Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Dogtology — A Fun Book for Dog Parents Who Love Their Canines

Do you believe in Dog? While we might not literally worship our canine companions, some of us come pretty close. This reverence has a name: Dogtology.

This entertaining book by Jeff Lazarus is for those dog lovers who canceled a date because they didn’t want to leave their precious pup home alone; or whose dog has a better wardrobe than they do; or whose smartphones have more photos of their dog than their human family members.

This sacred “dogtrine” shows that Dogtology has become a bone-a-fide (heh, heh) belief system on par with the world’s greatest philosophies and religions.

$14.99 Dogtology by Jeff Lazarus. Available on Amazon.comPublished by Skyhorse Publishing.

Thumbnail photography courtesy Skyhorse Publishing.  

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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Let’s Talk Dogs With Different-Colored Eyes, or Heterochromia in Dogs

Many dogs have brown eyes (or golden- or amber-colored eyes, which are a variation of brown). Some dogs have blue eyes, and some dogs even have two different-colored eyes, sometimes referred to as “odd eyes.” This hauntingly beautiful phenomenon, called heterochromia, can also occur in cats and even people. Let’s learn more about dogs with different-colored eyes or heterochromia in dogs.

What breeds are most likely to have heterochromia?

Siberian Husky with two different-colored eyes.

Different-colored eyes are more common in certain breeds, like Siberian Huskies. Photography ©Eudyptula | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Heterochromia in dogs is common in breeds like Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Great Danes (harlequin coat pattern), Shetland Sheepdogs, Siberian Huskies and Shih Tzus.

What causes heterochromia in dogs?

“Coat color and pattern can also have an influence on heterochromia,” explains Doug Payne, DVM, medical director of VCA East Penn Animal Hospital in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania. “Merle, dapple, white, and increased white patterns around the head all appear to be more prevalent. Interestingly, in Dalmatians there appear to be more females affected than males.”

The iris is the colored part of a dog’s eye. “The color of the iris is determined by the presence of pigment, also known as melanin,” Dr. Payne says. “The iris in most dogs and cats has high amounts of melanocytes that give it the normal dark to golden-brown color. Pets with blue eyes have a genetic mutation in the genes that is responsible for regulating the concentration and distribution of melanin. This results in the absence of melanocytes in the iris, giving them blue eyes.”

What factors determine heterochromia in dogs?

Heterochromia in dogs may be hereditary (the dog was born that way) or acquired (the dog’s eyes change color over time).

There are three variations of hereditary heterochromia in dogs: 

  1. Complete, also known as heterochromia irides (one eye is a completely different color than the other eye)
  2. Sectoral (part of the dog’s iris is blue and the rest of that eye is a different color)
  3. Central (different colors within the iris give a spiked or haloed appearance).

Complete heterochromia in dogs is frequently seen in Australian Cattle Dogs, Australian Shepherds, Dalmatians and Siberian Huskies. According to Dr. Payne, sectoral and central heterochromia (called heterochromia iridis) seems like an overall more common presentation in dogs. These types are frequently seen in Border Collies, Catahoula Leopard Dogs, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Dalmatians, Great Danes (harlequin coat pattern), Shetland Sheepdogs, Siberian Huskies and Shih Tzus.

With acquired heterochromia, a loss of pigmentation within the iris occurs because of some other cause. “This can be attributed to many factors, such as inflammatory conditions, physical injuries and even certain medications,” Dr. Payne explains. “There are many other conditions that may affect eye color in dogs and cats. Some of these conditions can be very uncomfortable for pets and if left unaddressed could lead to permanent damage or even loss of vision.”

Are dogs with different-colored eyes at risk for any health problems?

A dog with different-colored eyes in the grass.

Are dogs with different-colored eyes at risk for certain health issues? Photography ©Ben-Schonewille | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

If you notice a change in the color of your dog’s eyes or if your dog’s eyes seem painful or uncomfortable, bring your dog to the veterinarian for an eye exam. “Other conditions that can cause color changes in the eyes that are not associated with heterochromia can include cataracts, glaucoma, corneal dystrophy, uveitis, nuclear sclerosis, underdeveloped optic nerve and retinal dysplasia,” Dr. Payne says.

