Pet Lifestyles Magazine March 2024 - The Pet Wellness Edition

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CHEF JOSÉ ANDRÉS DElivERS HiS CElEbRAtED CuiSiNE tO tHE FAmily PEt WitH REÁl mESA™ New Pet Wellness Products Spring Tips & Tricks For Your Dog Encouraging Positive Feline Behaviors How Much Should Your Pet Exercise Health & Wellness Edition | Spring 2024
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Contents Editor’s Letter Chef José Andrés Launches REÁL MESA™ Pet Food 4 6 The Final Word : Pet Edition 39
Encouraging Positive
Ways to Prepare Your Home
6 Ways To Prepare Your Dog For Spring 13 14 16 18 20 22 23 Spring Fashion For You & Your Pet Super Pet Expo ‘24 Pet Apps To Help You Manage Your Pet New Products For Pet Parents Seasonal Exercise Tips How Divorce Affects Your Pet 25 28 30 32 34 36 PET SPOTLIGHT
Should I Exercise My Dog?
Body And Wag How Do You Decide What To Feed Your Dog?
Feline Behaviors
Dogs’ Health As They Age 5
For Your Cat
Natural Grass Odor Control Natural Absorption Interlocking Trays


The Health + Wellness issue is here! While that blessed time of year known as Spring is shortly upon us, we often approach it with trepidation. Winter’s exit tends to be prolonged with freezing temperatures and mild snowfall hitting in early Spring months. That means you don’t know whether to put away those winter booties and coats, or leave them out; you don’t know if you’re done cleaning salt or snow melt off of your dog’s paws; and you don’t know whether or not that Spring Equinox is going to bring back your feline’s carnal instincts to hunt and play right away or if it’s going to wait until the later months as flowers begin to blossom and pollen starts its fall.

Yes, Spring is beautiful. It is also the perfect time of year to remind ourselves about the health and wellness of our furchildren. Much like a human child, Spring can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Whether it is an annual reminder to get your pets’ shots and boosters, begin flea and tick regimens, or to look at your furbaby’s diet, it is the optimal time to make changes to your pet’s routine or lifestyle.

First, and foremost, I want to thank Chef Jose Andres and his amazing PR team at Rogers & Cowen PMK, especially Lauren Weissman. Chef José Andrés is one of the kindest, most genuine people. Writing the story on his new pet food brand, REÁL MESA™, was a true bucket list moment for me on a lot of levels. And the quality of this new line is exactly what our furrever friends need; a healthy, delicious and thoughtfully put together nutritious offering!

In this issue, we tackle not only the aforementioned food issue, but also health, training and lifestyle changes that you may want to consider. We have run the gamut on everything from food choices to supplements to new toys and APPs to help you get through the Spring in PAWFECT fashion!

The only real difficulty this time of year presents is the reality that our homeless pet population tends to get much larger with Spring litters being born, resulting in shelters and rescues becoming overwhelmed. Please remember to check in with our packmates over at Best Friends Animal Society ( to see how you can help, adopt, foster, donate or volunteer! Remember…Adopt don’t shop!

Stay pawesome,



Jonathan Kent

Chief Photographer

Annie Watt



Bill Mason Sr. - Director of New Business Development

Jamie Babbit - Director of Integrated Sales and Marketing

Internet Presence

Michael McKenzie

Magazine Distribution

The Garrido Group

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rights reserved. Reproduction of any material from this issue is expressly forbidden without permission of the publisher. Printed in the USA. Pet Lifestyles Magazine is published 4 times annually. © 2024 Pet Lifestyles Magazine. New York Sales Office  (917) 440-4448 Editorial/Sales Fax (212) 202-4888 ISSN 2474-770X Vol. 7 #1 | Spring 2024 President / Publisher BILL MASON
Editor in Chief & Co -Publisher
M. Hillman
Panitz • Zesty Paws
Scott Cuollo
Kate Perry • Ilyssa
Quandt • Steve Finkel
John Dake •
COVER CREDITS CHEF JOSÉ ANDRÉS Photography Courtesy Julian Nguyen for REÁL MESA



Any passionate pet parent knows that their furrbaby is a member of the family. We all cater to them as if they were our children. Sadly, there are a lot of people in the world who don’t look at pets that way. But there is one very famous gentleman who does understand this special relationship. He has long been known for his astonishingly delicious cuisine and humanitarian efforts. Last year, this gentleman launched a new, incredible, pet food brand that is designed around heightening the meal experience for the ENTIRE family, including Fido! That gentleman’s name is Chef José Andrés. That brand is called REÁL MESA™.

For those who don’t know, Chef José Andrés is one of the world’s most lauded, celebrated and awarded chefs. His talent in the kitchen is the stuff that legend is made of. People from all walks of life frequent his culinary meccas at iconic outposts such as Jaleo, The Bazaar by José Andrés, Zaytinya, San Laurel and many many more. And Chef José Andrés is famous for his compassion, love for life and passion for humanity. So how does a world renowned, celebrated, and award-winning Chef decide to get into the pet food game, a segment of the business that is typically left to less discerning, mass market, palates? According to Chef José Andrés, the value of feeding the family, including pets, delicious and healthy meals stem from his early childhood memories of his Father cooking using ingredients of Spain.

We hear that the James Beard Foundation 2018 Humanitarian of the Year began developing the idea for REÁL MESA around the one place you might expect, a dinner table. With a group of his friends, all of whom are pet lovers, Chef struck up a conversation about the commitment to the power of food and how it can bring communities and families together. And with Chef’s philosophies around family and togetherness, that conversation amongst friends included the family pet. Clearly this particular evening sat with Chef for some time, beginning to lay the foundation for what has become an incredible new platform for the man who was named as one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.”


Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, everything changed, for everyone. You may recall that during the historic shutdowns and mandates from 2020 – 2023, World Central Kitchen became a focal point of relief for frontliners, first responders and the New York National Guard in New York City. For those who don’t know, World Central Kitchen was founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés as a not-for-profit nongovernmental organization that is first to the frontlines, providing fresh meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises. Ever since then, World Central Kitchen has been at the forefront of every natural disaster you can think of and in times of dire need, especially during COVID-19.

According to a statement made last year by the Chef, the idea for REÁL MESA started to really form during the pandemic when Chef witnessed the impact that good, nutritious meals can have on a community, including displaced pets through his work with World Central Kitchen.

Determined to nourish these connections in pet families everywhere, REÁL MESA was born. In Spanish, REÁL MESA™ means royal table. The brand aims to bring people and their pets around the table, inviting them to partake in family, food, and connection. Chef José Andrés tells Pet Lifestyles Magazine, “Dogs give us so much love. It is only fair that we give them the best food we can with the quality of ingredients and care we would give anyone in our family. With recipes inspired by some of my favorite dishes and curated by me and my culinary team, REÁL MESA™ is passion put into practice.”

All of REÁL MESA™ offerings are designed with your pet in mind. These culinary recipes curated by Chef José Andrés and his team, feature Mediterranean-inspired ingredients and weave them into deliciously healthy recipes your pet will love.

Chef Jose’s culinary team worked alongside the REÁL MESA expert pet food formulators to develop recipes that deliver the textures and flavors of authentic Mediterranean dishes, while bringing optimal pet nutrition and healthy balance to the recipes. Using ingredients such as real chicken, wild-caught salmon, brown rice, chickpeas, carrots, figs, kale and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices, REÁL MESA™ packs in a nutritious and flavorful punch in every bite.

Products are available for dogs of any age, with one puppy and three adult main meals in recipes like Mediterranean Chicken & Rice Entrée and Wild Caught Salmon Feast. Pets can also enjoy treats and toppers in a variety of flavors like Lamb Recipe Bites and Chicken Kabobs.

