Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Loyal and Trustworthy.

Well, we knew this was coming at some point. People are nominating their dogs to become our new governor here in Illinois. Can't say I'd disagree with the choice.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Urbanhound's 2008 Holiday Gift Guide

Just in the nick of time for holiday shopping, urbanhound has picked out the absolute best gifts for dogs (and their people).

Urbanhound's 4th annual Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone - from the practical (great-looking dog crates) to the decadent (sustainable dog houses complete with roof garden), from the nostalgic (matchbooks commemorating the dogs of the Soviet Space Program) to the whimsical (charming dog-shaped pillows).

For dogs and dog lovers alike, the list includes gifts that are suitable for any budget -including those worth splurging on (what recession?).

Friday, November 7, 2008

First Pup--Your Chance to Vote!

Mutt, Lab, or Corgy in the White House? Make your voice heard at Cute Overload. So far, 44.1% of voters are going for the mutt. (Attention Obama family: This gorgeous pup is available for adoption at the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our Suggestion for First Pup

Dear President-Elect Obama,

As long as everyone from the New York Times to The Daily Show is following the quest to be First Dog, it's time for us to weigh in as well. We know what The People have said (besides "Change"): Poodle. And we've heard Malia wants a Goldendoodle.

But maybe you'd like to consider getting a Pit Bull. If ever a breed needed a change (of perception) it's the poor maligned Pit Bull. (If I were a harder worker, I'd draw up a whole metaphor of Pit Bulls and the United States. But I think I'll save my energy for the hard work you said we'd all need to do to fix the country.) But I've seen you on the talk show circuit, and we know you have a decent sense of humor. So leave it at this: Get a Pit Bull, name her Sarah and put some lipstick on her. A guaranteed smirk every time. Heck, even McCain would chuckle at that one.

Not sold on the whole Pit Bull thing? Fine, then we recommend you go the shelter route. (As you've said you might.) Did we mention we have a whole list of Chicago-area shelters? We do. Check it out. And then sign up for the newsletter. It's free, which is exactly the right price for fixing the economy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Treating the Dogs of War.

This week, a state-of-the-art veterinary facility opened in San Antonio, Texas, to treat and rehabilitate the dogs who sniff out bombs, drugs and more, in airports here at home and on battlegrounds abroad. With veterans' health care among the hot buttons of the presidential campaign, it's gratifying to see that canine soldiers are finally getting the treatment they deserve.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Mandatory Mental Health Break

Election mudslinging got you down? 401K tanking before your very eyes? What you need, my friend, is a visit to the Puppy Cam

If that doesn't cheer you up, at least a little...well, then, you're way more committed to your melancholy than I am.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Top Ten Medications That Poison Dogs

The ASPCA Poison Control Center has just released a list of of the 10 human medications that most often poison dogs and cats. They are:

1. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen or naproxen (ie, Advil or Aleve);

2. Antidepressants;

3. Acetaminophen (ie, Tylenol);

4. Methylphenidate (ie, Ritalin and other drugs used to treat ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder);

5. Fluorouracil (an anti-cancer cream used treat minor skin cancers and solar keratitis);

6. Isoniazid (often the first line of defense against tuberculosis);

7. Pseudoephedrine (a popular decongestant in many cold and sinus products);

8. Anti-diabetics (ie, glipizide and glyburide)

9. Vitamin D derivatives (ie, calcipotriene and calcitriol);

10. Baclofen (ie, the muscle relaxants Kemstro and Lioresal).

Learn more about common households poisons––and what to do if your dog ingests something toxic––from urbanhound's own veterinarian, Betsy Brevitz.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Operation Baghdad Pups

Is it bad form to suggest that bringing strays all the way from Iraq to the United States is not the most efficient use of resources? I hope not. Because since Operation Baghdad Pups was launched in 2007, I've sometimes thought about how saving dogs from a war zone, a place where humans are barely surviving, verged on the absurd. In any case, I'd stopped thinking about it––until today, when the New York Times reported that one of the Iragi dogs brought to the U.S. last June by Operation Baghdad Pups was, belatedly, found to have rabies. This, not long after the U.S. triumphantly declared the canine rabies virus eliminated. The pup in question, a sweet-looking Lab-mix called Crusader has been put down, and the Center for Disease Control has now launched an investigation, searching for animals or humans who may have been in contact with Crusader. What a sad mess. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not So Sweet: Xylitol is Deadly for Dogs

No matter how bad your dog's breath may be, do not offer him a breath mint. Xylitol, a common ingredient in breath mints, toothpaste, gum and low-calorie sweets, can cause a severe and sudden drop in blood sugar followed by liver failure. Read all about it here. Even small amounts can be deadly, so keep any foods that contain it well away from your hounds. That means if you tend to put your purse or backpack, with a stash of gum inside, on the floor, it's time to retrain yourself, and if you think it's OK to give your dog a dollop of your low-cal ice cream, think again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pit Bull Peeps to Would-Be Veep: Leave Our Breed Out of It!