According to Dr. Payne, contrary to myth, dogs with blue eyes usually don’t have any vision problems or impairments and most of them have normal hearing. “There can be rare exceptions to this, as in the case of Dalmatians with partial or sectoral heterochromia,” he says. “These dogs can have a higher incidence of complete or partial deafness.”

Tell us: Do you have any dogs with different-colored eyes? What breeds or mix of breeds are they?

Thumbnail: Photography ©EmilySkeels | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

8 New Products Your Pup Will Love

From a plush dog toy that’s fashioned to look like your coffee order to a pretty throw pillow that will let guests know how much you love dogs, we’ve found some fun dog products to check out right now.

1. Dog Perfect Who’s a Good Dog Basket (M/L)

Dog Perfect Who’s a Good Dog Basket (M/L).

Dog Perfect Who’s a Good Dog Basket (M/L).

Time to give your own dog or a family or friend’s dog an amazing surprise? Check out the dog lovers’ “unsubscription” e-commerce community site DOGPerfect’s collection of baskets. Each is filled with specifically chosen toys, treats, blankets, leashes and more for your dog’s size, all in a high-quality, useful basket. The Who’s a Good Dog? basket (pictured at left) includes treats, toys, poop bags and a dispenser in a blue cotton basket. It comes with products for medium/large dogs or for small/medium dogs. Baskets start at $25. Pictured basket $109

2. Canine Style Starbarks Frenchie – Plush Dog Toy

Canine Style Starbarks Frenchie - Plush Dog Toy

Canine Style Starbarks Frenchie – Plush Dog Toy.

For when your dog wants to be just like you (although he gets his fun fix from a squeaker!). This overstuffed cute toy is a great pick-me-up. Choose one with the lid or without. Comes in small and large sizes. $16.

3. Petmate Wouapy Basic Raincoat for Small & Medium Dogs

Petmate Wouapy Basic Raincoat for Small & Medium Dogs.

Petmate Wouapy Basic Raincoat for Small & Medium Dogs.

Perfect for those rainy days, this casual yet chic raincoat was made for small- and medium-size dogs. Created from high-quality durable, rugged and comfortable materials like brushed polyester, oxford polyester and nylon to create a weather-protecting outer shell. Comes in two colors: gray or khaki. Available in sizes XXSmall to XLarge. $29.99.

4. Ritzy Rex Grey and Yellow Paisley Luxury designer dog bed

 Ritzy Rex Grey and Yellow Paisley Luxury designer dog bed.

Ritzy Rex Grey and Yellow Paisley Luxury designer dog bed.

Looking for a cozy sleeping spot for your dog that actually complements your modern home d├ęcor? Try Ritzy Rex premium designer dog beds specifically made with your home in mind. Ultra plush fleece graces one side of the bed while the other boasts a stylish patterned fabric. These durable beds stay fluffy and are easy to clean. Just toss the cover into the washer and dryer. Made in the U.S.A., these beds are available in three sizes — they run large — and five prints. $65 to $85.

5. Wellness CORE Marrow Roasts — Beef

Wellness CORE Marrow Roasts — Beef.

Wellness CORE Marrow Roasts — Beef.

When searching for dog treats that aren’t the same old dog biscuit, pick up these crunchy goodies filled with real, meaty marrow. They are grain free, made in the U.S.A. and filled with natural ingredients but not wheat, wheat-gluten, corn, soy, artificial colors or flavors. Come in turkey or beef flavors and available in 8-ounce bags. $7.49.

6. Bissell Barkbath QT

Bissell Barkbath QT.

Bissell Barkbath QT.

