Freebies | Freebies http://www.dogster.com/freebies Freebies en-us Fri, 13 Feb 2015 06:00:00 -0800 Fri, 13 Feb 2015 06:00:00 -0800 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Orion <![CDATA[Dogster Reviews the Latch'NVent]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/latchnvent-dog-cat-product-review-door-prop-lock-latch A couple of months ago, a friend of mine sent me a link to a host of cool pet products. Scanning them, I stopped cold when I saw the Latch'NVent. Excitement building, I went directly to the company's website to check it out further. It was the product I had been in search of for the past decade!

I liked what I read about Latch'NVent online. It is made from high-impact plastic and appeared sturdy. The product comes with three different extensions (2 inches, 3 inches, and 4 inches), which I realized would solve many common problems in homes with pets.

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Maggie eyeing the litterbox. (All photos by Marci Kladnik)

The door to any cat's powder room needs to be secured so dogs cannot use the litter box as a snack bar. (Yes, my dog eats poop!) I thought, a 4-inch extension would work there.

Then the bedroom door must be locked into a semi-open position at night so the cats can come and go, but so my Scottish Terrier would be blocked from leaving the room. Another 4-inch extension.

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My improvised solution.

I would use a 2-inch extension on my closet door in order to let the small room breathe but keep the fur kids at bay. Although I wear pet fur proudly, I prefer to gather it in person while interacting with my dog and cats.

Over the years, I've improvised temporary fixes while searching hardware stores for a solution. Most recently, I'd been using a rubber bumper at the top and a cute Scottie doorstop at the bottom, requiring me to bend over each time I wanted to enter the rooms and again upon exiting. While this helped add some much needed exercise to my day, it was an absolute bother. Now perhaps the answer was finally at hand.

Sad to say, the item was out of stock! Either it was immensely popular or just the opposite and off the market. I fired off an email to the company immediately asking when it would be available and received a response within a couple of hours.

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"One to two months," was the answer, but they could spare one now if I was interested. I jumped at the offer and sent them my mailing address.

Six days after my initial email, the package arrived!

The contents and directions looked easy enough, so I ran for my tools and got started. Here's how the install went.

12:15 p.m.: Read directions.

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12:20 p.m.: Removed the existing striker plate with a Philips screwdriver.

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12:22 p.m.: Trimmed the tabs on the new Latch'NVent striker plate to fit and screwed it into position using existing holes.

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12:27 p.m.: Drilled hole to secure outer section to doorframe and screwed into place.

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12:29 p.m.: Installed 2-inch extension by simply sliding it into the channel until it snapped into place.

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12:30 p.m.: Shut door. It latched in place just as advertised and is exactly what I wanted!

Whooohooo, and it only took 15 minutes to install (plus another five for photos)!

With a simple push of a button, I can easily switch extensions to adjust the opening size or to remove it to shut and latch the door normally. I did find that I needed to tighten the screws in the striker plate a bit more so the door would shut completely and not hang up. (The instructions cautioned, "Do not over tighten," so I didn’t.) I will probably never shut the closet door all the way, but it's nice to have that option.

I'd happily been using the closet Latch'NVent for about a month before I was able to get my hands on another one.

This one I installed on the bedroom door jam using the 4-inch extension.

I pop the extension out during the day and back in each night so as not to snap it off accidentally when walking by. (One of my nicknames in college was Klutz, so you get the picture.) It takes but a second and is much easier than dealing with the similar temporary wedge-and-doorstop I'd been using.

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Maggie can't get out of the room, but Barney comes and goes easily.

Kerry Swink, inventor and company owner, shared a story with me. A satisfied customer wrote to him about her senior cat who wasn't getting her blood pressure and liver meds because the dog kept eating the dosed food. Latch'NVent solved the problem and likely saved both the cat and the dog.

I'm already wondering what other doors in my house need one of these. I love the room ventilation aspect of the product. Even though I live in California, I do not have air conditioning. When it gets hot for an extended period of time, I try to capture as much cool night air as possible, after the sun goes down and before retiring for bed. Simply propping an outside door open is not an option as my Scottie is a runner given the chance, and my cats are indoor-only. A Latch'NVent on my kitchen/garage door in the summer would create a nice draft, which would really help with evening airflow yet keep my fur kids inside.

I just love sharing cool products with the pet world when they work for me. Oh! And the Latch'NVent price is an affordable $19.99. I hope you find your own uses for this award-winning gadget.

Could you use a Latch'NVent in your home? We have three to give away! Follow the directions below for a chance to win.

How to Enter

  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 how this product would help in your home. Our favorite comment wins. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Feb. 19. We'll give the winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Read more Dogster Reviews:

About the author: Marci Kladnik, her four rescue cats, and one Scottish Terrier live in a small town with no stoplights or mail delivery. A retired graphic designer and technical writer, she designed and wrote for two publishers and two medical device manufacturers. She was also on the masthead of the monthly National Model Railroad Association Bulletin. Her award-winning, bi-weekly cat column ran for seven years in three newspapers, and she is a contributing writer for Catster.com, an award-winning photographer, and president of the Cat Writers’ Association. Involved in TNR and feral rescue, she sat on the board of directors of Catalyst for Cats from 2007 to 2013 and in her spare time, trapped and fostered local feral cats and kittens. Past columns appear on catalystforcats.org and her dog blogs at maggiestories.com.

