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The Chew: Fun Fall Outings for Fido

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

As the weather cools off, there are plenty of fun activities for us humans to enjoy to celebrate fall. But there’s no reason to leave your dog at home to miss out on the fun! From pumpkin patches to trick-or-treating, local venues allow you to bring along your dog to enjoy the fall festivities too.

Bark or Treat
October 26
6:30-8 p.m.
Alexandria City Marina
105 North Union Street, Alexandria

Bring your dog on a cruise of the Potomac River and enjoy the fresh air, changing leaves and fall fun! The cruise takes you on a sightseeing tour of Alexandria’s Seaport, and on October 26th, you and your dog are welcome to wear costumes and get into the Halloween spirit.

Wine Down Wednesdays
October 17
5:30-8 p.m.
1575 Keswick Winery Drive, Keswick

Fall can be a busy season, so why not spend an evening chilling out with a glass of wine at the Keswick Winery? Live music will be performed by Chamomile & Whiskey and food is provided by Spice Sea Gourmet. Of course, your pooch is invited!

Howl-o-ween Parties

A popular fall tradition are “howl-o-ween” parties hosted by local pet stores. These often include games, prizes, pet-safe fall treats and more. Check with a pet store near you to see if they have any events going on this season!

Scenic View Orchards

Nothing says fall like visiting an apple orchard! Enjoy the cool weather and some favorite fall treats when you stop by Scenic View Orchards. Pick your own apples, visit their farmer’s market and explore the outdoors with your pup.

Saints Row Brewing Company

Saints Row is a family-owned nano-brewery that is new to the area, but sure to quickly become a favorite. Your leashed dog is welcome to keep you company while you tour the facility and sample some of the beers they have on tap. You can also bring in outside food, so enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the other dogs!

Montpelier Farms Family Park

Just about every activity you want to do during fall is available at Montpelier Farms. They have a pumpkin patch, corn maze and even a fall festival open until November 4th. Your dog can join you in wandering the grounds of the farm, and even accompany you through the corn maze.

Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market

Even though this market is open year-round, something about fall makes farmer’s markets seem even more special. Bring your dog and support local farmers while getting fresh food such as fruits and vegetables, pastured meat, poultry and eggs, farmstead and artisan cheeses, sweet and savory baked goods (including gluten free options), jams and jellies plus home goods such as potted plants, soaps, cut flowers and more.

For any of the fun fall activities where dogs are not invited, daycare is a great alternative to ensure your pup is safe and having fun while you are doing the same!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Pet Ownership 101 — Adopting a New Pet

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Jessica Brody

Thinking of getting a pet? You’re not alone! Half of all Americans own a dog and nearly a third own a cat. Pets often become our faithful friends, constant companions and four-legged family members. If you’re new to pet ownership, you may feel overwhelmed or uncertain of what to expect. Take a deep breath — we’re here to help. Here are some of our favorite tips and advice for new pet owners:

Choosing the Purrfect Pet

If you’ve never owned a pet before, try to resist the urge to bring home the first cute face you see. There’s a lot that goes owning a pet. Just like humans, each pet has a unique personality and temperament.

Before adopting a pet, you’ll want to do some research to determine the kind of animal and the breed that will be the best fit for you. But if you’ve never owned a pet, how will you know which pet is right for you? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • How large is your home?
  • Do you have a yard? Is it fenced?
  • Do you have time to regularly walk a dog?
  • Does anyone in the family have allergies?

These questions can point you in the right direction when choosing a pet.

Bringing Your Pet Home 

Prior to bringing your pet home, you’ll want to prepare. You can start by purchasing the basics such as bedding, food and water bowls and toys. When purchasing items for your new pet, you might also consider how to help your new pet acclimate to your home. For pets that might be nervous or fearful at first, you might buy some natural anxiety remedies or calming and stress-reducing pet care products.

You’ll want to be prepared for cleaning up after your new animal. One option is to invest in a new vacuum to pick up hair and dander. You’ll also want to have a plan for your pet in case of emergency. Make sure your pet is up to date on their vaccinations and has proper identification.

Bonding

There are many ways to bond with your new pet. For dog owners, one of the best ways to bond is through games like fetch, taking walks together, or obedience training. Lack of obedience training is one of the top mistakes made by pet owners each year. All dog owners should enroll their dogs in obedience training soon after bringing them home because you’ll learn to communicate while building trust and rapport.

Food

Your dog’s food matters more than you might think. When you give your dog healthy foods, you give their body the energy it needs to play and protect you and your family. But you have to feed them the right food. Many store-bought kibbles are made of mostly grain and inert fillers and don’t provide your dog the nutrients he needs. Most veterinarians advocate a diet of lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. Your veterinarian can help you determine the right type of food and feeding schedule for your dog.

Exercise

Dog owners should consider how they will ensure their pet gets enough exercise as it’s crucial for dogs to move throughout the day. Exercise isn’t just good for your dog; it’s also good for those who are trying to lose weight or recovering from addiction. A little fresh air and sunshine can go a long way toward helping you accomplish your goals.

If you have a busy work schedule or work long hours you may consider hiring a dog walker. That way, you’ll get caught up on work while Fido burns off some extra energy, gets some exercise and enjoys some outdoor relief.

Become the Purrfect Pet Parent

Although you might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself to be a “perfect” pet owner, there’s really no such thing. If you’ve taken the steps listed above to find the right pet and prepare your home for pet ownership, you’ll be on the right track. Just prioritize your pet’s health, happiness and needs and you’ll be on your way to a happy and fulfilling relationship with your new pet.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Fall Treats for Your Furry Friends

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

For us humans, the coming of fall means sweet treats like pumpkin spice everything and Halloween candy. But our pets shouldn’t miss out on the fun! We’ve rounded up a couple fall treats for your furry friends that are tasty and healthy.

Pumpkin Apple Dog Treats

Nothing says fall like going to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch. Try this recipe that uses both of these favorite fall flavors. Not only will your dog love the taste, it’s also good for them. Pumpkin can be used to settle an upset stomach, and apples are a good source of fiber and vitamins A and C.

