Why Does My Pet’s Breath Smell?

Dental health guidance provided by Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM

dog, vet, dental health, teeth cleaning

If you find that your dog or cat’s breath smells, it may be time to take the utmost care of your pet’s dental health.

Dental health: how important is it really?

Periodontal disease can lead to bacteria getting into your pet’s blood stream through their inflamed gums. These bacteria can wreck havoc on the body. They go to heart valves causing endocarditis and heart murmurs as well as travel to other organs seeding infection throughout the body.

Diseased teeth can lead to tooth root abscess and even infection in the jaw bone that can get so bad it can weaken the jaw bone enough to cause a fracture. All these things can be prevented with proper dental care.

Do you think it’s important now?

dog-teeth-check

Check out your pet’s teeth. If any of the following applies, your pet likely has dental disease.

1) You see brown build up on the teeth. Don’t forget to check the back teeth.

2) The gums bleed if you touch them with a cotton tip where the tooth touches the gum.

3) You touch one or more of your pet’s teeth and they move.

4) Your pet’s chew toy has spots of blood on it after chewing on it.

5) Your pet picks up a toy and drops it or doesn’t chew on the toys like before.

6) Your pet shy’s away from his head being petted when he used to enjoy it before.

7) Your pet’s breath can clear the room.

If you recognize any of these symptoms in your pet, have your pet examined by your veterinarian.

 

If your pet has mild dental tartar, you may be able to get away with just brushing the teeth with a pet approved toothpaste on a routine basis, but eventually almost all pets require a professional dental cleaning – just as you require professional dental cleanings.

If your pet already has evidence of dental disease and gingivitis, your pet requires a professional dental cleaning, or as veterinarians like to call it: a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment (COHAT for short).

The sooner you get this done, the healthier your pet will be long term, and there will be decreased likelihood of needing extractions.

It is not a one and done for the life of your pet. Dental cleanings need to be done on a regular basis. The frequency depends on your pets breed, genetics, chewing habits and at-home care.

dog, teeth brushing

Brushing your pet’s teeth is easier if you start when they are young. Get them used to having your fingers in their mouth, lifting their lips and opening their mouths.

Brushing can be done with a special long handled dog toothbrush, a human tooth brush, a special designed finger cap brush or even just a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger. What you use will depend upon you and the size of your pet. It is important however to only uses specialized pet toothpaste as human toothpaste is harmful to your pet.

For a DIY pet toothpaste recipe that you can make and use at home, watch this “how to” video from Best Friends Pet Hotel:

Listen to the advice of the professionals and veterinarians to tell you when it is a time for a professional cleaning.

cat, dental health, teeth brushing

In small breed dogs it can be as early as one year of age or as late as 6 years of age in a large breed dog. Cats may require their first cleaning anywhere from 1 year to 8 years; a lot depends on their chewing habits, underlying medical conditions, and at-home care. The most important factor is: don’t wait until your pet is experiencing pain, infection and complications to get it done. It is important to be proactive with dental care. Your pet will thank you.

 

pet grooming, groomer, dog
Your local Best Friends Pet Hotel offers professional teeth brushing as part of our grooming services. Visit our Grooming webpage to learn more and book an appointment. Or call your local center with any questions.

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 SELECT local Best Friends Pet Hotel locations, visit our Vet Care webpage. Or call your local center with any questions.

He’s Not Fat, He’s Just Fluffy | Helping Your Overweight Pet

Pets come in all shapes and sizes. Some are bigger, some are shorter, and some are just… rounder. If you are reading this, then you may have a friend (cough, cough) who might be concerned their pet is a little overweight. Maybe your friend’s vet has mentioned they are also concerned about their pet’s weight and advised that they should think about slimming down. No judgement here. But where should pet parents start when thinking about this somewhat overwhelming and common issue?

Whatever the reason, the first step when thinking about weight management is to talk honestly with your veterinarian about the signs your pet is heavier than their ideal weight. You can then make a plan to move them gently toward a weight that’s better for them in the long term. Because every pet is a little different, diagnosing a dog or cat as overweight is best done by your veterinarian, who routinely takes body condition, breed, clinical experience, the pet’s historical weight, and physical exam findings into consideration.

