5 Ways to Help Your Dog Stay Active

woman and child running with dog at the beachCan you guess what the number one New Year’s Resolution is every single year? That’s right. It’s to get into better shape. Now is the perfect time to start a new exercise program, but don’t forget about your pet’s health. Just like you, your dog needs plenty of exercise to stay fit and healthy. Below are some super fun ways to help your pet stay active. Remember to consult a vet before starting an exercise program for your dog.

Walk Around the Neighborhood

Every dog is unique, and sometimes slower-paced exercise is best. A simple walk around the neighborhood may be the perfect exercise for your pet. Walking around the neighborhood also gives you and your pet quality time to look forward to each day, and all the new smells and sights keep your pet happy and free from boredom, too.

Dog Parks and Beaches

If your pet needs exercise and a bit of socialization, a visit to a dog park or beach could be just what the dog-whisperer ordered. Many pet parents who don’t have a large yard take their dogs to beaches or parks simply for the running-around space. The truth is, though, most dogs are simply more active around their peers, no matter how big your yard is at home. Besides, you can’t have too many friends, and neither can your dog.

Doggie 5Ks and More!

Many New Year’s health resolutions are centered around training for a race like a marathon, obstacle course, or 5k. Well, there are lots of races out there in which you and your dog can participate. Most cities have at least one annual dog-friendly event, like Race for the Rescues or Run for Their Lives. With the right race, you and your dog can both stay fit while helping other dogs in need, too!

Dog with tennis ballPlay Fetch

While our hearts may be in the right place, sometimes our bodies just won’t allow us to walk around the block or run a 5k. Your dog doesn’t have to give up his fun, just because our bones say ‘no way’.  Playing a game of fetch is a great low-impact exercise for you that can make your dog feel like a champion. Go ahead, lob your dog’s favorite ball and watch as they bring it back with a swooping tail wag.

Doggie Daycare

We know how hard it can be to find the time to exercise with our pets every day. Sometimes work and life just get in the way. You don’t have to feel bad. Bring your pal to doggie daycare for a few hours. They will have an opportunity to meet new friends, play in a secure environment, and burn some of that bottled up energy.

It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you and your dog participate in together. The important thing is you both are spending quality together and staying healthy.  We’re confident that your dog will reward your hard work with lots of kisses and snuggling after a hard day’s exercise.

Valentine’s Day and Chocolate: Not A Great Day for Your Dog

Lover Valentine Havanese puppy dog with a red heartValentine’s Day is a great time to show the ones you love just how much they mean to you. We spoil our significant others with flowers, balloons and lots of chocolate. In fact, almost 58 million pounds of chocolaty goodness is sold during Valentine’s Day week.  While we may love the creamy confection that comes wrapped in glittery hearts, our dogs are also tempted. Unfortunately, they tend to be ruled by their stomachs and are clueless to the dangers that chocolate poses for them. Dogs and chocolate can make for a dangerous combination.

The Dangers of Chocolate for Dogs

Dogs and chocolate can be a dangerous mix. Chocolate contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine, which can be toxic to your dog. Between the caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate, your dog could suffer some serious health complications like gastrointestinal problems, nervous system and heart issues, and could ultimately lead to seizures or cardiac arrest after ingesting chocolate. Even a small amount of chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Theobromine is the chemical that causes the majority of health problems for dogs that eat chocolate. The concentration of theobromine is highest in dark chocolate, making it the most potentially toxic. Poisoning can occur at a dose as low as 220 milligrams of theobromine per pound of body weight.

Average Theobromine Concentrations in Chocolate:

  • Baker’s chocolate contains about 450 milligrams per ounce
  • Semi-sweet chocolate contains about 260 milligrams per ounce
  • Milk chocolate contains about 60 milligrams per ounce

What Happens If Your Dogs Eats Chocolate?

If you have a sneaky dog who managed to break into your Valentine’s candy, you should be aware of the possible health changes they may experience. How sick your dog becomes will depend on a number of factors like, weight, age, health and the type and amount of chocolate consumed. Since chocolate toxicity is based on the amount of theobromine and the size of the dog, it’s easy to see how a small dog could be in trouble before a larger dog. For example, a 16-pound dog, would be in trouble if he consumed four ounces of baker’s chocolate (or one pound of milk chocolate).

In smaller quantities, the symptoms of theobromine poisoning are usually gastrointestinal. At higher doses, your dog could die from irregular heartbeats known as cardiac arrhythmias or cardiac arrest. Symptoms of a chocolate toxicity in your dog could start as early as within the hour after they eat it up to a few hours later.

