Lulu (2006-2017)

Posted: April 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

Lulu (2006-2017)

With great sadness and a heavy heart, I’d like to share the news that Dog Milk’s Amazing Lucy Bear Derringer, AKA Lulu, AKA Bubba, AKA Lubonzo, has passed away. She was surrounded by her family. Wherever she is now, we hope that she is eating endless slices of pizza.

Lulu was the inspiration for Dog Milk, and was one of its founding advisors. Here’s she is, hard at work on a new blog post:

We will never forget you, Lulu! ❤

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© 2017 Dog Milk | Posted by Jaime in Other | Permalink | No comments

The following post is brought to you by BarkBox. We’re very paw-ticular about our partners and only feature those we think are top dog.

BarkBox: A Monthly Offering to Your Canine Overlords

Dog Milk’s resident Space Pig (real name Smash) has a big ol’ question mark where his origin story should be. Other than being found wandering around in the desert, we’re not really sure where he came from, but our theory is he crash-landed on Earth during an interplanetary exploration mission gone bad–and got stuck with us mere humans. Until his home world can send a rescue team, we’re doing what we can to ensure that this far superior creature receives the adoration he deserves: through monthly offerings of amusements and delights–or what we here on planet Earth call a “BarkBox“.

BarkBox: The Best Monthly Subscription Box for Your Pup

BarkBox: The Best Monthly Subscription Box for Your Pup

Real talk, though: if you’re not familiar with BarkBox, it’s a subscription service (for canine overlords of all sizes–and Space Pigs, too!) that delivers a box full of mysterious goodies to your doorstep every month. Each box contains 2 bags of all-natural treats, 1 chew, and 2 high-quality, exclusive toys. Oh, and FYI: the chews and treats are all made in the USA and/or Canada! Got an extra playful pup or an especially demanding doggy sovereign? You can add an additional premium toy to your box for $9.


While Smash LOVES all the treats and toys, as the humble human my favorite part is opening the box and discovering the theme for each month. The folks at BarkBox go above and beyond to have unique (and often times hilarious) themes each and every time, making the “unboxing” a fun experience. Plus, if your dog falls head-over-paws for a certain toy or treat (or demands an additional offering), you can always order it again on

BarkBox: The Best Monthly Subscription Box for Your Pup

BarkBox: The Best Monthly Subscription Box for Your Pup

Ready to start making monthly offerings of “delights and amusements” to the doggy emperor in your life? Check out to find the right size and subscription for you!

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© 2017 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in Dining, Sponsor, Toys | Permalink | No comments

Hand Drawn Pet Portraits by Susanne Kasielke

German artist, illustrator, and surface designer Susanne Kasielke is a pencil fanatic, obsessive to-do list writer and, in her words, a collector of memories. Pencil has always been her favorite medium and recently she’s returned to this first love, creating realistic pencil drawings of animals as well as architectural sketches.

Hand Drawn Pet Portraits by Susanne Kasielke

Susanne’s beautifully-detailed illustration style is perfectly suited for pet portraits, as she’s able to capture even the smallest (and quirkiest) of details! Dog Milk’s own Wrigley and Smash recently had the honor of being drawn by Susanne and I think it’s safe to say that she completely nailed it. (I’m especially enamored with the way she captured Wrigley’s lush eyelashes and Smash’s little toofers.)

Hand Drawn Pet Portraits by Susanne Kasielke

Hand Drawn Pet Portraits by Susanne Kasielke

Susanne is currently accepting commissions for custom drawings of your favorite pets (or even your favorite locations) through her site, where you can see more examples of her work. Be sure to follow her on Instagram as well to get sneak peeks of upcoming portraits as well as finished pieces: @preserveamoment.

Hand Drawn Pet Portraits by Susanne Kasielke

Hand Drawn Pet Portraits by Susanne Kasielke

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© 2017 Dog Milk | Posted by capree in For Humans, Other | Permalink | No comments

Editor’s note: Have you seen the Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? This article appeared in our April-May issue. Subscribe to Dogster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

I live in Utah (and in Colorado before that), and there’s nothing I enjoy more than to be out on a mountain hike with my dogs. There are many things that could injure our dogs on such an adventure: other dogs (the biggest danger if owners have no control over them), bears, aggressive deer, mountain lions, snakes, falling off cliffs, getting caught in a lightning storm, overexertion, humans on bicycles, humans on ATVs and humans hunting during hunting season.

