Brain Games for Dogs: Promoting a Happy Healthy Disposition

brain games for dogs

An idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. This is true for humans and dogs. A lack of mental stimulation for dogs and humans has negative consequences. While some downtime is healthy for all of us, nothing good can come from persistent boredom. 

Now imagine your favorite preschooler with hours of time and nothing to stimulate them mentally. It would not end well! As a canine caregiver, you’ve experienced this with dogs firsthand. 

Dog behavior specialists believe canine cognition levels match the cognition levels of humans at ages three to five years. Just like human caregivers plan novel ways to stimulate their kid’s brains, dog caregivers need to provide brain games for their dogs.  

Explore ways to provide mental stimulation for dogs below.

What We Know About Dog Brains

We know that exposing dogs to more complex environments increases the size of their brain and increases connections between existing neurons.  Dogs that have the opportunity to solve problems, learn new things, and navigate novel experiences are happier. Just like humans

Brain Games for Dogs

When you think about brain games for dogs, think about stimulating all five senses. Smell (of course!), taste, sight, hearing, and touch.

Also, remember the importance of variety. Dogs will get bored with the same two or three stuffed squeaky toys. Rotate toys in and out.  Rotate games in and out.

Let’s look at some examples of brain games for dogs.

Play Hide and Seek

Do you remember this game from childhood? If you have a child you probably know that at a certain age, this game never ever gets old! Dogs are no different. They love to play hide and seek. 

The good news is that dogs are happy to always be the seeker. And dogs are just as excited to seek you, a toy or food.  If you’ve never done this before, start out by hiding you, the toy or food in a place that your dog will successfully find.

With each success, you can make hiding places more challenging to find.

Set Up an Agility Course for Them

Agility courses are great brain games for dogs. If you have a large open space at your disposal, you can set up an agility course for your dog. Here are some easy ideas to get started.

Set up a seesaw. Teach your dog to run up one side, wait for its weight to shift the plank, then run down the other side.

Create a tunnel from empty boxes or use a child’s flexible fabric tunnel. Teach your dog to run through the tunnel.

Place cones in a line with enough space for your dog to weave around them. 

Food rewards work especially well here to get your dogs attention. High-value food is a great reward when they learn and complete an obstacle. 

Teach Them New Words and New Tricks

Did you ever wonder if dogs recognize words? Not in the way humans do, but researchers do believe that dogs can associate a sound with an object.  Teaching your dog the different names for each toy instead of referring them all as a toy.

Go fetch your ball! Go fetch your tug-o-rope! Go fetch your squeaky squirrels!

You can also teach your dog new tricks. During the puppy stage, it seems like a herculean task to just teach sit, stay, come, and down. Most dog parents are pooped out (pun intended) from puppy training and stop there.  

But once you have these basics down pat, teaching increasingly complex tricks will build your dog’s confidence and focus. Experts tell us that dogs of all ages can learn new tricks. 

Shape a New Behavior

If you and your pup are up for a challenge, shaping a new behavior can lead to some pretty cool stuff like ringing a bell, bringing you the newspaper and flipping light switches.

Shaping simply means taking a complex behavior and breaking it down into small steps. Your dog is rewarded as each movement is learned. 

An example of how shaping works is teaching your dog how to stack the rings on a kid’s ring toss toy. You might break the behavior into the following steps.

First, teach your dog to touch the stick with his nose. Second, teach your dog to pick up and carry a ring. Third, teach your dog to drop the ring near the stick. Reward your dog each time the ring hits the stick or stick platform.

Eventually, your dog will accidentally drop the ring on the stick. When that happens – CELEBRATE BIG TIME!

Give Them Puzzles & Brain Games to Solve

If you type in the search term brain games for dogs into a certain online retail site, you will get thousands of products that claim to erase boredom from your dog’s life for hours. Depending on the dog and the game, that may be true.

But the real value in the wonderful world of dog toys and games is they provide mental stimulation for your dog when you’re not home or are too busy to play.

Different dogs prefer different types of games. Some can spend hours working to get a treat out of a Kong. Others may get bored of that quickly but will love a floor puzzle with lids and knobs.

An easy homemade brain game for dogs uses a muffin tin and tennis balls. Hide treats in the tin and cover each muffin well with a tennis ball.

Play with Them

Your dog loves being with you. Interacting with you and learning to please you is mental stimulation. Brain games for dogs that require your participation are a great bonding experience for the two of you.

Research has shown that the area of a dogs brain associated with reward is stimulated as much by seeing their owner as by food. 

Imagine your dog’s delight with brain games that involve you and food rewards!

A great brain game for dogs is the shell game. You may have played this yourself on a city street corner. Take three opaque plastic cups. Let your dog watch you place a very yummy smelly treat under one of the cups.  

Shuffle the cups around and see if your dog can pick the one with the treat under it. 

Nothing Good Comes of Boredom: Brain Games For Dogs Can Help!

Dogs want to participate in meaningful activities. They want a job to do. Brain games for dogs feel like meaningful work for them. 

You can help your canine customers achieve a happy and healthy disposition by providing them with regular mental and physical stimulation while in your care. But as a busy canine caregiver, it can be tough to find the time to develop novel activities and teach new behaviors.

Make sure you are taking advantage of technology to operate your pet business, so you have the time to develop happy and healthy canine customers!

Adorable Dog Wedding Ideas: How to Include Mr. Snuggles in Your Ceremony!

dog wedding

Including Your Dog In Your Wedding

In the United States, 85 million families have a dog. If you are one of those millions of people that own a dog, you may consider them part of your family. And if you’re getting married, you don’t want to leave anyone out of the family, right?

When making the guestlist for your special day, there’s one significant invitation you won’t want to forget. Explore dog wedding ideas to include your pet.

