Contests | Contests Contests en-us Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:07:00 -0800 Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:07:00 -0800 Orion <![CDATA[Win a Kathy Ireland “Loved Ones” Dog Prize Pack]]> Editor's note: This is a sponsored post from Kathy Ireland.

The Kathy Ireland “Loved Ones” pet product collection is designed to complement and fulfill all of your dog’s needs from naptime to playtime. These stylish products not only make your home look modern and stylish, they also play a part in your dog’s everyday life. Check out the full Kathy Ireland “Loved Ones” product line, and don’t forget to “like” the Kathy Ireland “Loved Ones” Facebook page for product announcements and special offers. Two readers will win a Dog Prize Pack to treat their dogs.

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Each of the Kathy Ireland “Loved Ones” Dog Prize Packs includes:

  • Hide & Seek Dog Toys
  • Durable Whale Dog Toy with Treat Pocket
  • Fashion Dog Collar with coordinating Fashion Dog Lead
  • Reversible Pet Travel Mat

How To Enter

Fill out the form below for the chance to win one of two Kathy Ireland Dog Prize Packs from Kathy Ireland Loved Ones. Entries close at 11:59 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. One entry per household. We'll choose one winner at the end of December and another at the end of January. 

Rules and Guidelines 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the United States and D.C. 18 years and older. Begins: 12 a.m. PDT on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014. Ends: 11:59 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015. Void where prohibited. One entry per household. Two winners will be chosen randomly using to receive a Kathy Ireland Dog Prize Pack. Winners will be notified via email.

Employees of Dogster, I-5 Publishing and Kathy Ireland Loved Ones (Sponsor) are not eligible to enter. Entries become the property of I-5 Publishing, which reserves the right, without further consideration, to use all materials in any publication, media and related promotions. The company cannot confirm receipt or return entries. Entry into this contest requires that you supply contact information, including your name and email address. We will never publish your street address or email address.

Your name — and possibly city, state and/or country — along with text or photos submitted as part of your entry, may be posted on Dogster’s website or other websites and social media pages owned or managed by I-5 Publishing in conjunction with the contest and its results, marketing purposes, and on sponsor websites and social media as well. Information you provide may be shared with the contest sponsor, which may use the information for marketing purposes, as well as to facilitate prize delivery. Dogster and I-5 Publishing are not responsible for removing your name from sponsor mailing lists should it end up on one. Such requests must be made directly to the sponsor. Winner will be contacted through an email from I-5 Publishing notifying them. Sponsor will contact winner by email to facilitate prize delivery. A non-response from a winner after repeated attempts by sponsor to contact him/her may be grounds for forfeiture of that winner’s prize. Prizes will be shipped directly from Kathy Ireland Loved Ones. Dogster and I-5 Publishing have the right to modify the rules and the contest at any time.

Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:07:00 -0800 /lifestyle/win-kathy-ireland-loved-ones-dog-toys-treats-collars-prize-pack-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Nicholas Sparks Talks About the Rescue Dogs in His Life and in His Books]]> Nicholas Sparks has written some of the most popular love stories of our time, and he has woven very memorable canine characters into several of his best-sellers. More than half of his 17 novels, including The Notebook, also have been made into movies.

Soon, one lucky reader's real-life rescue pet will get to join the ranks of fictional dogs who have captured our hearts in Sparks' tales.

Through the "Fall Into a Nicholas Sparks Love Story Contest," in partnership with PetSmart Charities, the author is inviting readers to submit their adoption stories. The winning pet will make a cameo appearance in his next book.

Sparks took some time out from writing recently to answer questions about his own rescue dogs.

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Author Nicholas Sparks with his three rescue dogs. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

Dogster: You have three rescue dogs in your family -- Bo, Boomer, and Susie. Can you tell us a little bit about each of their rescue stories?

Nicholas Sparks: We've been so lucky to adopt three of our dogs -- two we found at rescue shelters, and one we first found on the side of the road and eventually took in. Susie, our Shih Tzu mix, is incredibly sweet and very low-maintenance –- she loves to nap. Susie was two when she joined our family and was the first of our pets to be adopted. Our second dog, Boomer, had terrible heartworms in the shelter and was fighting for his life. We were able to adopt him when he was two or three years old and get them treated right away. Now, he's active and loves to swim. Finally, our mixed-breed Bo was about six months old when we first found him on the side of the road. He's great and has really bonded with my son Landon.

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Lucky Bo found a great home. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

As the father of five kids, what lessons do you think the younger generation learns when a family adopts a rescue pet?

One of the rewarding parts of adopting dogs has definitely been what the experience has taught the kids. Caring for pets teaches responsibility, since kids need to help walk, feed, and clean the dogs. I also think that when a family adopts a rescue pet, kids are able to see firsthand the difference they can make in a pet's life. They are giving a pet a second chance at a loving home, and they realize they are making an impact on reducing the number of homeless pets in the world.

You've talked a lot about your German Shepherds, Rex and Lara, in the past. When you purchased Lara, she was already highly trained. How did adopting rescue dogs differ from that experience? What kind of challenges did your family face when adopting rescues?

As I mentioned, Boomer had terrible heartworms before we decided to adopt him. So, we dealt with some of his health challenges early on. But, he's stronger and happier than ever now and loves to go swimming in the lake by our house. Training rescues is similar to training any other dog -– it requires patience and practice.

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Now healthy, Boomer heads out for a swim. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

You've said the character Zeus in The Lucky One was inspired by one of your own dogs, Rex. How much of the late Rex do we see reflected in Zeus? Are they different in any way?

The thing that both of them have in common, definitely, is their loyalty. Rex would often sit at my feet while I was writing, and he was just incredibly faithful, which is the dynamic I tried to recreate between Zeus and Logan Thibault in The Lucky One.

Many of the dogs in your books and your life are larger breeds. Did you ever picture yourself adopting a small dog like Susie?

It's funny that even though my family and I have been drawn to larger dog breeds, sometimes adopted pets pick us and not the other way around. Susie was one of those dogs. She is so sweet and easygoing. While we've always liked large dogs and have two larger dogs in our house currently, it doesn't mean we also don't like smaller breeds. I can't imagine our lives without Susie.

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Susie was the family's first adoptee. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

The film adaptation of your novel The Choice is underway as the first independent feature film for your production company. One of the novel's protagonists is a veterinarian, and dogs play a big part in the plot. We've already seen some shots of the animal actors on social media. Are these dog actors what you imagined when writing Molly and Moby?

Yes, in that these two dogs are both incredibly loving and bring a real warmth to the set, just as I imagined Molly and Moby doing. That said, I must say that the dogs on set are better trained than almost any dog I've ever seen -- and my own dogs are quite well-trained! I guess even actor dogs have to be at the top of their game to make it in Hollywood!

On your website (in the Book FAQ for The Guardian) you wrote, "Also, it's worth noting that in American literature, as opposed to movies and television, the dog almost always dies." Why do dogs so often meet tragic ends in literature? And will the contest-winning pet have a happy ending to their cameo?

