A quality kennel keeps the boredom away – your dog will thank you

bored dog in kennel (1)

Boredom is a symptom of some kennels. But, when the kennel has your dog’s interest at heart, a bored dog is replaced by a dog having fun.

Imagine if you took a trip and spent your entire vacation locked in your room. Hopefully, you’d have some really good company in the room with you. Or, you might look at your confinement as an opportunity to catch up on some reading and relax. But, if the latter, wouldn’t you rather read a book by the hotel pool? Now, imagine how your dog will feel if locked in a room the entire time you’re away.

That is precisely the experience some dogs have when their owners leave them at a kennel. From the time the dog is dropped off, to the time that you return to pick up your dog, the dog never leaves its room. The word for this kind of experience is boredom, and boredom of the most extreme variety.

In some cases, not only is your dog stuck in a room the entire time you’re away, but the room is so small there’s no way for your dog to stretch its paws. By the time you come back, your dog has a serious case of the bends.

It doesn’t have to be that way. And it’s up to you.

Just as you would do some research before choosing the hotel you’ll stay at while on your vacation, you should do some research to make sure your dog isn’t a victim of perpetual boredom while you’re gone. Avoiding that boredom requires discovering a kennel that will keep your dog engaged.

The better kennels have better rooms. Some rooms are not only large enough for your dog to stretch out and stroll, they have doggy doors to a private veranda outdoors. In some cases, thoughtful kennel owners will pipe in music for the dogs. Some even have flat screen televisions that run dog-friendly movies.

These are the kinds of things that can make life bearable for your dog while your dog is in a room. But, you still want a kennel that will safely take your dog out of the room a couple times a day to go for a run on a leash. If that kennel is situated in an optimal location – i.e., in a rural setting – your dog may have adventures going for walks. Those adventures may include seeing wild turkeys in their natural habitat.

Some kennels offer a service called Board & Train. With Board & Train, not only does the dog get out of its room for extended periods of time, they also enjoy dog training that will make them all the better to come home to. And, enjoy is the right word. Dog training done the right way is, first and foremost, enjoyable for the dog.

Really exceptional kennels will offer to take your dog on field trips while you’re away. For instance, they may take your dog to the doggy spa for a pedicure, peppermint bath or blueberry facial.

One additional benefit to leaving your dog at a good kennel that takes your dog’s feelings into account is that you’ll have more peace of mind while you’re away.

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Why does Schaumburg dog lick its paws and should you be concerned?

Schaumburg dog licking paws

Why is this Schaumburg dog licking his paws?

Cheryl noticed that, when she and Bosco, her 7-year-old Cockapoo, got back from walks in their Schaumburg neighborhood, Bosco would lick her paws. But, after Cheryl first noticed this unusual behavior, she began to see Bosco licking his paws even when they hadn’t recently returned from a walk.

Cheryl’s first thought was that, well, dogs lick themselves. They’re not as fastidious as cats, but dogs will primp and groom themselves with their tongues. Certainly Bosco had simply developed an affinity for grooming his paws, right?

The more Cheryl thought about it, however, the more she was convinced that this was more than merely a new form of grooming for Bosco. After all, at 7, most of Bosco’s self-grooming habits were long ingrained.

So, Cheryl decided to do a little investigating. Though Bosco wasn’t concentrating his licking on one particular paw, Cheryl decided to take a look at his paws for any kind of injuries. She considered the possibility that Bosco might have picked up splinters in her paws while they were walking in their Schaumburg neighborhood. It seemed unlikely that he would have splinters in all of his paws but, well, maybe he walked across something that gave him little splinters in all of his paws.

As closely as Cheryl looked, however, she couldn’t see any slivers or splinters in Bosco’s paws. She also didn’t see any rashes, though she wasn’t really sure what those would look like on the pads of a dogs paws. At this point, Cheryl turned to the Internet for help. She discovered that there are a number of conditions that can cause a dog to lick at its paws, including:

  • Cuts, scrapes or puncture wounds to the pads of the paw
  • Toenails that are cracked or broken
  • Bones in the foot that are broken
  • Burns to the bottom of the pads
  • Allergic skin diseases
  • Ticks
  • Thorns or burrs
  • Splinters or slivers
  • Corns (yes, dogs can get corns, too)
  • Infections

Unfortunately, if a dog continues to lick at its paws, it can injure its paws. An injury caused by a dog licking at the paw can become infected.