Advocates for Pit Bulls are growling over Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's use of the breed as a symbol for ferocity in her speech accepting the nomination to become the Republican candidate for VP, reports The Huffington Post. We agree that the maligned breed has enough problems without being dragged into the national political debate. Oddly, the McCain Campaign's response to a request for comment was "Gov. Palin does in fact have one thing in common with a pitbull: neither is capable of answering questions from reporters." Doesn't seem like something they'd be proud of.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gear for Outdoor Hounds

Retailer REI has long been known for their high quality products for nature adventures. Now they also sell a truly impressive selection of merchandise for intrepid hounds. Their Outdoor Doggie line has everything you could possibly need for hiking, camping, or boating with your dog. There's an astonishing array of packs so she can carry her own gear, plus life preservers (technically called "float coats"), cooling vests, booties, and even a tent just for hounds. (Astonishingly, some people don't want to snuggle up with their dog inside their own tent.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Martha Speaks! Kids Listen.

We dog lovers have long wondered what our pups would say if they could actually talk. That's the genius of a new animated kid's show based on Susan Meddaugh's popular book series, Martha Speaks. 

Martha, the family dog, eats alphabet soup and gains the ability to speak. While having adventures--including dealing with the family's new puppy, trying out to be a firehouse dog and going camping--she uses that skill to advise the children in her family (and the listeners to her radio talk show) on topics like communication, courage and being yourself. Along the way she also teaches them vocabulary words. Good dog.

Aimed at 4 to 7-year-olds, Martha Speaks premieres on PBS today. Check the PBS listings for local times and dates.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What's in Your Dog's Bowl?

Marion Nestle, author of "Food Politics" and the wonderful "What to Eat," has just released her latest title, "Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine."

In it, Nestle delves into the story behind the 2007 tainted pet food scandal and throws a harsh light on what's being done --or not--to safeguard the global food supply for both pets and people.

Bay Area residents can meet Nestle at two upcoming readings:

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Junk Journalism Award

What is it about journalists and fake trend stories? You know, the kind of story where a single freak anecdote leads to a front-page article about the "growing demand" for something that only three people across the country are actually doing? Well, one of those stories––about "time-share pets"––is on the front page of today's Wall Street Journal. Read the story and learn first-hand how journalists create articles out of.... nothing.

Monday, August 4, 2008

On-line Licensing for NY's Urbanhounds

As of today, NYC dog licenses can be obtained and renewed online. Licensing your dog is cheap ($11.50 and then $8.50 a year if your dog is spayed or neutered), legally-mandated, and rare -- only about 20% of the city's dogs are licensed. Most importantly, though, licensing your dog is good for all urbanhounds, because the city uses licensing stats to apportion resources (like park space) to dogs and their people. Tech savvy San Francisco already has online dog licenses, we hope Chicago will soon too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Music Hath Charms (Vol. 2)...

Ok, I may be more susceptible than most to the intoxicating effects of puppy cuteness (especially boxer puppies), but if you don't think this is just about the most adorable video you have ever seen, well, I can only conclude that you have no heart. 

Uh, Oh.

Looks like we may have to revive my idea of sampling gourmet dog foods now that Rachael Ray has her own line of premium dog food. Um... delish?

Sunday, July 27, 2008


If you like to hike or camp with your dog, check out the Yahoo Group Traildog. The group is designed for those who "hike, backpack, paddle, ski, surf, or scuba" with their dogs (not sure how that last one works). Group members share advice on places to go, the best equipment, trail foods, and more. Plus they've compiled lots of links to other useful sites.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Favorite Dog Bowl

You'd think it would be easy to find great dog bowls, but it's not. Many are too heavy. Some are too light. Plenty are ugly. The "Pappy" bowl by United Pets is just right. Ours has served as a water bowl for many years now and still shows no signs of wear: it looks beautiful and functions perfectly. Designed in Italy by Guilio  Lacchetti and Ilaria Gibertini, it comes in three sizes and 13 colors. It's made of heavy-duty polypropylene with a rubber underside (to prevent slipping) and a handy bone-shaped cut-out on the side (to make it easy to pick up). Rocco and Jezebel sells the Pappy for $15 to $25, depending on size.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The New NewsHounds are Here!

Dog folks in New York, Chicago and San Francisco can get the latest news, events and more from NewsHound, Urbanhound's monthly newsletter. This month, it's all about places to escape the asphalt without straying far from the city. Subscription is free, and even if you don't live in one of those great dog towns, there's always great stuff in the News, Tips and Overheard on Hound Talk sections.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Music Hath Charms...

Is your hound a little wound up? Classical pianist Lisa Spector says her album, Through a Dog's Ear: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion, will help. In a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Spector explains that after attending a seminar on psychoacoustics, she began experimenting with simple piano compositions, studying their effect on anxious dogs with the help of a veterinary neurologist. Her album, and a follow-up release for the car, draw from classical music heavy-hitters including Bach, Chopin and Beethoven--which should certainly make some dogs roll over.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lucky Us. Not so lucky dogs.

