Keep Aging Pets Safe: 7 Signs To Watch For


By Christine A. Bournias

Your Pet Is Getting Old. Bite Your Tongue.

Your pet is having another birthday.

Each birthday celebration for your furry friend brings another year of joy into your life. Age also brings added responsibility for Pet Parents. As a responsible pet guardian, you need to watch for both physical and mental changes that can occur with your pet with each passing year.

Your pet’s everyday behaviors or habits can be telling signs of old age. Or, it can be a medical concern. At very least, aging signs are more reason to pay close attention to your pet’s good health and well-being.

The number one attribute that you can have as your pet ages is patience. If your pet begins to move slower and wants to sleep more than they want to play, be their advocate. And exercise lots of patience.


7  Things To Watch Out For With Your Aging Pet

1. Bad Teeth & Breath

Look for dark or yellowing teeth. Plaque and food particles cause bad breath. Clean your pet’s teeth and brush their tongue on a regular basis. Proper dental hygiene early on can help eliminate foul breath and/or rotten chompers.

Dental Hygiene

Pets of all ages need good dental hygiene, but especially as they age. Getting your pet’s teeth professionally clean may be a wise investment. A younger animal may be able to recover more quickly than your elderly fur baby, as placing a senior pet under anesthesia often is risky.

Be certain to ask your trusted Veterinarian about regular cleaning procedures that would be ideal for your individual pet.

If your furry friend must go in for another unrelated procedure, you may consider getting their teeth cleaned at the same time of the surgery. That way, you’ll place less stress on your pet’s internal system.


Teeth Cleaning Alternatives

A good old fashioned toothbrush, or even wiping their teeth with a toothy washcloth and homemade pet toothpaste in between cleanings can help prevent bad breath and decay.

Time and convenience is a common objective. Innovative teeth cleaning options are better than not cleaning them at all. Try placing toothpaste on a crunching treat. The crunch of the cookie with pet toothpaste can help clean the teeth with their chewing action.

Teeth Cleaning Products

Many Pet Parents look for alternative or supplement options when it comes to cleaning their pet’s teeth. There are many dental products on the market and you can feed your pet soft chews for older dogs and cats. The chews serve as a tasty treat and help with dental limitations. Always ask your Veterinarian for their recommendation first before you try something new.



Smaller dog breeds have increased dental problems. Develop a dental cleaning protocol with your Veterinarian team. By asking experienced pet experts, you can learn helpful tips on how to clean your little buddy’s teeth at home in between professional cleanings.

Pets dental hygiene is essential of any age—it’s a priority. As a responsible Pet Parent, be certain to make time for good dental health for your older furry friend.


2. Poor Eyesight & Loss of Hearing Weakened Eyes

Look for cloudy eyes in aging pets. The eyes can be a telling sign of many age related health concerns.

The good news is, dogs don’t rely on their eyesight like humans do. Animals—especially dogs—have a heightened olfactory sense. Their nose is their navigation. Our pets rely mostly on smell, with their eyes being the least important. Their heightened senses arrive in this order:

  1. Nose
  2. Ears
  3. Eyes

Dogs have superior ways to see the world around them. With “predator” vision, they can see colors differently. They also see the world by movement and proprioception.

Be Your Pet’s Eyes

Avoid rearranging your furniture and be sure to train your pet early on with hand signals and associations. If you have other pets in the house, they can wear a little bell to help guide them to get around.


If your pet’s eyesight dims or their hearing diminishes, rest assured their other senses will kick in. In fact, dogs have the ability to sense their surroundings with a similar technique called echolocation . Echolocation in dogs works much like the same stunning ability as bats.


Special needs animals deserve loving homes too. Potential adopters tend to gravitate first towards cute, yet over-rambunctious dogs nine times out of ten. They ignore the really great ones. Our senior or blind/deaf animals are much easier to care for than typical animals that are viewed as “normal.” —N. Ahern. Hollow Creek Farm Equine and Canine Rescue

Blindness can strike at any age in pets. It can be the result of stress induced surgery, or even just one unfortunate diabetic seizure. Eye conditions are painful and can lead to more medical troubles in the future. Necessary eye removal surgery can be the kindest thing you can do for your furry friend. Animals don’t care about aesthetics like humans do. We put so much emphasis on appearance and impose our biases on our pets. Humans are the ones who invent these “poor me” stigmas. Animals don’t fret about their eyes or ears, they’re just as happy digging a hole in the dirt.

Photo Credit: Hollow Creek Farm Equine and Canine Rescue


Senior Rescue animals need you the most. Old, large no eye dogs need homes too. Their eyes are just one part of the equation. Just because they’re older and blind, doesn’t mean they’re not


First symptoms of an ear infection are head shaking, scratching, and whining. If your pet’s ears have a bad smell or if you see dark coffee ground looking deposits in their ears, this could be signs of an infection. Eliminate a chance for more serious medical problems by consulting your Veterinarian right at the signs of discomfort. Early on, it’s wise to research a possible pet insurance plan that’s right for you.

If they can’t see or hear, there ARE ways to make it work. Don’t turn your back on your older family member. They need you as their caregiver more than ever.

All they really care about is pleasing you. Animals need love and socialization from their person more than they need their hearing or sight.


3. Mobility Difficulty: Legs & Limps

Does your pet feel frail and bony when you pick them up? Do they stagger while they walk? Is their gait different than they used to be?

Or, you might notice that your pet has trouble getting up. Freedom of movement could be a telltale sign of old age in your pets.


