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!


Preventing dogfights and other aggressive behavior.

robinswoodWhat does it look like when a dog is about to start a fight? Other than really knowing your dog and understanding their body language there a couple of signs that everyone can look for, in your own dogs and others as well.

Stiff body/neck; watch your dog play with a friend and then watch when they see a new dog that they’re not so sure about, what do you see? Stiff, slightly raised neck, stiff legs, raised shoulders and hackles, if they get close enough, you could see bared teeth as well, or just wrinkled lips. These are the most obvious signs and can roll over into the next one;

Change in play behavior; let’s say the dogs are already playing, pay attention to their body language to see if attitudes are altered along the way.

Dogs actually have pretty strict rules about play behavior. The play bow is an invitation to play, as well as an apology if one dog was too rough as in “sorry, didn’t mean to nip so hard”. Dogs, coyotes and wolves all ostracize others who don’t play by the rules. Biting too hard, nipping too close to the eyes and excessive roughness in any form are all a part of the canine “moral code”.

So now you know what to look for, what do you do when you see it?

The quickest, easiest and safest way to diffuse a potential fight is to remove the threat of proximity; that means, if you’ve trained your dog well, a sharp “this way” or “come” or “here” in addition to you moving rapidly away as well, is all it would take to change your dogs direction, moving him away and almost guaranteeing that there won’t be a fight. If you don’t have that ability to get your dogs attention, maybe throwing a ball or toy could do the job for you.

Picking up the smaller dog. This is a fast way to move a dog you trust not to bite you and again remove the threat and cool down aggressive behavior. But. You could get a nip form the little dog, or worse, make yourself a target for the other dog. That said, I would always err on the side of the little dogs safety and pick them up. Unless they’ve already engaged in a major way, you will most likely be just fine, especially if you turn your back on the other dog.

Lastly, I have been able to grab the attacking dogs’ collar while straddling it from the back. This has a lot of risk to all parties, including becoming the focus of the attack, losing control of the dog and lastly, not finding a way to let go. Yeah, I said it, because at some point you’re going to have to let go and I’m hoping you’ve been able to come to some sort of an understanding by then.

Whatever the situation, I can only hope that you and your dog can better navigate the complex social world of dogs after reading this, and please write in with questions or comments.

Dog Park Clean Up

This past Saturday was a great event for event patrons of the Warm Springs “Dog Park” in Ketchum Idaho.

Clean up crew

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this location, the “Dog Park” lies on the former site of a golf course and restaurant. It also happens to be located on some of the most beautiful acreage you’re likely to see. It looks far more like the rolling lawns of a huge estate and yes, we get to walk our dogs on this!
Having been to dog parks across the country, I’m sure most of us are aware of the huge range in quality you can find on any given stretch of open ground that’s been designated as a place for dogs to meet, greet, run and play. That said; you’ve never seen anything like this. And even though you could say that those of us who live out here amongst some of the most beautiful wild places to hike, ski, bike, run and fish are just about the luckiest people around, (you’d be correct), we are like anyone else in that sometimes (OK a lot of the time), you need to be able to let your dog run and play without it being a long excursion into the back country. Enter the ‘Dog Park” to end all dog parks. Now my readers will know that I’ve been a dedicated traveler and blogger about pet friendly places, hotels, trips and so on, and you’ve seen and heard about some of the better and some of the could-do-a-lot-better dog spots around. This spot is far and beyond the nicest place you’ll ever stroll and it’s right in town.
Privately owned and maintained, the Warm Springs Ranch is also home to a vibrant Frisbee golf community as well.

Stick 'em up

Stick ’em up

On any given day, you’ll also see someone practicing Tai Chi, 5 or 10 dogs madly chasing each other, balls or squirrels (although oddly enough, NOT the Frisbess) as well as a few people just stretching their legs on their lunch break.

