Why Not Try a Pet Friendly Extended Stay Hotel?

Thinking of taking a long trip with your pet? Then you should consider staying at a pet friendly extended stay hotel (which is a type of hotel, not a specific brand). Typically, these hotels offer bedroom suites, fully equipped kitchens, on-site laundry facilities, business centers, weekly housekeeping and exercise facilities–amenities intended to make your longer stay as convenient and comfortable as possible. Extended stays are often the choice of people who are relocating, or have a job that requires long trips away from home, or for large families that travel together and prefer the space and convenience these hotels offer. However, you might even consider them for shorter trips. At petswelcome, we like to think outside the box and optimize our trips in a way that works for our whole family, even if it doesn’t necessarily fit the expressed purpose of the hotel. That’s why a pet friendly extended stay hotel is a great option, whether we’re staying for a couple of days or a month.

There are a lot of advantages to staying at an extended stay with a pet. First, their well-appointed kitchens give you the option of not having to go to a restaurant for every meal. This is huge when you’ve got your dog and/or cat along. Instead of leaving them alone or having to find pet-friendly restaurants (not an easy task, especially when the weather is bad), you can just stay in, cook a meal and enjoy their company just like you would at home. Another great thing about long-stay hotels is that many of them are suites, so your pets can roam about more freely and even sneak off to another room. This makes it easier for them to adjust to the new environment because it is less confining and feels more like a home or apartment than a typical hotel room. Pets like the familiar, so if you can ease the transition for your pet when you are traveling, your trip is guaranteed to be more successful.

Extended stay hotel interior
An interior shot of an extended stay hotel.

There are a lot of pet friendly extended stay hotels to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:

Candlewood Suites
Candlewood Suites offers full kitchens stocked with utensils in every suite. There is also a free guest laundry, gym facilities and, best of all when the weather is fine, a gazebo grill to cook up some burgers and hotdogs. Our kind of place! They accept pets up to 80 lbs. with a pet fee of $75 for up to six nights, and $150 for seven nights or more.

Extended Stay America
With over 600 properties, Extended Stay America is a great choice for your next trip. They offer full kitchens, wireless internet and on-site laundry. A maximum of two pets are allowed in each suite with a $25 per day fee per pet for the first month (not to exceed $150 per pet). After the first month there is a $10 fee per day for the first five days of each month.

MainStay Suites
MainStay Suites offers apartment style living with all the benefits you get when staying at a hotel. Whether it’s business or leisure travel, they are a great option if you want a place that offers you great amenities (spacious one-bedroom suites, high-speed internet, weekly housekeeping service, and guest laundry) but still want the ambiance of home. Their pet policies vary from property to property, so check petswelcome’s individual listing to see the policy of the one you are considering.

Residence Inn
Pet-friendly Residence Inns have the feel of, well, a residence. This includes large rooms that have separate living and working areas, as well as fully equipped kitchens, and complimentary hot breakfasts. Residence Inn pet policies vary from property to property with regard to pet fees and weight limits so check each hotel’s specific policy before making a reservation.

Staybridge Suites
Spacious rooms, well-equipped kitchens, on-site self-laundry facilities, data ports, and outdoor barbecues are some of the amenities you will find at pet-friendly Staybridge Suites. They accept dogs up to 80 lbs. with a pet fee of $75 for up to six nights or $150 for more than seven nights.

Studio 6
Studio 6 is and affordable choice for extended stay lodgings. With low weekly rates for furnished studios, you can’t do better than Studio 6 if economy and comfort are what you’re looking for. Studio 6 accepts up to two pets with no pet fee.

Suburban Extended Stay
Pet-friendly Suburban Stay offers studio suites with all the conveniences you and your pet will need, whether you’re staying for a night or a month. Fully equipped kitchens, premium cable TV and weekly housekeeping service are part of the package. Their pet policies vary from property to property, so check petswelcome’s Suburban Extended Stay listings to find the policy of one located at your intended destination.

Dog Friendly Minor League Ballparks


dog friendly minor league baseball

Going to a baseball game with your best friend isn’t just about the Major Leagues. There are lots of dog friendly Minor League ballparks across the country, from Wilmington, Delaware, to San Jose, California, rookie to Triple A teams. Teams that are pet friendly specify which games you can bring your dog to; they are easy to find on the team’s schedule, as they carry names like Bark in the Park, Dog Days of Summer, Claws for Paws (the Charlotte Stone Crabs), or Doggies on the Diamond, usually with anywhere from one to four games being so designated. Some teams make those dates easy to remember by making every home game on a particular day pet friendly, like the Maryland Bowie Baysox‘s Mutt Mondays, Biloxi Shuckers‘ Doggone Mondays, and the South Carolina Columbia Fireflies‘ Wag-along Wednesdays. For most of these dog friendly parks, these days mean you can bring your pup (on a leash) to the stadium for free; there is usually an area of the stadium designated pet friendly and hydration areas set up. Those teams that require you to buy a ticket for your canine (a Pooch Pass) are in most cases donating that money to a local humane or rescue organization; some teams use these days as an opportunity to collect food donations for animal shelters. We like the West Virginia Power‘s Pints for Paws program, where a percentage of the beer sales are donated to a local organization.

dog friendly minor league baseball
A happy fan.

