Cold Weather and Your Dog

Cold Weather and Your Dog

If you’re like me, life is great if you can take you best friends everywhere with you, but it has to be a great idea for the dog too. What do I mean by that? Well, just because I would always be happiest if my dogs were with me, 24/7, that doesn’t always mean it’s the best thing for them and right now, just like in the summer, it might not always be the right time.

Sure, we go hiking almost everyday that I’m not at the fire station, but they’re fit dogs, with decent coats and even then, I’m always checking in to make sure they’re doing well. My “big guy” Rhylee, is a 10 year old, 42 lb. Heeler/Border Collie mix, even though he has a shorter coat, it’s pretty dense. That said, if we’re not moving constantly, he could get pretty cold up here in the northern part of the country and when we’re at the barn, I have to be even more cognizant of how the weather is affecting him because he’s not nearly as active there. That means that even in a heated indoor arena (40 F), I make sure he has a dog bed to keep him off the floor. Junebug, my 25 lb. VERY mixed breed J, has a full, thick, double coat and I’ve yet to see her get chilly, but I’m still always checking in with her, and she’s always the one that ends up on a trunk or table on the cold days at the barn (even with her perfectly nice bed on the ground). Rhylee has a great coat to wear on the chillier days, Junebug does too but mostly I put it on her so she feels included. If you have a smaller dog, I’d recommend a pretty good wardrobe for inclement weather, being closer to the ground does bring on a chill faster!

What both dogs have in common of course, are their paws, winter weather can wreak havoc on your pooches feet, so make sure they’re clean, not cracked and if you walk near salted roads, you absolutely have to clean those tootsies off when you get home. The salt, drier weather, cold air, and ice can cause cracks to form on the pads and that can lead to painful, bleeding paws. I’ve found that an application of coconut oil can work wonders on winter toes. Speaking of toes, Junebug’s are pretty fluffy, if your dog collects snowballs in between their toes, I’m sure you’ve noticed how painful that can be. A little careful clipping of the fluff and an application of that good old coconut oil can fix that problem right up!

Please give your dogs and cats a warm, safe place to live in your home, they aren’t equipped to survive the winter outside! They’re domestic pets, not the wild creatures they once were. See you next time with some more winter tips for happy dogs!


Springtime Water Safety for Dogs

So, at last it’s spring! The almost all of the snow has melted in our mountain town and across the country, people are getting out more and enjoying the warmth and sunshine. But don’t forget that along with warmth and snow melting, comes higher rivers and even flooding in some areas. Add to that, the fact that not all of the ice has melted in some colder places, you have a potentially dangerous situation that could affect you and your dog.

We all want to take to the trails and hike, now that we can get around easier and the weather has changed, but before you head out, whether it’s for a little stroll around your neighborhood, or a hike in the woods, make sure you can control your dog and that you keep your eyes and ears open at all times.

There are two issues you need to keep on your mind in order to keep your dog safe and yourself too; fast, deep waters and weak ice.

Fast rivers and streams can deceive the most careful pet owner, simply because you might not think that your dog would head into something flowing that hard, but not only is that not the case, a lot of dogs head down to the water’s edge and fall in. Some dogs just don’t judge the velocity and jump on in because that’s what they did last summer, and then they find themselves in a lot of trouble. The fast moving water isn’t really the problem; it’s the objects in the water that can cause the hazards. Strainers are obstacles in the water that water can flow through and over but you (and your dog) can’t, causing the swimmer to be pushed up against or under them. Not all strainers are visible above the water, but the most common are logs and trees. Another hazard is a hydraulic (or Maytag or washer). When the water flows over an object, it creates a strong churning on the other side that is like a recycling motion, continuously pulling the swimmer back under water.

No matter what the obstacle, you need to be constantly on the alert and keep your dogs away from the edge of fast moving rivers and streams, and don’t forget, they can slip in just as easily as the rest of us, so keep them away.