As the “park” grew in popularity however, some problems grew along with it, namely dog waste. It seems that some were taking advantage of the generosity of the property owner and the hard work of the property manager and not bothering to pick up after their pooches. To be fair, there was also evidence of some teenager partying going on as well. As the problem grew, signs were posted warning people to be responsible or else the area would be closed off to the public. This led to and Idahound Dog Food Company to arrange a park clean-up party. We’re happy to say that not only was the clean-up effort successful, but a lot of fun was had with a dog trick contest and some dog and dog people socializing.
Did I mention that even people without dogs showed up to help? Yep, it was that much fun, in fact the winner of the Most Poop Collected category was a mom and her young son and they don’t even own a dog!



Another winner was a very young girl and her pound dog Chihuahua mix Heidi. After a fabulous performance of dancing in a circle on her hind legs and rolling over, these two took home the grand prize of Idahound dog treats, Sun Valley Mustard gift pack and an All Hail the dog cozy dog bed.
All participants received a delicious bag of Sun Valley Mustard Pretzel Chips, generously donated for the event along with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies from a local restaurant Perry’s and coffee from Starbucks, also donated.

Our other trick contest winners also took home schwag from

All Hail the Dog, treats from Idahound and Sun Valley Mustard gift packs.
One other good thing that came out of this fun day in the “park” was a “Park Manners List”. All of the attendees wrote down their ideas for a clean, fun and polite dog park experience and that list will be printed out and displayed at the “park”. We’ll be posting that list for our readers as well; you can take it as is to your local park or add to it and let us all know what else you came up with. Until then, have fun and “doo” the right thing!

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.











Safe Dog Treats


In light of the recent national attention to the problem of toxic dog treats,  (discussed in this blog well over a year ago), we though it would be beneficial to review some of the issues surrounding pet product safety.

The first thing that you need to be aware of is that while the FDA does regulate all animal foods, their regulation only goes so far as to require that all animal foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled. They regulate labeling which includes weight, ingredients and name & place of business of the manufacturer OR the distributer. Note that the country of origin isn’t included. Also note that they have no requirements that the food products have pre-market approval, they consider some foods to be assumed safe (like meat, poultry and grains) and others are considered G.R.A.S. (generally recognized as safe), such as vitamins, minerals etc.

What does this mean to you as a pet owner? It means that you have to be diligent in picking out treats for your dog or cat, it means that you need to be aware of recalls and country of origin and, as if that’s not enough, you also need to monitor your pets while they’re enjoying those treats.

Just take a look at the list of treat manufacturers finally released to the public. This list contains the brands that are suspected in the illnesses and deaths of over 1,000 pets and they al have one thing in common; they were all made in China.

Waggin Train, Canyon Creek Ranch, Dogswell, Hartz, Snausages, Booda Bones, Aspen Pet, Milo’s Kitchen, American Kennel Club, Dingo’s, Beefeaters, Cadet, Sargents, Ever Pet (Dollar General), Home pet 360, Walgreen’s Simple, The Kingdom’s Pets, Benefuk, Beggin Strips, Pupperoni and Canine Carryout.

A lot of those names look familiar don’t they? They’re brands you may have used for years.

So, what can you do?

  1. Read the label. If it doesn’t clearly state “a product of the USA” or “Made entirely with ingredients from America) or any thing similar, DON’T BUY IT!
  2. Realize that a lot of treats are choking hazards, particularly rawhide, and never leave your pet unsupervised while they have them and be careful with bones too; they can splinter into very sharp pisces.
  3. Notice your pet, their normal activity level, affect and general demeanor. If you want to be objective, make a note of their resting heart rate, respiratory rate and gum color.
  4. Call your vet if you have any concerns and learn pet CPR and Heimlich maneuvers.

If you can be mindful of what your pet eats and plays with, you can keep them safe, so pick dog treats that are locally made, that are made solely with American made ingredients and try organic while you’re at it; it’s better for everyone.

Antlers need supervision too.