Well, I can't spoil the ending for my book -- but as for why dogs so often die in literature, I imagine it is just a reflection of life: Dogs have much shorter lives than people, and literature has never shied away from the harsher truths of the human experience. So often we take these dogs in and fall in love with them knowing that, most likely, we will outlive them.

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Boomer and Bo Sparks. Photo by Sarah McGraw for PetSmart Charities.

What will you be looking for in the story that wins this contest? Do you have any tips for contest entrants who will be writing their own love story?

I'm really looking for those unique, heartwarming adoption stories that can show why you fell in love with your adopted cat or dog and how they've made your life complete. A descriptive story, along with a high-quality photo of your pet, will make for a great entry.

Enter your pets' story with a photo and/or video before Dec. 14. The winner will be announced Jan. 12, 2015. The winning story will also be published on, with an introduction written by Sparks. 

Read more celebrity interviews on Dogster:

About the Author: Heather Marcoux is a freelance writer in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but Specter the kitten and GhostBuster the dog make her fur family complete. Heather is also a wife, a bad cook, and a former TV journalist. Some of her friends have hidden her feed because of an excess of cat pictures. If you don’t mind cat pictures, you can follow her on Twitter; she also posts pet GIFs on Google+.

Wed, 03 Dec 2014 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/nicholas-sparks-rescue-dogs-petsmart-charities-contest
<![CDATA[Can You Decide Which Dog Has the Best Halloween Photo?]]> Thank you so much to everyone who entered our Halloween Photo Contest! There were so many amazing entries -- all your dogs are so good-looking and so well-behaved!

We received more than 100 entries and from those, we randomly selected five finalists. The finalists are featured below, and now we need your vote to determine our Grand Prize Winner.

Our finalists will receive a Carrot Plush Toy from P.L.A.Y.'s Garden Fresh Collection as well as a coupon for 25-percent off. Our Grand Prize Winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to use toward the purchase of a Round, Rectangle, or Lounge bed from P.L.A.Y. -- in other words, these pups are going to be lounging in style!

To vote, check out the photos below then fill out the form at the end of this post.

Good luck to our finalists! Check them out:

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Photo by Carol Thomsen

1. We can't tell if Missy Marlene is the wolf or Red Riding Hood!

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Photo by Kris Lamb

2. Bruno and Stella are on the case of the missing hot dog.

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Photo by Kelley Vails

3. Charlie says, "It's SHOWTIME!"

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Photo by Reiko Medina

4. Lilo, Lily, and Lani will be accompanied with their human ... who will be dressed as Toto.

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Photo by Carol Carlson

5. We're going bananas for Snoopy, Lucy, and Charlie!

Voting is now CLOSED. Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner: Charlie!

We'll be posting contest results throughout the week via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so make sure to follow us!

Check out more stories of rescue and cuteness on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Uncredited photos: A cute little dog wearing a mask ready for the apple bobbing to begin at a Halloween party in a barn and a senior pet owner and dog dressed alike in masks for Halloween by Shutterstock

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 08:00:00 -0700 /bolz/funny-cute-dog-pictures-photos-halloween-costumes-vote-photo-contest
<![CDATA[Get Your Pup in Our Halloween Dog Costume Photo Contest]]> Voting is now closed! Please keep a look out for our voting post!

As soon as September was over (and actually even a couple of days before it was over), retailers were rolling out their seasonal offerings: Bags of mini candy, Halloween makeup accessories (I'll be buying all those false eyelashes at a steep discount on November 1, thankyouverymuch), pumpkin-spice-flavored-EVERYTHING. We're a little late, but we'd like to participate as well. And no, we don't have candy, makeup, or pumpkin spice flavored edibles, but we do have a costume photo contest for you! And some prizes!

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Look! A hot dog! GET IT?! Photo by David K

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Oh the irony! Photo by istolethetv

We've teamed up with P.L.A.Y. here in San Francisco to offer you some fun prizes.

So here's how it goes:

  1. Enter the contest with a photo of your dog friend in a costume (or doing something Halloween-related). The link for entries is located below. You can enter as many different photos as you like. We might use the photos on our Instagram and elsewhere on our social media. Sadly, only mailing addresses within the continental United States are eligible to win.
  2. On Wednesday October 22, we'll randomly select five finalists. In addition to entering our final voting round, finalists will receive a Carrot Plush Toy from P.L.A.Y.'s Garden Fresh Collection and a coupon for 25-percent off your next purchase at P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You. (Valid online only at To redeem discount, enter the promotional code PLAYHalloween at checkout. Tax and shipping are not included with discount. Expires January 31, 2015. Carrot will only be shipped to the 48 contiguous United States.)
  3. From October 24 to October 31, the five finalists will be voted on by you, our beloved readers, to select a grand prize winner. The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to use toward the purchase of a Round, Rectangle, or Lounge bed from P.L.A.Y. (Valid online only at No substitutions and excludes Snuggle Beds. Gift certificate cannot be refunded or exchanged, is not redeemable for cash and redemption value not to exceed $100. Must be used in one transaction. Tax and shipping are not included. Expires January 31, 2015.)

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Thank you for entering, and good luck!

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A Pug within a Pug! Photo by DaPuglet

Uncredited photos: A cute little dog wearing a mask ready for the apple bobbing to begin at a Halloween party in a barn and a senior pet owner and dog dressed alike in masks for Halloween by Shutterstock

Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:00:00 -0700 /bolz/dogs-in-halloween-costumes-dog-beds-pictures-photo-contest-win-play
<![CDATA[10 of Our Favorite Dogs and Their Human Look-Alikes]]> Sadly, we could only pick five finalists for the Doggy Look-Alike Contest, and we picked them totally randomly so everyone would have an equal chance. However, we received so many amazing entries that they deserve their own spotlight and the honor of eternal bragging rights. So here are 10 of our favorite dogs and their human look-alikes who didn't make it to the final voting round (go vote if you haven't) because -- honestly -- these folks and their dogs have killer cuteness. We've given them some runner up titles that are worthy of boasting of.

1. Most Unlikely Look-Alikes

Big grizzly dude and tiny lap dog, yet somehow it totally works!

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2. Most Totally Perfect Reflection

Is this digitally altered? It's almost too perfect!

3. Most Likely to Be the Life of the Party

I want to be wherever these two are all the time.

4. Best Matching Hair Color

Do these two go to the same stylist? So much color! So much dimension! I need an appointment!

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5. Best "Hey It's Snack Time!" Reaction

Was it the crinkle of a potato chip bag? I know I get pretty stoked whenever someone announces it's pizza day.

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6. Most Adorable Furrowed Brow

The only thing these two should be concerned with is how devastating their cuteness is.

7. Best Matching Pose

Strike a pose! Make it double!

8. Smoothest Hair and Fur

I can never get my wild mane that smooth!

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9. Most Adorable Little Tongues

I almost can't stand the cuteness ...

10. Best Redheads

I'm so jealous of that luxurious color!

