Hurricane Preparedness for People and Pets

hurricane eye

With the official opening of the hurricane season in little more than a week (the season begins on June 1 and lasts through November 30th), now is the time to start planning for the possibility of a storm hitting your area. As pet owners, we have special responsibilities to take into consideration when it comes to hurricane preparedness, which means not only developing a strategy that will accommodate our family and loved ones, but also our pets. To that end, Petswelcome has just launched a Hurricane Preparedness for People and Pets section that will help you be ready in case a major weather event and/or emergency happens near you.

Colorado State’s Tropical Meteorology Project issued their extended forecast for 2018 and predicts 14 named storms (which are circular patterned storms with winds of 39 mph or more) and seven hurricanes, three of which could be major. And, with the gradual trend of a warming climate, researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research warn that future storms could be larger, stronger and wetter (meaning the possibility of greater flooding). Given this scenario, having a reliable and well-thought-out emergency plan is imperative.

First, make sure you have a disaster supply checklist for pets. We recommend one that can be found in the CASEY (Caring for Animals Safety in Emergencies during the Year) Plan put out by the Disaster Response Team of the Humane Society of the United States, and which we list on our site. As part of this checklist, and the emergency kit you will assemble using it, you should have at the ready any medications your pet is taking and a copy of its medical records, leash, harness and carrier, food and water bowls, a current photo of your pet (preferably of you and your pet together), pet bed and toys as well, as other useful items such as plastic bags and grooming items. Also make sure your pets are wearing up-to-date id tags or can be identified by microchips. For cats, their pet carrier should be large enough to accommodate them and a litter box; as part of the emergency kit, also include the litter box, a bag of litter, and scooper.

tree down in hurricane
Do not wait until this is your escape route.

A critical part of emergency planning is having an evacuation plan so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute and getting stuck in heavy traffic and bad weather conditions, unsure whether you’ll find a place that will accept you and your pet. To avoid such an outcome, Petswelcome provides a list of Pet-friendly Hotels Near You as well as Pet-friendly Emergency Shelters so that you will have a starting point and framework for planning your evacuation. We’ve talked to many emergency experts and they are adamant that finding a pet-friendly hotel to evacuate to should be your first priority and that emergency shelters should only be used as a last resort. And, once you have identified a pet-friendly hotel, make sure you secure a reservation early on, at the first hint of a storm, so that you’re not suddenly shut out and left with nowhere to go. If the storm never materializes or ends up taking another path, you can always cancel the reservation.

It’s also important to have an evacuation route ready so that you can get you to your destination without delay. Using Petswelcome’s Emergency Route Planner, you can enter your departure location and any stopovers you might require to your final destination. It will also show you pet-friendly hotels and shelters along the way. This route should be created ahead of time and saved so it is ready for use when you need it—giving you plenty of time to depart before a pending storm. It can then be accessed on desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

The reality is that emergencies can strike anytime. Having no plan is not an option. We highly recommend you start preparing now so that you will have the peace of mind and confidence that your whole family—including your pets—will be safe and protected in the event of a hurricane threat near you.

 

How to Walk Through a Hotel Lobby with Your Dog

I don’t know about you but whenever I enter the doors to walk through a hotel lobby with my dog, my heart starts pounding, my hands get sweaty and I hear the theme song from Jaws coursing through my ears. That’s because one of the big challenges when traveling with a dog, at least for me, is getting through the public areas of hotels to my room with as few “incidents” as possible. Having many times walked through the “minefield,” as we affectionately call the lobby stroll, a few of us at Petswelcome got together to come up with some commonsense advice on how to reduce the chance of anything going wrong.

1. If your dog is not used to being around crowds or even a few strangers, make sure you take him out to socialize before you leave on your trip. Bring him over to a willing neighbor’s house or to a local pet store so he can adjust and get comfortable with the idea of being indoors among people and dogs and pets he isn’t familiar with.

2. Even though it might be tempting, if there’s just one person traveling, never leave your dog in the car while you check in. There are too many things that can go wrong. You might think you’ll be back out in a few minutes but you can’t be sure and it’s not worth something happening to your dog while you’re gone.

