Momma Told Me: August 2017

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Life's Short- Let Your Pets Play With Their Food

This post is sponsored by Petmate® and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share information about Petmate’s JW Hol-ee Gourmet™ line of interactive dog toys, but Momma Told Me only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Petmate™ is not responsible for the content of this article.
I learned a long time ago that life deserves all the flavor you can get your paws on. If something ignites one or more of your senses, hoard it. Bottle it up and sprinkle it on everything. After all, that's how you know you're alive.

I've raised our fur children with just as much enthusiasm.

Don't get me wrong- nutrition and diet are some of the most important things I'm tasked with as their caregiver, but part of being owned by a human is having the chance to experience a smorgasbord of sites, tastes, and experiences an ordinary yard dog might not. That's part of the reason I decided that Nora's favorite color was Teal- because life's too short to be dull and such a sassy dog needed a sassy color to strut around downtown in.
Since Nora was our first canine-child she also got spoiled with a plethora of adorable toys. Most of which never made it out of the toy bin, and were simply there for photo opportunities or decoration. However a, much wiser and seasoned, pet parent had suggested a specific brand to us, JW® Pets by Petmate. She'd seen one of Nora's infamous harness patterns (the one with the sugar skulls) and instantly knew we'd love JW® Pets for their range of tongue in cheek, yet practical and innovative, pet toys.

We'd started simple at first, with some tough Megalast Bear chew toys and an appropriate iSqueak Bouncin' Bowling Pin that helped ease Nora's teething pains and destructive puppy habits. I have many blurry cellphone pics of her gnawing away or cuddling with those JW® toys!
As I said, we fell in love with the JW Pets brand first-most for their tongue-in-cheek modern toy designs. Adorable, brightly colored, characters and shapes I actually wanted strewn across the floor in our home. Even better they were TOUGH- they withstood years, yes, years of chewing without becoming mangled, filthy, or unrecognizable. So much so that, when we added a new canine to our family the first toy we pulled out of Nora's old toy bin was that trusty JW bowling pin.
Oh- yes, our NEW family member.

Well, I suppose now is as good a time as any to introduce Miss Gidget, the- well, we're not sure what she is, aside from super tiny. She's almost 6 months old, fits in my shoe, and has yet to break the 2lb mark on the scale. She has a heck of a foster story to tell, but that's for another post.

In any case, with Gidget being at that age where she has the urge to, literally, rip baby teeth out- and Nora being at the age where she just wants all the delicious things she can get her snout on, we were delighted to discover the newest JW® Pets by Petmate® innovation, Hol-ee Gourmet™ collection. If you've ever been at the pet store and seen the rubber ball-like toys with holes in them (maybe even 'feet') then you've probably seen a JW® Hol-ee toy before. We had half a dozen at one point in Nora's puppy-hood, they were the best for stuffing treats in and occupying her for hours.
Petmate®'s JW® Hol-ee Gourmet™ toys take that concept to a whole, or should I say hole, new level. Sold in 2 different sizes and available through, or in store at PetSmart, these adorable food themed toys encourage your furry companions to play with their food. I'd even say they help your dog work their brain through intelligent treating that makes treats last longer; keeping pesky pups occupied and out of trouble.

You'll find Hol-ee Gourmet in a turkey leg, peanut, and steak design; each with their own unique shapes and engaging treat presentations. The durable, chew ready, outer 'cage' of the toys are great for teething and cleaning teeth while also holding larger treats (such as jerky and nuggets) inside. Both of our dogs go nuts trying to figure out how to get their treats out, and spend hours gnawing and pawing away at them.
The inner 'bone' part of the toy is built for softer treating, such as peanut butter, or other spreads. Tuck something tasty in the narrow holes and grooves of the bones and watch your pup's tongue go to town, flavor town. Alllllll right.

If I'm acting extra cheesy (side note: tell JW Pets to make a Cheese shaped Hol-ee) it's because these toys are simply fun for the entire family. I get a kick out of watching the two misfits fight over them and work on getting the other's treats out first. Our Petmate JW Hol-ee Gourmets also came with a Himalayan Pets Yaky Puff treat sample which already is long lasting outside oft he toy, and has lasted us up to a week per puff inside!
You could say Gidget was skeptical at first- it's typical puppy logic that nothing exciting is ever presented to you. Protocol dictates you must destroy and explore everything that which is kept just out of reach (shoes, important documents, half full cups sitting on the coffee table next to the couch....) But the smell of those Yaky Puffs really won her over, and she actually has been the only of the 2 girls to figure out how to use her paws to help retrieve the treats nestled inside.
I really can't say enough about the adorable trendy designs of these JW Pets Hol-ee Gourmet treat toys- the turkey leg is absolutely genius for small and tiny dogs like Gidget. The drumstick leg 'bone' pulls out for the dog to gnaw on. I keep trying to get a shot of Gidget dragging this giant toy drumstick around by it's bone, but she's already quite camera aware! I have, however, been able to get plenty of exhausted shots, like the one above, of her passed out cuddling with it after hours of slurping and chewing.
In the spirit of tongue in cheek containers I decided to give Gidget's toys their own dedicated home. I'd been holding onto an old footstool I'd found for a couple bucks at the local Goodwill. I knew I wanted to re-purpose it but I wasn't sure how until inspiration hit in the form of Hol-ee Gourmet and an adorable fleece print at the craft store.
I still remember the days where I would have tried to turn this footstool into a bed for Nora, back when she was 'tiny'. Okay, she'll still pretty small but she looks like a bull moose next to Gidget!
The stool, itself, was in pretty good condition minus the ugly original fabric and some yellowing to the white paint job, rendering it 'cream' in color. What I loved most, though, was the unsuspecting 'secret' compartment that was revealed when one tilted the stool top back. The perfect hiding place for all of the toys and treats a 2lb dog could ever want or dream of.
I don't claim to be an expert in upholstery. In fact, I know nothing about upholstery.

If the stool had been in worse condition I would have taken the time to sand down the old paint job, and tear off the old fabric, possibly replacing the batting inside. Since everything seemed well and in tact, and free of mold/stains, I opted to carefully unscrew the hardware and give the wood base a fresh coat of hot pink spray paint.

While my second coat was drying I cut my fleece fabric to size and (using a heavy duty staple gun) attached it to the inside seam of the footstool top. It wasn't the cleanest of jobs but, let's be honest, it's the inside of the container and will hardly ever be seen. If you do attempt to do this quick and dirty, like me, be sure to mark where you screws/hardware goes in with markers or holes so you can easily re-attach them later. I was so excited about Nora's helping efforts and the fun fleece I forgot to and had to do some fancy measuring later.
(Note: Do not spray aerosol paints around pets- please always wear proper eye and face protection when choosing to paint with aerosols. Our pups were only allowed outside later in the drying process.)

I had a hard time waiting for the base to dry before assembly. I'm the sort of person who likes my gratification NOW- haha, maybe I should take a lesson from the dogs. Nora and Gidget certainly found something delicious to do in the mean time.
Sometimes I think people envision our home as one giant barfing neon rainbow. 

Sure- I love bright, bold, colors but I can't help what 'the girls' love. Kidding.

The key to living life fun, and tongue-in-cheek is by choosing smart accent pieces that make a statement while still being practical. Kinda like JW Pets' Hol-ee Gourmet toys, stylish dog treat toys that occupy my four-pawed friends while adding a little splash of design too our home. We probably won't keep the footstool front and center always- we'll rotate it in and out of rooms, but it'll always be practical for hiding those less than attractive chewed up toys and treats- haha!
This stylish tongue in cheek 'taco dog' footstool upcycle is hiding a secret storage space for your dog's favorite toys and treats, much like #jwpets #holeegourmet treat toys, now at PetSmart! #AD
I'll admit, whenever I design, or buy, something for Gidget I'm always worried it'll be way too large to be practical for her to use. In the end, her sister Nora will usually inherit anything in error- but Hol-ee Gourmet was something I'd immediately been nervous about. These were heavy duty toys- but the unique 'netting' design of the outer toy is really easy for even small jaws to latch onto, and Gidget truly loves throwing her body into snack time!
In case you missed it- we tried to tie the new favorite toys into the footstool with a 'taco dog' print that jokes at Gidget's ambiguous heritage and both of our 'turkies' love for junk food.  Now, I wonder if we can fool them into playing with the Hol-ee Gourmet turkey leg this Thanksgiving instead of begging at the foot of the family table??? Hmmm....
So, while there certainly have been times where I've come into a room to find it scattered with food and looking like a mess hall, the moral of the story is to find practical ways to infuse flavor into both your life, and your pet's life. Just because I'm a crazy Cat-Dog Lady doesn't mean my home has to lack flavor and style. And, just because your dog doesn't have opposable thumbs doesn't mean they can't enjoy having their senses ignited by touch, problem solving, and taste while being treated to a delicious snack. If you find these new JW Pets Hol-ee Gourmet™ treat toys as fun as us be sure to visit and use exclusive discount code BLOGPAWS for 15% off your Hol-ee Gourmet toy of choice. Stay up to date with the brand, and their latest pet innovations on Facebook and enter an exclusive Hol-ee Gourmet giveaway!

