Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Some pups are just born stars!

Alas, Paddy is still waiting for her big break....

Literally! Animal Planet is looking for dogs and cats in the New York Tri-State area that are expecting litters sometime around mid- to late- September to take part in two one-hour documentaries. The show will focus on the early lives of three puppies and three kittens, and will be told from their perspective (sooo cute!)-- with the goal of capturing all of those adorable milestones that make us go "awww". Filming will take place over several weeks, but will only require a commitment of 4-6 shoots during that time. If you're interested in participating, contact Jamie Carroll with the below information at: carroll@trueentertainment.net

Your Name 
Your Phone Number 
Your Email Address 
Your City, State and Proximity to NYC 

Animal’s Name 
Breed of Dog/Cat 
Number of Weeks Pregnant 
Any health concerns/complications 

xoxo The Barkistas

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bocce's Bakery Road Test

Last month we blogged about the fabulous Bocce's Bakery-- and this month, we got a chance to try out their delicious, homemade, 100% organic, natural treats. In addition to the wholesome ingredients, the biscuits first caught out eye because they're made right here in NYC!

We knew these treats were going to be a hit almost from the second the awesome folks at Bocce's sent them over-- Paddy couldn't wait to tear into them! (In fact, she picked up the pad-pack they arrived in and attempted to get into them without our help...) Paddy sampled the Grandma's Apple Pie flavor which includes ingredients like freshly picked organic apples and local NY clover honey. Easy to break into pieces for small dogs (though not crumbly at all)-- we've been using them as treats to stuff her Kong. Not only did they apparently taste delicious, but we loved the way they smelled too!

Pick up treats for your deserving pup from www.boccesbakery.com, and if you're in NYC, make sure to check out their "Doggie Bag" delivery service-- we're seriously considering signing up!

xoxo The Barkistas

Disclaimer: Samples were provided by PR for review. Please see our disclaimer for more information. 

The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know

Summertime and the livin' is easy...

Okay, so, in an attempt to stretch summer out for as long as possible, we're planning on re-stocking our terrace with some fresh new blooms. While browsing at the local flower shop, a small little bell went off in our heads- wait, aren't there some plants that aren't good for your pets? Azaleas, English ivy, eucalyptus, amaryllis... visions of one sick pup began to dance in front of our eyes. Thus, we turned right away to our number-one go-to resource: The Dog Bible

Written by dog guru Tracie Hotchner, The Dog Bible contains just about everything you would ever need to know about when it comes to owning a dog (and as the rest of the title says: "everything your dog wants you to know" too!).

The answer to why I wrote this book is sort of the opposite of Mt. Everest and why people climb it - in this case, I wrote the book because it did not exist. Having owned and loved dogs literally from the time I was born, I have so often wanted information or had problems and been unable to find information or get reliable advice. I realized that I’m not alone - all dog lovers need a book they can reach for with support and information on any subject relating to their dogs. The way that parents can consult Dr. Spock to clarify a situation and make informed decisions for their particular situation, so should people have an encyclopedic guide for their canine companions," explains Hotchner on her website. 

This volume covers the gamut: Dog 911, doggy biology and anatomy, feeding, behavior, grooming, training, dangerous substances- just about anything you can think about. Really- even the most inane/silly/small questions we could conjure up were covered. We appreciate this greatly, being owners of a considerable amount of pet literature; it's great to have all of the answers in one book. A must-have for the first-time dog owner (or prospective pup parent), even as seasoned doggy people we've found this book a priceless resource. Hotchner offers an unbiased, informed, organized approach that doesn't try to force her methods or beliefs on the reader.

Enjoyable to read (would someone please tell most dog-guide owners that all we really want is basic English?!) and very well researched, it also features a great index for quick solutions and troubleshooting. A good refresher for even the most knowledgeable dog parent (after all, aren't we always looking for validation that we're doing the best/right thing for our pet?), it also makes a great new puppy present. 

