A Dog’s Day Afternoon: Outdoor Locations and Day Trips for You and Your Canine Companion in Massachusetts

A Dog’s Day Afternoon: Outdoor Locations and Day Trips for You and Your Canine Companion in Massachusetts

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer it’s a great time of year to start planning some outdoor adventures for you and your canine companion. With so many options in Massachusetts for outdoor excursions and puppy picnics, it can be a daunting task to plan the perfect day out.  We here at Elliot’s House are always keeping track of fun things to do around Somerville and the rest of Massachusetts and we want to share some of our top picks with you. This post will include just a few of our favorite outdoor excursions, doggie day trips, and dog-friendly dining options in Massachusetts.

Herring Cove – Provincetown, Mass.

If you’re ever in or around Provincetown then you should definitely check out Herring Cove with your pup. This is also a great option for a day trip if you have the time. Provincetown is known for being very dog-friendly and the beaches of Herring Cove are no exception. Herring Cove is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore boasting miles of dog-friendly beaches, showers, bike paths, and a snack bar if you happen to get hungry during the day. We highly suggest packing some beach chairs, a cooler, plenty of snacks and water for you and your canine companion and making a day trip to this wonderful slice of New England.  If you’re lucky you may even see a whale jump out of the ocean or a seal warm himself in the summer sun. Take note you’re your dog must be on a leash at all times and parking does cost around $20, but it is worth the price depending on how long you plan on checking out the beach and the surrounding area.

Middlesex Fells Reservation – Stoneham, Mass.

If you’re looking for a shorter outdoor excursion that’s perfect for you and your pup than look no further than the Middlesex Fells Reservation. Located less than 30 minutes outside of Boston, there are lots of trails and other outdoor activities. From boating to biking there are plenty of things to do and plenty of amazing trails to explore with your pup. Best of all, Sheepfold Meadow, located on the Sheepfold Trail, is an off-leash area where your pup is free to run and play to their heart’s content. Perfect for picnics and long games of fetch with the family, this is the perfect location for a low stress, easy to coordinate outdoor adventure.

Breakheart Reservation – Saugus, Mass.

If you’re looking for a walk around the pond or your pup is curious to see a cow or two, look no further than Breakheart Reservation. Dogs must be on a leash at all times around the reservation, but there is an off-leash dog park, Bark Place, where you can let your canine companion run free. The reservation is very scenic and features miles of trails and fun things to do. The dog park is not as nice as some but it is an off-leash dog park, which is always a plus. We suggest this for families looking for a nice active summer excursion with barnyard animals to distract your little one and your pup. There is also plenty of room to run around and play catch or even just sit down and have a nice picnic. There are table areas where you can put your food if you’re not the grassy picnic type. The trails are long, but there are a few water fountains scattered about so bring a collapsible bowl to keep your pup hydrated!

Willard Woods – Lexington, Mass.

Willard Woods is one of the best dog-friendly options if you’re looking for a nice walk in the woods with your canine companion. Part of a large stretch of government conservation land, Willard’s Woods is a 2.7-mile long loop that is great for a nice summer walk with your pup. Monday through Friday you can walk your dog off leash as long as your pup is within shouting distance and supervised. If you go on a weekend your dog will have to be on a leash, but it’s still a wonderful destination for a nice fulfilling walk with your pup. Make sure to bring water and a bowl!

Union Square Donuts – Somerville, Mass.

This is one of the Elliot’s House Team’s favorite places to start the day with our canine companions. The establishment is dog-friendly and they have some of the best donuts in the area if not the state! With vegan options and great coffee, there are few better places to stop with your pup on a summer morning in Somerville. They don’t have dog donuts yet; so make sure to bring a treat for your pup so they don’t get jealous!

There are so many options for summer excursions with your pup, but we think that these are some great places to start. Let us know what you like to do in the summer with your pup by reaching out to us on social media!