Looking to bathe your pup with little noise and mess? The portable BARKBATH QT — QuietTone’s specially designed nozzles help shampoo and water get beneath the fur to the skin and then softly suction dirt and water away into a dirty-water tank. Makes bathing affordable and portable. Uses less water than bathing dogs in a traditional tub. No-rinse shampoo products sold separately. $149.99.

7. Naked Decor Garden Greyhound Pillow

Naked Decor Garden Greyhound Pillow.

Naked Decor Garden Greyhound Pillow.

Brighten up your home or porch with this stylish indoor/outdoor pillow. The 18- by 18-inch pillow has a zipper closure and poly fill insert. Material is a cotton/poly blend. Features black piping and back cover. Hand wash only, and hang to dry. $49.95.

8. Bil-Jac BreakThru® Biotics Probiotic Food Spray for Dogs

Bil-Jac BreakThru® Biotics Probiotic Food Spray for Dogs.

Bil-Jac BreakThru® Biotics Probiotic Food Spray for Dogs.

Give your dog 12 strains of natural, live and active probiotics in this convenient spray. It’s easy to use with no mess; just spray on your dog’s food every day. Amount of sprays per days based on weight. Comes in a 4-ounce bottle. $14.95.

Thumbnail: Photography courtesy Canine Styles.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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Treat Your Dog to … Different Types of Dog Accessories

Want to give your dog a fun new look? Take a peek at some of the most adorable, practical and fun dog accessories to give your pup a little extra style! Remember — never dress up a dog who seems stressed by any new accessories or clothing.

1. Dog Tags

Cherry Blossoms Sakura — Dog Tag, Tag Me Pet Tags ($33).

Cherry Blossoms Sakura — Dog Tag, Tag Me! Pet Tags ($33).

I.D. tags don’t have to be boring and utilitarian. Custom-designed dog tags are a great way to accessorize your dog’s daily look. “Tag Me! Pet Tags are not your typical pet tags,” says Wendy from Tag Me! Pet Tags, which is based in Upstate New York. “They’re fun and they show off your pet’s personality with design and some color. If people don’t see a design they like, I can help [them] come up with a new design.”

2. Pajamas for Dogs

Fleece Dog Pajamas, DonoSews ($35.99).

Fleece Dog Pajamas, DonoSews ($35.99).

Are you ready for a slumber party with your dog? Doggie jammies are a cute and comfortable accessory for your Pit Bull — or any breed or mixed-breed dog. Amy Donovan of DonoSews says she started making pajamas for Pit Bulls to do her part to change the image of the breed. “I mean, it’s pretty difficult to be terrified of a Pit Bull in pajamas. [This] makes the breed more approachable, which allows people to discover just how friendly and happy these dogs can be. This is one of the ways I’m able to advocate for misunderstood Pittes.”

3. Dog Collars

Summer Dog Collar, PixieGirlTreats ($22.50).

Summer Dog Collar, PixieGirlTreats ($22.50).

Why not treat your dog to a fancy new luxury collar to go with his identification tag? When picking a new collar for your dog, make sure that it’s weight approved for the size of your dog. Breakaway collars are the safest option for your dog. Choose a seasonal print or color and swap the collars out every few weeks.

4. Dog Leashes

Premium LED Flashing Dog Leash USB Rechargeable, Spotlite ($20.99).

Premium LED Flashing Dog Leash USB Rechargeable, Spotlite ($20.99).

It stays light later this time of year, but if you find yourself out on evening or early-morning adventures with your dogs, a light-up leash is the perfect accessory to keep you and your dog visible. “After walking our dogs at night, we felt invisible to oncoming cars,” explains Spotlite co-founder Matt Silk. “We thought there had to be a safer way to be seen. We designed The Spotlite Leash to add visibility and protection for you and your pet using the brightest LED technology and reflective stitching.”

5. Bandanas for Dogs

Bright Leaves Dog Bandana, The Foggy Dog ($24).

Bright Leaves Dog Bandana, The Foggy Dog ($24).

Jazz up your dog’s wardrobe with a bandana. Bandanas are available in every imaginable pattern and style to fit your dog’s unique look, festive gathering — or to even complement your outfit!