Signs Your Pet Might be Overweight

Without getting into specific breed characteristics, there are a few key physical traits that can give you a rough idea about your pet’s body condition. They are: prominence of their ribs, side-view shape of their belly, and the shape of their midsection when viewed from above. Your pet’s ribs should be easy to feel without pressing too hard, but not so prominent they can be individually seen from far away. When viewed from the side, your pet should have a triangular shape to their abdomen as it moves from the end of their ribs to the beginning of their hind legs. Looking from above, there should be a gently sloping hourglass shape to his or her waist that’s easily seen but not extreme. Please note that these are very general guidelines, and many breeds can be at an ideal weight even if they don’t conform to these descriptions.

Risks of Excess Weight

When pets carry extra fat, they also carry extra risk for health challenges as they progress through life. Cats are prone to type II diabetes, urinary system problems, liver problems, personal hygiene troubles, and mobility challenges associated with extra pressure on their bones and joints. Dogs are particularly prone to orthopedic problems since their skeleton is carrying around those extra pounds. Dogs are also more at risk for overheating and breathing problems than slimmer pets. In addition, that extra fat tissue can make diagnosing certain diseases and undergoing surgery more complicated for both dogs and cats. Over the years, there’s also been a debate if long-term obesity is associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. This is a very complicated topic though since genetics, environment, breed, and many other unknown factors also play a role in risk levels for cancer.

How do I Weigh My Pet

It is easier said than done. Cats are wiggly and some dogs are stubborn. To expect them to stand on a scale is not realistic. There are some simple tips that we can suggest to get an accurate weight of your pet. If you have a scale at home and can safely lift your pet, try weighing them by weighing yourself with and without your pet on your bathroom scale. First, weigh yourself alone. Then pick up your pet and step on the scale together. Simply subtract your weight from your combined weights to get your pet’s weight.

If being held is not your pet’s idea of a good time, try weighing your pet in a pet carrier and subtracting the weight of the carrier to get your pet’s weight. If this idea works, write down the weight of the carrier and any comfort items inside to speed up the process next time.

If your pet is too large, too small, or too stressed for the at-home weighing method above, consider stopping by your vet’s office to use one of their special scales. This is also a great way to help reduce vet visit anxiety as your pet will associate the vet’s office with these fun outings to get weighed.

How Can I Help with My Pet’s Weight

As our loving family members, we want to see our pets excel and live long, healthy lives. We will go through great lengths to help them. There are some simple things you can do to help your pet to reach an ideal weight:

1. Regularly Track Your Pet’s Weight

Start a journal by recording the food, treats, and supplements your pet consumes each day. This will  help you identify where extra calories might be sneaking in. Measuring any food or treats prior to feeding will make your journal more accurate.

2. Discover Indoor Activities

There are a million ways to exercise a dog (or leashed cat) outdoors, but as the weather turns frigid, you may need to consider indoor activities too. For your dog, create a fun obstacle course, in your house. and challenge your pup to work through it.

Cats are known for laying around the house. They may move from sunny spot to sunny spot, but their efforts don’t burn much in the way of calories. By stimulating a cat’s mind, you can keep them engaged and more active than they typically are. Consider building a treat (or dry kibble) puzzle for them out of common items from your home. By dispensing their food slowly to them and engaging them in play, you will build some activity into their day.

3. Seek Advice from an Experienced Pet Nutritionists

At all of our centers, nation-wide, we serve Freely kibble to our canine and feline guests. Freely is dedicated to supporting pet parents with all nutrition related concerns that impact our pet’s weight. With their experienced nutrition team, they are committed to total transparency about the protein, fiber, fat and nutrient contents of their foods. They can help you decide not only which Freely recipe is right for your pet, but how much food is the right amount to include when building your pet’s bowl. If their recipes are not the right option for your pet, they promise to give you honest recommendations for other options.

Conclusion

As you care for your pet, remember that maintaining a healthy weight is important to his health and overall well-being. Work with your veterinarian to determine an ideal weight for your pet and be diligent about tracking and monitoring his weight. By keeping your pet engaged, indoors and outdoors, you can promote an active lifestyle. Just as your pet didn’t become overweight overnight, the road to weight loss will take time. You’re on the right track!

