Our Blog

How to Choose the Right Dog Food

Our designer dog bowls add style and finesse to your life, but what you put inside them is even more important. Today’s dog food market is over saturated with options and in a perfect world all dog food would be created equal, but it’s not. Instead dog owners are overwhelmed with options that all claim to be the best. It’s important to your dog’s health that you pay attention to what you’re buying and feeding them. Here are some tips to help you make the decision on what dog food is best for you and your pet.

Most people feed their dogs processed kibble or wet food. These processed foods might not be appealing to us, but they contain all of the nutrients dogs need to stay healthy. Most quality commercial foods are highly regulated and have undergone rigorous testing by veterinary specialists. So what exactly is in these foods?

Dogs, unlike cats, are not strict carnivores. While meat makes up the majority of their diet, domestic dogs also derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods are not simply fillers. They are a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A good dog food will contain meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits. The best dog foods contain high-quality versions of these ingredients that are appropriate for your dog’s digestive system.

The best dog food for your canine companion should meet their nutritional needs. While most commercial dog food brands are specially formulated with at least the minimum nutritional requirements for dogs, it is important to remember that not every dog has the same nutritional needs.

If your dog has an allergy of any kind or requires a special diet, the best advice will come from your veterinarian. As we said before, not all dog foods are created equal and not all of dog’s nutritional needs are created equal. When choosing a dog food, always listen to your vet’s recommendations.

So, what do you do when you’re at the store confronted by an aisle of options that all look the same on the outside? Read the labels! This can be confusing because of the way ingredients are listed as some are made to purposefully confuse you. So here are a few things to look out for on the packaging…

Choose a food with a meat or meat meal as the first ingredient. For example, if chicken fat is listed seventh, the ingredients prior to that are the major ingredients. Those after are secondary. Watch out for the names and description on the package of dog food. For instance, a product called “Doggy Dinner with Liver Flavoring” might have only a small amount of flavoring since a certain percentage is not required. Calculating the “real” amount of each guaranteed analysis can tricky. Manufacturers can be deceptive, using high quality ingredients that contain a lot of water and therefore save them money.

Other Tips

  • Avoid preservatives and additives – they have been shown to cause health problems in dogs.
    Look for Vitamin E and C; they are natural, healthful preservatives.
  • Look for Omega-3; it is good for your dog’s coat.
  • Some dog owners prefer to look for “human-grade” food in their dog food. This simply means the food is purchased from human-grade food facilities.
  • Look for natural and/or organic ingredients. A dog food package labeled “Natural” doesn’t mean it’s true.
  • Avoid corn, cornmeal, soy and wheat. These are difficult for dogs to digest and can cause allergies.
    Instead, choose your grains from barley, rolled oats, millet, quinoa, and brown rice.

 

 

Doggy Raincoats for Spring

It’s finally spring, though many of us still feel like winter just won’t go away. It has been rainy and dreary outside of our office for most of the week, and this week is looking no different. Of course, that’s what spring is all about…rain. As dog lovers and owners, we’re all too familiar with the pains of walking a dog in the rain. Your pup doesn’t like it any more than you do. The next time you wake up to a spring shower, don’t just put on your raincoat, get Fido dressed for the weather too.

Dog raincoats may just sound like a novelty, but veterinarians actually recommend raincoats for smaller breeds of dogs and those with little or no fur. The raincoat not only keeps them from getting wet, but also keeps them warm. Nobody likes being caught outside in the cold rain, not even dogs. When a dog is wet and cold
their immune system may be stressed and they may be more vulnerable to respiratory infections and other illnesses. Raincoats are especially important for dogs who reside in a region that sees a lot of rainfall, like Seattle.

 

Checkout our selection of raincoats to keep your dog looking great, but most importantly: feeling great.

See more raincoats and doggy apparel here!

6 Ways To Be A Responsible Dog Owner

Owning a dog is very rewarding, but also a huge responsibility. Being sure that you’re a responsible dog owner will keep your dog happy and healthy, plus make things smoother for you! Doing these 6 things will keep ensure that you’re doing the right thing with your pup!

1. PET PROOF YOUR HOME

Many items that are used to baby proof your home can be used for pet proofing as well. Safety locks for kitchen and bathroom cabinets, power outlet covers, and a containment system for your electrical cords can keep many household hazards out of your dogs reach.

