The low-down on Heartworms - all the way from Mosquito Central!

This week Hailey Knight, our Jonesboro Operations Manager, takes over the blog to tell you all about heartworm disease! Heartworms are especially prevalent in Northeast Arkansas, where mosquitoes rule the outdoors. Enjoy!


You’re standing outside watching your human puppy’s little league game. It’s a beautiful breezy evening with fellow parents when all of a sudden you feel that tiny little zap followed by that familiar zinging itch—mosquitos. You can run, but you definitely cannot hide.

  Link, a heartworm survivor rescued from Jonesboro in 2015 after his former owner moved away and left him chained in the backyard.    Photo by Leeanna Tankersley

Link, a heartworm survivor rescued from Jonesboro in 2015 after his former owner moved away and left him chained in the backyard.

Photo by Leeanna Tankersley

I love summer time, but I do not enjoy Arkansas summers because of mosquitos. They’re in your house, your car, they even follow you inside Walmart from the parking lot. Even with enough Off! spray to guarantee your patio stays safe for an hour or so, your only hope is staying indoors after sunset. But, what about your outdoor furry friends? Where does their safe haven lie?

Did you know that mosquitos are the primary reason for heartworms in dogs? For being such tiny little pests, they sure can pack a punch in the disease department. Heart worms are easy to protect against, but they are awful once they’re in your dogs system (traveled by one mosquito bite!) and bedding down for the long run. Heartworms can reach 12” in length and can live for 5-7 years. Typical symptoms (after months of the worms growing) are coughing, lethargy, reluctance to exercise, loss of appetite, and appearance of swollen bellies due to fluid retention. A vet will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis with a blood test should you suspect heartworms. Also—keep in mind that heart worms are completely different from intestinal worms (hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, whipworm). Dewormer protects against intestinal worms, NOT heartworms. While intestinal worms can cause the swollen belly and coughing/hacking, they can be detected easily with a fecal done at your vet's office.  The bad news is if heart worm disease is not caught in time, it can be fatal to animals. The good news is that it is very easy to prevent against and multiple products exist on the market to protect your pet against these pesky little boogers! Here are a couple of tips below:

Prevention - consult with your vet on the best heart health maintenance program. Year round protection is encouraged since it takes heart worms about six months to develop in the dogs systems. Six month injectables OR monthly chewable pills can be prescribed by any vet for a year round prevention plan for your fluffer, giving you optimal protection and ultimate peace of mind. 

 Thomas, a beagle currently in treatment for a very severe case of heartworms after being rescued from Blytheville. He is being fostered by our Assistant Manager in Conway, Hailey Manion. 

Thomas, a beagle currently in treatment for a very severe case of heartworms after being rescued from Blytheville. He is being fostered by our Assistant Manager in Conway, Hailey Manion. 

Fight back - lessen the chances of mosquitos invading your yard and, inevitably, your pet with horrible diseases. If you can keep your fur kid indoors, that’s great! But if your dog simply loves the great outdoors too much, there are tons of things alongside prevention that will keep those dreaded flying insects at bay:

• Remove stagnant water gathering grounds (old forgotten flower pots, kiddie pools, etc.). 

• Make sure you’re emptying water bowls everyday—mosquitos LOVE still water! 

• We are rice field heaven. Avoid walking your dog in any marshy areas because that’s basically the mothership for mosquito clans!

• Most flea and tick preventatives are also repellants for bugs, but make sure you’re getting one that protects against mosquitos. Some sprays are harmful to pets, so be sure to do your research or ask your vet for a recommendation.

• Another tactic, albeit a tad more pricey, is a mosquito control service. We use Mosquito Joe at Hounds’ Hideaway for the entire property and love it! They visit us twice a month, are incredibly friendly guys and they don’t miss an inch of square footage ANYWHERE. We’ve noticed a significant drop in our bug population, and don’t have to fight them outside as much—HOORAY! Also consider an apparatus like a Dynatrap, available in different sizes based on your outdoor square footage and known to wipe out the skeeters by the hundreds.

Should your dog test positive for heartworms, you don't need to panic automatically. Treatment is available for most cases. Although treatment is usually successful, it is very expensive and takes several months to complete. Prevention is much cheaper and easier!

Yes, mosquitos are not our friends. But thankfully, we’ve got options to protect our lovable creatures and ourselves to have a happy summer! As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. May you have a fantastic mosquito free weekend! --HAILEY

Why Beagles are Actual Royalty (and why you should adopt one)

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Nineteen. That's the number of times I've been tagged on facebook about Guy, Meghan Markle's adorable beagle, and his ride with the Queen. It's beyond precious don't get me wrong, but there's a whole community of us out there who have been treating these little rascals like royalty for years! Finally, in the Age of the Golden Doodle, the Beagle gets a share of the spotlight! 

One of the things I've learned after years of rescue work is that when something happens to put a particular breed into the pop culture limelight, people start to give them new consideration as potential family members. Case in point - I could blog about beagle greatness every day but this will be the first time most people will actually read it! Seriously though, there really are a lot of legit reasons to love this breed, and sadly, purebred beagles are available for adoption by the dozens all over our state, most of which were simply no longer of value to the hunter who owned them. Read on and you might just find your best friend!