As your pet ages, their bone structure is more brittle, their fur may shed more, and their muscles tend to atrophy. Nonetheless, they’re still your fur baby.

If you notice signs of your pet’s gait changing or if they can’t pick themselves up from the floor, it may be time to consider supplements for their joints and mobility.

Consult with your Veterinarian for medication or alternative healing remedies.

Honest Paws

CBD and the other beneficial cannabinoids found in the hemp plant work with the endocannabinoid system (ECS)—which all humans and animals possess. The ECS’s job is to promote balance in the body, making sure all major systems work together. If these ECS systems don’t promote adequate balance, phytocannabinoids (natural plant cannabinoids) work to connect to the ECS to help create a balanced state. Cannabinoids allow the body to self-heal.


Many Pet Parents rely on a variety of popular CBD (Cannabinoids) pet products .
Alternative product lines have different formulas to handle various conditions, including those that are common in with older animals:

  • Anxiety
  • Cracked paws
  • Fear of thunder and fireworks
  • Inconsistent sleep
  • Insect bites
  • Joint and mobility
  • Nervous licking
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Travel stress


Consult with a reputable Veterinarian and get regular check-ups. If you’re not able to get to your Veterinarian’s office, look for available and convenient
vaccination and wellness clinics that pop up in your area.

4. Appetite Loss: Nutrition & Medical Changes

When your pet ages, changes in appetite are common.

Your pet may experience food allergies and/or digestion sensitivities. Older pets might need more carbohydrates versus a higher protein percentage in their food or they may just want to eat a little less with temperature fluctuations.

Food Is Vital

What food you feed your pet is vital. And there’s a plethora of pet food brands to choose from. But your food selection comes down to what works for your budget, your pet’s unique needs, and your Veterinarian recommendations. I.e. Athletic or working dogs may need more protein to secure their muscle mass, but as they age, too much protein could tax their internal organs. Small, less active or older animals may have entirely different nutritional needs than larger breed counterparts.

Weight Fluctuations

Your pet’s body weight can fluctuate during all stages of their life. However, you’ll want to look for huge variances in weight. You’ll notice a big difference when you pick up or pet your furry friend. Extreme weight loss or gains could mean a visit to your Veterinarian’s office.
Too many treats can cause unhealthy gains too. Eating the wrong foods early in life can cause big problems later on. Although we love our pets, limit fatty food rewards or unhealthy human grade treats every time they perform a perfect “sit.”


Good nutrition and healthy fuel is vital, particularly when they age. Avoid the urge to feed your pets people food or table scraps and keep your pet away from common toxic foods, unknown food allergies, or potential pet danger.

You may already provide your pets with healthy and proper nutrition. But what about when your dog eats poop or likes to munch on blades of grass? If they’re having consistent stomach issues, these unappealing habits could be warning signs to medical concerns.

According to Dr. Martin Goldstein (Dr. Marty), pets could be at risk serious digestive problems. Talk to your Veterinarian about your pet’s eating habits and behaviors to determine if they may need a different diet or effective probiotic supplements.


Watch Out For Signs That Could Be Related To Food:

  • Thirst
  • Panting
  • Medical Changes
  • Fluctuation in weight
  • Excessive urination
  • Shredding
  • Dry, flaking skin

If you notice a huge loss of appetite or if your pet is sluggish or lethargic, seek medical assistance immediately. As your pet ages, it’s important to obtain a full panel of blood work. The kidney and liver organs are particularly ones to keep an eye on.




These Conditions Amplify In Senior Pets

●  Bleeding
●  Breathing
●  Choking
●  Cuts
●  Extreme Temperatures
●  Food and Allergies
●  Injuries (hot or cold, extreme or minor; sprains, tendons, ligaments, bones)
●  Insect Bites Or Stings
●  Poisonous Plants or Substances
●  Raw or Rough Paw Pads
●  Snake Bites
●  Sunburn
●  Safety tips

Be ready to respond to your older pet in the unfortunate event of an emergency. Keep an essential basic first aid or medical emergency kit and a copy of your pet’s medical records, vaccination records, and emergency phone numbers with you in the event of a life threatening health issue or when you plan to travel with your pet.

In addition, responsible Pet Parents have a pulse on the CDC animal guidelines on animal health and disease updates as they evolve.


5. Mental decline

Look for mental decline in your pet.

Pay attention to your pets and watch for mental decline. Do you find yourself repeating commands? Are they pulling to one side? Do they get lost more easily? Do they excessively repeat behaviors that previously came quickly to them? Are their activities of daily living becoming more difficult than usual?


Like elderly humans, pets can get senile. “Old Dog Disease”, also known as Idiopathic or “Old Dog” Vestibular Disease, can mimic conditions of that of brain tumors or strokes. Tilted heads, falling over, circling in one direction, and/or mini seizures can be symptoms of a variety of diseases including Old Dog Disease.


6. Exercise & Social Interaction

Your pet doesn’t come with an owners manual and every animal is different.

Is your pet becoming less interested in activities or that daily walk around the block? Disinterest in things that they usually love can be a sign that your pet needs your help. Maybe they could run circles around you or jump over tables before, but now they’re slowing down.

If you see your pet retracting or not coming when they’re called, observe them closely for other medical signs. If you’ve ruled out serious medical problems, perhaps you may want to include mental stimulation games in their playtime protocol.

Fun Games For Senior Pets

Delight your pets and keep them happy. No matter what age, you need to be willing to try new things and be innovative in your approach with your furry family member.
Pet puzzles and games can be effective in keeping your pets sharp throughout all stages of their life. Look for ways to provide healthy activity and mental stimulation.

