Playing With The Big Boys

November 19, 2011 § 22 Comments

For as long as Miss Maple has been with us (almost coming to one year), we have known her to be rather timid and skittish around large dogs. But, today’s outing to the West Coast Park dog run had us in for a real surprise—our little tyke befriended two very BIG handsome fellas named Oscar, the Husky, and Xavier, the Goldie. Of course, it also helped that Oscar and Xavier were really easy-going guys with a penchant for mighty small dogs like our Miss Maple. Here are some fun photos of our day out!

Oh Dear, Oh Deer!

November 16, 2011 § 28 Comments

Antlers… they evoke images of pristine wilderness and a wintery wonderland. But, antlers in tropical urban Singapore? Why, yes! Ever since hearing about deer and elk antler chews from our blogging buddies, we have been eagerly anticipating the introduction of these natural chews for dogs in the Singapore market. Seen as a novelty item, antler chews have yet to gain popularity in Singapore. So, it was with a bit of luck that I chanced upon deer antlers at a local pet store.

At the time of my visit, there was only one packaged brand of deer antlers available called AntlerChewz (made in Canada) with three different antler ‘cuts’ to choose from: Puppichewz, Seniorchewz, and Vitachewz. I selected the Puppichewz (S$17.90 @ Polypet) which is a piece of an antler sliced length-wise; this exposes the marrow-like material in the middle, thereby making it gentler on the teeth for puppies as well as dogs that are not as aggressive when it comes to gnawing on bones.

I have to admit, I was initially a little apprehensive about handing Maple a familiar, yet unfamiliar, foreign object to chew on. Beef marrow bone? Been there, done that. Chicken drumstick? Easy as pie. Deer antler? There’s always a first for everything, I suppose. Well, it didn’t take too long for my nerves to settle because Maple knew instantly (and instinctively) what to do with the antler chew.

Here is the furball giving the antler an orientation to her itty bitty teeth…

Before introducing it to her gaping mouth!

I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the deer antler—not only is Maple enjoying the activity of gnawing and getting her chewing fix, but she is also benefiting from the  mineral-rich (calcium and phospherous) content of the antler. From an environmental standpoint, antlers that are: (1) naturally shed by deer and elk without harm to the animals, (2) responsibly harvested, and (3) re-purposed into safe dog chews seem to offer a sustainable option that I find hard to resist, especially after given our trial with the Nylabone non-edible dental chew.

What I also like about the antler is that it is virtually odourless and relatively hygienic—just give it a good wipe with a damp cloth, lay it out in the sun to dry, and it’s ready for the next session! I limit Maple’s time with the antler to 30 minutes or so, otherwise she would happily spend all day with it. This also ensures that she doesn’t ingest too much of the antler bone in one sitting. There should be a bowl of fresh water made available immediately after each session because, if your pupster is anywhere close to being like our Lil’ Miss Maple, the antler will definitely whet his or her thirst for water…LOTS of water!

These days, Maple has grown to become quite playful with the antler. She loves to toss it about, hide it in her blankie, and carry it around the apartment like a prized possession. At one point in time, this naughty pipsqueak got so protective of her new chew that she would retreat into her ‘den’ while holding the antler hostage. Thank goodness she has learnt to let go a little, but not before her 30 minutes are up!

Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

Something New From Something Old

November 10, 2011 § 10 Comments

The KONG has grown on me and I think I’m starting to become a fan of this wobbly, cone-shaped, rubber toy for dogs. What I like about the KONG is its versatility—you can stuff your pupster’s food in it to make mealtime a little more challenging, fill it with yogurt and toss into the freezer for a delectable KONGsicle, hide some treats in it then place inside a long sock for your pooch to remove, or play fetch with it outdoors.

Recently, I discovered another way to adaptively re-use Maple’s KONG toy. I had a bundle of packing rope that I was about to store away when the idea came to mind: Why not braid the rope into a sturdy cord and stuff the knotted end into a KONG toy? This oh-so-simple D.I.Y project hardly requires an instruction manual!

Ta-da! Now Miss Maple has a ‘new’ toss/chew toy that looks strangely familiar yet has a hint of intrigue that an inquisitive pupster like her will find irresistible. 

“That looks like my KONG, but is it?”

