{Black & White Sunday} A Sweet Sealy Recovery

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Bear recently had to undergo anesthesia at his new veterinarians office for a tooth extraction. He had cracked one of his front (small) teeth. I was lucky enough to be able to bring him home immediately after surgery because I have experience in helping animals post-op.

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Bear was so lucky to have his new luxurious orthopedic Sealy Pet Bed to recover on! He slept there, passed out in pure comfort all day.

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We’re sharing our full review of the Sealy Pet Bed (for dogs & cats) on PetParent.


Busy Little Bee

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We’re perhaps a touch early on this, but Scooter’s got a potential Halloween costume idea!

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He received this adorable custom bee sweater to review as part of our work with PetParent. It’s so cute and comfy for him that it will definitely be part of the consideration this year! Isn’t he an adorable little busy-bee?

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The package came to us from Bulgaria, and it was fun for us to receive an international package- Scooter posed with the envelope ;) See our full thoughts on the custom bee sweater here.

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Do you dress your pets up for Halloween or any other occasion?



SheSpeaksBark goes to Banfield Pet Hospital!

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Before we moved to Oregon, our dogs had one final thorough and comprehensive exam with their veterinarian in Kansas. I wanted to have their check-ups and vaccines out of the way so I could buy myself some time to find a new vet. I’m one of those pet parents who is quite picky when it comes to pet care, maybe you can relate? We’ve been lucky in that Scooter has been really healthy this past year, and we haven’t needed to take him to a veterinarian in Oregon yet, unlike his brother Bear. Scooter was due for a checkup in August, and that’s how we found ourselves at our local Banfield Clinic.

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We set Scooter up with a Banfield Optimum Wellness plan over the phone, and then scheduled an appointment at our local clinic the next day. The goal was for Scooter to get an overall exam, heartworm test, and for us to obtain heartworm prevention for him all in the same visit. The entire process couldn’t have been more of a breeze! The assistant on the phone was proficient and helpful. I received an email with his package information, and the information was also sent right along to Scooter’s soon-to-be new vet.

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Scooter’s Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan includes free office visits as well as annual heartworm tests as a part of the plan. Banfield believes that preventative care is the best way pet parents can improve the quality of life & longevity of their pets. Annual check ups often catch serious and fatal diseases in their early stages so treatments can be successful. Each Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan can be customized based on your pets needs. Our plan also affords us 10% off products and services which aren’t included in our plan.

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On the day of Scooter’s appointment, we were greeted warmly upon arrival. I’ve noticed this is over looked at a lot of vet clincs, and I really appreciated their kindness and warmth. The Banfield Clinic was surprisingly nice, modern, and was one of the only vets offices I’ve been in to-date that didn’t smell like animals inhabited it. Like at all! The rooms were clearly numbered, and had fun animal images plastered all over them. It didn’t give off that sterile and unfriendly feel, instead, it was warming and welcoming, a place you might like to spend some time.

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Inside the exam rooms, there were many different informational brochures that pet parents could help themselves to and educate themselves on. I found myself picking a few of them up, and tucking them into Scooters sleepypod, intrigued by their contents and informational titles.

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I could tell one of the main goals of this Banfield Clinic was to spread awareness about heartworm prevention, and I was glad. Heartworm is SO easy to prevent, and extremely difficult, expensive, and painful to treat if your dog ever contracts it. All it takes is one mosquito bite from a carrier insect for your dog to be infected.

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Hearworm disease is caused by a parasite. It is serious and potentially fatal to both cats and dogs. Currently, there is no approved heartworm treatment in the US that can be used for cats, but dogs owners have several options. If you’re curious or concerned about heartworm risks in your area of the country, please see this interactive map to learn more. In comparison to the cost of heartworm treatment, heartworm prevention is safe and affordable. Most veterinarians, The Banfield Pet Hospitals included, reccomend annual heartworm testing and year round preventative medicine.

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After Scooter had his check-up, he went to a back room to have his blood drawn for his heartworm test, as well as to run a blood panel on him. He came back sporting a bright pink wrap and a nervous grin, but seemed to have been quite happy with the vet and vet tech other than the needle poke part- who can blame him! He received a dose of de-wormer, and we were also sent with a follow-up dosage to give him in two weeks.