Check out Hotchner's site and swing by Amazon.com to snag a copy of this must-have if it's not on your shelves already. We guarantee your copy will become a dog-eared staple and that you'll end up picking up several for the other dog lovers in your life! 

xoxo The Barkistas

p.s. And for all you cat owners out there, Tracie is also the author of The Cat Bible: Everything Your Cat Expects You To Know!

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by us for review.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Halloween at PetCo

This morning we swung by the recently renovated Union Square PetCo to pick up some new supplies and check out their Halloween goodies. First, can we say how much we love the new setup? Brand new organized layout, new floors and better lighting -- serious improvement! (We also love the new New York-themed aisle names.) Anyway, on to the good stuff-- Halloween!

In addition to super-reasonably priced Halloween costumes and accessories, they've got a great range of themed toys starting at $5.99 upwards. While they may not be the best quality, PetCo is one of our favorite places for seasonal toys. Though we were tempted to pick up the cute Pumpkin Head Toy ($8.99), we snagged the talking Dracula instead (look for that review closer to Halloween). 

Assuming that the displays just went up, we definitely recommend heading over soon to PetCo.com or your local store for the best selection before they're gone!

xoxo The Barkistas

Disclaimer: Images borrowed from PetCo's site.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good Dog Treats

Good Dog Treats are literally good dog treats and a favorite snack in our household. The perfect size for smaller dogs- the treats are about the size of a quarter and come in a variety of different delicious flavors including Apple Dumpling, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Chicken Pot Pie and Blueberry Cobbler. Our picky eater can't get enough of them, and they seem not to trouble her sometimes sensitive stomach. They also smell exactly like their names would suggest, which is always a good sign!

Shaped like little bones, they are perfect for taking on the go or as occasional rewards for good behavior. In addition, they're 100% natural, and the ingredients do not include wheat, corn preservatives or added chemicals!

With such cute flavors and adorable packaging, they make the perfect gift for the new dog parent or any lovable four-legged friend in your life.

Made by Sojos and available directly from their website for $6.95.

xoxo The Barkistas

Disclaimer: This product was purchased by us for the purpose of reviewing.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


While the life of a Barkista is undoubtedly glamorous, it can be expensive-- which is why we carefully try to avoid temptation.... unfortunately... we couldn't help but surf the latest fall trends on this rainy Sunday from the comforts of our couch.... why is how we stumbled onto this cute find.

New for fall from our friends at Juicy Couture is this adorable Twill Trench Cape. Featuring a rounded collar than be styled up, or down, it also has a double-breasted button front, buttoned epaulets and an oh-so-feminine pleated skirt. The only drawback is the lack of leash opening on the back. 

We're big fans of Juicy's adorable pup-couture: while the prices can be a little steep, the clothes are perfectly sized for little dogs and the quality is amazing.

You can pick up this sassy little number directly from Juicy's website for $55.

What fall trends will your pup be sporting? Happy shopping!

xoxo The Barkistas

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Howl-o-ween Costumes!

Okay, so arguably it may be a little bit early to start thinking about Halloween-- but if you're like us, it's time to start planning! Especially, as in the past when we've left it to the last minute we've discovered the extra-small and small sizes tend to sell out. 

Check out the awesome array of options at one of our favorite online boutiques: GW Little. This year, they've got over 50 adorable outfits for your pooch ranging from $26 to $59. 

Our picks:
And I think it's gonna be a long, long time, 
'til touch down brings me 'round again to find
I'm not the dog they think I am at home
Oh no, no, no I'm a Rocket Space Dog!

This Halloween, let Toto take the spotlight as Dorothy!
$26.99 (Ruby Red Slippers sold separately for $59.00)

Snag your pooch's size while they're still available!

xoxo The Barkistas

Disclaimer: Images from GW Little's awesome site and lyrics were borrowed from Elton John. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Recycled Fun for Your Pup

What is it about water bottles that fascinates dogs??
If you've ever made the mistake of leaving a water bottle in your doggy's reach (especially the Poland Spring ribbed kind)- you've probably discovered that your canine companion can't get enough of the crunchy container. 