1. Their Neediness is Less Needy. The only room these dogs will follow you into is the kitchen! A beagle doesn't always have to be in your shadow to be happy. They love you, sure, and want to hang out anytime you're up for it, but they'll also allow you to go to the bathroom without an audience, and if they're snoozing on the couch when you get up to go to bed, they may not join you until 2am.

2. They're clean(ish). Call me crazy but I've never met a beagle that just smelled bad. You know the type - the dogs who just always seem stinky no matter how often they're bathed. They shed a little, but you'll still save big on those grooming bills. A good de-shedding treatment once a quarter will go a long way. They also don't drool excessively all over your furniture, and you never have to worry about them leaving ANY crumbs after they've had their snacks!

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3. They're basically stand-up comedians. Beagles get a rep for being naughty little boogers, and while it is mostly true, for the most part you won't care because they're SO funny. Even waking up in the morning with a beagle is new hilarity - their morning stretches are usually accompanied by a new grunt/bay every day! And try passing a remote control car through your house - while other breeds are hiding in the corner, the Beagle insists on sounding his howl alarm to tell that toy what's up. When they get excited or catch a new scent, their tails wag so fast their butts almost come off the ground. And, you can't help but laugh when they try their hardest to REALLY make you think they NEED the last bite of your sandwich! 

4. They're portable! The Beagle is small but mighty! Most of them weigh in around 25 pounds full grown, with short, stocky little legs that keep their height below your kneecap. Do you know how many adopters say, "well I want something that won't get very big"...the answer is: almost all of them. Here's your chance! PLUS (bonus): they're still tuff. Did you ever have a friend whose Pomeranian jumped out of her arms and broke its leg? And then did it a second time and broke a different leg? I DID. Not so with a Beag. Their hardiness and resilience helps them stand up to tagging along in your human life, and if I'm being honest their size is really perfect for sharing a recliner (doing so as I type this blog). 

5. They're foodies. I remember when I first told people I had beagles and their reaction was to ask me how often they got in my trash. Ok YES, if you get a beagle you also need to get a trash can with a lid, but shouldn't you really have that anyway? And NO you can't leave food out on your kitchen counter but again, shouldn't you really keep your counters clean(ish) anyway? The Beagle is just there to help keep you tidy on your toes! Really though the nose motivation does have its charm. Need your Beag to take medicine? Put a pill in literally any food and down it goes. Need your Beag to hurry and finish breakfast so you can get out the door and beat traffic? DONE (every time). Another BONUS for you: this love for food makes them surprisingly easy to train. All stubbornness goes out the window when there are SNACKS. 

6. They're generally NICE. I mean this - I own a doggie daycare and see my fair share of hooligans, haters, bulldozers, howlers, jumpers, screamers, fighters, recluses, terrorists, and chickens....but a lot of times the Beagle is the even-keeled kid just chilling on the patio saying hi but not driving anyone nuts. Their spirits are happy - if there is food and a place to chill, they're pretty much as content as it gets. Sure they might howl if another dog thinks about taking their snack but heck I feel the same way about my food too! They'll usually make the perfect shotgun rider and most of them are even nice in public! BONUS (yes again): they usually like kids and will help clean up food thrown across the room by the resident toddler!

As you can probably tell, I'm a little biased and a lot nutty about the Beags. I love that they come in a whole rainbow of colors and I love that every one has so much personality (and voice) packed into a tiny little body. I love that when we rescue one, they rarely riddle us with the demons of their pasts, and (usually) choose instead to trust and love us as if we'd had them all along. They're my best friends, and if you haven't been Beagled yet, now is the perfect time to make one part of your own royal family! 

xoxo - Lacey

PARASITES...the Party Poopers of Spring

Greetings...This is my annual post about PARASITES...if you're having trouble sleeping I promise this information will send you off to dreamland, but we will love you forever if you take the time to read it!

Every year around Spring Break time, more than just the bears and birds come out of hibernation. Underneath all the pretty daffodils and green grass, demon parasites are thawing out and they're headed for our pets. They have many names and cause many little ailments - everything from itching to diarrhea and dehydration. The good news, though, is that if you take precautions NOW, none of this stuff is a big deal.

At HH, when this time of year comes, we amp up our play yard and equipment germicide practices (we actually go beyond what the USDA recommends), and are hyper-vigilant about the signs and symptoms of these buggers. We do all of this to help keep those pathogens out of our facility, but we need your help to keep pets from coming IN to the facility with them as well. Even if ALL of us do our part, these things can still be found in places you'd never expect, so it's good to be aware. Most local vets are in communication with us as they see these things come into their clinic, and have been great about blessing our protocols and answering our questions.

Below are some common pathogens and some things you can do to tell them to hit the road!

1. INTESTINAL WORMS - Tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and so on. These are NOT the same as heartworms, which affect the heart and are transmitted through mosquitoes. The larvae of a lot of these worms live in soil, so your dog can be infected just from having contact with the GROUND. They can also be transmitted through feces - you take your dog on a walk and he walks through a spot where poop was a week ago, then licks his paws when you get home...bam. Not to worry though, worms are typically easy and inexpensive to treat. Some of them can even be treated with over the counter products. As a general rule, I get a de-wormer from my vet for my own dogs once a year just to be safe.

