25 February 2023

Play All Day Is Moving To A Membership Model

Play All Day is moving to a Membership Model.  What does that mean for you?

  • PAD, in some ways, already operates as a membership since we require regular attendance and only offer boarding services to our existing daycare clients. This change will not affect that aspect of our daycare.
  • Memberships will be structured on a monthly basis. Currently, our clients have the option of paying weekly or purchasing discounted packages of 10 weeks (package size dependent on number of days your dog is attending).  Membership for all PAD clients will now be a monthly fee instead of packages or weekly payments. 
  • The monthly membership fee will be based on how many days a week your dog normally attends daycare.
  • Memberships are month-to-month. There are no contracts, and you can cancel your membership at any time. 
  • Membership fees are non-refundable. If you need to cancel a day of daycare, that day will not be refunded.  But with proper notice, we will work with you to reschedule that canceled day (within the same week) to a different day.
  • We will take emergencies, weather events, contagious illness, and other unusual situations into account, within reason. We will get you details on this after we implement the new model.
  • You will still be able to add additional days of daycare as needed, as long as space is available.
  • As promised during our last price increase in 2022 (no price increases until 2025), you will not see a price increase with this change to a Membership Model. The new monthly membership fee mirrors the existing weekly rate you are currently paying.  Multi-dog discounts are still in place. 
  • If you currently pay weekly and do not buy packages, you will see a discount in your weekly rate, but you will be required to pay for a month at a time, as opposed to weekly.


Why the Change?

  • As always, the PAD mission is our guide when we feel the need for a change. Our mission is to provide a fun, safe, and enriching environment for the dogs in our care.  
  • In the past year, we have had record attendance and a consistent waiting list for new dogs to enter our program.
  • We’ve also had a record year in canceled daycare days, the majority of which occur the morning of the scheduled day. These last-minute cancellations have become so prevalent that we have had to increase our capacity for each playgroup, under the assumption that we will have a good number of cancellations each day, in each playgroup.   But on occasion, the cancellations are not as high as anticipated, and our groups are over capacity.  Thankfully, due to the training that we do with our dogs and the skill of our staff, we have been able to achieve this safely.  But it is not our ideal and does not reflect our mission. 
  • Additionally, our playgroups are not as stable as we would like them to be due to overbooking for anticipated cancellations. We have to do quite a bit of shifting of dogs from one playgroup to another based on which dogs cancel in which playgroup.  We much prefer stable groups.  This leads to decreased arousal, greater dog experience, and a greater ability for our teachers to do enrichment such as training and games. 
  • We have been considering this change for over a year, but really wanted to keep the flexibility of cancellations available to our clients. “Life Happens” and sometimes you just can’t make it into daycare.  We still believe that and understand that.  But we must balance that understanding with the ability to accurately determine our capacity so that we can keep all of the dogs in our care safe and happy.  With this model, you may not always be getting your full money’s worth if you have to cancel, but your dog’s spot in our playgroups is secure and you can rest assured that we are not overbooking.


What Do I Need to Do Now?

  • If you have a package, when your current package runs out, we will convert you to the new 4-week Membership packages.
  • If you currently pay weekly, we will ask that you buy a 4-week Membership package, no later than March 13. You will be saving $2/visit with the new package. 
  • The new cancellation policy will go into effect on March 13.


4-Week Membership Rates:

  • 1 Day/Week:                                     $128
  • 1 Day/Week, 2nd Dog:                    $120
  • 2 Days/Week:                                  $248
  • 2 Days/Week, 2nd Dog:                 $232
  • 3 Days/Week:                                  $348
  • 3 Days/Week, 2nd Dog:                 $324


7 December 2022

Play All Day App

We have finally done it. Play All Day has joined the rest of the world and now has its own App. Our growth this past year has really tested the limits of our lobby square footage. During COVID, we offered Curbside service and it was well received and missed when we stopped offering it. After some brainstorming, we realized that this popular feature would alleviate some of that pressure on the lobby. We also realized that many of our clients want different ways to communicate with us. Email and Facebook don’t reach as many people as they used to. The development of the App was the product of our decision to bring Curbside back and our decision to offer more communication tools. So here you go…

Download the Play All Day App for access to these great features:

  • Schedule services
  • Change or cancel reservations
  • Purchase Daycare, Boarding, Training, & Grooming
  • Share vaccination records
  • Stay up to date on important announcements
  • Curbside Pick-up
  • These services will be available beginning Monday, 12/11/22

Download now to your Apple or Android device using this QR code

Be sure to allow Push notifications when you set it up so that you get important announcements regarding our schedule (holiday closings, weather closings, etc)

Get it now so you will be ready to go when our App services begin on Monday, December 11, 2022

A few notes regarding Curbside Service:

  • Curbside service is available only for afternoon Daycare Pick-up, Monday – Friday.
  • Curbside service is not available for morning Drop-off.
  • If payment is due for services, please use the app to pay prior to pick-up or plan to come inside to pay.
  • Please use the “On My Way” feature to let us know when you will be arriving.  This will lessen your wait time and will decrease congestion in the parking lot.
  • When we bring your dog to the car, roll your window down to let us know where to put your dog.  We are happy to put a dog in your front or back seat or into a crate.  We will ask that you take care of more complicated confinement such as tethered harnesses.
  • Please do confirm that we have brought you the correct dog before you leave the parking lot. 
  • Curbside pick-up is not the time to make scheduling requests or leave messages for desk staff.  Please call or use the app for this.
  • If the parking spaces are full, please park across the street and put “Overflow” in the text for Parking Spot.    

30 June 2022

How To Contact Play All Day

We love to hear from you.  This document will give you direction on how best to contact Play All Day.

Email and direct phone calls to the Play All Day phone are the best ways to reach us.  We ask that you do not use FB Messenger or texting as means of reaching out to us.  They can be unreliable and fall off our radar after initially read.


When you call or email, you can expect follow-up within 24 hours (usually much shorter).  If you do not hear from us within that time frame, please do follow up.  Note: only urgent communications will be answered over the weekends and holidays.  We will reply on the next business day.


Email – Email is the most reliable way of communicating scheduling changes and requests.  Please use the following addresses based on the subject of your email.


Phone Calls – 309-698-1200.  Phone calls are great for short notice requests or schedule changes.

  • Please do not use April’s mobile number from this point forward. It is not that she does not want to hear from you, it is that you will get a much quicker and appropriate response related to scheduling, canceling, etc, by calling 698-1200.
  • Please note: If you do want to speak with April, she would love to talk with you.  Simply send an email to april@playalldaydoggiedaycare.com with a short note about what you wish to discuss, and we’ll get a call scheduled.


Cancellations – We know “life happens” and there will be times that you need to cancel or reschedule your appointments.  Calls or email are the best way to do this.  We do ask that you try to let us know at least 24 hours prior.  If you are canceling or requesting a schedule change on the day of your appointment, please do call us rather than email.


Thanks for your consideration of these guidelines.

30 April 2020

Amended Drop-Off and Pick-Up Guidelines

10/5/20: Please note that we are back to normal drop-off & pick-up policies. We do ask that you wear a mask when you enter the building, practice social distancing, and follow the directions located inside the door.

For the past month, we have been practicing social distancing at Play All Day, to the best of our abilities. After review and discussion of our current policies, we will be implementing a few minor changes. Some of these changes are based on our experiences and some are based on new guidelines from the state of Illinois.


You will have two options at drop-off.
1. You can stay in your car and we will come to your car, open the door and take your dog out. If this is your choice, we ask that your dog have both collar and leash on.
2. You can get your dog out of the car and hand the leash over to us. In this case, we ask that you wear a face-covering to protect both you and our team members. Our team will be wearing face coverings at all times during drop-off and pick-up.


We ask that you remain in your car and we will deliver your dog to the inside of your car. If you have a preference as to which door we put them in, please roll your window down and let us know. Our default will be to put your dog in the back seat. If you wish to secure your dog, you may do so after our team member walks away from the car.

Potty Time

If, at drop-off or pick-up, you need to potty your dog, feel free to do so. Please keep 6 feet of distance between you and other clients and/or employees.


We are asking that all payment is done prior to 3:30 pm by phone. We can keep your credit card on file (securely) and charge each week, or as package payments become due. This is the simplest solution, but do know that you are welcome to call in prior to 3:30 pm if you are not comfortable leaving your card information with us to keep on file. We are still taking phone/email orders for retail items. These will be delivered to your car when you arrive.