Dog Wedding Ideas To Include Your Pet:

Give Your Pup a Role

One of the easiest ways to have a wedding with your pet is to make sure that you give them a role. This one of the best ways to subtly integrate them into your wedding.

The first thing you should do is try and figure out which role (or roles) you want your pet to play.

Flower Dog

If you don’t have anyone that would be a good candidate for flower girl, you can assign your dog to this role!

They will be able to carry a basket of flowers in their mouth, letting some of the flower petals fall out as they trot down the aisle. 

If you decide to do this, you should make sure that the flowers are safe and won’t hurt your dog if they decide that they want to try and eat a few of the fallen flowers. 

Ring Bearer

Your dog obviously won’t be able to hand you the rings, but they can do a really good job of bringing them to you.

If you want to make your dog your ring bearer, you could tie a cushion onto their back and attach the rings to that. You could also hook them onto the dog’s collar so that all the dog has to do is just walk to the front of the wedding ceremony.

Dog of Honor

This is another way you could make your dog part of your wedding party. You should consider how obedient your dog is and how comfortable they are with social settings.

If you think they’ll behave, you could have them walk down the aisle along with your wedding party. You should still probably have someone hold them on a leash, but you can decorate the leash to fit your ceremony.

dog wedding

The Flower Boquet

If your dog is small enough, you could use them to replace your flower bouquet! This is a cute trend that has started on social media. 

Not only will you save money on having to buy some flowers, but you will also be able to hold your adorable puppy and include them in all the wedding photos. 

Honored Guest

If you aren’t sure if your dog behaves enough to be a part of the actual ceremony, you could always have them as an honored guest.

This will be a much calmer and less demanding job than the other ones above. That way they still can be at your wedding and watch you marry the love of your life.

While they can attend the wedding, you should consider if having them at the reception is the best idea for them. The party could get loud and stress them out. 

You also want to enjoy your reception, rather than having to follow your dog around and make sure they’re not sneaking food off the tables or eating your chocolate cake.

Dog Wedding: Make Sure They’re in the Pictures

 Regardless of how you incorporate your dog into your wedding, you want to make sure that you have pictures of them to remember them and the special event.

They are family, after all.

dog wedding

Engagement Photos

One cute way people include their pets is by taking engagement photos and incorporating their pet somehow.

A little bit of scrolling on Pinterest can offer up some really unique and creative ideas to help you get started.

Save the Dates

After the engagement, you will need to start sending out save the dates before you send out some invitations.

Your potential guests will love seeing pictures of you, your partner, and your pet before the big day!

Dog Wedding Photos

If your pet is part of the wedding party or a substitute for your wedding bouquet, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find ways to include them in your wedding photos.

They can be a cute addition to your collection and those photos will be a keepsake for years to come.

dog bow

Dog Wedding Decor

If your dog can’t come to your wedding, there are still plenty of ways you can honor them.

Here are a few of our favorites!

Table Number Holders

When you number each table at your reception, you will need something to hold that table number.

Some people have made small busts of their dog and used that to hold up the table number. It’s a cute yet subtle way to incorporate your dog into the wedding. 

Napkins

Fancy napkins can help dress up the table. 

You can have custom-made napkins that will have a picture or silhouette of your dog printed on them. 

You will feel like your dog is really with you on your special day with these. 

Menus

If you are offering menus or food/drink options at your wedding, you could also have pictures of your dogs printed on the menus as well.

Some people honor their pet by having a special cocktail named after their dog. That way your guests can go to the open bar and order something really special. 

Have a Dog Wedding Today!

These dog wedding ideas are only a few to help you get started. 

After your wedding, you may need someone to watch over your dog while you’re on your honeymoon.

Start researching for a great breeder who uses our software today!

The Pawfect Dog Dad Gifts for Father’s Day

dog dad gifts

 

Anyone can be a pet owner, but it takes someone special to be a dog dad (or mom)! And because Father’s Day is just around the corner – June 16 to be exact, you might be wondering what you can give the dog dads in your life. Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard bit by researching the best dog dad gifts for dog owners. Check out these pawfect dog dad gifts for Father’s Day.

Dog Dad Shirt

Some people think giving shirts as a gift is terrible. But it really depends on the print, as well as the person getting the gift.

Personally, we think dog dad shirts  like these  are wonderful. They’re practical and you can give a bunch of them to every dog parent in your circle. Or, if you know custom t-shirt printing shops, you can have one printed with your own design.

If you’re feeling generous, you can give 7 shirts, one for each day of the week.

Father's Day, dog dad gifts

Matching Dog and Owner Apparel

Does he have a lot of dog dad shirts already?

If yes, you can venture outside shirts and give him a hoodie or pajamas. Take it up a notch by buying his furbaby a matching set.

Personalized Sticky Notes or Notepad

Here’s a fun fact for you. Did you know that the average office dude or gal gets  11 messages via Post-it  daily?

So if your guy spends most of his time at the office (when not spending time with his dog baby, of course), why not give him something he can use often and remind him of his best pal at the same time?

Just think how happy he’ll be when he sees a picture of his furbaby every time he has to write a note.

Father's Day, dog dad gifts

Free Apps

Yes, you read that right. We’re saying you should get a dog dad some free apps for Father’s Day. After all, aren’t the best things in life free?

Okay, that sounds a bit corny, but hear us out.  such as Finding Rover or DogVacay are actually quite useful for dog owners.  Finding Rover , for example, helps families find their lost dogs through a virtual database of canine facial recognition, while  DogVacay  helps dog owners who want to go on vacation find cage-free pet boarding in their region.

Now, if the dog dad you’re giving these gifts to isn’t all that tech-savvy, you can take this opportunity to introduce him to the wonderful world of apps. Yes, you may have given him a free gift but he’ll surely appreciate your thought and effort.

Father's Day

HEPA Filters

Do you know of dog dads who have pet allergies?