The good news is that theobromine poisoning can usually be treated if caught early enough. Call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Control Center (1-888-426-4435*) immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms in your pet:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive panting
  • Hyperactivity
  • Lack of coordination or wobbly movements (ataxia)
  • Elevated body temperature (hyperthermia)
  • Irregular heartbeats

* Be advised that there may be a charge for this call.

While chocolate toxicity is a scary thing, you don’t have to let fear ruin your romantic day. Be mindful of your dog’s desire to indulge in anything that tempts their taste buds. Keep chocolates and candies out of reach from prying paws and you can enjoy Valentine’s Day, chocolate and all.


Your Dog’s New Year’s Resolutions

Cute havanese puppy dog is wearing a Happy New Year top hat

It’s that time of year again where we evaluate our past year, review our accomplishments, and set goals for next year. For us humans, these resolutions come in the form of many of the same goals. We want to save money, exercise more, and spend time with our families. Did you know your dog has objectives of their own for 2015? They do. We know this because they tell us (honest, they are quite talkative when they visit us at Pooch Hotel). We compiled a list of some of the New Year’s resolutions that are high priority for dogs in 2015.




In no particular order, here are the results.

  • Finally discover “who’s a good dog?”
  • Play more
  • Find the bone that’s buried in the backyard
  • Discover new smells
  • Cut back on watching cat videos
  • Try not to destroy all of my stuffed animals
  • Eat less garbage
  • Lose a little weight
  • Volunteer to help out at a local hospital
  • Win more games of tug-of-war
  • Drink less water from the toilet
  • Cut back on the snacking
  • Find the biggest and best stick at the park
  • Become a YouTube/Internet star
  • Beg less at the table
  • Chew up less shoes, furniture, and other no-no items
  • Learn to enjoy bath time
  • Break the Guinness World Record for ball catches
  • Make new friends
  • Enjoy life more through napping

Whatever your dog’s goals are for the New Year, we hope you’ll include us in some of those adventures.  Here’s to you and your dog having the best year ever!

Top 12 Winter Holiday Pet Hazards

Funny, cute and playful pug dogCelebrating the holidays with pets can be festive and memorable. Often it means chilly weather, the hustle and bustle of decorating, parties and traveling. However, some of these festive traditions can pose hazards to your dog, cat or small animal. Follow these tips to prevent accidents or illness:

1. Artificial and Live Trees

  • Secure your tree to a wall or window to prevent it from falling on your pet. Use a pet gate or indoor exercise pen to keep her away from the tree.
  • Artificial and live tree needles can be sharp and are indigestible. Pick up needles daily to help prevent your pet from eating them.
  • Cover your tree water basin tightly with aluminum foil and a tree skirt; bacteria from sitting water can make your pet sick.

2. Decorations

  • Place glass ornaments, tinsel and lights up higher on your tree, where your curious pet can’t get to them. Tinsel can pose a serious health risk for your pet if eaten.
  • Cover electrical cords or tape them down to prevent your pet from chewing on them and possibly getting burned, shocked or electrocuted.

3. Wrapped Presents

  • Ribbons, bows and other decorative items can be a danger to your pet. These items are a choking hazard and if ingested could cause an intestinal obstruction.
  • Supervise your pet around wrapped gifts. They may get curious and chew their way into presents and their contents. Toys with small or removable parts are a choking hazard, and batteries can be a danger to your precocious pet.

4. Live Plants

  • Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias, lilies and daffodils are poisonous to your pet, so keep them in a place where they can’t get to them.

5. Cold Weather

  • Consider booties and a warm sweater or coat for your dog if you go outside for winter walks.
  • Watch for the formation of ice balls between your dog’s toes and regularly trim the long hair between her footpads to avoid frostbitten feet. If you suspect frostbite, do not rub the area but simply apply a warm, moist washcloth and contact your veterinarian.
  • Never leave your pet unattended in your car as it can act as a freezer in extreme temperatures. Pets (especially younger and older dogs) can suffer stress, frostbite and hypothermia when their body temperature drops just a few degrees below normal.

6. Visitors

  • The holidays are a busy time, with more traffic in your house than usual. If your pet tends to get nervous around strangers or increased activity, set up a quiet place for them to retreat to—complete with food, water, a bed and anything else they may need.
  • If you host a holiday party, it may be best for your pet to relax in a quiet room, away from all the noise and people. Playing soft music can help calm them.