You should also keep anything that’s valuable or dangerous to your dog out of reach. Dogs have been known to eat everything from designer shoes and handbags to cleaning products. You can keep these things out of reach by putting them up high, using dog-proof containers, keeping doors closed, or using a baby gate.

2. USE AN I.D. TAG

Dogs love to roam, despite our best efforts to keep tabs on them. In the event that you lose your dog, an I.D. tag may be your only method of finding them. This also helps to bring them home quickly as those who find your adventurer will be able to contact you quickly and easily. We also reccomend looking into getting your dog chipped.

3. BASIC OBEDIENCE TRAINING

Basic obedience training is a must for your dog’s safety and your peace of mind. Unwanted behaviors like jumping and chasing cars or animals can be easily avoided or remedied with basic obedience training.

These are issues of safety for your dog and those around them. Basic manners also make them much more pleasant to be around. You can take them more places, and you don’t have to worry about locking them away when you have visitors when they are properly trained.

4. EXERCISE

Just like people, dogs require exercise for optimal mental and physical health. The amount of exercise your dog needs will depend on their breed, age, and level of physical fitness.

Dogs that don’t get enough exercise will find a way to work off that excess energy, usually in an undesirable way. They may become aggressive, bark frequently, or destroy things around the house. There’s also an increased risk of health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, and arthritis.

Walking is a great exercise for you and your dog. Playing fetch is another way for them to get some physical activity. Don’t forget to exercise their mind as well. Consider getting a food puzzle for times when they are on their own for a significant period of time.

5. CHECK UPS

Regular check ups can help keep your dog healthy. Vet check ups ensure that your dog is up to date on vaccines and other preventative medications. It’s also the best way to detect a disease in the early stages before it has a significant impact on your pet’s health. It’s recommended that your dog sees the vet at least once each year.

6. SOCIALIZATION

Socialization is an often overlooked component to a happy and healthy pet. Socialized dogs are better able to deal with new circumstances, and vet and grooming appointments are much smoother. Properly socialized dogs get along well with other people, other animals, and new situations.

You can socialize your dog with socialization classes or puppy play dates. Exposing them to the world and new people is also essential. The earlier you socialize them in a controlled environment the less likely for them to develop behavioral problems as they grow up.

Being a responsible pet owner allows you and your pet to get hit most out of life. You can avoid many common problems and hazards by being responsible and taking proper care of your dog.

Problem: Where To Place Your Pet’s Bowls?

Those of us with pets around the home all have one single issue – where on earth to put the dog bowls? The obvious answer is the floor, we all know this, but figuring out where to put them so that they are out of the way of being kicked over and stylish enough to not be an eyesore gets tricky.

Luckily, Unleashed Life bowls are perfect for adding style to your pups feeding routine, after all “style isn’t just reserved for humans”. Picking the perfect bowls to compliment your home’s decor is easy with our selection of designs. But after you have your gorgeous bowls, where do you put them?

Before figuring that out, you have to decide what’s best for them. Dogs come in a lot of sizes, and the figuring out the right height your bowl should be is important. Food needs to be close to you dog’s snout without excessive bending, which can cause digestion problems. Most larger breed dogs benefit from our elevated bowls. We do recommend getting your veterinarians advice when choosing a bowl. Below is a general guideline for figuring out the best height for your furry friend’s dog bowls.

Now that you have your gorgeous bowls, where are you going to put them? The key here is accessibility without being in the way. The kitchen and mudroom are the most common places for dog bowls, but any place in the home with hard flooring such as wood or tile is best. This makes spills and cleanup a breeze. A spot out of the way of foot traffic is also important – we’ve all kicked our pup’s bowls across the room by accident.

In the kitchen, a spot against the wall works best. This also allows your dog to have adequate room to stand in front of their bowls to eat and drink. The end of an island is also a great location. We’ve also seen homeowners who work the placement of their dog bowls into the design of their kitchens or mudrooms. 

See our other collections and styles here.

Expert Dog Feeding Tips

Mealtime is the highlight of the day for most dogs. Here at the office, our pups eat at the same time every day, and they start reminding you about 10 minutes before! But no all dogs like mealtime, and getting a pup to eat on a regular schedule can prove to be tricky, especially for smaller breeds. No matter how your dog feels about mealtime, read on to learn how to make the best part of their day even better.