Thanks again so much to everyone for your amazing entries and for being a part of the Dogster family. If you haven't voted already in the final voting round of the Doggy Look-Alike Contest, you can cast your vote here.

Top photo by Ray Crane

Laugh with us on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Thu, 24 Apr 2014 11:00:00 -0700 /bolz/cute-funny-dog-human-look-alike-pictures-photos-10-favorite
<![CDATA[It's Time to Vote for the Winner of the Doggy Look-Alike Contest!]]> First let me tell you how difficult it was to select only five finalists for the Doggy Look-Alike Contest. I'm so glad we did it randomly because I would not have been able to pick them on my own. We received so many great entries that I know I'm definitely going to have to do a separate photo post to give you the attention you deserve.

However, we don't have enough prizes for everyone, so we've whittled the entries down to our five finalists. Now the hardest part is up to you: It's your turn to vote on the finalists to select your grand prize winner.

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We received over 50 amazing entries! Now it's up to you to pick a Grand Prize Winner!

Tremendous thanks to P.L.A.Y., without whom this contest would not even exist! Even if you weren't selected as a finalist, I encourage you to check out P.L.A.Y.'s website, and maybe get your pup a little treat -- they have a wide range of dog beds (and even cat beds), as well as a collection of toys and accessories.

All our finalists will receive a Wobble Ball and $50 coupon for an Original Collection or Artist Collection dog bed.

Our grand prize winner will receive a deluxe Lounge Bed of their choosing.

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And now it's time for the voting! To vote for your favorite entry, click on the little checkmark in the bottom right hand corner of the entry. It will turn green to indicate your vote has been counted. You can vote as many times as you like. The entry with the most votes on April 30 will be our grand prize winner. The grand prize winner will be announced May 7.

If the images don't load below, click here to vote.

Good luck to all our finalists and thank you so much to everyone for being a part of this contest. We have more opportunities to win prizes on Dogster every Friday with our Friday Freebies, so make sure to check back!

Top photo by AJU_photography

Laugh with us on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Mon, 21 Apr 2014 08:00:00 -0700 /bolz/funny-cute-dog-pictures-photos-final-voting-vote-doggy-look-alike-contest
<![CDATA[If You and Your Dog Look Alike, You Need to Enter This Contest]]> The Doggy Look-alike Contest is no longer accepting entries. If you entered the contest, please check the email address you signed up with on Disqus or your Instagram account for a message letting you know you were randomly selected as a Finalist. The Final Voting Round is now live. Thank you to everyone for your amazing participation.

Do people say that you look an awful lot like your dog? The variety among dogs and dog breeds mirrors the diversity of appearance among humans, and the coincidence is deeply profound and perhaps further proof that our bond with dogs is something extra special.

No other human-animal relationship can boast thousands of years of companionship, and there's evidence that loving dogs might be part of our very DNA, so it's no wonder dogs and their human friends sometimes end up looking so much alike.

That's why we've teamed up with those stylish folks over at P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle And You) for a giveaway you have to enter lest your dog friend be disappointed!

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Here's what you could win:

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Can you see the resemblance? Photo by John Lambert Pearson

Here's how to enter:

  1. From April 2 until April 14, we'll be accepting photo submissions in the comments section of this post and on Instagram. We're looking for the cutest photos of how much you and your dog look alike. Post your photos with Disqus in the comments section here or use #DogsterPLAYLookalike and tag @dogster and @petplaysf on Instagram.
  2. We'll select five random entries as Finalists for a final voting round from April 21 to April 30. Voting will be conducted in another post right here on Dogster.
  3. The Grand Prize Winner will be the entry with the most votes.
  4. We'll announce the Grand Prize Winner on May 7.

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They've got opposite eye patches! Photo by Lee Nachtigal

Here are the rules:

  • Contest is open only to U.S. residents with shipping addresses within the 48 contiguous United States. We can't ship to Hawaii or Alaska. We know that's a bummer to our pals elsewhere, but contest rules get a little tricky, unfortunately.
  • Finalists will be notified either by email or with a comment on their Instagram entry. Finalists will have three days to respond to qualify for the final voting round. If no response is received, we'll select another Finalist.

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These two have matching attitudes as well! MzMullerz

Good luck! We can't wait to see those photos of you and your dogs looking alike!

Check out some of the adorable entries we've received via Instagram below. (If the display doesn't load, you can see it here.)

Check out these adorable stories on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Wed, 02 Apr 2014 06:00:00 -0700 /the-scoop/cute-funny-dog-pictures-photos-designer-beds-contest-look-alike-play-pet-lifestyle-and-you
<![CDATA[Win an Orapup Dog Breath Brush & Lickies Oral Health Gel ]]> My pups don't mind testing products for Dogster giveaways. Spot puts his all into playing with new toys on the market, and Dolly lends her sophisticated palate to treats of all kinds. This week, they gave the Orapup dog breath brush and Lickies oral health gel a try.

I'll let them take it from here.

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Dolly Thought Bubble: I smell beef… with a hint of bacon.

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Dolly Thought Bubble: How interesting. Is this a new type of treat dispenser?

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Dolly Thought Bubble: (Lick lick lick) Delish. (Lick lick lick) It tickles my tongue. (Lick lick lick) I give it five paws!

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Spot Thought Bubble: My turn! Squirt on more of that beefy, bacon-y goodness, please.

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Spot Thought Bubble: (Lick lick lick) Yum.

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Dolly Thought Bubble: OK. Time to share.

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Dolly Thought Bubble: Or not. Spot Thought Bubble: (Lick lick lick)

Needless to say, Spot and Dolly loved the taste of the beef-and-bacon-flavored gel. I like the purpose of the products: The soft bristles of the BPA-free brush reach deep into the uneven crevices of the tongue to loosen stinky bacteria, the scrapers collect and remove the bacteria and residue, and the gel's all-natural enzymes build up good bacteria to protect against future bad breath.

Thanks to recent dental cleanings, my dogs have OK breath, but I will certainly use the brush and gel going forward as a healthy treat and preventative measure. They can't wait to try the Cinnamon & Chicken and Cherry Chicken flavors.

Note: As your vet will tell you, these products are not a replacement for regular teeth brushing or professional cleanings, but they can help prevent the growth of bacteria and, therefore, reduce tartar and plaque buildup. The process may even help make your dog become more comfortable with a toothbrush.

Would you like to give the Orapup dog breath brush and Lickies oral health gel a try? In honor of National Pet Dental Health Month, the company will give 10 deserving Dogster readers an Orapup starter pack containing one Orapup, one 2-oz. bottle of Beef & Bacon Lickies, and two Orabrush tongue cleaners for humans. To enter, simply follow the instructions below.

How to Enter

Would you like a chance to win one of 10 Orapup starter packs? If so, please do the following:

  1. Create a Disqus account, if you haven't already, and include a valid email. It takes just a minute and allows you to better participate in Dogster's community of people who are passionate about dogs. If you already have a Disqus account, check it to ensure the account includes a valid email.
  2. Comment below using your Disqus account, telling us about your dog or dogs and their stinky breath or excellent oral hygiene. Bonus points for photos. Our favorite photo/comment wins! You must be a U.S. resident to win. 
  3. Check your email for a “You've Won!” message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Feb. 13. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite comment.