Thank you all so much for your continued support of Play All Day and for your patience at both drop-off and pick-up. It has been a learning experience for us all and we hope that you feel confident that we are doing everything in our power to protect you, your dog, and our team.

This is a link to the current guidelines regarding the use of face coverings in Illinois. http://dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/SIREN%20Memo%20-%20IDPH%20Guidance%20for%20the%20Use%20of%20Masks%20by%20the%20General%20Public%2004.06.2020.pdf#overlay-context=covid19/community-guidance/mask-use

7 April 2020

Marijuana Toxicity in Dogs…A Growing Problem

Not long before COVID 19 hit the United States and changed our world so dramatically, one of our Play All Day families had a scary experience with their dog. Shortly after getting home from daycare, this dog began acting very strange. She was wobbly, her eyes looked strange, and she was making funny patterns with her neck and head. And in between these strange behaviors, she was passed out. Her family was obviously worried and took her to the Emergency Vet Clinic. They diagnosed her with THC toxicity. Yes, I said THC, as in marijuana…as in Pot. After a long and stressful night, they visited their family Veterinarian the next morning and the diagnosis was confirmed. It is a very classic presentation and there was very little doubt that this dog had been exposed to marijuana. It took 48 hours for this girl to start feeling better and back to her normal self.

But how did this happen? Her parents don’t use marijuana. And it happened shortly after she left daycare. When I asked my Veterinarian about the onset of symptoms (how long would it take after ingestion for a dog to show symptoms), she said it varies quite a bit, depending on the size of the dog, the amount ingested, strength of product ingested, etc. But it seems that it would have had to happen at some point during her daycare day. So we scoured the video footage of her playgroup, her transport to and from playgroup and her time in the lobby at checkout. We were looking for her with her head down and eating something off the ground. We did see her pull towards something on the floor in the lobby during checkout and appears to be very interested. Unfortunately, the camera view was partially blocked. But our best guess is that she might have picked up some THC product off of the floor of the lobby.

Regardless of where she ate it, she ate it. And she had a very bad experience for 48 hours and her parents suffered as well. The lesson to learn from this is that THC products are much more available now and the risk of them being available to our dogs is much higher. Dog parks, dog walks, Petsmart, PAD lobby, PAD parking lot, Vet parking lot or lobby….this could happen anywhere that someone drops a THC product. Think about it….all takes is someone pulling their hand out of their pocket and the THC product accidentally comes out along with their hand and falls on the ground. There it is, just waiting for your dog to come along and eat it up.

Now, the world is scary enough with COVID 19 lurking out there. But I know you want to remain informed on issues regarding your dog’s health. Until this incident happened, I was clueless that dogs were so sensitive to THC and I was clueless that the incident rate of THC toxicity in dogs has risen dramatically in the last few years. The good news is that it is not fatal toxicity. But it sure is scary and dogs suffer until it wears off. So now you know this can happen. Knowledge is power.

Here are a few links to more information. One is a Veterinary Clinic’s blog. The other is by Whole Dog Journal and just provides a little more information.
VCA Marijuana Toxicity
Whole Dog Journal Marijuana Toxicity

20 March 2020

Shelter In Place….Is Dog Daycare “Essential”?

“Shelter In Place” has been declared in Illinois by Governor Pritzker. All non-essential businesses should close up shop until April 7. What does that mean for Play All Day? Is dog daycare “essential”? I’m sure we all have different opinions on that. To tell you the truth, I’ve had a difficult time figuring out my own opinion on this.

One moment, I am sure we are essential. Then I hear the Governor say that we need to protect lives rather than our livelihoods, and I question myself. But I pause to ask myself if I am really trying to protect my livelihood by staying open and the answer is a clear NO! Play All Day has been fiscally responsible and can weather a storm like this for a few months with no problems. I do worry about my employees’ livelihoods, but I know that they can get IL unemployment benefits. While not perfect, they will survive. In light of all this, I know that I need to keep my doors open, because we are essential. Perhaps we are not essential to all of our clients, but I know that we are essential to some of our clients. Some of you are working in the very clear-cut essential workforce and your hours are probably longer than usual. You need care for your dogs. And we are those caregivers.