 

About: Written with permission and use of blogs from Freelypet.com

Top 7 Cat Needs

Often referred to as “finicky felines” our cat’s needs are sometimes a bit of a mystery. They let us know when they are hungry, when they want to play and when they want to be left alone. But, what do cats really need? With the help of our Veterinary Expert and Consultant, Dr. Sharon Davis, DVM we would like to share our list of the Top 7 Cat Needs.

1. Food and Water (of course!)

Every cat needs proper nutrition and access to fresh water daily. Nutritional needs of your cat depends on its life stage and any underlying medical conditions. Work with your veterinarian to
ensure your cat is getting the proper nutrition.

2. A Safe Place

Cats need a safe place to hide and destress if needed. A stressed cat can lead to urination in inappropriate places and over self grooming. It doesn’t have to be any place fancy. Some cats
just prefer a simple cardboard box. It is important that this is their space where they won’t feel intruded upon by the dogs or small humans.

3. Play Time with You

Cats need some engagement with their owners. It can be chasing a laser pointer or a stuffed mouse. Some cats can even learn to fetch. This is important bonding time for you and your cat as well as it allows your cat to get some exercise.

4. Alone Play Time

Just as kids needs some alone play time, so do cats. Cats are naturally curious and giving them some alone time allows them the freedom of mental stimulation and to do as they choose. Who are we kidding cats always do what they want!

5. Veterinary Care

Lots of people feel cats are low maintenance and therefore don’t require routine veterinary care. But proper proactive veterinary care is essential to preventing and catching illness early, ensuring you have many more healthy, active years with your furry friend.

6. A Scratching Post

Start early directing your cat where you would like him or her to scratch. This can be done by putting some cat nip in this area. Providing an approved scratching post, or comparable scratch toy/box, can prevent unwanted destruction of furniture later.

7. A Clean Litter Box

It is important to provide clean liter boxes for your cat to use for elimination. Some cats will choose to eliminate outside of the box if it is too dirty so it is important to periodically scoop them. A good rule of thumb is to have one more liter box than the number of cats that live in the home. So if you have 3 cats, you should have 4 liter boxes.

Your cat may lead a life of mystery, but certainly has seven basic needs. When these needs are met, you both can enjoy a happy life together.

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

What, How & Why of Microchipping

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. While you can’t always prevent your pet from getting lost, you can increase the chances that you will be reunited with microchipping. When your dog is microchipped they are twice as likely to be returned home and your cat is more than 20 times more likely!

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.

Why is microchipping important?

One in three pets will become lost at some point in their lives, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). One of the best ways to help ensure that you and your dog or cat will be reunited, if they get lost, is to make sure you have a microchip.

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.

How does the microchip work if my pet gets lost?

Let’s say your pet goes exploring without your permission. Maybe their collar gets snagged and comes off, so they no longer have their ID. Your pet then gets picked up and dropped off at a shelter or local vet’s office, where they’re scanned for a microchip. The scan reveals your pet’s identification number and its associated registry. The vet or shelter contacts the registry, who reaches out to you to tell you where to find your pet.
That’s why it is so crucial that you register your pet’s microchip. The chip itself only transmits an ID number. It’s up to you and your vet’s office to connect that ID number to your personal information so the registry can reach you if your pet gets lost.

Do I need to microchip my pet if they wear a collar?

Yes. Collars can get loose and come off when a pet gets lost, especially if they wear a breakaway collar. Additionally, the engraving on ID tags can wear down over time, making it difficult for anyone to read them. Microchips and a collar with an ID tag are not mutually exclusive—your pet needs both.

Does the microchip track my pet’s location?

A microchip is not a GPS tracker and will not tell you where to find your pet if they get lost. A GPS microchip would need to be powered and charged making it difficult to maintain.

 

microchipping, cat, home

What should I do if my pet has a microchip from a previous home?

If you think your pet may already have a microchip from a previous pet parent, ask one of the Vetco vets to scan for the microchip. The vet can give you the microchip’s ID number and registry information. You’ll then need to contact the registry to change your pet’s contact information.

Is it possible for a microchip to fall out?

Within 24 hours of being microchipped, your pet’s tissue will bond to the chip, which usually prevents it from moving around. In rare cases the chip may migrate under the skin, but it will not fall out.

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

Once my pet is microchipped is there any maintenance?

Your pet’s microchip should last throughout their life and not require any maintenance. The only things you need to do are register the microchip and update your account whenever you move or get a new phone number. That is the very best way to help ensure your dog or cat is reunited with you if they ever go missing.

