Supporting Black Owned Businesses In the Pet Industry: Part Two.

Last week, I wrote a post highlighting some amazing Black owned businesses in the pet industry for you to like, follow and financially support. Today, I would like to share more amazing businesses:

Beaux and Paws: Founder and Owner, Sir Darius Brown, is a 13 year old Entrepreneur (yes, 13) who makes hand made bow ties and donates them to shelters around the US to help dogs get adopted. I don’t think I could love him more if I tried. If you need me, I’ll be very patiently waiting for some bow ties to come back into stock. @sirdariusbrown

Pet Parent Allies: Owner, Curtis Kelly, is a positive reinforcement dog trainer based out of Philadelphia. Along with working with other people’s dogs, Curtis is also a dog dad to two super cute dogs, Dochas and Vista. Not in Philly but want to work with Curtis? Well, he offers virtual online training. I think I need to look into some classes for Max and his excessive barking and Dolly’s lack of recall. @petparentallies

Brixxy & Co: Owner and Maker, Alissa Maree, makes the cutest hand made bandanas that were inspired by her super cute pup, Brixxy Bordeaux. I’m just trying to decide and narrow down which ones I want to order because they are all so adorable. @brixxyandco

Simply Sage Dog Treats: Owner, Chole Clark, makes all natural and plant based treats and herbal paw balms for dogs with allergies, mild medical conditions and sensitive stomachs. Given Dolly’s allergies and how much of a mess her paws are at times, I’m definitely looking into the Calming Paw Balm for Dolly. @simplysagedogtreats

Enjoy-A-Bowl: Owner and Veterinarian, Joe J. Owens, created Enjoy-A-Bowl after seeing many patients of his getting sick because of their diet. Enjoy-A-Bowl works by placing good smelling food in the bottom tray, then placing your dog’s food on top and uses a divder to separate the two. The bottom food’s aroma helps to stimulate your pet’s appetite. It’s perfect for picky eaters, diabetic pets, pets on prescription diets, pancreatitis or hanging you pet’s obesity. I think I might purchase a few for the animal rescue organization I volunteer for. @enjoyabowl_products

Little L’s Artisan Dog Treats: Owner, Lenny Forde, makes the freshest of treats with all locally sourced ingredients. And to ensure top quality control, all treats are tested out by his two adorable pups, Lulu and Lilly. I know my dogs drool whenever I eat waffles, so I know the Woofles (dog waffles), would be major hit with them. @littlesnyc_dog_treats

East New York Dog Lovers Inc: Founder, Maria, created East New York Dog Lovers to help families and individuals diagnosed with an illness, facing homelessness or hardship to avoid permanent separation from their pets. She helps provide a positive experience to people facing difficult times. @enydoglovers_1

BlackDVM Network: Founder, Tierra Price, created the BlackDVM Network to help connect Black veterinarians, nurses, technicians, and clients across the nation. Their mission to help create a safe place for veterinary professionals and help promote diversity in vet medicine. @blackdmvnetwork

I hope you all enjoyed reading! If you have any other businesses you would like me to feature, let me know.

At the end of the day, it’s important to keep conversations going and remember that the pet industry is for everyone!

Supporting Black Owned Businesses In the Pet Industry: Part One.

George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Trayvon Martin. And there are so many more.

It’s impossible to ignore to ignore what is going on and has been going on for centuries, and that is Black people are dying from systemic racism.

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with animal rescue? Why is a page devoted to pets talking about this?

It’s not that hard to look at many industries on social media and see nothing but white dominated accounts, and the pet industry is no different. That needs to change, and I want to help change that.

So, I want to share some amazing Black owned businesses in the pet industry for you to like, follow and financially support:

Ava’s Pet Palace: Owner, Ava Dorsey is such a superstar! At 12 years old (yes, you read that correctly), Ava runs her own organic pet treat company. I can tell you that at that age, I was still playing with Barbies. My dogs are going to be so excited when their treats arrive. @avaspetpalace

The Bark Shoppe: Founder and CEO, Melissa Mitchner, runs a premium pet care facility in New York. She offers daycare, boarding and grooming. Not in NYC? Well, Melissa has variety of really amazing grooming products, t-shirts and Pride Boxes for purchase. Can’t wait for my t-shirt to arrive! @thebarkshoppe

Trill Paws: Owner and Founder, Rachel, offers a variety of adorable and fun pet tags, toys, collars & leashes and stickers (perfect for your laptop). You can even get your pet’s name engraved on the tag. What did I order? You’ll have to wait and see. @trillpaws