One key factor in developing the brand was in thinking through the experiential differences between human and canine in terms of smell and taste. Dogs typically will shy away from overly processed foods because of the preservatives being used. So a cornerstone of the brand is about understanding the way pets smell and taste freshness and flavor, including the amazing range of vegetables and the satisfaction of proteins.

Designing these meal experiences was an exciting and collaborative effort between Chef and their expert pet food formulators. According to the company, starting with inspiration from Chef’s favorite meals and focusing on the textures, flavors and ingredients that are so important to these authentic Mediterranean dishes, they worked with their formulators to ensure they were bringing optimal nutrition and balance to the recipes and including only ingredients that are beneficial for dogs.

Then came the testing process to determine the interest of pet parents in purchasing REAL MESA products. The culinary team worked with their formulation experts to identify the right ingredients and finalize recipes that delivered on their mission to celebrate Mediterranean fare and deliver balanced nutrition for dogs.

When they got down to the rounds of testing with actual pet parents, the team could not believe the results; almost 70% of pet lovers they tested were either extremely or very interested in these Mediterranean-inspired recipes for their dogs. It was a real win for Chef and his team as it vindicated everything, they had been working so hard to achieve. Then they began extrapolating on other formats of foods for dogs.

© Julian Nguyen for REÁL MESA

Then the team began thinking about those moments when your little furrever one’s belly is growling but it isn’t mealtime, or when you just want to give them a treat for being good. That led to REÁL MESA™ treats. They are a healthy, high-quality, natural option for your pet. They are made in small batches with minimal ingredients, ensuring a delicious and nutritious snack.

During a Q&A session late last year, Chef was asked: “What makes the bond between humans and pets so special? Why take such care in delicately curating recipes to feed and nurture these bonds?”

Chef’s response, “Our pets are our family. They may eat different food than we do, but pets deserve to eat the food they love, too and we don’t just make food with ingredients. We make it with love; it is a way to show that we care for everyone at our table - pets and humans alike.”

Now you know a business is going down the right path when every member of the team echoes the very sentiments found in the DNA of a brand. According to REÁL MESA™’s Chief Marketing Officer Tierney Monaco, “As a team of animal lovers, we know how much joy pets can bring. It’s our mission to bring families, including dogs, together over a delicious meal. We look forward to feeding the relationship with our beloved pets and contributing to endless evenings of laughter, joy and togetherness.”

According to the brand, all REÁL MESA™ are made in the USA with the finest global ingredients and are free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. In addition, none of the recipes contain corn, wheat or soy.

To further support communities around the world, a portion of every REÁL MESA™ purchase will be contributed to World Central Kitchen.

When we asked Chef if he wanted to make a final comment on his delicious and amazing brand, he stated, “It’s our mission to bring families, including pets, together over a delicious meal. We do this through the love and care we put into the product.”

Truer words could not be spoken. It is as clear as day to this journalist that Chef José’s philosophy of strengthening connections through the power of delicious food that is sourced responsibly and made from high-quality ingredients was omni-present in not only the creation of this brand, but also in everything the brand does.

In summary, REÁL MESA™ was founded in 2022, and launched in late 2023. REÁL MESA™ is a Mediterraneaninspired dog food brand that features chef-curated recipes and high-quality ingredients pets love and their owners are confident in. REÁL MESA™’s mission is to nourish the relationships between families and their pets through elevated meal experiences. To accomplish this goal, the brand partners with world-renowned Chef José Andrés to curate high-end recipes and utilizes highquality ingredients to bring the number one human diet to pet’s plates.

To learn more about this all-new, Mediterraneaninspired pet food brand, visit You can purchase REÁL MESA™ through, and other fine retailers.

© Triana Mendoza for REÁL MESA
We don’t just make food with ingredients. We make it with love.
© Julian Nguyen for REÁL MESA


Ahappy and healthy dog requires more than just a good diet and keeping your annual checkup schedule with your veterinarian. Physical exercise and mental stimulation are an absolute must for an all-around healthy canine.

Just like with a human, exercising your dog regularly is important in order to maintain weight balance, tone the muscles, and keep their body in shape; metabolism up and more. Exercise also serves well to keep the mind stimulated, promote good behavior, and increase socialization.

Every single dog needs to exercise daily, just like we do. But not all dogs are equal in this way, again, just like humans. The amount of exercise a dog requires daily to stay healthy depends on a great many things such as breed, age, size, body type, and overall health.

The general rule of thumb is that dogs should get between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise every day. Obviosuly you want to exercise larger breed dogs, like retrievers and pit-mixes, will need the most exercise; while smaller and toy breed dogs, don’t require as much activity. Smushed-faced breeds, also known as brachycephalic breeds, like Bulldogs and Pugs do not need a significant amount of daily exercise, however they do require cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels in order to maintain better health.

Dogs can be finicky when it comes to exercise. Most large breed dogs that have not been exercised enough will eventually go into what most call “Zoomie” mode. You know, that moment when a dog runs endlessly around your home (usually from the couch to the bed) in circles to get the energy out that they have stored up throughout the day. This is often a dog’s way of saying that they need more exercise or physical exertion to be healthy. Granted, the zoomies also present themselves when Fido is fresh out of the bath. Please don’t confused the two!

On the other hand, most dogs won’t exercise themselves. It is imperative that you spend as much time with your pet getting that physical exercise that is so needed. Simply letting your dog out into the backyard isn’t enough. While Fido may chase a rodent of some type, they will likely not exercise in the backyard on their own as much as they need.

In these kinds of cases, having a handful of squeaky tennis balls can be a life saver. Especially if you live in a major urban metro where open fields and areas for them to run are few and far between. If you live in an apartment, you can use squeaky tennis balls to throw up and down your hallway. If you rotate out two or three balls at a time, then you can keep your dog running up and down that hallway for at least 30 minutes. By the end of that play session, look for them to drink the entire water bowl you have out for them and the need to run them out to pee. Then you can look forward to them collapsing from being so tired!

How should you exercise your dog?

Large breed dogs like Labs and German Shepherds are more prone to joint issues, which is what makes daily exercise very important for them. Mind you that often too much exercise can also be harmful, so you need to find the right balance. A proper physical regimen helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps muscles and joints strong. Remember, it is ALL about balance.

Taking your dog for a walk or run, hiking, playing fetch outside (in a safe and controlled environment), going to an urban park or even the beach, are a few of the many fun ways to keep your pup healthy and happy. You can also create an agility course, of sorts, to help keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated and happy. Sometimes this can be something as simple as a row of benches that he or she can jump over or through to get treat rewards. Please remember that large breed puppies do not do well with strenuous exercise in the first year of their lives. Because of their size, and often the weight level that they settle at once they are over a year old, you need to let their skeleton fully develop to balance that weight and muscle combination.

With small breeds, who need less exercise, weight gain is a common issue. With small breeds, you need to make sure they get at least half an hour of exercise per day, regardless of whether or not it is broken up into two or even three sessions per day. This is especially important for breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs who do far better with short, but deep, exercise sessions.

What happens if I don’t exercise my pet?

As we have repeatedly said in this article, dogs and humans have a lot of similarities when it comes to behavior and exercise. Just like us, larger breed dogs can start to go stir crazy if they haven’t been exercised enough (ie – the aforementioned warning signs of zoomies). So while weight gain and joint issues are at the forefront of that concern with respect to not enough exercise, behavioral issues are even more prominent. I mean, who wants to come home to a couch that has been eaten because of canine boredom and frustration? No one!

The bottom line is that it is all about balance. And it will take some time to find your balance with your furrever friend.