Is it expensive to have my pet microchipped?

Vetco clinic licensed veterinarian with dog

The cost of microchipping is minimal compared to the lifetime protection that you are giving your pet. When you purchase a microchip at a Vetco Clinic, you receive the following FREE Pet Protection Services from 24PetWatch:

  • The ability to report a lost or found pet online anytime at mypethealth.com
  • A complimentary basic online profile with your contact information and the ability to update your contact information online
  • Timely and convenient automated lost-pet service calls and emails

 

Book your Vetco clinic appointment today at Best Friends Pet Hotel, and get your pet microchipped!

 

Sources:

https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/c/microchip
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

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.

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.

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.

Keep Your Pet Memories Alive: The 3 Most Important Things To Do With Them Now

By Christine A. Bournias

dog giving paw to human

Care For Your Pet Like Their Life Depends On It

It’s simple: Give your pets the best life they could ever ask for—NOW, while they’re here with you.

Much like losing a significant human, losing our pets can be devastating. Many people have said that losing a pet is even more intense than human loss. And nobody can compare the degrees of pain felt by an individual person.

woman petting dog

We’re all different.

Fact: If you love your furry friend(s) with all your heart, you will have to say good-bye at some point. Going into this kind of special relationship with your pet—even while knowing this difficult fact—from the get go—is the most unconditional love there can be.

Pet Parents everywhere go into the love affair knowing this reality. Then their love and admiration increases, and the bond between pet and caregiver strengthens. Living in the moment and being as prepared (as you can be) in advance helps ease our mind. But, no matter how much you prepare, loss is never easy.

Pets play a vital role in our daily lives and become a huge part of our families. They lighten up our days and nights during challenging times and keep us healthy. Our pets become our companions, our confidants—our cuddy buddies.

Whether furry, fuzzy, or feathered, the pain of losing a pet is real.

But, let’s first talk about dogs…

dog kissing young girl

There’s Always That One Special Dog

Many of us have felt the pain of losing a precious pal. Your dog becomes a member of the family. Preparation for the inevitable while your pet is still alive is key. Everything that you do for your dog each day adds up to their total quality of life. It’s not just the first week or last week of their life that we remember or think about—it’s all those memories in between.

It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.

Some say that losing your first dog is most difficult, however, we understand that each and every dog you own offers you its very own unique love. Nonetheless, there are just some dogs that make a bigger impact than others.

If this bond is not love, we don’t know what is.

No matter if it’s your first, fourth, or fortieth animal to love and care for, the bond between you two couldn’t be stronger. You love each one of them all in various ways, but as the saying goes, there’s always that one special dog.

Much More Than Love:

  • Admiration
  • Dedication
  • Financial Commitment
  • Medical Attention
  • Patience
  • Resilience
  • Respect
  • Socialization
  • Training
  • Trust

Our companions keep us responsible and remind us to play. You as a Pet Parent have a responsibility to protect and care for your furry friend with all your might.

man dog sofa high five

It’s truly unfair that we typically outlive our beloved furry family members.

There are five common stages of grief that occur when we lose humans – and when we lose animals:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

With the loss of any loved one, profound grief is normal. Grief must be met with an abundance of resilience. Look it straight in the eye and conquer its power over you. TODAY.

Bottom line: We never truly “get over it”, we just simply get through it.

little girl sitting with arm around dog

Caregiver Responsibility: Care For Your Dog Like Their Life Depends On It

Our pets look to us to keep them safe and be their #1 health advocate from the beginning to when it’s time to help them cross over the rainbow bridge.

When you decide to care for a furry friend, make sure you’re ready to accept every stage of your dog’s life—from puppy to adulthood. Look to senior pets for loads of surprises and lots of interesting facts. With knowledge as your power, you can offer your precious pal the care they deserve at all times.

Okay, we understand.

These ideas can’t bring your dog back—nor can they keep them (physically) alive forever. However, they may serve as helpful reminders throughout your dog’s life—and when it’s time, through the grieving process.

By supplying the best life possible for your dog now, you can breathe life into your heart forever.

Keep In Mind: Love Is Not Enough

Paying close attention to details about your furry friend are all part of dog ownership. Regular health & wellness exams, spaying or neutering responsibility, grooming appointments, overall body observations, as well as a keen awareness of any changing signs in your pet, are just a fraction of the responsibility.