Of all of these dangers, the one I keep seeing special training for is for snakes. When I see these expensive weekend clinics that promise to teach your dog how to avoid snakes using shock collars, it makes me sad that dog owners fall for it. What about all of the other dangerous animals lurking outside that could potentially harm Fido? Should we shock our dogs any time they start sniffing anywhere outside? Silly to think about, isn’t it?

There is training that is better done every day by the owner — and done without pain or force. For most of my adult life, I have lived in the country. I explore outside every day that I can with as many as five off-leash dogs (on my own property) even deep in so-called “rattle snake country,” and not one of my dogs has been bitten by a snake. We certainly have encountered many snakes on our walks. Once, I looked out my window and saw a huge rattlesnake moving past one of my sleeping dogs. Just then my dog sat up and looked at the snake. I tapped on the window and gave my dog a hand signal for “Stay,” and he did. The snake slithered off, and no one was harmed.

Here’s how I trained my dogs to stay safe — using no fear, force or punishment — not just from snakes, but from all kinds of potential dangers out in the world. You need four things: Relationship, Recall, Leave It and a Leash.

1. Relationship

This is paramount in all situations with your dogs. I want my dogs to always love being near me. I work hard to clearly communicate what behaviors I love for my dogs to offer me, and they are richly rewarded for doing what I want them to do. The dog learns from puppyhood that I am tons of fun to be around and that he never has to fear me. I train dogs to seek me out for comfort, fun and assistance should they find themselves in any kind of trouble. If a dog has to choose between chasing wildlife or me, I always want him to choose me.

2. Recall

One of the top truly lifesaving skills to teach your dog is a solid recall. I start training a recall off leash. I use really motivational food, and when the dog is a few feet from me, I say, “Come!” and back up while holding out the training morsel in front of me. I do this in low-distraction rooms in my home where I can control the environment. Once I have compliance every time, I train with random rates of reinforcement but still in the house. I slowly add distractions, such as a toy on the floor or a less desirable piece of food. I am still working off leash. If you find you’ve moved too quickly, and your dog is ignoring you, adjust your training. If a dog ignores me after I have ensured he understands what I am asking, I just walk away and shut the closest door. I remove myself. I come back and ask again. It works.

Once I have an excellent indoor off-leash recall, I move outside but with a leash. After I have excellent recall work on leash, I will switch to a longer line and work up to yet another excellent recall. Finally, after many, many successful recalls on leash with added distractions, then and only then do I move to recalls with no leash outside. It works. It also takes some work, but your dog is worth it!

3. Leave it

“Leave it” is a crucial cue for your dog to understand. There are many ways to teach this one, just do so in a forceand fear-free manner. The last thing you want when you do come across a snake is to scream LEAVE IT at your dog, and he freezes in fear for being punished in the past while learning to leave something.

4. Leash

You can avoid all kinds of natural dangers simply by keeping your dog on a 6-foot or longer (but not retractable) leash. Even if you’re hiking in an area where dogs are permitted to be off leash, snakes (and other wildlife) have not read human rules and can be anywhere. If you don’t have the above three items down solidly, keep Fido safe and on leash.

The post How to Train Your Dog to Avoid Snakes and Other Potential Dangers appeared first on Dogster.

It seems like yesterday I was trying to tone down Chipper’s leaping, sprinting and quick-turn maneuvering — especially inside my home. I envied her nonstop energy. Now nearing her 14th birthday, my slow-moving Husky-Golden Retriever mix needs time to rise up from a nap and to steady her legs.

Chipper has arthritis in the spine and, like many of you with dogs dealing with arthritis, I ache emotionally each time I watch my good old dog walk gingerly, wince or let out a short yip from pain. It’s tough to find specific statistics on the percentage of dogs who develop arthritis, but arthritis is more apt to strike large breed dogs like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers; dogs with long backs like Dachshunds and Pembroke Welsh Corgis as well as any canine who is overweight or, worse, obese.

So, what do you do to relieve pain and mobility limitations in your arthritic dog — and more importantly, what can you do to possibly even prevent this disease from showing up?

Two simple but powerful solutions: exercise and diet. By keeping your dog engaged in some form of daily exercise, you can prevent him from transforming into a canine couch potato. By not dishing up overflowing bowls of kibble and excessively heaping on treats, you can keep him from morphing into a hairy ottoman.

Research conducted in 2015 by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that more than one half of adult dogs in the United States are overweight. Sporting extra pounds not only spurs arthritis, diabetes and heart disease but reduces the dog’s life span by two to five years compared to dogs kept at healthy weights and exercised regularly.

