Father’s day gift ideas dear to a dad’s heart

What do you do when Father’s Day is just around the corner and you’re stumped for a good, original gift idea?   Here at Pet Barrier, we have a couple suggestions that give protection to three things that are dear to a dad’s heart – his kids, his dogs, and his car.

Did you know that the AAA has calculated that the average American driver spends around seven 40-hour working weeks behind the wheel of a car in a year? This means that passengers including our children and our dogs are spending more time in our vehicles than we may realize, so giving extra thought to making vehicles as comfortable as possible is a priority.


You may already have the best car seat for your child’s age, height, and weight, but there is one addition that you may not have thought about – a Travall® Guard. During a collision items that are unsecured in the trunk can be flung around the vehicle, putting passengers at risk of injury.  This can occur during the smallest fender bender or even when braking hard.  To shield vulnerable infants and young kids from these items, savvy parents are installing vehicle-specific barriers to keep kids protected and maximize valuable trunk space at the same time. Pet parents enjoy the ability to drive with fewer distractions while their favorite pooch is securely positioned to the rear of the vehicle.

Dogs in back of Jeep

Travall has been manufacturing the Travall® Guard for nearly thirty years.  Its use has grown rapidly by Europeans who understand and embrace the benefits of using vehicle-specific barriers in their vehicles.   Thankfully, the Travall® Guard is now available in America, so that we can provide that same level of protection for our most precious cargo.

The barrier offers a snug, precision fit, that can be installed without medication to your vehicle.  Installation takes an average of 30 minutes and unlike traditional, permanently installed cargo barriers, the Travall® Guard can be removed in minutes for use at another time. To give you further peace of mind and confidence in your purchase, the Travall® Guard comes with a limited lifetime warranty. It’s the one essential piece of gear that children and dogs won’t outgrow.

Want an additional suggestion? Consider vehicle-specific rubber car mats to give full-coverage protection against dropped sippy cups and other spills.  We hear Travall has an excellent range…

Visit https://www.travall.com to discover the Travall products available for Dad’s vehicle and make his day.

Happy Father’s Day!


Five dog-specific apps to Help you Live Better

Today, there are mobile apps for almost every conceivable topic or need and because so many people now own smartphones and tablets, mobile app usage has seen huge growth worldwide.  It is estimated that by 2020, mobile apps will generate a staggering $189 billion worldwide.1 

There are some really interesting apps that have been developed specifically for dog owners.  We’ve taken a look at five free apps (all available for Android and iOS), which could potentially assist dog owners with many aspects of dog care.

Dog Vacay

Despite the boom in dog-friendly hotel options across the nation, there are times when you need to travel but just can’t take your favorite companion with you.  Although there are excellent kennels available in the US, some people prefer their dogs to have a more personalized pet-sitting service and this led to the development of the DogVacay app.

Dog Vacay allows you to connect with dog sitters in your area who offer services ranging from dog walking, to taking your dog to vet appointments, or caring for your dog in your home or theirs when you are out of town.

With a 24/7 customer support service and daily photo or video updates, you can travel or use the daycare option knowing that your dog is in good hands.

Pet First Aid

Just like people, pets get sick and have accidents too.  Although many of us are familiar with the correct first aid procedures when dealing with people, we’re not necessarily as confident when required to be first responders in pet emergencies. The Pet First Aid app developed by the American Red Cross remedies that situation, allowing you to check symptoms and watch videos on how best to respond to common emergency situations.

You can learn about early warning signs, learn first aid steps, and take quizzes on pet health and safety. For more serious conditions, the app will also tell you the location of the nearest emergency animal hospital or veterinarian’s office.

A great app to use in emergencies and a great resource to help you provide emergency care for your pet until you can get to a veterinarian.



If you’re a dog owner, you will know that no matter how adorable your dog’s appearance, trying to capture “that look” in a photo can be extremely difficult.  This is where BarkCam comes in.  Using a variety of different sounds to get your dog’s attention, the sounds are linked to the camera’s shutter button, so you trigger sound and take the photo at the same time.

When you’ve got your favorite picture, you can edit to your heart’s content using filters, stickers or even text.  You can share pictures on the platform itself or share it on either Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.