Stay tasty, my friends.

This stylish tongue in cheek 'taco dog' footstool upcycle is hiding a secret storage space for your dog's favorite toys and treats, much like #jwpets #holeegourmet treat toys, now at PetSmart! #AD
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of PetMate. The opinions and text are all mine.

How To Help Your Dog Grab Life By The Leash In Stressful Situations

This post is sponsored by Therabis™ and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help share information about Therabis - Hemp wellness products to help your dog with itching, anxiety and joint mobility. Momma Told Me only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Therabis is not responsible for the content of this article.
#GrabTheLeash with this simple and natural solution to ease anxiety in your dog. #AD

Nora has always been described as a high energy, fun loving, happy dog both by those who know her well, or simply have the pleasure of meeting her. We, okay I, like to joke that Nora would greet an axe murderer with a wagging tail and a silly smile- she simply never seemed to have any sense of negativity. The exception being, like so many dogs, loud sudden noises such as fireworks- New Year's Eve and the 4th of July have long plagued the animals in our home with stress and anxiety. And every year it seems like the number of days people set off fireworks before and after the holidays themselves continues to grow, despite it being entirely illegal where we live.
Because it was such a rare, twice a year, thing we never did much more to handle this stress within our pets outside of lots of cuddles and a good loud movie night. Then, last year, I was rear ended at a complete stop exiting the freeway and my car was totaled. Nora was inside- properly secured, and experienced no injuries- but she was fairly shaken up by the sheer sound and shock of the impact. Suddenly my happy-go-lucky dog who loved to go for a ride any chance she could get was experiencing immense anxiety and signs of distress when she was forced to be in the car for even a short period of time.

Above is a snapshot I took on my mobile phone as Nora and I set out to visit my father, a 5 mile drive across town, just a few weeks after the accident. It's hard to believe that photo is my Nora. Her rapid panting, ears back, and efforts to climb over the seat and into my lap were all clear signs that she was feeling anxious about her current situation.
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A perfectly happy, well loved, well cared for dog can experience signs of anxiety or stress from time to time. In Nora's case she began associating an event/location with a traumatic event and could no longer control her involuntary reactions to being placed back in a similar situation- despite the lack of actual threat. If your dog regularly responds to a situation with cues such as excessive barking, standing or sitting with one paw raised, ears back, whining or howling, or excessive panting and pacing your dog may be experiencing forms of anxiety or stress.

The first, and most important thing to do is to identify what is going on, and where your dog is, when they are exhibiting these behaviors. In many cases there may be a simple solution of removing the dog from the stressful surroundings, or avoiding the situation. In some cases, such as separation anxiety, social stress, and fear of cars you may be unable to eliminate your dog's behavioral response by sheer avoidance.
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It can be frustrating when you see that your dog is not acting like themselves, and natural for you to want to fix whatever it is that is bothering your pet. The first, and most important thing, aside from identifying what is causing the anxiety, is patience and understanding. You may wish you could solve this with cuddles and a few comforting words but, unfortunately, dogs are conditioned with natural responses to situations, and cannot understand a threat has passed once they have experienced something traumatic enough to trigger a response behavior. The simplest remedy is time, and the rebuilding of safety through trust in similar situations.

Nora, almost a year later, is much better in car rides and no longer breaks out in panting with signs of anxiety when we enter the car. However, there are still memories associated with the originating event in her mind. When our car goes over a pothole, or railroad tracks, it is as though she is experiencing a heightened sense of fear all over again. The painting starts, the ears go back, and she'll nervously attempt to hide. Where short car rides are relatively uneventful, and Nora happily emerges from the car her typical bubbly self, longer car rides can be quite rough on all involved- which is why I recently sought out the Therabis range of natural hemp oil derivative pet products.
Therabis, as a brand, is backed by 25 years of veterinary experience and over 10 years of research and development by founder and veterinarian Dr. Stephen M. Katz. Their hemp-wellness formulas harness the natural benefits of hemp extracted Cannabinoids(CBD) alongside other natural ingredients such as L-theanine (from green tea) and comprehensive vitamin compounds. The CBDs obtained for Therabis pet products are sourced from industrial hemp that has been specifically cultivated to have minimal levels of THC so their natural therapeutic properties can be harnessed without producing any psychoactive effects.

