Month: August 2017

Tails On Trails: 10 Great Hikes For Dogs In The Bay Area

Summer is winding down and fall is around the corner – which means the best weather of the year is coming to the Northern California coast. August and September are awesome months to hit the trails around the San Francisco Bay Area because the sun burns off the coastal fog and you’re left with stellar views from all vista points. Plus, cool breezes make it manageable for humans and canines alike. If the call of mother nature isn’t enough to make you pull your boots on, remember that hiking is both good for bonding with your dog, and beneficial for your health.

Hiking will let your dog burn off some energy, and will give you a more intense cardio workout than your daily walk around the neighborhood. Because you’ll likely be going uphill and down paths, more muscles will engage as your blood pumps throughout your whole body. Plus, there’s a mental health benefit to being out in nature – experts say “green spaces” are great stress-relievers.

If you’re new to hiking, do a little research on preparedness and start with fairly short trails, making sure to consider the age and abilities of your dog before heading out. If your dog is older with tighter muscles, or has medical conditions that impact their stamina – a hike might not be for you two. Also, keep in mind that you and your dog won’t be alone in isolation, but will probably run into other people and pups along the path. In order for your outing to be more pleasurable for all parties – your dog should be able to stay with you, and manage social encounters well.

So you’re in the Bay Area and ready to hit the trails? PAWESOME! Wow, that was over-eager and nerdy – sorry. We mean, awesome.

Here are 10 trails in the Bay you’ll want to check out with your best bud.

Santa Cruz County
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
When you want to spend a day in the shade hiking through the redwoods, head to Henry Cowell State Park. It can be pretty busy in the summertime, but with multiple trails to choose from, it’s worth the excursion. Walk along dirt paths and fire roads, and note that dogs are allowed on Pipeline Road, Meadow Trail, and Graham Hill Trail, as long they are on leashes.

Loch Lomond Recreational Area
Want to feel like you’re going to Tahoe without having to actually drive all the way to Tahoe? Just 10 miles from Santa Cruz lies miles and miles of green space, with many a trail for you and your pup. Enjoy mostly shaded routes on dirt paths and fire roads; dogs are indeed welcome on a leash, but they must stay out of the water.

Peninsula
Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve
Who would have thought the grounds of an old tuberculosis sanitarium would be an ideal spot to take your hound on a hike? Well, if you find yourself near Edgewood Park in Redwood City and want to hit the trails, or at least let your dog off-leash for a bit, this is the spot for you. There is a large dog-friendly area where pups can run free, as well as dirt trails to explore (just put the leash back on your dog before setting out).

Pearson-Arastradero Preserve
There are many open spaces and hiking trails that dot the 280 freeway, but one of the most picturesque is this one, located in the city of Palo Alto. It offers a fairly easy walk of dirt trails and fire roads through grasslands and oak trees. It’s definitely not as wild as other trails in the area, but it’s a wonderful, convenient, and open green spot to walk your dog on a leash.

San Francisco
Inspiration Point/The Presidio
This nearly three-mile hike of dirt trails and paved pathways is pretty easy, without too many hills. Enjoy walking through the historic Presidio District of San Francisco, through idyllic Lover’s Lane (a path flanked by a forest of eucalyptus trees), and see The Spire – a 2008 cyprus sculpture. There’s a lot to see, and it’s beautiful any time of year, just make sure your dog is kept on leash, per the park’s rules.

Mount Davidson Park
At the highest natural point of San Francisco (sitting just below 1,000 feet up from sea level) this gem is often forgotten as a stellar hiking destination. With 40 acres of land to roam, and many trails to take, the views from the mountain-top park are amazing. Make sure you read the signs and stay on the trails, though – it’s easier than you think to get lost, even when you’re hiking less than two miles.

North Bay
Cataract Falls and Potrero Meadows Loop, Mount Tamalpais
Make use of one of the Bay’s more majestic mountains, and take your dog for a day in Marin County. With your pup on leash you can explore a 6.5 mile loop that showcases waterfalls, meadows and dense forest lands. This is not a beginner’s hike, but definitely one to hit if you and your canine crew are up for an adventure.

Old St. Hilary’s Open Space Preserve
Views! Views! Views! Okay, so the truth is this is an easy hike – about a mile and a half – that you and your dog can tackle today. The best thing, though? From the peak of the hill you can see all of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands – just about everything. You’ll need to keep your dog on a leash, but for a fresh outing with great sights – we recommend this trail.