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Fri, 13 Feb 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/latchnvent-dog-cat-product-review-door-prop-lock-latch
<![CDATA[Surprise My Pet: Because the World Needs Another Subscription Box for Dogs]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/surprise-my-pet-dog-treat-subscription Editor's Note: Yup, you guessed it! This is a sponsored post from Surprise My Pet.

We'll let you in on a little secret: your dog likes surprises -- especially when they come in the form of treats sourced from around the U.S. and Canada, and new toys to add to the collection. At Dogster, we spend a lot of time thinking up new ways to delight our persnickety staff pups, so we were excited to see another pup-tastic toy and treat subscription box join the party.

Meet the fine (and furry) folks at Surprise My Pet. They are all about sending a hand-selected box of goodies for your pet straight to your door.

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Surprise My Pet boxes are full of pawesome dog products including toys, treats, chews, and grooming and hygiene products, all tested in-house and guaranteed dog-safe by the Surprise My Pet team.

Sign up with your email address to find out how to receive a free box of toys or treats for your dog -- and how you can refer your friends and get more treats and toys for yourself! Reserve your box now at the Surprise My Pet website, where you can click on the "Get Your Box of Goodies" box. You also can follow Surprise My Pet on Facebook.

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Mon, 02 Feb 2015 17:10:00 -0800 /lifestyle/surprise-my-pet-dog-treat-subscription
<![CDATA[Sum Leung Uses Fashion to Capture Personality in Her Custom Dog Portraits]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/custom-dog-portraits-woof-models-sum-leung Just after my dog's first birthday, I broke up with my live-in boyfriend, who was also Riggins' "dad." He told me I could have "the dog." I told him, "Darn right, I can." Except I didn't use quite that polite wording.

In our new house, I wanted something to make it all ours. After a quick search, I found a young artist online who does original dog portraits. Without a second thought, I commissioned one of Riggins. As soon as it arrived, I ran out and got a frame and placed it on the mantle above the fireplace. I love it! Sitting regally up there looking down at me, the painting symbolizes all the support and love Riggins has given me over the years.

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My dog, Riggins, poses proudly in front of his portrait, painted by Erika Matsunaga. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

Because of my experience, I'm a firm believer that every home should have personalized dog art on the wall, which is why I was so excited to interview Sum Leung, illustrator and owner of Woof Models. She has a unique vision that allows her to not only capture your dog's look, but also his personality! I live in Los Angeles, and Leung lives in Sydney, so I spoke with her via email.

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Sam Leung at work (All photos courtesy of Woof Models unless otherwise noted)

Wendy Newell for Dogster: Tell us a little about yourself.

Sum Leung: I'm an Illustrator who lives in Sydney. I started my career working in advertising agencies in London, Hong Kong, and then Shanghai, working on clients such as Harvey Nichols, Tiffany, Levi's, Nike, and Converse. I've been living in sunny Sydney for over a year now, and that's when I started Woof Models.

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A Woof Model gentleman.

It's a series of illustrations that I make centered on dogs. I "dress" them up in designer clothes based on their personalities or stories that their owners tell me about them. For example, I recently did a portrait for a friend's father's dog. She told me that the dog goes everywhere with him and especially loves collecting the balls when he practices golf. So I thought that the dog would look great as a stylish golf caddy. I drew the dog wearing a vintage-style golf hat with matching polo shirt, and I also added the father's initials embroidered on it as a nice little touch for him.

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Leung and VV

What was your inspiration for Woof Models?

My main inspiration came from my gorgeous 10-year-old Corgi, VV. We all see VV as just another member of the family. She has her good days, her naughty days, and her crazy days just like the rest of us. I'm lucky to live with a very close family, and we have photos of each other covering the walls. Holidays, birthdays, graduations, and even embarrassing photos of when I was a kid, but we didn't really have any of VV. And that got me thinking, if VV could have a portrait on the wall, what would it look like? What's her style? What would she wear? And if she could wear something, she'd definitely want to look her best.

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VV

Tell us more about VV.

She's one special lady, and sometimes I think she knows it. She loves being held in the air like she's flying, she loves running away at any possible moment with a "catch me if you can" look on her face. She's even mastered the art of posing for the camera -- she can't pout, but she definitely tries. And she loves walks along the beach, but hates getting her hair wet. I have to admit, she's a bit of a diva. She’s well trained, but only when she wants to be. Unless, of course, you have treats in your hand.

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There is no questioning the strength of this bulldog.

Why do you think there is such a market for custom pet art?

I believe that a dog is part of family, and I'm sure a lot of other pet owners feel the same way. A dog can become a big part of your life. Every dog is unique with her own personality and stories to tell. So why not show how much you love them by having a pet portrait that is unique to them, that tells their story or expresses their personality?

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A pretty Woof Model lady.

Tell us a little about the favorite characters that you have created.

Apart from my dog, I'd have to say my friend's dog Blondie the Chihuahua. She was quite a challenging portrait to make. Blondie is a very spoiled little princess. She prefers to sit in my friend's handbag than actually walk around. So I created a little story about her refusing to get out for a walk because she just had her nails done. I then drew her in a turtleneck and stylish veiled beanie, as she's always hiding away from everyone in the handbag.

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The very stylish Blondie.

I see that a portion of your proceeds go to the animal rescue world. Why is that important to you?

