireworks can last for weeks in Florida. People go to those pop-up fireworks shops, sign the paper promising they'll use the fireworks to scare birds from crops, and then spend the next few weeks blowing stuff up and guess what, rarely any birds around.

Fortunately, Lulu seems to be able to deal with fireworks. I lived close to Universal for years. But my Mom's dachshund Cappy I know goes nuts when he hears fireworks or thunder.

The anxiety from fireworks can cause your dog to cower in a corner. But it can also spook them enough that they'll tear through a house, smashing and knocking things over to get away from the sound. And some -- will escape. In facts, more pets are lost on July 4th than any other holiday.

Pet Amber Alert.com released this infographic with some basic tips:

But there's more your can do:
  • Compression: A Thundershirt or Anxiety Wrap is an easy way to do that. But you can also use a towel or tight t-shirt to get the desired effect. The idea is akin to swaddling a baby. The compression in certain spots is meant to soothe the pet. It doesn't work for everyone, but these kinds of compression shirts have had a lot of success, so it's worth a shot.
  • Distraction: Now is a good time for a big bone or a Kong or a favorite toy or an antler, something that will allow them to chew and or otherwise distract them.
  • Scenting: When you create that safe space for your pet, include an item of your own that has your scent on it. If you are going away for Fourth of July, this will help them feel a bit more secure.

    Also, try essential oils or calming candles. Lavender, chamomile, vanilla, valerian, sandalwood and jasmine are all helpful scents. If you use essential oils, be sure to follow the instructions. If you put them on the dog, be sure not to put it directly on their nose and keep it away from their eyes.

    You can also try lighting scented candles. But don't do it close to their pet bed, and make sure you are still home when they are lit.
  • Know your dog: You need to know if your dog is afraid of fireworks.  You need to know how to react. If your pet will react violently and possibly hurt themselves -- maybe you should stay home.
  • Be up to date: Make sure your microchip contact information is up to date. If your pet gets out, it could mean the difference between coming back to you and being re-homed... or worse.
Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!