The Pros and Cons of Dog Daycare

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I’ve been bringing my dogs to dog daycare for almost 15 years.  They’ve always attended daycare at Dog Days in St. Paul.  When I first looked into daycare I was surprised by the long waiting list, we were #80 when I signed her up, in fact, I was planning ahead and her signed up before she was even born.

Working full-time I started with a dog walker and help from family to get her out midday.  But four walks a day weren’t enough for Daisy.  She was a holy terror!  She was always on the move and constantly biting and redirection and the puppy yelp did little to nothing to stop this behavior.  As soon as we started daycare the biting completely stopped and she was calm and relaxed at home.

Dog Walkers Verses Do Daycare

Though I think that dog walkers are great I don’t think it’s usually enough for high energy dogs.  Also, $/hour daycare is far better.  However, not all dogs do well with daycare.  Some dogs don’t get along well with other dogs so dog daycare would be a horrible choice for them.

Sometimes when dogs age, dog daycare can become too overwhelming which would be another reason a dog walker might be a better choice.  Though, some daycares have special areas that are a bit quieter and more relaxing for seniors.  At Dog Days a lot of their office dogs are seniors that just get help the staff with their day to day activities.

Pros of Daycare

  • Aids in socializing your dog with both other canines and humans
  • Lots of attention
  • Helps to drain excess energy
  • Keeps your dog from creating mischief when you’re at work
  • Strangers will not be in your home.
  • Added Convenience – Most daycares have a groomer on staff, so instead of having to take your dog to a grooming appointment your dog can just get beautified there, also many daycares carry dog food so it’s one less stop on the way home.
  • It’s safer than a dog park – because daycares require proof of up-to-date vaccinations and the bordatella vaccine “Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacterial agent responsible for kennel cough in dogs” ().
    Also, because daycares have trained staff they’re better able to identify behavioral issues before they occur.  Before dogs are allowed to attend daycare they must go through a screening process to ensure it’s a good fit for their personalities.  At Dog Days, dogs are separated based on age, size, and playstyle.

Cons of Daycare:

  • Potential for bad behavior — if you’re in the midst of training, the freedom given at daycare might derail your work and/or create new issues. (
  • Exposure to illness – It’s just like any daycare, although they do their best to ensure the facility is always clean and dogs are up to date on their shots, dogs can still get viruses like humans.

What To Look For in a Daycare: 

Picking the right daycare for your dog is just like picking one for your child.  You want to ensure your dog is receiving the best care possible.

Here are a few things to look for when choosing a daycare…

  • Make sure that they are licensed, sounds like a given but there are some out there that aren’t.
  • Make sure they require all dogs to be up on vaccinations including bordatella.
  • Make sure they require flea and tick preventative.
  • Knowledgeable Staff
  • That they have a plan in case of emergencies.  If your dog gets sick or hurt, what’s their plan on how they handle this.
  • Take a tour of the daycare, make sure it’s a clean facility.
  • Make sure they have set group size limits…Having too many dogs in a small area can cause big issues

Daycare isn’t the right choice for all dogs or all families, but for the majority of dogs, it works great.  Most dogs, especially young ones, have excess energy they need to burn and really what better way to do that than playing with other dogs.  Even if you don’t work outside of the house your dog still needs time to play and socialize with other dogs and humans too.


How I help Daisy with her Mobility Issues

I have mentioned in many posts that I have a senior with certain physical limitations.  Daisy is 14.5 years old and has had ACL surgery, then a follow-up surgery to remove the plate due to post-surgery issues, followed by a stroke and she also has Cushing’s Disease.  All of these issues combined have changed her ability to move about.

We know Daisy isn’t going to recover fully from all of these things and we know continued deterioration of her muscles is inevitable due to her Cushing’s Disease, but we do all we can to keep her comfortable and mobile for as long as she’s happy and willing.

