Summer Pet Safety Checklist

As you and your pets enjoy all the fun and relaxation summer has to offer, we want to help you ensure your pet’s safety this summer with our Summer Pet Safety Checklist – brought to you by Best Friends Pet Hotel’s Veterinary Expert and Consultant, Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM.

1. Make sure your pet stays hydrated.

dog drinking water

Your pet should have an unlimited supply of clean, fresh water at all times but especially in the summer. A pet, who does not, could seek other water sources like a puddle or pond that can contain deadly viruses like leptospirosis or toxic blue green alga.

2. Make sure the ground is not too hot for your pet’s paws before walking or playing.

dog giving paw to human

If it is uncomfortable for you to walk barefoot on the asphalt, it is also uncomfortable for your pet. If you must walk your pet on concrete or asphalt during the summer, make sure it is early in the morning or at dusk when the surface is cooler.

Before you go, try the five second rule. Apply the back of your hand to the surface you will be walking your pet on, if it is too uncomfortable for you to hold the back of your hand firmly against it for 5 seconds, then it’s too hot for your pet.

This also applies to the concrete around your pool. If you notice your dog limping, then check the pads of the feet. If you see the skin peeling off or lifting up, please seek veterinary assistance.

3. Invest in a doggy life vest.

10 Summer Dog Safety Tips - To Beat The Heat

Speaking of pools and water. It is a great way for your pet to cool off but believe it or not, not all dogs can swim. It is good to have a properly fitting doggy life vest on your dog around the pool and especially when boating. It can literally save a life.

4. Protect your pet from fleas and ticks.

cute dog laying on trail in forest

Parasites!! Yeah, I said it! No one is a fan of fleas and ticks. Not only do they spread disease to you and your pets but also can causing itching, rashes and sores. Being on the offense is better here. Make sure you use flea and tick prevention for your pet year round. You will thank me later.

5. Protect your pet from mosquitos.

Let’s not forget our friend the mosquito. Mosquitoes transmit heart worm disease to your dog. Again being on the offense here is best medicine. Please use heartworm prevention on your pet year round. There are also products for dogs that will repel mosquitoes but that doesn’t mean you should forgo the heartworm prevention medication. It is just an added layer of protection.

6. Protect your pet from flies.

Since we are on an insect role, let’s talk about fly strike. Yes, I know it’s ugly. This is when your dog enjoys spending lots of time outside and those nasty biting flies start biting and sucking blood from your dog usually at the tip of ears causing crusts, scabs and oozing sores. Again prevention is the best medicine. If it’s fly biting season, keep your pets indoors as much as possible. There are also pet approved medications you can apply to your dog to deter the insects from biting.

7. Protect your pet from maggots.

Unfortunately, what comes after flies are maggots. Yes, you read that correctly. Flies lay these eggs in the wound of skin. When they hatch, they are maggots that feed off your pet and can cause an extensive life threatening infection. This frequently happens in long hair dogs who are accumulating feces on their fur usually because they are having bouts of diarrhea. If your pet is having loose stools, seek veterinary assistance and don’t leave your pet outside.

8. Don’t shave your pet for the summer.

dog bath soap bubbles on head

Speaking of long hair, do not shave your pet!

Yes your pet needs to be groomed to prevent matts, knots and sores but it does not need to be shaved to keep it cool in the summer. It is important to make sure your pet is brushed out by summer so that thick undercoat naturally sheds allowing your pet to keep its hair and remain cool.

Pets fur/hair also protects it from the sun. Without this protection, your dog is susceptible to sun burns. What comes after sun burn? Skin cancer. No one wants that. Once again, prevention is key.

9. Protect your pet against heatstroke.

teenage boy with adopted dog

Last but not least, heatstroke. The older or younger your pet, the more susceptible it is to heatstroke.

Pets need to be provided an environment that allows them to get cool. Pets will naturally seek out a cooler place if they are feeling too warm, like digging that hole in the cool dirt under a tree to lie in. Never, ever leave your pet in a bright sunny location for extended period of time.

Equally important NEVER leave your dog in a car during even a warm day, let alone hot, no matter how short of time – even if the windows are cracked.

two dogs in backseat of car

The temperature inside a car dramatically elevates within a couple of minutes causing a life threatening environment for your pet.

vehicle temperatures for dogs

It is better just to leave Fido at home if you need to run errands that he can’t go inside with you.

So get out and enjoy the summer months with your pet. Just remember prevention is the best medicine.

pet dad with dog playing fetch on beach

Microchipping Your Pets

dog lost in woods, microchip

It happens! Your cat gets outside and runs off or your dog squeezes out of his collar and heads for the woods.

You try to catch them, but they are too fast and too determined. After calling and searching, your stomach becomes knotted up hoping for a safe return. One good way to increase your chance of being reunited is through microchipping.

May is “Chip Your Pet” Month and rightfully so. As the weather warms up around us, our pet’s attraction to the outdoors increases. If your pet is not currently microchipped, learn more about the process and book an appointment at your local Vetco clinic to chip your pet.

 

What is a microchip?

microchip, dog, cat

A Microchip is an implant, about the size of a grain of rice, put under your pet’s skin. It is encoded with a unique number that is linked to all of your contact information in a secure database.

 

How is the microchip put in my pet?

microchip implanted, injection, dog, veterinarian

Implanting the device is actually a very simple process and can easily be done during a Vetco clinic appointment. It doesn’t even require anesthesia!

Using a hypodermic needle, similar to the kind that is used to give vaccines, the licensed Vetco veterinarian “injects” the microchip under your pet’s skin (usually between the shoulder blades).

Your pet may feel a moment of discomfort but a little moment of ‘ouch’ is far better than being separated from you forever.

 

Is it expensive to have my pet microchipped?

Vetco clinic licensed veterinarian with dog

At Vetco, microchipping costs range from $22 – $25 depending on the state you use Vetco in. This cost comes with a LIFETIME registration so there are NO additional costs to store your pet’s data.

 

How does the microchip work if my pet gets lost?

veterinarian checking chip under pet's / dog's skin

If your pet gets lost, an animal shelter, rescue group, or vet’s office can use a scanner to find the chip by waving it over your pet. The scanner reads the frequency from the chip and finds the unique ID number assigned to your pet. This information can then be used to get in touch with you and reunite you with your pet.

microchipping, cat, home

If your pet is microchipped then your dog is twice as likely to be returned home and your cat is more than 20 times more likely!

However, just because your pet is microchipped it doesn’t mean your job is done. It is important to periodically check your contact information in the database at www.petmicrochiplookup.org to ensure it is accurate.

 

Book your Vetco clinic appointment today, and get your pet microchipped!

 

Sources:
https://info.bestfriendspetcare.com/blog/2015/06/is-your-pet-microchipped
https://preview.hs-sites.com/_hcms/preview/content/5289668080?portalId=2411678&_preview=true&from_buffer=false&preview_key=diNHAYdC&

How to Prevent Heartworm Disease in Dogs and Cats

Heartworm disease in pets is precisely what it sounds like; worms that infest the heart and pulmonary arteries.

heartworm disease pets

The mode of transmission of this disease is the mosquito. No dog or cat is safe from heartworm disease. In fact, a pet can become infected with heartworms anywhere and at any time. Infections have been reported in all 50 states.

Mosquitoes are more prevalent in the spring and summer, but the disease can be contracted at any time of year. Amazingly, it only takes a single bite from an infected mosquito to infect a pet.

Although heartworm disease is more common in dogs, it is much more deadly to cats. Heartworm disease can cause illness and can even result in death.

The good news is that this disease is essentially 100% preventable!

heartworm disease dog cat

In dogs, heartworms reside in the heart and surrounding blood vessels. This causes injury to the tissues which results in heart failure and pulmonary disease. In some cases, the worms can cause an embolus, or blockage, of other large vessels causing other organs to become affected. Severe and untreated cases can be fatal. Signs of heartworm disease in dogs are a deep cough, fatigue, lethargy, labored breathing, weight loss and distention of the abdomen.

While cats are less susceptible to heartworm infection, their body is much more sensitive to it. Cats can become severely ill or even die from only a small infection. Cats with heartworm disease may experience coughing, gagging, respiratory difficulty, lethargy, weight loss and even sudden death.

If a pet owner notices any of these signs, they should seek veterinary attention immediately. Many times, heartworm disease will produce no clinical signs, which is why prevention and regular screening is crucial.