Many people are aware of the dangers of ice breaking and someone falling through, and this isn’t any different for animals. Sadly, we’ve been involved in several ice rescues of pets and very often, we were too late to help. Right about now, some bodies of water can still be ice covered and look just fine to a pet, but the ice can easily break, causing them to fall in and most likely under, some intact ice.

All of these water hazards have 2 things in common; they can kill your dog, and they can kill you when you try to rescue them.

So in conclusion, please prevent the problem by watching your dogs carefully and monitoring the conditions around you while you’re out and about in this beautiful weather. Let’s all make this a safe and fun spring!

Pet Friendly Holidays

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to take some simple steps to ensure that everyone in your family has a great holiday, and that includes your pets. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be discussing the best ways to keep your four-legged friends safe, happy and holiday ready.
Some of the subjects we’ll be discussing are foods, decorations, house guests and to round out all the serious talk, a few gift ideasallhailthedog for your pets and your pet loving friends and family.
Since we all like to enjoy and indulge a little more than usual this time of year, we’re going to cover some food safety tips first. First off,
Chocolate is probably the most commonly known hazard to dogs, so how on earth do they still get into it? Easy, it smells great and frankly, we’re just not paying as much attention to these things as they are. If you have any doubt and you’re not embarrassed to try something a little strange. Next time you have a gathering at your home, even just when the family is getting dinner ready, sit yourself down on the floor, be really quiet and just watch for a few minutes. Now do you see? Just seeing things the way our dogs and cats do opens up a whole new world of understanding. Parents are nodding their heads right now because toddlers do the same thing. Just a few precautions and a minute of paying attention can save you all a lot of grief. Place foods gifts, holiday treats and party food out of the easy access zone for you pets and keep an eye out for the agile and determined. Other foods to be careful with are raisins, grapes, garlic, onions, macadamia nuts, avocados, cinnamon, popcorn and anything seasoned and salty, just to be safe. I know a lot of animal experts advise to NEVER feed human food to your pets, and on the whole, we agree. That said, there are some very safe treats that can be enjoyed by dogs and cats if you do it in moderation. Cheese and turkey are 2 great examples, again, just make sure they’re plain and not seasoned.
More tips to follow, but if you have some fun holiday traditions that you share with your pets, please share them with us, we’d love to hear from you!

Who’s Watching Fido? A Dog Sitter Dilemma

Leashed and safe.

Leashed and safe.


I was at my job at the fire department yesterday, checking the apparatus like we do every morning, when I just happened to glance outside. What I saw was enough to send me out the bay door at a fast pace; a loose dog at the edge of our busy street, getting ready to cross the road. She didn’t have that look of a dog that was well aware of their surroundings, more like she was quite anxious and possibly looking for someone.

To make matters worse, a gentleman was walking his dog on the other side of the road, a site that as we know, can distract even the most street-wise of dogs. As I jogged across the street, a fast moving car (read: speeding) was passing by, the driver looking out the side window at nothing in particular; pretty much a disaster in the works. Luckily for everyone, I headed the dog off at the last second and she trotted into the small park nearby. I tried several times to approach her, but she was obviously very nervous, barking and running away every time I got near her. Even the nice guy walking his dog couldn’t get her near to his pup. I watched as she jumped up a stonewall bordering the park and into a private yard, where the less-than-understanding owner yelled at her and chased her back into the street. As she started an earnest run up the road, I let my captain know what was going on, and jumped in the pick up truck to follow her. Luckily, she was one of those dogs that just loves a ride and I was able to get ahead of her and coax her slowly into the truck.

Later, after getting her comfortable in my car (she was too scared to even walk in to the fire department) I made the usual calls to dispatch and the local veterinarians to let them know her name. Luckily, her owners had been responsible and she had a collar with her name and their phone numbers on it, so even though I couldn’t get them to answer, I did leave messages. About an hour later, I got a call from dispatch saying she had “grandma” on the phone. She had been watching the dog for her daughter while she was away on a trip and could she come get the wayward pooch?