East Bay
Del Valle Regional Park
Full disclosure: it’s probably going to be hot up here until November, but – wow – is this a beautiful place in the Bay Area. Most of the trails are fairly easy, if in direct sunlight, and you can take a near-four mile loop in the picturesque hillside above Lake Del Valle. Dogs are permitted off-leash unless otherwise noted, so definitely add this to your list of local trails to trek.

Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
Did you know parts of the East Bay used to be volcanic? Pick up a pamphlet and you and your pup can partake in a self-guided tour all around this historic site. Dogs are allowed on most of the trails as long as they’re on leashes, so double check before you take off.

Want more hiking spots? See the whole list of dog-friendly trails from Bay Area Hiker here!

Did we miss any tried and true faves? If you have any favorite spots in the San Francisco Bay Area – please comment below so we can keep a resource list.

Not in town? Let us know what the top trails are in your neck of the woods so we can compile a YaDoggie hiking map.

Pup Parenting 101: How To Pick A Name For Your Pup

Picture this: you’re at the park, leash spilling out of your back pocket, and you’ve just thrown a ball clear across the field. You see your dog sprint after it, scoop it up in their mouth, and start heading back your way. For the 987th time in your life, you holler their name: “Good job, ____________!”

Did you opt for a traditional dog name? Did you land on something a bit more unique, or modern? Does the name have a connection for you – is it an homage to your favorite movie (we’re looking at you – owner of the adorable pair of pups named Luke and Leia)?

Naming our dogs has become quite an art – and people are putting lots of thought into naming their furbabies. It used to be that Fido, Rover, and Spot reigned as man’s best friend, but these days you’ll be more likely to meet a Tullulah, Bowie, Brooklyn, or Mr. Pickles. Hanging out with the YaDoggie #DogSquad? Cookie, Hobbs, Coco, Bella, Riley, Lily, Chewie, Fritz, and many others run in the pack of pooches and chow down on YaDoggie dog food. Pudge, for one, loves the duck recipe.

But what’s in a dog’s name, anyway? Jan Hoffman, of The New York Times, asked this question on her quest to name her family’s new puppy. After reading up on the most unique names ever, and asking a lot of dog enthusiasts, owners, and trainers for their input, Ms. Hoffman realized that the first rule of Dog Club is there are no rules. You can literally name your dog whatever you want. Yes, even Nacho… if you want to – we won’t judge. (Hey, we love dogs and nachos so it works for us.)

Still, there are a few tips that could help you select a well-matched moniker; if you’re bringing home a new best friend, check out these five best practices to perfectly name your pup.

#1 – Pick a Name You Really (and We Mean Really) Like
This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to pick a name you end up loathing. These days many dogs are named by any and all members of the family, and if you leave the decision up to a toddler, you might get some interesting results; we know a dog named Banana because of this very reason. While it may have been funny the first 100 times to yell “BANANA!” at the dog park, we’ve been told the novelty wore off. Maybe you want to name your dog after a character or celebrity – again, we’re not here to judge or stop you, but ask yourself if you’ll get tired of it. Bruce? Elvis? Madonna (or Madogna)? Think about this one, because you’ll be saying it all. The. Time. You gotta love it, or at least have a high tolerance to it.

#2 – Shorter Names FTW
Unless you enjoy a flair for the dramatic, a short name seems to be the most well-received among the canine crew, and their dog owners. Sure it’s fun to knight your pup Sir Reginald Pumpernickel III, but try saying it multiple times in a row. Yup. Maybe this is why so many dogs were called Spot? A short name is indeed easy to say repeatedly (and you will be repeating it), and it’s easy for the dog to recognize. If you really love a long and elaborate name, by all means, go for it! Have fun introducing Lady Lillie McGuinness to your friends – just consider adopting a nickname for more frequent use. Lady, Lillie, or Mac could work here.

#3 – Steer Clear of Family Rhymes
If you share your home with other animals, friends, and family, keep their names in mind when you are naming your dog. It’s wise not to pick a name that sounds like or rhymes with that of anyone else who shares your space. Sure, there’s slapstick gold awaiting with a tribe of hounds named Harry, Larry, Barry, and Carrie, but the similar sounding calls might cause confusion – and collisions – when they all gather at once. This goes for the people in your life, too; if your young daughter’s name is Jenny, you might not want to name your pup Benny… unless you want to holler for one and have both of them come running.