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Once his test came back negative a few minutes later, the vet spoke with us about different heartworm prevention options. I mentioned an issue we’d had with a medication in the past, and we settled on trying a new-to-us heartworm prevention called ProHeart6. I had just begun hearing about ProHeart6 but we had no experience using it with either Scooter or Bear before.

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ProHeart6 has many advantages for a small dog like Scooter. It is an injectable heartworm treatment that is good for six months- 2 shots a year and my sweet boy is covered and protected. Scooter has often had difficulties in the past being able to eat an oral heartworm preventative pill (he does not think it is a treat like Bear does!) and having an injectable option means I don’t have to fight with him each month just to keep him healthy- it’s better for both of us.

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ProHeart6 is safe to use on dogs over 6 months of age, and I’m happy to share that Scooter had no adverse reaction to his shot or the new medication. Small breeds are sometimes sensitive to these sorts of things, so I always monitor him extra closely after he’s had an injection or medication just to be sure. We tend to stick with medications he’s had success with in the past and do as little ‘experimentation’ as possible in that department.

Scooters visit with Banfield Pet Hospital couldn’t have gone better, and we’re so pleased to have found them! It goes to show the importance of annual check ups for our pets. Scooters blood results revealed that he has a slightly elevated liver enzyme level. This could mean many things, and could also mean it is just normal for him. We have a plan with Scooter’s new vet to return in a month for another blood draw to see where his numbers are at that time and proceed from there if necessary. He also developed rather itchy right ear two days before the appointment, and we were able to get that looked over as well. He has a special ear cleaner that we will be using once a week and monitor results.

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Disclaimer: The Optimum Wellness Plan and information have been provided to SheSpeaksBark by Banfield Pet Hospital®. We were not compensated for this post, and all opinions are firmly our own. 


National Pet Memorial Day + Farewell Pet Kit Review

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Today, September 14th, 2014 is National Pet Memorial Day. This holiday of pet remembrance falls on the 2nd Sunday of September each year and is dedicated to remembering our beloved furry companions who have crossed over the rainbow bridge.

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The animal shelter that I used to work for offered private euthanasia services, cremations, and burial services in a cemetery on-site to the public.  I saw first hand how many families were not prepared to lose their pet, to let go. Often the shock of the loss was enough to leave people less than ready to make these very important end-of-life decisions for their pets. This is why I encourage everyone to have thought this out long and hard while their pets are still healthy and well. Losing a pet is absolutely devastating, but if you’ve got children in the home, the blow can be even harder. For many children, their dogs are their first best friend, most trusted companion, and confidant. When a family loses a pet, honoring their memory becomes especially important to children.

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The Farewell Pet Kit is a great way to honor your pets memory for years to come. The folks at Farewell Pet Kits understand that our pet’s memories are dear to us. Their kits allow pet owners to design an all-natural, sealed, & simple to assemble pet casket that is customizable with paints and more.

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Farewell Pet Kits include both a guide book to help you recognize the grief process and includes a funeral and burial ceremony with readings and poems all of which were created and assembled by a professional grief counselor. The included work book engages a child in dealing with the pain of losing their pet by giving them options to write, draw, or do various activities.

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The caskets themselves are made of birch wood. They are biodegradable and eco-friendly. Easy to follow assembly instructions are included with each kit and no tools are necessary. Each birch casket comes to you plain, waiting to be customized with the included paints. It is recommended that each of the pieces of the birch casket are painted prior to assembly. I’m happy to share with you that all of the components in these Farewell Pet Kits are made right here in the USA!

Today I would like to take a moment to remember all of my furry family members (pictured above) who have crossed over the rainbow bridge. They may be gone from the physical world, but they are never forgotten!

From Top Left (clockwise): Jayden, Henry, Maynard, and Sydney have all taught me lessons of life and love in their own ways, and for that I am ever grateful. The kitty in the bottom L corner is Nikita, she still lives happily with my parents!