7. Table Scraps and Treats

  • Never feed your pet chocolate, grapes or raisins—all are toxic to dogs, cats and small animals and could lead to serious illness.
  • Sugar-free treats are made with xylitol and can also cause illness; never leave holiday desserts out where your pet can reach them.
  • Dogs should never eat nuts, which are often used in holiday baking. Be especially cautious of foods containing macadamia nuts, walnuts and pistachios. Note that peanut butter is OK as an occasional treat.
  • Never give your pet any bones from fish, poultry or other meat sources. Bones can easily cause an airway obstruction and splinter off, creating a laceration in her digestive system.
  • Carefully dispose of your turkey carcass to prevent your pet from choking on small bones or suffering throat damage from brittle bones. Discarded meat can also contain a host of bacteria that causes food poisoning. Seal it safely out of your pet’s reach.

8. Travel

  • If you plan to fly with your pet, contact your airline in advance for detailed information about bringing your pet in the cabin, paperwork you need to bring and other arrangements.
  • Make sure your pet has proper identification—including an ID tag on his collar and a microchip ID—in case he should get lost.
  • If you plan to board your pet when you travel out of town, make your reservation ahead of time so you’re guaranteed a spot during the busiest time of year.
  • You can always book a reservation at one of our many Pooch Hotel locations if travel plans take you out of town. We’d love to bring some holiday cheer to them.

9. Chemicals

  • De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice can be poisonous if licked by your dog or the neighborhood cat. Use pet-safe ice melt rather than rock salt.
  • Automotive antifreeze tastes sweet, but contains ethylene glycol, which can cause rapid and permanent kidney damage, and can be deadly to your pet if ingested.
  • Wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when he comes back inside after being outdoors, and make sure all chemicals are out of reach in your garage.

10. Alcohol

  • Keep your pet away from the holiday punch, eggnog and anything else containing alcohol, which can depress her nervous system and cause a variety of ailments—including vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and even seizures.

11. Candles and Potpourri

  • Keep burning candles out of reach.
  • Hot liquid potpourri can possibly burn your pet and dry potpourri can be harmful if ingested.

12. Lack of Attention

    • The holidays are a busy time. Remember that your pet prefers regular mealtimes, walks and lots of love and attention. Take the time to give them much-needed playtime, and try to stick to their routine.
    • If your schedule has you running in all directions, consider a visit to our dog daycare. We’ll give them all of the TLC they want, while you check items off of your ‘to do’ list.
retriever puppy in Christmas costumes

How to Protect Your Dog from Cold Weather

dThe summer months are gone and fall is quickly turning into winter. Like us humans, our dogs long for the rollicking sunshine of months gone by, and for good reason. But cold weather can be more than just uncomfortable for your pet. Without a few precautions, it can be dangerous, especially in areas that get snow. So when your pet spends time outdoors this winter, keep these tips in mind for protecting him or her. 



Winter Pet Care Routines

Any pet owner knows it’s important to be flexible when it comes to pet care. Every dog needs something a little different, but did you know that there are things you can alter in your care routine to make your pet’s winter more comfortable?

For starters, it takes a lot of calories just to stay warm in plunging temperatures. Try giving your pet a little extra food before going outdoors. This may seem counter-intuitive, since many pets are more active in the sunshine of summer, but depending on where you live, your pet may actually expend more calories in the winter just to regulate a healthy body temperature.

Be aware of your dog’s drinking habits as well. Dogs can’t eat snow to hydrate their bodies, so make sure they have access to plenty of unfrozen water. A heated water bowl might be a good idea.

In cold, rain, and snowy seasons, it’s also important to alter your pet’s grooming schedule. In wetter conditions, fur can get dirty much more quickly. If left alone too long, dirt will begin to matt. Not only is this unpleasant for you when petting your dog, it can be uncomfortable for your pet, too.

It’s important to groom and brush your dog more often in the winter. Pooch Hotel would be happy to take care of extra grooming at our spa for you as well!

Winter Fashion

Bassotti di corsa sulla neveHumans aren’t the only ones who can get excited about fall and winter fashion. When your pet spends time outdoors this season, make sure they look and feel great!

While lines and color aren’t compelling benefits of clothing for your dog, a warm, thick sweater might be just the thing! There are a variety of sweaters to choose from at stores like Petco. You could even knit or crochet one yourself while you and your pet enjoy an evening in front of the fireplace.

Winter conditions are least forgiving on a dog’s feet, however. Have you ever walked through the snow barefoot? If you have, it probably wasn’t for long.

When out walking your pet around the neighborhood, your dog’s skin may also grow sensitive to the things we humans use to get rid of snow, like salt, magnesium, and calcium chloride. It’s a good idea to get some dog booties to protect your pet’s feet this winter.