While some people would just tell these dog owners to get rid of their furbabies, we know for a fact that there’s a way to  live with pet allergies  without getting rid of your pet.

One of those ways is with HEPA filtration. Aside from removing microscopic allergens, HEPA filters also get rid of indoor air pollutants, which allow homes to retain good indoor air quality.

High-Tech Pet Gadgets

If you’re looking for unique gifts for dog owners that double as the perfect Father’s Day presents, you can go for high-tech pet gadgets.

From wireless, waterproof devices that act as GPS beacons for doggies to home monitors that allow owners to check up on their furbabies while they’re at work, there are so many gizmos out there that are sure to please techie dog dads.

Father's Day, dog dad gifts

 

Dog Books

What’s the best way to please a dog lover and a bibliophile?

Give them a dog book or two (or more if you want). Now, if you’re not sure which ones are good enough to give as a gift, you can start with  Oprah’s recommendations, which include titles such as Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love and You Had Me at Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness.

Father's Day

Doggie Cufflinks

For a stylish dog dad, you can’t go wrong with doggie cufflinks. They come in all sorts of styles and shapes now, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the perfect design.

There are silver ones, gold ones, and even cufflinks made from wood. Just choose something you know he’ll love to wear for formal and semi formal occasions.

Father's Day, dog dad gifts

Dog Dad and Baby Holiday

Feeling generous? If the dog dad you have in mind is in dire need of a vacation but can’t go because he doesn’t want to leave his precious pup, give him and his baby a vacation.

The great thing about doing it this year is there are so many  dog-friendly destinations  nowadays, you won’t find it a hassle to plan in advance or just in time for Father’s Day.

Dog DNA Test Kit

Is he obsessed with his furry companion’s genetic makeup?

We can assure you, it’s not because he’s being over the top as a dog dad. If he has a mixed breed dog, it’s even more important for him to know its background because there are  specific health issues he may need to watch out for.

For example, Dobermans are at risk for bleeding disorders while certain big dogs are prone to arthritis. Knowing these risk factors can help owners make better choices about their dogs’ diet and other health requirements.

dog dad gifts

Weird Dog Dad Gifts

For dog dads who like ridiculous stuff, there are some truly bizarre accessories for their furbabies you can gift them with.

From dog tattoos to pet high chairs, pet saunas, and butt covers, you just have to do a bit of research to come up with a weird dog gift an equally weird dog dad will love.

Dog Dad Gifts: Are You Set for Father’s Day?

Now that you have some ideas as to what to give the dog dad/s in your life, don’t wait until the last minute to get the perfect gift.

And if you’re still looking for gifts for dog owners, don’t forget to check out our blog for more ideas.

Know of dog dads who also have their own pet grooming service? You can give them the perfect Father’s Day gift with the right pet software. Check out 123Pet Software for more information.

Unique Dog Names – Creative Names For Your New Pup!

unique dog names

Unique Dog Names

The situation in the dog park is getting untenable. We can’t all be out there yelling the same thing. If nothing else, it leads to some very confused dogs. There are lists upon lists of the most popular dog names out there but what about choosing unique dog names?

You don’t always want to walk the beaten path. If your dog is a little more unique, you might want to do them justice with a unique name. Don’t worry. Here’s our list of top unique dog names!

Unique Dog Names:

Peeves

“This is my pet, Peeves”. Simple, effective, but always good for a laugh. It’s also cute; the kind of name you could give to a little yapper or, with a sense of irony, to a big lug.

And if anyone questions you too closely, you can always claim you named them for the poltergeist from Harry Potter.

Gelert

While we’re on the subject of things vaguely linked with Harry Potter, let’s dip into mythology for the name “Gelert”. Gelert is a legendary dog associated with Beddgelert in Wales. It’s a sad but beautiful story of a loyal hound that protected its master at the expense of its own life.

Bring Gelert back to life with this name, and you’ll have an interesting story to tell people, too.

As for the Harry Potter link, the sinister Grindelwald’s first name is the similar “Gellert”. Now let’s hope he turns out to be an Animagus.

Garm

Let’s stick with the legends and folklore theme for a moment. Garm is a Norse wolf straight out of legend, a guardian of the underworld. Like Gelert, it’s one of the lesser known wolf legends, which makes it a little unique.

We love this one. It’s more functional as a name than the more famous Fenrir, but it has some old-school cool factor behind it. It also sounds like a noise your dog might make.

Furdinand

Naming your dog is a chance to indulge in some silly fun. Unlike an unlucky child, your dog will never learn that it has a ridiculous name by human standards. But you’ll still get the joy of using it in public.

That’s what makes “Furdinand” a good candidate. This one is just subtle enough to slip under most people’s radar, but you’ll still give your vet a good chuckle.

Cat

We love a dog name that causes a little confusion. Calling your dog “Cat” is a fast pass to that. This one’s worth it just for the looks you’ll get when you yell it in the park.

There’s also a delicious irony in it. Your dog will never know that it shares its name with its most better rival in the pet world. Just don’t ask us what you should do if you get a cat later.

Floof

Trust the internet to make dogs even cuter. Floof is an internet term for fur or something furry, though it has expanded to a more general word for “dog” and even beyond — such as “murder floof” to describe a wolf or bear.

Along with being a pleasant word to say, there’s just something adorable about the word. You won’t stay angry at a dog named “Floof”, that’s for sure.

Woofgang

You can’t hate a good pun. This one’s cute, harmless, and even works pretty well as a name. You can fill a dog with joy just by existing, so why not turn the tables and give your dog a name that’ll always make you laugh?

Besides, it’s also a great excuse to get a cat and name it Meowtzart, as well.

Grandpa/Grandma

Yelling commands at grandma will never get old. And nor will complaining about her loudly when she breaks wind. Your dog will never know, but it’s an endless source of potential laughs for you as an owner.

