Top 9 Dog-Friendly Destinations for Your Next Family Adventure

french bulldogs at santa barbara hotel

Planning a vacation with your family can be exciting, but when it comes to bringing your dog, it isn’t always easy. Finding dog-friendly locations that cater to you and your furbabe is essential. To help you plan your next family adventure, I’ve put together a list of the top 9 dog-friendly destinations across the United States. From the scenic mountains of Jackson Hole, Wyoming to the tropical beaches of Key West, Florida, these locations offer unique experiences and ever-lasting memories for you and your pup.


Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Jackson Hole, nestled in the beautiful Teton Range, is a fantastic destination for outdoor lovers and their pets. With an abundance of hiking trails, open meadows, and crystal-clear lakes, this location is perfect for pups that enjoy exploring and staying active.

Don’t miss:

  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
  • National Elk Refuge

Portland, Oregon

Known for its green spaces and dog-friendly attitude, Portland is an excellent choice for dog parents who also enjoy the convenience of an urban environment. With over 30 dog parks, numerous pet-friendly breweries, and plenty of pet-friendly accommodations, your dog will fit right in.

Don’t miss:

  • Forest Park
  • International Rose Test Garden
  • Lucky Labrador Brew Pub

Check out my Dog-Friendly Portland Guide

french bulldog in raincoat in portland

carmel dog friendly

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea offers sandy beaches, picture-perfect sunsets, and is one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country. Your dog can freely roam the off-leash Carmel Beach and visit the charming downtown shops – many of which provide treats and water bowls on their doorstep.

Don’t miss:

  • Carmel Beach
  • Cypress Inn
  • Garrapata State Park
Read the post: Dog-Friendly Road Trip to Mendocino County, including our stop in Carmel!
carmel dog friendly
[ image credit ]

Asheville, North Carolina

With its laid-back vibe and scenic backdrop, Asheville is an ideal destination for relaxation and outdoor fun. Your dog can join you on hikes in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, visit the Biltmore Estate, and even enjoy a treat at the local dog-friendly breweries.

Don’t miss:

  • Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Biltmore Estate
  • Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company

dog friendly new orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana

Despite its reputation for lively parties, New Orleans is a surprisingly dog-friendly destination. Many accommodations welcome pets, and the historic Garden District offers peaceful walks under shady oak trees. Become immersed in the city’s vibrant culture at Jackson Square and the French Quarter.

Don’t miss:

  • Garden District
  • Jackson Square
  • NOLA City Bark

Austin, Texas

With its thriving dog-owner community, Austin is ideal for those seeking the complete dog-friendly experience. Enjoy off-leash parks like Zilker Metropolitan Park and the Red Bud Isle Dog Park, dive into the food truck scene, and try the famous BBQ spots (Terry Black’s, Franklin)!

Don’t miss:

  • Zilker Metropolitan Park
  • Red Bud Isle Dog Park
  • South Congress Avenue

Boulder, Colorado

A haven for nature enthusiasts, Boulder offers an array of hiking trails, scenic drives, and outdoor adventures for you and your dog to explore. After working up an appetite, visit the popular pet-friendly Pearl Street Mall, where many restaurants and retail stores cater to four-legged friends.

Don’t miss:

  • Chautauqua Park
  • Boulder Creek Path
  • Pearl Street Mall

San Diego, California

With sunny skies and idyllic beaches, San Diego is a dog-friendly paradise. Take your dog for a run at the iconic Ocean Beach Dog Beach, explore Balboa Park, and pick up a dog treat at the local pet shop Dexter’s Deli!

Don’t miss:

  • Ocean Beach Dog Beach
  • Balboa Park
  • Sun Deck at Hotel Del Coronado

Key West, Florida

Known for its stunning beaches and beautiful sunsets, Key West, Florida, is a tropical paradise for both humans and dogs. Enjoy a stroll on the popular dog-friendly Higgs Beach, or explore the local area through various pet-friendly excursions and activities like the Key West Aquarium (yes, dogs are welcome!).

Don’t miss:

  • Higgs Beach
  • Key West Aquarium
  • Lazy Dog Adventures Paddleboarding + Kayaking


As you embark on your next family adventure with your dog, consider these dog-friendly destinations to ensure that your whole family, including your furbaby, enjoys a vacation filled with fun, exciting and lasting memories!


5 Effective Natural Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

smiling french bulldog

Natural Dental Care: How to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean Without Chemicals

As a modern dog parent, you want the best for your pup, and that includes keeping their dental health in check. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are important, but did you know there are natural ways to clean your dog’s teeth too?

Just like us, dogs need proper dental care to maintain their overall health and well-being. Good dental hygiene can help prevent dental diseases, such as gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. Regular visits to the veterinarian for professional teeth cleaning can be costly, but fortunately, there are a few natural ways to clean your dog’s teeth at home. 

Dental hygiene is an essential aspect of your dog’s overall health, but traditional teeth cleaning methods may not be suitable for every pup. Teeth brushing time is essentially impossible with Fira, as she refuses to let me put anything in her mouth!

Not to mention, chemical-laden toothpaste and harsh brushing techniques can be uncomfortable or even harmful for some dogs. That’s why natural solutions are an excellent option to consider for cleaning your dog’s teeth naturally. Not only are they gentler on your dog’s teeth and gums, but they can also be more cost-effective and better for the environment. 

