10 Movies to Watch with Your Dog 0
February blues got you down? Why not make it movie night with your best friend? Pop some popcorn, get a warm blanket, and snuggle up with your pooch. To make sure you’re watching something you both can enjoy, we created a top 10 dog movie list that has something for every taste, whether you prefer silly or sentimental or both.
- Lady and the Tramp. Ditch the popcorn for this one and cook up a batch of spaghetti. The Disney romance about two dogs from different sides of the tracks culminates with one of film’s most legendary kisses.
- Best in Show. What happens when you cross This Is Spinal Tap with the Westminster Dog Show? You get is Best in Show, Christopher Guest’s mockumentary that finds the absurd in our (sometimes obsessive) love of dogs.
- Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. Dog movies have a way of making us weep, usually due to a dog passing away. In this remake of Japanese hit Hachiko Monogatari, the dog, an Akita named Hachi, must learn to live with the loss of his person.
- Marley & Me. Gather the whole family together for this one. A young married couple tests the waters of family life by buying a dog and gets more than they bargained for. Will resonate with anyone who has had a house ransacked by a pet. Warning: you will cry.
- 101 Dalmatians. Animated or live action, take your pick for the ultimate rescue tale. What’s not to like about 101 Dalmatians and one of cinema’s great villains, the evil dognapper, Cruella de Vil?
- Old Yeller. Another tear jerker. Old Yeller captures how unwanted dogs have a way of working their way into our hearts. Old Yeller may be yellow, but he’s got a heart of gold, and he sure comes in handy when you have a pack of feral pigs to contend with.
- Beethoven. More evidence that a dog can melt the coldest of hearts. Cinema’s most famous Saint Bernard meets the Newton family, quickly showing an affinity for the music of Beethoven, solving problems and annoying a workaholic dad who shows little interest in rearing his kids, let alone a giant dog.
- Frankenweenie. Looking for something off-beat? Look no further than Frankenweenie from Tim Burton, the man who brought us Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and The Nightmare Before Christmas. In this stop-motion film, a young Victor Frankenstein puts his talents to work to reanimate his beloved late dog, Sparky.
- Turner & Hooch. Is it possible to have a top-ten movie list without Tom Hanks? We say no. A fastidious police investigator finds his life and home invaded by a dirty old French Mastiff. Turner and Hooch is an odd-couple tale of unlikely friends who become partners in crime solving.
- The Fox and the Hound. The lesson that people from different worlds can become best friends never gets old. The Fox and the Hound proves that friendship isn’t about being alike.
Honorable Mention: Homeward Bound, The Adventures of Milo and Otis, Cujo, Benji, Lassie, K-9, Oliver & Company, All Dogs Go to Heaven, My Dog Skip, Iron Will, Wendy and Lucy.
And don’t forget to stay tuned for Isle of Dogs. Wes Anderson’s stop-animation film comes out this spring!
6 New Puppy Essentials 0
You’ve just found your new best friend, and now you’re ready to welcome them home. Shopping for a puppy is a fun way to show how much you already love them. Make sure you don’t forget anything by using our handy checklist as a guide.
- Bed. Welcome your new friend with a warm and cozy bed from Harry Barker to make them feel at home right away. You can choose between plush dog beds and dog bedrolls that come in a variety of shapes and stylish prints and are constructed from durable materials.
- Collar and Leash. Now that your puppy is part of your family, make sure everyone knows it with one of our lightweight, durable and comfortable collars. Find the perfect fit and style at the Mission Pets website or look for some other options at Harry Barker. Of course you will also want to pick out a matching leash for your walks around the neighborhood.
- Dog Tag. We know that puppies sometimes like to bolt off when we unhook their leashes. Once you have a collar, don’t forget a customizable dog tag with your pet’s name and your contact info to help them get back home in case they get lost.
- Puppy Sized Clothes. Like any dogs, puppies want to look and feel good. That's why a number of our dresses and sweaters come in S and XS sizes, so you can find the perfect fit for your young pooch.
- Food and Water Bowls. Don’t forget mealtime! We feature a variety of different materials and designs so you can make sure your pup’s dinnerware is pleasing to the eye and will match your home decor.
- Toys. Puppies love playtime. That's why we include toys on our puppy essentials checklist. There is a wide range of toys to choose from: balls, plush toys, rope toys and so much more. At this stage, your puppy should at least have a chew toy that will satisfy the need to gnaw.
- Laura Figueroa
- Tags: puppy essentials
18 Cool Things to Do in San Francisco with Your Dog 0
It’s a new year, a new you, and you need a new bucket list of cool things to do with your furry friend in one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country, San Francisco. Allow us to suggest some awesome places that will help you explore the city throughout the year, make friends and create lifetime memories.
- Naturally, taking a selfie at the Golden Gate Bridge is a must. One of the most iconic places in the city (and country) is a breathtaking spot for a picture with your dog.
- Get a makeover. San Francisco has dozens of dog groomers who will help your pup look and feel her best.
- Go to the Embarcadero and enjoy a one-hour Bay cruise with your best friend.