Why pet rescue? My work is all about dogs being a part of the family, and to think of dogs without a home, without a family to call their own, breaks my heart. Dogs are the most forgiving pet you can have; they'll love you unconditionally. They don't care what you do, what you look like, they just want to be loved. And that's why I chose pet rescue. Every dog should have a home, and every dog deserves to be loved.

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Leung hard at work.

How would you describe your style?

I suppose it has come from my advertising background. In advertising, it's important to keep your message simple and clear so it's easy for people to understand. As my work tells stories, I wanted to keep it simple yet make it interesting, and at the same time, charming. I've always been a fan of minimalist design, and my favorite fashion brands, Comme des Garçons, Maison Martin Margiela, and Isabel Marant, influenced my style greatly. They have a simple yet interesting approach to their work, which is what I try and do.

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This Woof Model looks very dapper in his bow tie.

Now enter to win our Woof Model giveaway!

Leung will create a custom 8-by-10 portrait print for one lucky Dogster reader! Follow the instructions below to enter.  

How to Enter

  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 what your dog would wear in the portrait and why. Leung's favorite comment wins. 
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Jan. 29. We'll give the winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck! And read more about Woof Models on its website.

Read more about dogs and art:

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Fri, 23 Jan 2015 04:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/custom-dog-portraits-woof-models-sum-leung
<![CDATA[Win a CritterZone Air Naturalizer and Banish Doggie Smells!]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-critter-zone-air-naturalizer-purifier-pet-products-freebies-giveaways I love my dogs and their adorable smushy faces. That being said, I could do without the stinky farts caused by the amount of air they swallow while eating, which humans to all brachycephalic breeds must learn to live with because no special bowl or food will eliminate them entirely.

So I was more than happy to test the CritterZone, a plug-in air naturalizer, before approving it as this week's Friday Freebie. The maker of the device explains that it creates a natural, charged flow that fills a room and continually cleans the air, eliminating odors, allergens, dust, and bacteria, just as the sun and wind work to do outdoors.

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Spot Thought Bubble: Stop calling me a stinky farter. It's not very nice.

I placed the CritterZone in the bedroom, which has carpet that no matter how often I get cleaned always retains a slight eau de dog. Spot and Dolly love to use it as a back scratcher, and in their opinion it makes a much better spot for "accidents" than any tile or wood surface in our home.

After just a day of it running, I noticed less of a smell when entering the bedroom. (FYI, I have a very sensitive nose.) After a few weeks, my nose couldn't tell the difference at all between the air in the room and the hallway leading to it. I also haven't been awoken from a deep sleep by a stinky fart since turning on the device. Job well done, CritterZone.

Could you use a CritterZone in your home? It retails for $99.99, but we have one to give away! Follow the directions below for a chance to win.

How to Enter

  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 stinky dog and/or home. Our favorite comment wins. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Jan. 15. We'll give the winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Read more about dog products with Dogster:

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Fri, 09 Jan 2015 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/win-critter-zone-air-naturalizer-purifier-pet-products-freebies-giveaways
<![CDATA[Win a Bag of Fruitables Vanilla Snowflake Dog Treats!]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/fruitables-vanilla-snowflake-dog-treats-free-giveaways Spot and Dolly, the official treat testers for Friday Freebies, don't read press releases. That's my job, along with writing the feature and picking the winners. I did, however, share with them this bit of information about the prize we're giving away this week, Fruitables Vanilla Snowflake dog treats: Each bag contains 300 snowflakes!

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Dolly Thought Bubble: Sure it does. I wasn’t born yesterday.

Spot Thought Bubble: What are snowflakes?

I had to actually show them a video of the Fruitable folks harvesting snowflakes from the mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado, for them to believe me. Once they did, it was time for them to taste.

Dolly's commented, "Good crunch, hints of pumpkin, vanilla yogurt, granola ... I'm not getting any snow, though."

Spot added, "Me, either. I had better keep eating them until I do."

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They have yet to taste the snowflakes, but to say Spot and Dolly like these treats would be an understatement. We quickly went through the initial bag Fruitables sent us, and I have since purchased three more and plan to stock up soon, as they are a limited-edition holiday treat.

Think your pup has a more discerning palette and can taste the snow? Enter below for a chance to win a bag of Fruitables Vanilla Snowflake and find out. We have five to give away!

How to Enter

  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 and whether or not he likes snow, or winter in general if you live in an area that doesn't get the white stuff. Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Friday, Dec. 26. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Read more about dog products with Dogster:

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Fri, 19 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/fruitables-vanilla-snowflake-dog-treats-free-giveaways
<![CDATA[We Chat With Kevin Halfhill About His Geometric Dog Portraits]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-cat-portraits-kevin-halfhill-creates-geometric-art Kevin Halfhill creates pet portraits. Working in the digital medium, he takes provided photographs of beloved dogs and transforms them into vivid geometric renderings. It's a process that presents canines in a colorful and an abstract-leaning fashion, while still capturing the dog's inner character.

Currently based in Germany after a stint in California, Kevin talked to us via Skype about the technical tricks of his geometric process, common issues with dog portraiture, and tips on capturing your own dog in his most dignified pose.

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(All photos courtesy of Kevin Halfhill)

Dogster: How did you get into making portraits of dogs?