Though heartworm disease is devastating, it is preventable. Here are the two simple steps to prevent heartworm disease in your dog or cat:

Step 1: Get your pet tested.

heartworm blood test cat

The first step to protecting a pet against heartworm disease is to get your pet tested. A simple blood test can reveal if a pet has been exposed to heartworm infection. Should a pet test positive for heartworm infection, additional diagnostics, such as radiographs or ultrasound, may be recommended by the veterinarian to determine the extent of the disease process.

Book your Vetco® heartworm test today.

Step 2: Administer preventative medicine.

heartworm preventative medicine chews dog

The next step to protecting a pet against heartworm disease is preventative medicine. On a pet to pet basis, the veterinarian will recommend an oral, topical or injectable preventative. Many of these preventative medications also protect pets against intestinal parasites. In most cases, a pet should be protected with medication year round.

So what if a pet does test positive for heartworm infection?

Unfortunately at this time, there is no safe cure for cats due to the serious side effects, such as blood clots, it produces. Instead, cats are usually limited to supportive care such as cage rest, oxygen therapy, and steroids. However, some cases of heartworm disease in cats can resolve on their own.

In dogs, newer and safer products have become available in recent years that are very effective in eliminating heartworm infection. Although, treatment of heartworm infection can produce side effects which makes follow-up visits to the veterinarian and close monitoring of the pet vital.

Source: Vetco® https://www.vetcoclinics.com/resource-center/heartworm-information

 

Get your pet tested for heartworm at one of our monthly vet clinics in partnership with Vetco®.

Click here to learn about Best Friends Pet Hotel’s veterinary care and vet clinics (in partnership with Vetco®); see our clinic schedule; and make an appointment.

vet care, vet clinic, vaccinations, Vetco, Best Friends pet Hotel

Dog Exercise: Common Questions Answered by Our Trusted Veterinarian

Answers to commonly asked questions regarding dog exercise and enrichment, provided by Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM

dog running trail

 

1. How often should I walk my dog?

dog leash in mouth, ready for walk

This depends on your dog. The breed of your dog, age, weather outside, and any underlying medical conditions affect the amount of exercise your dog should receive. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you to make sure your dog gets the proper amount.

 

2. How does a dog benefit from going on walks?

dog exercise walk

Dogs like people require mental and physical stimulation to live the fullest happiest life possible. Dogs who going on walks increase their physical health as well as their mental health. Exploring new areas and new smells stimulates the mind. Getting the heart pumping and blood flowing stimulates the body to function better and longer. You, the pet parent, also receive these added benefits as well. Also dogs who get mental and physical exercise tend to be less destructive and anxious in the home.

 

3. I have a yard, can I just let my dog go into he back yard rather then go on a walk?

dog exercise, walk

Even a yard that is fenced in is not 100% safe. Unwanted wild life can get into the yard causing harm to your pet. Your pet may also eat something without your knowledge. Though a yard is great, it is always a good idea to supervise your pet. Plus going on a walk together increases your bond with your pet.

 

4. Is it important for dogs to run off leash? Why or why not?

dog exercise, trail

This depends on your dog, its breed, age, and any underlying health conditions. There are certain breeds at certain ages that require more exercise than a human can keep up with on a leash. It is however always important to make sure that your dog is well trained to follow off leash commands and it is done in a safe environment following all local laws.

 

5. Is it important for dogs to play with other dogs?

dogs playing with toy

Dogs are pack animals and enjoy the company of other dogs. It is an important part of their socialization skills. Dogs who play together should be closely supervised, up to date on their vaccinations, and temperament compatible.

 

6. Does playing with other dogs eliminate unwanted behavior at home?

dog resting bed after exercise

Physical activity tires the body and the mind. It can prevent unwanted behavior that results from boredom. It is also an important way that dogs learn to socialize and understand social cues from other dogs.

 

7. My dog has not been in daycare or has been out of daycare for a few months. How do I ease the transition for him to go back to daycare?

Best Friends Pet Hotel Doggy Day Camp dogs
Doggy Day Camp friends at Best Friends Pet Hotel

This is where bringing your dog to a day care facility that has trained staff and you trust is very important. If your dog has never been to a daycare before the staff should do a temperament test on your dog to ensure he is put into a play circle that will work. It is also important that they gradually introduce your dog to one dog at a time. It can be overwhelming for a dog to be introduced to a pack of unknown dogs running at him. If your dog has just been out of daycare for a few months, the transition back should still be gradual but it will be much easier and quicker.

 

Doggy Day Camp at Best Friends Pet Hotel
To learn more about Doggy Day Camp at your local Best Friends Pet Hotel or to book a reservation, visit our Doggy Day Camp page. Or call your local center.

Pet Vaccinations: Common Questions Answered by Our Trusted Veterinarian

Answers to commonly asked questions regarding pet vaccinations provided by Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM

pet vaccination

In 2020, Best Friends Pet Hotel began offering monthly vet clinics (in partnership with Vetco) at our locations nationwide – as part of our ongoing mission to offer our pets and pet parents the most robust, premium pet care services around.

Since the start of our vet clinics, we’ve been receiving many important questions regarding pet vaccinations. So we decided to create this helpful resource for our pet parents by asking our trusted Veterinarian Consultant, Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM, for her expert answers and advice to your most commonly asked questions:

 

1. Why are vaccinations so important?

Vaccinations protect your pet and other pets against diseases, many of which are life threatening. It is much less expensive to vaccinate your pet than it would be to treat them if they got ill. It can prevent unneeded suffering for your pet and your family. Some vaccines are required by law, like the rabies vaccine. There are also viruses that can be transmitted to people if your unvaccinated pet were to contract it.

 

2. How do vaccines work?

Vaccines work by exposing the immune system to certain components of the unwanted virus. This lets the immune system gear up and produce antibodies against the virus. This is not instantaneous and it does take a few weeks for the body to produce these antibodies. Later if your pet is exposed to the virus, your pet’s immune system will recognize the virus and send those antibodies out to neutralize it before it can invade the cells and cause disease.

 

vet cat vaccination

3. What annual vaccinations do you recommend to pet parents?

Vaccinations that are recommended depend on you and your pet’s life style. Does your pet board? Do you go for walks in the woods? Do you live in a high rise apartment and your dog only uses potty pads in the house? Is your pet a hunting dog? Your veterinarian is there to help guide you in which vaccinations are important for your pet based on its life style.

 

4. How often should I vaccinate my pet?

Vaccination frequency depends on manufacturer recommendations, state laws, and pet’s lifestyle. As your pet ages, life style may change that it may no longer need a vaccine it used to get. State laws change as well. Some states require yearly rabies vaccines , others every three years. Your veterinarian is there to help you decide what is needed for your pet and your circumstances.

 

5. What happens if I miss a vaccination?

Missing a vaccination makes your pet vulnerable to contracting the disease you are trying to prevent. It is important for your pet’s health to stay current on vaccinations. Depending on the amount of time that has lapsed, there are some vaccinations that will require you to restart the series in order to properly protect your pet. Your veterinarian will be able to assist you in what your pet needs.

 

6. How do I know if my cat or dog is having a bad reaction to a vaccine?

A vaccine reaction can happen with any vaccine at any time, but is usually most common when receiving a new vaccination. It is important to monitor your pet for any facial swelling, hives, vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty breathing. If these were to occur you should seek veterinary care immediately.

 

7. Are there recommendations for puppies or kittens as it relates to vaccines?

Puppies or kittens receive some passive immunity from their mother through the placenta and the colostrum when they are born. This passive immunity will wane with time, this is why it is important the puppies and kittens get a series of vaccines to boost their own immature immune systems as the passive immunity they received from their mother wanes. Which vaccines are needed will depend on your puppy or kitten’s life style.

puppies kittens

 

8. As it relates to finding a place to vaccinate my pet, what types of things should I look for?

It is important to look for a place that not only vaccinates your pet but also examines them. There are certain times when pets present with medical conditions that make vaccinating them not in their best interest at that time. These medical conditions should be corrected prior to your pet receiving a vaccination. Go to a place you trust. A place that you can feel comfortable being able to communicate your questions to the staff.

Best Friends Pet Hotel and Vetco vet clinic
Monthly Vetco vet clinic at Best Friends Pet Hotel

 

vet care, vet clinic, vaccinations, Vetco, Best Friends pet Hotel
To learn more about veterinary care and monthly vet clinics (in partnership with Vetco) at your local Best Friends Pet Hotel, visit our Vet Care webpage. Or call your local center with any additional questions.

