Keep Aging Pets Safe: 7 Signs To Watch For

By Christine A. Bournias

dog and cat resting on comforter


Your Pet Is Getting Old. Bite Your Tongue.

Your pet is having another birthday.

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

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

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

dog birthday party cake

7  Things To Watch Out For With Your Aging Pet

1. Bad Teeth & Breath

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

Dental Hygiene

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

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

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

dog teeth vet checkup

Teeth Cleaning Alternatives

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

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

Teeth Cleaning Products

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

dog with dog biscuit treat


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

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


2. Poor Eyesight & Loss of Hearing

Weakened Eyes

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

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

  1. Nose
  2. Ears
  3. Eyes

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

Be Your Pet’s Eyes

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

dog pug closeup

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


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

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

blind dog happyPhoto Credit: Hollow Creek Farm Equine and Canine Rescue


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


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

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

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


3. Mobility Difficulty: Legs & Limps

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

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

dog sleeping on hammock summer

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

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

Consult with your Veterinarian for medication or alternative healing remedies.

Honest Paws

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

beautiful cat sitting

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

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

dog laying on dog bed

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

4. Appetite Loss: Nutrition & Medical Changes

When your pet ages, changes in appetite are common.

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

Food Is Vital

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

Weight Fluctuations

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

dog looking over counter at cookies

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

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

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

cat eating cat food

Watch Out For Signs That Could Be Related To Food:

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

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

fat cat sitting and resting


senior dog

These Conditions Amplify In Senior Pets

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

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

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


5. Mental decline

Look for mental decline in your pet.

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

dog standing

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

dog resting

6. Exercise & Social Interaction

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

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

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

Fun Games For Senior Pets

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

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

dog playing fun brain game

Socialize Senior Pets

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

dogs running and playing in grass

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

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

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

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

Senior Pet Adventures

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

cups game treats for dogs

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

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


7. Overstimulation & Heat Illness

Animals can get grouchy with old age.

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

Senior Pets And Too Much Human Time

tired old dog

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

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

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

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

Senior Pet Temperament

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

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

two dogs hanging out in grass

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

Temperature Tolerance

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

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

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

dog drinking water

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


Senior Pets And Fun Age Specific Ideas

Keep your sugar face pet safe and happy this summer.

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

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

dogs playing outside with ball

If you own an older dog,

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

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

dog and cat resting

Got a senior pet you’d like us to watch? 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.

Your Pet And Summer Safety

By Christine A. Bournias

dog in car trunk trip adventure

Have Fun. Pack For Safety.

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

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

small white fluffy dog packed in suitcase

Your Pet’s Safety. Your Priority.

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

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

cute dog laying on trail in forest

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

pet dad with dog playing fetch on beach

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

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

dog playing in tunnel

4 Safety Tips For Your Pet This Summer

1. Monitor Your Pet

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

military officer with dog and American flag

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


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

two dogs running playing with ball in field

An Average Fido Can Get Into Mischief

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

dog sitting on mound on trail in forest

Summer = Holiday Pet Safety

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

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

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

4th of July dog with American flag


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

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

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

Take Safety Precautions:

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

Emergency Matters

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

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

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

dog playing with frisbee in ocean

Common Medical Conditions + Emergencies:

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

dog jumping to catch frisbee

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

Smart Pet Investments:

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

dog giving paw to vet

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

Comprehensive First Aid Kit Contents:

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

two dogs playing in grass

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

two dogs playing in lake

2. Supply Good Nutrition and Hydration

Safe Foods

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

peanuts and peanut butter

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

two dogs eating knocked over plant

Fresh Water

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

dog drinking fresh water in bowl

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

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

fresh water

3. Provide Activity, Mental Stimulation + Rest

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

dog with ball jumping through hoop

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

two dogs sitting together in sun playground

4. Avoid Extreme Temperatures

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

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

two dogs in backseat of car

Pets + Automotives

Going on a road trip? Running errands?

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


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

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

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

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

When in doubt, leave your pal at home.

two dogs looking out car window at beach

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

vehicle temperatures for dogs

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

5. Seek A Safe Place For Pets

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

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

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

cat packed in suitcase

Owner Of A Pug, Parrot, Or Pocket Pig?

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

dog peeking out of suitcase

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

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

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

dog and cat sitting on suitcase

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

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



About The Author:

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

Fan Share Friday (09) – FINAL EPISODE

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

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

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

Quiz: Famous Dogs & Cats in History

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

famous dog

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


Not on our email list yet?… Click here to subscribe and get all new “Best Friends At Home” episodes delivered to your inbox.

Fan Share Friday (08)

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

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

Not on our email list yet?… Click here to subscribe and get all new “Best Friends At Home” episodes delivered to your inbox.