Adog’s health care is an owner’s lifelong responsibility. Canine health starts with a well-balanced diet, exercise, play time and sufficient sleep. Annual checkups should be part of the routine, along with regular grooming and plenty of socialization. If you are aware of a specific ailment, proper veterinary care is important. Also, unexpected or abrupt changes in behavior can signify that something may be amiss and a vet appointment may be prudent.

A dog’s only means of communicating their physical, emotional, and health needs is through behavior:

Regressive, lethargic, anxious, aggressive, disoriented, and even obsessive behaviors are often mistaken for “poor” behavior. But each can be an indication of a distressing health condition requiring immediate medical care.

As a dog trainer, when I am called in to address a dog’s behavioral issue, I first require a thorough veterinary health check to rule out any underlying medical condition that may be altering a dog’s daily activities. What I ask for is a full wellness check, including the hips, joints, anal glands, teeth, eyes, thyroid and liver test. For dogs over seven years of age I recommend a bi-annual health check.

This allows me to adjust my training methodology to the needs of the dog. For example: If I am training an eightyear-old dog that has the onset of arthritis in his back legs, I will be much more sensitive in teaching him a sit or down command.


Additionally, on a rainy day, I will keep in mind that an arthritic dog will likely become more sensitive to be touched or handled. A different pooch may seem distracted or disinterested in their food. This could be attributed to having a toothache or an infection of some sort. Owners can often sense when their dog isn’t themselves. Look for signs and don’t ignore your owner instincts when it comes to knowing your dog. Some dogs can be asymptomatic and will need to count on your intuition to resolve.

With my dog, Walter, he was becoming more aggressive and avoiding my touch, only to learn later after my vet visit that he had a broken rear tooth that was causing significant pain and causing this aggression. After the tooth was extracted, he was back to being my usual love bug. Also, he is a dog that needs to have his anal glands expressed every 6-8 weeks and it clearly affects his behavior if not done regularly.

Dogs are remarkably adaptable and resilient when it comes to health challenges. They have no problem telling us someone is at the front door or nose nudging or a play bow when they want attention or are bored. Dogs will bark, bring us their leashes or coax using expressive raised eyebrows with a slight cock of the head that induces guilt when they want us to take them to the park.

But they are not necessarily good at letting us know about health issues. Telling us when they are sick, in pain or off their game can be more of a challenge. To protect themselves from predators, their inherent survival instincts are geared toward concealing any signs of illness or pain.

Health from Head to Tail:

Many dogs ignore commands, and some have legitimate reasons.

Deafness can come on suddenly, or gradually with age. The same is true of vision loss. If Boomer is banging into furniture, it’s unlikely he stopped by the dog run for a quick martini. Be proactive with your dog’s health and examine him head to tail.

When a dog exhibits signs he’s ill or his behavior is off, it helps if owners write down his training and medical lifestyle details. On paper these details help an owner, trainer, or veterinarian make a proper evaluation about your dog’s health.

Diet is Everything:

A dog’s diet can arguably be considered the most influential aspect of canine health and behavioral issues. Yet knowing how to pick a dog’s food can be challenging. Choosing the right food will directly impact how your dog feels, acts and functions. Is protein revving up your dog? Or is a lack of sufficient protein the cause of lethargic behavior, a dull coat or even irritability?

Grains (ie., corn and wheat) may cause allergic reactions in some pooches while others can tolerate them without a problem. The list goes on and on, so I urge you to become the Sherlock Canine Holmes not only with training but also with diet. Go online, talk with your vets, investigate, and understand what you are really feeding your dog.

Exercise is a Must:

Losing weight and getting in shape physically and mentally are the primary reasons people exercise…the same principles hold true for dogs. Coupled with a balanced diet, exercise increases serotonin and endorphin levels, which produces a calm, relaxed and happy dog. In high concentrations, these neurochemicals are known to reduce anxiety, relieve depression. All this summarizes my motto, which is… “exercise, exercise, exercise and socialize!”

Now that we’ve discussed exercise, the right amount of rest for your dog is just as important as well as adding some play time with your pooches!

Common sense and preventative care is always advised when it comes to canine health. Dogs can’t take themselves to a veterinarian and delays could exacerbate a problem. Health checks can often reveal an underlying cause for unwanted behavior. Remember that a behavioral issue can sometimes be linked to health, diet, genetics or environment so always consider this when calling in a dog trainer.

A dog’s health is dependent on an owner making good decisions for them. A proper amount of physical and mental stimulation is the key to successful guardianship. Though a veterinarian administers medical care, a dog’s health is ultimately the owner’s responsibility.




Every day, someone asks me what they should be feeding their dog. The most common question I get is, “Is kibble bad for my dog?” The second most common is, “Should I be buying into those super expensive fresh food programs?” The simple answer to both is yes and no.

Just like with human food, you can’t make generalized decisions like this based on one person’s opinion, no matter how educated that opinion may be. As an example, the general consensus is that kibble is not the best thing for your dog’s health. It is supposed to be baked, but some brands take a less expensive, more carcinogen-laced route that involves a lot of oil. That means those brands are not good for your pet. However, there are some brands that take extra care, using higher quality ingredients to deliver a more nutritious meal for your best friend. The same is true of those “fresh” food meals. We know that there are many that use natural, fresh and high-quality ingredients and some that use far lower quality ingredients and common freezing techniques with preservatives that are horrible for your pet. That is why I say you just cannot rely on generalizations like these. The same is true of treats. It’s all about perspective, composition and quality.

When I was a kid, in the 1970’s and 80’s, the number-one selling dog food was Alpo. The number one treat was Milk Bone. In those days, dogs were also often tied up in the backyard regardless of how cold or snowy, hot or humid, it was outside. Times have changed…in a very real way. Dogs, for the most part, have a much higher quality of life than their 20th century counterparts. So, would I personally feed either of those brands to my dog today?

Not a snowball’s chance in hell. That isn’t to say there aren’t pet parents out there that need brands like these. More often than not, again just like in the human food space, it comes down to price. The reality is that I just will not give my dog anything that I would not eat.

So, back to the argument of what is good and bad for your dog…how do you tell whether a brand is healthy or not for your furrever friend? The biggest indicator of a problem brand is whether or not the ingredient label reads like the Periodic Table of the Elements and if the protein is the first ingredient on that label. If it is, then you can be fairly certain they are a responsible brand. Notice I say “fairly certain”; primarily because corporations know that pet parents look for this when hunting for a new food brand for their pet and adapt. The same is true of treats. If you cannot pronounce the first ten ingredients with some modicum of ease, then you need to start thinking of a Plan B.


So, let’s talk expensive “fresh” food meals and the like. When you look at brands like FreshPet, The Farmer’s Dog, Ollie, etc., the biggest factor in that decision process is going to be price and availability. I know some of these companies personally, having worked with them. Their ingredients are, for the most part, natural and of human-grade quality. With that quality comes a much higher price than the kibble or canned food brands. As with human organic ingredients, if you can afford it, great! As for availability, it purely depends on location. Some of these “fresh” brands are sold in stores. Most are shipped.

The last meal-type category is homemade. When it comes to our dog, the Spokesdog for Pet Lifestyles Magazine, Brioreo, my wife Kylie and I make all of her food from scratch. We do this for a multitude of reasons. No, it’s not because we don’t like these brands. No, it’s not from a cost POV. It is purely because we want to know what our dog is eating and what is going into her meals. It was a decision we made many years ago when our dogs Snickers and Rolo were both tackling food allergies to poultry and were dealing with skin-dryness. Once we started analyzing the ingredients and cost factors, and saw the health outcomes change dramatically, we stopped buying pet food altogether.

