Friday, December 30, 2011

Eco Friendly Dog Beds - Really worth the cost?

By now you may have done a little shopping around for Eco Friendly Dog Products (Oh yes Heather, we go on all the time!)  You have probably thought, hey I can do this eco friendly thing, buy a cute dog bed made from recycled materials and organic cottons.  Do my part and give my baby a new bed, sure!  Then you started shopping and perhaps went into sticker shock!  That is what I have heard from some of my customers.  "Why are these eco friendly beds so expensive"? or  "I can go to my local chain store and pick up something for a lot less."  

Well, that is true, you can.  And I completely respect the right of the consumer.  I mean, who doesn't want to save money, or get a good deal - right?  I do.  I clip my coupons, shop the discount stores, wait for things to go on sale, buy the off brands, I GET IT!  And while people love their dogs they are not always willing, or able, to see the benefit of the sometimes higher cost of eco friendly.  Here is why I think spending the extra money on a Eco Friendly Dog bed is totally worth it - ready?  Here we go.
  1. Eco Friendly dog beds, like those made by West Paw Design (one of Conner's favorite companies), are made of high quality materials.  This not only benefits your doggie, but benefits you as well.  Man made substances used in pet bedding are often full of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can emit toxins for years.  You want a good scare?  Just google VOCs and read about them and everything they are found in - YIKES!  Your pet isn't the only one that will be breathing these orderless fumes.  VOCs in the home can worsen symptoms of asthma, allergies and other breathing problems as well as increase the risk of cancer and other diseases.  I am going to really talk up the beds from West Paw Design.  They are tested for over 100 potentially harmful substances and 100% certified safe.  Sweet dreams to all in the house!  Plus, not being exposed to toxins keeps you and your pup from visiting the doctor, which saves you money on those Vet bills!
  2. Because Eco Friendly dog beds are made with such high quality materials, they out last and out perform the less expensive beds found at chain stores.  Has this ever happened to you?  You purchase a cute bed from the local chain store, take it home, Daisy sleeps on it and before you know it it has flattened like a pancake?  Or faded? Or fallen apart?  It's happened to me.  And let me tell you, Conner was not a happy camper.  Eco Friendly dog beds are going to last longer and guess what?  That SAVES you money!!  Woo-hoo! If the products last longer you spend less replacing it. 
  3. You are helping save the planet.  I know, I know this one is obvious, but it's got to be said (Conner told me so).  When you are buying recycled goods, organic goods, goods that don't emit harmful toxins you are saving this planet.  I don't know about you, but I kinda like this planet.  Beds by West Paw Design (there's that name again) are filled with 100% recycled IntelliLoft.  IntelliLoft is an incredibly intelligent recycled, super soft re-engineered polymer.  It is created from 100% recycled PETE plastic bottles.  It is not only washable, but it washes clean, eliminating those unwanted pet orders.  100% recycled IntelliLoft Fiber Fill, has a thick denier that creates a fluffy, bounce back filling that holds up and gives Fido a comfortable rest night after night - or if he's like Conner, night, after day, after night.
  4. Most Eco Friendly Dog Bed manufactures offer replaceable bed parts.  Hey!  That saves money.  Bell chewed up a corner?  Got stained?  Just finally wore out because your dog never wants to get out of it?  You don't have to replace the entire bed.  West Paw Design (hmmm, were have I heard that name before) offers replaceable bed parts for your convenience.
  5. Proudly made in the USA!!!  I don't about you but I have had about enough of hearing about the things they keep finding in stuff imported to us by China - scary!  I like supporting companies in the US and help create those jobs needed here in the US.  How does this save you money?  We need to do our part to help this economy - the government is not going to be able to fix it all.  Make here, spend here, keep it here - inflation goes down.  (The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the economy experts and are not meant to offend anyone - besides Conner made me say it).
So, is spending the extra money on a healthy, eco friendly dog bed worth it?  For a healthy dog, clean environment, and eco friendly life style many people think so, including me!  And in the long run, when it helps you and your dogs stay healthy, out lasts and out performs the cheaper versions, wont you have met your goal of actually saving money?  And when Bowzer and Bella are all curled up, snug as a bug in a rug, looks up at you with those sweet, sleepy puppy dog eyes with one ear cocked wrong - you'll know - giving them the best makes it all worth it!!

