human hand holding dog paw

A Message from Best Friends Pet Hotel CEO Jared Pinsker to our Pet Parents:

The past few weeks have been challenging and evolving for all as we learn more about the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). As leaders in the pet care industry, we care deeply about your family and take the responsibility of caring for your pets very seriously.

Guided by Best Friends veterinarian consultant Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM, we are focused on ensuring the wellness of our pets and people by taking the following actions:

  • Monitoring: We know this situation is challenging for all involved. We are vigilantly monitoring and acting upon advice from top experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Pet parents are understandably concerned about respiratory virus transmission. As of today, the nation’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received zero reports of pets or other animals showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, nor does the CDC believe that animals can spread this disease to people.
  • The CDC strongly advises sick people and pets to self-quarantine, to wash hands thoroughly, and use a “social distancing” strategy to keep pets and people well.
  • Mitigation: Wellness and cleanliness are part of our company’s culture. As of this writing, we have not received any reports of Best Friends Pet Hotel employees showing signs or symptoms of the virus and are enforcing all health and safety protocols already in place, such as increasing the frequency of our cleanings and making sure our teams are supported with all the supplies and information they need – and anyone who is not feeling well knows we will support them in their decision to stay home. In our grooming areas, play areas, and boarding areas, we will continue our stringent cleaning practices and use a disinfectant formulated to kill the coronavirus (and other viruses).

As an employee-owned company, our wonderful team of caregivers at 31 Best Friends Pet Hotel centers nationwide agree that our first priority is to both people and pets. We ask that you partner with us to closely monitor your own health – and the health of your pet and the pets in your care.

Working together, our team is taking all the health and safety precautions needed to ensure that we maintain our clean and safe pet care and the industry’s highest level of client satisfaction. Our collaboration in our collective health will make us stronger as move through this ever-changing situation. Please watch for updates on our website and thank you for your continued trust in Best Friends as your partner in pet care.

Best regards,
Jared Pinsker, CEO
Best Friends Pet Hotels


Best Friends Pet Hotel is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Sharon Davis DVM as an experienced veterinarian consultant to the company’s leadership team to support pet parents and associates. Staffed by pet-loving Best Friends Pet Hotel employees, the company will tap into Dr. Davis’ expertise to assist with a wide range of preventative medical and wellness issue and company policies and procedures. She will also look at cleaning products and chemical use at the Best Friends facilities, and assist in updating the company’s approved/not-approved medication list. As the company upgrades and opens new facilities, she will be on hand when new wellness issues arise.

“We couldn’t be happier to welcome Dr. Davis to the Best Friends Pet Hotel family,” said Darryl Sampson, Vice President, Operations and Growth. “A Massachusetts native, Dr. Davis has an excellent reputation as a medical professional and a caring individual. We are proud to add her expertise to our leadership team, our employee-owned organization and our pet parents at 31 locations nationwide.”

Sharon L. Davis, D.V.M. was born in Kingston, Mass. and received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in biochemistry from Bridgewater State College. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) with a concentration in mixed animal medicine and surgery from Purdue University. After graduating from Purdue, she worked for a small animal practice in Indiana before returning home to Massachusetts. For the past 23 years, she has worked at Kingston Animal Hospital caring for dogs, cats and pocket pets.

In addition to being a mother, Dr. Davis has a home filled with rescued animals including dogs, cats, chinchillas, and chickens. She also volunteers at an assisted living facility where she presents a program called Animal Tales to the residents on a monthly basis. In her free time, Dr. Davis also enjoys traveling, hiking, yoga, gardening, beekeeping, reading, and new adventures.

With 31 locations, including one at Walt Disney World, Best Friends Pet Hotel is an all-breed pet care provider with a warm, friendly, clean and comfortable atmosphere. The details make the difference at Best Friends Pet Hotel. Best Friends Pet Hotel offers overnight standard and luxury suites for boarding dogs, cats and pocket pets as well as high-quality doggy day camp, training, and grooming services All pet͛s’ special needs are considered, and each guest is monitored closely. All pets are required to provide proof of vaccinations.

For more information, call 978-443-2351 or visit


About Best Friends Pet Hotel: Founded in 1995 and currently employee-owned, Best Friends Pet Hotel has enjoyed “leader of the pack” status for nearly 25 years. With 31 locations, including Walt Disney World, we strive to provide customers with the absolute best pet care in a convenient and friendly atmosphere where safety, comfort, and fun are at the core of what we do. We offer boarding, Doggy Day Camp, grooming, and training services with full transparency, great communication with pet parents, the latest advances in safety, and a caring staff that loves your pet as much as they love their own. Many hotels offer outside and inside play areas designed with the latest advances in materials and safety. Learn more at

Media Contact: Julie Dennehy, 508-479-9848,


Feline Foods: 4 Tips To Fuel

cat eating food out of bowl

Feline Foods: 4 Tips To Fuel
By Christine A. Bournias


Fuel. Food. And Felines.

Cats are self sufficient, but they still rely on us to feed them well. For good health, our feline friends need food that fuels them for stamina and contentment. These companions are primarily carnivores and need animal-based proteins that contain essential amino acids.

cat on woman's shoulder hugging


Taurine is an amino acid found in protein and is an essential nutrient for cats. Most other mammals can manufacture enough taurine from other amino acid sources to meet their nutritional requirements.

Not cats. They need essential nutrients in their diet.

Taurine isn’t stored in large quantities in their body, but it must be consumed by cats on a regular basis. Cat food must contain animal-based proteins with this amino acid.


“Taurine is a type of amino acid, which are the building blocks of all proteins.Taurine is exclusively found in animal-based proteins. It is critical for normal vision, digestion, heart muscle function, to maintain normal pregnancy and fetal development, and to maintain a healthy immune system. Taurine is an essential amino acid in the cat.” VCA


With the vast majority of dry pet foods that contain little or no real meat, cats suffer from cheaper substitutes like meat by-products, bone meal, and grain proteins such corn gluten, wheat gluten, or soy protein.

There just isn’t enough real meat in pet foods.

Cats have limited ability to manufacture taurine but can be supplemented by a healthy diet.

Pets Deserve Proper Fuel

1. Nutritional Value

Look for quality pet food by reading the first three (3) to five (5) ingredients on the label. Manufacturers often change their size bags and their contents. Therefore, it’s advised to cut the ingredient label, write the date on it, and place it safe in a drawer. Six (6) months later, revisit the ingredients in the new bag of food to assure that key ingredients don’t make a drastic change.