Of course, this one’s less practical if said senior is around on a regular basis and could cause some offense. Use tactfully.

Luna

Dogs, via their wolfy ancestors, have a pretty close link to the moon. Going back to those roots can give you a name like “Luna”. We think this is a beautiful nod to a dog’s primal past. And it’s one of the prettiest female dog names, to boot.

Kiba

Dipping into foreign languages can be a great way of ensuring you won’t cross wires with any local dog owners.

Kiba is one of our favorites. A Japanese word, it means “fang” — pretty appropriate for a dog. As a name, it sounds unisex while also being short and easy to remember (and spell).

Jeff

There’s something hilarious about dogs with people names instead of pet names. Your ball of dorkiness suddenly becomes someone who attends a meeting or remembers your birthday. And you can generate a lot of confusion by telling people you’re spending the day with Jeff.

Doug

Why choose between a person’s name and a funny one when you can just do both? Dogs love to dig, and when a dog has dug, he’s Doug.

We like to measure the quality of a dog name but how easy it is to say in a silly voice. By that metric, Doug is a winner.

Dawg

So you don’t want to go as far as naming your dog “Dog”, but you’re willing to acknowledge that there’s something weird about giving animals a name. “Dawg” is a pretty good compromise.

It’s tongue-in-cheek and fun to say. And you get the pleasure of correcting people: “No, no, it’s not ‘Dog’, it’s ‘Daaawwg'”.

Kraken

Let the dogs out? No, not in this house. In this house, we RELEASE THE KRAKEN. It’s an unexpected dog name, but fun as heck to say as you open the front door.

Bonus points if you happen to be fans of Pirates of the Caribbean or the nautical world in general. We recommend this to the seafarers among you.

The Joy of Unique Dog Names

Of course, the real joy of unique dog names lies in choosing the one you’d never encounter anywhere else. We’ve given you some ideas, but see what you can come up with to give your dog something unique to call their own.

Once you’ve adopted and named your dog, you’ll want to keep them safe. Check out this list of toxins to avoid.

7 Priceless Dog Mom Gifts for Mother’s Day

mothers day dog mom

 

For some, dogs are like children (fur babies, anyone?) and dog moms deserve to celebrate Mother’s Day, too! Since dogs live in over 40 million US households, that makes for plenty of loving pet parents celebrating holidays (and every day) with their pets. This Mother’s Day, honor your favorite dog mom with some thoughtful Mothers day dog mom gifts.

Studies have shown that the same parts of a dog parent’s brain light up when they see their dogs or their children. It’s no wonder that there are so many self-identified dog moms walking around, proud of their precious pups.

If you’re looking for the perfect gifts for the dog mom in your life, think creatively. Until there’s an official “Dog Mom’s Day” on the books, you’ll have to try some of these clever Mother’s Day dog mom gifts.

Mothers Day Dog Mom Gift Ideas:

1. Unique Jewelry

Online you can find all kinds of jewelry to match any breed of dog: dachshund to great dane, maltese to mastiff… there are earrings, bracelets, and pendants.  You can even find breed-specific beaded charms from a variety of retailers.

Find a charm company that specializes in Mothers Day dog mom gifts to ensure you get a gift that looks good. Get to know the dog mom you’re buying for, before you drop hundreds of dollars on some jewelry they might not wear. Every mom is different, so buy with care.

mothers day dog mom

2. Stationery, Pens, and Pads

There are several companies offering customizable stationery for all kinds of pet parents. A few companies specialize in dog-related stationery.

Hunt around for the likeness of specific breeds and you’re sure to find something that reminds your dog mom of their beloved fluffball. Several outlets will print a custom cover or even a custom background on every sheet in a pad. Shop around for a high-quality printing company.

Go with a brand that supports dogs specifically and you might find they even donate to a local shelter. You can give the one-two punch of a unique gift with a special donation to show you really care.

mothers day dog mom

3. Dog Accessories

Most clothing shops offer something interesting with dogs on it. You could get a pair of socks that have a wide variety of dogs or one that matches the breed that your dog mom loves the most. Some dog moms have several dogs, so you might want to find a print with a little more variety.

A colorful scarf could come in handy during evening walks. A scarf covered in dogs will let people know, wherever she goes, they’re talking to a dog mom.

If your dog mom loves to get cozy at home and watch some TV with her pets, a pair of pajamas makes for one of the best dog mom gifts. Pick out pajama pants with her favorite breed or a bathrobe with an elegantly embroidered dog on the breast?  Attractive accessories allow your dog mom to add a splash of their dog love to any outfit, business or casual.

dog with laptop

4. A Cute Mothers Day Dog Mom T-shirt

T-shirts abound, and to find one with a hound should be a snap! Plenty of t-shirts are out there with clever jokes or corny puns that tell the world how much she loves dogs.

It could also have a picture of her favorite breed, or take the extra step and have something custom made for her. Bring her favorite photo to the local mall or online to find t-shirts, mouse pads, coffee mugs, oven mitts…  of her pup made.

If you’ve got some design chops, go a little further. If her favorite movie is Titanic, Photoshop her face and her dog’s face onto the main characters. If she loves KISS, you could Photoshop the two of them as band members covered in makeup. A custom printed t-shirt will be well-loved and could be a huge hit.

t-shirt

5. Soy Candles

Soy candles have become more popular than traditional wax because of their cleaner burn, leaving fewer toxins and pollutants in the air. This is a serious consideration because of the much smaller lungs dogs have. A long-lasting candle with a pet printed on it could be a really nice gift.

