Photo by Arina Krasnikova from Pexels


Cats can sometimes get overlooked in the toy department at stores. With limited options, you’re left with rat toys, scratching posts, and fake fish hooks. If you’ve owned a cat, you know they can be picky, so if they don’t like any of those options you’re left with almost nothing.


While cats can be independent animals, they need some playtime to get their energy out in a healthy way. Big changes such as finding the perfect home can add to their anxiety and long-term stress can create bad behavioral habits. Proving enrichment toys are a great way to keep their minds working and alleviate stress.


These DIY cat enrichment are a purr-fect way to help your little one let out that energy by staying active and healthy while you save money:


1. Elevated Spaces

Cats love to be in high places. They like to let everyone know they’re the ruler of the house. It makes them feel safe and secure as they can see everything below them. Things such as window hammocks are ideal, but why not go a step further and build their own kingdom in the living room. With just a few planks of wood and nails, you can customize it to your liking.


Make sure you create a new and welcoming place for your cat in your home so they know they can feel safe. Adding special touches such as scratching posts or homemade hammocks just add to the fun of customizing their own little space to play.


2. Catios

Even if you’re limited on space, you can still create a place for your cat to feel safe. Catios are a great way to welcome your furry friend home and allow them to look and explore outside as they watch the birds and squirrels without having to worry about them running off. There are endless possibilities to create the best catio for your pet.


Some catio ideas include:

  • Treehouse
  • Window extension
  • Sunroom
  • Repurposed shelves


2. Puzzle Feeders

With a busy life, it’s hard to keep your cat entertained all day. Whether you find a cat sitter or want to keep them by your side, puzzle feeders are an easy way to keep your cat occupied for a while so you have time to do what you need to. 


It’s easy to use items you already have such as toilet paper rolls, tissue boxes, or towels. Cut holes large enough for their food or treats in a household item of your choice for a quick and easy way to save money and keep your cat amused. Just be sure they are safe and don’t chew on something they aren’t meant to.


3. Enrichment Box

Don’t throwaway all of your delivery boxes this week! Instead, repurpose them into enrichment toys for your cat. It takes minimal effort, but keeps your cat happy, healthy, and stress-free.


Crumple up a few pieces of old paper, some pet-safe dried leaves, their favorite toys and treats, and throw them into a box. It takes less than five minutes and leaves your cat occupied for the next hour.


While you look after yourself, it’s just as important to look after your little friend. Saving money and DIY-ing a catio or enrichment toys are the purr-fect way to allow them to relieve their stress and keep them happy and healthy.

Guest author: Eve is a content writer from Southern California. When she’s not writing, she’s playing soccer, surfing, or taking trips to Disneyland!

brown and white Australian Shepherd running toward camera in the sandPhoto by Joséphine Menge on Unsplash

Dogs do not sweat through their skin to control the temperature of the body unlike humans. Rather, a dog’s breathing controls their temperature. Their nasal cavities, tongues, and lungs’ linings all lose humidity as they pant. As a result, the air circulates through their body and cools them down.

As their body normally regulates their temperature through panting, there are activities you should do to help keep your pup hydrated during the days of summer.

Your dog may become more active in the summer due to the warmer weather. Yet, warmer temperatures and more intense exercise can also make your pet lose more bodily fluid, increasing the likelihood of dehydration in dogs. That’s risky since it may result in organ damage or even death. But by taking a few easy actions, you can ensure that your dog is well hydrated and you both get to embrace the summer heat!


Ways to keep your pup hydrated:


Use the mornings or afternoons to play or work out

Try to encourage them to play and exercise before it becomes too hot outside as often as possible, even if your schedule doesn’t always allow it. This could require you to get up earlier than usual to escape the heat, but you and your pup will be grateful you did. On hot, muggy days, refrain from playing and exercising between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm.


Throughout exercise or play, they should drink little amounts of water

Always remember to have water with you whether playing or working out. So that their tummy has time to process it and they do not overdo it, offer them a modest quantity every 10 to 15 minutes. Drinking to excess can cause swelling and even water intoxication, where the body’s salt reserves are exhausted. Always remember that a dog’s size, for example a labradoodle’s actual size, determines the water he or she may need to stay hydrated in the hot summer days.


Watch how much water they drink

Your pup requires a particular quantity of water every day, just as you do. Moisture condenses their vital electrolytes in enough supply, allowing for normal metabolism, bowel movements, and oxygenation. Water also encourages a steady cardiovascular system and assists your puppy’s organs in eliminating pollutants from their circulation.

More water will be required the more energetic they are or the hotter the weather. Most dogs require three to four times as much water as usual in hot weather. One oz of water for every kilogram they weigh is a good rule of thumb.