“With a fur family of multiple cats, I look closely at what I feed all of them. Until I found food with quality ingredients that work for all stages of my cat’s life, I used to have to feed them all different foods—all different times. I actually found dry cat food for every stage of my cat’s life! There really are many high quality options available.” —Eric D., Store Team Leader Pet Supplies Plus


Find pet food with meat as the number one ingredient. A pet food brand that’s free or limited in corn, soy, or wheat is ideal. Several brands will promote food for all life stages and will support brain development with DHA. Look for foods that are made in the United States and/or those that are responsibly sourced by USA imported ingredients.

cats sharing food


2. Feed Cats Like Family

Your cat is an integral part of the family, but that doesn’t mean that they should consume table scraps from humans. Make sure that any and all food and treats are safe for your pet.

Human Foods To Avoid 

  • Alcohol
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee, Energy Drinks, Tea
  • Garlic
  • Grapes or Raisins
  • Onions
  • Table Scraps (fat trimmings, raw meat, eggs or fish)
  • Xylitol

happy relaxed gray cat pet


PurrRRRrfect Foods

Cat friendly foods with a variety of wholesome ingredients, like cheese, salmon, tuna—and yes, catnip. These food items are terrific for your cat.

Plenty of fresh water served in clean bowls is crucial too. In fact, cats need to have a lot of moisture in meat-based food and treats. Grain-based foods aren’t ideal for a cat’s primal needs and optimum health.

“It’s tempting to give your cats human treats. Avoid overdoing snack consumption.” —Genia P.

Even though cats aren’t as excited for treats as dogs are, it’s nice to have feline treats in your arsenal for special occasions—or for those times when a stubborn cat needs motivation. But, it’s important to understand your cat’s favorite eats before you start cooking up treats.


Homemade Cat Treats


1 can tuna in oil, drained
1 egg
1 1/4 cups of flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup water
dash of parsley (or dried catnip)
Bottle cap (or favorite holiday, fun shaped cookie cutter)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a food processor mix tuna, egg, flour, water and parsley until a dough forms. (If dough looks too sticky, add a bit more flour.)
  3. Dust a surface with flour and roll out dough to 1/2 inch thick
  4. Use a bottle cap (or cookie cutter) to cut out treats from the dough
  5. Bake for 20 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  6. Let cool and serve your cat!

Cat treats will keep for a few weeks in a sealed container or mason jar.

Recipe by: Mess For Less

cat playing on back


3. Dog Food Is Not Cat Food

While both species love the same kind of food, it’s vital that your cat eats their own food.

Cat food is much higher in meat-based protein than dog food, making cat food appealing to dogs. The meat smell and flavor are strong. Dogs crave it, but shouldn’t eat it.

Cats must eat meat as a biological necessity. It’s their primal instinct. In contrast, dogs are omnivores, meaning they can eat meat and vegetables. Your canine companions need this varied diet in order to meet their nutritional requirements.

cat and dog eating food out of bowls


Did You Know?

Cats can eat green beans! If your pet is overweight, then you may want to consider more vegetable treats, like green beans. Green beans provide fiber, magnesium, iron, vitamin B6, and calcium. They have plenty of protein and help strengthen their immune systems. While it’s ideal for your pet to get essential nutrients they need from their food, the vitamins in green beans are helpful if they need more strength or need to lose a little weight.

hungry cat with empty food bowl

Cats And Dogs: Different Dietary Needs

Most dogs won’t be harmed if they sneak your cat’s supper every once and awhile. But, it isn’t something you should give him on a consistent basis. When it comes to pet fuel, it’s all about long-term nutritional requirements.

Unless your veterinarian recommends otherwise, the best food for your dog is dog food, not cat food. Cat food may work in a pinch, but it’s not recommended to mix the two.

If your dog consumes cat food on a regular basis, complications may arise. Cat food doesn’t have the correct balance of protein, fiber, and nutrients dogs need to stay healthy.


“Percy Prince—and my entire feline team—are particular with their food, but I don’t mind finding healthy treats that are ideal for cats. They’re all worth it.” —Suzi K., Publisher/Editor American Pet Magazine


Nutrient imbalance can lead to gastrointestinal upset, obesity, or worse—pancreatitis. Symptoms are appetite loss, vomiting, lethargy, distended abdomen or diarrhea. Seek medical advice immediately. Even if your dog suffers no obvious ill systems, high levels of protein can overtax a dog’s organs. Studies reveal that excessive protein can lead to kidney disease and too much taurine can negate any benefits it does for both your cat or dog’s ticker.

Ask your trusted Veterinarian what food is best for your own pet’s optimal health.


4. Keep It Fresh

Your cat craves fresh food and they’re selective with what they eat.

Cats have specific nutritional needs including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. Amino acids must come from unprocessed animal meat sources and not a vegetarian diet.

vegetables on wood surface


Many “natural” cat foods will contain vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients. However, there are some grocery grade brands that spray their foods with artificial nutrients. Cats are at risk of getting diseases like kidney failure and can develop unwanted mineral crystals in their system.


“Clean, fresh water is vital for both cats and dogs. Washing your pet’s water bowl daily and keeping your pet’s food in an air-tight, pet-safe food container will avoid fats in the food from going rancid. Your pets deserve to be both hydrated and fed well.” —Mike P., Owner, Premier Pet Supply 


Pet foods that contain carrageenans (preservatives) don’t have long shelf life, but will be healthier for your cat—or dog.


Did You Know?

Blueberries are safe and provide antioxidants for both cats and dogs. Blueberries are high in fiber and low in fat and calories, making them a health conscious, fuel source for pets. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, they are known for their antioxidants (substances that prevent or delay some types of cell damage) qualities.

dog nose mouth peeking through blueberries

A type of flavonoid called anthocyanin is responsible for a blueberry’s blue color and name. Flavonoids are plant compounds that offer health benefits and powerful antioxidant effects. Depending upon where they’re grown, fresh blueberries are available year round.


While certain fruits and vegetables are good for both dogs and cats, you should be aware of some greens and plants. While green beans and catnip is safe for your cat, many plant husks are a big “no-no” and can be poisonous for your cat or dangerous for your dog.

cats eating a plant


Love Your Cat. Fuel Their Souls.

Most cats are self sufficient, but why not give them an opportunity to explore other places and people to fuel their soul? While cats tend to keep themselves occupied, they enjoy being entertained by new stimuli. Cats may appreciate a different environment to play in.

cat playing on rope wrapped pole with rope toy


Find a safe place that accommodates cats. Luxury kitty condos help keep things fresh. Look for a place that provides a clean environment and hands-on supervision. A responsible pet hotel will conduct behavioral screening and require proper feline vaccinations prior to boarding.

Seek out convenient cat boarding available in your area. Stop in, ask for a tour, and schedule your evaluation for your cat.

cat sleeping on bed pillow


Refuel: Cats Welcome

As their #1 priority, reputable cat friendly pet hotels are dedicated to keeping your pet safe and sound.