Kevin Halfhill: I started out with a project called Animalia, which was based around wildlife photos. As I expanded that area of my business, people would constantly ask me about making artwork out of their pets. As I began connecting with organizations in support of wildlife conservation campaigns, and with people inquiring about the pet portraits, I just expanded. One day I thought, "Hmm, let's see how they come out." I think they came out kind of nice, and people seemed to want them.

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Can you remember the first dog portrait you created?

I had a roommate in California, maybe 10 years ago, and she had had a Pit Bull and a Bullmastiff, and they were close to me because I lived there. The dogs both passed away, probably three or four years ago, so she asked me to do a portrait of Judge and Baboo. It's kind of a dual portrait -- on the left there's a big brown bear-looking dog, and on the right there's a Pit Bull.

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What are the biggest issues with turning photos of pets into geometric portraits?

Well, some animals are kind of monochromatic, and my style of artwork relies a lot on contrast and various detail levels, especially with faces and people. So I have a harder time with architecture and animals, which is okay and I like the challenge. But when, for example, people have pets who are multi-colored -- like a calico or a tabby cat -- it's a lot easier for me to create the artwork than with a plainer-looking animal. I had a Schipperke, for example, when I lived in California, and I'm really dissatisfied with my attempts. I have not yet done a portrait of the dog because he's just black, a single color, and it's kind of hard to turn that into something geometrical-looking.

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Are there any tricks to get around the problem?

The only thing I've found that I like (but that I haven't presented it publicly yet, mainly because I'm not sure people will like it), is to just completely change the color of the animal and make it a very abstract piece. I've considered making my dog random-colored triangles as opposed to just black. I'm not sure I've found a way to present that to people, though -- I've been concentrating on basing the art on how the animal looks, and I haven't had any complaints so far.

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You also create cat portraits. What's the main difference between creating a portrait of a dog and a cat?

Well, the eyes on a cat are more detailed, and you can get a bit more expression, whereas the mouth on a dog is where the emphasis is and where the personality comes through. So, yeah, there is a difference in the way I emphasize certain parts of a cat's or a dog's face.

How do people usually react when they see a portrait of their dog?

Positively! I don't post too much of the art publicly, but when I have I've had people asking how much something is and saying it looks cool and asking how long it takes to make. People have a lot of questions about the process, but the interest has all been positive. I've also had local shelters that I'm familiar with, and some rescue organizations get in touch when they do things like have a National Pit Bull Day, and we try and promote each others' causes; they receive a portion of proceeds.

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Finally, if people want to commission a portrait of their dog, what's the best sort of photo they can base it on?

Dogs shouldn't be looking at the camera directly. Because they have that snout, when they're looking directly at the camera head-on, they tend to be somewhat indistinguishable from bears! It can be kind of hard to render a dog in that pose in a way that looks different from any generic forest animal.

So dogs should be slightly inverted to the camera or in profile. You'll notice if you look at some of the dog portraits I've done so far, none of them are looking at the camera, and they're all a little askance. 

Win a Kevin Halfhill portrait of your pet!

Halfhill has generously offered to give one lucky reader a 4-inch-by-6-inch portrait of his or her pet. It arrives in digital form, so the winner can print and frame it. The artist also will give the winner a 10-percent discount on any add-ons, which include upgrading to a fine-art or canvas printing, or even printing the portrait on a phone case or throw pillow. Dogster readers who don't win will still receive a 10 percent discount on his pet portraits and products by visiting the Dogster discount page on his website.

How to enter

  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 cats. 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 why your dog is deserving of being turned into a snazzy geometric portrait. Our favorite comment wins. 
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message after noon PST on Tuesday, Dec. 23. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Read more about dogs in art:

About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world's foremost expert on rappers' cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it's not quite what you think it is.

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Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/dog-cat-portraits-kevin-halfhill-creates-geometric-art
<![CDATA[Win The Loving Bowl and Make Mealtime Easier]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-loving-bowl-dog-products-brachycephalicbreeds-freebies-giveaways My sweet Dolly loves to eat. Kibble, wet food, treats … you name it, she'll give it a taste. She long ago reached senior status, though, and has had a few teeth removed. That, combined with her Boston Terrier smushy face, has made mealtime more challenging in recent years. So when makers of The Loving Bowl offered to send their product to approve as a Friday Freebie, I jumped at the chance for her to try it.

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The Loving Bowl filled with Dolly's breakfast.

The bowl was designed for brachycephalic breeds to make eating much easier. Instead of the even rim and flat bottom of a traditional dog bowl, it has a lowered opening on one side that faces a sloped ridge inside. These features allow a dog to enter at an angle and to use the raised surface as a knife, of sorts, to the fork of their mouth. The result: a more pleasant dining experience and less mess, both on the dog's face and around the bowl, as fewer bits are pushed up and out. 

Now, I'll turn it over to Dolly for her review:

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Dolly Thought Bubble: Why am I eating breakfast in the well-lighted kitchen instead of my normal spot? And why are you lying on the floor aiming your phone at me? Oh no, this is for work, isn't it. If you think I'm going to let you take photos of me while I'm eating ...

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Dolly Thought Bubble: Fine, but only because I'm really hungry. I haven't eaten since yesterday.

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Dolly Thought Bubble: I like this new bowl. The kibbles don't try to escape, making me eat them off the floor.

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Dolly Thought Bubble: Don't you dare use that photo!

She approves -- of the bowl, not the above pic -- so I'll be buying another for Spot and a third to use for water; the company says the slope also makes drinking easier, especially for senior dogs with dental or jaw issues.