The excellent people at Fat Cat Inc. have found a way of transforming your empty water receptacles into a more appropriate source of doggy fun. 

Their Water Bottle Cruncher dog toys are essentially durable water bottle cases for your pup. Made out of their bright long-lasting material, they house an empty 20 oz water bottle and pack hours of crunching playtime. When the fun has been exhausted out of the water bottle that comes with the toy, simply pop in a new one for continued fun and play! A great way to recycle those old water bottles that seem to stack up- it's also an easy way to give a sure-favorite new life every now and then!

While at first sight a little large for a small dog like Paddington- it's light enough for her to carry around and toss to herself (a favorite game). The crackling/crunching sound fascinates her and the durable fabric stands up to her sharp little teeth. Though our first "cat-erpillar" has now met it's timely demise, it took Paddy a good month and a half to render it unusable (the adorable little cat paws were the first to go). 

Available directly from Fat Cat Inc. for $21.95 each, we picked ours up at PetCo and we've seen it at Target and other pet supply stores as well! Check out their site for other fun, awesomely designed toys for the dog or cat in your life!

xoxo The Barkistas 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dog Companion DVDs

If you're like me and a majority of other dog owners, often your dog companion needs to be left home alone (unless you live in France where it's kosher to bring your dog everywhere- including the supermarket. No joke- I've seen it first hand!). Enter The Dog Companion DVDs!

Image courtesy of www.thedogdvd.com

We received "Dog Farm Adventure" and "Dog Friend at Home Adventure" two Christmases ago as a practical joke gift from my parents, only to discover that they did actually entertain Paddington! The true guilty dog parent purchase, I have to admit that occasionally whenever I have to pop out to do a quick errand or go to the gym I switch this on for Paddington as it makes me feel slightly less bad that I'm leaving her unattended.

The premise of both DVDs is simple- sights and sounds that will capture the interest of your canine companions or distract them from your absence. Created by animal behaviorist Dr. Stanley Coren who has a show on The Pet Network (which I've never seen), each video "[incorporates] interesting images, familiar sounds and music for dogs." Coined "the virtual pet sitter," you can pick a continuous repeat setting that will allow the DVD to run until you turn it off. The DVDs also feature other menu options that allow you to pick specific scenes or set it up to play segments randomly.

Each DVD that we've watched also had a "desensitization track" which is meant to help dogs adapt to sounds like doorbells, knocking, etc. While the site claims that "most dogs will react more calmly to similar stimuli within a couple of days," we can't vouch for this as we've never tried it (nor did we really have a need to). This definitely may be helpful for people who have dogs that are triggered by these sounds- but if your dog has a serious anxiety problem we could see it making the problem slightly worse in your absence.

The camera angles are all from the canine perspective (the Dog Farm Adventure video is hilarious) and are accompanied by a soothing classical soundtrack. Additional sounds include human voices, animal noises (depending on which DVD you're watching), and familiar household sounds all over a classical music soundtrack.

Segments on the DVDs that we've seen have included: a room full of puppies (really adorable- especially if you appreciated the Shiba Inu camera that was live last year), a dog pulling a cart full of kittens, a car trip and a visit to the petting zoo (which is pretty funny from the dog angle!).

While I can't vouch for the site's "scientifically produced" claim- it did in fact have my dog sitting in front of the TV and sniffing the speakers. While not all scenes always capture her attention, for the most part she has an interest in what's going on.

The DVDs are slightly expensive for what they are at $19.95 CAD, especially considering that the video and editing is definitely on the amateur side (this was clearly filmed by Dr. Coren and his family on a handheld camera... around his house... and his neighborhood- okay, so this does kind of make the DVDs slightly voyeuristic and sketchy...), but if your dog already gets entertainment out of TV (not all dogs do- one of my dogs had no interest in watching the DVDs whatsoever), they're worth a try!