Good luck! 

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

Fri, 07 Feb 2014 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/win-orapup-dog-breath-brush-lickies-oral-health-gel-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Win a Copy of My Book About Interspecies Love]]> Many people have heard the story of Koko the gorilla and her kittens. Koko uses American Sign Language to communicate with the humans at the Gorilla Foundation who care for her; in addition to knowing approximately 1,000 signs, she can understand more than 2,000 spoken English words. In 1984, she asked for -- and received -- a small kitten she could care for. Her human companions watched in awe as Koko treated the kitten, who she had named All Ball, as tenderly as if the cat were her own offspring. When All Ball was killed by a car, Koko painfully grieved at her premature loss, signing “bad, sad, bad” and “frown, cry, frown, sad.”

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Greyhound and Her Fawn photo by Geoff Grewcock, used with permission

Indeed, we can all identify with the feelings Koko experienced and spelled out, but she is only the start when it comes to the incredible relationships and bonds of interspecies parenting. 

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Billy the Boxer and Lily, his kid goat: Richard Austin/Rex USA, used with permission.

“It’s not unusual for animals to be nurturing toward other species,” said John C. Wright, Ph.D., an animal behaviorist. “The instinct to care for another animal can be hormonal, or simply related to age. If they’re young, their behavior is malleable, and they’re open to just about any experience, opportunity or companion. Like humans, animals, for the most part, yearn for company.”

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Koa the Golden Retriever and her bunnies. Photo by Tina Case/Rex Features, used with permission.

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The Pointer Mix and his Joey: Newspix / Rex USA, used with permission.

Some interspecies parent-child relationships last for the lifetime of each animal, while some encounters last less than an hour. Of course, since the lifespan of most animals is much shorter than ours, their childhood can sometimes be measured in weeks and months, instead of years. It’s much more common for the adult animals to help do whatever it takes to bring the young one back from the brink of death, stick around for a while to make sure the youngster can fly under his own power, and then step away so the young one can live the life that nature intended. 

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German Shorthaired Pointer and her owlet. Photo by Richard Austin/Rex USA, used with permission.

I wrote my new book, One Big Happy Family: Heartwarming Stories of Animals Caring for One Another, because, like many people, I was intrigued at the stories about interspecies friendships that seemed to pop into the news every week or so. Once I started to dig a little deeper, I realized that many of the relationships were that of a parent and child, and even more amazing, several involved predator and prey, where an animal defied its natural predator instincts in encounters that would have usually resulted in injury or death. The simple truth is that the siren call of their maternal and paternal drive was stronger.  

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The Chihuahua and his baby Marmoset: John Drysdale, used with permission.

Now, enter to win a copy of One Big Happy Family!

Would you like the chance to win a copy of Lisa's book? If so, please do the following:

  1. Create a Disqus account, if you haven't already, and include a valid email. It takes just a minute and allows you to better participate in Dogster's community of people who are passionate about dogs. If you already have a Disqus account, check it to ensure the account includes a valid email.
  2. Comment below using your Disqus account, telling us about any interspecies relationships your dog has been a part of, the more nurturing the better. Our favorite comment wins. Bonus points for photos! Also, you must be a U.S. resident to win.
  3. Check your email for a “You've Won!” message from us after noon PST on Tuesday, Dec. 17. We'll give the winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite comment.

Good luck! And if you aren't lucky enough to win, you can find the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or a bookstore near you via IndieBound

Check out some cuteness with Dogster:

About the author: Lisa Rogak is the author of The Dogs of War: The Courage, Love, and Loyalty of Military Working Dogs and Dogs of Courage: The Heroism and Heart of Working Dogs Around the World, and editor of the New York Times best-selling Barack Obama in His Own Words, among many other books.

Fri, 03 Jan 2014 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/one-big-happy-family-book-giveaway
<![CDATA[And the Four-Pawed Winner of Our "Dentastix Smile" Photo Contest Is...]]>

As you know (because you're very responsible dog owners), good dental hygiene is imperative to a dog's overall health, prolonging her life by keeping her mouth clean and healthy. It's not always easy keeping a dog's mouth clean, but with just a few small tips and tricks in-between regular vet-administed teeth cleanings, you can keep your dog's smile full and bright.

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We partnered with Dentastix to host a contest asking you for your dogs' best smiles. You obliged with some of the greatest dog smiles we've ever seen, but we could only pick ten finalists. With great anguish, we narrowed down the entries, but we simply couldn't pick a winner, so we opened them up to you to vote on.

And the winner is...

Miles the Shiba Inu!

His ecstatic grin compelled you to vote for him, garnering the most favor out of all the finalists. Congratulations, Miles! We wish you many years of great smiles! We'll be in touch to find out how to send you your prize -- a $250 American Express Gift Card and a basket of DENTASTIX® and PEDIGREE® products (valued at $50). Woot woot!

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Congratulations, Miles!

Top photo by Kat Martin

Fri, 20 Dec 2013 06:00:00 -0800 /bolz/dentastix-photo-contest-winner
<![CDATA[We Asked and You Obliged! Here Are Your 10 Best Dog Smiles]]>

Voting is now closed for this contest. Thank you so much for your participation -- we really appreciate it! Keep an eye out for a post announcing our winner.

Are you having a bad day right now? Worry not -- we've got something that will make you feel better.

Are you having a good day right now? Then you're in luck -- we've got something to make your day go from good to great!

We asked all of you to show us your dogs' best smiles and you did not disappoint us! We had a difficult time picking our top ten dog ear-to-ears, but we managed it.

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How can you feel bad looking at a face like this? Photo by Dogster member Celeste

If there's one thing all the entries have to smile about it's how their shiny, pearly grins mean they're living the good life. What we mean is that a dog's dental hygiene can do a lot to determine her quality of living. It's not always easy keeping your dog's teeth clean, but it's really important! Just like in humans, dental problems can greatly affect a dog's overall health, which is why we partnered with Dentastix to help you show off your dogs' great smiles.

So have a look at these ten Best Smiles -- we'll bet you'll catch yourself grinning as you look through them. Vote for your favorite smiles by clicking on the little gray checkmark icon below the photo -- it will turn green when selected. (If you can't view the images below, click here to vote instead.)

Top photo by Dogster member Popeye

Thu, 05 Dec 2013 06:00:00 -0800 /bolz/10-best-dog-smiles-dentastix-contest
<![CDATA[Freebie Time: We're Giving Away a Leash from Mountain Dog Products]]> It might be hard for you to believe, but I have a few interests and hobbies that do not include Ace. Although I prefer Ace to accompany me when I’m being active outdoors, there are some activities that are not appropriate for a dog. One such activity I enjoy is rock climbing. As an (extremely) amateur climber, I love puzzling through the spatial riddle of how to move my body from the ground to a specific point perhaps 55 feet high. When climbing, the key piece of safety equipment that makes it all possible is the rope. Tied and mounted correctly, the rope is strong enough to prevent even the heaviest, most muscular climber from falling.

