PupVacay's Sniffspot

We have a beautiful 1/4 acre fully-fenced backyard in the heart of Oshawa, covered in mature trees and bushes, for lots of shade and room to run and play leash-free!

PupVacay's Sniffspot

We are located just north of Bloor and Simcoe in Oshawa, with easy access to HWY 401.

PupVacay's Sniffspot

The best experiences and fun for you and your dog. Our private dog park is designed for the ultimate safe dog exercise.

PupVacay's Sniffspot

Off leash enrichment - Exploration and activities you cannot get anywhere else; wear your dog out for days.

PupVacay's Sniffspot

Safe playdates - Socialize your pup in a controlled, private spot - it's great exercise, it's safe and it's fun for you and your dog.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Five Frugal Dog Toys You Can Easily Make

Image: Dexter on the Slide (c) Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Dexter on the Slide © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Let's face it - dogs love to chew and pull! Dog toys provide a great option for letting your dog have fun while shredding their favorite toy. But it can become very expensive to keep replacing these toys.

So why not make your own homemade toys for your dog? DIY dog toys are cheaper, quick to make and can be customized for your dog, including size, durability and interactivity. Some toys will even help your dog improve his or her problem-solving skills.

However, use your best judgment to keep your dog safe, remove the toy immediately if your dog starts to chew or swallow any pieces. We aren’t responsible for any injuries caused from the following homemade dog toys tutorials – so please play responsibly!

Image: Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game (c) Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Muffin/Cupcake/Ball Game:
1. All you need is a muffin/cupcake baking pan, balls and some kibble or treats to play this game.

You can use a 6, 12 or even 18-cup pan. The pan can be a tin, silicone or even disposable foil pan.

I prefer to use street hockey balls and pool balls for this instead of tennis balls, since I can wash them and these balls seem to last forever!

Image: Mini Cupcake/Ball Game (c) Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Mini Cupcake/Ball Game © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Put a bit of kibble or a special treat in each muffin cup, put a ball on top, and let your dog figure out how to get to their kibble/treat!

Some dogs, like my Denny, thought this was too much work, and took a while to warm up to this game. But Dexter figured it out quickly and now tosses the balls out quickly and efficiently to play this game and get to his treats!

Got a tiny dog that couldn't play this game because the balls are too big? Use a mini cupcake tin and hollow practice golf balls instead!

More info and video: DIY Interactive Game for Dogs - How to Make a Dog Game Puzzle

Image: Water Bottle Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Water Bottle Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved

Water Bottle Toy:
2. All you need is an empty water bottle and a sock to make this.
When you finish drinking from your water bottle, just grab a sock that is at least 5 inches longer than the bottle.

Add some kibble to the water bottle for an added shaky noise!

Put the water bottle into the sock and tie a knot at the open end of the sock.

Tie the knot tight, as your dog may chew on it and it could become loose over time.

If your dog is a heavy chewer, use several socks to protect the bottle and make it take longer for your dog to get to the bottle. Simply cover the bottle with one sock, twist at the top of the bottle and fold back. Then starting at the top, cover with a second sock, twisting at the bottom and folding back.

You can keep going with sock layers, or add one more sock and tie a knot.

Image: Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Snuffle Mat
3. You can make your Snuffle Mat out of anything with big enough holes to thread the fleece thru.

It is suggested to use a rubber door mat, but since I have a latex allergy, I looked for a different alternative.

I found a plastic square of fake grass at the Dollar store, and just pulled off the plastic grass tuffs first.

I cut up a polar fleece dog blanket (also found at the Dollar store) into 1 inch by 16 inches long strips.

Image: Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com
All rights reserved
Snuffle Mat © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com
All rights reserved

That turned out to be a bit long, so you could cut them shorter. But in the end it turned out OK.

It took three dollar store dog blankets to cover a 12 inch square.

Knot one strip in every hole, and when you are done, just toss in some kibble or treats and let your dog snuffle for it!

Instructions and Videos: Snuffle Mat Mayhem - How to Make a Snuffle Mat - Puzzle Game for Dogs - Making a Snuffle Mat

Image: Braided Rope Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Braided Rope Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Braided Rope toy:
4. No-Sew Rope Toy - This is really easy and quick to make — I am sure you already have everything you need to get started.

I wanted a few different colours in my toys, so I used four t-shirts, but then I ended up with six toys.

So you probably could make this with just one old t-shirt. Perfect for chewing and tug-of-war!

Step 1: Cut 15-30 pieces, 1-2" (2.5-5 cm) wide in 16"-30" (40-76cm) long. (Or even longer if you want!)
(Small dog - 15-20 pieces, 1" wide, Large dog - 20-30 pieces, 1"-2" wide).
Step 2: Divide your 15-30 pieces into 3 piles of 5-10 pieces each.
Step 3: Tie a knot in one end, making sure to pull tightly on the tassels so there’s at least an inch dangling after the knot. Separate your pieces into three sections, and make a few braids, as snugly as you can, leaving at least 5 inches for your second knot.
Step 4: Make a knot on the other end. You are done!