Ingredients:

4-4.5 cups oats plus additional
1 medium apple
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
Cookie cutter in the shape of your choice

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. Grind oats in a food processor or blender. Transfer to mixing bowl.
  3. Core apple, being sure to remove all of the seeds. Grate apple, and add to bowl with oatmeal.
  4. Add egg and canned pumpkin to bowl and mix well. The mixture will be thick and slightly sticky.
  5. On a surface dusted with oats roll the dough out to approximately 1/2″ thick. Cut with cookie cutter and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and crispy. Cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Of course, dogs shouldn’t be the only ones to enjoy some homemade treats. Try out this simple and healthy recipe for your cat as well!

Salmon Cat Treats

These treats use only three ingredients and are super easy to make, while also being packed full of protein to keep your kitty full, healthy and happy.

Ingredients:

10 oz canned salmon, undrained (can substitute canned chicken or tuna)
1 egg beaten
2 cups whole wheat flour
Cookie cutters in the shape of your choice!

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Pulse 10 oz. canned salmon (undrained) in a food processor or chop as finely as possible.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine salmon, 1 egg (beaten) and 2 cups whole wheat flour until dough forms. If dough is too dry, add up to 1/3 cup water. If dough is too wet or sticky, add a bit more flour. Dough should be tacky but not sticky.
  3. Roll out dough on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Use the cookie cutter to create shapes like pumpkins and leaves, if you want to keep them fall themed.
  4. Place treats on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350ºF for about 20 minutes. When they’re slightly browned and crunchy, they’re done.
  5. Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Dos and Don’ts of Introducing Your Pets to Each Other — Part 2

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

For Part I of this article, click here.

We’ve all seen the cute videos and photos of dogs and cats cuddling together on the internet. But how can you make sure your pets become the best of pals? While some animals are just made for the single-pet life, others can live well with and even become friends with other animals, but it largely depends on having a proper introduction.

Here are some tips of what you should and shouldn’t do when introducing a new animal to your pet.

Don’t be panicky, anxious or overbearing.

Animals pick up on how their humans are feeling, so the tone of the meeting between pets can be impacted by how the owners behave.

When handling a dog, keep the lead loose (though it shouldn’t be an extendable leash). If the person is anxious or the leash is tight, the dog will react accordingly and feel threatened and fearful. In many meetings, a calming voice is enough to diffuse tension. You should only physically separate the animals if they become overly aggressive.

Reacting too hastily on your part can reinforce to the dogs that this is a threatening situation. As the pets meet, you may feel the need to micromanage the situation, but it is often best to let them figure out the interaction on their own, only stepping in if it becomes clear a fight is looming or one of the animals is overly excited.

Do separate them while you’re gone.

After the animals have met while on a leash or partially separated without conflict, you can allow them to interact in an enclosed environment while you are present. For dogs, this should still be a neutral territory at first. For cats, it can be in a room where each has access to a safe space.

Even if these times go well, you should still separate them when you aren’t available to watch them. This can mean while you’re out of the house, or even if you are just going to be busy and unable to give them the supervision they need.

It only takes a second for a fight to break out and someone to get hurt. Only after several months of conflict-free interactions should you consider allowing them to roam freely together without your supervision.

Don’t force it.

In some cases, you might be able to make a pet situation work. Cats may require separate litter boxes, or dogs may need to be fed separately if they get possessive of food.

For some animals that seem aggressive, you may need to call upon a trainer or a behavioral specialist to see if the situation can be worked out. But there will be times when it simply won’t happen. Some animals are made for the single-pet life, and it would be detrimental to both pets (and you!) to try and force it.

Having multiple animals can prevent loneliness and stress for your pets while you’re gone, and thus keep them from destructive behaviors. But it’s important to be prepared going into the introductions so that everyone gets off on the right foot–er, paw.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Dos and Don’ts of Introducing Your Pets to Each Other — Part 1

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Having multiple pets can be fun for the owner and keep the animals from getting lonely, but can also present problems. The best way to avoid these problems is introduce the animals to each other slowly and give them time to adjust to this change.

Do get to know your animals individually beforehand.

You may think your dog is friendly, but if they’ve only ever interacted with a couple of dogs, they may not be as social as you think.

Likewise, some cats are just more social than others. Make sure you choose animals with matching personalities. A rambunctious, playful dog may overpower a shy cat or possibly even injure an older cat unknowingly.

An older, relaxed cat might get annoyed by a kitten who insists on playing, and while they might grow out of this stage, it could be stressful for the older cat and lead to fights. Some dogs or cats just may not have the right personality to put up with the other one and should be single pets.

Don’t forget that scent is very important.

When introducing one dog to another, walk the dogs going the same direction with a safe distance apart, but still within eyesight of each other. Then allow each dog to smell where the other dog has walked. If either of them snarls or lunges toward the other consider consulting a professional dog trainer or behavioral specialist before having the dogs meet.

For cats, begin by feeding both cats on either side of a door. Start with each bowl a couple feet away from the door, and slowly decrease the distance until they are eating directly on opposite sides of the door without reacting.

Next, take a blanket that each cat has used and give it to the opposite cat, again, allowing him or her to become more familiar with the other one’s scent. From there, allow the newcomer cat to explore outside of their room while confining the resident cat to the newcomer’s room.

Use a similar approach when introducing dogs to cats. Give the newcomer a room of their own to adjust to their new situation. Then begin feeding the animals on opposite sides of the door.

If your dog obsessively digs or barks at the barrier for more than a day or two, you may want to consult a behavior specialist before allowing them to meet face to face. If both animals seem comfortable, allow them to switch spaces, giving the newcomer time to explore the house and the resident to get used to the new scent.

Do have the animals meet in a controlled setting.

For dogs meeting dogs, it should occur on neutral ground, like a park or pet supply store. Both dogs should be on a leash as they are introduced and allowed to sniff each other.

The first interaction between cats can occur by partially propping open the door to the room where the new cat has been staying. It should be wide enough so the cats can see each other, but without being able to really interact or claw at each other if things go poorly.