Oh by the way did I mention you can find the Eco Friendly Dog Beds and Mats by West Paw Design (who??) and others at  You didn't think I forgot the shameless plug now did you :-)  

Stay Hip and Stay Green - woof!

Anybody who does not know what soap tastes like never washed a dog -
 Frankling P Jones

Friday, December 23, 2011


The economy (blah!), the Holidays (Happy!), Gas Prices (don't even get me started!)..... they all take a toll on one's wallet! But even though things are tight, if you're like me, you still like to spoil your pooch. Here are some green tips that will help save some green, and still leave your pup pawsatively spoiled!
1.      Make your own healthy dog treats.  I know, I know what your thinking "when do I have time for that!" or "is this really going to save me money?" OK, first the time issue.  You would be surprised at how little time this actually takes plus you might be even more surprised at how this is kind of therapeutic.  It's a little bit of time that allows you to "zone out" from the pressures of the day.  Or if it's been one of those days at the office, you can take out some frustration by kneading and punching the dough (insert bosses face here).  And come on, your doing it for your babies - which are totally worth it!  Now second, YES, this does save you money!  Depending on the recipe and where you shop will determine how much money you will save.  Also take into consideration that these are natural and healthy treats which are good for your dog, and the healthier your dog is, the less you spend at the vet!  Here is one of my (and Conner's) favorite recipes.  
Peanut Butter Goodness Dog Treats
  • 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup natural or organic peanut butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbls. oil
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees (*see note).  Combine oil, peanut butter and water.  Add flour one cup at a time, forming a dough.  Knead dough into a firm ball and roll to a 1/4" thickness.  You can use a small (1") or medium (3") cookie cutter in the shape of your choice - Conner likes the bone shape of course (he's old fashion).  Or if no cookie cutter, just cut into the size you want.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet, bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

*Now, the baking time and temp is what the recipe calls for.  However, your treats will last longer if you naturally dehydrate them by cooking them on a lower temperature for a longer time.  I bake these at 250 F for an hour and a half.  Depending on your oven, I would suggest checking them periodically after the initial hour.  When they feel pretty hard, they are done!  They should last 3-4 weeks (unless Fido finds the stash and eats them all up!).

Average total cost of these ingredients is $10.00.  You should be able to make 4 batches with a 16 oz. jar of peanut butter, which works out to be $2.50 per batch.  If you make small treats you should get around 90 - 100 treats per batch (that's about $.03 per treat) and around 30 of the medium size treats (that about $.08 per treat).  Saves money?  You bet!  And you will feel rewarded when your dog thumps her tail in appreciation!!  You can visit for more great recipes!  
2.     Buy Eco Friendly Dog Toys.  Eco Friendly doesn’t always mean recycled.  It also means long-lasting, durable, sustainable goods.  You want to invest your money in dog toys that are going to “take a licking and keep on ticking” or better put "take a chewing and keep on squeaking"!  Now that being said, Conner has shattered the myth of the indestructible dog toy!  But, I have found many toys that have lasted quite a while, such as toys from West Paw Design and Kong.  Also for the pooches that enjoy soft toys, buy toys made from natural or organic cotton or stuffed with recycled material.  And if your dog de-stuffes a toy, try to save the stuffing and re-use it in a homemade toy from a sock or old towel.  How does all this save you money?  The longer lasting the toy, the more time your best friend has to play with it and the less money you spend replacing it.  OK – Shameless Website Plug coming…….  Check out all the cool eco-friendly dog toys on my website at  (ok, plug over).  Want to see some in action?  Watch this real world video featuring toys made of Zogoflex from West Paw Design.

