Winner photos

The dog food contest where one lucky winner can get 1,000 pounds of Black Gold dog food just rolled out for 2015. This is what happened with the 2014 mountain of food:

submission-3077_imagePenny Hamilton in Colorado won first prize. Her submission is of her dog Prince coming out of a tunnel they built onto their elevated deck.

When asked what she thinks about pet doors she said, “Our dog and we love the freedom that our pet doors gives. We live in Colorado high mountains so we made an ‘airlock’ with two pet doors. Our smart dog, rescued from a high kill area, just bounds through ‘his’ pet doors to our elevated deck with is elevated to keep him safe from mountain lions, bears and other mountain critters.”

1,000 pounds of food would be a lot for Prince, and Penny donated her prize to a local animal shelter and dog food bank. We hope the food and her generosity will help many hungry dogs.

Take the opportunity to enter the contest – maybe the Black Gold truck will be coming to you later this year!

Winner of 2014 dog food contest

Dog food contest returns for 2015!

contestLast year’s dog food contest where a lucky winner received 1,000 pounds of Black Gold dog food was a success. We here at PlexiDor pet doors loved seeing everyone’s photos, and we have decided to do it again. 

To enter, all you have to do is visit this link, answer an easy question, and share a photo of your dog using a dog door. It can be any dog door, it doesn’t have to be a PlexiDor, and if you don’t have a dog door it’s okay to be creative.

Naturally, if you were to win and don’t want the food for yourself you can donate it to a shelter or rescue. Two runners up will win Dunkin Donuts gift cards.

 

Hero dog to the rescue

Rocky the Rottweiler is a British hero dog who not only saved his family from armed robbers, but also held one of them until police arrived. The thug is now serving a ten year prison sentence.

The incident happened when Kasha Marie Weston was five months pregnant, and a gang of hooded and armed men broke into her home. One held a knife to her throat while the others beat her partner. Rocky wouldn’t accept this – he broke through a door to come to the rescue.

Rocky’s fury scared the intruders off, but he wouldn’t let it go with that. He followed them outside and cornered one until police came. Afterwards, Rocky would not leave Kasha’s side, and he would nudge her baby-bump with his nose as if telling the baby not to worry.

Source: mirror.co.uk

Image linked from mirror.co.uk

Can a pet door be safe?

Plexidor KeySecurity is an important factor in today’s world, and many might hesitate to install a pet door because it is one more opening in the home that might let in unwanted persons. These are valid concerns, and we here at PlexiDor pet doors have taken measures to help you feel safe.

Every PlexiDor dog door and cat door comes with a lock and key. The lock features a steel cam inside a hardened metal cylinder.

The doors also come with a steel security plate that is easily attached to the door frame and can be installed when leaving home for an extended period of time.

For those who wish to use the security plate on an everyday basis, the PlexiDor sliding track system is a convenient accessory. Slide the plate down the track and lock it in place with a handy flip lock feature.

There is also an electronic version of the PlexiDor that will only open for pets with a key. The door is controlled by RFID and the pet carries the key on the collar. When the pet comes close enough to the door it slides open – but only for collar keys with the right combination.

Don’t hesitate to contact us with any security concerns you might have.

What is it with cats and cardboard boxes?

Cats have a strange affinity for cardboard boxes. But, what is it about a box that’s so fun? Why do they love sitting in boxes, and sleeping in boxes?

A study conducted at Utrecht University in the Netherlands points towards boxes providing relief from stress – they’re likely to feel safe and be left alone when hiding in a box. In the wild, a hiding place like this would be perfect to relax safe from predators.

Another theory is that boxes helps keep cats warm. Cardboard boxes are generally layered and become great insulators that keep cats safe from drafts.

 

Image linked from cutestcatpics.com

Breed spotlight: Belgian sheep herding dogs

Belgium is a small country in Western Europe that  shares borders with France, Germany, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands. There are quite a few Belgian dog breeds, several of which are often used as guard dogs and police dogs.

