Sheltie Nation

Category Archive for ‘Product Spotlight’

Sizing up Shelties: Finding the Right Furniture

When it comes to purchasing items such as a travel crate or a dog bed, the one concern that most owners have is whether it will fit their best friend.  Picking the right size the first time is important because most pet stores, whether online or retail, won’t let your pet try out their products first and won’t accept returns if there are signs that it has already been used.

Sizing up Shelties can be especially tricky, as they can fall between small and medium depending on their size and the measurements of the product.  In this article, we’ll explain some good guidelines to consider when determining the proper size for your Sheltie friend.

Dog Houses
Doghouse04Whether buying a dog house or building one yourself, it can be a big investment, so you want to make sure that your dog can fit comfortably.  Although most Shelties would prefer to be indoor dogs, lounging on your couch or bed, sometimes a dog house is a nice addition to the back yard.

Since Shelties aren’t that tall, the door frame itself shouldn’t pose much of a problem so long as you leave at least 10 inches for the height.  But to ensure that the confines are spacious enough make sure that the width and depth of the house are at least 5 inches longer than the length of your Sheltie(excluding the tail) and that the overall height of the house is at least 25 inches (or at least 5-7 inches more than the standing height of your dog). 

Travel Crates
CrateIf you ever find the need to travel with your Sheltie, a crate is a must, especially when it comes to flying.  The two most important considerations when it comes to creates is a.) whether it is travel approved and b.) whether it will fit your Sheltie properly.  While any product description should list clearly whether the crate is approved for domestic and/or international airline traveling, finding the right size can be a bit trickier.  

The important thing to remember is that crates do not need to provide the same amount of room as a dog house, but it does need to be big enough for your dog to at least stand up and turn around.  Most importantly, it needs to be long enough for your Sheltie to lie down in it, since dogs tend to spend most of their time sleeping while travelling. 

The best rule of thumb is to measure your dog from head to tail bone and add 12 inches to this total to determine the proper length.  And also make sure to measure your dog’s height from the ground to the top of their heads and 6 inches to that total to figure the amount of standing space needed.  Generally, the proper width should be three-quarters of what the length should be.  For most brands of crates, this should put most Shelties in the medium sizing range, although some of the bulkier pooches might need a large crate instead.

Dog BedsDsc01669sml

Shelties are active and intelligent dogs, so there really is no such thing as buying a pet bedthat is too large.  They usually tend to like more space then comparably sized dogs and unlike some breeds of toy dogs, they won’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by a large dog bed.  On the other hand, a dog bed that is too small can hinder his/her ability to sleep comfortably so it is really important to go bigger if you think it might be necessary.  The bottom line is you want to pick a bed that has a measurement of at least 9-12 inches longer and wider than your Sheltie when he or she is lying down.

While these tips should hopefully help, it is important to note that the right size can vary depending on the size of your Sheltie, so make absolutely sure to measure your pet first before making a purchase. And if you find yourself caught between two sizes, always opt for the larger one.  Even if it costs a little more, it is a safer bet than opting for the smaller size and gambling that your dog will find it comfortable.

Sponsored post

Product Warning: Pimple ball with bell by Four Paws, Inc.

WARNING: A few images posted in this article may be difficult to look at for some readers.

Toy1 On June 22, 2008, my 10-year old lab mix, Chai, sustained a severe injury from a product that the company Four Paws, Inc., produces. The toy I’m referencing is the pimple ball with bell (Item #20227-001, UPC Code #0 45663202279).

While chewing on the toy, a vacuum was created and it effectively sucked his tongue into the hole in the ball. From speaking with my vet, this likely occurred because there is not a second hole in the ball preventing the vacuum effect from happening. I became aware of this when Chai approached a friend at my home whimpering with the ball in his mouth. She tried unsuccessfully to remove the ball but the tongue had swollen and could not be released.

Toy2 Chai was taken to the Animal Medical Center (an emergency care facility in New York City ) and was treated by Dr. Nicole Spurlock to have the ball removed. Because the size of the opening on the ball was so small, all circulation to his tongue was cut off. The doctors had to sedate him in order to remove it. Once the ball was removed, his tongue swelled to the point that he could no longer put it in his mouth. Chai was sent home with care instructions and to be observed overnight for any changes.

By the following morning, Chai’s tongue had swollen even more.

Toy3 This is the dogs tongue not the Toy!

He was taken to his regular vet, Dr. Timnah Lee, for treatment. He was admitted and kept sedated for a period of three days during which time they were treating his wounds and waiting to determine how much of his tongue could be saved. On June 26, 2008, Chai had his tongue amputated.