Many of these dog friendly Minor League ballparks also host Pregame or Postgame Pup Parades or allow the pooches to run the bases. One of our favorite promotions is run by the Portland Sea Dogs at every Sunday home game. Called Dog of the Day, it highlights an adoptable dog from a local shelter. Fans interested in adopting have the opportunity to meet the dog and speak with the shelter representative. And on top of that the Sea Dogs also have Bark in the Park days–that’s what we call pet friendly!

Certainly check out your own local baseball team to see if they have pet friendly games but also check Minor League Baseball’s list of teams when you’re on vacation with your dog. In particular, there are a lot of teams in the Southeast, like the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Augusta Green Jackets, and the Carolina Mudcats. We can’t think of a better way to spend the day! And count on petswelcome for finding the best pet friendly lodging for you and your pup.

On the Death of a Dog

my dog smudge

Recently I came across an interview with Barbra Streisand explaining why she had her dog, Samantha, cloned.  It was a way, she said, of dealing with the devastation she felt losing her after 14 years together. Even though she knew she couldn’t actually replace her dog, she wanted to keep Samantha with her in some physical way and cloning, for her, was the answer.

While cloning might seem a bit extreme, it reminded me of the conversations I’ve had with a lot of people over the years about coping with the huge emotional pain we experience when our dogs die. After a long relationship with an animal, we often feel unmoored, struggling to get over the calamitous shock we feel at their loss, a hurt that can sometimes be more acute and traumatic than even the death of a human.

I recently came across a journal entry I wrote after my dog Smudge passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of seven:

A couple of weeks is officially long enough
to mourn the loss of a dog. And so that’s when
I turned the facedown photos of him back up.
And methodically cleaned and stored his bowls away.
And vacuumed the rugs of his gazillion white hairs.
And sent jackets to the dry cleaners. And sadly washed
the slipcovers of his distinctive and now saintly smell.

And for the emptiness I encountered in my doorways,
I shoveled snow into them that, all winter, never fell.

But then one day at Barnes & Noble, I noticed a woman
at the register glancing at my chest. I looked down and
saw a glob of his slobber still wet and glistening
on a scarf I’d pulled from the bottom of a laundry room pile.

“It’s semen,” I  heard myself suddenly saying
so as not to break down in front of her.
As though she would have asked. As though it was
a perfectly reasonable explanation.

Looking back, I realize I dealt with his death by engaging in a ceremony of erasure (cleaning and storing away his bowls, vacuuming the house, washing slipcovers) in an effort to wipe away his remaining physical traces so as not to be constantly reminded of him. And while that may have kept me occupied, there was the undeniable fact that no matter what I did I still felt a huge emotional void that could not be mitigated. Even my encounter at B&N revealed the fragile state I was in, so much so that I was willing to say something totally absurd rather than let on that I was still a wreck over his passing.

We all deal with the loss in different ways. Some people swear never to get another dog again because it could never replace one that just died. And getting one, they believe, would diminish his or her memory. Some jump right in and start looking for another dog immediately, believing that a new one will help ease the pain as they become attached to a unique and totally different animal. Others choose to have more than one dog so that when one dies there won’t be such an overwhelming feeling of emptiness. That’s what I decided to do but have since realized that my dogs have grown so close that the surviving dog will also be devastated, perhaps making matters even worse.

The bottom line is that there are no easy answers. No right or wrong reactions. No silver bullets. It’s whatever works for you. Whatever eases the tremendous heartbreak of losing a dog. Maybe the best response is to simply enjoy them while you can in the here and now. So find a leash and get out there for a walk as often as you can. A long walk. It will certainly be time well spent.