Switch to wet food in summer

The warmer months necessitate a shift in nutrition. Wet packaged food is another adjustment that could be advantageous to your dog since it provides them with another supply of water. Puppies require more fluids and meals that are simpler to digest. To cool them off on a hot day, you may also give them cucumbers and watermelons (without the seeds).


Fill their water bowl with ice or soup

Another great approach to keep them hydrated on a hot day is with ice or water that has been flavored with chicken stock. Squashed ice cubes, chicken, beef broth, or both, can be added to the water dish of your pup if he or she refuses to consume the usual tap water. They may enjoy that liquid a little bit more!


Freeze different fluids

Your dog can be more intrigued by other frozen liquids if they don’t react well to water-based ice cubes. Giving your labradoodle puppy a little frozen chicken stock is a fantastic alternative. Salt is bad for dogs, so ensure the broth you buy doesn’t contain any additional onion, pepper, or salt. Onion plants and garlic are potentially deadly for dogs.


Incorporate shady areas in your yard

Never leave a pet in a confined vehicle, or even your pup’s kennel or dog house with no ventilation. Your pet can easily overheat if there isn’t enough ventilation. Alternatively, provide a shaded spot in your yard where they may spend much of each day if they have to be outside. If you do not have a tree, you may set up a tarp, piece of fabric, or shadow screen.


Relax in the water with them

Some dogs adore swimming, while others do not. For those that do, a simple plunge in a puppy pool will quickly chill off your furry friend. Additionally, you might wet the cloth and place it all over their body, particularly on their chest and stomach if they don’t enjoy the pool. Alternatively, you may take the hose and sprinkle them; just make sure the water temperature from the sun has evaporated before you start so that the water is nice and cool.


Make your frozen treats

Summertime is the ideal time for frozen delicacies. Your puppy might enjoy frozen raspberries, bananas, carrots, and bean sprouts. Make your handmade freezing fruit or chicken soup popsicles to go one step farther. Your pup will adore it!

You may consider feeding your dog a smoothie. Although it may sound absurd, your pup may consume many of the same components that are used in smoothies for people. You may prepare a little shake for them with enough ice or water to it as long as you take care to avoid potentially dangerous items.

Smoothies for dogs should just contain a few components to avoid risking causing an upset stomach. Try combining some blueberries, bananas, ice, and plain yogurt. Freeze the resulting concoction in ice cube trays or give it to them as a smoothie. This hydrated treat is delicious for your pet as well!


Prevent running or simply walking on hot sidewalks

Before letting your dog walk on the ground when you head for a trip, inspect it. For 5 – 8 seconds, press the back of your hand firmly on the ground. If that’s too hot for you, it’s also too scorching for your pup. If you do want to take your dog for a stroll, make sure to provide them with booties to protect their paws from the heat. Booties are great for both heat and cold. You can also walk short distances on grass rather than the pavement.


Ensure you know the rules for shaving your dog

Maintaining your dog’s grooming is important no matter the weather, but perhaps in the summer, it is even more important. Be aware of your dog’s coat type and know whether you should or should not shave your pup. The coat of your pup may keep him cool and comfortable in summer and warm in the winter. Additionally, it helps shield them from UV radiation. Dogs with double coats should never be shaved. 

For dogs that do not need to be shaved, periodically comb their fur. This gets the dead hair out of the coat so that sufficient ventilation is possible. Additionally, it prevents their hair from matting. Fur that is matted may hold heat.

Some dogs drink water without hesitation when it is provided, so be sure to always have fresh water for your pup. However, if you have  a dog who does not drink enough water, consider one of the suggestions on the list above.

In the heat of the summer, dehydration in your dog is a very real issue. Be aware of the symptoms and take your pup to the vet if this occurs. 

Guest Author: Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friend. 

tabby cat with paw touching human palm

Photo by Jonas Vincent on Unsplash


We all know that having a furry or feathered friend around the house can be a tonic to the soul. With their cute looks and funny personalities, these animal additions to your household become a valued member of the family. Children growing up with a pet can also learn valuable skills around caring for an animal and taking responsibility – a pet is a friend for life.


Most pet lovers don’t need convincing that their companion offers them emotional support. From someone to cuddle when you’re sitting down in the evening, to a beloved playmate for a child, your pet will be involved in every aspect of your life. But what exactly are the specific emotional benefits of owning a pet? Let’s take a look.

Reduced stress

Golden retriever puppy running on sidewalk toward cameraIf you’ve ever seen a cute puppy and felt a rush of happiness, you’re not alone. Studies have shown that pet owners have lower blood pressure than those who don’t have an animal companion. This has even been shown to work on people with borderline hypertension, so everyone can reap the benefits. While lowered blood pressure is a physical benefit, it will also help you feel calmer. (Photo by Andrew Schultz on Unsplash)

Additionally, pets decrease our levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and increase levels of the calming and happiness hormones serotonin and dopamine. Of course, pets can also help distract us from our worries too, and provide a much-needed opportunity to have a break from what’s going on around us.