One of the big things we do is physical therapy, she goes once a week and does different exercises such as the water treadmill and the cavaletti bars (the pic below are the ones we use at home).  In addition to exercise, she also receives cold laser therapy, (K-Laer).  We have been doing PT off and on for the last couple of years, first before the ACL surgery to build muscle for the upcoming surgery, 2nd after surgery, the 3rd time was due to her loss of muscle in her hind legs.  We can’t build muscle at this point but we can strengthen and keep her limber through PT.



As mentioned in a previous post we also use medications to help with pain and swelling, Galliprant.


All of these things help, but Daisy still suffers from fatigue in the evening and her hind legs aren’t strong enough to support her when she is eating dinner…she is able to stand up and walk about on her own, but standing still her hind legs begin to sink.  So yesterday our PT specialist suggested trying The Help ‘Em Up Harness, we already used an upper body harness but this one has two parts, so we tried out the lower body harness.  It was a great suggestion, it really allowed me to better support Daisy.  We put it on in the evening and she seems completely comfortable, she’s able to go outside and go to the bathroom without issue.  She’s comfortable enough laying down and walking around.  I love that I have the ability to help her up the step outside, I used to use the upper body one, but the lower body harness helps so much more.


It comes in 3 sizes…Daisy wears a small and she weighs 34 lbs…she is tall and lanky but because she is so narrow at the hips the small fits her perfectly.  They are a bit spendy, but you can buy the harness pieces together or separate.  I’m planning on just buying the lower body harness since I really like upper body harness Daisy uses now since it is so padded.

I know they don’t match, but that’s not a big deal to me.



4 Holidays Tips to Keep your Pets Safe

Remember that though the holidays are fun for us, they can be stressful or even dangerous at times for our four-legged loved ones.  Just a few friendly holiday reminders to keep every happy and healthy this year.


  1. There are many foods during the holidays that may not be good for us but can be extremely dangerous for our furry friends…Chocolate, eggnog, macadamia nuts, alcohol, raisins, butter or other fattening foods and so much more…though not all of these are fatal many of them can cause extreme GI upset and/or issues like pancreatitis (from rich foods)…you can see a whole list of foods that aren’t recommended for our pets on the ASPCA website …also while you’re there maybe do quick holiday donation…Here is the number of pet poison control 800-213-6680.
  2. Some pets aren’t comfortable with large groups of people or strangers so if you’re planning on hosting holiday parties this year, make sure that your four-legged little one is comfortable with that many people over and if not try and make plans to ensure his or her safety…For example, Ginger our youngest dog isn’t good with strangers so she heads to Grandma’s for a sleepover, the night of our Xmas Party…if your dog is comfortable in a crate, set up a crate in a quiet area so they have somewhere safe to head when they need some quiet time, or if your dog is anxious try some of the many calming products on the market (essential oils, DAP diffuser, CBD oil, etc)
  3. I know some people have seen the movie Christmas Vacation, with Chevy Chase, well the movie isn’t that far fetched when the cat chewed on the lights…It is actually a very real danger especially for cats and rabbits, they can be a choking hazard or even cause death from electrocution.
  4. It can be pretty hectic packing up the car with food, gifts and your family…but if you live in a cold weather state make sure that you do a wee tot head count before leaving the house, it can be easy to miss done of your wee ones is still outside and leave without even realizing it…
  5. Ornaments, tinsel and especially bubble lights can be attractive but dangerous for our dogs and cats…they look like fun toys to grab or bat, but can easily break and cause cuts or worse they may eat an ornament or bubble light which is an immediate emergency vet visit.

So, I know that the holidays can get crazy and it’s hard to juggle everything, but keeping our wee ones safe should be at the top of all our holiday lists.  Happy Holidays!!!!

Amazing Product For Senior Dogs


First, let me state your veterinarian knows best…

Galliprant is an anti-inflammatory medication Daisy is on for her arthritis.  We absolutely love the product and recommend it others who have dogs suffering from arthritis as well.  One of the biggest reasons we love it is because it has little side effects and doesn’t cause liver damage with long term use.