3. If you’re about to check in and there is another person traveling with you, have that person stay in the car with the dog or walk them around the parking lot while you get the room. That will allow you to scope out the situation and ask the front desk if there is another, less public, entry for your pet to use during your stay.

right way and wrong way to enter a hotel lobby with a dog

 

4. If you have a small dog, it’s best to carry it in a crate when you initially enter the hotel, rather than using a leash. When your dog is in a crate, it is totally safe and protected. And you are in full control. This will allow you to keep your mind on whatever you need to be doing without having to worry, whether it be checking in or asking the concierge or front desk attendant relevant questions about your stay.

5. If you have a large dog, we recommend using a dog harness, which will give you more control than a leash connected to a collar. We have seen uncooperative dogs slip out of their collars many times to run free in places they shouldn’t be running free. Dogs in harnesses respond well to the gentle pressure that you can apply, allowing for much easier handling, even in crowded conditions. Remember, a straight line is the shortest distance to your intended goal. A harness will help you achieve that straight line.

6. Always have treats and toys on hand. There’s nothing that keeps a dog’s attention more focused than a beef treat or favorite chew toy. When I’m walking through a lobby with my dog, I let him know I have a treat in my hand, which keeps him concentrated on me and not on the other guests around us. The chew toy comes in handy during check-in while I’m exchanging information and getting my room card. He’s so busy at my feet with the toy that the attendant sometimes doesn’t even seem to notice that I have a dog with me.

The bottom line is you know your dog best. Whatever comforts and occupies his or her attention should be part of the arsenal you use when passing through the hotel lobby and/or ensuring a quick and successful check-in.

What is Your Favorite Dog Breed?

Do you have a favorite dog breed? If you’re a dog lover, you probably have a strong opinion on the topic, one probably slightly biased by the animal(s) sitting right next to you. I know that’s the case with me. I have two dogs, both purebreds and, suh-prise!, they happen to be my favorite types of dogs. I have a Bracco Italiano (a what? you might ask) and a Vizsla. They are very different and only have two things in common: they are both bird dogs and neither one listens a whit to anything I have to say. As a matter of fact, that’s a trait shared by every dog I’ve ever had. I’m not sure what that says about them or, more probably, me but let’s not go there. And that’s the interesting thing about the type of dog you have, it likely says more about you than the dog. So, if you chime in with your favorite breed (which we hope you will), we’ll know who you’re really talking about.

Bracco Italiano
The best breed, IMHO

Focusing on a dog’s breed is often a snooty undertaking. I mean, what difference does it really make? Many people prefer mixed breeds or mongrels (dogs not bred for specific traits) because  they often have a healthier gene pool (much less inbreeding) and they have the potential to exhibit the best traits of many breeds, not just one. Friends of mine who always have had Gordon Setters now have a mixed breed (is it unPC to say mutt?) named Charlie, whom they adore. So purebred does not mean superior. Our Sales Director, Cindy, says her favorite breed is Pomeranian because they are gentle, dedicated and personable. Hmmm…sounds like a person I know who works at Petswelcome. 

Then, of course, there are the specific mixed breeds such as Cockapoos, LabraDoodles and Chugs, which are all the rage. Mika, who also works at Petswelcome, has a Goldendoodle named Murphy. “What makes him awesome,” Mika says, “is his incredible laid back personality. He has tons of character, but is very chill about everything. He’s also extremely smart. He will pick his own treats at the store; if I put down four different bags of them, he’ll bring me the bag he wants. He can open doors (including pulling on them to open them, if I have a string tied to it that he can pull with) and the best thing is he sheds very little and doesn’t drool.” Imagine that? Really smart and doesn’t drool. That’s a tall order even for a human. If you have a mixed breed, we’d love to hear about it. Do they evenly represent both breeds in temperament and personality? Or do they just look like both breeds but have totally individual personalities that are unique only to your dog?

Rusty the viszla
Rusty, the old soul.