Candles are also great because they cover up some of the scents that can be left behind by dogs. Even the cleanest dog is prone to being a little stinky.  A lavender candle could really relax the mood at home and help to calm an otherwise peppy puppy and keep you Mothers Day dog Mom happy.

mothers day dog mom

6. A Dog Bouquet

One of the most common gifts given on Mother’s Day is a bouquet of flowers, so why not include dog moms in that tradition? Several flower retailers will create dog shaped arrangements to match several breeds. Your dog mom will feel extra special when she receives a lovely Mothers Day dog mom flower arrangement.

flowers

7. A Dog Tote Bag

Useful and handy, here’s another dog mom gift you can either find off the shelf or have custom printed. Several retailers offer tote bags with a variety or breeds printed all over it. Other print shops will print out your custom photo on a tote bag. If your dog mom travels with lots of her dog’s things, this could be a very thoughtful gift. Stuff it with a few extra pet grooming items so her pup doesn’t feel left out.

bags mothers day

Make Mothers Day Dog Moms Feel Special

The most important goal when picking out dog mom gifts is to make your dog mom feel special. When she feels like other Moms feel on Mother’s Day, she won’t feel left out of the holiday. For some dog moms, that’s all they could ever want.

If you’re looking for other gift ideas for dogs or dog parents, contact us for tips.

Why You Should Adopt a Shelter Pet

adopt a shelter pet

Did you know, according to the ASPCA, over 1.5 million animals living in shelters are euthanized every year?

This shocking figure includes 670,000 dogs and around 860,000 cats. Now more than ever, pets in shelters throughout the United States need a loving home to call their own. There’s a number of reasons that people don’t consider shelter pets to be a viable option for their family. The most prevalent being concerns about the animal’s temperament or its health.

Unfortunately, it’s these common misconceptions often result in a lot of animals being unnecessarily euthanized. Shelters often enforce strict guidelines concerning an animal’s behavior or health, and wouldn’t rehome any pet to anybody. Shelters value the lives of animals and so should you. So, let’s take a look at five reasons why your next pet should be a shelter pet.

Adopt a Shelter Pet

Every Animal is Unique

As mentioned previously, rescues take the time to get to know each animal before they decide who they should be rehomed to. If you have no other pets or small children, finding the pet that’s right for you will not be trouble at all.

Rescues will advise you what animals they have that would be ideal for your circumstances. For example, if you find yourself housebound, you’d be better off getting a cat that you can entertain with a laser pointer or other similar toys, as opposed to a large breed of dog that would require walks several times a day.

Remember, every animal is unique and when you adopt from a shelter pet, you get the chance to meet a variety of different animals before deciding on who you’d like to be your furry friend.

Pets of all shapes and sizes

Most rescues throughout the country are operating at maximum capacity. While this may not be good news for animals living on the streets, it’s good news for you. Visiting your local shelter means you get to see a large number of a number of pets all in one place.

Rescues often have all manner of breeds and sizes of pets for you to choose from. Remember, deep down, the love that an animal will give to you is the same, regardless of what they look like on the outside.

shelter pet

You’ll be supporting a local rescue

Most rescues depend entirely on donations and are run by mostly volunteers. By adopting a pet from a local rescue and paying the modest rehoming fee, you help to support a local shelter that makes a difference in your community.

Animal lovers will be pleased to know that adopting a pet from a shelter frees up space for another pet to be taken in from the streets or from an unsuitable home.

You’ll be helping two animals, not just one

As mentioned earlier, most rescues are operating at maximum capacity, which means that they often can’t help every animal that needs them, even if they know of their predicament. By adopting a shelter pet, you’re not only helping the pet you adopt, but you’re also helping the pet that will replace it.

When your pet comes home with you, the shelter you adopted it from can then take in another pet from the streets, so your kindness doesn’t end the moment you adopt your pet.

adopt a shelter pet

You’ll expand your family & improve your health

Now more than ever, people treat pets as part of the family. Years ago, if you admitted to buying your pets Christmas presents, you’d have found yourself the subject of ridicule.

However, these days, more and more people are acknowledging that pets are part of the family. Kids love animals, and having a furry friend grow as they do can do wonders for their happiness. There are even some surprising health benefits to owning a dog!

Other ways you can help shelter pets

If you’re unable to adopt a shelter pet of your own, there are still other ways you can help. Local rescues are always grateful for food donations and will welcome them with open arms.

Sometimes, you may find that shelter will let you just spend time with the pets. With all pets needing different amounts of attention, there may be animals in your local shelter who just aren’t getting enough fuss due to the limitations of staff. Your time with them could help them to feel comfortable and happy in their surroundings.

Donations

With April 30th being #NationalAdoptAShelterPetDay! Join us by clicking here and giving back to a local animal shelter in Michigan that finds homes for deserving pets. Every little bit will help us meet our goal of $500 before April 30.

The New Beginnings Animal Rescue is completely run by volunteers and funded by donations. What started as a pet food pantry in 2010 has evolved into a full-service adoption center and gathering place for animal lovers to share stories, educate one another and make a difference in their community.

Looking for more interesting pet content? Check out our blog!

How to Grow Your Business with Instagram

how to grow on Instagram

Social media today is not what it was 10 years ago. It is no longer a place exclusively for connecting with old friends from high school or sharing your most recent vacation photos. Today’s social media landscape has evolved into a legitimate channel for brand-building, marketing, and even sales—with Instagram emerging at the head of the pack. According to the platform itself, Instagram now hosts more than 25 million business profiles and 80 percent of its users say they follow at least one business on the app.

Mind you, Instagram business profiles are being used for much more than window shopping. According to Instagram, 71 percent of its users are taking action, such as visiting a company’s website after viewing a post, or calling, emailing or direct messaging the business. With newer features such as Instagram shopping—where users can view products on Instagram Stories and purchase them directly—people are increasingly seeing Instagram as a place for consumerism.

Your grooming business can and should take advantage of this platform to grow your business. If used strategically, Instagram can increase revenue alongside brand awareness. Read on to find out how to grow on Instagram:

  1. Share content that represents your grooming business

You run a high-quality grooming shop, so your photos should be high-quality. While camera focus and lighting may not be as important on personal Instagram profiles where photos are for the memories, you want to represent your space and your services accurately and professionally. This does not mean you need to invest in a multi-thousand-dollar camera. A modern smartphone should do the trick.