Fly Fishing with Your Dog

fly fishing with a dog

April 1 is the opening day of trout season, so why not go fly fishing with your dog? At petswelcome, we’ve been tying flies all winter in anticipation of getting out on the river and making that first cast. And bringing our dogs along makes it even more special. Floating on a drift boat with your favorite animal, or being waist-deep in the water while your dog, if you’re lucky, points out a few trout to you, is a very special and bonding experience, one we highly recommend.  However, as with any outing involving a pet, planning is everything. Here’s some things to consider before you head out:

1. Be honest: Is your pup temperamentally suited to either sitting in a drift boat for hours on end or you standing in a river doing something other than paying attention to him?
2. Is your pooch a barker? If your canine is going to bark at absolutely everything, that’s problematic on two counts: one, you are not the only folks on the river. Be considerate of others—this is their vacation too. Two, lots of commotion is going to make fishing difficult, and god knows enticing trout out of their hidey holes is challenging enough.
3. Keep him warm: If you are drifting and the temperature is still on the low side, bring a blanket for your buddy. Sitting in that boat for hours and not able to run around, he’s going to get cold.
4. Keep him hydrated: Again, if you’re drifting, bring water and a dog bowl to keep your dog hydrated.
5. Keep him safe: Whether you’re drifting or wading, make sure your dog is wearing a life jacket. I learned this lesson in what could have been (and thankfully wasn’t) a tragic way. I took my dog Smudge with me on my annual weeklong fishing trip on the Delaware. He was having a fantastic time, running around but staying close as I fished, and then periodically swimming out, doing a lap around me, and then heading back to shore. On one of his forays out, he got caught in a fast-moving eddy that pulled him away from me and started rotating him around—I could see the confusion and panic in his eyes. Fortunately, my friend Peter was nearby and able to lean over, grab Smudge by the collar, and bring him to shore. See Best Life Jackets for Dogs for details on selecting and buying one.
6. Know where he is: When you’re casting, the very last thing in the world you want to do is snag your dog with a hook.

Favorite Pet Friendly Fishing Lodges
Here is a selection of dog-friendly lodgings for the fly fisherperson.

New York
Smith’s Colonial Motel is my destination every May. It’s located in Hancock, N.Y., where the east and west branches of the Delaware River meet. The Colonial isn’t fancy by any stretch of the imagination but the folks who run it are friendly and incredibly accommodating. Plus it is sited on a bluff above the East Branch, with an eagle’s nest in a nearby tree that makes for some amazing nature watching as you sip your morning coffee.

The view of Junction Pool from the back of Smith’s Colonial Motel, complete with eagles.

If you’re looking for something more indulgent in the Catskills, try the Emerson Resort & Spa in Mt. Tremper. You can practically walk outside and right into the Esopus River. In addition to spoiling yourself, you can spoil your pooch (or rather let the Emerson do it) by getting a PupGrade, which will entitle your dog to a welcome basket that includes a toy, bowl, placemat, and treats. Or take him to the onsite Woodnotes Grille and order from the Pup Fare menu, where he can choose between chicken breast, a grass-fed burger patty, or New York strip steak. Maybe he might even share some with you.

Guests enjoying themselves at the Emerson Resort.

The Adirondacks are also a source of opportunities for top-flight fly fishing, the West Branch of the Ausable River ranking high on the list. Stocked with large rainbow and brown trout, the West Branch is a quick drive from Lake Placid, one of our favorite towns in all of New York State. We love to stay at the pet friendly Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort. It is located right on the shore of beautiful Mirror Lake, and one of only six hotels in the U.S. to receive Audubon International’s Platinum Eco Rating for Hotels. Even better, the Golden Arrow understands how wonderful it is to share an Adirondack vacation with your furry companion. For each pet that visits the Golden Arrow, 10% of the pet fees collected are donated annually to the local Humane Society or a pet charity chosen by one their favorite guests each year that traveled with an animal. This amounts to thousands of dollars a year directly benefitting animals in local shelters.

Jumping from the dock at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort


One of the cabins at The Lodge at Glendorn

There is lots of wonderful trout fishing throughout Pennsylvania but one of our favorite places to stay, where we can relax in beautiful surroundings and enjoy fishing on a private stretch of water, is pet friendly The Lodge at Glendorn in Bradford. The lodge is endorsed by Orvis and is set in the midst of 1,500 pristine acres in Northwest Pennsylvania. Fishing options include three miles on Fuller Brook, filled with native brook trout on the Robbers Nest and Jill Lake branches, and a mix of rainbows, browns, and rookies on the main stem, as well as a mile and a half of the West Branch of the Tunagawant Creek and three trophy trout ponds. You can either stay in the lodge (which was built as a retreat in 1929) or opt for greater privacy in one of the cabins, some of which are set right on Fuller Brook and have wood-burning fireplaces. Honestly, what could be be better than a day of fishing with your best buddy, followed by snooze in front of the fire?

dog and fly fishing
A beautiful rainbow at Glendorn. It doesn’t get better than this.

West Yellowstone gives you a double shot of fly fishing, offering up both the Gallatin and Madison rivers. A wonderful basecamp is Bar N Ranch, set just six miles outside of Yellowstone National Park. There you can bask in the amenities and ambience of the timbered lodge, or seek greater privacy in one of the seven cabins that are within walking distance of the lodge, all of them luxuriously kitted out, complete with wood-burning fireplaces. The lodge has guides available for full or half-day fishing trips.

