Keeping Cool

Hi Pet Parents! We hope you’ve all been doing well and staying healthy!

It’s starting to heat up and our furry friends are feeling the heat, too! We’re here to give you some tips on how to keep them cool this summer.

First things first – always make sure your pup has access to water and that they stay hydrated. Try taking your dog to the park or outside for playtime in the early morning or evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

Thinking about shaving your dog down to keep them cool? Do your research first! Search your dogs breed, or ask the groomer their advice! For some breeds, it’s a great idea! For others, it can actually be harmful to shave them down. Some examples – if you have a dog that gets regular hair cuts (poodle/poodle mix, shitzu, Maltese, etc), you can get them a shorter hair cut! But other breeds, those who have an undercoat (golden retriever, Australian shepherd, etc) should not be shaved down. Their undercoat is there for a reason – it protects them from the sun, and can even help keep them cool. Instead, try brushing them often or get a de-shedding done a couple of times throughout the summer. This can help remove some of the excess and heavy hair, without removing their undercoat. Regardless of breed or hair type, brushing your dog often is important to keep their coat detangled and mat-free. 

Other ways to keep your pup cool in the summer:

  • Lots of water!
  • Play indoors, or in the shade! Try to have energized playtime in the early morning or evening. 
  • If you do have to have your pup in the sun for an extended period, consider using sunscreen! Dogs with thin, white, or short coats are susceptible to sunburn, so keep their skin safe with dog-safe sunscreen.
  • Never leave your dog in a hot car! Even if the window is cracked, the temperature can rise to a deadly degree. Keep your AC on, or leave your pup at home!
  • While at home, especially if your pup is not in the AC, make sure their crate/bed is not in front of a window or in direct sunlight. Close the shades or move them to a cooler area.
  • Bring your dog to daycare during the midday heat! Our facility is fully indoors and air-conditioned so your pup can play and hang comfortably all day!
  • Don’t forget about their feet! Try to keep them on the grass, and off of the hot pavement when possible. If you don’t have much access to grassy areas, try booties for their feet or apply a protective paw wax, such as Musher’s secret! 
  • Other products to help cool down your pup:
    • Cooling mat/pad for your pup to lay on
    • Doggie pool!
    • Freezable toys & treats!
    • Slicker brush to help brush out that excess fur!
    • Crate fan
    • Canopy to keep them in the shade!

 

Happy Summer, stay cool!!

Yappy Music

Yappy Music

Exploring the Relationship between Music and Dog Behavior

Music. It’s been known to soothe the savage beast and provide a soundtrack to our fondest memories. Everyone has their own taste in music and our fur babies are no exception. Music can have a profound effect on the mood and behavior of all sorts of animals including dogs. Researchers have conducted various studies exploring the effect of music, especially classical music, on dogs and have found that music has a calming effect on many dogs. This blog post will explore how music, and to a lesser extent sound in general, can affect your dog’s mood and behavior.

Bark and Bach

Researchers have conducted experiments to explore the effect of classical music on dogs and have found that classical music typically has a calming effect on dogs. Dogs’ stress levels were shown to decrease significantly when exposed to classical music. These stress levels were determined based on heart rate, saliva samples and observation of behavior. These effects only last for a short period, as the effects were not as pronounced with repeated exposure. This just goes to show that dogs seem to appreciate listening to a variety of music just like humans. Classical music can be a wonderful tool to help your dog relax if they are anxious or overstimulated.

Other Calming Music for Dogs

Besides classical music, a few other genres of music have been proven to help encourage relaxation and calm behavior. Reggae and soft rock have been shown to have a relaxing effect on dogs comparable to that of classical music. Using a variety of music over time to reduce stress over time yields the best results when using music to relax your fur baby. After about a week of exposure to the same kind of music, dogs get used to the background noise and their stress levels begin to rise. It’s best to create multiple playlists with a variety of calming music (soft rock, reggae, classical, etc…) or multiple playlists that you can alternate and play when your pup could use an extra dose of calm in their life.

Spotify is for the Dogs

Spotify conducted and an international study recently to determine what percentage of pet owners from Europe and the United States played music for their pets. The study revealed that around 71% of pet owners play music for their pets and that about 8 in 10 pet owners believe that their pets like music. They also found that, as we previously stated in this post, pets seem to prefer soft rock and classical music. To get a specially curated playlist for your fur baby, head over to spotify.com/pets. You will need a Spotify account to use the curated pet playlist service, but you don’t need

a premium account. The first thing to do when beginning the playlist process for pup is to choose dog as your pet. Afterward, you will be prompted to enter in some basic information about your dog as if they are energetic vs. relaxed and shy vs. friendly and then a specially curated playlist will be available for your pup. You can even share the playlist with others and add a photo of your fur baby.

Music helps to make everything better and that applies to your pup’s moments of relaxation as well. Sharing music with your pup is a wonderful experience and we highly recommend that you play around with the Spotify playlist feature and see how your pup likes the resulting playlist. Did you make a playlist for your pup? Share it with us on social media!