For this reason, we will remain open. If we are told to close by officials, we will. I am not doing this out of defiance to the government. As I stated earlier, I agree with this policy. I’m just trying to define PAD as essential. And I think we are. I do not want to abandon those clients who need us.

I feel that we have put exceptional policies in place, regarding check-in and check-out, that fully respect social distancing and keep you safe. We can keep our doors open and offer safe and essential services to those who need us.

But here is what I need from you. This new policy has probably changed the minds of some of you who have been bringing your dogs to daycare. I absolutely, 100%, need to know who is planning to bring their dog to daycare each day. You all know what your scheduled day is. Please email me and let me know if you will or will not be keeping your regularly scheduled day. I’m not here to decide who is essential or non-essential….that is up to you. I will not judge. BUT, I do need to know how many staff members I will need each day. So if you could just email me to let me know what your plans are for now and between April 7, I would greatly appreciate it.

We are here for you now, whether you choose to keep attending or hold off until after this crisis. There are no penalties or judgment for missing. Please just let me know one way or the other. That is all I ask of you. And I ask your patience. If I don’t hear from you, I will be calling or texting to confirm.

You may email me at info@playalldaydoggiedaycare.com or april@playalldaydoggiedaycare.com. Or you can call 309-698-1200. If you have already notified us that you are not planning to attend, no need to contact us again. We’ve already taken you off the schedule.

DOG FOOD and supplies: We will continue to take phone orders and deliver to your car. Depending on how daycare goes, there may be limited hours for pick up. We’ll stay in touch on that. And so far, no mention of any shortages on supply, so I think it is OK to just order your normal supply.

15 March 2020

We Are Open For Business….But With Some Changes For Your Safety

In light of the current COVID 19 pandemic, we are taking every measure we can to ensure that Play All Day is here to meet your needs and continues to operate safely and efficiently, while respecting the current need for social distancing. Our leadership team met and we’ve put the following plan in place.

First order of business, your dogs are safe. To date, there is no evidence to support that dogs can get this version of the Corona virus or pass it along to you. As a daycare and boarding facility, we already have very high cleaning standards. To further protect you and our team members, we are re-focusing some of our cleaning efforts towards COVID 19, by addressing areas of contact for human beings, as opposed to just protecting the dogs.

We fully support the concept of social distancing and want to do our part to make sure that, by being open for business, we are not contributing to the spread of this virus. As I considered this issue, the main factor in my decision to remain open is that we do have the ability to provide social distancing in our facility setup and operations. Our lobby is the only area where we get non-dog traffic, outside of our staff. So, this is where much of our effort is being focused.

What is our plan?
• During check-in, we will meet you at the front door and we will open the door and take your dog from you (please potty your dog prior to this, as usual). You will not need to touch our door or come inside. We ask that you schedule all appointments with us, by phone or email, during this time of social distancing.
• You will have two options during check-out.
1. Come in as usual. We will keep hand sanitizer at the door and the desk since you will be using our door. Or you can wash your hands in the bathroom and use your shoulder to push the door open on your way out. During this time, credit card payment is preferred. We will make the card reader available to you so that you can insert and remove your card. We’ll take care of the rest. If paying by cash, please have exact change if possible. We can always hold your invoice for a week or two if necessary. If you have children with you, please use Option 2 listed below. Children cannot resist touching everything. Please do not bring them inside the daycare during this time.
2. If you prefer, you may stay in your car and call us at 698-1200. We’ll bring your dog to your car. You can call us that day or the next day to make payment over the phone with your credit card. We ask that you do this during noon – 1:30pm or 2:30-3:30pm.
3. Again, during check-out, we do ask that you ask questions and schedule/change appointments via phone or email to reduce the amount of time you are in a common social area.
• If you are boarding with us, the same options are available to you as daycare. Bring your dog to the door at check-in and either come in or call us from your car for check-out. Please program our phone number into your cell phone. 698-1200 so that you can easily call us without coming in to read our sign with the phone number.
• If you need to buy retail items, you are welcome to use the same two options available for check-out. You can come in or call. If you want us to bring your retail to your car, email or phone your order to us. If you call your order in, please do so during the hours listed above. Then when you arrive, call us and we will bring it to your car.
• Staff Protection. So, all of this is well and good for your safety, but you might be wondering about the staff’s safety. In a normal day’s work, the majority of the staff already practice social distancing just by the nature of their job. To further increase their safety, we will be routinely disinfecting all door handles. Those staff members handling leashes and boarding belongings will be washing their hands after each encounter. And there will be hourly handwashing reminders for all staff members. Things like community food (takeout, chip bags, etc) will be removed. Any staff member exhibiting symptoms will be required to stay home.
• Our Request of You. Please do not bring your dog in if you have been exposed to someone who has symptoms. Please do not bring your dog if you are experiencing symptoms. And please be patient with us as we navigate this very odd time.