No-Sew Pet Collar Bow Tie

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

Not on our email list yet?… Click here to subscribe and get all new “Best Friends At Home” episodes delivered to your inbox.

Fan Share Friday (07)

What do you get when you combine a dog dressed for mariachi with a math homeschooling lesson for your furry friend? This week’s Fan Share Friday video! We are getting a little goofy. Or perhaps we always were, and now we just have the pictures and videos to prove it 😉. Whatever the case, enjoy this episode and let the goofiness ensue!

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

Not on our email list yet?… Click here to subscribe and get all new “Best Friends At Home” episodes delivered to your inbox.

Quiz: How much do you really know about cats?

Test your feline comprehension courtesy of your friends at Best Friends Pet Hotel. Are you ready?

cat close-up

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


Not on our email list yet?… Click here to subscribe and get all new “Best Friends At Home” episodes delivered to your inbox.

New Family Addition: Pet Introductions Made Easy

By Christine A. Bournias

adopted dog with family

Contemplating A New Addition To The Family? ​

You’re thinking about bringing a new pet into your family.

You saw a photo of a puppy online and you just have to have him. Besides, you’re at home more—and you’re “bored.”

Not so fast. Take a breath. Think it through.

Animals are adorable and cuddly. But, are you ​really​ ready for a new addition to your family? Ask yourself: Is ​now​ a good time for one more responsibility? It’s much better to regard your decision ​before​ you make up your mind based on cuteness alone.

Sometimes love is not enough. Neither is cute. What you want and what you need are two separate things.

Okay, okay. Yes. You’re ready for a new pet!

You Decided To Adopt A Pet. Now What?​

The local shelter is “emptying” the shelter, and you heard it’s an ideal time to adopt an animal.
With ​current animal considerations and almost the entire world under government regulation ​to self isolate, you’re convinced that a new pet for your family will be a good move to occupy your time—and home.

●   Consider your lifestyle outside of self isolation
●   Think long term
●   Inspect your current environment
●   Avoid making rash decisions based on emotions alone
●   Discuss pet responsibility with your family

pet mom kissing adopted dog pug mix

​Welcome To Your New Home. Be A Good Boy. ​

Congratulations! You decided to bring a new member into your household.

Love wins, but there’s more to owning a pet than love. This cute ​little​ bundle of fluff is a live breathable creature that will grow up and be a ​large​ breathable creature that needs you from day one.

Tiny kittens transform into grown cats. And puppies get big. Therefore, you must know how to love animals ​and​ be committed to their entire life as they sprout up.

young girl with adopted cat

Pet Introductions: It’s Not Easy. But, It’s Not Impossible. ​

When you haven’t been used to having a ​best friend at home, you might be rusty on what it takes to properly care for your new pet.

Perhaps you already have a houseful of humans to care for, or you have many other pets running around your home.

Do you currently have an older cat that rules the house? Are there young children or senior citizens living with you? Expecting a baby? Or teenage girls? Can you handle a whimpering pup, or could you commit to rescuing a special needs kitten instead? Maybe working with a senior dog is suited for your family?

How will all these moving parts meld together with your existing family? ​


Be Smart About Your New Family Pet Additions ​

Whether your new member of the family is a dog—or cat—you want to prepare your household and accommodate your home for your pet’s arrival.

1. Are you ready to take on the responsibility that comes with caring for a pet?
2. Is your entire family and living situation suitable for bringing in a new family member?
3. Most importantly, is your budget aligned to care for your pet properly?

Getting a new pet requires responsibility and hard work. In order to be a successful Pet Parent, your pet requires from you rigor, discipline, financial commitment, and a lifetime of devotion.

​Pet Parent Success Takes Planning. And Patience. ​

A new pet. It’s not as simple as it seems. But, with a little guidance and lots of patience, you can become a pro. We’re here to help:

​3 Simple Tips Before You Introduce A New Pet Into Your Family ​ ​


1. Avoid Rash Decisions

Is Your Entire Family Ready For A New Pet? ​

If you base your new pet decision based on emotion alone, you may be in for a big surprise.

Do your homework and don’t make reckless decisions at the expense of an animal’s life. Quick decisions can lead to trouble. You may not be able to provide the ideal home for your new pet—or worse, you could find yourself having to relinquish a pet if you simply can’t care for them properly.

You wouldn’t relinquish your human child, why would it be any different with your fur kid?

Your new puppy is a forever commitment, not a pair of shoes.

Please explore all options if a new pet is a good fit ​before​ the final adoption or purchasing process.

​Still A Good Time To Get A New Pet? ​

While certain breeders and animal shelters have a return policy in place, a new pet shouldn’t be temporary. You can’t try out your new pet for size, reassuring yourself that you can always take them back if they’re not perfect.