Puppy 101: A Quick-Start Guide to Caring for Your New Puppy

new puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting, but sometimes overwhelming experience. Whether this is your first puppy or it’s been a while since you’ve had a pup, we’d like to help by answering the most common questions and offering tips to ensure you give your new pet the best care possible.

 

What do I feed my puppy?

puppy food

There are many choices out there in dog food, so it can be tough to feel confident you’ve found the right food to nourish your puppy. For starters, it’s important that you feed a high-quality food that is specially formulated for growing puppies. This food will have higher protein and fat levels, added DHA and EPA, and other vitamins and nutrients (such as calcium), all perfectly balanced to provide proper nutrition during growth.

Puppies’ nutritional needs change quickly as they grow, so be sure to revisit the amount you’re feeding frequently to make sure your pup is getting the proper amount for their growth stage. If you have a large breed puppy, like a lab or a golden retriever, you’ll want to avoid overfeeding, as this can cause issues with bone development as your pup grows.

Your puppy’s food will be complete and balanced, providing all the nutrients he or she needs in the correct proportions. While it might be tempting, you should avoid switching between foods or feeding table scraps because these can lead to a very picky eater in the future! Plus, some people foods can cause stomach upset and some can even be toxic. If you do give your puppy a little something on the side, we recommend these treats and other foods make up less than 10% of a pet’s daily food intake. And If you must switch your puppy’s food, be sure to gradually change the foods over two weeks to avoid an upset stomach.

 

When should I transition from a puppy formula to an adult food?

puppy

Our recommendation is that your pup should stay on puppy food until they are full grown, but know that “full grown” varies significantly depending on the breed. Many are done growing and can change to adult food by a year old, but some large breed puppies, such as Great Danes, will continue to grow for up to two years!

 

How do I set my puppy up for potty training success?

puppy potty training

Potty training is a much happier adventure for all involved when you make the experience positive by encouraging your pup when it succeeds rather than scolding when it has accidents. Puppies are still developing the muscles they need to hold their urine for the first 12 weeks, so you’ll need to take them out frequently and praise them when they go outside. Eating usually stimulates movement through their system, so you should take them out within 20 minutes after mealtime. It’s also a good idea to take your puppy out after sleeping, drinking, and playing. And always try to give a verbal cue such as “go potty” that the puppy can catch on to, along with plenty of praise as soon as they have gone.

Always keep your puppy in your sight while potty training to foster success. This is easier said than done, we know. So if you find that your puppy has had an accident and urinated or pooped inside, do not punish them after the fact. The puppy will only understand why you are upset if you actually catch him or her in the act. If you do catch your puppy going in the house, immediately interrupt the behavior with a verbal “no,” and take him or her quickly outdoors to finish. Be sure to offer plenty of praise when he or she goes outside.

Any time you’re not able to supervise your puppy, he or she should be kept in a crate. Puppies become comfortable and consider the crate their safe place to rest. They are also less likely to go to the bathroom in their crate as long as it’s not too big. For optimal success, you should allow your puppy to go to the bathroom before putting him or her in and as soon as they come out of the crate. Short periods of time in the crate will help your puppy learn to hold off until an appropriate potty time is offered. Another benefit of crating your puppy is that it prevents them from chewing on or eating things in the house while you’re not looking.

Remember that puppies often make mistakes during potty training, so do your best to keep up the positivity! If training seems to be really off course, it’s always good to check with your vet to rule out medical causes for the challenges. A professional trainer can also help smooth out the process if issues persist.

 

What can I expect from visits to the vet?

puppy vet clinic

You should schedule a vet visit as soon as possible after getting a new puppy and do whatever you can to make every vet visit as low-stress as possible. Be sure to give plenty of praise (and treats!) to make each visit a positive experience. This will help your puppy see the vet as a normal outing rather than an unpleasant experience as they grow older.

The vet will give your puppy a physical exam to look for any problems he or she may have been born with (such as hernias, luxating patellas, soft spots on their head, heart murmurs, etc.) or any other medical issues. In addition, your vet will deworm your puppy and get you started on a proper vaccination schedule. You’ll also want to talk about having your puppy spayed or neutered at the appropriate age.

Vaccinations are a proactive way to protect and support your puppy’s immune system from exposure to new diseases. Your veterinarian will create a plan for your puppy based on your unique lifestyle and routines, but they usually start vaccines around 6  to 8 weeks of age and booster them every 2 to 3 weeks until they’re 16 weeks old. It’s important to follow your vet’s plan as getting all recommended boosters in with the correct intervals will ensure your puppy is fully protected. Some vaccines are considered core vaccines (rabies, distemper combo vaccine) and are given to almost all puppies. There are other non-core vaccines (bordetella, lyme, lepto, influenza) that are given based on an individual puppy’s chance of future exposure. This often depends on where you live and what your puppy will be in contact with, both in the environment and from other dogs. For example, does your puppy spend almost all of their time inside or do they go to dog parks or a groomer? Will you take them for a hike in the woods every weekend? Your vet will also likely start your puppy on a heartworm preventative and possibly a flea and tick preventative regimen.

Because they are so little, puppies can get sick quickly. Watch for any diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, lethargy, sneezing, coughing, discharge from the eyes or nose, fever, decreased appetite, limping, or general changes in health or behavior. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these.
Always remember that your vet is your ally, and you both want the best for your puppy. If you have questions about something or if you miss a vaccine booster or dose of preventative medication, be sure to check in with your vet. They will be happy to get you back on track.

 

Time for training!

puppies playing

It’s important to socialize puppies with people and dogs, but be careful about who you introduce your puppy to until they’ve gotten all of their puppy vaccines at 16 weeks. Until then, it’s best to keep your puppy in a fenced-in yard and only let them interact with fully-vaccinated dogs. You’ll want to avoid places where other dogs frequent (such as dog parks and pet stores), and carry them in and out of vet clinics to help reduce their exposure to diseases.

Puppy classes are strongly encouraged for training and socialization, and reputable classes will require that all puppies be up-to-date on vaccines. These classes are great for both you and your puppy, and they will foster a positive long-term relationship by teaching you how to communicate and interact with each other.

Your puppy will lose its baby teeth and get adult teeth throughout its first eight months. Chewing and biting is a normal play behavior between puppies, and it provides relief to pesky teething pain. You can teach your puppy that biting you is inappropriate using a high-pitched sound to mimic the noises puppies use with each other when playtime gets too rough. Immediately give your puppy a toy to play with and praise them for playing with the toy.

 

Brushing up on grooming tips

puppy grooming

Now is the perfect time to get your puppy comfortable with things they will encounter in the future, such as vet visits, nail trims, ear cleaning, and brushing their coat and teeth, so they will not be afraid of these things as an adult dog. Trimming nails can be done at home, but ask your vet to show you how.  Cutting them too short can cause a bit of pain and bleeding, and it might make them wary of nail trims in the future. It’s also great to get your puppy used to daily tooth brushing. Dental disease can be detrimental to the body later in life, so keeping the teeth clean is a great way to keep them healthy. You can use a regular toothbrush or a finger brush, but be sure to use toothpaste specially made for dogs because human toothpaste is toxic to pets.

Puppies can be messy, but we only recommend giving a full bath every two weeks if possible. More frequent baths can dry out the skin. Between baths, you can spot wash your puppy as needed. It’s important to use a shampoo that’s made for dogs because the pH of their skin is different than that of people, so our soaps and shampoos can dry out or irritate their skin.

 

Anything else I should know? I’m a bit overwhelmed!

puppy beagle

Exercise, plenty of toys, and playing are important to keep your puppy’s mind stimulated. Gradually introduce exercise (but don’t overdo it) and keep a close eye on your puppy when it’s playing with toys. Remove any strings or small parts that can come off the toy, as they can cause choking or blockages in the intestines if swallowed. Always supervise your puppy if he or she is playing with plush toys. Their sharp little teeth can cut through and get the stuffing and squeakers out easily, and these can be hazardous when swallowed.

Most important of all, enjoy your puppy! Take lots of pictures to look back on later. They don’t stay small for long, and there’s nothing better than puppy kisses to brighten any day.