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The same climbing rope that can handle the weight of a crazy, falling rock climber is used in Mountain Dog's incredibly strong leashes.

Since I started climbing a few years ago, I've noticed folks around San Francisco walking their large dogs with what appeared to be lengths of climbing rope. Recently, I did a little Internet research and discovered Mountain Dog Products, which makes dog leashes out of recycled climbing rope (check out this article for the story of how Mountain Dog was inspired by a chance meeting with a stray dog named Jefe). Mountain Dog sent me samples of two of their leashes to test with Ace.

Mountain Dog presents a pretty compelling argument for why their leashes are the best you can buy. Made from climbing rope, they are strong and durable. The leashes are eco-friendly because rope itself is recycled, meaning it either was used for climbing or it is a remnant leftover from manufacturing climbing rope. The leashes are handmade in the USA. Perhaps most impressive, the leashes have a lifetime guarantee: Return the leash for any reason and receive a full refund or a replacement leash.

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The Original Clip Lead.

Ace and I tested the Original Clip Lead and the Amazing Versatile Leash. I immediately appreciated the aesthetics of the leashes. The climbing rope appeared brand new, and there was no branding of any kind. The overall look is athletic, colorful, simple, and clean.

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Ace takes a break from pulling to model the Original Clip Lead.

The Original Clip Lead ($27.50) is Mountain Dog’s basic leash. It is six-feet long and has a loop handle. The one we received was gray with flecks of bright neon colors, which I thought was sporty and attractive. The clip is large, hefty, and appears very strong; the leash seems appropriate for medium to large dogs. As a small dog owner, I would love to see this leash available with a smaller yet still durable clip, as the large clip is a bit cumbersome for Ace.

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These leashes provide excellent grip.

I was surprised that the leash actually made walking Ace easier and more pleasant. She tends to pull at certain times, like when we are approaching the park or when she sees someone she knows. This leash is quite soft yet provided excellent grip without chafing my hands.

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The Amazing Versatile Leash.

Another option for the owners of dogs that tend to pull is the Amazing Versatile Leash ($37.50).

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The Amazing Versatile Leash can be looped securely around your waist.

This leash adjusts from 3’ 9” to 7’ in length, depending upon how you clip and knot it. The leash comes with simple instructions, which include color photographs, so you can learn to shorten the leash or even clip it around your waist or torso securely. I found the leash easy to convert by following the instructions, though it did take me a moment to do the first time. Because there is a clip at each end, you can walk two dogs on this single leash.

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The Amazing Versatile Leash can be looped around your waist with a simple knot.

Overall, I found these leashes to be unique, strong, and attractive, much like a certain Boston Terrier I know. As Christmas approaches, I imagine these leashes would make great gifts for large or active dogs, for dog owners who love climbing or outdoor adventure, or for the dog owner who thinks that when it comes to dog products, she has seen it all.

Dogster Scorecard for Mountain Dog Products’ Original Clip and Amazing Versatile Leashes

  • Quality: These leashes harness the strength and durability of recycled climbing rope.
  • Style: The leashes are simple, clean, and colorful with no distracting branding.
  • Function: The leashes were quite strong, and the climbing rope gave me excellent grip on a pulling Ace.
  • Creativity: What a great idea: recycle used and leftover climbing rope to create a durable, eco-friendly leash for active dogs.
  • Value: These leashes are more expensive than your typical flat nylon leash, but given they are durable, attractive, unique, and made in the USA of recycled products, I would consider them an excellent value.

Bottom line

If walking your dog is reminiscent of climbing a mountain, one of Mountain Dog’s climbing rope leashes might be just the thing to wrangle your rambunctious pup.

Enter to win a Mountain Dog climbing rope leash!

Mountain Dog Products wants to give three lucky Dogster readers the leashes of their choice -– for free. Just enter our contest by leaving a comment about your favorite outdoor activities to do with your dogs. Whether your dog runs in the Iditarod or runs up and down the driveway, we want to hear about it! Make sure you have an active email address associated with your Disqus account, or else we won’t be able to contact you if you win.

Ace will choose the winners by Friday, December 6 at noon PST, so make sure to check your email to see if you’ve won. 

Dogster readers, where do you go for unique dog products? Share your recommendations in the comments section below.

About Ace's Mama: This East Coast transplant enjoys the bounty of San Francisco, including its microclimates, farmer's markets, and secret stairway walks. When she's not walking with, talking about, or kissing the face of her Boston Terrier, Ace, she blogs about Ace's adventures. Product reviews writer and guinea pig at Dogster.

Tue, 03 Dec 2013 04:00:00 -0800 /doggie-style/mountain-dog-products-leash-leashes-recycled-climbing-rope-review-win-giveaway
<![CDATA[Scruffy Wins the Superhero Illustration Contest -- Then Gives the Title to Lumpy!]]> The generosity of the Dogster dog-loving community never ceases to amaze us! Our Superhero Dog contest was a huge success -- so big that we asked you to help us choose from the top five. You did, and you voted like mad.

For most of that time, a cute dog named Scruffy held the lead. In fact, Scruffy won with 1,528 votes. A certain rescue Bulldog named Lumpy hovered near the bottom at first, but slowly made his way up into second place with 1,003 votes.

Many of those commenting on the contest wished that Lumpy would win. He had a hard-luck story before being rescued by his adopter, Trish Brumfield of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Here’s his “before” photo:

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Lumpy as his adopter found him in a high-kill shelter.

Lumpy came from Trish’s local animal control, where he landed in a kill shelter.

“Lumpy came in on my birthday 10 and a half years ago on my birthday," she wrote. "He was about six months old. The animal control officer who picked him up wanted to euthanize him but the vet and I would not let him do that. I took Lumpy home when his six-day hold was up."

Poor Lumpy was almost completely naked from demodectic mange. He was malnourished and had a secondary staph infection, cherry eyes, and food allergies. The dermatologists at the LSU Vet School think he was used as a bait dog.

"It took me a year working with the dermatologists to get him healthy. He had to have four root canals from chewing and pulling the bars out of several metal kennels,” Trish says. His stamina and love of life inspired her to become even more active in rescue, and she has saved many cats and dogs in her hometown.

Here’s Lumpy after Trish’s TLC:

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Scruffy is also a rescue dog. And his mom, Barbara Ludt of Easton, Washington, has a big, big heart. She voted for Lumpy ... a lot. And when her Scruffy won the contest, she contacted us and asked if she could turn over the win to Lumpy.

And here's Lumpy as the superhero he is, drawn by Jeff Hebert

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Illustration by the always-awesome Jeff Hebert

Scruffy, like her new friend Lumpy, is also a rescue dog. Scruffy is a Shih-Tzu mix. He and his sire were surrendered to Barbara’s rescue in January 2008.

