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.

Read more on patch.com.

Help Your Pet Shed Winter Weight

Winter weight gain: it’s a problem for our pets as well as for us because when the weather is cold and days are short, we are less likely to get outside and exercise.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about 55% of all adult dogs are overweight or obese. And, just as in humans, excess weight on pets can lead to heart and respiratory problems, diabetes, cancer and kidney disease. Overweight dogs also are more susceptible to arthritis and other orthopedic problems.

You can tell if your dog is overweight with a quick “rib check.” When you run your hands over your dog, you should be able to feel his ribs and actually see a “waistline.” If you can’t, it’s time to take action. Just as for humans, weight control requires eating less and exercising more. And, now that spring is officially here, it’s time to get outside and get moving, say the experts.

The best exercise is a brisk walk or run, but can also include an active game of fetch in the backyard or a romp with canine friends at the local dog park. Young and middle-aged dogs should be exercised 20 to 30 minutes each day (that can be divided into two sessions of 10 to 15 minutes each). For older dogs, check with your vet to determine what’s appropriate, then choose a slower pace and be sure to monitor your pet for signs of stress.

When heading out for exercise with your pet, be sure to follow these safety rules:

  • Always use a leash – except when you are in a fenced dog park. Even if your pet is well-behaved, he could dart off in pursuit of a squirrel or other animal and become lost or hit by a car or truck.
  • When you walk or run with your dog, always face oncoming traffic. This puts the dog, if he is heeling correctly, on your left – away from the traffic.
  • If you are going out for a long walk or run or to the dog park, carry water and offer your dog some every 20 minutes.
  • If you want to try running or jogging with your dog, choose soft surfaces because asphalt can be damaging on your pet’s paws and joints. Start slowly, increasing the distance as you and your dog become conditioned.
  • On warm days, watch for signs of overheating, including heavy panting or salivating. Dogs don’t tolerate the heat as well as humans because they don’t cool by sweating. If you see signs of overheating, stop and cool your dog down.

Not into the active lifestyle yourself? Enroll your dog in daycamp or a playgroup. It’s a great way to keep him happy and active. Your local Best Friends center can help you find a program to encourage your pet to stay fit.

Best Friends Pet Hotel Announces ESOP Acquisition Led by Mosaic Capital Partners, Becoming The Largest Employee-Owned Pet Care Company

NORWALK, CT. (June 4, 2019) – Best Friends Pet Hotel, a national operator of pet hotels with 30 locations throughout the United States offering boarding, grooming, doggy day camp, training and retail services at each of its locations, announced today its Employee Stock Ownership Plan, or ESOP, acquisition led by Mosaic Capital Partners.

With this ESOP transaction, Best Friends has become the largest employee-owned company in the Pet Care industry. Jared Pinsker, CEO of Best Friends remarked. “Our people are our most critical assets. They devote themselves tirelessly to ensuring pets and pet owners have a wonderful experience at our facilities. As we continue to build on our tremendous relationships with guests and pet parents, to be able to have our employees now own the business through the ESOP is a wonderful outcome and opportunity for us. We could not be more excited.”

Ian Mohler, who led the transaction for Mosaic, agreed, “We feel tremendously fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with Best Friends. The pet services sector is extremely attractive as people increasingly see pets as extensions of their human families and spend accordingly. With a 20+ year operating history, Best Friends has a wonderful legacy in the communities it serves owing to the many, many passionate employees who have such incredible dedication to their clientele. We feel we have backed the best-in-class operator in this highly fragmented industry.”

Industry veteran Reed Howlett joined the partnership as an investor and Board Member. No stranger to the attractive trends in the pet sector, Reed most recently served as CEO of Nature’s Variety, an early mover in the natural and raw pet food category.

As an ESOP, Best Friends Pet Hotel has also become a member of Certified Employee-Owned (Certified EO). To become a member of Certified EO, companies must pass a rigorous certification process and prove significant and broad-based employee ownership.

