Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dog Travel Safety During the Holidays

Well--- the team here at SHONGear would like to think so!  =) 
...So ok... everyone recognizes Niecie in her reindeer antlers!  But she is a luv muffin no matter how we dress her!  Right?
Niecie is an extension of our hearts. 
Just like your dog is to yours.  And keeping them safe is a responsibility we all carry with us.  The most common of times within the horrible statistics of the frequency of pet loss, is when we travel.  And during holiday time, when so many of us are in the air and traveling by car with our dogs, the statistics on pet loss are staggering. 
Some of the saddest times for many families during the holidays,  is due to a loss of a pet. 
Dogs are going to be dogs.  They are going to want to sniff and explore.  But the stories are many of dogs who escape from hotel rooms, or a car at a rest station, while just using their innate senses to seek release from their unfamiliar restrictions and small confines. 
Many dogs escape their crates at the hands of airline personnel before boarding an airplane, are said to be often seen running across the tarmac into the streets of an unknown city.
So what happens when a dog runs?  They get confused as to direction.  They follow scent, but none of them are familiar.  Lost dogs are often spotted by many, and just considered a common stray.
By marking your pet with the brightly marked Traveling Pet message on a vest, immediately people will recognize that the dog is not where he is supposed to be.  Strangers who find the dog can quickly retrieve your itinerary, contact info and travel route in the waterproof container carried on their back.  (No one wants to put their hand down to a strange dog's throat area in case they may bite). 
NO computer needed. 
NO identity chip reader needed. 
Most first responders who would find your dog, do not carry those with them readily! =) 
We hear of many customers who have their dog returned without the dog going to the local Animal Control or having some horrible highway accident.  This was our purpose when designing this vest.
We believe that by marking your dog, you are giving your dog an extra layer of protection and insurance to safeguard them.  Please visit us a to provide your dog that extra protection, as well.
So we are trying to get the word out there early this year, before holiday travel begins.  In attempts to help vest your dog before the holidays, we are automatically upgrading all order shipping to Priority Mail at no extra cost when customers choose routine mail as shipping preference.
We are excited about the approaching holidays! 
And we will be looking up into the skies on Christmas Eve to see if Santa  uses the high visibility vests that we leave for his Reindeer this year!  Especially for Rudolf.  His bright red nose will just have everyone glowing! 
Please mark your dogs and have a safe and happy holiday season, from the SHONGear Designs family, to yours!
Eyes to the skies on Christmas Eve, everyone!
Kindest Regards!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Do Not Pet The Dog!

Being in the dog industry for as many years as I have, there seems to be a universal concern from Pet Parents who do not want their dog approached by strangers.

...How to tell others politely not to pet your dog!

Pet parents have many reasons for not wanting their dog's touched by strangers.  It may be for safety issues or concerns about dog behavior, but also someone may just want so me peace and quiet while taking their best bud along. 

Perhaps the dog is snarly... Or perhaps the dog has been sick recently... Or the dog nips at children as their squeals of laughter or quick little feet get them nervous... Or the dog just does not like it!

Ok... So, we are not too sure if that is a smile - or a snarl...!! But he adores and protects your family!
The dog is not a BAD dog because he does not want to be touched by strangers.  And you are not a BAD pet parent for yelling out to have someone pull back their child from approaching!  But it feels that way.  Doesn't it?

My dog is a great dog and we go everywhere together.  She was abused as a puppy and she does not like strangers touching her.  That should not mean that my cup of java at Starbuck's outside cafĂ© needs to be ruined with verbal "Do Not Touch" warnings every two minutes.  I should be able to walk my dog when others may be on the same route without worrying for her discomfort if someone approaches to pet her.  When we have people to the house I vest her, as well, as a reminder that petting her is not what she wants.

As pet parents, it is our duty to keep our pets safe from the hands of others.  And it goes without saying that we all have a firm responsibility to the safety of other people and children if our dog is a little snarly or may nip.  The answer is to allow your dog to be your voice.  Your dog can wear a clear highly visible warning.

Since we live in a society that respects our pets and touching them affectionately is just a natural thing we do, SHONGear Designs has just announced the introduction of a new high visibility vest called their "DO NOT PET" SHONVest .  

THe NICE way to warn others that petting "Mr. Kisses" may not be the best idea!

The Do Not Pet SHONVest™ quickly alerts others not to approach and pet your companion.
Do Not Pet is a clear message.

The Vest is made from is a light weight, durable nylon that comes in an array of sizes from X-Small to X-Large to accommodate most different dog breeds.  Here is a picture of Niecie wearing her vest. 