When introducing dogs and cats to each other, keep the dog on a leash. The cat should be able to leave the room if they wish. Eventually, your dog should be able to ignore the cat and stay calm, and the cat should be able to eat and use the litter box regularly even with the dog nearby.

Check back in two weeks for 3 more tips on introducing your new pets!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Protect Your Pet From These Three Risks This Summer

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

For many pets and their owners, summertime offers a chance to be outdoors, spend more time playing and enjoying the great weather.

Unfortunately, there are also several dangers that summer can bring with it. With some preparation and knowledge you can keep your pet safe and make sure summer stays fun. To help you, we’ve gathered the top three risks that face your pet and how you can prevent and recognize them.

  1. Ticks

One of the top concerns as pets spend more time outside is tick-borne diseases. While outdoors avoid places ticks hide, such as long grass and thick underbrush. Once inside check your dog for ticks and remove any that you see. Your dog should also be on flea and tick preventative to kill anything they may pick up.

Lyme disease is transmitted through deer ticks. While it is more prevalent in the New England area, it can be found all over.

Symptoms: Joint pain, lethargy, decreased appetite and fever. Typically takes several months for symptoms to appear.

Ehrlichiosis is one of the most common tick-borne diseases.

Symptoms: Fever, decreased appetite and weight loss, depression, runny nose, watery eyes, frequent bloody noses and enlarged lymph nodes or limbs. Takes several months for symptoms to appear.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, despite its name, this disease is not restricted to the Rocky Mountain area but can be found throughout North and South America.

Symptoms: Fever, joint or muscle pain, anemia, skin lesions, and vomiting. Signs typically appear within a few days.

  1. Dehydration and heatstroke

With higher temperatures comes an increased risk of dehydration and heatstroke. Short-nosed breeds are especially prone to heatstroke, as are animals that are overweight or have thick coats.

Bring water with you when you go on walks and stay in the shade as much as possible. If you’re walking in a paved area, be aware of how much hotter concrete and asphalt can be for your dog. If it is too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pet.

Instead try a grassy area for a walk or purchase a set of booties or paw protection wax to protect their feet. Try to take your walks in the morning or in the evening to avoid the hottest hours of the day. You can also take advantage of an air-conditioned dog daycare during those extremely hot days of summer.

Symptoms: Excessive lethargy, decreased urination, dry gums, refusing to eat and sunken eyes.

  1. Common infections

Infections, particularly those caused by parasites, tend to increase in the summer as the temperatures allow them to thrive and your pup spends more time outdoors.

Coccidiosis

Cause: Coccidiosis can be found in cats and dogs, and is typically transmitted through infected feces, or through consuming a smaller animal that carries it, such as a mouse, rabbit or bird.

Symptoms: watery, mucus-like diarrhea which can progress to bloody diarrhea.

Giardia

Cause: The Giardia infection can be contracted by playing in or ingesting contaminated soil or water. Remove any standing water in your backyard and keep your dog from drinking from unknown water sources.

Symptoms: Diarrhea, gas, abdominal discomfort, dehydration, listlessness and a poor-looking coat.

While summer can be a time of great fun for pets and owners alike, it is important to know the dangers so that you can protect your pet. By arming yourself with this knowledge, summer can stay fun for you and your furry friend.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Training Your Dog

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Having a dog can be a fun and rewarding experience, but without proper training, any dog can be a handful. Taking your dog to a training class and reinforcing these lessons at home is a key part of making sure your dog stays safe and you both stay happy!

Not all types of training are created equal. Rather than using fear and domination to punish unwanted behaviors, training with positive reinforcement gives your dog positive motivation to repeat desired behaviors and results in a stronger bond based on trust between dog and owner.

Sometimes called reward-based training, this style focuses on rewarding behaviors you want your dog to have, like sitting and fetching, and ignoring and withholding rewards for unwanted behaviors, like jumping on people. Rewards typically take the form of a small treat, verbal praise or even a favorite toy.

There are several things to know about training with positive reinforcement. The first is that timing is key. The reward must occur immediately after the desired behavior, within a few seconds, or the dog won’t associate it with the behavior.

Second, keep your commands short and clear. Saying something like “Max, be a good boy and sit down for me” won’t make any sense to your dog. Instead, use one to two words commands like “stay” or “leave it.” Being consistent in what commands you use is also important.

Make sure everyone who will be frequently interacting with the dog, such as other family members or a dog walker, know which commands to use and to always reward good behavior while ignoring bad behavior.

When training your dog, don’t spend long stretches of time working on it. Spend ten to fifteen minute bursts working on a command, otherwise your dog will get bored or tired and not respond as well.

One of the most important things to realize about positive reinforcement is that it can happen accidentally — and not in a good way. If your dog barks at noises in the backyard and you always let him out, you’re training him that barking gives him a reward.

Even what you might consider negative attention can have unintended results. Yelling and pushing at your dog when she jumps up on you seems like a clear “no” to you, but she might still perceive it as attention, and therefore continue to do it.

Instead, don’t reward these behaviors. Ignore your dog barking, and when your dog jumps up, simply turn around and act as if they aren’t there. When they calm down and greet you in the way you want, then you can pet them and give them your attention as a reward.

Another important but often forgotten aspect of training is crate training. Sometimes dismissed as cruel, crate training your dog has numerous benefits for both you and your pet.

If your dog is trained to stay in a crate without being disruptive or destructive, it gives you peace of mind while away, makes it easier to house-train your dog, and ensures that your pet has a safe place to go when they need to be out of the way, such as when a repairman is needed or guests are over.

For your dog, having a crate means they have a safe den to retreat to when they’re feeling tired, scared or sick. It also allows them to still be a part of the family even when they can’t be out wandering the house.

Dogs are social animals, and so keeping them outside by themselves for long stretches of time will cause them stress and often result in unwanted behaviors such as digging, barking and chewing.

Crates also make traveling easier. A crated dog in a car has a much better chance at surviving a car crash, and having a familiar space even when staying in a hotel or elsewhere will help reduce anxiety your pet may have from traveling.