Feed separately

Some dogs are very protective of their food, this is called guarding. But even if your dog doesn’t guard, it is always best to feed your dogs separately. This is beneficial for many reasons: you can tell if your dog isn’t eating; getting their medications; they will be encouraged to eat slower since they won’t be worrying about the other eating it.

Slow them down

Regardless of their size, it’s not good for a dog to eat fast, and it can be particularly dangerous for a larger dog. Making sure that their neck is properly positioned while eating is important for digestion and keeping them from choking. Most larger breeds benefit from an elevated feeder, like these.

Time limit

Do you leave your dog’s food out all day and they don’t go near it? This is a big problem, especially with smaller breed dogs. Instead, give your dog 10 minutes. If she doesn’t eat, pick it up and wait until the next meal. Chances are, your dog will start eating sooner, because she knows the food isn’t going to be there for her to pick at all day.

Clean those dishes

You probably don’t think about it, but those dishes get gross quick. If you feed dry kibble, pick a day of the week and make that “dog dish day.” If you feed wet, raw, frozen, or fresh foods, you should be washing that bowl after every meal – even if it looks like your dog licked it “clean” – he didn’t. All of our dog bowls come with stainless steel liners that are easily removable and dishwasher safe.

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Cabin Fever with Your Dog

In reality, Spring is just around the corner and it seems that most of us have made it through the worst of what winter has to offer. But, we all know we’re not in the clear yet and we’ve accepted that being stuck in the house is the best option. This has health effects on us humans for sure, but it also influences our pups. Dogs get cabin fever just as easily as we do. So, how do you help your dog overcome it? Read on for some great and simple ways to keep your four legged friend healthy and entertained.

Teach Them a New Trick

So, your dog knows a lot of tricks already? Sit. Stay. Crawl. Not all tricks have to be functional. Try inventing a new fun trick to help your dog stay entertained. The more difficult the trick, the longer it will take your dog to learn it. This type of engagement is great for their mental and physical health. The winter months are perfect for learning tricks because there is typically less distraction. Stumped with coming up with ideas? Google “dog tricks” and we guarantee you’ll find something.

Play Games

Games are the perfect way to get some energy out of your dog. If you do a quick online search for games to play indoors with your dog, the options are endless. Our favorites are here!

Train Your Dog to Pick Up Their Toys

Everyone with a dog can relate to having chew toys strewn throughout the house – it’s just part of being a pet owner. At some point during the day we all go through the house gathering toys, but why not train your dog to pick them up for you! After all, everyone else cleans up after themselves (okay, teenagers excluded) and your pup doesn’t have to be an exception. To train your dog to start doing this, click over to iheartdogs.com for tips and instructions.

In conclusion, the key to keeping your dog from developing cabin fever is to provide mental and physical stimulation for them throughout the day! Spring will be here soon enough!

 

 

Chinese New Year: Year of the Dog Facts You Didn’t Know

Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China. The festivities that go on during this time are a huge part of the Chinese culture, and nearly 20% of the world’s population celebrates the holiday. This Chinese New Year is the year of the Dog, and we love dogs so much that it seemed only fitting to share 5 things you probably didn’t know about the holiday.

It’s also known as Spring Festival and a day of prayer

Though it is still very cold when Chinese New Year comes around, the holiday marks the end of the worst of winter and welcomes in Spring. The holiday celebrates spring and a bountiful planting season along with new beginnings, and fresh starts. Originally the holiday was a day to pray to gods for a good planting season.

Spring Festival marked the return of a terrifying mythological beast

Every new year, a beast, called Nian, would return and terrorize villages. People were so scared of him that they would hide in their homes the entire day. This continued until one brave boy scared the beast away for good with firecrackers. This was the start of using firecrackers as a way of celebrating and the tradition continues today. In fact, Beijing tried to ban firecrackers  because of safety reasons. The city was met with so much protesting that the ban was eventually lifted in 2006 and fireworks are shot off for days.

Celebrations last for days

The festival is technically celebrated for 15 days, but the festivities begin on New Year’s Eve. According to tradition, you are supposed to spend time with your family and can only go out the 5th day. During this time most stores are closed. To prepare for being home so long, people begin buying nian huo, or New Year’s products, the month before. These things includes cooking supplies, snacks, gifts, and new clothes.