#4 – Say NO to Names That Sound Like Commands
We know dogs hear what we say, but they don’t listen for context or nuance. If you name your dog Wade, he might hear “wait.” Your pup, Kit, might sit. Your best bud, Neal, may heel. While having responsive pups isn’t a bad thing, you probably don’t want them to be constantly in command-mode, so consider choosing a name that’s just for them, and doesn’t sound like an order.

#5 – Keep An Open Mind
Your dog may have an opinion, too! We’ve heard stories where a pup responded to one name but not another. This can happen – sometimes you choose the name, and sometimes the name chooses the dog. We think it’s best to be flexible, here, and follow the dog’s lead – as having a dog that responds to you beats having the most epic dog name ever. At the end of the day, the name that works for both you and your dog, is the name that works.

Do you have a story behind your dog’s name? We’d love to know about it! Tell us how you picked the perfect name for your pup in the comments below.

Canines + Cannabis? Five Things You Should Know About CBD Dog Treats

Have you heard about the latest trend in naturally-made doggie treats? Dog owners across the nation are trying out, or at least finding out, about CBD treats, or, cannabidiol treats. Yes, cannabidiol as in cannabis – you know, the stuff that makes 4/20 a holiday? Now that cannabis is legal for humans in many states, we’re starting to see the development of cannabis-related products on an even wider market and some of them are going straight to the dogs!

So – what do you need to know? We’ve got the details on cannabis for canines.

#1 – No High Hounds
CBD treats are legal and safe for your dog. This isn’t #Marijuna4Mutts; CBD treats are made from hemp which does not have intoxicating effects. Whereas marijuana contains the high-inducing chemical, THC; hemp-made treats offer only a safe and legal therapeutic effect. Just to be clear – you can’t simply share your pot with your dog. Marijuana and THC can be fatal if consumed by animals (and the chocolate in your edibles is bad for your pups, too). If you’re interested please see tip number 5 below, and make sure you heed professional advice before feeding your furry friend.

#2 – Hemp Might Help
So what kind of therapeutic benefits are we talking, here? If your dog suffers from chronic pain due to cancer, joint-pain related to arthritis, or lasting discomfort due to injury, CBD treats might help. Touted as a powerful pain-reliever, CBD treats have been shown to reduce inflammation as well as suppress pain, allowing dogs to heal or manage their disease with more ease. If your dog’s physical health is fine, but you want to improve their emotional or mental wellness, CBD treats could be a great solution, too. Some experts and dog owners have reported that their dogs, who previously struggled with anxiety or aggression, simply chilled out after enjoying the treats. Another common usage is to help dogs regain a sense of appetite and keep nausea at bay. While we know there aren’t any YaDoggie dogs going hungry, if your pup is experiencing a loss of appetite, CBD treats could help bring your buddy back to their bowl.

#3 – Purchase Legit Products
Look, if you were going to buy the real deal for yourself, you probably would want the best there is – and your standards should be equally earnest for your dog. While there are DIY recipes making the rounds online, we suggest (first, following tip #5 below, and then) purchasing your CBD treats from reputable sources. Order your treats from a legitimate manufacturer who specializes in pet food products. You want to buy something specifically formulated for dogs, not tinker around with tinctures at home and hope you’re doing it right.

#4 – Get Low As You Dose
The chances are your dog will love their new CBD treats, but tread lightly. Dogs can have a reaction to any food you give them, so make sure you begin by allowing them the smallest possible amount, and work your way up to the recommended serving. If you’re trying to treat an illness or manage pain, be patient when looking for the benefits to appear. It will take time for the medicinal qualities to take effect, so go slowly and remain hopeful. Stop usage and call your veterinarian if anything seems off.

#5 – Vets Know Best
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, you should talk to your veterinarian before buying CBD treats in bulk. Currently, it’s illegal for vets to prescribe cannabis to dogs because it’s not an FDA-approved substance. Furthermore, the research is all anecdotal and many experts feel like we just don’t know enough about the side effects or long-term effects yet. That’s not to say veterinarians won’t be on-board with your plan to buy hemp-based foods and oils for your pup. Many seasoned professionals have shared anecdotal evidence that CBD treats and products can ease illness and even increase comfort for dogs experiencing chronic pain or anxiety. Check in with your vet and go from there.

Have you purchased CBD treats for your pup? How did they like them? Let us know in the comments below!