Check out my post The Ultimate Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth At Home.

Let’s go over 5 effective natural ways to keep your dog’s teeth clean. 

french bulldog chewing toy

1. Raw Bones

Chewing on natural treats is a great way to promote your dog’s dental health. The chewing action helps to scrape away tartar and plaque, while also providing a healthy source of nutrients and minerals. Not only do they help clean your dog’s teeth, but they can also provide mental stimulation, satisfy their natural urge to chew, and reduce bad breath. Some of the best natural chews for dogs include raw bones, bully sticks, and dental chews made with natural ingredients. To incorporate natural chews into your dog’s routine, start by offering them for short periods of time under your supervision, gradually increasing the length of time as your dog gets used to them.

Large, weight-bearing bones such as beef knuckles or femurs are too hard and can cause your dog’s teeth to fracture. Instead, consider softer bones such as chicken or turkey necks or backs. These bones are still effective at cleaning teeth and providing a good source of nutrients, but are less likely to cause harm.

  • Choose the right type of bone: Make sure to choose a raw bone that is appropriate for your dog’s size and breed. Avoid small bones that can be swallowed or large bones that can cause dental fractures.
  • Supervise your dog: Never leave your dog unattended while they are chewing on a raw bone. Watch for any signs of discomfort, choking, or other issues.
  • Store the bone safely: Store the raw bone in the refrigerator or freezer when not in use. This will prevent bacteria growth and keep the bone fresh. You might need to rinse and clean it off before storing.
  • Dispose of the bone properly: Once the bone is too small, has been chewed down or has sharp jagged edges, trash it. 

2. Coconut oil 

Coconut oil has become a popular natural solution for various health issues, including oral health for dogs. The antimicrobial properties of coconut oil can help fight harmful bacteria in your dog’s mouth, making it an effective tool in maintaining their dental health. Not only does it promote fresh breath, but it can also prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar.

Coconut oil contains antibacterial properties that can help to reduce the amount of bacteria in your dog’s mouth. Simply apply a small amount of coconut oil to your dog’s teeth and gums, or mix it into their food.

To get started, you will need a jar of organic, unrefined coconut oil, and a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs. You can also use a soft-bristled human toothbrush or a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger if you don’t have a dog toothbrush.

Start by scooping a small amount of coconut oil onto the toothbrush, and allow your dog to sniff and taste it before beginning. Then, gently lift your dog’s lip and begin brushing in a circular motion on the outer surfaces of the teeth and gums. Be sure to focus on the back teeth, as this is where the most plaque and tartar tend to accumulate. Don’t worry if your dog swallows some of the coconut oil, as it is completely safe and non-toxic.

white french bulldog puppy

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a natural disinfectant and can help to kill bacteria in your dog’s mouth. Mix a small amount of apple cider vinegar with water and use it as a mouthwash for your dog.

To use apple cider vinegar as a mouthwash for your dog, mix a small amount of it with water in a bowl. Dip a clean cloth or gauze pad into the mixture, then use it to gently wipe your dog’s teeth and gums. Be careful not to use too much vinegar, as it can be too acidic for your dog’s mouth and cause irritation. It’s best to start with a small amount and gradually increase the concentration over time. You can also add a small amount of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water to help promote overall oral health. (Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before adding anything to your dog’s diet or oral care routine.)

4. Carrots

Raw carrots can help to scrape away tartar and plaque, while also providing a healthy source of vitamins and minerals for your dog.

Raw carrots can serve as a natural teeth-cleaning tool for your dog. The crunchy texture of carrots can help scrape away plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth while they chew on them. Additionally, carrots are packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and potassium! Providing your dog with a few raw carrots as a treat or incorporating them into their regular diet can be a simple and effective way to promote their dental hygiene naturally. However, it’s important to note that feeding your dog too many carrots can lead to digestive issues and should be given in moderation.

herbs for dogs

5. Herbal Remedies

There are several herbal remedies that can help to promote healthy teeth and gums in dogs, including peppermint, curly parsley, and fennel.

Herbal remedies can be a natural and effective way to keep your dog’s teeth clean. Peppermint, parsley, and fennel are all herbs that can help promote healthy teeth and gums in dogs. Peppermint has natural antiseptic properties that can help to kill bacteria in the mouth and freshen your dog’s breath. Parsley contains chlorophyll, which can neutralize odors and help to remove plaque. Only curly parsley is safe for dogs. Fennel is a natural breath freshener and can help to reduce inflammation in the mouth. These herbs can be added to your dog’s food or given as a treat/supplement!

How Seaweed Can Help Naturally Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

If you’re looking for a convenient and effective way to maintain your dog’s dental hygiene, PlaqueOff Powder might be just what you need. I had this recommended to me from a friend and it has many rave reviews! This all-natural supplement is made from a special type of sea kelp that is known to reduce plaque and dissolve tartar buildup in your dog’s teeth. This organic sea kelp contains a natural bioactive ingredient that helps to soften plaque and tartar buildup, which then easily sloughs away with chewing and/or brushing. Just sprinkle a small amount of the powder onto your dog’s food each day, and over time you should see a noticeable improvement in your dog’s dental health.