This app requires a phone for you and a Whistle GPS collar for your dog, which then allows you to track not only your dog’s location but also his heart rate.  Designed to help avoid dog’s getting lost, it also allows you to create custom activity goals for your dog, based on breed, size, and age and can be modified depending on which family member is walking the dog at that particular time.

It is important to keep in mind that because this app has nationwide GPS coverage in the US, there is potential to run down your phone battery much faster on longer walks.

Although this app is free, the required collar costs around $50*.


Whistle GPS dog collar




There are plenty of apps on the market for runners and walkers and this app is quite similar, but designed specifically for those who walk dogs. The app gives you information on the best dog walking routes in your area and if you use one of these or add one of your own, the app allows you to track progress made and allows you to save this data to compare against future walks. Information on dog parks, waste-bag dispensers, dog-friendly areas and water fountains are all given in this dog-friendly app.
Once again, it is important to note that continually using GPS, does dramatically drain battery power.



We have only taken a look at 5 free apps, but there are far more on the market for dog owners to use. Why not look for one that would make your lifestyle easier?  As businesses are increasingly being encouraged to develop apps, it is possible that in the not too distant future we will see an even greater number of dog-friendly apps, which will likely become more interactive and more personalized to meet user need.

Do you currently use any apps on your cell phone or tablet that make your dog care duties more manageable or is there an app that you would love to see available for dog owners? Let us know which apps make your life with your dog better.

*Price correct at time of article posting.


  1. https://www.statista.com/topics/1002/mobile-app-usage/







To pet or not to pet: That is the Question


When asked to consider animals who assist people, most of us immediately think of dogs that aid blind or partially sighted individuals. This is thanks to organizations such as Guide Dogs of America and The Seeing Eye who work hard to ensure that those with vision challenges receive assistance. Over the last couple of decades, different types of animals are increasingly used to help people dealing with a broader range of physical and behavioral conditions.  The benefits of using these animals are numerous, with the result that they are being employed more widely and with greater frequency. Today, chances are that you are more likely to meet service animals in your daily routine than in the past. As they are actually “at work” and are not pets, what are the best approaches to take when encountering these animals?

Categories of assistance animals

Assistance animals fall into differing categories depending on the type of assistance required.

Service animals

Service animals are specifically trained to perform tasks relating to the handler’s needs. Not just for the visually impaired, hearing dogs for the deaf, and mobility dogs have become available allowing people with differing needs to be able to go about daily tasks with a greater level of autonomy and liberty than in previous generations.  People dealing with issues such as seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, anxiety, and diabetes also benefit from using service dogs.

Working dogs

Police or military dogs are in the working dog category. Sadly, with terror threats being a more common occurrence over the last 15 years, we tend to see more of these dogs on duty.  This is particularly true at airports where they are now an intrinsic part of the security process, rather than just used to detect contraband at customs.


Therapy animals

In recent years there has been a rise in the number of therapy dogs used in various settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and even in courtrooms. These dogs differ from service dogs in that they are used to provide affection and comfort to people, helping to reduce anxiety, stress and sometimes acting as an intermediary between the care recipient and professional staff.


Emotional support animals

Typically used by people with specific behavioral health conditions requiring extra support and comfort, these animals may accompany an owner or may be employed by a business to help improve customer experience.

Only dogs allowed?

According to an article in the Huffington Post,¹  the cost of a service dog in 2016 was around $20,000. At that time, one Web site that places 75-100 service dogs a year, had a wait list of 1,600 people. This equates to a potential wait time of 16-22 years, which for people requiring assistance is simply too long.

Fortunately, given the level of need, dogs are not the only animals being used in this capacity. Other animals are also suitable to assist with different medical conditions. Ferrets alert owners of seizures. Boa constrictors (yes, you read it correctly!) are used for seizure alerts, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder. Parrots have a calming influence on those with bipolar disorder. Miniature horses help the visually impaired. The Guide Horse Foundation believes that miniature horses are a great option for people who love horses, for those allergic to dogs, and for people wanting longevity from their service animal.


