Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Win a Plexidor Pet Door!

The PlexiDor is sturdy, safe, and
easy to use. A PlexiDor does not
require replacement flaps.
On Fridays, Modern Dog Magazine have giveaways on their Facebook page, and they call it "Friday Freebies." This Friday (March 1st) they're giving away a large PlexiDor Pet Door!

The large door is recommended for dogs up to 100 lbs, but the panels open so easily that smaller dogs can use it without problems.

The contest opens at 9 AM PST, which is noon eastern time. To enter, visit Modern Dog Magazine's Facebook page, and comment on the post about the door, telling Modern Dog why you want it.

To read more about the door, visit!

Dogs like light too!

At last week's Global Pet Expo, one booth caught attention through two magnificent Golden Retrievers. They showed the PupLight - a flashlight designed for dogs. 

Why would a dog need a flashlight? Excellent question. In my case, we live by a large road, and one of my dogs loves late night walks. I always worry the cars won't see us, and having her carry her own flashlight seemed like a good idea. It works; all of a sudden, the cars gave wide berth.

The PupLight comes with a collar and an extension band for larger dogs. It can also be worn on the dog's regular collar. The light is very bright, and it hangs down a little so it's not easily shaded by a long coat.

The triple LED lights allowed my dog to see what she was doing - and I could see what she was up to. It also made cleaning up easier; I've tried carrying a flashlight myself, but that becomes complicated when holding a dog, a bag, and possibly a cell phone. Much easier to have the dog help out.

If you're out and about at night, the PupLight is an inexpensive investment that might make life easier.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Creepy crawly... crickets?

Armstrong's Crickets at Global Pet Expo
One of the booths at Global Pet Expo that left the most long lasting expression was Armstrong's Crickets. Their exhibit both crawled and chirped!

The crickets are used as food for various pets, such as lizards, and they are bought live. Seeing this display kind of made me want a little cricket farm! Nothing big scale, just a little desktop thing. Guess a few crickets can turn into many in a short period of time, though...

Besides live crickets and mealworms, the booth also boasted chocolate covered crickets, and cricket lollipops. I wouldn't eat one, but I'm a vegetarian, so my taste is probably a moot point...

Cricket lollipop

The booth also showed crickets in different life stages, from tiny to rather big. My incredibly brave colleague Maya got in close contact with them.

I have to admit I'm kind of afraid of bugs, but these were cute. They didn't exactly like sitting on a person, but they were good sports for the photo opportunity!

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Global Pet Expo

Bone-shaped, biodegradable
packing material
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the 2013 Global Pet Expo. This is the pet industry's largest annual trade show and I knew it was going to be big. I didn't understand how big. There were nearly 1,000 exhibitors from 65 countries introducing everything from bone-shaped packing material to crickets! 

The bone-shaped packing material fascinated me; what a sweet gesture if someone buys a present for a dog lover!

We had a booth, of course, showing the PlexiDor pet doors, the electronic door, as well as the security plate. I know I'm biased, but I love the backdrop with all the dogs!

PlexiDor's booth at Global Pet Expo 2013.
The door to the far right on the photo is electronic, and the black portion goes up and down like a garage door. It's sturdy; you can hit it with a baseball bat without causing any damage to the door. It wouldn't be a pleasant experience though, because the bat would bounce back...

There were many new and fascinating products, and I caught the opportunity to get samples of some of them.

Keep your eyes on the blog during the week; we will post some reviews and spotlights as our office dogs get to try everything.

Pet brush with retractable bristles.
I already have some personal favorites, like the Warm Ups - my dogs tried one last night, and thought it was the best thing ever.

Other personal favorites are a self-cleaning retractable brush from the Idea Factory. The bristles disappear inside the brush with the click of a button, making the brush easy to clean and store.

Antler dog chews.
I also love the Wild Chews from Double E Pet Products. Antlers make great dog chews because they're healthy, give clean teeth, last pretty well even for intense chewers, and generally don't upset the dogs' stomachs like rawhide and other products can.

More information and photos of all these things will be on the blog during the week.

These overview images don't make the show justice, but at least it gives a hint to the size.

Now when I know what to expect, I'm already looking forward to the 2014 Global Pet Expo!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Almost time for the 2013 Doglympics!

February 23 it's time for the fifth consecutive Orlando Doglympics. Everyone has an opportunity to shine and win an award, and there's everything from a Lure Course to Obedience Baseball and Peanut Butter Licks! 

A number of rescues will be there to show off adoptable dogs, Florida Service Dogs will be there, and a number of vendors offer their products.

This year, the event serves as a fundraiser for the Doglando Foundation - an educational organization that promotes responsible dog ownership - and the arrangers expect some 6,000 visitors.