2. PARASITES - two of the most common are Giardia and Coccidia. Both live in the intestines and cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other stomach issues. Transmission is similar in that a dog can become infected from swallowing anything that might have traces of feces on it. You'll need your vet's help to treat these, but both are fairly easy to take care of.

3. VIRUSES - some that we see more commonly in this area are Erlichia and parvovirus (parvo) in puppies. I'll also throw kennel cough in this one. Parvo does have a vaccination to prevent it, but still worth mentioning as this is a common time of year for it to be seen (an article was recently published in Northwest Arkansas stating that this year's parvo strain is particularly strong and they've seen a higher number of cases than what is typical). Erlichia is caused from tick bites, and affects the dog's blood. It isn't contagious dog-to-dog, but ticks will be coming out in full force before you know it so it's best to be prepared. Kennel cough is an odd bird - traditionally it was caused by Bordatella Bronchiseptica bacteria (your vet vaccinates for a few strains of this). But in recent years, most cultures from where pets have had KC symptoms have shown that the cause is actually a bacteria called mycoplasma...something we can't vaccinate against. Lovely. Anyway, again these treatments will require vet assistance - typically an antibiotic.

Now, here's what you can do to help keep this junk out of your house (AND mine!) :)

1. Be cautious of the Dog Park. We love the Conway dog park, truly (our name is on the sign!), but you're asking for it if you take your dog out there this time of year. The lack of poop pickup makes it like a parasite paradise. There's also zero oversight - no one is checking to make sure dogs that come out there aren't sick or verifying that they have been vaccinated. We also hear very high numbers of folks taking their dogs out there before the 6-month age requirement posted on the rules (given the tough parvo strain this year that's a CRAZY dangerous thing to do). If you must go, take your own water AND water bowl. And pick up poop immediately as you see it.

2. Keep your backyard picked up. A lot of this stuff may come from poop initially but don't forget, once it spreads, the random toys and pinecones in your yard are probably harboring some of it too. Even if other dogs don't have access to your backyard it doesn't mean a raccoon or possum hasn't been back there to leave parasite presents for you. There are also some good products you can attach to your water hose if you'd like to "treat" your own yard.

3. KNOW if your dog is a Poop Eater. If you are one of the poor souls who parents a poop-eater, I am afraid you are just going to have to deal with these things from time to time. There are supplements to help discourage poop-eating but I honestly don't know that any of them work well enough to justify the cost. For you guys, keeping watch on your dog at all times is probably your best bet. **Please TELL the HH staff if you suspect your dog falls into this category. We bag every poop as fast as possible but it is still helpful for us to know if we need to keep an extra eye out for yours.**

4. Don't interact with other dogs on walks (unless it's someone you know). Remember a dog could pick up worms from something he sniffs in the dirt, then pass it to your dog when they meet nose-to-nose on a walk.

5. Keep your dog on flea and tick prevention. If you take them off of it for winter, start again right now. Many heartworm prevention pills also include a prevention for certain intestinal worms, so you can sometimes kill two birds with one stone there. Flea and tick prevention is required for daycare/boarding. We relax on it a bit during winter but again, we are already in fairly consistent spring temps so this is already back on our radar. (This is one of my favorite topics so if you want more info on these products I am happy happy to share)

6. Don't bring your dog to daycare if they have symptoms. Most can be treated quickly and easily, but it'll be helpful for your pup to get rest and keep from sharing his ailment with others. Call us if you need advice on this and we can tell you how long to stay at home.

OK, if you are still reading, bless your human heart. This info is long and not thrilling to read, but I know you all appreciate that it is our job to keep YOU informed and your dog SAFE. As I said, even if all of us do 100% of everything here, we're still going to see these things pop up, but we CAN reduce the occurrence of them. I am happy to do more education on any of these ailments if you have questions. Most of our local vets have been great friends to HH and are always in communication with us about what they're seeing and always offer help and answers to our questions, so I'm happy to share that info with you all anytime too. THANK YOU! -- Lacey

Hiking with your Hound

  Written by Hailey Manion, Assistant Manager at HH Conway

Written by Hailey Manion, Assistant Manager at HH Conway

Hiking is fun, but hiking with dogs is literally my favorite thing to do in the entire world. I love feeling the wind in my hair, the weight of my hiking boots, and especially seeing the joy in my dogs when we get to our destination. I’ll be the first to admit, my dogs absolutely suck at on-leash hiking. We’ve never trained them on a leash like you’d expect someone that works with a dog trainer everyday would. We tend to gravitate toward less popular hikes so we have the freedom to let them off leash without the fear of meeting someone else on the hike. By no means am I an expert on this matter, but it IS something that works for us and that we do often with our pups!

