Shoes for Dogs? You bet!

Dog On A Winter Walk

My dog shivered as she put a paw down on the  frosty deck. Her tail drooped and then she walked backwords through the door right into my shin! Really? You see, Shadow has sensitive feet and does not like to pee in cold, much less walk around the block. “This is a problem…” I scolded her “…and the solution is to go shopping!”

We hopped into the car and ironically “Baby it’s cold outside” was playing on the radio. Passing the big box petstore, we pulled into our local Unleashed. There were the ususal assortment of leashes and treats up front. As we passed, Shadow strained her entire body to sniff these. I wondered if there would there be a little area to “try on” dog shoes? “Yes ma’am, Over on the sidewall under the jackets” said the shop owner.

I had no idea there were so many styles and price points! Ruffwear Bark and Boot or Trex were on the higher end at $90. East Side Collection Sherpa boots were mid-range, coming in bright colors at $25. Both Muttluks and Guardian Gear ranged from a $12.99 sock to a $64 fleece lined boot. On Amazon, the most popular dog bootie was Fashion Pet Lookin Good at $15. It has a velcro strap and reflective tape on top so they are easy to get on/off. The second most popular brand was Ultra Paws Durable Dog Boot, a thicker sole and fleece lining bumped the price to $35. I compared quality and cost, keeping in mind that Shadow and I live in the south and would not be doing the Iditarod or seeing much snow anytime soon!

1. First step, Sizing.
We walked over to the Muttluks sizing chart that measures the entire paw, including nails, with sizes ranged from Itty Bitty at 1 inch to XX Large at 5.25 inches.

2. Second step: fitting.
We tried on the Hott Doggers stretchy economy boots but they were hard to pull on. The velcro strap on the more expensive boot was much easier to adjust. Standing over her, I lifted each paw at the elbow and wiggled the boot on, then pulled tight with the strap. There was quite a bit of extra strap that we will cut off at home.

3. Third, pricing.
After an elaborate fitting and many “Why are you doing this to me” looks from my dog, she walked out wearing the Fleece Lined Muttluks.

Local Pet Shoppes:
Oliver’s Collar,  4711 Hope Valley Rd, Durham, NC 27707, (919) 401-4888

Other End of the Leash, 1000 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701, (919) 908-1887

1. 7901 Falls of Neuse Rd #125, Raleigh, NC, (919) 676-3225

2. 5289 Sunset Lake Rd, Holly Springs, NC 27540, (919) 362-8711

PetPad,  1239 NW Maynard Road, Cary, NC 27513, (919)-481-6614

PetPantry,  2521 Schieffelin Rd, Apex, NC 27502, (919) 303-1990

1. 10 W Franklin St #100, Raleigh, NC, (919) 833-9216
2.  6464 Tryon Rd, Cary, NC 27518, (919) 977-7103

Unleashed – The Dog and Cat Store

1.   2460 Wycliff Rd, Raleigh, NC, (919) 858-6460
2. 2066 Kildaire Farm, Cary, NC 27518, (919) 977-1329

Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming
1. 13600 New Falls of Neuse Rd, Raleigh, NC 27614
2.  305 Ledgerstone Way, Cary, NC 27513, (919) 297-2275

Paws in the City,  1105 Tryon Village Dr, Cary, NC 27518, (919) 851-5853

Give a Dog a Bone

Happy dog cartoon

Do you have a turkey, a dog, and a trash can? Then you have the potential for a “bone-bandit.”

Will the bones hurt your dog? Vets and experienced pet owners disagree among themselves, so below we offer both the good and bad of allowing Fido to gnaw on a bone.

Rule #1
Always supervise your pet with a bone. Don’t just toss it outside and let him chew on it for an hour. After 15-20 minutes, take the bone away.

Rule #2
An uncooked bone is a better bone. Any poultry bone becomes brittle when cooked. When chewing on it, the bone can snap, splinter, and the pieces may puncture your dogs insides! So raw poultry or beef bones are ok but never feed raw pork bones (due to bacteria).

Rule #3
Be prepared for upchuck. Yes, consuming too much greasy meat and/or bones may cause the stomach to empty out later.

The Good news about bones:
1. They are a natural source of calcium and phosphorus
2. Chewing stimulates the jaw and prevents boredom
3. Bones can help keep teeth clean

The Bad news about bones:

1. Weight barring bones from large animals are too hard and can break teeth, cause enamel damage, puncture gums
2. Cooked bones are brittle and splinter. Splinters can perforate the intestines “Any sharp point on a bone can scrape and cut your dog’s gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus down to the rectum, causing damage on its way in or out”.
3. Bones can quickly acquire bacteria and make your pet vomit or have diarrhea. They should be thrown out after one day, and in the summer they should be thrown out within the hour.

Owners know their dogs eating habits, so it’s really a matter of personal preference as to whether he can be trusted with a bone! Larger dogs tend to gobble it down whole, but if you have a chewer, he may do just fine. If he tends to get into the garbage, make sure to take all the scraps and carcass right out to the garbage can. Many a dog-bandit has made off with Thanksgiving scraps, bones and all!

Believe it or Not

Isolated beholder monster
Extra toes? Two heads, or a shrunken skull? If you have ever visited one of Ripley’s museums, or read one of his amazing photograph-rich books, then you know that he was the kind of man who appreciated oddities.

In his personal life, the “real life Indian Jones” Robert Ripley traveled to 200 countries. He wrote about the unusual, assembling a rare collection of artifacts and stories about people, animals, and places he encountered along the way. Even his beloved sheepdog, Cyclops, had only one eye in the middle of his furry head!

Some interesting facts:

1. Ripley displayed multi-limbed animals, albinos, two-headed kittens, one-eyed “cyclops” animals and actively pursued the “bizarre creatures” across five continents.
2. He obtained photos of fish that climbed trees, wingless birds, four-legged chickens and peg-legged cows.
3. He bought an island just north of NYC for $85,000. Using his acronym for “Believe It or Not,” he called it BION Island. His beloved Cyclops lived on the island with him and a “harem of women” that hosted parties for the rich, famous, and unusual.
4. On May 24, 1949, Ripley was taping the 13th show of his new series when he collapsed, unconscious. Ironically, it was a program about the origins of “Taps,” the military song played at funerals. He never recovered, dying a few days later of this heart attack.
5. When he died he left behind no widow or children, only a dog.

Robert Ripley was known for his love of unusual animals. His legacy lives on today, with examples like this:

Ripley Entertainment Inc. donated $400 to “My Heart’s Desire” dog rescue. The rescue had posted photos of an unusual dog they called RIPLEY: ‘You would have never believed there was a dog under (all that matted fur). He didn’t even look like a dog. He looked like the elephant man. All you could see was his snout.” stated rescue owner Tracey Lapeyrous. Make sure to check out the website ( where you can submit photos and stories about your own unusual animals!

Catnip Dreams

Kitty TreatsSlider was hallucinating, that had to be what was happening, because fish don’t talk especially once they are out of the water. Yet big-mouthed-bass over on the dock was now YELLING at him to get out of the state, leave the town for the summer. “Obviously louder is not working, and I already attempted to speak more clearly without a tongue or lips. Now I am just going to have to hit you over the head with my tail and telepathically channel this horrific image of you. Covered in blood. Dead. DO NOT STAY HERE.”

Eyes wide, mouth gaping, Slider the cat was tripping over the impossibility of the fish he had just caught uttering anything, much less threats about his impending death if he didn’t get out of Dodge. Or rather, Raleigh, pronto. He could feel the fur on the back of his neck sticking straight out. Definitely an electric charge in the air; a change like right before a big summer storm. The wind had picked up, blowing his favorite catnip mouse over the side of the dock. Leaning forward, he could see it resting on the bottom among the lily-pad tendrils and green slime. “Don’t get caught” floated up from the deep, bubbles surfacing right in front of him… Slider scrambled backwards and fell off the dock, tail-first into the cold water!

The catnip mouse had spoken! What the heck was happening?stripped toy mouse

He could hear it still, shouting now alongside the angry fish, a chorus of warnings about leaving on the next bus out of town. Furiously kitty-paddling, whiskers twitching, Sliders mind marshalled on: Get yourself out of this here dream, or whatever wild trip you are on. It is officially time to wake up! Three more feet and aha! Carefully parting the cattails to avoid snakes, he peered into the swampy rim. The water moccasin was the last thing he needed right now – it’s bite was bad enough to send a grown tiger to Urgent Care! If he was anywhere near a vet this afternoon, his very real fear was that they would commit him to a psyche ward. The vet would need only one look at him to confidently announce: “Crazy. Certifiable. Lock him up him nurse Ursula.”

