Can I Take My Puppy to the Beach? [Plus My Complete Dog Beach Packing List]

Can I Take My Puppy to the Beach? [Plus My Complete Dog Beach Packing List]

Can I take my puppy to the beach? This is a decision that will be different for every dog parent, depending on your puppy’s vaccination schedule and age. While you should follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for taking a puppy to the beach, I’m going to share my experience in taking my own puppies to the beach.

Planning Ahead is Important Before Taking a Puppy to the Beach

When thinking about taking a puppy to the beach for the first time, there are some key things to keep in mind. Most importantly, remember that a puppy has different needs than an older dog.

During the critical age window of 9-14 weeks of age, puppies’ immune systems are not fully developed. They also don’t have all of their shots. When taking a puppy to the beach at this age, take extra care to avoid situations that could cause a risk of contagious disease or parasites to your puppy.

Because we spend a lot of time at the beach, we brought our puppies to the beach after their first round of vaccinations. But, we were especially careful.

Puppies do not have complete protection from fatal viruses until after their final round of vaccinations. For this reason, we were extra prepared with the right supplies and a clear understanding of the dos and don’ts of taking a puppy out to public places.

Understand the Puppy Vaccination Schedule Before Taking a Puppy to the Beach

Puppies should receive their first vaccinations at six to eight weeks, with several vaccines every two to four weeks until they have complete protection at about sixteen to twenty weeks of age.

The primary vaccines are DHP (or DAP), which stands for Distemper, Hepatitis (or Adenovirus-2), Parvo (Canine Parvovirus); and Rabies. Other vaccines are Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, and Lyme.

So before heading to the beach with a puppy, remember you’ll need to be extra vigilant in staying away from other dogs you do not know. You’ll also want to keep your puppy from running around in the sand where unvaccinated or sick dogs may have been. Also, don’t allow your puppy to smell animal waste, or interact with unknown dogs.

It’s also a good idea to carry your puppy in your arms across the beach before getting your area set up.

taking your puppy to the beach

Kai as a puppy on his first beach trip at Padaro Beach in Carpinteria, CA.

Once your puppy gets older, you’ll love your beach adventures together running around in the sand, jumping into the water, and playing fetch along the shoreline. Until then, you can still enjoy the beach with a young puppy as long as you’re careful.

So, here are some practical steps you can take to plan a safe trip when taking a puppy to the beach:

My Exact Puppy Beach Packing List: 18 Essential Supplies For Taking a Puppy to the Beach

Before your beach trip, you’ll want to pack a beach bag for your puppy. I always keep beach bag packed with these items so I’m prepared for a beach day at a moment’s notice. We like to put all of our supplies in this beach wagon with big rubber wheels for sand, so that we can easily transport everything from the car. It makes things easier to keep up with, especially when managing a puppy. All our beach supplies get pretty heavy if we have a long walk to the beach. 

Here is my exact puppy beach bag packing list:

  1. Dog organizing tote bag for food, water and supplies
  2. Extra large, absorbent dog towel, plus extra beach towels
  3. Plenty of fresh drinking water
  4. These collapsible travel bowls with water container
  5. Dog collar with ID Tag. Kai has this silicone tag with the beach theme design.
  6. Durable leash that can withstand puppy chewing.  
  7. Dog leash tie out to keep your puppy confined to your designated area
  8. Beach umbrella system – I like this one because it has everything you need to anchor your umbrella to keep it from blowing away.
  9. Beach tent – This one is easy to set up and perfect for two people.
  10. Dog sunscreen – especially important for short haired dogs and the sensitive skin on your pup’s nose
  11. Fine mist water spray bottle will help cool off your puppy on hot days without soaking.
  12. A variety of long-lasting chews such as Smart Bones, elk antlers and bully sticks to keep your pup happy.
  13. Powder sand remover makes it easy to brush off sand and is talc free. Vigorously rub into your puppy’s fur and follow up with a thorough brushing with your favorite dog brush. You can read about my top brush choices here.
  14. Puppy shampoo and bath brush if you use the outdoor showers
  15. These Dog cleaning wipes – Extra large, heavy duty pet wipes come in handy for those unexpected messes and accidents.
  16. Tar remover  – if you go to beaches with a tar problem, this is a must for you and your dog!
  17. Dog waste bags – I like this bulk supply of extra strong, lavender scented bags for picking up waste on the beach. They’re leakproof and easy to open.
  18. This pet first-aid kit is a two-in-one kit for both you and your dog.

Choose the Perfect Dog-Friendly Beach For Your Puppy

Many dog-friendly beaches are busy places just like dog parks. Your local dog beach may have lots of different dogs running around off leash and interacting with each other. You could encounter irresponsible dog owners, aggressive dogs, or unvaccinated dogs. This can be risky for young puppies who haven’t received all their vaccination shots.

For this reason, you want to avoid busy dog beaches with a young puppy that has not completed the entire vaccination schedule. You would not want to unknowingly expose a 9-week-old puppy to serious diseases such as canine distemper or fatal parvovirus.

Instead, find a more quiet beach that requires dogs to be on a leash. In the summer months, plan your visit in the early morning hours when the beach is typically less crowded.

One of the most important steps you can take is to keep a partially vaccinated puppy off of the beach sand. The best way to do this is to keep your puppy in a tent, or attached to a leash on several beach towels. When walking along the beach, it’s a good idea to put your puppy in a pet carrier.

Keep in mind that not all counties have dog-friendly beach areas, so follow the local rules. Remember, not all beaches are dog friendly. Some beaches are completely dog-friendly. Others may limit dogs to certain hours or in specific areas.

So before heading out, check online for the local regulations on dogs various beaches near you. If you live in the Southern California area, I’ve listed my favorite dog-friendly beaches at the end of this article.

How To Keep a Close Eye on Your Puppy at the Beach

Puppies love to explore and play, especially when they’re in new surroundings. They have a tendency to put everything in their mouths! That means you’ll want to keep a close eye on your puppy at the beach.

When taking a puppy to the beach, the first thing puppies want to do is dig and play in the sand.

Adult dogs eventually learn not to eat the sand, but puppies will likely dive in face first. This just isn’t a good idea for an unvaccinated puppy.

I recommend bringing a small tent when taking a puppy to the beach. It will keep your dog safe and ensures there is plenty of shade available. This is especially important on a hot, sunny day. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water to avoid dehydration and heat exhaustion.

keep your unvaccinated puppy on a towel at the beach

Kai as a puppy in our tent on his first beach trip.

Keeping young puppies off the sand also helps avoid harmful items that could be hidden in the sand. Your puppy could ingest such as small shells or rocks, or even a dead fish.

Also, keep in mind that hot sand can burn your puppy’s sensitive paws. If you walk your puppy on hot sand, keep your puppy’s paws safe with protective booties.

Useful Water Safety Tips When Taking a Puppy To The Beach

When you arrive at the beach, the first thing you may want to do is head straight to the water. Before you do this with a puppy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Even though many dogs are natural swimmers, some dogs are not. For this reason, it’s a good idea to gradually let a puppy get accustomed to the ocean water.