These pet hotels feed your cat at your desired times and with your preferred, healthy food. Select pet hotels cater to feline families—including grooming services and pet toys and treats available in their retail collection. So, while your cat stays in a comfy kitty condo, you can pick up something special for your dog to chew on too!


Your Cat’s ‘Best Things’—With Love, From Our Cat People:

  • Attitude
  • Beautiful Coloring
  • Cuddles
  • Easy Travel Arrangements
  • Low maintenance
  • Love
  • Self Sufficient

For more cat information and other fur family fun, call or visit your local Best Friends Pet Hotel.


About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.

Chew On This: 6 Ways To Enrich Your Dog’s Life & Keep Things Fun

metropolis striped sock monkeys - dog toys

Chew On This: 6 Ways To Enrich Your Dog’s Life & Keep Things Fun
By Christine A. Bournias


Playtime Enriches Your Dog’s Life

Do you ever notice when your dog wants to play or “go potty?”

What about knowing the signs when your dog needs to go outside to use the bathroom? They may pace or whimper. They may even ring a bell hanging on the door. They might try anything to get your attention! 

But, sometimes they chew on things.

Dogs often will start chewing on something to communicate to you that they need to go out. They suddenly get playful and work hard to entertain you. And if they’re a young puppy, they might even run to get your leather shoes—or make a dive for your sofa’s wooden leg. Chewing on your heels or furniture—not a good outcome.


Toys And Your Dog

Dog toys. We love them. We buy them for our dogs. Well, let’s be honest, we buy them for us. 

We let our dogs play with toys because it’s fun for both of us. Funny looking plush toys seem to make life more joyful. Toys make us smile because our dogs suddenly get happy when they’re allowed to run around with a pink cupcake in their mouth. Besides, striped monkeys in your dog’s toy bin make for a great topic of conversation.


Dog’s Want To Play. Give Them Something To Chew On.

As it turns out, there may be more to the statement “give that dog a bone” than we think. Gnawing on something pet friendly, healthy, and sturdy can provide hours of chewing enjoyment. Chew toys can be a positive, proactive approach to a dog’s desire to chomp and munch. Stay one step ahead of your dog’s chewing needs and get familiar with all the chew choices available.


Many pet parents find these favorite chew picks at Best Friends Pet Hotel. They’re beneficial at enriching your dog’s life. Pick up these gems next time you visit the Hotel:

    • Barkworthies Bully Sticks 
    • Barkworthies Elk Antlers
    • Barkworthies Bones
    • Etta Says Mega Chews

Etta Mega Chews


dog with chew toy antlers

© Photo Credit: Barkworthies


“All I do is give him one of those smoked beef shin bones, and Buddy is occupied for hours! He LOVES his chew toys.” —Denise T.

How To Keep Your Dog’s Life Fun & Happy In 6 Easy Steps

1. Switch Things Up

Much like children, dog toys are more exciting when they’re new. To peak their interest, switch out your dog’s toys from time to time. Toggle their toys in the toy bin every month—or at the very least, with the change of seasons. Different toys at times of the year will accommodate puppy growth spurts and will keep things exciting for your adult dog.

  • Play Trade You: Every once and awhile, ask your dog to hand it over. In exchange, give them a high value treat. Repeat this ask back and forth several times. Soon, trading becomes a fun game.
  • Limit Time: Keep them wanting more by varying toy or chew times. Playtime will become something special.
  • Freshen Up Plush Toys: Besides getting dirty, soft toys can collect dust mites. Place your pet’s plush items in the washing machine on the gentle cycle with a natural laundry detergent. Or, sprinkle plush toys with baking soda and add two (2) capfuls of white vinegar during the rinse cycle.
  • Chew Toys: Keep toys clean by soaking them in warm water, then rinse under running cold water. Towel dry. Always check your dog’s toy labels for cleaning instructions and administration directions. Most long lasting toys are top shelf, dishwasher safe.
  • Purchase New Toys: It’s a good idea to have a bunch of fresh, clean toys available.
  • Good Stuff: Try adding a dollop of peanut butter, plain yogurt, or cottage cheese to the end of your dog’s chew toy. This special dap often initiates chew time.
  • Toy Names: Do you want to impress your friends? Keep things fun and interesting for your dog. Teach them the names of their toys. Name games keep their cognitive ability sharp by enhancing their vocabulary. Start with one (1) or two (2) objects. Allow your dog the opportunity to nudge each toy from scent before saying the word out loud. Mark and reward small successes. First, keep things simple, then build their vocabulary by gradually adding more complex items to the mix.

How Many Toy Names Can YOUR Dog Learn? 

A Border Collie from South Carolina, Chaser—fondly named a canine Einstein—learned the names of 1,022 different objects. She lived with her Ethologist master, John Pilley who even  taught his dog verbs to apply to toy objects. (i.e. “get it”, “paw it”, “nose it”) Thanks to Pilley’s guardianship, Chaser, who passed in 2019, was considered the smartest dog in the world to date.The Last Word, Time Magazine


2. Monitor Playtime

A healthy dog is a playful dog—that includes their desire to toss around plush toys and nibble on chew toys. Always monitor your dogs when they have any kind of toy. The best toys are satisfying and safe for your pooch. Keep harmless, healthy products on hand. 

Teach your dog how to share their toys at an early age, especially if you have children or other pets in your home.


Be certain to always supervise your dog with any toy. Learn about resource guarding  and other animal behaviors before introducing valuable chew treats or plush toys to your dog.


Dogs are a descendant of the wolf family. Therefore, it’s in their nature to guard what they consider to be a valuable resource. In their mind—and at any given moment, a stick could be considered theirs. A stuffed animal is theirs. A chew toy is theirs. Even their owner or other four-legged housemates are theirs. Anything that they view as “theirs” is a treasured source.  

When your dog plays with toys, monitor them in a controlled, safe environment.


3. Limit Chew Time

Your dog’s dental health is important. Chewing is a good way to stimulate your dog’s gums and clean their teeth. However, it’s good to space out chew time. Limiting nibble time will allow your dog a chance to save energy for a well deserved chomping session at a later time. 


TIP: If your dog ever gets bored or uninterested in their chew toy, try dowsing it in bone broth and placing it in the freezer. When cool, this yummy treat is now a whole “new” toy!


Always make it a good thing when you take any toy away from your dog. Teach them your presence is a positive thing and that your hands aren’t the enemy. When you exchange out their toy, have an equally high value reward to replace it with. Toss a treat to them at a distance before moving close and work with them for weeks or months until it’s just a common part of their chew time. Monitor children and inexperienced dog owners.


