Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Puppy & Cat's (OK... Just Cat) Writing Process!

Our good friends at Sugar The Golden Retriever recently invited us to join in on a fun little blog tour. The topic for said tour is how we go about writing up our blog posts. To be completely honest, I was a bit hesitant about joining this tour at first. Reason being, I've had a bit of writers block/lack of motivation lately. 

I have plenty of wonderful ideas lined up for new posts but I just find my mind wandering a lot lately. This past year has been a bit turbulent for me and I've had to do a lot of soul searching, I feel like I'm just now starting to really understand myself. Because of all this self inflicted drama I thought I should turn down Sugar's mom's offer, but then I realized this would be the perfect opportunity for me to explore what exactly was stopping me from working on my blog regularly. 

With all that said, it's time to take a look at how things at The Adventures of Puppy & Cat work. 

The Team.

The whole reason I decided to start blogging and YouTubing (that's a word, right?) was that I was lonely. I had raised Nailah in a very dog friendly college town and after nearly a decade there found myself back in my hometown of Miami. I have never been a fan of this city and having a high energy herding dog only made me dislike it even more. Gone were the days of 5 acre dog parks with staff that monitored dogs and owners, gone were the days of having loads of options for training venues and classes, and gone were the days of being surrounded by a good amount of like minded dog owners. These things had been replaced by concrete, thoughtless dog owners, and few training and activity options. It was a tough transition. To cope I decided to turn to the internet. I figured that if I had a place to share my ideas that I'd be motivated to go out and seek new things in order to fill up my blog with. 

This was the whole inspiration behind my YouTube channel (which came first) and then my blog. I needed a way to motivate myself to get out there and find adventure, even when it seemed unlikely that I would discover anything at all. Thankfully I did discover new things and places and through my sites I was able to share them with my friends.

Since then Puppy (Nailah) and Cat (Me) have been trudging along, trying our best to keep active and happy in this not so dog friendly city.

This was taken while I held Nailah
for the very first time. I was ecstatic, she
just wanted to get back to playing.

What My Blog Posts Say About My Focus.

If you haven't been able to guess, I'm really into DIYs. I love the idea of having custom made, homemade, and fun to make things. I want to give Nailah the very best and I want to be able to do that without breaking the bank. This is the reason why I have so many DIY tutorials on YouTube and on my blog. I want other pet parents to be able to do the same with their dogs since I think that it helps strengthen the dog/owner bond. Being able to make your dog homemade treats and then serving them in a personalized dog bowl can make a person feel more connected to their pet. Of course, I don't only do DIY's. Since I have a high energy dog I also like to talk about fitness, training, and will sometimes review new products I find useful. 

I do think I'll be moving my blog in a slightly different direction in the future, but for now I'm happy to keep writing on these fun topics.

What's Currently In The Works?

Like I stated before, I have a ton of ideas that keep floating around in my head, the hard part is getting them out there. I have started working on editing the second half of our new Dog Owner Pet Peeves video so that'll be out some time this week. On the blog front I'm thinking of going into more about our daily routine. I'm also thinking of addressing some issues that can come up with (and that I've dealt with) high energy dogs like Niles. Aside from that I've got a few DIYs and a treat recipes planned.

Some of our up and coming projects. Niles is most excited about
the sweet potatoes!

So, What Is My Writing Process?

About that... I don't really have one? Up until this point I have just written or filmed whatever comes to mind. But if I had to give an idea of how my process goes it'd be something like this:

I'll see something on line, in a store, or just randomly and get the desire to create something. So far I've been inspired by decorated cupcakes, handmade aprons, and gourmet dog treats, though I will admit I find a lot of ideas by simply focusing on the season, weather, or holidays. 

Once I've decided on an idea I just sit down and think on how I can either make it dog friendly, affordable, or just realistic. If I'm writing on a topic like training I try to break down whatever information I'm trying to pass on as simply as possible. My goal is to make my DIYs or posts as easy to follow as possible so that young and old can utilize them. 