When introducing your puppy to the water, take it slow. It can be traumatizing to force an apprehensive puppy into the water. You might want to go in the water first and call your puppy toward you. Until you’re sure that your dog is a strong swimmer, a dog life vest can be a wise idea for the ocean.

While in the water, keep an eye out for potential sea water dangers such as jellyfish and stingrays. If your puppy is walking in shallow water, be aware of unexpected waves and rip tides. The waves may look small to you, especially at low tide, but they can overpower a small puppy.

Also, don’t allow your puppy to drink salt water. If your dog swallows too much ocean water, it can cause stomach upset or harbor harmful bacteria. In fact, to keep unvaccinated puppies safe, it’s best to avoid the water completely until they have received all their shots.

Once your puppy is ready to go in the water, you’ll want to have the proper grooming supplies at home. This is especially important if you have a dog that has a coat that gets matted easily, as with Goldendoodles. I talk about more about this here

Top Southern California Dog-Friendly Beaches (That I’ve Actually Visited)

Now that I’ve shared the basics of safely taking your puppy to the beach, here are the best dog beaches that I’ve personally visited in Southern California.

Malibu, California, Leo Carrillo State Beach

North Beach at Leo Carrillo State Park is a dog-friendly beach in western Malibu. This is the most convenient dog beach for us, so we visit it frequently. The beach is right next to a large pay parking lot, which makes it easy to go back to your car if necessary. On summer days it can get crowded, so it’s best to get there early. Because dogs must be on a leash no longer than 10 feet, dogs there are relatively controlled.  

Leo Carrillo State Beach, Malibu CA

Kai at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu, CA. This is on the hiking trails above the beach.

Ventura, California, Mondo’s Beach

Just west of Ventura, this is a small sand and rock beach situated in a break between beach houses along Pacific Coast Highway. A frequent spot for locals, parking is free along the dirt shoulder of the highway, so it fills up quickly on nice days.

Dogs are allowed on a leash, which makes for a more controlled dog environment. You can’t go to Mondo’s and let your dogs run wild. There are no bathrooms or trash cans at this beach.

Mondos Beach Ventura, CA

Zuma as a puppy in our beach tent at Mondo’s Beach in Ventura, CA

Carpinteria, California, Padaro Beach

Located along Padaro Lane and Santa Claus Lane, “Santa Claus Beach” is just north of the quaint beach town of Carpinteria. Free parking is along the road shoulder, and then you have to walk across the railroad tracks and over the rocks to the sandy beach.

There are no bathrooms or trash cans there, except one portable potty and one trash can by the road. This is a “locals” beach that is friendly to dogs. Although people take their dogs off-leash, there’s an understanding that your dog can’t run wild or disturb other beachgoers.

Padaro Beach, Carpinteria CA

Zuma at Padaro Beach in Carpinteria, CA

Long Beach, California, Rosie’s Dog Beach

The Dog Zone at Rosie’s Beach is in effect from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day. Located along Ocean Blvd in Long Beach, it has a pay parking lot, trash cans, and restrooms. Dog waste bags and pooper scoops are available.

This beach has a more dog park atmosphere with dogs running freely and playing with each other. If you don’t want your dog to interact with unfamiliar dogs, this is not the beach for you.

Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach, CA

Day trip with Zuma to Rosie’s Dog Beach

Orange County, California, Huntington Dog Beach

This is my absolute favorite dog beach of all time. Truly a dog lover’s paradise, it’s a beautiful, expansive, sandy beach that has all the amenities. They even have souvenirs and apparel! Huntington Dog Beach is a 1.5 mile area on Pacific Coast Highway where your furry friend can run and play off-leash.

The Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach relies on donations to monitor the beach, keep it clean and educate visitors on dog beach etiquette. There are a lot of dogs here, so if your dog has never been before, it’s best to take it slow.

Huntington Dog Beach

Zuma at Huntington Dog Beach

Del Mar, California, Dog Beach

North Beach in Del Mar is the only off-leash beach on Del Mar city beaches, which is why it’s known as Dog Beach. Located on the north side of the San Dieguito River Lagoon entrance next to Camino del Mar, it can get crowded quickly. This is a fairly confined area that sits right below the road.

Parking is free along the street, but it fills up quickly, especially on the weekends. If your pup is new to dog beaches, the number of dogs running around could be overwhelming. It has a “survival of the fittest” feel to it, so you want to make sure your dog is confident enough for this beach.

Zuma at Dog Beach in Del Mar, CA

Zuma at 9 months old visiting Dog Beach in Del Mar, CA

Whether you decide to take your puppy to the beach now or wait until a later time, you are sure to enjoy many fun-filled days at dog-friendly beaches in the years to come!


my favorite dog beaches in Southern California

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New Goldendoodle Puppy: 6 Tips For The First Week

New Goldendoodle Puppy: 6 Tips For The First Week

A Goldendoodle puppy is a teddy-bear dog bundle of energy with plenty of love, smarts and cuteness for days. As crazy Doodle parents, we believe two Doodles are better than one! We brought home our first Goldendoodle puppy, Kai, almost two years ago. We loved him so much, we decided to get a second Goldendoodle! It’s been one week since we welcomed our new puppy, Byrdie, to her new home.

Even though it hasn’t been much time since Kai was a little guy, the details of what we did when he was just 8 weeks of age have already become a distant memory. We eventually worked with a dog trainer to help us teach Kai basic commands and to go through obedience training. Since Byrdie came home, I decided to refresh my memory and get some expert advice by watching hours of videos from dog training experts.

So, even though we’re not first time dog owners, I’m reflecting on how things went this week and on the important things we learned since that first night. And let’s be honest, it’s all about potty training right now.

Tip 1: House Training is All About Routine

Just like a newborn baby, puppies do better with consistency. Getting into a routine is the best way to succeed at potty training a new puppy. On the first day, I noticed that Byrdie was grazing on her food all day instead of finishing her food. At her young age, I figured she was probably used to eating with her littermates all day, and I let her continue doing that all week. That was my first lesson. Since puppies usually go to the bathroom soon after they eat, this made it hard to know when she needed to go outside. When she had an accident in her crate, I realized that I needed to get her on a feeding schedule. So this week, I started taking away her food if she didn’t finish it. This simple change makes her bathroom breaks more predictable.

Crate Training and Keeping a New Puppy in a Designated Area

A good way to make house training easier is to never allow a young puppy to have access to all areas of the house. Young puppies need constant supervision in a controlled area. They should not have as much space throughout the house as adult dogs.

My Top 4 Most Important Puppy Supplies for Potty Training

After potty training 3 puppies in the last 4 years, I highly recommend all new puppy parents get these three items before bringing a new puppy home:  

1. Wire crate

It’s not easy, but crate training is the best way to provide a safe place when I’m away from home, or I can’t watch Byrdie. Puppies typically will not go to the bathroom in the area where they sleep. For this reason, make sure to get the right size for your puppy. If the crate is too large, your puppy may go to the bathroom in the crate. You may need to buy a new crate as your puppy grows.