The Belgian Shepherd Dogs are amongst famous breeds from the area. This group is divided into the Groenendael, the Laekenois, Malinois, and the Tervuren. The breeds have similarities in looks and temperament, but they are distinct breeds.

Groenendael

The Groenendael is an elegant, strong, and intelligent breed. They were originally used as herders, watchdogs, and companions, but their smarts and versatility quickly made them popular outside of Belgium. Groenendaels soon served as police dogs in Paris and New York City, and were famous for catching smugglers.

Many work in search and rescue, as guide dogs, and as therapy dogs. They also do very well in dog sports such as obedience, tracking, and agility.Groenendael

Malinois

The Malinois is an alert breed often mistaken for German Shepherds, and the confusion becomes bigger from the Malinois being popular for police and military work. While there are physical similarities, this is a completely different breed than the German Shepherd.

An average Malinois is intelligent, confident, and loves to work. They are also popular in obedience trials, herding, sledding, and tracking. Malinois

Laekenois

The Laekenois is clever and alert, and can be quite protective of family and property. This breed was originally developed to tend to flocks and guard, and these properties remain in the breed. Laekenois

Tervuren

The Tervuren is an elegant and devoted dog that often excels in obedience and agility competitions. Many who see these dogs believe they’re German Shepherds with long hair, but the Tervuren is a different breed. They’re outstanding herders that also do great jobs as therapy dogs and guide dogs.

Tervuren

Have you seen the PlexiDor awning?

PelxiDor Awning WhiteThe easy to install PlexiDor awning creates a roof for the pet door and prevents rain, sun, and snow from entering the house. This accessory comes in three sizes, perfect for the PlexiDor pet doors.

The awnings are made from durable aluminum with a baked-on finish that will last for many years. They are available in white or bronze.

The small awning is 12″ wide and 8″ deep.
The medium awning is 16″ wide and 12″ deep.
The large awning is 23 1/4″ wide and 16 5/8″ deep.

Click here to see more.

PlexiDor Awning

Dangerous to pets

Easter Lilies are dangerous to catsMany everyday things that look innocent and are perfectly safe for humans can pose a threat to pets. Easter lilies, for instance, can poison a cat just from the cat rubbing up against a vase, getting spores on the coat, and licking them off.

Here is a list with five categories that should be kept out of reach at all times.

Prescription medications

This includes anti-inflammatory medications, antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, and more. A safe course of action is to assume all medications are dangerous to pets unless specifically prescribed to the pet. This includes items you can buy at the grocery store, like Tylenol. If your pet needs a medication, check with your vet, or at least look the substances up on pet poison helpline.

Insecticides

Most people keep bug poisons, rat poison, ant traps, and similar out of reach for their pets, but also make sure to be careful with flea and tick products. Pay close attention to dosage and never apply a product intended for a dog on a cat. Dogs and cats are very different and their products have different compositions. A dosage appropriate for a dog can be dangerous to a cat, even if the pets are of the same weight.

Household products

This is a wide but important category. Laundry detergent, laundry pods, soap, fertilizer, lawn products, and other cleaning products should all be stored out of reach of pets and children. Be particularly careful with pods filled with detergent – they often look like toys or candy, and cause accidents with children, dogs, and cats every year.

People food

We eat many things that pets can taste, but other things are toxic to cats and dogs. Some items to never give a pet include chocolate, alcohol, xylitol, grapes, raisins, and macadamia nuts.

Plants

Many pets aren’t inclined to eat plants at all, but others are all too happy to munch down on greenery and things on the ground. This naturally goes for whatever they find in neighboring yards and along walks, and not just in your own yard. Examples of toxic plants include sago palms, bulbs of tulips, daffodils, and similar, azaleas, easter lilies, and rhododendrons.

What to do

If you think your pet has eaten something toxic, call your vet at once. The sooner your pet gets the appropriate treatment, the better.