Properly training your dog can be a big task, and so attending a class with your new dog can be a great way to make sure they get the training they need while strengthening your bond as you learn together. Attending a class ensures that you aren’t making any mistakes without realizing it, provides accountability so that you stay consistent with your training and gives your new pup the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and humans.

Bark+ Boarding offers three levels of classes based on age and skill level so that whatever your dog needs, we can help. And of course, all our classes use positive reinforcement so dogs and their owners have the best experience possible.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: 3 Principles for Preventing Dog-Related Disasters

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

Written by Tyler Evans, Animal Enthusiast from dogzasters.com

If you have a dog, you know that accidents are bound to happen. From torn-up furniture to potty accidents, these are a part of owning a dog that we could all live without. Prevention is always the best medicine, especially when it comes to a canine’s behavior.

Luckily, there are a number of ways you can avoid these unpleasant situations and clean-ups. To prevent your pooch from misbehaving, follow these three prevention principles.

Activity

Activity is a necessity of all dogs, no matter their age or breed. Some dogs though, do need more exercise than others. According to the Business Insider, the Belgian Malinois and German Pointer are the most active dogs in the world, needing over an hour and a half of intense exercise every day.

While most dogs do not need this much exercise, they still do need to get out and be active. Dogs who do not burn off their energy can easily become bored, which may cause them to turn their eyes towards a destructive game.

One of the easiest ways you can prevent doggie disasters is by providing your canine with a constructive, appropriate way to burn off their energy. The easiest way to do this is by taking them on frequent walks, preferably a couple of times a day.

For most people, this can be done before and after work. If you’re very busy, however, it might be in your best interest to hire a dog walker or a dog sitter to stop by once or twice a day to take your pooch on a walk. Though this service does cost money, it is a far better alternative than coming home to a ruined house.

Training

The second most common reason dogs misbehave is simply because they don’t know any better. If your dog has an accident on your carpet, it might not be that they were misbehaving just because they could, but that they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to.

We recommend training your pooch early and often. House training is essential to keeping your pooch in your house, but other types of training can be extremely useful too. For example, if your dog barks consistently, you can train them to not bark.

If you have a puppy, we highly recommend that you get them enrolled in a doggie training class. Puppy training classes are just as useful for you as they are your dog. Even if you’ve previously owned a puppy, each dog breed is different and responds to training techniques differently.

Attending one of these classes can inform you on what techniques would work best for your puppy. Furthermore, puppy training classes also socialize your dog with other people and canines. According to the AKC, proper socialization is a great way to prevent unnecessary aggression and fear as your dog gets older.

Enrichment

Another common reason dogs misbehave is because they’re bored.

While activity can go a long way to curb this boredom, for some dogs it is not enough, especially if they are a member of an intelligent breed. For many dogs, their minds need to be exercised just like their bodies.

This can be done easily through play if you are at home and have the time. If not, you can purchase your canine a couple of puzzle toys to leave around the house while you’re gone. This will give your pooch something to do while you’re gone and prevent them from getting into things in an attempt to find their fun.

If that doesn’t work, doggy daycare is always a great alternative to get your pup out of house and enjoy play time and enrichment with other dogs in a safe and supervised environment.

Doggie disasters are an inevitable part of owning a canine. However, by following these three principles, you can prevent many of these disasters from occurring.

At Bark + Boarding, we offer a unique boarding structure that gives your pet their own room for their bedding and toys, supervised play and regular meals and bathroom breaks in our outdoor run. This means less stress for your pet, and for you!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Tips for Summer Travel with Pets

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Bark + Boarding Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Summertime means vacations, and many of us want don’t want our pets to miss out on the fun! If you’re planning on traveling with your pet or looking for pet-friendly destination, we’ve got you covered.

Road Trips

When bringing your pet on a car ride, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared so that you and your pet have the best experience.

Before you leave for the trip, make sure your pet is familiar with riding in a car by taking them on drives, slowly building up the amount of time they stay in the car and rewarding them with treats.

When it’s time to leave for your trip, be sure to secure your pet. They may seem completely comfortable roaming free in the car, but you never know how they might react to the many loud noises that can happen on the road, and securing your pet will make sure they aren’t injured in case of any sudden stops.

Preferably, use a crate that the animal is able to sit, stand up, and lie down in and secure the crate within the car. If you decide not to use a crate for your dog, there are “doggy seatbelts” available, which are typically harnesses that can buckle into a seatbelt.

Be sure to bring lots of water and food for your pet, even more than you might think you’ll need, since traffic, car troubles or any other unexpected delays may extend your travel time. Make regular stops to let your dog use the bathroom or to clean out kitty litter, and ensure they are drinking enough water.

Never leave your pet unattended in the car, even if you have the windows rolled down or A/C running.

Air Travel

Flying with your pet may seem like a stressful situation, but with preparation and diligence it doesn’t have to be.

If possible, book a direct flight to your destination to minimize travel time for the pet and decrease chances of them having to sit out on the tarmac while luggage is relocated.

Buy a USDA-approved crate big enough for your pet to sit, stand and lie down comfortably in, and line it with bedding such as shredded towels that can absorb any accidents.

You can tape a small pouch of food on the outside of the crate for the airline staff to feed your pet if the travel time increases unexpectedly. For water, fill a bowl that can attach to the crate door and freeze it the night before. This way, it won’t spill during loading but will melt for your pet to drink as they get thirsty.

Be sure your pet has proper identification, and consider having your pet microchipped for extra security. Mark the crate with “Live Animal” and include your name, cell phone and destination number, and a photo of your pet, just in case they escape. You should also keep a photo of your pet on your person.

Don’t be afraid to be assertive when it comes to your pet’s well-being. Tell airline employees you talk to, whether on the ground or in the air, that you are traveling with a pet in the cargo hold, so that if there is a delay they’re aware and you can decide the best course of action, even if that means removing your pet from the cargo hold and deplaning.

