DogPlay Wins Big in 2017 Best of the City

In February last year DogPlay was voted Best Pet Daycare in Vancouver in The Westender’s Best of the City. After working so hard to build an amazing team and execute our vision of not just babysitting dogs, but enriching their lives, it felt incredible to get that recognition. It was also a surreal experience because we had no idea these awards were happening. We hadn’t promoted them or asked a single person to vote. It was truly an organic surprise that meant a lot to everyone here.

At the end of 2016 I saw a post from The Westender announcing the 2017 Best of the City awards. I shared the post to our social media and Danielle and I put our heads together to come up with a plan to get people to vote. In the end, we realized that winning in 2016 was so special because it was all you guys. The best gifts in life are the ones you don’t ask for, the ones you don’t expect, the ones that come to you because someone loves you and wants you to know it. We decided to leave it be see what happened.

I can’t lie, I was nervous.

Then, in early February, I received an email congratulating DogPlay on once again being voted Best Pet Daycare! High-fives were thrown, whoops were whooped, and all the dogs joined me with a chorus of barking in the daycare. You guys had come through for us again!

And then something very curious happened. I got a second email from the Westender.

It seems that not only had we been voted Best Pet Daycare in the 2017, but also Best Pet Grooming! I really couldn’t believe this. It’s not that I didn’t have faith in our grooming team but we’re so new to this part of the industry and there are so many amazing grooming salons in Vancouver, it seemed impossible for us to take top spot.

At the end of the day there’s really one big reason for the success of DogPlay grooming: Alexis Krentz. Danielle and I did our research and bought the best equipment we could find - even having some pieces custom made. Our Handlers are always on deck to help soothe an unsure dog. And none of that matters without the talent, patience, and hard work of Vancouver’s best groomer.

It wasn’t an easy road for Alexis. She came to DogPlay with a wealth of experience, talent, and vision. She can look at a matted, scruffy pile of fur and see the final cut before she ever reaches for scissors. There isn’t a breed specific cut that has stumped her yet (although she’s been known to question what “short, but not too short” means).

Even so, we challenged her for more.

Grooming at DogPlay means you often don’t get to see the owner at drop-off for specific instructions. You need to know what dogs are going home when to get your timing right. You need to get dogs groomed in a timely fashion without sacrificing any quality. And you need to do all of this while maintaining DogPlay’s stress-free environment.

Day after day Alexis has crushed it at DogPlay. She is always learning and improving. She’s one of the hardest working people we have met and always has a positive attitude whether it’s the first dog of the day or whether she’s working into the evening. Her talent as a groomer is surpassed only by the strength of her character.

So congratulations Alexis – it may not be her name on the award, but make no mistake about it: Alexis Krentz is the best groomer in Vancouver.

Introducing the Granville Island Pet Treatery

If you've been to Granville Island you've likely passed the red caboose with the paws on the side that is the Granville Island Pet Treatery. Well now we're bringing their hand made, high quality dog treats to the DogPlay store! We've got four lines for you to choose from and a variety of flavors in each line.

Supplement Treats - These are what TGIPT is most famous for and their best sellers. Lots of dog owners introduce supplements into their dog's diets but they often come as a powder or a pill. These supplement treats take a wide range of supplements and bake them right in to a delicious treat format!

Starting at $14.98 we've got supplement treats to help with: Digestive Health / Nerve Calming / Healthy Skin / Strengthening Immune System / Joint Health

Reward Treats - These are designed to please even the most picky palette. The key to shaping behaviors in dogs is to reward all the behaviors you want to see more of. These treats are crafted to be that ultimate reward: great taste, high quality ingredients, perfect bite size.

Starting at $4.98 we've got: Bacon Bunnies / Wild Sockeye Salmom Stars / Dried Sardines

Travel Tins - Even if the treats inside weren't handmade locally with high-quality ingredients, I think we'd still like these based on the cool tins. As a bonus they aren't glass so you don't have to worry about breakage!

Starting at $11.98 we've got: Turkey / Peanut Butter & Banana / Salmon / Bacon

Gift Boxes - Tis the season! With stockings to stuff and gifts to buy these are a great option for the discerning dog lover on your shopping list. 

Starting at $11.98 we've got: Cheese / Vegan Pumpkin / Salmon & Flax / Beef / Chamomile, Ginger & Turkey

7576 Pictures

As of the moment I am writing this we have posted 7576 pictures and videos to our Instagram account. 

Seven thousand, five hundred and seventy six.

It's hard to wrap your head around that many pictures. I know this because I just spent a few hours scrolling through them and I barely made it through three month's worth. 

