Arlington, VA

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.

Spring is here, and that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy the warm weather. We’ve rounded up some of the best local events that are dog-friendly, so you and your furry pal can make the most of the season.

Easter Eggstravaganza

April 20, 12-3 p.m.
Cost: $5/family
1601 Nicodemus Road
Reisterstown, Maryland 21136

Your pup doesn’t have to miss out on all the Easter fun! Celebrate with a traditional egg hunt, and get your picture with the Easter bunny. If you’re hungry, Flash Crab’s food truck will be there with tasty food to purchase. The event is hosted by the Baltimore Humane Society.

Pooch Palooza

April 27 at 9-4 p.m. and April 28 11-4 p.m.
Cost: $12 for single day ticket, $20 for weekend pass, $2 per add-on dog
8428 Stephen Decatur Highway
Berlin, Maryland 21811

Give your dog the time of their life as they get to participate in a day full of fun designed just for them! Events include lure chasing, pie eating, the Fast Fetch Cup and Qualifier, and the Helio ball drop. There is also a costume contest and canine photobooth. Owners will have plenty to do as well — the event includes seminars to help you learn how to be an even better dog owner.

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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.

Exploring the outdoors is always better with a furry friend, but that doesn’t have to only include dogs.

For many cats, learning to walk on a leash and getting to spend time outside is a fun adventure, and a rewarding experience for the owner. Teaching your cat to walk on a leash may take some practice, but it can be fun for both you and your cat.

Find the Right Harness

It’s important to buy a harness to use for walking your cat. Cats are less likely to wriggle out of a harness than a collar while out and about. There are harnesses specifically designed for walking cats, but even within this category there are a variety of options.

You may need to try several before you find one that your cat likes. Make sure you find the right fit; you should be able to fit one or two fingers underneath the harness, but no more than that.

Introduce Your Cat to the Idea

Once you’ve purchased a harness, you need to give your cat time to warm up to it. Begin by letting them smell and play with the harness so it doesn’t seem so foreign. Help them make good associations with it by giving them treats as they investigate it and keep it near their food bowl when you feed them.

Unexpected noises may startle your cat, so also practice clicking and unclicking the harness. Once they seem comfortable with it, try putting it on. Continue giving them treats as they wear it so they have a positive association. When you first put it on, don’t buckle it. As they get used to wearing it loose, buckle it and resize it as necessary.

It will likely take several tries for them to adjust, but if after a few attempts they still seem to hate wearing it and any other harness you try, your cat may just not be made for leash walking.

Bring Out the Leash

Now that your cat is comfortable wearing a harness, it’s time to attach the leash. Even if you’re itching to get outside, patience is your friend when teaching your cat to walk on a leash. Attach the leash to the harness and stay inside as you let them explore.

At first, don’t try to lead them at all — just follow them as they walk around the house. As they adjust to this, you can start giving them gentle guidance. You should never be yanking on the leash or pulling them along.

Head Outside

If your cat doesn’t show any resistance or discomfort walking around inside with the harness and leash attached, you can bring them outdoors. Put on the harness and leash indoors, then carry them out the door to a safe, fenced-in area.

It’s important to always carry your cat outside rather than letting them walk out on their own. If they get used to the idea of walking outside on their own, they’re more likely to do it when they don’t have their leash on.

For your cat’s first outdoor experience, go to an enclosed area away from loud noises or other animals. This removes stress for both you and your cat, so you both have a positive first outdoor adventure. Be sure to keep treats on hand so your cat continues to have good associations with the walk.

You’ll need to be prepared in case your cat becomes extremely frightened. Carry a heavy towel with you so if they get startled or become panicked, you can wrap them up in the towel and bring them inside without being scratched or bitten. To help prevent this, keep your first several walks near an open door so that your cat will feel more secure knowing they have the option to return inside.

Slowly Increase Your Walks

As your cat gets more comfortable outside, gradually increase the time and distance you go outdoors. They won’t be able to handle long distances like a dog, but if they’re enjoying their adventure then you might be surprised at how long they’ll be willing to stay outside. Follow your cat’s lead and enjoy a more leisurely stroll as your cat explores new smells and chases bugs.

Teaching your cat to walk on a leash takes time, but with a little bit of patience (and lots of treats!) you could be having outdoor adventures with your cat before you know it.

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 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.