Fireplace at the Bar N Ranch.

Like West Yellowstone, Sun Valley in Idaho presents a multitude of fly fishing opportunities: Salmon River (native Chinook, steelhead, and bull trout), Silver Creek (browns), Big Wood River (rainbows), Lost River (cutthroats). For accommodations, we recommend pet friendly Tamarack Lodge, located in the heart of downtown Ketchum. It gives you the best of both worlds; you’re just a short car ride away from phenomenal fishing and when you’re ready to call it a day (or during the day, before you do an evening drift), you can enjoy the shops, galleries, and restaurants of beautiful Ketchum.

Vail offers a trifecta of “Gold Medal” water—Blue River (brookies and rainbows), Gore Creek (browns, rainbows, brookies, and cutthroats), and Colorado River (browns). What is “Gold Medal” water? Waters containing 60 pounds of trout and at least twelve 14-inch or larger trout per acre. Our choice for lodging is pet friendly Vail Mountain Lodge, which is located right on Gore Creek. They will pamper you and your pet, and have an onsite restaurant and spa.

My Dog vs Alexa: An Intelligence Test

Alexa vs Hobbes

To the casual observer, it would appear that Alexa (Amazon’s “Smart” Speaker) has a huge intelligence advantage over dogs. Especially if you define smart as providing a meaningful response to a specific command. However, my research reveals that canines are actually smarter than Alexa. This is true even when I pit her against my dog Hobbes who has a well-deserved reputation of not working with “a full box of biscuits.”

For example, when I say to Alexa, “Come!” she doesn’t come. I wish I could claim that Hobbes comes, but he doesn’t either. The evidence, however, suggests that they both don’t come for different reasons. Alexa has no legs. Hobbes, on the other hand, doesn’t come because, in general, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anything I tell him to do. Ever.

Taking the test one step further, though, and Hobbes’s intellectual cunning becomes obvious. It turns out that if I start opening a bag of Pup-Peroni (or any kind of treat) and then yell Come! Hobbes dashes over to me in a nanosecond. More intriguing, I don’t even have to yell a command. He shows up anyway. Faster than you can say “E=MC2”. Sadly, this was not the case with Alexa. She just laid there like lox.

OK. Maybe that wasn’t a fair test. As I said, Alexa has no legs.  So, for my next challenge, I picked a test in which locomotion wasn’t required and one in which Alexa should easily prevail.  First, I said to Hobbes, I’d like to hear the song Nuclear by Ryan Adams. As I expected, he just looked at me blankly, tilted his head in the way dogs do and ran off and fetched a favorite watch of mine that he had evidently buried in the backyard.  However, when I asked Alexa, she responded, “Nuclear isn’t included in Prime but is available with Amazon Music Unlimited. Would you like to learn more?” Hmmm.  Sounds like a bit of a con job. Smart? Maybe. But I preferred getting my old watch back.

And that, to me, is the essence of why dogs are smarter than “smart” technology. Hobbes was more interested in trying to please me than Alexa was. And, in doing so, he is looking out for his own welfare and continued survival as a species which, by any measure, is smart. (Also, I think he actually likes me which shows extremely good taste, too…Hear that Alexa?) Alexa, on the other hand, didn’t really care if I was happy. She sounded like a cable rep, more interested in selling me an upgrade under the guise of “customer service” than offering real satisfaction. I’m not sure that bodes well for her long-term survival.

Sure, there is a wow factor in hearing her, upon request, recite the numerical value of pi. But, finally, it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if she doesn’t have the sense to come in out of the rain. I tested that, too. Last I checked she was still in the middle of the street in a puddle. Wait, now she’s on the side of the road. Progress? No. It turns out she was hit by a bus. Artificial intelligence indeed.

Next round: Hobbes goes toe to toe (or whatever) with a Magic 8 Ball.

Planning a Pet Friendly Road Trip

Driving with Your Dog

With spring right around the corner, all of us at petswelcome start thinking about going on a pet friendly road trip. Where you go is up to you. But, as far as the mechanics of planning and driving, there are a few basic rules you should follow that will make your pet friendly road trip safe, fun and rewarding.

Keep Your Pet Comfortable…

First, we recommend feeding your pets very lightly a couple of hours before you leave, along with giving them a small amount of water. This ensures your pet is comfortable and not dehydrated or suffering from a lack of nutrition while minimizing the chance they will get sick from the anxiety of traveling. Periodic water stops and an occasional non-greasy or meat-free snack should keep them satisfied for the duration of the journey. In the event of a very long drive, another light meal may be considered. If you find that no matter what you do, your pet is extremely agitated in the car, then check with your vet to see if they recommend administering a light sedative, but only do so with your vet’s approval.