 

Best Friends Pet Hotel – Puppy Wellness Resources:

Puppy Play Group

Give your puppy a strong foundation for life! At our Puppy Play Group sessions, your puppy gets to play in a supervised pack environment that teaches them proper socialization, manners and play skills to prepare them for adulthood.

Click here to learn more about Puppy Play Group and to book a reservation.

 

Puppy Nutrition

We are proud to have partnered with Freely® – our Exclusive Nutrition Partner – to offer pet food recipes (for puppies and beyond) that are made with limited, purposeful ingredients.

Click here to learn more about Freely.

 

Puppy Grooming

Whether you need a quick shampoo or “the works, our expert groomers will make your furry friend fabulous. Each appointment includes a free consultation to discuss your pup’s personal grooming needs. Bonus: First time puppies receive a discounted bath for only $10 and a discounted bath and haircut for only $20!

Click here to learn more about grooming and to book a reservation.

 

Vet Clinics

In conjunction with Vetco, we offer vaccination and wellness services, monthly, in almost all of our convenient locations.

Click here to learn more about our vet care, see our upcoming clinic dates and locations, and to make a reservation.

 

 

Blog Post Source: https://freelypet.com/blogs/nutrition-articles/puppy-101-a-quick-start-guide-to-caring-for-your-new-canine-companion

 

 

CBD for Your Dog: Your Most Important Questions Answered

dog hemp plant cbd

Introduction to CBD for Your Dog

CBD is one of the most talked-about options in the holistic wellness space, and it’s no surprise why. However, this holistic remedy does bring up its fair share of questions.

If you’re currently exploring the world of CBD and how it can help your four-legged friend, you may wonder a lot of things. What is it? How does it work? Is it safe? Is it effective? Part of the journey in getting all your top CBD questions answered is learning all about the many CBD benefits for dogs and how it can help them live happier and healthier lives.

So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at CBD, the many situations it’s used for, and how it may be the perfect holistic option for your pup!

 

What is CBD?

dog cbd education

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is CBD, and where does it come from?

CBD is short for “cannabidiol,” a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant.

The cannabis plant comes in two varieties: marijuana and hemp. The main difference between the two plants is the tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, content. The marijuana plant contains high levels of THC (the psychoactive component that marijuana is known for). The hemp plant, however, contains trace amounts of THC – generally, no more than .3%. CBD can be extracted from both of these plant varieties; however it’s the hemp variety that’s sourced for CBD products made for dogs and other animals.

 

Is CBD legal?

Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in all 50 states, so you never have to worry about accessibility issues.

 

Will CBD get your dog high?

As mentioned above, only CBD from the marijuana variety of the cannabis plant contain high levels of THC (the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects associated with “getting high”).

Since hemp-derived CBD products only contain trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less), you don’t have to worry about your pet experiencing any kind of high.

Another significant CBD fact is that hemp-derived CBD is also non-addictive. Your pet will not develop a dependency to CBD and can instead simply reap its many potential health and wellness benefits.

 

How does CBD work?

When cannabinoids like CBD are introduced into the body, they interact with something called the endocannabinoid system.

You can think of the endocannabinoid system as you would any other regulatory system in the body like the immune system or the central nervous system.

The endocannabinoid system in particular plays a role in regulating key physiological processes such as appetite, sleep, pain response, and mood.

Both us and our dogs have an endocannabinoid system. In fact, the system is present in all mammalian bodies, where its job is to remedy any imbalances in order to achieve homeostasis, a.k.a. optimal function of and steady equilibrium among our internal processes.

So how does the endocannabinoid system work exactly?

Simply put, the endocannabinoid system is made up of cannabinoid receptors called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. The below picture shows how these receptors are spread all throughout the body, located in important organs like the brain and lungs and in important systems like the immune system and vascular system.

cbd dog cannabinoid receptors endocannabinoid system

When cannabinoids like CBD enter the body, they interact with the endocannabinoid system either by binding directly to and activating the CB1 and CB2 receptors, or by performing certain actions that influence the endocannabinoid system indirectly.

These interactions are what result in the potential health benefits a person (or animal) can experience when using CBD or other cannabinoids.

For example, the cannabinoid THC can modulate pain at the spinal cord and brain level when it activates CB1 receptors, while activating the CB2 receptors can help support the body’s normal inflammatory response.

 

Specifically, How Can My Dog Benefit from CBD?

dog cbd

Now that we’ve talked a little bit about how CBD works on the molecular level, let’s discuss the outward signs of CBD’s effect on your dog.

CBD for Mobility

As your dog starts to get up in years, you may notice changes to his mobility as a normal part of aging. Maybe he’s no longer able to enjoy his daily walks the way he used to, or maybe he struggles to climb the stairs in your home.

Many pet parents turn to CBD for this very situation. CBD supports healthy joints and flexibility, provides connective tissue support, and can help relieve occasional joint stiffness by maintaining joint mobility and supporting bone health.

It’s no wonder so many of our customer success stories revolve around senior dogs who got the spring back in their step thanks to CBD!

CBD for Pain

Do you know how to tell if your dog is in pain? Dogs are notorious for hiding their discomfort, a trait they inherited from their wild ancestors. Usually, by the time a dog has made their pain known, it’s progressed to a very uncomfortable point.

Naturally, no pet parent ever wants to see their dog in pain. Whether your dog is recovering from an injury or recent operation, or is experiencing occasional discomfort from normal aging or from normal daily exercise and activity, CBD can help.

CBD supports a normal inflammatory response in the body, which helps with occasional stiffness and soreness while also supporting healthy cellular activity and normal muscle recovery.

CBD for Stress

Stress can affect dogs just as much as it can people. There are various reasons why a dog may feel stressed or nervous, including loud noises (like thunderstorms and fireworks), changes in the household (such as bringing a new baby home or having family over for a special gathering), changes to their usual routine (such as traveling, hospitalization, or moving to a new home), and separation from their loved ones at times when they’re left home alone.

Other times, you may simply have a dog on your hands who is dealing with hyperactivity. Hyperactivity is often caused by excess energy and can lead to destructive behavior.

Fortunately, CBD can help. CBD has a calming effect on the nerves, which automatically promotes relaxation in animals and supports a normal emotional balance. It helps animals cope with external stresses (including environmentally-induced stress) and situations that may cause nervousness and helps them maintain a normal and relaxed disposition.

CBD for Wellness

In the same way that we take vitamins and other supplements in order to support our immune system, dogs can benefit from immune-boosting foods and holistic options as well, especially in their senior years, when added support can make all the difference in improving their quality of life.

In addition to assisting and supporting the immune system, CBD also supports normal cardiovascular and neurological function, promotes long-term health, and helps maintain physical and mental wellbeing.

Is CBD safe for pets?

dog cbd
CBD products are perfectly safe for your furry friend as long as they’re derived from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant.

Products derived from the marijuana variety of cannabis, however, are NOT safe for animal consumption, as they typically contain high levels of THC and can thus be toxic to animals.

As for side effects, hemp-derived CBD rarely produces side effects in pets, with most pet parents simply observing slight lethargy in the beginning of the introduction process. That is one of the reasons CBD is such a popular holistic option among pet parents.

Below are the most commonly reported side effects, but every dog is different, and you may find that your four-legged friend exhibits none of these side effects at all.

The important thing is to closely monitor your dog’s behavior and activity levels when first introducing CBD (and to introduce it slowly), so that you can best determine the perfect dose for your pup.

Most Common Reported Side Effects:

Dry Mouth

CBD can lead to a decrease in the production of saliva. This typically presents itself as an increased thirst in your pet. Ensure that your dog always has access to fresh water so that he can satisfy his thirst as needed.

Slight Lethargy

CBD can promote relaxation in animals, so your four-legged friend might seem a little sleepy when they’re first introduced to CBD. This may be ideal if you’re using CBD to help your dog manage stress or nervousness, but if your dog ever seems too drowsy, you can always adjust their dose accordingly.

Lowered Blood Pressure

If you administer too high a dose of CBD to your pet, it may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. The drop itself is small, but it can create a temporary feeling of lightheadedness in your pup. Be sure to stay within the recommended dosage range for your dog’s weight whenever offering them CBD.

