5 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Happy This Summer

Dogs are family. Before Shane came along, Bella Notte was our only child. She slept in our bed and got to lick my plate when I was done. We went to the dog park every evening and she even had a first birthday party!

Bella Notte

Bella may not be an only child anymore, but she’s still a part of the family. Whether she is giving the baby way too many kisses or chasing Shane around the yard, she’s like a sister to the boys and like another kid to us. So of course we want to make sure we are taking the best care of her!

Between the heat, more time spent outdoors and the prevalence of unwanted creepy crawlers, summer is a hard time for dogs. Below are my top 5 tips for taking care of dogs in the summer:

5 Tips to Keep Your Pup Happy in Summer

1. Time your walks. If you live somewhere that’s very hot, like I do, make sure you are not taking your dog for walks at a dangerously hot time. Not only can they overheat, but they can very easily burn the pads of their paws. If it’s too hot for you to walk barefoot, the same goes for your pup! (Don’t have a choice? Get some puppy boots or walk them in the grass only.)

2. Keep their water cold. You can easily make a block of ice to place in their water bowl by freezing a smaller bowl full of water. Just place it into their dish and ta-da: cold water all day long.

3. Go swimming. Most dogs love the water and will enjoy hanging out in a (shallow) kiddie pool filled up with water! Just make sure you don’t fill it so high that they have trouble walking in it.

4. Never, ever leave your dog in a hot car. If they can’t come inside with you, leave them at home.

5. Protect and treat them. Use K9 Advantix® II to keep fleas and ticks at bay! No one wants to be itchy or to have yucky bugs on them, including your dog. Be sure to treat them with the best! You can watch a short video on the K9 Advantix® II​ website that explains why ticks are a problem and how K9 Advantix® II​ works- it’s really fascinating!

Keep your dog smiling this summer

How do you keep your pup smiling during the summer?

The bond between you and your dog is a special one, and you’ll go to great lengths to keep your furry family member safe and healthy. K9 Advantix® II is a once-a-month topical application for dogs and puppies that REPELS and kills ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes.  Visit http://petparents.com/products  to learn more.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of K9 Advantix® II. The opinions and text are all mine.

Bella Notte Turns 6 & Petcurean Pet Food Giveaway

Note: This post is part of an ambassadorship with Petcurean. Compensation was not received, however Petcurean donated to my local shelter on my behalf & I received product coupons for participating.

Our first baby, Bella Notte, turned 6 last month! Since she’s part lab, she still acts like a puppy most of the time, but she’s starting to act her age a little more lately. She loves a good nap & loves to carry around her stuffed animals everywhere- not to mention she’s getting a white beard!

Bella Notte on her 6th birthdayBella on her 6th birthday with her present!

It’s always been important to me to feed her good food, but now so more than ever. If you’re looking for a healthier food for your dog {or cat}, be sure to check out Petcurean! They have three great lines- “Go!”, “Now Fresh” and “Summit Original”, all of which are made with wholesome ingredients. Each of those lines is broken down into specific formulas so that you can find the exact right food for your furry friend!

petcurean varieties

Buy It: You can find Petcurean food at specialty pet food retailers. Check out their store finder for a retailer near you!

Win It: One lucky reader will win two {2} vouchers for a 12-lb. bag of whichever cat or dog food they’d like. Just enter using the simple form below- good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Bella Notte’s New Year’s Resolutions

Note: This post is part of an ambassadorship with Petcurean. Compensation was not received, however Petcurean donated to my local shelter on my behalf & I received product coupons for participating.

Everyone tries to better themselves this time of year. With the clean slate that comes with a brand new calendar, it’s the perfect time to focus on the things that you want to achieve or improve on. While I don’t like to set specific resolutions, but rather try to focus more on the things that I care about, I do have some resolutions this year when it comes to the pup:

Shane and Bella

1. Go for real walks. While she plays in the backyard regularly, poor Bella doesn’t get to go on actual walks very often because she tends to be a little crazy whenever she sees another dog, a person, a tree, a blade of grass or a speck on the ground. Normally I don’t mind & use the million distractions to enjoy the fresh air, but with being pregnant I didn’t want to risk her pulling me roughly toward the object of her desire as she tends to do. Once baby comes- and after I’ve recovered- I plan on dusting off the old leash.

2. Give her more baths. For a lab, Bella sure doesn’t like the water. She fights us every time, so we always put off giving her a bath a little too long. That said, she needs them, so it’s my goal to find a way to make her less stressed out so that she can be clean all the time. {Now if only I could figure out how to clip her nails…}

3. Feed her {even} better food. While we have always cared about the food we give her, we’re taking it up a notch this year & feeding her Petcurean. Petcurean uses only the best ingredients {no by-products, added growth hormones or artificial preservatives} &offers several varieties for dogs with sensitive skin, which is something Bella struggles with.

Bella is a member of our family, and I want to make sure that I’m doing all that I can for her. That includes taking care of her physical & emotional needs, and feeding her a good diet. Here’s to a tail-wagging 2014!

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What are you doing for your pup this year?

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Making Time for the Fur Baby &Getting Active Together #GreatDog

With all this talk of the upcoming baby lately, I feel like I haven’t been sharing much about our first baby- Bella Notte! Lately I’ve been thinking about when we brought her, our first little bundle of joy, home.

Bella came into our lives as a tiny pup about 5 & a half years ago. While browsing Craigslist one day, I decided to torture myself by looking at the animal section. I say “torture” because when I look at adoptable animals, I immediately want to adopt every single one of them. {Seriously- whenever my mom took me the mall’s pet store as a kid, I’d be miserable the rest of the day because I had to leave them all alone.} I’m not entirely sure what led me to look at the pets section on this particular day, but when I came across Bella’s photo, something clicked:

This was my dog.