We met up and all was well. But. This is where I get to the point of my story; this was not a new scenario at all, just one that ended well. As my regular readers know, I am very often to be found dog sitting, but I take that responsibility with an enormous amount of forethought and gravity. After all, this is someone’s precious pet and I can’t imagine watching them with anything less than a high level of concern and planning, that’s just the way I am. I won’t even go into the anxiety that ensues if I have to leave town without my dogs, just suffice it to say that dogs aren’t the only ones who suffer from separation issues.

In my job, I’ve unfortunately seen a lot of the bad things that happen when people leave their dogs with a friend to watch, and it’s very often heartbreaking. I’m sure that most of the time the owners are truly thinking that they’re doing what’s best for the dog, but maybe sometimes it’s just was easiest or cheapest for the owner.

This is not a promotion for kennels and boarding facilities, I’ve seen bad things happen there too; it’s just that very often our friends really aren’t prepared for the responsibility of your pet.

I’ve seen dogs hit by cars when they had been trying to make it back home from the sitter’s house, to others lost in the wilderness while out on a hike.

My only point in telling this story is this; even the most well meaning family and friends need all of the tools you can give them to keep your beloved dog safe while you’re away. You need to research commercial kennels and you need to really quiz your potential sitters to make sure they can do the job right. Then you need to give them all of the info about your pooch that will help them do their job well, that means vet info, diet and medication instructions, even walking guidelines (leash anyone?) and play preferences. Often bringing their bowls, a toy or two and their own cozy pet bed from home will also help keep them comfortable while you’re away, and lets not forget current tags and a collar. Most of all, give them the information they need to keep them safe, controlled and off the streets at all times. Oh, and have a nice trip!

Fireworks and Dogs

best dog bedsFireworks and Dogs

Independence day has come and gone with all its’ accompanying festivities. I know some people plan for this holiday for weeks, if not months; BBQs, fireworks, camping trips etc., but what about their pets? Did they plan to keep the family pets safe? This is such an important question because every Fourth of July thousands of pets are lost and killed because of a lack of planning on their owners’ part.

On the fourth I was coming back from an ambulance transport when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a very young dog by the side of the road. He was obviously searching for food on the ground, but at the same time he appeared desperately scared. I knew I’d have to be extremely careful both because of his skittishness and his proximity to the road. He traveled a little way down a side road, so I followed and got out of the ambulance when he was about 100 yards away from me and I was between him and the road. Listening to my gut instinct, I didn’t even try to approach him and instead called him, patted my leg and started off in another direction, hoping to have him follow which could be easier for him to handle. Sadly, he ran almost instantly, luckily in the direction of the nearby woods, not the highway. Several fireworks went off about that time and he just took off. I followed slowly for about a quarter of a mile, hoping to find him holed up, but was seriously disappointed. I called our 911-dispatch center and asked if they had any reports of a dog that matched his description (since it was July 4th, they get a lot of those), but no one had called. After waiting quietly for about 20 minutes, I had to get back to work and reluctantly left. The next day, I found that he had been sighted running across the highway a few times and again the next day. I haven’t been able to catch up with him again and it’s breaking my heart.

My plan is to hope that he’ll be safe until we can get a trap into place: I just think he’s too skittish to coax into a car, although I will try again with my dogs. Hopefully, I can work with animal control and we can be successful, but hope is not a plan. This sorrowful dog could be safe at home, snuggled in a cozy pet bed instead of searching for food and water if only his owners had cared enough to plan ahead.

The Fourth of July isn’t a surprise to us humans, but it certainly is to our animals, both large and small and we need to be prepared to keep them safe. Until you know how they’ll react to fireworks, both the big displays and the poppers that are everywhere, you need to get them into a controlled environment where they can’t escape and where you can buffer the impact of what must appear to them to be the end of the world.

I’ve had great success with fireworks shy dogs simply by keeping them inside (windows almost completely closed, I knew a dog that pushed out a window screen on the third floor) and by letting them hide in a closet. Some dogs do well with a little tranquilizer prescribed by the vet, others need some music or even the shower running.