The Kibble Conundrum: Simple Tips on Finding the Best Food for Your Pup

In the age of avocado toast and pressed juices, it seems like everyone is more and more cautious about what they choose to consume on a daily basis. Eating nutritious food is one of the most vital parts of a healthy lifestyle and it is no different for our canine companions. A treat here and there is rarely a bad thing, but making sure that your canine companion is on a diet that fits them is important for their long-term health and well being. It may seem like a simple task, but the pet food industry is growing quickly as traditional food companies move into the pet food space.
According to the American Pet Food Association, retail sales of pet food in the U.S. have nearly doubled in the last decade to more than $30 billion. This growth has led some major food companies to buy up pet food businesses in an attempt to break into the industry. With these companies moving into the pet food space, there are more dietary options for owners and their canine companions than ever before. With all these options, finding the best diet for your pup can be a daunting task. In this post, we will explore the pet food industry and give out some tips on how to find the best food for your pup.
From organic dog foods to natural dog foods and wet foods to dry foods and everything in between, there are a lot of options for pet parents. The important thing is making sure that your dog gets the proper nutrition that is appropriate for their size and breed. Dogs are not strict carnivores and, while meat makes up a majority of their diet, domestic dogs also derive nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. These non-meat foods are a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The best quality dog foods contain high-quality versions of these ingredients that are appropriate for your pups digestive system. Dogs require a wide range of nutrients in different quantities over the course of their lives and it is important to understand that the nutritional needs of a puppy are different than those of an adult dog when selecting a new brand of dog food. The Merck Veterinary Manual is a good source if you are looking for information on nutritional requirements as well as recommended servings based on your dog’s age and weight.
Some dogs have dietary restrictions and allergies which can affect how they process certain pet food ingredients. It is important to know if your dog has any food allergies and to buy pet food accordingly. For example, if your dog has a grain allergy it is best to choose a grain-free diet. It is also important to understand that some things we may see as inedible contain important nutrients for pups. Quality animal byproducts like organs and entrails often contain more nutrients than the muscle meat consumed by humans.
The easiest way to determine if a dog food is good or bad is to read the label. It seems simple, but most dog food labels are written in small print and can be misleading if not read properly. Labels are required to tell you the product name, net weight of the product, name, and address of the manufacturer, guaranteed analysis, list of ingredients, intended animal species, statement of nutritional adequacy, and feeding guidelines. This information is basic, but it is vital in making an informed decision when purchasing dog food.
Product names tell you a lot about the product. If the term “beef” is used that means beef must make up at least 70 percent of the entire product. The terms “beef dinner” and “beef platter” only require that beef makes up at least 10 percent of the entire product. “With beef” only requires that 3 percent of the total product be beef, and “beef flavor” implies that there is enough beef in the product to flavor it, which is typically less than 3 percent. The ingredients list on the label will tell you what’s in the product, but not necessarily the quality of the ingredients. Though reading the ingredients may not inform you of the quality, it does tell you what is in the food which is important for pups with special dietary needs or allergies.
One of the most important things to look for on a dog food label is the statement “complete and balanced.” Products with this statement on the label are held to strict requirements by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Complete and balanced diets must contain the minimum amount of all nutrients necessary for dogs. It is also important to research your dogs breed to find out if there are any additional nutritional requirements you need to be aware of.
These are just some basic tips to help you on your journey to finding the diet that best fits your pet. If you need further details, the American Kennel Club has more information on pet nutrition and pet food. We hope this helps you on your journey to finding the perfect diet for your canine companion!

Understanding Canine Influenza: What’s the Big Deal

As pet care professionals, we here at Elliot’s House Pet Care + More understand the importance of vaccinations. Keeping your pup’s vaccinations up to date is the easiest way to ensure they stay happy and healthy. Vaccines are essential for social dogs that go on frequent walks to the dog park and visit daycare on a regular basis.  Vaccinations do not guarantee that your pup won’t catch something while out with other dogs, but they help to protect your pup against communicable diseases and reduce the chance of a disease spreading around the dog park or daycare.