Also, it’s easy to give, they are flavored tablets so Daisy just eats them like treats.  We give them to her an hour before breakfast, they recommend giving on an empty stomach for best results.  However, my mom gives it to her golden at night before bed, so there are no rules as to when you have to give it to your dog.  And it’s only one dose per day.

The thing I love most about this product is the results.  Daisy has arthritis in her legs, back and shoulders, so she needs something to help her get through the day.  While on the medication it relieves her of pain, we can go walking in the AM, she can do her rehab once a week and she even gets it in her head to run in the yard from time to time (though I try and discourage that).  Without, Galliprant she most likely wouldn’t be here, since other anti-inflammatory medications cause too much liver damage and she already suffers from Cushing’s disease.

I’m not saying everyone who has a dog with arthritis should put their dog on Galliprant, but it is a new drug and worth talking to your vet to see if it is a good match for your dog.  I know it changed Daisy’s life and if I hadn’t heard about from my mom I may not have known about it.

Best K-9 Jacket


Here in MN we have to be conscious of the cold.  We use the rule that if it’s under 30 F out then they pups have to wear their jackets.  We have tried different jackets but the Ruffwear K-9 jackets are the best match for us.

I like them because they are easy to put on, unfortunately the wee ones aren’t the biggest fans of the jackets so I don’t want to deal with any that has too many buckles or straps…these only have two buckles.

Also, I like them because once we get them on the pups they stay in place due to their snug fit.  They also are long enough to cover them from neck to tail.   I really like that I can put on Daisy over her harness, so I don’t have to remove her harness every time we head out for a chilly walk.

Another feature I like is the fleece interior and polyester outside.  It keeps everyone very warm, toasty and dry.  So, if its rainy out we will put these on the pups, they still get a little wet on their underside but the majority of their body is kept dry.

They are a bit spendy but well worth it, they are well made and we have had ours for over 4 years and don’t show any of the wear the other jackets we have tried show.


Paint Your Pet

So I am the first to say that I am no artist, but a friend and I signed up for paint your pet through Gray Duck Art, it was a lot of fun!  I know they are a local MN company but I am sure there are companies like them all over.

I loved the event, it was a lot of fun and easy to do.  They essentially help you create a paint by number of a photo of your pet then you just paint it.  They bring you all of the supplies you need, all you have to do is send them a picture!  Like I said I’m no artist, but it was a great time and I actually plan on redoing my painting and possibly doing one of each of the wee tots.

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Beachside State Park, OR

Beachside State Park is by far my favorite park to visit. The campground has a lot of great sites, most with a fair amount of privacy.   We love this park because it is absolutely gorgeous; the beach is easily accessible from the campground, depending on your site sometimes just a few feet away.  The beach goes on for miles and miles, so you can enjoy it with your four legged ones without worrying about a congested beach.

We have only ever seen one dog off leash in the campground and the ranger stopped and requested they leash their dog.  They happened to be our neighbors and we had just been thinking if we would have to go ask them to leash their dog if it wandered into our campsite.  Having reactive dogs and not having our fencing at the time makes us a bit nervous when we see off leash dogs.

In addition to the fabulous beach attached to the campground, there are several south of the park that are wonderful and easy to explore.  I like walking on the beaches especially with senior dogs since the it provides a softer surface and isn’t so hard on their joints.  Also, if you walk in the middle of the beach while the tide is out the sand doesn’t sink down so it makes for a nice easy walk.

Sophie (13 yrs old) and Daisy (14 yrs old)

Finally, if you like bringing Fido out for a meal there’s a wonderful restaurant called Luna Sea Fish House just south of the park in Yachats, OR.   The cafe has a great outdoor seating area that dogs are welcome to join you for a great meal (below is a picture of their amazing seafood omelette).  In addition to being a great restaurant we’ve also picked up seafood to cook over our campfire later.

