Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish



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Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish

Tag Archives: Best Friends Pet Hotel

10 Indoor Activities to Do with Your Dog


During these colder months, the winter isn’t always the most ideal time to play outside with your dog. Unless you both love the snow, cold or rain, you may find yourself spending more time indoors. But how do you still get your dog exercise and some brain stimulation? Here are 10 indoor activities for you and your dog to enjoy.


1.    Spa Day

Doggy Spa Day Give your dog an at-home grooming session full of brushing, belly rubs, and massages. Yes, dogs can have massages and most of them love it!


2.    Puzzles and Games 

Dog Puzzles and games

There are plenty of puzzle toys for dogs to keep them stimulated, like the Buster Activity Mat. There are also DIY games you can play with your pup, like the ‘shell game’ as it is often referred to – it’s an easy way to engage your dog!


3.    New Tricks 

Dog Tricks

Teach your dog a new trick! If they already know the basics, perhaps try to teach them more advanced tricks. A fun one to try out is teaching them how to put away their own toys or how to bring certain items around the house to you.


4.    Homemade Treats or Toys

Homemade Treats

Homemade dog treats or DIY toys are a fun activity for you, and it benefits your pup. Check out this yummy homemade dog treat recipe or this list of DIY dog toys!


5.    Tag or Hide-And-Seek 

Dog hide-and-seek

We all played these games as children, but did you know it can be fun for your dog too? Tag you’re it!


6.    Arts and Crafts

Dog Paw Print Arts and Crafts

Make a cute piece of art with your dog’s paw print. Create a clay paw print ornament or get some pet-friendly ink or paint to dab onto their paws to put on paper. Now you have a doggy work of art!


7.    Obstacle Course

Dog Obstacle Course

Create an obstacle course for your dog. You can get creative with items around your house or even buy items from agility kits. The obstacle course will keep them active and stimulated.


8.    Doga

Doggy Yoga or Doga

Downward Dog isn’t just for humans. Yoga for and with dogs is called Doga. There are yoga studios around the U.S. that offer this service, but you can easily do Doga at home. Dog teaches trust and builds a bond between you and your dog, plus it’s good for circulation and relaxation.


9.    Pet-Friendly Bubbles

Pet-Friendly Bubbles You can purchase pet-friendly bubbles for your pup. Not only will this be fun for your dog, but it will be extremely entertaining for you. Plus, it makes for some pretty great photos or videos!


10. Play And Stay at Best Friends

Doggy Day Camp and Play & Stay

Best Friends Pet Hotel hosts Doggy Day Camp every day of the week. After your dog socializes and plays all day, they can snooze in our comfy boarding suites. Check with your local Best Friends for winter specials!






Share your photos and videos with us! Did you score a video of Sparky catching a fly ball while jumping into the pool? Did you snap a cute photo of Fluffy in a sleeping slumber? Send your best photos and videos of your pets to for a chance to be featured.

Tags: Best friends pet care, Best Friends Pet Hotel, Cat tips, Dog agility course, Dog obstacle course, Dog puzzles, Dog spa, Dog tips, Dog tricks, Doga, Grooming, Homemade dog toys, Homemade dog treats, Indoor activities for dogs, Pet Hotel, Pet Safety, Winter weather tips, Yoga for dogs

5 Winter Weather Tips For Pet Parents


Bundle Up – Keeping your dog warm is important, especially when venturing outdoors in the cold or snow. There are dog sweaters, coats, and boots available that can help keep your pooch warm when playing or walking outside.

Keep Grooming to a Minimum – Much like us, the more layers a dog has, the warmer they are. There is no need to shave your pup down to the skin for winter, but a simple trim to minimize the amount of snow/ice balls accumulating on the fur is just fine. Also, washing your pup too often can increase their chance of dry skin and even remove essential oils. If you want to winterize your dog’s skin and coat you can find out more, here.

Manage Their Food Intake – Providing your pet with more (healthy) food and water can help add calories during the winter months if they’re still very active. Pets will also burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in colder temperatures. Other pets need slightly less food if they’re more sedentary during the colder months. Consult with your veterinarian to see what is right for your pet.

Avoid Chemicals – Commonly used chemicals in the winter that maintain the temperature of your car’s engine, such as antifreeze, are lethal to pets. A safer alternative would be to use products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Stay Active – Finding creative ways to get exercise indoors is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight for your pet, especially when the Bomb Cyclone hits. Book your pup at our Doggy Day Camp so they can stay active during the cold months!






The Bark


Share your photos and videos with us! Did you score a video of Sparky catching a fly ball while jumping into the pool? Did you snap a cute photo of Fluffy in a sleeping slumber? Send your best photos and videos of your pets to for a chance to be featured.

Tags: Best friends pet care, Best Friends Pet Hotel, Cat tips, Dog tips, Pet health, Pet Hotel, Pet Safety, Pet safety tips, Winter weather tips

Holiday and Winter Toxins

Holiday and Winter Toxins

Article written by: Ahna Brutiag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT & Renee Schmid, DVM

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to let your guard down when it comes to preventing toxic exposures to your pet. While the holidays bring more challenges to the already difficult winter months, we cannot forget about outdoor toxin concerns frequently seen this time of year. Below is a list of holiday-related decorations, plants and food items that the veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline recommend keeping away from pets.