Caring for a dog is inside and out—nose to tail.

dog bath soap bubbles on head

Owning A Dog Is Much More Than Love. Do You Have What It Takes?

  • Admiration
  • Dedication
  • Financial Commitment
  • Health & Wellness
  • Medical attention
  • Patience
  • Resilience
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • More Patience

dog at vet clinic

1. Make Memories

Take Pictures

Take lots and lots of pictures of your dog.

A photograph speaks volumes. While a photo of your dog is not the real thing, it can help capture magical moments in your life. Even when you think you’re capturing plenty of photographs, one day you’ll look into that family photo album box and wish you took more shots of your puppy.

taking dog's photo with phone camera

Many pet care hotels offer up holiday costume contests, bubble bashes, and fun photo opportunities for your pet. These pet places are known to take lots and lots of pictures of your furry friend too!

Your dog may not know exactly what’s on the menu of the day, nor do they fully understand party themes, but they do know when kind people and fellow dog friends are giving them the favorable attention they so much crave.

You’ll be glad you took your dog to their favorite Pet Hotel.

Silly — yet safe — activities with your dog all contribute to your sacred vault of memories.

dog pink wig funny photo collage
Photo Credit: Breanna Elizabeth, Best Friends Pet Hotel (Willow Grove)

Make Time

Do fun stuff with your dog.

Spend time that you didn’t think you had. Yes, you must make time. From puppies to senior dogs, provide your pet the opportunity to enjoy their life with you.

guy dog playing fetch stick beach

A good dose of physical exercise and mental stimulation for your dog will allow you both the chance to stay active and healthy.

Perhaps it’s time for your dog to enjoy a new experience, training protocol, or change of scenery? Get outdoors, go for a hike, sit by the lake, plan a puppy picnic, or teach your dog a game of basketball. “Shooting hoops” or jumping through hoops will be new and different for your pal.

Go ahead, drop to the floor, get on all fours and have some fun. What better way possible is there to experience life, than to experience life with your dog?

The Moment Comes But Once

When your dog licks your knee or kisses your hand when you give them a yummy extra snack, don’t push them away. This loving gesture from your dog might be their way of showing you trust, acceptance, and affection.

When they bark, validate what they’re barking about. When they’re whining, get to the core of where the behavior is coming from. Don’t just holler at your dog to be quiet. Identify their needs and tell them “Thank You.” (Now that’s a switch. Try it. It works.)

Try your best to have humor in their every shananigan when your dog runs around the house with a choice article of your clothing hanging from their mouth. Maybe they’re zooming around the room and laughing at you.

Maybe you’re unhappy or impatient with your dog. But, these are the trying times to refocus on your dog and giving them their best life. Their behavior might be your dog’s honest attempt at keeping you close to them. Think of it like us keeping a photograph of the person or persons we love by our nightstand—meaningful.

Pay close attention and you’ll discover your answer of what you’re looking for them to do. They aren’t just pestering you to go in and out, more times than not, they just want you to go outside with them!

Remember dogs will be dogs. They just want to please you. You just have to show them how. Demonstrate what behavior you want.

man dog leash before walk

More Fun & Entertainment

Just for fun, you can bake a sticky treat or tuna snack for your cat. Blend up safe dogeritas or make yummy, homemade dog safe ingredient ice cream in warmer weather! Freeze and stuff their favorite dispensing toy each week. And, when they’ve had more exercise time than normal, treat your pal to a spa-like pet massage in order to ease and comfort their tired muscles.

Enjoy the humorous, rambunctious behaviors that your dog does. Make a conscious effort to pause and enjoy your dog—right when the moment happens. We all have a ton on our minds these days, but try to remember that exact moment in time as it occurs.

When your dog jumps up and down to see you when you’re home from a long day at work, remember all the hysterical tries of training the word “off.” The training process is what matters. Don’t strictly strive for success. Encourage desired behavior, but laugh when it doesn’t happen.

Sharpen your dog’s skills for small wins. Nobody’s perfect. Practice is perfection, even for your dog.

2. Live In The Moment

Remember to live like a dog.

Your furry friend only knows what’s happening at that given time. Their attention is now, then it’s gone. They don’t dwell on the past or anticipate the future. They reside in the present—with no expectations. They’re just happy now.