I had a wonderful dog that was reduced to a shaking, panting mess around fireworks if he was inside or out, but if I drove him around in the car, he was just fine!

Cats are usually OK with just about anything, but I always close them up in the house too. As for my horses, each one is different, but so far they’ve been only mildly startled for a minute or two and then they settle back in.

The bad news is that thousands of dogs are lost every year due to poor planning and fireworks. The good news is that with a little care, your holiday can start and end on the happiest of notes. Happy Independence Day and stay safe all year long!


Cold Weather Pet Safety; A Responsibility, Not a Choice.


With cold weather sweeping a good part of our nation, it’s time for pet owners to step up to their responsibilities. But wait, I’m not done yet, it’s also time for neighbors, passers by and everyone else to step up as well.

Many of you may have read the tragic story from Indiana. During the last cold spell, a resident of North Preston Indiana recalls hearing a “weird howling” from a neighbors’ dog, shortly before it was found frozen to death.  The owner was charged with animal cruelty, which is appropriate. The neighbor got some attention from the media but no one asked him why he didn’t do something before the poor dog had suffered and died, which is inappropriate. We’re aware that a lot of Americans dislike government regulations, but if we can’t uphold common decency in our actions or make sure that our neighbors do so as well, then what we need is some government involvement. In fact, animal control agencies across the mid-west and east coast made considerable attempts to warn pet owners about the dangers of cold weather, unfortunately, not everyone paid attention. The skills needed for animal care aren’t rocket science, although they do require a working brain and soul, something very obviously lacking in a significant portion of our population. Dogs found frozen onto doghouse floors, horses dead of dehydration (hint, water freezes) and cat’s left to die in the elements. Every state has different animal cruelty laws; many of them are practically non-existent, (For more information on your state, check out the Humane Society’s report card), but humanity isn’t something we as a species, seem to have been able to master.  After perusing the ASPCA & Humane Society websites, I came up with a few good tips for animal cold weather care; I suggest that you check out those and other great information sources for your specific concerns or animals.

Keep pets indoors and warm.

Cold can be deadly, especially to the very young or old. If you have pets that can’t come inside, then you HAVE to provide safe, warm shelter. Look at it this way, if you couldn’t stay where they stay, then move them or fix up their shelter. For pets who are outside for the day, be sure to provide a dry, draft free shelter that’s big enough for them to lie down in, but small enough to not get so cold. Cover the floor with straw or wood shavings; add an inexpensive but well made pet bed. Make sure it’s insulated and cover the doorway with heavy burlap AND plastic. Then bring them inside at night.

Make sure they have water and food, a lot of both.

Being outside in the cold can dehydrate an animal and make them expend a lot more energy just staying warm. Check their food and water several times a day and makes sure the water isn’t frozen. Use plastic bowls, not metal.

Help strays, feral and “community” cats.

Easy to construct shelters made out of Styrofoam coolers with blankets in them and a small hole cut out for a door work well. Spend a little on some extra food and help them through the tough winter. If you are really motivated, trap them and take them to the shelter to get spayed and neutered and then release the un-adoptable (wild) ones back into their neighborhood. Most shelters have great deals for strays.

Make sure horses and other livestock have effective shelter and around the clock food and water. Also, be sure to check under your car’s hood for cats and wild animals.

Please pass on this information and be kind!

luxury pet beds



DNA Contest Winner

dirty diesel


We have a contest winner for the Diesel DNA Contest and I have to tell you, it was the toughest one to date. (Even as I write this, we’re gearing up for another).

When the results came in we were all flabbergasted, well, that and confused. That’s because none of us had ever heard of one of the breeds, which immediately started up a flurry of research. I’m happy to say that not only did we achieve one of our goals here at, pet rescue awareness, we also had our generous dog-parent and contest voter Donna, donate the dog bed she won to a needy dog.