PlaqueOff powder is a great option for those pups who hate having their teeth brushed and need a little extra help for their stinky breath!

clean your dog's teeth naturally


It’s important to note that while these natural methods can be effective in promoting dental health, they should not be used as a substitute for regular dental checkups and professional cleanings by your veterinarian.

Hope these all-natural options are helpful for your dog’s dental health!

Check out my post The Ultimate Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth At Home.

I Reviewed 9 Dog Bowls To Find The Best for French Bulldogs

french bulldog testing dog bowls

The Best Food Bowls for Frenchies

If you’re a French Bulldog owner, you know that finding the right dog bowl can be a challenge. These pups have a unique body shape and size that can make it difficult for them to comfortably eat and drink from traditional dog bowls. They’re either too short, too deep, not elevated, not cute, etc., etc. 

Not only does my Frenchie Fira have a non-existent snout, she is also the MESSIEST eater. Half of her food ends up on the floor. So, I wanted to look for something with a tray or something that catches or prevents the fall-out food. Her bowl would also get tipped over on its side after she finished eating. She is wild.

That’s where specially-designed French Bulldog dog bowls come in! My criteria for the bowls this time was mainly for Fira. Weston is the quietest, most gentle, delicate eater — he doesn’t spill a drop! Fira is the complicated one. Weston also has a bit of a longer snout than Fira, making it easier for him to reach his food. 

french bulldog puppy eating food

So, Fira needed a bowl that would be suitable for her non-existent snout and easy for clean-up. She needed something that would stay put on the floor, help prevent regurgitating and look good in the kitchen.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best dog bowl options for French Bulldogs and discuss what features to look for when choosing the perfect bowl for your furry friend.

Here are the 9 bowls I picked up for my French Bulldogs:

(Hint: Scroll down to the end of this post to find my #1 choice for dog food bowl.)

Ono The Good Bowl: When I opened the box for this, I was ooo-ing and aah-ing over the way it was sleekly packaged and just super clean/modern. The bowls are really shallow and wide, so it helps small-snout and squishy-face dogs get into the bowl better. 

The removable silver bowls stay snug in the mat and the best feature of these bowls is that the entire silicone mat stays gripped to the floor so it doesn’t go anywhere

These are perfect for a neat eater (aka: Weston!), but the bowls were too shallow for little Fira. The tray around the bowl was littered with fallen food right away.

best bowl for french bulldogs

I originally got this Duo Collapsible Dog Bowl for traveling, but ended up using it as Fira’s dog bowl for awhile! What I love about it is its size (pretty roomy), grip (silicone stays on the floor and doesn’t move around), easy to clean and has that tray for fall-out. Not sure how but it ended up ripping, so we had to throw it out, but I included it on this list as a good bowl for French bulldogs.

Ceramics Raised Bowl: The design of this bowl is really nice, very modern and a cool shape. I could see this really as a nice accent piece in a contemporary kitchen. It has a solid weight because of the ceramic and doesn’t move around. It’s meant to be a cat food bowl so it is a bit small and food kept spilling over the edge, but I like that it is elevated.

BTW, this is the silicone mat we use and we don’t let Fira eat without one! It’s a must for clean floors and easy clean-up — not the mention, keeps the dog bowl from moving around.


testing dog bowl for french bulldogs

Wide Ceramic Dog Bowl: Super pretty dog bowl made of solid ceramic. This bowl is super wide and is taller at the back, which I thought would work for Fira. I think it was too large and the food got stuck at the back and top edges. She couldn’t ever finish her meal without me scraping the food back toward the front. So maybe not the best French Bulldog food bowl for Fira. 

But I think if your dog eats dry food or is bigger, this dog bowl is a decent choice!


Slow Feeder Bowl: if your dog eats super fast, like Fira does, a dog bowl for fast eaters is a smart option. A slow bowl is great as it forces your French Bulldog to work around the bowl and gives them time to chew and digest — and not inhale their food. Sometimes it feels like some dogs don’t even chew their food!

This one did not work for Weston or Fira at ALL. Fira couldn’t get her little face in and just stared at it confused and frustrated, lol. Fira needs something sturdy so it doesn’t move around and high around the edges so the food doesn’t spill over the sides but not too high where she can’t reach. It still wasn’t the winner. So I kept looking for the best French Bulldog food bowl…


Fluff Trough. Obviously, you can tell by its unique shape, it’s designed for short-snout dogs (and regular too!) — just like a pig trough, lol. I really like how it’s elevated and the wide size of it. It makes eating meals a bit slower for Fira. It’s not the most aesthetically pleasing but it has rave reviews from French bulldog owners.

Fira still pushes food up the sides and can’t really reach the top of it (ie: if we put the bowl against the wall), so my solution was putting a wide bowl behind it to catch all fall-out. It’s like she gets two bowls of food! 🙂 

And of course with a silicone mat, it doesn’t slide around.

Even though I found a solution for this bowl, I found it too cumbersome and a few too many added steps for her meal time. 

Tilted Ceramic Dog Bowl with Wooden Stand: This dog bowl is great! Love the slanted feature and Fira had a much better time eating without a huge mess. Elevated bowls are really beneficial for French Bulldogs, as it helps them swallow their food down better without regurgitating it up. This tilted dog bowl also came with silicone grips to stick onto the bottom of the wooden legs — nice! I’d give this a positive 8/10 score.