Maple gingerly stepped forward to investigate her new toy then, without further hesitation, pounced on it. Grasping the cord between her paws like a little lioness who had forgotten her table manners, Maple was thrashing her head side-to-side and wrestling with her fictitious ‘prey’. From a distance, my camera went click-click-click-click-click at rapid speed but to no avail. This mini lightening bolt was just too fast to capture on film.
Alas, with all that energy spent, our model finally provided a quiet moment of stillness… just long enough for me to snap a photo! I think this new toy will entertain Miss Maple for quite some time to come and, when the fun eventually does expire, it’ll be time for us to find yet another new innovation for the KONG.

Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

Wall Support

November 4, 2011 § 22 Comments

After a long and arduous day, the one thing I look foward to is falling—collapsing would be more like it—on to a comfortable bed for a good night’s sleep. These days it is not hard to come by bed mattresses and pillows with memory foam, orthopedic support, and ergonomic form to offer you a truly blissful rest. But the trend doesn’t stop there. 

Imagine a tempurpedic pet bed for dogs. As outlandish as it may sound to me now, I have a feeling my perception will change many, many, many years down the road when both Miss Maple and I qualify for senior discounts at the pet store.  Until then, Miss Maple has no qualms seeking leg support against our (concrete, no less) living room wall!

Why Maple would choose to sleep in this seemingly back-twisting position, as opposed to cuddling up on her pretty gingham cushion, is a little puzzling to me. But, then again, there are many curious things this little pipsqueak does that never fail to bemuse us, and I think I ought to immortalize some of her quirky habits into words for a future post. 

Here is wishing everyone a wonderfully lazy weekend filled with plenty of catnaps and do let us know if you, too, can spot your pooch taking a snooze in a peculiar sleeping position!

Liver Cookies… A Guilty Pleasure

November 1, 2011 § 20 Comments

Whenever I feel a little peckish and need a light snack to tide me over until dinner, I will usually make a beeline for the pantry and help myself to the cookie jar. Lately, however, our cookie jar has been running empty. With everyone in our household being so busy these past few months (including Lil’ Miss Maple who has been charming her Gramsy), it slipped my mind to replenish the stock with bite-sized morsels of crunchy goodness. When I peeked into Maple’s treat jar, I discovered that it, too, contained only crumbs.

One of my longstanding To-Do list items is to whip up a batch of homemade liver cookies for Maple but, sadly, I have been procrastinating—the convenient excuse used to hold off on the baking is that I’m still in search of a good recipe. So, off we merrily went on a cookie-shopping expedition instead!

I have been eyeing the Love’Em brand of liver cookies for quite some time but always managed to resist the temptation as I knew Maple still had plenty of unfinished treats at home. But, as her treat inventory was running desperately low, this turned out to be her lucky day. Love’Em Liver Cookies come in three recipe choices: (1) Linseed, Soy & Rosemary; (2) Lamb & Mint; (3) Soy & Wholemeal. I thought Maple could benefit from the linseed/soy/rosemary concoction (S$10.59 Pet Lovers Centre @ VivoCity), which boasts an ability to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin. And so, onward home we went to give these cookies a try. 

What initially drew me to these liver cookies is the company’s claim that all the ingredients are 100% natural with no artifical fillers, flavourings or preservatives. Upon a closer examination, the liver cookies do look quite wholesome indeed—you can visually locate and manually pick out particles of linseed, soy and rosemary. I think this is a real bonus because once a food product gets overly processed it then becomes very difficult to identify the ingredients that have gone into it, thus making it all the more questionnable. 

The first opportunity Miss Maple had with her new treats was shortly after her shower and blow-dry. She was a very good pupster and did not put up a fight while being shampooed, primped, and preened. Her reward: a liver cookie. 

“Hey, Lil’ Miss Maple, how do you like the liver cookie?” Oops, it looks like Maple is a tad too busy to comment—besides, it wouldn’t be very polite of Maple to speak with her mouth full and her pink tongue unabashedly aiding the treat down her esophagus. 

I am really pleased with this delectable new find and Maple absolutely adores it, too. I know I should really watch my frequency in feeding Maple these liver cookies, but what’s the meaning of life to a dogster if she can’t indulge in a bit of guilty pleasure once in a while? ;) Maple says, “Mmm, that was super yummy. I’ve finished my cookie and I’m ready for a second helping!”

For more information about Love’Em Liver Cookies, check out the Scribd document below.

Disclaimer: HAPPY.BARK.DAYS is an independent entity and was not paid to write this review by any of the commercial enterprises mentioned in the article.

 

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