Sunshine story: Stolen dog found after 18 months

Dozer - image from Fox31 Denver
Dozer – image from Fox31 Denver

Dozer is a well trained German Shepherd who knows how to open and close doors, turn on lights, and many other useful things. When Dozer was stolen from Richard Brower’s back yard a year and half ago, Brower wouldn’t stop at nothing to find him. 

The search went on for months, and Brower took help from all his friends – they approached everyone in the area walking a German Shepherd, hoping it would be Dozer.

After eighteen months with no sign of Dozer, Brower pulled up his computer and searched for German Shepherd for sale. The first link took him to a website where a photo of his dog looked back from the monitor!

Brower sent the photo to family members and got on the phone with the shelter. Luckily, his father was in the area, able to pick up the dog. No one knows what adventures Dozer might have experienced during all this time, but he came home that very day.

 

Dogs can be affected by dementia

A dog’s brain is a lot like a human’s, and unfortunately this means that the same problems that affect the human brain can affect dogs. Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome is the canine equivalent of Alzheimer’s, and around half of all dogs over the age of ten will exhibit symptoms.

Don’t panic – not all aging dogs will get the disease, and those who do get different symptoms than humans. You can also help decrease the risk through providing a healthy diet, mental stimulation, physical exercise, and plenty of human contact.

Dogs with cognitive dysfunction syndrome may appeared disoriented in everyday situations. They may appear lost in the house or the yard, get stuck behind furniture, or have difficulty finding the door. These problems can also be caused by hearing loss or loss of vision.

Other symptoms include sleeping more overall but less at night, and an increase in pacing back and forth. Some dogs become clingy and want human contact around the clock, while other leek less attention and walk away from their humans.  These behaviors can also be attributed to physical changes, so if your dog displays them, see a vet to get a proper diagnosis.

If your dog gets the diagnosis, there is a drug used to battle Parkinson’s disease in humans that can improve symptoms and give the dog a better quality of life.

Hero dog saves girl from abduction

A rat terrier isn’t a big dog physically, but they’re still brave at heart. This was proven the other day when Jennifer Jones’ daughter was on the way to school and a man in a pickup truck pulled over, got out of the truck, and grabbed the girl’s wrist. Without the dog, anything could have happened. 

Luckily, the dog was there and bit the would-be abductor at the ankles. This was enough for the girl to get free and flee.

//youtu.be/u3TK9hZod3U

Therapy dogs in nursing homes

The Volpino Italiano needs a medium Plexidor dog doorA nursing home is a place for a person who needs more care around the clock than can be reasonably given at home, but who doesn’t need to be in a hospital. Many nursing homes strive for a home-like environment. Some allow residents to bring their pets, but this isn’t always possible, and many nursing homes around the USA have opened their doors to therapy dogs who come visit on a regular basis.

Dogs have an instinctive way of knowing when they are needed, and a visit from a dog can calm and soothe someone, or lift the spirits of a person who is sad and lonely. The dogs provide a physical touch and many love the feeling of soft fur. They also bring warmth, joy, and a patient ear that will always listen.

Some believe only a certain breed can become a therapy dog, or that they are raised for this purpose as puppies. Therapy dogs come in all breeds and sizes, and many are rescue dogs.

If you’re interested in doing therapy work with your dog, start by training some basic obedience, and bring your dog to many different environments so he or she gets used to noises and people. Then, find a therapy-dog organization in your area. Many states have animal-assisted therapy organizations that offer training programs.

To become a certified therapy dog, a trainer will evaluate you and your dog and suggest courses to take. Then, you’re ready to volunteer. Many organizations will help you find volunteer opportunities. Here is a list that can help you get started.

Bringing dogs to work can reduce stress levels

dog with phone
Dogs in the work place can help reduce stress

Sandra Barker is a professor of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth’s School of Medicine, and she has been involved in several studies researching dogs in the workplace. The results may not come as big surprises to dog lovers, but are interesting nonetheless.