Learn new tricks, even if your dog is unsuccessful. The process is what matters. And timing. Laugh. Make mistakes together. Exercise patience. These moments are part of your forever memories. Dogs learn by conditioning and association. They respond with immediate reward. That’s why timing is critical, especially when they’re learning.

Dogs learn to live in every moment. Every. Single. Precious. Moment.

man dog hugging sofa

Play Games

Nothing is off limits when it comes to having more fun with your pet. Keep your pets occupied and happy with many fun things to do and lots of things to think about.

Constantly look for ways to provide healthy physical activity and mental stimulation. Pet puzzles and games can be effective in keeping your pet’s mind sharp throughout all stages of their life.
The Shell Game video

Homemade tunnels and obstacle courses and hide and seek sessions can be a wonderful way to live in the moment with your pet. Nose tricks and interactive mind games help your dog stay alert.

One on one attention, mental stimulation strategies, and reading books to your pets are just a few activities that you can do with your pet. Several pet care facilities add on “extras” like reading to their guests, blowing bubbles, or taking action videos.

Never, ever wish that your pet will slow down. Because, inevitably, they will.

Create Adventure: Live For Now

Whether it’s a new direction around the block or a curious sniff and walk together. Adding adventure to you and your pet’s life is worth the extra energy you will expend.

“Because of my dog, I started a small business, developing a program that incorporates dog exercise sessions. If I wouldn’t have made the time to exercise with my pup when he was 16 weeks old, I may have never started my dog yoga business.” —Sandy S.

Delight your pets and keep them happy.

No matter what age, you need to be willing to try new things and be innovative in your approach with your furry family member.

cute dog sitting with tongue out

Make A Pact To Try Something New

Socializing your pup early on can provide adequate activity and favorable stimulation that they need. Senior pets can also benefit from new training courses, tips, and tricks.

Dogs need their person(s), but they also benefit from being around other dogs.

Doggy Day Camp

Pet Hotels provide safe and healthy pet care for your furry friends.

From Doggy Day Camp back-to-school parties to cleaning up for doggy prom dates, your dog will appreciate the attention.

Seek out your local and trusted Pet Hotel to watch your pets while you’re out and about. Camp gives your dog a chance to meet new humans and dog pals. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages enjoy carefully monitored playtime with dog pals. These Pet Professionals examine your pet’s age, size and temperament before even entering Camp’s play yard.

According to an article titled, “What You Should Know About The Stages of Grief” by Healthline, fond memories of our companion can fill the empty space left by the loss of a cherished pet. As you remember the pets who’ve passed through your life, please don’t forget the part of the relationship that included the best care you provided to them.

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

dog on floor with heart toy

3. Acceptance

Take all the time you need to heal. The healing journey is a marathon. Not a sprint. Grieving is an individual experience. It is normal and okay to grieve.

There’s no rush on getting over your dog. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s also never ‘just a dog.’ Your dog was yours. The unique relationship was between you and your dog alone.

You loved your dog in ways you alone understand. You don’t need to justify or explain this affection.

Your dog was important to you, and that’s all that matters.

DID YOU KNOW?
In 1972, the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories established
Pet Memorial Day.

You’ll never really understand this pain until your pet’s quality of life diminishes and you find yourself holding on for dear life. Your dog will tell you when it’s time. As unusual as it sounds, ask your dog to tell you they’re ready. Then give them permission to let go, when it’s time.

“I struggled with the decision even on our ‘Rainbow Bridge’ day. My Veterinarian stood by my side and said, ‘You don’t have to make the decision—I’ll make the decision for you.’ I don’t know what I would’ve done without my Veterinarian’s strength. —Chris B.

Keep Both Past And Present Pets Front Of Mind.

Proactive actions often offer a tangible way to cope with the grief of losing a family member and give you the chance to share your memorials.