Available from TheDogDVD.com for $19.95 CAD titles include, "Dog Farm Adventure," "Dog Friend at Home Adventure," "Dog Park Aventure," and "Dog Sport Show Adventure." Multiple DVD deals are available (after all, variety is the spice of life!).

xoxo The Barkistas
Disclaimer: We received these as a Christmas gift from Barkzilla's grandparents. Please see our disclaimer for more information. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

City Dog: A Novel

City Dog by Alison Pace is the story of New York City urbanite Amy Dodge and her dog, Carlie- a high-spirited West Highland White Terrier who has a mind of her own. Recovering from her divorce, Amy has embarked on a series of children's book that star her beloved Carlie- Run, Carlie, Run!, and soon finds herself (and Carlie of course), being thrust into the spotlight. However, she starts to find soon she is the one being cropped out of the photo.... Set in the city that never sleeps, follow Amy as tries to figure out what it is she wants and where she's headed.  

Funny, poignant and thoughtfully written, City Dog captures not only the relationship between Amy and Carlie, but also Amy's relationship with New York City and more importantly- herself. Told from the point of view of Amy, Carlie, and Robert Maguire-- the dashing fictional (alas) explorer-hero of Amy's books, we were sorry to finish the book so quickly. While we did find ourselves liking Amy, Carlie steals the show again with her musings on "the other side of the door," the dog park and saltines which had us laughing out loud. Pace (who is a contributing editor at one of our favorite magazines- Bark), manages to capture ever so eloquently the thoughts that we often imagine to be running through the minds of our pets- without venturing into the cheesy-baby-talk danger zone that you often get when writers attempt the animal point of view approach. 

We won't giveaway any more of the plot- but needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed the book's ending which left us with with a smile on our faces. A definite must-read for owners of Westies and anyone who's ever had a dog in NYC!

Published by Penguin, City Dog is available from Amazon.com for $11.20. 

xoxo The Barkistas
Disclaimer: Samples were provided by PR for review. Please see our disclaimer for more information. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pup Portraits

A home isn't complete without a portrait of your pet! Enter Michelle Abeyta who creates custom cartoon portraits of the canine or kitty in your life. Bright and absolutely adorable- they will light up any room or wall. Just send Michelle a picture of your pet and tell her a little bit about what you'd like the pose and background to be and voila! She'll even do group portraits and other critters like skunks, horses, pigs and cows!

In addition, Michelle also sells other whimsical ready-made paintings. Barkzilla's Mom received one of Michelle's super cute "Scuba Dogs" two years ago for her birthday, and it brings a smile to our face every time we're at home. 

Check out her site for additional details and to see her samples of her cheerful custom portraits. In addition to being a talented artist, Michelle is ALSO an author and has published an instructional pet portrait book, Pop Pooch Portraits to Paint, that is available from Amazon.com. Fantastic to work with, Michelle was very flexible and great at getting back to us with answers for all of our questions- we can't wait to get in touch with her again! So what are you waiting for- doesn't your pet deserved to be forever immortalized in paint??

xoxo The Barkistas

All images from Abeyta Creative site.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Honest Kitchen Ice Pups

We continue our summer series focusing on hydration with our look at The Honest Kitchen's Ice Pups!

First of all, can we just have an "aww" moment? Ice Pups?! Seriously--- the name is just toooo cute!

All right, back to business. The folks at The Honest Kitchen have devised a yummy way to encourage your pup to up his or her fluid intake-- simply mix the Ice Pups powder with warm water and you're good to go. Serve it as is as a tasty, warm broth on its own or as gravy, or as a chilled smoothie/frozen sorbet in warmer months. With pet-friendly, healthy ingredients like dehydrated chicken, turkey, whey, dandelion, asparagus, watercress, honey and parsley, you can treat your pup without feeling guilty.