3.     Use Natural Flea & Tick repellents.  Fleas and ticks – YUCK!  Price of popular, chemical filled, preventatives – BIGGER YUCK!  I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly enjoy shucking out anywhere from $50 to $100 every six months for flea and tick preventative.  Plus, I really do not enjoy Conner’s reaction every time I tried to apply it.  As soon as I brought out the package, he ran and hid.  Once I coaxed him out and put it on, he would go nuts, run out side and roll all over the place like the poor baby was on fire.  We hated it!!!  Do you know what they put in this stuff???  It’s scary.  It just not safe for pets or animals.  Check out  It is a great site with a ton of information about the dangerous chemicals in these products.  Here are some ideas for Natural Flea and Tick prevention and treatment.  Regularly bathe your dog with natural shampoos, Brush and comb your dog often, after outside time check for fleas or ticks.  If you find a tick remove it immediately (try using dish washing soap, they hate it) or for fleas try using a natural flea repelling shampoo, Use Cedarwood Essential Oil which repels critters.  (Uh Oh – here comes another one of those shameless plugs) Check out the many natural flea and tick treatments and natural shampoos I have at including the Cedarwood Oil.  Note, I would not recommend applying Essential Oils directly to pets.  They can be extremely sensitive.  I would suggest putting it on their collar.  Or you can dilute it with olive oil (6 drops olive oil for 1 drop cedarwood oil) and apply drops along their spine.  However if it seems to bother your dog, discontinue use.
4.     Reuse and Recycle!  Turn an old sock or cut up and braid an old towel and use as toys.  (Remember, to always supervise your pet with any toy).  Time for a new collar or leash?  Donate your gently used ones to a local shelter or rescue group.  Updating your dog bed or getting a new toy?  The shelters can use these too, please donate your gently used ones.  Speaking of shelter and rescue groups – the ultimate Eco Friendly Tip – ADOPT!  There are so many adorable, sweet, dogs out there that need loving homes.  If your considering adding to your family, please visit your local shelter or rescue group and bring home one of these babies.

These are just a few tips on how going green will save some green.  You may also want to explore the dog food you are using.  Many vets are recommending a raw diet which is healthier.  Try to use as many natural or organic dog products as you can.  The healthier your four legged baby is, the happier you both are and less money spent on those costly vet bills!  Also, even though money can be tight, consider spending a little more on things like eco friendly dog beds, collars and toys.  Even though these may cost a little more up front, they save you money in the long run by being more durable and lasting longer.  Oh yeah, and it just so happens to help erase those carbon pawprints!  Woof!

Happy Holidays from Conner and Heather at  Here’s a cute video from all the Hip Animals to bring you some holiday cheer!  Hope you enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011


So, isn't this eco friendly, go green stuff getting a bit out of hand?  I mean Jeez! Everywhere you turn it's eco friendly this or go green that.... save the planet!  And now you want our pets to go green????

I know, it seems kind of crazy at times, but think about it.  It's more than just saving the planet, it saving our dogs, saving us.  It's healthier, it actually saves us money, it's the right thing to do and it makes you feel good about yourself.  And who doesn't need a little feel good these days?

Here is some information I shared with Fox 2 News when they featured HipGreenDogs. com on their Precious Earth Segment.  Want more information on going green in all parts of your life?  Check out!

What are Eco Friendly Dog Products?
They are products for dogs that are designed in such a way as to not harm the environment or the pet.  They are beds made with recycled material such as plastic bottles or reclaimed cotton, collars and leashes made from bamboo and organic cotton, toys that are durable, non-toxic and can be recycled, the list goes on and on.

What are the benefits to using Eco Friendly Dog Products?
Besides the obvious of being good for the planet, eco friendly dog products are good for our pet because they are healthier, non-toxic, all natural, durable products, and not only are they good for the planet and our pets, but they are good for our wallet.  Having a healthier dog means less trips to the vet, having durable, long lasting toys means less money spent on replacing them and more time for our best friends to play with them!

What are some simple ways we can go green with our Dogs?
There are lots of ways to reduce those carbon paw prints.  First, adopt!  Adopting instead of buying is always green.

Try using a natural, chemical free flea and tick control, you would be shocked at the ingredients in most of these products.

Clean up after your dog using bio-degradable bags.

And of course, buy eco friendly dog products.  And gee, just where can I get these awesome products? of course!  Hurry, your dog will thank you!

"If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them." - Phil Pastoret

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dog Days of Winter Survival Tips

December has arrived and the winter weather is finally upon us.  Time for Christmas shopping (well at least for the procrastinators like me), pretty lights, trimming the tree, sipping hot chocolate by the fire AND bundling up, snow, ice, traffic, ugh!  With all the holiday hustle and bustle, let's not forget about the safety of our four legged friends!  Here are some tips for a safe winter for your babies!

