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


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

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.


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

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

Media Contact:
Julia Geffner

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.

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.