Welcome to Friday Five, the perfect punctuation mark for your work week! Published weekly, Friday Five features five tidbits on topics dear to my heart. Whether it’s rocking girl boss status, sipping craft beer, planning the next adventure, or being a crazy dog mom, I’m a firm believer that community & sharing knowledge are the bomb. Let’s do this! This week, I’m sharing five essentials for the modern crazy dog mom. Note: I’m not a paid spokeswoman, nor is Summit a paid spokespup (though he could be), these are just tried & true products we know and love!
1) For the Hiker: Ruffwear Dog Backpack
Meet Summit. He’s our one year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, 100 pounds and eager to work. Berners were originally bred as draft dogs, meaning they excel at pulling carts & heavy loads. Summit’s no exception: Although we’ve yet to graduate to cart-pulling, he loves having a job! At six months, Summit received his first Ruffwear Dog Backpack. At first, he was a little unsure, but now he enjoys carrying two growlers (usually full of water — we’re training up to more precious liquids!). When the time comes for a backcountry camping or canoe trip, he’ll happily carry his own food, water, and of course, as much craft beer as we can fit. Who’s a good boy??
2) For the Chewer: West Paw Design Toys
Does your dog destroy every toy like it’s his job? Well, I’d love to put you head-to-head with Summit! He won’t touch the furniture or any of our stuff, but when it comes to toys, he’s pretty intense. Tug ropes? Shredded within minutes. Plastic Nylabone toys? In Summit’s eyes, they’re midday snacks. Plush squeakers? Don’t even think about it. After months of trial & error during puppyhood, we found one brand that passes the test: West Paw Design. Crafted in Bozeman, Montana with sustainability in mind, their Zogoflex line is designed for the world’s toughest chewers. Best part? If your pup destroys the toy (which is rare), they stand by their warranty. Simply send the toy back, and they’ll melt it down & send you a new one. Win-win! Summit’s been working on the Zogoflex Tux for over a year and still hasn’t managed to scratch the surface.
3) For the Shedder: Furminator
Hi. Let’s talk about shedding for a minute. It’s about to get real. I often hear people complain about how much their dogs shed, but seriously, you should visit our house. Giant tufts of black fluff blow across the hardwood like wayward tumbleweeds. And we’re not slobs; we vacuum every few days, maybe. But if we really wanted to stay on top of it, we would be vacuuming every 12 hours, at least. Summit’s molting is impossible to keep up with, for real! Enter: The Furminator (pause for effect). This brush helps reduce shedding in a big way. The only thing I can compare it to is mowing a weedy lawn or vacuuming a really dirty floor — this baby is gratifying to use! We usually fill a grocery bag or two when Furminating Summit (let’s make it a verb!). We recommend the medium size or smaller, based on your pup, as we’ve heard the handles break more easily on the larger ones.
4) For the Traveler: Pop-Up Travel Crate
At six months of age, Summit went on his first road trip, a 6000-mile escapade to the west coast and back. He did better in the car than we did! Our biggest challenge was figuring out a kennel solution. Summit loves sleeping in his kennel and we always pop him in there when going out, but his home crate weighs a ton (and it’s sized for a baby elephant). We heard great reviews about this travel dog crate by Noz2Noz. After a few weeks on the road, Summit couldn’t get enough! This was during Summit’s peak teething phase, and the crate is still good as new (mind you, his Zogoflex toy always kept him busy). Not only does the crate fold down in 20 seconds or less, but the big one fits nicely in our roof box. Woot, woot!
5) For the Good Dog: Brewfully Inspired Dog Treats
My buddies Matthew & Mike are pretty cool dudes. Not only do they pour suds & give tours at Bent Paddle’s taproom, they also own Brewfully Inspired, a Duluth-based company for beer lovers. As certified beer nerds, these guys love educating and sharing their passion for craft beer. In our house, we are obsessed with their flagship product, Brewfully Inspired Dog Treats (formerly known as Doggie Brew Bites). I’ve gifted these to countless friends & clients, and every pup goes nuts! Even if your dog is picky with treats, these wonder nuggets just might change his mind. Crafted with repurposed barley malt from local breweries (often referred to as “spent grain,” which would otherwise be put to waste), these treats are both tasty and sustainable. My favorite part? Each bag has a sticker telling you which brewery the barley malt is sourced from. You can find their treats at Bent Paddle, Castle Danger, Fitger’s Brewhouse, and Canal Park Brewing, just to name a few. Belly up to the bar & remember to buy your pup a round!