Once I've got a game plan I just open up my blogger template and start typing away. 

See? Not much of a process... Typing this out now I realize how that can be a problem. I've always been a last minute, work under pressure, finish printing out my assignment 10 minutes before class kind of gal. Even though I feel I produce my best work when I'm slightly stressed, with school just around the corner I know this style won't do me any good. I've heard lots of good things about blog calendars and idea books so I've invested in a decent planner and will be forcing myself to sit down at the start of the month and plan my posts and videos out. I'm not sure how good I'll be at keeping myself to it but hopefully I'll get some sort of pattern down. 

Until then I guess I'll go back to editing my last minute video that I should have finished last week when I had all the time in the world. Baby steps.

Friday, August 1, 2014

How Chikungunya Made Us Change Our Dog Walking Pattern

Miami loves to throw all sorts of crazy stuff at us dog lovers, like hurricanes and horrible heat waves, but recently a new threat has appeared: Chikungunya. Perhaps you've heard of this new viral disease, or perhaps you're still trying to sound it out (thanks to the CDC for clearing that up, it's pronounced chik-en-gun-ye). Regardless of what you know about this new disease I'm here to tell you about how it's affected our dog walking schedule.

First a little about the disease itself:

  • Chikungunya is a virus that is passed to humans by mosquitoes
  • The virus was originally documented in 1952 in Tanganyika, Africa (which is modern day Tanzania) 
  • The first documented case in the continental U.S. occurred on July 17, 2014 in Florida
  • The name Chikungunya is thought to come from the Makonde language and is roughly translated to "that which bends up"
  • Those infected with this nasty virus usually develop fevers and crippling joint pain along with other aches and swellings
  • Chikungunya has not been documented in dogs

Pretty nasty stuff, right? But since Chikungunya has not been found to affect dogs, how has this come to disrupt our walking schedule? Well since I'm a human, and since Niles can't walk herself (we're working on it...) I have to take extra precautions when taking her out for our usual stroll. 

Since I've been a Floridian most of my life, I know that mosquitoes love feasting on our delicious blood when the sun is rising and setting. So I figured I'd just take Niles out around 4 pm. 

It was still hot out but with a little route modification it worked out well. I let Nailah walk on the grass in shaded areas so her little paws wouldn't have to walk on the hot asphalt and took water along in a portable bowl. 

A Yellow Fever Mosquito feasting on it's victim's blood. Delicious.

The Tiger Mosquito is a very aggressive species of mosquito
that carries the viral disease Chikungunya.

I thought I had those pesky mosquitoes beat, that I could take my dog for walks and not have to worry so much about contracting Chikungunya. Then I made a discovery: Chikungunya is spread by two mosquitoes, and one of them is a new guy in town. 

The Tiger Mosquito is like our Yellow Fever Mosquito but on steroids. The Tiger Mosquito is an extremely aggressive species of mosquito that attacks anything and everything, and to make things worse they feed during the daytime. 

We tried to avoid the mosquitoes by going on
late afternoon dog walks. Then I found out that
the Tiger Mosquito feeds during the day and that
it is one of the mosquitoes that spreads

I shouldn't have been surprised by this news since I woke up the next day with around 5 bites on my ankles. Armed with this new knowledge and itchy welts I set out to the CDC website to see what I could do to make our dog walks safe and common place again. 

According to the Center for Disease Control the best way to prevent contracting Chikungunya is to wear long sleeved pants and shirts and to use insect repellent when venturing outside. Pretty commonsense stuff, but when you're used to dealing with mosquitoes on a daily basis you don't usually worry about protecting yourself too much. I rarely apply repellent unless I'm going into a mosquito infested area, and who wants to wear long sleeves when it's summer in Miami?

Now that I know how to better protect myself from getting
Chikungunya I can hopefully get back to a more normal
dog walking schedule with Niles.