Homemade tunnels and obstacle courses can work in a pinch. But don’t overload your pet in efforts to keep busy. Ten minutes of moderate exercise and mindful games and interactive tricks will suffice.


Socialize Senior Pets

Socializing your pup early on can provide adequate activity and favorable mental stimulation that they need. Senior pets can also benefit from new training courses or tips and tricks. Of course they need you, but they also benefit from being around other creatures like themselves.


Playdates for dogs can be beneficial. Not all dogs play well together. In fact, they’re just as selective as humans when it comes to picking their furry friends.

If your dog is older, grumpy, or frail, they could be in pain and not want to deal with rambunctious dogs or young puppies. Ask your local Pet Hotel for customized boarding or individual pet care . Sometimes extra loving and attention from other pets and humans help your senior pet feel more special.

Keep your older pet occupied and happy with lots of fun things to do. Several pet care facilities add on “extras” like reading to their guests, blowing bubbles, or taking action videos.

Remember 10 minutes of mind games and tricks = 30 minute trot around the block.

Senior Pet Adventures

Get your pet out to enjoy the world—try new things and discover exciting adventures. Moderate, healthy exercise and Doggy Day Camp can keep your furry friends content and happy.


Designated pet care time for your “sugar face” can be a welcome surprise to your elderly pet. Senior pet care options can be convenient for both extended bouts of time or if you have to run quick errands. Seek out your local and trusted Pet Hotel to watch your older pets while you’re out and about.

When it’s safe to do so—and when the world is ready—a good way to bond with your gentle dog is to volunteer your time with your friendly friend. Research what it takes to become a support or certified therapy animal. Joyful home visits benefit older neighbors, assisted living facilities, and reading programs with children at public libraries.


7. Overstimulation & Heat Illness

Animals can get grouchy with old age.

Many things can affect your pet’s mood; weather, being cooped up, overstimulation, not enough exercise, or lack of socialization. Determine if there’s a serious medical problem by taking note of their state of mind and everyday behaviors.

Senior Pets And Too Much Human Time


As it turns out, hanging out with us humans can be too much for our extended fur family. Just like animals can be under-stimulated, overstimulation and fatigue can happen with our pets.

Even when family members respect their pet’s need for downtime, our pets have tremendous olfactory and hearing capabilities. The sounds of our everyday human conversations, loud children, a blaring television, or a scented candle can lead to undue stress, particularly in our older furry friends.

According to Jessica Pierce, a bioethicist and the Author of “Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets”, dogs need a break from their people from time to time to achieve emotional balance.

“Dogs can feel suffocated by us. In any home—especially a home with children—dogs need a safe zone or a quiet place where they can go if they need to chill out and not interact with anyone.” — Jessica Pierce “Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets”

Senior Pet Temperament

Maybe it’s time for your senior pet to experience a change of scenery?

Pet Hotels provide safe and healthy pet care for your furry friends. Pet professionals examine your pet’s age, size and temperament before entering Camp’s play yard. All pet’s playtime should be monitored closely to watch for signs of irritation or aggression.


Too much exercise can leave your aging pet exhausted. Be sure to allow your pet to stay at pet care facilities that knows the difference between unhealthy exhaustion and appropriate stimulation. The importance of rest has to be top priority.

Temperature Tolerance

Avoid exercising in extreme temperatures for your fur babies. Too much sun, heat, and humidity are dangerous for pets. Older animals have an even lower tolerance for extreme temperatures. Age is especially a concern when it comes to heat.

Your pets need frequent breaks from strenuous activities, especially in warmer temperatures. Extra summer tips help to keep your pets healthy.

Extreme temperatures (hot or cold) can affect your pet’s ability to keep their body’s internal core temperature regulated, particularly in the warm summer (or frigid winter) months. Refreshing water keeps your pet hydrated and replenished.


Don’t leave your older pets outside for extended periods of hot weather and make sure your pet has access to shady spots to relax. Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion or overheating .


Senior Pets And Fun Age Specific Ideas

Keep your sugar face pet safe and happy this summer.

Pet Parent’s top priority and responsibility is their fur baby. Responsible Pet Parents look for signs of aging throughout all stages of their pet’s life. Natural signs of aging are common, however, others can be true medical warning signs. Senior or special needs pets look to us to be their advocate. Trust your Veterinarian for professional advice for your aging animal.

Expert boarding facilities or professional Pet Sitters can offer advice on pet care, socialization, training, play and stay plans too. . Discover local experts that know pet behavior and will assist you in finding the ideal play and/or stay environment for ALL your furry family members, including the old ones.


If you own an older dog, Doggy Day Camp may be a nice outlet. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages enjoy carefully monitored playtime with dog pals. They’re assessed for temperament, size, and age.

Best Friends Pet Hotel always accommodates our senior pet guests. With comfy beds, and plenty of love and patience, we welcome older dogs! Older pet guests are treated with the utmost care, monitored play yards, and expert trained staff. Themed parties and safe exercise are loads of fun and can benefit your older dog’s physical and mental well-being.

One on one attention, mental stimulation games, and reading books to your pets are just a few activities that can assist your aging pet. Current vaccinations are required for an interview. Book an appointment today.


Got a senior pet you’d like us to watch? Call your local Best Friends Pet Hotel.


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.

10 Summer Dog Safety Tips – To Beat The Heat

If you think you’re excited to get out and enjoy the sunshine, you can only imagine how your pet feels. But, before you dash out the door, remember safety first when it comes to you and your family’s best furry friends.

