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.

Grain-Free Dog Food and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy: What’s the Issue?

Grain-Free Dog Food and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy: What’s the Issue?

As we’ve already discussed on this blog, picking the right food for your pup can be difficult. There are so many different foods on the market and diets that are trending, but the most important thing is to choose a pet food that is safe for consumption.  Recently, the FDA issued a warning about grain-free pet food and its link to canine dilated cardiomyopathy. Since 2018, the FDA has investigated more than 500 reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) that appear to be linked to grain-free pet food. There is no clear answer as of yet as to what about the grain-free foods cause heart disease, but there is a link according to the FDA.  This article will explore what we know about grain-free foods and their link to canine dilated cardiomyopathy.

The FDA has seen an increase in the frequency of canine dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs eating foods containing a high proportion of peas, lentils, legume seeds, and potatoes in various forms as main ingredients. The greater frequency of reports may signal a potential increase in cases of DCM in dogs not typically genetically predisposed to it. The FDA hasn’t established exactly why certain diets may be associated with the development of DCM in some dogs and it doesn’t suggest that owners stop feeding grain-free dog food brands to their pets, but it does recommend that clients work with veterinarians to determine the appropriate diet for a dog’s specific needs.

The pet food brands most frequently linked to reports of DCM by the FDA are:

  • Acana
  • Zignature
  • Taste of the Wild
  • 4Health
  • Earthborn Holistic
  • Blue Buffalo
  • Nature’s Domain
  • Fromm
  • Merrick
  • Natural Balance
  • Orijen
  • California Natural
  • NutriSource
  • Nature’s Variety
  • Rachael Ray Nutrish

Many of these pet food brands have made statements regarding these accusations. Blue Buffalo made a public statement confirming that they are working with the FDA and the Pet Food Institute to study this issue and that Blue Buffalo scientists have come together with other pet food producers to further advance the general understanding of canine DCM and its causes. As of yet, there is no causative scientific link between DCM and grain-free pet products, ingredients, or diets as a whole.  The FDA is encouraging pet owners and veterinary professionals to report both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases of dogs suspected to have DCM connected to diet online on the FDA website.

Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a primary disease of cardiac muscle that results in a decreased ability of the heart to generate pressure to pump blood through the vascular system.  Researchers still debate whether the cause is mainly nutritional, infectious, or due to genetic predisposition. DCM is characterized by dilation of the ventricles with ventricular wall thinning. In many cases, dilation of all four chambers of the heart is seen. The ability of the heart to pump blood is diminished so dogs display signs of lethargy, weakness, weight loss, and they may even collapse. Dogs may also begin coughing and breathing rapidly on a regular basis.  DCM is typically diagnosed by echocardiography. Once diagnosed with DCM, the life expectancy for the average dog is between 1 and 3 years depending on their size.

If your pup is on a grain-free diet from one of these grain-free brands, consider talking with your vet about whether you should switch to a different brand or diet.

Vacation with the Pups: Best Dog Friendly Places to Stay in Massachusetts

Vacation with the Pups: Best Dog Friendly Places to Stay in Massachusetts

The summer is one of the best times of year to take a nice vacation and explore new places and experiences. There are many amazing destinations across the United States, and Massachusetts is no exception. With lots of coastal locations and vibrant cities, Massachusetts is a great place to spend the summer. When traveling it can be hard to make the decision to leave your pup behind until you return. Once you set up transportation for your pup, it can be just as hard to find a place where dogs are welcome. This post will explore some of the best dog-friendly hotels in Massachusetts.

The Liberty Hotel Boston

Formerly the Charles Street Jail, the building was renovated with many of its historic 1800’s based architecture kept in place and it was turned the Liberty Hotel. The Liberty is a 4-star luxury hotel and so the prices are higher than many of the other hotels in the Boston area, but the luxury accommodations and historic building are worth the price if it’s in your budget.  If you are looking to bring your canine companion, you are allowed to bring two dogs of any size for an additional fee of $100 per stay. The hotel staff will provide you with treats, a bed, and bowls at check-in. There are designated pet relief areas on the property and outdoor yappy hours are held seasonally, particularly in the summer.  Pet-friendly rooms are located on the 6th and 12th floors. If you are looking for a luxury hotel experience with your canine companion in a historic building than The Liberty Hotel is for you.

The Cottages and Lofts at Boat Basin – Nantucket

This location is one of the best places to go if you are looking to vacation in Nantucket, but you don’t want to rent a house. The Cottages are located by Nantucket Harbor and have a great view of the beautiful blue water. The cottages are located one block from Nantucket Town. If you are looking to bring your pup, then you should book one of their Woof cottages. These are their dog-friendly cottages. Upon check-in, you are given a basket of treats and toys, pet bed, and food and water bowls. They also offer dog walking services, provide you with a directory of vet clinics and pet stores, and they have a pet concierge named Bailey who is a Black Lab/Brittany Spaniel Mix. If you are looking for a dog-friendly vacation by the water in Nantucket, then this location is perfect for you and your canine companion.

Fairmont Copley Hotel – Boston

The Fairmont Copley Hotel is one of the best pet-friendly hotels in Boston and they even have their own pet ambassador,  Carley Copley the Black Lab. She can go on walks with you and your pup and is always available to greet guests and puppy pals. You are not permitted to leave your dog in the hotel unattended, but they do offer dog beds and bowls if you ask. There is a park located across from the hotel that is perfect for pet relief. Opened in 1912, the Fairmont Copley is a perfect example of the early 19th-century style and is a pleasure to walk around. They also have a great in-house restaurant/bar, OAK Long Bar + Kitchen. Like the Liberty, this is the perfect place for you and your canine companion to enjoy a luxurious and historic vacation in Boston.

Kimpton Onyx Hotel – Boston

The Kimpton Onyx is located in downtown Boston and is a more modern style 4-star hotel. Located in the heart of historic West End, it is located near The Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, Boston Waterfront and North End. If you book the pet package you can have two pups of any size stay with you for no additional fee. You can also leave your pup in the room unattended, as long as you provide a cell phone number to the front desk.  This is one of the only hotels that will allow you to keep your pet there unattended so keep that in mind when looking for locations.

These are some of our favorite hotels around Massachusetts that are dog-friendly, mostly concentrated in Boston as that is what we know best here at Elliot’s House. Let us know if you know any great pet-friendly hotels around Boston on social media!

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