Help with confidence

Especially for children, pets are the perfect friend. It’s not uncommon to see children talking to their pets, and telling them all about their lives. Both children and adults may find that pets make the ideal confidant, as they have a nonjudgemental listening ear and no social expectations.


Pets can also help in social situations, if you struggle with going to new places, or meeting new people. Instead of having to worry about what you’ll do when you’re there, you can sit and fuss with your pet until you’re ready to get up and speak to the people around you. Pets can also act as an icebreaker, with new people approaching you to ask to stroke your animal, and therefore avoiding the need for you to introduce yourself.

Ease loneliness

Pets make great companions, especially if you like the comfort of having them follow you around your house. Additionally, a dog in particular can help you get out of the house and on a walk, which can be beneficial if you live alone, or find it difficult to motivate yourself to get outside. This can lead to you simply saying “hello” to other people, which builds a sense of connection – you may even meet some other local dog owners who you then start to see regularly. In fact, pet owners are 60% more likely than non-pet owners to connect with people in their neighborhood.


It’s perfectly normal to talk to your pet, and as previously mentioned, you may find that they offer a silent listening ear. But they can also be helpful if you’re nervous about being at home alone, or find the silence lonely. Even hearing a pet moving around the house can help you feel like there is someone with you. If you’re not used to living alone for whatever reason, this can ease the transition into solo living.

To sum up

Pets are valued companions to adults and children of all ages and backgrounds. They become cherished members of the family and can make you feel less stressed, more confident and help you form social connections. They also bring joy and happiness to your home – what’s not to love?


Guest Author: Elizabeth earned a bachelor’s degree in English Language. She adores animals and currently owns a three-year-old Persian cat. She enjoys creating thoughtful blogs that provide readers with actionable takeaways.

black and tan dachshund wearing sunglasses

Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash

Summer has arrived and apart from it being a great time for you to relax, it’s also the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors with your canine BFF. Whether you form a twosome with your dog or get the entire family involved, and regardless of your best buddy’s breed, there are lots of summer activities to enjoy that are canine-inclusive. Here are our favorite 8, but keep in mind that there are lots more.

Go Hiking

Look for a dog-friendly hiking trail, especially in the hills or mountains where both you and your pup can get some respite from the heat. Trails will allow your dog to get involved in some serious exploring and canine investigation.

Go to the Beach or a Swim

If you reside where there’s a dog-friendly beach nearby, playing on the shore will delight your four-legged companion. Bring along a ball or frisbee and beach towel in case your pup decides to go for a swim

Do take care about the temperature of sand with those delicate paws, and always look for some shade, even a beach umbrella, so that your dog can rest out of the sun. 

You can also opt to play in a pool, but make sure your dog has a life vest and never leave your dog in the water unsupervised. In a best-case scenario, your dog should be able to enter and exit the pool by himself. If not, pay attention to any signs of distress.

Go Boating

If you own a boat or have access to one, taking the pooch along can make for a fun afternoon. Even if your dog is a swimmer, it’s still recommended that your dog wear a doggy life vest while out on the water.

Visit a State Park 

State parks are underrated and don’t get the attention they deserve. Most state parks will feature dog-friendly trails or areas, so your pup can enjoy the great outdoors at their finest.

Try Biking

If you have a young energetic breed or a dog that is used to jogging with you, consider a bike ride with a hands-free leash. If your dog is a smaller breed, or older, consider using a bike basket or a bike stroller and treat your dog to a ride around the area.

Get a Pet Pool and Sprinklers

Live in the city and can’t get away? Set up a pet pool in your yard specially designed for dogs, or even a children’s pool. Pet pools are generally foldable and portable with easy drainage and non-slip surfaces. Make sure you throw in lots of bobbing toys to play with. 

You can also let your dog have some fun by setting up yard sprinklers and playing with your pup amid all that cooling water.

Take a Fruit Break

There’s nothing more refreshing than fresh cool fruit on a hot summer day for both you and your furry friend. Dogs can safely enjoy watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, mangos without the pits and skins, pineapple without the skin, apples de-cored and de-seeded, pears de-cored and de-seeded, and even a small portion of banana (it’s high in sugar). Not only will this be a refreshing treat, but your pup will benefit from the vitamin and mineral intake. 

Organize a Doggy Spa Day

Organize a visit to your dog’s groomer. It’s much easier for dogs to get dirtier in summer. Your dog will probably gradually be losing his or her winter coat, so a trip to get the fur trimmed is perfectly timed. 

Removing old hair will aid your dog in managing the heat, as well as protect fur from matting in the water or collecting debris on a trail. While there, have nails checked for trimming and get the teeth brushed. If you are brave and up to the task, you can do hands-on grooming at home!