Please keep in mind that these new processes will be new for your dog. New things can sometimes make them behave differently. Don’t cluster at the door and give your dog and other dogs space. If you see quite a few waiting at the door, perhaps stay in your car or on the yard a bit longer to let the congestion ease. And DO KEEP YOUR DOG ON LEASH during this process.

Thank you for your continued business and your support during all of this. We want to be here for you, because life goes on for all of us in spite of the COVID 19’s impact. Things are going to be odd and stressful for your dogs as changes occur for you at home and work. Daycare is a loved and safe place for your dog. Hopefully you will feel that we are taking steps to make it safe for you to bring your dog to us during this time. If not, we will understand. As always, if you do not plan to attend on your regularly scheduled day, we ask that you call or email us in advance.

All the best,
April and the Play All Day Team

11 March 2020

Corona Virus – Is Your Dog at Risk?

Unless you are living off the grid or you are giving up news and social media for Lent, you’ve most likely been inundated with news stories about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We’ve been fortunate in Illinois so far, but who knows what course this virus will take.
You may be wondering if your dog is at risk. You may be wondering if you can catch this virus from your dog. And those of you who know me and my love for educating our PAD family, you’ve most likely been wondering, “why isn’t April saying something about this?”
I’ve been mostly silent on this because I just haven’t felt I had enough good information to give you. The last thing you need, when you are being bombarded by conflicting reports on how serious this all is, is for me to throw my two cents in when I really don’t know anything more than you.
Trust me, I’ve been doing the research. The consistent findings relevant to your dog in daycare is that, at this time, your dog does not appear to be at risk of getting COVID-19. Here is a link to a quick and easy read by Steve Dale. I’m not endorsing Steve Dale as an expert on the Corona Virus. He’s just done a nice job of summarizing the data. And, based on my own personal review of the data, this blog post appears to be factual, based on the information we have to date. https://www.stevedalepetworld.com/blog/pets-and-covid-19-do-i-let-my-dog-kiss-me/

4 March 2018

What’s Hot! And Why You Might Want to Know

Each year, I analyze the business from top to bottom.  What is working, what’s not?   What projects need to be done?  What repairs need to be made?  What training does the staff need?  What can we do to provide a better service?   And another part of this analysis is what is selling in our retail shop and what is not.

Shopping for your dog can be overwhelming.  There are so many products out there and so many companies marketing to you.  What food is best for my dog’s needs?  What toys are durable, fun, and safe?  What treats are safe?  What supplements work to actually better my dog’s health?  And what is not going to break the bank?  Because seriously, our dogs should be tax deductions, considering how much we spend on them…right?!

I’ve taken some time to put together our Best Seller’s List, in hopes that it may guide you, as you consider all these questions.  By sharing what other Pet Parents are buying, you may discover something new and wonderful for your dog.   I will share the items, as well as provide a small explanation as to why I think the product is selling well.


We sell 3 brands of food at Play All Day.  Nulo is a new brand that we just started carrying so we don’t have a sales history with it.  We also don’t have a lot of experience with it.  But they are an up and coming company, with a good reputation so far.  We will be offering some incentives to try Nulo over the next few months, so be on the lookout for those opportunities.  For this exercise, we will look at Champion and American Natural Premium, as we sell an equal amount of these two lines.