“Combining an exercise routine (like taking daily walks on level surfaces, rolling the ball during fetch sessions and swimming in safe bodies of water) with proper diet that keeps your dog at a healthy weight can positively affect the health of your dog,” declared Nancy Soares, D.V.M., president of the American Animal Hospital Association and owner of the Macungie Animal Hospital in Macungie, Pennsylvania.

Dog swimming by Shutterstock

Dog swimming by Shutterstock

Denis Marcellin-Little, DACVS, DECVS, a certified canine rehabilitation veterinarian and associate professor of orthopedics at North Carolina State in Raleigh, added, “Being overweight can certainly accelerate the progress of osteoarthritis and make mobility much more limited. Mobility is immensely important in dogs for their longevity, comfort and joy.”

And here’s a surprising fact: Excessive fat tissue not only packs on the pounds and impairs mobility, but these tissues (known as adipose tissues) actually secrete hormones that promote pain.

“Adipose tissue is a major endocrine organ within the body that secretes hormones and other substances, and these substances secreted trigger an inflammation cascade, which brings about pain,” Dr. Soares explained.

Even if your dog is diagnosed with arthritis, be it in the form of hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis of the knee or other joint, our experts assessed some tactics to ease the aches and pains:

1. Nutraceuticals do best in supporting roles

Consult your veterinarian about the possible benefits of providing supplements like glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM to your adult dog before or at the early signs of arthritis. “While most products in this category are not studied and cannot make claims regarding their efficacy, anecdotally, anti-inflammatory benefits can be seen,” Dr. Soares said.

2. Think outside the (conventional) box

Acupuncture, therapeutic massage, hydrotherapy and laser therapy may be beneficial, but make sure they’re administered by certified professionals. “Hydrotherapy is a form of exercise, so it is effective, but realistically, it is easier to take your dog on a walk than finding a place that offers an underwater treadmill,” Dr. Marcellin-Little said.

3. Fight the pain safely

Pain management medications prescribed by a veterinarian, such as anti-inflammatories and analgesics, can reduce swelling and pain in the joints, but steer clear of human medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), as they are both extremely toxic to dogs.

4. Weigh the benefits of surgery

Yes, some dogs do well with joint replacement surgeries, but make sure the operation is performed by a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. “Our pets deserve specialty treatment when advanced care is warranted,” Dr. Soares said.

5. The jury is still out on stem cell therapy to treat arthritis in dogs

“There is limited clinical evidence to support the expense and invasiveness of stem cell therapy,” Dr. Soares said. “Additional research is underway to determine the best treatment and efficacy for the best outcome.”

6. Tap the powers of turmeric

A holistic option being hailed by veterinarians and physicians is turmeric, a powerful spice that new studies show has the ability to help lessen arthritic inflammation. Also consider adding turmeric root to your dog’s diet as a preventive aid in the battle against arthritis. A little bit goes a long way (see our suggested recipe that includes turmeric root powder).

The parting message: “The big three weapons in combating osteoarthritis in dogs are managing pain with medications, losing excess weight and exercising regularly to help your dog stay strong and have good joint mobility,” Dr. Marcellin-Little said. “Your dog will feel better and move better and, hopefully, enjoy a long, quality life.”

Want to try turmeric?

Spices by Gina Cioli/Lumina Media

Spices by Gina Cioli/Lumina Media

Check out this recipe for Golden Paste by Australian veterinarian Doug English (BVSc) from his website As always, consult with your veterinarian for best treatments for your pet’s specific health issue.


  • 1 ⁄2 cup turmeric powder
  • 1 cup water, plus 1 cup water in reserve (if needed)
  • 1 ⁄3 cup raw, cold pressed or unrefined coconut, extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed-linseed oil
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (Omit if dog can’t tolerate, although the recipe states it will be less effective.) powder


  1. Place turmeric and water 3 in pan. Stir over gentle heat until you have a thick paste. (About 7 to 10 minutes; add additional water if necessary.)
  2. Add pepper and oil. Whisk to incorporate the oil; allow to cool.
  3. Place in jar with lid and refrigerate. Add 1 ⁄4 teaspoon of paste per 10 pounds of body weight to your pet’s diet.

The post How to Relieve Arthritis Aches in Your Dog appeared first on Dogster.

I come from an Italian family, so my personal relationship with garlic is what you might call “cemented into my DNA.” In the house where I grew up, garlic was used to season almost everything except breakfast cereal. So as you might expect, our family dogs were around the stuff on a regular basis. But it was always stored up high, out of the way. That’s because we’d been taught that garlic is harmful to hounds.