Brioreo gets fed twice daily. Her meals contain broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, carrot, sweet potato, butternut squash, beets, kale, oats, olive oil, all natural Greek yogurt and ground pork. And because we give her pure dehydrated lamb lung as treats, we monitor her protein intake and adjust the levels of ground pork in her meals. This way, we know she is getting all of the vital ingredients for her health in a balanced way. We also know where her ingredients are coming from and what quality they are. And, yes, it can be less expensive than store-bought kibble bags or “fresh” meals.

Let me be brutally blunt here…do not simply copy the aforementioned ingredients as your dog’s needs may be different than Bri’s are. And not all meals are created equally. We have been making our dogs’ food for well over a decade now. And with that comes a lot of learnings. If you are going to feed your pet homemade meals, please consult your veterinarian first. You should never make this decision without that level of input because there could be underlying deficiencies you are unaware of that your pet needs.

At the end of the day, you need to decide what kind of pet parent you are, or what kind you can afford to be. My personal recommendation is to always err on the side of caution and make your pet’s food. But most don’t know how to carve out the time to do that, nor are they aware of the importance of understanding food sources. But I am not here to judge. I am simply here to advise and present the facts as we see them.

The fact is that dogs who eat healthier fare often have fewer vet visits, more energy and a much happier disposition. And THAT is what is important.



Most companion cats are indoor cats. And while technically domesticated, cats are still able to survive on their own. The outdoors represent excitement, problem solving, food acquisition, a smorgasbord of sights, smells, and activities. We make a bargain with cats: we protect them from worldly dangers and in exchange we take away their need to hunt, mate, and to really do much of anything. And we wonder why some of them act out! If we want to be truly responsible for them, then we need to complete that bargain and give them as much enrichment as possible to lead engaged lives.

Negative behaviors like destructive tendencies (scratching), inappropriate elimination, aggression (towards people or cats), hyperactivity (including late night/ early morning), excessive vocalization, compulsive behaviors, or play aggression almost always trace back to boredom, stress, lack of environmental enrichment, insufficient territory, anxiety, or some combination of the above. Outdoor cats may have their own challenges, but with the exception of territorial/sexual aggression in intact cats, they don’t exhibit essentially any of the negative behaviors listed above.

Does this mean that we are responsible for the negative behaviors seen in cats? In a word, yes! But, a more nuanced answer goes back to that bargain we made with them, and fully fulfilling our feline responsibilities. The good news is we can have our cats and pet them too! In other words we can protect them and give them happy, fulfilled lives. How do we achieve satisfaction for our living room lions? Bring the forests and the fields inside.

While spaying and neutering removes the need to mate (and the frustration of not being able to), cats still instinctively need both horizontal and vertical territory (climbing trees).

Outside cats will do their business by urinating and defecating in different places. It’s a survival tactic to make it harder for predators to track them, and it’s a “keep out” sign that says, “I was here, just hours ago, stay away!” a form of spatial and temporal marking. This is why the rule exists of one litter box per cat plus one. It’s a way of providing what cats have in nature, choice and agency, a hugely important concept that often gets lost in the sometimes topdown human-cat relationship. The type of box is important too. You can’t give your cat a box that’s too big, so give them the biggest ones you can. Cats are vulnerable when they go, so some need to see out to know they’re safe and for these cats a covered box may be intimidating.


Cats need to hunt, and for indoor cats, hunting means play followed by food. We play with our cat, but we often don’t pair it with a snack or a meal, and this can cause our cat to become bored or frustrated with play and we complain that “My cat doesn’t like to play much.” You probably wouldn’t like your job very much either if you didn’t get a paycheck and for cats, food is the paycheck for hunting and play. Hunting involves problemsolving so make your cat solve problems to get the reward in the form of puzzle feeders, hiding snacks or moving their feeding (and watering) stations around. Create interest and motivation! There is a great article in Companion Animal Psychology (November 7, 2018 – “How To Feed Your Cat: The Modern Guide To Feline Foraging”) that summarizes the American Association of Feline Practitioners consensus statement on how we should be feeding our cats. Outdoor cats eat six to fifteen times daily, and if you only feed your cat canned food twice a day (while maybe leaving “boring” dry food out) you may have a cat that wakes you in the wee hours of the night. Harness the cycle of predation (hunt/play/kill/eat=sleep) by motivating them to conserve calories by playing with them about an hour before your bedtime followed by a nice meal.

Cats need to scratch. It sharpens their claws, stretches tendons, and muscles, and lets them mark using scent glands in their paws. Some like vertical surfaces, others horizontal or angled surfaces, and some prefer different textures. So, find what they like, play with them at this scratching surface and reward them with treats teaching them cause and effect. Maximize this good behavior with “intermittent reinforcement” sometimes rewarding and sometimes not rewarding using what I call the “slot machine effect”.

Clicker training also provides problem-solving, and scents, visual aids (catnip, cat grass, bird videos and window perches) all add spice and variety to your cat’s life. As I like to say, happy cat, happy life!

Footnote: A note about the photos: No cats were harmed in the making of this essay! Happy-go-lucky Cricket (white with black) and her bestie, blind-from-birth Jenny (brown tabby and white) are highly and strictly supervised when outside. For people who want to 100% cat proof a fenced enclosure (yard or deck), these two products, Oscillot and Cat Fence In do an amazing job, something to which Cricket and Jenny cat attest.



While you may look at your dogs and see the same little puppies you brought home years ago, the reality is they age the same way people do, and if you count in “dog years,” sometimes even faster. The aging process for dogs can mean graying whiskers and less ball chasing, but it may also mean adjusting to changing health needs.

As dogs approach their late adult and senior years, it’s important to adapt the ways they’re cared for so they can enjoy happy and healthy lives. To fully support your dog’s lives as they age, consider this advice from the pet experts at Zesty Paws.

Enjoy Enrichment and Exercise

Whether your furry friends prefer a friendly game of fetch or a long walk around the neighborhood, exercise is key for dogs of all ages. As dogs mature, some of the high-energy bursts may fade, but continuing with low-impact exercises can help them stay in shape both physically and mentally.

Stay active by walking to support joint health and mobility and keep regular grooming appointments to support healthy skin and coat. Don’t forget enrichment activities to help stimulate their minds, too. Try hiding food or treats in puzzles or toys, or schedule play dates with other dogs so they can get active and socialize.

Explore the Benefits of Functional Pet Supplements

Dogs, just like humans, have a molecule in their bodies called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), which supports cellular function, energy and repair mechanisms. NAD+ levels naturally decline throughout the aging process, but to help negate these effects and support cellular health regeneration in dogs, Zesty Paws created a supplement to support healthy aging for dogs.

Powered by Niagen to help reinvigorate cellular energy, the Healthy Aging NAD+ Precursor system brings a little of their puppyhood back through support of normal cellular, metabolic, brain and heart, skeletal and muscle health. This innovative system of supplementation offers pet parents a fun and unique way to support their dog’s golden years.


Adapt Your Dogs’ Diets to Match Life Stages

A healthy and balanced diet is important for dogs of all ages. With that in mind, there are subtle nuances at different life stages that call for ingredients and food blends to match dietary needs. For example, puppies typically require foods with more protein and fats to help fuel their growth.

Adult dogs may need food that is more focused on addressing issues like gut health, weight control, dental hygiene and other needs. Then, as pets mature into their senior years, you may need to consider foods with added support for their hips and joints or a lower-calorie diet to help alleviate weight concerns due to decreased activity.

Be Diligent About Regular Vet Appointments

While pet parents already know the importance of keeping up with routine veterinarian visits, these check-ins with a health professional can take on increased significance for aging pets.