 

Peanut Butter Problems

Why Some Types of Peanut Butter can be Harmful to Your Pup

Everybody knows that dogs love peanut butter! It’s a delicious treat for pups and humans alike and it can make it easier to convince your dog to eat their food or take their medication. Just like humans, some dogs can be allergic to peanuts. Recently, experts have found that some types of peanut butter can pose dangers to dogs even if they aren’t allergic to peanut butter. This danger comes from the inclusion of xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is often used as a natural sweetener and is not toxic to humans, but can be very toxic for dogs. In this post, we will examine why manufacturers choose to include xylitol in some form or another, the dangers of xylitol, and how to tell what type of peanut butter is dog-friendly. 

Sweet for Humans, Deadly for Dogs

As previously mentioned, Xylitol is commonly used as a natural sweetener in food products to avoid the use of excessive amounts of sugar. This is positive for humans as it can help people looking to avoid sugar enjoy sweet foods.  Peanut butter is one of these foods. Some companies use xylitol to sweeten their peanut butters to provide lower-calorie peanut butter options that still taste sweet. The use of xylitol as a low-calorie alternative to sugar in peanut butter products has been gradually increasing over the past few years. Some of the peanut butter brands that contain xylitol are Go Nuts Co., Krush Nutrition, Nuts ‘N More, and P28 Foods.  If you aren’t sure if a peanut butter brand contains xylitol, we always encourage you to check the ingredients just to be sure that the peanut butter is dog-friendly. This trend of adding xylitol to peanut butter is well known in the industry and you can tell if certain brands use xylitol or not with a simple Google search. 

Xylitol’s Effect on Dogs

First and foremost, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure, and even death in dogs. This is because xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream of dogs, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release of insulin causes a rapid and severe decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that occurs within 10-60 minutes of a dog eating xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can result in death.  A dose of as little as 50 milligrams per pound of body weight can cause hypoglycemia in dogs. Some of the symptoms of xylitol poisoning you should watch for are:

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Weakness
  • Depression/lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If you see any of these symptoms in your dog and suspect xylitol poisoning, get them to the vet immediately. 

Peanut butter is a wonderful reward for our pups, but, even if they aren’t allergic, make sure to give your pup peanut butter in moderation to make sure they stay happy and healthy.  Most brands of peanut butter do not contain xylitol and are alright to give your pup in moderation, but it’s important to always check the ingredients just in case. If you have any other questions about what kind of brand peanut butter to give your pet as a treat we always recommend that you contact your vet. 

If you think that your pet is experiencing xylitol poisoning, you can contact the pet poison help line at (855) 764-7661.

We wish you and your pets a happy and healthy new year from the Elliot’s House Team! 

Dogs, Cats, Thanks, and Giving

Charitable Causes for Pets + More in Massachusetts

It’s been a wonderful year for the team here at Elliot’s House! We are so thankful for all of our pack members and the adorable fur babies that we’ve had the pleasure of walking, grooming, and caring for in 2019. At Elliot’s House, we truly love what we do and every day we get to spend with your fur babies is a blessing! In honor of Thanksgiving, we’d like to name some of our favorite charitable causes for pets and more in the Massachusetts area. There are many fur babies that spend their holidays in shelters and the men and women that volunteer at these shelters work tirelessly to find homes for as many fur babies as they can, but they could always use resources to help these fur babies find their forever homes.  Fur babies aren’t the only ones that could use help at this time of year as the days grow colder and resources become scarcer. There are many vulnerable populations ranging from low-income families to the elderly that can no longer care for themselves who could use support to stay warm and fed through the winter.  This blog post will discuss a few of the charities that members of the Elliot’s House team think are worthy of a donation.

PAWS New England

PAWS New England is a pet rescue and placement non-profit that helps place abandoned, neglected and abused dogs from all over New England, the South, and the Mid-West. Started in 2005 by three women with a passion for dogs and a drive to save as many dogs as possible after witnessing the fate of dogs in high-kill shelters, is composed of unpaid volunteers who strive to save as many pups as possible. They work with shelters to get dogs appointments with partner veterinarians to make sure they have their shots, and then they help to find foster families so that pups can finally find them forever homes.  They do wonderful work and have helped make a difference in the lives of countless fur babies. Elliot’s House has worked with PAWS New England in the past and they are always kind, compassionate, and focused on providing every pup they can with a loving home.  They accept donations of any size and every bit helps. We are also accepting donations of blankets, coats, dry and wet food, pee pads collars leashes, bowls, crates, dog beds, and cash donations, and any dog-related accessories at our Somerville location for the pups under the care of the wonderful volunteers at PAWS New England.