What to Bring:

This all depends on how far and rigorous the hike is going to be. For the day hikes, the necessities for us are typically: 

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Backpack - Outdoor Products from Walmart - $15 and it has lasted a while!
Hammocks – We both have ENO’s and love them. When we aren’t on a time crunch, we like to set them up by water and let the dogs roam around. They love it!
Collars - Ours have embroidered collars from Hounds Hideaway and reflective collars from Leather Brothers.
Water bottle for us and 2 water bottles for the dogs - We have Hyrdoflasks; they don’t sweat and they keep water cold for up to 72 hours
Treats - We take something high-value like Chicken Crack, in a wearable treat bag from Outward Hound
Leashes - Even off-leash, keep these close by just in case you encounter someone- we use Mendota slip leads
Dog first aid - We carry hydrogen peroxide, gauze, horse wrap, and medical tape- the necessities for any minor human or dog injury
Collapsible bowl - These are amazing and lightweight for limited pack space

Our Favorite Local Hikes for a Howl of a TIme...

This is my shining moment! I live to tell people about local underrated places to hike (I realize that’s a super hipster thing to say but I don’t care)! We always try to hike next to a body of water so that the dogs have a place to cool off and we’re always careful around ledges if we are off-leash hiking.

Woolly Hollow State Park (just outside of Greenbrier): a place everyone has heard of, but few people go to. This is a perfect place for off leash hiking IF it is a slow day. It’s next to a lake, it’s fairly flat, and only a few miles that aren’t too rigorous.

Petit Jean in Oppelo: a must for all Arkansans. Usually pretty crowded but if you take the secret Boy Scout Trail it’s usually good for off leashing (and I personally think it’s prettier than the waterfall trail).

Bells Slough (Mayflower): This is a local gold mine for off leash hiking that no one knows about. We’ve never met more than 3 people on the trail at a time and everyone hikes off leash with their dogs, so no one gets grumpy if your crazy dogs run up on them and excitedly greets their pets. It’s also got a big, muddy pond that they can get in at the beginning and the end of it.

Mount Nebo (outside of Dardanelle): There are several trails on top of Nebo. Some are on the ledge, so we always do on-leash hikes with those. Our favorite trails there are the Rim Trail (perfect for off leash hiking and not traveled frequently), and Waterfall/Gum Springs Trail. The waterfall is hardly ever running, but the stream is beautiful if it has rained recently.

Dardanelle Rock: This one is off the maps but so cool to hike. It’s a short, really intense hike up a boulder. You get to see the river at the top and when you’re done, cross the street and let the dogs swim in the river and run along the “beach”.

Longpool (outside of Dover): About 1/3 of a mile of an actual hike right along the Big Piney River and an awesome waterfall at the end. We always go further and just roam through the National Forest. Even if it’s not on an actual trail, the sights are so pretty.

Hawksbill Crag (Ponca): a 3 mile roundtrip hike. It’s right along a ledge and always busy, so we always do on leash hiking here. It has a breathtaking view at the end. If you go, print your directions before you leave the house because there is ZERO cell reception around this place.

Devils Den (Fayetteville): Worth the drive! There are lots of on leash hikes here. As we were leaving, we stopped and wandered into the National Forest to let our dogs do some off-leash. They had more fun getting to run rampant without people around, but all of it is beautiful!

Mount Magazine: We’ve only been here once, and it was gorgeous. There are multiple trails and not many are populated, so off leash hiking is a must here!

Finally, a few rules for off-leash hiking...

1. Never go to a populated hiking spot. There are some unspoken rules about off-leash hiking when there are other dogs and a lot of people around. Don’t be THAT person. While I absolutely love it, some people don’t like it when random dogs come and jump on them when they’re least expecting it. There is always the chance that someone is bringing their dog-aggressive pet for an on leash hike, and you don’t want to be the one to find out that they are, in fact, aggressive.

2. Always make sure your dog has on proper identification. If they were to see a squirrel and run a little further than you are comfortable with, it’s good to have ID on them JUST IN CASE they can’t find their way back.

3. Be confident in your dog’s listening skills. Our lab Izzy lives to please us. I’ve never thought for a second that she would run off and not come back (because then who would throw the ball for here?!?!). Our hound mix Moose, however, could sniff something and end up in Timbuktu before he realizes we aren’t with him. For Moose, we have trained him on a remote collar. Now before you think “How dare she preach about loving dogs and then use an e-collar on her own dog?!” let me explain. All we have to do is beep him and he comes back. I fully believe it is a great tool WHEN USED CORRECTLY and with love. I choose to do this over a leash because he has so much more fun off-leash and runs off more energy; he just sometimes needs a little help listening. We always keep our foster dogs leashed because we haven’t built up the years of trust that we have in our dogs.

Off leash hiking doesn’t work for everyone, but we love that it works for us. Basically, just do what works for you and your dogs and have so much fun doing it! -- Hailey

PS - email Hailey at haileym@houndshideaway.com for more detail or directions to the hiking spots! 

Lessons in Leashes

FINALLY it's light outside after 5pm!!!! FINALLY we can be outside with our dogs after work!!! It is about dang time, and you know what you need if you're going to be outside with your furry - a good leash! I daresay no one sees more of them on a daily basis than people at a pet resort. Between our two locations we see over 150 dogs (and leashes) per day, so we definitely have a few opinions about them! We've picked out a few of our faves (and one to run away from) to help you make the most of springtime with your pup!