#1 - Limit outside time during frigid temperatures.  I don't know if your dog is anything like my dog Conner, but he looooves the snow!  As soon as we get that powdery white stuff on the ground, he's ready to play! But, once the temp dips below freezing, it is not safe for pets to be outside for any length of time.  Mostly indoor pets need time to adapt to cold temperatures.  Take short 10-15 minute outside breaks several times through out the day, keep a sharp eye on your dog, do not hesitate to put your dog in a cozy sweater or coat for outside time, especially for smaller dogs who are even more susceptible to cold weather.  If you dog will tolerate them, use dog booties to protect their paws.

#2 - Wipe your paws!  Try to avoid sidewalks and streets coated with salt and ice melt chemicals.  Rock salt contains sodium chloride or potassium chloride, which can heat up to 175 degrees when exposed to water, ice and low temperatures.  So, when your dog steps in this stuff, he (or she) literally feels a burn and if the salt is not washed off his poor feet, it will continue burning, causing skin ulcers that can become infected.  When you come back inside, make sure to wipe your dogs paws thoroughly with a warm, damp cloth.  They may pick up these chemicals on their paws and not only can they irritate their paw pads, but they can ingest theme by licking their paws which can be very toxic.

#3 - Watch out for that ice!  Have you ever walked outside on a cold winters morning and then CRASH, next thing you knew you were looking up at the sky (and looking around to see if anyone saw you fall)?  If you have ice on your sidewalks, porch and driveways I recommend that you use a great product called Safe Paw Ice Melt.  It is environmentally friendly, safe for children and pets, and still works great at melting ice.

#4 - Holy Ice Balls Batman!  What dog doesn't love to play ball, but not many like ice balls.  For the longer haired dogs, I recommend that you trim the excess fur around their paws and toes to help prevent those nasty ice balls from forming between their toe pads.  This is very painful and uncomfortable.  You can also add a little salmon oil to their paws to help keep ice balls from sticking and it is safe for them to lick off later.

#5 - To Freeze or Anti Freeze - there is no question.  I'm sure everyone knows the bright green leakage from automobiles is extremely attractive and deadly to dogs.  Keep containers of anti freeze tightly closed and stored out of reach from pets.  If you spill anti freeze make sure it is thoroughly cleaned up.  Dispose of anti freeze containers properly.  Do not allow your dog to wander unattended where there is access to anti freeze (roads, garages, driveways).  Call your vet immediately if you think your dog has ingested anti freeze.  Also, check out  this link for first aid, signs and symptoms and more information on anti freeze poisoning.

#6 - Leash Law is in effect.  If your going on a walk, keep 'em on the leash.  Dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost in snow, ice and especially during snow storms.  More dogs are lost in the winter than any other season so make sure they always wear ID tags.  Also, avoid rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes.  Dogs are drawn to these areas which can be deceiving and dangerous.  They make look frozen, but many times are not and the frigid cold water can cause hypothermia just as in humans.

#7 - Frost Bites!  Did you know dogs can get frost bite too?  A dogs ears, paws and tail are most susceptible.   Again, limit prolonged exposure to cold temps.  For more information and first aid check out the information here at PetMD.

This can be the most wonderful time of the year, or the worst.  Use common sense and keep these winter tips in mind this season.  Now, raise your hot chocolate with me and cheers,  here's to a safe, warm and fun winter season - Woof!

Snow and Snowflakes fun facts and trivia

  • The world's largest snowflake recorded fell at Fort Keogh, Montana on January 28, 1887. It was reported to be 38 cm wide and 20 cm thick.
  • Snowflakes are ice crystals formed into different patterns.
  • Snowflakes has many different forms, some snowflake researchers use as many as 35 shapes to identify them. The most used snowflake forms are: plates, stellar crystals, columns, needles,spatial dendrites, capped columns, and irregular forms.
  • A single snowstorm can drop 40 million tons of snow, carrying the energy equivalent to 120 atom bombs.
  • Mt Killimanjaro in Tanzania is the only permanent snowcap within sight of the equator.
  • At one point, Denver Colorado was buried under 21.3 inches of snow, 19.4 inches which fell in 24 hours.  The heavy wet snow snapped trees and wires causing seven million dollars worth of damage.

"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself."