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Monday, December 5, 2011

Amazing Holiday Savings from FouFou Dog™

***Orders over $75.00 (before applicable taxes) will receive FREE SHIPPING!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Love Your Breed™ by FouFou Dog™

The Love Your Breed™ collection by FouFou Dog™ is available now for purchase on the FouFou Dog™ online store!   Visit

Bedazzle your iPhone or Blackberry with one of our Love Your Breed™ Rhinestone Stickers!

Keep your keys warm with a cute silicone Key Cover!

 Pick up a breed specific pen with a Collectible Twist-Off Top!

Make your luggage stand out from the rest by attaching a cute Luggage Tag with ID card!

Never worry about losing your keys again with an eye catching Acrylic Keychain!

Collect one of our "My Pet Pocket" plush toys, they make great gifts too!

Click on the title of this link to be directed to our online store.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preventing & Reporting Animal Cruelty

I've never come so close to the mistreatment of an animal as I did when I came home from work the other night, only to hear a few doors down the hall in the condo that I live in, a woman yelling at her dog as her dog squealed in, what I can only assume as, pain.  Instinctively, I rushed over to her door and banged as hard as I could; the yelling and squealing stopped, however, the woman would not answer her door.  I told her, through her door, that I was going to report her to the OSPCA as I strongly feel that this person should not be allowed to have any animal in her possession if she feels it is ok to harm an animal in any way; verbally or physically. 

The OSPCA was closed at the time as I did call them after hours, however, I left lengthy emails and voice messages in hopes that they would recognize my concerns.

To my relief, I received a call from the OSPCA the next business day, and while they were genuinely concerned for the well-being of this animal, unfortunately since the act occurred behind closed doors and I did not actually witness any abuse, legally, there was nothing much they could do.  With that being said, they encouraged me to complain to my condo board about the level of noise from the owner and also to notify animal control for excessive noise by the animal. 

By doing so, a uniformed officer would pay a visit to the owner, check that the dog is registered, and while there they would be able to inspect the animal and its living conditions, should there be any cause for concern, they would have the authority to notify investigators at the OSPCA who will then be able to take action.  If there is nothing out of the ordinary, hopefully the visit from this officer will raise concern to the dog owner that the situation is being monitored in hopes that her behaviour will stop all together.

As a dog owner and animal advocate myself, it breaks my heart to know that any human being has it in them to inflict harm on an animal. 

What is Animal Cruelty?

Animal cruelty does not only pertain to physical harm or injury inflicted on an animal.  In fact, neglect in the form of failure to provide adequate water, food, shelter, proper living conditions or care are all acts of cruelty due to the owner's ignorance and can be rectified by law enforcement authorities, like the OSPCA.

Recognizing Signs of Animal Cruelty

The person you may suspect to be the least capable of animal cruelty may very well be the person who mistreats his / her animal behind closed doors.  

Most common signs of neglect:

1)  Visible wounds or scars on body
2)  Unkept nails and lack of grooming
3)  Emaciated animals with ribs or backbone protruding
4)  Limping
5)  Animals left alone without food or water for many hours, often chained to a fence
6)  Animals left outdoors without proper shelter
7)  Acts of kicking or hitting an animal
8)  Animals left in cars during extreme weather conditions
9)  Animals crammed into tiny cages; overcrowding
10) Animals kept in unsanitary conditions

If you witness these acts of cruelty and fail to report it, the act of not doing anything is just as bad as the act itself. If your concern is feeling bad to have the animal taken away from the owner, note that the owner will be given a chance to change his or her behaviours before the animal is actually taken away from them (depending on how severe the case may be).

Do your part, take a stance, it's a start.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Final & Official FouFou Dog™ Commercial Clip for LG Fashion Week

FouFou Dog™ joins in on the excitement of LG Fashion Week Beauty by L’OrĂ©al Paris in Toronto, ON., Canada where FouFou Dog™ will launch their first ever 30 second commercial clip to be featured on a giant LED screen leading up to the red carpet of this highly anticipated event. The clip will be shown every half hour over the span of 8 days from October 14 - 21, 2011.

This week-long premier fashion event will take place at Toronto’s David Pecaut Square (formally Metro Square), where more than 40 shows, presentations, artists, models, and designers will come together. This year’s theme, “CanadaCool”, perfectly represents the fresh talent of our country that is making a big impression in the global fashion marketplace.