Their paws may track in mud on your new flooring, their barking might be persistent, and their excited tail may knock over a few family heirlooms when it wags.

Think about a ​forever​ home for your best friend.

family deciding, adopting dog

Get Agreement From Your Family To Add A Pet ​

Please be certain that both you and your family can provide a suitable environment for your new furry friend. It takes commitment from the ​entire​ family.

The whole family needs to be on-board from the get-go.

It’s a tough decision ​not​ to get a new pet, but not as tough as it would be if you discover that each member of your family is not committed to caring for your pet.

“When I adopted Louie, he displayed many challenging behaviors that made me question my decision to adopt him. I learned quickly that I had two choices to make; 1) to keep him and 2) to love him. My family had to be on-board with that decision as well. A large part of loving Louie was having him (and me), my grandchildren, and Louie’s alpha pups properly trained.” —Danise DiStasi, Author ​Love Like Louie

A new pet is not a toy.

Be smart about your pet decision. Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re not busy working. Pets require more than a bowl of kibble and minimal attention every once in a while.

All pets are loving, breathable beings, and deserve a forever home with a lifetime commitment. Make sure they fit in well within your current situation and overall lifestyle.


teenage boy with adopted dog

2. Do Your Research

Take action ​now​ on what kind of animal you would like to care for. Research dog and cat breeds ahead of time to determine temperament and common traits.

Dog breeds ​​aren’t created equal. Determine the kind of animal you would like, and study the breed at great lengths to understand common tendencies and behaviors. This research will help in determining if a new pet will align with your lifestyle and household.

Know your family.

A household with grown teenage boys or a family with an infant are two (2) completely different circumstances. Newborns require around the clock care, young children become restless, and teenagers get bored easily.

Consider your current family arrangement and talk with your family to gauge commitment on time investment for a pet.

Together, take a vow to invest time with your new furry family member.

Are you always on the go? Or, are you more of a couch potato? Do you want to purchase a pet? Or, do you have room in your heart and home to adopt? Regardless, do your homework on the animal.

These initial questions will guide you to the appropriate breed. ​

Pet Adoption ​

Adoption is not for everybody, but if it’s for you, be cautious of organizations that give away animals or try to ‘empty’ their facility in a short amount of time with little to no adoption cost per animal.

Instead, look for organizations that focus on ​keeping​ those animals in forever homes.

It’s important to find a rescue organization that’s in business for the betterment of the animal. Make sure they’re not just keeping their doors open for money only. Avoid risky organizations that are merely trying to clear out their cages fast.

It’s a good sign if the shelter or rescue organization asks you what you’re doing for the next 10-14 years of your life to determine your commitment and responsibility level. You’ll know right away if the organization is in it for the animal. And if you’re not sure, consult a pet professional or experienced rescuer for sound advice.


If a rescue organization requires strict background checks, welcome the scrutiny. You’ll know they have the best interest of the animal if they take time to ask you for personal references. Look for organizations that conduct home checks and thorough lifestyle interviews.


Rescuing a pet is more than a huge decision. It’s for their lifetime.

A new pet is a forever decision, not a fleeting moment. With fur kids, you’re responsible for every single decision of their life—from the time your eyes meet behind cage bars, to the time you’re cradling them in your arms and they’re taking their last breath.

You’re their whole world. You owe it to your new pet to be theirs. ​


Pet Purchase & Purebred ​

You may have your heart set on a ​​certain breed. If you choose a reputable breeder for your new puppy, be mindful of your puppy’s health and their parent bloodline. Research the ideal time to separate a puppy from his mother and littermates, and become familiar with the various ​​stages of a dog’s life​.​

big dog kissing little dog

If you’re looking for a particular kind of pet, remember that there are many accommodating purebred rescue organizations to choose from.


Remember, not all pets are a good fit. Period.


Save the heartbreak. If you’re not ready to be a pet caregiver, please reconsider your decision until either your commitment level, lifestyle, and/or environment changes to a life with a pet. Better to know now than to make unfortunate adjustments later. Getting a new pet when you’re not ready will make NOBODY happy. You and your new pet deserve more.


Sometimes a human family and a dog just don’t connect well with one another. It happens.