Up until 2015, most dog daycares only required Bordetella, Rabies, and Distemper vaccinations. These vaccinations are considered the “Big Three” by most pet care specialists as they help to prevent the spread of kennel cough and distemper while ensuring that attendants are protected from contracting rabies. This all changed in 2015 when a massive outbreak of dog flu (canine influenza) hit the United States. The outbreak affected thousands of dogs initially and the virus quickly spread across more than half of the country in the span of nine months. Since this outbreak, veterinarians and other pet care specialists have increasingly called for pet parents to consider vaccinating their pup against canine influenza. In this post, we will look into the causes of canine influenza, what we currently know about canine influenza and the best ways to prevent and treat canine influenza.

Canine Influenza, also known as the dog flu, was first recognized in 2004, but the first major outbreak didn’t occur until 2015. In 2015, the H3N2 strain of canine influenza popped up for the first time in the United States. The virus spread quickly across the United States and now outbreaks of the H3N2 strain and the newer H3N8 strain of Canine Influenza occur in nearly every state.

Almost all dogs are susceptible to the strains of Canine Influenza when they are exposed because it is a newer virus and they have no built up natural immunity. Most dogs that develop an infection caused by this virus only experience mild symptoms, but some dogs get very sick and require treatment by a licensed veterinarian. Dog flu can pass between dogs via coughing, dog kisses, and shared toys/bowls. Humans can also transfer the virus between dogs if they do not properly sanitize themselves after touching an infected dog. A dog can be infected with dog flu for 2-4 days before any symptoms are present. Common symptoms are persistent cough, nasal discharge, and fever. It is important to get your dog tested by the veterinarian if they have a canine cough as Dog Flu symptoms can sometimes seem like other respiratory infections. Most clinics have multiple methods to test for both strains of Dog Flu (CIV H3N8 and CIV H3N2). Once a dog is infected symptoms can last from 7-10 days depending on the dog.

The best method of prevention for Canine Influenza is vaccination. There are vaccinations that protect your dog from both strains of the Dog Flu all in one vaccination. Other than vaccination being attentive and careful when socializing your dog is important. Airborne diseases can spread quickly so if you think that your dog has been exposed it is best to book an appointment with your family veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you are looking for more information on the Dog Flu, visit www.dogflu.com for in-depth information from a network of trusted veterinarians.

Doggie Daycare vs Dog Walks: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Canine Companion!

Doggie Daycare vs Dog Walks: Finding the Perfect Fit for Your Canine Companion!

Have you ever had to make a tough decision? Of course, you have! Tough decisions are made even tougher when it comes to our pets that we love and cherish. We all wish we could spend every waking hour with our pups, but there comes a point when everyone needs to seek outside help. The question is, what type of outside pet care is best for your canine companion?

When it comes to pet care, a balance of both doggie daycare and dog walks is usually the best option. At Elliot’s House Pet Care + More, we understand that everyone lives busy lives and it’s not always possible to put your dog in daycare or schedule a walk every single day. We are here to list the benefits, and drawbacks, of each in order to make it easier for you to choose the balance of pet care that works best for you and your pup.

Dog walks are one of the simplest but most crucial forms of pet care. Even though dog walks are one of the most basic forms of pet care, they offer a range of benefits.

Dog walks give your dog an opportunity to relieve themselves and get exercise but dog walks also provide important mental stimulation for your dog. On walks, dogs get an opportunity to check out every sight, sound, and smell. This allows your dog to gather information about how their territory has changed since the last time they were on a walk and can help to make them feel more comfortable with their surroundings. This behavior is instinctual for dogs and encouraging and fostering this behavior is important to ensure your pups’ long term health. 

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Dog walks give your dog the opportunity to socialize with other dogs along a walking route, but these opportunities for socialization are more limited than in a daycare setting. For this reason, dog walks are often a better choice if you are just looking to give your dog bursts of exercise and limited socialization. Based on our experience here at Elliot’s House Pet Care + More, some dogs require more intimate one-on-one care and dog walks are perfect for that sort of situation. Pack walks are also an option if you want your dog to be walked with a number of other dogs. These walks offer more socialization than your typical dog walk, but they lack the structure for socialization provided by a daycare setting.