Employee-ownership is a critical foundation of the Best Friends Pet Hotel culture. Employees treat pet guests like family and take the time to cater to each individual pet’s personalized need. Best Friends Pet Hotel has “Friendly staff that care for your furry family members as if they were their own,” pet parent Denise B. from Best Friends Pet Hotel in Avon, Connecticut commented about her most recent visit.

Employee-ownership strengthens the connection to the local communities in which Best Friends Pet Hotel operates, fosters financially savvy employees, and empowers employees to think and act like owners. This results in an engaged workforce and happy pets and pet parents alike – as the success of Best Friends Pet Hotel benefits both the company and employee alike. The ESOP provides a substantial retirement benefit to all eligible, full-time employees. In turn, this results in sustainable financial success that benefits the local community.

About Best Friends Pet Hotel
Founded in 1995, Best Friends Pet Hotel has enjoyed “leader of the pack” status for the past 24 years, as one of the largest privately-held independent pet care providers in the United States. With 30 locations, providing 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. Learn more at http://www.bestfriendspetcare.com/.

About Mosaic Capital Partners, LLC
Mosaic Capital Partners, LLC (“Mosaic”) is a private equity firm investing in privately held middle market companies. Based in Charlotte, NC, Mosaic employs private equity buyout strategies that incorporate the partners’ unique expertise in Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs). Mosaic aims to help business owners achieve liquidity, wealth transfer and ownership transition with its PE-ESOP product

About Certified Employee-Owned
To learn more about Certified EO, visit www.certifiedeo.com.

Media Contact:
Julia Geffner
203-750-5220
jgeffner@bestfriends.net

Preventing dog bites

dogEach year, more children are bitten by dogs than are injured from horseback riding, roller-blading and skateboarding combined. The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that children make up more than 60% of all dog bite victims.

Bites can be prevented if children are taught how to behave around animals, say the professional trainers at Best Friends Pet Resorts, and if dog owners take the time to properly train and socialize their pets.

Keeping kids safe
Surprisingly, children with family dogs can be at the greatest risk around strange animals. "Kids need to understand that not every dog is like their dog at home. The Golden Retriever on the street may not have the same easy going temperament as your Golden at home. Strange dogs should be approached with caution," says Joyce Clemens, dog trainer at Best Friends East Cobb, GA resort.

Trainers say it is very important that children be taught how to interpret a dog’s behaviors, such as the difference between a play bow or an aggressive stance, so that they can distinguish when a dog is a possible threat.

In addition, Best Friends trainers recommend teaching children the following dog-safe behaviors:

  • Never pet a dog you don’t know without asking the owner. If the dog’s owner gives permission to pet him, close your hand into a fist and let the dog sniff the back of your hand. Next, pet the dog gently under the chin, or on his chest.
  • Don’t run to, or past, a dog. Dogs love to chase and catch things, and may become excited and lunge. If you don’t know the dog, walk slowly and quietly away with your hands in your pockets or at your side.
  • If a strange dog approaches to sniff you, stay still. Try to relax. In most cases, the dog will go away once it determines you are not a threat. Never corner a dog.
  • Never stare into the eyes of a dog you don’t know. Dogs think sustained eye contact is a sign of assertive or aggressive behavior.
  • Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Never approach a dog from the rear and grab him or place your arms around his neck. He may perceive this as an act of dominance, or you may startle him into a defensive response.
  • If a dog knocks you to the ground, roll into a ball and remain still. Don’t scream. Cover your head and ears with your arms and legs.

Basic training for dogs
Dog owners also have a responsibility when it comes to preventing dog bites, that begins with always following leash laws.

Every owner should train his or her dog to obey the basic commands of ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ ‘no’ and ‘come.’ Basic obedience and early socialization are very important, professional trainers agree. Make sure your puppy feels at ease around children by exposing him a little at a time under controlled circumstances.

Start at a distance, watching children at the playground, for example. Over time, move closer. As your dog becomes more comfortable encourage one or two children to come over to say ‘hello.’ Be careful not to put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.