A Chihuahua is much different than a Great Dane. Not all breeds are consistent within the breed either. Every pet is unique—even within the same breed. But, researching common denominators before you make the leap of adding a new addition to your family is critical.


adopted dog licking young girl's face in yard

“Dogs.They come into our lives to teach us something. Your pet picks you, not the other way around.” —​ Unknown


​Regular Medical Health Check Ups Are A Must ​

Medical health exams are critical throughout the entire life of your pet, particularly during the initial stages of bringing your new pet into your home. Keep up with check-ups and consult a ​trusted Veterinarian ​​for the best care for your new fur family member. Plan out your costs to care for your pet’s ​​vaccinations ​​ahead of time.

veterinarian with adopted cat

Pet essentials, pet health insurance, quality pet food, pet products, and pet extras all cost money. Providing a safe environment for your dog to roam and romp is vital for mental stimulation and physical activity. Playing fetch or walking your dog all require your time.


dog dressed as vet with white coat and stethoscope

Other considerations include ​​grooming, Doggy Day Camp, and ​boarding with stay and play ​options. In addition, many ​reputable pet care organizations ​​conduct careful assessments for size and temperament. Most will provide one to one care for pets that need individual attention and don’t fair well in a group setting.

Consider Existing Household Pets ​

Slow and steady is the key. If you have specific questions, consult a pet professional first. ​

Dogs And Dogs ​

Pets that have been at your home longest usually will try to establish their territory. Think like a dog. It’s all about dominance and pecking order, so introductions need to be slow and intentional.

two dogs kissing on leashes

Two dogs can definitely be company, but make sure you are deliberate in your approach. Introduce a new pet on neutral turf first and conduct walk-bys.



Dogs want to please us. We need to show them how.


Book a tour of the facility. Schedule an interview for your pet to see if daycare is a good option for your family.

Dog professionals will look at your dog’s size and temperament to determine the best Doggy Day Camp options. Most established pet care facilities practice strict safety measures and will require pet vaccines. As a bonus, many also provide attractive offers to new guests​.


dog professional walking adopted dog on leash for advanced tips to learn how to add a new member to your existing fur family and unique situation. Make sure you make a concentrated effort to put a ​​training plan ​​in place for your dog.

Cats And Dogs ​

If a dog and cat didn’t grow up together, it can be challenging to meld the two lives. They’re different species, with different needs. Ask your ​pet expert professional ​for additional consultation.

adopted cat and dog in backyard

Provide an exercise outlet for your pet. Take time for playtime. Make time to rest. There are innovative ways to keep your pet occupied and entertained when you’re ​at home ​too.

3. Be Deliberate.

Go slow and steady with introductions with your family. ​

New Babies ​

When coming home from the hospital, greet the family pet first. Kids are unpredictable. So are dogs. If you have a new baby home, allow your new pet to sniff items of your baby (like a bib or cap) before you enter the house. Your sense of smell is intense and a ​dog’s nose tells a whole story about how they see the world. ​

NEVER leave a baby unattended. Even the gentlest, tamest dog can be provoked by sudden movements like a child reaching over its head or grabbing its tail or ears. Unprovoked and unpredictable bites happen when people aren’t paying attention to BOTH the child and the pet. Pet owners are held accountable for undesirable and dangerous actions.

Consult a professional Dog Trainer or Dog Behaviorist to get ready for your pet’s (or baby’s) big arrival.

adopted dog meeting baby

Share pet responsibility with the family. Allow each member of the family to share in the responsibility of feeding, walking, and playtime. Those proactive actions will strengthen your bond and promote desired behavior and good habits. Hand feed kibble every once in a while will earn your pet’s trust. But remember to ​​allow your dog to be their own dog ​from time to time.


​Introduction Tips Can Make New Pet Additions A Breeze ​

“Love depends on how we view others…The characteristics of a loving person are patience, kindness, truthfulness, and trustworthiness.” —​ ​ ​Danise DiStasi, Author ​

woman holding dog against cheek, yellow background

  • Know why love is important. Be there at the beginning of their life. Be there until the end of their life. When the time comes, help your pet cross over that ‘rainbow bridge.’ Recognize ​how and when to let go.

pet dad high diving new adopted dog on couch

​Final New Pet Addition Thoughts ​

Just because the dog in the window is cute, doesn’t mean that they’re right for your family.

Take the time to make a careful decision for their ​forever​ home. Love is not enough. Commitment is a lifetime and not a fleeting moment. Keep your new pet happy and comfortable during their entire life. No shortcuts, do it well.

We’ll be here to assist you throughout your pet’s entire life journey.

adopted dog snuggling with cat


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.

Celebrating Pet Moms | Happy Mother’s Day


Happy Mother’s Day to ALL our moms!

To celebrate our wonderful PET MOMS on this Mother’s Day, Best Friends Pet Hotel asked our guests’ moms to submit photos – of them with their loving fur babies – for a special tribute video.

The overwhelming response of photo submissions was a pleasant surprise, and we’re so happy we got to include every single one! Enjoy!

Not on our email list yet?… Click here to subscribe and get all new “Best Friends At Home” episodes delivered to your inbox.