Pup Parenting 101: Preparing For A New Pal

Is it really happening? A dog is coming to live in your home?!

Congratulations!

Whether this is the first or fifteenth dog to join your pack – welcoming a new canine to the crew is always exciting.

If it’s been awhile since moving a pup into your place, it’s a good idea to review some doggie basics – these best practices will help all of you make a smooth transition to your new normal.

Head To The Vet
First things first, do a vet check. Whether you picked up your pup from a shelter or rescue organization, or brought home a babe from a breeder, introduce your new dog to your local, and trusted vet to set up a rapport. Your initial visit is a great time to go over any concerns and questions, as well as confirm vaccination schedules or any necessary treatment. Your vet might have dog food recommendations (*cough cough* we hear YaDoggie is a big hit with all breeds *cough*), and insight into local training courses. It will be good to talk about how much exercise and food your dog should be getting, too. If you don’t already have a trusted professional at your service, ask friends for referrals, or look up vets online; the breeder or organization you worked with might even have someone to recommend, as well. The sooner you can select your vet, and get in for a baseline appointment, the smoother your dog ownership will go.

The Four Stages Of Dogdom: Eat, Sleep, Play, Poop
Once you’ve picked up your pooch and have all the information you need from your veterinarian, it’s time to focus on family time, and start building those bonds of lasting friendship. Dogs are loyal and lovable creatures, with fairly simple needs. You’ll need to think about, and plan for, your dog’s diet, sleep habits, play and exercise regimens, and bathroom behavior. Yes, this means your life now revolves around the eating, sleeping, playing, and pooping habits of your new pal. Here are some considerations as you prepare your home for your new pup.

Eat
Fueling and feeding your furry friend really isn’t that complex, but it can seem daunting at first. The important things to have figured out are what to feed your dog (ahem, again, we might have some suggestions), and when to give them meals and snacks. Also, look around your home and decide where you’ll keep the bowls for food and water. If you have a full house, you might want to assign feeding the dog to specific individuals so the dog isn’t overfed or underfed, and be sure to clearly communicate what “people food” (if any) is okay for your pup to nibble. You’ll likely keep or make treats for your dog, so stock up on those, too.

Sleep
They say it’s a dog’s life, and if you’ve ever caught a dog napping in the sun while you grind away on a task or chore, you’d probably agree. It seems most dogs can sleep anywhere. Couch? Check. Human’s bed? Check. Human’s face? Check, check. Thinking ahead about where you’d like the dog to sleep at night, or even for naps, is a good practice. Some families are fine with co-sleeping, while others are interested in crate-training. Maybe you plan on snuggling with your pup on the couch, but want them to sleep overnight on a dog bed. A quick internet search will tell you that there are differing opinions about what’s best for a dog, so you’ll need to trust your gut and decide what’s going to work for you. Keep in mind, however, that trial and error is common, so don’t fret if your plan evolves along the way. In the end, you’ll need to do whatever it takes to ensure both canines and humans in your household get a good night’s sleep – though it may take a while for that to happen. Patience makes progress, like with most parts of dog ownership.

Play
Just like with humans, an active life is usually a healthier life. Making sure a dog has stimulus at home, and opportunities to run and roam outside, is crucial for most dogs. Sure, there are exceptions – if your dog has a medical condition you wouldn’t want to push them – but frequent exercise is really good for pups. Whether you’re taking your dog for walks around the neighborhood, or hitting up the off-leash dog park for some free play with other pups, your dog will be healthier for it. Think about where you can take your dog regularly, what times would work with your schedule, and if anyone else in your household can help out. In addition to walks and exercise, your dog will just want to play with you. There are countless toys on the market to entertain your dog, and we suggest stocking up on a couple so you can have fun together from day one.

Poop
Look, it happens. And with a dog it happens all the time. While this is arguably the least appealing part of dog ownership, having a plan for poop is a good idea. Will you train your pup to go outside, in a certain part of your home on a mat, on walks? Head to the internet for tons of advice, theories, and cautionary tales about training your dog to handle its business in a place other than your closet. If you are going to train your pup to poop outside, and not in your backyard, please remember to pack a bag for easy clean-up. The swift, one-handed plastic-baggie pick-up is an art you’ll learn quickly, we promise… and your fellow pedestrians will thank you.

What else did you do to prepare for bringing home your pup? Tell us your best tips in the comments below!

Pup Parenting 101: Adopting A Shelter Or Rescue Dog

YES! You’ve decided to get another dog.