2. Long leash

Instead of letting her run loose in the house, I always keep Byrdie on a long 15 foot leash. It’s a great way for me to know where she is at all times, so she can’t get into trouble. When I’m busy, I tie the leash around my waist. The long leash also helps puppies learn to walk on a leash. Here’s Byrdie learning to walk on her long leash, and here’s Kai on the long leash when he was a puppy.

3. Baby gate

I have this baby gate up in my kitchen to keep Byrdie’s food area separate from Kai’s. This is another designated area for her to play, so she doesn’t have the run of the house. Keep in mind, this baby gate was a little wide at first, so Byrdie could squeeze between the bars. It only took a few weeks for her to grow enough where she couldn’t do that anymore. I have found that other types of baby gates are easy for puppies to climb over because they can grip the sides and scale over the gate. As long as the gate is tall enough, gates with vertical bars prevent them from climbing over.

4. Comforting Toy and Blanket with Mother’s Scent

In the crate and designated daily area, make sure to have comforting items for your puppy. It can be a baby blanket, a shirt, anything that your puppy can cuddle with and associate with their mother. When you pick up your puppy, it’s a good idea to bring a blanket with you and rub it on your puppy’s mother. Once you get home, your puppy will be comforted by the mother’s familiar scent on the blanket.

I used this snuggly puppy with Kai, and he loved it (you can see it in this video of him with it). I got this new one for Byrdie, and she likes hers too! it really seems to comfort her, especially in the crate. (The only thing I don’t like about about this version is that it’s not as durable, and the heat pack isn’t as good. So I just switched the heat packs out with the ones from Kai’s snuggle pet.) These soft, cuddly little companions have and area that holds a heat pack and a pulsing heartbeat, reminding the puppy of being right beside mama. They really do work in my experience.

Tip 2: Never Trust a Puppy

Don’t let their cuteness and intelligence fool you! Goldendoodle puppies are not capable of controlling themselves. It will be at least a year before a puppy has the same control as an older dog. I let Byrdie go off into another room while she was on the long leash, and she left a little surprise on the floor. Lesson learned. My husband now calls me the “poop whisperer.” Even when she’s on the long leash, I watch for signs she may need to go outside:

  • sniffing the floor
  • suddenly stopping when playing
  • circling

Remember, even if you do everything right, accidents and mistakes will happen eventually. When it happens, never shout or spank your dog. That will only lead to fear and distrust, making all other training impossible. Instead, calmly say, “no,” and take your puppy outside to the designated potty area.

Keep Your Goldendoodle Puppy Busy

Goldendoodles rank high in dog intelligence. As a result, they require interaction and attention from you. They also need something to engage them mentally. A bored puppy leads to mischief. I’ve learned this the hard way with damaged baseboards, chewed shoes and toilet paper rolls spread from room to room. To minimize these mistakes with Byrdie, I’ve stocked up all kinds of dog toys. Plus, she has Kai to play with too. Chew toys, rope toys, and bully sticks are a great choice when trying to keep a puppy entertained. Byrdie has stayed busy for an hour with a bully stick. Here are the types of toys to have on hand:

  • Durable chew toys – My pups love chewing on hard rubber or plastic chew toys with textured massagers. I have a wide variety I switch around. Byrdie even loves the giant ones.
  • Soft toys – I use these toys for limited amounts of time because they can be ripped apart easily. I bring different toys out at different times to keep both Kai and Byrdie interested.

Tip 3: Positive Reinforcement Pays Off

As we did with Kai, we’ve been reinforcing her learning with a “marking command.” Every time she goes outside we say “potty, potty, potty” in a happy voice each time we take her outside. As she is pottying we repeat it, giving her lots of verbal praise and a treat for her success.

Don’t Use Bribery

I’ve learned there’s a difference between bribery and positive reinforcement. Even though your puppy wants the treat, the focus must still be on you. The puppy needs to look to you to earn the reward. That’s why you don’t want to show the treat to your puppy before the behavior. This turns the reward into a bribe. Instead, you should reinforce good behavior (after it happens) with the treat.

Tip 4: No Two Puppies Are the Same

Even though they share the same parents, Kai and Byrdie are very different from each other. Byrdie seems to be more motivated by food rewards than Kai. As time goes on, we’ll see more of her temperament and personality. It’s important to understand what works best for your particular puppy. Understanding your puppy’s personality can make a difference in training, and how you react to their behavior. Just like with kids, trying to force your dog to do something that doesn’t fit with his personality will be a difficult task. By paying attention to how your puppy responds to different things, you’ll create a strong bond with your pup and learn what’s best for your Doodle.

The Puppy Stage is Temporary – Good Things Will Come

Just like kids, puppies go through toddler stages and teen years. But, the stages pass in weeks instead of years. That’s why I’m not discouraged. I know there will be many more, “Aww she’s the best!” moments instead of “What did I get myself into?”

Tip 5: You Are In Charge

This is something our trainer emphasized with Kai. Gently establish that you are the boss. It’s so easy to spoil Goldendoodle puppies and get overly sentimental about them. If we don’t teach our puppies that they must learn to fit in with our life, we run the risk of creating problems that will ultimately keep them from they love most: loving and being with humans. I’ve learned that a large part of Goldendoodle training is making sure your dog follows you and not the other way around!

Enroll in a Puppy Class

Puppy classes are a great way to help your puppy begin to understand basic commands. One of the best things about them is they allow you to expose your puppy to other dogs and people. You have the benefit of doing this with a skilled trainer to help monitor the dogs and mediate the process so that it is a positive experience for everyone.

Tip 6: Remember to Socialize Your Goldendoodle Puppy

This is another lesson I learned with our first Goldendoodle, Kai. Because he was a young puppy in 2020 when everything was closed due to the lockdowns, we weren’t able to bring him to many public places. He wasn’t able to attend a group puppy class until he was older, so he still barks at other dogs when we’re out walking. While we did our best to expose him to a variety of people and environments, we were at home more than we would typically be. We brought him to the beach a lot, and to this day, he loves going to the beach.

The American Kennel Club says the socializing experiences during the first three months of life will permanently shape a puppy’s personality and behavior as an adult dog.

Why Socializing a Puppy is Important

Responsible breeders begin the socializing process before you even bring your puppy home. During the first several weeks of life, a good breeder will gently handle the puppies. This helps shape their adult behavior and develop into confident, friendly dogs. Even at three weeks old, puppies will start to go up to people they’re around. A knowledgeable breeder will encourage positive experiences with people of all ages. As the puppies grow, the breeder will allow them to experience safe outside environments, car rides, crates, sounds and smells.

It’s important to get off to a good start when your puppy first comes home with you. The first few weeks in your home are the beginning of your puppy’s lifelong bond with you and your family members. At eight to eleven weeks, your puppy is experiencing is a rapid period of learning and development. Everything that takes place now will be incorporated permanently for life. For this reason, it’s important to keep experiences positive during this crucial time. At this age, a puppy develops its fear imprints. Any traumatic or fearful experiences at this age can last throughout a puppy’s life.