Sir Dogwood: Creator and Owner, Chaz, offers high quality and very fashionable dog wear and accessories for your pup. It doesn’t matter if your dog is 10lbs or 130lbs, Sir Dogwood has something that will for the most fashionable dog out there. How cute would Dolly be with a velvet leash? @sirdogwood

Bark First Avenue: Founder and CEO, Deana Evans, believes in seeing pets living their best lives and looking fabulous while doing it. It can be challenge finding fun clothes and accessories for larger breeds, so Deana decided to change that. I’m trying to decide what to get Dolly. @barkfirstavenue

House Dogge: Owner and Designer, Angela Medlin, wanted to find quality and sustainable dog products for her dog, Wubbi, so she created House Dogge. Angela is no stranger to creating top quality products as she is a Former Nike Design Director. I know some people who got a puppy, so I think a new toy would be a good gift. @housedogge

ScotchandTea: Owner and Creator, Khrys Nikole Solano, has been busy making not only collars and bandanas, she has also been making hand made masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also been working hard on making and donating masks to Black Lives Matter protests happening. I think the dogs and I could use some matching masks and bandanas and I’m looking at the ice cream one. @scotch.tea

Homescpe Pets: Owners, Nana and Marcus, created their own hemp & CBD based products after a medical emergency with their dog, Beau. And to ensure quality control, their two adorable pups, Quinn and Minnie test and use all of their products. Does your dog have anxiety like Freckles? Look at some CBD. @homescapepets

BrockNBone: Owner and Creator, Elyssa Jenkins, was inspired by her adorable pup, Cavapoo Brock, to create and make her own line of bandanas as well as matching headbands. I mean, who doesn’t love matching with their pup? I think Freckles and I would look cute in matching accessories. @brocknbone

LeelaRyan: Owner, Vanessa Malzahn, created her own line of vegan dog treats after finding that most treats on the market either smelled like liver factory or were full of junk. Her treats are made form limited ingredients and have no artificial flavours. I know my dogs would likely drool at these. @leelaryan

Smart Bitch Dog Training: Owners, Jio and Taylor, are certified force-free Professional Dog Trainers. Even though they based out of New Orleans, they do offer online training classes. So if you are looking to work with an awesome force-free trainer, check them out! I think I have to look at some training classes for Max and his barking. @smartbitchdogtraining

Stay tuned for Part Two where I feature more amazing Black owned businesses in the pet industry!

The Benefits of Crate Training.

One people add a pet to their family, specifically a puppy, a big question is whether or not to use a crate.

Some people view crate training as a negative thing, but that shouldn’t be the case. There are many positive benefits for both you and your pet by having your pet crate trained.

It makes house training simple

One of biggest benefits to crate training, especially a puppy, is it makes house training for your pet much more simple. 

The first thing pet parents should do when letting their puppy out of their crate is have them go outside right away to pee and or poop. They will learn very quickly that this is what they are supposed to and it definitely helps if they are rewarded with a treat and lots of positive praise for doing so. Dogs are very smart and like routine, so if you do this all the time, they will know that by going outside, they will get rewarded. 

With that said, it’s never recommended to leave a puppy six months of age or under in a crate more than three to four hours as they will not be able to hold their bladders for longer periods than that.  

There are people who instead will choose to place pee pads down on the floor and either block off an area for their puppy or let their puppy free roam throughout their house. The only downside to using pee pads is constantly having to change them or in some cases, the puppy will miss the pee pads all together and you will be left with a big mess on the floor. 

At the end of the day, choose to do whatever you feel works best for you and your puppy.

It makes travel simple

If you like and or choose to travel with your pet, having a crate for them to stay in is beneficial. Some dogs get very nervous and stressed not only travelling, but staying at a place they are not familiar with. 

Having a place for them to decompress in a space they know makes a big difference. If you are staying at someone’s house, an Airbnb or hotel, would mitigate any stress that your pet might have by being in an unfamiliar setting. Some dog can will become destructive due to separation anxiety or stress, and no one wants to have to pay for damages left by your pet. 

It’s also much safer for pets to travel when they are secure and if you ever chose to fly with your pet, they will have to go in a crate in order to be allowed to travel. 

It also makes transporting your pet to and from the vet much easier if they tend to get stressed in a vehicle. 

It can help with separation anxiety

Many pet parents find themselves in situations where their pet all of a sudden becomes destructive by chewing, digging or peeing and pooping in the house. These can all be symptoms of separation anxiety. 