It causes the largest human migration in the world

Because of the tradition of spending time at home with your family, millions of people leave the cities and go back home to the villages where their families live. This causes transportation chaos and major headaches. Statistically, in 2015 one thousand train tickets were sold each second!

Showering or sweeping isn’t allowed

Cleaning of any kind isn’t allowed on New Year’s Day, not even showering! Sweeping or taking out the garbage isn’t allowed before the 5th. The reasoning for this is to make sure you don’t sweep away any good luck! On the other hand, there’s a day before the Spring Festival dedicated to cleaning. This day is to sweep the bad luck away and make room for the good.

Other interesting taboo things:

  • Hair cutting
  • Using scissors, knives and other sharp things
  • Arguing, swearing
  • Saying unlucky words (such as “death” and “sickness”)
  • Breaking things

2018 may officially be the Year of the Dog, but that’s every year for all of us around here! Happy Chinese New Year!

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Smartest Dog Breeds

The top 10 smartest dog breeds may be surprising, does your pup make the list? Dog intelligence is measured by two qualities: the ability to learn new commands easily, and obedience to perform them at least 95% of the time. Researchers have invested years into trying to understand canine intelligence and a lot is still unknown, but it’s agreed that dogs are much smarter than originally thought.

Why does it matter if your dog is smart? Well, lets start by stating that it doesn’t matter to the dog itself. Overall, a smarter dog needs much more stimulation, attention, and companionship. These qualities are good to be aware of when considering what you may be getting yourself into when welcoming a new dog into your family.

Border collie


Poodle

German shepherd


Golden retriever


Doberman pinscher


Shetland sheepdog


Labrador retriever


Papillon


Rottweiler


Australian cattle dog

Why Your Dog Needs A Bed

We don’t often think about the importance of a dog bed, but veterinarians agree that it is something all dog owners should know. A good bed provides insulation, support for our backs and joints, warmth, and a feeling of security. When a dog has a bed of their own, they get all of these benefits, and more.

Dog beds provide important benefits:

Insulation
Dog beds keep your dog off the cold, drafty floor year-round. In the wintertime especially, who doesn’t love a cozy place to curl up and nap?

Privacy & security
Beds give your dog a special place of their own in your home to retreat to whenever necessary. This will give them a sense of security and comfort.

Cushioning for joints and bones
A soft place to lay is especially important for older, arthritic, or overweight dogs. A dog bed offers extra support for dogs who have joint pain and discomfort.

Injury prevention
Dog beds help prevent injuries by keeping your dog from jumping up to and down from high furniture. This is especially beneficial for smaller breeds and older dogs.

Check out our selection of designer dog beds here!

Winter Safety for Dogs

Just like people, dogs get cold too. During cold winter months, it is important to keep your dog protected from the dangers of low temperatures, snow, and ice. We’ve rounded up the best tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association for keeping Fido safe and happy during the winter…check them out!

Winter wellness:

Has your pet had his/her preventive care exam (wellness exam) yet? Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year, and it’s as good a time as any to get him/her checked out to make sure (s)he is ready and as healthy as possible for cold weather.

Know the limits:

Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. You will probably need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same goes for very young and very old pets. If you need help determining your pet’s temperature limits, consult your veterinarian.

Provide choices:

Just like you, pets prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their needs.

Stay inside:

Cats and dogs should be kept inside during cold weather. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but it’s untrue. Like people, cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside. Longer-haired and thick-coated dog breeds, such as huskies and other dogs bred for colder climates, are more tolerant of cold weather; but no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.

Check the paws:

Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his/her toes. You may be able to reduce the chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between your dog’s toes.

 

Avoid ice:

When walking your dog, stay away from frozen ponds, lakes and other water. You don’t know if the ice will support your dog’s weight, and if your dog breaks through the ice it could be deadly. And if this happens and you instinctively try to save your dog, both of your lives could be in jeopardy.

Feed well:

Keep your pet at a healthy weight throughout the winter. Some pet owners feel that a little extra weight gives their pet some extra protection from cold, but the health risks associated with that extra weight don’t make it worth doing. Watch your pet’s body condition and keep them in the healthy range. Outdoor pets will require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm – talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional needs during cold weather.

Play dress-up:

If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat. Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder. Some pet owners also use booties to protect their dog’s feet; if you choose to use them, make sure they fit properly.

Check out our selection of winter sweaters for your dog here!

 

10% off Site Wide! Discount applied at checkout. Dismiss