Tips When Including Your Dog in Activities

  • Check that wherever you decide to go, whether a park, a beach, or elsewhere, is dog-friendly so you won’t have any trouble entering with your pup.
  • Choose an activity that mirrors the activity level of your dog. If your dog is young, energetic, or involved in activities that require prolonged physical expenditure, you can opt for a long hike. If, however, your pooch is used to short walks, keep that in mind when selecting and planning your activities.
  • If the weather is hot, take enough water along for everyone involved including your pup, and a collapsible bowl.
  • A balanced and healthy diet like those offered by Timberwolf Organics will be essential to help repair sore muscles after every adventure. This becomes even more crucial to keep your dog in top condition during the hot weather.
  • Before adventuring along trails make sure the pooch has up-to-date flea and tick treatments as well as all necessary vaccines.

Now, you’ve waited an entire year for summer to return, so enjoy the season with your furry best buddy. Your dog will thank you for it.


Guest Author: Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friend. 

Photo by Bahman Adlou on Unsplash

As Memorial Day draws near many of us are thinking about all of the great summer grill outs that we will be hosting. While barbecues are great fun for both people and their pets, it’s important to make sure that you follow a few guidelines when hosting or attending such an event to make sure everyone, both two and four legged guests, can celebrate safely.

1. Keep the people food to the people

Make sure you keep your food and drink out of reach of your pets. Inform your guests about any “don’t feed the dog” rules as well. Your pup may think that whatever is coming off the grill smells amazing, but human food poses many dangers to pets. Besides the chance of burns if you pet manages to nab something straight off the grill, the following is a list of common hazards for pets:

  • Kebab sticks (both metal and wooden) can be swallowed and/or puncture a pet’s mouth
  • Ribs/bones are also choking hazards. If swallowed they can cause puncture or perforation of internal organs
  • Corn cobs can cause obstruction or digestion problems if swallowed
  • Foods high in fat can cause inflammation of the pancreas, which can be serious and occasionally fatal
  • Onions and avocados are great on burgers but are toxic to dogs when ingested and snacks like grapes, raisins, and chocolate are dangerous as well

Consider feeding your dog their meal or a snack before your grill out to make sure they are less tempted by hunger. Or offer your pet their own version of a barbecue snack while you enjoy your food.

2. Pick up trash

Some of our pets may moonlight as raccoons, sneakily accessing our trash cans and bags of rubbish. Be sure that any trash, especially trash with food leftovers that may smell appealing, is secured where your pet cannot access it and keep it covered. Aluminum foil, skewers, bones, grease, plastic wrap, and lighter fluid all pose dangers to our pets that are easily avoidable if care is taken.

For those of you who may live in more rural areas, be sure to protect your trash from wildlife as well both to avoid luring in critters and to protect them from the same dangers.

3. Establish boundaries

These boundaries go both ways. You should be sure to establish places where it is unsafe for your pet to be and take steps to keep them out of those areas as well as make sure that your pet has a quiet place to retreat away from your guests if needed.

Consider fencing off or blocking access to the grill or barbecue area. Those smells are tempting for pets, but the heat from the fire and the grease are both dangerous. Make sure your pet doesn’t have access to either. It’s also important to make sure your yard/home are secure. It only takes one guest not paying attention, or you entering your home/yard with your hands full, to allow your pet to escape. Notify your guests that you have pets and explain where they can and cannot be. Put your pet on a lead or in an enclosed space if you’re worried about an escape.

While some pets may enjoy having friends and family of all ages visit, other pets prefer not to have to engage with strangers or children. Be sure there is a place where your pet can go to retreat from the gathering and have some quiet time. Let your guests, especially those with children, know that your pet may need some space and to not interfere if they do retreat to their “safe spot.” Give your pet a puzzle toy or a kong stuffed with a treat to distract them during their breaks.

4. Keep your dog cool

Make sure your pet has access to shade. On very hot days it may be best to keep your pup inside, or only allow them out for short periods of time. Know the signs of heat stroke in pets and keep an eye on your pup. If you have access to a hose, kiddie pool, or sprinkler, consider giving your pup some time to play in the water to cool off.

Hydration is important for both you and your pet. Make sure your pet has access to fresh water and keep their bowl full throughout the day. Toss a few ice cubes into their bowl for a fun treat to both entertain them and keep their water cool.

5. Scan the area

Know what plants are poisonous for pets and remove them from your yard ahead of time. When you’re distracted with the grill or your guests you want to know that there’s nothing your pet could eat that would be problematic. If you and your pup are guests of someone else, be sure to do a quick scan of their yard as well. Consider keeping your pup leashed to you to prevent them from interacting with any plants that may be suspect.

If you are going to be setting off fireworks make sure your pet is secured ahead of time. Fireworks are often extremely stressful for pets and they would much prefer being inside or somewhere that is secured. Once you’ve finished your pyrotechnic display, scan the ground for bits of the fireworks that fall so that your pet does not ingest them later.