Oh man, we’re jealous.

Here at YaDoggie HQ, we’re always thrilled to hear that someone wants to add a lovable, new pup to their pack.  Did you know that about 44% of American households have dogs at home? We know what’s up! While many people hear about their dogs by word of mouth – maybe someone you know has a litter of pups, or a co-worker is moving and needs to find a new home for their aging dog – others look to breeders or shelters for their new furry friend. The American Pet Products Association estimates that about 34% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 23% of dogs are adopted from animal shelters or humane societies, while other people adopt their perfect pups from rescues or other sources.

YaDoggie loves all pups, but we especially love hearing tales (tails?) of rescued dogs finding their forever family. If you’re considering getting another dog, we encourage you to #adoptnotshop. We admit, the process of adopting a pup from a shelter or a rescue – the two main organizations that manage dog adoptions – can seem a little challenging and cumbersome. Here’s what to expect when you begin your dog adoption journey.

SHELTERS

Organizations:

Shelters are often public, local (city and county) organizations; sometimes referred to as “the pound,” shelters are run by police or health departments, or animal control. There are private shelters, as well, and that’s where you’ll find the words “humane society” or the acronym S.P.C.A. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

Logistics:

You can usually visit shelters throughout the week – there’s a formal facility with a staff that maintains the site, cares for the pets, and welcomes the public for adoptions. Many shelters advertise the dogs available for adoption online, so if you see a dog you love, you can swing by for a meet and greet when it suits you. Keep in mind that if you can – everyone else can, too, and you might not be the first person to show interest in a specific pup. Depending on where you live, the competition for adoptable dogs can get pretty fierce. Since shelters are often understaffed, calls and emails might not get swift responses, so it’s best to show up in the flesh if you’re serious about adopting a dog.

Same-Day Adoptions:

Shelters are often efficient when it comes to actual adoptions. For many of them, if you’re there and the dog’s there, and you can pay the fee and show the staff worker your driver’s license – you just might come home with a dog that day! The fee could be anywhere from $25 – $125 dollars, so come prepared to make a payment. Also, the shelter will have information on the dog’s vaccinations as well as a sterilization certificate, which you’ll want to take with you so you can get your new pup licensed. Once you’ve paid and obtained the necessary paperwork, you get to take your new furry friend home. Congratulations – you’ve joined the #dogsquad!

Note: All shelters are different, so while many offer same-day adoptions, it’s best to confirm the process at your local shelter so you don’t hit any hurdles.

RESCUES

Volunteers:

Rescues are typically supported by foster families. While there may be a private boarding facility, many rescues utilize volunteer foster families to care for the pups while the organization advertises the adoptable dogs and searches for the dog’s forever-family.

Logistics:

Rescues often have meet and greet events at pet stores at the weekend, or host special adopt-a-thons where people can come by and get to know both the pup and the people who are caring for it. Otherwise, you’ll need to contact the organization in order to adopt a pup, either via email, by phone, or through an application on their website. Once you express interest, you’ll be contacted, often by the foster caregiver, to discuss the dog in question. After chatting about your lifestyle and the needs and personality of the dog, and everyone is still interested, you’ll likely arrange a meet-up at a public place nearby, such as the rescue’s weekend adoption event. From there, the rescue might request an in-home visit before finally contacting you to tell you that you’ve been selected as the forever home for the dog. You will work with the foster caregiver to set-up a delivery date and time, and then – CONGRATS! You’ll get your brand new best bud.

Rescue Benefits:

While a rescue often requires more of your time, and tends to be a more thorough adoption process, there is one major benefit to taking this route: caregiver insight. You’ll be able to discuss the dog’s history and personality with the caregiver directly, and glean information you can use as you transition the new pup into your place. If the caregiver has children, other dogs, or cats, or other pets around – they’ll be able to tell you how the dog manages that environment. It’s likely that the foster caregiver nursed the dog to better health, or helped them acclimate to a proper domestic setting, and all the nuggets of wisdom and historical reference they have can set you up for success as the forever family and dog owner. Make use of the waiting period and ask the foster family all the questions you have.

Note: All rescues are run differently, so please contact the organizations near you in order to understand their process and adoption timeline.

Have you adopted a dog before? Did you use a shelter or a rescue organization? Tell us your story of how you came to be a family in the comments below!

Stay Pawesome,

– The YaDoggie Team