As the weather is warming up, it’s the perfect time to have some new outdoor adventures with your dog. To help you find the perfect spot to enjoy nature with your pup, we’ve rounded up some of the best trails to walk or run in the area.

Theodore Roosevelt Island
Washington, D.C.

  • Two and a half miles of low intensity trails
  • Most of the trails are wooded, providing shade during the warmer months
  • No fees
  • If your dog is adventurous and water-loving, canoeing and kayaking are available

Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
7400 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22102

  • Over 300 acres of trails leading to scenic spots like Scott’s Run Waterfall and overlooks of the Potomac River
  • Variety of trail types, including shaded wooded areas and more intense rocky climbs
  • Some trails cover rocky bluffs that are unsafe for dogs

Washington And Old Dominion Trail
21293 Smiths Switch Road
Ashburn, VA 20147

  • Sixty-five miles of trails
  • Trails are mostly paved or gravel, making them easier for beginners
  • This former railroad trail is open year-round

Great Falls
9200 Old Dominion Drive
McLean, VA 22102

  • Fifteen miles of trails
  • Variety of trails, from the Swamp Trail through lowland forest to the more challenging Billy Goat Trail perfect for high-energy dogs
  • Most of the trails are wider, multi-use paths, so if your dog is uncomfortable around bikes and horses, consider a different trail

Rock Creek Park
5200 Glover Road N.W.
Washington, DC 20015

  • Thirty-two miles of trails
  • Both rustic and paved paths
  • During the weekend, parts of Beach Drive are closed to cars so you can feel free to walk your dog down the road
  • There is a horse center in the middle of the park, and deer are common, so the trails are best suited for dogs who are already familiar with these animals

Catoctin Mountain Park
6602 Foxville Road
Thurmont, MD 21788

  • Twenty-five miles of trails
  • Location of Camp David, the presidential retreat
  • Dogs must be leashed
  • Variety of trail difficulties to match all abilities

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East
Luray, VA 22835

  • Nearly 500 miles of dog-friendly trails
  • One of the few national parks that allows dogs on their trails
  • Keep dogs leashed, as bear sightings are common

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 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

Going for a run is a great way for both dogs and their owners to stay in shape.

Bringing your pup on a run has a unique set of challenges to overcome, but with a few tips, you and your furry friend will be up and running in no time!

Do talk to your vet first

Before you start running with your dog, take them to have a check-up with your vet. Let them know you plan on starting to exercise your dog more, so they can pay extra attention to your pet’s heart, lungs and joints. This ensures you don’t do more harm than good by encouraging your pet to run if they aren’t physically fit enough.

Don’t start off too hard

Just like humans, dogs need time to build up their stamina and energy, so beginning your new routine with a ten mile run isn’t a good idea. Start slowly with short distances, and alternate between running and walking. Dogs’ paws are also sensitive, and need to grow tougher gradually as you increase the distance.

Do teach them good leash behavior

Give the leash gentle tugs to keep your dog focused on moving forward and not constantly stopping to pee or sniff something. You want them running at your side within a few feet of you, and a three-to six-foot leash is usually the right length for running with a dog. Reinforce good behavior with a small treat.

Don’t start too young

Puppies’ joints are more prone to injury, so they shouldn’t be taken on long runs until their bones have stopped growing, about 9 months in small dogs and up to 16 months for larger dogs. Until then, keep them fit by going on short walks and playing in the backyard or dog park.

Do pay attention to paws

While you may have sturdy shoes to run in, your dog doesn’t. Pay attention to the type of surface you’re leading your dog over. During hot months, blacktop and concrete heat up quickly, while jagged ice in the winter can also pose a threat. Keep an eye out for glass and other roadside debris.

Inspect your dog’s paws for any cuts before and after your workout, and wipe down their paws with a warm, soapy rag afterward to clean out salt, dirt and any other irritants.

Don’t underestimate staying hydrated

For both you and your dog, be sure you drink enough water! Hydrate before and after the run, and if it’s going to be a longer distance it’s important to bring water with you. When your pup gets thirsty, they’ll likely try to drink from puddles and other sources of standing water. Don’t let your dog do this, as they’re often contaminated and can make your dog sick.

Do listen to your dog

Your dog can’t speak up when they don’t feel good, but you can still listen to them. Signs that your dog needs a break include foaming at the mouth, heavy panting, glazed eyes and slowing down. If your dog starts to limp or lick the pads of its paw, you should stop the run immediately and return home.