If you need help training your dog or teaching your child basic dog safety, consult a professional trainer for advice. Always look for a trainer who stands behind his or her program. At Best Friends Pet Care, dog training classes come with a Results Guarantee. If you successfully complete a class and your pet needs a review or a brush-up, you can repeat the class at no additional cost.

Keep Pets Parasite-Free For Their Health… and Yours

dogAs pet owners, we receive much from our best friends: unconditional love, devoted attention and, occasionally, parasites.

When pets become infested with fleas, ticks or worms, we can be infested, too. The good news is that modern pest control products are safe and effective, and, when used properly, can help. "The perfect flea and tick control product has not yet been invented," says Dr. William Fortney, assistant professor of clinical sciences at Kansas State University. "But there are a number of options available."

Keeping ticks under control
Perhaps the hardiest of the external parasites is the tick, which, despite its small size, can transmit big diseases, including Lyme and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Daily examination and tick removal are essential if your pet spends anytime outdoors, investigating shrubs or plantings. Ticks are most likely to be found in the neck area, between the toes, in the ears, and in the folds between the legs and the body. If you spot a tick on your pet or yourself, remove the tick by grasping the mouth parts with tweezers and pulling the tick straight away from the body.

Products like Frontline Plus are an effective control where pets aren’t exposed to a lot of ticks. For dogs exposed to heavy tick populations, however, Dr. Fortney recommends combining the Frontline with a product such as Kiltix or BioSpot.

Get rid of fleas
Look carefully at your pet’s skin and hair coat. If you see tiny black pepper-like specks (these are actually flea droppings or "flea dirt"), you know your pet has fleas. Besides causing itch and irritation, ticks and fleas can transmit tapeworms and other diseases, so it’s important to act immediately.

According to Dr. Michael W. Dryden, professor of parasitology at Kansas State University, the flea treatments available today do an excellent job of eliminating existing fleas. However, reinfestation is a common occurrence. It will do little good to rid the pet’s body of fleas if you don’t simultaneously clean their bed and any furnishings where they sleep or spend time.

A good way to reduce flea populations in the home is simply by vacuuming. One pass with a vacuum can remove 50 percent of the flea eggs there. Sprinkle some flea powder on the carpet before vacuuming and sweep that up. The flea powder will kill any fleas that hatch from eggs you have vacuumed.

Of course, preventing fleas in the first place is the better option. The vets at K-State’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital recommend Frontline Plus, Advantage or Revolution. These products are available for both dogs and cats.

Foil the worms
If a pet is appears to be infested with worms, it’s important to check with your veterinarian. Different internal parasites require treatment with the different medications. Taking a fecal sample to the vet is the best way to diagnose the problem.

To prevent heartworms, hookworms and round worms, the K-State veterinarians suggest Heartguard Plus or Interceptor for dogs, and Revolution for cats.

Humans can also get worms if they are exposed to worm eggs, according to the K-State vets. Immature hookworm larvae can penetrate the skin or enter through existing wounds on the skin. With roundworms, people can be infected by accidental ingestion of the eggs.

Prevention includes washing hands and practicing good hygiene, wearing shoes when working or playing outdoors and wearing gloves when working in the garden. Covering sandboxes to avoid contamination is also recommended.

For more on pets and parasites, visit www.avma.org/careforanimals or www.healthypet.com or www.vet.ksu.edu.

BE PREPARED: First Aid for Your Pet

dogWhile it is vital to call your vet immediately for assistance should your pet be injured, it is also wise to keep a "pet first aid" kit on hand for on-the-spot care until professional help is available. The American Animal Hospital Association reminds us that first aid and a first aid kit are not a substitute for veterinary treatment, however, if you know what to do in an emergency, you may be able to save your pet's life.

