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!

Barky, Mind and Soul: Navigating the Pet Supplements Industry

If you ever took vitamins disguised as “Gummi Bears” every day at breakfast before school, then you may have some experience with the vitamin and supplements industry. A healthy diet can do wonders for your personal health, but vitamins and supplements can also be a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. These days it feels like every television health guru and lifestyle coach pushes supplements as an essential part of daily life. There are supplements for your cognitive health, supplements to make your hair shine, and for everything else in between. Supplements do have proven uses and benefits, but not all supplements are made the same.  Just as companies have flocked to the pet food industry, many companies are flocking to the pet supplements industry.  Pet supplements can be a great way to make sure that your pup gets all of the necessary nutrients that they need to live a healthy life. Pet foods have most of the nutrients your pup needs, but supplements can help with issues that diets may have trouble addressing. For example, dogs with anxiety can benefit from taking CBD supplements and dogs with joint issues benefit from taking Glucosamine. At Elliot’s House, we’ve seen a lot of dogs come into the dog daycare in Somerville with anxiety that have benefited from using CBD products for their anxiety.  The supplements themselves can be very helpful for pups, but as the pet product industry grows to around $75 billion, it is important to put some thought into what supplements you purchase. This post will explore pet supplements, their benefits, and a bit about the pet supplements industry.

The Elliot’s House team agrees that supplements can be a nice addition to a pup’s diet, but most pups get the same benefits as they would from supplements from proper diet and exercise. Despite this, the pet supplements industry has grown extremely large and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Some pets truly do have a medical need for supplements, but more and more pets are getting supplements when they don’t truly need them as larger companies push their products and their benefits.  As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, not all pet foods are made equal, but store-bought pet foods are required by law to contain all of the vitamins and nutrients your pup needs. The American College of Veterinary Medicine issued a statement saying “If your pet is eating a complete and balanced commercially available pet food, supplements are not recommended unless specifically prescribed by your veterinarian. This reduces the chances of excesses and averse nutrient or medication interactions.” All of this to say that the first step in your journey to get pet supplements for your pup should involve a stop at the vet clinic to get guidance from your trusted veterinarian.

The market that is currently being targeted the most by pet supplement companies is millennial pet owners. Millennial pet owners make up the largest portion of the money spent on pet supplements in the pet supplement industry which is valued at around $636 million. The team at Elliot’s House is aware that the overall importance of self-care that has become part of millennial culture has spread from owner to pet and, to many, supplements are seen as necessary for pups to live a full life. As previously stated, this is not always the case. Supplements are one element of a healthy life, but not as vital as proper diet and exercise.  Most pet parents purchase their supplements online and most people that buy pet supplements online do it after buying their own supplements online for personal consumption.  Glucosamine and Fish Oil are currently the most popular supplements. For any dogs with joint issues, we would highly recommend looking into the use of Glucosamine. One of the leading online suppliers of pet supplements is Petlab CO. They have a variety of their own pet treats and supplements with proprietary blends of various supplements that can help with joint pain, heart health, and anxiety. It’s always smart to talk to a vet before you buy any kind of supplement, but PetLab CO is a good brand to bring up with your veterinarian.

Do you give your pet supplements? Do you recommend any brands? Let us know on social media!


Dog’s Gone Digital: Technology and the Pet Care Industry

Dog’s Gone Digital: Technology and the Pet Care Industry

The rise of digital applications and advances in software and hardware continue to have an extreme impact on the pet care industry. At Elliot’s House, we prefer to do things digitally and that trend is slowly sweeping across the entire pet care industry. Some dog daycares and walking services stick to old school administrative methods that are tried and true, but, here at Elliot’s House, we believe that the future of the pet care industry lies in taking advantage of technological advances to provide pet parents and their fur babies with the best possible experience across all of our services. The development of full-service applications for the pet care industry has been a slow process, but applications and online services are beginning to catch up to the standards set by other industries.  Wag and Rover are two of the most prominent examples of how pet care has gone digital. The application of these new technologies to the industry is full of potential, but there are bound to be drawbacks and growing pains. This post will discuss some of the interesting technological trends in the pet care industry and how they affect clients and businesses alike.