If your dog doesn’t seem to be cooling down, place ice bags or cool cloths in their “arm pits” where their legs connect to the rest of their body, and take them to the vet or an emergency clinic, as they might be overheating.

Don’t forget the right equipment

The number one thing you need on a run is doggy bags! Just because you’re moving faster than your normal walk doesn’t mean you don’t need to pick up after your dog. If you’re running longer distances, a collapsible bowl to pour water into can be a good investment. There are a variety of hands-free leashes that clip around your waist, so you don’t have to worry about holding onto the leash.

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 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

If you’ve ever had a dog that gets nervous around thunderstorms or a cat struggling with arthritis, you know that pets often have problems that we want to fix, but they seem unsolvable.

As owners, it is hard to see your pet suffering and feel powerless to help. For some health troubles, however, there may be a new solution: CBD.

What, exactly, is CBD? Its longer name is cannabidiol, and it is a compound found in the cannabis plant, which, yes, is primarily associated with marijuana. Perhaps the most important thing to note is that CBD won’t get your pet high. Cannabis has another compound, called tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

It is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana and what leads to the high for humans. Even though it comes from the same plant, CBD does not have psychoactive effects on humans or animals, and it is becoming used more frequently for health issues in humans. Recently, vets have begun realizing it can be helpful for animals as well.

CBD Can Help Reduce Anxiety

If your dog barks excessively, exhibits destructive behavior, or seems overly restless whenever you leave the house, there is a high chance they’re suffering from separation anxiety.

Just like in humans, CBD can help relieve anxiety so your dog can be calmer when you’re not home. It can also help reduce anxiety associated with noise phobias, so that your dog won’t cower every time there’s a thunderstorm or fireworks nearby.

CBD Can Treat Seizures and Epilepsy

This is a common use for CBD in humans, but pets can also suffer from seizures, and CBD can help. There are other medicines often prescribed to help animals with seizure activity, but these can be harmful to their liver and may not always work.

CBD Relieves Pain

It is well-reported that CBD has been effective against various types of pain, including inflammation and nerve-related pain. It can also help alleviate the effects of arthritis, helping with joint and mobility pain.

CBD Can Help with Appetite and Nausea

Although humans often report getting the “munchies” during or after consuming marijuana, your pet doesn’t have to get high to feel this effect. If your furry friend isn’t showing much appetite, CBD can help get them to eat. It’s also been shown to help with vomiting and nausea, even when toxins or drugs cause these symptoms.

CBD Might Help Fight Cancer

Preliminary studies and anecdotal evidence have suggested that CBD can have an anti-tumor effect, stopping cancerous cells from growing and increasing tumor cell death by blocking their ability to produce energy.

It’s important to remember that the effects of CBD are still being studied, particularly as they relate to animals. Not every company that offers CBD for pets is trustworthy, so always be sure to do your research before buying a product for your pet. Since CBD is still not legal at the federal level, in most states veterinarians aren’t allowed to bring up the topic with their patients.

But if you think CBD might be helpful to your pet, don’t be afraid to talk to your vet about it. If you do decide to try CBD, it’s crucial to purchase products specifically made for animals. Human CBD products often still contain small amounts of THC.

While this compound produces a high for humans, for animals it can be toxic, even in the small doses found in human CBD products. CBD may not turn out to be the magic cure-all for every problem our pets have, but for many owners, it offers them another way to help their furry best friends.

CBD can be easily administered to your pet in treat or liquid form. Treats are a more appetizing option, however, the liquid drops option can provide easier ways to administer various dosages. Come in to Bark + Boarding and mention this article for 15% off Suzie’s CBD Treats or Drops.

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 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.

Winter brings below-freezing temperatures and icy or snowy conditions, and for stray cats this can pose a potentially deadly problem.

Cats’ fur can only keep them so warm, but there are plenty of ways you can help. If you’ve seen a stray cat hanging out in your neighborhood, don’t assume it is able to take care of itself or that someone else will help it. There are a few simple steps you can take to help these animals.

Provide Food and Water

Leaving out food and water for cats is helpful for several reasons. Besides the obvious of keeping the cats fed, it also keeps them from consuming scavenged food or water that might make them sick.

It also means they don’t have to roam as far looking for food, which can lead to them getting hurt by a cars, predators or other dangers. Wet food requires less energy to digest, leaving more energy to keep warm, but it is also in danger of freezing.