Capuchin monkeys are great for people with dexterity issues who struggle to pick up or hold items. Pigs can help visually or physically impaired individuals or can act as therapy animals. For example, San Francisco airport employs Lilou a Juliana breed pig to comfort anxious travelers in the terminal.

Dos and Don’ts of interacting with working animals


Do interact with the owner or handler

Interact with the owner but not with the animal.  The owner and animal are a team and the owner’s life could depend on his team member staying focused on the job.  It is better (and not considered rude) to ignore the service animal altogether. Let the owner know if his dog approaches you, and allow him to correct the situation. Therapy and emotional support animals are slightly different.  For example, if the animal is employed by an airport to help calm passengers, then do ask the handler if it is OK to interact with the animal.

Do be respectful

Be respectful of the owner. Just as a police officer will not be prepared to discuss details of why she is on duty with her dog, other service dog owners will not want to discuss their personal details with a stranger.  If you cannot figure out why the owner needs a service animal, don’t ask them. Equally, if your offers of help are refused, don’t be offended, just accept that this can interfere with the work of the service dog and can confuse commands previously given by the owner.

Do keep your own dog on a tight leash

Keep your own dog away from the service dog completely as other pets can be distracting for the working animal.

Do allow service animals into your business

If you are a business owner in an establishment that normally does not allow pets, make sure you do allow service dogs and their owners to enter. This is required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law applies to any service animal that gives assistance when there is a disability.

Do educate children about service animals

Explain to children that service animals and working animals are not like regular household pets and that they have a special job to do to help the owner.  Keep children at a distance from a service dog and do not allow them to pet the dog.


Don’t pet the animal

You may be the biggest dog lover in the nation, but don’t be tempted to pet a service dog unless you have the owner’s permission. Petting the dog distracts him and may prevent him from following out a complete command.  An example of this is with dogs trained to detect seizures, who need to give a 10-minute warning so that the owner can get to a safe place or get help.  If you distract the dog by petting him, he may not be able to warn the owner in time, which could be catastrophic.


Don’t give treats

You may love giving treats to dogs, but please don’t give treats to dogs that are on duty. Not only can it distract the dog, making for a dangerous situation, but many service dogs are on specific diets and should not be given anything that does not meet the diet criteria.

Don’t make assumptions

  • Don’t assume that if a service dog is asleep he is off duty. If he is out with his owner, he is working.
  • Don’t assume that these dogs have a worse life than other dogs.  They have fantastic bonds with their owners and when off duty they get to relax like any other dog.
  • Don’t assume that the owner has a certificate proving the dog is a service dog.  Not all states require such certification and, in the states that do, owners are not always required to carry the paperwork.
  • Don’t assume that only dogs and only certain breeds of dog can be service animals. Many breeds of dog and different types of animal are trained to work.
  • Don’t assume that service dogs are only for adults.  Many children with many different needs benefit from service dogs.  Interestingly, one county in Colorado now uses dogs in the courtroom to help comfort children when giving testimony.


Don’t fake it

Don’t pretend to have your own service dog.  You may be tempted to put a special coat on your pet and take him to places where pets aren’t ordinarily permitted, but please don’t. Not only does it confuse the distinction between pets and service animals, it is actually a federal crime.  Allow people with genuine needs to be helped by genuine service dogs.

The best approach

For a moment, put yourself in the shoes of an individual living with physical or mental conditions, which in some cases are life threatening.  If an animal gave you the opportunity to live the fullest, most independent life possible, how would you react to someone interfering with and compromising the hard work of that service animal?

The following YouTube clip shows Windsor, a remarkable service dog, assisting his handler in running errands.

To pet or not to pet: that is the question. The answer?  If you are not the individual receiving therapy or service, do not pet. Encountering a working service animal is perhaps one of the most appropriate situations in life to adopt a don’t-touch approach. Following this guideline and the others mentioned above, we can allow these incredible animals to carry out their invaluable work. You can’t help but be in awe of them – I know I am.


  1. Lillibridge L. What’s the Harm in Faking a Service Dog? Huffington Post. August 13, 2016


This post will conclude the series on special activities for dogs and we’re going out with a bang. This latest activity is definitely not something you can do every day or even every month: a pupcation, or a holiday with your pooch. I don’t suggest you go on holiday just for your dog. But if you’re planning one already, why not take the four-legged family member(s) along?