  Slip Lead - modeled by Stella

Slip Lead - modeled by Stella

1. the SLIP LEAD (this is the one you see our staff wearing like an Indiana Jones satchel every day) //  I got my start in all things Dog through rescue, and every rescuer everywhere had one of these things stashed in her car. I learned that this was because many newly rescued dogs are considered "flight risks" (meaning they may decide they want to get as far away from you as possible for no apparent reason and will stop at nothing to do so), and the beauty of the slip lead is that the more a dog pulls away from you, the more it tightens, preventing the accidental slipping out of a collar and escaping. I love that built in safety feature, but what I love more is their ease of use - they're called slip leads because they literally just slip over the dog's head and you're on your way. My dogs are psycho and clipping a leash hook onto a collar ring is an impossible task, so this works really well! We use them in daycare for this reason too - if we need to get control of a dog quickly, this is a safe, gentle way to do so. One thing to note - the leash should be positioned high on the dog's neck toward the ears to avoid coughing choking if he pulls. Our favorites are made by Mendota. They're made with tough leather and rope so they're super durable. I'm still using my original from before HH even opened!

  Harness Lead - modeled by Bear

Harness Lead - modeled by Bear

2. the HARNESS LEAD (this is the newfangled thing everyone is talking about) // Can I just say that it takes a LOT to climb to the top of the Favorites list among the HH humans, and this one has done it. The Chicken Crack lady bought one at a fancy dog boutique in Kansas City and came back raving about it, so we had to order a few to check it out. What's so fantastic about this leash is that it offers the safety of a Slip Lead without the risk of putting pressure on the dog's neck and throat. This is particularly desirable for brachycephalic dogs (smushed face) like pugs, boxers, boston terriers, bulldogs, and the like. Additionally this is your harness and leash in ONE piece so there's not a bunch of buckles and junk to finagle keep up with. If your dog is a puller, this tightens as they pull but it tightens across a broader area including the chest and shoulders. We are getting insanely good feedback on them! 

3. the REGULAR LEASH (this is an oldie but goodie) // One could do a LOT worse than a regular ol' farm store snap leash. They're easy on the budget but still durable and you can find them everywhere and you can get them in all sorts of lengths. The only word of caution here is to make double sure your dog's collar is tight enough where they can't slip out of it. If you're walking down the street together and your dog becomes spooked, you'd be shocked at what they can slip out of. If you can fit three fingers under the collar (and no more) you're good.

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4. the RETRACTABLE LEASH (this is the one we don't love) // The allure of this leash is totally understandable. It promises controlled freedom, allowing your dog to wander up to 30 feet away while still being tethered to the plastic box handle thing. In the right setting and with the right handler, I think I could be okay with them. That said, in an environment where parent control is necessary (like the lobby of your doggie daycare or arriving at the dog park), they really can become almost dangerous. The thin little fabric rope gets tangled around mom's legs, other dogs' legs, gates, purses, you name it, sometimes even causing rope burns and always causing havoc. My main concern with them, though, is what happens if the leash gets yanked out of your hand. Then you have a dog running off with a loud, plastic thing banging down the street behind them, potentially scaring them even more than whatever might have spooked them to begin with. If you love your retractable, great! Take it to the park or other place where it's appropriate for dogs to wander - just leave it at home when taking him into a controlled space like the vet's office, daycare, or events. 

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OF NOTE...If you're doing double duty with more than one dog, check out something called a Coupler. It's a simple splitter that allows you to walk both your dogs with just one basic leash and prevents tangling. My SisterBeagles use one and it's a lifesaver and can be used with harnesses, regular collars, and martingale collars! 

I hope you and your furries enjoy this sunshine together and have a happy,  walk-filled Spring! -- Lacey

Conway gets a Facelift

I laughed today while going through pics of HH Conway from opening month December 2015. We had one indoor playroom and only finished out one side of the building because we were so unsure about how the business would do that we thought we'd need to rent out the other side to help pay the bills. All our playground toys were recycled DIY projects, and my family celebrated Christmas of 2015 in our lobby because I refused to leave the building for essentially the first month it was open (I slept in my office)! The idea that there might ever be more than 30 or so dogs in the building at one time was unthinkable...our daily rosters were so small we wrote them out every day on the same chalkboard you still see in the lobby! 

Two years later we're so grateful for the growth we've experienced and love that our human team grew with us - allowing us to still get to know every single dog (and cat!) and treat them like our own. The line may be a little longer at pickup but we love getting those few extra minutes to chat and get to know you parents too! What I've learned, though, is that we were so completely unsure of whether we'd be successful that we outfitted the building with a lot of things not meant for the traffic we now see every day. 

Starting this Wednesday, we're trading out our painted epoxy flooring for a resinous epoxy flooring. It's made to withstand the pitter patter of many many furry feet and all the cleanup that takes place after them. In short: it's less slippery and lasts a heck of a lot longer (and it's PRETTY!). It's going to take a few weeks, and is going to involve a complete dismantle of everything in the back of the building. So...we're going to be asking for a little patience while we get it done. I promise it'll be worth it!! If your dog normally goes in Littles 2.0, they will be combined with Littles 1 from Wednesday 3/7 to Wednesday 3/14. If your dog goes in Bigs, they will be mostly outside to play from March 21 to 28 (we are praying the weather cooperates). All our fencing indoors has to be taken down, but will be put back up in the form of BIGGER, expanded indoor playrooms! 