Share photos that show users what it would be like to walk into your shop. From photos of the workplace to your groomers, to your furry clients with fresh cuts—Instagram provides users with a preview of the experience they will have at your grooming shop. It can even be the deciding factor of whether you win their business. Showcase your best work, any and all promotions, and don’t be afraid to incorporate your business’s personality into the content.

Most important is to match quality with quantity. 70 percent of Instagram posts aren’t seen by users due to the sheer volume of content in their feeds, so it’s important to post consistently.

how to grow on Instagram

 

  1. Start a social media contest

Incentivize followers to do your work for you by designing social media contests that engage customers and encourage foot traffic. Contests are fun and everyone likes a prize. Check out a few examples:

  • After a visit to your shop, customers who post a photo of their pet’s newest hairdo and tag your business on Instagram get 10% off their next purchase.
  • Customers who share your latest Instagram post will be entered to win a free nail trimming on top of their next haircut.
  • If you have business profiles on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, encourage your audience to follow you on Instagram, too—they may get a $5 coupon for one of your retail products!

The most effective contests will encourage followers to promote your business on their own profiles, allowing you to tap into their networks for greater exposure.

how to grow on Instagram

  1. Use hashtags to gain visibility

Hashtags are the best way to help raise your brand awareness on Instagram. By tagging #groomers, you become part of a social media community of pet groomers. You also become more discoverable for users searching that term. According to Instagram, 60 percent of users say they have heard about a product or service for the first time through the app. The easier users can find your grooming business, the easier it will be for you to convert virtual followers into actual foot traffic.

That said, you want to use hashtags selectively and strategically. According to studies on this topic, the optimal number of hashtags per Instagram post is 11, though you can use up to 30 at a time.

how to grow on Instagram

  1. Make it easy for users to book appointments on Instagram

With a beautifully curated array of Instagram photos, strategic hashtags, and catchy captions, your followers may be sold on your brand—but how do you make sure they book an appointment instead of scrolling to the next image in their feed? Consumers’ attention spans are shrinking, so it’s important for businesses to close the deal while they are still top of mind. Having a “Book Now” feature is helpful for converting social media scrollers into paying patrons. Or, make sure you link to your business’s website in your Instagram bio, so users can explore appointment options, commit to a time and check out your grooming business for themselves.

Social media is a valuable part of any modern business’s marketing strategy. It can bring in new customers, raise your brand awareness and give customers more touchpoints so they feel connected to your brand. Check out this blog post for more ideas to enhance your marketing strategies in 2019, and follow 123Pet on Instagram!

The Pet Industry Goldmine: Facts and Trends to Know

If you are a pet owner or manage your own business in the pet industry one thing is for certain: You know the pet industry is a goldmine. With new technology and advances in care for pets, there is no sign of the industry slowing down anytime soon.

Pet owners want the best for their loved companions. And pet industry businesses want to make sure they are capitalizing on the latest market trends. Are you staying up to date with the latest pet industry trends? We can help.

We’ve put together a list of the latest trends to help you care for your pet or your business. Stay on top of these new pet industry trends and you’ll be getting the best for your pet or businesses:

1. Pet Industry Trends: Going Natural

It’s tough to underestimate the organic and natural food markets. In the United States alone organic and natural food sales forecasts to hit 6.8 billion in 2019.

But the new frontier in pet care is a drive toward natural foods as well. The global pet food market is expected to be worth $98.81 billion by 2022.

And much of that growth could be due to natural foods for pets. There are a number of trends in the pet food industry alone. These include clean labels, a healthy focus, and fewer processed foods.

Pet owners want  the same focus on health and wellness for their companions as they do for themselves. Businesses need to be aware of this trend and make sure to cater to the health food desires of their pets and owners.

pet industry trends

2. Mobile Grooming

With software apps, virtual businesses, and an increased focus on client satisfaction it’s no wonder that mobile pet grooming is set to explode.

You can hire a car through Uber. You can order grocery delivery online. Why shouldn’t pet grooming be just as easy?

Teeth cleaning for pets is another aspect of this trend. What could be easier than setting appointments, processing payments, and handling the business of grooming with a smartphone or iPad?

With technology support, mobile grooming can exceed the standards of traditional grooming and offer ease and convenience. Plus, business owners can equip their mobile enterprise with other aspects of the latest trends. You’ll be cross-marketing services on the road in 2019 with mobile grooming.

3. Pet Photography

We all know that Americans love selfies. But coming in at a close second is how much we love photographs of our pets.

Pet photography is one of the newest pet trends. It takes our love for pet photography and places it in the hands of the professionals. Pet owners want to see their loved companions in the best light.

The best pet photographers  love animals, have a great sense of style, know the market, and can handle pets to get the best results. With some photographers  charging $150 per session  there is a lot of opportunity for revenue and income in the pet photography industry.

Plus, industry professionals can leverage their grooming, dog walking, or pet care business to include pet photography. The best photographers have their own marketing embedded into their work. Just think, every pet owner who shares a photo you’ve created will be doing your advertising for you!

pet industry trends

4. Loving the Luxury

With all the attention to photography, great food, and mobile solutions the focus on luxury should come as no surprise to observers of the pet industry.

From high-quality food to boarding solutions and retail products there is a growing trend toward luxury in pet care.

High-end pet services are one of the many areas of the pet industry that is  seeing significant growth.

Pet massages, spas, spray color, and limo rides  are among the services pet owners are willing to pay for. Luxury isn’t just in the pampered experience though. Pet owners are investing in luxury goods and collars for their companions.