He was kept in after-care for an additional three days. On Sunday, June 29th, I brought Chai home from the vet with a barrage of home care instructions, to last for an additional 7 days. His next visit was to have his mouth re-examined and have the feeding tube in his neck removed.

On the way home from the vet we stopped at Petland Discount where I purchased their product to speak to the manager on duty. Upon meeting Chai and seeing his condition, he removed all of the balls in question from the shelves. He also ga ve me the customer service number to their corporate headquarters to request that they refuse to continue purchasing all Four Paws products.

Additionally, I shared my story with friends who have a French Bulldog named Petunia. Upon hearing my story, their eyes widened. They explained that the same thing happened twice in one night with a smaller version of the same ball to their dog. Fortunately, they were able to pull it off before the tongue swelled, but not without tremendous effort and pain to the dog. They recalled how horrific it was to hear their dog screaming while they had to pry the ball from her tongue.

To date, my veterinary bills total over $5,000 and I will have regular follow up appointments for some time. Additionally, Chai now requires a much more expensive form of food beca use of this injury, averaging approximately $200 per month.

Additionally, I now have to re-teach my dog to eat, drink and adjust to life without his tongue. Feeding him takes me about 90 minutes twice a day and for at least this first week he is not to be unattended for more than 20 minutes at a time.

I sent this information along with the reference to the French Bulldog to Four Paws, Inc., and it is their position that there just aren’t enough instances to do anything about this. I told their insurance company’s case manager that was not a good enough excuse. It was inferred that my dogs value wasn’t much and that his pain and suffering don’t count as he is just a piece of property.

Please visit Chai’s blog page to find out more & for updates.
Since Chai’s story has circulated the internet & gained quite a bit of exposure, the company has announced a recall. But there are probably many, many of these toys still sitting in doggie toy boxes!

Cesar Millan: Win a DVD training set!

Say the name "Cesar Millan" in dog-lover company and you are bound to get a variety of responses.  Love him or hate him, Cesar's methods have been wildly successful. 

Have you always wanted to give his training methods a closer inspection?  Have a Sheltie that could use a bit of help?  You're in luck – Cesar Millan's team has graciously offered 2 DVD sets to raffle off to Sheltie Nation members!

This fresh, new three-DVD set shows dog owners a variety of Cesar’s key concepts, including how to become a “pack leader”, the importance of calm-assertive energy, and how to establish proper rules, boundaries and limitations for your dog. You can learn more about this new DVD Set at: 

Volume 1: People Training for Dogs DVD
Cesar's methods have been successful at rehabilitating even seemingly impossible-to-correct dog behaviors. He shares his wisdom and wit from a lifetime of working with dogs, including:
* The basics of dog behavior
* Understanding the nature of the pack
* Energy and body language
* Giving rules, setting boundaries and limitations
* Why the walk is important
* Cesar's fulfillment formula
* Bonus Features, including feeding time with Cesar's pack

GFK_product_dvd2Volume 2: Becoming a Pack Leader
Following the methods learned in Volume 1, Cesar works directly with dogs and their owners to demonstrate how it's done. Topics include:
* The role of the pack leader
* How to use energy and body language to influence your dog
* How to create rules, boundaries, and limitations
* Getting control during walks
* Bonus features include outtakes, and Cesar's questions for the viewer

GFK_product_dvd3Volume 3: Your New Dog: The First Day and Beyond
Loaded with invaluable ideas and essential tips to start off on the right paw in the third volume of Cesar's Mastering Leadership series. Topics include:
* How to select the perfect dog for you and your family
* Introducing your puppy to your household for the first time
* Indispensable advice on adopting dogs from shelters, rescue groups, and breeders
* Selecting a dog that matches your energy
* Bonus Features, including puppy tips, and teaching with treats

R2C Group has kindly given two copies of "Mastering Leadership" to raffle to Sheltie Nation members.  Each winner will also receive a bonus Sheltie Nation decal! 

To enter to win: Just email me at and put "Cesar" as the topic & put your mailing address in the body. (Contest ends Friday, October 31st, 2008 at noon EST.)

Even though we only have two to give away, don't be sad, because Cesar's folks have offered Sheltie Nation readers something extra!   A special “blog only” coupon code that can be redeemed for $25 off the purchase of the DVD set. The coupon code is “25off” to use on the website.  The coupon code is valid through November 2nd so take advantage of the special offer soon!

Congrats to Doug Johnson & Judy Sviatko on winning the DVD sets!