Over the years, I’ve asked my dog-loving friends for their opinions on garlic; and without exception, I’ve received the same decisive reply: “Garlic kills canines.” Yet curiously, I’ve often encountered the opposite insight while researching animal nutrition. Garlic is already considered a beneficial herb for humans — and apparently, several animal health experts believe it’s a worthy wellness ally for furry friends too. So really, what’s the story?

Reeking of confusion

Native to Central Asia, garlic is a species in the onion genus, Allium. That means its close relatives include onions, leeks, chives and shallots.  Make no mistake that onions are extremely toxic for your four-legged friend. That’s because they contain high concentrations of the sulfate ion thiosulphate, which can damage a canine’s red blood cells and lead to a condition called Heinz hemolytic anemia. In her book Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine, veterinarian Dr. Susan Wynn points out that this same ailment can be triggered by benzocaine-based topical preparations and acetaminophen ingestion… and it can be deadly.

So garlic’s built-in “onion association” has prompted concern. Further complicating perceptions, however, a 2000 Hokkaido University study showed that four dogs fed steady amounts of garlic extract for seven consecutive days demonstrated red blood cell changes. While none of these dogs developed acute anemia or outward toxicity symptoms, wary researchers issued a garlic warning.

Similarly, if you were to research recent communications distributed by the ASPCA, Pet Poison Helpline and various pet insurance companies, you’d probably see garlic listed as a significant canine health hazard. In fact, during one interview with Pet Life Radio, ASPCA veterinary toxicologist Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant noted that even small amounts of ingested garlic may cause underlying red blood cell damage.

Yet some animal herbalists like Rita Hogan, co-founder of Farm Dog Naturals, have emphasized that the Hokkaido study relied upon garlic extract fed in fairly excessive amounts. Interestingly, those same animal researchers eventually softened their original recommendation; noting that allicin, another compound found in garlic, can demonstrate positive effects on cardiovascular and immune function.

Dog sitting at table by Shutterstock.

Dog sitting at table by Shutterstock.

Pungent possibilities

Certain holistic animal care experts feel confident enough to praise fresh, food-based garlic outright — noting its antiseptic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-parasitic properties.

One such noted expert is holistic veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker, who has observed that fresh garlic, fed within six hours of crushing, can naturally help repel fleas and ticks. In the book New Choices in Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats, holistic veterinarian Dr. Thomas Van Cise cites limited servings of fresh garlic as a safe, healthful way to stimulate canine appetite. Additionally, holistic veterinarian Dr. Richard Pitcairn touts garlic as both a flea/tick repellant and an effective appetite stimulant. In his book, Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, he observes that “not only is garlic tasty to many pets, it also helps to tone up the digestive tract and discourage worms and other parasites, including fleas. Garlic is particularly potent when it’s added fresh.” Other advocates include veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein, author of The Nature of Animal Healing; and veterinarian Dr. Shawn Messonnier, author of The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs.

Before deciding whether you want to explore garlic as a dietary addition for your own dog, it’s crucial to remember that different pets may react in different ways to any food or supplement. That’s why careful consideration, plus a candid conversation with your own trusted vet, is often the smartest approach. It’s also why jumping in “whole hog” is a dangerous idea.

Given its demonstrated effect on red blood cells, for example, garlic should be avoided in pets with pre-existing anemic conditions; or in young puppies whose immune system is still developing. It should also off-limits when an animal is scheduled for surgery. Additionally, the Johns Hopkins Lupus Center notes that garlic can stimulate the human immune system. That means in humans (and theoretically animals as well), ingestion could potentially amp up an immune response that’s already in overdrive.

Seasoned with care

Let’s say you’ve researched the pros and cons of fresh, food-based garlic; discussed opinions with your vet; and decided that it might be worth a watchful try. Remember that careful dosage level and feeding frequency is imperative. It’s always wise to start very small, and monitor very carefully.

For example, Dr. Pitcairn’s book generally recommends a conservative fresh garlic feeding approach for canines, based upon body weight. Keep in mind that “one clove” of fresh garlic generally equals roughly 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic. The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog and Cat, by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, recommends this schedule:

  • 10 to 15 pounds – up to ½ clove daily
  • 20 to 40 pounds – up to 1 clove daily
  • 45 to 70 pounds – up to 2 cloves daily
  • 75 pounds and over – up to 2 ½ cloves daily

Animal herbalist Gregory Tilford, author of All You Ever Wanted to Know About Herbs for Pets, also notes that very limited amounts of powdered garlic can be used to help stimulate appetite. Tilford maintains that most dogs can safely consume up to 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder per pound of food, no more than three times per week. Again, for safety’s sake, it’s always a good idea to build up to this very gradually.