I called Justin, who somehow lacks the need to save ALL the animals, mostly expecting him to talk me down from making the rash decision to adopt a 10-week old puppy. Obviously, this did not occur. Instead, we drove across town to be interviewed by her first set of adoptive parents, who needed to rehome her because she was just too crazy for their family of three kids. Justin & I didn’t have any kids &they could see we immediately bonded with her, so they sent us on our merry way!

Justin & Bella NotteJustin & Bella both look so young!

The puppy weeks were not easy for her. She was teething on everything, and needed to play more than my full-time work, full-time college schedule would allow. I couldn’t sleep at night because her favorite sleeping spot was literally on my chest, and as she grew that became more & more problematic.

One day, though, I looked at her resting at my feet &realized she wasn’t a puppy anymore. She had stopped chewing up my stuff in the middle of the night &was content to cuddle next to me on the bed instead of crushing me in my sleep. She had learned some basic commands & even a few fun tricks. She was still up for an adventure, but she was just as happy to just be in the same room as me.

It’s easy to forget to make time for our pets when we live crazy busy lives as it is. I know some days I don’t even have time to take a shower, let alone run around in the backyard with my dog. But she gives me unconditional love &I show her that I love her by making time for her whenever I can.

If you like to go for walks, consider taking your dog with you next time! Purina® Pro Plan® has a new fitness group that encourages owners &their pups to get active together! To get you started, they’re holding the Leash On challenge from now until November 13th, and whenever you sign up for a challenge you’ll be entered to win prizes! Plus, you’ll be getting quite a few tail wags, and if you ask me, that’s a pretty great prize.

How do you show your pet you care?

Purina® ProPlan® has partnered with MapMyFitness and created the Purina® ProPlan® Fitness Group Page to get pet owner’s more active with their dogs.  Check out the Fitness Group page here and start getting active with your dog today!
 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Purina® ProPlan® . The opinions and text are all mine.

Nudging Bella Notte with Love #NudgesMoments

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Bella has had quite the adventure this summer. Since we were stuck out of our house for two weeks while we waited for a new air conditioner to be installed, she got to stay at my in-laws’ house with us. She loved having the extra attention & all the new places to explore, but it did throw her off of her routine a bit. &She got a little spoiled while she was there, enjoying some of the best dog treats &getting to go outside a lot more than usual at night when my Mother-in-Law went outside to play Candy Crush on her iPad.

Bella Notte smiling

Since we got home though, she’s been pretty bored. I try to pet her & talk to her {yes, I regularly talk to my dog} a lot but I’ve been so sick it’s been hard to do more than cuddle lately. &Since it’s been ridiculously hot out, it’s not like I can take her to the park- it’s over 100 degrees even at 8pm! She has her “brother” Shane bothering her all day, which keeps her busy, but I know she still gets bored. So I decided to head to the store & pick up a toy that I could keep her entertained with by filling it with some healthy dog treats.

Dog treat selection at Walmart

I went to Walmart, where I was greeted by a ridiculously large selection of dog treats. I looked around a bit but ultimately went with Nudges. Not only had I gone there with the intention of getting them, but once I looked at the other brands I felt the most comfortable getting them. There were some other comparable brands ingredient-wise, but there were a few reasons Nudges won out:

Nudges healthy dog treats made in USA

-The treats tear easily for all sized dogs, which also meant I could tear them to fit into her toy

-They are high quality & safe

-They contain no fillers or artificial flavors

-Made in USA dog treats

-And as a bonus, they smell good {important to me since I have morning sickness}

{You can view the rest of my shopping trip here.}

Bella Notte begging for Nudges

Shane couldn’t wait to get home to give Bella her new toys & her treats! Before we even unloaded our bags from the store Bella was sniffing around more than usual &I could tell that she could smell the treats. The second I grabbed the bag of Nudges, she sat down & gave me a high-five, my go-to command for her to earn treats. &Once I actually gave her one, it was even more obvious that she was a fan. She began doing her more intricate commands {including “Bellarina”, where she does a spin like a ballerina, and “lay”, which she hates doing} in the hopes of getting more. She even took them & ran off so that no one could bother her while she ate.

Not only did she love eating the treats, but she loved playing with the toy. I wasn’t sure if she’d be able to figure out how to get the treat but it only took her about 10 minutes to get it out. It was perfect because it was long enough to keep her occupied for a bit, but not so long that she got bored.

I’m definitely a fan of Nudges now & just wish I’d heard of them sooner! They have an ingredient list that I approve of &I have no guilt giving them to my pup {unlike those left over french fries the other day}.

Twitter Party Alert

On July 17th from 2-3pm EST, join Nudges wholesome dog treats for a Twitter chat about creating Nudges moments with your pet, and what makes a great day from a pet’s perspective. You can RSVP here.

Win a Samsung Galaxy S4!

Nudges is also doing a huge Facebook promotion where you can win weekly prizes consisting of prize packs featuring Nudges- or you might even win the Grand Prize of a Samsung Galaxy S4 and $2,500 gift card! All you have to do to enter is share your photo of your dog nudging you with love. You can view the submissions & enter your own here!

You can find out more about Nudges on their website, where you can also pick up a $1 off coupon!

&If you’re looking for more fun summer ideas for the whole family, be sure to check out the Live SoFab Summer Digital Magazine, featuring Nudges:

Bella Notte Begging for Treats

How do you nudge your pet with love?

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