If you want to check it out, it is at 3702 Avalon Park E Blvd in Orlando, FL, between 9 AM and 4 PM.

Admission is free, and dogs are welcome.

Photo from Jeff Kraus:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cutest Marine Ever!

With that header it would be easy to think I'm talking about a man or woman in uniform, but no... While the US Marine Corps is surely filled with fantastic humans, this is a blog about pets. Meet Chesty!

Image from:

According to the Washington Times, Chesty is nine weeks old and has just entered recruit training. He is a pedigree English bulldog and future Marine Corpse mascot, and arrived at the Marine Barracks in Washington D.C. on Valentine's Day.

The Marines have had official mascots since 1922, when a bulldog named Jiggs was officially enlisted. Jiggs lived on the base in Quantico, Virginia. The barracks in Washington DC have been the home of the Marine mascots since the late 1950s.

I bet this sleeping puppy has no clue what an exciting future awaits him. He is about to enter obedience school, and will eventually earn the title of Marine. He'll get to march in many events, and wear a custom made uniform. He'll be named the next Marine Corps mascot on March 29.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Will a pet door make my home less secure?

The honest answer is, "maybe" - it depends on what pet door it is, and the size, of course. Different manufacturers have different solutions, and being able to lock might or might not be an issue.

The PlexiDor pet door comes with lock and key as well as a steel security plate to make it virtually impossible for intruders to enter through the pet door. 

The lock features a steel cam inside a hardened metal cylinder. Turn the key to lock or unlock, and keep unwanted guests outside.

When looking at photos, it's easy to get the PlexiDor backwards. When I first saw it, I thought, "Isn't that mighty unpractical - I have to go out and around the house to lock...?"

The frame with the lock goes inside the house, of course. I know that now... ;-)

Every PlexiDor (except size small) is delivered with a steel security plate. This is easily installed when leaving the house for a longer period of time, when wanting to signal to the pets that the door is locked, or whenever extra security is desired.

The small door doesn't come with a security plate because it's too small for anyone to get through.

If the security plate is used every day, there is a convenient PlexiDor sliding track system available. Slide the security plate down the track into place, and lock it with a handy flip lock feature.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Not for doggies!

For the pooch, human food can be oh so tempting. Some foods are okay to share, of course, but others can be lethal, and danger lurks in unexpected places. Here are some of the major things to watch out for.


Chocolate is good, right? Well, not if you're a dog, and with Valentine's day here, there will be a lot of it around. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine. This is a cardiac stimulant that doesn't affect humans much, but it can be lethal to a dog. The dog can seem perfectly fine up to several hours after eating chocolate, and death can still ensue within 24 hours.

A dog that has eaten chocolate can exhibit symptoms that include: staggering, problems breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, tummy pains, tremors, fever, seizures, and coma. Milk chocolate contains the least cocoa and is the least dangerous. Dark chocolate is really bad. If your dog ate chocolate, or if you suspect your dog ate chocolate, don't gamble with their life: go see a vet. Most cities have pet emergency rooms open even during nights and holidays.

Cocoa Powder

Both cocoa powder and cooking chocolate are chocolate. They don't taste as good to us, but that's just because it's more concentrated. These forms are even more toxic than your run-of-the-mill candy bar, and contain ten times more theobromine than milk chocolate. 

A small dog can get really sick from just licking chocolate icing. A twenty-two pound dog can become seriously ill or even die from as little as two ounces of cocoa powder.


Onions seem harmless, but both onions and garlic contain a substance called thiosulphate. This causes hemolytic anaemia, which means the pet's red blood cells burst while circulating through the body. Symptoms are labored breathing, liver damage, vomiting, diarrhea, and discolored urine. The poisoning might not show until days after the pet ate onion. 

Onions can be difficult to watch out for because they're hidden in all sorts of food. Watch out for onion dip, chips, left over pizza, commercial baby food with onions, chinese food, gravies...


Some dogs react very badly to certain species of mushrooms. Symptoms include tummy aches, drooling, liver damage, kidney damage, vomiting, diarrhea, convusions, coma and... death. Not all dogs and not all mushrooms, though.

Grapes and Raisins

Most dogs love grapes and raisins, but they're bad, bad, bad. Some dogs don't seem to react at all, others get violently ill from just a handful. Don't gamble, give your dog something else. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, and lethargy. (Grapeseed oil, used in many paw revitalizers, is poisonous to many other animals, but dogs don't seem to react to it.)

Macadamia nuts

These might not kill your dog, but they do have high levels of phosphorous and can lead to bladder stones. Dogs get muscle problems, weakness, and even paralysis of their hind legs. Affected dogs are often unable to rise up.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Global pet expo and some interesting numbers.

Global Pet Expo is the pet industry's largest annual trade show, and takes place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, February 20-22.