4. Play Games

Games allow your dog to think through and solve problems on their own. Supplement your chew toys with things that are interactive like puzzles or treat dispensing toys for encouraging mental stimulation.

Teaching your pooch new tricks like pushing novelty buttons, ringing door handle bells, or turning on and off light switches can be fun, yet useful in urgent circumstances.

Most notable, games are helpful in communication between you and your dog. When dogs learn tricks, they learn how to bond with you.

dog playing game


5. Keep Your Dog’s Toy Bin Full

Even a few plush toys and chew products in the toy bin are a smart idea. Playful toys can enrich your dog’s life.

Keep the “fun” in funny toys. Yes, goofy toys are entertainment for us mostly, but they can be quite enjoyable for your dog too. What’s more fun than to see your pooch parade around with a stuffed bottle of champagne or a little mailbox filled with love letters?

Ziggy paws mailbox - dog toy



    • Brut Rose Champagne Bottle Dog Toy
    • Puppy Love Bone Toy
    • Squeaky Mailbox with Love Letters Toy
    • Striped Sock Monkey Dog Toy
    • Valentine’s Burrow Hide & Seek Heart and Bears Dog Toy

lulu belles puppy love bone - plush dog toyPLAY IT SAFE: 

    • Supervise playtime
    • Inspect chew toys to avoid splintering
    • Watch that your dog doesn’t remove the stuffing out of their toys
    • If toys have plastic eyes, remove them to prevent swallowing
    • Check that inside squeakers are in tact


6. Get involved

Just like children, without playtime, dogs can act out. Stay connected. Spend time playing with your dog often. Being playful isn’t only good for your dog’s health, but it’s good for you too. Make time to be silly and laugh with your pooch. Not out of obligation—just for fun. Be in their world, they’ll love the time you invest in their well-being. 


Ever open the door for your dog to go outside in your backyard? “Go potty!” Your dog just stands there, watching you. Then your dog wants to come inside. Then they want to go out. Then they want to come back in. Then go out. Come in. Go out. Come in. This could go on all day, if you let it. Did you ever think your dog just needs you to be in the backyard playing with them? Take a quick five (5) minutes out of your day. That time commitment could very well be the best few minutes of their day!


Our dogs often have more energy than us. It’s easy for us to want to come home and put our feet up. But, that’s when our dogs seem to need us most. They need our time. They want us to play.

Exercise patience with your pup. Give them 10-15 minutes of all out play. Get on all fours—and game on. Your dog will love it. Besides, taking time to play might complete your day as well. 

Dogs must process and acclimate into our world. It’s up to us to allow them to play a bit in their own world too. We owe it to them to try and understand this desire. If we own a dog (or three),  we have a responsibility. 

So, grab a little bone shaped tug toy with little red hearts and get playing.



  • Socialize with other dogs and people 
  • Research spacious, safe dog parks in your area
  • Take a walk in the park: (If your trot around the block gets routine, try going the opposite direction or explore a new route. Your dog will appreciate the new smells and sights.)
  • Try Doggy Day Camp! This option gives your dog a chance to be around other creatures like themselves. Camp is fun and it gives them an opportunity to expend pent up energy.
  • Set up individual play dates with their favorite dog bestie
  • Just for fun—pick a friend your dog plays well with, and exchange a toy with them
  • Give your dog playtime breaks on a regular basis to avoid overstimulation
  • If your dog likes to retrieve toys, sticks, or other toys, play fetch 
  • The game hide and seek allows your dog the chance to keep looking for you
  • Learn advanced tricks. Then go back to something simple like a “sit.”
  • Practice ‘sits’ and ‘stays’ often

dog chewing toy on grass


“When I started playing with my dog, I started loving him even more.” —Becky M.


Stay Fun And Safe: Enrich Your Dog’s Life Through Play

Toys are a good expression of our love, however, it’s not enough to just throw a toy at your dog.

Spend time with your dog, show them good play and long lasting toys. Enroll them in a supervised dog environment with trained professionals. Dogs interact best in a controlled environment with other dogs that share their size and temperament.

dog peeking over counter at dog treat


About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.

5 Ways Loving Your Dog Is Good For You

dog chihuahua in heart

Loving A Dog—A Healthy Decision

Life without a dog? Unthinkable. But did you know loving your dog is good for you too?

What was once a species for hunting and gathering some 14,000+ years ago, dogs have transformed into ‘best friend’—for both men and women. However, nowadays, we’ve become much more than mere best friends.

Over the centuries we have learned to understand dogs like no other creature. That understanding speaks to the bond between dog and human. Ask any dog person. Dogs and humans—the agreement between these two (2) different species—is a much richer relationship than once thought.

Dogs aren’t just pets.

Dogs were once used only for hunting and herding. In return, humans were responsible to keep them warm and fed. These days, that’s just not enough. The love between dog and human has developed so much deeper. The responsibility of dog ownership has amplified.

This kind of dog love is good for our health as well.


woman petting dog

Dog Love: A Healthy Connection

The need for species we call ‘dog’ to be used for hunting over the years has dissolved. As dogs became more attentive to us, we became more enamored with them. Over the years, we became smitten with this loyal, furry friend.

Today, we share our homes and meals with these creatures. (Some dogs are even allowed under the covers.) Dogs help us through the most trying chapters of our lives and assist us with activities of daily living. They keep us company when people aren’t around and learn to love us despite our faults.

Dogs know how to share our space.


dogs cozy under blanket

Loving Your Dog Is Good For (Both Of) You

1. Dogs Provide Companionship

There’s a natural connection between dog and human—a partnership and unmistakable bond between these two creatures.

The secret may be how dogs look at us.

While dogs often use their eyes to dominate other species, they use eye contact to solidify the dog-human bond. According to a Japanese team of researchers, there’s a significant chemical change that occurs when humans gaze into the eyes of their best buddy. Oxytocin, a hormone known for social bonding, is determined to significantly increase when gazing between the two (2) species occurs.

“Urine samples were collected from 21 pairs of dogs and owners, before and after experimental sessions in which the owners petted the dogs, talked to the dogs, and often simply gazed at the dogs. The oxytocin levels of both the dogs and the humans were higher at the end of the sessions—and they were highest in the pairs in which the most gazing took place. In this friendship, chemistry—literally—matters.” —Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine


young girl and dog looking at each other

2. Dogs Are Family

Dogs provide companionship and they’re considered part of the family. They go everywhere with us. And when we can’t take them with us, we get a Sitter. Sometimes dogs stay at daycares or at exclusive pet hotels that cater to their every bark.

Accommodations for pets consist of lodging and boarding. However, sometimes these facilities host birthday parties, football games, “Gotcha Day” celebrations, and crazy-hat-dress-up gatherings.