And Secure

Another very important rule is to keep your pet secure within your vehicle. For medium to large dogs, this involves using a harness. Check out our article on the Best Harnesses for Traveling with Your Dog. For smaller pets, a carrier secured by a seatbelt ensures that your cat or Jack Russell won’t get banged around the car—or within the carrier itself—in the case of sudden stops or turns. If not safely secured they can, in very short order, be turned into flying projectiles, causing serious injury both to your pet and other passenger in the vehicle. Also, while it might seem fun to allow your pets to hang their heads out the window, resist the temptation. Animals can get seriously harmed by being subjected to pebbles, insects and other airborne objects.

Plan Ahead

Finally, planning is everything. If you’re going for a long trip, know where pet-friendly hotels are along your route. We recommend using our Pet Friendly Road Trip Planner, which allows you to enter a departure and destination city as well as any stopovers you are considering along the way. You can also have it show you the hotels at given mileage distances, like every 200 or 300 miles. The planner will give you driving directions as well as a list of all the pet friendly lodgings on the route along with their pet policies. You can then select and book the hotels that are best for you. You can even drag the route to a different road if you prefer a different way of getting to your destination. Best of all, you can share your route and/or save it to use while you’re on the road. Then all your selected pet friendly hotels and directions will be available for easy reference at the time you need them most. And, if you want to make any changes to your itinerary, you can do that, too. Having the ability to be flexible when traveling with a pet is critical to a successful trip.

Practicality, convenience and ease of use are the hallmarks of our Pet Friendly Road Trip Planner, offering peace of mind to what can often be a stressful undertaking. Not to honk our horn too loudly, but we think it is an invaluable tool for making your next road trip with your pet an enjoyable and hassle-free experience.

Safest Dog Car Harnesses and Pet Travel Carriers & Crates

If you plan on traveling with pets, your animals’ safety is a critical consideration. Whether it’s by car, train, or plane, you’ll need a harness, carrier, or crate to secure them. The safest dog car harnesses and pet travel carriers and crates share one thing: they are CPS certified. That means that the Center for Pet Safety, in partnership with Subaru, has crash tested them (they use largely the same parameters as are used to test the safety of child car seats) and found them to be effective. In the case of a dog harness, that means the dog was restrained through multiple crash tests. For carriers and crates, that means your pet was protected inside and was not crushed in any way. Let’s be quick to add here that live dogs were NOT used in these tests but rather crash test dog dummies of different sizes, representing (for the dog harness) a 25-pound terrier, 45-pound border collie, and 75-pound golden retriever.

The Safest Dog Car Harnesses and Pet Travel Carriers & Crates are CPS Certified
Why is it important to buy only CPS-certified harnesses? Because they are the safest dog car harnesses, carriers and crates available. If a harness gives way in a crash, your dog or a carrier can become a projectile in the car, putting the dog and passengers at risk. And in the case of carriers, if they are not built strongly enough, they can be crushed. The Center for Pet Safety was founded by Lindsey Wolko whose English cocker spaniel Maggie sustained injuries (fortunately not life threatening) after she had to slam on the brakes in traffic. Despite the use of a dog seat belt, Maggie was thrown forward into the front seat. Lindsey has made it her work to ensure safety when traveling with pets.

3 Safest Dog Car Harnesses
Sleepypod Clickit Sport
This harness (below) has a Y-shaped design that secures your dog’s entire torso. The harness is padded to keep it from cutting into your pooch. It can also be used as a walking harness and has light-reflective strips. The Sleepypod Sport is available in four colors and four sizes (small, medium, large, XLarge) with XLarge able to handle a dog up to 90 pounds. This harness is not suitable for greyhounds, whippets, salukis, Afghans, or borzois.

Sleepypod Clickit Sport

Sleepypod Clickit Terrain
This shares all the characteristics of the Sport, except that it has a broader padded harness, and it is suitable for all breeds of dogs. It is available in four colors and four sizes: small, medium, large, and Large. It also has an optional dog backpack.

ZuGoPet The Rocketeer Pack
This quilted harness (see left) is available in five sizes (extra small, small, medium, large, and XLarge) and three colors. The largest size accommodates a dog of 25 pounds. It’s a really neat design that essentially holds your pooch like a Baby Bjorn would, only facing forward.


ZuGoPet The Rocketeer Pack
ZuGoPet The Rocketeer Pack

5 Safest Pet Travel Carriers and Crates
Sleepypod Air
This carrier is meant for airplane travel. It is 22″ long and 10.5 inches wide and high, and will fit a dog up to 17.5 pounds. It has a padded strap and plush bedding, and comes in six colors.