Animal Welfare; What You Can Do


Charity, donations and good causes; we all have ones that are closest to our hearts. I have always been an animal charity person, but I know a lot of people who split their charity money evenly among causes.  I’m always interested to speak to people about the charities and organizations that they support. Whichever ones your money or time donations go to, it’s always smart to research them to ensure your investment works the hardest. This is especially true in light of the numerous fraudulent organizations around these days, with scams that are, sorry to say, a lot easier to perpetrate via the Internet.  A great resource for anyone to use is Charity Watch. They have stringent analysis system for rating all different kinds of charitable organizations. In order to get a top rating from them a group needs to meet certain criteria; spend 75% or more of their budget on programs, spend $25 or less to raise $100 in public support, receive an “open book status” for basic financial disclosure to name just a few. Since I write a dog blog and you’re reading it, I thought you might be just the person to be interested in animal welfare/rescue charities, just guessing.

I’ve listed only the top ten, according to CharityWatch at the bottom of the page. All of this is great information to help you me make sound decisions, however, it doesn’t in anyway mean that other charitable organizations aren’t worthy, There are 90 more in the top 100 that do amazing work on local and national levels, not to mention thousands of local animal shelters and rescue societies across the country, just check them out first. And remember, in many cases, your time and effort can be even more valuable than money.

You can never underestimate the infinite value of your kind acts; Adopting a pet instead of buying one, helping catch a stray dog or cat, assisting a neighbor in spaying their fruitful pet, spending time raising money for your local shelter, attending city council meetings and joining political committees where important decisions are made, ones that could impact animals an many levels. Even if just donating your gently used pet beds

Best dog beds

Rescue dogs are part of the family

or surplus pet food to shelters, every act of charity pays back to our world exponentially.

Animal Welfare Institute  A+

Best Friends Animal Society  A-

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue  A-

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International  A

Farm Sanctuary   B+

Friends of Animals  A

Humane Farming Association  B+

Marine Mammal Center  A-

Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)  A

PetSmart Charities   A

United Animal Nations/Red Rover  B+

Wildlife Conservation Society  A



Are your dogs “spoiled’? How would you describe a spoiled dog anyway? I know that my dogs most definitely enjoy more privileges than a lot of other dogs, they’re allowed on the furniture (and before you ask, I’m a clean freak), they come along on family vacations and frankly, we’ve made more than a few detours on those vacations just because there was something I thought the dogs would enjoy seeing or doing.

Excessive? I’m sure many of you would say so, but for us, it’s just a part of the norm. However, and this is a big however, my dogs are trained, polite and almost unfailingly obedient. They eat the best quality food that I can afford, they have regular veterinary care, I groom them regularly and, as I’ve written about before, brush their teeth every night. While this also may seem excessive to some, it is in fact merely what I consider my responsibility to them; to keep them healthy. If your dog only sleeps on the floor or maybe has a cozy dog bed in your kitchen, as well as everything he or she needs to be a happy, healthy member of your family, are you neglecting them? No more than I am spoiling mine. Some might like to buy the finest in designer dog accessories; some might only have an old rope for a leash. As long as you make them a part of our pack, as long as they have what they need physically and emotionally, it doesn’t matter if they have a fancy dog bowl or not. Just as long as it’s regularly filled, you are your dog’s person and they are your very best friend; spoiled or not.

Best dog beds

Tres and the pony Imp, waiting for treats.


Wildlife and Dog LIfe

Best dog beds

I See You


How many of us can’t wait for the warmer weather to take our dogs on a hike or even just a quick walk in the sunshine? As much as we try in the winter, it just doesn’t happen as often. In my area, we’re lucky to have bike/ski trails where we can stroll in the winter; a nice and quick alternative to snowshoes and a lot of clothes.

Still, come spring, we’re all glad to get out and really stretch our legs. This can be very exhilarating for the dogs and we have to remember to be on the look out for seasonal dangers like wild animals and swift water.

I get such a kick out of seeing the abundant wildlife in my area and obviously my dogs do too, however I certainly don’t want them getting too up close and personal since this could be bad for all parties involved. No matter where you live, the chance of your pets coming into contact with wildlife is pretty high, even if that only means squirrels, mice and rabbits. My neighborhood has an abundance of elk, deer, raccoons, skunk, song birds, hawks, owls, eagles, fox, coyote, wolves, bear, moose and mountain lions. As you can probably figure; mixing up with any of these could be bad for either party, whether it’s my cats, dogs or chickens. And don’t think that it only matters one way or another, I have to disagree; we have a responsibility to our pets and our wildlife equally.