This kind fur family fun makes for amazing photo opportunities too!

dog chihuahua birthday party hat red bowtie

Fur Kids

There’s a closeness between dog and human that’s often misunderstood. The bond is intense.
Dogs aren’t human children, but the bond can be just as intense. If given the opportunity, most people feel better knowing that they can select their fur family. In return, dogs will most often choose human company over other species too.

Children learn responsibility when they care for a dog. Research suggests kids with pets in the home have less allergy troubles. Also, they seem to learn empathy when they’re tasked with taking care of a pet—particularly a dog.

As a pet guardian, children have a better chance of becoming a healthy human being at an early age. Of course there’s always a sweet spot on what age is best for children to own a pet. That age depends on your individual household.

In addition, elderly individuals gain a sense of belonging with a beloved pet in their life. Dog ownership allows adults a way to connect on a deeper level. Most notable, caring for a dog gives seniors more opportunities to be social with other dog owners.

woman holding dog at beach

Your #1 Fan

When you arrive home, your dog will act as if they just won the lottery.

What other creature will be just as happy to see you whether you’re gone for five (5) minutes or five (5) hours? This cheerful greeting is always a welcome surprise. Now that’s a family you want by your side!

“They love you more than you love yourself.” —Bill O.


3. Dogs Have Important Jobs

Dogs are courageous and stand by their master.

Some dogs protect our country, others guard our family. Still others are trained to detect evil or imprint harmful substances. Dogs can also be a remedy for many human ailments—both mental and physical conditions.

Dogs are capable of picking up on things that we can’t identify. With this “sixth sense”, a canine can detect when there’s something wrong with us before we’re even aware there’s a problem.

Dogs can “see” with their noses. They use several hundreds of thousands of olfactory cells and can detect time, instincts, and human emotional states with the most immediate and visceral ability. With their nose, dogs experience the world much more vividly than humans.

Yes, dogs are fascinating.

More Than Love: Dogs With Occupations

  • Emotional Support Dogs
    • Library appearances (children reading sessions)
    • Travel necessities
    • Schools
  • Search & Rescue Dogs
    • 9/11 Heroes
    • K9 Officers
    • Military
    • Weather disasters
  • Registered Service Dogs
    • Drug detection
    • Explosive detection
    • Medical emergencies, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Registered Therapy Dogs
    • Assisted living (resident visits)
    • Courtroom appearances (children bravery to testify)
    • Hospitals visits (patient healing)
    • Terminal hospice (end of life patient comfort)

military dogs training - German shepherd

“Without this dog, I wouldn’t know how to function.” —Robert S., Veteran


“Patients will show improvement in many more ways than just love. Having her around is good for everyone.” —John H., LPTA


Speaking about his devoted therapy dog, “Laycee”, Physical Therapist, John H., LPTA at Regency at Shelby Township confirms the important job his Black Labrador Retriever has at his place of business.

  1. Residents who are in therapy sessions will have noticeable improvements from their sit to stand to walk exercises. There’s a noticeable difference in residents. They follow Laycee across the room and they’ll begin to move more. When she isn’t here, they tend to shy away.
  2. Once in the mere presence of Laycee, patients will become more verbal if they’re normally quiet.
  3. Residents (and staff alike) who are non-expressive will suddenly become more exuberant and will tend to perk up with a therapy dog by their bedside.
  4. In contrast, with Laycee in the therapy room, patients with a high level of anxiety instantly change. She allows people to stay calm and remain even tempered.
  5. In the presence of Laycee, we notice significant heart rate reduction in patients. Positive neurotransmitters in the brain ignite and the resident’s body tends to relax more.

If you ever sit and watch residents at a nursing facility, they sometimes get hostile. An irritated man who was ready to run people over and collide into them with his wheelchair, suddenly becomes calm when a therapy dog enters his space. As it turns out, all he wanted was to pet the dog.


4. Dogs Keep You Active

If you have a four-legged workout buddy, you’re more apt to move more. Make time to get out and get active with your dog.

Studies have shown that people who own a dog are more active than people who don’t own a dog. People are overall healthier and happier when they exercise. Therefore, when you exercise with your dog, there’s double benefit.

girl with dog winter snow

“My dog got me moving again. When Buffy hurt her knee, I had to take her to water therapy to strengthen her legs. The aquatics peaked my interest. The next week, I signed up for my own water aerobics class.” —Denise T.

Whether you stroll to the end of the street, or you’re training for a marathon, exercising together provides an opportunity to stay in shape together.

No longer are dogs just your snacking buddy. They can become your best workout partner! And, they’ll hold you accountable for your actions—or for your inactivity.

Have to run errands during the weekend but still want your dog to get their workout in? $10 Weekends: Doggy Day Camp is now available in your area. Stop in today, ask questions, and schedule your evaluation for your dog.


5. Dogs Need You

More than love, dogs need you.

Dogs give you the chance to be responsible for something other than yourself. They show extreme loyalty, hope, and devotion—just by looking at you.

Dogs show you how they see the world from their perspective. In exchange, we have a responsibility to provide them more than just food and shelter. You need to allow them playtime and toys. And, you need to play with them too.

dog playing with tennis ball

So there is a bit of condition attached to that ‘unconditional love’ after all.

“Dog owners tend to think they’re doing right by their pets, but most could do better; improving communication between dog and human is an important first step.” —Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine

Your dog allows membership into their world. You owe it to them to bond with them, any opportunity that you have. Communication goes both ways. Listen to them, pamper them, sing to them, love them. What about teaching them a new trick ?

Be in tune to your dog’s needs. Your snuggly friend needs you! When you master understanding your dog, loving your dog is real good for both of you.

Now that’s love.


Be Good To Yourself. Love Your Dog.

Your dog has the uncanny ability to love you back.

Dogs and humans take on each other’s characteristics. Our lives intertwine. Learn from your dog’s behaviors and attributes. There’s always room in your heart to love a dog.

Love them like they love you.

Whether you believe in dog love, or not, we might agree that dogs give our lives more meaning. With dogs, we live in the moment and we laugh more. We might even know people that share your endless capacity to love dogs.


Your Dog’s ‘Best Things’—With Love, From Our Dog People:

  • Cuddles
  • Faithfulness
  • Humorous
  • Hope
  • Loyalty
  • Snuggles
  • Tail wags
  • Unconditional love
  • Undeniable bond


dog with heart ornament in mouth, hat, outside snow, winter, Valentine's Day

The More Love The Better

Your dog, your family—your life. There’s no replacement for this kind of bond. Your dog looks at you and you melt. You’d do anything for them. You’re just that kind of person—you’re our kind of person.

And this kind of love is good for all of us.


What will YOU do for love? Visit: Best Friends Pet Hotel or call your favorite Best Friends center.