- Enjoy a fancy Sunday brunch on one of Outerlands sidewalk tables. Pancakes, eggs, and mimosas at a dog-friendly restaurant to celebrate your loyal friendship.
- Run a mile with Fido: Crissy Field for some sand and surf and an easy run, Golden Gate Park for something more difficult, and Twin Peaks if you are really up for a challenge.
- Treat you and your pup to a decadent San Fran shopping day at Union Square.
- Spend a weekend at a pet-friendly hotel. There are numerous accommodations that will fit most any budget and let you and your dog visit San Francisco in comfort.
- Explore some of the coolest dog parks in San Francisco. The city has 28 official off-leash parks where you and your pal can run free and make some new friends.
- Enjoy a sweet treat at Le Marcel Specialty Baking for Dogs.
- Visit a dog-friendly bar and enjoy a cold brew with your pup by your side. The Homestead, Holly Water and Benders are a few of the watering holes that will be happy to see your dog.
- Attend the biggest dog event in San Francisco, the annual DogFest Pet Festival, Carnival & Parade at Duboce Park.
- Frolic on one of the beautiful Bay Area beaches. Baker Beach, Ocean Beach or Crissy Field are just a few of the perfect places to waste away a lazy Sunday.
- Get fit. In San Francisco you can find dog-friendly gyms where you and your friend can get a tough workout in.
- Hop in a convertible. San Francisco is the perfect city for a driving tour. Your dog will love the wind in its face and the thrill of the famous steep streets as you do some unique sightseeing.
- Bust a move. For Hard French, El Rio turns its heated patio into a dog-friendly daytime disco dance floor, a perfect dating scene for humans who have dogs.
- Get healthy and bond with your pet with some Doga (Dog Yoga).
- Need to get out of the city? Take a day (or a weekend) and make the short drive to Napa Valley, where there are a number of dog-friendly (and wine-filled) spots for you to wet your whistle and have fun with Fido.
- Finally, be prepared for any special San Francisco occasion with your pup with the right outfit, toy or leash. We’ve got you covered there!
- Laura Figueroa
Take Great Pictures of Your Dog 0
Does it ever seem like the best photos of your dog come when you least expect it? The phrase “it’s better to be lucky than good” is best applied when it comes to taking pictures of our pets. Fortunately, with a little time and patience (and the help of some handy tips), you can start taking professional quality photos of your best friend without having to depend on sheer luck or years of experience and technical know-how.
Be ready! It would be a shame to recognize that you have the perfect backdrop, the perfect lighting and a perfectly willing subject, only to realize your camera is out of batteries or has a full SD card. Make sure your equipment is as ready to take pictures as you and your friend are.
Know your dog. A happy dog is a more photogenic dog. If you are taking photos where your pet is happiest (think park, pool, pile of snow, etc), you will get the best results. Don’t put your dog in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar environment and expect to get grade-A photographs.
Know your technology. Of course, the better quality camera and lens you have, the better chance of taking a beautiful photo. Even so, the cameras on our phones are getting better and better, and chances are if you have a relatively new one, you already have all the equipment you need. Whatever device you are using, it’s worth taking time to learn how best to use it in any circumstance.
Of course, most social media platforms allow you to edit photos, and having some proficiency in Photoshop or another editing software can do wonders for shots that need a little makeover.
Use your viewfinder. This may seem obvious, but if what you see in your viewfinder doesn’t look good, neither will your photo. Make sure you use the viewfinder to frame the photo how you like, and make sure you like what you’re seeing when you take the shots.
Watch your lighting. If you’re taking photos outside, the light tends to be less harsh and more complimentary in the mornings and late afternoon. If using natural light indoors, don’t forget to turn off your flash (and any lamps that might be on!) to avoid mixed lighting. Also remember that too much backlighting can wash your friend right out. Of course there are no strict rules when it comes to lighting, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Get low. Your pet may look out of proportion if you are pointing your lens down on them. Be willing to get down to your pet’s level to take more realistic and flattering shots, even if it means getting all the way down on your belly. Once again though, there are no rules. Experimenting with angles can yield fun and creative results.
Train your dog. If you are hoping to capture a beautiful portrait of your dog, it will serve you well to train him or her to sit and stay. Naturally this is easier said than done with a brand new puppy, but it’s never too early to get them used to the camera. The more experience your friend has in front of the lens, the more cooperative they will be. Of course a few treats as a reward for posing for the camera can’t hurt.
Be patient. Like kids, pets can be tricky subjects, impatient and unpredictable. Fortunately, they are also naturally photogenic! Still, if you are looking for that perfect shot, one you’d be proud to frame or turn into your Facebook banner, be willing to take LOTS of photos. Out of a hundred shots, you MAY get one or two that look really professional, especially if you are a relative novice when it comes to photography. You’re not using film, so don’t be stingy with those digital clicks!
Are you ready? Grab your camera and a bag of treats and see what you can do. We promise that these tips (OK, and maybe a little luck) will have you taking pictures worth showing off in no time!
