Thursday, February 12, 2015

5 Sweet Things to Give Your Dog for Valentine's Day

While Valentine’s Day is very commercial, and often resented for it’s focus on relationships (or lack thereof), it is really just a day to celebrate love. Not just with a significant other, but with those who are important to you. Our dogs mean the world to us; so take time this Valentine’s Day to thank your dog for his or her year-round unconditional love. Here are 5 simple, sweet things to give your pup for Valentine's Day.

#5. A Sweet Treat- not necessary sweet in flavor as it is a sweet gesture, but it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser with your dog. You can find a variety of treats (including giant baked cookies) at local feed stores, Anaheim Feed & Pet Supply , or at dog bakery or boutique, like Three Dog Bakery. If you want to make some treats yourself, try this recipe:

Apple Crunch Pupcakes
· 2 ¾ cups water
· ¼ cup applesauce (unsweetened)
· 2 tbsp honey
· 1/8 tbsp vanilla extract
· 1 medium egg
· 4 cups whole wheat flour
· 1 cup dried apple chips (unsweetened)
· 1 tbsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix water, applesauce, honey, egg, and vanilla together in a bowl
3. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well blended
4. Pour into lightly greased muffin pans (try using a mini muffin pan if you have a small dog)
5. Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
You can store your homemade dog treats in an airtight container and place them in the freezer. If you do so, allow the treat to thaw for 10 – 20 minutes prior to serving to your dog. Treats can last for up to 6 months in the freezer.

#4. A Sweet Trip- Plan a special outing to the park, the beach, or wherever your dog loves to go. Some dogs would just love the car ride, so if that is your dog you can just cruise around the neighborhood with the car windows down. Either way, a trip away from the house is sure to delight your pup.

#3. A Sweet Toy- There is no shortage of stuffed animals and toys around V-day, so why not surprise your pup with a new toy? If you don’t want to splurge on a new toy you can simply hide a favorite toy the week before V-day, then bring it out the day of. Or, you can wait until the day after V-day and buy toys on clearance. Your dog doesn’t know what or when V-day is, and he will be super excited either way, so don’t get hung up on feeling like you have to buy him something.

#2. A Sweet Meal- Enjoy a nice meal together. This could be at a dog-friendly restaurant or a night in at home. Dog-friendly restaurants, like the Lazy Dog CafĂ©, and places that allow dogs to sit with you on the Patio, are becoming more common. You could probably go to your favorite restaurant for lunch with your dog (you might want to call ahead first though). Some dog-friendly places have a dog menu, or you can order him something like a plain hamburger patty. If you want to stay in for the night, consider making him a special home cooked meal of chicken, beef, or salmon.

#1. Your Sweet Time- No matter what you do or where you go, your dog would love nothing more than to spend time with you. A walk; a game of fetch; some cuddle time on the couch – he’s happiest when he is spending time with you, his family.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

This Weekend: Beauty, Bounty, and Beer

Looking for something to do with your dog this weekend? Well you are in luck because there is plenty going on before V-day weekend (next weekend).

Annual Bulldog Beauty Contest

This Saturday, Feb. 7th, many will come from far and wide to participate in the annual Bulldog Beauty Contest.   Every year, beauty pageant and bulldog enthusiast, Justin Rudd, puts on a Bulldog beauty contest where Bulldogs (and now all breeds) strut their stuff in hopes of winning the crown and title for the year.  

These pageants are a fundraiser for Rudd’s non-profit Community Action Team (C.A.T) which orchestrates many dog related community events such as Operation Santa Paws, monthly dog beach clean-up, and sponsors many spay/neuter and adoption/rescue programs as well.  This year’s contest entry fees and front row seating fees will benefit these community animal programs.

You and your dog can come out to watch one of the 19 pageants, or sign up to compete in them! The categories include: Best Talent/Trick, English Bulldog Beauty Contest, Senior Dog Pageant (Dogs ages 7 & up), Cutest Costume/Outfit, Pit Bull Pageant, Cutest Dog Contest, Ugly Dog Contest, French Bulldog Pageant, Pug Pageant, Best Tail,  National Mutt Show (no purebreds), Best Smile, Best in Show (all breeds), Best Legs, Chihuahua Beauty Contest, Small Dog Pageant (20 lbs. or less and/or 16 in. or shorter; not puppies), Large Dog Beauty Contest (60 lbs. or over), Poodle Pageant, and Dachshund Pageant.  The first pageant/contest begins at 9:40 a.m. and the last begins at 2:45 p.m.  Judging will be based on charm, first impression, face, figure, and personality.

The contests will be held under the shade trees at the 1932 Olympic rowing site located at Marine Stadium, 5225 E. Paoli Way, Long Beach, 90803. You can register your dog online up until Saturday morning.  For details and more information, check out the official Haute Dogs website.

OCSPCA Amazing Race for the Animals Scavenger Hunt

This Saturday, Feb. 7th, head down to Fashion Island in Newport Beach for an exciting scavenger hunt with your dog. This event was organized by the Orange County SPCA, a non-profit organization, and the proceeds of this scavenger hunt will help fund the organization's programs, such as medical assistance and their spay/neuter programs.

How it Works: You and your dog(s) will form a team that will follow clues leading you to various locations throughout the dog-friendly shopping center.  You will be racing to finish the hunt in the shortest amount of time - and in doing so you be awarded prizes. Participants can compete in the hunt with or without their dog.

Even if you don't wish to compete, feel free to go and watch with your pup instead.  The event starts at 11 a.m. and will finish at 2 p.m. The starting point, finish line, and awards party will be at the Kendra Scott store (Presenting Sponsor) which is near the Koi Pond. Online registration is going on now, or can be done in person on event day. Registration is $25 per person/dog team. Visit the OCSPCA website for details and more information.

Valentine Pup Crawl (A pub crawl for dog lovers)

This Sunday, Feb. 8th, experience a different version of 'Yappy Hour' in Huntington Beach. This fundraiser is organized by the Barks of Love Animal Rescue, in an effort to raise funds for the organization and find some furry friends a new forever home.

This dog-friendly pub crawl calls for you to "Celebrate puppy love with a tall, cold one and your best four-legged friend by your side!" There will be raffle prizes, door prizes, a kissing booth, and more.  $15 a person at the door.

The pub crawl will start at Beachfront 301 Bar & Grill, in Huntington Beach, at 2 p.m. The group will move every hour to a new bar.  So from Beachfront 301, the group will crawl to Blackbull Chophouse, then 2nd Floor, and then Zimzala.  The crawl will end at 6 p.m. For details and more information, check out the Barks for Love website.