If your dog meets certain size and weight requirements you may be lucky enough to bring your pet into the cabin of the plane with you! Check with your airline first and always be sure you have an airline approved travel bag where your pet can rest comfortably under the seat in front of you.

Before traveling whether by car or by plane, check with your vet first. Make sure your pet is in good health and up to date on their shots. If you’re concerned, you can ask about ways to relax your pet. Don’t try to sedate your pet without consulting with your vet first.

Now that you know how you’re getting there, where are some of the best places to visit with your pet?

Pet Friendly Destinations

Many cities across the U.S. know that pet owners don’t want to leave their furry friends behind on vacation, so they’ve become pet-friendly travel spots.

Visit the Red Bud Isle peninsula in Austin, Texas for lots of off-leash adventures and water to play in, and even pick up some doggy treats at the Groovy Dog Bakery.

Asheville, North Carolina boasts 220 acres of pet-friendly grounds at the Biltmore Estate, as well as the French Broad River Dog Park with a fenced-off, wood-chipped acre for pups to play in and a river to splash around in, too.

Keywest, Florida is always a popular vacation spot, and now your dog can join in on the fun, whether it’s running around on the Key West Dog Beach or getting out on the water with Lazy Dog Kayak.

If you’re looking for a more unique destination, check out Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho. A local couple who have spent decades as woodworking artists built the bed and breakfast to look like a giant beagle, which sleeps four people plus any furry companions!

If your dog loves socializing, check out Woofstock in Toronto. The largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America, Woofstock attracts hundreds of thousands of dogs and their owners each year to celebrate dogs and participate in wacky events, such as dog speed dating, Mr. and Mrs. Canine Canada, and the Running of the Pugs.

If traveling with your pets isn’t an option, boarding them is a great way to make sure they receive the care and love they deserve while you’re out of town.

At Bark + Boarding, we offer a unique boarding structure that gives your pet their own room for their bedding and toys, supervised play and regular meals and bathroom breaks in our outdoor run. This means less stress for your pet, and for you!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Hot Weather Safety Tips for Pets

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Summer weather can be great for swimming, hikes, and other outdoor adventures, but the heat can be especially hard on pets, so make sure you know the best way to keep your furry friend safe this season.

Overheating is the biggest danger in warm weather, so it is important to know the signs and keep an eye on your pet when they’re outdoors or in any warm location.

Symptoms include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased respiratory or heart rate, drooling more than usual, mild weakness, lethargy or even collapsing. More severe reactions can occur when a pet’s body temperature reaches over 104 degrees, such as seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

Pets that are very young, very old, overweight, not used to prolonged exercise or have previous heart or respiratory disease are more susceptible to overheating. Certain breeds are also more prone, especially flat-faced animals such as pugs and Persian cats, since they have trouble releasing heat by panting.

If your pet does become overheated, knowing what to do and acting quickly can prevent it from getting any worse. Move your pet into shade or an air-conditioned area if possible. Apply ice packs or cold towels to their head, neck and chest, or run cool (not cold) water over them.

Drinking too much water at this point could be dangerous, so allow them to drink small amounts of water or lick ice cubes. If you suspect your pet may be overheating it’s always a good idea to call your veterinarian or take them in to be seen.

Of course, the best way to deal with heatstroke is to prevent it! One of the most important and easiest things you can do is make sure your pet is hydrated. Always keep a bowl of fresh, clean water available for your pets indoors and outdoors. When they’re outside, make sure they have access to shade.

A dog house is not a good solution since it doesn’t allow air flow; instead, rely on a tree or set up a tarp or tent to provide shade.

Take your dog on walks in the morning or evening when it’s cooler outside, and avoid having your dog walk on asphalt for extended periods. Asphalt can get very hot and potentially burn your pup’s paws, and since they’re closer to the ground the heat radiating off the surface can cause them to warm up even more quickly.

Bring water on walks to keep your dog hydrated, and consider investing in a cooling mat or vest that you can bring along to lower your dog’s body temperature.

Some solutions that seem like they would help humans in the heat can be unhelpful or even harmful to pets.

While it’s okay to shave down some dogs, many breeds should never be shaved. Many double-coated dogs, like Huskies, have a special coat that keeps them both cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

For cats, brushing more frequently than usual can help prevent problems caused by heat. If you decide to use sunscreen or insect repellant for your pet, be sure to use a product labeled specifically for use on animals, not just the bottle of sunscreen you have lying around from last summer.

One of the most important things to remember in hot weather is to never leave your pet unattended in the car. Temperatures inside a car can rise to dangerous levels within minutes, even when the windows are left cracked.

For example, on an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with cracked windows can reach 102 degrees in ten minutes, and after thirty minutes it can climb to 120 degrees. Your pet can suffer from irreversible organ damage, or even die.

Leaving a pet unattended in a car is illegal in many states, and be sure to know what your state’s policy is so you know how to react if you see a pet left in a car.

If it’s just too hot outside for exercise but your dog needs to burn some energy, Bark + Boarding’s Doggie Daycare is a great option. They are able divide their play space into different sized play zones that can be joined or separated to accommodate dogs in need of a calm break or those who require some extra enrichment activities.

Your dog will receive outdoor playtime and bathroom breaks and constant, professional supervision while they play. Just because it’s heating up outside doesn’t mean your dog can’t have fun!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: How to Make Your Dog a Better Neighbor

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

Article provided by Tamara Gilmore at pupjobs.com

You adore your dog, but how do your neighbors feel about your pet?

If you’re not practicing good pet-owner etiquette, you could be unwittingly making enemies of your neighbors. For a more harmonious relationship between canines and humans, follow these dog etiquette tips.

At Home

Your house is your dog’s home too, but that doesn’t mean giving your pet free reign is always the appropriate choice.

When hosting guests, consider their comfort level around dogs. It’s good etiquette to let first-time guests know you have a dog before they come over. Ask if guests prefer that you close your dog in a room before their visit; Fido won’t mind a couple hours of solitude and it could do wonders to comfort a dog-fearing guest.

If your dog tends to jump on visitors, leash him before they arrive. That way, you can control the introductions and let your dog off leash once the initial excitement has waned.