Sleepypod Atom
The Atom is also made for airplane travel and will accommodate a dog up to 8 pounds or a cat up to 12 pounds. Available in six colors.

Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed
The Mobile (see below) is like a small round pet bed with a mesh dome top with a carrying handle, kind of like a doggie hat box. The Mini will fit pets up to 7 pounds, the Medium up to 15 pounds.


Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed
Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed

Gunner Kennel G1, Small and Intermediate
These are hard-plastic kennels (see below), with double-thick walls that go through the same manufacturing process as Olympic kayaks and are designed to withstand 4,000 pounds of force. The Small will accommodate a pet up to about 30 pounds, the Intermediate up to 75 pounds. They both come with strength-rated tie-down straps.

Gunner Kennel G1
Gunner Kennel G1


40 Gifts for Dog Lovers, Perfect for Christmas Holidays!

The holidays are nearly upon us once again, which means it’s time to start thinking about everyone’s favorite seasonal activity—Christmas shopping! Most of us have at least one dog fanatic in our lives and much like man’s best friend, these folks tend to be fairly easy to please. We’ve rounded up 40 of our favorite holiday gift ideas for dog lovers to help make your shopping quest as painless as possible this year, no matter the size of your budget.

Our gift shopping categories include:

  • Gifts for the Dog Lover On-the-Go
  • For the Practical Dog Lover
  • For the Whimsical Dog Lover
  • For the Sentimental Dog Lover
  • For the Fun-Loving Dog Lover

For the Dog Lover On-the-Go

1. Highwave AutoPupCup Water Bottle – $14.99  Give Sparky the convenience of his own water bottle with this clever design. The bowl-shaped top is easily filled with a gentle squeeze of the bottle, making this a great gift for anyone with a pup on-the-go.

2. Bonza Collapsible Dog Bowls – $17.98 This portable set is perfect for traveling thanks to its two expandable bowls, tags, and zippered carrying case.

3. Dog Car Seat Covers – $39.99 Help someone keep their car interior protected from dog hair and pawprints with this waterproof seat cover system. The durable flaps work to fully enclose the backseat while protecting seats, doors, headrests and the floor. You’ll be thanked later for this one!

4. Airline Approved Pet Carrier – $32.94 One of the perks of a small dog is their ability to be easily transported. For your on-the-go pal who likes to take their other pal along for the ride, consider this soft-sided, airline-approved pet carrier that also manages to look good.

5. Personalized Ombre Rope Dog Leash – $32.99 Stand out from the crowd at the dog park with one of these handmade, uniquely dyed cotton rope leashes. Add a personalized touch with up to five characters. No judgment if you choose “SANTA”

6. Canine Hardware Pet Travel Bed – $19.36 This easy folding, lightweight bed is great for lining a crate or creating a cozy spot on a hotel floor without the bulk of a conventional dog bed.

7. Kurgo Kibble Carrier Travel Dog Food Bag -$13.49 This is one of those items nobody thinks about until it’s right in front of them. Be the bringer of good use this holiday season with a portable dog food bag. The hex-weave material helps repel moisture and pests, while avoiding spills and the hassle of lugging around an open bag of dog food.

For the Practical Dog Lover

1. PB Paws Pet Collection Indoor Outdoor Pet Mat – $15.99 If your favorite “dog person” is one who enjoys broadcasting his or her canine love in as many form as possible, this door mat will bring a sure smile. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use, use it as a human welcome mat or a puppy placemat.

2. Best Friends OrthoComfort Deep Dish Cuddler – $27.48 Everyone needs a good night’s sleep, dogs included. Give the gift of peaceful slumber with this deep-dish, extra-cozy dog bed.

3. Pet House All-Natural Soy Wax Candle – $21.95 Not only are these awesome, long-lasting candles all-natural, they’ve been developed especially to eliminate pet-related odors. With fun scents like Bamboo Watermint, Falling Leaves, and Sugared Cranberries, there’s something for everyone to festively combat the occasional “wet dog” smell.

4. DEI Leash Holder Wall Rack – $13.64 Perhaps every dog’s favorite phrase, this “let’s go for a walk” wall-mounted leash holder will leave no doubt in the minds of guests as to who really runs the household.

5. Wisdom Panel 3.0 Breed Identification DNA Test Kit – $79.99 We know, mutts are the most loveable dogs of all, but if your pup-crazy friend is curious about the origins of her adopted BFF, this kit just might contain the answers. The DNA testing kit includes prepaid lab shipping and results are returned within two-to-three weeks of receiving the sample. Mystery solved!

6. Portable Pet Stairs – $57.95 Small pups often have a little trouble hopping on and off of couches, beds, or anywhere else they might be welcomed. Make life a little easier with these plush, portable stairs designed just for pets. Safety first!