Indoors Vs. Outdoors

While extra grooming and canine clothing can help limit the effects of winter, the best way to protect your pet is to keep him or her indoors as much as possible. Even if that just means giving your dog access to a mudroom or entryway through a doggie door, it’s better than being outdoors all day long. Another option is a good, weather-resistant dog house that’s just big enough for your pet to turn around and lay down in. Anything larger will be difficult to warm with body heat.

Of course, you can always leave your pet with us at Pooch Hotel. Our facilities are climate controlled and we’ll make sure your dog has plenty of water, fun, and exercise while in our care so when you’re ready to take them home and snuggle up, your pet will be ready, too!

No matter what your plan for protecting your pet against the elements this winter, we wish you and your pet a safe and enjoyable season!


Reasons We’re Thankful for Our Dogs

Девушка и собакаWhen it comes to counting our blessings, we at Pooch Hotel know we’ve got it good. Why? Because we get to hang out with some of the coolest dogs in the world! We love hosting your pet at daycare, overnight, at dog training, or for a pampering day in our spa.

And it’s not just us. Studies show that dogs reduce anxiety and depression in the humans they spend time with. But that’s just one of the reasons we’re grateful for our furry friends!

Allergy Fighters

Believe it or not, the best way to fight pet allergies is with a pet! Dogs and other animals carry germs on them that we otherwise wouldn’t find in our homes. While that may sound like a bad thing, we actually need to be exposed to new germs to build a strong immune system, especially as children. In fact, according to WebMD, infants are 14% less likely to develop allergies to all furry pets if a dogs shares the home as well.

Exercise Encouragers

It’s a no-brainer. Your dog needs plenty of exercise, and so do you. While people who don’t own a dog can find excuses not to exercise, dog owners have little extra motivation to get out and go for a walk: their pets! A study conducted by Michigan State University found that around half of dog walkers got at least 30 minutes of exercise in, at least 5 days a week, compared to only a third of people who don’t own dogs.

Stress Eliminators

It’s long been accepted that spending a lot of time with a dog can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. But more recent studies show that bringing your dog to the office with you can reduce work-related stress as well. That’s good news for dog owners everywhere, but it’s especially good news for all of us at Pooch Hotel! Our partners can’t wait to get to work so they can bask in the relaxing effects of your pet, and that makes us thankful for all the pet owners who bring their dogs to stay with us!

Social Enablers

Not only can a dog be your best friend, but he or she can introduce you to your best friend! Dogs are great conversation starters and make you seem more approachable while out on a walk. Plus, according to one study, your dog can tell others a lot about your personality. Yup. That also means you can learn a lot about a fellow dog owner by getting to know their pet. If your dogs get along, there’s a good chance you will, too!

There are so many benefits to having a dog, and with so many guests at Pooch Hotel, we have a lot to be thankful for. What other reasons are you thankful for your dog?  

If you’re grateful for your pet, give credit where it’s due this Thanksgiving and give your dog an extra belly rub. We certainly will.

How to Choose a Good Boarding Facility for the Holidays

boxer traveling

Between shopping, party planning, and traveling, the holiday season can be your busiest time of year! As much as you love spending time with your dog, sometimes you just need boarding and daycare services. If you’ve never used one of these facilities before, it can be nerve-wracking and stressful to find the right one. Well, fear not, Pooch Hotel has put together some tips for finding the right match for you and your dog.

Ask About Daily Routines and Practices

When you leave your dog at an unfamiliar facility, he or she can become anxious. It’s natural for your dog to miss you. After all, you’re going to miss them when traveling, right? But you’ll be visiting friends and family, seeing new places, and changing up your routine to make it easier. Well, that’s what you want your boarding facility to do for your dog, too.

While you’re away, even if it’s just for the day, you want your pet to be engaged and having fun. Your dog’s day should be filled with fun, exercise, and pampering so they don’t feel stressed out or “left behind.” If your dog is social, make sure there’s plenty of group playtime so they can make new friends and stay active.

On the flip side, your dog will also need some down time, so find out how much time will be spent in a private room or kennel. If you’re contemplating a ‘cage free’ communal or group boarding facility, you might want to reconsider. Know that sleep is very important to a dog’s health, just as it is for humans. After a few nights without quality rest, a dog can easily become over tired. These dogs will be less tolerant and are at risk of responding aggressively to other dogs. Also, ask how often your pet will get potty breaks and when feeding times are.

Ask About Medical Care

If your dog has special needs like regular medication or treatments, be sure to discuss these with the facility. Ask how they ensure your dog gets necessary care at the right time and who will be administering medications.

Even if your pet isn’t on any medication, ask about the facility’s emergency procedures. Is there a protocol in place? How are staff trained to handle emergencies? Your ideal facility should have a strong relationship with a 24-hour veterinary hospital so your pet will get care as quickly as possible.