Now that I know how to better protect myself from this horrible disease I feel like I can go back to taking Niles on our evening walks. Wearing long sleeves will be more bearable when it's not 90+ degrees out and Niles will also enjoy the slightly cooler weather. Hopefully the mosquito plague we're currently dealing with will simmer down and things will go back to being completely normal soon. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vega is an Overweight Cat No More Thanks to #HillsPet!

It may be hard to believe, but Vega's time on the Hill's® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution trial has come to an end. These past few months on her new cat weight loss food has been very interesting to see and document, and I'm glad I've been able to share it with you guys. 

Vega might not look much lighter but it's obvious to us
that she's lost weight. We used to get tired after holding her for
a few minutes but now we can carry her around for longer periods
of time. She also doesn't squash us when she decides
to cuddle on our stomach.

I will admit that since this trial and her weight loss depended on her eating her new food, I was a bit concerned when I first heard the name. Hill's® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution doesn't exactly scream "Kitty Crack". After introducing Vega to her new food I realized I had not had any reason to worry, she loved it! Dry food, treats, and most surprisingly of all the canned food (she's always hated wet food), she devoured it all. Her cat brother Cloud even tried stealing her meals from her, so the good folks at Hills must be doing something right!

Vega loves eating her Hill's Metabolics cat food! She even enjoys
the wet food! As you can see from the bottom right image her
brother Cloud also enjoys the food.

When Vega started on her food she was a 14.5 lb overweight cat. After having been on Metabolics for 2 months she dropped down to 13 lbs! When I discovered she'd gone down in weight I was extremely happy, especially since we had tried to get her to slim down in the past. I was also surprised since all we'd had to do was feed her Metabolics, it was the simplest weight loss plan we'd ever followed.

Even though Vega wasn't required to exercise I did notice that as time went on my once overweight cat became more active. 

I had a bunch of cat toys that Vega used to play with back when she was at a normal weight, her favorite being the bird wand. But as she got larger she started to ignore her toys, putting no effort into interacting with anything that wasn't a pillow or her food bowl. After she lost 1.5 lbs things started to change. One day, around the 2 month mark, my mom and I were having a conversation in my room when Vega found her old bird wand and started playing with it on her own! We were stunned as we watched my cat pounce and hop all over the place. Ever since that moment play time with Vega has become a common occurrence in our house, and she loves us for it.

We still can't believe that Vega was able to lose 3 lbs by just
eating her Hill's Metabolic cat food. It's the easiest diet we ever
tried for one of our pets.

As her time on the Metabolics diet continued so did Vega's weight loss, until she hit her goal weight on June 21st. I was extremely happy to see that my kitty had knocked out the 3 lbs she needed to lose, bringing her to weigh 11.5 lbs. 

Since Vega was no longer an overweight cat we boosted up her kibble portion. Unfortunately this did make her go back up to 12 lbs so we will be cutting her back down a bit until we find the right balance to keep her weight steady.

Vega is able to enjoy her life more
now that she's lost all that excess
weight. We are excited to help her
keep it off by continuing feeding
Hill's Metabolics cat food.

We are certain that once we find the correct amount of food we have to feed her that she'll keep the weight off. The reason we are so confident about this is that we never thought it'd be possible for our cat to lose her excess pounds and regain her pep in the first place. This trial has left me and my family (and Vega!) beyond pleased and we highly recommend it to anyone looking for a cat weight loss plan. 

If you want to check out what other people think of Hill's® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution I recommend checking out their Ratings & Review site

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill's® Prescription Diet® Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution, but The Adventures of Puppy and Cat only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Lily-Monster & Why I Enjoy Pet Sitting

Every so often Niles and I have the pleasure of pet sitting for a friend. I love these opportunities because it lets Nailah interact with another dog, something that has become pretty infrequent since moving to Miami. 

Even though Niles was highly socialized growing up I still believe a dog needs to interact with other pups as often as possible. I feel like they can lose touch with their social skills they pick up if they're locked away from the outside world for too long. I have tried taking her to a few dog parks here in the city but sadly we haven't had good experiences with them. So when our friends asked if we'd pet sit their 2 year old German Shepherd mix Lily, I was thrilled. 