While you venture out with your pets this summer, keep your pet’s well-being as your number one priority. Health, wellness, and safety are on the top of the list when it comes to any new or outdoor adventures.

Watch our 10 Summer Dog Safety Tips video to beat the heat and have a safe and happy summer!

Learn more about keeping your pets safe this summer at our blog post: Your Pet and Summer Safety

Your Pet And Summer Safety

By Christine A. Bournias

dog in car trunk trip adventure

Have Fun. Pack For Safety.

If you think you’re excited to get out and enjoy the sunshine, you can only imagine how your pet feels. But, before you dash out the door, remember safety first when it comes to you and your family’s best furry friends.
While you venture out with your pets this summer, keep your pet’s well-being as your number one priority. Health, wellness, and safety are on the top of the list when it comes to any new or outdoor adventures.

As you pack up and get ready to take ​exciting adventures ​with your pets, be sure to pack common sense and a few reliable measures with you.

small white fluffy dog packed in suitcase

Your Pet’s Safety. Your Priority.

Pet Parents have a responsibility to care for and monitor their pets. Safety comes to mind, particularly with adventurous and curious pets of all kinds.

Unexplored terrain on rugged trails have different levels of elevation and dangerous interruptions. With unpredictable peaks, valleys, sticks, and stones on your route, your pet is at more risk of getting hurt.

cute dog laying on trail in forest

Animals have a way of finding things to get into when you’re not looking. As your pet discovers new trails, scents, and scenery, have lots of fun—but take precautions.

pet dad with dog playing fetch on beach

Sharp objects buried in a sand castle while you frolic together by the lake, can quickly turn a fun day at the beach to a long day at the Veterinarian’s office.

While you can’t predict what might be thrown in your path, you can carry with you a few emergency essentials and basic safety knowledge in the event of an unpredictable snake bite, bee sting, or unfortunate slip and fall. As you head out the door, consider packing a ​pet first aid kit​.

dog playing in tunnel

4 Safety Tips For Your Pet This Summer

1. Monitor Your Pet

Some pets are at more risk based on their activity level—or occupation. Military, hunting, herding, or field animals are at higher risk for injury than pets that prefer sitting on their owner’s laps. Regardless, accidents can happen. It’s not only service or canine officers that get injured.

military officer with dog and American flag

If you own a pet, you are responsible for their safety, health, and well-being. It only takes a second for an emergency to occur. Even the best dogs—or cats—can get into mischief.


An accident can happen anywhere. Best Friends Pet Hotel has trained Pet Professionals on staff who know what to do and who to call in case of emergency. Your pet is family, and reputable pet establishments take every needed precaution to ensure that your pet is safe at Camp, while cared for in 1:1 Individual care, in puppy playgroups, and/or all overnight stays.

two dogs running playing with ball in field

An Average Fido Can Get Into Mischief

The risk of pet accidentals also depends on the part of the country that you’re in and what your pets are exposed to. Do you have many different kinds of pets in the same household? Are they courageous and curious? Are they more active than the average fluff muffin? Are they enrolled in agility? Do they compete in rally sports? Are they jumpers? Do they climb fences? Are they exposed to heavy wooded or prevalent insect areas? Do they spend most of their time outdoors? Do they frequent pet care facilities?

dog sitting on mound on trail in forest

Summer = Holiday Pet Safety

Please keep a close eye on your pets, during the summer months—and always.

The fourth of July is a time to celebrate with picnics, family gatherings, and firework displays.

Fireworks can be dangerous and traumatic for pets. Some pets are skittish, hiding under tables or jumping into the arms of their Pet Parents. However, many animals get so frightened by fireworks that they often pull away and get loose.

4th of July dog with American flag


Due to loud fireworks, many pets get spooked and escape. In efforts to seek refuge and escape, many pets dart across the street and get hit by a car. Sadly, shelters across the United States are flooded during the summer months with preventable intakes. In fact, July is one of the busiest months for animal control.

To prevent deadly accidents, always look after your furry family members, especially during these summertime holidays.

If your pets stay with you for holiday festivities, know how to keep them safe. And if you’re travelling out of town during the summer, consider contacting an expert boarding facility ​or professional Pet Sitter.

Take Safety Precautions:

  • Keep identification tags with up-to-date information on your cats and dogs at all times.
  • Consider having a conversation with your ​Veterinarian about microchipping your pets. The microchip procedure can improve your chances of getting your pets back if they are lost. If your pets are currently microchipped, confirm with the microchip company that you have up-to-date microchip contact information and registry in place.
  • Professional behavioral therapy can help desensitize your pet and reduce risk of danger. If your pet needs medication, consult with your ​Veterinarian or Animal Behaviorist for alternate safety options.
  • Photographs are great for fun grooming contests,​ but they’re important for your pet’s safety as well. Take a recent photo of all your pets in the event they get lost.
  • Keep your environment secure with escape-proof rooms or crates.
  • Keep horses and livestock in fenced areas and far away from loud noises. Horses should wear breakaway halters with your correct contact information.
  • Remind your guests that you have pets that you care about. Place caution notification notes on exit doors and gates for your guests to remain vigilant.
  • Keep sparklers, charcoal, and food skewers away from curious pets.
  • Don’t let your pets get near your barbecue grill while in use or if it’s still hot.
  • After any summer holiday celebrations, check your yard for harmful explosives or debris before allowing pets outside to play. Even if you didn’t set off fireworks yourself, harmful debris can make its way into your yard.
    Leave your pets at ​​a safe place during firework displays, parades or other festive gatherings.