If I must declare my favorite type of dog, which I kinda have to because I’m writing this article, I’m going to say that it’s a Rescue. Booyah! I know, I’m cheating. Rescue is not a breed and I’m only saying it because it’s self-serving and makes me out to be a better person than I am. However, my dog Rusty, the Vizsla, is a rescue and I couldn’t NOT pick him because he’d feel disparaged and mope around the house if I chose another breed. Rusty is happy, if tentative, and he’s totally dedicated and loves me like nobody’s business, which is a trait all Vizslas share. There’s a Hungarian saying—Vizslas are Hungarian pointers—that if you own a Vizsla, it lives on your head. Rusty’s a bit advanced in age for that now, but he regularly gets his old soul tangled up with my old soul and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

But, to finally—and really—answer the question, my favorite breed is the Bracco Italiano. They are sweet, sweet, and sweet—to a degree unlike any other dog I’ve ever come in contact with. They’re not necessarily towering intellects, but it doesn’t matter. Did I mention they’re sweet? And stunning looking. And very noble in bearing and personality. I love Hobbes dearly and therefore publicly declare Braccos to be the best breed ever.

We’d love to hear about your favorite breed, be it no-breed, mix breed, rescue or whatever.  We’ll be giving out Petswelcome Road Warrior T-shirts to the best responses, so pipe in and let us know what type you think best represents the noblest of all animals, canines.

Great Savings for Pet Friendly Senior Travel

Man and dog on beach

Are you older than 50 and thinking of taking a trip with your pet? If so, it’s a great time for pet friendly senior travel. That’s because many of the large hotel chains are offering savings opportunities that you should take advantage of. And, hey, if you’re in your 50s and early 60s and don’t think of yourself as a senior yet,  just consider it a baby boomer discount.

First, with regard to the numbers, AARP reports that Americans own 305 million cats and dogs, which is an increase of 85 million pets over the past decade. According to AARP, those 50 or older account for sixty percent of that growth. And since older owners are more likely to be divorced, widowed, separated or to live alone, their pets often play a more prominent role in their lives, including when they travel.

Cat in man's lap

Hotel chains understand this and offer many discounts to this demographic. While most of them are geared to people 62 and older, there are some chains that offer discounts to pet owners in their 50s as well. The key to is to be a savvy shopper. You will often get a better discount by just being a member in a rewards program offered by a particular chain so, if you travel regularly, that is an option to consider. Also, you should check whether you can “stack” discounts. For example, if you’re a military veteran and over 62, find out if you get both discounts or are only able to choose the one that offers the largest savings. As with everything, doing your homework will pay off with regard to the money you save.

Here are six popular hotel chains and the discounts they offer:

Best Western

You can save 10% or more on room rates at Best Western if you are 55 or older. The discount is not available at all Best Westerns and is subject to availability, so be sure to enquire before you book your room. Proof of age will be required at check-in.

Choice Hotels

You can save up to 10% with Choice Hotels (which includes Comfort Inns, Quality Inns, Sleep Inns and many others). Choice offers a tiered program depending on your age, from 50 to 55 to 60+. Choice Hotels also offers a Senior Travelers email newsletter that you can subscribe to to find out the latest specials and promotions for that age group.

InterContinental Hotels Group

IHG is made up of many popular brands such as Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts among others. If you are 62 years old or older, you may be entitled to get a discounted room rate at any participating hotel. Check each property for availability.

La Quinta

If you are 65 and older, you can get special savings at La Quinta Inns & Suites. La Quinta stipulates the discount may not be used together with any other offer or discounted rates. Seniors can get discounted rates not only in participating hotels in the U.S. and Canada, but also at LQ Hotel in Mexico, Colombia, and Honduras.

Motel 6

People 60 years or older are entitled to a special 10% Senior Rate discount at each of their 1,300 plus locations. The discount can be applied to a maximum of two rooms for six consecutive nights per stay. Proof of age must presented at check-in.

Red Roof Inns

If you are 59+, you can save 10% year round. Restrictions are based on availability and age status will verified at check-in, so be sure to have your ID.

Stay tuned to the Weekly Bone to find more hotel-related discounts in future articles.

 

 

The Fantastic Flying Dogs of Flyball

Flyball is a fun and absolutely electrifying sport for canines that got its start in Southern California in the late ’60s/early ’70s. It developed out of hurdle racing, and came into its own when Mike Randall built the first flyball box (which he demo-ed on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson), an apparatus that launches a tennis ball when the dog hits it.

