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by ARLnow.com Sponsor June 11, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

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. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 28, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

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. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor May 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm 0

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. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor April 30, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0


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. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor April 16, 2018 at 11:45 am 0


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. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor April 2, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0


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.

(more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor March 19, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0


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.

Wedding season is fast approaching and many couples want their beloved four-legged companions to be part of the festivities.

Planning ahead is the key to incorporating your canine in the celebration and will help preclude any mishaps on your big day. Take into account the following factors when deciding if their presence will be a help or hinderance for either you or your pet.

Consider hiring a dog handler. If you’re concerned about the logistics of having your dog at your wedding, let Bark + Boarding be your dog’s personal assistant for the day!

Miranda Namrow of Arlington hired Bark + Boarding to dress, transport and handle her dogs Boz and Kobe at her October wedding to husband Mitch.

“Wedding planning is stressful, but having our pups with us on our wedding day was super important to us! It was such a relief to know our pups were not only in good hands, but would be dressed and delivered in time for our post-ceremony photos. They even helped get them to sit and settle down for the photographer!”

Will your dog be comfortable? Big gatherings such as weddings can be scary and overwhelming for a dog that does not adapt well to new environments or is uncomfortable around strangers. If your dog is fearful or shy around people, it’s best to leave her at home where she’ll be able to relax in the comfort of familiar surroundings.

In addition to Boz and Kobe, the Namrows have two other dogs, Barry and Jaxon, who did not attend the festivities. “Barry is a flight risk and Jaxon is not comfortable around new people, so there was no question that we would leave them at home” notes Miranda. “Their comfort level and safety were paramount.”

Check the location. Does your wedding venue allow dogs? Be sure to ask if your dog will be allowed in all areas or if there are certain areas that will be off-limits. Imagine the stress and disappointment if you’ve planned on having your dog walk the rings down the aisle only to discover ten minutes beforehand that she’s not allowed in the ceremony area.

The Namrows were married in a church in Old Town Alexandria, that did not permit dogs inside. They opted instead to include Boz and Kobe in several wedding photos taken on the grounds of the church.

Let everyone know. Inform your wedding party, guests and photographer well in advance of the event that your dog will be present. Not only is this common courtesy, but you want to provide people with pet allergies ample opportunity to prepare.

Practice makes perfect. Rehearse as much as you can with your dog before the big day and allow extra time to practice during the rehearsal so that she knows exactly what to do and when to do it.

Ensure that your dog is well-controlled around your guests. If your dog has a tendency to jump on people, teach her an alternative behavior such as greeting a person by sitting and offering her paw.

Most importantly, enjoy your big day and have fun!

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

by ARLnow.com Sponsor March 5, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

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

What your pet eats is vital to its health, so making the best choice regarding their food is important.

Since nearly every pet owner has an opinion on grain-free food and whether you should feed it to your pet, how can you know for sure what you should do for your furry friend? Bark + Boarding is here to help you sort through the information.

Is Grain-Free Best?

The primary argument supporters of grain-free food make is that the ancestors of modern-day animals were carnivores, and so it is more natural for our pets to eat meat.

Until the 1940s, dog and cat food was primarily moist and packaged in cans. As World War II began, the pet food industry switched to dry food, since it included less meat and could be packaged in bags rather than metal cans, which were also affected by rationing. While these dry pellets contained the necessary nutrition, they included more grain than found in previous products.

Grain-free foods also tend to have higher quality ingredients, such as real chicken, beef, salmon, eggs and other whole protein sources, which are generally better for your pet than the byproducts that are found in lower quality brands.

Because it is typically made of these healthier ingredients, grain-free food keeps animals fuller for a longer amount of time. Even though it is more expensive up front, the food should last longer and end up costing less in the long run.

A common belief is that switching to grain-free food can help alleviate food allergies. Although there is no solid scientific evidence to support this, it’s worth consulting your veterinarian about switching if you suspect your dog may have allergies caused by food.

What About Food Containing Grain?