Niecie's vest took away my megaphone!  And is now allowing me to enjoy an uninterrupted cup of java (not 100% of the time... but close) at our local coffee bar... and to feel good that my dog is wearing my voice!  And people "hear" it nuch of the time.  And most of all, Niecie can relax and enjoy being outside with me for a Sunday afternoon "Time Out". 

We hope that it does the same for you, as well.  Go visit to check it out and order one today!

Kindest Regards,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pet Hurricane and Storm Preparedness

Pet Hurricane Preparedness
Can it already be "Hurricane Season" again?  Time is flying by.  There are so many chores and checklists to prepare our homes and family for storm season.

With all of the hustle, the one thing that often gets overlooked is our pets --that is, until the storm is near.  And by that time, it is often too late to research, gather and plan.

Questions that you need to answer without delay and firm a plan as a family are:
If you are usually asked to evacuate, what are our action plans for our pets?
If you stay home, where in your home is a secure area for your pets to ride out the storm?
If your home is breached, how can your pet survive safely?
When the storm is over, how will you manage, including how we will you manage your pets.

The following are suggestions that we have gathered from the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and other respected government agencies on storm and hurricane preparations for your pets.

When Storm Season Starts:

1.  This is the time to assure that your pet is healthy, up to date for Veterinarian visits and vaccines.  If your pet is on medication or has storm phobias, this is the time to ask your Vet for medications for your Pet's emergency supplies.  Usually plan for an extra two week supply to be set aside.  Most Vets understand and are happy to assist with this request.

2.  Purchase an appropriate sized water tight bin for each animal to use as a Pet Disaster Kit.  Use a thick marker like a Sharpie, to mark the outside of the bin with each Pet's name.  On a piece of wide Masking Tape, mark the date that you are putting these supplies together.  Change this every year, so that you know the bin was checked, with supplies and food  and rotated.

3.  Invest in a good quality pet first aid kit.  Print pet first aid instructions and if inclined to, spend a Saturday taking a local course in pet first aid and CPR.

3.  Check each pet's carrier or crate for integrity, which will be used to keep them safe during the storm.   Line carrier or crate with a thick pad or towels for pet comfort.  The choice of soft carrier vs hard carrier is obvious.  Opt for the hard carrier for storm safety.  Remember that your pet needs to be able to stand up and turn freely in their crate.

3.  Remember to put aside at least 1 quart of water with your family's supplies for each pet, per day.  Water is not just for drinking but for pet care and bathing if necessary.

4.  Purchase fresh food and favorite treats for each pet.  The best guideline is to store a 2 week supply, for two meals per day for each pet.

5.  Put together a pet portfolio for each pet that can be stored in a zip lock bag for water protection.
Portfolio should contain: 
  • Picture of your pet,
  • Medical and vaccination history,
  • Special instructions on feeding and caring for your pet,
  • Pet microchip number and rabies tag number,
  • Emergency contact information for you and for your Vet.

6.  Supplies for emergency pet bin:
  • Food and treats stored in airtight containers or cans. 
  • Medication bottles stored in airtight containers or zip lock bags
  • Pet portfolio in a zip lock bag.
  • Toys
  • Collapsible bowls for food and water
  • Additional collar and leash with extra set of pet's identification tags
  • For dogs, a high visibility vest for medical condition or medication alert.
  • For cats, as watertight Container for their collar with medical information and medications.
  • For cats a prefilled disposable litter pan.  Extra litter (stored in plastic bag) and litter scooper.
  • A spare brush and flea comb
  • Plastic knives and spoons for preparing food
  • Paper towels
  • Extra bath towel
  • Diaper wipes
Keep all of your pet's bins with your family's emergency supplies and first aid kit. 

When Storm or Hurricane is predicted for your area and you are remaining in your home:
1.  Pull out your Pet's Disaster Kit(s) and carrier
2.  Prepare carrier for Pet.  Set up in a walk in closet or bathroom close to the family.
3.  It is recommended that you not tranquilize your pet unless advised by your Veterinarian.
4.  Assure that your pet is well marked with tags and a high visibility vest appropriate for your pet.

When Storm or Hurricane is predicted for your area and your family evacuates:
1.  Add your pet's Disaster Kit(s) and carrier to items you are packing into your vehicle.
2.  Prepare the pet carrier with bedding.
3.  Mark your pet with their high visibility vest appropriate for your pet and that check their tags are securely on their collar.
4.  If you are boarding your pet, leave their Disaster Bin and carrier with the staff.  Instruct them to leave the high visibility vest on your pet for the duration and after the storm.