There’s nothing like a little bit of fresh air to put the pep in your pup’s step! With walks, your dog is guaranteed time in the fresh air. Some dogs like the outdoors more than anything else and walks are the perfect fit for dogs with this temperament. From city walks to walks through the countryside, walks are the best way to ensure that your dog gets some fresh air. In urban areas, the biggest obstacle to productive walks is the lack of unpopulated space. City walks are great for pups, but they involve a lot of unpredictable elements and don’t provide the structure that is in place in a daycare setting.

Doggie daycare offers dogs a chance to socialize with other dogs and let out all of their energy during a full day of play, but, beyond that, doggie daycares are safe, spacious and supervised. There are many reasons to choose daycare, but below are a few of the most important reasons.

As opposed to dog walks in which your dog is with a walker and potentially a couple of dogs, dog daycares are typically full of dogs of all types. If your dog is a social butterfly or if you think that your dog could benefit from spending time with other dogs, then doggie daycare is a perfect fit for your pet pal. Doggie daycares can help dogs to overcome their social issues and anxiety in a controlled and supervised environment. At Elliot’s House, we see the positive effect of daycare on a daily basis. In the best cases, dogs walk in timid and shaking and after a few weeks at the daycare, they are socializing with other dogs, engaging in play and generally walking with a little extra pep in their step. On top of socialization, your dog is given constant attention as long as they are at the daycare. Sometimes dogs can get lonely at home and leaving the television on just won’t cut it. Daycare is a perfect solution for this problem as your dog is in a safe environment with attendants who can provide them with the proper care and attention.

In a daycare setting, your dogs are exposed to a range of dogs and people. Getting used to being around other people can be important for dogs social growth. Daycare can help dogs to become more well-adjusted and social with not just dogs, but people too!

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Whereas walks can range from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, at least at Elliot’s House, daycare is a guaranteed full day of play for your dog. They have the opportunity to run around with other dogs, play with toys, and make new friends all day. This constant stimulation is healthy and helps to ensure that your dog goes home tired, hungry, and most of all happy!

At Elliot’s House, we are always thinking of how to provide the highest quality of pet care for all the pups in our pack. Every dog is different and because of that our pet care specialists interact with every dog in a slightly different manner. We hope that this helps you to find the perfect balance of care for you and all of your pet pals!

CBD For Your Pup: A New Frontier of Pet Care

CBD For Your Pup: A New Frontier of Pet Care

As CBD (or cannabidiol) gains popularity with humans in treating everything from anxiety and insomnia to nausea and heart disease, the pet industry is now catching on to produce pup-safe portions of CBD products. A healthy number of dog owner’s initial reactions tend to be skepticism or rejection…something along the lines of “Why would I give my dog marijuana? That can’t be safe.” The most important thing to note is that CBD (and CBD dog treats and oils) do NOT contain any of the psychoactive components (namingly THC) that are found in marijuana. Canine CBD is made from hemp, which is 100% legal and does not contain any intoxicating effects.

If CBD doesn’t have the effects people typically think of when they hear the word ‘cannabis’, then what does it actually do? There are a range of positive and therapeutic benefits that come along with CBD for dogs, including pain relief, anxiety reduction, nausea management and appetite stimulation. If your pup has chronic pain due to cancer, heart disease or arthritis, CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation and manage discomfort. Even if your pup is completely healthy but suffers from the occasional bout of separation anxiety, CBD can work wonders in calming otherwise overactive nerves. Now that we’ve covered the physical benefits of this growing treatment, let’s take a look at the most reputable and effective canine CBD products out on the market today.

Innovet Hemp Treats/Oils

Innovet is the #1 rated manufacturer of hemp dog treats and oil tinctures. All of their products are USDA certified organic, contain no harmful additives and have thousands of positive testimonials from happy owners whose pups have benefited from their products. Backed by the American Kennel Club and competitively priced, Innovet is truly leading the charge in this new category of pet care.