“They were what a local backyard breeder of small dogs considered ‘surplus,’" she told me. "He was only a few months old and very timid. He was eventually adopted locally by a gal who fell in love with his 'cuteness' and she already had three Shih-Tzus. Unfortunately, once Scruffy matured, he started fighting with the other dogs, and fights broke out that were so severe that a disabled member of the household was injured."

So, Scruffy was returned to her shelter after about a year away -- and turned out to be the perfect little guy  with all Barbara's other little dogs, so rather than traumatize him with another re-homing in his young life, "we decided he'd fit in just fine here. And he has!”

Scruffy particularly loves running and playing in the snow in the winter with his housemates. 


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Scruffy enjoying a walk in the snow. Don't worry -- no dogs were injured in any way in this outing.

All of the dogs entered in the contest are superheros to their owners. We think that these two rescuers are extra special superhero humans as well!

About Annie Phenix: Positive-reinforcement dog trainer and author Annie Phenix never met a mountain she did not love. This explains why she lives in Durango, Colorado, where she's surrounded by mountains, and why she is always smiling. She delights in the snowy season here, as do her five dogs, two horses, and six adorably cute donkeys.

Mon, 02 Dec 2013 08:48:14 -0800 /lifestyle/dog-art-illustration-superhero-contest-hero-machine-scruffy-wins-lumpy-bulldog
<![CDATA[Win a Copy of the Photo Book "Dogs with Old Man Faces"]]> Maybe your dog doesn't have a graying muzzle but seems a bit creaky after a walk, or snores like a walrus in the winter. And even if your dog isn't getting on in years yet, sometimes she'll look at you and you'll see a little thought bubble above her head that reads, "Do you have to walk so FAST?" or "What's with all these skyscrapers? In my day, it was all fields around here," or "What's this astronaut kibble you're dishing up? Gimme an old-school bone, pronto."

Emmy-winning TV producer Tom Cohen noticed a lot of doddering dogs with droll expressions, so he compiled a bunch of photos into his new book, Dogs with Old Man Faces: Portraits of Crotchety Canines. Because November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, we've been thinking a lot about grizzled old senior dogs, and Tom's book really tickled our funny bones. 

Check out some of the photos from the book, with Tom's captions, and then find out how to win a copy of Dogs with Old Man Faces.

1. Gus got Grecian Formula in his eye

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Photo by Dan Winters

2. Barney wishes he hadn't retired

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Photo by Renxx Fmdr,

3. Homer was once Mao's tailor

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Photo by Mutts Matter Rescue

4. Otis has 87 godpuppies

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Photo by Dan Winters

5. Roscoe was one of the original Hells Angels

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Photo by Tom Cohen

Enter to win a copy of Dogs with Old Man Faces

We've got two copies of the book to give away to Dogster readers. To enter the contest, simply tell us in the comments below what your salty old dog would say if you snapped a candid pic of him or her. If you can upload a goofy photo as well, even better -- we'll select our favorites for a photo post! 

  1. Create a Disqus account, if you haven't already, and include a valid email. It takes just a minute and allows you to better participate in Dogster's community of people who are passionate about dogs. If you already have a Disqus account, check it to ensure the account includes a valid email.
  2. Comment below using your Disqus account, following the directions above. Our favorite comment wins! 
  3. Check your email for a “You've Won!” message from us after noon PST on Monday, Dec. 2. We'll give the winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite comment.

Good luck!

Mon, 25 Nov 2013 10:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/dog-photos-book-senior-dogs-with-old-man-faces-giveaway-win
<![CDATA[Who Should Be the Winner of Our Canine Gratitude Contest?]]> Congratulations to Joe Hardy and his dog, Ray! They've won our Canine Gratitude Contest! Entries are now close -- thanks for participating and make sure to check back for more fun contests!

We asked you why you're grateful for your dog in a Thanksgiving giveaway last week, and your responses were powerful! So now it's the final step of our contest: We've randomly selected five finalists, and now we need your votes. The one story that receives the most votes will win a medium pet bed from P.L.A.Y. and a copy of Surf Dog Ricochet's holiday book.

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Ricochet's holiday book is part of the prize package!

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This bed from P.L.A.Y. normally retails for $149, but we're giving it away here.

Read the different stories below (presented in no particular order)

Take note of which entry moved you the most!

1. RedPandemic wrote:

I am grateful for Oru because he does not judge me for what I see, even though he does not see it. He protects me from things no physical body can. I made a rash choice to move out for the first time with him, though I suffer terrible nyctophobia. He has guided me into and out of the dark, explored hallways and bushes I wouldn't touch, and... best of all, he has come running to my aid though I was absolutely silent and paralyzed with my fear. He's just an old one-eyed Shih Tzu missing several of his teeth, and I'm just a student with no idea where I'm going, but I'll never leave him and he'll never leave me... that's why I'm thankful for him.

My birthday is November 19. This is my first birthday here and all I've asked for is dog things and money for food.

2. Jennifer Foss (Hawkins) wrote:

Happy is the only happiness in my life. I was diagnosed with PTSD after being tormented & abandoned by everyone in my life. Overnight, I went from a career woman to someone who couldn't even do the dishes. With no one & no hope, I was planning my suicide for the anniversary of the event that sparked my illness. But then a month beforehand, I had a dream about a black Lab puppy named Happy. I went to my local Humane Society website -- and literally -- there she was. I went and got her that day to be my service dog. As the anniversary approached, all I could think of was Happy. Who would take care of her & love her as much as I? I decided not to leave her; she's the only reason that I'm alive. I'm thankful that Happy is who she is. My love for her saves me.

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Jennifer is happy for her dog, Happy.

3. Joe Hardy wrote:

My dog Ray has been blind since puppyhood. Blinded and tortured by his first so-called human. He was found in an abandoned trailer with five other dogs.....all dead. He was adopted from the shelter ...and sadly returned. His blindness was too much for those humans to deal with.

Yet Ray has given us humans another chance. He has given me the honor of showing him that Love exists....that kindness can be shown....that trust can be regained. That a bond can be created. Stronger than steel itself !

I am a "Seeing-Eye Guy" for my blind buddy. My life has been so enriched, so full. We are a team.....we are brothers bound together forever....we are best friends. My blind boy Ray Charles Hardy.......has taught me to see! And for this......I am so incredibly grateful.

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Joe's dog, Ray.

4. Mallory H. wrote:

I am grateful for my three rescue dogs because they make my life complete. They make me laugh with their silly faces and antics. We just celebrated my most recent pup's gotcha day this October. I saw her on Facebook at the pound and knew I needed her. We weren't going to be moving to out of state by my parents, so I just felt I needed another dog -- we got her and I couldn't of been more in love instantly! We ended up moving anyways. I love doing activities with my dogs, dog parks, shelter events, costume contests etc. I even took my love of dog further to become a dog groomer. So, basically my dogs Just complete me. It's that feeling inside that I get whenever they kiss me or just sit and smile. Karma, Cleo & Autumn you three are the best any mommy could ask for!

