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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…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor November 13, 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.

Rae Patterson, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Does your dog just stare at you while you eagerly shake a toy in front of her? Does your cat reject every feathered mouse you bring home? Your pet probably isn’t lazy. Animals are hunters and workers by instinct. You may just need to try something new.

It’s possible that your pet has grown “lazy” by habit. If left home and inside alone all day, a dog may very well lapse into napping even more than their needed 14 hours per day. “Animal behaviorists agree that dogs need environmental stimulation, just as humans do.” You might try to break your dog out her habits by offering day-time stimulation through a dog park or a doggy daycare program.

Bark & Boarding offers a top-of-the-line doggy daycare where your dog can socialize with a pack while you are away. It’s a great way to give them an outlet for their natural “energy and drive,” and you will likely see positive changes in your dog’s personality and mood.

Cats, likewise, are often viewed as “lazy” because they can sleep and snooze as much as 20 hours per day. However, both house cats and wild cats sleep in order to conserve energy for the hunt. That means when your cat does wake up, he’s ready to go. Cats need to be mentally and physically challenged, just like dogs. If your cat isn’t accustomed to playtime with you, it’s not likely he’s going to leap up when you throw a mouse at him. Try engaging your cat with interactive toys like a cat dancer or a crinkling feather wand.

Each animal is unique. Just like humans, each dog and cat will likely prefer different toys. You might be surprised at the variety in the types of toys available for your pet. The best place to start is by trying something new.

Bark + Boarding offers a wide range of toys that will engage your dog in different types of play. From Kong and Nylabone chews to occupy your dog’s downtime to rope toys for tug-of-war and Griggles squeaker toys for romping chase and fetch, there’s something for every dog’s taste. Bark + Boarding has toys for your cat too, including toys that will help you play interactively with your feline friend.

Another option for reluctant players is a puzzle feeding bowl. This clever invention is available for both dogs and cats and engages their minds in a daily challenge whether for dinner or for treats. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 30, 2017 at 2:30 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.

Rae Patterson, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

The team at Bark & Boarding is committed to the well-being of your pet and of pets everywhere. That’s why we want to share some reasons we believe it is important to spay or neuter your animals.

To begin with, let’s answer the question, “Why is it such a big deal anyway?” The main problem humans try to combat by spaying and neutering is overpopulation. And the extent of that problem is quite extraordinary.

  • It is estimated that there are nearly 70 million stray dogs and cats living in the U.S.
  • Stray (abandoned or feral) animals suffer from unpredictable living conditions, lack of shelter, lack of sufficient food and water and high risk for illness, all due to overpopulation.
  • Stray animal overpopulation poses a threat to human welfare: It’s unsanitary, disrupts the natural environment and draws predatory animals like coyotes into populated areas.
  • There are an estimated 30-40 million stray (abandoned or feral) cats living in the U.S.
  • Approximately 5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year in the U.S.
  • At least 80% of those euthanized were healthy and could have been re-homed.
  • The estimated amount spent by U.S. humane organizations and animal control organizations combined reaches nearly $3 billion

A lack of commitment to spay and neuter pets is a leading cause in the overpopulation of unwanted animals. Even if your pet is an indoor animal, that doesn’t mean your pet won’t ever slip out. Dogs love to squeeze past your legs or dig under the fence to go for a run, and cats are experts at escape, especially when in heat.

It only takes once for your pet to produce an entire litter of babies. Consider this: A single cat has an average of 3-5 kittens. Don’t think she’s one and done. A cat will breed 2-3 per year if possible. Each of her kittens will be capable of reproducing another 3-5 kittens within 6 months.

Even if your cat only has one litter of 5 kittens, and each of her babies only has (or helps produce) one litter of 5 kittens, that’s 25 new cats that need homes within less than a year, just from your cat’s one-time excursion.

We know you’ll also be wondering spaying or neutering harms your pet. No, the surgery is safe. In fact, spay and neuter procedures provide health benefits for your animals. Females are protected from the common ailments of uterine infections and breast tumors; males are prevented from getting testicular cancer and some prostate problems.

Spaying and neutering can also help keep you and your pet both sane. Females won’t go into heat, a yowling and spraying frenzy that is unlikely to be a happy time for either of you. Males will be less driven to escape, less likely to engage in territorial spraying, and maybe a little less aggressive. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 16, 2017 at 3:00 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.

Rae Patterson, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Here at Bark & Boarding, we love Halloween fun, and we like to include our furry family members in the festivities. Here are some ideas for celebrating with your pets, all while keeping them safe.

Take your dog to the pumpkin patch.