HolistaPet CBD Treats/Oils

HolistaPet CBD dog treats are gluten-free, made with non-GMO organic superfood ingredients and have the added benefit of being tailored to specific areas of care. Pups love the all natural flavors while owners praise the treats effectiveness in treating anxiety disorders safely and without pharmaceuticals. With flavors like Green Apple Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon, your pup will be beyond pleased!

Hemp My Pet

Hemp My Pet is a unique brand that produces its own 100% organic hemp for each of its human grade products, with a wide variety of options to choose from. They offer both hemp-infused coconut and olive oil, which is a tasty and effective way to introduce CBD to your pup’s everyday meals! Hemp My Pet also donates a large amount of product to rescues and sanctuaries, so you know you are investing in a company that is invested in animal welfare themselves.

CBD is a brand new frontier in pet care, so doing your research before making a choice for your pup is imperative. Always look for products that are organic, US-made, heavily reviewed and third party tested. As always, let us know if these or any other new products helped your pup so we can pay it forward!

Wishing you a happy and healthy end of Winter,

-Elliot’s House


Bad Pup Breath?  Tips for Your Dog’s Dental Health!

Bad Pup Breath? Tips for Your Dog’s Dental Health!

As dedicated and loving dog people, we all take a bit of bad dog breath as par for the course for all the love and loyalty they show us everyday. With everything our pups get into, it’s no wonder that surprise face lick doesn’t always come with a minty fresh scent! If your dog’s breath is consistently bad enough to make you avoid close contact, however, there may be an underlying dental problem that needs to be addressed. Periodontal disease can have serious implications; from tooth loss and jaw damage to heart disease. As February is National Dog Dental Health Month, we thought we’d take this opportunity to impart some tips and tricks to keep your best friend’s chompers as healthy as possible!

Teeth Brushing

While it may seem odd to brush your dog’s teeth, it is actually a very effective way to keep plaque, gum disease and bad breath at bay. Some pups may be more receptive to having their teeth brushed than others, so it’s important to reinforce positive behavior and introduce this process slowly. The Vetoquinal Enzadent toothbrush is a popular option and has an extended handle and dual brush ends for both small and large teeth. Though it may be obvious, it’s very important to use dog-specific toothpaste as human toothpaste is toxic to dogs. Sentry Petrodex toothpaste comes highly recommended in fighting bad breath and plaque, and its chicken flavor will have your pup looking forward to brushing time!

Dental Chew Toys

Dental chew toys are a fun and easy way to keep your pup’s teeth healthy and clean while satisfying their natural urge to chomp! These toys work using ridges, bumps and bristles that clean plaque and stimulate healthy gums as your dog bites away! The Benebone Dental Dog Toy is a popular, super durable nylon option that comes in natural bacon and peanut butter flavors to keep your pup interested! As with most dental toys, the ridges help remove plaque and tartar in between brushing while keeping your dog occupied at the same time!



Dental Treats

Dental treats are a tasty yet still very effective way to keep up with your dog’s dental health! These treats work similarly to dental toys as they clean teeth, freshen breath and maintain healthy gums as your pup chews. The difference with dental treats is their digestible ingredients that your pup can enjoy with added health benefits! There are numerous dental treats on the market, including the popular and highly recommended Blue Buffalo Dental Bones. These treats have a meaty flavor even the pickiest dogs love, are grain-free and made in the USA for quality assurance!






Dental health is a too-often overlooked aspect of your pup’s overall health and well-being. Keeping up with brushing your dog’s teeth at least three times a week, providing them with healthy and safe toys to chew and maintaining regular vet checkups all contribute to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The next time you find yourself getting bombarded with some less than minty fresh kisses from your pup, keep their dental health in mind and make sure that smile stays as cute as ever!

Wishing you a happy and healthy February,

-Elliot’s House


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