Dog and Christmas Tree

Holiday Ornaments and decorations: When decorating for the season, consider your pets. Holiday decorations such as old-fashioned bubble lights may contain poisonous chemicals. If a pet chews on them, the liquid inside could be dangerous to their health. Methylene chloride, the chemical in older bubble lights, can result in depression, aspiration pneumonia, and irritation to the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract. Glass ornaments that shine and shimmer are often an enticing toy for your pet. However, if they were to bite in to, or break one during play, the small glass pieces can lead to lacerations to the skin and mouth, as well as damage to the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. Homemade dough ornaments pose a risk for causing elevated sodium levels that may lead to severe neurologic abnormalities. If any of these types of tree decorations are being used for your tree, it is recommended to keep them towards the upper portion of the tree, where they are less likely to be accessed by your pet. Many animals develop electrical burns in their mouth from chewing on strands of lights, particularly cats and puppies. It is ideal to minimize dangling light strands to make them less appealing to pets.

Tinsel: Another holiday ornament to avoid is tinsel. If you own a cat, toss the tinsel! What looks like a shiny toy to your cat can prove deadly if ingested. While tinsel itself is not “poisonous,” it can result in a linear foreign body when eaten. A linear foreign body occurs when your pet swallows something “stringy” (like ribbon, yarn, tinsel, etc.), which wraps around the base of the tongue or anchors itself in the stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. As the intestines contract and move, this string or linear foreign body can slowly saw through the tissue, resulting in severe, potentially life threatening damage to your pet’s intestinal tract. Ultimately, pets run the risk of severe injury to, or rupture of, their intestines and treatment requires costly abdominal surgery. Save your holiday bonus for yourself instead of your pet’s surgery, and keep tinsel, ribbon, yarn, thread, fabric, etc. out of reach!

Liquid Potpourri/Oils/Candles: Filling your house with the smell of nutmeg or pine for the holidays may seem inviting—but if you’re partial to heating your scented oils in a simmer pot, know that they can cause serious harm to your cat; even a few licks can result in severe chemical burns in the mouth, fever, difficulty breathing, and tremors. Dogs aren’t as sensitive, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry—so scent your home with a non-toxic candle kept safely out of kitty’s reach. Dry potpourri may also cause chemical burns in the mouth, and also potential foreign bodies and gastrointestinal upset depending on the size of animal and amount ingested. While candles are often scented with oils, the largest concern with ingestion is a foreign body and potential obstruction. In addition to an upset stomach, surgical removal of the candle may be necessary in severe cases.

Plants: Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia plants are only mildly toxic. Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies (Lilium spp), holly, or mistletoe. Even bouquets brought into the house by holiday guests should be thoroughly inspected, as lilies are one of the most commonly used. Just one or two bites from a lily can result in kidney failure in cats — even the pollen and water that the plant is in are thought to be poisonous! When in doubt, don’t let these bouquets in a cat-loving household!

Other yuletide plants such as holly berries and mistletoe can also be toxic to pets. When Christmas or English holly is ingested, it can result in severe gastrointestinal upset thanks to the spiny leaves and the potentially toxic substances (including saponins, methylxanthines, and cyanogens). If ingested, most pets smack their lips, drool, and head shake excessively due to the mechanical injury from the spiny leaves. As for mistletoe, most of us hang it high enough so its out of reach of our pets — nevertheless, it can also be toxic if ingested. Thankfully, American mistletoe is less toxic than the European varieties. Mild signs of gastrointestinal irritation are seen, although if ingested in large amounts, collapse, hypotension (low blood pressure), ataxia (difficulty walking), seizures and death have also been reported.

Recently, florists have started to use Japanese Yew (Taxus spp.) to make wreaths — all parts of this evergreen except for the flesh of the red aril are very poisonous, as they contain taxines, a cardiotoxin. If ingested, this plant can result in dizziness, an abnormal heart rate (initially elevated, then slowed), hypotension, dilated pupils, coma, and death. As horses are very susceptible to yew poisoning, make sure not to have this around the barn or pasture!

Alcohol: Most people know not to give alcoholic drinks to their pets: however, alcohol poisoning in pets is more common than you think. This is because alcohol can be found in surprising places! Rum-soaked fruitcake, or unbaked dough that contains yeast, result in alcohol poisoning and other problems. Rising dough will expand in the warm, moist environment of the stomach and can result in a bloat, which can then progress to a GDV or gastricdilitation with volvulus (twisted stomach). Signs of this include vomiting, non-productive retching, distended stomach an elevated heart rate, and weakness or collapse. Secondly, alcohol from the fermenting yeast is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and affects pets quickly. Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. Intoxicated animals can experience seizures and respiratory failure.

Holiday Foods: With the holiday season comes a delightful variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich, fattening foods. However, it is not wise, and in some cases, quite dangerous, to share these treats with your pets. Keep your pet on his or her regular diet over the holidays and do not let family and friends sneak in treats. Foods that can present problems include

  • Foods containing grapes, raisins and currants (such as fruit cakes, breads and cookies) can result in kidney failure in dogs
  • Chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical highly toxic to dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias. Many sugarless gums and candies contain xylitol, a sweetener which is toxic to dogs. It causes a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.
  • Leftover fatty meat and scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) leading to abdominal or stomach pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.

Ice Melt: Ice melts are commonly used around entryways and sidewalks and the containers that are filled with these products are often left within a pet’s reach. There are numerous formulations available, many of which contain salt (sodium chloride), and small exposures typically lead to stomach upset. and dermal and paw pad irritation. Larger ingestions may quickly cause salt poisoning which can result in a rapid onset of vomiting, excessive thirst and seizures. If your pet has consumed any amount of ice melt, it is important to call for help.

When it comes to the holidays, the best thing a pet owner can do is to become educated on common indoor and outdoor household toxins and pet-proof your environment accordingly. If you think your pet has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680, with any questions or concerns.

800.213.6680  |

Tags: Best friends pet care, Best Friends Pet Hotel, Cat tips, Dog tips, Holiday pet safety, Pet health, Pet Hotel, Pet Safety, Pet safety tips
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