Cheryl took the correct first step – she examined Bosco’s paws. Not finding anything, the next step is for Cheryl to take Bosco to a Schaumburg area veterinarian.

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Her Elgin cat is the feline equivalent of comfort foods, without the love handles

Elgin cat comforts

Her Elgin cat is better than comfort food.


When her Elgin neighbors feel stressed, some of them will turn to the refrigerator for relief; they’ll look for some comfort food to ease the strain. But, Carol has found a healthier alternative. When Carol feels stressed, she walks right past the refrigerator and calls for Bella, her 2-year-old Siamese cat.

When Bella comes, and she always comes when Carol calls, Carol scoops her up, continues to the sofa and curls up with her cat to cuddle. Cuddling with Bella is Carol’s healthier option for dealing with stress – healthier than eating all those calories.

Sometimes, Carol will pull a quilt around her shoulders as they cuddle. She may watch television while cuddling with her cat. She made read a book with her cat on her lap. Or, Carol may just sit and quietly catch her breath while Bella nuzzles against Carol’s cheek, the way Elgin cats, and cats all over, are prone to do.

Some may think the idea of a cat as an alternative to comfort foods is absurd. But, is it really? Consider the following:

  • There is scientific evidence that cats lower a person’s stress levels. A 2008 study in MedicalNewsToday found that cat owners are 30 percent less likely to die of heart attacks or strokes than those who don’t own cats.
  • Cats provide non-judgmental companionship.
  • People with cats tend to sleep better, according a 2015 study by the MAYO Clinic.
  • Cat owners tend to have fewer allergies. That seems counter logical, as we’re all familiar with the problem of people who are allergic to cats (actually to the dandruff in a cat’s hair). But, a 2002 study by the National Institute of Health found that, when children spend time with cats, they may be less likely to develop allergies.

These potential benefits of owning a cat, in regards to reducing and responding to stress in your life, is significant. On the other side of the coin, doctors’ offices are full of people with high cholesterol levels, weight problems and heart conditions that were exacerbated by their tendency to turn to comfort food in times of stress.

Carol doesn’t have that problem. She has Bella, a cat that hasn’t added a single ounce to her waistline. Too bad more of her Elgin neighbors don’t have cats for stress relief.

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How to survive leaving your Lake Zurich dog in a kennel

Leave Lake Zurich dog in a kennel

Before you leave your Lake Zurich dog in a kennel, look around. Is the kennel clean? Do they have activities to keep your dog active while you’re gone? Do the dogs in the kennel look healthy and happy?


The connection between you and Kibbles, the 9-year-old Bichon Frisé that lives with you in your Lake Zurich home, is … well … the two of you are virtually inseparable. But, your friend has talked you into going on a cruise with ‘the girls.’ How Kibbles will take your absence – how she’ll handle spending a week in a kennel – has you as worried as you are excited about the trip. The question is as much how she’ll deal with a week in a kennel as it is how you’ll be free to enjoy yourself on the cruise without worrying every minute about how she’s doing.

For some dogs, these periods of separation, when they are in a kennel while their people are away, are traumatic. For some people, these occasions are equally difficult. There must be a way for you and your dog to come to terms with the separation without coming apart at the seams. Here are some suggestions that you might not want to consider:

  • You could give the folks at the kennel the clothes and disguise so Kibbles thinks she’s still with you in Lake Zurich while you bring along a life-sized, cardboard cutout of your dog while you’re away. The problem here is that, since dogs rely more on senses, such as smell, to identify those they know, they aren’t really fooled by disguises. And, somehow, a cardboard cutout of your dog probably just isn’t the same.
  • You can leave a smartphone with your dog with a constant connection straight to your phone so that you can both reassure each other constantly the entire time you’re gone. This is probably a challenge, however, for your phone’s plan. It’s also unlikely that you can trust the connection to be that reliable. Also, dragging your phone around with you, everywhere you go, whispering words of comfort to your dog, will probably interfere with the activities you should be enjoying on your trip. Or, if it’s a business trip, it will interfere with your business activity.
  • You could just stay home – never go anywhere if you can’t bring Kibbles with you. This will solve the problem but at what cost? Is it really fair to you, or your dog, that you limit your experiences this way?
  • You can both take large quantities of Valium. This can put you both into semi-comatose states where you won’t care so much that you’re apart. But, that’s really not healthy and, besides, what’s the point of going on a trip if you’re half asleep the entire time you’re gone?