So if you have a chance to visit this amazing state park I would definitely recommend you give it a whirl!

3 Great Ways to Exercise Fido in the Winter

Living in MN it’s not always easy to get the dogs out for a walk in the winter and unfortunately they still need the exercise.  Not only is it super cold some days it also stays dark in the AM later and gets dark early in the evening.   Having 4 dogs I really needed to find a good way to keep them exercised, not only for their health but also for their behavior.  I came up with three great ways that work for our family…hope they can help yours too!

  1. Treadmill: I will first say that if this is something you are interested in, I would strongly recommend you find a professional trainer to help you teach your dog to use the treadmill. That being said, I absolutely LOVE using the treadmill to exercise my dogs in the winter, sometimes it’s just too darn cold to go for a walk.   I trained Ginger to walk on the treadmill and now she’s my workout buddy, she walks on the treadmill for 40 minutes and I ride my stationary bike, do general cardio and strength training right with her.
  2. Training game and obstacle course:  I play training games to keep their minds sharp, it doesn’t burn as much physical energy, but it gets their minds working and we are still moving around.  We play hide and go seek…I put them into a stay and then go hide, then call them…they really have fun with this one. I also, do just basic training, sit, down, stay etc, but if you like training fun tricks this is a great time to do that too.  Finally, I bought a cavaletti set for them…I use this at physical therapy with Calvin and Daisy.  It’s easy to set up and take down, plus it helps to keep things interesting.
  3. Take your dog shopping:  I bring the dogs out to the dog friendly stores.  I was actually very surprised to hear that so many stores allow dogs to come along…A few stores that allow dogs are PetCo, Pet Smart, Home Depot and Lowes.    Check out this great article on Hufflington Post to get an even larger list.

Missouri Headwaters State Park, MT

We have stayed at Missouri Headwaters State Park the last three years we’ve traveled west.  The campground is smaller than most, which is quite nice especially on Memorial Day weekend, it keeps things a bit on quieter side.

The park offers multiple terrains, so is perfect for all levels of hiking.  As seen above there are a few small short trails that are mostly grass, there’s miles and miles of asphalt trails and there’s also pretty rocky terrain as well.  I will say that be cautious with the rocky terrain as it did cause some issues with our dogs pads.  Nothing serious but enough to make sure we use Pawtection .  We have traveled all of the different terrains over the years, but this last trip we stuck to the easy trails for Daisy.  Also, all of the trails are easily accessible from the campground, so you don’t need to drive to the trail head.

I would say that if you are interested in camping here, I would try and get one of end sites, it has the most privacy.  They are sites 16 & 17.

The two drawbacks to the park…first, not all of the sites are that great which can really change you’r overall experience and second, there aren’t any hookups.


Camp Chairs for Dogs

So when Camping we have found that the dogs often, not always, like to be up off the ground.

Though it may seem an odd thing, camping with dogs in chairs, but there are a few key benefits…

  1. Lessens the chance of chigger and other ground insect bites
  2. Reduces the amount of dirt and debris they will drag into the RV
  3. If the ground is wet or damp, it keeps them dry which is always a big plus

When I went out to find them their own camp chairs so they would stop taking ours I found a saucer dog bed, but it was over $50…so instead I looked for normal chairs and found the saucer chairs above for $30.95.  The dogs like them and they are easy to pack and set up.  Also, they have a 250# rating so larger dogs can use these too, obviously a Great Dane isn’t fitting in these chairs, but for a lot of medium sized dogs this will work.

Another dog cot we like is one we found at Cabela’s, it’s the tan one in the right corner.  We like this for our oldest dog, Daisy, the higher chairs have proven to be too high for her, so this one works perfect for her.  The draw back about this cot is that it’s max weight is 50#…the good news is that the new version now is rated up to 120#.  If you are wondering why 50# doesn’t work for our wee tots, it’s because sometimes more than one dog would share the cot and so we have gone through a few of these.