If at any time your dog appears anxious or overstimulated while you’re hosting guests, shut your pet in a quiet room. Just because your dog is sweet and gentle with you doesn’t mean it will behave the same way around small children, big bearded men or another type of person it’s unfamiliar with.

If you’re unsure how to tell if your dog is feeling anxious, refer to this list from Doggone Safe. You can also use daycare as a great alternative to tire your dog out before guests arrive or boarding to keep your pup out of the home during extended visits.

In the Yard

A fence is essential for good canine-neighbor relations. A good fence not only keeps your dog contained, it also stops your dog from barking at passersby and keeps children and other animals out of your yard.

While chain link fencing may be economical, it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing choice. In addition, some dogs can climb the links to escape. Consider a wood fence instead.

While it’s more costly — Arlington, VA, homeowners pay an average of $1,700 to $3,833 to install a wood fence — it’s an attractive solution that will last for years to come. Wood fences are also easier to modify than other styles, so you can add a peekaboo window or other fence features that ease anxiety and reduce escape attempts.

While a fence is important, it doesn’t give homeowners carte blanche to leave their pets unattended in the yard.

A bored dog in the backyard is prone to tear up your landscaping, bark for no reason and experiment with new methods for escape. Keep an eye on your pet when it’s outside and always bring dogs in when they start to bark.

On the Go

Walks around the neighborhood are a great opportunity for your pup to mingle with the neighborhood dogs and make a good impression on their owners. But if it goes poorly, it could leave your neighbors crossing the street when you approach.

Maintain your neighborly etiquette on the go by always following local leash laws and picking up your dog’s waste on walks. Try not to let your dog urinate on neighbor’s yards. Instead, aim for parks and strips of grass between the sidewalk and road.

Always ask before letting your pet approach another dog. Even if your dog is the friendliest canine on the planet, other dogs may have aggression or anxiety issues. Asking first keeps everyone safe and prevents unnecessary stress.

If you have a dog who needs space while on walks you should consider joining The Yellow Dog Project.

The local dog park is a great place to let your pet romp with other dogs. However, dog parks aren’t suitable for dogs in heat, sick dogs or dogs who play rough with others.

While it’s fun to chat with other dog owners at the park, ensure you’re always keeping watch over your dog. If your pet is exhibiting bullying behavior or being bothered by another dog, leave and try again another day. The Atlanta Humane Society offers helpful tips for identifying and correcting bullying behavior in dogs.

If you’ve followed this advice and your pet is still causing problems with the neighbors, it’s time to seek professional solutions. Your dog may benefit from obedience training or working with a canine behaviorist, or he may simply need a dog walker to increase his daily exercise.

By finding the right solutions for your pet, you can enjoy a happier dog, happier neighbors and a happier you.

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Dog Friendly Spots Around Town

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

As the days get longer, we’re not the only ones who want to get out and have fun — our dogs want to come too!

Luckily, the Arlington and D.C. areas are full of parks, restaurants and businesses that love your dog almost as much as you do. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular so you’ll have plenty of adventures to choose from this spring.

Tucked away into a wooded area in Arlington, Glencarlyn Park offers access to nature for dogs and owners alike.

Dogs are free to go off leash, although it’s not fenced in so make sure your pup is well-trained. The area includes access to a small creek shallow enough for even small dogs to splash in without worry. The surrounding trees also provide shade for owners while their dogs play, as well as some paved trails you and your pup can spend time drying off on before heading back to the car.

A hidden gem right outside of D.C., Theodore Roosevelt Island provides amazing views of the surrounding areas as well as a network of trails criss-crossing the island.

Try the Woods trail that leads to the Memorial Plaza, featuring a statue of the island’s namesake, or the Upland trail that covers the length of the island and connects to many of the other trails if you feel like extending your walk.

Perhaps best of all is that both access to the island and parking are free. The parking lot is relatively small, however, so be sure to go at off hours or arrive early to get a spot.

If you need a fenced-in area for your dog to enjoy, check out Shirlington Dog Park.

There are separate areas for small and big dogs with plenty of room for running. There is a river nearby, although be careful about letting your dog swim in it as there is a potential for debris at the bottom of the river or bacteria in the water.

If your dog gets messy, there’s even a dog washing station near the middle of the park available for a small fee. It’s a well-kept area popular among nearby dog owners.

If you’re looking to grab a bite to eat but don’t want to leave your dog behind, consider visiting Texas Jack’s Barbeque on Washington Blvd in Arlington.

With a menu that boasts beef brisket, beef short ribs, charro sausage and fried chicken or pulled pork sandwiches plus a spacious patio where dogs are welcome, this is a great spot to hang out with friends, both human and canine.

Want to give your dog a chance to get outdoors, but still need to get work done? Grab some coffee and pastries at The Java Shack in Arlington.

Their outdoor patio welcomes dogs, and also has electrical outlets and free wifi so you can stay as long as you need. The staff is happy to bring out water bowls for dogs, and it’s even located next door to a pet shop if you want to pick up a treat for your pup while you enjoy your coffee.

On the first Monday of every month, bring your pooch and enjoy Yappy Hour at Tysons Biergarten.

Tysons Biergarten carries some of Germany and Belgium’s finest beers plus American craft beers and a menu with the perfect pairing for any drink you choose. The pub also offers a variety of games from Connect4 to cornhole.

Dogs are welcome anytime, but once a month Ambassador Pit Bull Alliance hosts Yappy Hour to bring in adoptable dogs and offer doggie treats for all pups.

If you’re looking for a calm indoor place to hang out with your dog, try East City Bookshop near Capitol Hill.

In this two-story independent bookstore, dogs are welcome to come hang out as you browse the shelves or cuddle up with a good book. The staff loves dogs and your dog is sure to love all the attention!

If you’re too busy with work or school but your pup still needs to burn some energy, Bark + Boarding is a great alternative to let your dog get some exercise and socialization.