5. Faintly Macabre wrote:

I am grateful for my dog because without judgment or incrimination, she calls upon me to be a better person. With soulful eyes and unending patience, she asks me to remember that there are more important things in life than things -- there is life itself and the joy to be found by having our needs met (not just our wants.) She's helped me to remember how to play, without fear or restraint. She was a "hopeless" Demodex case and will always be a special needs dog, but truly I think the one with special needs was me....I needed her to need me, to give me a reason to be selfless and nurturing, she taught me that I too, have a purpose, even if it is simply to have helped her heal. She gave me a shot at Grace and that's priceless. :)

Now vote below for the most heartwarming reason why these finalists are grateful for their dogs.

Vote by clicking on the little checkmark symbol in the lower corner of each name -- it will turn green when selected. If you can't see the names below, click here to vote.

Winners will be announced Wednesday November 27. Good luck!

Top photo: Dogster member Cassie

Read more on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Wed, 20 Nov 2013 10:00:00 -0800 /the-scoop/thanksgiving-giveaway-grateful-dog-play-bed-book-surf-ricochet-winner-vote
<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Giveaway: Why Are You Grateful for Your Dog?]]> Update: We are no longer accepting entries. Please click here to vote for the five finalists.

Historical origins aside, Thanksgiving in its modern incarnation is an opportunity to spend time with your family and reflect on the abundance we enjoy. For me that means having a day off to myself (I haven't done holidays with my biological family in a few years) where I treat myself to dinner and a movie and hang out with all my fellow holiday orphans. I'm grateful to have the luxury to do that.

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I'm grateful for my friends, with whom I can be a total weirdo.

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I'm grateful for coffee and tiny cupcakes.

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I'm grateful to be able-bodied so I can ride my bike everywhere -- wee!

I'm grateful to live in a really cool city, to have this job where I am given permission to be myself, and to have a network of friends and chosen family who make my life a joy. I'm grateful for my health, for my stunning good looks (ha-hah), and the small pleasure of drinking coffee every morning. I'm grateful for a dog named Ambrose, who was one of my clients as a dog walker when I first moved to San Francisco -- without that adorable black Labrador, I don't think I would have been able to overcome the breakup I was going through and get to where I am today.

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Beautiful Ambrose!

It's no doubt that dogs are amazing, but I wanted to take some time to talk about why you all are grateful for your dogs. As a bonus, I've teamed up with P.L.A.Y. and Ricochet the SURFice Dog to give away a prize to the story of gratitude that most touches your heart. (And please make sure to go like Ricochet's Facebook page to keep up to date on all the great things she's doing!)

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Ricochet's holiday book is part of the prize package!

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This bed from P.L.A.Y. normally retails for $149, but we're giving it away here.

Here's how the contest will go:

  1. In the comments section below, tell us in 100-150 words why you're grateful for your dog. Entries will be entered into a random drawing to select five finalists.
  2. On Wednesday November 20th, we'll announce the five finalists.
  3. From November 20th until the 27th, the finalists will be voted on.
  4. The entry with the most votes on November 27th will be the winner.

Please note that you need a Disqus account with a valid email address in order to enter. Unfortunately, the contest is only open to US residents.

I'm grateful to have Dogster readers like you, who are passionate about their dog friends. I look forward to reading your entries.

Top photo via Dogster member Daisy

Read more on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Wed, 13 Nov 2013 06:00:00 -0800 /the-scoop/thanksgiving-giveaway-grateful-your-dog-play-bed-book-surf-ricochet
<![CDATA[Nominate Your Favorite Dogster Member to Be the Poster Pup for Adopt a Senior Dog Month]]> November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and if there's one thing we love here at Dogster it's our precious senior pups -- of which Community Manager Lori Malm's Beasley is the reigning queen. 

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Lori and Beasley.

Unfortunately, older dogs in shelters are often passed over for their younger counterparts and first for euthanasia lists. Many older dogs are abandoned because people simply don't want to deal with the responsibilities of an aging dog, trading them in for younger models. What some people don't realize is that more mature dogs can be much easier companions -- no longer full of puppy energy, they can be calmer, content to just hang out with you all day.

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Photo via Dogster member Harley

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Photo via Dogster member Daisy

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Photo via Dogster member Duke Ellington

We're big fans of adoption here, but for November, we'd like to highlight a segment of the shelter population that really needs some extra attention. We have lots of articles and resources about senior dogs right here on Dogster!

In addition to celebrating our elder dogs, we're going to feature a senior Dogster member each week of November and we're asking you to help with the nomination process.

It's easy:

  1. In the comments below link to a senior Dogster member you think deserves special recognition.
  2. Nominations must be Dogster members with their own Dogster page. 
  3. Include a 100-word paragraph about why your nomination should be featured on the Dogster homepage.
  4. We're looking for senior dogs who really exemplify why people should consider adopting an older pet. Great photos are a plus!
  5. Check back with Dogster each Wednesday this month to see who've selected.

All dogs are awesome, but for the month of November, we're going to take a little time to put the spotlight on some of our community's favorite elders.

We look forward to sharing your senior canines!

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Top photo via Dogster member Buddy

Read about adoption on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Wed, 06 Nov 2013 12:00:00 -0800 /the-scoop/adopt-a-senior-dog-month-dogs-dogster-community-nominations-nominate
<![CDATA[Win a Copy of Seth Casteel's Book "Underwater Dogs: Kids Edition"]]> Award-winning photographer Seth Casteel already has more than a few kids in his fan base. After all, his best-selling book, Underwater Dogs, features goofy faces galore. How could any kid -- or adult, for that matter -- not smile while flipping through its pages?

To up the fun factor even more, Casteel has come out with Underwater Dogs: Kids Edition. The book features a selection of his famous photos paired with rhyming verses. Here are a few of our favorite pages:

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This book will surely become a bedtime favorite of any kid who gets it, which Dogster can help make happen. We have three copies of Underwater Dogs: Kids Edition to give away. Simply comment below about who will get the book, and their relationships with the furry members of your family. As always, photos earn extra points! Also, be sure to follow these directions to ensure your entry counts:


Would you like the chance to win a copy of Underwater Dogs: Kids Edition? If so, please do the following:

  1. Create a Disqus account, if you haven't already, and include a valid email. It takes just a minute and allows you to better participate in Dogster's community of people who are passionate about dogs. If you already have a Disqus account, check it to ensure the account includes a valid email.
  2. Comment below using your Disqus account, following the directions above. Our favorite comment wins! You must be a U.S. resident to win. 
  3. Check your email for a “You've Won!” message from us after noon PST on Wednesday, Oct. 23. We'll give the winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite comment.

Good luck!

Fri, 18 Oct 2013 06:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/win-book-dog-photos-underwater-dogs-kids-edition
<![CDATA[Guess What These Dogs Are Dressed as for Halloween? (We're Having a Contest!)]]> Halloween is right around the corner folks, and if you have already read this article and decided that your costume idea has not crossed the line, then congratulations! Festive adorableness is in your future!