FouFou Dog™ & Push Start Inc. partnered up with Communik8 Media to develop this commercial clip which will feature portraits of the FouFou Dog™ collection and a sneak peek of the Love Your Breed™ animation series. FouFou Dog™ is very excited and proud to take part in such a great event.

To see the commercial clip, please click on the below:

Cheryl Ng of FouFou Dog ranks # 46 in PROFIT W100

PROFIT Magazine celebrates the achievements of female entrepreneurs with their annual Profit W100 Awards category in Canada by highlighting their important contributions for their workforces and communities as the driving force behind some of Canada's most dynamic and durable businesses.

This is PROFIT Magazine's 13th annual PROFIT W100 ranking of Canada's Top Female Entrepreneurs and this year, Cheryl Ng, the President/CEO of FouFou Dog, made the list for the 2nd time in a row, this year ranking #46.

FouFou Dog along with the rest of the the nominees were ranked based on the size, growth rate, and profitability of their business over the past 3-years. 

To see a complete listing of this years top 100 winners, please click on the title of this link.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

FouFou Dog Photo Shoot for LG FashionWeek™ (Behind The Scenes)

FouFou Dog has purchased a 30 sec commercial spot at the highly anticipated LG Fashion Week which will run every half hour over the span of 8 days at LG Fashion Week's Official Venue, "David Pecaut Square" from October 14 - October 21.

FouFou Dog has been working day and night to make this 30 sec commercial spot a memorable one.

Last weekend we turned our Head Office into a professional studio for the purpose of taking images of models and doggie models for the commercial. 

Mika Emme from Season 2 "Canada's Next Top Model", made a special appearance at our photo shoot.

Doggie Models from Maltese to Sharpei to Bull Dog and Doberman's also came in to volunteer their time for the shoot.

All in all the shoot was a huge success, stay tuned to see the finished product...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

FouFou Dog Fall-Winter Collection Available Now

FouFou Dog's new Fall/Winter collection is now available for purchase on our FouFou Dog online store:

Back by popular demand and in a wider range of colors and sizes (going up to 3XL) are our:


One of my personal favourites is FouFou Dog's new Animal PJ that is simply to die for!

And nothing says cute like this Baby Pink Polka Dot Dress:

Finally, who can forget our REVERSIBLE RAINCOATS - highly functional while fashion forward:

Note: some products on our website are not available until September

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

PJ's Pet Center launches "Every Pet Deserves A Home" program

For some time now, I've had my mind set on picking up my next pet from a local animal shelter or the Toronto Humane Society where rescued, homeless, lost, or abandoned animals are housed. 

Statistics from the ASPCA website state that approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60% of dogs and 70% of cats), in America.

If I can offer an animal a better home or potentially save an animal from euthanization, then I definately want to be a part of that and was ecstatic to hear the recent news about PJ's Pet Center and Pets Unlimited's recent launch of "Every Pet Deserves A Home".

PJ's is a Canadian owned chain of pet stores across Canada, founded in 1969 and is well-known for its quality products in bright, welcoming, and clean environments.  

Their recent announcement of the "Every Pet Deserves A Home" program involves increasing awareness to people visiting PJ's stores about pet adoption agencies within local communities by offering participating organizations space in their stores to hand out pamphlets and information about their efforts and adoption opportunities.

I am so excited to witness the growth and development of this program, which is scheduled to be in full swing by October 1, 2011, and am eager to step foot into PJ's Pet Center to learn more about where I can find the closest animal shelter to me.

With the efforts of PJ's Pet Center and supporting groups across Canada, together we can work to save lives; one animal at a time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Promoting Intrapreneurs Within A Company

When the word intrapreneur first came out of Cheryl’s mouth, I thought she was merely pronouncing the word ‘entrepreneur’ incorrectly. Little did I know that intrapreneur was a word all on its own with the definition of a person behaving or acting like an entrepreneur within a larger organization.

At FouFou Dog, intrapreneurs are made, not born; and when recruiting members to join the FouFou Dog organization, it is pertinent that each individual possess a set of skills to become their own intrapreneur. This is important to the success of FouFou Dog and other companies with similar fast-paced company cultures that break down the standard formal corporate structure which allow for autonomy and freedom for innovation.

Flexible, creative, innovative, self-motivating, risk-taking, organized, able to multi-task and responsible are all character traits that FouFou Dog looks for in recruiting people to join their team.