Serve it in a plastic bowl and warm up the food before putting it out to help prevent this. If it keeps freezing, switching to dry food is always better than nothing.

If you put food out at the same time each day, you create a schedule that the cats can come to expect, meaning that both the food and the animals spend less time in the cold.

To keep water from freezing, use bowls that are deep rather than wide, and place it in sunlight. Avoid using a metal bowl, and adding a pinch of sugar lowers the freezing point of water, ensuring it stays liquid longer.

To take extra caution, you can spray insulation foam into the underside of plastic feeding dishes and water bowls. Another solution is to place a microwaveable heating pad under the bowls, and you can even make your own heating pad using a sock filled with rice.

Make a Shelter

Creating a shelter doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming. A few modifications to something as simple as a heavy cardboard box make a perfect place for cats to sleep.

Raise the bottom of the box a couple inches above the ground so it doesn’t get soggy, and cover the top with plastic, such as a garbage bag, to protect from the elements. Cutting a hole in a plastic storage bin is also an easy way to create a shelter. Generally, a good size is about two feet by three feet, and 18 inches tall.

Smaller spaces keep the heat close and allow the cats to lay next to and on top of each other to share heat. The door should only be large enough for a cat, about six to eight inches. Adding a flap is a good way to keep out ice and rain and keep in heat.

Straw is by far the best choice for bedding in a shelter. Blankets, towels and even hay will absorb moisture and then potentially freeze, providing no help at all. Straw will help insulate the cats while staying dry.

Be sure to shovel snow away from the entrance so it doesn’t pile up too high and prevent the cat from entering or exiting.

Practice Winter Safety

There are a few things you can do around your house to help keep stray cats safe. One is to check under your car before starting it and driving away. Animals are often drawn to the heat emanating from the car, and may be curled up underneath to stay warm.

Don’t use antifreeze in areas that are accessible to cats, as consuming it can be lethal. Similarly, be sure to use a pet friendly ice melt to melt snow.

Trap-Neuter-Release

Possibly the best thing you can do for the feral cats in your area is something often referred to as TNR: trap, neuter, release. Trapping cats and giving them to an animal shelter may just add to an already overcrowded shelter, and, depending on where you live, may just lead them to be euthanized.

Neutering or spaying the cats and then releasing them allows them to continue to live as they like, while also limiting the population. Spaying and neutering also improves cats’ overall health.

Contact your local shelter for more information on how best to do this in your area.

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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

The start of the New Year is often a time when we, as humans, decide to make a change in our lives and set higher goals. But making resolutions isn’t just for us! There are lots of little ways you can decide to improve your pet’s life this year by changing some habits.

Eat Healthier

Just like us, what pets eat can affect their quality of life.

This year, you can help keep them healthy by incorporating new habits into your routine. Measuring their food, instead of eyeballing it, every time you feed them ensures they’re not overeating.

You can also make a goal to stop feeding your pet table scraps. Their dog food is specially formulated to give them the nutrients they need and the appropriate amount of calories. Feeding them leftovers can cause them to gain weight and possibly suffer from gastrointestinal issues.

Create a Grooming Routine

The type and frequency of grooming that your pet needs will depend on their breed and type of coat, but there’s no time like the present to figure out what works best for your furry friend.

Brushing your pet removes excess fur, which means there’s less getting on your furniture and clothes. It also helps spread oils from the skin to the fur, causing the coat to look shiny and healthy.

Part of your routine should include oral hygiene. Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth prevents tartar and plaque, and helps fight bad breath. Regular appointments with a professional groomer are a great way to easily maintain your pet’s good looks and hygiene.

Don’t Forget the Details

Within the span of a year, a lot can change such as addresses, phone numbers and more information that is key to making sure your pet gets returned to you if they’re lost. In too many cases, people only realize the info on their pet’s tag is out of date after they’ve escaped.

If any of your contact information has changed within the past year, be sure to update their tags and microchip as soon as possible.

Learn Some New Tricks

Your pet doesn’t need to be young or disruptive to attend a training class. These classes offer a challenge to dogs to keep them stimulated and also encourages bonding between pet and owner.

Even if you don’t want to go to an official class, there are plenty of resources online you can find to help you teach your dog a new trick at home. Learning new tricks and practicing old ones help keep your dog’s brain healthy and engaged.