Well, I was going to suggest we do a comparative test of gourmet dog foods for one of our upcoming NewsHounds. But the Chicago Sun-Times beat us to it. Lucky us.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Live in New York? Looking to Adopt a Dog?

Butter-colored Lab mix Goldie is friendly and laid back. She's available for adoption from New York's Animal Care and Control.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Winner by a Nose?

There's nothing like the Fourth of July during an election year to bring out the bunting.
Even your hound can declare his allegiance, thanks to these collars at Noe Valley Pet Company. Each is $4.99, and 50% of the proceeds support the Obama campaign.
We haven't seen any McCain collars, yet. If you have, we'd love to hear about it!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Urbanhound Takes the Spotlight

Earlier this month, NBC’s LX.TV gave viewers an inside look at New York City’s pet scene. Check out to watch as Urbanhound reviews its favorite gourmet dog food and treats!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Doggie Day Care Moves Into the 21st Century

The "Cranky Consumer" column in today's Wall Street Journal tests dog day care centers in five cities across the country, including Pooch Chicago and Happy Paws Pet Resort in New York. The results will not surprise urbanhounders: day care centers have become more professional, better managed, and more accountable. In other words, they're looking more and more like high-quality child-care centers.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Hound About Town: San Francisco

This Sunday, June 21, escape to Napa Valley with your hound and sip wine al fresco at St. Supery winery in Rutherford. Visitors with canine companions can taste two of the winery's Estate wines for only $5; no registration is required.

And One More ...

Let's not forget the Simpson's adopted greyhound Santa's Little Helper, an admittedly goofy reminder of the joy a retired greyhound can bring into a home.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fictional Dogs that Didn't Make the Cut.

Creating any top 10 list is hard. There's always some that almost make the cut, but for some reason aren't just up to snuff. In that spirit, we present you with 15 other fictional dogs that were considered, but didn't make the list. (Listed in no particular order.)

Beethoven. The St. Bernard of movie fame. The abundance of sequels (e.g. Beethoven's Fourth) cheapened his impact. Same goes for Air Bud.

Cujo. We like to promote the best in dogs. Cujo certainly doesn't represent that.

Petey. Of Little Rascals fame. His relevance is wearing thin. Though he was a good ambassador for Pit Bulls.

Spuds McKenzie. See Cujo.

Eddie. Yes, he's responsible for the popularization of Jack Russell terriers nationwide. That alone doesn't merit a place on the list. (Besides, we thought canine actor Moose did better work in My Dog Skip.)

McGruff, the Crime Dog. Too earnest.

Rowlf. As much as we loved the piano-playing muppet, Fozzie Bear had more "dog" qualities. But, alas, he was not a dog.

Underdog. Loved him in the cartoon, mostly because he spoke in rhyming couplets. But we can't forgive the live-action movie. (Scooby Doo was able to overcome it. But only barely.)

The Shaggy Dog/D.A. See Underdog. Remakes are killing our fond Fido memories.

Fido. Because we're not sure Fido is truly fictional.

Vincent (from Lost). Maybe if this were Season 1, he would have made the list. But since the arrival of The Others, Vincent has become an afterthought.

The sock puppet. One hand puppet is enough for any Top 10 list.

Asta. Honestly, didn't remember Asta until we checked Wikipedia's (lengthy) entry on fictional dogs. Felt using the list to compile a Top 10 was cheating.

Sandy, a.k.a. Annie's Dog. Points were taken off for not being able to interrupt children singing "It's the Hard Knock Life" and/or "Tomorrow." (Good luck getting either of those out of your head.)

Toto. We kept getting this "little dog" confused with the group that sang "Africa."

Amsterdam Abolishes Ban on Pits

In a significant real-life demonstration of the inefficacy of breed-specific legislation, the city of Amsterdam has done away with its long-standing ban on Pit Bulls because it didn't work. In the 25 years the ban was in place, there was no decrease in biting incidents. According to the AP, the city plans to focus on education programs and beter enforcement of leash laws. You'll find more on breed specific legislation here. For tips on how to be a responsible human companion to a Pit, check out the tips at BADRAP.

Live in New York? Looking to Adopt a Dog?

This week's adoptable hound is sweet Darla, a Lab/Collie mix available from New York's Animal Care and Control.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Take a Hike!

New York is stifling these days, and the only kind of walk that's bearable is a walk in the woods. Luckily the Parks Department has compiled a list of hiking trails around the city. (For some reason they don’t include Inwood Hill Park, which probably has the only real wooded trails in Manhattan.) For more info on hiking geared to dogs in NYC and surround, consult these two excellent books: Best Hikes With Dogs New York City and Beyond by Tammy McCarley and The Dog Lover's Guide to New York City by JoAnna Downey.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Things to do: Theater Edition

For those of you in Chicago who are dog lovers with a theatrical bent, you may want to check out the Piven Theater's Because They Have No Words. L.A.-based playwright Tim Maddock turned his experiences working on post-Katrina animal rescue efforts into a play, that has been positively reviewed by LA Weekly, BackStage West, and the Chicago Tribune. Check it out before it closes on June 22.