We post so many pictures because we want to share what we do at DogPlay. We want to share it with our customers, their friends and families, and anyone who wants to know what we're all about. It's a bit of marketing, a bit of vanity, a bit of transparency, and it's a lot of fun for all of us.

What I never anticipated was that sharing so many pictures and videos would also give us this amazing timeline of the life of DogPlay.

From Danielle and I starting out with a stripped  out little warehouse to a team of DogPlay handlers working with dogs in all corners of a giant new facility, we've got a huge photographic record of how we got here. 

There are lots of little things I see that you would probably not notice. That back panel that was just awful, un-painted plywood for the longest time until we went on a painting mission. Our old, white dividers which we hand built, sanded and painted. They did an amazing job for so long until we were able to introduce the updated, playground-grade composite design we have now.

Larger changes are easier to spot. An old framing gallery transformed into a new grooming salon. An empty space that gives way to a bigger store filled with new toys, treats, food, leashes, and the like. 

A few photos really make me pause and reflect. My daughter reaching out to pet Diesel for the first time from her bumbo chair. Any photos with our front counter in them make me smile. My wife tiled that counter on her hands and knees at 9 months pregnant. People scoffed at me for allowing her to do this. Like I had ANY say in the matter.

Truthfully, it's why I love her. She's a fiercely strong, independent woman and will do anything she sets her mind to. Her drive keeps me going and holds it all together. I feel it every time I see that counter.

I pause every time I see a picture of Taff. The first dog we met through DogPlay who passed away. I miss him a lot. I miss him more than I thought I would which makes me wonder how I will ever survive the passing of one of my dogs. It makes me realize how blurry the line between my dogs and DogPlay dogs is. Taff was a big part of our lives and he died so quickly, we never got a chance to say goodbye.

Then there are the people. People who are more than customers and staff, they're part of our community. I went to a meeting of small business owners the other day and was asked to describe the demographics of a typical DogPlay customer and do you know what? I couldn't.

They are men and women, young and old. They drive Mercedes' and Hondas, BMWs and Fords. They're from Marpole and Downtown, Richmond and Burnaby. They are students, lawyers, bankers, and barristas. We're a pretty unique bunch except for the one thing that binds us all together:

We're all crazy dog people. And I've got 7576 pictures to prove it.


Introducing Orijen: The Best Premium Dog Food

Orijen Tundra

Orijen is the latest addition to the DogPlay store. Made by the same Canadian company that makes ACANA, you can expect the same values and level of quality that we've come to expect from our favorite kibble. So what are the differences that make Orijen a premium option?

Here are five main differences:

1. MEAT CONTENT: ORIJEN is made with 75-80% meat, while ACANA is between 40% to 65%, depending on the formula.


2. FRESH MEAT: ORIJEN is made with up to 50% of fresh meats, compared with ACANA which ranges from 9-30% of fresh meats.


3. FRESH MEAT VARIETY: ORIJEN features a minimum of 6 fresh meats, compared to ACANA which contains 3 different fresh meat ingredients. ORIJEN also features Whole Prey ratios including meats, select organs, plus cartilage and marrow, all of which adds another Biologically Appropriate dimension to meat variety.


4. PROTEIN: ORIJEN foods range from 38% to 42% protein, while ACANA features protein levels of 25-35%.


5. CARBOHYDRATE: ORIJEN diets for dogs have a maximum carbohydrate content of 25%, and 20% in the diets for cats. ACANA diets are typically in the 25-30% carbohydrate range.

We spent a lot of time researching which food to carry before settling on ACANA as the best all-round option for our customers. We're now very excited to be able to carry a premium option with the same great Canadian roots. 

 

Why we carry ACANA at DogPlay

With limited space in our retail store, we have to be select about what brands and products we carry. When it came to dog food there were lots of good options, but ACANA was one brand that really stood out to us. Here are some reasons why we believe that this is one of the best dry foods you can buy for your dog:

1 -Biologically Appropriate. Yes, this is a marketing term but it is still an accurate description of ACANA dog food. Their formulas are designed based on the idea that dogs are primarily carnivores and require a meat and protein rich diet.

2 – Fresh, Local Canadian Ingredients. You can even track which farm your cage-free chicken came from, what fruit grower supplied your Okanagan red delicious apples, where your flounder, salmon or herring were sourced, or what ranch raised your free-range, antibiotic and hormone free Black Angus beef!

3 – High Quality Ingredients. Whether it’s your food or your dog’s food, checking the ingredients list is a key to a healthy life. With ACANA you won’t see any by-products or fillers like corn meal. ACANA dog food is always preservative free and never frozen. Just the good stuff.