While that's going on, we're also doubling the size of our grooming salon and are in the process of starting a grooming apprenticeship program. Did you know there's not a single professional dog grooming school in Arkansas? We're hoping to keep the profession alive by sharing it with others who share in our passion for making the furries look fab.

Because of all this (organized) chaos, we are going to be capping our capacity each day a bit lower than usual. We ask that parents please try to make advance notice reservations for daycare during this time to make sure your dog has a spot. Please know we wouldn't ask this of you if we weren't sure it would make for MUCH better, safer play once complete! We hope you appreciate our efforts to continually reinvest in HH to make it a great place for your kids to play. Once it's finished we'll schedule our annual Open (DOG) House where all of you can come in to see it!

As always, email me with any questions - lacey@houndshideaway.com. 

CHEERS // Lacey

How to Find Fantastic Food for your Furry!

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The doggie interwebs have been nuts again lately...the pet parent population is sharing and tagging and freaking out about the latest dog food recall. This one sure made for good headlines, what with the substance found this time being small amounts of the same drug used for euthanasia. YIKES. 

If I'm being honest, I rarely read these recalls, and it's not because I feed my dogs organic natural hormone-free antibiotic-free gluten-free grain-free cage-free chicken...it's because the recalls almost always hit the dog food brands that already sucked to begin with! I bet if you're reading this you probably don't need to read them either - if you take the time to read a blog post about picking a dog food, chances are you already feed something pretty good. So, yay for us for being a bit ahead of the curve already!! That said, there's still the possibility that we're being duped by the marketing departments of some of the brands we've come to think of as "good." So, I've put together a list of some tips that might help you weed through the muck of pretty packaging and cute commercials and get down to what matters - your dog's health!

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1. COLOR COUNTS. Look at a handful of your dog's food. Are some of the pieces shaped and colored differently? If so, you're probably looking at a handful of dyes and additives meant to trick YOU (not your dog) into thinking it's higher quality. Good dog food manufacturers don't need to add dyes to their products or change the shapes to look like vegetables. Kibble pieces should all look the same and be colored the same.

2. LEARN THE LABEL. Ingredients are listed in order by weight, with the heaviest ingredient being listed first. If you look at a label and the first ingredient isn't a meat or a meat meal (NOT a meat by-product), stop reading and start looking for a new food. After the first ingredient, the next few ingredients should also indicate high quality - look for another protein source or two, and whole fruits and/or vegetables. A good grain like brown rice is okay too. Stay away from foods where you see corn, wheat, meat by-products, dyes (Blue 2, Red 40, etc), BHT, and BHA. 

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3. CUT THE CORN. I'm no scientist but I do take care of a lot of dogs, and I swear to you the ones that are overweight, have medical problems, who seem lazy, and who have diarrhea during boarding are almost always fed a diet that contains corn. Coincidence? I think not. Remember when dogs are staying with us we ask parents to bring food from home to help keep the dog's diet consistent, so whenever I catch a case of diarrhea I always walk right over to that dog's cubby to see what they're eating. And almost every time, corn is one of the first 5 ingredients in the dog's food. Further, parents who usually complain of their dog being a picky eater are also usually starting with a corn-based food...no wonder the dog seems picky, they don't like it! I love this article from Dog Food Advisor about corn - click here if you need more convincing to cut it out!

4. EXPENSIVE MAY NOT MEAN EXCELLENT. You don't have to break the bank to find a good dog food! That said, a high price tag doesn't necessary equal greatness. ALWAYS check the label. I can think of three brands (which I can't name) that are stupid expensive and offer much less quality than some of their less-expensive counterparts. Again, I love the Dog Food Advisor website for getting accurate research. Their info is unbiased and they aren't being "bought" by dog food companies in exchange for high ratings. Ratings range from one to five stars, with a thorough explanation of every brand you can imagine. Don't feel like you HAVE to go with a 5-star brand either. We don't eat filet mignon for every meal! As long as you're staying on the high-quality end of the spectrum, you're okay. I feed my dogs a 4.5 star line and it works super well for us. Click here to visit Dog Food Advisor's brand index and see where your current food ranks. If you're not happy, click around until you find something that looks better. If you land on something that is a bit more expensive, remember a high-quality diet can mean fewer (crazy expensive) vet visits in the long run, so it's still money well spent!

I hope this helps you on your quest for better health for your furry. If you're still stumped, by all means ask us! We sell Fromm in our lobby and love it, but are big fans of several other brands too, many of which you can still purchase locally! 

Bone Appetit! -- Lacey

Prevent a Frozen Fur-Baby: Cold Weather Tips!

I love winter. The escape from the hellish southern humidity is welcome all day around here, and we've got piles of doggy sweaters to turn every day into a frosty fashion show! That said, just like in summer, the temperature extremes take a little extra pet-parent-prep, so we've put together a few tips to help you and your furry enjoy this time of year safely!