At our doggie daycare, we consider your pup a part of our family, and do everything to ensure they have a fun and safe time. We have distinct play zones that allow for spaces to give dogs a calm break or give special attention to dogs with extra wiggles. Your dog will receive outside playtime and potty breaks in our outdoor run, constant professional supervision, as well as feedings and medication given at no additional charge.

No matter what works for you and your pup, be sure to take advantage of the sunshine and nice weather after a long winter!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short video about this article!

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Seasonal Allergies for Pets


The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

While springtime can mean warmer weather and outdoor adventures, for many humans it has them reaching for the allergy meds and tissues. Just like us, our pets can also suffer from seasonal allergies. If not treated, they can make life miserable for your furry friend.

We’ve collected some tips for determining if your pet has seasonal allergies, and how to help them.

Signs Your Pet May Have Seasonal Allergies

For humans, allergies commonly manifest as respiratory issues — sneezing, runny nose, etc. For pets, allergies take the form of a condition called allergic dermatitis. What this means is that if your pet has seasonal allergies, it will result in skin irritation or even inflammation.

Due to this, one of the most common signs of allergies is excessive scratching. In some cases, the animal might even bite at their own skin to relieve the itchiness. This can lead to sensitive, inflamed skin that only hurts more, and may even develop into hot spots, an infected area that will be bright red and may bleed. Hot spots are more common in dogs, but not unheard of for cats.

Another symptom that your pet might be suffering from allergies is obsessive licking of paws, face and other areas. This is related to the fact that histamines, triggered by the allergies, are pushed to the extremities in dogs and cats, and so these areas become the most irritated. Licking is one way your pet is trying to relieve the irritation at these areas, along with rubbing their face with their paws or scooting their rear end along the ground.

If your pet is shedding or dealing with dandruff more than normal, this may be a sign they are dealing with allergies. The allergies make their skin dry, resulting in dandruff. Excessive shedding could be a result of your pet over-grooming as they try to relieve themselves from the irritation.

If your pet seems like they have allergies year-round, or have digestive issues like diarrhea or vomiting, it may be a food allergy rather than seasonal, so you should check with your vet if you think that is a possibility.

For specific animals and breeds, other signs of allergies may be present. For dogs with long ears, such as hounds and cocker spaniels, ear infections are common and often associated with allergies. If your dog keeps shaking its head or its ears are red and waxy, they likely have an ear infection and will need to be taken to the vet for treatment.

In cats, feline asthma can be caused by allergies. These symptoms are similar to human reactions to allergies: wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing. Feline asthma can become dangerous very quickly and so you should see your vet if you think your cat may have it.

What You Can Do About It

None of us like seeing our pets uncomfortable or in pain! Thankfully, there are some easy at-home remedies to help relieve your pet’s allergies.

Frequent baths help relieve itchy skin, as well as wash away allergens that may be clinging to your dog’s coat and making their allergies worse. When you don’t have time for a full bath, wiping their paws when they come in from outside is an easy and quick way to prevent them from tracking allergens throughout the house, which may help any owners with allergies also. Vacuuming and dusting regularly will also help to remove allergy-inducing particles.

To help soothe irritated skin, there are several options available. Try cleaning your pet’s skin with witch hazel, which is soothing and drying, moisturizing dry areas with coconut oil, or applying cool green or black tea bags to the skin. There are also some great, all natural products from EarthBath and kin+kind that offer relief.

In some cases, going to the vet may be necessary. If hot spots appear or the skin looks like it might be infected, causing a bad odor or lethargy in the pet, or if irritation doesn’t clear up in 48 hours, you should take your pet to the vet to seek treatment.

In the case of severe, chronic allergies, your vet may decide to test your pet for specific allergies and potentially develop an allergy shot that can help relieve the worst of their symptoms.

We all want our pets to be able to enjoy the outdoors just as much as we do, and being able to identify and treat seasonal allergies will help ensure they’re able to!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram and our website!

Click here to check out our short (approx 60 second) video about this article

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Flea and Tick Control for Springtime


The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

by Chelsea Pennington, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

As the weather warms up, no one may be more excited than our pets.

Spring and summer mean long walks, exploring nature and maybe even a hike through the woods. Unfortunately, these places are also common hiding spots for fleas and ticks. Whether you have an adventurous pup or an indoor cat, these pests can cause major problems.

To prevent fleas and ticks from bothering your pets and make sure they can enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, try following these tips.

Be on the lookout for pests

Whenever your dog comes in from the outdoors, especially if they’ve been near tall grass or wooded areas, inspect them for fleas and ticks. Fleas are usually too small to see, so look for “flea dirt,” or feces, which look like tiny dark clumps caught in your pet’s fur. Especially look for them in areas where the coat is thin, such as the belly, inner side of the hind legs and armpits.

If you see this telltale sign of fleas, you’ll need to bring you pet to your veterinarian for treatment. Ticks, however, can often be handled at home. Inspect for ticks, paying careful attention to your pet’s feet (including in between toes), on lips, around eyes and ears (including inside ears) and under the tail.

Use your hand to feel for small bumps in your pet’s fur — these could be ticks.

If you do find one, you might be able to remove it yourself. Using tweezers, grip the tick as close to the pet’s skin as possible. Pull the tick from the skin with gentle, steady pressure, being sure not to twist or crush it. Make sure you remove all parts of the tick, and if you think the head might still be lodged in the skin, take your pet to the vet for proper removal.

While the timely removal of ticks can help prevent secondary illnesses that can result from a tick bite, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own, bringing your pet to the vet is the safer choice.

If you do remove it, you can either dispose of it by wrapping it in tape and putting it in an outside trash can, or you may want to keep it in a container to show your vet so they can know what kind of tick it was.

Maintain the environment

While it’s not possible to keep every single flea and tick out of your yard, there are some simple methods to decrease how many find their way in.

Keep your grass mowed short and keep shrubbery around your house well-trimmed. Remove any piles of leaves that accumulated over the cold months, as well as any fallen logs that may provide a good home to rodents, which are often the hosts of fleas and ticks.