While it’s true that the ancestors of dogs were carnivores, studies have shown that since dogs began living with humans, they have evolved genes for digesting grain and starches that wolves don’t have. This means that food with grain isn’t destroying your dog’s digestive system.

The grain-free movement in animal food didn’t develop until gluten-free and Paleo diets became popular among humans. Pet food marketers suspected that if humans considered certain elements as unhealthy in their own diets, they would believe they were unhealthy in their pets’ diets as well and began creating food to capitalize on this belief.

Low quality brands often rely too much on meat byproducts and starches such as potatoes to act as fillers in their foods. While this may not be detrimental to your pet’s health, it does mean you’re giving them food that in large part has no nutritional value and is simply meant to fill them up quickly.

However, if you buy high quality brands that are comprised of whole protein ingredients, these will likely be as healthy for your dog as the grain-free options. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 19, 2018 at 1:45 pm 0

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 Lisa Stolaruk, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Daisy, my childhood companion and protector, was a sweet and loving Maltese/Wire-Haired Terrier blend who was the absolute light of my young life.

She was my “velcro dog” whose sole purpose of existence was to ensure that I was always safe and happy. Yet, life with Daisy was not without its challenges, particularly when friends prepared to leave the house. At the first sign of departure, which was usually marked by rising from their seated position, Daisy would begin barking aggressively, charging toward them and retreating and guarding the front door.

She never barked when people came into the house, but her aggressive behavior when they tried to leave was not only frightening but baffling.

Why and how did Daisy develop this odd behavior? No one will ever know for sure, but it’s safe to assume that the lack of proper socialization as a young pup somehow provided the foundation for the problem.

Three weeks to three months of age is the optimal time for a pup to bond to other animals and individuals, to learn that objects, people and environments are safe, and to recognize the meaning of body cues and signals from others. Puppies who are not adequately socialized during this period may become fearful of unfamiliar people, dogs, sounds, objects and/or environments.

Why Socialize your Puppy?

Your pup’s entire environment is new, strange and unusual, so consider everything he encounters as an opportunity to make a positive association.

Try to come up with as many different types of people, places and noises as you can and slowly expose your puppy to them. If possible, have him walk on carpet, hardwood, tile and linoleum floors. Have him meet an older person, a child or teenager, a person wearing sunglasses, a man with a beard or wearing a hat, a person using crutches. Expose him to vacuums and brooms, cars, buses and trucks.

Be creative and make each experience positive. Always reward your pup with plenty of praise and treats when he reacts to new situations in a calm and curious manner. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor February 5, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

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 Lisa Stolaruk, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Enhancing for your cat’s mental well-being is just as critical as providing for its physical welfare. Ensuring your cat’s mental and emotional needs are met helps to promote a more fulfilling life, fewer behavioral issues and encourages the two of you to forge a stronger bond.

Safe Play is Fun Play

Whatever types of enrichment you choose for your cat, make sure your cat plays safely. It’s well known that cats love strings. Yarn, ribbon, tinsel, thread, twine, shoelaces, rubber bands, hair ties and cords are all prime targets for a cat’s stalking, pouncing and thrashing instincts. Unfortunately, these are all very dangerous items for your cat to play with.

If you’ve ever had a cat lick you, you’re aware of how rough the feline tongue feels. The reason for this is that a cat’s tongue is covered with backwards-facing barbs. These barbs are useful when cats groom themselves, because they make pulling out loose fur much easier. In the wild, the barbs would also help pull meat from bones.

Due to the direction they face, the barbs on a cat’s tongue do not allow a cat to spit anything out once it is caught on the tongue. Items such as yarn or string are easily snagged on the barbs, and quickly swallowed. The result? A possible intestinal blockage requiring emergency surgery.

Self-Play Toys

Self-play toys are those that your cat can play with on their own. Toys that encourage chasing and pouncing are typically the most enjoyable for cats. Some simple and inexpensive options are cardboard boxes, large paper bags (with the handles removed for safety) and crumpled-up pieces of paper.

Other commercial items to consider are Savvy Tabby Wild Time Catnip Mouse toys and Kong Incline Scratchers which are both sold at Bark + Boarding. Remember to observe your cat after you give it a new toy to make sure your cat is playing in a safe manner.