These character traits are important in order to keep up with the demands of any given role at FouFou Dog as each member of the team wears a number of different hats; which is important in establishing the goal of turning an idea (usually Cheryl’s idea) into a profitable finished product without really being taught how or knowing where to begin.

With the limited staff on hand, every individual at FouFou Dog is expected to take matters into their own hands as there is no time for hand holding or standardized training. When it is unclear as to how to approach a problem, it is encouraged to discuss the issue with the team, ask questions, and at the same time, figure out the most optimal solution that will continue to keep the brain churning. This approach may involve risk taking in addition to mistake-making, but sometimes an intrapreneur needs to take detours to unusual and unexpected opportunities in order to make magic happen. As the saying goes, “It doesn’t matter how many times you fall, as long as you have the confidence to pick yourself back up and keep going.”

A typical day when Cheryl is in the office involves a new idea that is openly discussed with the team, where a million thoughts are running a mile a minute, and then it's off to develop feasible solutions taking things one step at a time.  Miraculously, this method of madness has created intrapreneurs within the company and has been working for FouFou Dog, but of course, it wouldn’t be possible if not for the skills and creative juices that come from each individual of the FouFou Dog team with their efforts to contribute to the whole.

At the end of the day, credit is shared. As a business that thrives on innovation and initiative, the FouFou Dog team of intraprenuers believes that no one ever succeeds alone. Everyone works together as a team to accomplish all goals and in the end, successes are shared.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Chaotic Journey to Dallas

FouFou Dog has been working day and night for the past 4 months to design, develop, and market a completely NEW collection of breed-specific products targeting the gift and toy industry, called "Love Your Breed".  The initial launch of this collection was set to take place in Dallas, TX at the "Dallas Finds Show" for the home and gift market.  This show was booked months in advance and paid for in full.  Samples, display items, and signage were also shipped to the show site ready and waiting for the FouFou Dog teams arrival to build the backdrop, set up the showroom, display the products, and educate the rep team in Dallas on the best way to market this exciting new line.

Cheryl and Mike started their journey to Dallas, TX yesterday afternoon when I dropped them off at the Toronto airport around 3 pm.  Their trip had a scheduled stop over in Chicago, IL which turned out to be a complete disaster.

Their flight in the air was met with turbulence as the captain warned them of severe thunderstorms building in the Chicago area.  Upon landing, they were faced with tornado warnings and hundreds of flight cancellations throughout the O'Hare Airport. 

All passengers who had been stranded at the airport were forced to take cover in an underground tunnel as the tornado made its way through Chicago.  Below is an image taken from Cheryl's camera phone of the tunnel or 'hideout' that they were in.

Once the tornado had passed, and things were slowly starting to return to normal, it was still uncertain as to when flights would be able to leave the O'Hare Airport again and the night was still young.  Cheryl and Mike attempted to book a hotel nearby with the assumption that their first available flight out might not be until the next morning, however, all hotels within a 40 km radius were fully booked.  And so Mike resorted to sleeping in a charging pod.
Below is an image of other passengers who were given cots to sleep in at O'Hare Airport.
Finally, Cheryl and Mike were airbound again and en route to Dallas, TX where the show had already started without them.  Upon arrival, their booth was empty and on barely 2 hours of sleep, they were forced to hustle in order to get the show set up with products displayed nicely so as not to waste anymore time.  Every minute that went by could potentially be another sale lost.  

Four hours later, the FouFou Dog team made a miracle happen and the booth was set up, all products nicely displayed and were ready to start selling their butts off.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Update On Ernie

Ernie has been doing very well since his Cataracts surgery over a week ago.

Ernie says "Look mom! Another conehead!"
Initially, Ernie absolutely hated wearing his "cone", Cheryl was convinced that Ernie was holding a grudge against her because she felt that he was probably thinking it was her fault he had to wear it.

Ernie has been limited to restricted activity, no long walks or play dates in the park. He has not been able to get a bath and has been wearing his protective "cone" 24/7. He's been taking an oral liquid medication every morning with his breakfast along with 4 different types of medicated eye drops, three times daily, in addition to his daily allergy pills that he's been prescribed to since before the surgery.

While Ernie has learned to adjust to life with his new "cone", it still prevents him from running up and down the stairs easily and so he needs to be carried. He hasn't quite figured out that he needs to tilt his head upwards when he tries to go upstairs and so bangs his "cone" into the step everytime before he bounces back. Walking down the steps is easier for him, but I still carry him in fear that he might trip on his cone. Better safe than sorry right?