So, here was the issue; we had a TON of great votes, but we had a truly unique DNA result, so in order to designate a winner, we had to get down to the more obscure bits of DNA. This is because the ancestry of the main breed is also a little up in the air. Diesel came back as mostly Australian Koolie and a Kuvasz with a smaller percentage as “mixed breed”. Now you may remember that we received a lot of Australian Cattle dog & Heeler votes and it took a while to break down the Koolie heritage before we could determine that the Cattle Dog connection wasn’t strong enough for a wining vote, in addition, not a single vote even came close to the Kuvasz connection, so that meant we had to go to the “mixed breed” portion of the Diesel dog’s test results. You see, if you order up one of these awesome fun tests, you get back an enormous amount of information. This includes not only the main breeds related to your dog, but the smaller DNA hits that are bunched into the “mixed breed” section. In Diesel’s case, those results came back as Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Papillion, Doberman, Australian Cattle Dog and, wait for it…..Boxer! And it was the boxer vote that put our girl Donna in the winner’s circle! She voted Australian Cattle Dog, Aussie Shepherd, Dalmatian and Boxer! Donna wrote in her vote that if she won, she wanted the bed to go to a cold, needy dog in Idaho, since her pampered pooch Molly lives in the temperate climes of Arizona and snoozes with the best of the on her Tempur-Pedic bed.

The story of the Koolie is an interesting one; a talented and intelligent working dog whose ancestors came to Australia with the sheep they were herding. The story of whether they came from England or Germany remains a bit of a mystery. One thing that isn’t a mystery however, is the good science our dog loving friends down under use to keep the breed strong, smart and healthy; responsible breeding without ridiculous standards for appearance. Something American breeders and the AKC could learn from.

The other side to Diesel’s relatives is the Kuvasz; a large and very old breed from Hungary, by way of Tibet, the Kuvasz was used as a guard dog and large game hunter, some traits that Diesel had shown too. The Kuvasz is related to the Great Pyrenees, a very popular sheep guard dog out here in Idaho. Diesel has exhibited a lot of Koolie traits as well, high energy, excellent mental stimulation, agile and able to develop strong family relationships.

Anyway you look at it Diesel is a great example of a rescue success story as well as the countless benefits that come with mixed breed dogs and adoption. Stay tuned for our search for a chilly, needy dog in our area, I’ll be enlisting the help of the Animal Shelter of The Wood River Valley as well as local law enforcement to help me find a dog who could use a bed…..anyone want to donate a dog house? J

A Dog’s Identity

What Am I?

What Am I?


Diesel’s DNA test results are in and we’re excitedly waiting to tally the results. So if you haven’t voted yet, get to work, because the contest closes at midnight December 20th and you still have a chance to win an awesome, planet friendly and gorgeous dog bed for your pet AND for the animal charity of your choice! That’s right, not one but two beds. The results came in yesterday and they were enlightening, to say the least. Looking back on Junebug’s DNA contest (check the blog archives) it was really up in the air and people’s guesses reflected that, this time around however, we’re seeing more similar guesses, so it’s going to be down to who guessed the closest match and then entered their vote the soonest.

These DNA contests are really fun for everyone at and, but they also highlight the cause nearest and dearest to our hearts; animal rescue and adoption. It’s a cause we never tire of educating our readers about, advocating for and promoting on our sites. This time of year, when people’s thoughts are a little more focused on doing good things for those around them, we want to remind our readers to Adopt, Don’t Shop. And while we all know the joys of pet ownership, please don’t give pets as gifts; animal ownership is an endeavor best entered into as a well thought out plan, not as a spur-of-the-moment surprise. Shelters are full of once cuddly puppies and kittens grown into everyday responsibilities, in fact that’s very likely how we came to have the dear Junebug in our lives. As many of you know, two years ago, and just a few weeks after Christmas, Juno was dumped at a farmhouse in rural Idaho. Miles from any other houses and in the freezing cold, she sat shivering out there for hours. It was quickly apparent that she had been fed and sheltered up until that day, but also traumatized by someone’s’ ignorant and brutal attempts at “training”. Today, you wouldn’t know it to look at her; confident and excessively cheerful, she know beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is loved and cherished, but she’s one of the lucky ones. Diesel is also one of the lucky ones, thanks to the caring and professional law enforcement personnel in our town and his new and loving family. Please keep making these innocent animals “lucky”. And get in your vote to win one of the best dog beds ever!