7. Glucosamine for Dogs Supplement – $29.95 Okay, so vitamins probably don’t fall under anyone’s “fun” category, but a good hip and joint supplement can be a thoughtful gift for the owner of an active dog if it helps Mr. Ruffles to keep hiking those weekend trails for years to come.

8. Dll Bone Dry Pet Toy Storage Bin – $20.26 Consider this for the friend whose house you can’t visit without tripping over multiple dog toys before you’ve even made it out of the foyer. It’s a collapsible and good-looking way to keep Spot’s toy collection under control.

9. Mars Original Stainless Steel Pet Stripper – $35.99 Nothing beats a high-quality stripping tool for breeds with thick undercoats (Huskies, we’re looking at you). This one is of German-made quality with stainless steel teeth and a wooden handle.

10. Grooming Tools Kit – $39.99 A great gift idea for the new dog owner in your life, this comprehensive set of grooming tools includes the essentials: nail trimmer, comb, pin brush, de-matting comb, de-shedding comb; all in a durable carrying case for easy storage.

For the Whimsical Dog Lover

1. Pooch Selfie Ball – $12.99 Humans have selfie sticks, dogs have selfie balls. This clever attachment works with either front or rear-facing cameras and is compatible with most smartphone cases.

2. BarkBrew Dog Beer 100% Organic – $8.00 Perfect for the friend who is both a dog lover and a beer enthusiast, BarkBrew makes it possible to crack open a cold one for man’s best friend. These brews are totally organic and available in chicken or beef flavors—so refreshing!

3. Holiday Christmas Reindeer Sweater – $18.99 How thoughtful of you to include your favorite dog in this year’s Christmas sweater party! Offered in several sizes and colors, there’s sure to be a match for a pooch you know and love.

4. Simplest Life Bandana Scarf Collar – $19.99 Looking dapper doesn’t have to be expensive. This adjustable collar with bandana is available in a variety of colors and makes a great gift for any posh pup.

5. Novelty Dog Socks 6-pack – $13.99 Socks are always one of those “ha ha” Christmas gifts given in jest, but let’s face it: socks are practical. They’re fun, too, especially when there’s a different pupper printed on the back of each pair.

6. Coffee Mug “Dogs over People” – $23.00 Sometimes the truth hurts.

7. Dogeared “be the person your dog thinks you are” Lil Zip – $24.00 Zippered pouches have endless functionality for everything from carrying dog treats to toting cosmetics, and this one is guaranteed to be a welcome addition to the collection.

8. Decorative Embroidered Pillow – $12.99 Ah, the noble Dachshund. What they lack in height they make up for in length and as fodder for puns. This fun pillow expresses a relatable sentiment no matter the resident breed.

For the Sentimental Dog Lover

1. THE DOG Wall Calendar 2018 – $14.99 Calendars are endlessly useful, both as a fun piece of décor and for actually keeping track of things like vet appointments and doggy daycare schedules. This one is a fun gift for any dog lover thanks to the variety of breeds and creative displays of cuteness.

2. The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with 1,000 Dogs – $16.96 Hardcover books with stunning photography always make a great gift, even more so when the pages are filled with photos of hundreds of dogs of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

3. Gourmet Christmas Dog Treats – $16.95 What is Christmas without a little festive snacking? Let Fido join in on the munchie fun this year with his own assortment of freshly baked holiday treats.

4. Dogs – $37.41 This beautiful (and self-explanatory) book is suitable for coffee table display, allowing everyone to explore the many delights of the dog.

5. Pearhead Dog Paw Print Keepsake Photo Frame – $19.95 This hinged frame captures both a photo of a beloved dog, as well as their personal pawprint with the included clay imprint kit. A thoughtful gift for folks with a new puppy or an old friend alike.

6. Simply Charmed Magnetic Dog Wine Charms – $15.84 Put these wine charms right to use on Christmas Day by letting everyone choose their favorite pup to identify their glass. You know you’re a dog lover when…

7. How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain – $19.30 A lovely read for anyone whose heartstrings are tugged at by the unconditional love of a dog, author Gregory Burns explains the science (and sentimentality) behind the canine-human bond.

8. Ravensburger At the Dog Park Jigsaw Puzzle – $17.99 Ravensburger puzzles are known for their quality and this 500-piece jigsaw is a great gift for bringing the family together over a common interest.

For the Fun-Loving Dog Lover

1. Varsity Pets Dog Toy – $42.99 This toy is so durable it is said to be 110% indestructible. An excellent choice for the voracious chewer or fanatical fetcher!