Would you like to win The Loving Bowl for your dog? Follow the directions below for a chance to win one of three we have to give away!

How to Enter

  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 and why he or she needs The Loving Bowl. Also tell us which color you want: blue, pink, or white. Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Dec. 18. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Read more about dog products with Dogster:

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Fri, 12 Dec 2014 08:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/win-loving-bowl-dog-products-brachycephalicbreeds-freebies-giveaways
<![CDATA[Win an Ugly Holiday Sweater From New York Dog]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/ugly-christmas-sweaters-dogs-new-york-dog-freebies-giveaways Who doesn't love an ugly holiday sweater, whether worn with genuine pride or as an ironic fashion statement? Three lucky Dogster pups will join in on the festive fun with this week's Friday Freebie: ugly holiday sweaters from New York DogWe have three to give away!

The collection features five designs, including my favorite of a dog relieving himself on a snowman (because my punky pup would do exactly that if we were ever to get snow down here in Texas).

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Sweaters come in sizes extra-small (for dogs 9 to 11 inches in length), small (12 to 13 inches), medium (14 to 15 inches), large (16 to 18 inches), and extra-large (18 to 20 inches). They retail for $14.99 each, but you get a chance to win one for free! Just follow the directions below.

How to Enter

  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 how you spend the holidays with your dogs. Photos and following directions (don't forget to tell us which design and size you want!) will earn your entry bonus points. Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Dec. 11. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Read more about dog products with Dogster:

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Fri, 05 Dec 2014 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/ugly-christmas-sweaters-dogs-new-york-dog-freebies-giveaways
<![CDATA[Win a Kathy Ireland “Loved Ones” Dog Prize Pack]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-kathy-ireland-loved-ones-dog-toys-treats-collars-prize-pack-freebies-giveaway 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 Random.org 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.

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Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:07:00 -0800 /lifestyle/win-kathy-ireland-loved-ones-dog-toys-treats-collars-prize-pack-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Win a Prize Pack of Dog-Cleaning Products From Earthbath]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-earthbath-prize-freebies-giveaways The holiday season brings with it houseguests, friends, and family members who may not appreciate your pup’s unique scent. You know, the eau de dog that long ago stopped registering with your nose?

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The lavender spritz will freshen up your pup while keeping you calm during family gatherings.

With that in mind, Earthbath has offered to give three stinky pups a prize pack of the following:

Puppy Shampoo -- Dogs of all ages, especially those with sensitive skin, will appreciate this extra-mild, pH-balance shampoo. It contains only natural ingredients, including coconut, aloe vera, and cherry.

Grooming Wipes -- For in between baths, these are perfect for any body part, from nose to tail. Also made only with natural ingredients, the wipes come in green tea and mango scents as well as hypoallergenic and puppy formulas.

Deodorizing Spritz -- Give your pup a spray daily when guests are in the house! Unlike similar products, Earthbath promises its won’t leave behind an oily residue. Rosemary, lavender, mango, green tea, vanilla and almond, Eucalyptus and peppermint, and tea tree and aloe are the available scents.

All of these products also work to moisturize the skin and coat, while leaving the coat soft and shiny, and are cruelty-free and good for the environment. Follow the instructions below for a chance to win.

How to Enter

  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 stinky pup. And don't forget to tell us which scents you want. Photos and following directions will earn your entry bonus points! Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Nov. 27. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Read more about dog products with Dogster:

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Fri, 21 Nov 2014 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/win-earthbath-prize-freebies-giveaways
<![CDATA[Win a Neater Feeder and End Your Dog's Messy Mealtimes]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-neater-feeder-freebies-giveaways Bits of wet food take flight when my dogs eat, landing on nearby walls and the floor. I recently purchased placemats for under their bowls, but Dolly and Spot also will be getting this week’s Friday Freebie: the Neater Feeder.

Check it out:

Not only does this feeder eliminate the mess -- blocking flying food and collecting any spilled water in the lower level -- its raised design makes for a more comfortable height at which to eat and drink.

The feeder with stainless steel bowls comes in two colors (bronze and cranberry) and in three sizes: 

  • Small for dogs up to 18 pounds and with a shoulder height of up to 9 inches; it holds 1.5 cups of food and 2.2 cups of water
  • Medium for dogs 15 to 40 pounds and with a shoulder height of 9 to 16 inches; it holds 3.5 cups of food and 5 cups of water
  • Large for dogs 35 to 100 pounds with a shoulder height of 15 to 21 inches; it holds 7 cups of food and 9 cups of water
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The Neater Feeder in Cranberry.

The Neater Feeder costs $37.98 to $59.99, depending on the size, but we have one to give to our messiest Dogster pup! Follow the instructions below for your chance to win.

How to Enter

  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 messy eater. And don't forget to tell us which size and color of the feeder you want. Photos and following directions will earn your entry bonus points! Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Nov. 20. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dog products with Dogster:

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Fri, 14 Nov 2014 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/win-neater-feeder-freebies-giveaways
<![CDATA[Win a Sherpa Dog Carrier Approved for Air Travel]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/dog-carrier-sherpa-air-travel-freebies-giveaway Christmas wouldn't be complete without my pups, Dolly and Spot. So when I travel from Houston to Phoenix for the holiday, they are right by my side. We drive now, but back when Dolly was my only dog and much smaller, she flew with me more than once, snug in her Sherpa Original Deluxe carrier.