A study was made in 2012 at a large manufacturing company. The study included 76 employees, and having just three dogs present on any given day reduced the stress level by 11 percent during the day.

Employees with their dogs left at home, however, had an increase in stress level of 71 percent. As the day progresses, dog owners clearly worry about their furry friends!

Having a dog present in the workplace can work as a buffer against stress – things still happen, but humans react less to stress factors with pets around.

Nationally, around 2 percent of dog owners take their pets to work, and this adds up to around one million dogs in workplaces around the country.

Poop police coming to Carmel?

No one likes to step in dog poop, and there are many reasons to pick it up. Dog poop is the number three cause of water pollution, the water treatment systems aren’t designed to filter dog waste, and it can spread diseases and viruses, to name a few. Many dog owners are still bad at picking it up.

Carmel has a new million dollar dog park, and if dog waste becomes a problem, they’re considering hiring a poop police. The company PooPrints specializes in DNA analysis of dog waste and currently has contracts with apartment complexes and condos in 45 US states, Canada, and the UK.

If the system is put in place, dogs with passes for the dog park would be subject to a gentle DNA swipe from their mouth, and if anything is left behind on the ground, the owner could get a notice and a bill in the mail.

Several apartment complexes currently use the system with great success; the threat of public shaming has been enough to make residents pick up after their dogs.

Sunshine story: stolen dog returns home

Blue with her rescuers on her way home – image from Galveston Daily News

In May last year, Ms Navarro’s two dogs Maggie and Blue were stolen from her back yard in Galveston Texas. Blue was just a few weeks old at the time, and after searching for months Ms Navarro thought she’d never see either dog again.

Maggie still hasn’t been found, but Blue turned up at a shelter in Indiana a few days ago, and the shelter tracked down Ms Navarro from Blue’s microchip.

The joy of Blue being found was soon clouded by an everyday problem; Ms Navarro didn’t have the funds to travel over a thousand miles to go get her dog.

Fortunately, dozens of people offered to help. It didn’t take long before retired deputy Ricky Mitchell set off for Indiana together with his brother and one more retired Sheriff’s office employee. The three drove all the way, and posted photos of state signs they passed along the way.

The men drove through the night to get Blue home as quickly as possible.

You can read more about this story in the Galveston County Daily News – the paper has a series of articles about Blue and her journey home.

What size dog door should I get?

Pet sizes – and pet door sizes – can seem confusing, because it’s relative to a person’s frame of reference. If a person is used to Rottweilers, a Beagle looks like a small dog. To a person used to teacup Yorkshire terriers, the Beagle is pretty big.

To make this more confusing, the right size pet door often looks small compared to the pet. Dogs tend to duck their heads and lift their feet when they go through, so the opening doesn’t have to be as tall as the pet. If you have larger and smaller pets together, the PlexiDor opens so easily that a smaller pet can generally use a larger pet door.

The weights in the list below are guidelines. If your pet is right on the spot you might need to measure him or her and compare with the opening size. Or, contact our customer service. They are experienced and happy to help.

PlexiDor size small

This pet door is small, and has a single pane design. The opening is 6.5 x 7 1/4 inches. It is suitable for cats up to 24 pounds and dogs up to 9 pounds. Common breeds are chihuahuas, papillons, yorkshire terriers, and pomeranians.

PlexiDor small

PlexiDor size medium

This dog door is intended for dogs up to 40 pounds. The opening is 9 x 12 inches, and common breeds are corgis, dachshunds, beagles, pekingese, cocker spaniels, shelties, and many terriers.

plexDior medium

PlexiDor size large

The large PlexiDor dog door has an opening of 11 3/4 x 16 inches, and it is intended for dogs up to 100 pounds. Common breeds are Labradors, Collies, German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Golden Retrievers.