Maybe there was something to the whole “too much of a good thing” regarding catnip? Time to lay off the all-organic, concentrated variety!

Slider found a sunny spot and curled up for a cat-nap. Rest assured, he was going to sleep this off, or at the least wake up from this bizarre dream he was currently in…

Nepetalactone is the active ingredient in catnip.
Meowi Wowwi, Kitty Hooch, Dr. Gonzo’s Naughty Salad, Freaky Feline and Chronic Cat Nip are just a few of the high-potency types of catnip.

The Interesting Thing About Black Cats…

Black cat

Superstitions abound, both good and bad, about this nocturnal feline with glowing eyes!

1. Don’t let a black cat walk across your path – bad luck in America!
2. In Japan, this superstition is flipped on its head; they believe a black cat is good luck and if owned by a single woman, it is supposed to bring her many men!
3. Pirates believed that a black cat moving toward them meant bad luck, and if a black cat walked onto a pirate ship and then walked off again, the ship would sink on its next voyage.
4. Yet sailors wives believed if they kept a black cat at home it would bring their husband good luck.

A little history to see where some of these beliefs came from:

Around 3000 BC, Bast was the cat Goddess in Egypt representing protection, fertility, and motherhood. This meant killing a cat in Ancient Egypt was considered a crime punishable by death! In Egypt around 1888, a farmer unearthed a big tomb filled with 80,000 cat mummies from 2000-1000 BC! Why so many cats? The Egyptians believed that if you mummified your cat when it died it would bring good luck – more cats equals more luck!

Moving over to the United Kingdom, they believed witch’s could turn themselves into Black Cats. The overpopulation of cats in their cities, and the personality traits of independence and nocturnal roaming contributed to the people being suspicious of cats. In the 1700’s many Scottish people believed in the Cat Sith, who took on the appearance of a giant black cat that could steal a dead person’s soul before the gods could claim it.  Therefore Scottish families stayed all night and day with a dead body until it was buried to protect it from this Cat Sith. Amazingly, it is now considered good luck for a black cat to cross your path in Ireland, Scotland and England!

In the 1600’s, Europeans took these stories with them across the Atlantic Ocean and the first American settlers tied black cats to witches during the Salem witch hunts. Their fortune has changed and today it is common for black cats to be kept as pets with beloved names like Inky, Midnight, Abracadabra, Spooky, Black Beard and Phantom.

Appearances can be deceiving

Black cats usually have golden yellow eyes. This trait is because of the high melanin pigment content in their bodies. Cat Fanciers’ Association lists “solid black” as a color option for 22 different breeds! If you picture a classic black cat, it is probably the Bombay breed with standard ears, long whiskers, gold eyes and a sleek medium-length coat.

What’s in the name

T.S Eliot wrote a great poem called “The naming of cats” and it states:

“THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS (his name) and will never confess… The reason, I tell you, is always the same: His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name.”

So whether you call a black cat Lucky or Eight Ball, remember that his genetics are no fault of his own!

Halloween Wild Cats Come out at Night

Attacking Panther
SCCCCRRRATCH! The furry grim reaper runs his claws along the wall, pausing at the corner to listen for any reactions. A whimper comes from the little ones room, yet the adults snore on! The reaper mounts a full-out attack, assaulting the senses with snarls and howls, leaping off the bed up onto the dresser, and toppling their lamp with a terrible thud. “CRAZY CAT! OUT OUT!” A bedroom slipper flies at my head and whizzes past as I whip to the right.

As Halloween approaches, I have been practicing to be a terrifying wildcat capable of scaring my humans silly! Just follow these 10 Steps to embracing your wildcat:

The thought process is as follows…
1. Conserve energy by sleeping all day – wide awake for pranking all night
2. Keep cat voice in top form by starting with warm up yowls and crescendo into outright HOWLS
3. Eat any and all objects/rotten foods that will cause me to barf later, right into owners slippersHappy Halloween
Regurgitating a hairball is also acceptable
4. Collect small rodents and stockpile under sink for later strategic placement
5. Locate and knock over as many loud objects as possible, including: ceramic coffee cups, keys, alarm clocks, fragile figurines, wooden blinds, clothes hangers
6. Run laps to keep in top form, with lightning fast reflexes to dodge things tossed at me in frustration
7. Utilize mirror to practice wide-eyed crazy cat eyes that glow in the dark! Perfect for standing on pillow over humans head and staring at them until they wake up and scream
8. Identify key buttons/volume dials that turn on tv and stereo system for spooky “Who did that if it wasn’t you or me, a ghost?”
9. Get good at casting evil shadows against the window, once again scratching on glass for spine-tingling effect
10. Act possessed when confronted, rolling eyes back, flattening ears and running sideways in circles

Remember, It is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission when pranking…

The Price of a Pet

Doctor Veterinarian Listens A Dog
That dog cost us WHAT over the course of 10 years? This is the conversation I participated in with my husband, regarding our older dog and his ever increasing expenses. The man loves numbers, so he researched the average cost of not just initially acquiring a pet, but a breakdown of annual dollars spent on the pet, then common surgeries older pets may need and medication costs. WOW! See below, so you can make an educated decision before your loved one convinces you to add another pet to the household… Total cost during pets life: from $5,000 for a small dog/cat with a 13-15 yr lifespan – up to $22,000 for a large dog with a 7-9 -year lifespan! (Larger breeds are pron to hip dysplasia, blowing out knees, wobblers syndrome, and other costly surgeries).”The minimum annual cost of owning a medium-size dog is $695, while the first year alone will cost at least $1,580, according to animal welfare group ASPCA (initial shots, vaccines, getting it fixed, buying bedding and food). A cat would cost about the same annually, but about $500 less the first year” ASPCA. Of course, specific breeds require more care (Does your pet need monthly grooming for his fur? Doggie Day care because he is high energy or you are away all day?)

Adoption fees:

Public NC Animal shelter (SPCA, WCPSS) dog $95, Cat $45Most Pet Stores: $300 – $2500
Purebred show dogs: $650 – $1,500 ++Sleeping Cat
Purebred cats: $200 and up

Food: $300-500
Leash and Collar: $20
ID Tags: $10
Bowl/water dish/bed: $40
Vet Bills: $400
Vaccines :$120
Cleaning supplies (shampoo for dog and rugs if accidents): $20
Crate: $50 or carrying case for cats: $30
Flea Control: $200
Grooming/supplies: $100-400
Training: $200-450
Fence for yard: $750-1500
Litter Box: $25
Destruction of personal belongings: $200- priceless
Scratching post: $15
Boarding: $400
Dog: $200, Cat: $145

Several sites say that you can’t put a price on unconditional love from your pet, and while I agree with the sentiment, knowing your budget and how many pets you can afford, is important for a happy home!

Fresh, Frozen or Dehydrated: RAW food for your pet!

Natural food for pets and water in bowls on floor
Throw out the bags of dry kibble! Dogs consume only 18-23% protein in their diet today, compared to the 56% their ancestors ate! Switching (slowly) to a raw diet has many health benefits. What does the “raw diet food” include? Fresh meat such as chicken or beef patties, turkey necks, fish, rabbits, whole raw eggs in the shell. Just make sure to spray white vinegar afterward to disinfect the area where you handled meat! Tossing in a few veggies and fruit makes sure your pet gets the nutrients they need.

Rather than buying glucosamine pills for your pet, a raw diet contains naturally occurring Glucosamine and Chondroitin compounds that can be beneficial to joint function and mobility.
gastrointestinal problems often develop when a dog or cat is switched from processed to raw food. There are two main reasons pets acquire GI issues from dietary transitions: the speed of the change in foods, and dysbiosis.

BEWARE! Changing your dogs food over too quickly can result in severe diarrhea! Vets recommend using the new food as a treat for a day, and keeping an eye on the condition of your pets poop (it should not be runny). Increase the number of new food “treats” over the next several days and continue to observe, replacing one whole meal of old kibble with the new raw food after a few days. After a week, discontinue the old food and feed only the raw diet. This will change the way your dogs poop looks – it will start looking like small hard balls of poop – which is normal. If your pet is having severe diarrhea please check-in with your vet for advice.

Where can you get the raw food? First, talk to your local butcher – his leftovers like chicken carcasses, chicken necks, and chicken feet are sold for cheap – perfect for your pet. Out in the wild, dogs eat all the guts, bones and fur – supplying the nutrients they needs. So, mixing in a few blueberries or peas with the food can compliment your dogs diet. Several websites (such as Primal Pet Food, Omas Pride, Stella and Chewy) offer frozen or dehydrated food (see references below).