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1. SWEATER Weather! Go on and buy that jacket you've been eyeing - this is one time where your non-dog-parent friends better not poke fun at you for dressing up your little one! There are certain breeds that really do need the extra warmth - weimaraners, greyhounds, chihuahuas, and dogs with naturally thin coats are obvious, but if you're a doodle, poodle, or terrier parent who keeps your pup's fur groomed short, you may want to get in on the winter fashion too! On the flip side, if you're parenting a Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, Samoyed, or even a German Shepherd, save your sweater money - thanks to their double coats, they don't need anything else! In fact, an extra layer could even cause them to overheat. 

2. PAW PROTECTION! I have to say, this is one topic we know a lot about. In the off-leash play world, newbies will often experience a cracked paw pad from the increased activity (ladies, imagine standing in heels for 8 hours after you've sat behind a desk for 3 years - YIKES to the feet!), and the cold can cause some of the same. We swear by a product called Musher's Secret. It's from Canada and was made for sledding dogs. We keep it in our first aid arsenal year-round. It may have been made for the cold but I also think it's great for summers here too - hot weather can be even more damaging to those paws, so any kind of barrier protection is essential to have on hand if you like taking your dog on walks! Boots and booties are cool too, but in the South, where we only experience cold for a short time, I find that the dogs are more freaked out by them than anything and by the time they actually get used to them, winter is over. If it's something you're considering investing in, I like the ones made by Ruffwear.

3. EATING AND EXERCISE! If you're still keeping up with your regular doggie daycare routine (yay!), you may want to increase your pup's food allowance a bit. Even if their activity level is about the same, playing in cooler weather uses more energy. Same goes for those who still maintain a regular walking or jogging schedule. If your exercise routine is different and typically just includes playtime in the backyard, make sure you're doing your part to provide indoor exercise options for your pet during this time (my dogs chose to "exercise" by shredding and chewing up all the Christmas ribbon). Treat dispensing toys are a favorite. I love the IQ Treat Ball - it's simple to understand and easy to fill. 

4. WATCH OUT FOR CHEMICALS Antifreeze is one we all know to steer clear of, but raod salt and other de-icing products can also cause problems. Remember, your dog is probably going to lick his paws after you come in from a walk, so he could ingest chemicals just as easily this way. Beat him to the punch by wiping his paws off with a towel every time you come inside. 

5. JOINT CARE: Sort of like humans, the cold may affect senior dogs or those with arthritis more than others. Consider orthopedic bedding or a joint supplement, or check your dog food label to make sure it includes vitamins that will help promote joint health. These pets may not like going for walks in the cold, so believe it or not, this might be a good time to keep them involved in doggie daycare. Typically even if they don't "play" with other dogs, the stimulation peaks their interest enough to get them up and moving more than they would at home, and indoor (heated) playrooms allow them to maintain movement in a comfortable space. 

Take time to ENJOY winter with your furries, y'all!  --Lacey

Housetraining Survival Guide for Human Parents

Oh my housebreaking stars, we feel you on this one. I'd swear a third of the completely housetrained dogs that come stay and play with us suddenly forget their potty manners as soon as they find an indoor fencepost around here! Since pee cleanup is a way of life in the doggie daycare world, the last thing we fearless Pack Leaders want to do at home with our personal dogs is MORE PEE CLEANUP. So, while we may not have mastered the art of not barking at squirrels, most of us HAVE picked up a few sanity-saving tricks that keep our human houses pee-free! We hope they help you too!

1. We use the same door to go outside. All the time. Going to potty? Use THIS DOOR. This is the first step in getting your doggo to gooooo to the place where he knows you take him out to do his biz!

2. We use positive reinforcement from the get-go! Even if your puppy is a little young to accomplish full housetraining, you can still celebrate the small wins right off the bat. Pottied outside? "GOOD BOY!!!!" and here's a *secret hint:* save the extra-super-special-secret treats for potty rewards. Treats are awesome, but save the REALLY good favorite ones for when he goes potty outside for you! This also works well if you're dealing with a new rescue dog that may be recovering from a less-than-stellar past life, and you're trying not to throw too much at him at once or trying to help him build his confidence and trust in you.

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3. We make wide open spaces. YES we know the luxury of a fenced yard isn't something everyone has, but a small investment in a SUPER long lead (like 30 feet) might work wonders in giving your dog that little bit of breathing room he needs to get the job done (privacy please mom!). Tethers and tie-outs can help here too, but we never recommend leaving your dog on one unattended. We like this leash!

4. We call them out when they mess up...IF we catch them in the act. A simple "no" is all you need, and take your pup straight outside. They're smart and they know when you're disappointed - don't make a big dramatic scene over the accident. For the record, rubbing their nose in it later is stupid and will not fix your problem. Dogs live in the moment, they don't remember that they peed there two hours ago and they learn nothing from being punished for (in their mind) no reason. 

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5. We don't use puppy pads. It's SO tempting, we know. BUT making it OK to go potty inside in ANY way is just going to derail all the hard work you're doing. You're trying to HOUSE train them, not "only-pee-in-this-one-spot-still-inside-the-house" train them. Don't confuse them - focus on teaching them the difference in indoors and outdoors! 