As much as we all would love to bring our dogs with us everywhere we go or stay home with them at all times, it’s unfortunately not possible. Separation anxiety can be a very challenging and stressful situation to deal with.   

Crates can help prevent massive destruction from your dog. It’s not to be seen as or used as punishment, but rather a place where they can feel safe and calm. Place their favourite blanket in their crate or you could even put in an old t shirt that you’ve worn so they have your scent with them to help relax them. Make it their home and make it a place where they enjoy going. 

With that said, crates are not a solution for separation anxiety, especially in moderate to severe cases. If your dog is dealing with separation anxiety, it’s best speak to your local Edmonton vet. 

How do you get started with crate training?

Like any training, go slow. Try giving your pet treats and even small portions of their meals in their crate and leave the door open. 

Your dog may whine and cry at first while in their crate, and that’s normal. That’s generally when people decide to give up on crate training as they don’t like hearing or seeing their pet upset. Like anything, it will take time for them to adjust. Unless you notice your pet is highly stressed and agitated, try not to give up. 

Make it comfortable for them. Some people will choose to place a pet pillow in their dog’s crate and or also place a comfortable blanket in there. The one downside is if your dog is destructive, you could come home to find their pet pillow ripped apart. 

Giving you pet a kong stuffed with treats or peanut butter (only use all natural to give to your pet) will keep them busy and occupied while in their crate. 

Where you decide to place, your crate can also make a big difference. Many dogs like to be where their owners are, so having their crate in your bedroom or living room would be much better than having it in the basement or a spare room that you are never in. 

There are a variety of different crates available. Wire ones make it easy for your dog to see out and they are also collapsible which is convenient to take anywhere. Hard shell plastic crates are ones that airlines use to transport dogs, so if you are planning on flying with your pet, that one would be recommended. 

The biggest key to crate training is to not use it crate as a form as punishment. You don’t want your dog to associate the crate with any sort of negative connotations. If you notice that your pet is stressed, do not force it. 

Dogs can sense your stress, so if you are stressed about using a crate, your pet will also be stressed. 

Many people often assume that if a dog was never crate trained as a puppy, that they could never learn. That’s incorrect. You can 100% teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs can learn to be crate trained at any age. 

Crate training, when used in a positive manner, is extremely effective for any pet owner.

Muzzle Training and What You Need To Know.

When people see a dog wearing a muzzle, they automatically assume that dog is dangerous, aggressive and is on the same level as Hannibal Lector.

I’ve seen people automatically cross the street while they look over at the owner with shock and fear.

There is a stigma attached to muzzle training when in reality, there should be none, and I’m going to address how and why that’s important today.

So why would someone have their dog wear a muzzle?

The primary reason that people will use a muzzle for their dog is due to them being reactive in certain situations due to pain or becoming extremely stressed and scared.

Vet’s offices can be a place where many dogs feel extremely stressed and if your dog becomes reactive and aggressive while being examined at the vet, they will most often recommend using a muzzle to avoid bites from happening.

This will surprise a number of people reading this, but my dog, Max, has had to wear a muzzle at the vet. While many people think Max is sweet because he’s a smaller breed (Boston Terrier/French Bulldog), he does not like being handled at the vet and has tried to bite the vet examining him on a number of occasions because he’s scared. That doesn’t make him a bad dog or a dog that people should fear. Thankfully the last few times he’s gone in to the vet, there’s been no issue had has not become reactive or aggressive.

I know some people who have chosen to muzzle train their dog in order for their dog to avoid becoming reactive to dogs that run up and try and get in their face. Once again, this is not a sign of a bad dog. It’s an owner who is working on the best possible solution to deal with a fearful and reactive dog. That is a sign of a responsible dog owner.

In some areas, certain breeds are required by law to wear a muzzle in public (despite it being an open discrimination policy towards certain breeds such as pit bulls).

Isn’t is cruel to force your dog to wear a muzzle?

No, it’s not. It’s not the same as something like like a choke, prong or shock collar as it causes no physical pain to them to wear it. It’s keeping your dog safe and avoiding potentially bad situations. While it won’t solve behavioural problems (you will still need to find a qualified and force free trainer for that), it’s a positive step you can take in training your dog.

Yes, Max has had to wear one at the vet, but he was also rewarded with treats and praise for doing so. He actually calmed down after it was on. If I put one on him now, while he wouldn’t enjoy it, he’d be fine.

How do I get my dog to wear one?

The biggest thing with muzzle training (or any kind of training) is to make it positive and not about punishment.