As in any emergency, time is critical. Instead of searching through your home for supplies, create a pet first aid kit that is kept easily accessible. Some of things that every pet owner should have in their kit are:

  • A comprehensive book on first aid for pets.
  • Your veterinarians phone number and the phone number for your local emergency animal clinic (in case the emergency happens outside of normal vet hours).
  • Gauze to wrap wounds or to the muzzle animal.
  • Adhesive tape for bandages.
  • Nonstick bandages to protect wounds or control bleeding.
  • Towels and cloth.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3%).
  • A large syringe without needle or an eyedropper (to give oral treatments, if instructed).
  • A muzzle (gauze or a soft cloth, nylon stocking or necktie) or use towel to cover a small animals head. Do not use in case of vomiting.
  • Stretcher: use a blanket held at four corners as a stretcher; a small dog or cat may be wrapped in a towel and placed in a box to keep quiet
  • Milk of magnesia or activated charcoal to absorb poison if you are instructed to dispense (be sure to get the advice of your vet or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison).

Another resource to keep on hand, in the event your pet ingests a poisonous substance, is The National Animal Poison Control Center, 888-426-4435. This 24-hour, hot line, sponsored by American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is manned by veterinarians specially trained in poison control. They are available to advise animal owners and to confer with your veterinarian, for a small fee of $45 per case, which may include numerous consults. For more advice on preparing for pet emergencies, consult your family vet or visit the American Animal Hospital Association website at www.healthypet.com or the American Veterinary Medical Association website at http://www.avma.org/care4pets

Protect Your Pet From Winter's Woes

dogThe winter months bring with them a variety of health and safety issue for our pets. Even in areas of the country that aren’t normally affected by snow and ice storms, shorter days and inclement weather can keep our pets from feeling their best.

There are a variety of steps that pet owners can take to protect their pets from health and safety concerns during the winter:

Keep up regular exercise
In many parts of the country, the shorter days and long, cold nights provide a great excuse for lingering in front of the fireplace. But dogs confined indoors because of winter weather will lack proper exercise and are likely to gain weight.

On days when the weather permits, be sure your dog gets a good long walk or a romp with canine friends at the dog park. Be sure to tailor the activity and the time spent outdoors to your specific pet, taking into account such factors as age, health and breed.

Some breeds can tolerate the cold for longer periods of time than others. Breeds like Huskies and Samoyeds will romp and play outdoors as long as you’ll let them. Small breeds and dogs with short coats should wear a sweater or specially-made doggie jacket when venturing out on very cold days.

If your pet does spend a lot of time outdoors, moderately increase his food to keep fur thick and healthy as protection against the cold. However, if your pet is less active during the winter months because he spends more time indoors, be cautious about what he eats, or he may put on extra weight.

Coping with winter depression
Fewer hours of day light mean fewer opportunities for outdoor exercise during the winter months. Energetic dogs who require lots of active play can become frustrated and depressed and this can lead to a variety of problem behaviors — from barking and howling, to chewing furniture or messing in the house.

Giving your pet more attention and encouraging active play whenever possible can help.
If snow and ice simply make outdoor play impossible, consider enrolling your pet in a doggy day camp program. These programs are designed to let dogs exercise and play with other dogs in a safe, supervised, indoor environment. Most dogs can benefit significantly by participating just once or twice each week.

For more information about doggy day camp programs in your area, see the services section and the Our Centers of this website.

Grooming for wellness
Wintertime can be tough on skin and hair – not just for humans, but for pets, as well. With windows closed and heaters on, low humidity indoors can make your pet’s skin dry and itchy and can cause static electricity in his coat.

Weekly home maintenance can help to keep your pet comfortable and his skin and coat healthy all winter, according to pet grooming professionals. And regular shampooing can help prevent other problems.

Other winter safety tips
Here are some other ways to "winter-safe" your pet:

  • Beware of antifreeze – it is extremely poisonous and as little as a few teaspoonsful can kill a small dog or a cat. Unfortunately, the chemical has a sweet taste that animals like, so it’s critical to keep it out of reach and clean up even small amounts that drip onto the floor or driveway.
  • Don’t use metal water dishes outside; your pet’s tongue could stick to the frozen metal. Purchase a non-freeze water bowl or use a heavy plastic dish and check the water several times a day to be certain it is not frozen.
  • Remember that cats like to sleep under the hoods of cars in the winter. To avoid injuring your pet, always bang on the hood and wait a few seconds before starting the engine so your cat will have the chance to escape.
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