Who are you remembering today on National Pet Memorial Day? 

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Disclaimer: Farewell Pet Kits provided SheSpeaksBark with a birch casket kit to try out for this review. SheSpeaksBark was not compensated in any way to write this post. All thoughts and opinions are exclusively my own, and we only share products and services on SheSpeaksBark that we feel are relevant to our readers. As always, thank you for supporting brands that make SheSpeaksBark possible!


{Black & White Sunday} Little Big Dog

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Scooter is so small, weighing in at just 4.3 lbs. One of the most fun things I’ve discovered recently is to photograph him on a hill to gain a bit of perspective.

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Having Scooter sit at the top of the hill, and myself and camera on an incline is about the only way I can get a shot like this- which tries to show him from below. This one makes him look like my little big dog! <3

I love taking photos of Bear on grass- his black coat always looks just beautiful against a nice green background!

Do you have a favorite place or pose to photograph your dogs in? 


September is Senior Pet Wellness Month

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There is no denying that my sweet Bear boy has officially fallen into the ‘senior dog’ category for a few years now. At the happy age of 12 years young, Bear is still very active and healthy for his age. That doesn’t mean that we’re not noticing signs of him slowing down and ‘feeling his age’ a bit though. Since September is Senior Pet Wellness Month, we can think of no better time to highlight a few tips that will make your senior dogs life a bit easier.

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Veterinary medicine and dog-food formulas have come a long way in the last few decades and our pets are living longer and healthier lives. Yet, many pets are considered seniors when they are just six or seven years old, so it becomes our responsibility to begin caring for their aging needs at this time. Many vets state that our pets age seven years in every one human year. You can understand then, why it is vital that you pet does not miss their yearly check-up exam. Missing just one year for them is like we humans avoiding our doctor for SEVEN years!

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There are a few key things you can do as a dedicated and devoted Pet Parent to make sure your dog ages gracefully:

1. Bi-Annual Vet Visits: If 1 year for us ages our dogs 7 years, then it only makes sense that as seniors, they probably need to see their vet more often. A regular vet exam is the way many Pet Parents find and treat illnesses early-on that could have become detrimental or even life-threatening to their dogs.

2. Note Behavioral Changes: Changes in our dogs’ normal behaviors are a strong indicator that something could be wrong. Many times, our dogs behaviors change before there are any medical signs that something is wrong. Changes in sleep cycles, eating patterns, interactions with their family, or bathroom habits are all clear signs your dog should seek the advice of their veterinarian.

3. Weight Change Woes: In our house, if Bear doesn’t eat, we know there is something REALLY wrong. This has only happened once in his life- and we took him to the vet immediately. For dogs, many of them have a tendency towards obesity in their senior years, while cats often have trouble keeping on weight. If you notice your pets weight is dramatically changing- give their vet a ring and set up an examination to find out what could be ailing your companion.

4. Keep Them Moving: One mistake that many senior pet owners make is that they completely sign their pet off of any sort of exercise program because they are old. This is a mistake that can have lasting health concerns for your pet though! Keeping your pets moderately active into their senior years can actually help them live a longer, fuller life. With Bear, we’ve started going for more low-impact walks around the neighborhood, lessened our trips to the dog park as we’ve noticed he takes a day to recover.

5. Be Aware Of Breed Restrictions & Lifestyle Concerns: Certain breeds have more health risks associate with them. Pets that have never been spayed or neutered will also have a higher risk of developing tumors in their reproductive organs.

As our pets age, they are prone to developing many of the same issues and illnesses that us humans face as we age. Things like cancer, heart disease, kidney problems and more are all within the realm of possibility. We are constantly monitoring our boys for changes in behavior or diet. We have a close relationship with our veterinarian, and also use at-home testing tools like Petnotstics to help us keep tabs on our pups’ inner workings.

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Disclaimer: This information is provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) which was established in 1863 as a non-profit association representing more than 85,000 veterinarians across the United States. For more information on your pet’s special needs visit AVMA.org. Senior pet care is a topic that is near and dear to our hearts. We were not compensated in any way to share this wonderful information with you.