6. Backpacks for Dogs



Going on adventures with your dog this summer? Think about hooking him up with his very own backpack! Backpacks are great accessories for active dogs and will allow your dog to carry his own toys or treats. Look for backpacks like this one from Kurgo that are ergonomically designed to support even weight distribution. Also, be sure to start with very light items (like toys) and speak to your veterinarian before adding anything of weight to your dog’s pack.

7. Flotation Devices for Dogs

FLOAT COAT™, Ruffwear ($79.95).

FLOAT COAT™, Ruffwear ($79.95).

Looking to engage in fun water activities this summer? Outfit your dog with his very own life preserver! Dog life vests have reflective accents and include a handle so you can pull your dog out of the water if you ever need to. Even dogs who are strong swimmers should wear a flotation device while around water.

8. Dresses for Dogs



Is your pup looking for the perfect outfit for a garden party? There’s nothing practical about dresses for dogs, but they sure are adorable!

Thumbnail: Photography by GoDogPhoto/Thinkstock.

Tell us: What are your favorite dog accessories?

June is Treat Your Pup Month here at Dogster! Stay tuned on for fun ways to spoil your canine with different types of treats, accessories and more.

Sassafras Lowrey is an award-winning author whose novels have been honored by the Lambda Literary Foundation and the American Library Association. Sassafras is a Certified Trick Dog Instructor and assists with dog agility classes. She lives and writes in Brooklyn with her partner, a senior Chihuahua mix, a rescued Shepherd mix, a Newfoundland puppy, two bossy cats and a semi-feral kitten. Learn more at

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Indigo Road Collection from Billy Wolf

Indigo Road Collection from Billy Wolf

Right out of your summertime dreams comes the Indigo Road collection from Billy Wolf, gear and goods crafted from vintage handwoven indigo mud cloths. The collection features collars, leads, leash bags, and more – each with unique variances due to the nature of the fabric and Billy Wolf’s careful details. See the lookbook and full collection at Billy Wolf.

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© 2018 Dog Milk | Posted by Katherine in Collars + Leads | Permalink | No comments

How to Socialize a Dog Through Dog Training Classes & More

Dogs in the wild grow up in packs and they are socialized almost from birth. A dog becomes socialized by interacting with other canines and learning their verbal cues and body language. The boundaries in the pack are very clear and each pup learns to understand their elders or get thrown out. Domestic dogs also begin socialization in their litter and when they come into a human family, socialization with humans begin. The initial socialization period of a dog is four to 12 weeks. It is during this time that social skills are imprinted on them and their interaction with other dogs and humans is, hopefully, positive. The socialization then should continue into adulthood. But many dog owners choose to adopt older dogs who sometimes were not socialized during this time. Wondering how to socialize a dog, especially if that dog is an adult dog? Do you need dog training classes to socialize them, or is it a combination of different factors?

When a dog owner brings an adult dog into their home, it’s important to find out early on how socialized he is. His initial interaction with you will be telling — is he fearful or aggressive? Does he back away when you approach or send warning signals such as raised hackles? When you take him on walks, is he nervous around different sounds and sights? Does he shy away from people or other dogs? If you see any of these signs, it’s likely he was not socialized well in his early days. But there are several things you can do about socializing adult dogs with other dogs and humans.

How to Socialize a Dog with Other Dogs

Two dogs playing outside.

Wondering how to socialize an adult dog with other dogs? Photography ©fotokostic | Getty Images.

1. Take Your Dog Out to Observe Other Dogs

  1. Go to a dog park but don’t go in.
  2. Allow your dog to watch the other pups and observe their behavior.
  3. Every time a dog comes near the fence, give your dog a treat. This creates a positive association with other dogs.
  4. If your dog reacts aggressively towards the dogs in the park, move further away and slowly move up until he is quiet.