How To Socialize a Young Puppy

When it comes to properly socializing a young puppy, it’s important to start gradually. Start by gently exposing your puppy to a wide variety of people in your and around your home. Next, introduce your puppy to new situations and different places. Keep in mind, until your puppy is fully vaccinated, you’ll want to avoid public settings with unfamiliar dogs. Consult your vet about the appropriate time to bring your puppy to public spaces. With your vet’s approval, changing up your puppy’s sights, smells and sounds now will makes a lasting difference in his or her temperament. By making a special effort to properly socialize your puppy, you can help prevent your dog from becoming afraid of activities such as riding in a car, or being fearful of children. riding in a car, All of your socializing efforts help your pup develop into a happy, well-mannered companion.

Goldendoodles are smart and eager to please, which makes them pretty easy to train. They seem to clearly understand basic commands and what you expect from them. That said, every dog is different. They all have different learning curves. No mattter how smart your Doodle puppy is, it takes work on your part. But, if you put in the effort now, your adult Goldendoodle will make a great companion and enhance your life beyond measure.

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Male vs Female Goldendoodle: What’s Best? [2022]

Male vs Female Goldendoodle: What’s Best? [2022]

We started 2022 with a new Godendoodle puppy! We now officially have both a male Goldendoodle and a female Goldendoodle. Now that we’re raising another puppy, I had to break out my puppy supplies again. (I’m going to update this list, as I’ve found some new supplies for Byrdie.)

I had already forgotten how much work puppies can be!

Kai is a male Goldendoodle, and Byrdie is his new sister! (That’s her on the left in the above picture.) Even though they’re biological siblings and share the same mom and dad, we’re already seeing they aren’t much alike at all! When we decided to get a new puppy, we began to think about choosing a male vs female Goldendoodle puppy. Which would be a good fit for our household? So I did a little research on the similarities and differences of a male vs female Goldendoodle. Ultimately, we decided on a female puppy. In this article, I’m sharing everything I learned to help us decide on the best choice for us. 

male vs female goldendoodle kai and byrdie

Kai with Byrdie on her first night at home.

Male vs Female Goldendoodle Comparison 

A Goldendoodle is a hybrid dog breed that is a cross between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever. Goldendoodles are typically intelligent, social, highly affectionate, and friendly dogs. They are adaptable to most environments and are moderately energetic. Generally speaking, male and female Goldendoodles are more similar than they are different. But, there are a few things to think about when choosing between a male or female.  While one gender is not better than the other, it’s helpful to understand what to expect with each. The information below helped us decide on the best fit for our household.

Physical Differences Between a Male vs Female Goldendoodle 

At first glance, when looking at a male vs female Goldendoodle, each has a similar overall appearance. However, there are slight differences in the build and physique of each gender. Size is one of the most notable differences between male and female Goldendoodles. Males are typically larger, taller, and heavier than females. When full-grown, males usually have broader shoulders, larger bones and bigger muscles.

The size difference between genders is more noticeable in standard size Goldendoodles than with smaller sized Mini Goldendoodles. As with most other dog breeds, a male is usually about a 10% larger dog than a female Goldendoodle. Standard male Goldendoodles can weigh between 65 and 75 pounds. Female Standard Goldendoodles can weigh between 55 to 65 pounds. When it comes to height, a male Goldendoodle ranges between 23 and 24 inches tall. A female Goldendoodle may range from 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall.

Female Goldendoodles Are Full Grown Earlier

Keep in mind that females tend to achieve their full grown size earlier than males. While they may grow larger at an earlier age, the majority of females end up smaller at full maturity. Remember, 10% is the average size difference between a male or female Goldendoodle. Not all female Goldendoodles are smaller than male Goldendoodles. While it’s possible for a female Goldendoodle to be larger than a male, it’s just not as likely. The physical differences of a male Goldendoodle are not as obvious until he reaches his full-grown height and weight. In terms of size, the main differences between a male vs female Goldendoodle can be something to think about if you have young kids or live in a small space. If you’re looking for a smaller sized Goldendoodle, you may want to consider a female Goldendoodle or a mini Goldendoodle.

Health of a Male vs Female Goldendoodle

When it comes to health concerns, the key differences between the health issues of male and female Goldendoodles have to do with with their reproductive systems. Overall, both male and female Goldendoodles may experience the same general health issues. Essentially, both males and females are equally healthy and have the same life expectancy. However, each gender may experience its own unique health problems.

Both male and female Goldendoodles have an equal risk of developing issues with their reproductive organs. A male Goldendoodle may be vulnerable to prostate cancer. They may suffer from bacterial infections in the prostate area, or tumors in their reproductive organs. A female Goldendoodle may experience uterine or mammary gland cancer. To avoid some of these reproductive health problems, it’s a wise to have your Goldendoodle spayed or neutered at the earliest time recommended by your vet. 

Pet Health Insurance & Puppy Health Screening

Both male and female Goldendoodles are equally likely to experience illness or an accident. For this reason, it’s a good idea to invest in pet insurance as soon as possible. With pet medical bills in the thousands of dollars, you’ll be glad you have it if something goes wrong. A Goldendoodle that comes from a responsible breeder should have parents and grandparents who are free of genetic health issues. This is why it’s important to choose a reputable breeder who will provide proof of health screening of the puppy’s parents.

The Goldendoodle Association of North America (GANA) has outlined health screening requirements here.

Behavioral Differences of a Male vs Female Goldendoodle 

Teenage Behavior

During the teenage stage of your puppy, it is important to pay attention to certain behavior, especially with male dogs. Male dogs tend to go through marking and humping phases as they mature. They might mark various areas in the house or frequently mark spots when out for a walk. This happens more often when male dogs aren’t neutered. Unless a dog has a health problem, spayed or neutered dogs will usually only mark outside.

Prevent Bad Habits

Males who are not neutered may develop a continued habit of marking indoors. Female Goldendoodles may also show marking behavior, but this usually occurs less than with a boy dog. Keep in mind, humping isn’t always a sexual behavior. Dogs also do this when playing with other dogs to show dominance. This is something that you can easily work on when training your Goldendoodle. While this is completely normal behavior, it can become a nuisance in some dogs. Proper training and positive reinforcement is important to redirect your Goldendoodle’s behavior and prevent it from becoming a regular habit.

Territorial and Protective Behavior

Male Goldendoodles in the teenage phase are developing their territorial instincts. This is why males begin to mark as they develop and grow. By the same token, female Goldendoodles tend to become more protective as they would with a litter of puppies. For this reason, dogs of opposite genders usually make better companions. 

Personality Differences Between a Male vs Female Goldendoodle

No matter the breed, many pet owners assume that the behavior patterns and temperaments of male and female dogs are different. Many people generally believe that female dogs are more friendly, less aggressive, and easier to train. New puppy parents often assume that males are more high strung and aggressive than females. While there may some elements of truth in these beliefs, this is not true in reality.  As long as Goldendoodles are spayed or neutered in a timely manner, there are usually no obvious differences in temperament. 