New sights, new smells, amazing views
New sights, new smells, amazing views

Taking your dog along on a trip can be fun, however it can be a bit of a hassle and you have make thorough preparations. It all starts with choosing the right type of holiday: any kind of trip which just results in your pooch being left in the hotel room is a no-go. Instead, choose for an active vacation like camping or a nature holiday. Your pup will thank you.

Bringing your dog along on a pupcation has several advantages, for humans and pups. For one, you won’t have to look for someone to look after Fido while you’re away and you know he’s in the best hands: your own. This eliminates any chance of your dog pining and missing you. For your pup, as for you, a holiday means a change of scenery and exploring new things and places. And if you choose for an active holiday, it will mean lots of exercise too. This will lead to a tired, but very content pooch.

pupcation luggage
A Suitcase for every family member

However, as I mentioned there is also a downside to a pupcation. Accommodation being the major one: you will have to look for places that allow your dog. The same goes for any activities you might have planned, be sure to look online whether they are dog-friendly. Of course, it’s OK to plan an activity which doesn’t allow for dogs, as long as you don’t leave your pup on their own devices for an entire day or don’t plan too many of these. Otherwise, it would defeat the point of bringing your dog along and they’d be better off being looked after by a family member or in a kennel.

Taking your pooch along also means packing their suitcase. They will need their food, toys, bedding and such too. A more extensive list can be found here. Also, don’t forget to bring a doggy first aid kit and the number of your vet and a local vet. If you travel by car, please make sure to secure your dog properly. However, as long as you prepare well, the pupcation will be a fun trip for all family members.

Have you and your dog ever gone on a pupcation? If so, where did you go? Feel free to give some recommendations in the comments!


Tricks and Treats

They can't read, so they need other ways to keep busy
They can’t read, so they need other ways to keep busy

To keep our dogs busy and healthy, we don’t only have to make sure they get enough physical activities like a stimulating walk or swim. Like the body, the mind has needs too and needs to be used. Preventing boredom is of the essence. Most of you will probably have some (funny) anecdote showing that boredom leads to trouble, in dogs and humans alike.

One way to keep a dog’s mind occupied is to teach him of her tricks. Most people know about the basic tricks and commands such as sit, heel, down. These are things every dog should know to operate and be safe in our society. However, dogs are capable of learning much more than that. They might even pick up a few tricks on their own, whether you want them to or not.

To teach your dogs new tricks, you don’t need much: a list of tricks, patience, perseverance and lots of treats. However, if you don’t really know where to start and the internet is no help, you don’t have to do this on your own. There are dog schools and trainers who will gladly help you and that offer more advanced classes that go beyond basic obedience. Though, make sure you transport your pooch safely in the car, with a crate or pet barrier, when you go to these classes.

dog treats
Lots and lots of treats

You can find a lot of dog tricks online. Here’s a list of some tricks I liked:

Fun ones:

  • walking backwards
  • barking on command
  • slalom
  • jumping
  • crawling
  • a classic: play dead

Useful ones:

  • difference between left and right
  • opening and closing doors
  • picking up toys
  • switching the light on and off
  • Leave it, for refusing strange food and other non-edible things
  • baring their teeth, useful for brushing those pearly whites
  • find my keys

Does your dog know any fun or unusual tricks? Is there a something you would like him to know? Let me know in the comments!


Activities: Dog Sports

This week’s activity is aimed at people and dogs with a lot of energy who like being active. So all the two- and four-legged couch potatoes can stop reading right here. If, however, your pooch is a bundle of energy and you are looking for a way to let him blow off some steam, why not try out a dog sport.

dog sports agility

There are a lot of dog sports out there. You’ll probably have heard of agility and flyball before, but what about dock jumping, hound trailing or scootering?  There are too many sports to list here, but you can see the list over here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dog_sports

There are a lot of advantages to doing sport with your pooch:

  • Exercise is healthy for both of you
  • It will stimulate your dog’s mind as well
  • A good way for your pooch to release some of that energy
  • It will strengthen the bond with your dog
  • A way of meeting new human and doggy friends
  • It’s just fun
Strengthening the bond
Strengthening the bond

If now I have you thinking that you’d like to try this, good! However, before jumping into this recklessly, do your research. Not every sport is suited for your dog’s breed and, especially, his or her personality. If you have found a sport suited for you, look up what it entails and how much time and effort you have to invest in it. If you are not willing to commit, you can save a lot of time by not starting it in the first place. If all this information hasn’t dissuaded you yet, you can start looking at clubs and schools in your area where you can learn the ropes and to guide you in the whole process.