Emergency Matters

Emergencies can strike at any time and ‘snout to tail’ prevention, health, and wellness is critical. Be prepared by keeping a comprehensive pet first-aid kit, as well as human healthcare supplies in your luggage.

“35 years as a Paramedic, I’ve been confronted with about every human emergency medical situation possible. I was approached by members of our local Police K9 Unit Officers, expressing their interest in proper emergency K9 medic options for their police dogs in the event of a serious medical or traumatic situation. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
 (CPR) and first aid training for our four-legged Officer is in great demand. Our services help train our Police Officers in pet first aid and emergency care.” ​—Mike Burket, EMTP/K9 Medic/Instructor Pet Medics 911

Learn how to detect pet vitals and determine injury situations that require immediate veterinary care. Within critical seconds you’ll need to know whether or not to move your pet and/or how to restrain them if needed. At the very least, you need to know what to look for so you can seek immediate help.

dog playing with frisbee in ocean

Common Medical Conditions + Emergencies:

  • Bleeding
  • Breathing
  • Choking
  • Cuts
  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Food and Allergies
  • Injuries (hot or cold, extreme or minor; sprains, tendons, ligaments, bones)
  • Insect Bites Or Stings
  • Poisonous Plants or Substances
  • Raw or Rough Paw Pads
  • Snake Bites
  • Sunburn

dog jumping to catch frisbee

Be ready to respond in the unfortunate event of an emergency. Keeping an essential basic first aid or medical emergency kit on hand is a smart idea.

Smart Pet Investments:

  1. Pet First Aid Kits: Learn how to use your kit in the event of an emergency.
  2. Pet first aid certification of completion: Knowledge is power.
  3. Pet insurance: Get the policy that’s right for your pets. Evaluate their age and current health pre-conditions. A puppy may need more comprehensive wellness exams, but your senior dog may be faced with pre-existing conditions that you need to review ​before​ an incident occurs.

dog giving paw to vet

This list will help you assemble a general first-aid kit for a pet medical emergency or health issue. Include important paperwork, including a copy of your pet’s medical records, vaccination records, and emergency phone numbers too.

Comprehensive First Aid Kit Contents:

  • Adhesive Wrap Rolls (1″ and 3” width)
  • Antibiotic Cream
  • Bite/Sting Relief Pads
  • Blanket
  • Gauze Sponges (Large & Small)
  • Surgical Gloves
  • Syringe (10cc)
  • Peroxide Contact Solution
  • Providone-Iodine (Betadine) Topical Solution
  • Saline
  • Splints
  • Spare Collar and Leash
  • Thermometer
  • Triangular Bandage
  • Tweezers

two dogs playing in grass

“Seconds count when it comes to saving a life. Basic practical cardiopulmonary resuscitation
 (CPR) and first aid preparation is a must. Summertime safety includes both humans and your four-legged furry friend. In the event of a pet emergency, studies show that your dog has a better chance of surviving with general canine CPR, choking, and basic first aid knowledge.” —Amanda Zimmerman, EMT-P/AHA/Red Cross/ASHI Certified Instructor, Owner/Founder Save 1 CPR

two dogs playing in lake

2. Supply Good Nutrition and Hydration

Safe Foods

Provide your pets with healthy fuel and proper nutrition. Follow good hygiene practices and safe food handling to protect your family pets. Holiday parties and picnics usually include human food goodies, but avoid the urge to feed your pets people food or table scraps. Keep your pet(s) away from common toxic foods, unknown food allergies, or potential pet danger.

peanuts and peanut butter

“I never knew that lilies and tulips were poisonous to pets. My neighbor has a full flower tray on their deck. They sure are pretty to look at, but I steer my curious cats and rambunctious dog far away.” —​ Susan D .

two dogs eating knocked over plant

Fresh Water

Fill up your pet’s dog days of summer with lots of playtime, frequent rest breaks, and proper hydration.
Extreme temperatures (hot or cold) can affect your pet’s ability to keep their body’s internal core temperature regulated, particularly in the warm summer (or frigid winter) months. Refreshing water keeps your pet hydrated and replenished.

dog drinking fresh water in bowl

Don’t wait until your pet is hot and thirsty to drink water. While drinking* times can be monitored much like feeding times, cool, fresh water will benefit your dog’s health during every season.

*Always be sure to clean out their feeding bowls daily. If you have a puppy and excess urination is an issue, try keeping them on a regular drink and dinner schedule or feed ice chips to keep them cool and hydrated.

fresh water

3. Provide Activity, Mental Stimulation + Rest

You’ll jump through hoops to keep your dog happy and ​active​. However, like children, your pets need frequent breaks from strenuous activities, especially in the heat. Designate a safe resting spot and adequate resting times. Don’t overload your pet in efforts to keep busy. Ten minutes of moderate exercise and mindful games and interactive tricks ​will suffice.

dog with ball jumping through hoop

“Healthy rest is good for all animals, particularly our hard-working agility, heriding, rally or competing performers. Performance and show dogs need to be on their game, but it’s important to have a healthy balance of work and rest.” — T​erry C., Canine Handler, Trainer

two dogs sitting together in sun playground

4. Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Too much sun, heat, and humidity are dangerous for pets.

Keep your pets indoors when it’s hot. Period. Don’t leave them outside for extended periods of warm weather. Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion or overheating. Make sure your pet has access to shady spots to relax.

two dogs in backseat of car

Pets + Automotives

Going on a road trip? Running errands?