MSPCA – Jamaica Plain,  MA

The Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is one of the first animal rescues established in Massachusetts and their team members work tirelessly to rescue, shelter, protect, heal, and advocate for animals. In fact, they help thousands of animals each year and are one of the most impactful humane organizations in the United States.  The MSPCA was founded shortly after the civil war and helped to make laws and standards of care that affect all pet care organizations in the United States. The MSPCA is involved in many levels of pet rescue and pet care from placing fur babies in their forever homes to training and spay and neuter services. A donation to the MSPCA helps to guarantee the happiness and well being of fur babies all across Massachusetts.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls – Boston, MA

Lovin’ Spoonfuls is a non-profit food rescue headquartered in Boston that facilitates the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would normally be discarded by grocery stores, produce wholesalers, farmers, and farmers markets. Lovin’ Spoonfuls rescues this food and provides it to local meal programs and social service entities serving those in need. Not only does Lovin’ Spoonfuls help to provide food for those that need it most, but it also reduces waste and environmental emissions. Lovin’ Spoonfuls has rescued and distributed over 7,500,000 pounds of fresh food in the Boston area, feeding over 500,000 people.  Food scarcity is a harsh reality, especially in urban environments, and a donation to Lovin’ Spoonfuls helps bring us one step closer to ending food scarcity in Boston.

Animal Rescue League of Boston – Boston, MA

The Animal Rescue League of Boston is another worthy non-profit that helps, rescue, train and nurture animals of all kinds across Boston and the rest of Massachusetts. The Animal Rescue League of Boston began operation 120 years ago and is operated by 540 volunteers and 100 staff members dedicated to supporting and nurturing all the pups under their care. They provide rescue, veterinary, training, and fostering services. You can donate here through their website.

These are some of the causes that we support here at Elliot’s House, but there are many more great non-profits for both fur babies and people in need that we haven’t mentioned on this list. We encourage everyone to donate to a cause of their choice and embrace the holiday spirit!

 

Fall Dog Adventures

Fall Dog Adventures

Black border collie dog and maple leaf, autumnThe Best Dog Adventures in Massachusetts

It’s always sad to see summer come to an end, but there are always new adventures for you and your pup to look forward to in the fall. Jumping through freshly made piles of leaves. Enjoying a scenic walk with your dog around a farmstead as the leaves turn from green to a beautiful orange. The fall may signal the end of summer but it is only the start to a new season of adventure for you and your dog. The team here at Elliot’s House loves the fall season and we want to share some of our favorite fall adventures and events with you.

Ravenswood Park – Gloucester, MA

Hemlock Groves, a magnolia swamp, and many other species of trees are the highlights of Ravenswood Park. If you are looking for a place to watch the leaves change with your dog then look no further than Ravenswood Park. Offering over 600 acres of land covered in trees and 10 miles of carriage paths and trails. There is plenty of room for your dog to walk around and explore the leave piles as they fall from their place on the branches of surrounding trees.

The park is open sunrise to sunset. If you’re looking to head to Ravenswood you should allow a minimum of 2 hours to explore what the park has to offer, not including travel time in the car. This is a great place to try out the Leaf Peeper Foliage app. You can see what kinds of colors are at a location based on user reports and post your own pictures for others to see.

B.A.R.K in the Park – Boston, MA

This sponsored walk along the Greenway is great for any pet parents and their dogs looking for some exercise on the weekend. If you participate in the walk, National Park Rangers will join you and other staff for a 1.5 mile walk beginning at the Boston Harbor Island Welcome Center and continuing along the Greenway and Boston Harborwalk.

All dogs will earn an official badge during the B.A.R.K Ranger Swearing-in ceremony. The walk departs at 9:00 am from Boston Harbor Island Welcome Center on September 28th and will conclude with the B.A.R.K Ranger badge ceremony and other sponsored activities.

Click here for more information.

BarkHappy Boston: Howl-O-Ween Costume Pawty – Waltham, MA

If you’re looking for a great costume parade to show off your dogs Halloween costume, look no further than this Howl-O-Ween Pawty on the Mighty Squirrel Brewery Patio. There will be beer, pumpkin treats, cookies, and a costume parade where your dog can show off their Halloween costume.

Tickets are between $18-$20 and all proceeds benefit PAWS New England. We love PAWS New England here at Elliot’s House and encourage everyone to go out and support this great cause and enjoy a festive day with your pup! There are a lot of benefits including free Mighty Squirrel Brewery glassware and a great collection of coupons and vouchers for a

variety of businesses. The event takes place on Sunday, October 13th, but tickets book up fast so make sure to get them as soon as you can if you’re interested!

Barktober Fest 2019 – Winchester, MA

Looking to celebrate Oktoberfest but you want to bring your dog along too? Then you will love the Barktoberfest hosted at Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester. Wright-Locke Farm is a historic farm that has been around since 1638 and has recently turned into a community farm with certified-organic produce, other farm products, and educational programs.

The event takes place on Sunday, September 29th and it will include beer from Bone-Up Brewing in Everett, MA, dog-friendly activities including agility trials, nose work trials, crafts and more! There will also be child-friendly activities like face painting, crafts, and games. Vendors and food providers will have products to sample and there will be live music from local musicians.

This event is a great weekend adventure for the whole family and a great way to get in the fall mood. Tickets are available online and cost $19.

These are just a few of the most interesting fall adventures that we know about here at Elliot’s House. Let us know about your own fall adventures and make sure to share any photos with us on social media!

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