Flyball is a hurdle relay race, with two teams racing one another, side by side. Each dog jumps four hurdles, hits the flyball box (releasing a tennis ball), grabs the ball, does a 180 degree pivot, and races back, jumping over the same four hurdles. Part of the challenge of the race is timing; if the next dog passes the start line before the previous dog has finished its run, that dog will have to do a second run at the end of the race.

The turns the dogs do on the flybox are positively acrobatic. After the last hurdle, the dog launches itself into the air, often hitting the box with all four feet at once, grabbing the ball as it releases at the same time the dog is twisting its body to completely change direction in a split second.

dog racing in flyball tournament
Competitor coming off the flybox at a UFLI tournament

This is a sport for all sorts of dogs, both breeds and sizes. There is a benefit to teams including at least one smaller dog, as the hurdle size is determined by the height of the smallest dog on the team (called the “height dog”) at its withers (they round that number down to the nearest full inch, then subtract 5 to get the hurdle height). The minimum hurdle height is 7 inches, the maximum is 14 inches.

If you’re interested in flyball, check out the tournament schedules on the North American Flyball Association and UFLI (United Flyball League International) websites. (And be sure to check out petswelcome.com to find a pet-friendly lodging if you’ll be staying overnight with your dog!) These tournaments can include different classes of races, like Multi-Breed or Variety (four different breeds on each team) and Veteran (dogs age 7 and older). Tournaments are open to all dogs, including mixed breeds. Regarding scoring, dogs are awarded points based on how fast the race was run, and those points accumulate over the course of the dog’s racing life. Twenty points earns the pooch the title of Flyball Dog; 30,000 and that pup is a Flyball Grand Champion.

How to Use Petswelcome’s Pet-Friendly Trip Planner

Beagle on Road Trip

One of Petswelcome’s most popular features is our Pet-friendly Trip Planner, which pet-owners use to plan their road trips with their favorite animal(s). The best feature of the Trip Planner, besides allowing you to find pet-friendly hotels along your route, is that you can save it. Overall, the planner is much more than simply getting directions to your destination while you’re in the car, it’s a complete saved itinerary of your trip–including route, driving directions, stopovers and hotels you’ve picked along the way–one that you can refer to before you leave to make any last-minute changes to your itinerary if need be, while also accessing it on the road to get to all your intended stops.

Because of its popularity, we thought we’d write a quick how-to-use piece on it to spread the word so that you can use it for your next trip with no learning curve involved at all. We’re sure you’ll enjoy its ease of use and convenience in organizing your itinerary and allowing you to concentrate on the fun, rather than the hassles, of traveling on the road with a pet (and it is VERY fun….)

The first thing to do is to go to our Trip Planner page and input your departure point, any stop-overs you’re thinking of making, and your destination city. For this example trip, we’re Departing from New York, NY, stopping over in Washington, DC, with a final destination of Savannah, GA. Once you input that information and click on Go!, you get your initial list of hotels along your route, including hotels in your stopover, Washington, DC. If you want to change the route to another road, all you need to do is drag the route on the map and the hotels results will change.

Once you have the desired route, you can focus on the hotels along the way in the left sidebar. You can click on “More Info” for each hotel to get more details about the hotel (which will appear over the map) and/or you can check the “Add to Your Trip” box which will ensure that that hotel will be included in your driving directions.

Add More Hotel Info to Petswelcome Trip planner

If for some reason you decide to change  your destination or stopover,  you can change it in the top bar which shows your previous stopover/destination choices. Once you’ve made your final decisions and have chosen hotels to add to your trip, you can scroll down to the bottom of the hotel results column and you’ll see a button that says, “Get Directions with Selected Hotels.”

Get Directions with Petswelcome Trip Planner

After you click on Get Directions with Selected Hotels, you will then get driving directions with the hotels you have selected included in the directions. At the top of the directions column, you’ll see that you have three choices: Save, Share, or Print. If you save the route, it will be saved in your Petswelcome Passport account. If you don’t have a Passport account, you can choose the option to create one. There is no charge whatsoever and it will give you easy access to your itinerary any time before you leave (in case you want to make changes) and while you’re on the road. You can also share your route by emailing to a friend who or relative who might be going on the same trip but in a separate car, or on a later date. Or you can save it the old-fashioned way by printing.