So go ahead and enjoy those barbecues! Just make sure that you are following our tips to keep everyone safe and happy.

Microchipping Your Pet: How it Works

Microchipping your pet tremendously boosts the chances of reuniting if he or she ever gets lost. It does not matter if you have a dog, a cat, a rabbit, or a horse, microchipping works! But for it to be effective, you have to do it right, keep updating your details, and purge your mind of all the rumors and falsehoods about it. 

Microchipping does not monitor or track your pet. But we will help you learn how it works so that you can make this crucial decision and protect your fur baby. 

Photo by Werzk Luuu on Unsplash

Microchipping Works – Here Are The Statistics

The American Humane Organization estimates that each year, 10 million pets are lost in the United States. Many don’t stray too far from their homes and are recovered by their owners. However, many more end up in animal shelters. 


According to the ASPCA, 93% of dogs and 74% of cats in shelters are reunited with their owners. However, many pets have to wait in shelters because they are unidentified. They neither have an ID tag nor microchips. Of these, only 15% of dogs and 2% of cats are reunited with their owners. 


The situation changes when you consider microchipped pets.


A study conducted by the Ohio State University found that the owner-reunion rate for microchipped cats was 20 times higher than the owner-reunion rate for all lost cats. On the other hand, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was 2.5 times higher than the reunion rate for all lost dogs.

But what are pet microchips, and how do they work?

Pet Microchip – What It Is

The pet experts at The Vets explained to us that a pet microchip “Is a small electronic device inserted into the body of your pet. It is as small as a single grain of rice. It is often inserted underneath the skin between the shoulder blades. Contrary to the myths, pet microchips do not require batteries, can last a lifetime, and the insertion process is painless.”

How it works

The microchip carries a unique code that is identifiable by a microchip scanner. The scanner emits a specific radio frequency that activates the chip. The chip then transmits its unique identification code to the scanner. The scanning shelter or vet can then compare the code against a database to reveal the lost pet owner’s contact information.


Therefore, for a pet microchip to work effectively, these three conditions should be fulfilled:


  • The chip should be in the correct place and in working condition. 
  • The person scanning should use the proper scanner and proper technique. 
  • The name and contact information of the pet owner (in the database) should be up to date. 


Why A Pet Microchip Could Fail

Not fulfilling any of the three conditions above means that microchipping your pet may not be effective. There are several reasons why there could be such a breakdown. 


First, the microchip could be faulty. A faulty microchip means that the entire process does not work. But according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it is rare. 


Second, the person scanning could be applying an incorrect technique. Sometimes the vet or shelter staff can scan for a microchip while the pet is wearing a collar with metallic parts. The metal could distort the microchip or scanner signal. One could also use the incorrect type of scanner that emits radio frequencies above or below the range of the microchip and fails to activate it. To minimize the chances of this error, scanner manufacturers worldwide have adopted uniform international standards. Plus, many are developing wide-range scanners that can detect a variety of chips.


The third and most common reason why pet microchipping might not be effective is a result of errors in the database. When your contact information is not up to date or is incorrect, the shelter cannot contact you. Worse still, there is no central database with information about microchipped pet owners in the US. However, pet microchipping companies are progressively addressing that gap. Today, there are websites providing links to the registries of microchip companies to vets and shelters.


Pet microchips will also fail to work if you believe the following myths:

  • You can use a microchip to track the location of your pet. Although some microchipping companies often sell pet monitoring and tracking systems, microchipping is primarily an identification device.
  • A microchip can replace the ID tag on your pet. 
  • Pet microchip companies do not protect your personal information. Therefore you could give false information or deliberately fail to update it.

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash

A Final Word, Be A Proactive Pet Owner

Microchipping significantly enhances the chances of a reunion with your pet if he or she ever gets lost. Be a proactive pet owner and have your pet microchipped. 


But do not stop there. 


Ensure your pet always has an ID tag. Go a step further and get a collar with a tracking system. It could save you a lot of trouble since many pets don’t stray too far from home. Contact the microchip company and confirm your details are correct and up-to-date. Also, ask your vet to scan the microchip and check that it is working correctly every time you visit. 


Guest Author: Emila is a freelance journalist and blogger with a love for those with four legs! She has grown up around animals and pets and wants to use her knowledge on pet behavior, training and lifestyle tips to help other pet parents live the best possible life with their furry friends. 

Image via Unsplash


Moving 101: Eliminate Moving Stress for You and Your Pets


As a pet owner, your animals are a part of your family. If you’re preparing to downsize and move to a new house, your pets are an important factor to consider in the equation. Learn how to find a new home with your furry family member.


Find the Dream Home for Your Whole Family

When hunting for your dream home, keep all of the members of your household in mind, including the pets. Location, house style, neighborhood, and pet-friendliness are all important considerations when deciding on your new home.