Ernie has also learned to drink water out of the water bowl by lowering the cone underneath the bowl so that his tongue could reach the water, we just have to remember to keep the water bowls full.

Eating was messy at first, and so we did resort to hand feeding Ernie, like a big baby.

Today, I brought Ernie to the Vet for a follow up appointment where the Dr. has advised us that Ernie's left eye is healing perfectly well and he is well on his way to a full recovery.

I think Ernie recognized the Vet's waiting room because as soon as we sat down, he began getting anxious; and seemed to desperately want to get out of there.

Below is a video of Ernie at the vet earlier today....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ernie's Surgery Day

Cheryl has just picked up a groggy and drugged up Ernie from the vet after he received surgery this morning to remove the cataracts in his left eye.

Cheryl reports that Ernie is doing well.  While he was very happy to see her, he was a little dazed from coming off of the anesthesia. 

Ernie must wear the protective "cone" around his head for the next two weeks to prevent him from scratching at his eye during his recovery period and also to avoid accidental injury to the eye while healing.

The Dr. has given Cheryl 4 different eye drops to be administered for the next few months: 3-4 times daily, waiting 5 min between drops.

There are also 2 types of oral medication plus pain killers to allow him lots of rest.

The Dr. has instructed that Ernie stay home and try to remain inactive for the next little while to limit his exposure to people and other forms of excitement so that he does not strain or over exert his eye.

The surgery was not a mild procedure and is not something to be taken lightly.  While it is one of the most common surgery's performed on dogs, with a success rate of about 85-90%, it was still an intrusive one that involves a small incision to remove the lens fibers (damaged by cataracts).  This is done using a small pen-like instrument that produces ultrasonic vibrations to break up and simultaneously vaccuum out the lens material.

After the lens fibers are removed, a lens implant is inserted into the lens capsule which significantly improves near vision.  The cornea is then closed with tiny sutures that absorb over the next 4 weeks.

Below is a video of a cataracts surgery performed on a canine eye that I found on YouTube.

We are wishing Ernie a quick and painless recovery.  We will definately keep a close eye on him for any changes or complications in his healing process.

Thank you to everyone for your warm wishes, continued love and support.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Sad Day for Ernie

A few days ago, we noticed that Ernie looked like he had a bluish grey circle in the center of his left eye, resembling a small marble.  He didn't seem bothered by it at all and was playful and upbeat as usual.  Cheryl decided to make an appointment with Ernie's veterinarian to be on the safe side for the next day.  The following day, Ernie's spirit and demeanor seemed to have deteriorated over night.  He looked sleepy and was constantly wincing his left eye.  At times both of his eyes would be squinting as if in pain or as though there was a bright light shining at him.  This concerned Cheryl and she rushed him to the vet as soon as they had an immediate opening.

 The Dr. ran some tests and told Cheryl that his eye was infected but that the pupil was responding to light, shrinking and enlarging, meaning he was still able to see.  However, he recommended that Ernie see an eye specialist in case he was starting to develop cataracts.

Eye drops were administered for the infection which caused Ernie's pupil to enlarge grossly to the entire size of his eyeball.  Ernie's left eye now looked glossy and at certain angles, as if it was made of glass.  We assumed the pupil would eventually shrink back to the small marble size but by nighttime, there was no change.

Last night, we tested Ernie by covering his "good" eye and held objects in front of his face to see if his left eye would follow the objects around.  He didn't respond at all which made us think he could be going blind.

Cheryl was able to get an appointment with the eye specialist referred by our vet for today.  The specialist has confirmed that Ernie is completely blind in his left eye.  In addition, his right eye is beginning to develop cataracts and could potentially be completely blind within the next 3 years.

The Dr. advised a few options:

1) Leave it as is and administer medicated eye drops for the duration of his life
2) Undergo surgery that has a 90% success rate with a 1-3 month recovery period (plus the Dr. has guaranteed that cataracts will never develop again with this procedure)

The cost associated with Option # 2 of course is NOT cheap.  The surgery alone will be about $5,000 plus medicated eye drops, follow up appointments, and other unforeseen complications could be another $1-2,000 in vet bills.

In addition, this is just for the left eye. 