Can you guess what these costumes are supposed to be? Here's what I think -- am I hot or cold?

1. A pun

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Photo by editrixie


2. Cat barf

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Photo by istolethetv

Right before the dog scarfs it down -- yum!

3. Mildew

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Photo by istolethetv

This is why it's important to dry your dog between washes.

4. Michael Jackson's long lost sparkly glove

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Photo by istolethetv

Finally! The answer to why he only ever had one!

5. Someone who has never seen The Wizard of Oz

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Photo by Aaron Edwards

You've got it all wrong.

I'll bet you've got an even better costume waiting in the closet, so let's see 'em!

To get you in the mood, we're hosting a Halloween costume contest right here on Dogster via Instagram. Here's how to play:

  1. Tag your costume photos on Instagram with #DogsterHalloween
  2. Check out your photos here in our live slideshow below
  3. You have until Monday, Oct. 21, to enter on Instagram
  4. We'll pick five random photos as our Editor's Choice
  5. And then open them up for voting on Tuesday, Oct. 22, right here on the website
  6. The two Dogsters with the most votes on Halloween (Oct. 31) will receive a fabulous prize and bragging rights forever!

Top photo by Flash and Mel

Read more about Dogs and Halloween on Dogster:

About Liz Acosta: Dogster's former Cuteness Correspondent, Liz still manages the site's daily "Awws," only now she also wrangles Dogster's social media. That's why she wants you to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and -- her personal favorite -- Instagram. See ya there!

Tue, 15 Oct 2013 12:00:00 -0700 /the-scoop/dog-photos-halloween-costumes-dogs-contest-win-instagram
<![CDATA[Win a Copy of "Dinner for Dogs"]]> Editor's Note: Henrietta has kindly given us two copies of Dinner for Dogs so we can run a contest for Dogster readers. Enjoy the recipes below and then find out how to enter. 

If your dog stops eating, it’s usually a sign that something’s up. I know how concerning this can be: When my Border Terrier, Lily, was a year old, she stopped eating altogether. She would run up to her bowl with her usual exuberance and then back away slowly. I was horrified! I tried different foods, but to no avail; she would seem enthusiastic until she smelled what was in the bowl and would then turn away and wander off, looking rather dejected.

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Me with Lily in the kitchen.

I started cooking her chicken, rice, vegetables and apples, which I knew she loved, and she began to eat properly again. This was definitely good news all around, and I kept a copy of the recipes I made and turned them into a book.

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Check out two recipes from the book, then enter to win a copy!

1. Chicken and Rice Balls 

If you have a dog who seems to prefer bland food, this is a good recipe. It provides a balance of vegetables, carbohydrates and protein. If your dog is overweight or has an intolerance to fat, discard the skin of the chicken after it has been cooked. This is a good recipe for a sick dog, too.


  • 4 or 5 chicken thighs
  • 3 medium carrots (200 g), chopped
  • 3 medium parsnips (200 g), chopped
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) white rice
  • 1 rounded teaspoon finely chopped fresh parsley or rosemary
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) old-fashioned oats


  1. Put the chicken thighs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. 
  2. Put the chopped carrots and parsnips into another saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, then return the vegetables to the pot and mash together. 
  3. Once the chicken is cooked, place on a plate, remove the bones from the thighs and chop the meat and skin into small pieces. 
  4. Put the rice in the saucepan with the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until cooked. (Follow the package instructions as cooking times vary depending on the type of rice used.) 
  5. Put the chicken pieces into a bowl with the cooked rice, mashed vegetables and dried herbs, and mix together well. 
  6. Spread the oats on a large plate. Form the chicken, rice and vegetable mixture into small balls -- about 2 to 3 tablespoons each, depending on the size of your dog -- and roll them in the oats to coat. 
  7. The finished chicken and rice balls can be stored in the fridge for up to five days or you can freeze them for two months.

Per 4 ounces (100 g): Calories: 400; protein: 20 percent; fat: 18 percent

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Lily in the kitchen with some of the foods she inspired.

2. Power Treats 

These small liver cake treats are designed for dogs who turn their nose up at baked biscuit treats. I defy a dog to refuse these! They are bursting with really great ingredients, each of which has a specific nutritional purpose. This recipe has a two-stage cooking process to make sure the treats are properly cooked through.


  • Vegetable oil for greasing
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 pound (250 g) fresh beef liver, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon blackstrap molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups and 2 tablespoons (300 g) buckwheat or spelt flour

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Lily in the vegetable garden


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. 
  2. Break the eggs into the bowl of a food processor and add the liver, grated cheese and blackstrap molasses. Pulse to purée together. 
  3. Add in the flour and pulse to combine. You should now have a soft dough. The dough will be quite sticky so it’s a good idea to put plenty of flour on your hands to handle it. 
  4. Take out the dough and put it straight onto the prepared cookie sheet. Flatten it down with your hands so that it is about 1/2-inch thick. Alternatively, roll the dough into a cylinder on a lightly floured surface and slice it into discs. Bake for about 20 minutes. 
  5. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and cut the dough into small squares; tiny size if you have a small dog and larger if your dog is bigger -- you know what size treat your dog is used to! 
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F/150°C. Put the treats back into the oven and let dry completely for 2 hours. 
  7. Remove the treats from the oven and let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container. They keep well in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Per 4 ounces (100 g): Calories: 390; protein: 30 percent; fat: 14 percent

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Dishing up for my beloved Lily. Photo by Vicky Couchman

Tip: I like to add the eggs whole as there’s lots of good nutrition in the shells: some natural calcium, as well as glucosamine, which is good for joints. Crush up the shells with your hands or a mortar and pestle so that the shell pieces are as small as possible, and add them to the food processor with the other ingredients.

Enter to win a copy of Dinner for Dogs for your pup

Just leave us a comment below telling us how your dog likes to help you in the kitchen. We'll pick our favorite answers next Wednesday, September 11, at noon PST, and we’ll contact the winners via email. You'll have two days to respond or we’ll choose another winner. (Sorry, that's just how it goes!)

Creating a Disqus profile and avatar just takes a minute and is a great way to participate in Dogster's community of people who are passionate about dogs. Please note that if your Disqus account doesn't contain a valid email address, you can't win because we won't be able to contact you. That's not fun! So, pretty please, check your account.

Best of luck! 

About the author: Henrietta Morrison is the founder of Lily’s Kitchen, voted the UK’s No. 1 pet food company for the last four years by the Good Shopping Guide. Her dog food is sold in hundreds of stores across the UK. Morrison believes that dogs should eat proper food, so she works with cooks, nutritionists, and vets to develop her recipes. Her border terrier, Lily, is her chief taster. Follow Lily’s Kitchen on Twitter, and click here to purchase Dinner for Dogs.

Wed, 04 Sep 2013 12:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/dinner-for-dogs-win-dog-food-recipes-cookbook-henrietta-morrison