The worst thing you can do is grab your dog and shove their face in it if they have never worn one. That will not invoke a positive reaction and will likely make an agitated and fearful dog even more so.

One of the best things you can do is use treats. Let your dog sniff the muzzle and then reward them with treats. Then try dropping treats into the muzzle and praise your dog if they put their face in the muzzle to get the treats. Do not strap on the muzzle right away the first time after going this though as that could create fear.

Once your dog has associated putting their face in the muzzle and being rewarded with treats, that is when you can start to secure the straps of the muzzle while still rewarding with treats and praise. Eventually, your dog will associate their muzzle with positive rewards such as treats and walks.

Muzzles are not to be used for things such as controlling barking (as that will not work), chewing, or a puppy that nips. Those are all behavioural and training issues that you need to address as a muzzle won’t prevent any of those things from continuously happening.

So then next time you see a dog wearing muzzle, there’s no need to judge or be fearful. If anything, be thankful the owner is being responsible and has taken the time to muzzle train their dog.

Why I Use A Harness For All My Dogs

There is sometimes a bit of debate amongst pet parents which is better: a collar or a harness.

While all of my dogs have adorable collars, personally, I prefer to use a harness for all my dogs when I walk them and will explain why.




First, I find it much easier to walk a dog (and especially a dog that pulls) with a harness. With a collar, if a dog pulls, they are going going to choke themselves. If you have a dog who pulls, a harness will put broad pressure across the chest instead of the neck. Another reason is that many trainers (good trainers anyways) will recommend a harness that not only have a clip for the leash in the back (like almost all harnesses do), but recommend one with a clip for the leash in the front of the harness. Using the harness and clipping the leash in the front makes it much more difficult for a dog to pull and can make walking a dog that likes to pull much more manageable.

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Dolly’s harness includes a front clip option.

If you have a dog that was bred to pull, try Canine Equipment’s Ultimate Pulling Harness.

I know pulling is a reason why there are some people out there who choose to use things like choke and prong collars as a way to prevent their dog from pulling, I am 100% against them and choose to use force free training for all of my dogs.

The second reason I use a harness is safety. What do I mean by that?

Have you ever seen or heard of dogs slipping out of their collars? I have and I’ve had dogs that have done this, including Dolly. You obviously don’t want a collar to be extremely tight around a dog’s neck if you choose to use one. But, dogs have a way a maneuvering their head and slipping out of them.

Dolly is a dog that will full on stop if she’s scared and the one time my husband and I took her around the block with just her collar thinking it would be fine, it wasn’t. She stopped, we went forward and the next thing I know, her collar and leash are on the ground and she’s starting to run away. I can’t even begin to describe the ultimate panic I felt at that moment. Thankfully, I somehow managed to stay calm and called her back over to me and she can came right over. That also shows the progress we’ve made with her since her days of hiding under in the office under the desk and shaking.

It is possible that dogs can and do slip out of harnesses if they are not properly fitted (as was the case for Max years ago where he had dropped some weight and the harness was too loose so he was able to slip to of it) or you are not using the right kind of harness. What does that mean?

Going back to Dolly, I had changed the type of harness for her last year as the one harness she did have, caused so much chafing across her chest, she lost hair.

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Chafing from a harness left her with a bald patch.

So I decided to get her a harness that would be much kinder to her sensitive skin and would be comfortable for her.

image 2018-01-12 at 5.44 pm
A great harness, but not the right one for Dolly.

The harness was great for dogs that pulled…. forward. If your dog pulls, the harness gets tighter. If a dog is not pulling forward, it’s not as tight. Dolly, is not a dog that pulls forward, but instead pulls backwards.

I was walking the dogs one day when a couple of small children wanted to say hello. I allowed it (as they asked and their dad was right there), but I did not see at first that the one child was holding a huge stick. Dolly saw it as the child was approaching and got scared. So I asked the child to put the stick down, which they in turn, threw the large sick down. At the moment, I felt Dolly’s leash let go of tension. I look back and she had shipped out of her harness and like previously, was starting to run away. I immediately, dropped Freckles and Max’s leashes, got down to get level and calmly walked over to her and was able to grab her with one hand and put her harness back on with the other one while having to ask the children to just give her space. Thankfully, we were only one block away from our house. I immediately put her in the car and we went to Homes Alive to buy her a new harness, which is the harness she currently wears.

My dogs still wear collars and bandanas, but wear them more as accessories. They will always use a harness for walks. As I always say, do what works for you and your dog (except trying doing so using force free training).