So how do we keep everyone safe and separate? Good question, start with some forethought. If I’m keeping chickens in a rural area, I have to be as prepared as possible for the animals that could eat them, so their fencing and housing have to be as raid-proof as possible. I have to keep bell collars (safety release of course) on my cats because the depredation of songbirds by domestic cats alone is devastating. And my dogs, well they have to be trained to recall on command, no matter what is running by and if they can’t be trusted, then they can’t be loose, period. Chasing deer and elk can stress out the herds as well as put them and the dogs in danger from vehicle traffic. Moose, mountain lions and coyotes can easily kill a dog, whether I’m out hiking or they’re passing through our yard, so again, I have to be careful. For instance, I never leave my dogs out in the yard unattended for more than a minute or two and I don’t let my cats out at night; they’re just not equipped to deal with the predators out there. I’ve heard of several pet owners in my community who acted very irresponsibly and left their pets out to fend for themselves, with tragic results. Not only for the pet, but also for the wild animal that was only doing what comes naturally as a way to survive and then was killed because of that. So you see how everyone was harmed by one person’s inattention? And anyway, who doesn’t sleep a little better at night knowing their beloved pets are right where they belong, snuggled in a cozy pet bed…… inside?

A Close Call for a Little Dog

junotomfirestationsmLast week after loading the dogs into my car at the barn, Juno started whimpering and acting very strange. She tried to crawl onto my lap and practically yelped when I touched her belly. I quickly pulled over and carried her out of the car to check her out. The poor thing was standing all hunched up and looked so miserable, I almost cried. My first though was that she had been kicked by a horse, but although she’d been running around the barns and fields while I’d been walking my horse, I knew that she hadn’t been able to get near anyone since it was evening and the horses had all been put away for the night.

I’ll admit that the way she was standing really scared me; it was exactly like our dear Gracie had stood when she ruptured a tumor in her spleen, but Gracie had been under treatment for cancer for almost a year at the time, so this didn’t add up.

First thing I did was palpate her from head to toe to see if I found anything; she reacted pretty strongly to pressure on her abdomen and reacted slightly to pressure over her spine, around mid lumbar region. Her head, neck and chest were all good as were her legs, just the belly and back.

I did check her gums for color and capillary refill as that’s a fast way to tell if they might be bleeding internally and she looked great, but I was still scared.

So off we go to the vets (of course it’s a Saturday night), but my vet was pretty cheerful for someone who just got dragged out from his house & away from his family. He checked her over and really quickly figured out that she’d probably strained a vertebral ligament while tearing through the fields after squirrels. After a Rx for Rimadyl and Tramadol along with a week of rest, off we went; poorer but calmer.

The reason I write this is twofold. First of all, every pet owner should be able to assess their pet’s general health and well being; get a heart rate, respiratory rate and feel around for abnormalities. This is important in an emergency, but it’s also really important on a regular basis just to know your pet’s baseline or norm. If you don’t know that, you might not be able to tell when something’s wrong until it’s too late, because not everything presents obviously, like Juno’s hurt back. Some things are subtle, like new lumps, increased respiratory rate or a change in activity level or appetite.

In just the past 2 years, I’ve seen a few friends’ dogs die pretty quickly from heart disease, cancer and poisonings, all things that needed a quick diagnosis and response. Yes, some of them would have died no matter what, but I’m pretty sure most of us want our dogs as comfortable as possible.

Secondly, because of Juno’s conformation (her build), I’ve always been aware that a back issue could be a problem; dogs with long backs are prone to back injuries. Because I did a DNA test on her, I knew she wasn’t genetically pre-disposed, but just by looking at her, you can see that a problem might arise, especially in such an active and athletic little dog.

The good news is that she recovered very quickly and my husband and I have taken to only carrying her out of the car-no more jumping! Repetitive movements like jumping out of your car can really cause quite a bit of damage over the years. We’ve always had a step by the side of the bed for them, but lets face it, they probably get in and out of the car a lot more often than in and out of bed.

Happy dog days to you all!