4- Multiple Formulas. Whether your dog is a small breed, large breed, puppy, adult, or somewhere in between, there is an ACANA formula for you. If you want something grain free they have several great options for you to choose from. And if you have a delicate eater with allergy or digestive issues you can go with…

5 – Single Source Protein Formulas. Lamb and Okanagan Apple, Duck and Bartlett Pear, or the new Pork and Butternut Squash are three amazing formulas for dogs with sensitive tummys or food allergies.

6 – ACANA Loyalty Program. If all of this isn’t enough, when you buy 12 bags of ACANA you get your next bag free!

We’re always happy to help you figure out which ACANA option is best for your pet so please don’t hesitate to ask if you have some questions. We have sample bags for those who want to try and we can order in any formula you want if it’s not already available in the store.

Kuranda Cot Bed – The Last Dog Bed You’ll Ever Buy

Cot beds were an amazing discovery for our dogs and our dog daycare. They keep dogs cool in summer, warm in winter, and make keeping a clean house and clean dog a breeze. After years of trial and error, we can safely say that Kuranda Cot Beds are head and shoulders above the rest.

These beds aren’t going to be your cheapest option but they will last forever, look fantastic, be easy to maintain, and dogs love them.

If you already know about these beds and just want pricing or to find out when our next order will be, contact us. We are currently the only retailer of Kuranda Cot Beds in Vancouver.

If you’re new to cot beds, let me tell you what you’ve been missing.

Why a Cot Bed?

Temperature Control

In the hot summer months air flows beneath the bed keeping dogs nice and cool. In the winter months, dogs are off the cold floors.

Cleanliness

When our dog comes home from the beach covered in sand or from a rainy walk covered in mud, he jumps on his bed and sleeps. An hour later all the mud and sand is sitting in a nice neat pile under the bed, ready to be swept up. It makes keeping a clean house and a clean dog much easier.

Comfort

Cot beds never lump or become uneven. Dogs can rest their head on the side, hang they paws off the edge, or curl up right in the middle. They are even recommended by veterinarians for dogs with hip or arthritis issues.

Why Kuranda?

We discovered the cot bed in Australia. Our first example (pictured here) was a solid, welded steel frame with a hessian cover that could be replaced cheaply and easily. When we moved back to Canada we found there weren’t many options and nothing available locally. After a few years of trial and error with different products, we’ve landed happily on Kuranda.

Quality

These beds are as sturdy as they come. We’ve tried other metal frames but unless they are welded solid, they loosen over time and sag. Kuranda beds are made with either an extremely durable poly resin or solid aluminum frame. The fabric options are all very high quality as well. This bed will last the lifetime of your dog.

Chew Proof

These beds are as chew proof as they come. The seams are virtually invisible meaning your dog will not be able to get their teeth in there to pry a piece off. The fabric attaches into the frame so there is no gap they can tear into. On top of this, you can replace every piece individually so if there is an issue with a corner, you don’t have to buy a whole new bed.

Warning: there are plastic ‘feet’ that insert into the legs to keep your floor from scratching. Determined dogs have been known to find these feet, pull them out, and chew them to bits! We glue ours in place.

EDIT: The feet now come firmly attached – thanks for listening, Kuranda!

Looks

This is subjective, but I think these are the best looking cot beds out there. With a number of color and frame options to choose from, you won’t be hard pressed to find a combination that will fit right in with your home. If that’s not enough, you can even have your dog’s name embroidered on the fabric!

Maintenance

These beds are extremely easy to clean. Simply wipe down with your household cleaner and you’re done. No more stinky dog bed!

Supporting Local

Yes, these beds are made in the USA, but you are supporting a local small business when you buy through us. Kuranda also supports a lot of shelters and non-profits with free beds which we always like to see.

To get in on our next order or for any questions, please just get in touch.

 

6 Reasons These Are The Healthiest Dog Treats on Earth

Freeze-drying is like suspended animation for food. This is what NASA does to food in order to bring it to space without losing any of the nutritional value and it’s also what Orijen is doing with its latest line of dog treats. Here are 6 reasons why these are so amazing:

1 – Because they are freeze-dried and not cooked only water is ever removed leaving all the life-giving nutrients in the treats.

2 – They are 100% natural, 100% meat, and 100% preservative free.

3 – Each treat is only 5-8 calories.

4 – There are 5 single source varieties meaning when you see “DUCK” on the package, you’re getting 100% pure duck. No filler.

5 – The 3 formula matched varieties with multiple types of meat includeranch-raised venison, cage-free chicken, and wild-caught flounderjust to name a few.

6 – These treats are Canadian made and all of their meats are sourced locally.

If you want a high-value training reward or just want to spoil your furball with the healthiest treats on earth, Orijen Freeze-Dried Treats are available in the DogPlay store.