6. We crate train. Someone call PETA and report us!! ...NOT. Crate training is GOOD y'all. When trained correctly, your dog should look at his kennel the same way we look at our bedrooms -- a nice quiet place to retreat to where we feel snug and secure. When housetraining, the key is making sure the crate is the appropriate size. It needs to be big enough for your fluffer to stand up and turn around, but no more. Any bigger than that and he can walk to the other side, potty, and walk away from it, never to be thought of again. More about crate training in an upcoming post...

7. We use appropriate timing. Heck yes you should be taking your 8 week old puppy outside every 30 minutes, but as the days pass on it IS okay to start giving them the opportunity to learn how to hold it. Try crating for small increments of time here and there, especially at bedtime and overnight. Someone told me once that for every month old the puppy is, that's how many hours he could probably hold it (2 months old = 2 hours, make sense?). I watched this theory play out a bit with my two 5-month old beagles, and I have to say I think it's a fair guideline. Mine progressed a little faster in the overnight department (they were able to be crated through the night by 11 weeks) but during the day, if I needed to leave them crated right now, 5 hours is about all I think I could expect from them (at 5 months old). 

8. We learn their cues. We hope you are a fortunate soul whose dog gives you a super obvious bathroom cue like going to the back door. If not, though, watch for the behaviors they display just before a potty. Barking? Sniffing the ground? Dancing? Running out of the room? All things that could mean POTTY time - and it's our job to read the cue and use it as an opportunity to take them outside, where we'll hopefully celebrate them going potty in the correct place. 

FINALLY...even if you're a pro, there will be setbacks and accidents. One way to minimize these is by using a legit cleaning product to take care of those messes. We 100% believe the best products for cleaning floors and carpets are those that are enzyme-based. Dogs explore the world with their nose, and it IS true that they'll go back to that spot on the rug where they had a previous accident if it isn't cleaned up thoroughly. This is one we really like. 

That's our 8 cents folks! We'd love to know your questions or what else has worked for you and yours on this sometimes bumpy road! hi@houndshideaway.com 

JONESBORO - back to our roots!

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If you're following us on Facebook and Instagram you've hopefully seen some pics and video of the construction progress happening at our second location in Jonesboro - in this post we want to tell you all about the humans caring for your hounds, including the happy announcement of the  newest Operations Manager to join our pack!

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There really aren't words (or barks) to articulate how it feels to be bringing Hounds' Hideaway to Jonesboro. Since December 2015 we've been operating down in Conway, and I have to tell you that the Pet Parent community there is the stuff doggie dreams are made of - they've given us constant love, ideas, and feedback - all things we hope will make location #2 in Jonesboro everything you're hoping for!

It's funny, even though Hounds' Hideaway first started in Conway, it's been tied to Jonesboro since long before. When we came up with the idea for the facility, we were new residents to Conway and only had a hunch it might do well in that community. So, we called up some good friends at ASU to help us cipher through hoards of data and make sense of our business plan. Oh how grateful we will always be to the graduate students and faculty in the College of Business and the ASBTDC for their help getting us to the big decision of, "ok YES this might actually work!" 

Almost two years later we're bringing the dream HOME (yes we're Jonesboro natives and ASU grads!) and are so excited to share it with you! Our totally brand new Jonesboro facility is located on 4 acres at 900 Congress Circle, just off West Washington. We LOVE this location - even with its proximity to downtown and Hwy 63, it still feels a bit like being out of town where there's plenty of room to stretch out. Here are a few construction pics if you need a visual...

Anyhoo, back to the point - the people! Jonesboro, you are getting a gem of a human to lead the pack that takes care of your furries. I'll be your Head Human (that's me holding the beagle in the pic up there) and no doubt we'll cross paths, but we know how important it is to have a lovable local there for you all day every day, and we think our newest human Hailey Knight is the perfect lady for you and your fur-kids! 

Hailey is also a Jonesboro native and ASU grad, and for the last few years you might have recognized her as the face of downtown. She's been the Executive Director of the Downtown Jonesboro Association, leading the charge to make downtown an awesome place to live, work, shop, eat, and play. You may not know, though, that when Hailey isn't downtown you'll likely find her wearing her other hat as a professional pet sitter to many of Jonesboro's 4-legged residents, and being mom to her two guinea pigs Oreo and Miss piggy! She and her boyfriend Jeremy also have an adorable kitten, Bootsie, that you'll definitely want to meet too. We are so excited for Hailey to be the face of Hounds' Hideaway (and speaking of face that's her up there in the photo with the Guineas!) and so thankful to have someone who shares our passion and vision for super cool pet care running this new Jonesboro show. 

We're getting SO close y'all - construction is wrapping shortly and then we'll be busy bees filling the facility with everything we need to create hound happiness! Our official opening date isn't set yet, but we know it'll be in October! If you want to be the first to know about private parent events and open (dog) house events, join our Hounds Hideaway Pet Parents - Jonesboro GROUP on Facebook. We so appreciate your support thus far and can't wait to open the doggie doors! 

                                                                                                                                                           --Lacey