Diarrhea

If you’ve ever introduced a new food or supplement to your dog’s healthcare regimen, you probably already know that diarrhea is almost an expected side effect. In this case, the gastrointestinal upset is not caused by the CBD itself but rather by the carrier oil that’s used in the product. This is why it’s important to slowly introduce CBD to your dog, as it gives his body time to acclimate. It’s also a good rule of thumb to offer CBD at mealtime as opposed to on an empty stomach.

When first introducing CBD to your pet, it’s always best to start with a smaller dose and then gradually work your way up to a full dose over a series of days.

And it’s good news that today’s top pet CBD brands have developed creative, functional ways for our canine companions to enjoy CBD in forms that are safe and, in many cases, already familiar to them.

What are the most common CBD products for dogs?

cbd oil for dogs

CBD Oils

CBD oils are commonly referred to as CBD tinctures.

CBD tinctures come equipped with a dropper (usually 1mL in size), which takes out the guesswork when it comes to giving your pet CBD. With a tincture, you always know just how much CBD oil your animal friend is receiving and can easily adjust the dose as needed.

CBD oils are best administered sublingually (under your pet’s tongue). This allows the CBD to quickly diffuse into the blood through the tissues located underneath your pet’s tongue.

Alternatively, with a pet tincture, you can also administer CBD oil at mealtime.

 

cbd bites and chews for dogs

CBD Bites and Chews

What dog doesn’t love a tasty morsel of goodness?

CBD bites and chews make it easier than ever to introduce CBD into your pet’s health regimen. They come in various shapes and sizes and are usually formulated with delicious ingredients that pets already love — like coconut, peanut butter, and turmeric.

Some pet CBD companies even manufacture CBD-infused peanut butter and CBD-infused coconut oil. CBD oil products like this are a big hit among animals!

 

cbd topicals for dogs

CBD Topicals

Not all CBD pet products need to be consumed.

Sometimes, animal lovers seek out specific CBD benefits that can be achieved simply through topical application.

Since CBD can help support healthy skin, CBD-infused coconut oil for pets is a popular go-to in moisturizing the dry skin of noses or cracked paws. It’s also a great option to turn to for hot spots.

What is the best pet CBD brand?

Not all pet CBD products are created equally.

This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s important to know your CBD facts when purchasing a product for you or your pet.

This is especially vital considering the CBD space isn’t regulated by any official governing bodies, meaning it’s all too easy to come across low-quality products or even products that contain no CBD whatsoever despite what their labeling says.

For that reason, here are seven must-haves to tick off your criteria list when you’re researching a CBD company:

1. Hemp-derived CBD only!

This not only ensures that your CBD is legal in all 50 States, but it also guarantees that your CBD product doesn’t contain high traces of THC, which can be toxic to your pet. (Ultimately, a Certificate of Analysis will give you the most detailed breakdown of your CBD, which we discuss further down this list).

2. Full-spectrum CBD oil is king!

Avoid broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate and go straight for full-spectrum CBD. Again, full-spectrum CBD contains the most cannabinoids, and studies have shown that these cannabinoids work together synergistically in order to produce the most potent results for your health or your pet’s health. In short: the more cannabinoids, the better. Some companies will tout CBD isolate as a purer product since it contains 100% CBD and nothing else. The reality, however, is that CBD isolate is simply cheaper to make since it eliminates all the other cannabinoids in the production process. While it certainly can offer health benefits, full-spectrum CBD is a great deal more robust.

3. CBD products should be natural and all organic.

As with organic food, the cannabis plant’s quality can be altered by the way that it’s grown. Best practices mean plants that haven’t been treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals. The method of extraction makes a difference as well, with CO2 extraction being the best option. It produces cleaner, purer, and healthier hemp CBD oil. In addition, CBD pet products should be non-GMO and free of soy, dairy, corn, and gluten as well.

4. Buy from a CBD company that is compliant with The National Animal Supplement Council.

The NASC ensures that retailers practice ethical behavior and that they’re 100% committed to manufacturing only the safest and highest quality of products. NASC-compliant companies undergo rigorous quality audits to ensure their supplements (CBD included) are top-of-the-line. With no formal governing bodies monitoring the CBD space, the NASC seal of approval is a sure way to find premium quality CBD for your pet.

5. A Certificate of Analysis (or COA) will show exactly how much CBD a product contains.

Any reputable company should be able to provide you with a Certificate of Analysis. If they can’t or won’t, that’s a red flag. This important document ensures that your CBD product contains no contaminants that can be toxic to your pet, while also providing a comprehensive breakdown of all the different cannabinoids and terpenes that are present in your CBD. (Terpenes are natural compounds that are also derived from the cannabis plant and added to CBD products to produce certain desired results; some are best for promoting relaxation, for instance, while others can be used to support the body’s inflammatory response). A Certificate of Analysis will also allow you to ensure that the THC levels in your product are at 0.3% or less.

6. Play detective and research any CBD company you’re considering.

Make sure that the company is in right-standing with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Simply search online for “FDA dog CBD,” and you’ll find a list of offenders who have made false claims about their products in the past. Reading client reviews will also give you a clear idea of brand reputation and customer service, and you should always check out a company’s rating on Better Business Bureau.

7. Ensure the CBD has been lab-tested by a third party and not a company that the retailer is affiliated with.

The Certificate of Analysis should list the name, address, phone number, and sometimes even website of the lab that tested the CBD, allowing you to contact them and ask any questions you might have. This ensures total transparency in the lab results and guarantees that the Certificate of Analysis is accurate and authentic.

 

Where can I buy CBD oil?

The internet is full of CBD companies and retailers who sell hemp-derived CBD products.

That said, you should never purchase a CBD product without thoroughly investigating the company behind it first.

Do your homework, read reviews, and research the company in question as much as you can. Use the 7-step buyer’s guide provided above as you begin to compare different CBD brands and don’t stop searching until you’ve found a company that checks off all the boxes.

How do I know what CBD dosage to give my dog?

dog cbd

Your veterinarian or other trusted pet health and wellness expert can best help you determine the optimal CBD dosage to give your dog based on a few determnining factors. Here are some guidelines to help you, as an educated pet parent, best understand CBD dosages.

There are different types of CBD products, from CBD dog treats to CBD oil for dogs, so deciding on a dose of CBD can be confusing at first. But, once you know the factors involved, finding a CBD dosage is much easier.

As with all things, some dogs may react differently than others. For this reason, you should watch your pet carefully and adjust their dosage accordingly.

The amount of hemp oil you give your dog depends on their weight and their particular ailment. A good formula to use when deciding on a dose of CBD for your dog is: 0.25mg of CBD per pound of dog. This means for a 9-pound dog, a good CBD dose to start with is 2.25mg.

For therapeutic benefits for stress, CBD can be used as needed. For more serious ailments, pet parents should follow a set schedule to avoid flair ups.

Another factor to consider is the age of your pet. This can affect the potency of the CBD dose. A younger dog will not be as affected by a CBD dose as an older, full-grown dog. Because of this, younger pups may need a higher dose to get the desired effect from their CBD oil.

Lastly, the type of CBD product that a pet owner uses will affect the dose. A CBD tincture is pure hemp oil and will most likely result in the most fast-acting benefits. A CBD dog treat contains CBD, but also other ingredients. This can affect how quickly the CBD is absorbed in your dog’s system.

Regardless of the delivery method, all quality CBD products are very effective depending on your furry friend’s needs. Always be sure to follow the dosage instructions and closely monitor how your dog reacts. Based on your dog’s response, you can increase or decrease the CBD oil dosage to fit your needs.

How Much CBD is in a CBD Dog Treat or CBD Oil?

dog cbd

When buying CBD products, the package usually lists the total amount of CBD in the package (like the box of treats or bottle). Because of this, it’s important to read the box or bottle carefully so you don’t assume one is more potent than the other when, in fact, each treat may contain the same amount of CBD.

To figure out how much CBD is in each treat or each dose of CBD oil, scan the back of the package and determine how much CBD is in each drop or CBD treat. With CBD oil and tinctures, you may have to do a little math. That depends on if the CBD dose is determined per drop or on how many drops are in the dropper itself. Most products will tell you how many milligrams are in a full dropper and if this is the case you can figure out the CBD dose easily.

If the CBD oil or hemp oil says it contains 35 mg of CBD per full dropper, you can fill the dropper yourself and dispense the oil to confirm how many drops are in the dropper. Let’s say there’s an average of 30 drops in each full dropper. You would just divide 35 mg by 30 drops. This would tell me there is about 1.2 mg of CBD in each drop of CBD oil. Now you know how to start your dog’s dose of CBD!