2. Resist Tugging While Walking

When out walking and another dog comes into view, resist jerking on the lead and yelling at your dog. This reinforces seeing other dogs as a negative experience. Instead, distract your dog with a treat or toy, use the command “Watch me!” and praise him when he pays attention to you.

3. Go to Dog Training Classes

Dog obedience class is a great way to help socialize an adult dog before attempting going into dog parks or having playdates. Because your dog is learning commands, he is distracted most of the time. Speak to your trainer about the issue and she can help you introduce your dog slowly to other dogs in the class. This is also a safe place for your dog to learn to interact with other humans.

How to Socialize a Dog with Humans

Two girls with a happy white dog in grass.

How do you socialize a dog with humans? Photography ©TongRo Images Inc | Thinkstock.

The first step is to socialize your dog with your family. This is best done slowly and patience is a virtue here. Dogs and humans speak a different language so you’ll both be learning how to communicate.

1. Ignore Your Dog’s Unwanted Behaviors

When your dog runs to hide from you, don’t go after him and pull him from under the bed. Ignore him and do something that will persuade him to come out like playing with his toys or frying up some bacon. Dogs are curious and social creatures and they’ll eventually become bored and lonely by themselves. Reward him with a bit of that bacon when he comes out.

2. Act Like Everything is Normal When He Acts Out

It’s sort of like when your teenager comes down the stairs with an enormous pimple on her forehead. You don’t mention it and act as if there’s nothing wrong. By acting as if your dog’s behavior is no big deal, you’re creating a calmer environment and, thus, a calmer dog. So when he streaks under your legs because the postman is at the door, go on about your business as usual.

3. Introduce People Slowly

Only add one person a week at the most into your dog’s life. When they meet your dog, have them offer a treat and speak in a happy, low, encouraging voice. You don’t want to use a high pitch, which could excite him. Keep your dog on a leash at first but do not force him to go near the person. Let him take his time.

The main thing to remember when socializing older or adult dogs is to be positive and to make each new experience a good one with praise and treats. Corrections do not work well here and will likely will create a more nervous dog. In time, your new companion will become at ease at home and in public and will truly be a member of the family.

Thumbnail: Photography by Halfpoint / Shutterstock.

This piece was originally published on May 7, 2010. 

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Affordable Pet Care: Where & How to Find Financial Assistance For Your Dog

Did you know there are different organizations that offer financial assistance to pet owners who can’t afford veterinary treatment, as well as nonprofits that offer low-cost spay and neuter services, vaccines and wellness checks, and even pet-food pantries if you have a hard time feeding your pets? Today’s pet parents are fortunate to have so many different options — you just have do some research and know where to look for affordable pet care.

1. Affordable Pet Care With the Magic Bullet Fund

Dog holding a vaccine with a white first-aid hat on.

The Magic Bullet Fund has helped 611 dogs. Photography by ©onetouchspark | Getty Images.

One organization that offers financial assistance for dogs who have been diagnosed with cancer is the Magic Bullet Fund, which was created by Laurie Kaplan in 2005. One year to the date after her dog, Bullet, a beautiful Husky passed away, Laurie took on her first financial assistance case.

The nonprofit organization helps pet parents who cannot afford to pay for their dog’s cancer treatments. Owners must go through an application process and provide financials showing they need the assistance, veterinary records and so forth.

The Magic Bullet Fund takes on each dog case by case. Once the owner fills out an application, it usually takes a week or two to get approved for financial assistance if they qualify.

If approved, the owner is assigned a case manager from the Magic Bullet Fund, who works directly with the veterinarian for each dog’s case, making the payments for their care or even requesting that the dog gets a second opinion from another veterinarian for the best course of treatment.

To date, the Magic Bullet Fund has helped 611 dogs, which is quite amazing in my book. The organization is comprised of 25 volunteers located throughout the United States, and Laurie says she is always looking for volunteers to help with the cause.

Laurie is based in Briarcliff Manor, New York; however, the organization helps dogs diagnosed with cancer across the country. Now funded by donations and grants, Laurie paid for those first few cases back in 2005 herself. In the beginning, they helped four to five dogs a year but now average anywhere from 40 to 50.