Interactive Toys

Interactive toys help strengthen the bond between you and your cat by letting you share fun and positive experiences. Both you and your cat can have a great time playing with wand-type toys with strings, feathers or fabric strips attached. A variety of wand toys are sold at Bark + Boarding including Neko Flies Wands and Savvy Tabby Tickle Teaser Wands. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor January 22, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

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.

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

By Lisa Stolaruk, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

I remember vividly the first time I dropped my dog off for daycare at Bark + Boarding in Baileys Crossroads, VA. While aware that every dog undergoes a thorough and comprehensive evaluation process whereby trained daycare staff gauge their reaction to other dogs of various sizes, breeds and temperaments, I was admittedly a nervous “dog mom.”

Imagine my delight as I spied her romping and playing enthusiastically with a Vizsla easily twice her size and a small Bichon Frise trying to join in the action! It was also comforting to see two daycare attendants weaving in and out of the playgroups, ever watchful and ready to intervene the moment a dog gets a bit rowdy or overly excited.

The owners, managers and staff of daycare facilities such as Bark + Boarding understand the importance of integrating dogs of all shapes and sizes and have implemented safeguards to ensure that all dogs under their care experience an enjoyable and secure environment. Legislation introduced by Virginia Delegate David Yancey (R-Newport News) would undermine these efforts if signed into law.

House Bill 79 requires that an employee be present when one dog has physical contact with another dog and imposes weight restrictions and limits on the number of dogs in playgroups. For example, the proposed bill stipulates that there can be no more than five dogs in a group of dogs that weigh between 15 and 29 pounds, and no more than two dogs in a group of dogs that weigh more than 75 pounds. In all, the bill would require a minimum of five separate playgroups, with each group being supervised by a staff member.

“There is no evidence that combining dogs of different sizes is unsafe or puts the dogs at risk. In fact, we found the opposite to be true,” says Ryan Fochler, owner of Bark + Boarding. When Fochler first added dog daycare to his business, he segregated the dogs into three distinct playgroups based on size. “Altercations were quite common, particularly among the small dog group.” Fochler sensed there was a better way and began slowly integrating the groups. It worked.

“Dogs that are of similar temperament and personality is what’s important, not size. Creating an environment that minimizes risks and making sure the dogs feel secure, unthreatened and comfortable in that environment” is the key to success, according to Fochler.

If passed, the legislation would have a profound impact on daycare companies in Virginia and potentially animal rescues as well. The cost of renovating existing facilities and hiring and training additional daycare staff to supervise multiple playgroups would be prohibitive to small business owners, clients and rescues. “We’d be forced to close our doors,” says Fochler. “The real losers would be the dogs who would no longer benefit from the social, emotional and physical benefits that supervised group play and interaction provide.”

Pet service companies, rescues and interested citizens are encouraged to contact Bark + Boarding at 703.931.5057 or [email protected] for additional information and guidance on opposing the legislation.

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].

by ARLnow.com Sponsor January 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm 0

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.

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

By Colleen Corrigan, Writer and Animal Enthusiast 

Not only did Santa Claus come to town, but he also brought all the cold weather with him! While we focus on keeping our families safe and warm, don’t forget about the safety and welfare of your precious pet.

Here are some easy ways to keep your pet safe, happy and cozy in the cold:

