We had the opportunity recently to pick the brain of Bliss Paws founder and Certified Canine Massage Therapist Susie Tsai. From travel advice to design processes to the ins and outs of dog massages, Susie reveals some great tips and insights into the human-dog relationship. Check out the interview below!
What are some of the challenges people face when traveling with their dog(s)?
The biggest challenge of traveling with your dogs is being able to care for them just as well as we would care for them in the comfort of our own home. At home, dogs are able to independently hydrate themselves whenever they are thirsty. However, when you are on the go, it’s the owner’s responsibility to make sure the dog is hydrated and fed. Since water accounts for more than 60% of a dog’s body weight, and because breathing, salivating, defecating, and urinating are all responsible for significant losses of water from a dog’s body, it is just as important that a dog stays hydrated as it is for humans.
Another challenge people face when traveling with their dogs is simply having too much stuff. If you think about what’s in an average woman’s purse, they have a million things in there and men don’t usually have more than their keys and their wallets. My product allows the pet owner to be able to carry a lightweight, stylish, collapsible bowl for their dog either in their purse, messenger bag, clipped onto a belt buckle, back pack or even their keys instead of carrying around a bulky plastic container. My collapsible bowl is convenient, compact, colorful and the perfect item for all dog owners on the go.
What made you decide to make a pop-up travel bowl?
A few years ago, I went camping with my friends and I brought my dog, Buffy, along with me. We decided to go on a hike and at some point, Buffy was panting and clearly very thirsty. I felt horrible that I brought my own water bottle, but I didn’t have anything for Buffy to drink out of. So I began to refill the cap of the water bottle over and over again. Let’s just say, Buffy’s thirst was not quenched until we got back to the camp site. When I got home, I intended on purchasing a dog bowl online but I realized the products out there were not up to par. So that is when the light bulb went off in my head and I knew I had to come up with an all-in-one product that would solve this problem, and Bliss Paws was then created.
What were the most important factors you considered when making the bowl?
The most important factor of making this bowl was high quality and durability. The collapsible bowl is made of silicone. I wanted the bowl to be just right, not too hard and not too soft. So through trial and error, I was able to find the perfect amount of silicone that would be durable but light weight. Since color plays an important role in all our visual experiences, I carefully chose three colors that would do just that.
Tell us a little bit about your dog?
Buffy was a street dog that I rescued in Asia. My vet says that he’s probably a Beagle and Labrador mix. I was eating with some friends when I noticed him while entering the restaurant and lingering outside of the window. After dinner, he reluctantly came up to the group of us, probably because he was hungry but he was particularly drawn to me. There was an instant connection but I was moving back to the United States shortly. I went home that night and I just couldn’t get him out of my head. It was truly love at first sight. I went back to search for him and after a few hours, I was so excited to find him under a car and he was just as excited to see me. He jumped onto my scooter and the rest is history. I made arrangements to have him flown back to Los Angeles with me and from that point, him and I have been best friends.
He is now 13 years old and he loves food and taking walks. He was recently diagnosed with Tick disease but he’s a fighter. He is now on a organic food diet and is getting better everyday.
What do you do as a dog massage therapist and how does massage help dogs?
I’m a certified dog massage therapist who understands the muscle structure of the dog and how the muscles, ligaments and tendons work together. It is very different then just petting a dog which is for showing affection or soothing. Massaging is muscle manipulation. I decide on which technique is appropriate for each dog while examining the dog throughout a session, noting overall well being and progress.
Dogs get the same kind of benefits from massage therapy that humans enjoy. Dog massages have endless benefits but mainly it is for flexibility and injury prevention. As dogs get older, their muscles stiffen and their mobility decreases. A massage reduces the stiffness in the muscles, allowing the dog to move more freely and for elderly dogs to regain lost energy. Massages help stimulate blood circulation, improve digestion, joint flexibility, relieves stress, and promotes muscle relaxation.
I love what I do and it is one of the most fulfilling things to be able to promote health and healing in dogs. I have worked with K-9 police dogs, elderly dogs, dogs with other ailments, puppies, and even dogs that just need to be pampered. I provide my massage services on an on call basis to the hotel guests at The Langham Huntington Hotel in Pasadena who want to simply enjoy a relaxing spa day with their dogs.
Do you have any questions for Susie? Leave your comments below!