So what are Cannabinoids? They're a naturally occurring chemical compound found in hemp that interacts with your pets endocannabinoid system (the central regulatory system which impacts things such as mood, digestion, and sleep.) Your pet's body naturally produces it's own Cannabinoids which bind the the receptors of this endocannabinoid system, and Therabis should be considered a supplement used to help boost this systems natural impact.
#GrabTheLeash with this simple and natural solution to ease anxiety in your dog. #AD
Therabis features multiple formulations to help ease and supplement your dog's unique set of challenges; Up And Moving (for ease of mobility and joint pain), Stop The Itch (for dogs with hot spots and excessive self grooming), and Calm And Quiet (for dogs who experience stress in situations or settings). After reading many experiences from actual Therabis Calm And Quiet users I was excited to be able to give it a try with Nora and her anxiety towards car rides. Therabis offers 2 formulations for their Calm And Quiet supplement, easy to take fast-acting treats- for on the spot treatment of stressful situations, and a daily Powder sachet intended to be sprinkled on a dog's primary meal each day.
I was hesitant to start Nora with the daily powder supplement because I simply was unsure how she might react, and wondered what the impact would be throughout the day. The treats really appealed to me for an incident by incident bases of stressful car rides. However, I consulted with my Veterinarian and his insight was that an overall daily supplement, intended to help alleviate general stress, might be beneficial to work towards Nora's comfort with car rides in the long run. His theory was that she might naturally regain her confidence in the car if, over time, she continued to experience positive trips in them.
#GrabTheLeash with this simple and natural solution to ease anxiety in your dog. #AD
Nora didn't seem to notice the Therabis Calm And Quiet powder sprinkled on her breakfast as she has eaten every such sprinkled bowl with equal enthusiasm to an everyday meal. Because we have chosen to give Nora Calm And Quiet daily as a supplement to her everyday nutrition I feel the impact of this Therabis supplement has been immediate and dramatic. Jay kept joking that or dog would be 'out of it' and 'a different dog' but the truth is we have both been astonished by the positive change in Nora. She is just as much her usual active, bubbly, self around the house and out for walks- but we have successfully gone for multiple care rides now and she has yet to let out a single pant.
It is such a pleasure to see my dog's ears up in the car. Not only up, but Nora is very engaged and attentive. One might think Calm And Quiet would indicate a dog would be 'out of it' and sleeping all the time. We've found it to be the opposite- Nora is equally alert and, if anything, more discerning of the situation. She seems to more rationally process information and react enthusiastically, but within reason. It's the Nora we know and love, just sharper and wiser- if that makes sense? I am over the moon to see her once again enjoying car rides, and have high expectations of Therabis Calm And Quiet for next year's New Year's Eve.
There are several things that can seem to hold a dog back from being themselves. Sometimes we tend to attribute these things to age, or other circumstances outside our control. Unfortunately we can't sit our pets down and talk them through situations such as stress, itching, or sore joints, so it can be hard to know how to treat them. In most cases we simply want our 'old dog' back- that twinkle in their eyes when you come home, that silly smile as they run back with that fuzzy tennis ball. For a while, when Nora began showing signs of stress in the car we were forced to make the decision to leave her home on trips where she would have previously been our partner in crime. I am so glad to be able to grab the leash once again and get the whole family out and moving.
#GrabTheLeash with this simple and natural solution to ease anxiety in your dog. #AD
When a furry family member is experiencing something that alters the way they greet each day and live their lives that last thing one wants to do is change their dog's behavior further with treatments that can further slow a dog down. When it comes to a conditioned response to stressful stimuli and situations multiple forms of problem solving will benefit your dog on the road to becoming their 'good ol' selves'. Identify the problem and accept your dog's perception of the situation as stressful, limit the amount of time your pet has to put in similar situations until trust and confidence can be properly rebuilt, and seek the help of natural supplements to ease anxiety and allow your dog to embrace their everyday lifestyle once again. Learn more about Cannabinoids, and purchase Therabis pet supplement products online at Do you have, or have you aver had, a pet who experienced anxiety during certain events? How did you handle it?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Therabis™. The opinions and text are all mine.