PlexiDor large

PlexiDor size extra large

The extra large PlexiDor dog door has an opening of 16 x 23 3/4 inches and is intended for dogs up to 220 pounds. Larger dogs might be able to use it, depending on their build. Common breeds are Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Old English Sheepdogs, and Irish Wolfhounds.

PlexiDor extra large

More sizing help and information

You can download an overview of sizes – with opening sizes and needed cut holes – for door units and wall units here. You can also download the regular PlexiDor size chart with examples of dog breeds and installation heights here.

And naturally, if you need help, contact customer service.

Gluten free dog treats

There are many recipes for dog treats around the Internet, and most of them contain some form of wheat, even if it’s whole wheat. Here are some wheat – and gluten – free carob cookies you can make for your four-footed friend.

Carob is a chocolate substitute often used for dogs, because it lacks both the substances toxic to pets and caffeine. It is naturally sweet and looks a little like chocolate, but has a unique flavor and texture.

There are also carob chips. If you’ve seen doggie cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies they’re made with carob.

What you need:
  • 1 cup of white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup of carob powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of water
What to do:

An English Mastiff requires an extra large PlexiDor dog doorPreheat the oven to 350 degrees F, so it gets properly warm while you mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. The order doesn’t matter, you can just pour them together and mix away. It’s supposed to become a smooth dough.

If the dough becomes very dry, add a little more water. When you bake the dough out, it helps to sprinkle the baking surface with rice flour or carob powder. Use the latter if you don’t want white sprinkles on the cookies.

Roll out the dough until it’s about a quarter of an inch thick and cut cookies with a cookie cutter. Or, cut it into squares. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for ten to fifteen minutes. Let the cookies cool and store them in the fridge.

Seattle dog takes the bus

A vast majority of humans have become urbanized, and it’s happening to the dogs too. Eclipse for instance, is a two year old black lab in Seattle who has learned to take the bus to the dog park – on her own.

Image from cctv.com

It all started when Eclipse’s owner was too slow for her liking and she decided to get on the bus by herself. She got off at the dog park where her human caught up with her. Since then, she’s been doing it every time he’s too slow. He calls her a bus riding, side-walk walking urbanized dog.

One bus stop is right by their home and the other right by the dog park. The bus drivers and regular passengers all know her. She just needs to sit by a window so she can see when it’s time to get off.

//youtu.be/Bz4XEpK6INU

AKC recognizes four more breeds

The American Kennel Club – AKC – sent out a press release just before New Years telling that it recognizes four new dog breeds. This brings the number of breeds able to participate in AKC events up to 184.

The new breeds are the Bergamasco, Boerboel, Cirneco dell’Etna, and the Spanish Water Dog. AKC adds new breeds when they fill the club’s standards, which include a breed club and a minimum number of individuals in the country.

The Bergamasco is a sheep dog from Italy with a history that goes back around 7,000 years. As most sheep dogs, these are highly intelligent and love to work.

The Boerboel is a hardy farm dog from South Africa. This breed is known for being intelligent, protective, and willing to please their family. Through history these dogs have been used for everything from babysitting to protecting against predators.

The Cirneco dell’Etna is an Italian hunting dog known for its resistance to heat and tough conditions. In the past, it was often used for hunting together with a ferret.

The Spanish Water Dog is another lively and hard working herding dog. This versatile breed herds, hunts, and helps fishermen.

Funny misprint on sheriff’s offices rug

Dog lovers trust in their dogs for almost everything, but this faith in pooches is rarely expressed in official environments. At least until a sheriff’s office in Pinellas County in Florida got a misprinted rug for their lobby. 

The rug was supposed to say, “In God we trust” – this is the official motto for Florida. Instead, it said, “In Dog we trust.” It is an understandable typo and many would agree with the statement, but it’s still not what the office intended to say.

The rug has been replaced and will be sold for charity. Several dog lovers have already asked to buy it.