As mentioned above, we always recommend consulting with your trusted vet or other pet health expert when starting a new health remedy for your pet.

 

CBD for Your Dog – Final Thoughts and Next Steps

CBD is taking the holistic world by storm, and it’s easy to see why.

People all over the world are turning to this holistic option for a host of reasons, from fighting free radicals and supporting healthy immune function to promoting relaxation and helping with occasional discomfort.

Fortunately, these days, our beloved four-legged friends can take part in the exciting world of CBD too, thanks to CBD pet companies that are dedicated to crafting the best CBD products for our dogs and cats to support their health and happiness.

 

If you’ve been on the fence about giving CBD a try, why not make today the day you take a leap to see the results for yourselves?

Best Friends Pet Hotel proudly partnered with Honest Paws in 2020 to offer a superior-quality pet CBD product line (available at all of our locations) that our pet parents can trust.

Honest Paws pet CBD products

Honest Paws uses 100% pure full spectrum CBD hemp oil from hemp plants cultivated in Colorado; made in the USA and thoroughly lab tested.

Honest Paws pet CBD products are human grade, organic, 100% natural, and completely vegan. Additionally, they’re non-GMO, soy free, dairy free, corn free, and gluten free.

Honest Paws is certified with the National Animal Supplement Council for all their products and undergo rigorous quality audits to achieve the highest standards in the CBD space.

We invite you to explore our entire collection of Honest Paws pet CBD products, which are available across four unique condition-specific lines: Calm, Mobility, Relief, and Wellness.

 

To learn more about Honest Paws pet CBD products for your dog, visit our products page, or call your local Best Friends Pet Hotel, and someone will be happy to answer any questions for you. 

All of our Honest Paws pet CBD products can be purchased curbside at your local Best Friends Pet Hotel.

 

 

Sources:
https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/cbd-benefits-for-dogs/
https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/is-cbd-safe-for-dogs/
https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/best-cbd-oil/
https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-and-cbd/
https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/cbd-dosage-for-dogs/
https://www.honestpaws.com/blog/cbd-facts/

 

 

Holiday Pet Parent Tips

By Jessica Neal, Nutrition Center Manager, Freely Pet

pets dog cat holidays

The holidays are a time for celebration, decorations, big meals, and temptation galore. This is true not just for humans but for our four-legged family members too.

As you plan this holiday season, the Freely Nutrition Center is here for you with important tips on keeping your pets safe, happy, and healthy.

Freely Nutrition Center

 

What kind of plans should I make for my pets during the holidays?

dog pet parent holidays
This holiday season is likely to look a bit different for everyone this year. When making your plans, be sure to include your favorite furry family member!

If you are planning to travel or expect to be out and about, lock in those boarding or doggy day camp reservations at your Best Friends Pet Hotel location. Those spots can fill up quickly!

If you are staying home this year, plan to include your pets in the celebrations. This may mean adjusting the celebration to stick to your pet’s schedule but having them near will bring you all closer together.

This is also a great time to check the hours of operation for important contacts, like your vet. It’s nice to have some extra peace of mind knowing your pet’s care team is accessible when you already have so much on your plate (quite literally!).

 

We are planning a big holiday meal! Can my pet have some?

dog holidays food

Holiday food is often decadent and full of flavor, so it’s tempting to sneak a little something to your furry family member under the table. But these tasty morsels can cause unintended tummy troubles (and add to their waistline).

Only 10% of your pet’s daily calories should come from treats, toppers, and extras. Yep, even during the holidays.

Don’t leave the turkey or pies unattended on the counter or you might come back to find them missing and your pet with a full belly.

Your pets are not always as trustworthy as they are cute in the face of temptation, especially with the added distractions around your home.

PS: Try one of Freely’s bone broths for a lower calorie alternative treat!

 

I’m not sure how my pet will handle having my family around. What can I do to help?

dog playing brain teaser toy

While the holidays are a time of celebration, they can be taxing on pets and humans alike!

Consider adding a stress-busting play session, especially with a brain-teasing toy, to release some pent-up physical and mental energy before the festivities begin.

Another great idea is to add a few extra training sessions on the morning of the big day.

Puppies will be ready for a nap after a brain workout with obedience lessons or trick training!

Both are great ways to bond with your pet.

Even with some stress reduction measures, your pet might still become overwhelmed. Ensure your pet has a quiet place to relax away from the excitement and keep an eye on doors that an escape artist might use to dart away from the action.

 

My pet is acting really different during the celebration. What is going on?

dog holidays deer antlers

Many of us added new pets to our family in the past year. Even though they have settled in and become comfortable in our homes, the excitement of the holidays is a new, often overwhelming, experience for them.

Don’t worry if your normally outgoing pet becomes more reserved during the holiday season or your extra nervous pets are a bit shy around dinner time. With a little patience, they will be happy to spend the evening recouping with you after a long day of celebration.

 

I want my house to look festive but are the decorations dangerous for my pet?

cat holidays

Think twice about what you use to decorate your house and where you place holiday décor.

Pets observe with their mouths rather than their eyes, and sampling ribbon, tinsel, potpourri, or water in tree stands can be dangerous.

Although poinsettias are not quite as dangerous as previously believed, it is best to keep them, and other more poisonous plants like mistletoe and holly, away from pets.

And remember that other favorite people foods, such as chocolate and eggnog, can also be toxic treats.

Decorations, like trees and candles, can pose more physical dangers to your pet.

Your cat might find climbing your Christmas tree to be a fun activity, but it’s a party-pooper if it falls over and injures someone!

Candles and fireplaces should also be monitored to keep pets at a safe distance away.

 

We adopted a new pet this year! What can we do to really make them part of the family?

dog holiday festivities traditions

The holidays are a time of traditions and spending time together. Why not try making a new tradition with your pet?

An evening walk to check out the neighborhood decorations is a way to incorporate your puppy into the festivities.

A fort-building contest with spare boxes will give your kitty a place to play and a new experience to keep their minds busy.

These can become cherished activities, and you and your pet can look forward to them each year!

 

Still have questions? The Freely Nutrition Center has answers!

The Freely Nutrition Center wants to help you find the right food for your cat or dog and answer any questions you have about your pet’s diet and nutritional needs. Simply call (833-918-1236), email (nutrition@freelypet.com) or live chat (freelypet.com) with their experts.

And as a loyal guest of Best Friends Pet Hotel, when you contact them this Holiday season, they’ll send you a FREE small bag of Freely kibble! Just mention this blog post during your free consultation.

 

 

About the Author:

Jessica Neal is the Nutrition Center Manager at Freely Pet. She has a Master’s Degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in Genomics and Bioinformatics. She’s also a devoted pet parent to Atlas, her outgoing, sweet, and silly dog, Peabody, her loveable rescue cat, and Divine, her beautiful, hardworking quarter horse. While Jessica has studied in several fields, her true passion is small animal nutrition, and she is excited to connect with pet parents like you to help you navigate your pet’s nutritional journey.

BEST FRIENDS PET HOTELS ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE NUTRITION PARTNERSHIP WITH FREELY

Freely will be the Exclusive Nutrition Partner for both dogs and cats staying and playing at all 31 Best Friends Pet Hotel centers nationwide.

As cooler weather descends and holiday preparations are underway, pet parents are starting to think about holiday plans, including pet boarding accommodations and day care arrangements. For busy families, Best Friends Pet Hotels provides peace of mind with a new exclusive partnership offering Freely limited ingredient recipes as the new in-house food starting October 1st.

According to Darryl Sampson, Best Friends Pet Hotel VP/Operations, “We are proud to partner with Freely, a brand that shares our commitment to being a trusted resource for today’s pet parents as well an excellent complement to our quality facilities and luxury pet suites. Freely’s unique natural, limited ingredient foods and personalized, free nutrition services is one more way we’re demonstrating our dedication to providing exceptional care for our happy canine and feline guests, and peace of mind for pet parents.”

Through this partnership with Freely, Best Friends Pet Hotels nationwide will be making the switch exclusively to Freely recipes. Dogs staying and playing with Best Friends Pet Hotels will enjoy Whole Grain Lamb kibble or a Whole Grain Turkey Puppy kibble while cats boarding with Best Friends will enjoy Grain-Free with Rabbit kibble. Select wet recipes will also be available. Kibble samples are available for free at local Best Friends Pet Hotels while supplies last.