If you want to be extra careful, consider having your lawn treated with flea and tick pesticides, a service offered by most yard care companies. Just be sure to keep your pets off the grass for a few days after the treatment is applied!

Taking care of your indoor space can also help prevent pests. Vacuum carpeted areas regularly, especially places where your pet likes to hang out, and empty the bag outside, not into your trashcan where the pests might still escape.

Cleaning or vacuuming your pet’s bed or sleeping area is also helpful to make sure it’s pest-free. If you do have a flea or tick infestation, it’s usually best to buy an entirely new bed, just to be sure.

Find a medicine that works for you and your pet

There are a variety of oral and topical medicines on the market, and many of them are very effective against fleas and ticks. Oral medicines kill pests after they bite the animal, while topicals aim to kill them just by contact. For this reason, topicals can be especially helpful for a pet that might have a fleabite allergy.

You should treat all of your pets, even if some of them never go outside. Fleas and ticks can be carried indoors on other pets, or even on shoes and clothes.

That being said, examining your pet’s lifestyle can help you decide which type of medicine to use. Cats who stay indoors need less aggressive treatments than a dog who is out playing in the woods and long grass. Talk with your vet before choosing any medicine to make sure it’s the best fit for your pet.

Also, it is critical to follow the labels of any medicine — if it is labeled for use on a dog, do not use it on a cat, and vice versa. If you have both and you’re looking to save money, choose a medicine that is labeled for both cat and dog use.

If you’d prefer to avoid the chemicals and use a natural remedy, Bark + Boarding’s shop carries several options.

One popular treatment is from Kin + Kind and comes in a shampoo formula for both cats and dogs, or a spray for dogs that you can apply as needed, such as before a long hike where pests are likely to be present. Since it’s made with all-natural and organic ingredients, you can also reapply it once you’re home without having to worry about introducing chemicals into your house or harming your dog by using too much.

Bark + Boarding shops also carry a peppermint-scented natural spray from Wondercide that can be used on pets as well as inside your house to treat interior spaces. It’s a great option for protecting a pet’s bed if the material can’t be put through the washing machine. Natural solutions such as these can be a good choice if you have small children around and want to be extra careful with what you bring into your house.

By following these steps, you can ensure you and your pets are able to fully enjoy the warm weather and sunshine!

Looking for more tips, interested in adorable pet pics or just want to get more information on what we do? Stay connected with Bark + Boarding on FacebookInstagram, and our website!

Click here to check out our short (approx 60 second) video about this article

Mention this article for a FREE evaluation and click here to sign up for one today. If you have a question about your pet, feel free to come in, or email [email protected] any time.

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The Chew: Make Your Home Safe with These Puppy Prepping Projects


The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Bark + Boarding, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, Bark & Boarding offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

The day’s finally arrived to bring home your precious bundle of joy.

You’ve patiently researched and waited to adopt the perfect furry canine friend. You shopped for the cutest matching collar and leash. You bought the monogrammed doggy bowl. You studied which food would be the most nutritious. You even remembered to order their customized ID tag.

But did you remember that the plant in your backyard might be poisonous or that the medication on your bathroom counter is also a hazard? What about those piles of Legos in junior’s room, or grandpa’s old coin collection in the study?

Clean Up Toxic Substances

Go room to room to look for harmful substances that would be easily accessible. Where possible, switch to a pet-friendly product. If you need the item, say medicine for example, make sure to store it in a secure location. In particular, look for these ten items that were the most commonly ingested toxins in 2016, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

  • Garden Products — Fertilizer is particularly irresistible to pets.
  • Plants — Check all plants ahead of time to make sure your indoor and outdoor plants are safe. And if you get that special anniversary bouquet, make sure to check it too.
  • Rodenticides — Remember, mice and rat poisoning are meant to kill.
  • Insecticides — If you use these in the yard, store them where they can’t be accessed.
  • Chocolate — Keep this out of reach at all time.
  • Household Items — Tens of thousands of pets are poisoned by paint, glue and cleaning supplies each year.
  • Veterinary products — Even if you have a prescription for your pet, make sure they can’t access it outside of regular dosing times.
  • Food — Onions, garlic, grapes, raisins, alcohol and other human foods can pose serious threats to your dog. The best thing you can do is train your dog early to stay out of the kitchen.
  • Over-the-counter products — Ibuprofen is the number one reported OTC toxin.
  • Human Prescription Medications — The largest percentage of pet poisoning cases were due to the ingestion of owner’s medication.

Keep Bathrooms Safe

Bathrooms might seem like smaller areas that pose little risk, but they can lead to some serious accidents. Many dogs love the taste of fresh, cool toilet water.

You might think, “ewww,” but while it’s gross to you and me, it’s an enticing drowning risk to your new pup. Keep the toilet bowl lid in the down position. Similarly, if you fill the bathtub or the sink, make sure to empty them.

Prepare Electrical Cords

Another common household item that poses a serious risk to your new friend is an electrical cord. Puppies are known to chew on them, and this can cause burns, electrical shocks and even electrocution. Purchase and install spiral cable wraps or cord concealers to keep your pup safe.

Eliminate Suffocation Risks

Let’s get back to that pile of Legos and that coin collection. Many items found in your home can pose suffocations risks. Make sure to keep small items tidied up and away from your dog. It’s also important to pick the right size ball and chew toys. Selecting something too small could obstruct the airway if accidently swallowed.

Check your yard

Take a look at your fence line to see if there’s any way your new pup can escape. If there are small spaces big enough for your pooch to fit through, chances are he’ll make a run for it just because it’s fun. Also, are there tools or items that could be tempting for little puppy jaws?

Take stock of what could get your dog’s attention if you have to leave it outside alone.

Puppy-proofing may seem like a daunting task; there are so many things to consider. But making your new pup safe is worth the time and the little bit of money you may spend. By taking it slow and being prepared, you’ll be enjoying fetch, long walks, and cuddles in no time.

Remember, your friends at Bark + Boarding are always ready to answer any questions you may have when bringing a new puppy home. Bark + Boarding also has New Puppy Adoption Packages to set you up with everything your new furry family member may need!

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