Save Your Route with Petswelcome Trip Planner

And that, in a nutshell, is how you can use Petswelcome’s Pet-Friendly Trip Planner to give you the ability to plan the perfect road trip with your favorite animals. We say, Yay to that. Please let us know any additional features you would like to see and we’ll get on it asap. In the meantime, Happy Pet Travels!

To read about other considerations when heading out on the road with your pet, see our article Planning a Pet-Friendly Road Trip.

Some Great Pet Friendly Vacation Destinations

At Petswelcome, when we’re thinking about a pet-friendly vacation, many times we don’t have a particular city in mind. When the urge to get out of town hits, it’s usually a general sense of wanting to visit a particular type of landscape—one with beaches or lakes or mountains. Or maybe it’s an area that highlights a certain lifestyle—like the Florida Keys or the Hamptons—or one that produces a specific product, such as wine in Napa Valley. That’s because the desire to get away is often a state of mind and doesn’t necessarily align with the geographic boundaries of towns, cities or even states. And that’s where vacations destinations come in. They weren’t designated by local government zoning laws but, instead, are defined by their natural landscapes, as well as their unique cultural and recreational offerings, and therefore we think they best scratch that initial travel itch.

That’s why we have developed our new Travel Guide section, to let you throw a wider net when it comes to planning your next trip. All of these pet-friendly vacation destinations are made up of numerous towns and cities that offer unique takes on similar themes. Visit the Adirondacks, for example, and stay in a rustic hotel in Long Lake, or a traditional Adirondack “Great Camp” at Saranac Lake, or simply rent a cabin deep in the woods and you’ll be experiencing different facets of the same jewel, all which include mountains, pines and sparkling lakes.

So here are just a few of the pet-friendly destinations that our Travel Guides will be highlighting. We are going to be adding a lot more pet-friendly destinations, as well as places, events and things to do within each destination so that you will thoroughly be prepared for pet-friendly fun on your next destination adventure.

pet friendly cape cod beach
Cape Cod Herring Cove Beach

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod is an elbow-shaped peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean in southeastern Massachusetts and offers plenty of pet-friendly hotels and lodgings.  A favorite summer haunt of rich Bostonians, it is comprised of an incredibly beautiful and quaint mix of small towns, including Sandwich, Barnstable, Dennis, Chatham, Orleans and, of course, dog-crazy Provincetown on the far end of the peninsula. AllFirst, there are Cape Cod’s beautiful beaches, many of them pet-friendly. These include the Cape Cod National Seashore as well as smaller town-specific beaches such as Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown.  Cape Cod also has fantastic seafood restaurants, of course,  such as the Central House at the Crown in Provincetown. You can also take your dog on a whale watching excursion with the Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown or simply mosey over to Wellfleet and hit the Flea Market on the weekend (also on Wednesday and Thursday in the summer). Whatever you decide to do on Cape Cod, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to do it with your dog.

pet friendly Florida gulf beach
A dog playing on one of the many Gulf Coast beaches.

Gulf Coast Florida

Another ocean location, the Gulf Coast of Florida, has many pet-friendly hotels and beaches that extend from Cedar Key down to Fort Myers Beach. There are also wonderful pet-friendly options for dining including Columbia Restaurant and Crab & Fin, both in Sarasota, and the Dock at Crayton Cove in Naples. And the natural beauty doesn’t end with the coastal beaches; there is the Everglades National Park, billed as the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States (best to take your pooch in a boat when exploring the park), as well as the Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge with over 53,000 acres of tidal flats, marshes, and forests. Whether relaxing, exploring, or indulging, Florida’s Gulf Coast is a fantastic destination to explore with your whole family.

pet friendly Napa Valley
A vineyard at sunset.