What better way to get out with your dog and enjoy the crisp fall air? Even during the busy start of the holiday season, your dog still needs the exercise and stimulation of the summer days. Fido can help you select the perfect pumpkins to carve and decorate. He will probably also be a popular guest; kids and animal lovers will surely make your dog feel extra special during this Halloween outing.

Keep the pumpkins and candy out of reach & choose pet-friendly Halloween treats instead.

Dogs and cats may really like the smell of your freshly-carved jack-o-lantern and its bright orange insides. While pumpkin has numerous health benefits for cats and dogs, we don’t recommend feeding your pets the raw pumpkin you got from the pumpkin patch.

These pumpkins may have bugs, and the raw stringy texture of the flesh may be difficult to swallow and digest. Also, the raw seeds may upset your pet’s stomach. If you think your pet may try to eat your Jack-O-Lantern, be sure to place it out of reach, especially because Jack-O-Lanterns will grow mold and bacteria quickly. However, you can offer your pet cooked fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin for a fun seasonal treat. Just be sure to limit the amount you feed them to a few table spoons.

Candy is very dangerous for animals. Chocolate, raisins and artificial sweeteners in particular are toxic to pets. Be certain your trick-or-treater candy is safely away from your furry friends, whether in the pantry or by the door. If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately. Don’t worry, your pets don’t have to be left out of the trick-or-treating fun. Here are a few recipes for simple, homemade Halloween dog and cat treats:

Remember to choose only pet-safe costumes for your animals.

Dressing up your pets as furry spooks or fabulous superheroes can be full of fun and laughter. Just be careful to check your pet’s costume for pieces that may be easily chewed off of or that your pet may get tangled in. If the costume distresses your pet or impairs their movement, we recommend just doing a quick photo-op and then allowing your pet the freedom to enjoy the excitement of Halloween night. The ASPCA recommends a festive bandana or collar. (more…)

by ARLnow.com Sponsor October 2, 2017 at 2:00 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.

Rae Patterson, Writer and Animal Enthusiast

Adopting a shelter dog might seem a little spooky to someone who is accustomed to a specific breed and the expected traits that come with it. But rescuing a mutt might be more of a treat than you expect. October is National “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month,” so it’s the perfect time to consider these 4 reasons a rescue dog might be your perfect fit.

Adult Dogs: The dogs at your local Humane Society may not have a birth certificate or a documented personality profile, but they aren’t a total mystery. One of the benefits of adopting from a shelter is that the dogs are usually adults. This removes some of the unknowns; such as the dog’s personality after spay/neuter procedures and the dog’s full-grown size.

Miranda adopted her boxer mix as a puppy and his estimated size was 40 lbs… 90lbs later and that estimate went right out the window. Adopting an adult dog is a great way to make sure you abide by your apartment or condos size restrictions.

A puppy is a lot of fun but also a lot of work. The constant supervision that puppies need means that a puppy might not be the right choice for everyone. Adopting an adult dog from a shelter allows you to bypass the puppy teething stage and often the potty-training process as well.

More Economical: Purebred puppies and even specialty mixed-breed puppies can be extremely expensive. The highly popular Goldendoodle tends to start at $950 per puppy. Adoption fees at a shelter are likely to be only $100-$300, and these fees almost always include spay/neuter, the dog’s most recent vaccines, flea medication and often microchipping.

This is an excellent price, considering all the supplies and care that have already been invested in these rescue dogs, and considering the usual cost for spay or neuter surgery to individuals is around $200-$500. Many shelters also have events promoting adoption, during which adoption fees can be as low as $25. This October shelters and rescues all over the U.S. will be offering reduced adoption fees for “Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.”

Health Benefits: Although health will ultimately depend on the individual dog, mutts do have the advantage of being less prone to genetic disease. Mutts tend to be hardier, often enjoying a lower risk of joint, spine, heart and organ problems than many purebreds.

In a 2013 study of the medical records from a veterinary clinic that examined over 27,000 dogs, scientists found that 10 common genetic disorders appeared significantly more in purebred dogs. This is not to say that you should never get a purebred dog. Many breeders employ vets and geneticists to aid in reducing the likelihood of such disorders.

The probability of health benefits of mutts is simply one factor to consider when choosing a new dog, and perhaps a factor that will encourage those uncertain dog shoppers to try something new.

Grateful Companions: Perhaps the best reason to consider adopting a shelter dog is the simple reward of helping an animal in need. Shelters across the U.S. are full to the brim every year. The ASPCA estimates that around 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year primarily due to a lack of space and resources.

Aside from the risk of euthanasia, even the best and most loving shelter cannot take the place of a permanent home. Shelter dogs often come from a rough background, whether scrounging as a stray or suffering from abuse or neglect. Those dogs know when they find a good home and a good human, and they will be grateful animals their entire lives.

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