Monday, July 28, 2014

Pros and Cons of Letting Your Dog Shop Online

As an eco-friendly dog owner, I always encourage people to shop local and buy handmade items from local merchants. However, I live in a rural area and unfortunately don't have access to eco-friendly dog items close by and I refuse to buy the Made In China stuff Walmart sells....so that leads me to online buying. Amazon is my go-to site for everything and since we have one computer in our house, I always worry about my kids "accidentally" ordering things with the push of a wrong button. More recently, it is the dog I have to be on alert for. Many times while shopping from my couch, a random dog paw or head seems to land on my keyboard. Although my dog (or kids) have not yet landed me into debt with accidental online orders (mostly because I have one-click ordering turned off), I decided it was a good time to explore the pros and cons of buying products for your dog online. For those of you that are in the same situation that I am in, and are not lucky enough to have a local place to shop WITH your dog, I hope this post is helpful (and a little humorous). 

Cons to Online Shopping With Your Pet:
  • When he sees all the neat collars that are out there, he may want a different one for every day of the week.
  • Suddenly that new toy he got yesterday will be destroyed in an instant so that he NEEDS a new one.
  • Shipping costs.....need I really say more?
  • No other dog butts to sniff while shopping.
  • Not burning any calories shopping from the couch.
  • Can be difficult to figure out correct sizes for collars and clothing.
Pros to Online Shopping With Your Pet:
  • A LOT of eco-friendly and earth conscious companies and products to choose from.
  • No stopping in every aisle to sniff things (or making attempts to mark territory).
  • Free AND fast shipping on many sites, (especially Amazon, if you are an Amazon Prime member).
  • If you see a product another dog owner has, you can order it right away online with your smartphone.
  • Less likely to buy other things you don't need....like those fancy dog treats sitting at the register.
  • You get to see product reviews from real dog owners.
  • MOST sites offer hassle-free return options.
  • Get exactly what you want; correct size, color, and design.
  • Who doesn't love getting mail and seeing the mailman?
  • Get handmade, unique and personalized items from mom and pop companies that have an online presence. (Etsy.com is a great place to start).
If you have been shopping online with your dog, what sites do you like? Leave comments below to help out other Pupcyled readers!
 
Also, as a part of the Amazon affiliates program, Pupcycled is pleased to now offer the ability to find our favorite products on Amazon directly through the Pucycled site (see right side of page). The Featured Fridays link at the top of the page will also help you find more websites for earth-friendly products. My opinions about Amazon and other websites (and the products they offer) are my own and come from years of shopping online and using the products myself. None of the suggestions are posted by paid promotions through vendors/companies. If there are more great earth-friendly products out there for dog owners, Pupcycled would love to know through your comments OR email us at pupcycledblog@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5 Ways to Exercise with Your Dog

Walks are great but, sometimes people need new ways to get active with their dog.  Could you be ready to think outside the walk? Do you want to exercise with your dog to wear him out so he is calmer in the house? Or are you looking for something to burn more calories for yourself? Check out these five eco-friendly exercise ideas and try one this week! They will definitely help you and your dog be more active and healthier.


  1. Backyard Obstacle Course. Get into your garage, basement and shed and find some items to create an obstacle course for you and your dog. From benches and cinder blocks to jump over, to hula hoops and pool noodles to climb through, or even cones to zig zag around, you and your dog can build muscle and boost your brain all at once. If your dog doesn't seem to want to do the course, don't give up or get discouraged;  I have found it has worked best for me to keep doing the course and eventually the dogs run around and join in. The arch in the video is made by putting two camping spikes into the ground and putting the pool noodle onto both spikes. If you have more obstacle course ideas, please leave comments below!!!! 
  2. Go on a Hike. For your first hike with you dog, be sure to go on a very clear and well-marked trail. Maintained State Parks are a great place to start. (Some parks even have areas your dog can go swimming). It is important to apply an all natural flea and tick repellent before the hike; (spraying dog with lemon juice and putting on some rose geranium oil works well). You should also have water for you and your dog. For water storage, consider using an eco-friendly travel bowl like the h2FidO system. Although it does not hold a lot of water, it is easy to carry and recyclable when it wears out. Another travel bowl option is the canvas collapsible bowl from Olive Green Dog. It is made with eco-friendly materials, can be composted if it ever wears out, and made in the USA. Finally, always keep your dog on a leash and clean up after them. (Check out the Featured Fridays link to find Earth friendly leashes and dog waste options). 
  3. Visit a Doggie Water Park. This is something I HAVE to try with one of my dogs soon since there is one about two hours away from me called Lucky Paws Resort in Pittsburgh, PA. It offers the perfect mix of land and water play, and more and more parks like it are popping up all over the United States and Canada, so search the internet for one near you. Or, if you are feeling really adventurous, create a water park in your own backyard. Consider a baby pool filled with water, or connect a 2-lier soda bottle to your hose and poke some holes in the bottle for a homemade sprinkler. Limit water play to a few minutes so that you don't waste too much water. 
  4. Play Tug of War. If you have an old pair of jeans, you can upcyle them into a sturdy tug of war rop toy for you and your dog to exercise with. Tug of war helps build muscle for both you and your dog and can help you both work up quite a sweat. Click here for directions to make the homemade rope toy from jeans.
  5. Doga/Yoga with your Dog. Some people think this is only for little dogs, but large dogs can do it, too. For more information on getting into a yoga routine with your dog check out Pupcycled's Doga post. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY Dog Treat Container Ideas

For over a decade I had a ceramic dog treat container that I loved, and every time I took the lid off the dogs would come running to the kitchen for a treat. They knew that sound so well! Much to my disappointment, it recently broke. On the bright side, I now have the chance to upcycle something into a dog treat container. I also thought this would be a good time to make a few extra upcylced dog treat canisters for friends that have dogs. I figure if I start now, I can have them all done by Christmas and fill them with homemade dog treats. By putting chalkboard paint in the top and on front, I can put a dog's name, a message, or the type of treat, or even the recipe for the homemade treat, all on the canister. You could glue ribbon to the canister lid for extra decoration as well.


Here are the supplies you will need for an upcycled DIY dog treat container:
  • Old tin canister (Christmas popcorn tins can always be found at the thrift store)
  • Spray paint (try to get the most eco-friendly kind you can find)
  • Chalkboard paint 
  • Decorative ribbon (optional)
  • Chalk
Directions:
  1. Spray paint the outside of the tin and the lid. (It is best to not paint where the lid and canister meet because it can make it difficult to open and close).
  2. Let the tin dry for several hours before painting on the chalkboard paint. 
  3. If doing a bone or paw print, draw the shape on the tin with a permanent marker to make painting easier.
  4. You will need to put 2-3 thin layers of chalkboard paint on the tin and be sure to have at least 30-60 minutes between application of layers. 
  5. Let the chalkboard paint dry for 24-48 hours before writing on it.
  6. Decorative ribbon can be glued on to the edge of the lid if desired.

Check out Pucycled's homemade dog treat recipes to make awesome treats to put in your upcycled canister!


If you are looking for more upcycled DIY dog treat container ideas, check out these:
Finally, don't forget to pin this project to Pinterest and follow Pupcycled's Pinterest board for more great DIY dog craft ideas!