DNA Mystery Test Number 3


dirty diesel

Well it’s that time again! For all you fans of #Dailydiesel, the DNA test has been done and the results should be back in around 2 weeks. If you’ve been following the story of one very lucky dog you’ll already know that Diesel was found wandering around our town this summer while a massive wildfire consumed a little under 100 thousand acres of beautiful forests around us. From the dense smoke and underlying tension, a story of hope and love emerged; first, law enforcement found the little guy before he was injured in traffic and brought him to our local shelter ( a very nice no-kill place), but shortly after that they started to miss the pup and actually took him back and started sending him home with fellow officers as babysitters. Now in order to understand how unusual this is and what a remarkable effect this one young dog had on so many people, you have to understand that our local law officers do this job all the time, find the wandering dog and take him to the shelter that is. Yes, they scan for microchips and if the dog has a collar with tags, they call any numbers they find. They’ll also check with all of the local vets, kennels and so on. In other words, they do a really good job of trying to reunite pets and their families, but sometimes, sadly enough, families don’t want to be found. Diesel had a collar (1 point) with his name and a phone number (2 points), but no microchip (minus 3 points). So they called and called and called, without an answer back. When Diesel entered our lives, one of the law enforcement officers and a good friend, showed up while I was on shift with Diesel on a rope. Just be aware, this act showed intention and planning, if I were to put it in legal terms. She figured that if anyone would adopt an adorable herding dog, it would be this sucker right here. She wasn’t far off since I assumed that this was the “my dog” my husband was looking for, however one of my partners literally fell to his knees, hugged the little guy to his chest and practically said “can I”? Who could resist? Apparently his better half couldn’t either and, as they say, history was made. What followed was nothing short of a miraculous change in two reasonably unsentimental, professional and very successful adults into mushy, love struck pet parents. In other words, one of us! So they went to and ordered up a DNA test and let the contest begin! Let’s all give a shot at guessing what Diesel is, that is, of what breeds. This one is a lot easier than our first contest with Juno, a little easier than Izzy’s contest, so have at it! Send your guesses in to The first entered, most correct guess wins a luxury dog bed of their choice and a blog right here at You can also find the blog on the

Diesel in the Park

Diesel in the Park

Good luck and let the games begin! Follow us on Twitter, just send FOLLOW@AllHailTheDog and like us on Facebook.











Senior Pets are Easy to Love!


senior pets


Every time I look at the adoption photos for our local shelter I see at least 2 or 3 senior dogs up for adoption.

They’re at the shelter for a lot of reasons: sometimes their owners have passed away, which is tragic of course, but not nearly as tragic as the ones who’ve been abandoned or surrendered to the shelter. I can’t imagine the pain that a family or individual must feel when their circumstances are so horribly altered that they have to give up a member of their family. I know we can easily judge someone in this position, but I’m sure that most of them are at their wit’s end. Yes, there are those people who should never own a pet and just give one up because they’re moving somewhere that pets aren’t allowed, and don’t even get me started on people who just abandon their animals on the street or even locked up in a house.  Jail is too good for them.

However, November is adopt a senior pet month and I would challenge anyone who loves pets to make room in their hearts and home for a senior pet. They’re awesome for anyone who isn’t as active as they used to be as well as a great companion for someone who should maybe get out a little more often. I’ve seen the amazing change that an easier to care for senior pet has made in the life of many a senior person; it’s astounding how they can lift a mild depression and bring light into someone’s life, cat and dog people alike.

Of course, you have to be willing to visit the vet regularly and make some little changes to ease some aches and pains; sometimes a lifted feed and water bowl and a soothing orthopedic dog bed are all they’ll need to make everyday a little brighter for both of you.

Adopt a senior pet this month and enjoy the best Thanksgiving ever!