It’s recommended to schedule regular appointments with your vet so he or she can conduct physical examinations to monitor your pet’s well-being, and this time also provides an opportunity for you to discuss any changes you’ve noticed in your pet’s routines. Just like you, your adult dogs should have a complete examination at least once a year.

Stick to Routines

Just as you have certain things you do each day, like brushing your teeth and making your morning coffee, dogs can also benefit from having their own routines. Whether it’s a morning walk or weekly bathing, having a routine can reinforce previous training for adult dogs and help them continue to learn new behaviors.

Routines based on exercise, enrichment, training and grooming can help ease the tension of other life changes such as travel, moving or new house guests and allow dogs to feel more confident and comfortable. For these aging pets, having and maintaining a routine can also be helpful for consistency and reducing nervousness.

As someone who has been using Zesty Paws’ products for Brioreo, my dog and the Spokesdog for Pet Lifestyles Magazine, I can tell you that their products help immensely. I had previously used Zesty Paws on Snickers and Rolo for issues that required proper supplements. The results? PAWESOME! And if that isn’t a ringing enough endorsement, then you should be aware that, in this past year, Zesty Paws® was officially recognized as the United States’ #1 Brand of Pet Supplements by Euromonitor, a trusted global market research company. This certification solidifies Zesty Paws® as America’s leader in both dollar and unit sales in the highly competitive pet supplement industry, and reaffirms the brand’s commitment to excellence, as well as acknowledges its dedication to improving the health of pets worldwide. With a focus on creating innovative formulas, Zesty Paws® has consistently delivered premium products that address a wide range of pet health topics. From joint and gut support to digestive health and calming solutions, Zesty Paws® offers a comprehensive line of highquality functional supplements backed by science to meet the nutritional needs of cats and dogs in all life stages.

To learn more ways to support your pet’s health and well-being, visit



Spring fever is almost upon us, and that means cats are longing for the return of their hunt and play instincts, as well as higher levels of energy being expended. When I was a little boy, I rescued my first pet from a cornfield in Upstate New York. We named him Clermont after the town we rescued him in. He spent all of his Summers upstate and Winters in Manhattan. As such, Clermont’s whiskers would begin to grow exponentially as Spring began to warm up the region. He knew it was almost that time of year for him to return to the country. And that meant Clermont was ready to hunt and play. So we always looked to the Spring Equinox as a great time of year to get things back in order for Clermont.

As we all get into traditions like Spring Cleaning, Spring is a great time of year to verify all of your cat’s needs are being addressed in the house; from dangers of cleaning chemicals to holes in screen windows. Spring can be one of the most beautiful times of year, but it can also be a stark reminder that we need to stay on top of ensuring our furrever ones are safe! And just like we did for Clermont, you need to do for your furrever one!

Kitten Season Is Upon Us

That pitter patter of little paws is coming. And while kitten season is cute and all, animal shelters and rescues across the country struggle to help these beautiful and sweet little furrever ones because their facilities are already at-capacity or overloaded. As Kitten Season is almost here, it’s the purrfect time for you to contact your local shelter or feline rescue and see what you can do to help them ease their population density. Whether it is adopting, fostering, or volunteering, all shelters and rescues look for increased help during Kitten Season because it is that big and it is that difficult for them to handle in terms of intake and trying to get these kittens into loving and responsible homes. Remember – Adopt, don’t shop!

Check, Verify and Replace Screen Windows

Does your cat like hanging out on the windowsill, watching the world pass by? You probably also leave that window open slightly to let in fresh air. Then again, it’s also probable that your cat is watching more than just the world going by…that cat is likely watching for birds, mice, and the like. So, before another season of bird watching begins, now is a good time to make sure your screens are safely secured and any holes that have formed can be either patched, or the screen replaced. Remember, cats do not fear obstructions. Often they will find a way through or around them to achieve their goal. In this case, if you have a loose screen, or one with holes in it, you will end up with a loose feline! I remember when I was a kid, my cat Clermont would spend his days romping around on my family’s property in upstate New York all summer. At night, he would come back very late and end up jumping through an open screen window to get back in the house. Eventually, we replaced all of the window screens with ones that were far more sturdy and better locked into the window frame.

Put Those Cleaning Products In A Safe Place

Is the grand tradition of Spring cleaning one that your family practices? If so, then you need to be aware of the toxicity that comes with some of these products. They can be very dangerous to feline and canine health. If you store your cleaning products under the kitchen sink, make sure that those doors to the underpart are secured properly and that your cat cannot open them. Cats are awfully curious, especially when they see their parents storing interesting looking things (like a feather duster or extra thin bottle of bleach) in hard to get to places. For them it is a challenge they want to overcome. For you, it needs to be about making sure those doors cannot be opened easily by a paw!

Refresh Their Environment

With Spring cleaning in mind, maybe it is also time to clean up that cat lounge area around the window and makeshift beds near sources of heat (baseboards, near a fireplace, etc.). And if you don’t have a “lounge” area for your feline, you might want to consider creating one! After you have inspected the windows and their screens, either place a cat bed or tree near those windows for your cat to enjoy that breath of fresh air. If you already have a cat lounge setup, then it is also time to give their bedding a wash in the laundry. You can also add a dusting of catnip (so long as you don’t have dogs in the house) to the lounge area to give your cat that extra chill feeling! A Siamese we adopted named Butter was a big proponent of heat. She loved to sleep right next to the radiator in my childhood apartment in New York. We would wash a little bed we put next to the radiator in my bedroom every week. And at least four times a year, I would replace that bed to ensure it was as clean and hygienic as possible. Remember, cats are incredibly finicky when it comes to cleanliness!

Be Cautious of Toxic Flowers

The old adage goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” Well, that may be true, but it is also true that felines, just like dogs, can easily be harmed by certain flowers and plants. Check your home for any plants or items that could be harmful to your cat. As an example, there are commonly used florals such as lilies, baby’s breath, and carnations that are all poisonous to felines. Here’s a list of some catsafe flowers for your home: Daisies, Orchids, Roses, Hyacinths, Snapdragons, Sunflowers and Marigolds. Clermont, since he was born in the wild, would always hunt for florals in our apartment in New York, and our country house. That often meant my father being very upset as Clermont would munch on those flowers, leaving a mess and stems everywhere. Be sure that when you have florals in your home, regardless of whether they are potentially poisonous or not to your cat, to at least try to keep them out of your cat’s reach.



It’s officially spring on March 19, and we’ll see start seeing a return of warmer temperatures. That means more time outside for your and your dog outside under the sun!

As great as that may be, warm weather and playing outside also presents certain dangers to our dogs, like increased risk of heartworm disease, tick bites and seasonal allergies. The pawesome news is that we can protect our furrever ones.

Prepare your Pet For Seasonal Allergies

More and more canines are suffering from seasonal allergies, in much the same way that people do. Sensitivities to grass, pollens, flowers, and/or plants is on the rise due to inbreeding and overbreeding. If you notice your pet itching, scratching, or sneezing after playing outside, they might be having an allergic reaction. You need to contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule allergy testing, in which case they may insist on placing your dog on an allergy medication, or more frequent bathing during the warmer months.

Set Your Dog Up for Heartworm Prevention

The bane of everyone’s existence during the warmer months, mosquitos, is the largest contributor to heartworm disease. When mosquitos bite your dog, they transmit parasitic worms that infect your furrever one. And, if you are one of those that thinks you don’t see mosquitos, so they aren’t a problem, think again. Mosquitos are not discerning in terms of their prey. And many of them are very small, so you may not notice them around your pet. Get your pet on a heartworm preventative, such as a tablet or topical treatment, before letting them loose in the yard, or even for long walks in Urban parks.