Goldendoodles of Both Genders Are Typically Kind and Gentle

Both male and female Goldendoodles have friendly and loving personalities. Females are not always calmer than males, and males are not always more aggressive. The kind and gentle nature of a Goldendoodle is true for both genders. Behavior has more to do with a dog’s environment and its individual personality. The fact that it’s male or female does not change that. It’s important to realize that all dogs have their own unique traits. Some are more independent, some are more reserved, while others may be more high energy.

Good Breeders Have Insight Into a Puppy’s Personality

It’s not always easy to see personality traits in a young puppy. After all, they’re not fully formed yet! If you’re choosing a puppy from a breeder, you may want to ask the breeder to help you identify a puppy from the litter. This will help you find one that is most likely to fit what you’re looking for. A good breeder should have good insight into the individual personalities of the puppies. They should be able to guide you based on what temperament and family needs you’ve shared. Keep in mind, most good breeders wait to assign puppies until they are several weeks old. This allows their temperament and personality to shine through a bit. However, it’s helpful to understand that individual personality traits may still not be obvious.

Keep in mind that temperament and personality will vary from dog to dog, regardless if it’s male or female. This is especially important to rememeber if you’re adopting a Goldendoodle from a shelter. Dogs rescued from shelters may have been abused in the past. Abused dogs can develop aggressive behavior out of fear and self-defense.

Goldendoodle Puppies Are Work!

Long-time Goldendoodle owners agree that if properly trained and given plenty of love and affection, either a male or female Goldendoodle can be a wonderful companion. Males are super affectionate and intelligent. Some owners say they notice females may have a bit more alpha personality than male dogs. But, if you only have one dog, this wouldn’t be an issue. Whether or not you are getting a Standard or a Mini Goldendoodle, remember that as they grow, puppies are like toddlers and can be rambunctious. You can teach them not to jump or be pushy, but it will take time. Know you will have a few incidents before a puppy really learns. Remember, normal puppy behavior doesn’t mean you have a bad dog. As long as you have patience, a Goldendoodle puppy will give you hours and hours of love and laughter.

Training a Male vs Female Goldendoodle 

Perhaps one of the best qualities of Goldendoodles is their intelligence. For this reason, both male and female Goldendoodles are very trainable. Neither gender is more favorable or intelligent than the other. When it comes to ease of training, there is no difference between the two genders. Some people assume that males are more difficult than females, or that females are calmer. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Both males and females are smart and eager to please their humans.  While temperament varies from dog to dog in any breed, this is not a gender-based difference.

Typically, Goldendoodles have a friendly personality and make great family dogs. Again, their personality does not change based on gender. Goldendoodles are obedient, active, dogs that love attention. They are an excellent choice for dog parents who will give them plenty of attention and exercise. While there are subtle differences between a male vs female Goldendoodle, that does not impact the overall temperament of a dog. Also, because females mature more quickly, males may have a longer puppy stage. This is something to keep in mind when it comes to puppy training. As a result, many female Goldendoodle puppies can be easier to train when it comes to obedience and basic commands than male Goldendoodles. That doesn’t mean you should choose a female for that reason alone. No matter what, deciding between a male or female dog really ends up becoming a matter of personal preference.

Male vs Female Goldendoodle: Which Is Best With Other Dogs? 

If you already have another dog, the gender of a new dog can be important when deciding on adding a new family pet to your household. If you have an existing dog in the house, some experts recommend that a new dog be the opposite sex. For instance, adding a new male to an existing male and or having two females together could cause some aggression. This is not the best situation for you, or the dogs. So, if you already have a male dog at home, you may want to get a female Goldendoodle. Similarly, if you already have a female dog, a male dog may be the better choice for your next pet. 

Since Kai is a male, this was our main reason for choosing a female puppy to add to our household. 

Common Questions When Choosing Between A Male vs Female Goldendoodle 

Which is better, a male or female Goldendoodle?

Both male and female Goldendoodles are equally good choices. One is not better than the other. The best choice depends on if you have other dogs and your personal preferences. Both male and female Goldendoodles are intelligent, affectionate and easy to train. If you have an existing dog at home, it could be better if your new Goldendoodle is the opposite gender. Males and females tend to do better together than two males or two females.  

Are female Goldendoodles calmer than males?

This is a common misconception. Female Goldendoodles are not calmer than males. This has more to do with individual personalities and environment rather than gender. When it comes to training, both genders are intelligent and eager to learn. 

Are male Goldendoodles aggressive?

Both male and female Goldendoodles are intelligent dogs with friendly, loving temperaments. One gender is not more aggressive than the other. Individual personality traits and environment are more important factors that can lead to aggressive behavior. Also, some Goldendoodles are more affectionate, while others are more independent.   

Does spaying/neutering improve the behavior of male or female Goldendoodles? 

Many dog parents assume that neutering males changes their behavior. Most people don’t have that same belief when it comes to spaying females. However, many people don’t realize that a female in heat can often become more territorial and protective than a male dog. As far as behavior change, spaying and neutering is about the same for both male and female Goldendoodles. It’s more about what you’d rather deal with. 

So which is better? A male or female Goldendoodle?

All in all, there isn’t much difference between a male vs female Goldendoodle. Now that I have a boy and a girl Goldendoodle, I can confidently say that regardless of gender, Goldendoodles are friendly, smart, and loving dogs. It really comes down to personal choice. Some pet parents are partial to one gender over the other. While some people may prefer male dogs, others may be more accustomed to having female dogs. Whatever you choose, it’s most important to take into account each dog’s unique and individual personality. You may have some valid reasons for choosing one gender over the other, such as if you already have a dog in your family. It really comes down to personal preference . The most important thing is to make sure your new dog fits with your lifestyle and gets along well with any existing dogs you already have at home. 

Ultimately, we decided to have a male and a female Goldendoodle. As Byrdie grows, I’ll let you know how it goes! I hope this brother and sister duo become great companions! 

Best Brush for Goldendoodle Based on Coat Type

Best Brush for Goldendoodle Based on Coat Type

After searching for the best brush for Goldendoodle, I’ve learned that not all dog brushes are created equal. I’ve tried countless brushes for my Goldendoodle with curly hair, and I know that your Doodle’s coat type will determine the best brush for you. That’s why I’ve compiled my top picks for the best brush for Goldendoodle based on coat type.

There are three different types of Goldendoodle coats: curly like a Poodle, wavy, or straight like a Golden Retriever. Each type of Goldendoodle coat has varying levels of shedding. They all need regular brushing. If you neglect regularly brushing a Goldendoodle, your dog will become tangled and matted, which is uncomfortable and unhealthy for your dog. For this reason, you’ll want to choose a high-quality brush that works best for Goldendoodles.

Different Types of Dog Brushes for Goldendoodles

Depending on the type of coat, there are different brushes that work best for the Goldendoodle dog breed.

  • Slicker brush
  • Wire pin brush
  • Bristle brush
  • Deshedding Brush

No matter the kind of brush or grooming tool you choose, make sure it’s a durable, high-quality product that is comfortable for both you and your dog.