Raw diets can help with:Natural meat dog food or dry food

1. Skin issues. Italian Bulldogs often have skin allergies and the grain-free diet helps keep it under control

2. Hip issues. Australian cattle or shepherd, meats contain higher levels of nutrients including glucosimine, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants

3. Digestive issues. Pug and Shi Tzu’s with overcrowded teeth in their small mouths and sensitive systems

The Finest Fur Coat This Fall


My winter coat is luxurious – it has two layers and makes me look twice as nice!

The temperature dropped 25 degrees last night, a sure sign that seasons are a changing. Its time to pack on the pounds before I hibernate all day in my fuzzy kitty bed. Heating up the chopped liver canned food for 8 seconds in the microwave is a thoughtful gesture dear owner. You have your hot coffee, I have my hot mush. The oils in canned food (especially tuna in oil) are also good for my fur, providing omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen the coat.

My neighbor, Sugarpuff, is a Siamese and her thin coat doesn’t bulk up for winter – many Oriental breeds and Abyssinians are like this. Main Coon cats and Persians (like me) are noticably fluffier in October with a toasty undercoat.

When my owner gets upset with me for shedding, I reminder her that fur shedding is considered a sign of health in cats, because sick cats do not shed! Sugarpuff is such a know-it-all: she read that  shedding is largely influenced by daylight, and this is called a “photoperiod”. The number of hours a cat is exposed to sunlight in a day (photoperiod) triggers this shedding process.
Indoor kitties shed less hair than outdoor cats due to our artificial lights inside our home that confuse our cat bodies. So, you may not see heavy shedding twice a year, but a more constant gentle shed all year long my dear owner!

To keep your cats fur coat looking as nice as mine, be sure to brush them frequently. For short hair cats, a short-bristle soft brush is best, 2-3 times per week. For longer haired cats, a long-tooth comb every day and then a de-shedding brush once per week help control the matting. And don’t forget to give us a treat afterward, so that future brushing sessions go well. I highly recommend tuna fish juice or a tiny blob of peanut butter!

Can Fido Run Free at the Ocean?

Happy Young Golden Retriever.  Adorable Dog Running on the BeachThe BEACH! I didn’t know that dogs could go catch a wave in NC, yet it turns out there are a few dog-friendly a beaches! Most of them require pet owners to have a leash and be nearby, and their main issue concerns dog poop:

Owners are required to clean up after their pet while walking the beach. Violation of these pet regulations can result in a $250 fine for the first offense (up from just $25 in 2007)! It takes 4 weeks for animal waste (dog poop) to degrade, and that is more than enough time for bare-feet to accidentally step in it!

So, here is a list of NC beaches and their rules for when/where your dog can be off the leash:

1. Duck Beach ( is the only beach in North Carolina where dogs are allowed to run off-leash throughout the year.

2. Topsail Beach ( allows dogs on the beach throughout the year, though dogs must be on a leash from May 15 and September 30

3. Kitty Hawk ( requires dogs to be on a six-foot leash from 10 a.m and 6 p.m. between Memorial and Labor Day. Dogs may be taken off leash at all other times, so long as the animal stays under control and within 30 feet of its human guardian.

4. Kill Devil Hills (, leashed dogs may access the beach year-round, though between May 15 and September 15, dogs may only visit the beach between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. T

5. Sunset Beach ( allows leashed dogs on the beach at any time between Labor Day and the Friday before Memorial Day. During the summer months, leashed dogs may access the beach between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

6. Holden Beach ( limits leashed dog access to the beach to the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. from May 20 to September 10, though leashed animals may visit the beach at anytime the remainder of the year.

7. Kure Beach ( and Wrightsville Beach ( allow leashed dogs on beaches from October through March.

8. Carolina Beach ( allows leashed dogs from November through February.

A few other things to keep in mind when bringing Fido to the beach:

  • beware of loose fishing line that may tangle up your pet when they are swimming in the surf
  • keep alert for rip-tide warnings and avoid areas with signs posted
  •  bring fresh water for your pet to drink as the salt water will make them extra thirsty
  • respect other beach-goers and keep your distance