The importance of marking your pet with a SHONGear high visibility vest
If your pet runs out into the storm or your home is breached a high visibility vest will help others
  • Strangers immediately recognize that your pet requires special attention :  Blind, Deaf, Seizures, Diabetes, Special needs
  • The dog carries your information so that he/she can be returned quickly to you
  • Medicine and dosage is carried in the side Velcro pocket in waterproof containers.
  • Information is also carried on their back so that a stranger does not need to reach in front of the dog's mouth and risk a bite from a fearful animal.
Picture from
We hope that you found this information helpful and that you and your pets make it through another storm season without an event. 
It is our heartfelt wishes that no pet is ever lost during a storm when, with a little preparation and thought, staying together as a family stays our reality!
Kindest Regards,

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Missing pets: Steps to Avoid the Heartache of a Lost Pet

"One in Three" pets go missing in their lifetime.  That is a horrifying statistic!
As pet parents to two phenomenal dogs and one sweet kitty, one of our family's most heart felt fears is a pet going missing either while we are traveling or for some other unforeseen mishap.

We feed our animal the best food that we can afford, attend to their vet needs every 6 months as advised, train them to listen to us...  But there will be times that dogs will be dogs and cat will be cats!

My conversation today is about our dogs.  When we take them to our local pet park, we have observed many times how they run and play freely.  Sniffing out all kinds of doggy aromas. The become oblivious to only tracking as many scents as possible.  Moving constantly.  Sometimes locating themselves far at the other side of the park... And then watch them as they suddenly remember-- they were with us!?!
Their heads raise up.  They search, eying every corner of the park.  They spot us and run like the wind back to their pack leaders.  

But that is a controlled environment where you are maintaining control over your dogs, but they just don't know it.   They don't understand the fences are still giving you control.  And those fences are nowhere to be seen when we are not at home or in a play area like the pet park.  Our dogs just always see that innate invitation of the undiscovered open field or new places to sniff.  Those are seductive invitations to our pups, who do not understand the difference of a controlled or an unsafe environment.  

Some dogs are natural born escape artists who have honed their skills well, just to get to taste that freedom of discovery.   Some are patient and wait until a door is left ajar...maybe a hotel room door? Or a car door?  New scents just pull at them so much stronger than your grasp on the leash sometimes.  So many opportunities are there just 'to be a dog'!

Here are a list of things every pet parent should do in order to prevent separation from your dog and mechanisms to employ to have your pet returned to you quickly, if separation happens:
  • 1.  For security, collar your dog with a metal buckle collar, as opposed to a plastic buckle.  See this sample buckle collar taken from Foster and Smith's Catalog.   Buckle collar your dog with his tags even when you use a harness or control collar.  Harnesses and control collars do not stay on the dog permanently.  Always stick 2 fingers between your pet and the collar to assure it is not too tight.  See our Niecie's picture down below.
  • 2.  Maintain up to date tags identifying your pet and your current information.  Invest in a rabies tag from your Vet when your pet is vaccinated.  The control numbers on the rabies tag identify your Vet, giving another opportunity to have your pet safely returned to you.  Tags should contain your cell phone number for strangers to quickly locate you.
  • 3.  Always leash your dog when away from the home.  Your pet should be leashed before the door is opened.  Pet trainers recommend a 6 foot leash dog, but a 4 foot leash can be used.  Retractable leashes are great for your pup's walk but should be used with caution as pedestrian and vehicle traffic is hazardous away from home and your neighborhood.  A 4 or 5 foot leash will keep your dog close to you under unfamiliar conditions.  Never use a rope or a chain to wrap around your pets neck as a leash.  This endangers your pet and can harm them.
  • 4.  If you have a yard for fido, always do a fence check to assure that all of the boards are secure, or the chain link is not broken leaving a hole for your escape artist to use.  
  • 5.  When traveling in the car, always tether your dog's leash to a locked seat belt.   Or better, use a travel harness that attached to the seat belt.  A great example of a product is called the Kwik Connect Harness sold by Foster's and Smith (We just LOVE the folks there!). They show a video depicting how easy it is to use.
  • 6.  Invest money in a GPS system such as a TrackR for your dog's collar.  You can track where he is via your cell phone.
  • 7.  Chip your pets.  Give your pet a chance to be reunited with you if they do escape.  Have you read the stories of how a pet had been found 3000 miles across the country because they were micro chipped?  Keep your address and phone number up to date with the microchip company.  An example of a great microchip company is Home Again.  But your Vet may recommend another great Microchip brand as there are a few on the market today.
  • 8.  Don't let your dog be mistaken as a stray.  Mark them with a high visibility travel vest, such as the Traveling Pet SHONVest(r).    This vest will alert others quickly that your dog is somewhere that he should not be.  It can carry your itinerary, telling strangers what hotel you are staying at and provide alternate contact information. Your dog can also carry his medical story and medications that can save his life, until you are reunited. 