Win a book! Chicken Soup for the Soul: Loving Our Dogs

6a00d8341c192953ef010534d21ac9970c-350wiWe all know we are crazy about our dogs and can't read enough about them.  Feed that need with Chicken Soup for the Soul: Loving Our Dogs by Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen.  It features 101 of the best stories illustrating how dogs are good for the body an soul.  It is a fabulous collection of heartwarming, amusing, inspirational, and occasionally tearful stories about our best friends and faithful companions.

"Loving Our Dogs" is part of the "101 Best Stories" series and bundles the editor's favorite tales submitted in the 15-year history of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Divided into sections ranging from 'Bringing Out the Best in Us' to 'Support Dogs,' "Loving Our Dogs" offers real-life accounts of heroic pups who brought their owners back from the brink.  All are true tales of the humorous and life-altering impact dogs have on our lives. Get the tissues ready – many will make you laugh or cry. 

Since 1993, books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series have sold over 112 million copies, with titles translated in over 40 languages. In 2007, USA Today named Chicken Soup for the Soul one of the five most memorable and impactful books in the last quarter century. Fans of Chicken Soup for the Soul will be pleased to hear that they are currently working with TV networks on several upcoming shows and remain dedicated to life improvement, emotional support and inspiration.

Simon and Schuster has kindly given three copies of Loving Our Dogs to raffle to Sheltie Nation members.  Each winner will also receive a bonus Sheltie Nation decal! 

To enter to win: Just email me at sheltienationraffle@gmail.comand put "chicken soup" as the topic. (Contest is only open to those with a USA mailing address & ends Monday, October 20, 2008 at noon EST.)

Stay tuned…More awesome raffles to come!

UPDATE:  I've had some members from outside the US ask about entering & I don't want to exclude anyone! Shipping costs for the winners come out of my own pocket, so to anyone living overseas - If you want to enter…you can…I'd just need to ask for shipping costs (over the usual amount for USA shipping) if you won.

Congrats to Sue Nickelston, Michele Reecher & Bonnie Pemble on winning a copy of the book!

DogPause food dish – win one!

Like many Sheltie owners, I had preconceived ideas about how Shelties behave.  We Sheltie lovers can make sweeping generalizations about the breed & most often we would be right.  Shelties are smart.  Shelties love to bark.  Shelties love to herd.  Shelties gobble food…um, no.  Shelties have manners, right?

Well, there is always an exception to the rule of anything…and my little Toby is the dog that does it.  Our little “Hoover”, Toby is famous for gulping down his meal (which includes half chewed baby carrots) in seconds flat…with sometimes not so pleasant results.  Burping & vomiting up his meal almost as fast as he ate it.  Yuck!

I know it’s not healthy for him to inhale the food, but other than putting rocks in his bowl (like you do with horses who bolt their grain) I was at a loss what to do about it.

I was recently contacted by a company that makes a feeding bowl called DogPause.  They asked me if I would be interested in reviewing the product.  Apparently, it is the first dog bowl with integrated portion control.  Four sections divide food into manageable portions which forces the dog to pause in between each section.

The company says this bowl is sized for dogs between 15 and 100 pounds and most dog breeds ranging from Beagles to Rottweilers. Dogs just can’t get their entire face into the bowl, and as a result, eat more slowly.

But my little Toby is an undersized Sheltie with a long slender nose.  Would it work for him too?  Yep.  It did double the time it takes him to eat…from an average of 30 seconds to about 1 minute.  Is that enough time to stop the vomiting & burping?  Well, sorta.  He still doesn’t chew his kibble, but he has taken the time to chew his carrots.  I think he can get his snout deeper into the bowl than say a Golden can, but he does have to use his tongue to get the kibble at the bottom.

The DogPause dog bowl works to slow down the pace of eating and aid with portion control in the following ways:

  • Divides the bowl into 4 feeding zones.
  • Each feeding zone is 1/2 cup in capacity and designed to “block” the dog from putting his full snout into the bowl; this slows down eating pace as your dog needs to use his tongue for each bite.
  • After your dog finishes each zone, he must re-position himself for the next zone.
  • The bowl is designed to slide a little on the floor, further slowing down the dog as he needs to re-position for each bite.  For Toby, letting the bowl slide around on the floor was a good thing; it really helped extend his time eating.

The DogPause dogbowl is made of the high quality plastic. It is non-toxic, food grade, and dishwasher safe. It’s as safe as Tupperware® or Gladware®   My only wish was that it came in a stainless steel variation.

The DogPause bowl retails for $17.95,  or two for $29.95 plus free shipping.

The folks at DogPause have generously donated a bowl for Sheltie Nation to raffle off to one lucky “gobbler” Sheltie!  Just email and put DogPause in the subject line to enter!  Trevor, Toby & Tyler will be choosing a winner on 6/1, so enter today!  (Please only one entry per household.)