The Best Food Bowl For My French Bulldog

When I was posting about dog bowls on Instagram, I got so many messages raving about this Enhanced Pet Bowl. It’s made just for French Bulldog problems like this. Sturdy grip on the bottom, large area for their face to move around and at an elevated angle. 

You can even buy a stand, so your pup’s bowl is lifted, making it easier to swallow their food without the regurgitation problems. Elevated dog food bowls have many benefits including improved digestion, reduced strain on joints, better posture during feeding, and less mess during meal times, making them an effective way to improve your dog’s health.

For 10% off, use my code: NIKKISTAR10

I had to return the stand, as it was a bit too tall for Fira (she’s definitely on the shorter side for a Frenchie), but I really like the bowl and it’s been working so far! This is my #1 choice. 

french bulldog eating food

Stainless steel dog bowls are not only durable and easy to clean, but they also have the added benefit of being bacteria-resistant. Unlike other materials such as plastic, which can develop scratches and grooves over time that can harbor bacteria, stainless steel is non-porous and smooth. This means that it is less likely to harbor bacteria and other germs that could potentially harm your dog’s health. On a Frenchie Facebook group, I read about someone switching dog bowls to all stainless steel and their French bulldog’s tear stains completely disappeared!


There you have it – the best bowls for French Bulldogs (so far). Hope you enjoyed it! If you have any recommendations, please add them in the comments!


Where’s The Frenchie is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and incorporates affiliate links.

DIY: Most Loved Healthy Homemade Dog Food

A yummy do-it-yourself dog food recipe for French Bulldogs

As a parent to two of these bat-eared characters, we know with this breed, our pups can be finicky with food and also prone to food allergies. A lot of dog owners, especially parents of Frenchies like me, turn to recipes for homemade dog food.

Because of that, when Weston was a puppy, I started cooking him food myself because of his super sensitive stomach (aka: vomit central) and he LOVED it. He got leaner, farted less and hardly ever vomited. He also looked forward to his meals and licked his bowl clean — woohoo!

Fira’s the lucky one and has been eating homemade cooked dog food since we brought her home, so she has no idea what kibble is and I’m sure would stick her nose up to it. Weston has become quite the food snob and will only eat cooked foods — I even tried to get them on a raw diet and they refused the raw! Picky pups.

As Weston got older, various companies were founded with cooked, human-grade foods so it’s nice to have options when I don’t have time to cook. We love Pure Dog Food, PetPlate, Just Food For Dogs which are all nutritionally balanced.

A couple years ago, we got Weston and Fira an allergy test — I haven’t even gotten one myself even though I’ve wanted to for years but yep, they got one first. #whocanrelate? I used the Nutriscan Food Allergy test.

Weston didn’t really show too many symptoms (only licked his paws occasionally) but knowing how many French Bulldogs have allergies, it seemed like a logical idea…

WELL, Fira is only allergic to pork but Weston is allergic to chicken, turkey, pork, dairy, white fish, sweet potatoes and a few other things. Hence the need to create our own homemade dog food recipe. We were feeding him almost all of those ingredients on the daily, EEK.

That really limits our choices and he gets bored eating the same thing over and over, so I decided to mix up his feeding regime and do homemade dog food again to alternate. I like to schedule an afternoon to make a HUGE batch and fill up the freezer. It’s easy, promise!


Here’s my recipe for homemade dog food:


  • 3 lbs ground beef (or any protein)
  • 1 cup uncooked millet (or any other whole grain: quinoa, rice, pasta)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 squash, shredded
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 tbsp calcium powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
  • I also add in a few heaping tablespoons (follow their serving instructions) of Canine Complete which is a multivitamin supplement containing probiotics, minerals + so much more. I usually add half a scoop directly into their food bowls when it’s serving time. Otherwise, I’m horrible at math and don’t know exactly how much to put in the entire recipe. This supplement added to this dog food recipe should contain everything your dog needs, but of course, do your own research as every dog is different. Weston + Fira have had great success with Canine Complete and have never vomited or had any adverse reaction from it.

1. Bring 1 cup of whole grain to boil in a pot of water. I overcook it so that it’s soft and easily digestible. Drain.

2. While that’s boiling, shred/chop the veggies.

3. Cook ground beef with olive oil. Drain excess juices and rinse.

4. Mix everything together! No need to cook the veggies. Overcooking the vegetables removes the natural nutrients. The cooked meat and whole grain will soften them up a bit.

The Benefits of Homemade Dog Food:

I can’t stress enough the benefits of preparing homemade dog food for your fur baby. Not only do you have greater control over the quality and type of ingredients used, but you can also customize meals to meet your dog’s specific dietary needs. Plus, your pup will appreciate the fresher and more flavorful food — Weston + Fira eat their homemade food so fast and never skip a meal. Homemade dog food can also be a more affordable option in the long run and can help avoid potential allergens or fillers that may be present in commercial dog food. As a dog mom, it’s important to me to make sure my pups are getting the right nutrition and and preparing homemade dog food is a rewarding and satisfying way to do that. 🙂 

Other benefits of ingredients in this homemade dog food recipe:

  • Olive oil contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that can promote healthy skin and coat, monounsaturated fats that can support heart health by improving blood circulation and reducing the risk of heart disease, aids in digestion, relieve constipation in dogs and improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Coconut improves skin and coat health, aids in digestion and promotes a healthy immune system.
  • Calcium is essential for dogs as it plays a vital role in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, supporting nerve and muscle function, and aiding in blood clotting.
  • Pumpkin regulates blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation and provide a natural source of vitamins and probiotics for your dog.