Napa Valley, California

Obviously, if you’re a wine geek, you’ll want to be heading to Napa Valley. What better way to spend a day than with your best buddy in tow, hopping from one pet-friendly winery to another? And don’t worry about pet-friendly lodging, Napa Valley has got you and your pets covered. And while wine is obviously the main attraction, there’s a lot of good eating, too, including Bistro Don Giovanni  and Angele Restaurant & Bar, both in the town of Napa. You can also visit specialty food producers that cultivate and sell artisanal olive oils and vinegars, such as Round Pond Estates in Rutherford. However, before you even head out on your various explorations, we suggest you visit Oxbow Public Market  which will give you a great overall feel for all the fantastic food, wine and fresh produce Napa Valley has to offer. A 40,000-square-foot space, including a scenic outdoor deck overlooking the Napa River, it hosts a multitude of local food producers and vendors, and exemplifies the commitment to sustainable agriculture and production of great food and wine that defines the Napa Valley experience.

 

Pet-Friendly Beacon, New York

If you and your bestest buddy are looking for a day trip out of the city or a weekend road trip from elsewhere, pet-friendly Beacon, New York, is the place to go. If you’re coming up from the city, the good news is that Metro North is also pet friendly. Pet are allowed on the trains if “enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers,” according to the MTA website. In practice, conductors are pretty much good with dogs of any size being on the trains, so long as they are leashed, well-behaved, and do not take up extra seats.

One of the wonderful things about taking the train to Beacon is that the ride is part of the experience; once you hit Spuyten Duyvil, the train tracks run along the Hudson River the entire way. The view is particularly beautiful above Peekskill, as you approach and then go under the Bear Mountain Bridge, pass West Point, and then the remains of the ramparts of Bannerman’s Island above Cold Spring.

If you’re up for hiking, you can keep with the riverside theme and hits the trails in Long Dock Park and Dennings Point State Park, following them down to Madam Brett Park, where Fishkill Creek becomes a tidal marsh; don’t miss the beautiful waterfall. If you want views and a more strenuous workout, you and your pup can hit the trail to Mount Beacon. After you get off the train, walk up to Route 9D, then south and you’ll run into the trailhead. It’s about a mile walk to the summit, with a spectacular view of the river, Beacon, and the Catskill Mountains in the distance.

pet friendly beacon, new york, view from mt. beacon
The view from the summit of Mt. Beacon

After your walk, you and your bestie are going to want to sit and relax. One of the best places to do that in pet-friendly Beacon is the outdoor seating at Bank Square Coffeehouse, at the westernmost end of Main Street. Grab one of the tables and gaze out over the Hudson as you sip a cold brew coffee, fruit frappe, iced tea, or one the nine craft beers they always have on tap. Breakfast and lunch items are also available.

pet friendly Bank Square Coffeehouse, Beacon, new york
Pet-friendly outdoor seating at Bank Square Coffeehouse

If you want something more substantial to eat, you have numerous choices, from the Italian-inspired fare at Cafe Amarcord Cafe, to the deliciously creative sandwiches of Beacon Pantry, to the varied and deeply satisfying tapas of The Vault, to the wonderful breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare of Beacon Falls Cafe. All the these restaurants are on Main Street and all of them have-pet friendly outdoor seating.

If you do come up via train, you will have to make this a day trip, as none of the hotels right in Beacon are pet friendly. But if you are driving or willing to take an Uber, there are plenty of pet-friendly hotel options in Fishkill, which is only a ten-minute ride away.

If you can, try to time your visit with the Beacon Barks! Dog Parade and Street Festival, which happens each year towards the end of April. It’s co-sponsored by the Dutchess County SPCA and Beacon Barkery. There are lots of great vendors, and you and your pup can meet other owners and their canines as you strut your stuff down Main Street! And for more information about Beacon and the other pet-friendly towns on or near the Hudson River, check out our Hudson Valley Travel Guide.

dogs in a stroller in pet-friendly beacon new york
Taking a stroll in pet-friendly Beacon as part of the Beacon Barks! Dog Parade

5 Myths About Dogs and Cats Debunked!

cat and dog

There are many myths about dogs and cats that have been around for a long time, some going back hundreds or even thousands of years. For example, in Norse mythology, if a cat showed up at your wedding, it was a sign of good luck. On the other hand, medieval people thought cats ferried spirits to hell and white cats were believed to be an omen of death. In England in the 1700s, people believed that if your newborn baby was licked by a dog, he or she would be a quick healer. Or, if a cat looked at you after cleaning her face, you would soon be married. All these happen to be true (just kidding!). However, we wanted to debunk some really stupid ones that currently pass for common knowledge or have recently sprung up under the guise of “academic studies.” So here are 5 myths about dogs and cats that definitely do not pass the smell test.