To learn more, visit or you can find the organization on Facebook.

2. Finding Affordable Medical Pet Care

If you’re looking for low-cost spay and neuter or low-cost veterinary care for your dog, nearly every town, city and state has multiple organizations you can contact for help. I can think of about a dozen places off the top of my head in my local area, which was not the case just 10 years ago.

If you’re not sure where to look, contact your local humane society or animal shelter — they often offer lower cost services or will be able to direct to you places that offer low-cost vaccinations, wellness checks and so forth.

There are usually low-cost clinics at larger big-box pet stores you can bring your dog to every weekend. Many human-food pantries have pet food pantries or offer pet food if you need financial help purchasing food for your dog.

If you find yourself in need, remember that there are many ways you can get assistance and, when you are able, give back and paw it forward.

3. Affordable Pet Care With Lucy Pet Foundation

The Lucy Pet Foundation mobile truck with dogs pictured on the side on the truck.

The Lucy Pet Foundation was launched in October 2013 with its first mobile unit. Photography courtesy Lucy Pet Foundation.

Founded by Joey Herrick, former president and co-founder of Natural Balance Foods, The Lucy Pet Foundation was launched in October 2013 with its first mobile unit. The mobile unit is equipped for spay and neuter surgeries, which Lucy Pet offers for free to low-income pet parents and senior citizens 62 and older.

The mobile unit is based in Los Angeles, and Lucy Pet has a contract with the city of Los Angeles but soon will be launching a second mobile unit in Houston, Texas, to offer services there.

Lucy Pet is partnering with Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, who is helping launch the fundraising efforts and awareness around the new mobile unit in Houston. So far, the foundation has also received grants from the Dow Corporation ($50,000) and Petco Foundation ($100,000).

However, Lucy Pet needs to continually raise funds for both locations, as it costs around $500,000 annually to perform 5,000 spay/neuter surgeries.

Lucy Pet’s chief veterinary officer, Karen “Doc” Halligan tells me, “Our mobile unit is a state-of-the-art unit, offering high-quality surgery to low-income pet parents for free. We have a high standard of care and provide a complete physical, pain medication after the surgery, e-collar and follow up with a phone call the next day to check in on how the pet is doing. To date, we have performed 17,000 surgeries and are on track for 6,000 in 2018.”

An impressive number to say the least, helping pet parents who otherwise couldn’t afford to spay and neuter their pets.

Dr. Halligan adds, “In addition, at all spay/neuter days we offer a low-cost vaccine clinic, deworming and microchipping for people who come that day, and there is no appointment necessary.” The calendar of where they will be is on the website.

To qualify for the free services, pet parents must be low income, live in the city of Los Angeles or be 62 or older.

To apply for services for your own pet, call 855-499-5829, email your contact information and phone number to, or visit to learn more.

4 Ways You Can Help Others Find Affordable Pet Care

Man making a purchase on his laptop with a dog resting his head on his lap.

You can help these organizations by volunteering and donating in a variety of ways. Photography by Kerkez | Getty Images.

  1. Look for an organization near you or nationally where you can volunteer your services. Volunteers are always needed, and you might just have the skills organizations are searching for.
  2. Make a donation to your favorite local or national organization that offers financial assistance to pet parents. Every little bit helps.
  3. If there is a pet-food pantry near you, donate pet food. If there isn’t, consider starting one yourself.
  4. Make a list of organizations in your town or city that help with different areas of need for dog parents, and share this information in any local social media groups.

Thumbnail: Photography by ©Shur23 | Getty Images.

Nancy Hassel is the pet parent of Pit Bull Cody and the president of American Pet Professionals, an award-winning business networking and educational organization for the pet industry since 2009. Nancy travels the country as a speaker, media and public relations specialist, working with pet companies in many aspects including event planning and training for pet professionals. Find her on Instagram and Twitter at @AmericanPetPros.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!

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