  • Keep their paws free of road salt and ice:  Salt and ice on roads can irritate your dog’s feet and cause tummy troubles if ingested.  Clean their paws of caustic salt and ice when returning from a walk to avoid abrasions and discourage licking.  Bark + Boarding sells Kin + Kind Nose & Paw moisturizer, made with premium jojoba oil and shea butter, to keep paw pads soft and protect them against the cold weather elements.
  • Don’t forget the exercise:  Dogs need exercise year round, even in frigid temperatures. To maintain the physical and mental well-being of your four-legged friend, find some time for a quick run or game of fetch. If the weather is too cold, doggy daycare is the perfect answer! Bark + Boarding provides year-round doggy daycare so your pup can romp and play to his heart’s content in a temperature-controlled and supervised environment.
  • Don’t slack on grooming: Dogs whose coats get easily matted have a harder time drying out after being in the snow and cold rain. It’s a good idea to stick to your regular grooming schedule during the winter months for the comfort of your pooch.
  • Be mindful of time spent outdoors: Short-haired pets that have less natural insulation and short-legged pets who are closer to the ground will become colder more quickly. Additionally, elderly dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems may have a harder time regulating their body temperatures. Taking shorter, more frequent walks is a great solution for both humans and canines in sub-freezing temps.
  • Consider canine clothing:  For dogs that are not fortunate enough to have thick warm fur in the winter, or seem uncomfortable when the temperature drops, consider a dog sweater or coat for added warmth. It’s a great idea to have more than one garment handy so your pup never has to wear damp or wet clothing which can actually make him colder.
  • Hide the antifreeze:  Antifreeze is toxic and poisonous to animals. Pets are drawn to its sweet flavor and even small amounts can be lethal. Check under your vehicles for leaks and store antifreeze containers in a safe place.

We want our pets to be happy, safe and comfortable year round, and winter is no exception! For more tips and resources contact Bark + Boarding.

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].

by ARLnow.com Sponsor December 24, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

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.

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

By Colleen Corrigan, Writer and Animal Enthusiast 

The holidays bring happiness, family, friends and cheer and we want our pets to be able to enjoy them just as much as we do. Pet stress can be at an all-time high during the holidays for a lot of reasons including strangers in the home, a variety of new food smells, other pets, small children, etc. Here are some ways you can make sure your pet has just as much fun as you during this time.

  1. Provide a safe place. Start ahead of time with your dog, planning and “training” them to be in a safe space such as a quiet bedroom, warm basement or a familiar kennel. This gives your pet a safe retreat during the holiday commotion. If your home will be particularly full of loud, boisterous holiday company, boarding at a familiar facility can be a safe and comfortable option. At Bark + Boarding our pet boarding service ensures your dog gets the food, exercise and camaraderie needed to keep them happy and healthy.
  2. Dont push: Many dogs are not terribly social with people outside of their immediate family, especially when they are in the dog’s territory. Don’t force your dog to interact with new people or other animals. Allow your dog to go to the new people on his own at his own pace. Also never let young children your dog doesn’t know grab and hug her.
  3. Move or block access to presents: If your dog loves ripping into things, don’t tempt him with several presents under a tree. Instead hide the presents until the big day or put a fence around the base of the tree restricting access to the presents.
  4. Keep decorations out of reach: Blinking lights, shiny objects, garland, etc. can be mistaken by your dog for toys. She may end up chewing on them, clawing at them or swallowing them altogether. Make sure that decorations are out of reach for your pets to keep them safe.
  5. Train for restraint: Expecting your pet to have a great deal of restraint when it comes to all the holiday food, toys and people is not reasonable. Without prior training, yelling “leave it” at your dog has no meaning to him. Start as early as possible training him not to steal the food, jump on the guest or chew the shoe.

Keeping your pets happy, safe and healthy during the holidays is important and definitely doable. If you start early enough, plan, ask the right people for help if needed, you can ensure that this time of year is not stressful for them. Want more tips, boarding or a pet evaluation? Reach out to us at [email protected] with any questions. Happy holidays!

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].

by ARLnow.com Sponsor December 11, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

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.

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

Colleen Corrigan, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

As much as we love being with our pets, when it comes to traveling during the holidays it’s worth considering what is best for your dog or cat. Our pets are creatures of habit and taking them out of their routines and familiar environments can be quite stressful, sometimes resulting in behavioral or medical problems.

At Bark + Boarding we are committed to providing owners and pets with a safe and supportive environment.  Here are some things we’d like to share about leaving your pet in competent hands while you head out for the holidays without your furry family member.

No Place Like Home

Cats definitely prefer to stay home. Change is hard on our felines and the stress of introducing them to new people in an unfamiliar place can cause problems such as urinating, clawing and relentless meowing.