Obviously, the suggestions above are fairly silly. There is a suggestion that isn’t silly. In fact, it makes perfect sense: put Kibbles in a kennel where she’ll have such a good time she won’t have time to think about how much she’ll miss you. This will require some research.

Venture out from your Lake Zurich home. You might even bring Kibbles along, and check out some kennels. Ask probing questions. Look around. Do the dogs look happy and well-cared for? What do they offer? Do the dogs they’re taking care of look happy and well cared for? Are the pens well-kept and clean? You might also ask if they offer activities to make your dog feel as though he or she is on a vacation of their own. Some of the better kennels actually offer pet vacation plans that ensure your dog will have a good time while you’re away.

If the kennel passes muster, if you really feel that leaving your dog at the kennel is something she’ll enjoy, not only will she be well cared for and happy while you’re gone, you won’t have to worry about it.

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Does your Buffalo Grove dog jump on your guests?

18965871 - beautiful young woman with golden retriever

She doesn’t mind that her dog has jumped up. But, someone might come visit your Buffalo Grove home who does mind that your dog jumps up.

Your husband picked up your 64-year-old Aunt Lisa and brought her to the house so you could all drive to the wedding together. At only 5-feet tall, she looked spectacular in that brand new strapless cocktail dress. Everything was perfect until your son let Brutus, your 165-pound Rottweiler, slip past him and into the house. When, in his excitement, Brutus jumped on her, Aunt Lisa was knocked off her feet. And the dress? Oh my.

When your dog jumps on people, that’s a problem, especially if you have a large dog, such as Brutus. But, at the very least, it’s also a problem if you have a small dog. It’s a nuisance. It’s bad manners.

For a dog, jumping is a way of greeting someone, the way the dog would greet a member of its pack. Jumping is often accompanied by licking. If you hadn’t reacted fast enough, once Brutus had knocked Aunt Lisa down, Brutus probably would have proceeded to bath her face with his tongue.

Jumping is also a way that a dog demands attention. If someone allows their dog to jump, the dog will learn that jumping is OK; they won’t differentiate between those who don’t mind have a dog jump up on them and those who do mind. It’s your job to train your dog so that, when someone else comes to visit your Buffalo Grove home, they won’t be mauled by your friendly but intrusive dog.

How do you stop your dog from jumping?

Yes, you can train your dog to not jump on people, and here’s how:

  • Put your dog in a typical ‘jumping’ situation so you can teach them not to jump. You can do this with the help of a friend or someone your dog would customarily jump on. Have them stand a few feet away from your dog.
  • Put your dog on a leach and give them a command to ‘sit-stay.’
  • Have the target person walk toward your dog.
  • When the dog moves to greet your friend, they should walk away while you give a gentle tug on the leash to remind your dog they’re on a sit-stay.
  • When the dog sits again, your friend should start approaching the dog again.
    Rinse and repeat. In other words, do this repeatedly and your dog should get the hint.

Once your dog has learned the basics of how to politely greet people, practice with your dog whenever you have a chance. Over time, you’ll have people complimenting you on what a polite dog you have. In time, Aunt Lisa might even come back to Buffalo Grove to visit.

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Train your Arlington Heights dog – it’s a different world

train Arlington Heights dog

Arlington Heights is a great place to have a dog but all the more so if your dog is well trained.

Arlington Heights is a great place to live and a great place for dog owners. It’s centrally located near area dog parks, such as the Beck Lake Dog Friendly Area in Des Plaines, K-9 Dog Park in Schaumburg and Happy Tails Dog Park in Buffalo Grove. But, you don’t have to head out to a dog park to enjoy the summer with your dog, especially if your dog is well trained.