Focus on Their Health

Yearly examinations for your pet are an important part of a good healthcare routine. If you haven’t already, schedule an appointment for your pet to make sure they are healthy.

Regular check-ups can catch conditions like diabetes, arthritis and obesity in much earlier stages, which makes them easier to treat and manage. Similarly, be sure to stay on top of preventatives like monthly flea, tick and heartworm medicines.

It may seem like a big cost up front, but it’s sure to save you money in the long run by not having to pay for these problems after they arise.

Do Some Cleaning

When was the last time you cleaned your pet’s food and water bowl? Or their bedding?

Their eating dishes should be washed weekly with hot, soapy water. Any bedding they use should be washed weekly as well and if they frequently use a crate or carrier, it should be cleaned using pet-safe products. All of these prevent the build-up of disease-causing bacteria and keep your pet (and you!) healthy.

Send an Update

Just like the holidays are a common time for humans to send cards with family updates, the New Year can be a great time to do the same with your pet.

If you adopted them from a shelter or a rescue group, take a moment to snap a photo and send them an update so they know how their old friend is doing. We know that the volunteers will be thrilled to know how much your pet loves their forever home!

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.

0 Comments

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

Most of us are aware of the dangers that hot weather holds for pets, but you may not realize the dangers that cold weather can pose. While it is tempting to think that your pet’s fur coat makes them more resilient to cold weather, they are still susceptible to things like frostbite and hypothermia.

There are several simple steps you can take to keep your pet safe, no matter the temperature outside.

The most important thing is to know your pet’s limits. Animals that are young, old, ill or arthritic are more susceptible to the cold. Other factors like your pet’s coat, stores of body fat, activity level and health will play into how quickly the cold affects them.

To help keep your dog active and still safe during the cold weather, dressing them in a sweater or coat and putting booties on their feet will help them stay warm and keep their paws dry. It’s best to have several sweaters on hand so that you always have a dry one to use — putting your pet in a wet sweater is worse than no sweater at all.

If your pet won’t wear booties, you should check their paws frequently for cold-weather injuries like cracks or bleeding. Rubbing paw protection wax onto their pads can help keep them protected, both from these injuries and from salt and other deicers.

Clip the hair between your dog’s toes to prevent ice from accumulating, which can cause sudden lameness on a walk. When you return from the walk, be sure to wash off their paws to remove ice, antifreeze, deicers or other chemicals they may have picked up. These chemicals are toxic to dogs and may be ingested if the dog licks their paws.

Even when your pet is indoors, take extra care during the cold weather. Give several options of places to sleep so they can choose where they feel warmest, and make sure their bed isn’t in a drafty area. Use space heaters with extreme caution when pets are around, as they can burn themselves or even knock the heaters over, potentially starting a fire.

The dry air plus fluctuation in temperatures between going outdoors and coming inside may cause your pet’s skin to become itchy and flaky. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as they come in, taking extra care to remove any build-up of snow between their foot pads.

Bathe your pet as little as possible during the winter months. Washing them too often strips their skin of helpful oils and can increase the chance of dry skin. Ask your vet or groomer about a moisturizing shampoo to help prevent this.

Cars can present dangers of different kinds. Just like when it’s hot outside, you should never leave your dog unattended in a car when the temperature drops. Your car can quickly become like a refrigerator, rapidly dropping your pet’s body temperature to dangerous levels.

For stray pets, they may be attracted to the heat coming off your car even when it’s off. Before you get into your car, be sure to check underneath it or make a loud noise to encourage any animals to come out from under the car and find a safer spot to rest.

If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, lethargic,  weak or begins looking for places to burrow, they could be suffering from hypothermia and should be brought inside to a warm place immediately. Cover your pet with warm water bottles, blankets or towels. Heating pads can burn your pet, so be sure to always have several layers between your pet and a heat source. Frostbite is harder to detect, but if you suspect your pet has either, call your vet immediately and take your animal to receive medical help as soon as 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.

0 Comments

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

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for us humans, but when some of our favorite holiday decorations and traditions can be dangerous or even deadly for pets, it’s important to be vigilant about ways in which you can keep your dog or cat safe.

To help, we’ve got a handy holiday survival guide so your Christmas festivities don’t include an emergency trip to the vet!

O Christmas Tree

Be sure to anchor your tree securely so it doesn’t fall on your pet (or your family!).