Also, and this goes without saying, but make sure your dog is healthy and fit enough to participate in any of these activities. And when driving to the club or venue, make sure your dog is properly secured in the car with a crate or pet barrier.

But now, go out and have fun!

Is there a dog sport you’d be interested in? Are you and your four-legged friend active in a dog sports? Let me know in the comments and tell me what you like about it.


Doggy activities: The Dog Park

In the series of things you can do with your dog to keep him happy and active I have so far tackled taking your pooch to the beach and advised you to make a (small) change in your walking route. Today I will be talking about taking your beloved four-legged friend to a place a lot of you will be familiar with already. However, for those of you who are unfamiliar with them or who have some doubts, let me introduce you to… the dog park.

Dog park this way
Dog park this way

Off-leash dog parks are a wonderful place where you can let your pooch off-leash and run around and play with his friends. Because in most states and counties, dogs have to be leashed during their walks, they can be hindered in socializing with their fellows. In their hearts, dogs are still animals that roam, but we keep them in our houses and backyard, thus limiting their space. In the dog park they can be more true to their nature, lose some of their pent-up energy and, most importantly, have fun! And frankly, you can do the same as dog parks are a great place to meet new friends, human or canine.

Making friends and having fun
Making friends and having fun

I my post has convinced you to try out the dog park, please keep the following in mind. These parks are a great benefit for every dog and dog owner. However, in order to keep everyone happy and to keep these lovely places open, it is important that you follow the rules. Some parks have restriction on how many dogs can be inside at the same time. In others there are separate areas according to the dog’s size. And in some of these dog parks children are not allowed in. However, all of these parks have one rule in common, the one rule that all visitors must adhere to: cleaning up the dog’s waste. Following these rules will make the city happy and keep the park open, which makes your dogs happy, which will make you happy. So why not give it a try?


Traveling by car with your dog

Last week’s post was about the last of the car safety items: the hammock. Today’s topic is also about traveling but in a more general sense. I’ll be covering some tips and advice about traveling with your dog. Again, my focus will be on traveling by car, though some of it will be valid in other situations too.

Be prepared

Before going anywhere with your pooch, make sure you have packed all the necessary ready to go. This ranges from truly vital stuff such as a leash and food to more trivial things such as their favorite toy animal. The full list of basic doggy travel kit includes, in random order:

dog treats
Bring lots of treats
  • Food and treats
  • Food and water bowl
  • Water bottle for in car and on walks
  • Leash and collar, also a back-up one
  • Towels and blankets
  • Bedding
  • Brushes and other grooming tools
  • Bags to clean up after your dog
  • First aid kit
  • Toys and distractions to keep them busy during the ride
  • Any necessary medication
  • The number of a vet at your destination, and your own vet’s number too
  • crate, barrier or other preferred way of securing your dog in the car


I strongly advise that before you leave you take the dog for a check-up at the vets. This way you can both go on adventure without any worries. It also wouldn’t do any harm to inquire whether your pooch might need some vaccinations to protect him from viruses that are common in your destination. These might not be the same as can be found in your home area, thus your dog could be unprotected against them.

In the car

Make the car ride fun
Make the car ride fun

The day has come and now you’re in the car and en route to your great holiday adventure. Dogs are not people, but when it comes to car travel their needs are similar. Just like us they need frequent stops to stretch their legs and have a pee break. Make sure that water is always available to them at these stops to avoid dehydration.  And just like kids, you’ll need to keep your dog entertained. Some dogs may love just looking at the windows during the whole ride, but most dogs I know get bored and start fussing after a while. So give them a bone to chew on, or play a small game that will stimulate their minds.