1. If your cat were bigger it would eat and kill you

This is the finding of a new study by the University of Edinburgh. It is absolutely not true. I know because I’ve read other reputable studies. What it would do is bat you around with its paws and chew on your extremities and wait for you to try and escape and let you think you did escape and then catch you again and bat you around and nibble on you some more. Eventually it would deposit you on your neighbor’s front stoop, at which point you would be taken to a hospital and brought back to health and returned home again, whereupon the whole scenario would repeat itself. However, let me be clear, the cat would not kill you.

2. Your dog(s) only love you because you feed them every day

This is also a falsehood. At least with regard to me and my dogs. They love me because they sense my beautiful inner spirit and nobility and just love being in my aura and want to please me because they think I’m a God. I continue to feed them regularly, though, because they seem to appreciate it and would starve to death if I didn’t and so it’s impossible to absolutely test the verity of my theory. But, really, there’s no doubt that it’s true and that my dogs have sublime taste when it comes to humans.

3. Dogs are smarter than cats

Puh-lease! Though a new study shows that dogs have more neurons in their cerebral cortex than cats (a traditional measure of intelligence), anybody who has owned a cat and dog knows this isn’t true. I mean, just ask your cat. Besides, the scientists had to turn the animals’ brains into a liquid “soup” to be able to count the loose neuron cells floating around in the brain which is not only cruel but proves, once and for all, that humans are less intelligent than the animals they are studying. I mean, did you ever try to count the letters in a bowl of alphabet soup? I have. It’s an error-prone undertaking at best. And though I was able to re-create the first sentence in A Confederacy of Dunces with the letters,  I was still never sure how many I had left over. The bad news in the study, though, is that pigs are smarter than us all.

4. Dogs can learn 150 words and count to 5

A canine researcher from the University of British Columbia found that dogs can understand “up to 250 words” and also that they “intentionally deceive other dogs and people to get treats.” Both of these claims are complete hogwash. I don’t know about your dogs, but mine have way surpassed that number. I’ve trained them very well and have discovered that not only do they know a lot more than 250 words and 5 numbers, they also understand abstract concepts. For example, if I lay down 8 treats and say, “Eat six treats,” they eat 6 treats. Of course, they eat the other 2 as well but there’s no denying they knew what I was talking about. They didn’t eat 5 treats, did they? More amazing, if I then lay down 10 treats and say, “Eat, damn curs, ad infinitum….,” they eat all 10 and then look to me for more. So not only do they get abstract concepts, they understand Latin and, I think, Shakespeare. This is further confirmed when I lay down yet another 10 and command, “Eat ad nauseum…” They followed this command to the letter too and, when I’m done cleaning up, I’m going to check on their French.

5. Cats will stay home if you butter their paws

This is an old wives’ tale and is just plain stupid. The idea behind it is that, if you move to a new place or, in general, don’t want to your cat to leave the house, the cat will lick its buttered paws and, in doing so, realize that it’s home and not want to wander way. I tested it out and went broke because my cat now demands that I butter her paws every day and will not eat anything other then lobster. Worse, the lobster meat has to be spooned out of the shell and she will only partake if I tie a tiny bib on her. The closest I could get to emulating the “butter” theory outcome was with my Uncle Bertie who paid a visit two years ago. I made the mistake of offering him a glass of gin and he hasn’t left the house since.

10 Greatest Cartoon Dogs Ever

Thinking back to my earliest memories of dogs, I remember my father’s Doberman, Vicky, who let me ride on her back when I was very young. I can still feel the visceral exhilaration of her speed and her concern in making sure I didn’t fall off. But beyond that experience, and a maybe a few others, most of my earliest memories originate from dogs in cartoons. Some of them are so deeply embedded in my psyche that they almost seemed more real than my actual dogs did. That’s because cartoon dogs are creations of our imaginations, highlighting what we’d like to believe about them, capturing their sweetness, zaniness and weirdness while, at the same time—for those of us of a certain age—making those attributes all the more real because we saw them on TV. All these dogs are imbued with humor, joy and the fond memories of childhood which add a new and wonderful layer to our enjoyment of man’s best friend: When it comes to our relationship with dogs, cartoon or not, there’s a part of us that never has to grow up.