If you’re buying a live tree, don’t allow your pet to drink the water in the tree stand. Additives like fertilizer, sugar, aspirin and others can be toxic for pets, and the stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause your pet to get sick.

Pine needles can also injure your animal’s digestive tract if consumed, so be sure to vacuum the area around your tree regularly. Stay away from edible decorations like popcorn chains or cookie ornaments, as these will likely prove too enticing for your pet to ignore.

When you’re not around, unplug the lights, as many dogs and cats like to chew on these wires, and, if turned on, this can cause burns or even electric shocks.

To help prevent ornaments from breaking, set up your Christmas tree but wait to decorate it for a few days. This will help your pet adjust to the strange new object in the house, so, hopefully, by the time you add ornaments their curiosity will have worn off.

If you have a particularly determined cat, place aluminum foil on the floor around the tree to give you warning of a potential disaster.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Other holiday decorations can be harmful for your pet as well. Tinsel can add some shimmer to your holidays, but if ingested by a pet it will often lead to a blockage in the digestive tract, which often requires surgical intervention.

Plants like mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are toxic for pets to consume. Keep these well out of reach, or consider buying artificial alternatives to be on the safe side.

Candles, whether they’re holiday-scented or atop a menorah, require extra supervision with pets around. Never leave them unattended and always place them far out of reach of any curious paws or wagging tails. This will prevent your pet from being burned, or even causing a fire.

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

If you have guests coming over for the holidays or if you’re traveling yourself, it’s important to ensure your pet stays safe and comfortable.

If you’re playing host to guests, be sure your furry friend has a quiet place to retreat to if they get overwhelmed. Make sure your pet has updated information on their collar or microchip and that they’re wearing the collar at all times, since the opportunities for them to escape increase with extra people coming and going.

If any guests ask to bring pets of their own that you don’t already know will get along with your pet, either respectfully decline or arrange to spend some time together before the holidays allowing your pets to get to know each other.

If you’re traveling, be sure to know how to keep your pet safe and cared for, whether you’re bringing them on a road trip or on an airplane. If you don’t want to travel with your pet or want to make sure they’re out of harm’s way when you have people over, bringing them to a safe and secure boarding facility is a great way to make sure they stay safe, have fun and save you from stress.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

If the unexpected and unthinkable happens, make sure you’re prepared to get your pet the help they need. Talk to your vet ahead of time to know where you will need to take your pet in case of an emergency, and know your travel route to get there so you’re not trying to navigate while stressed.

It’s important to have your vet’s clinic phone number, a 24/7 emergency vet number (if different), and the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (1-888-426-4435, a fee may apply) handy in case you need them.

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 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 Cindy Aldridge

Admit it, you care more about getting your dog the perfect holiday gift than you do about getting yourself anything nice.

That’s okay, we love our dogs. This holiday season, don’t settle for a bag of bones and a new dog bowl. Think big. Here’s how you can stock your wish list with some truly useful items to help you, as the dog owner, as well as make your pooch happier, safer and more comfortable.

A dog-monitoring camera

Most of us work and therefore cannot spend all day with our dogs, however painful that reality may be. If you have to leave your dog home alone for long periods of time or you travel a lot, you can give yourself some extra peace of mind if you know that your dog is happy and safe at home (or at the sitter’s).

One of the best ways to do this is with a dog-monitoring camera. The tech for this has really improved over the past few years, with most new doggie camera models linking directly to your smartphone for 24/7 viewing.

A GPS tracking device

In the same vein as a monitoring camera, a dog-tracking device that uses GPS and links up with your smartphone will allow you to locate your beloved canine in the horrific event that they run away, go missing or even worse — get stolen. You don’t need to implant a tracker under your dog’s skin or anything. Modern trackers can be affixed gently to your dog’s collar.

A Thundershirt

Many dogs suffer from anxiety, are quick to frighten during loud events like parties and thunderstorms, and suffer from a variety of behavioral issues. Many vets and pet experts recommend a tight-fitting shirt, branded as a Thundershirt, to help with this. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence out there that it works, too. Many dog owners swear by them. At under $30, they are worth a spot on your holiday wish list.

A puzzle toy

Sure, plenty of dogs enjoy your classic tennis ball or frisbee. But some dogs require a little more of a mental workout. Puzzle toys are great, inexpensive items to add to your wish list. These toys are highly varied but most require dogs to use problem-solving skills to access treats or food.