2. Kong Classic Dog Toy – $6.79 The Kong is an iconic dog toy for a reason: they’re nearly indestructible, they bounce all over the place when they’re thrown, and they can be stuffed with something delicious. A toy-appreciating doggo can never have too many Kongs.

3. Bark Box – $35.00 A subscription service just for dogs, Bark Box delivers fun and tasty dog treats and toys right to your desired door each month. Gift a trial of one or three months to let your chosen recipient decide if they’d like to continue the subscription.

4. Bake-A-Bone Dog Treat Maker – $34.99 Think of this as a waffle-maker for dogs. This nifty contraption makes it easy to bake your own special dog treats right at home. A super-fun gift for the particularly dedicated pet parent!

5. Wet Noses All-Natural Peanut Butter Banana Dog Treats – $22.67 Dogs love treats no matter what time of year it is, so a five-pound box of organic peanut butter banana snacks are sure to please when they’re sniffed out from under the Christmas tree.

6. Dog Lover Adult Coloring Book – $8.99 Coloring books are a joy regardless of age of the artist. Give this dog-centric coloring project as a stocking stuffer or a thoughtful creative outlet. Bonus points if you pair it with a nice set of colored pencils or nostalgic crayons.

7. How to Speak Dog: A Guide to Decoding Dog Language – $9.06 This is technically a kids’ book, but is arguably just as useful for new dog owners (and likely good entertainment for seasoned masters). How to Speak Dog is a National Geographic book all about how dogs communicate. Bark once for yes.

What are your gift ideas?

Do you have a gift idea for your dog or another dog lover? Let us know about it in the comments.

Benefits of Dog Daycare

When you work all day and then have to take care of the house, family, and other things, it can be hard to make sure that your dog isn’t neglected. It’s great to play in the yard, but some dogs need more. The weekends can be a time when long walks, hikes, and other activities can take place but weekends are also the time when laundry, groceries, and socializing happen. Most of us work Mon through Fri, which means our dogs are alone for at least 40 hours a week. This amount of alone time can sometimes be a contributing factor to behavior issues.

What Can You Do?

If your dog likes playing with other dogs, the best solution is to enroll your dog into dog daycare. Your dog will get to interact with dogs of all ages, sizes, and energy levels. It will improve her socialization and can be vital in terms of curbing behavioral problems. Younger dogs can learn how to play properly, learn body language of other dogs, and learn pack integration making them better canine citizens.

Also, for the time your dog is at the daycare, she will be asked to sit, stay, and have other commands reinforced. She will be called by her name to “come” and learn what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior. If you have been working on teaching your dog to not jump up on people and let the daycare know, they will tell your dog to not jump with the command you use. Many daycares are very open to trying to help reinforce and positively reward behavior with praise, touch, and fun.

It also means year round play time in a large play area. Some dog daycares have indoor play areas and others have outdoor fenced areas. Before signing your dog up, you can usually tour the facility and ask about the safety measures the daycare employs.

Dog daycare is obviously more expensive than leaving your dog on its own but it is worth every penny. A tired dog is a happy dog. A tired dog is also a well-behaved dog. A tired dog also means that when you come home tired, you’ll be winding down together and have a great evening.

Image from Wagville

Rainy Day? No Problem

Rainy days don’t mean you have to be bored and stuck inside. There’s a few games you play inside that won’t knock every picture off the wall or break your favorite lamp.

Here are 5 games you play inside that will keep your pup happy:

1: Hide and Seek: Take one of your pet’s fav treats and hide with it. This normally takes two people. One to distract your dog and the other to hide. When the person is hidden, have them call out “Come!” or other commands. As your dog goes from room to room or look around for the hidee, give some verbal commands to help her out. When she finds the hidee, she gets the treat and a ton of praise. You can play this game a few times and your dog will find it fun and rewarding.

2: Trick training: Go through all the commands your dog knows and teach a new one. Have you dog sit, sit up, and stand several times in a row. If your dog knows how to roll over, turn this and sitting, laying down, sitting up, etc into a routine. Teach your dog to shake hands or crawl. All these tricks can help them exercise their body, improve their balance, and stimulate their mind. Try mixing up the order of the tricks.

3: Tug of War: If your dog is good at tugging and knows what toys are ok to play that game with, a light game of tug of war can be good. It can work her shoulder muscles and be fun. Just be careful to not let it become too tough and rough.

4: Treat Balls: These toys are sold in pet stores and are made to give your dog a mental workout. Place some treats inside the toy and let your dog roll, push, prod, and tug to get the treats out of the toy.

5: Have a treadmill, go for a walk: You’ve seen this on tv many times and it does work! The first few times your dog may be unsure of what’s going on. Start slow and coax and praise your dog for walking on the treadmill. Pretty soon you can get her up to a jog and keep her fit and trim.

Image from Iheartdogs.com