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Dolly Thought Bubble: We drive now, remember? I don't fit anymore.

I chose the bag because of maker Quaker Pet Group's Guaranteed On Board program, which ensures that its small and medium carriers meet the guidelines of certain airlines. With a small, you can fly on American Airlines, AirTran, Aloha Airlines, Delta, Southwest, US Airways, United, Air Canada, and WestJet. American Airlines, Delta, United, and Air Canada also allow the medium size. If you get to the airport and encounter any problems getting your pup on board because of the carrier, the company will reimburse you for the cost of your ticket and pet fee.

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Sherpa Original Deluxe carrier in plum.

The carrier also proves comfy for dogs and humans alike, with its faux-lambskin liner, mesh panels for ventilation and visibility, and a padded shoulder strap, a much-appreciated feature when trekking through an airport. It comes in large, too, for ground travel, and all three sizes are available in black, brown, plum, and gray.

Sherpa has generously offered to give two Dogster pups an Original Deluxe carrier of their own! Follow the directions below.

Note: Sherpa recommends its small carriers for pets up to 8 pounds, 13 inches long, and 7.5 inches tall; medium for up to 16 pounds, 16 inches long, and 10 inches tall; and large for up to 22 pounds, 18 inches long, and 11 inches tall. Please enter only if your dog can fit comfortably inside one of these sizes. See the company's website for details about its Guaranteed On Board program and individual airline websites for pet policies.

How to Enter

  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 holiday travel plans. The carrier has a seatbelt strap for road trips, so feel free to enter even if you don't fly with your pup. And don't forget to tell us which size and color of the carrier you want. Photos and following directions will earn your entry bonus points! Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Nov. 13. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dog products with Dogster:

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Fri, 07 Nov 2014 06:00:00 -0800 /lifestyle/dog-carrier-sherpa-air-travel-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Win a Humunga Chomp Toy and Watch People Giggle!]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-humunga-chomp-toy-freebies-giveaway Happy Halloween!

Win this Friday Freebie and extend the silliness surrounding the holiday with the Humunga Chomp Toy. It doubles as a costume, of sorts, giving your dog big pearly whites whenever he grabs the non-toxic rubber ball with his mouth.

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Follow the directions below for a chance to win one of three we have to give away!

How to Enter

  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 how you spend Halloween with your pup. Bonus points for photos! Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Nov. 6. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

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Fri, 31 Oct 2014 06:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/win-humunga-chomp-toy-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Win a $269 Sportz-Vibe Massage Blanket for Your Dog]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-sportz-vibe-massage-dog-blankets-freebies-giveaway Does your dog compete in agility or another sport? Or work in search and rescue? Perhaps your dog has aches and pains from a health issue or advanced age? If you answered yes to any of these questions, enter for a chance to win a Sportz-Vibe massage blanket. We have two to give away!

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Sizes range from XS for Jack Russell to XXXL for St. Bernards.

The battery-powered blanket fits like a coat and has alternating massage panels, which increase blood circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system. This reduces risk of injury during competition or work and also assists with muscle and ligament recovery. Massage reduces stiffness, soreness, and inflammation as well, making the blanket beneficial for dogs with hip dysplasia and other arthritic conditions.

Horseware Ireland, maker of the blanket, recommends its use up to three times a day, including before and after strenuous activity or as needed for less-active dogs. Simply push the button to start the massage session. It automatically ends after 10 minutes.

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The Sportz-Vibe blanket retails for $240 to $269, depending on size, and comes with a rechargeable battery and recharger. The electronics are easily removable for washing. For a chance to win one for your dog, follow the directions below.

How to Enter

  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 why your dog needs this blanket and which size will fit; see the Sportz-Vibe website for a size guide. Bonus points for photos and following directions! Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Oct. 30. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

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Fri, 24 Oct 2014 06:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/win-sportz-vibe-massage-dog-blankets-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Win a Prize Pack From Loving Pets Featuring the Robusto Bowl]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-prize-pack-loving-pets-dog-bowls-robusto-bowl-giveaway-freebies A dog bowl goes through so much more than a human dish. Teeth and tongue have direct contact during mealtime, with some bowls even doubling as an unintended (by humans, anyway) chew toy.

With all of that in mind, Loving Pets created the Robusto Bowl. Featuring solid, heavy-gauge aluminum with a brightly colored, ceramic-like interior, it stands up to even the toughest diners. In fact, the company tested its durability by running a 6,000-pound truck over the bowl. It didn't dent or crack!

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The Robusto Bowl also features a rubber base to prevent skidding and spilling. It comes in extra-small, small, medium, and large, with the extra-small featuring a paw-print design and the other sizes bones. Colors are purple, blue, black, orange (above), and cream.

Loving Pets has generously offered to give a Robusto Bowl each to three Dogster readers. But wait, there's more!

Each bowl will come with a bag of Loving Pets It's Purely Natural treats, in your choice of eight flavors, and a bag of its Natural Value Chicken Tenders. Both are 100-percent farmed and made in the USA, with neither containing wheat, soy, gluten or by-products. Follow the directions below for a chance to win this prize pack.