Prepare Your Dog to Combat Fleas and Ticks

As the warmer temperatures return, so do the culprits that are responsible for transmitting Lyme disease and many other ailments, fleas and ticks. And while they can infest your dog at anytime throughout the year, warmer months tend to have the highest infection rates of the year as you spend more time outside. Protect your pet with an oral or topical treatment.

Microchipping Is Essential

As we all love going out for long walks with our furrever ones when the warmer temperatures hit, that means there are more opportunities for your dog to get loose or run off. Warmer temperatures also means more people out doing recreational activities like cycling, motorcycles and the like. These activities often make dogs upset, resulting in them running away from the noise. That is why microchipping is essential. And while you have a collar on your dog with appropriate contact information, often those collars and tags rub off to the point that you cannot read the phone numbers. A microchip contains a unique ID number. After the chip is injected, you can register that ID number with your contact and urgent medical information. This way, if the pet is ever brought to a shelter or veterinary practice, a quick scan will provide the information needed to get in touch with you.

Keep Cool and Carry On

As the Spring begin to heat up our environment, that means Summer is on its heels. That is when temperatures climb with a risk of your dog overheating. On those hot days, schedule your walks in the morning or evening to avoid high midday temperatures. If you live in an Urban environment, try to find areas where you can walk your dog that don’t have sidewalk or asphalt as they tend to heat up easily, sometimes resulting in burns to your dog’s paws. Hydration is essential when the heat turns up, so make sure to bring extra water for your furrever friend on long walks or hikes. Excessive panting, staggering, and high body temperature are signs of heatstroke which can be fatal. If you see any of these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Poisons To Watch Out For

Certain foods and plants, are poisonous to pets. You need to be aware of these so that you can keep your dog safe. The most lethal food ingredients for dogs are garlic, onions, grapes, raisins, apricots, caffeine, chocolate, gum, alcohol, and salt. If your dog ingests any of these, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Plants are purely based on geography. To get a better understanding of what plants in your town, county or state are poisonous to your pet, please contact your veterinarian.

By planning ahead for your furrever friend, you can ensure a happy, healthy and fun Spring!




our dog is going to be on the best-dressed list thanks to these pawfect fashion suggestions! After months of cold weather, nothing beats the warm, welcoming sunshine of Spring. And the best way to melt away those winter blues is to take in everything Mother Nature throws at us…with some style! Whether it’s a doggie-picnic you are throwing for your furrever friend and more, going to an adoption fair to find a sibling for Fido or simply just walking your dog, we have some fun and stand-out styles for you to check out this Spring! And when it comes to Spring celebrations, like St. Patrick’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter, we have you covered there to!

Splash Around in Colorful Rainwear

Just because it’s raining outside doesn’t mean you can stay inside, after all, Fido needs to poo and pee! What you can do, though, is keep your dog warm and dry in either a traditional or more fun raincoat! For a more traditional look, go for the Frisco Lightweight Rainy Days Dog Raincoat at for $14.99. It has large reflective stripes on it to help your pet stand out during spring showers. Or, if you are feeling fancy, you can go for the Milltown Dog Rain Jacket in Forest Green 2.0 for $60.00 at

As we suggested during the winter months, your best bet for paw protection is going to be PAWZ Dog Boots which comes in a variety of colors for $16.99. Or, you can reach for the stars and get your furrever one a pair of WagWellies from WagWear. com for $49.00. They are rubber, slip-on boots to help your dog avoid Spring-time rain runoff that may be carrying nasty dirt and debris from the winter months.

Pro-Tip: Always make sure you have pet wipes handy when you come back in from a long walk when it is raining, or there is remnant dirt or mud on the walk. You want to wipe each paw to ensure the dirt, and any other material, is removed. If you live in an urban environment, often cleaning products are dried on the ground and your pet’s paws pick that up. If you live in a more suburban or rural environment, there are other elements like fertilizer that you want to avoid having Fido track into your home.

Let’s Get Sporty

80’s fashions are very much back in style…for your furrever one as well! And while some of us wouldn’t mind a little Sunglasses At Night on our cool pooch, there are others that go for a more Miami Vice kind of look for their pet. We went down the middle and chose a more preppy route for this Spring’s fashions! Check out these iconic polos from Ralph Lauren for $40.00 at ralphlauren. com. They come in a variety of colors and styles pawfect for your furrever one! If you want your dog to be dressed to impress, a classic polo is the best way to get him or her into that fancy country club too! PetSmart has two really cute options as well; the Max’s Closet Designer Dog Polo for $18.99 and the Top Paw Blue Stripe Button Up Dog Shirt for $9.97 at


Make That Collar and Leash Stand Out!

You’ve done Spring Cleaning in the house, now isn’t it time to Spring Clean your canine’s accessories? Or maybe just a refresh? That trend from last year that touted bright colors is still, in fact, the trend for this Spring. Look for bright colors like orange and yellow, flowery add-ons and fun tie-ins for those traditional collars, harnesses and leads! Sometimes loud or very bright colors actually help people to see your pet at night. Especially in a suburban environment where there may not be as many street lights as we want. We love the collars at Sniff & Bark, especially the Bright Orange Unbreakable Collar for $30.00 at www.! Or, you can head over to or your nearest PetSmart location, and peruse the endless options of collars, harnesses and leads!

As with humans, the best parts of an outfit can often be the accessories. We recommend addons to your pet’s collar like a bow or flower, but you can always find a lot of different choices at your local pet retailer like PetSmart.

Make Mom Proud

Dog Moms take care of their furrever ones as if they were their human children. They work hard all year long to make sure that bowl is full, as is that belly, and that they’re safe, clean and happy. Shouldn’t your furrever one get dressed up for Mom’s special day? has some fun shirts and the like from Frisco that have messages like “I Love Mommy.” The lightweight tee is machine-washable for $10.16 at Chewy. com. They also have a fun t-shirt that says “Mama’s Girl” for $12.99.

And, if you are the Pet Dad, or the other Pet Mom in a relationship, you could also go above and beyond by booking a simple photo shoot with a cute background in your local area. The photo shoot could mimic a fun Mother’s Day card cover or similar celebratory marker. That way, Mother’s Day becomes more about Mom than the dog


Celebrate Irish Pride Together!

With St. Patrick’s Day halfway into the month, your furrever one can celebrate the day St. Patrick drove the snakes from the Emerald Isle as well! After all, on March 17, everyone is Irish! And while your furrever one may not be able to imbibe with you, at the very least they can don their Irish colors and show Emerald pride to your friends at the bar (if the bar is allowing pets). Try this ultra-cute Frisco “Let’s Get Shamrocked” t-shirt for $8.99 at chewy. com or “Kiss Me I’m Irish” t-shirt from for $12.95

Who Doesn’t Love Twinning With Their Furrever Friend?

You love your dog. You love dressing your dog up. And we have all seen the insanity on the streets of cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami where pet parents actually wear matching outfits with their pets. Don’t worry, we won’t judge you (okay, maybe just a little). There are plenty of brands out there that make matching outfits for pet and pet parent like the Red Plaid Dog Hoodie for $22.00 and the human version for $40.00 from Not into hoodies? Try these matching Coffee Dogs Pet & Owner set of pajamas from for $55.98!

We can’t tell you how many holiday cards we received last year that featured a pet parent with their pet wearing matching Santa-type outfits. Yes, there are a lot of folks out there who love to twin-it-up with their furrever one!

Easter Pops In Pastels and Bunny Ears!