Make Car Buying Simple: Shop From Pretty Much Anywhere
Last week my newest car's odometer ticked past the 75k milestone. I simply cannot believe how the time, or miles, have flown by! This really got me thinking about my previous car buying experience, and how stressful the process had been. Unfortunately, due to an accident where I was in no way at fault, my car buying journey was entirely unplanned, and I was in no way prepared for it. To complicate the usual barriers in car shopping (haggling, deciding on make and model, financing, etc) I had an additional hurdle to climb; I had no car to shop for my new car in- as my previous car was totaled. This meant I was often left making blind phone calls and stopping into random dealers whenever I was lucky enough to bum a ride. I felt completely 'thrown to the wolves' and entirely in the dark the entire way.

Regardless of your unique situation the process of car buying, certainly car shopping, should be fun and transparent. Purchasing a new car is a big decision, which causes stress in itself- and, for most people, it's a long term decision that will impact their lives every single day. I often describe my own car as my 'rolling sanctuary' or 'home away from home' because I spent so much time in it, and I rely on it to get me to most of life's worthwhile events. It's our family's gateway to new adventures, reconnecting with family, and opportunities yet to be discovered. It's hard to believe there was a time during my most recent car buying journey I actually found myself in tears talking about giving up on the process all together. That's no way to feel when shopping for a new car!
Thankfully there's a new platform for online car shopping that launched this week, PushAuto. I had a chance to play around with it this week and I've actually started dreaming of CAR #2 as a result. Yea, it's good enough to turn my thoughts around, and make car buying fun again. Best of all, PushAuto is entirely FREE to use and can be used on any device with an active internet connection- no app download necessary. I will note, however, that you will want to sign up for an account (don't worry it's painless and quick) to unlock the more in depth services of this unique online car buying aide.
Personally, I prefer the mobile interface for PushAuto- the simpler things are, the more I find myself drawn to tinkering with them. The mobile interface for PushAuto easily guides you from step 1-4 of their simplified car buying experience. Use PushAuto to browse better prices and rates between multiple dealers and lenders with the push of a single button. Not sure if the prices are fair or competitive? You'll have access to the prices paid by others for the same car, and even an estimate for annual cost of ownership. There are no hidden surprises- and no ambiguous prices. You'll cut the haggling process out with real lowest price offers, and often get a response from dealers or lenders in 24 hours.
Of course there are a lot of ways to shop for cars online- I feel like I've tried them all. One of the things I especially love about the PushAuto interface is how easy it is to find not just a make and model, but a car that has exactly what I need. If I'm shopping with a budget in mind there are many options within the vehicles I'm considering to fit my unique needs, since PuchAuto is working with so many local lenders and dealers near me.

A lot of time, when I was shopping by myself for a car last year, I'd see dealers would have their own financing options but I could not get an ideal of my approval value, or apply, without going directly to the dealer itself. This wasn't very practical since I didn't have a car to go out to multiple dealers- With PushAuto I can browse and shop for a new car from anywhere, while I apply for lending options. This truly helps summarize the car buying experience into one neat time-saving package.
In about an hour of playing around, poolside, with PushAuto I'd found several makes and models I'd been desperately looking for on my previous car buying hunt. I was put in touch with several local dealers, and even provided a picture of my financing options- which would really cut down on time spent signing papers later. Car buying may not be a flash decision choice, but PushAuto definitely helps me process my options much clearer so I can spend more time deciding between a handful of cars that would be great for me, rather than sorting through lot after lot of question marks.
It can feel your life is on hold when you don't have a vehicle, or are in need of a more reliable vehicle- but car buying should be simple and fun. There are enough main events in life to plan and look forward towards without having to turn the process of car buying into one. What's that phrase Momma always told me? Oh, yeah, "Time is money"- but, more importantly, my free time should be spent living life to the fullest and having fun. I've got too many places to see and things to do to let car buying drag me down!
I feel like I've bought more than my share of vehicles for the 30 something years I've been alive so far- really, so many I consider myself an expert. Choosing the right make and model car for you can seem like a daunting task- once you've finally found the car that works for you don't let finding the right financing and actually locating the car pull you down. Enjoy the simple way to shop for cars with the new PushAuto online car buying platform. And since it's brand spanking new to the U.S. you'll be one of the first of your friends and family to know all about this little car buying secret, too! Now, tell me, car buying- love it, or hate it? What part of the car buying process do you wish was easier?