I-Love-Dogs.com was a website whose owners boasted that they had over 1,000 dog food reviews. They ran the tagline: “Top Dog Food Brands: Read Reviews and Buy Online.” The site also provided various kinds of information, including details about dog breeds, health and care, dog clubs and associations, and, at one time, a directory of dog websites (Source).
After publishing for 15 years, the site shut down. What could have happened to this resource? We took the time to follow its history to answer this question.
The History of I-Love-Dogs.com
I-Love-Dogs.com first appeared on the Internet in 1999 as a simple page that provided users with links to the latest dog magazines, books, software (wallpaper and screensavers for Windows 95 and 98), supplies, and videos (Source).
In its early years, the website was presented in bright colors with comic characters. It even had Dale Taylor’s Not In My Backyard! comic strip at the bottom of the page (a comic starring a dachshund, a squirrel and the dog’s owners).
The site also had a Dog Community, where members were invited to “tell the world about [their] dog(s)” (Source). In the later years, the section evolved into a more fully featured dog forum where dog lovers could post topics, pictures of their dogs, and communicate privately with other dog lovers.
Becoming a Dog Directory
An analysis of I-Love-Dogs.com in the early 2000s shows that the owners of the site wanted to make it a directory for all sorts of information about dogs. The website boasted that it offered “the largest dog website directories on the Internet, whether you are looking for information on dog health, dog training, dog pictures, or free dog stuff.” The website invited the readers to: “please explore this site with the eagerness of a puppy!” (Source).
At this time, the website was categorized into several sections, including All About Dogs, Agility, Associations (in the USA and Canada), Boarding & Sitting, Clubs, and Health.
Other links on the website included Parks, Rescue, Training, Weird & Unusual, Adoptions, Breeders, Art & Graphics, Award Sites, Education, Humor, Memorials, Newsletters & E-zines (e-magazines), Dog Personal Pages, Shopping, and Web Rings (Source).
Introducing the Dog Blog
I-Love-Dogs.com added a Dog Blog to its website in 2005. The blog was an RSS feed (using a single news program that collects news from different websites) of 3-4 daily dog-related articles.
The blog had links to a range of articles, including entertaining ones, like one about a New York City pup that was named ‘America’s Least Obedient Dog’, to more serious ones like one entitled ‘Dog Attacks Anti-Dangerous Dog Bill Author’ (Source).
Another article which appeared on the blog was about an Omaha Senator’s dog, Nichole, which served as the “representative” for animal cruelty. The animal took on the role when the senator, against the rules, entered the senate chamber with the dog to make a point regarding adding a clause about puppy protection into a bill (Source).
One of the most significant issues carried by the I-Love-Dogs.com blog in 2005 was about a deadly canine flu that was spreading in the country in that year. Scientists were indicating the fatality rate for the flu, which mostly affected racing greyhounds, was as high as 10%.
Dog Food Recipes
In its lifetime, one of the services that I-Love-Dogs.com introduced was a section with free dog recipes in 2007. Readers had permission to display the recipes from the site on their websites, as long as they gave credit to the original author of the recipe.
The recipes were listed in alphabetical order, from Akita Style Lamb & Rice to Z-Dog’s Biscuits. The section had various types of recipes, including the Bad Breath Banishers, Chicken Liver Cookies, and the German Shepherd Dog Pie, among others (Source).
Over 1,000 Dog Food Reviews
By December 2012, I-Love-Dogs.com was telling visitors that it had over 1,000 dog food reviews. It indicated that its goal was to help dog owners understand more about what they were feeding their dogs (Source).
When you look at the website at this time, it seems like it had shifted its focus from being a directory of all things to do with dogs to a more streamlined site. However, it still returned to the Forum and Breeds sections. The others like Dog Games, Dog Names, and Dog EBay actions, which had been introduced in the early to mid-2000s, were dropped (Source).
The focus on food brands could be noted from the website’s landing page starting in 2012. Dog food brands were categorized in alphabetical order. A click on each brand name led the visitor to the brand page (Source).
Each product website that could be accessed from I-Love-Dogs.com provided in-depth information about that product: ingredients, nutritional content information, calories, prices, and a full product overview.
For each product, there was also an Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) statement about that product. Users could also access e-commerce stores. (Source).
What then Happened to I-Love-Dogs.com?
In June 2014, the site suddenly shut down with a farewell message that read, “Goodbye, So Long, Farewell. So sorry to say this, but we have had to close up shop. We had a good run, but due to financial constraints, our time here is up, and we are forced to retire I-Love-Dogs.com. We hope you had as much fun as we did.” (Source).