Living with a well-trained dog and a dog that isn’t trained present diametrically opposed experiences. Let’s suppose you’re taking your dog for a walk. If the dog is untrained, you’ll probably find yourself playing a running game of tug-a-war with a dog that wants to go where it wants to go and isn’t all that interested in what you think about the matter.

On the other hand, if your dog is well trained. If you took your dog off the leash (this is a violation of local ordinances – you need to keep your dog on a leash while walking on a sidewalk, street, alley or other public place), your dog will stick close by you and wouldn’t run if a herd of rabbits ran by (yes, a group of rabbits running together is actually called a ‘herd’).

Since you do have to keep your dog on a leash while out for a walk, the leash hang loosely between the two of you as it fulfills its legal requirements but is otherwise unnecessary.

If you enjoy surprises, an untrained dog is full of surprises. Think about finding a ‘pile’ on the carpet in the living room while your company is ringing your Arlington Heights doorbell. How about the surprise of discovering your dog has dug a hole in your new sofa and chewed up the legs of your kitchen chairs, your slippers, shoes, socks, prescription glasses or your child’s homework (yes, dogs really do chew up homework).

Then you have the dog with the jumpies. You’re talking on the phone and they’re jumping on you trying to get your attention. They knock over your toddler who has just learned to walk. When frail Aunt Anne is knocked off her walker, the 80-something woman won’t appreciate it and you’ll be worrying that she might be hurt.

The risk that an untrained dog may bite the postal delivery person, the neighbor’s kids or someone knocking on the door with political campaign flyers is real. Of course, you may not mind that they bite the political canvasser but there’s still that ugly matter of liability. And dogs don’t pay settlements – their owners do.

Even if your untrained Arlington Heights dog isn’t as bad as the dog described above, the experience living with a well-trained dog is so incredibly rewarding, it’s so much less work, there’s really no reason not to train your dog. You may want to try training your dog on your own but you may also appreciate the expertise of an expert to make the most of the process.

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Are you prepared if your Deer Park pet has an emergency?

Deer Park pet emergency

Are you prepared for a pet emergency in or around your Deer Park home?

You’ve probably considered what to do if a family member has an emergency but, when you count the family, are you also counting the family pet? There are many pets in Deer Park. They are loved and cherished members of their families. But, some people tend to take the health of their pets for granted.

You may think that your pet is indestructible. Be assured, they’re not. Pets can and do get sick. They also get hurt. The likelihood of a pet emergency is probably far greater than what you’ve considered. Now is a good time to give it some thought. You don’t want to wait until your Deer Park pet has an emergency before you prepare. That’s not preparing – that’s reacting.

There are several things you can do to prepare for a pet emergency, such as:

  • Collect emergency phone numbers in advance and put them somewhere you can find them quickly in a case of a pet emergency. This includes the phone number, and any other applicable contact information, for your veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic and the Animal Poison Control Center. Here is the latter number for your convenience: 888-426-4435.
  • Collect and keep all of your pet’s medical history in a safe place. This should include vet visits and reports, vaccinations and breeding information. You may also want to store a duplicate of this somewhere safe so that, if the originals are destroyed or lost, you can quickly gain access to the duplicates.
  • Keep a pet emergency First Aid Kit in your home. A first aid kit should include:
    • Gauze for wrapping wounds
    • Non-stick bandages
    • Adhesive tape for bandages
    • Charcoal activated milk of magnesia (to absorb poison)
    • A digital pet thermometer
    • An eye dropper (for administering oral treatments or flushing wounds)
    • A muzzle (if your dog is in severe pain, they may bite. You can use a rope, necktie or other fabric in a pinch but don’t muzzle the pet if he or she is vomiting)
    • A leash
    • A stretcher (if you don’t have a dedicated stretcher, you can use a board, door or blanket to stabilize the pet for transportation)

Jim Carlson, a veterinarian with Riverside Animal Clinic of McHenry and Buffalo Grove, said that it’s imperative that you keep your head in a pet emergency.

“Try to make accurate observations of the pet’s condition so that, when you call a veterinarian or emergency vet clinic, you can provide them with the information they need to properly diagnose your pet’s needs,” he said.

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