About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.

Your Health. Your Hound. 4 Activity Tips To Stay In Shape Together!

healthy dogs running winter

Staying Healthy In 2020. But, What About Your Pet?

Your dog looks at you with those puppy eyes after you just put away your yoga mat. You feel bad, but you reason with yourself that you’ll go for a run with him tomorrow instead. 

So you go about your day. You drive to the office. Then meet friends after work.

dog looking up from couch

Then it happens. 

You step into your apartment and you’re greeted with your dog nervously wagging his tail. Surprised by the mess everywhere, you stop in your tracks.

What do you see?

Your dog has chewed the leather sofa! Upon further inspection, it looks as though he was the life of the party in the kitchen too. 

You’re at your wits end and you—only for a second—think about rehoming this little fluffy pup you once fell in love with. Suddenly the dog that was so cute and cuddly has turned your great mood from happy to bad at best. 

You try not to freak out.

dog in trouble

Don’t Freak Out. Your Dog Needs You.

To your pet, any attention is good attention. 

So if they’re “bad” and you bark at them, they’re still getting attention from you. Meaning, even if they’re perfect angels all day or if they just destroyed your house two (2) minutes after you left home, now your attention is directed at them. Bingo! They won.

The attention category isn’t the same as it is for humans. For your pet, they can’t always tell the difference if attention is for a “good” reason or a “bad” reason. When they’re successful at capturing attention that they crave, they’re happy. 

If it’s directed at them, it must be good. That’s why you need you to pay attention to them.

Your pet will often cower and cling next to you if you’re feeling sad or angry. Often times, they will roll over—belly up in submission, as puppies do with littermates when they try and establish who’s alpha in their pack.

Yes, your pet might not know the exact reason for your mood, but they can sense your energy. They want to please you. You need to show them how. And they might go to extremes to tell you that they want your attention. 

It’s important to know their signs and get ahead of any unhealthy behaviors that may develop due to boredom and/or a lack of energy outlet. 

You must pay attention to your pets for them to stay happy and healthy. Here are a few ways to keep your pet mentally and physically stimulated. 

Your Dog Wants To Please You, Show Him How.

1. Take Simple Walks

Everyone needs a little fresh air, including our pets. A brisk stroll around the block can help. 

Often times we think we have to walk our dogs for hours at a time. However, mini activity bouts can help expend your pet’s energy and perception of the world. Depending upon the size, breed, or energy level of your pet, taking two (2), ten (10) minute “sniff and walk” sessions per day might be sufficient. 

Humans have many things to keep them occupied; social activities, work, hobbies, family, friends—your pets only have YOU. Planning a simple walk once in the morning, and again in the evening—with a play session in between—keeps them fresh and frisky.

dog with leash in mouth

2. Exercise And Play, Together

Make time to play with your pet. Whatever it takes, make time. 

No matter how busy we are—if we care for pets—they deserve playtime and healthy exercise. 



  • Check with your Veterinarian and get medical clearance first
  • Watch out for excessive signs of exhaustion or boredom
  • Check for any systems of illness, especially in mature pets 
  • Conduct age appropriate activity sessions
  • Keep learning new tricks simple
  • Avoid long durations of training sessions
  • Have fun with your pet more often

Dogs must be dogs. Let them.

Active dog breeds require even more “good” attention. They want to run, skip, and jump—they live in the moment and they yearn for FUN. If they know you’re participating in this essential play part of their life, your bond will become stronger and they’re more apt to be content when you do need to leave the house.

A good fifteen (15) minutes of all out play is vital in keeping your pet happy and healthy. Get on the floor, on all fours, and let the action begin—you’ll make their day!

Besides, your pet will like you better if you’re more playful with them. If your scolding them all the time, they’ll start to lose faith in your friendship. They need you as their provider, protector—and playmate. 

Any hey, you might even enjoy that time to be a “Goof” too.


“Fitness can play a huge role in both person and pooch living longer, happier and healthier lives. In fact, people with dogs exercise 34% more than those without a dog.” — K9 Fit Club 


dog doing yoga with pet parent

Not quite in the shape yourself?

There are several activity options like one-to-one day care, personal dog training, pet sitters, and dog joggers available. Many pet parents benefit from unique offerings such as having someone else run their dog. 

If all this pet industry activity sounds crazy, you may want to take a second look into just how many options there are in keeping a happy and healthy pet.

A variety of extra activity for your pet can supplement times when you just can’t be with your fur family. Nobody has 24/7—100% extra time to play with their pet, but finding ways to keep them happy and healthy is way worth the investment. 

A balance of activity and rest in between play sessions is important too.


“My time is limited but I love my boy! Having someone to exercise with my dog is a treat for both me and my pooch. I’m busy and unable to move around with my dog like I’d like to.” —Susan M.


With more excitement besides tossing the ball out in the backyard and telling him to fetch, extra pet activity may even strengthen the bond you have with your fur family member. Your pet will have more experiences to share with you and can better appreciate you when you are around.


3. Enroll In Dog Camp

Your pet needs the chance to be their own dog.

Why not give them the opportunity to make furry friends too? Let them be with other dogs and pet lovers. They might enjoy the new sights, smells, and toys. Take your pet to a trusted spot where they can interact and play in a safe, temperature controlled, size appropriate environment. 


“Some dog care places go overboard with play time. A tired dog is not always a happy dog. A dog should be mentally and physically stimulated, but by no means to the point of exhaustion. Being absolutely depleted is not healthy for anyone.” —Luke P. 


Your pet wants to play and party. Let them have fun. Allow them to dance a bit, attend silly puppy parties, and get their picture taken. They’ll love the attention! You don’t have to have other people take care of your dog every day out of the week, but even a few times a month can help expend their energy and peak their curiosity.

Socializing with other pets and humans can help keep them content. Attending puppy parties may be something different for your dog. 

To your pet, the four (4) walls in your apartment may be closing in. And, an occasional peek out the window is quite frankly, not enough. Surrounding your dog with other pets, people, and places can be an ideal way for your dog to explore the world—outside of the one they share with you. 


On a budget? Did you know there ARE economical ways to keep your dog active and healthy, especially during the winter months. Starting in January, 2020, Best Friends Pet Hotel is offering something new at MOST of their pet hotels. $10 Doggy Day Camp, weekends ONLY—Saturday and Sundays, starting at 9am. 


Many pet parents benefit from a weekend of Doggy Day Camp. It’s a great option if you have to run errands for a few hours or need to prepare your house for out of town guests. 

Never tried a dog camp before? Be discerning with where you take your pet.

A reputable pet hotel will make pet safety their #1 priority. They’ll hire qualified pet professionals and top leadership who thoroughly understand pet health and happiness. Look for quality and long standing tradition when it comes to pet hospitality. 