Store in containers or Ziplock bags and freeze. Makes enough for around one week of meals for two dogs (Fira weighs 14 lbs and Weston weighs 24 pounds).

I feed them twice a day: breakfast and dinner. I feed Fira about a cup per meal and Weston gets a little over a cup of this homemade dog food per meal. 

Thaw out food the night before or microwave and serve! 


Homemade dog food allows you to have greater control over the quality and type of ingredients used, customization of meals to meet your dog’s specific dietary needs, and the potential for fresher and more flavorful food that will keep your dog happy, especially those picky pups! Additionally, preparing homemade dog food can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for dog owners who want to ensure that their furry companion is receiving the best possible nutrition.

I always love my afternoons cooking homemade dog food, with Weston + Fira waiting in the kitchen, and I hope you do too with this recipe!


Disclaimer: use your own judgment and speak to your veterinarian if you have questions/concerns.

If you’re pressed for time and unable to prepare your own homemade dog food, don’t worry! Nowadays, there are countless dog food brands available on the market. When I started cooking meals for my pup, there were only one or two companies to choose from. However, in recent years, the number of dog food companies has increased significantly, offering dog owners a wide range of choices to select from.

Here are a few I recommend…

Just Food For Dogs is the first fresh dog food company that I tried, which was almost a decade ago! They specialize in providing high-quality, human-grade food for dogs. Their meals are prepared in their own kitchens, following strict food safety standards, and are tested for nutritional content by accredited vets. There’s a decent variety of flavors like beef + potato, lamb + rice, white fish + sweet potato and turkey + macaroni. 

With over 200 locations nationwide, including all Petco stores, I find myself easily picking up Just Food For Dogs when I’m running low on dog food and need to get it fast! 

The Farmer’s Dog is also one of the more popular dog food brands out there! Did you see their most recent Superbowl commercial? *tear jerker*

The meals are pre-portioned and personalized for your dogs’ specific needs based on a profile you create when signing up. The food is gently cooked to maintain whole food integrity and natural nutrients, then frozen and shipped directly to your door. Sign up and get 50% off your first order!

PetPlate also offers delicious, balanced dog food that looks like real food. They come in convenient little containers and and an easy subscription plan (a full plan could cost as little as $1.29/day!). Your dog will thank you!

Need to find out what food allergies your dog may have? I used NutriScan and found out Weston + Fira were allergies to so many ingredients I would have never even known! 


The Ultimate Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth at Home

The Ultimate Guide to Canine Dental Care: How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Like a Pro

How many of you actually brush your dog’s teeth?

Brushing my own teeth is annoying enough as it is… I’m trying to get in the habit of brushing both my dogs’ teeth more often, especially Weston. He unfortunately had to get several teeth pulled out throughout the past years because they were rotting and causing gum disease. Apparently, it’s common for Bulldogs to have bad teeth because of their overbite and overcrowding of teeth. 

If you notice your dog has bad breath, red swollen gums, yellow-ish brown tartar along the gum line, or bumps within the mouth, do go see the vet and get it checked out. Your pup could have major infections inside the mouth and even loose teeth.

Dental hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for humans, but it’s something that many pet owners overlook (myself included). Neglecting your dog’s teeth can lead to a variety of health problems, including tooth decay, gum disease, and even life-threatening infections.

Taking care of your dog’s teeth at home is simple and straightforward with a few basic supplies and a little patience. This article will walk you through each step of the process, from choosing the necessary tools to brushing your dog’s teeth and providing alternative cleaning methods for those who struggle with toothbrushing. Whether you’re a new pet parent or a seasoned dog owner, this guide will help you ensure that your furry companion’s teeth stay healthy and strong for years to come!

What You’ll Need for A Successful At-Home Dog Teeth Cleaning

Before you start cleaning your dog’s teeth at home, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies. In this section, we’ll go over the supplies you’ll need, explain why each one is important, and offer some tips for choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog.

The toothbrush is the most important tool in your dog’s dental care kit. Look for a toothbrush that’s specifically designed for dogs, as human toothbrushes can be too harsh on their teeth and gums. You can choose between a traditional toothbrush or a finger brush, depending on your preference and your dog’s comfort level. Make sure the toothbrush is the right size for your dog’s mouth and teeth.

Here are some of the most popular toothbrushes for dogs:

best toothbrush for my dog

Radius Pet Organic Oral Care Kit

Have you seen the RADIUS toothbrushes for humans? They are super wide, aid in massaging the gums and help with gum disease protection. So, RADIUS makes the same toothbrush for dogs and we get to have matching toothbrushes? CUTE.

Radius Toothbrushes for humans

More dog toothbrushes…

best toothbrush for my dogs

Bamboo Pet Toothbrushes

The Prymal Pets Bamboo Toothbrush is an eco-friendly and sustainable option for cleaning your dog’s teeth. Made from high-quality, biodegradable bamboo, this toothbrush is designed to be gentle on your dog’s teeth and gums while effectively removing plaque and tartar. This toothbrush is also lightweight and is dual-ended, making it a great choice for pet parents of all experience levels.