Slicker Brushes

For curly or wavy-haired Goldendoodles, a slicker brush is the best option for dog owners. Slicker brushes have flexible wire pins attached to a cushion. There are a variety of types of slicker brushes that come with varying lengths of pins. Slicker brushes work at separating the hairs and are useful for removing tangles and mats, which are a common problem for Doodles with dense coats. The pins can be harsh on the skin, so it’s important to be careful to avoid scratching the skin when using a slicker brush.

My Recommendations for the Best Slicker Brush for a Goldendoodle

All-Around Best:

Chris Christensen Big K Dog Slicker Brush

Recommended by my dog’s professional groomer, this miracle brush is absolutely the best slicker brush for a Goldendoodle. What makes it so different is the pins are longer than you’ll find on other slicker brushes. It has a cushioned pad that retracts and large, angled, scratch-free pins that grasp tangles and knots. It comes in both medium and large sizes. If your Goldendoodle has a thick coat or curly coat hair, the Chris Christensen slicker brush will save you time and energy when working through the coat. This slicker dog brush works well because of its long, angled bristles that get through to the hair root. It’s definitely more expensive than other brushes out there, but it’s worth the investment.

Best Budget Friendly Dupe:

Tuffer Than Tangles Slicker Brush with Long Soft Pins

This is a good dupe if you’re not looking to pay the higher price of the Chris Christensen.

Wire Pin Brushes

Wire pin brushes work well for separating the hair on Doodles with curly or woolly coats. The pins should be smooth and durable and should be attached to a high-quality cushion. Some pin brushes have protective ends on the pins which can be helpful in protecting the skin. Pin brushes are available in different densities and lengths.

My Recommendations for the Best Pin Brush for a Goldendoodle

All-Around Best:

Chris Christensen Oval Pin Brush

For a professional quality dog brush, Chris Christensen is again my top choice. This pin brush is lightweight and made of durable beech wood. The stainless steel pins have the smoothest tips, and it has more pins than other pin brushes.

All-Around Best Runner-Up:

Chris Christensen Pin T-Brush

I like the slicker brush shape of the pin T-Brush because it helps provide more efficient brushing. The long, angled pins help you get to the root of the hair more effortlessly. I don’t know of any other brand that makes this unique style brush.

Best Budget Friendly Dupe:

Mars Professional Grooming Pin Brush

This lower-cost version of a pin brush has a Birchwood handle and stainless steel pins on a soft rubber pad.

Bristle Brushes

For Goldendoodles with long coats that resemble a Golden Retriever, a firm bristle brush can be a great choice. The best quality bristle brushes are crafted from boar bristle or a mixture of nylon and boar bristles. A Goldendoodle with soft hair needs soft bristles while a dog with coarse hair requires stiffer bristles. Keep in mind, bristle brushes do not work well on curly or wavy coated dogs.

My Recommendations for the Best Bristle Brush for a Goldendoodle

All-Around Best:

Chris Christensen Boar Bristle Dog Brush

This professional-quality dog brush has solid brass inner bristles with an outer row of Boar bristles to bring out the natural oils of the dog hair and enhance shine.

Best Budget Friendly Dupe:

Burts Bees Double Sided Pin & Hemp Bristle Dog Brush

At only $11.49, this durable bamboo wood brush has pins on one side and natural bristles on the other side. The soft bristles gently remove shedding hair and help bring out the shine in your dog’s coat.

Deshedding Tools

For straight coats, a de-shedding brush removes loose hair from the top coat so it doesn’t accumulate on your furniture or clothes.

My Recommendations for the Best Deshedding Tool for a Goldendoodle

All-Around Best:

Coastal Pet Safari Dog Dematting Comb

This dematting tool is designed for long or medium-haired dogs which makes it suitable for Goldendoodles. 

Understanding the Different Types of Goldendoodle Coats

Some types of Goldendoodle coats do not shed at all, while others may shed in varying amounts. It can be difficult to predict which of the three types of coats your adult Goldendoodle may have. I talk more about the different types of Goldendoodles here.

Curly Coated Goldendoodles

Type of brush: Slicker Brush

Brushing Schedule: Everyday

Goldendoodle who take after their Poodle parent may have a thick, curly coat that doesn’t shed at all. As a result, they are the most hypoallergenic. The length and tightness of the curls vary depending on the parents. They can be kinky locks or ringlets. It’s often easier to keep a curly coated Goldendoodle trimmed short for low maintenance. Slicker brushes are the best choice to separate the dense hair of curly coats and prevent matting. A curly coat Goldendoodle should be brushed every day.

Wavy Coated Goldendoodles

Type of brush: Slicker Brush or Wire Pin Brush

Brushing Schedule: Minimum Twice a Week

Wavy-coated Goldendoodles are known as the teddy bear coat. They usually have soft, loose curls and may shed minimally. It is a combination of the qualities of both the Poodle and Golden Retriever coats. Depending on the thickness of your dog’s coat, choose a slicker or wire pin brush to prevent tangles in a wavy coat. Wavy-coated Goldendoodles should be brushed at least twice a week.

Straight Coated Goldendoodles

Type of brush: Bristle Brush or Deshedding Brush

Brushing Schedule: Minimum Twice a Week

Goldendoodles that take after the Golden Retriever parent have longer, straighter coats and may shed a lot. It is the easiest to maintain since it doesn’t need constant brushing. Goldendoodles with straight coats moderately shed, but they don’t require as much grooming as the other two types of coats. A bristle brush is less harsh on the skin of a straight-haired Goldendoodle. A deshedding brush may also be helpful. Straight-coated Goldendoodles should be brushed a minimum of twice a week.

Brushing is Essential for Goldendoodles

I can’t emphasize enough just how important it is to regularly brush your Goldendoodle. It’s one of the most overlooked facts about owning a Goldendoodle. Some people make the mistake of thinking they can take their Goldendoodle to the groomer instead of brushing. Matting can happen quickly, especially with curly or dense coats. If you don’t brush your doodle enough, the groomer will need to shave your dog. Trust me. You won’t like how your dog looks if that happens. I made this mistake, so trust me, I know.

Don’t let this happen to you:

This is what happened to Kai when I made this mistake. I was so sad when I brought him home. I highly suggest you brush your Doodle EVERYDAY to keep this from happening to you!!

best brush for Goldendoodle
Side note: My other BIG mistake was going to Petsmart for grooming, and I will NEVER go there again!!! (I could not get an appointment with my regular groomer who would not have made Kai look this bad.)

Fortunately, Kai’s hair has now grown out again, but it’s taking a long time to get his teddy bear shaped face back!

I talk more about how to take care of your Doodle’s coat in between grooming appointments here.

What to Look for in a High-Quality Goldendoodle Brush

Type of Handle

The best Goldendoodle brushes have wooden handles. Wood absorbs oils from the dog’s skin, distributing it through the coat while brushing. While less expensive, plastic handles are usually inferior in quality. Depending on how the brush is made, a plastic-handled brush may still work well and will be comfortable to use. Brushes with rubber handles are often ergonomically comfortable to use and fit well in your hand.