Denim Knot Toy:
5. No-Sew Denim Knot - Got some old tattered jeans? Recycle them into a denim knot toy!

Image: Denim Knot Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Denim Knot Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
All you need is an old pair of jeans and scissors. Cut off one leg to a length of about 26" (66cm) . At each open end, cut up towards the middle to make fringes 1" wide by 8" long (2.5x20cm). (Optional)

Then grab both ends firmly and make a loop. Tie into a knot and pull tightly on the knot. And you are done!

Other knot toys can be made of out old socks, dish towels, or hand towels. Use your imagination!

More ideas: Reclaimed Towel dog toy - Sock Chew Toy - Denim Dog Toy - Simple DIY No-Sew Denim Dog Toy

Image: Octopus Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Octopus Toy © Catherine Watt of PupVacay.com - All rights reserved
Octopus/Wubba Toy:
6. No Sew Octopus toy - all you need is a ball and your choice of a old t-shirt, fleece fabric (think fleece pjs, fleece blanket, fleece jacket, etc), denim jeans, hand towel, dish towel, bath towel - anything you can imagine!

The thinker the fabric, the sturdier the toy - so make with your dog's chewing habits in mind. As you can see the gray t-shirt octopus toys has thin braids, but I used 9" (23cm) wide fabric pieces.

While the fleece blue and white toy (made from a fleece blanket) was made with 8" (20cm) wide fabric strips and yet the braids are much thicker.

So the wider the strips means a thicker, more sturdier toy.

Cut your fabric at least 26" (66cm) long by 8-9" wide (20-23cm) - mine were 36" (91cm) long because that's how much fabric I had. If your fabric is too short, it will be hard to braid it. Cut one more fabric strip about 1" x 12" (2.5x30cm) for a tie.

Lay the fabric strips in an X, and place the ball in the centre. Wrap the fabric around the ball, and use the fabric tie you cut, wrapping several times and knot. Then cut one "leg" into three, and braid. Repeat for the other three "legs". Tie ends in a knot.

More instructions and video: DIY Ball Dog toy toss-able toy - T-Shirt Ball and Tug Dog Toy - DIY Dog Toy – The Purple Wubba - DIY Knotted Tee Shirt Strips Dog Toy - No Sew Fleece Octopus - DIY Dog Toy: Tennis Ball Buddy

Want even more toys?
Click for 101 Frugal Dog Toys You Can Make (and more!)

Pet Friendly Hotel and Dog Travel Ideas

Image: BringFido.com - Pet Friendly Hotel and Dog Travel Directory
BringFido.com - Pet Friendly Hotel and Dog Travel Directory

Need help deciding where to bring your dog(s) on vacation?

You've come to the right place!

BringFido.com has information on more than 25,000 pet friendly hotels, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and campgrounds worldwide!

And check out their Worldwide Dog Events Calendar for events near you - or near your vacation spot!

When you want to really spoil your dog, or just meet other dog owners who are as crazy about their pets as you, there's no better place to bring your dog(s) than a dog event.

Attend any of the dog shows, agility competitions, costume parades, festivals or fundraisers on their Worldwide Dog Events Calendar and you'll meet hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dog lovers.

And since 70% of the events listed benefit humane societies, attending one is a great way to help homeless pets in your community.

Make-Your-Own Vomit Cleaner

How to Clean Vomit
If you have kids, cats or dogs (or a wild partying family member!) - you might really appreciate this tip!

Before I did the following, I would use paper towels to remove as much as possible.


table salt, white vinegar, dish/laundry detergent, rubbing alcohol, warm water and a sponge.

1. Grab a mixing bowl, pour 2 cups of warm (not hot) water in it, and stir in 1 tbsp of table salt.

2. Once the salt is dissolved, mix in ½ cup of white vinegar, 1 tbsp clear dish or laundry detergent, and 2 tbsp rubbing alcohol

3. Now grab a clean kitchen sponge, dip it in your vomit cleaner, and press it into the vomit.

4. Do this several times so there is cleaner all over the stain. Grab a new old towel and blot just like before. This will be repeated as often as necessary until no more vomit is being transferred to the towel.

5. Each time you blot with the towel, you will be removing vomit. Have an extra towel or two on hand.

Idea and photo from:  
How to Clean Vomit - includes much more details!

From our Facebook fan page:

Melanie Wade posted: ‎*ew* but thanks...we have major hairball-barf-o-ramas here w/3 kitties...*groan*

Diamond Crystal Iodized Salt 22 oz - This salt supplies iodide, a necessary nutrient.Heinz Distilled White Vinegar 32 oz - With its clean, crisp flavor, it's idea for your favorite salads, marinades, and recipes.
Shopping Suggestions:
Diamond Crystal Iodized Salt
Heinz Distilled White Vinegar
Seventh Generation Natural Dishwashing Liquid
Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 70% Antiseptic
Vomit Clean Up Kit by H + S

Why don't you just leave the dog home alone?