Sometimes it is best to prepare for the unimaginable and take the extra efforts to keep your pet safe.
We always mark our dogs, when traveling with them in the car-- 
Just in case they decide to be dogs!
Kindest regards,

SHONGear Designs

Monday, March 23, 2015

Traveling Pet Safety

Please view our new animated clip supporting our Traveling Pet Safety SHONVest!
Feel free to leave your comments (we are kind folks do please use your polite voice) so that we can improve.  Thanks!  Jonni

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Living With a Blind Dog -- Happily Ever After!

When my dog Shon began going blind, emotionally, it hit us like a ton of bricks. This dog was so spirited and family dedicated and such a very happy guy.  How would blindness change him?  How would we ever learn how to be parents to a pet with disabilities.  We were fearful that we could not provide a wholesome and fulfilling life for this precious guy.

I remember sitting in the car and crying after we left the Ophthalmologists office. I looked over to the passenger seat where Shon loved to ride.  His front paws already stood on the passenger arm rest and he took on his "riding" pose to look out the window and see the world go by!

"What on earth are you looking at?"  I whispered with a saddened heart.  He turned towards me looked me straight in the eyes and his little nubby tail took off wagging so fast!  He wanted to RIDE!

My tears turned to a hearty laugh.  I suddenly knew how we would learn to be great special needs pet parents.  We would learn it all from Shon!  I started the car and we both happily began our journey.

And that was exactly what we did. ... Learn from Shon.
And he learned some new things from us, too!
We taught Shon the "STOP!" command when there was danger.  "upup" when there was a curb or a step up.  "downdown" when he needed to get down from a step or curb.  His favorite was "lead the way".  That command meant that he would walk in front of us with a full heart of trust.  No obstacles.  It was safe.  He walked so secure and proud.  No one knew that Shon was blind until we mentioned it.

Over time, we learned what situations Shon was insecure with and which ones he just LOVED!  Like going to the beach.  The waves would lick around his feet and he would happily jump and run.

Shon also loved to attend events where there were lots of dogs and people.  All the smells were just heaven for him.  That is when I learned how to mark him so that others could see that he was disabled.  People stopped walking into him.  At the beach, if he ran out of reach, others kept a watchful eye with their own dogs to make way for Shon.

All I had to do is listen to his cues and act accordingly, assuring his safety.
Over the years, his life was full and his well-being was maintained.
And that was all that mattered.

Next week we will blog about making the house a calm and secure place for a blind dog.  In the meantime, please look at our website, where we sell the vests that we designed to mark Shon and other disabled dogs.  Our brand is named after Shon and his safety gear.

Kindest Regards,

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer's Here! Pet Safety and Lost Pets are Paramount!

Have you noticed that as summer time unfolds, there is a dramatic increase in the notices and emails that we see regarding lost pets?

With the kids home and doors opening more frequently, our companions often decide that it means freedom for them, as well.

In order to safeguard your pet from straying from your property, There are many products designed to help keep you pets home and safe.  Many folks invest in an electronic fence which assists in keeping them safely on their property.

But what happens when your family is on vacation and your four legged companion bolts out of the car when you stop to gas-up, or when your pet sneaks out of an open motel door that your son left ajar?  Safety is lost while your pet saunters off happily exploring all of the new scents.

                                                                  A stray pet is often viewed by locals as a local pet and they are ignored and allowed to explore until they are happened upon by animal control.  But that could be many days and many miles from your original location.

At SHONGear Designs, we believe that by marking your pet in a vest with vivid neon colors, it alerts others that see him -- that your pet is a lost pet.

Mark your pet with a high alert SHONVest when leaving home for any reason, but especially when you are traveling.
 Pets are more easily identified as being separated from their owner and they carry itinerary and owner information that can help promote a speedy reunion with your faithful companion.  A SHONVest also carries important health information regarding your pet which can be immediately viewed and does not need a computer to read.  If your pet is on medication, it can be securely carried in a water resistant pill container in a pill pocket.
Your pet's safety when traveling, either locally or away from home, is paramount in keeping your pet from being separated from you and among the statistics of lost pets this Summer.  
Visit us at and view the array of products designed to keep our pets safe for dogs of all sizes and levels of curiosity!
Wishing you, your family and your faithful companion a healthy, happy and safe Summer!
Kind Regards,