We have decided as a family that the best route for Ernie (being the playful, rambunctious, young at heart pup that he is), it would only be fair to try to give him the best standard of life that we can.  If the surgery with a success rate of 90% will salvage the sight in his left eye and guarantee that his left eye will be free from cataracts forever, then it is really the best option to take.  One day, if his right eye is consumed by cataracts, then at least he will still have the vision in his left eye and we can discuss the options with his right eye if/when we need to.

Cheryl says, "I highly believe in pet insurance.  Ernie has been with Pet Care Insurance since he was 12 weeks old.  I had him with the top of the line insurance package that costed me $80-90 / month.  As pricey as that sounds, at the end of the day, your dog becomes like a child, they are a family member and I will do everything in my power to give him the best quality of life that I can.  Thank goodness for Pet Care Insurance because they will be covering up to $5,000 under the eye category."

We will continue to keep you posted of Ernie's surgery, his recovery period, and the aftermath of it all.

Please keep your fingers crossed for Ernie and we thank you for your continued support.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog

There have been a lot of different debates as to how often one should bathe their dog.  I've taken the time to do some research on this topic and thought I would share some information that I found.

Older research has shown that bathing your dog once a month is more than enough.  However, this notion is now a thing of the past.  The reason why older research says to limit your dogs baths is because the quality of dog shampoos back then contained harsher chemicals causing the dog's skin to dry out and stripped the dogs coat of its natural oils.  These days, dog hygiene includes shampoos with aloe, conditioners, and organic ingredients that are almost comparable to human hair products, which are much more gentle and designed for more frequent use.

Other factors to consider include: the breed of dog, the dog's hair type (long/short coat), the dog's lifestyle, shedding cycle, and allergies.

Breeds with softer and longer coats tend to pick up dirt more easily while breeds with textured and shorter coats have the ability to repel dirt. 

Dogs that spend most of their days outdoors should be bathed more often than a dog that spends most of his days on the couch.

According to the American Lung Association, humans with dog allergies should bath their dog as much as possible which will help remove the dander that accummulates on a pet's fur coat. 

Dogs that suffer from allergies (or itchy skin) should also receive baths more frequently in order to wash away allergens before they get a chance to penetrate the skin.

In conclusion, the best answer to the question, "How often should I bathe my dog?" is "When he looks dirty or begins to smell, it's time for a bath."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FouFou Dog @ Zoomark 2011 International Trade Show (Bologna, Italy)

Cheryl & Ann have just returned from their one week trip to Italy for the Bi-Annual International Pet Trade Show, known as "Zoomark".  This prestigious show welcomes visitors across Europe and takes place once every two years in the Bologna Exhibition Center.

This was their first time visiting Italy where they got to dine, drink, and party like true Italians.

In addition, this dynamic duo had the chance to meet FouFou Dog's Italian distributors for the first time.  Below is an image of Roberto holding up our Piggy PJ (available Fall 2011)

However, the events leading up to this show were not as seamless as they may seem.  Taking a red-eye flight to Frankfurt, Germany, the girls had a scheduled one hour stop-over.  However, they encountered a delay in their arrival which caused them to miss their connecting flight to Italy.  This resulted in their late arrival to the Exhibition Center.  Upon landing, Cheryl and Ann had to rush to their booth to take advantage of the time they had left to set up the day before the show started.

Luckily the trade show items that were shipped one month in advance by boat were ready and waiting for their arrival, however, the administration box which contains tools and other equipment required to get the booth set up was missing! Cheryl and Ann were forced to scramble at the last minute asking fellow exhibitors if they could borrow scissors, tape, hammers, and whatever else they could find to get the booth set up.

Five hours later, jet lagged, hungry, and exhausted, the FouFou Dog booth looked flawless.

The trade show lasted 4 long days and the FouFou Dog booth was one of the busiest booths in the Exhibition.  With the help of our Italian distributors, FouFou Dog was able to gather many new contacts and sell most of the goods that they had shipped over.

All in all, the show was a huge success and FouFou Dog can't wait to visit Italy again for Zoomark 2013!!!

Cheryl and Ann returned home with huge smiles on their faces, new friends, business contacts, memories to last a lifetime and a bag full of Italian cookies for the FouFou Dog Team!!! YUMMY!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Protect Your Pet From Heartworm

It's that time of year again - Heartworm Season - the time of year when mosquito's come out to play. 

Unfortunately, these mosquito's can be harmful to your pet's health.  All it takes is just one mosquito bite to infect your pet through the injection of immature worms into the tissues of its host with mosquito saliva. The immature worms then develop and migrate their way to the lungs and potentially the heart of the animal where they will mature into adults and begin reproducing.