Vet’s Best Toothbrush + Enzymatic Toothpaste

This kit includes a double-headed toothbrush with soft bristles that effectively remove plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth, as well as an enzymatic toothpaste that’s specifically formulated to fight off harmful bacteria and freshen your dog’s breath. The toothpaste is made with natural ingredients like aloe vera, neem oil and enzymes to ensure that it’s safe and gentle on your dog’s teeth and gums. I read various reviews mentioning this toothpaste helped slough the tartar right off their pup’s teeth!

Dog Toothbrush 10,000 Soft Bristles

Oh Rigby Toothbrush is possibly the softest dog toothbrush on the market! 10,000 fine bristles make it painless to brush your pet’s pearly whites and keep their gums from bleeding. The ultra-soft bristles gently brush away build-up, plaque and tartar while keeping your pet’s teeth and gums safe from harsh bristles and bleeding.

best dental kit for dogs

Oxyfresh Premium Pet Dental Kit

If you prefer the finger brushes for brushing your dog’s teeth, the Oxyfresh Premium Pet Dental Kit is a complete dental care system for your furry friend. The kit includes a toothpaste, a bottle of water additive and 3 finger brushes and is safe for all pets and does not contain any harmful chemicals or additives. It has rave reviews and I have been adding this to Weston + Fira’s routine, especially the water additive. 

360º Dog Finger Toothbrush

Made with food-grade silicone, non-toxic and allows for easy cleaning of the entire mouth with just a few swipes!

Petsmile Toothpaste Applicator Swabs

If your dog just refuses to accept any type of brush in his mouth or is very sensitive, try Petsmile Applicator Swabs. Just gently spread the toothpaste onto your pet’s teeth and molars in seconds! The swabs are reusable — just rinse and dry. 

Dog Teeth Cleaning Chew Toy

If your dog refuses toothbrush and/or toothpaste, try a chew toy! These toys are specifically created with bristles to clean their teeth as they are chewing and playing. You can even add toothpaste within the rows of bristles. 

Which toothpaste for my dog?

Dog toothpaste is specially formulated to be safe for dogs to swallow and come in a variety of flavors that appeal to dogs. Do not use human toothpaste, as it can be harmful to your dog. Look for a toothpaste that contains enzymes that help break down plaque and tartar. Many people even use coconut oil as a substitute for toothpaste for their dogs (which, by the way, is amazing for our teeth as well! See: coconut pulling)

The paste in the Radius Oral Care Kit is all organic and made with sweet potatoes and cinnamon and actually smells really nice! I also like the toothpaste that comes in the Oxyfresh Premium Pet Dental Kit — it’s unscented! Make sure to try out different flavors of toothpaste to find one that your dog likes.

Bestselling Pet Toothpaste

Radius Canine Dental Gel

Vet’s Best Enzymatic Dog Toothpaste

Arm & Hammer for Pets Dental Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs 

Petsmile Professional Pet Toothpaste


Time to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

1.) Introduce the toothbrush: Before you start brushing your dog’s teeth, let them sniff and taste the toothbrush and toothpaste. This will help them get used to the new sensations and flavors.

If this is the first time you’re brushing your pups’ teeth then make it fun for them. Give them exercise first so they are relaxed through this process. Start brushing their teeth as a puppy so they get used to it early on. 

2.) Never use human toothpaste: it’s poisonous to dogs! So grab some dog toothpaste and give your pup a sample to introduce them to it.

3.) Lift the lip to expose the gums and teeth of your dog and gently brush their teeth how you would your own. Use a forty-five degree angle. Talk to your dog through this to assure them that there’s nothing to worry about. Make sure to get the back upper teeth as they usually build up tartar. Gradually work your way back to the molars. Be sure to brush both the inside and outside of each tooth.

If your dog is not used to the brushing then start doing only a couple teeth til they are fully comfortable with it.

4.) Give your pup some love by petting them or giving them their favorite toy to make them love getting their teeth brushed. Try getting synthetic bones with bristles which are great for your pups teeth and gums. Bones are great for pups so they get strengthen the gums and teeth and even get rid of build up plaque. Even getting pets the right type of toy is one effective way to help combat dental problems.

Remember to be patient. Your dog may resist at first, but it’s important to be patient and persistent. Try to make the experience as positive as possible by offering treats and praise throughout the process.

Why is Dog Dental Care Important?

Dental hygiene is essential for your dog’s overall health and well-being. Neglecting their teeth can lead to serious health issues, like periodontal disease, bacterial infections, and teeth extractions (which are also expensive!). It’s important to start a dental care routine for your dog at home and maintain it consistently.

Brushing your dog’s teeth is a simple and effective way to keep their teeth clean, but it’s not the only option. There are also dental treats, chews, and water additives that can aid in maintaining oral health. If you’re having difficulty getting started or your dog has sensitive teeth, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian for some advice. Remember, taking care of your dog’s teeth can help extend their lifespan and save you from expensive dental treatments in the future. So don’t wait until it’s too late, start prioritizing your fur baby’s dental health as soon as possible. 🙂


Worried about your dog’s teeth and need to talk to a vet? Talk to a licensed vet right away with Vetster. Vetster offers affordable online veterinarian and virtual pet care services on-demand.