Pick up a tin at your local pet supply store or online at: http://www.thehonestkitchen.com (please note the product was NOT available at the time of this post due to what appears to be a website glitch). One 10 oz tin will make about 30 ice cubes.

xoxo The Barkistas

In Dog We Trust

Michael Schaffer and his wife swore that they would never become -that- type of dog parent. You know, the one that feeds their pup solely organic, pays upwards of $50 for a grooming or puts their pet on prescription pills? Funnily enough, I can vaguely remember (okay, so not so vaguely), telling my friends before Paddington how much I despised the people that totted their pets around in bags. After all, a dog's a dog right? Feed it, walk it- it'll be happy... said the girl whose dog now has a wardrobe of 3 or 4 bags and a mini closet of clothes

The truth is, in this day and age, the way society approaches pets has changed. No longer are our pets just utilitarian units of value- they are companions, family members and most of all friends. Thus, we rarely think twice about buying Fido a birthday present, or throwing a puppy shower when we welcome a new addition to our lives. Hate it, love it, or embrace it- Michael Scaffer's One Nation Under Dog is a narrative of the author's "Adventures in the new world of Prozac-popping puppies, dog-park politics, and organic pet food." 

Conversational in tone, and quiet enjoyable to read- the book follows Michael as he explores the estimated $43 billion (!!!) dollar pet industry which includes luxury dog sitting services, ground-breaking chemotherapy treatments, organic kibble and pet spas. While some books on this topic have been a little too critical for my tastes- Schaffer embraces the pet world and explores it with an inquisitive and open mind. Each chapter holds a different focus and shed light on areas of the modern dog community (who knew San Francisco had such hostile dog wars!). Though admittedly, the first chapters of the book held our attention more than some of the latter, it was an eye-opening read, even for us (and we like to consider ourselves dog savvy!). 

While at the end of the day we can only speculate as to what sociological changes in our society have actually resulted in the movement of our pets from the backyard into our homes- One Nation Under Dog encourages speculation and reflection in a refreshing way. 

Did this book change any of our habits? No. Are we still going to go to the luxury pet boutique in Battery Park and shell out $12 for two bullysticks later this afternoon? Yes. Do we feel guilty? Slightly. But at the same time, as Schaffer says- there is nothing wrong with wanting the best for the animals (and people!) we love. 

Pick up One Nation Under Dog from your local bookstore or Amazon.com

xo Barkzilla

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by us for review. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Eco-Capitalism Goes Pet Friendly!

Princeton University students Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer drew inspiration for their company from a box of worms. They started small -- first demonstrating the feasibility of their idea by reprocessing solid waste from dining halls at Princeton University -- before tackling bigger challenges. Today, TerraCycle is a case study of eco-capitalism success and demonstrates that "a company [can] be financially successful while being ecologically and socially responsible."

While their flagship product is TerraCycle Plant Food, they have recently expanded their line to include pet products which include: Yard Odor Remover,  Stain & Odor Remover, Trash Can Protector Spray, Stool Destroyer, Hard Floor & Surface Cleaner,  All-Natural Dig Stop & Bird Feeder. Natural and non-toxic (a big plus for pet owners who avoid cleaning products with harsh chemicals)- all of TerraCycle's products are environmentally friendly and packaged in repurposed plastic bottles (so cool!). 

We recently had a chance to test out some of the products and we can't say enough about how thrilled we were with the results! Despite not containing some of the typical multi-syllabic chemicals we're used to in our cleaning products, TerraCycle's sprays did the job and didn't leave behind any harsh scents or residues. We particularly loved the Hard Floor & Surface Cleaner which with a few sprays cleaned up one recent little accident (ahem, Paddington). The Yard Odor Remover also tackled a little mishap on our new apartment terrace and left it looking clean and smelling like... well, nothing- which is what we were aiming for! Best yet- as environmentally conscious consumers, we don't feel as guilty when we embark on a zealous cleaning mission using these bio-degradable products!

Being in the city- we couldn't perform the extreme tests that we wanted, so we have sent the Trash Can Protector Spray and Stool Destroyer out to Jersey for some intense field trials. (Oh yeah...) So please stay tuned for the results in the next week or so!