These immature worms can grow to 15-20 cm in length and in severe cases, your pet can be infested with hundreds of worms which may obstruct blood flow to and from the heart causing damage to internal organs.

Don't worry, this fatal process can easily be prevented.

FouFou Dog uses a veterinarian prescribed topical parasticide for dogs called Revolution® (selamectin). 

Each package comes with 6 syringes that look like this.

You simply pop open the top of the syringe using the cap that comes with it and squeeze the contents of the syringe onto the nape of your pet's neck.  The syrum smells a little like rubbing alcohol and will leave a small wet patch on their neck, but dries quickly.  And don't worry, you only need to do this once a month.  I usually apply it on the first of each month from June through November (when Mosquito season is at its peak).

How does Revolution® (selamectin) work?

A: Revolution enters the bloodstream through the skin. Concentrations of Revolution in the blood and tissues prevent heartworm disease. Revolution selectively redistributes from the blood to the skin, where it provides protection against fleas, flea eggs, American dog tick, and mites.

This simple application could save your pet's life; ask your veterinarian about Revolution today.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A sleepless night... written by Cheryl Ng

Up late in vancouver and thinking non stop about my little Ernie. I miss him so very much and it kills me inside to have to always travel for my foufou dog business. Ernie was my inspiration to start this company but since the company has launched, I find myself leaving his side more and more.

I raised him since he was 8 weeks old and we are both extremely attached to each other. He will be 8 years old this coming june 26. Where has the time gone?

I think about how quickly he will be growing older and I know I will regret not having been able to spend as much time with him as I should have.

I won't be home for another 2.5 weeks, I think about what he's doing and if he's waiting for me to come home. Wondering how long I will be gone this time.

He knows when I start to pack my suitcase that I will be leaving his side again. He becomes very sad and it breaks my heart. It hurts me even more knowing that all his doggy friends are at the foufou dog office with their mommys but his mommy is not there.

I know he is in good hands with my family and I know he is being well taken care of. Writing this entry brings tears to my eyes.

Ernie, I thank you so much for always being there for me and understanding that mommy needs to go away from time to time to grow the business. Thank you for being such a great doggy and for being so very patient. I am so thankful and blessed to have you in my life. Without you there would never have been foufou dog.

I just want you to know that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love you so very much and very soon you will be cuddling with me in my arms again

Mommy loves you so much and will be home very soon.

I love you Ernie baba- xoxo

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knowing Basic CPR Can Save Your Dog's Life

If you ever find yourself in a situation where your dog stops breathing, as in the case of the video below, the dog Sugar featured in this video suffered a seizure which resulted in him not breathing on his own.  It is important to know the basics of how to resuscitate your dog should you ever encounter a situation similar to this one.

Watch as the dog trainer steps in and saves Sugar's life. 
**Warning - this video was difficult for me to watch until I saw that Sugar got up and was ok.

Basic CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is the treatment necessary to save a dog's life in the event that it stops breathing.

Step 1:  Make sure the dog is unconscious 
Only perform CPR on a dog if you are certain that he is unconscious.  You could risk serious injury if you began CPR and he woke up disoriented.  Talk to the dog softly, rubbing and shaking him gently to check that he is unconscious.

Step 2:  Clear his airway

Extend his head and neck, trying to keep them aligned.  Open his mouth and pull his tongue forward.  Use your finger to clear the mouth of any saliva or vomit.  Do not begin CPR until you are sure the airway is clear; otherwise you run the risk of pushing foreign matter down his windpipe.

Step 3:  Check for effective breathing

Sometimes, merely getting the dog's head and neck in proper alignment will help him begin breathing spontaneously. Watch for his chest to rise and fall and listen for sounds of breathing. If you can't see clear evidence of breathing within 10 seconds, begin CPR.

Step 4:  Begin CPR
Pull the tongue forward and hold the mouth and lips shut using both of your hands cupped around his muzzle. Seal your mouth over his muzzle and blow air through his nostrils until his chest expands.  Exhale four or five rapid breaths and see if he begins breathing on his own. If he does not begin to breath, or if his breathing is irregular or shallow, continue with the CPR until you reach the veterinarian's office.

Every few seconds, depress the stomach area to expel any air that may have gone into there. The pressure from a distended stomach renders the CPR less effective.