How to Enter

  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 why your pup needs this bowl, and which size and color you want. Also tell us which flavor of It's Purely Natural treats your dog would like best; see the options. Bonus points for photos and following directions! Our favorite comments win. You must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Oct. 23. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

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Fri, 17 Oct 2014 06:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/win-prize-pack-loving-pets-dog-bowls-robusto-bowl-giveaway-freebies
<![CDATA[Win a Doorbell Your Dog Can Use From Cat & Hound]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-dog-doorbell-cat-and-hound-freebies-giveaway Not all homes can have a doggie door. In our previous rental, French doors led to the backyard, making the patio-door insert I own useless, and the landlord wasn't keen on me cutting into an exterior wall.

I would let Spot and Dolly out to nap in the sun, then pop out of my office every 15 minutes or so to see if they were ready to come back inside. They didn't bark or scratch, just politely stared through the glass.

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Dolly Thought Bubble: Hellooooo, we'd like to come in now. Pretty please with sugar on top? Spot Thought Bubble: Ring the doorbell. Oh, that's right, we don't have one.

This Friday Freebie would have allowed me more uninterrupted work time! The Cat & Dog Doorbell from Cat & Hound features a wireless sensor for outside the door and a receiver you place inside the home. When your dog trips the sensor, a light flashes on the receiver with an accompanying sound. There are 10 sounds to choose from, with adjustable volume and even a silent mode, say for if you have a sleeping baby in the house.

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The Cat & Dog Doorbell costs around $27.

Cat & Hound has generously offered to give one Dogster reader his or her own Dog Doorbell! Simply follow the instructions below for a chance to win.

How to Enter

  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 why your pup needs this doorbell. Are you unable to install a doggie door? Or do you worry about what or who might come through it other than you pet? Perhaps you would like to keep the door from getting scratched? Bonus points for photos! Our favorite comments win. You must be a U.S. resident to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Oct. 16. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

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Fri, 10 Oct 2014 06:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/win-dog-doorbell-cat-and-hound-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Win a Dog Collar and Leash Designed by Nikki Reed From Gilt]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-dog-collar-leash-designed-nikki-reed-gilt-freebies-giveaway Shopping website Gilt has teamed up with actress, singer, and animal advocate Nikki Reed to offer an exclusive, limited-edition collar and leash, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the ASPCA.

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Nikki Reed, here with her dog, Ira, has starred in dozens of movies, including Thirteen, Empire State, The Sunday Horse, and the Twilight series, as Rosalie. She volunteers with dog rescues as well as the ASPCA.

Designed by Reed and made by Brooklyn-based Found My Animal, the handmade collar and leash feature marine-grade rope, genuine leather, and solid-brass hardware, including a tag stamped "FOUND" on each.

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The Nikki Reed collar and leash retail for $56 and $62, respectively, with all proceeds going to the ASPCA.

Reed also curated a special sale for Gilt, with 10 percent of those sales going to the animal-welfare organization as well. Items include deeply discounted products from Petrageous, Love They Beast, Gooby, Trixie + Peanut, Gitli Goods, Jax & Bones, and Harry Barker. Visit gilt.com/aspca to see all of the items she picked out. 

To help spread the word about the sale, which runs through Monday, Gilt has generously offered to give one Dogster reader the Nikki Reed collar and leash. Follow the directions below to enter.

How to Enter

  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 why your pup needs this collar and leash. Bonus points for photos! Our favorite comments win. You must be a U.S. resident to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Oct. 9. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

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Fri, 03 Oct 2014 02:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/win-dog-collar-leash-designed-nikki-reed-gilt-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Friday Freebie: Win a Prize Pack of BarkLogic and Bullseye Dog Products]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-prize-pack-barklogic-bullseye-freebies-giveaway Accidents happen. In our role as pet parents, we clean them up and continue house-training. This week's Friday Freebie will help with both tasks.

BarkLogic makes a line of safe, effective, and eco-friendly products that use plant and mineral ingredients to break down uric acid crystals and other organic matter.

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Its Natural Urine & Stain Removal Spray cleans up accidents on all surfaces, leaving behind a fresh lemon scent. The Natural Odor Eliminating Spray smells like tangerine and can be daily used on dogs as well as surfaces. Both are hypoallergenic, and neither contains any harmful ingredients. Each costs $12.99.

To help minimize the number of accidents, the Bullseye Pee Pad features concentrated pheromones. Not only do they encourage dogs to use the pad, their location in the center of the pad helps to reduce "overspray." And the leak-proof absorbent quilting contains micro-lock beads, which absorb the liquid and eliminate odor. Each pack of 30 22-by-22-inch pads costs $12.99.

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You can win one bottle each of the BarkLogic Natural Urine & Stain Removal Spray and Natural Odor Eliminating Spray, plus one 30-pack of the Bullseye Pee Pads. That's a nearly $40 value! We have five prize packs to give away! Simply follow the directions below.

How to Enter

  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 accident-prone pup. Bonus points for photos! Our favorite comments win. You must be a U.S. resident to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Oct. 2. We'll give each winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

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Fri, 26 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/win-prize-pack-barklogic-bullseye-freebies-giveaway
<![CDATA[Win a Gorgeous Balloon Dog Pendant From Lisa Galibardy]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/win-dog-pendant-jewelry-balloon-animals-lisa-galibardy-freebies-giveaways Singers from the U.K. and U.S. alike love Lisa Galibardy's jewelry. Rita Ora, Kelly Rowland, and Jessie J. have all been spotted wearing her statement pieces. And now, you have the chance to join their stylish ranks with this week's Friday Freebie, as the London jewelry designer has generously offered to give away two of her new Balloon Dog pendants -- jewelry that's designed to resemble a balloon animal.