If you’re seeking a way to memorialize your pet, here are some ideas to consider:

  1. Don’t try to change your dog. Accept them just the way they are.
  2. Keep a journal of each day with your dog at Doggy Day Camp
  3. In honor of your admiration of your pet, author a book
  4. Devote your mission to helping other Pet Parents
  5. Surround and immerse yourself with animals
  6. Establish a powerful support system with like-minded individuals
  7. Get creative: Design a memorial tattoo or learn how to paint a portrait of your pet
  8. Write a poem, letter, or blog about your pet
  9. Take nothing for granted and organize a keepsake photo album well in advance
  10. Plant a flower, tree, or garden memorial dedicated to your pet
  11. Create a stepping stone with a paw print, and place it in a pet garden.
  12. Donate funds to a local shelter in honor of your pet’s name
  13. Volunteer playtime or foster pets most in need at a rescue organization
  14. Organize a volunteer group to go to local dog parks to clean up debris
  15. Help train new animals for rescue and recovery by donating time to your local police department or fire rescue canine unit in honor of your pet’s name
  16. Plan a fundraiser event for a worthy animal cause
  17. Consider creating your pet’s Social Media page and join relative groups such as “iheartseniordog” for community support and pet topics
  18. Find resources for interesting ways to make memories at home with your dog
  19. Seek out a career that revolves around the pet industry
  20. On September 13, include #NationalPetMemorialDay within your Social Media posts

 

Stay Prepared And Pre-Plan

All pets deserve dignity and respect for the end of their life. A final resting place should be a beautiful celebration of your pet’s life. Your pet’s sensitive needs must be treated with utmost respect and care.

Research beautiful memorial tributes across the nation and in your area. Make certain your selected memorial is a special place to visit your pet on a regular basis. Harperlawn Pet Memorial Gardens in Michigan is just one location that offers you and your pet peace and serenity on lush and sprawling grounds.

dog playing with human in grass

National Pet Memorial Day

National Pet Memorial Day is the second Sunday in September. The holiday offers us an opportunity to remember the pets who’ve passed through our lives. Observe #NationalPetMemorialDay in your own unique ways.

Children And Pets? Write A Letter To Your Children From Their Dog Angel:

  • Describe their first moments together
  • Reiterate that there’s room in their heart to love and care for another fur baby
  • Explain that their special angel dog will bring a new pet to them when they know they’re truly ready, no sooner
  • Let your kids know that their next dog will indeed pick them to love
  • Confirm that there will always be a permanent place in their hearts for your dog

Know When (Or If) You’re Ready For A New Pet

Recognize if you have enough love in your heart for other animals that come after your little buddy.

Try wrapping your arms around a new dog to connect with. However, if you’re not ready to care for another pet—or if there’s not a connection immediately—don’t force the healing process.

dog dad daughter

A new pet can bring a sense of joy and fresh starts to a family. They can’t replace the dog you lost, however, they might provide a hopeful beginning. In addition, this new furry member of your family could possibly give a renewed sense of responsibility for you, your children, and/or other grieving family members.

How To Keep Your Dog In Your Heart Forever

Our pets remain a fabric thread, woven into our heart strings.

While your home may be awfully quiet without the shuffle of paw prints or constant jingle of dog tags from the other room, your little buddy will never leave your heart.

Keep your dog in your heart—always. They would want you to be happy.

 

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog…
You are his life, his love, his leader…
He will be yours faithful & true, to the last beat of his heart…
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion…
My Charlie boy”
💙 —Steve C.

 

When you lose a pet, take all the time you need to heal.

The healing journey is different for everyone. Take care of yourself, your children, and your other pets that you may have in your home. They need you too. Be strong, yet be gentle on yourself during this painful healing journey.

Healing could be about dedicating your life to the pet industry or expressing yourself with the newness of fostering a rescue animal or volunteering time at your local shelter. Please allow yourself permission for a new chapter in your life.

Most notable, while your dog—or dogs—are with you, live large. Celebrate every one of your pet’s birthdays. Capture memories. Laugh with each tail wag. Enjoy each precious moment.

It’s simple: Give your pets the best life they could ever ask for. Don’t wait. Do it now.

dog birthday party balloons party hat

NATIONAL PET MEMORIAL DAY

On the second Sunday in September, National Pet Memorial Day offers a moment to remember pets who have passed.

Would you like to purchase a day of Camp for another dog in honor of their name?

Best Friends Pet Hotel offers themed parties and safe exercise for loads of fun. Camp benefits your dog’s physical and mental well-being. Current vaccinations are required for an interview. Book an appointment today.

Want to know more ways to create memories with your pet? VISIT: Best Friends Pet Hotel or call your local Best Friends Pet Hotel.

 

 

About The Author:

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