Leather, jewels, and custom designs  are all trends in dog collars. Pet owners want luxury in goods and experience for their loved pets.

pet industry trends

5. Technology Trends

When is the last time you went anywhere without your smartphone? Well, pet owners want the same technology benefits for their companions as they have for themselves.

Technology allows owners to monitor the behavior of their pets. It also lets them stay connected to their companions.

There are  monitoring tools like Fitbark  that let owners get to know their pets even better through technology. In addition, many of us are aware of GPS positioning services that let us locate our pets.

pet industry trends

6. Pet Waste Removal

The best industry trends address the needs and desires of owners. And what more can owners ask for than an easy solution to the worst part of dog ownership?

One of the fastest growing trends in pet care is pet waste removal. One company grew from a $150 initial investment to a business with just under $9 million in annual revenue. This company now operates in 24 states. Removing pet waste is a trend that allows owners to focus on enjoying their pet.

They let service providers deal with the headaches of waste removal.

pet industry trends

7. TV for Dogs!

You never thought you would have to share your TV with your dog, right? Turns out some dogs like TV too and signing up for DOGTV is becoming a popular trend.

DOGTV was the first television experience created for dogs to relax and entertain them, allowing you to leave a little love on when heading out of your home. DOGTV is not just a TV channel; after all, our dogs don’t binge watch their favorite shows as we do. But, they do experience happy stimulation and comfort from the scientifically developed sights and sounds that it provides.

8. The Dog Person’s Dating App

Find someone you really DIG, on the dog person’s dating app! This app allows dog owners (or anyone who’d like to snuggle up to a dog owner) a chance to meet fellow single canine lovers.

Dogs show us how to love unconditionally, so it is only fitting that they are part of the soul mate search. The app shows pictures of potential matches with their dogs. Each person creates a profile and then the app will fetch five compatible matches a day. Once a person finds someone they are interested in meeting, the app offers dog-friendly bars, restaurants and parks to meet at. It’s a goldmine!

pet industry trends

Get Easy Access To The Goldmine!

Once you realize the amount of opportunity with the pet industry trends the only question is how to make the most of it.

With the right tools, processes, and technology you can watch your revenues soar when servicing pets. As long as you have the right tools you can make the most of the pet industry trends.

9 Places All Dog-Lovers Need To Visit At Least Once

dog friendly vacations

Dog Friendly Vacations

The average American worker has just about two weeks of paid time off every year. That’s not very much in the grand scheme of things, which means you need to make the most of it.

You’ve probably thought of many dream vacations but never considered what it would be like to bring your dog. Or you may have decided it’s too difficult to find a dog friendly vacation with proper lodging and places to go to for activities if you have a pet with you.

But we’re here to tell you that there are a ton of awesome dog friendly vacations you can take with your dog. All it takes is a little planning and research. Check out this list of the best dog friendly vacations and start traveling today!

1. Hike the Appalachian Trail

If you have an adventurous spirit, then there is no better trip for you than hiking the Appalachian Trail with your furry best friend. Imagine navigating the expanse of nature with your dog, it truly sounds magical.

But, in order to take this trip, you will need to do a bit of planning. There are a couple paths on the trail that don’t allow dogs.

In addition, you will need to take precautions to keep your pet fed, hydrated, and safe. That starts with making sure you have enough dehydrated dog food for the trip.

You should also purchase booties for your pet if you plan on hiking a lengthy distance. You will need to treat your dog for fleas and ticks before the trip to ensure they are properly protected.

dog friendly vacations

2. Visit the Grand Canyon

Although it’s a national park, the Grand Canyon allows dogs on the South Rim trail. This is a great place for viewing the expanse of the canyon.

But, they, unfortunately, don’t allow dogs on the inner canyon trails. This is for the dog’s safety as well as the safety of wild animals. However, they do offer a kennel at the south rim where your dog can be dropped off for the day.

dog friendly vacations

3. Head to Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital is replete with well-manicured walking trails through heavily wooded parks and around the national monuments. In this highly walkable city, you will be able to take your pet almost anywhere, so long as you don’t go inside.

In D.C. that’s not really a problem. There is so much to see and do outdoors. Try taking a walk through the Tidal Basin, hiking the trail through Rock Creek Park, or taking the ten-mile stroll out to George Washington’s house at Mount Vernon.

Even in the winter time, D.C. makes a nice place to visit with your pet. The winters are mild and snow is rare.

dog friendly vacations

4. Take a Spin Around Austin

Austin’s slogan is, “Keep Austin Weird” and what better way to do that than by bringing your silly pup along on vacation with you.

Austin is an excellent city to bring a pet to since they have so many pet-friendly bars and restaurants. It’s highly likely your dog won’t have to leave your side the entire time you’re in town.

You’ll love the live music and incredible art scene and come back for the food and friendly people.

dog friendly vacations

5. Hit the Beach in California

While some dogs don’t like the beach very much, others love playing in the sand and jumping in the waves.

While dogs aren’t allowed at many beaches in the United States, there are some cities in California that are especially pet-friendly. Try checking out San Diego and work your way up the coast along the Pacific Coast Highway. The fresh salt air and winding road give way to scenic views that will leave you breathless.

dog friendly vacations

6. Visit Bar Harbor

While it’s no California, the beaches in Bar Harbor, Maine have their own beauty. Try checking out Acadia National Park with your four-legged friend.

One great thing about the people in Maine is it seems they have no problem with your dog tagging along. In the Bar Harbor area, there are plenty of ferries, day cruises, and carriage tours that will allow Fido to sit right alongside you.

If you have any energy left for exploring, make sure you check out the excellent lighthouses in the area. Maine is known for the beauty of those aging buildings.

dog friendly vacations

7. Soak Up the Sun in Key West

If you have always wanted to take your dog on a Carribean vacation, but don’t want to put it through the pressure of taking a long plane flight into a foreign country, then Key West is an excellent spot for you.