Lily is the 2 year old German Shepherd Mix we got to
pet sit during the Fourth of July weekend.

Lily is a sweet girl and also extremely playful. I will admit that since she is young and full of energy, I was slightly concerned on how Niles and her would get on. Nailah is a pretty dominant dog, so she doesn't like other pups jumping all over her and being pushy. Despite my concern I knew it'd be good for Niles.

When Lily arrived there was a little scuffle but they were quick to work it out. Nailah, being the grumpier and older dog, asserted herself and Lily being the sweet and younger pup let her have her space.

After a little scuffle, Nailah and Lily figured out their pecking
order. After that the two got along great. Note: This is them
playing, not fighting!

After they worked things out the fun started. Lily enjoyed playing with all of Nailah's dog toys and it didn't take her long to discover that most of the goodies were tucked inside of the toy box. Once she made that discovery she wasted no time snagging the ones she wanted, bringing them over to Niles. 

Pet sitting dogs is a great way for Nailah to socialize with other
pups. It also helps her get a lot of energy out!

It was actually pretty fun to watch them interact, and I was amazed that Niles was able to keep up with Lily. When Niles did tire out, Lily would bring over a toy and poke her with it, hoping to encourage her to get back to playing. Most of the time it'd work but when Niles had really had it she would just sit there until Lily got the picture... moving on to one of the humans. 

Nailah and Lily played the whole weekend! I'm really surprised
Niles was able to keep up with the much younger dog for
so long.

Pet sitting Lily not only provided Niles with a good workout and some good dog socialization time, but it also gave her the chance to not be an only dog. She had to get used to my attention being divided between her and Lily and sometimes that was a bit tough for her to deal with. After all, it's no secret that Nailah is a spoiled dog. Having another dog in the house is a good way for her to deal with not being the center of attention. 

Having another dog in the house also forces Niles to share me
and my folks which is great. It can be difficult for her to adjust to
not being the only dog but helps her work on her patience.

The weekend flew by fast and before we knew it Lily was off to her home. It was wonderful having her as a house guest and I hope to pet sit her in the future. I'm sure Niles will be happy to welcome her into the pack again too.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Dog's First Fishing Adventure in the Florida Keys

My father and I love fishing, and in the past we have shared this passion with our dog. Harper (Nailah's brother that has since passed on) used to go fishing with us down to the Florida Keys. He'd spend his time watching us on the shore line, patiently waiting with my mom under a larger umbrella as we toiled away. 

Since I moved away to start college, and got Niles when I was up in Central Florida, Nailah never had the chance to go fishing with us. Since moving back to Miami we haven't done too much fishing either, but since last weekend was the 4th we decided to head down to the Keys and take Niles along. 

Since we had a long weekend we decided to take a little
fishing trip down to the Florida Keys. We used to take our other

dog fishing with us so we decided to take Niles along for the ride.

Since it's so hot and muggy in Miami (the temperature can easily soar from 80 degrees to 90+ in the span of a few hours) we knew we'd have to work to keep Niles cool. Luckily I saw a Facebook post where someone came up with the ingenious idea of using a kiddie pool filled with bags of ice as a way of keeping their dog cool. I decided that this, along with bringing lots of cool drinking water and a big umbrella, would be the perfect way to keep Nailah at a comfortable temperature. 

Even though we had all these items with us we also decided we'd start our fishing at 8 am and leave before 1 pm, ensuring that it didn't get horribly hot. 

With our kiddie pool, bags of ice, a couple of gallons of freshwater, and our other supplies we were off to the Keys! Nailah loves traveling in the car so she had a great time looking out the window as I drove us to our destination. Since we left early (it was around 5:45 am when we got on the road) it was a fun and relaxed drive. 

Since it's summer and because we live in Florida we had to prepare 
Niles for our little fishing trip. We got hold of a kiddie pool, 
filled it with ice and water and let my doggy have at it.