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Aspiration Pneumonia + Coupage Steams for French Bulldogs

small cream french bulldog in white bed

In the seven years of Fira’s life so far, she has aspirated six times. Basically, she has regurgitated and gotten foreign substances in her lungs like food, vomit or even just her saliva. 

This seems to be more common in French bulldogs, especially if they have or have had elongated soft palate issues. Fira is on the more petite side for a French bulldog (14 lbs) and I’ve had to keep a close eye on her breathing for most of her life, as her nose and soft palate is small, and she can easily become congested. 

So, what is aspiration pneumonia?

Aspiration pneumonia is a type of lung infection that happens when the lungs become inflamed due to inhalation, or aspiration, of a foreign substance. These foreign substances can be food, fluid, vomit, or saliva. 

Inflammation and infection in the lung tissue and airways can cause difficulty in breathing, coughing, fever, and other symptoms. Aspiration pneumonia can be life-threatening, especially if it is severe enough to restrict the flow of oxygen. Brachycephalic breeds, like French Bulldogs, Pugs, English Bulldogs, are more likely to develop aspiration pneumonia compared with non-brachycephalic breeds. 

In simple terms, pneumonia is inflammation of deep lung tissue and usually causes severe respiratory distress.

french bulldog under vet care

The first time Fira got aspiration pneumonia was in May 2018 when she was three years old. We were in London, of all places, and had to find an emergency vet at midnight. Earlier in the day, she appeared to be in good health, but in the evening, she suddenly became lethargic, vomited, and experienced difficulty breathing.

Other symptoms to look out for:

  • Panting
  • Noisy or wet breathing
  • Very congesting breathing
  • Not eating
  • Coughing
  • Blue-colored gums or tongue
  • Weakness
  • Collapse

Earlier that day, we had given her a type of marrow bone from the pet store, and I believe her excessive chewing caused some of the pieces, along with her saliva, to regurgitate back into her lungs. It was a distressing experience and being in another country made the experience so much scarier! Luckily, Fira was put on an IV drip and oxygen therapy right away.

Your vet will listen for abnormal lung sounds and take chest X-rays to identify any cloudiness in the affected lung areas.

Some of the bone marrow must have caused a bacterial infection in her lungs. Thankfully, her other cases of aspiration have never been as bad as this first one. The other times she’s aspirated, she never had to do a IV drip or oxygen therapy — just antibiotics and some coupage steams. 

Given its 25 percent fatality rate, aspiration pneumonia should be taken very seriously. Treatment can include hospitalization, IV fluids, antibiotics, oxygen therapy, nebulization, and coupage.

Are you worried your dog has pneumonia? Talk to a licensed vet right away with Vetster. Vetster offers affordable online veterinarian and virtual pet care services on-demand.

What is a coupage?

When done correctly, coupage can help in loosening and clearing the lungs of excess secretions. Coupage involves using steam to hydrate the lower airway and thin out secretions, then cupping your hands and gently patting your dog’s chest area with pressure but gently (also known as: thoracic percussion therapy), which helps loosen deep lung fluids.

First, run a steamy, hot shower with any windows and doors closed to trap all the excess steam inside. Let your dog sit in the shower or bathroom for 10 minutes like a mini sauna, then pat their chest after.

I’ve actually found more success with creating a mini steam box. 

I use a small basket that Fira fits comfortably inside (your dog should be able to stand and move around in it), put a lid on, and use a handheld steamer. 

Here’s the basket I use:

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I like this one because there’s already openings on both sides, so she can breathe easily without the steam becoming too overwhelming. It’s actually a collapsible pet bathtub, so it has multiple uses!

I’ve also seen people use a large clear storage box with some holes cut into it, or alternatively just place the lid on with a bit of an opening on top. 

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Use the steamer to create a nice steam box for your pup for about 10 minutes. Always check on your dog to make sure they aren’t overheating and never leave them unattended!

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After 10 minutes, it’s time for patting.


[ image credit + link to a helpful guide: Brewster Vet ]

When you pat your dog’s chest, you should cup your hands. Your palm should not be flat against their body. The idea is that your tapping should be firm enough to loosen fluid that may be trapped deep within the lungs, but not so hard as to cause pain or discomfort for your dog — almost like burping a baby. I usually tap 10x each on the left side of chest, then right side, then left side of ribcage area, then right side, then a few taps on her upper back.

I learned this from my vet years ago, as he also has French bulldogs. I’ve posted about this before on Instagram and surprisingly, a lot of frenchie owners don’t know about coupage!

What about nebulization for dogs?

Nebulizers work by converting liquid into a fine mist, which can easily be inhaled directly to the lungs, providing faster, effective relief. You fill the device with water, place the cup gently over their nose, and allow the fine aerosol mist to do its magic. 

(I found this dog-shaped nebulizer at a local pharmacy!)

I find a coupage steam is more effective (especially if there is congestion present in the lungs), but a nebulizer works in a pinch and does aid in lubricating nasal passages for your dog. 

I’ve realized that coupage steams and/or nebulization are a must for French bulldogs and brachycephalic breeds for regular maintenance. If your dog gets easily congested, try coupage steams and see if it makes a difference. 