Even if you are successful with your resuscitation, take your dog to the veterinarian for a check-up to ensure that his body has returned to normal with no lasting damage.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What to look for when looking for dog food...

My 3 year old Maltese, Amie, has recently started to develop fussy eating habits.  I've been told that smaller breeds of dogs tend to be fussy with their food, but I never thought it would come to the point that she would be disinterested in eating all together.  So my hunt for a delicious, well balanced, while nutritious dog food has come into play. 

However, stepping foot into a pet store that sells dog food is overwhelming every single time.  And with all the different types of foods available on the market, such as natural, holistic, and organic to choose from, it would really help if I had some guidance or tips on finding the best dog food out there that would be best for MY dog.

So, I've been searching the world wide web to find the perfect dog food, and have come across a few interesting sites from dog food analysts that have some valuable information to share and thought I would take the time to paraphrase their thoughts in order to give some insight to other dog owners who might be suffering from the same common problem as me and my picky pet.

First and foremost, I think it might be interesting to note that dogs (and also cats) dating back to centuries ago were carnivores; meat eaters.  With that said, their digestive system was originally built to consume a diet rich of meat and protein, and all the grains that have been added to pet foods in recent history have been used as an ingredient to hold kibble bits together, in addition to being cheaper than meat products and used as fillers, not highly recommended for the nutrition of your pet.  This is likely the reason why some dogs suffer from the problem of grain intolerance.

It has also been noted on a variety of sites that while grains contain protein too, meat-protein is of higher quality and more easily digestible for a carnivore.

Having said that, I think it is safe to assume that most dog food specialists advise to look for dog foods with meat, meat, and more meat.

BUT be sure to look for meat products that are identified by species.  This means you should steer clear of products that use unidentified meat listed in their ingredients, such as "animal" or "poultry".  This is equivalent to feeding your dog a sausage or hot dog (consisting of animal by-products that no one really knows the origin of).

For instance, look for: chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, beef, salmon, etc.

If grains are listed, look for good quality grains, such as whole wheat and brown rice.

If you are going for grain-free foods, go for whole fruits and vegetables to replace the grain.

AVOID artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners, or preservatives - if humans try to avoid these things in our own human food, then why would we want our dogs to eat them right? 

NOTE that manufacturers are not required to list or disclose artificial preservatives if they are already contained in the ingredients, most commonly in fish.  So, if you're going for a fish formula, keep your eye out for assurances by the manufacturer that state their fish do NOT contain any artificial preservatives.

Understanding the Ingredients Listed

Ingredients in dog food are listed in order of their weight - those that make up the largest portion are listed first.

"Splitting" an ingredient involves listing the same ingredient as separate items.

For example:  chicken and chicken meal are both chicken products while brown rice, white rice, rice bran, rice gluten, and rice flour at the end of the day, are all rice. 

The reason why you will see manufacturers splitting the ingredients comes down to determining quantity.  If their ingredients consist largely of rice, say 55%, with only 25% meat, but want to make it appear as though meat is the largest component, they simply would list this:

Chicken meal, brown rice, white rice, rice bran, rice gluten meal, barley, chicken fat....

At first glance, it looks as though chicken is the main ingredient, however, combined, rice components make up more than double the chicken content.

Since manufacturers don't disclose the actual quantity of ingredients in their labelling, to the consumer, this can be deceiving, so try to read the list of ingredients in its entirety and mentally add component parts together in addition to determining the quality of those ingredients used.

Don't be afraid to try different meats and changing your dog's diet every few months (or every time the bag of food runs dry).  Changing his food often and exposing him to different ingredients will increase his prevention to developing food allergies and continue to keep your dog interested in his kibble.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Keep Your Dog Calm and Relaxed Through Touch

How often do you, as a human, enjoy being on the receiving end of a nice, long, relaxing massage?

Believe it or not, dogs enjoy them too!!  Massages are the best for dogs to keep them calm and relaxed. 

I use massage techniques to my advantage when I try to get my dog, my sister's dog, or my cousin's dog to sit still when I attempt to groom them.  Most dogs, if you haven't started them in grooming when they were puppies, aren't accustomed to the feeling of a comb or brush going through their fur and worse, getting out the knots.  It can be scary and at times, a painful experience for them.

In order for me to get my sister or cousin's dog to relax under the comb, I often massage their backs and rumps with my free hand, while combing their coats with my other hand. 