When we arrived at our favorite fishing spot we set up Nailah's little pool (it was already inflated since it fit in the trunk) and got all our gear settled. I made sure to encourage Nailah to get into her pool, tempting her to put her paws in the water. She isn't much for getting wet but I knew she'd climb in if she got hot enough, seeing how she's done so in the past at the dog park we used to visit.

Niles watching us while we fished. She stayed with grandma
next to her kiddie pool and under her umbrella while we toiled away.

After making sure Niles was set my dad and I started fishing, leaving my mom to watch over her. The weather forecast said there was 30% chance of afternoon showers so we weren't worried about rain, though as we kept on fishing we did notice it was getting pretty overcast... 40 minutes later it started raining. 

The squall hit us so quickly that we didn't have much time to get 
into the car with all our stuff. We all got soaked, including Niles.

This was no leisurely shower either, it poured. I had to run back to the car, drive it up to our site and rescue Niles and my parents. We all got soaked in the process and we just sat in the car gawking at the storm. Since it was so early in the day we decided to wait the squall out from the safety of our car. Thankfully the rain did let up after 25 minutes or so and we decided to get back to it. Sadly we didn't catch anything edible, just a couple of barracudas, so after an hour we decided to call it quits. 

We didn't have much luck fishing. We only managed to catch 
a couple of barracudas.

On the way home it started to pour again. There was thunder and lightning, strong winds, all sorts of wonderful things. Thankfully Niles didn't mind the horrible mess that was going on outside the car and she fell asleep shortly after our departure. After winding our way back up north, and avoiding a few accidents on the way, we finally made it home. After unloading everything we all hit the showers and passed out.

Squalls, terrible traffic, and not a single edible fish. Niles
first fishing trip wasn't very successful though it was memorable.

Even though our first fishing trip with Niles wasn't successful we still had a good time. We plan on taking her back to the Keys in the future but will probably get there even earlier and try to stake out a better spot (one closer to the parking lot). We'll also not be so trusting of the weather forecast. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fireworks & Dogs - The End to a Long Fourth of July Weekend

I got Nailah a special headband to help her celebrate the
Fourth of July in style! I think it looks like a little
derby hat for dogs.

Another Fourth of July has come and gone, and Niles is certainly glad to see it go. Dogs aren't known for being fond of loud fireworks going off and Nailah is no exception, they drive her nuts. 

Every time a firecracker goes off she bolts towards the sound, barking all the way. Naturally it's the worst on the actual fourth, but I've noticed people have started setting them off before and after Independence day. This means we have to be more careful about letting her out for potty breaks (something I usually let her do off leash since it's a plot of grass right outside my door). We've also been taking her for walks earlier than usual, not waiting until the sun sets. 

Niles isn't a fan of fireworks. She gets really worked
up when they start going off, making her bark and run around
like crazy. Poor puppy isn't really a fan of Independence Day.

Despite all our precautions we still get caught off guard every so often. Since I always let Niles out before I go to bed (usually around 11 pm) there's an increased chance of us getting spooked by a rouge firework. I of course leash her for these late night potty trips and we try to make it as quick as possible, but sometimes that isn't enough.

Last night as she went out to tinkle we got surprised by a rather loud (and pretty close!) firework. Nailah was in mid squat,  she pees like a lady, and when it happened she jumped up and started barking her head off. Poor thing tried to finish up when another one went off, so her pee session involved her hopping while peeing as she barked at the fireworks. 

My Red, White, and Blue puppy had a pretty good scare
the other night thanks to some fireworks. Even though she's
an All American dog she still gets spooked on the
Fourth of July.

Since it's Monday, and 3 days past the Fourth of July, I'm hoping we won't have to deal with any more random explosions in the sky. However, we are going to continue leashing her for her late night potty breaks for another week or so just in case.

If people are still shooting off fireworks in your area, and if your dog doesn't care for them like Niles, feel free to check out our video. It's got some tips on how to help your pet keep calm when the sky sounds like it's exploding. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Not Letting Joint Pain Keep a Good Dog Down - Osteo-Pet Glucosamine Soft Chews Review

Niles just turned 9 years old last month, and her age is beginning to show. Even though she's in great shape Nailah is starting to have some arthritis issues. There are mornings where she'll wake up stiff and sometimes she'll limp a bit if we overdo it on the exercise. 