WOW! First Camp day FREE after successful evaluation. 


Most notable, your dog will need to be properly vaccinated and must pass an introductory interview to ensure their safety and the safety of the dogs around them. This required procedure is normal and vital for your pet’s health and well-being. Therefore, wise pet owners welcome the extra precautions and follow careful steps to ensure that their precious pup is happy and healthy. 

two dogs best friends day camp buddies
Featuring Sally & Jax from Best Friends Pet Hotel (Chestnut Ridge)


4. Puppy School During Dog Years

Don’t believe it when people tell you that they can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Your pet may not learn the same as when they were puppies, but they’re still your fur babies. If you work with them more often—during every stage of their life cycle—you’ll both have fun and get more enjoyment out of pet ownership. 

In fact, try out different training options around town. Learn from all professional Trainers. Every one of them has something to offer. A positive tip for you and your pet is always a beneficial take-away.

Already graduated from puppy school? Well, if people should never stop learning new things, why should your pet? 


“One way to bond with your pet is to spend time with them in training classes—even throughout their adult stages. Refresher training and learning new tricks can be an amusing way to have fun for both of you. Enjoy your dog more often. It strengthens your bond.” —Chris B.


Keep Your Pet Healthy in 2020. Get Active!

Finding time and unique ways to exercise with your pooch is not easy. But, your pet is worth it! Keeping them safe, healthy, and happy is why you got them in the first place. You love them and you want to care for their needs and well-being—for their entire life span. 

Greater care for your pet means getting help and keeping your pet physically and mentally occupied—all year round. Healthy activity will keep your pet happy and out of trouble. In the process, you might find it’ll provide that special bonding time they need.

Ready for a little play time at Camp?  

dogs running in park


About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.

Groom & Zoom: 5 Grooming Tips For A Healthy Pet

dog after bath in towel

Does Your Pet Get The “Zoomies” After A Groom?

You know how terrific you feel when you pamper yourself? Well, our furry companions feel the same way! But, our pets express themselves in a much more exuberant way. Have you ever watched your pet after a refreshing bath or grooming appointment?

It’s hysterical.

Pets – especially young dogs – zip and zoom from room to room, diving into pillows, scratching blankets or digging into carpeting. If your pet’s zoomies get real crazy, there may be a little sand involved.

dog digging in sand

Yes, our pets love to be pampered.

When they’re groomed it’s as if they want to tell the world how happy and healthy they feel. Most of the time this excitement is about pure glee, other times it’s their attempt to get relief from the scent of products we use to clean them.

A Real Phenomenon Called “The Zoomies.”

‘Zoomies’ are categorized as crazy outbursts of energy after a bath. They’re usually accompanied by yelps, yips, and yodels. This odd behavior is common in dogs, but both cats and dogs seem to get more rambunctious during these energy explosion episodes, commonly known as zoomies.

Zoomie frenzies usually begin with your pet running in circles and a playful dig into anything they can get their paws on. Far too often, they get into mischief like mud after their bath. (Ugh.)

They might jump on furniture, or worse, wreak havoc in your home—making a wet mess everywhere.

‘Zoomie’ behavior typically means your pet is satisfied. But, it’s vital to keep your pet safe if and when they “zoom.” 

happy dog with pet parent

5 Grooming Tips To Keep Your Pet Happy, Healthy—And Safe.

TIP #1: Bath & Brush

When people approach your pet, you want a pleasant scent to linger in the air versus having a pooch with a stale “wet dog” syndrome.

Be aware, our pet’s noses are many million times more receptive than ours. Therefore, the smells of products like shampoos and conditioners are intense. A dog’s sense of smell is so extreme that the sweet smell of fruity or flowery products will often heighten the zoomie activity as they often try to run away from their new scent.

Nonetheless, starting from a shiny outside coat, your pet likes to feel clean and tingling all over. You’ll notice that they often get frisky after a good bath and brush out.

  • Protect your precious fur companions from the harsh outdoor elements during winter months or in extreme heat with pet friendly paw balm.
  • Your pet’s face, feet, and fanny are all important areas to keep free of dirt and debris.
  • A grooming professional will know the perfect water temperature to use on your pet and will be aware of any allergies they may have.
  • Ask your Groomer what products are best to use for your pet.

dog grooming bath shampoo

TIP #2: Towels & Drying

A good schnoz roll from a wet dog is entertaining. But, pay heed before the zoomies begin.

If you give your dog a bath at home, and they get the zoomies, be certain that they’re completely dry before they make a dash for the door. Drying your dog thoroughly with a pet friendly, absorbent towel will keep your pet from going outside in the frigid elements when they’re still damp.

Your Groomer will carefully blot your pet with appropriate toweling versus a rough feverish rub. A fluffy warm towel and professional blow out after the bath will keep your pet warm and dry.

Also, when your Groomer blow dries your pet, they measure the ideal distance to stand away from your pet’s paws so they don’t irritate sensitive areas of the body.

dog grooming bath towel rubber ducky


TIP #3: Nails & Paws

Trim your pet’s toenails and keep their paws tidy in between their pads. Shortened dewclaws have less chance of snagging on carpeting and rugs. Your groomer knows the proper tools to use on your pet’s feet.

Grooming professionals are trained on proper pet approach too. They prefer appropriate handling techniques and will care for your pet as if they’re their own.

TIP #4: Ears & Teeth

Gently wipe the inside of ear flaps without poking into the ear canal itself. Avoid infections by inspecting your pet’s ears on a regular basis. If you see anything unusual like tiny, black caffe grind looking pellets, consult your Veterinarian immediately. Ear mites are a serious medical concern.

Making time to brush your pet’s teeth is a challenge. However, it’s vital their teeth and gums are in good condition. Small dogs are especially susceptible to poor health due to shoddy teeth hygiene.

EXTRA TIP: Place pet friendly toothpaste on a crunchy biscuit to allow the crunch motion to help break up any accumulating tartar on their teeth. Try using a toothy baby washcloth in between brushings. Tenderly, yet thoroughly, wipe your pet’s teeth and gums – top and bottom.

dog grooming toothbrush

Ask your Groomer about brushing their teeth at your next grooming appointment.


TIP #5: Safe Grooming

If you give your pet a bath at home, wet furniture and messy floors are common zoomie problems. Keep your pet behind a latched gate or in a comfortable, cozy safe zone until they’ve had a chance to settle down. A pleasant grooming environment during bathing time is a quiet, clean, and contained room.

“Bath Zoomies: Frenetic Random Activity Periods (FRAP), otherwise known as the zoomies, happen to pretty much every dog, especially young ones. Everything is just SO FUN, suddenly, and they cannot possibly contain their excitement. Baths may very well bring out the zoomies.”