If you think your dog has aspiration pneumonia, make sure you go to your vet for immediate action. More than likely, your pup will go on antibiotics for around 2 weeks. Limit activity and keep your dog in a calm, stress-free environment so they can recuperate and breathe easy. During this period, I usually do the coupage steams for my dog 2-3 times a day. I hope this post was helpful!

Watch my how-to video on Instagram:

french bulldog how to coupage

For 15% off your first Vetster appointment, use code: WTFRENCHIE15

How to Spend One Day in Palm Springs with Your Dog

palm springs in front of juniper hotelFrom Morning Until Night, Here’s What To Do If Time Is Limited


Only have one day in Palm Springs with your dog? Jen on the Run has the perfect itinerary for you!

Palm Springs is filled with restaurants, shopping, events, and outdoor activities that you and your dog can enjoy together. This stunning desert oasis with near-perfect weather year-round offers a unique mix of relaxation, adventure, and entertainment. 

Just a short drive from Los Angeles and San Diego, Palm Springs makes a great weekend getaway. And fortunately, there are ample opportunities to bring you pup with you to dog parks, restaurants, and window shopping.

Don’t forget to snag your free map of all the places mentioned at the end of this post!

So without further ado, let’s dive into my guide on How to Spend One Day in Palm Springs with Your Dog: 



8:00am: Wake up in your very own room at the Kimpton Rowan Hotel (pets always stay free!) and take in the stunning mountain views. Located right in downtown Palm Springs, the Rowan has a unique and artistic vibe. Head to the rooftop first thing in the morning and you might be lucky enough to have it all to yourself.

Quite possibly the best view, period, in Palm Springs, the rooftop and pool here can’t be missed.

The lobby is also super chic with the decor well-suited for Palm Springs, which is the epicenter of mid-century modern design in Southern California. And better yet, dogs stay free at the Rowan!


Looking for other Insta-Worthy Hotels in Palm Springs? Check out this post


10:00am: Once you’ve gotten your fill of views from the roof (and maybe a mimosa or two from the rooftop bar), walk just 10 minutes up Palm Canyon for coffee and pastry at Koffi

One of local’s favorite spots, Koffi is a small chain with four locations in the area known for its freshly roasted beans and custom blends. 

It’s the largest independent specialty coffee retail and roasting company in the Coachella Valley. Bring your pup along and grab yourself a honey vanilla iced latte along with a banana walnut muffin. Yum!

Koffi. 515 N Palm Canyon Dr.



12:00pm: If the weather isn’t too hot, the afternoon is the perfect time to head out on a dog-friendly hike. If you just have one day in Palm Springs with your dog, I recommend a short but pleasant one: The Butler Abrams Trail in Rancho Mirage.

[ Photo: Google ]


Technically, this trail is outside the perimeter of Palm Springs proper, but it’s not far from downtown – about a 20 minutes’ drive. Depending on what time of year you arrive, you’ll see beautiful bougainvillea flowers, cacti, and plenty of date palm trees along your walk. 

At 2.4 miles total, the trail takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Avoid coming on windy days, as there is sand along this trail which might pose a challenge in high wind conditions.

Generally considered as an easy walking trail, many dog parents bring their pups of all sizes here for a relaxed afternoon stroll.


2:00pm: Now that you’ve had the chance to work up your appetite, it’s time for a little lunch. Head back to Palm Springs and stop by Sherman’s Deli & Bakery, a local favorite. This popular restaurant gets crowded pretty quickly, so it’s best to avoid the rush and come later in the day. 

Sherman’s has a lot of seating both inside and out, and the patio is dog-friendly. I recommend the classic tuna melt or beef brisket sandwich served on a French roll. Also, their homemade potato latkes are out of this world. I hope you came hungry!

Sherman’s Deli & Bakery. 401 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way.


4:00pm: It’s time to shop ‘til you drop! Most of the shops along Palm Canyon Drive (the main drag in Palm Springs) are dog-friendly. Stop by Cold Nose Warm Heart, a charming boutique pet store where furry friends of all kinds are welcome. 

Find toys, pet food, collars, leashes, and more and this adorable shop, then continue to head down Palm Canyon for more shopping, including West Elm, H&M, Trina Turk, etc.

Cold Nose Warm Heart. ​​187 South Palm Canyon Dr.


7:00pm: Round out the day in Palm Springs with your dog at Boozehounds. This restaurant is centered all around dogs, so definitely bring your pup for all the fun!

boozehounds palm springs

They have a menu made especially for your pup, with options like a loaded sweet potato with ground chicken, a teriyaki salmon bowl, a doggie tv diner with beef meatloaf, and even watermelon gazpacho! And of course, the options for humans are delicious, too.

The open-air atrium at Boozehounds is so cute, and the cabana bar and patio out back are everything your pup has been dreaming of and more. Bring your furry pal and they’ll get to make friends with other doggos there, too!

Boozehounds. 2080 N Palm Canyon Dr.


9:00pm: Once dinner’s over, it’s time to head back to the Kimpton Rowan for the night. After all these fun activities, your pup (and likely you, too!) will be dog-tired, pun intended. Cheers to spending one day in Palm Springs with your dog!

Are you ready to book your trip to Palm Springs? Feel free to share your questions and comments below.


Guest Post Written By: Jen Pellerito of Jen on the Run featuring her poodle-terrier mix, Casper
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