Once you have a home in mind, work on downsizing and packing up your current home. Downsizing and moving is a stressful time for your animals, so you may want to hire someone like Whiskers to Tails Petsitting to keep your pet company in another area of the house or take your pup for an extra long walk so they remain comfortable. Hiring a dog walker during a showing can also help with selling your current place. Some potential buyers prefer a pet-free home.


Modify Your Home for Your Furry Family Member

For safety, most dogs require a fenced-in yard. Fences allow your pets to play in the yard without you having to worry about them getting loose. Before you choose a fence, figure out the type you need. When installing one, think about the function and aesthetics. You can create a functional space without compromising fun design elements.


When considering a fencing contractor, evaluate the companies nearest to you. Check reviews and services online. When you meet with a contractor, he or she may provide you with a quote, which will depend on the size, materials, and location. Before signing a contract, check to ensure your contractor is licensed, insured, and knows where the underground utility lines are.


If you have the room, you may want to create a grooming station. If you have a dog who likes to run through the mud, you may want to make an area in a mudroom, on the back porch, or in the laundry room. Consider installing a walk-in bathing area with an extendable shower head for easy rinse offs.


You may need to anchor the furniture and other features to the wall to ensure no accidental collapses occur, especially if you have a kitty who likes to climb. Keep all electric wiring out of your pet’s way, patch up any escape routes and keep all dangerous items out of reach and locked away.


It’s also wise to consider any modifications you may need to make for your family if you have young kids or a senior relative living in your home. For example, if your senior parent is living with you, you’ll need to take steps to mitigate the risk of them falling, including adding non-slip carpeting, installing extra lighting, and fixing loose steps. As a bonus, these modifications will help as your pets age as well.


Make the Transition as Painless as Possible

To help yourself adjust, pack a box of necessities and essential items to set up right away. To make yourself feel at home faster, set up the kitchen first. The sooner you re-establish your routine for both you and your pets, the better.


Choose a room for your pets to adjust to when you arrive. The pets’ space should have toys, food, water, and treats available. Your pet can gradually adjust to one room at the new place before acclimating to the rest of the house.


Moving happens to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Your animal will be under a considerable amount of stress, too. When your pet is safe, the process becomes a lot more painless.



Guest Author: Cindy is a freelance writer and dog lover. She started as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners and potential pet owners about how dogs can enrich our lives. She enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.



April is National Prevention of Lyme Disease in Dogs Month. Many of us pet parents give our dogs monthly flea and tick medication to prevent a variety of tick borne illnesses, including Lyme Disease. However, even with that protection, your pup could be infected if bitten. Lyme disease, both for humans and dogs, is serious, but being prepared and vigilant and knowing the signs and symptoms means you can get your pup the treatment they need.

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial illness that can be transmitted to humans and pets via the bite of a deer tick (also known as the black-legged tick). Once bitten, the bacteria enters the bloodstream of the animal and travels to different parts of the body, often causing widespread problems in organs and joints.

red retriever lying down in tall grass with sun shining on it's headTicks prefer tall grasses or marshes, thick brush, and woods, and jump onto the host animal as it passes through those areas. The majority of deer ticks, and thus Lyme disease cases, occur in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and Pacific Coast, but they can exist anywhere so it’s always a good idea to check your pets (and yourself) for ticks after walks through that type of environment. An infected tick can transmit the disease after it has been attached to the animal for 24 to 48 hours, which is why frequent tick checks are important, especially in the warmer months.

What are the symptoms?

Typical symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs are:

  • Fever
  • Lameness/limping (can be intermittent or recurring)
  • Generalized stiffness or pain
  • Swelling of joints
  • Low or reduced energy
  • Loss of appetite and/or weight loss

Some owners have described their dogs as seeming to “walk on eggshells.” They move hesitantly and painfully. Sometimes they may limp on one leg or it may switch to another leg or disappear altogether for weeks just to recur.

If untreated, Lyme disease can sometimes progress to organ, specifically kidney, failure. This is less common but can be fatal. Non specific signs of Lyme disease affecting the kidneys are lethargy, vomiting, lack of appetite, and weight loss.

The good news is that because it is transmitted via ticks, Lyme disease is not contagious between pets or between humans and animals. However, if one of your pets is diagnosed with Lyme disease, it’s possible that you and/or any other pets in your home can contract it if any additional ticks were carried back from your walk.

How is Lyme disease treated?

Veterinarians diagnose Lyme disease in dogs with a specific blood test. The infection can be found with that test approximately 3-5 weeks after your dog has been bitten, sometimes before your pup shows symptoms. Because the tests can take several weeks to show a positive result, veterinarians may also use additional diagnostics such as a urinalysis, fecal sample, x-rays, or a joint fluid sample to assist in the diagnosis. This is why annual well checks and bloodwork are important parts of your pup’s health care.