Have you ever investigated garlic for your furry friend? Share your own insights here.

The post Is Garlic Good or Bad for Dogs? appeared first on Dogster.

As a volunteer firefighter, Jason Parker deals with a lot of stress. As part of the jaws team, Jason helps free people from their vehicles after highway collisions. There were days he couldn’t talk to any person about the things he’d seen — but he could always talk to his black Lab, Gunnar.

“He was almost my therapy dog after difficult calls,” Jason tells Dogster.

Gunnar was always there for Jason, but on February 16, 2014, their roles reversed when Gunnar was hit by a car after trotting too far down the driveway. Now, it was Jason’s turn to be the support system.

“I was working that evening, and my wife called me and told me he had gotten hit — I was just in shock — and that he couldn’t get up, couldn’t move.”

Jason told his supervisor and left work, and then raced to the after-hours veterinary clinic to meet his wife, Stephanie. When Jason looked in the back of Stephanie’s car he saw his best friend was in bad shape.

“He’s a 110-pound Lab, and he’s never ever shown pain before. His nose was split open, he was missing teeth, he was crying — and I’d never heard this dog so much as whimper.”

X-rays didn’t reveal Gunnar’s spinal injuries, so the vet sent him home with stitches in his nose and told Jason to monitor his condition. The duo slept on the floor together, and in the morning, Gunnar still couldn’t stand.

Jason reached out to a childhood friend — now a veterinarian — who lives in another state.

Jason made sure Gunnar had the right care. (Photo courtesy Gunnar’s Wheels)

“I texted her pictures, and she instructed me to immediately take him to a university vet hospital.”

The closest one, the University of Minnesota, was two and half hours from Jason’s house. He fashioned a makeshift gurney from a piece of plywood and got Gunnar into the car. This was the beginning of an expensive medical journey.

“Right up front they wanted about $6,000 for an MRI, and they wanted about $2,000 for the surgery,” says Jason. “We maxed out our credit cards right there at the University of Minnesota.”

Of course, the expense was worth it to Jason. He was willing to do whatever it took to get Gunnar better. A week later, with a stretcher borrowed from his local vet clinic, Jason brought Gunnar home. Gunnar had the love of his people, but he needed one more thing: a $600 Walkin’ Wheels cart.

The Parkers were on a pretty tight budget after spending thousands of dollars on Gunnar’s surgery and ongoing vet care.

“My friends stepped up and donated the money for his cart,” Jason explains. “I knew we would pay it forward someday.”

With the cart and a special sling, Gunnar was able to stay active despite the paralysis in his back end. His family helped him with physical therapy, even taking him down to his favorite pond for water therapy. Every day, Gunnar got stronger.

Gunnar still loves the outdoors. (Photo courtesy Gunnar’s Wheels)

Meanwhile, Jason got busy online, connecting with others with paralyzed pets. Eventually, a Facebook friend asked him if he could help Hope, a Pit Bull mix in Houston, get a cart like Gunnar’s.

“She was picked up by BARC in Houston. She’s been hit by a car and crawled under a house to die.”

Jason found a secondhand Walk n’ Wheels cart — the same kind Gunnar uses — on Craigslist. He cleaned it up and sent it down to Houston for Hope. That’s how the non-profit Gunner’s Wheels was born.

“When I saw the video of Hope, I turned to my wife and said ‘this is how we’re gonna start giving back.’”

Gunnar’s Wheels has provided 130 wheelchairs to 152 animals. When an animal passes away or recovers, the cart comes back to Jason to be refurbished and sent to another paralyzed pet.

A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $80,000 for the cause, and Gunnar’s Wheels was recently dubbed GoFundMe’s April hero.

As for Gunnar, he is now 10 years old and still loving life on wheels. Jason says their relationship got even stronger after the accident. Before Gunnar was paralyzed, Jason used to talk to Gunnar about his day — now, Gunnar talks back, using a series of soft barks, grunts and meaningful looks to communicate his needs.

“I don’t know if he knows it, but he’s helped a lot of dogs,” Jason says.

The post Gunnar the Lab Helps Other Paralyzed Dogs Get Moving Again appeared first on Dogster.