Ask About Staffing

When you travel, you don’t want to worry about whether your pet is in good hands. You want to know before you leave. One of the most important things a good facility can offer is a caring, well-trained staff.

Ideally, boarding or daycare staff will be made up of people from a variety of different pet care backgrounds with a wide range of expertise. At any time, you want great trainers, groomers, and belly-rubbers available to care for your dog.

No matter who is on the team, though, staff should be ever present. Make sure the facility has someone available and onsite 24 hours a day in case there are any emergencies. Also, ask about staffing for group play activities. There should always be a human presence whenever multiple dogs are interacting to prevent and deescalate any disagreements. 

Tour the Facility

Deluxe Suites

Once you’ve narrowed your search to a few candidates, it’s important to tour the facility. Get an idea of whether your dog will be comfortable there and look for things like kennel conditions, the presence of cleaning supplies and protocols, and potential hazards in play spaces.

And while you’re at it, talk with some of the staff. Do they seem happy? Do they understand the personalities of their guests? This will give you the best idea of what kind of care your dog can expect.

Every dog has unique needs, so make sure you find the right facility for yours. Don’t be afraid to go with a gut feeling on this, because ultimately you know your dog better than anyone. And check out you’re your local Pooch Hotel. We think we’re the best dog boarding facility, but come take a tour and find out 

Help Your Dog Stay Safe This Halloween

Pooch Hotel wishes you Happy Halloween!

For many, Halloween is a great time to dress up like goblins and ghouls and scare our friends and loved ones. While we think it’s a festive night to let our hair down, our favorite dogs may not understand all of the craziness that will be parading around the neighborhood. Since we can’t explain the tradition of Halloween to our dogs, it becomes our responsibility to keep our buddies safe. Here are a few tips to make sure that when the sun comes up on All Saints Day your dog will be A-Okay.

  1. Keep candy out of reach: Chocolate is toxic to dogs and even a little bit can cause health problems which could require an emergency visit to the vet. Artificial sweeteners such as xylitol can also cause serious health problems.  To be safe, keep your trick-or-treat bag out of paws reach.
  2. Watch those candles: If you use a candle to light your pumpkin, you may want to place it high enough that a happy tail doesn’t send it flying. An excited dog could easily knock over a pumpkin and create a big problem for your home.
  3. Where’s your ID: Make sure that your pets are all wearing their collars with clear and accurate contact information. In the event that your dog gets loose in the evening, you’ll want to make sure that whoever finds him has all the details they need to get him back home to you.
  4. Reflect on that: If your dog will be joining your family for a walk around the neighborhood, you can add reflectors to his leash or collar. This will help everyone to see him better as there is a lot more traffic than usual and, with the hectic nature of the night, it’s better to be seen than not.
  5. Scary night: Halloween can be a terrifying night for some dogs, especially those who don’t handle noise, frequent doorbells, and knocking. Placing your dog in a safe place for the night,like a crate or locked room, can make them feel safer. Don’t feel bad about placing them in these quiet areas, they will appreciate the comfort of not knowing what goes bump in the night at the front door.

If your Halloween plans have you spooking the neighborhood all night, then consider a slumber party at Pooch Hotel. We can keep an eye on your dog while you have a great time. Your dog will be safe with our 24 hour partners who understand how frightening the evening can be for dogs. Give us a call today to make a reservation.

Whatever your plans include, we want you and your dog to be safe. Being mindful of a few simple tips can ensure a great night for all. 

The Instant Introductions Adoption Event

Join Pooch Hotel for the Instant Introductions Adoptions Event
Meet a variety of adoptable dogs during 5-minute pet & play periods. Make a connection and start the adoption process!

How it works
• Take a short compatibility quiz to determine the type of dogs that fit your lifestyle
• Meet a variety of adoptable dogs during 5-minute pet & play periods
• If you make a connection, our partners can get your adoption process started

Take home a new furry family member, and you’ll get an exclusive offer to save on your new pet’s first daycare package or boarding stay!

Participating Locations

Request more information or RSVP at your participating Pooch Hotel location today.

Lincoln Park Pooch Hotel
2228 N. Clybourn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614

West Loop Pooch Hotel
1214 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60607

Sunnyvale Pooch Hotel
180 N. Wolfe Road
Sunnyvale, CA 94086

Newton Pooch Hotel
285 Newtonville Ave.
Newton, MA 02460

Richardson Pooch Hotel
751 S. Central Expy.
Richardson, TX 75080

Norwalk Pooch Hotel
230 East Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06855