The best brushes for Goldendoodles should be durable and constructed to last. Make sure to read the product reviews from groomers and owners before purchasing. If several reviews report that a brush only lasted a few months, then it’s not worth buying.

Comfortable for Your Dog

In addition to being comfortable for you to use, a good quality brush should be comfortable for your dog’s skin and coat. When used correctly, the brush you use on a regular basis should never irritate your dog’s skin.

Appropriate Size

Before deciding on a specific brush, make sure you choose the right size for your dog. While a small dog brush won’t work for a large Goldendoodle, it might be the perfect size for a mini Goldendoodle.


Price compared to the value is important to consider choosing any dog brush. Make sure you choose a brush that has all the features you need. If you only shop for the cheapest price, you could end up with a brush that does not serve your purposes. That doesn’t mean that the most expensive brushes are always the best. You also need to choose the proper bristle type for your dog’s particular coat.

Should You Use a Dematting Tool on Goldendoodle?

Brushing and grooming your dog often is the best way to prevent mats. However, if your dog becomes matted or heavily tangled, it may be necessary to use a dematting tool, an undercoat rake, or dematting comb. While your first line of defense against matting is regular brushing, a dematting tool is a secondary option. Dematting tools are sharp and involve cutting the mats in some way, so exercise caution when using them. Detangling conditioners may also help prevent your dog’s coat from becoming severely tangled or matted. 

No matter what type of coat your Goldendoodle has, grooming is essential. Remember, consistent brushing and grooming is the best way to prevent mats and keep your dog’s coat looking healthy. Establish a routine grooming schedule for your dog, choose the best dog brush for Goldendoodle, and preferably brush them once a day.

Technique for Properly Brushing a Goldendoodle

Brushing your dog requires specific techniques to make sure you are doing it correctly. If you brush your dog nicely, then grooming will be a pleasant experience for both of you.

Brush Downward and Out

Make sure to brush in a downward direction and then out. Brush out one straight line of fur at a time. Take your time and make sure that you can see down to the skin as you go.This ensures that you are completely brushing the entire length of the hair. It’s not comfortable for dogs to be brushed in a backward motion, against the direction of their hair. 

Be Gentle

Remember to be gentle when brushing, especially if your dog is matted or tangled. It can be painful to brush through tangled hair.

Use A Detangling Spray

For difficult tangles and mats, a detangling spray can be very helpful. Always brush and use a detangling spray before bathing your dog because water can make matting worse.

My Recommendation for Best Detangling Spray for a Goldendoodle

All-Around Best:

Chris Christensen’s Just Divine Dog Brushing Spray

This conditioning spray can be used on a wet or dry coat and for comfortable and smooth brushing.

Not All Dog Brushes Are The Same

While there many dog brushes to choose from, not all are created equal. If you’re committed to taking care of your Goldendoodle’s coat on a regular basis, you can prevent matting and tangling from becoming a larger problem. Use a slicker brush to remove minor tangles or mats before they grow into large mats. Always remember to use gently brush out your Doodle after a bath. Use a slicker brush on wet dogs and curly-coated Goldendoodles. Use a pin brush or slicker on loose curls or wavier hair. If your dog has long hair or a straighter coat, a bristle brush can be useful. Try out several brushes to determine what works best on your dog’s particular coat. It may take some trial and error to find out what is the best choice for your dog. Remember, your Goldendoodle’s coat will change from the puppy coat to your dog’s adult dog coat. As your dog’s coat changes, you may need to add a different type of brush in order to properly care for your dog’s coat.

So, what’s the best brush for a Goldendoodle?

I have concluded the Big K slicker brush by Chris Christensen to be the overall best brush for Goldendoodle for all coat types. I’ve found it to work well whether my curly-coated Kai is long or is more grown out. I’ve also used it on Zuma who is wavy coated, and it works beautifully. Finally, it comes highly recommended by my professional groomer for all Goldendoodle coats. So, if you want to purchase only one dog brush for a Goldendoodle, then I think the Chris Christensen is the way to go for your regular at-home grooming routine.

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Best Dog Treats: My Top 10 Picks for Dog Chews and Treats

Best Dog Treats: My Top 10 Picks for Dog Chews and Treats

For the past year, I’ve been in search of the best dog treats. I had three reasons. First, my Goldendoodle gets bored with his treats, making it tough to find training treats that he would respond to. Second, I wanted to find calming treats for my dog for trips in the car. Third, I was in search of the best dog chews that didn’t upset Kai’s stomach.

So, here are the results of my one-year search for the best dog training treats, dog calming treats, and dog chews.

Best Dog Training Treats

1. Beef Lung Treats

Beef lung treats are my number one top recommendation for best dog treats. Our dog trainer first introduced us to them, and they’ve made a huge difference in Kai’s training. He never gets bored with them. They really get his attention! He’s getting so good about coming when to me when he’s off-leash, and it’s all because of these treats.

Note: As with any new dog food, I recommend you introduce beef lung treats slowly because they did upset his stomach at first. You can break them up into small pieces so that you don’t give your dog too much at once.

While there are many brands out there, they all seem to be very similar. I’ve found the best price for beef lung treats is this one here on Amazon

2. Zukes Crunchy Naturals

Next on my top picks for best dog treats for training purposes is Zukes Crunchy Naturals. I’ve tried several types of Zukes soft training treats, but I discovered that Kai likes crunchy treats. He just seems to like the sound and almost exaggerates it when he’s eating them. 

3. Freeze Dried Beef Liver Training Treats

This bag of liver treats is another great option. It’s a great value with simple ingredients. I like the small size because they’re easy to transport and don’t crumble inside my pocket. They work well for training because they keep Kai’s attention.

If you don’t have an an Amazon account, or if your dog doesn’t end up loving these treats as much as Kai does, Chewy also has a great selection of several types of training and behavior products. Plus, they offer 30% off your first autoship and other discounts with their auto-ship program.

Best Calming and Anti Anxiety Treats for Dogs

4. Zesty Paws Calming Bites

Zesty Paws Calming Bites is my top choice for the best dog treats to ease nerves on long car rides. Our Goldendoodle Kai gets very anxious when riding in the car, and I have found these treats are helpful. 

They don’t completely take away his anxiety, but they help. I’m not sure any treat will completely take away his anxiety in the car, but I’m willing to do anything I can to help ease his nerves as much as possible!

If you like to buy your dog supplies on Amazon, they also have them here.

5. NaturVet Quiet Moments

Number two on my list of best dog treats for calming behavior is NaturVet Quiet Moments. They are soft chews that contain melatonin, ginger, L-Tryptophan and thiamin to help reduce tension and stress. Again, they don’t completely take away his anxiety, but they help. 

6. PetHonesty Advanced Calming Hemp Treats

Rounding out my list of best dog treats that ease anxiety is PetHonesty Advanced Calming Hemp Treats. One of my main requirements for calming treats is that they be non-sedating. I don’t want to give Kai anything that’s going to make him too groggy or sleepy to be able to have fun with us.