Never leave your pet in your vehicle when it’s hot (or cold) outside. Remember, our bodies respond quite differently to extreme temperatures than our furry counterparts.


With an outside temperature of only 70 degrees, a closed vehicle can heat up to 89 degrees in 10 minutes

A window opened a crack isn’t going to keep your pet safe.

A short time in a locked car is dangerous to pets—and children. Vehicle interiors heat up fast. The temperature in your vehicle increases in minutes. Even if you think that it’s only going to take you a few minutes to run in for an errand, that’s all the time it takes for your pet to get overheated.

If it’s slightly too warm for you, it’s way too hot for your pets. If it’s below zero wind chills, it’s too cold for animals.

When in doubt, leave your pal at home.

two dogs looking out car window at beach

According to Jan Null, CCM: Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University, the temperature in your vehicle increases rapidly. Take a look:

vehicle temperatures for dogs

Resource: ​Trupanion​; Medical Insurance for your pet
Many domestic pets aren’t accustomed to extreme temperatures. In these severe weather conditions, keep your pets safe at home, or seek out your local and trusted Pet Hotel ​to watch your pets while you’re out and about. Designated pet care time can be convenient for both long bouts of time or quick errands.

5. Seek A Safe Place For Pets

As you come out of shelter in place restrictions and when you’re ready to venture out for fun this summer, take note of pet safety measures at your Pet Hotel:

dogs playing outside at doggy day camp
Photo Credit: Breanna Elizabeth, Best Friends Pet Hotel (Willow Grove)

Discover pet care offerings that provide you the opportunity to design your pet’s own stay. Discover local Pet Professionals that know pet behavior and will assist you in finding the ideal play and/or stay environment for ALL your furry family members.

cat packed in suitcase

Owner Of A Pug, Parrot, Or Pocket Pig?

Do you have a multi-pet family? Cats, dogs, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds? There are essential Pet Professionals that can help you care for them. Look for a place that caters to many different kinds of pets—dogs, cats, ​and p​ocket pets.

dog peeking out of suitcase

If you own a dog, ​Doggy Day Camp ​may be a nice outlet for your dog. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages enjoy size, temperament, and carefully monitored playtime with dog pals. Themed parties are loads of fun and can benefit your dog’s mental well-being, allowing for safe exercise.

​Pack Your Bags For Fun. Sunshine & Safety!
Keeping your pet safe is a Pet Parent’s top priority and responsibility.
If you can’t watch them yourself during a holiday firework display, seek out a pet facility that has trained Pet Professionals to watch your pet.

Best Friends Pet Hotel ​is here to help keep your pet safe. Every pet guest is treated with care with monitored play yards and expert trained staff. Reading books to pets, playing catch, catching bubbles, splashing in pools, or hide and seek games are just some of the activities on the agenda.

dog and cat sitting on suitcase

Plan for your pets to play and expect safety. Prepare your pet’s ​vaccinations and book an appointment for an interview today.

Ready to keep your pet safe this summer? VISIT: ​Best Friends Pet Hotel ​or call your local 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.

Doggy Day Camp: Ready For A New Adventure For Your Dog?

By Christine A. Bournias

happy do our car window road

​Is Your Dog Ready For A New Adventure? Perhaps It’s Camp Time!​

So, you and your dog have been cooped up in the house. If you think you’re restless, can you imagine how your dog feels?

dog in hammock

As the weather turns nice outside, it just might be time for you and your dogs to venture out of your normal routine. Maybe you’re ready for an adventure — something new in your pet’s busy schedule?

Doggy Day Camp Provides A Favorable Outlet For Dogs

Current dog camp regulars may need to be reacquainted to their normal routine. And, dog owners that have never tried a ​Doggy Day Camp ​might find today an ideal time to try one out.

Whether your dog functions best with individual playtimes, or if they thrive in a canine group setting, Doggy Day Camp allows your dog the opportunity to be their own dog.

dogs running and playing outside

7 Doggy Day Camp Tips

1. Take Medical Responsibility

Keep current with your pet’s vaccinations before entering any populated dog park or canine group setting. Before you venture out into a new place with your dog — regardless if it’s Doggy Day Camp or a beach just for dogs — it’s your duty as a pet owner to make sure that your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations.

dog vaccinations veterinarian

Whether your dog is a young pup, or an aging senior, you owe it to your furry friend(s) to take special care of their medical needs. For your health and well-being of your pet, ​regular medical check-ups, conducted by your Veterinarian or trustworthy veterinary clinic, are a critical part of responsible pet ownership.

Be sure to consult with a ​trusted Veterinarian for medical care that’s appropriate for your pet.

2. Ask Questions, Consult With A Pet Expert

It’s beneficial to explore all of your boarding and daycare options.

Your dog may be the life of the party while other dogs may not. They may need more space from other people or dogs during playtime. Your dog may be a curious puppy transitioning into society or they might be an older dog that has little tolerance of rambunctious dogs.

In a Camp setting with other dog guests, they may even become possessive of a furry family member from the same household. ​Resource guarding ​can be minimized and/or avoided within an ideal environment and with properly trained staff.

“Once I allowed my dog to have a few days away from the house, Butch was calm and content with the whole family when he returned home.” ​—Tom D.

Within a different pack at Camp, dogs have a language all their own. Proper introduction and socialization into this new world is required for a well-adjusted pet at Doggy Day Camp—and at home as well.