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Cast in solid brass and hand-finished in jet black and white enamel paint with a clear glaze, the pendant hangs from a 13-inch silver chain and perfectly captures the rare Balloon Dog breed.

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We'll pick two winners. If you don't get chosen, Galibardy still wants you to wear her jewelry, and she'll give our readers a 20 percent discount when they enter DOGSTER20 during checkout. There are other dog-centric pieces, including adorable breed rings, but you can't go wrong with anything from the Galibardy online boutique, which features alternative accessories at insanely affordable prices considering who her customers include.

How to Enter

  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 the vocal stylings of your dog. Bonus points for photos and following directions! Our favorite comment wins. You must be a U.S. resident to score this prize.
  3. Check your email for a "You've Won!" message from us after noon PST on Thursday, Sept. 25. We'll give the winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite.

Good luck!

Learn more about dogs with Dogster:

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Fri, 19 Sep 2014 06:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/win-dog-pendant-jewelry-balloon-animals-lisa-galibardy-freebies-giveaways
<![CDATA[Seth Casteel Tells Us About His New Book, "Underwater Puppies"]]> http://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/puppy-photos-books-underwater-puppies-seth-casteel "It's like I'm living in a movie -- I'm just a guy who loves dogs," says photographer Seth Casteel when asked if he was surprised at the widespread popularity of his 2012 book Underwater Dogs. That tome depicted a bunch of dogs submerged in a swimming pool, with the pooches' warped and wacky facial expressions captured by Seth and his camera as they galavanted around. Now he's repeating the trick with Underwater Puppies, a follow-up project that stars a pack of exuberant pups.

With Underwater Puppies being released this week, I talked to Seth about the dynamics of shooting in swimming pools, how to take pics of your own subaquatic dog, and how there's a deeper message of safety and canine adoption behind his striking images.

Also, read on to the end of the interview for a chance to win your own copy of Underwater Puppies.

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All images by Seth Casteel

Phillip Mlynar for Dogster: Why did you decide to use only rescue puppies for the project?

Seth Casteel: The goal was to feature some amazing rescue puppy ambassadors to remind people that adoption is a wonderful option. There are so many awesome pets that need loving families, and I hope people will consider bringing a shelter pet into their lives.

Were you tempted to take any of the pups home after the shoot?

Always!

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Seth in action during one of the pool sessions.

Which dog took to water the most enthusiastically? And were there any that really needed coaxing?

Quite a few of the puppies went bonkers for the water -- two to mention are Zelda and Reason. And yes, there were many that needed coaxing. I worked with more than 1,500 puppies in the course of making this book, but most of those puppies didn't even get photographed -- they just had a brief swim lesson to learn confidence and safety skills and then they went home.

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Did you notice whether any particular breeds were better swimmers than the others?

Many people tell me that the Labs and Goldens are the obvious swim stars, but that's not always the case as I discovered in Underwater Dogs. And the same applies to Underwater Puppies -- you can never understand a puppy!

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What tips would you give to someone attempting to take pictures of his dog underwater at home?

First and most important, never ever throw your dog into the pool. This can be dangerous and traumatic for your dog. Your dog should ultimately choose to participate. Underwater Dogs photos are based on the game of fetch, so start with a toy on land, then on the surface of the water, then a few inches below. If you get to 10 feet, you're doing pretty good I'd say.

What about from a technical point of view?

Make sure you have an underwater camera with flash to illuminate those priceless expressions. Take lots of pictures. And have fun and remember to always take breaks and let your dog rest. Many dogs love the water activities and just don't want the fun to end.

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What do you hope people get out of reading the book?

Joy -- everyone loves puppies! But also water safety. Each year, thousands of pets drown in backyard swimming pools in the United States because proper safety measures have not been taken by their human companions.

These terrible tragedies can be prevented. If you are a pool owner or your dog has access to a pool, please consider all precautions including alarms, proper pool exits, limiting access to the pool, and, most importantly, teaching your pet how to get out of the pool in case they choose to go in or accidentally fall in.

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Also, a swimming pool is not a natural body of water, which means pets naturally don't understand the concept. Many people assume that their pets won't go into the pool or they deny their dog the right to go in and learn. This mentality is directly putting your dog in danger, because at some point your dog will be in that pool, and it is absolutely critical that he or she is prepared.

Finally, remember that adopting a pet is a great option. It's still shocking to me how many people buy their pets. You can find any type of dog -- puppy or adult, purebred or mixed breed -- through shelters and rescue organizations. You just have to make the effort. My dog, Nala, is a beautiful and loving mini-Labradoodle with an incredible personality (and fantastic hair style), and I adopted her from the shelter.

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Seth and Nala.

And now, enter to win a copy of Underwater Puppies!

How to Enter:

  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 and tell us what the ultimate puppy pool party would involve. The two most impressive-sounding shindigs will snag a copy of the book. Go! 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 Thursday, Sept. 25. We'll give the winner two days to respond before moving on to our next favorite comment.

Good luck!

Read related stories on Dogster:

About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world's foremost expert on rappers' cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it's not quite what you think it is.

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Thu, 18 Sep 2014 02:00:00 -0700 /lifestyle/puppy-photos-books-underwater-puppies-seth-casteel