Since it's hard to keep a herding dog down I've been giving her joint supplements. She's been on these supplements for a a few years now but I figured it was time to try something new to see if it'd be a better fit. So after Marvelous Products reached out to us after BlogPaws we decided to try out one of their products: Osteo-Pet Glucosamine Soft Chews.

Osteo-Pet Glucosamine Soft Chews contain 500 mgs of Glucosamine and 400 mgs of Chondroitin. These chews also have other ingredients that can help keep a dog's joints healthy like:
Boswellia Seratta Extract, a natural anti-inflammatory
Methylsulfonylmethane, which helps in the building of cartilage and joints
Fish Oil, which can help minimize inflammation in the joints

After reading the ingredients that were in these chews, along with learning that Osteo-Pet products are made in the U.S.A, I felt it was time to let Niles give them a taste test!

Nailah knows that almost all the packages we receive are
for her, so she's usually pretty curious about them. This box
was no exception. My silly dog was eager to see what
Marvelous Products had sent us.

Niles of course knew she was going to get to try something new since about 95% of the packages that arrive at our house are for her. After opening the box we got from Marvelous Products she was ready to see what yummy treat lay in store for her this time.

Osteo-Pet Glucosamine Soft Chews contain 500 mg of
Glucosamine and 400 mg of Chondroitin along with other
healthful ingredients that promote dog joint health.

I was excited about the sturdy packaging these dog joint
supplements came in. Niles on the other hands just wanted
to taste test them!

After examining the container I discovered that these Glucosamine Soft Chews are wheat, gluten, fragrance, and artificial coloring free, all things I don't want to be in my dog's daily supplement. I also noticed that the box the chews came in doubled as a cute little storage container, something that I'll totally reuse after the chews are gone.

Since Nailah can only wait patiently for so long, I decided it was high time to move on... and examine the actual chews! 

These Osteo-Pet Glucosamine Soft Chews are a pretty
decent size and smell like smoked meat. They're also plenty
soft, making them easy to break up for smaller dogs.

As you can see from the photos, the Osteo-Pet Glucosamine Soft Chews are a pretty good size. Since Nailah weighs 42 lbs she'll be getting two of these chews a day, making this 200 count box last me 100 days (or a little under 3 months and a half). The chews have a smokey scent to them and they were definitely soft. It was easy to break them up with my fingers, which would come in handy if you were feeding them to a small dog. 

Nailah was happy when I finally let her test these joint
supplements that Marvelous Products sent us. As you can see
she was very eager to eat them!

With all of the physical, smell-able, and feel-able out of the way it was time for the taste-able! 

And on that front there were no complaints, my silly little Australian Shepherd was ready to chow down on these chews as soon as I'd opened the package. I'm glad I can give her two of these joint supplements a day since Niles inhaled them in a moment before trying to guilt the next one out of me! 

Since Nailah needs to get 2 of these Osteo-Pet joint supplements
a day I'll be giving them in place of her morning and bedtime
snacks. Since she was eager for more soft chews I'm
sure she won't mind her other treats being swapped out
for them.

Niles has only been on these dog supplements for a week so I can't give a final verdict on these chews just yet. However, I am able to say that I love the fact that they're made in the U.S., have a bunch of healthful ingredients that can help with her joint issues, and are apparently very tasty. I also love the fact that she can get two in a day since I can substitute them for treats. 

So if you find yourself in the market for some dog joint supplements I suggest checking out these Osteo-Pet® Joint Care Supplements for Dogs.

These dog joint supplements by Osteo-Pet
 earn Nailah's lick of approval for taste!
This post is sponsored by Marvelous Products. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Osteo-Pet® Joint Care Supplements for Dogs, but The Adventures of Puppy and Cat only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Marvelous Products is not responsible for the content of this article.