Champion is our top-shelf food and they have 2 sub brands, Orijen & Acana.  They recently subdivided their Acana line into Regionals and Heritage.  And this past year, the Heritage Line has been making a big surge.  It has less meat, but still has a good amount of protein and is very balanced, as well as low carbohydrate content.   And, of course, Champion is known for the quality of their products and excellent production standards.  What is notable about the Heritage line is the price.  It is not that much higher than some of the other high quality kibbles on the market…and I feel that it is a better food.  For that reason, it has been selling very well.  The other Acana line and Orijen both sell well, and offer more meat based protein.

American Natural Premium is a good quality food and a great first step into the Premium market.  My only issue with it is that it does have a higher carbohydrate content.  And some dogs just don’t do well with that.  But if your dog tolerates carbs, it is a good quality food at a very good price point.  If you are feeding Purina, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, or other similar foods, this is a great first step up.

Unsure of what to feed?  I offer free Nutritional Assessments.  All you have to do is email me and let me know what your dog currently eats, and what seems to be working with your current food, as well as what is not working.


We love to give our dogs treats.  That is the primary reason I feel our top sellers perform as they do.  Our Rabbit Jerky, Beefy Links, and Iced Cookies do really well.  They are smaller treats with a smaller investment of between $1 – $2.  They are a nice quick pick-up at the checkout counter and make a fun snack for your dog after a day of playing with buddies.  Now these are not the highest quality treats, but hey, we all need a little junk food now and again.  And the dogs sure love them.

For a little higher quality treat, pick up a “Bag ‘O Bones” or a bag of Coconut Colada cookies.  They are economically priced and will provide a good amount of snacks for the week after daycare.  They sell really well because the dogs love them and the price tag is not too bad.

The best sellers in our bigger bags and higher dollar treats are Diggin’ Your Dog Chicken Strips, Diggin’ Your Dog Charki Puffs, Pocket Trainers, Sojos Dehydrated Raw, and Bison Bites.  Diggin’ Your Dog is just a cool company.  Their love of dogs shows in the products they make.  The Chicken Strips are a good option because there are quite a few in the bag and the break into smaller pieces easily.  Dogs love them.  The Charki Puffs are on the Best Sellers List simply because the PAD Staff buys them up as soon as they hit the shelf (me included).  Take a tip from your Dog Care Professionals….dogs love these treats.   Pocket Trainers and Sojos dehydrated are great for training your dog.  They are small and calorie wise, won’t pudge up your pooch.  Sojos is also a great option for dogs who can’t tolerate grains or other fillers.  They are simply dehydrated meat.  And last but not least, Bison Bites.  In each play group, we have a jar of Bison Bites.  They are the “special” treats for when dogs are really good kids or for when we need to grab their attention and work on behaviors.  The dogs know they are special treats and they love them.


If you know me at all, you know I love to promote chewing for dogs.  I also advocate safe chewing.  No chew is entirely safe.  You should always supervise your dog until you know what his/her chewing style is and each time you try a new chew, you should supervise that as well.

We have quite a few popular products in this category.

Antlers are a big hit with most dogs.  They are durable and long lasting.  But they are also hard.  This is a chew that should be supervised for a while before turning your dog loose with one.  Some dogs are such excessive chewers that they can break teeth  or wear them down with too much chewing on a hard item such as an antler.  But those dogs are the exception and most dogs do well with them.  And they are very popular due to their durability.  Note:  If you buy your dog an antler and they seem uninterested, rub a little peanut butter into the marrow and around the edges.  This will get your dog chewing and once they start, they will see the benefit.

Marrow bones are a big hit with our customers as a “special chew”.  I advocate these chews in situations in which a dog needs a good distraction, or deserves a nice reward.  Marrow bones entice the dog because of the raw meat and sinew on the outside, as well as the marrow on the inside.  Your dog will work on a marrow bone until they get all the marrow out, and then most will chew on the empty bone for a long time.  They are very durable and of great value to most dogs.

On the synthetic side, Benebone is a great, durable, and very popular chew toy.  It is synthetic, and over time, your dog will tear off small shavings of the Benebone.  I have not had any choking issues with this, nor have I had digestive issues related to this.  But as always, supervise at first.