Make sure to check out TerraCycle's website to read about some of the cool new projects they're embarking on and their great line of products (everything from plant specific fertilizers to rain barrels!). You can pick up TerraCycle's pet line from PetCo.com!

xo Barkzilla

p.s. We also tried out TerraCycle's Worm Poop Fertilizer- absolutely amazing!!! It totally revived our semi-dead ivy and lavender plants!! 

Disclaimer: Samples were provided by PR for review. Please see our disclaimer for more information. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer Hydration FAIL

Before we discovered Aqua Pure Breed's awesome Premium Spring Water (see our review here), we invested in some other not so fabulous portable hydration options. This... this is one of them. 

Unfortunately, this water bottle with built in tray is not branded, so we can't give you a name to avoid. The refillable water bottle screws into a lid that is connected to the water tray and holds about 17oz of water. There is an attached piece of rope that doesn't serve a purpose, as it's too short to loop around the bottle to attach it a bag and is too slippery to knot. 

The first warning sign was the note on the label to not tilt the bottle upside down as it would leak. In our experience, when juggling a dog bag, purse, leash, cellphone, and all our other walk accessories, keeping our water supply upright is not normally a priority. After trying to figure out a way to attach it to our  bag and keep it upright (which is really hard when the rope attachment is totally useless), we headed off on our walk. Needless to say, things did not end well.

The second warning sign also came before we even put this baby into action. Nothing is more annoying or frustrating than a packaging label that won't come off. We tried the blow dryer, we tried the kitchen scrubber, we even ran in through the dishwasher... but there is no way the rest of this label is ever going to budge. NOT pretty. 

Unfortunately, as we don't have any other identifying details, we can't give you more specifics other than the fact that we purchased this at our local Pet Central. Luckily for you and your pup, there are so many other great options out there that we can dump this sucker in the trash! Stay tuned for more spend-worthy portable products as part of our Summer Hydration series. 

xoxo The Barkistas

Disclaimer: This product was purchased by us... and we would return it if we could. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pawgua Yappy Hour at The Salty Paw

On August 18th, join the awesome crew at The Salty Paw for "Yappy Hour" to celebrate the launch of Pawgua-- a new product for thirsty dogs on-the-go! Stop by Peck Slip between 5 and 7 PM to check out our favorite NYC doggy spot and snag a complimentary Pawgua for your pup. See below for more details!

xoxo The Barkistas

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Aqua Pure Breed in Action!

Our summer series focusing on hydration continues as Heatapocalypse NYC 2010 shows no signs of letting up! 

This weekend, with temperatures again in the 90's, we road tested Aqua Pure Breed's Premium Spring & Mineral Enhanced Water For Your On-The-Go Dog, and we're pleased to say so far it's our favorite! We received a box containing samples of Premium Spring Water (pink & blue lids), and grabbed one on our way out the door. 

Paddy tries to stash a "bottle" for later in her bed. 

Upon arriving at our destination, it was safe to say that both Paddy and I were ready for a little hydration. Simply unscrew the lid, remove the protective seal, and voila-- water, with no messy, leaky water bottle attachments to deal with! Not to mention, Paddy didn't hesitate to slurp away as soon as we put it down, which we think speaks to its traditional "water bowl" design (seriously, have you ever tried to convince a dog to drink out a plastic cup?). When Paddy had satisfied her thirst we screwed the lid back on and slipped it back into our bag. So easy. 

Paddy says, "Please stop watching me drink, it's kind of creepy."

While $2.69 may make this a little bit of investment, for us, the convenience and portability makes it worth it to have a few containers on hand. When empty, we also plan on saving the packaging (the pink bowls are just soooo cute), and filling it with tap water for future trips. 

To find out where to pick your Aqua Pure Breed water up from, visit their website, and while you're there, also check out their mineral enhanced water options as well.

What do you think? Would you buy "bottled" water for your dog?

xoxo The Barkistas

Disclaimer: Samples were provided by PR for review. Please see our disclaimer for more information. 
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