So here, in no particular order, are just a few of Petswelcome’s Picks of the Greatest Cartoon Dogs Ever.

Snoopy—OK. Even in an unordered list, Snoopy is number one. No doubt about it. He can fly as the Red Baron, he can decorate a mean doghouse, go one-on-one with Lucy, make fun of his owner, Charlie Brown, and, above all, he can ice skate.  Check him out in Rockefeller Center. From the moment he taps the ice he’s nothing short of sublime.

Cartoon Dog Muttley Laughing

Muttley—The more we researched, the more we discovered that Muttley is kind of an uberdog in the canine cartoon world, one who left a long and lasting impression in the genre. Kind of like Faulkner in Southern literature. For those not familiar with him, he was Dick Dastardly’s dog and always took joy in his owner’s ill-conceived plans, which somehow always blew up in his own face. But it’s his wheezy chuckle that we all remember.

Brian Griffin—Brian from Family Guy is a struggling writer dog who drives a Toyota Prius and moves through the world like a human, dating human women and always incredulous about the behavior of his close friend Stewie as well as his owner, Peter Griffin. In this segment, you can see the lasting influence of, you guessed it, Muttley.

Scooby-Doo—Can’t talk about cartoon dogs without mentioning Scooby from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, the much-loved Saturday morning show that debuted in 1969. A weird combination of Dobie Gillis, The Milton the Monster Show and The Archies, Scooby-Doo Where Are You? follows the adventures of Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, and Velma as they investigate ghosts, monsters and/various supernatural creatures. Truly strange but lighthearted and REALLY popular.

Cartoon Dog Astro

Astro was immortalized in the closing credits of the Jetsons as he runs his master, George Jetson,  through the treadmill.  It is one of the lesser-known facts of Canine Cartoondom that the same person, Don Messick, did the voice of Scooby and Astro. When you think about it, they sound pretty much the same. Both used Ruh-roh (for Uh-oh) when things got tough. Evidently, when dogs talk, they always put Rs in front of everything which, in scientific terms, is called Rhotic Replacement. Really. Not kidding. There’s been studies.

Goofy—Aw shucks, he’s just sweet. Check out this episode when Goofy and the usual buddies go on a Hawaiian vacation and the Goof gets some surfing in. Classic Disney. Goofy was known for his really silly—some might say annoying—laugh which, if you’re next to him someday in hell, could get on your nerves, as captured on the Family Guy.

Cartoon Dog Droopy

Droopy Dog—Not many people remember him specifically. Just the voice. Jon Stewart from the Daily Show compared him to Joseph Lieberman the senator from Connecticut who ran as the Vice Presidential candidate with Al Gore in 1992. Despite not being well-remembered,  though, Droopy had some serious acting chops. Check out his demure response to a kiss in an early 1960s’ feature.

Cartoon Dog Snuffles

Snuffles—Okay, I admit it. I originally mixed Snuffles up with Muttley. It’s a common occurrence in ACCS (Advanced Canine Cartoon Studies). However, what I remembered was a treat-loving dog who levitated every time a biscuit was tossed his way. I just forgot it was Quick Draw McGraw’s beloved hound, Snuffles. Evidently his brood of pups didn’t fall far from the tree.

Max—Truly a legend, poor Max had the unfortunate luck of living with the Grinch in his cave high atop Mt. Crumpet. In the end, though, he found his place on the sleigh which, not to get too profound or philosophical or anything, is what we’re all trying to do when you think about it.

Gromit

Gromit—Alright. Gromit isn’t technically a cartoon, he’s Claymation. But he’s so awesome and smart, he needs to be included in any list of truly great animated TV dogs.

Dexter’s Laboratory Dog—Simply the greatest rendering of what dogs would be like if they could really talk. In this episode, Dexter comes up with a potion that allows a found dog to say what’s on his mind. Which isn’t much.  If you want to know what’s on your dog’s mind throughout most of the day, we suggest you watch the rest of the episode.

If we left any of your favorites out, please let us know. We’d love to hear about them.

Coming soon: The Best Cartoon Cats Ever