Treatment includes a long round of antibiotics, usually 30 days. Symptoms typically resolve quickly, but occasionally the infection will persist and a longer course of antibiotics will be needed.

What can I do to prevent my dog from getting Lyme disease?

While none of these are foolproof, there are several ways to reduce the risk of your pet contracting Lyme disease:

  • Keep your pet medicated year round. The flea and tick prevention prescribed by your veterinarian works best if it is used consistently. While it may be unlikely, ticks can survive some extreme weather and may bite your pup on a walk any time of year.
  • Consider getting your dog vaccinated. Vaccinations may help prevent your pup from getting Lyme disease if bitten. Consult with your veterinarian to see if the Lyme vaccination would be right for your pet.
  • Inspect your dogs (and yourself) after every walk through woods or grassy areas. The American Kennel Club says “On dogs, look especially on the feet (and between toes), on lips, around eyes, ears (and inside ears), near the anus, and under the tail.” You can also ask your vet to do a tick check at every exam. They may find some that you’ve missed.
  • Remove any ticks that you do find quickly and learn the proper method of removal so that the entire tick is removed.
  • Keep grassy areas in your yard mowed as short as possible and avoid any tall grasses while out for walks.

woman and 2 goldendoodles, one red and one cream, sitting on wooden bridge in forestSpringtime is right around the corner here in Minnesota and many of us are ready to get out and about now that the weather is more agreeable. From parks to events to coffee shops, there are some wonderful places you can visit and bring your four legged friend with you! Check out our list below of some of our favorite spots to hang with Spot.

Parks and Trails

There are so many great parks in Minnesota that it’s hard to pick just a few. We’ve listed our favorites below, but to see all of the dog parks in the Twin Cities, check out Bring Fido’s list. Before you head out, make sure the park or trail you chose is dog friendly (some of them are not) and be sure to bring water for you and your pup and poop baggies to carry out any waste. Orvis has some good tips on trail etiquette for your dog.

  • Minnehaha Regional Park is a great location in the Twin Cities to wander with your pup. The park has a beautiful waterfall, several miles of trails, a great seasonal restaurant, and even an off leash dog park (requires a permit or day pass). Keep in mind that dog park is not fully fenced and abuts the Mississippi River, so if your pup does not have good recall or doesn’t like water, this may not be the best park for you.
  • The Chain of Lakes has 15 miles of pedestrian (and dog!) trails along several lakes including Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet. The trails are a part of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway and for most of the path you and your pup will be feet from the lakes with a lovely view of the water and the Minneapolis skyline.
  • Elm Creek Park Reserve is part of the Three Rivers Park District. It’s over 4,800 acres and contains numerous paved trails for dog walking, picnic areas, a fully fenced dog park (with separately fenced in pond area), and a water park and playground (although those are not dog friendly).
  • The Superior Trail is Minnesota’s premier hiking trail. It is broken up into 3-11 mile long sections, so you can complete however much or little you’d prefer with your pup. Check it out for a fun weekend adventure with your four legged friend.

Also, all of Minnesota’s state parks are dog friendly and many have some great trails. Just be sure to keep your pup on a 6 foot leash and clean up after them. Check out Sidewalk Dog’s list of best dog friendly state parks here.

Shops and Restaurants

  • Craft & Crew  is one of the most dog friendly restaurant groups in the Twin Cities. All of their restaurants (Stanley’s NE Bar Room, The Block, Pub 819, Duke’s on 7, and The Howe) have dog friendly patios with yoga mats and water bowls for your pup’s comfort. They even have a doggie menu in case your pup is a bit peckish!
  • Nadia Cakes is our go to spot for sweet treats for you and your pup. Their pupcakes are made with yogurt, peanut butter, apples, bananas, rice flour, and cream cheese. They come in regular and mini sizes, so no matter how big or small your pup is, they can enjoy a treat alongside you!
  • Birchbark Books welcomes pets inside with pats and the occasional treat for your four legged friend. Their passionate and friendly staff are a wonderful complement to their focus on native books and handmade art (this is a teaching bookshop).
  • Seven Points is a shopping mall in Uptown where all of the common areas are dog friendly. With plenty of pet friendly patios and some stores that welcome your pet inside, you’ll find that window shopping with your furry friend is great fun!

Breweries and Distilleries

  • Lake Monster Brewing Company is dog friendly inside and out! Your pup can join you on the patio or inside their spacious taproom while you sample local brews and check out whichever food truck is visiting.
  • Twin Spirits Distillery is both a distillery and a coffee shop. Dogs are welcome on the covered patio, so stop by for a cocktail and bring your four legged friend.
  • For those of you who aren’t fans of beer, Sociable Cider Werks allows well behaved pups to visit both indoors and outdoors. With a large parking lot and plenty of space, Sociable often hosts fun events and food trucks to entertain you and your pup as you sample the ciders.
  • Unleashed Hops and Hounds is a unique combo of dog park, bar, and eatery. Bring your vaccinated pup to romp in their indoor and outdoor play spaces while you enjoy a drink and a snack. Unleashed often has themed events like Pups and Pizza Date Night or Drink for Dogs.