The show is intended for industry professionals and grows every year. According to the Global Pet Expo website, this year presents 990 booths showing everything from pet beds to aquariums.

To me, almost a thousand booths sounds incredible, and it inspired me to look up some numbers. According to the 2011-2012 APPA National Pet Owner's Survey, 62% of US households own a pet, of some sort. This is approximately 73 million homes.

The survey breaks ownership down in some interesting numbers.

Pet type Number of households Number of pets
Freshwater fish      
Saltwater fish
Small animal   

86.4 million cats and 78.2 million dogs, that's a lot of cats and dogs! The APPA page also concludes American households spent approximately 20.43 billion dollars on pet food under 2012.

The large number of pets is starting to affect businesses not traditionally geared towards this market. Many hotels across the country are installing new pet-friendly policies that include everything from pet pillows to gift packages with pet toys and treats. There are cat and dog spas, pet massages, and pet seat belts. Many companies one wouldn't associate with pets - like Harley Davidson and Old Navy - carry lines of pet products such as brand-name toys, gourmet treats, and clothing.

If you visit the Global pet expo, PlexiDor representatives Maya and Robert will be there to greet visitors and show the doors in action. The are at booth 1155 and love company, so if you're there, stop by and say hi to them!

Friday, February 8, 2013

What is an electronic pet door?

An electronic pet door lets your furry friend have a key to the home. Many electronic doors just release a latch so the pet can push the door open, but the PlexiDor is a little different: it has a composite panel that slides up and down like a miniature electronic garage door. 

The door and key use RFID, and when a pet with a key comes close, the door reads the pre-programmed code. If it's the right code, it will open. When the panel is closed, it acts as a security door. It has a safety to prevent it from closing if something is in the way, thus a pet's tail or paws can't get stuck in it.

It is easy to program the door, and easy to add keys for more than one pet. One can also choose how long the door should stay open.

Visit the PlexiDor website to learn more!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What's up with that nose?

Most dog owners know their furry friends have a fantastic sense of smell. Put into numbers, the dog's nose is truly amazing.

  • Dogs can smell about 1,000 times better than humans. A human has about five million smell-detecting cells, while the average dog has more than 220 million. The part of the brain that interprets all this information is four times larger in dogs than in humans.
  • Some dogs can smell dead bodies under water. They can smell where termites are hiding, and natural gas buried under 40 feet of dirt.
  • Trained dogs can detect cancer too small to be detected by medical equipment, and can find lung cancer through sniffing a person's breath.
  • Dog nose prints are as unique as human finger prints, and can be used to identify them.
  • A dog's nose being wet means it can collect more of the tiny droplets of smelly chemicals in the air.

Besides the nose, a pair of average dog ears also outclass humans. A dog can locate the source of a sound in 1/600 of a seconds, and can hear sounds four times further away than a human.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What size of PlexiDor pet door do you really need?

PlexiDor medium silver,
fits most pets up to 40 lbs.
Finding the right size of anything can be difficult, even when it comes to humans. Speaking of pets, the terms small, medium, and large can mean almost anything, depending on the frame of reference.

The PlexiDor pet door comes with a 90 day unconditional money back guarantee, so getting the wrong size doesn't have to be a disaster. It's still easier to get it right at once, particularly before making a hole in the door or the wall.

Don't be too worried if the door looks a little small; dogs generally duck their heads while going through, so the opening doesn't have to be as tall as the pet. If you have larger and smaller pets together, the panels on the PlexiDor swing so easily smaller dogs and cats can usually open even large doors without problems.

To make sizing easier, we have put together a convenient sizing chart, see below. Some breeds have great variations in size, of course, so see the breed examples as general guidelines.

The small PlexiDor is small. It's useful for dogs up to nine pounds, and cats up to twenty-four pounds. If you're uncertain whether to pick a small or medium door, the Plexidor website can put you in contact with a helpful reseller. You can also e-mail us to discuss and get advice.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pet door through glass!

In many houses, the best route to the outside goes through a glass door or even a window. Historically, mounting a pet door in glass has been nearly impossible, but the PlexiDor glass conversion kit changes everything.

Just as always, a PlexiDor can be mounted through a household door or a wall, but it can also go through a sliding patio door, french style door, or even a window.

The PlexiDor glass conversion pet door can be installed in the same thickness of glass that's already there, whether it is single or double-pane safety glass.

For more information, visit the PlexiDor glass division!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dog of the month: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, or Toller for short, is a Canadian medium sized dog bred primarily for hunting. The Toller is known to be athletic, compact, balanced, and powerful. They are very intelligent and affectionate, and have high energy.

The Toller was bred to retrieve from icy waters, and these dogs have a water-repellent double coat paired with a soft, dense undercoat. They're generally red, and have webbed feet.