- Laura Figueroa
- Tags: pet photography tips
Taking a Road Trip with your Pup: the Dos and Don'ts 0
If you are in love with your puppy and can’t stand being separated for very long, holidays travels are certainly no exception. Not only do we miss our pets, it can be difficult and expensive to make sure they are well taken care of when we go out of town.
For many of us, there is no question of whether we will take our dog along, only what mode of transportation we will use. Although traveling by air might be the fastest and safest way to get around this time of year, a road trip may be more affordable and, for some, the only available option.
Here are a few Dos and Don’ts everyone should remember when planning a winter road trip with your pooch.
Be prepared for anything! Stay organized by creating a checklist well ahead of time. You know your pooch best, so make sure you’ve packed your car with everything your dog will need for some time away from home. Some items to remember are: collar, tags, leash, water and food bowls, food, bed, blankets, and medications.
Pack their favorite snacks and toys. A long drive can seem much quicker if your pup is occupied, and keeping them in good spirits will make for a safer, happier trip for everyone. When your friend is content, all you’ll have to worry about is the road and perhaps jamming to classic holiday music.
Consider nausea medication. Car sickness is a real possibility and the smell of puppy barf is no fun for anyone, especially in an enclosed space. Take the time to visit your vet’s office and find out what is best for your pup. Of course, it’s not a bad idea to protect your car seats with some old blankets or towels.
Take pee breaks. Very young and very old dogs tend to pee more frequently. Be prepared for frequent stops so your dog can relieve itself and rehydrate as needed.
Finally, we all know that puppies love their sleep. Taking them out for a long stroll and some play time in the fluffy snow can be the perfect way to get rid of excess energy. Nothing wrong with a short (or long) nap during the ride!
Safety is always the number-one priority when we get behind the wheel, and there are additional considerations when we are traveling with a dog. That means no front-seat action for your pup NO MATTER WHAT, and you should NEVER drive with your dog in your lap. If you fear your pup may need a little more tender love and care while on your trip, consider bringing someone along who can keep them company in the back seat. Of course doggy seatbelts and carriers are always the smartest way to go to ensure your friend is secure, protected and not causing a distraction.
Don’t leave your dog in a cold car. Dogs can and have died of hypothermia due to being left too long in a car on a freezing day. Take your pup inside with you when you can, and, if you have no other choice, leave the car running with the heat on.
Don’t take a long trip unless your pup is acquainted with car travel. A lengthy road trip with a young puppy can be risky, especially at a time of year when weather and traffic conditions are unpredictable. Motion sickness, anxiety and general unruly behavior can make a the drive more difficult and even dangerous. Getting your friend accustomed to the car is not foolproof, but you will reduce the chance of an incident considerably.
Plenty of planning and preparation will assure you and your pup can handle anything when you hit the road. Most importantly, remember to have fun and happy travels!
Flying with Your Furry Friend: Five Steps to Remember before Flying with a Dog 0
With the holiday season already here, many of us are scrambling to finalize our travel plans, including getting a furry friend ready for what could be a lengthy ride in an airplane. Taking a trip with your pup can be a rewarding experience that creates memories you will never forget. Still, flying with a pet can be a tricky proposition, and you would hate for your trip to be ruined because you were not adequately prepared.
Here are a few simple steps that can help jumpstart the planning of a wonderful holiday for you and your best pal.
- Do your research
Finding out the in-cabin pet policies for your airline of choice is the first step in making sure you are prepared. Most airlines require that your pooch be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you, and some will count them as your one allowed carry-on item. You should also be prepared to pay a fee in the range of $95-$125 for your pet to fly to and from wherever you are traveling. Lastly, you should always have a valid health certificate from your vet ensuring all vaccines and shots are up to date.
- Know your dog’s size
Around 15-18 pounds is the weight limit most airlines put on your pet. The less space they take up, the better (airlines typically do make exceptions for service or therapy dogs). Most animals that can comfortably fit in a carrier are just fine, meaning there is ample leg and head space with the carrier closed. Keep in mind that airplanes can be as uncomfortable for dogs as they are for humans!
- Prepare the perfect carrier
Pack things your pup will need, like a non-spill water carrier and treats. Toys are also a good idea for keeping them occupied and less focused on the anxiety the flight might cause. Noisy toys are a definite NO NO, however, as you don’t want to be the ones who ruin everyone else’s flight. Also, you should have a travel-size puppy pad in case of emergencies. Finally, although a blanket may not fit in your carrier, bringing one along for your pet is a smart move, since cabin temperatures tend to be unpredictable.
- Walks and water are very important
A long walk the day of your departure will help tire your pup out and make them more likely to take a nap during the flight. If this strategy works, you won’t have to worry as much about keeping them calm. Limiting the amount of water you give your pup is a good way to control their bladder and cut down on potty breaks. When they do get thirsty, an ice cube can be effective at keeping them hydrated while also providing something to chew on for a while!
- Have a great time!
All in all you know your pup best, which means you also know best what they need. Make your own checklist and check it twice! Being able to enjoy the holidays with the entire family, including the four-legged members, will make all your careful preparations worth it!
- Laura Figueroa