We all know how popular hats are on Easter. Check out this adogable Easter Bonnet Dog Hat from for $7.31. Then there are the more traditional, fun accessories you can dress your canine with for Easter such as these cute bunny ears by ANIAC for $11.99 at Doggy scarves are also another way to dress up Fido for Easter, using more pastel-oriented colors to match the holiday. Our recommendation would be to go to or to search for these as pastel colors are more of a personal choice, depending on how, or if, you celebrate Easter.

Remember that Easter is all about softer pastels and smoother lines. So you want to make sure that whatever outfit you are wearing doesn’t contrast with your furrever one’s new outfit! Especially when it comes to contrasting pastels and deep colors. That never works out well in those family photos!




The largest consumer pet event on the East Coast returns this month to over 10,000 consumers. Super Pet Expo will open its doors at the NJ Convention & Exposition Center from March 1 – 3 as well as at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, VA from March 15 – 17. Super Pet Expo features over 150 local and national exhibitors, ranging from the best pet products to local rescue organizations to pet specialists from across the spectrum of pet services.

These kinds of shows are ideal for pet parents to learn new tips and tricks about the care of their furrever one, as well as to experience new products designed to make their furrever relationship stronger, healthier and happier.

Super Pet Expo also hosts a variety of entertainment and activities, as well as educational events during the exposition. This year’s new activities include at the New Jersey event include:

• Dog Aging Project’s Chief Veterinary Officer Kate Creevy, DVM, Texas A&M, will share highlights of preliminary findings of research to identify factors – including lifestyle choices, preventive health options, and medical recommendations – that can improve healthy longevity for dogs. The Project is looking for people to participate by enrolling their dogs and sharing information for surveys that will add valuable intelligence to the project’s essential research.

• Jamie and Jessica Hatch, Gone to the Snow Dogs, with over 6 million followers across social media, will share best practices about hotel and V travel with pets. They will bring from Michigan their Siberian Huskies Memphis, Kira, and Eleanor whom online viewers know from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

• The Masterson Method is an interactive system of body work to improve a dog’s comfort, mobility and longevity. Jim Masterson will show visitors how to read subtle changes in a dog’s body language that alerts owners where their dog may hide tension or discomfort as well as the gentle bodywork techniques that will help release both. He teaches the procedure, which he created, to dog and horse owners and therapists around the world. Masterson is the author of “Beyond Dog Massage,” (2023) and the book and DVD “Beyond Horse Massage,” (2011), as well as the DVD Light to the Core (2016).

• Betsy Middleton will capture a pet’s perfect pawprint—free with the cost of admission.


While these returning favorites continue to please the thousands of attendees in New Jersey:

• Performing celebrity dog members of champion stunt dog trainer Chrissy Joy’s Bone-A-Fied Talent Group will show off their Frisbee skills, tricks and fast-paced agility all weekend. Visitors will recognize some pups from national commercials and feature films. Joy hosts “The Dog Moms” and “Farm Girl” on DOGTV.

• For dogs that can’t get enough of playing with balls, a romp among some 5,000 of them in the Ultimate Dog Ball Pit will be a supreme treat. It’s safe, fun, and engaging.

• Dog agility demonstrations & free classes produced by Jersey Agility (JAG) is exciting and fun while improving a pet’s confidence, increase focus and provide exercise.

• The Doggie Derby, races for Dachshunds, Corgi’s and Small Dog Breeds, in its third year, invites a family member, toy or treat to entice participants to dash to the finish line with prizes for all winners. Preregistration online is recommended. Fee: $15 per race.

• Pets and owners are invited to join the laughter from Must Love Dogs and Comedy where co- founders Jolie Dudley and Nicholas Polanco create joyfully chaotic events. They simultaneously raise funds for animal rescue and wellness organizations while providing a platform for underrepresented performers.

• Pawsitively FAMOUS Animal Talent Agency & Podcast’s Dawn Wolfe, trainer of Hollywood pet stars, invites visitors to bring their dog, cat, ferret, rat or bird with unique talent for an audition. She’ll share some audition secrets too.

• The well-dressed pooch won’t want to miss Celebrity Catwalk, where couture-loving canines strut their stuff dressed in doggie designer fashions.

• Repticon in its 11th year, is a showcase of hundreds of reptiles. Experts will give advice and sell supplies and reptile products too.

• Luring 101, a capture the flag activity for dogs big and small, tall and short who love to chase. They take center stage in an enclosed 2,500 square foot lure course set up to give pets a high- speed run that will thrill both pets and audience. An additional fee applies.

• All dogs are welcome to run, walk and strut in a 2,000 square foot Puppy Playground. For those attending Super Pet Expo in Chantilly, VA, can look forward to these new activities:

• Jamie and Jessica Hatch, Gone to the Snow Dogs, with more than 6 million followers across social media, will share best practices about hotel and RV travel with pets. They will bring from Michigan their Siberian Huskies Memphis, Kira, and Eleanor whom online viewers know from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

• The Masterson Method is an interactive system of body work to improve a dog’s comfort, mobility and longevity. Jim Masterson will show visitors how to read subtle changes in a dog’s body language that alerts owners where their dog may hide tension or discomfort as well as the gentle bodywork techniques that will help release both. He teaches the procedure, which he created, to dog and horse owners and therapists around the world. Masterson is the author of “Beyond Dog Massage,” (2023) and the book and DVD “Beyond Horse Massage,” (2011), as well as the DVD Light to the Core (2016).

• Tenth graders Sky and Yvonne Zhu have been promoting proper care of creatures such as hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits, raising public awareness about responsible small animal husbandry since 2021. The 16-year-olds will share how these little creatures can provide extraordinary companionship in their presentation Why Small Animals Make Good Pets. The Zhu’s have also established an Etsy shop, donating 100% of their profits selling small animal products they have crafted to small animal rescues.

• Betsy Middleton will capture a pet’s perfect pawprint—free with the cost of admission.

For Chantilly, VA attendees, the returning favorite activites are the same as they are in Edison, NJ. Leashed pets are welcome at both events, though Super Pet Expo does not allow retractable leashes on-site. Tickets for this year’s shows range from $10 for children to $20 for an adult all-weekend ticket. To learn more, please visit



Just like in the human world, APPS for the care of our pets have become more and more important as each day goes by. Whether it is managing walking schedules for your dog, feeding schedules for multiple pets or training your pet, technology today helps make our lives so much easier.

Gone are the days when a couple needs to guess whether the other person in their relationship has run Fido out for a pee. So are the days of guessing whether or not your cat was given its medication for the day.

Good Pup

The key to a happy life with your dog? Training. Behavior is one of the top reasons dogs are sent to shelters, according to the The Humane Society of the United States. Good Pup’s mission is to help every dog and dog parent live their best lives together – so they created training that is effective, affordable, and rewarding. GoodPup training is 1–1, at-home, on your schedule, with trainers ready to help 24/7. Plus, a week of private training with GoodPup costs the same as a single group class at most pet stores.

Pet First Aid by American Red Cross

The Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for emergencies as well as everyday pet care in the palm of your hand. With videos, interactive quizzes and simple step-by-step advice it’s never been easier to know pet first aid.


Their story starts with three cat parents looking for a go-to resource to learn how to better take care and train their cats. Lumsters wanted to create a space where cat lovers can come together and also change the stigma of cats (because how can anyone not love cats and their eccentricities?!).

Lumsters provides access to over 15+ lessons from the basics of clicker training to getting your cat into a carrier and more! See how your cat progresses with in-app trackers and level up as your cat learns more skills. Everything you need to know about cat care. Just adopted a cat? Help them assimilate into your home. Figuring out what type of toys they like? Lumsters can help.


If you’re in need of immediate veterinary advice, Airvet, the 24/7 veterinary telehealth service, can help. With no appointment necessary and unlimited access to video calls and chats with licensed vets with a membership, Airvet makes it quick and easy to consult a professional.