A new dog bed

If someone got you a brand-new, comfortable bed for the holidays, would you be happy? You bet. Your dog will be too. Dogs spend a lot of their time sleeping, so a nice bed is crucial to their happiness. Bed sizes vary, and there are options available for both large and small breeds.

A year’s supply of dental bones

Dental bones are great ways to kill two birds with one stone – they give your dog something to eat and they help with their dental care in the process. There are dental bones out there that help remove plaque, freshen your dog’s breath, and prevent the buildup of biofilm on your dog’s teeth.

An automatic ball thrower

Ok, you’re allowed one sort-of silly item. It is the holidays after all.

Does your arm get tired throwing that tennis ball hundreds of times? Would you like to sit and read and book but also give your dog a workout? Automatic ball throwers may not seem like a worthwhile expense any other time of the year. Now’s your chance.

So, what are you waiting for? Starting building that dog-centric holiday wish list today!

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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

A table full of food and a house full of people to pet them — Thanksgiving seems like every pets dream! Before letting your dog or cat join in on the fun, it’s important to know which Thanksgiving favorites can be dangerous.

To make sure your furry friends have a safe holiday, check out this guide to what holiday treats you should and shouldn’t feed your pet.

Keep the Feast Fat-Free

Fatty or rich foods, like beef fat, poultry skin and gravy can cause severe gastrointestinal issues for animals. These include vomiting, diarrhea and excessive gas, but can also lead to more serious conditions like pancreatitis, which can be fatal.

Save the Sweets for Humans

Most desserts will be harmful to your dog’s digestive system. Chocolate is highly dangerous for dogs and can be fatal if too much is consumed.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many candies, low-sugar desserts and sometimes even peanut butter. Just a small amount of it can cause a drastic drop in blood pressure for dogs and lead to liver damage.

While many vets recommend feeding plain pumpkin to help dogs with bowel and stomach issues, pumpkin pie is not okay for dogs to consume. Not only does it have a variety of spices that can be problematic for canines, too much pumpkin for dogs will only lead to a mess you don’t want.

Say Bye to Bones

While we often associate dogs with chewing on a nice bone, tossing them the leftovers from your Thanksgiving meal will almost certainly do more harm than good.

At the very least, swallowing the bones can cause an upset stomach, but frequently the bones splinter and cause serious damage to the intestines that can quickly become fatal.

Pick up a dog-friendly bone from the pet store if you want your pup to have something safe to chew on.

Clean Up Quickly

The trash is tempting enough to most dogs on a normal day, but with the remains of a Thanksgiving feast in there, it becomes just about irresistible.

Make sure the trash can is in a place the dog doesn’t have access to and be sure any visitors in the house know to keep the dog out. Don’t leave leftovers on the table or counter where a daring dog might attempt to reach them and don’t forget to put leftovers in the fridge quickly.

Packaging around the turkey such as string, plastic holders and bags may smell like meat and convince some dogs to chew on them. These foreign objects can cause dangerous blockage in your dog’s digestive system if swallowed. If you choose to brine your turkey, make sure your dog doesn’t drink the brine afterwards, as the excessive salt can lead to salt toxicosis.

Be Aware of Decorations

The danger for pets isn’t just found on the table — many popular seasonal plants can pose a problem too.

Amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, Sweet William, hydrangeas, Poinsettias and more can be toxic to dogs and cats when chewed or eaten. It’s best to keep any plants out of reach to make sure your pet doesn’t get into something they shouldn’t.

What’s OK to Share?

There are some Thanksgiving favorites that are okay to give your pooch.

Turkey is fine as long as it doesn’t have any bones or skin. Plain, undressed mashed potatoes are okay to share, but once you add butter or other toppings, it’s best to keep them to yourself.

Plain green beans and carrots are a great snack to share with dogs even when it’s not the holidays. Of course, to be on the safe side, it’s usually best to pick up some doggie treats from the store before the holiday to make sure your pup can have fun and be safe.

If you believe your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t, acting quickly is key. Call your veterinarian or local animal emergency hospital. You can also call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 888-426-4435.

Sometimes it’s best for you, your guests and your pet if your furry friend has a safe place to play and enjoy the holiday away from home. Whether you’re traveling or just want peace of mind for Thanksgiving, boarding or daycare are great, safe options for your pup.

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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