People often ask why they should use doggie daycare, hire a pet sitter, or pay for a pet check-in. Why can't they simply leave their dog home alone?

Well of course you can, but dogs left alone are often bored and lonely.

However boredom, pent-up energy, and loneliness are one thing to deal with; separation anxiety is quite another.

Does your dog whine and get restless when you get ready to leave your house? Does your dog chew on your furniture, clothing, doors and windowsills when you aren't home? Does your dog refuse to eat when you leave him or her alone? These are some of the behaviors associated with true separation anxiety.

Mike The Intern posted this video on YouTube: What my dog does when I leave...

Just seconds after the door shuts and he is left all alone, this dog starts showing clear signs of distress — scurrying throughout the house, peering out the windows. After just a few moments, the dog climbs up on a bed, and started to cry....

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Home-Made Anxiety Shirt

Home-made "thunder" shirt - for dogs afraid of thunder, fireworks or for general anxiety - you can use an ace bandage to make a calming thunder shirt.
Photo credit: Dianna Leaman -- ‎Hemet News -- found on Facebook

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Six Peaceful Pups at PupVacay

Sometimes there is lots of barking at PupVacay, but when the dogs aren't outside playing, they are usually napping in their favourite spot.

Image: Dexter, my 10 year old bichon - Denny, my 7 year old blonde bichon/poodle - Harvey, beagle/houndDexter is my 10 year old bichon, a rescue with lots of issues. He is in his usual on guard position on the back of the couch.

Denny is my 7 year old blonde bichon/poodle and he is snuggled up on the couch below Dexter.

Harley is the beagle/hound boarder,who prefers to have the opposite couch all to himself!snoozing on their respective couches.
Image: Kingston, 4 month old Shih-poo

Kingston, another boarder, is a 4 month old Shih-poo who likes to nap on the coffee table. He is normally a bundle of energy, but even puppies need their downtime.

Image: Lia, bichon

Lia, a regular boarder, is a bichon too, who prefers the comfort of her brother Luigi's kennel when she takes her nap.

Image: Luigi, bichon

Luigi! You are in my spot! LOL

Luigi is Lia's brother dog, and also a regular boarder.

Since his sister took his cozy kennel spot, he decided to take my spot on the couch, in front of my laptop!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Free Good Doggy! Pack Walk

January 10, 2016 - Come and join Catherine and Rob of PupVacay, along with our little dogs, Denny and Dexter for the free monthly Good Doggy! pack walk.

Join us for their free monthly pack walk, where we walk around Bowmanville to help socialize your dog, work on leash skills and enjoy a walk with friends or make new acquaintances.

Ask questions, get free training tips. No retractable leashes allowed.

Free coffee or tea following the walk. Young children are not recommended as it is a long walk.

Any aggressive or reactive dogs are welcome if muzzled, unless they have trained with Good Doggy!

Donations are taken for Ruff Start New Beginnings rescue, owned/run by Kelly Beatty - in the form of: cash, blankets, toys, treats, food, leashes, collars, crates etc.

Dress accordingly (non slip boots, hat, mitts, coat).

EVENT: Coffee and Cakes - Sunday, January 10, 2016 at 10:30–12:00
47 King Street West, Bowmanville, Ontario L1C 1R2
Hosted by Nadine Francis and Sherri Risto

TAGS Low Cost Microchip Clinic

Image: Pet Valu Whitby Shores

January 23, 2016 - Mark the date on your calendars! 

Their $30 microchip clinic will be on Saturday January 23rd from 12 to 2pm! 

Cash only please. All proceeds support The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS). 

 To book your appointment, please call the store at 905-430-4738.

Pet Valu Whitby Shores
619 Victoria Street West, Whitby, Ontario L1N 0E4

*Note: Mya, their picture model, is available for adoption.
You can visit her, daily, at Pet Valu Whitby Shores.

Click for event

Nail Clipping (Dogs) Fundraiser for TAGS

Image: How to Help - Adopt a Rescue - Adoptable Pets
January 30/2016 at 11:00–16:00 -- Thanks to Super Mutz Dog Grooming Studio (36 Church Street South, Ajax, Ontario L1S 6B3) for hosting this upcoming nail clipping event!

The cost is $5.00 per dog, with all proceeds being donated to The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS).

Head on over and help your dogs put their best paws forward!

*Note: Their picture models are Patty and Faith, a bonded pair available for adoption.

When you adopt a pet, you save the life of an animal in need. Millions of dogs and cats die each year in shelters. There is nothing more rewarding than sharing your heart and your home with a rescued animal.

Click for the event!