Walks and Sitting On-Demand

One of the biggest advantages of digital applications making their way into the pet care industry is the ease of scheduling. At any given moment you can use whatever your preferred application is, whether it be Wag, Rover or a dedicated application for your favorite brick and mortar pet care service, and schedule whatever service you need. Say you need a walk in the next hour or want to book out a stay at a boarding house for the upcoming weekend. Once you’ve registered with the application services are just a click away. Services like Wag and Rover have also moved into dog sitting and “pet hotels”, but with mixed results. The ease of use is great, but unlike dedicated pet care companies, Wag and Rover’s employees are contractors and are not closely monitored. With these applications, the drawback is that you sacrifice guaranteed quality for ease of use. At Elliot’s House, we don’t quite have a dedicated digital application, but our online portal makes it easy to book services for our dedicated team of walkers and daycare/boarding house attendants.  As technology advances even further and more people dedicate time to creating applications for the pet care industry, the infrastructure will improve and it will only become easier for pet care service providers to provide clients with pet care services in quickly and efficiently.

Automatic Pet Products

Automatic feeders and water fountains have been around for some time, but they only continue to increase in quality and other forms of automated/interactive technologies for pets have arisen. One example of new automated technology is the iFetch Mini Automatic Ball Launcher toy. There is nothing that will replace sharing a game of fetch with your canine companion, but products like this give your pet an opportunity to enjoy a game of fetch while you are away. Combine this with any of the automated cameras that allow you to talk to your pet, like the Petcube Bites, and you can give your pup part of the full fetch experience from your desk. Some of these cameras even include a treat dispenser to reward your dog. Nothing can replace time with your pet but these technologies help to make their time at home by themselves more comfortable and interaction filled.

Summer Doggy Styles: Things to Know Before Getting Your Pup a Summer Cut

Summer Doggy Styles: Things to Know Before Getting Your Pup a Summer Cut

Dog Grooming Pic

Summer Cut – Dog Grooming

As things continue to heat up on the streets of Somerville, the team here at Elliot’s House is always thinking of how the heat affects our canine companions. One of the most stylish ways for your pup to beat the heat is with a summer cut. However, summer cuts aren’t the same for every pup and there are some important things to consider before you schedule a summer cut or attempt one on your own. This blog post will explore the do’s and don’ts of summer cuts and some general information about dog grooming.

Dogs Are Individuals

Not all dog’s coats are the same or even relatively similar. Many breeds have double coats, thick coats or other special types of hair/fur that they have adapted over time for various reasons. As the summer months begin to heat up, you would think that shaving down thicker coats and giving the shortest trims possible would be the best way to keep your pup cool. That isn’t the case. For example, dogs with fur have two different parts to their coat. These parts are the guard coat and the undercoat. The guard coat is the rough, thick outer layer that is easiest to see and it protects the dog’s skin from extreme weather conditions. The undercoat is the soft, fluffy fur that is located under the guard coat and it helps to keep their bodies insulated during the summer and winter. The guard coat should not be shaved off, as the fur provides pups with the proper insulation they need to stay cool during the summer months. While humans would hate to have multiple layers in the scorching heat, your pups fur coat actually provides them with heat relief. Robbing your pup of his natural cooling system by shaving them down can lead to discomfort, overheating, and other serious dangers like sunburn or skin cancer.

Grooming Hygiene

All this being said, don’t be afraid to give your pup a summer cut! These usually involve trimming away the necessary long hair from their guard coat to make the heat more manageable. It is best to allow a professional groomer to perform the haircutting, and never shave down to the skin or attempt a hair cut yourself with scissors.  Dogs with thick coats naturally shed so they typically get lighter coats on their own in the summer. Be mindful of grooming hygiene and remember to brush your dog’s fur regularly and bathe them frequently. This is because clean, brushed fur typically allows for better air circulation, which will keep your pup cool.

Care in Dog Grooming

When it comes to cutting never underestimate the damage an improper haircut can have on your dogs’ coat. In general, the more fur that is clipped, especially with older dogs, the less likely the guard coat is to grow back in a healthy manner.  The undercoat will typically grow back as expected, but the guard coat may grow back uneven, which will leave your pup with a bit of a scruffy and bedraggled appearance.  Clipping fur doesn’t really help with clipping or shedding, but proper maintenance and brushing does help. A competent groomer will know the difference between fur and hair and should be able to assist you in choosing the right cut for your pup. Our groomers here at Elliot’s House in Somerville are always more than happy to help if you have any questions about your pup’s summer cut!

Did your pup get a fancy new haircut for summer? Do you have any haircut horror stories? Let us know on social media and feel free to comment below as well.

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