“High quality food and thoughtfully balanced nutrition are important to the overall health of every pet,” said Freely Veterinarian, Dr. Sara Gilbert. “Freely provides peace of mind for pet parents not only by delivering complete and balanced nutrition in every bowl but as a great resource to coach and advise them and the staff at Best Friends. When a pet’s home-away-from-home care is equally committed to rigorous play and purposely chosen foods, it shows their dedication to the families they serve.”

Best Friends will also be selling Freely’s Beneficial Broths (for dogs, Tranquility Blend, Gut Health Blend, Skin & Coat Blend, and Tranquility Blend; for cats, Tranquility Blend) in the lobby and available for curbside pickup. Customers of Best Friends will also enjoy an exclusive discount code for online purchases at freelypet.com.

Freely was created to simplify pet food for pet parents who are largely overwhelmed and confused by today’s market. They offer a unique service and product model that makes it easier for pet parents to select and buy their pet’s food. Freely puts small animal nutrition experts within easy reach through the Freely Nutrition Center and offers an innovative assortment of limited ingredient recipes perfect for nourishing pets.

 

About Freely: Freely Pet, LLC was started in 2020 by a group of passionate pet parents committed to making pet food easier to understand and buy. Freely products are available online at freelypet.com, Chewy.com, and Amazon.com, and at select local neighborhood pet retail stores across the US. The company is driven by its purpose of enabling pet parents to nourish their pets with confidence and ease. All Freely products are Limited Ingredient Diet recipes made in the USA from the finest ingredients from around the world. Freely offers a selection of premium dry and wet foods as well as functional bone broth toppers for both dogs and cats, in a range of protein options from vegetarian and flexitarian to meat and fish. Freely is privately held and headquartered in Brentwood, Missouri, and can be visited at freelypet.com and followed on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at @freelypet.

Top 3 Reasons To Foster A Shelter Pet

By Christine A. Bournias

dog with pet foster

What Is Pet Fostering?

The sad reality is that shelters are overcrowded and simply cannot host the volume of furry bodies in need. Fostering is a way to provide temporary care and/or housing for these animals that need to live in a home environment prior to adoption.

By no fault of their own, most often animals are hurt or have serious illnesses that can’t be overcome. Some have insurmountable surgeries that can’t be performed because the animal is too far gone or too old for critical care. These animals, especially senior animals, often are misplaced and are much more difficult to place.

dog back sitting in park on leash

Worse, certain animals are often discriminated against based on their appearance. Unfortunately, the Black Dog Syndrome is real and common amongst shelters. It comes down to which animals have a better chance of adoption. While the numbers are improving, black dogs and cats are more difficult to adopt.

DID YOU KNOW?
October 1 is National Black Dog Day! “A 1998 study of 1,468 dogs offered for adoption at a local Humane Society did find that dogs with black fur were a factor in whether they got adopted. However, at the same time in 2008, the general manager of the Los Angeles Animal Services found that in a 12-month period covering 30,046 dogs, slightly more dogs that were completely or predominantly black were adopted than dogs that were not. And these two aren’t the only contradictory studies.” —Ceasarsway.com, Why Black Dogs Are Less Likely To Be Adopted

Many rescue organizations that don’t have a brick and mortar building in order to host the volume of animals that need shelter are typically run by Foster Pet Parents alone.

Fostering is ideal for some people, but not so much for others. Nonetheless, you must be prepared for all the responsibilities that go along with caring for different animals that may not be your first pick.

man with cat closeup

Why Do Rescue Organizations Need You To Foster?

Global animal welfare organizations need to relieve overcrowding and place needy animals in permanent forever homes.

And foster homes are in dire need.

When an animal is given the chance to live in a temporary, yet safe and supportive sanctuary, their chances for adoption increase exponentially.

This mission of any shelter is for needy animals to live out their lives in a forever home.

Due to the 2020 pandemic , many shelters hastened their efforts to ‘clear the shelters.’ While that sounds good in theory, it’s more important than ever to make sure these animals remain in loving homes.

Fostering or adopting a pet during time “at home” is wonderful. But as you transition back to your life as you know it—and return back to their semi-regular schedule—make sure that you’re fostering for the betterment of the animal.

Always stay just as committed to your furry companion through any unexpected life circumstances. Foster because you’re truly able to do it, not because you’re ‘bored.’.

Scenarios That Call For Temporary Homes:

  • An animal that suffers from anxiety of shelter stress, especially animals that need extra attention. As they await permanent residence in a foster home, their stress diminishes and they become better acclimated to the life of everyday human home life.
  • Abandoned, neglected, or abused animals benefit from a healthy human bond
  • Disabled, ill, injured, or senior animals that need dedicated medical attention
  • Animals in need of socialization and training for a family environment
  • People who suffer an area emergency or disaster. Animals displaced due to natural disasters are often awaiting reunion with their families. As these families work to re-establish their lives, they rely heavily on pet fosters.
  • Nursing cats and dogs
  • Young kittens and puppies that are too young to be adopted

dog near window with sun shining in

A Shelter Has A Responsibility To Their Animals

Just because you’re fostering, doesn’t mean it’s not as serious as adopting.

Look to an organization that will match animals with homes that best fit the needs of both the animal and the pet foster’s lifestyle. A reputable rescue organization will conduct a thorough vetting process and will find unique ways to save lives and ensure a successful fostering experience.

What An Organization Looks For In A Foster Pet Parent:

  • High level of commitment
  • Serious ONLY applicants
  • Financial security
  • Animal experience
  • Patience and understanding of shelter’s thorough vetting process

To minimize potential disharmony, shelter experts recommend keeping foster pets and their existing furry companions apart at certain times.When it comes to acknowledging an existing household environment, experienced Foster Pet Parents make sure to have a balance between moderate separation and proper socialization. For example, Foster Pet Parents may walk their own dogs together, but will chose to separate them for playtime and meals.

woman holding dog

A Foster Family Has A Responsibility To A Shelter Animal

Just like searching for the perfect adoptee for the animal’s forever home, a reputable rescue organization will also seek out an ideal candidate for pet fostering as well.

The organization who arranges your fostering journey should provide proper information about the animal you’re about to foster. Inquiry about your shelter pet’s entire medical history and temperament before bringing the shelter animal to meet the rest of the family—including other fur family members is a must.

boy with dog on yellow sofa

Make sure that the rescue organization is straightforward with you on either a clean bill of health or other pre-existing concerns that the shelter animal may have. If your animal is sick from the beginning, know what you’re getting yourself into.

The rescue or shelter needs to tell you any and all conditions upfront. Be sure that you have access and disclosure as to the animals health history, as well as their complete Veterinarian’s directives.

You’ll be assigned to take your foster to their Veterinarian visits with medical expenses covered by the organization. In order to increase their adoption chances, you’ll be asked to attend adoption events with your foster pet

When it comes to essential supplies, training, and special needs, there’s typically a pivot contact person from the shelter. That contact person should be able to provide you access to proper veterinary care or health & wellness clinics, as well as a 24-hour emergency number, should a problem arise.

vet with cat

Do YOU Have The Right Stuff To Foster?

Not certain you have what it takes to foster a shelter animal? While fostering is a heroic gesture, it isn’t the right choice for all. Therefore, it’s important to make a wise and foresighted decision.

A Foster Pet Parent has a vital role to play in this animal’s life. Fostering a shelter pet shouldn’t be taken lightly. Fosters are essential for the health and well-being of the animal.

As a temporary guardian to a dog or cat in need, Foster Pet Parents are the animal’s advocate. You represent them to the public and are their voice.

Why NOT you?

dog bandaged paw

How Do You Foster Without Falling In Love?

The rescue organization has approached you with the idea of fostering an animal from the rescue organization you support. Now what?

Remember, if you foster an animal, don’t think you won’t fall in love with them. You do fall in love. But, you’re fostering shelter animals to save lives.

“Fostering provides a great way for shelter animals to transition to a new home. When an animal in need receives the opportunity to live in a home environment, the fostering experience teaches the animal basic house manners, as well as the chance to socialize with people and other animals. It’s your opportunity to help animals without a long term commitment.” —Nicole A.

Fostering is one of the most unselfish things you can do for the love of an animal in need.