Determine If 1:1 Care Is Right For You

Your dog may be different. That’s okay. Every pet is extraordinary and they should be cared for
as such. They may excel with individual care instead of within a large group setting.

dog peeking through heart cutout in fence

Dogs that need extra attention—or owners who prefer to have their pets play as a family—may find that a crowded play area is not right for them. Find a Pet Hotel that caters to your individual dog’s needs. True pet professionals are trained for safety and thrive on creating a happy, healthy experience for your pet.

You owe it to your furry friend to ​ask questions and explore the best route to take. Ask for a Pet Hotel interview at various times of the day, slow days—and at peak hours. If you know your pet well enough, you’ll immediately know if this is the place for your pet.

Many accommodating places are known to board cats and Pocket Pets, offering you the opportunity to design your pet’s own stay. Rest assured, whether you’re the proud owner of a pug, parrot, or pocket pig, there are essential professionals that can help you care for them. These pet professionals know how to think in terms of pet behavior and will help you find ​the ideal play and/or stay environment for your dog.

dogs puppies playing with ball in grass

3. Get An Assessment First

Look for the best environment for your dog to play or stay.

Determine if the facility is an ideal environment for your pet well in advance—not the day before you hop in the car or board an airplane to leave town. Your dog is family and they need a safe, healthy place to stay. Investing this time upfront is critical.

A thorough interview process needs to be conducted ​before​ attending any Doggy Day Camp activity. If your dog hasn’t attended Camp (or never stepped paw) in a boarding facility, it’s important to get your dog evaluated by​ leaders in the pet hospitality business. Pet Experts are trained to assess your pet for proper size and temperament​ during their initial visit.

Scheduling an interview for your dog well in advance of your drop off date will give you and your Pet Hotel time to make appropriate accommodations for your pet. In addition, reintroductions are necessary for Camp “regulars” to get back to normal at their local Pet Hotel.

dog friends hanging out at camp
Photo Credit: Breanna Elizabeth, Best Friends Pet Hotel (Willow Grove)

“If your dog has been away from boarding or Doggy Day Camp for more than a year, it’s time to schedule an interview to reevaluate your pet’s profile at Camp. As your dog adapts back into their canine group routine—and to ensure safety measures—we like to observe your dog’s behavior, check for up-to-date vaccines, and assess their overall demeanor when attending an area with new dogs and people. Our goal is to make sure all dogs have a fun, yet safe experience.” —​ Jessica H., Hotel Area Manager, ​Best Friends Pet Hotel

4. Ease Into Camp

Your pet needs plenty of physical activity, mental stimulation, and training time throughout all stages of their lives. But make sure you don’t do too much too soon.

dogs meeting each other, becoming friends

While dogs like variety, they’re creatures of habit and often become anxious with sudden changes to their new daily routine. They may even resist leaving their familiar humans. If your dog is showing signs of ​separation anxiety, try lessening the duration of sustained play. This plan might help ease their way back to their normal dog time at Camp.

“Your dog needs mental stimulation and physical exercise at Doggy Day Camp. If your pet has been stuck indoors for awhile, the sooner you get back to a regular schedule the better.” —Jenn C., Hotel Manager, ​Best Friends Pet Hotel (Wakefield)

Doggy Day Camp “Regulars” returning back to Camp might want to limit their high activity days and a lot of dogs all at once. If it’s been a few months, perhaps a handful of half days would be beneficial. The sooner your dog gets acclimated to their regular Camp days, the faster they can get adjusted to a healthy schedule of events. Dogs who are mentally stimulated—with lots of healthy exercise—have dependable eating and sleeping schedules also.

two dogs playing

When it’s time for your dog to get out of the house and have some fun with other dogs, you owe it to your pooch to make an appointment. Reserve something new and special for your pet and notice a difference in their overall behavior.

5. Allow Consistent Camp Time

Before shaking things up to their daily at home routine, it’s wise to establish a ​predictable​ and rewarding Doggy Day Camp schedule for your pet. Fill their ‘dog days of summer’ with lots of playtime, frequent rest breaks, and proper hydration.

“Healthy rest allows your dog the chance to recharge and refocus their energy at Camp. In contrast to popular belief, an exhausted dog is n​ ot​ necessarily a happy dog. In addition to all the extra fun and activity, we provide our pets plenty of rest time so t​ hey can excel in the play area.​” —M​elissa A., Hotel Manager,​ Best Friends Pet Hotel (Clinton Township) ​

If your dog has been stuck indoors with you for too long, ask your selected facility for a trial sleepover. This overnight stay is a good test on how well they do away from home. It could be just the vacation you both need! And if budget is a concern, seek out attractive first time overnight offers.

little dog sleeping with teddy bear

Even if your dog attends Camp one day a week, your dog will thank you for the variety of mental stimulation, physical exercise, and yes—a little time away from their human caregivers.

6. Get A New “Do” After Camp

Dogs like to play and get dirty. They also enjoy feeling fresh and clean. A little pampering will make your dog feel good all over. A day at the spa is always a treat — even for your dogs.

Scrub their teeth, clip their dew claws, and clean their ears. If your dog has gone too long without a good trim, it may be a great time for a ‘new hairdo.’

dog getting groomed by dog groomer

Seek out specialized ​grooming professionals ​who keep current with industry certifications and pet trends.