These treats are a slightly stronger calming formula, yet still safe, gentle, and non-sedating. Some of the main ingredients are: Hemp Seed Powder, Valerian Root, Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Chamomile, and L-Tryptophan.

Best Dog Chews to Keep Your Dog Busy

7. Nylabone

Nylabones are still one of Kai’s favorite things to chew on. They keep him very busy! That makes them one of my top picks for best dog treats. He especially likes this flavored textured one. Since Kai doesn’t cooperate well for teeth brushing, the texture helps keeps his teeth clean and promotes healthy gums.

He also really likes these edible chew treats. They’re kind of like a bone, but essentially a dog treat since they’re edible.

8. Zesty Paws Calming Orastix

Even though this could qualify as a calming treat, I put the Zesty Paws Calming Orastix in the dog chew category. They are a combo treat/chew that contains hemp seed, melatonin, and chamomile.

These sticks satisfy the need for chewing which helps alleviate stress. I find they work well when Kai needs a distraction so he can settle down with something to keep him busy. Plus, they’re helpful for overall teeth and gum health. 

You can get them directly on the Zesty Paws website, or on Amazon.

9. Yak Cheese Dog Chews

Finally, this list would not be complete without Yak Cheese Dog Chews. With their limited ingredients, they’re highly digestible. Because they have a hard consistency, Yak chews last a long time. Kai can devour most chews pretty quickly, so they work well for him.

When the hard cheese chew comes in contact with saliva, it softens enough to encourage chewing. For this reason, Yak chews help reduce tartar and plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth and gums. It also helps improve doggie breath!

When Kai gets to the end of the chew, I make sure to take it away from him because it could be a choking hazard. Plus, when you heat the small piece in the microwave, it puffs up and extends it a little further.

10. Trader Joes Dog Biscuit Mix

If you’d like to bake your own dog treats, Trader Joe’s makes it easy. I used this mix to make dog treats for Kai’s first birthday

I’ve discovered all of these dog treats through trial and error. In fact, I have a lot of unused treats on hand that Kai doesn’t like at all or got bored with. While every dog is unique, I hope my recommendations for the best dog treats can help you find what works best for your pup!



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Dog Birthday Ideas: How We Celebrated Kai’s First Birthday

Dog Birthday Ideas: How We Celebrated Kai’s First Birthday

Our Goldendoodle puppy, Kai, just had his first birthday, so I found some easy dog birthday ideas to celebrate our “baby’s” special day. Here’s what we did for Kai’s first dog birthday party. It was a simple puppy party, yet special. Hopefully, these simple dog birthday ideas will inspire you to create your own dog birthday celebration. In honor of Kai’s first birthday, I created this little video review of Kai’s first year.

Homemade Dog Cookies

My first discovery when searching for easy dog birthday ideas was this dog biscuit mix from Trader Joe’s. It was a quick way to bake homemade dog biscuits for Kai’s puppy birthday party. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can also find them on Amazon. It was quick and easy, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure they turn out well.

Here’s how it worked:

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

The first step in the directions is to combine the oil with the mix. It does say that the mixture will be crumbly at first, but I discovered that it would take more oil than the recipe called for. 

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

Mix the dough

The second step is to start mixing it together by hand so that it combines into a dough that you can roll out. I simply added more oil a little bit at a time until the mixture started sticking together. My dog birthday ideas began to take shape!

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

Without overdoing it, I eventually had enough oil mixed in to be able to form it into a ball. 

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

The directions say to roll the dough out on a floured surface, but I recommend using very little flour on this step. The flour tends to make the dough fall apart again. I learned this the hard way and had to add more oil, so I wouldn’t use flour the next time. Depending on your surface, you may not even need flour for rolling out the dough. 

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

Cut out the cookies 

Finally, cut out the biscuits in whatever shape you choose using a cookie cutter. I kept the dough thick to make it easier to cut them out. I found that the dough started to fall apart when it was any thinner than this.

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

Kai was ready to eat the biscuits before they were even baked!

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

Carefully transfer each biscuit onto a baking sheet and bake according to the instructions. I checked them regularly to make sure they didn’t burn.

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

When the dog biscuits are fully baked, they will be crisp and slightly browned.

dog birthday ideas homemade dog biscuits

Next, I transferred the baked cookies to a cooling rack. 

The package directions don’t include icing, but I decided it would be a little more festive to decorate the dog cookies with some colored dog-friendly frosting. I liked this recipe from the Cake Decorist because the frosting hardens which would be less messy for Kai when eating the dog cookies.

Dog-Friendly Icing Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • food coloring (optional)
  • large bowl and whisk

Mix together the water and cornstarch,  then add the honey. Using a whisk, combine the mixture and add more water if needed. The icing might seem thin at first, but it will eventually harden. If you choose to add food coloring, make sure it contains all-natural ingredients, like this one linked here.

dog birthday ideas dog friendly icing

Add a few drops of all-natural food coloring to the icing. If you want several colors, simply divide the icing into separate bowls for each color.

dog birthday ideas dog friendly icing

Drizzle the icing over the cookies. The icing should harden within just a few minutes

dog birthday ideas dog friendly icing

Transfer the dog cookies to a pretty serving plate

When gathering your dog birthday ideas, don’t forget some cookies for the humans! I added some colorful frosted store-bought cookies for our humans. 

dog birthday ideas

Dog Birthday Party Accessories

dog birthday ideas

Your list of dog birthday ideas is not complete without party hats, plates, napkins, and accessories

I spent quite a bit of time shopping to come up with dog birthday ideas for Kai’s special day. I found his birthday crown, birthday bandana, and matching toy cake at Target. They fit his personality perfectly! If you can’t find these accessories at Target. There are several alternatives on Amazon, such as this matching set for a boy, this set for a girl, or this set for a girl or boy pup.

Puppy’s Birthday Photo

When thinking of dog birthday ideas, don’t forget to capture your celebration with a photo. Once you have your puppy’s party ensemble put together, remember to take an official birthday photo to document this special day!!

You may want to add a special background to make it look professional. I love this milestone chalkboard or a letterboard to use as a background. 

dog birthday ideas first birthday photo

Perfect Dog First Birthday Present

Dog presents are probably one of the most important items on the list of dog birthday ideas. After all, it wouldn’t be a birthday party without presents!

If your dog is turning one year old, it’s time to upgrade from all the new puppy supplies you first purchased to some grown-up dog supplies. I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since we brought Kai home. He’s outgrown so much of what we first bought for him in the beginning.

Grown-Up Dog Supplies

To make this list of dog birthday ideas complete, I’ve linked some gift ideas below. For pups who are turning one, this list is a good start in transitioning your one-year-old pup to some upgraded dog supplies:

Personalized dog blanket

Personalized dog bed

Quality leather dog leash

Elevated dog bowls

Silent silicone personalized dog tag

Stylish bandanas

I hope you have as much fun as I did celebrating your pup’s memorable day!


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