Foster = Love

Shelter animals usually find you, not the other way around. You have to decide if fostering a shelter animal is for you. Is it the right timing in your life—and do you have the resilience to do so?

woman with dog at park

What It Takes To Foster

Inner strength.

People will impose their beliefs on you and tell you that they just could never foster. Don’t let their own weaknesses deter you.

Be prepared, they’ll ask these questions:

  • “Why do you foster? (I couldn’t do it.)”
  • “How can you be a Foster Pet Parent without getting attached?”
  • “Doesn’t it hurt when you have to say good-bye?”

You got this.

Answer: Fostering gives a shelter pet a chance to know what true love is.

Here’s the reality: Fosters save lives. And shelters need you.

Characteristics Of A Foster Caregiver:

  • Compassionate
  • Committed
  • Devoted
  • Experienced
  • Gentle
  • Patience
  • Stamina

Be the reason they love humans.

pet adoption family

NOW Could Be Your Opportunity To Foster

You love your community. And you LOVE animals. Maybe it’s finally time to consider making the move to foster an animal in need?

Your philanthropic gestures do not go unnoticed and you’d do anything to save an animal in need. You give your heart and soul to help support your local rescue organizations by donating money—and precious time—to volunteer at the shelters.

Now you’re in the position to do more. It might just be the perfect time to foster a shelter pet.

Fostering an animal is gratifying and rewarding—it saves lives. Opening up your home to foster an animal in need can help the organization free up a spot for another animal in need also.

Most notable, it may provide you with the opportunity to channel the love you have for animals by caregiving for foster pet(s). By fostering, you have the honor of providing encouragement to an animal in their crucial stages of their life’s journey to being adopted.

woman kissing dog

3 Reasons To Be A Foster Pet Parent

1. Offers You The Opportunity To Give Back To Your Community

Can’t adopt just yet? Fostering is an excellent alternative. Helping your community by getting involved in adoption events is a good way to make a difference. Search the Petfinder database for local animal welfare organizations that could benefit from your fostering duties.

“Animal welfare organizations work to place lost, abandoned, abused, and relinquished animals in permanent homes. This helps relieve overcrowding and reduces an animal’s stress by providing a temporary and supportive sanctuary while he awaits permanent adoption.” —Pets For Patriots, The Wet Nose Blog

Contact your local organizations and rescue groups to learn about specific opportunities near you. In fact, Best Friends Pet Hotel is hosting adoption events at Pet Hotels near you.

woman with dog at park

Make Philanthropic Gestures

Fostering a shelter pet is a positive next step toward their forever home. What a better way to give back to your community and to the betterment, health, and well-being of pets in your area.

Follow Neighborhood Rules

Every county and town is different with the amount of animals allowed. Abide by your individual city laws and animal limits per household.

Stay Community Focused

1. Volunteer Where Your Passion Is
2. Help Needy Animals At Your Local Shelter
3. Make A Difference

woman kissing dog

2. Provides More Room In A Shelter

Fostering an animal in need is the most courageous thing you can do. When you foster one shelter animal, that leaves space for another needy animal to be saved.

You’re saving lives when you foster by giving an animal in need a chance at life. In addition, when you foster and you’re unable to own a pet due to lifestyle restrictions, you’ll reap benefits of pet ownership.

Why Animals In Need Benefit From Foster Pet Parents:

    • While animals are awaiting adoption, fostering offers a safe and supportive environment
    • Fostering reduces an animal’s stress by placing them in a comfortable home
    • By fostering, you improve an animal’s chances of obtaining qualified adoption applicants that can lead to adoption
    • When you foster a shelter pet, you have the chance to enhance their adoption potential
    • Many times relatives or friends of Military members don’t have the experience or cannot commit to long-term deployments. Fostering an animal for a military member provides a temporary, safe home to animals that anticipate being reunited with families following an emergency, natural disaster, or military deployment

According to Dog Is My CoPilot”, these two organizations help provide fostering services for deployed service member’s pet:

Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet: Assists active duty deploying military service members, wounded warriors and honorably discharged/disabled veterans with medical/homeless hardship situations to reunite them with their pets following deployments and/or hardships.

Dogs on Deployment : Facilitates an online community to arrange fosters for deployment, family illness. or any other circumstances that render a service member temporarily unable to care for a pet. This online resource was founded by an active duty husband and wife team.

military dog

Steps To Consider When Fostering:

      1. Make sure you’re ready to foster by considering all aspects of your life
      2. Consider other family members and/or household pets
      3. Conduct breed research, animal’s history, and temperament assessment
      4. If applicable, know how and when to separate your foster pet from other family members
      5. Work with a reputable rescue organization
      6. Provide a safe, calm home environment
      7. Keep animals secure with a fence and/or other escape barriers
      8. Communicate with one contact person during the transition and fostering process
      9. Look for transparency on medical health of animal
      10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

dog giving paw to woman

At Home With Your Foster Pet?

There are several things you can do for your foster pet to have a good temporary home.

Homemade tunnels and obstacle courses and hide and seek sessions can be a wonderful way to provide a positive experience for your shelter pet. Nose tricks and interactive mind games help them stay alert. Interesting mental stimulation outside of a loud shelter is always positve.

Treat your furry friend to a frozen favorite dispensing toy or a spa-like pet massage in order to ease stress and comfort tired muscles. Just for fun, you can bake sticky treats for dogs or make a tuna snack for your cat.

girl reading to dog on bed

Venture Out With Your Foster Pet

Be sure to stay in shape together, enjoy the outdoors, read to them, sing them songs, and go for long walks together. Whether it’s a new direction around the block or a curious sniff and walk, adding adventure to you and your pet’s life is worth the extra energy you will expend.

Jumping through hoops will be new and different for your fostered pet. Also, training courses with a foster dog can be pivotal in their life. Encourage desired behavior and enjoy the process of making mistakes.

dog in grass

Give Them A Good Life: Camp Options

If it’s a dog you’re fostering, seek out your local and trusted Pet Hotel to watch your pets when/if they’re approved to be around other pets. New adventures and Doggy Day Camp offer an unique experience for your foster pet.

Camp benefits your dog’s physical and mental well-being. Remember current vaccinations are required for an interview assessment.

Best Friends Pet Hotel tennis ball
Photo Credit: Best Friends Pet Hotel (Avon)

3. Allows You The Chance To Love Other Pets

Fostering makes you feel needed. It expands the love in your heart. You’re a better person just by knowing another “furry” somebody else. You could be just the person they’re searching for to help them.

Fostering a shelter animal isn’t a replacement for adopting one of your own or filling the void in your heart when you lose your furry family member. It still takes a special person to foster other pets. Remember, your fostered shelter pet is a completely different animal than your own.

Enjoy The Foster Pet For Everything They Are

A foster pet can bring a sense of joy and fresh starts to a family and their future family.

Perhaps you’re still healing through the mourning process of losing a beloved pet? Keep your pet memories alive, but take the time you need to heal. Focus on everything your foster pet is and not what they’re not. Whatever you do, try not to compare the two.

Loving a pet is good for you.

woman with cat's head on shoulder

What Is A “Failed Foster?

Most Foster Pet Parents realize when the time comes to let go. They relinquish the shelter pet to another person for adoption because they recognize it’s in the best long-term interests of the animal to have a permanent home.

Foster Pet Parents are there to shepherd the journey for the animals next stage in life. It gives us a chance to channel our love and passion for what we believe in.

However, some Foster Pet Parents fail.

“Sometimes volunteers become so attached to the animals in their charge that they legally adopt them. This is known as a ‘foster failure’ because the capacity of the volunteer to care for other ‘temporary’ pets is diminished by one.”Pets For Patriots, The Wet Nose Blog

It’s common for fosters who are caring for animals for an extended period of time to develop strong bonds that lead to ‘foster failure.’ Some Foster Pet Parents get too attached to their shelter pets and keep them as their own. This failure situation is acceptable. While they fail the fostering process, they succeed at giving that animal a winning home.

woman hugging big dog

Fostering a shelter animal provides temporary care to those furry friends who benefit from living in a home environment. It’s a terrific way to give a shelter animal a chance, while at the same time enhancing your own life with the responsibility and companionship of an adoring pet.

So, do you have room in your family for one more?

Consider fostering a shelter pet—you could be the best thing that happens to that animal. You might just be that person that’s a lifetime Foster Pet Parent that both your local shelter and community rely on.

Good luck with your decision. We’re here to help.

 

 

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.

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