“Your dog’s grooming needs is important to their overall health and well-being. The recent global pandemic has changed the landscape of pet care and grooming precautions, however, our attention to detail in the pet hospitality business hasn’t changed. With a new series of health protocols to follow, we abide by all COVID-19 animal guidelines to ensure proper care for your beloved pet.” —​ Kim M., Hotel Manager,​ ​Best Friends Pet Hotel (North Plainfield)

7. Try New Things

Getting outdoors more often is a good feeling. If your dog gets a little wind in their nose, they are happy and content. Walking in nature or taking a new route on your hiking trail usually does the trick. But, if your dog is restless with their typical walks, they could be ready to attend Doggy Day Camp.

dog playing in tent at day care
Photo Credit: Best Friends Pet Hotel (Cincinnati)

No matter how macho your dog is, all dogs love extra attention.

Life is never mundane with Doggy Day Camp. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages enjoy Camp. There are lots of interesting themed parties and loads of fun that benefit your dog.

Doggy Day Camp: It’s Like A Dog’s Bucket List:​

dog training with dog trainer

Play + Training + Treats

Keep things interesting by enrolling your dog in training courses. Even if your dog is well-behaved and was top of their class at puppy class, sign them up for a refresher course. 1. It keeps your dog’s mind sharp and 2. training class is something you can do together.


A dog performs best with conditioning. Positive reinforcement is not about “positive” in the positive/negative way. In dog training, positive reinforcement means “adding” on to desired behavior with marking and rewarding as the addition.

A different environment can solidify training constructs. Working with your dog and investing time for ​advanced training and tricks in many environments other than your house or backyard can be beneficial.

dog playing frisbee with human

Toys. Lots and lots of toys.

Purchasing fresh pet toys, including games, are helpful to fight boredom. Interactive, dispensing devices keep your dog occupied and entertained while they learn. Check out your Hotel’s retail bins in the lobby for something new to play with or chew on. There are many ​durable toys and long lasting chews ​that will keep your dog occupied for hours when they’re not at Camp.

Even old toys can seem new if you switch things up. Rotate and replace toys in their toy bin or play the name game! Dog toys can do wonders to playtime excitement.

But, what if your dog needs more?

dog story time at doggy day care
Photo Credit: Best Friends Pet Hotel (Cincinnati)

Best Friends At Home

To supplement your pet’s learning, teach them ​new tricks at home! The new ideas are sure to keep your dog’s tail wagging and bring a smile to your face.

Fun is endless when you have a dog: Read to them, ​bake biscuits, splash around in their kiddie pool, ​dress them up ​with ​bow ties, build obstacle courses, or offer your dog a challenging ​game of shells,​ hide and seek, or peek-a-boo.

dog sitting for biscuit treat

Your Dog Needs Doggy Day Camp

They love to run on the beach and explore new scenery. Working dogs need a “job” other dogs live for new friends, new people, and new toys. Many dog Campers benefit from physical exercise, mental stimulation, and a chance to meet other canines and new people.

Dogs need to greet other dogs and all sorts of other people.

dogs playing with kong toy

Getting Fido acclimated to a dog group setting requires careful pre-planning, time, and research in order to discover the best place for both you and your pet. Invest the time you need to find a place that you and your dog feels most comfortable with. If it’s the right place for your pet, you’ll notice a calm and content dog that looks forward to going to Camp ​and​ enjoys being at home too.

Our pets need their own time away from us to be their own dog. Besides, where else can your dog read books? So, let them romp, play, and experience new things.

Ready to learn more about Doggy Day Camp and other fun adventures? VISIT: ​Best Friends Pet Hotel or call your local 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.

Fan Share Friday (09) – FINAL EPISODE

Fan Share Friday compiles all of your videos and pictures into a single episode full of fur, floppy ears, and belly rubs. This week’s episode is all of that and more! Watch to see a familiar face 🐶🐱!

This is our final Fan Share Friday episode as part of our “Best Friends at Home” video series. But no worries! – We’re making plans to continue featuring our fans and favorite furry ones into the future! So please continue to share your photos and videos with us. Send them to:

Watch all of our “Best Friends At Home” episodes at:

Quiz: Famous Dogs & Cats in History

Test your knowledge of some of the most famous and notable dogs and cats in history, and learn some fun and interesting facts along the way! – Courtesy of your friends at Best Friends Pet Hotel.

famous dog

Enjoy, have fun, and be sure to share your quiz results on social media when you’re finished.


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Water Play Activities for Dogs

As the weather warms up so does your dog! Engage in water play in your backyard and beyond and help keep things cool. This episode of “Best Friends at Home” provides some fun tips and activities for water play and enjoying the outdoors. Have fun and make a splash!

Planning on getting wet with your dog? Take some pictures and videos and share them with us at 

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Fan Share Friday (08)

This week’s episode of “Fan Share Friday” includes encounters with the outdoors, Livi’s Art Installation of Sleeping Positions, and birthday celebrations.

If you want to share with us what you’ve been doing with your pet at home, please send your pictures or videos to See you next week!

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Pupcake Sliders Recipe | Memorial Day Weekend BBQ

This weekend, we celebrate in memory of all those who gave their lives in the service of our country. As you plan your BBQ menu, we thought you’d like to add a special BBQ treat for the pups in the family!

In today’s Memorial Day episode of “Best Friends at Home,” we’re cooking up PUPCAKE SLIDERS – dog-approved mini hamburgers inside sweet potato pancake buns. Yummy!

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No-Sew Pet Collar Bow Tie

For any crafty people who have leftover material, we would like to show you how you can use it. In this episode of “Best Friends at Home” we teach you a simple no-sew process to make a bow tie for your pet’s collar. While your pet is feeling fabulous with this new look, lean into those extra purrs and tail wags. You deserve it!

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