At Bark + Boarding we make sure your cat is cared for by one of our trained pet care professionals who will visit your cat in your home and provide  just the right amount of attention and affection.

Lots of affection and attention

Dogs are very social creatures, but each is uniquely their own and some just need that special one on one connection whether it’s due to age, anxiety, medical issues or their particular breed.

Whatever the reason you prefer to keep your dog at home, in-home pet care professionals are trained to provide the best care possible for your dog where they have the comfort of their own bedding, toys, sights and smells. He or she should make sure your dog gets plenty of attention with play and gentle petting and of course, fresh air with a walk included during every visit.

Tell a pet-sitter about your pet

What is their favorite toy?  Where should they never be touched? Where are his hiding places? Share these details with your pet-sitter  and they will take it from there. Your pet will thank you for helping them communicate their wants and needs.

Stay, Play, Eat and Sleep Overnight

 Dogs who crave a lot of interaction will certainly benefit from running, playing and socializing to their heart’s content. You will be more relaxed, knowing your dog’s stay at a boarding facility like Bark + Boarding is full of constant care and attention in a safe, secure, clean environment with plenty of humans supervising his feedings, sleep and schedule.

Make sure it’s the right place for your dog

Some dogs are not suited for socializing with other dogs, therefore many reputable boarding facilities will require an evaluation of their temperament before they can stay. The ultimate goal is for all dogs to be able to play together safely and freely.

Some facilities, like Bark + Boarding, offer outdoor play time as well. Supervised play and exercise allows for all that energy to burn off making it less stressful for your dog to adjust to his new surroundings and sleep deeply after a full day of activities.

Bring your dog’s personal belongings for a smooth transition

Your dog adjusts better to being away from home with his personal belongings tucked in where he sleeps overnight. When you drop him off to board, bring a familiar blanket or toy to help him settle in.

It’s also important to bring enough of your dog’s food for the entire duration of his stay, and consider leaving some extra just in case your travel plans change. Eating his regular food will help prevent any digestive distress while you’re away.

Whether you’ll be away for one day or several, consider the options that are best for your furry friend. We hope the holidays are more happy than hectic and all of us at Bark + Boarding are here to offer peace of mind while you are away.

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].

by ARLnow.com Sponsor November 27, 2017 at 12:45 pm 0

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.

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

Colleen Corrigan, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

From barking, to whimpering and whining and drooling, a dog’s begging tactics can be disruptive, confusing and even frustrating; yet begging can be very effective for the dog in getting what she wants. If they stare at our food long enough with those big, brown eyes looking oh so forlorn, or pant and pace back and forth throughout our dinnertime, or paw at us incessantly, they may just get a bite of that juicy steak.

Our cats and dogs learn to beg from us. Giving this form of attention when we are eating however, conditions them to expect it and become demanding.  We cave, they get some food, and just like that — the begging behavior continues.

The good news is since we taught our furry companions to beg, then we can certainly teach them not to.  Here are some methods we at Bark + Board recommend that can change your little beggar into a respectful companion who knows her table manners, so you can enjoy your meal in peace.

Don’t feed your dog from the table in the first place. When you bring a new dog into your home, start the relationship with the ground rule that the dog has her own food and will not be fed human food. It might be hard getting everyone in the house to agree. Sure, lots of kids–and grown ups–have slipped their unwanted vegetables to the family pooch. But if you don’t want a dog that begs, then everyone in your home must agree about this.

Besides, a lot of what we eat is not good for dogs. Telling your children and family that it could make your dog very sick or cause weight gain and health problems may help them to enforce the no feed rule with you.

Use the crate. As you work to break the begging habit and insure that other members of the household don’t feed your dog during mealtimes, you can try putting her in her crate away from where you are eating. This might be tough to do at first, but give yourself a break, acknowledge yourself for how well she is fed and cared for and that for the next 20 minutes or so while you eat, she will be just fine in her crate. Bark + Boarding carries a variety of crate sizes ranging from XS to XXL. Mention this column to get 15% off your new crate. (more…)

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