The dog enjoys the massage and associates the nice, relaxing feeling with the grooming session et voila! you have yourself a fluffy, nicely groomed pooch.

Here's a video of Amie enjoying her neck rub..

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

FouFou Dog - The Start Up Story

In FouFou Dog's 2nd year of business, CBC Venture contacted Cheryl to feature FouFou Dog on their program that highlighted unique Canadian businesses, covering aspects of the Canadian economy and beyond. Cheryl, Evelyn, and myself were a three person team at the time, working together out of the basement of my parent's house. I remember we were absolutely thrilled and excited when they contacted us and the feature involved months of having them follow us around with their camera crew to shoot random footage of us at work. The CBC Venture crew even followed us to New York City where we attended the 1st annual NY Pet Fashion Week trade show.

Watching the video (posted above) is like taking a trip down memory lane as I am reminded of the cold, dingy basement, with no drywall, nor carpet, where we used to spend 8+ hours a day working.  In the area outside of our "office" were baskets that lined the walls from floor to ceiling with colourful dog apparel and toys.  The picking and packing area consisted of overflowing tables of charms and accessories that we used to fill orders.  I had almost forgotten about this clip until just recently as someone had posted it on YouTube.

At the time of the filming, FouFou Dog was only about 2 years old;  Evelyn was 22, I was 25 and Cheryl was 27. We were a team of young, ambitious, inexperienced ladies with mouths thirsty for fame and fortune. If you watch the video, you can see that we had a lot at stake. The time and money we invested into a company consisting of dressing up your dog was an unorthodox and risky business back then, because none of us were sure if the doggy dressing trend would be a dying fad or not.

I will never forget how incredibly scary and stressful times were back then when we had (as Cheryl mentioned in the video) bank loans, personal lines of credit, and credit cards with balances climbing everyday in addition to our own personal life savings invested.  I very quickly realized just how much money and capital it costs to get a start-up company off the ground.  These days, when anyone asks me about starting up their own company, I always tell them, "You have to have a lot of capital."

Since we were starting up a wholesale company, it meant we needed to stock a LOT of inventory, which is ultimately where 50% of our capital went.  I remember looking around at the walls of dog apparel and accessories we would have on hand and think to myself, "That's all our money sitting there... " 

Being a small Canadian business trying to make a dent in the huge American pet industry, we were maxing out our credit cards in order to attend trade shows in the United States.  To give an idea, renting booth space alone at a US trade show could easily run you a few thousand dollars.  In order to save money, we would purchase IKEA furniture to display our collection at the shows, fill a van with the furniture and as much inventory that we could fit, and make the 8-10 hour drive to the trade shows, sharing a double room at nearby, economical hotels. 

While Cheryl and I have had many heated debates in the past about attending too many trade shows that were out of our budget, Cheryl continued to demand that the trade shows were essential in developing our brand name.  She felt and still feels that it is important to make a presence in the industry where retailers can meet and greet us, put a face behind our company, as well as physically touch and feel our products.  Cheryl has always, and still is, a real stickler for branding.  She always says, "It takes a person 7 times to see your brand name before they will remember it..."  With that said, FouFou Dog has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to date on branding alone: whether it is through physical packaging, promotional items, events, or social media.

If you watch the video, you will also notice that we have spent a lot of time, money, and efforts to make our catalogue outstanding.  On top of branding, it was important for Cheryl to make FouFou Dog, a small time company, APPEAR large and reputable, even if we weren't.  The video mentions going from a 6 page catalogue (from year 1) to 32 pages (in year 2).  Again, the costs to produce this colourful catalogue of glossy, 8 pt, 100 lb stock to portray our entire collection was a tremendous investment that we had to make, which was still pertinent to Cheryl.

Luckily, the stresses and struggles have paid off and the fad of dressing your dog is here to stay while it continues to evolve over the years.  The rewards that we reap from the success of FouFou Dog boils down to the recognition and demand for our name brand, which is what Cheryl has been striving for since Day 1.  It is a great feeling to hear someone mention that they love FouFou Dog or to even ask us where they can buy it.  With balances down to $0.00, lines of credit at our disposal and bank loans paid off in full, the pressure of "making it" is no longer an issue.  But FouFou Dog did not get to where it is today without the stress, sweat, blood, and (as seen in the video), some tears along the way. 

While we have come a long way since we started, I sometimes get the feeling that we've only just begun...