For a complete list of all dog friendly breweries, distilleries, wineries, and more visit Sidewalk Dog. Check out their Brewery Pass for free beers at over 40 Minnesota locations as well!

Dog Friendly Events

  • Mpls Pet Market pops up at Unleashed Hops and Hounds many weekends throughout the spring and summer. With plenty of vendors ranging from doggie treats and toys, pet wear, trainers, and more, there’s always something to peak your (and your pet’s) interest!
  • All About Dogs Day at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is a great time for you and your pup to check out the beautiful trails, snap some cute summer photos, and attend the Dog Expo with a variety of vendors. This year’s event is on June 4th  so be sure to register ahead of time.
  • Run for Beer with the Minnesota Brewery Running Series covers a full season from April through December at a huge number of breweries around the Twin Cities and beyond. As long as your pup is on a 6 foot lead and is well behaved in crowds, he or she can run each race with you. But the beer at the end of the race is only for the humans!

These are just a few of our favorite places to go with our pets. There are many more in the Twin Cities and all over Minnesota, so get on out there for some pup friendly adventures!

Thank a rescue volunteer!

German Shepherd sitting staring at camera with head tilted, in grassy field

If you’re a proud parent of a rescue pet, odds are good that you worked with an animal shelter or rescue organization to bring your furry bundle of joy home. And the whole experience of finding your new forever friend was probably a wonderful one — after all, volunteers who work in animal rescues are passionate about their work, and they have a way of making it look easy! But the truth is, the path to placing a pet in his or her new home is rarely a smooth one. In fact, there are a few surprising challenges these selfless animal heroes face every day.


Whiskers to Tails Petsitting shares a few reasons we should all be extra thankful for animal shelters and rescue organizations — and especially the hardworking people behind them!


Many rescues don’t have a physical space


When a lot of us think about animal rescue organizations, we picture a safe haven similar to an animal shelter: a large building with ample space for harboring as many animals as possible. But in fact, many rescues don’t have one large, physical structure for the pets in their care.


Without having a physical space of their own, rescues depend on the generosity of their communities not only to adopt, but also to foster adoptable pets. Additionally people can volunteer by doing everyday tasks like transporting animals to and from locations, assisting at events, or even remotely by making phone calls or doing paperwork.


Animal loving community members who are business minded may consider combining their passion for pets with their skill set to start their own nonprofit to help homeless animals. There is a process involved, and rules and regulations vary by state, so do your due diligence before jumping in. ZenBusiness can help walk you through the steps.


There are no days off


A nonprofit rescue shelter is a 24/7/365 operation. Animals’ lives don’t just need saving during daylight hours — and they certainly aren’t exempt from a tragic situation during evenings, weekends or holidays. Emergencies do not always happen during business hours, but always must be dealt with immediately.


Incredibly, more than one million households re-home or surrender their pets each year according to the ASPCA. That can make it incredibly difficult for volunteers not only to help as many creatures as possible, but also to establish boundaries where their work stops and their lives begin. Animal rescue is very time consuming, and calls come in when people need help — which happens at all hours of the day and night.


It’s an emotional ride for everyone


It’s probably no surprise that working on behalf of critters isn’t always easy, as blogger Jackie Deems shares. Rescuers see animals that have been neglected, badly treated, and abandoned. But some of the ways this role can be emotionally exhausting are a little unexpected — for example, interacting with other people whose sensitivities are running high, including those who have to say goodbye to a beloved member of their family.


While many people recklessly surrender their pets, many are making a choice due to circumstances completely beyond their control, such as having to move into an assisted living facility that doesn’t allow pets. It’s even emotional for people hoping to add a new member to their family.


Although it’s not always easy, it’s important that rescuers who are in the position to help remain strong for everyone involved, including the animals in their care.


Despite all of these challenges — as well as countless others — people who are devoted to helping those without voices work tirelessly to save as many lives as possible. But they can’t do it without the help of their community members! If you’re interested in learning how you can make a difference, contact your local animal rescue or shelter to see how you can lend a hand to the cause.


Whiskers to Tails Petsitting is in-home and all-inclusive, providing exercise, cuddles, feeding, and medications. If you decide to adopt a rescue pup, Whiskers to Tails will care for them when you aren’t able to be there. Reach out to find out more at!


Guest Author: Jessica Brody is a dog lover and is passionate about sharing pet photos and stories with others. She created Our Best Friends to be a venue for pet lovers to share their pet pics, stories and adventures. Jessica believes that pets are family and enjoys her bonding moments with her furry pals.