Our last category of Chews are those that are a hybrid Chew/Treat.  These are digestible Chews.  They are digestible, but every dog is different.  Some dogs can eat large amounts of these types of Chews and do just fine, while others will get stomach irritation if they consume too much at one sitting.  This category includes Bully Sticks, Himalayan Chews, and No-Hides.  Bully Sticks are very popular.  They come in 6”, 12”, braided, and pretzel shapes.  Depending on your dog, a bully stick will last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.  Himalayan Chews are an extremely hardened cheese.  Dogs love them!  They are pretty pricey, but your dog will thank you.  And newest to this category are the No-Hide Chews.  These were fashioned to replace the Rawhide Bones that are so popular, yet so bad for your dogs due to the way they are processed, and also the poor digestibility.  No-Hides are made from meat, not animal hides, so are much more digestible.  These are very popular with the dogs and can last for a few hours with a moderate chewer.  NOTE: This class of hybrid Chews/Treats should always be supervised chewing.  Because the dog will actually ingest the Chew, it will become smaller as the dog chews, and smaller means choking risk.  I have 3 dogs.  2 are able to handle the smaller piece and keep chewing it appropriately until ingested.  The 3rd is not.  She looks at everything as a challenge as to how fast she can consume it.  She is a choking risk.

Himalayan Chew Helpful Hint: When the Chew gets too small and becomes a choking risk, strike it with a hammer and break it into smaller pieces.  Put on a plate and microwave for 35-45 seconds.  It will puff up like popcorn.  Let cool and feed to your dog as a treat.


This is short list because one product beats all the others out.  That is our Fluff & Tuff line of stuffed toys.  These are the adorable stuffed toys you see all over the store.  And most of you say, “I could never give that adorable thing to my dog.  He would destroy it”.  This is a case of looks can be deceiving.  While cute and adorable, these are by far, the most durable stuffed toys I have found.   I will not go as far as saying they are indestructible.  But they do hold up well, and even after a gutting, they still hold up really well.  I would also offer that you can train your dogs to not kill and destroy every stuffed toy.  I’ve been able to manage with it sweet little Dave who loves to eviscerate every toy he sees.  Email me if you would like to know how I trained him.

Honorable mention in this category goes to our Planet Dog balls.  These are safe, durable, washable, and they even smell like mint.  J  These are the balls we use in our play groups, and they are a favorite with the dogs.


While not the most fun topic, supplements do serve a purpose.  Our two top sellers are Digest All and Diggin’ Your Dog Pumpkin powder.  Digest All is a blend of prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.  I promote it for the probiotics.  These serve a role in creating a healthy gut.  The gut serves a large role in a healthy immune system.  Healthy Gut = Healthy Immune System.   I’d like to see every Play All Day pup on Digest All.  Diggin’ Your Dog Pumpkin is a great product to have on hand for when diarrhea (or constipation) hits your house.  Or if you have a dog who has stools that are all over the place, sometimes soft, sometimes normal, and sometimes hard, Pumpkin will help to normalize this.  Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, and helps to regulate the moisture content in the bowel.  You can use pumpkin in a can.  That is what I used prior to this product.  But love this one due to its convenient storing and dosing.  I believe that is why it is one of our top sellers.

Throughout March, we will have a “Top Sellers” table by the checkout counter.  Take a look, ask questions, and give some of these a try.  You will probably see why they made it to the table.

3 December 2017

Give A Dog A Bone…But What Type of Bone?

Give A Dog A Bone…But What Type of Bone?

What Chew Treat is Best for Me?

You’ve probably seen the recent postings about “bone treats” having been deemed unsafe by the FDA.  Good for them for making a statement.  This topic has been on my to-do list for quite a while.  This past summer, one of our own daycare dogs had a very scary (and I’m sure expensive) experience with a “bone treat”.  I had asked the dog’s Mom at that time if I could use her experience to keep others from the same fate.  She was happy to have us do so.

Sweet Maggie

Maggie’s Nemesis…a smoked knuckle bone

Maggie is a beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog and she visits us every Thursday.  Maggie has been getting the same bone treat at home for most of her life.  It is a smoked/cooked knuckle bone.  And all this time, Maggie has never had a problem with it.  And then one beautiful day, Maggie was outside chewing on her favorite treat, and broke off a chunk just the right size to get stuck in her throat.  Fortunately, Maggie’s Mom was home and went out to check on her.  She found her laboring to breath and rushed her to the vet.  Surgery was successful, and the bone chunk was removed.  But Maggie was not out of the woods yet, as she had continued bleeding after surgery.  She was in the hospital for about a week.  This story has a happy ending and Maggie is just fine and back with us on Thursdays.  But the ending could have been so different.