Zoomies are funny to watch; however, be careful that your pets don’t harm themselves, others, or your home in the process. Monitor them after their bath. It’s easy for them to crash into walls, fall down steps, or slip off a sofa during a mad dash of happiness.

dog grooming shaking off water

The grooming environment is just as important as the groom.

Remove collars, bandanas, tags, and leashes before their bath and during the drying process to avoid injury. These items could get caught in styling apparatus or holding crates. A tidy, safe, contained area where the zoomies won’t cause harm to your pet or to their surroundings is your best bet. Appropriate, sterilized, and spacious grooming rooms are made with zoomies in mind. A friendly, safe grooming environment is ideal for optimal health.

dog groomer hair dryer

A Healthy “Zoomie” Solution

Allow your pet an opportunity to exercise before relaxing in the tub.

Consider expanding their energy at a size appropriate, temperature controlled day camp environment before their bath or grooming appointment. Socializing with other dogs and humans helps keep your pet content during their grooming session.

dog relaxing on back

Choose Your Groomer Wisely

Be selective when it comes to Groomers. The best grooming professionals will notice your pet’s body. They’re your pet’s first line of defense for any unforeseen medical concerns. They’re trained to look for things on your pet’s body that other people might not see. Thus, they understand your pet from nose to rear end – tip to tail.

An ideal Groomer will strive for your pet’s health, happiness and well-being. Also, regular scheduled baths and grooming appointments help grooming professionals get to know your pet’s needs most.

Groom & Zoom. Clean & Coiffed. Safe & Shiny.

We love our pets and want them to stay well.

They deserve to stay clean and healthy – all year round. However, winter months are especially important to keep your pets groomed, as your pets typically spend increased time indoors. Make your pet’s grooming experience this year fun. And, keep your pet safe if they catch the zoomies afterwards.


Keep your pet happy, healthy, and safe this winter. Schedule your next grooming appointment today!

dog groomer grooming


About The Author:
Christine A. Bournias resides in Michigan with her 2-pack; two new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christine champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.

Enjoy the Dog Days of Summer with your Dog

The extra hours of daylight we enjoy in the summer mean more time for fun in the sun. Whether it’s a pleasant evening walk around the neighborhood, or a romp by the shore, summer is even more enjoyable when you spend it with your four legged best friend.

Get out!

Summer evening walks have several benefits: they’re a great way for you and your pet to unwind after a long day, they provide plenty of exercise for both of you, and help reinforce leash walking and socialization skills. The Great Outdoors also provides an ideal setting for reinforcing basic obedience, and developing new skills.

For more active dogs, consider a game of Frisbee, or a test of skill and speed at an agility course. Play an amusing game of tag, hide-and-seek or fetch. Many dogs like to chase a ball or romp with other pets in the dog park. Please be considerate and make sure your dog practices good manners in the park.

Dog shows, pet festivals and other animal-friendly events are myriad at this time of year.

These events offer a great opportunity for socialization with other pets and owners, as well as fun for the entire family (it’s also an idea time to show off your perfect pooch a bit!). Many towns present summer concerts or recreation events. If pets are welcome, bring yours; after all he’s part of the family, too. Make sure his etiquette is polished, he’s on leash, and that you’ve got a supply of bags to clean up after him.

Many dogs enjoy a day at the beach or lake, but be sure to check if dogs are allowed, and if leash laws are enforced. Most importantly, know beforehand if your dog actually enjoys a dip in the pool or a lap in the lake. Dogs that are reluctant to enter the water should not be forced to do so. Bring fresh drinking water, and bags for cleaning up after your dog.

Be sun smart

It’s great to include your pet in your leisure activities, but it’s also your responsibility to make sure they don’t overdo it in the heat. Dogs don’t always know when to come in out of the sun, and their desire to please you often outweighs their own needs.

The pet experts at Best Friends stress learning to read your dog’s signals: know when he’s had enough. Since dogs do not have as effective a system for cooling their bodies as humans do, they are more susceptible to heatstroke. Exercise caution and safety. Make sure the dog always has access to cool, fresh water, and provide shade for a quick cooling off spot.

Finally, take the time on a lazy, hazy day to just share a special moment with your pet: sit and read together under a shady tree, or cuddle up for a summer snooze.

Protect your Pet from the Heat during the Summer

The second half of July marks the period known as the “dog days of summer.” While the term actually derives from the astronomical calendar, modern usage refers to those hazy, humid summer days when it’s just too hot to do anything but relax.

For the canine members of the family, these days can mean heat-related illness. All pets – even canine athletes — are potential victims of summer heat. Dogs and cats don’t sweat, and they don’t have an efficient way to cool themselves down.

Signs that an animal is experiencing heat stress can include failure to salivate, excessive panting and an increased heart rate. Your pet may also lose its appetite, look ill or tired, and become unresponsive to you.

Treating heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, when the pet’s body may feel hot to the touch. Left untreated, your pet could go into a seizure.

If allowed to progress, heat stroke can be fatal, so it’s important to act at the first sign of heat stress:

  • Get your pet out of the sun and into a cool, shady place.
  • Immerse him in or rinse him down with cool — not icy cold — water.
  • Offer him cool – not cold – water and encourage him to drink.
  • Call your vet as soon as you can get to a phone.

Prevention first

The best treatment for heat stress is prevention. Pets accustomed to being inside, in air conditioning, should not be left outside on a hot day. Exercise your pet during the coolest times of day – early in the morning or after the sun goes down.

If your pets are acclimated to being outdoors, it’s okay for them to spend time outside – as long as they have access to shade and plenty of water on hot days. Remember that shade “moves” during the day. Don’t leave any pet alone outdoors for the entire day.

NEVER leave a pet in a car on a hot – or even a warm — day. If it’s just 80-degrees outside, the sun’s heat can cause the temperature inside a car to increase rapidly to 120 degrees – even with the windows open.

If possible, find an alternative to leaving your dog home alone all day in the sun, like a doggy day camp or daycare program where he can socialize with other canines. Look for a program that provides a safe environment for your pet – either indoors in an air-conditioned room, or outside in a play-yard with plenty of shade and water. Best Friends offers doggy day camp and daycare programs at many of its locations.

For more information, check out the Best Friends location near you.

Tips for Summer Road Trips with your Pet

When it comes to summer road trips, the first rule is always that your pet’s safety and comfort come first. While many dogs enjoy a car ride around town, some pets simply cannot tolerate longer car trips. Others associate car rides with unpleasant destinations. If your pet exhibits signs of stress in the car or carsickness, it will be kinder to leave him in a quality boarding facility for his own comfort.