As we mentioned earlier, most dogs love the beach and will have a great time bouncing around in the water. But Key West is also known for its bars and nightlife scene. Bring your dog along and you’ll be sure to make lots of friends on a night out.

dog friendly vacation

8. Expand Your Horizons in Montana

Montana is also known as the Big Sky state because of the incredible expanse of sky you are able to view on a nightly basis. Out there the stars seem to jump right out of the sky.

Bringing your pet on dog friendly vacations to Montana is a great way to make them part of this magical experience. While your dog might not know what’s going on, they will enjoy the feeling of openness and the ability to reconnect with their wild side.

dog friendly vacation

9. Get Creative in San Francisco

You wouldn’t think San Francisco would be on the dog friendly vacations list but if cities are more your thing, it could be fun to take your dog to the big city. San Francisco is known for its hills and winding streets. If you start walking, there’s no telling what you will come across.

San Francisco is home to many outdoor gardens and sculptures. Take a walking tour of the city and get lost.

dog friendly vacations

Dog Friendly Vacations are the Best

Dog friendly vacations are an excellent way to bond with your best friend while seeing a new part of the country. Bringing your pet along will give you happy memories that last a lifetime.

For more helpful articles, check out our blog today.

National Dress Up Your Pet Day: The Best Pet Costumes!

If you’re like so many animal lovers out there, there’s nothing you like more than an opportunity to dress up your dog in costume and show it off. That’s where National Dress Up Your Pet Day comes in. Let your pet show off their inner Fashionista while you celebrate your love for them and pay homage to the pet fashion community.

dog in costume

Dog in Costume

What Is National Dress Up Your Pet Day?

National Dress Up Your Pet Day was founded in 2009 by Celebrity Pet Lifestyle and Animal Behavior Expert, Colleen Paige. Celebrated on January 14th, it’s an opportunity to have fun with pet fashion while giving your dog in costume some extra attention and drawing awareness to pet adoption.

How to Observe National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Observing National Dress Up Your Pet Day is super easy. It’s all about having fun while celebrating your pet. Here are some great ways to mark the holiday:

Dress Up Your Pet – Whether you’re going for a full-on costume or just a tasteful accessory, dress them up and take lots of pictures so you can remember the day fondly and compare pictures year after year.

Adopt A Pet – Don’t own a pet? This holiday is the perfect time to adopt one. One of the reasons for the holiday is to bring more attention to shelters and find homes for more pets. Take the opportunity to welcome a new fur baby into your life.

Volunteer At a Local Shelter – There are so many pets that need homes, along with love and attention. Taking the time to volunteer can ensure that you’ll brighten a lonely pet’s day. While you’re there, donate some money in your pet’s name to help other animals in need.

Plan A Pet Parade – Organize a pet parade in your community as a way for people to show off their pets in their fanciest attire.

Have a Party – Why celebrate alone with your pet when you can make it a festive occasion. Invite all of your pet loving friends to attend and consider giving out a prize for the best costume.

Post On Social Media – Let the world see how important your furry friend is by posting their pictures in their costumes on social media. Be sure to use the hashtag #DressUpYourPetDay.

dog in costume

Cute Costumes for Your Furry Friend

Having trouble coming up with costume ideas? We’ve got you covered. Here are the best costume ideas to help your pet go the extra mile and show off their inner diva.

Punk Rocker – Find a mohawk elasticized hairpiece and put it on your pet’s head. For an extra splash of excitement opt for a neon color like green or pink.

dog in costume

Eighties Superstar – A big hairpiece along with lots of colorful accessories will ensure that your pet shows off their ’80s sense of style. Lots of tulle and a big hair bow can give off a Madonna or Cyndi Lauper vibe.

Bride Or Groom – A black and white tuxedo style bib and a bow tie will suffice for the groom. Your pet can show off their bridal best with a small tulle veil.

dog in costume

Astronaut – If your pet is out of this world, consider taking some poster board and fashioning a spaceship out of it. A few red and orange pipe cleaners near the bottom will give it more of a rocket man vibe.

Unicorn – If your pet is feeling magical dress them in a white sweater with a hood. Add an iridescent horn to the hood and add some pipe cleaners in the back for a whimsical tail.

dog in costume

Business Man/Woman – Take an old dress shirt and remove both the collar and the cuffs. Put them on your pet and add a tie to give their look a corporate feel.

dog in costume

Dog In Costume Safety Tips

National Dress Up Your Pet Day is all about fun. The last thing you want to do is cause any harm or injury to your pet. To ensure that your furry friend stays safe during all of the festivities, follow these tips:

Don’t Force The Issue – If your pet doesn’t enjoy being dressed up, don’t make them participate. Instead, opt for something easy like an extra fancy collar.

Make Sure It Fits – It’s important to make sure any outfit or costume fits properly. If it’s too tight it can restrict their breathing, which is not only uncomfortable, it’s downright dangerous.

Remove Loose Pieces – Loose and dangling pieces are pet costume no-nos. Pets love to chew and any loose pieces can pose a choking hazard, or even an intestinal issue if ingested.

Don’t Irritate Them – Some pets are allergic to certain fabrics, laundry detergents, and fabric softeners. If your pet shows any signs of irritation or itchiness, remove the costume immediately.

dog in costume

Get Ready For National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Whether you’re dressing them up in Halloween costumes or letting your inner DIY designer loose, National Dress Up Your Pet Day gives you an opportunity to bond with your furry friends while you help them let their personalities show through.

Get those costumes ready so you and your dog in costume can ring in the holiday in style. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect outfit for your pet, check with your local groomer for the latest trends in pet fashion and accessories.

If you’re a pet groomer, why not hold a ‘dog in costume’ event for National Dress Your Pet Up Day to bring in more groomers to your shop! Looking for a pet grooming software to help you run your shop? Look no further than 123Pet. Find out more HERE!