You’ve probably noticed that we don’t have currently, and have never carried any type of bone joint or cooked/smoked bones in our retail market.  Choke risk is the number one reason we do not carry them.  We also don’t carry them because even if a dog breaks off pieces and swallows them safely, the dog then has to digest that bone in the stomach to get it in small enough pieces to pass through the rest of the digestive system.  So big bone fragments can sit in the stomach for quite some time, constantly irritating the stomach.  The outcome can be nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. The same holds true for treats such as dental chews and even bully sticks.  We do carry bully sticks, but advocate monitored chew time and not allowing the dog to ingest the entire thing in one chew session.

So what does constitute a safe chew?  Number one rule with chewing is monitoring and supervision. Until you know what type of chewer your dog is and how a specific chew holds up to his chewing style, you should be monitoring.  If the bone is edible (bully stick, trachea, etc), I supervise 100% of the time.  If the chew is durable (antler or raw femur bone type chew), I will allow my dog to chew unsupervised, but only after I know their chewing style and the durability of the chew.  Some dogs can never chew unsupervised.  I know there are dogs who can break off chunks of antler or raw marrow bone.  I highly recommend that you talk with your vet if your dog is this type of chewer.  The risk to your dog’s teeth will most likely outweigh the benefit of chewing.

Raw Marrow Bone…a healthy chew

If your dog is able to ingest the chew (bully stick type chews), you really do need to limit the amount and frequency of this treat.  They can be very irritating to the stomach since they are more slowly digested.  And every dog is different.  I have one dog that will vomit if she eats a bully stick.  She loves them, but that’s a no-go for me.  Her stomach cannot handle them.

Dental Chews are a pet peeve of mine.  Through very good marketing, you have been led to believe that this is a good way for you to clean your dog’s teeth.  Truth is they don’t work very well, are expensive, and most dogs have a hard time digesting them.  Your dollars are better spent on a good raw marrow bone.  Your dog will enjoy it more, you will get some tooth cleaning benefit, and your dog’s tummy will be happier.  If this fails to do the trick, you can always brush your dog’s teeth.

Size Matters!  Even if you have a very hard chew such as an antler or raw marrow bone, your dog still has a choke risk if the bone is too small.  You also run the risk of getting marrow bones caught on a bottom jaw if the chew is too small.  My rule of thumb is that I want the bone to stick out at least an inch on either side of the mouth when the dog is holding it.  More is even better.   If you have a small dog, don’t underestimate him.  Little dogs can carry and chew 4-6” marrow bones just fine.  They just last a little longer.

Proper Sized Chew For This Dog

This bone was too small for this dog. This is what can happen!

You may have seen a rawhide type treat in our retail market.  This is not rawhide.  They are called “No-Hide” treats.    They are compressed muscle meat, rolled into a chew.  Because it is not a hide, it is digestible, and dogs tolerate them well. Rawhides are the hide of an animal, are often treated with chemicals to get them white, and digest very poorly.  But I will say once again, even with a digestible treat, supervision is important.  You want to give your dog the right size No-Hide chew, supervise while chewing, and do not let the dog ingest the treat all in one chew session.


Rawhides Bad

No-hide chew Good…supervised and in moderation

Take Aways:

  1. No cooked bones (this includes smoking)
  2. No knuckle bones
  3. Size Matters (one inch, at least, on either side of the mouth)
  4. Take the time to figure out your dog’s chewing style
  5. Always supervise a new chew toy closely
  6. April hates Dental Chews.
  7. Limit the amount of ingestible chews your dog gets. Too much irritates the tummy

And here’s a little training tidbit.  Your bones and chew toys lose their value if your dog always has access.  Make chew time a special event when you have time to supervise.  Your dog will enjoy it more and you can be assured that they are safe.


Disclaimer:  I am not a Veterinarian.  Everything stated in this piece is my opinion, based off of my own personal experiences and personal research.  I encourage you to do your own research and form your own opinions.  And do discuss any health related concerns with your Veterinarian.

Here is a link to the FDA Consumer Report.  https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm208365.htm