Keep all this in mind and your trip will turn out great. What are the thing you do to prepare for a car ride with your dogs. Are there things that you just have to take along Let me know in the comments.


Car hammocks for dogs

The last car safety item for dogs I mentioned on my list in this post is the car hammock. The idea behind the car hammock for dogs is simple: it’s like a big backseat cover that runs between the top of the backseat to that of the front seat. This way the cover forms something resembling a hammock. It looks like this:

The Petego Car Hammock
The Petego Car Hammock










Car hammocks are made of waterproof materials and because they cover the entire backseat, your dog will not get the chance to dirty your seat with muddy paws. It also keeps your dog from shedding hair all over your seats. The hammocks can be easily removed for cleaning to get rid of the stains and the hair.

Most of the hammocks are equipped with slits that allow you access to the seat belts. This way you can use the hammock even when the dog has to share his seat with a human passenger. For those who are so inclined, it also allows you to combine the hammock with a car harness or seat belt for your pooch.

The car hammocks for dogs have one big advantage over say, a simple towel or blanket. Because they cover the footwell between front and back seat, your dog has more space. It also means you don’t have to worry about Fido falling in the footwell and possibly hurting himself.


While they do keep your car clean, they do not keep your dog safe in the car. That is because car hammocks do not restrain your beloved pets in any way, instead allowing them to roam free in the back. Because it attaches to the top of the front seat, it does form a barrier between front and back seat. However, the hammock is in no way strong enough to actually contain your dog when it’s catapulted through the car in case of an accident. In fact, even in normal circumstances the hammock probably offers very little resistance to active and persistent dogs.

A box-like car hammock

Another downside of the hammock is that with the high side your dog might not be able to see you anymore which might cause anxious dogs to panic. Also, some hammocks are almost box-shaped which means that smaller dogs could also be unable to look out of the window, causing car sickness.


Car hammocks for dogs are a great and easy way to keep your back seat clean, but I cannot truly consider it a way of keeping a beloved four-legged family members safe while traveling by car. What do you think? Would you use a hammock to transport your dog in the car?


Traveling with dogs: pet barriers

If you have a bigger dog, be it a Golden retriever or a Great Dane, using a car harness or dog seat belt is not a decent option. Your pooch will simply be too big to travel safely and comfortably on the back seat. Your bests options in this case are either a dog crate or a pet barrier, or possibly both. Today I’ll be taking a better look at pet barriers, a kind of metal  or plastic partition between the trunk and the back seat.


'Universal' plastic pet barrier
‘Universal’ plastic pet barrier

One of the main disadvantages of pet barriers, especially the cheap universal ones, is that they have a bad fit. Because you’re supposed to adjust them to your own car, they will never fit perfectly which means they’re unstable and prone to collapsing. So if you have an energetic dog, or one who really wants to go and sit next to you, these pet barriers won’t hold them back for long.

Another flaw, though a minor one that can be easily fixed, is that when you open the trunk your four-legged family member can easily jump out of the car. To avoid him running off as soon as you open the trunk, it would be best to keep a leash on him when in the car so you can easily grab it to guide Max out.


A sturdy and well-made pet barrier, like the vehicle-specific ones from Travall,

Vehicle-specific Travall pet barrier
Vehicle-specific Travall pet barrier

will keep your dog in the trunk where he won’t be able to distract the driver. If you are involved in an accident, it will also prevent your dog from being hurtled through the car and the windshield. This prevents him from hurting you or your passengers.  However, in a serious accident your dog will be liable to hitting the barrier with considerable force which can lead to serious injuries. If you use both a dog crate and a pet barrier this can easily be avoided.

So what does a pet barrier cost?

Well, prices vary depending on the quality. If you go for the universal plastic barriers, which I really do not recommend, you can get them for as little money as $30. A decent custom barrier in metal could set you back $200. Though I recommend you use it in conjunction with a dog crate so you’d have to add the cost of that one on top. But we only want the best for our dogs and for them to safe, right?

What do you feel about using pet barriers? What are your experiences with them? Good or bad, let me know.