With Buddies, tracking your pet’s appointments, medications, and more is easy with their timeline feature. You can also connect with other pet parents using the community feature, where you can share updates with other users.


DogLog is an easy-to-use pet care app that makes pet ownership less stressful. It helps dog owners track their pet’s health, coordinates daily pet-related tasks, and more! DogLog is great for single pet parents and for families.


The 11pets app pretty much covers everything when it comes to your pet’s needs. With 11pets, you can store medical history, maintain a schedule for upcoming vaccines and vet visits, and even track your pet’s weight and nutrition. Plus, the account can be accessed on multiple devices so your family members can also keep tabs on the latest, making it extra easy on families.


There’s a lot of planning to do if your dog is going to travel with you. Where are the hotels that allow dogs? What about restaurants that allow dogs? You can find out via the BringFido app. To locate the best lodging options for your dog, search by location and use the built-in price, dog size, and other filters.

If you’re planning a move and want to discover the best dogfriendly locations in your new neighbourhood, BringFido is worth checking out. You can even register to get notifications about future events that welcome dogs!



New products come out virtually every single week in the pet industry. After all, in 2022, consumers spent $136.8 billion on their pets. That number is purported to have been much higher in 2023. It is also expected to increase significantly in 2024 thanks to increased costs from inflation.

Just like for human children, pet parents are willing to spend whatever it takes to take care of their fur-children. Whether it is a priobiotic to take care of those digestive issues or an enhanced chew toy that is designed to help with your furrever one’s oral health or the toughest and most indestructible ball ever created, we have put together the best and brightest new products for your furrbaby!

The Rahr Dog Ball

Introducing the indestructible, shelter-saving, and visionoptimized dog ball! This ball is the ultimate plaything for your furry friend. It’s virtually indestructible, so you can finally say goodbye to constantly buying new toys. Plus, with each purchase of this ball, you’ll be giving a RAHRDOG ball to a shelter pup in need. That’s right, one ball can make a world of difference. Every RAHRDOG Ball is non-toxic, free of BPAs, latex and phthalates. $29.99 at

Fera Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that help control the balance of the digestive system, aid in reducing loose stool due to environmental or dietary changes, and support the immune system and skin health. Fera’s Dr. Dulake custompicked 12 living strains with powerful dosing of 5 billion CFUs to make a positive difference in your pet’s digestive health. Their probiotics also include organic prebiotics that supports normal microbial balance and the growth of beneficial bacteria in your pet’s intestines. Best of all, this flavorless powder easily mixes into your pet’s food. It’s easy and effective! $28.95 at

Adirondack Fragrance Farm’s Flea Flee Spritzer

This blend of rosemary, citronella, geranium, lemongrass, and cedar oils in a convenient spray bottle will help protect your best friend by repelling pesky fleas. Escape the daily hustle with Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm, a woman-owned, second-generation family business since 1979. Direct from their 160-acre farm, the meticulously crafted products, enriched with all-natural ingredients and indigenous Adirondack botanicals have the power to transport oneself to North Eastern New York’s serene landscapes. $24 at

Fera Calm Goat Milk Topper

Fera’s Goat Milk Toppers for dogs and cats is each designed for extra healthy deliciousness. With Goat Milk as the #1 ingredient, these meal toppers are great for picky eaters, because pets love the cheesy smell and appetizing taste. It’s the easy (and yummy) way to level up your pet’s daily meals! Fera Goat Milk CALM formula features whole cream goat’s milk for irresistible flavor, combined with natural herbs and amino acids that promote rest and relaxation. $29.95 at


Arterra Adult Support Supplements

The most comprehensive dog supplements ever made, featuring the best science-backed ingredients in their optimal forms and potency. Don’t wait until you see signs of aging. Their adult formula works proactively to support your dog’s health and set them up for success, while helping to slow down the clock. Formulated by boardcertified veterinarians with 46 Active ingredients, their supplements are 100% Filler-free and made with natural bacon flavor that dogs love right here in the USA!

From $24.75 per month at

Better Bone

BetterBone is the ultimate chew toy for your dog’s enjoyment, health, and safety. Crafted from two all-natural, food-grade, hypoallergenic ingredients, BetterBone’s ergonomic design was created with your pups smile in mind. Two ends with teeth cleaning nubs and ridges along with a gum massaging end help clean the toughto-reach areas of their smile while being engaging and easy to hold. Coming in three densities (soft, medium, and hard) to give any strength chewer a tailored chewing experience. Available in all-natural, hypoallergenic, and natural beef flavoring!

$17.99 - $22.99 at

Toothsticks Daily Dental Dog Treats

Toothsticks Daily Dental Dog Treats have a unique pinwheel shape that supports your dog’s dental health by mechanically cleaning teeth while reducing tartar and massaging gums. Made in the USA with real chicken and breath-freshening mint, parsley, and alfalfa. Toothstick treats taste great, which will ensure that your dog will enjoy chewing them and you’ll be happy he’s getting the oral hygiene benefits he needs. Available in 2 sizes: Toy/ Small(1-20lbs) and Medium/Large(20100+lbs) Use these treats daily to help maintain your dog’s dental health. $8.49 at

Ora-Bone USA Dental Chew

Ora-Bone is smartly designed to DO DENTAL....BETTER! Three breath freshening ingredients fight bad breath in your dog’s mouth and gut, while Ora-Bone™’s unique design has up to 2x the cleaning surface area of similar products. In addition, Ora-Bone has:

· A dental feature on every surface

· A center bulb that cleans behind the teeth, roof of mouth, and tongue

· Stepped, tapered ribs, that wrap around both sides of the entire bone to form teeth-fitting channels that clean more effectively

· The nibs around the heart-shaped opening massage the gums and scrape the tongue for fresher breath.

$0.99 – $13.99 at

Bella Roma Travel Bowls + Double Diners

Bella Roma Travel Bowls + Double Diners from Loving Pets are the ultimate bowl for pets and pet parents on the go! Patent pending designs feature integrated locking lids to store food and built-in legs to support the bowl/diner, preventing unwanted collapses while your pet feeds or drinks.

Dishwasher safe and BPA-free, Bellas Roma Travel Collection can pack flat or be hung from a backpack, purse, belt loop, or leash with the included carabiner. From $6.49 at

The Fritz Bed

Meet the Fritz Bed! The first fully recycled good looking dog bed. This bed is made of 100% recycled PET bottles. The machine washable cover is recycled canvas, and the insert cushion is recycled PET cotton. Spoil your pup now with a bed that is durable, water-resistant, and scratchproof. This bed is currently available in one size, 35 x 25 inches. $149 at



Here we are, embarking on Spring which can bring the most unpredictable weather. Seasonal changes can be tough for us dog owners, especially when transitioning from salt and snow to warm, spring days. If you have a pooch that hates the winter weather and is hesitant to venture outside, here are some nifty training tools to help turn your apartment into a playground for your dog!

Beat the winter weather struggle with toys, occupiers and games that will stimulate and exercise your dog inside the home. Play that is more structured and has rules can encourage “canine manners” and build a stronger bond between owner and dog. Think outside of the box (beyond the usual bully stick or game of fetch) to create ways to mentally and physically exercise a pooch that does not want to go outside.

Think like a trainer! One fantastic way to work your pupper’s brain without being able to actually go anywhere is to teach them something. Most dogs LOVE to work... for the right reward! The following are some examples of commands that can be turned into a game on a rainy or snowy day, with a little creativity: CHASE, DIG, DROP IT, FIND IT, FETCH, PAW, HIDE AND SEEK, ROLL OVER, SPIN, CRAWL UNDER, JUMP OVER/ THROUGH

Here are some of my favorite “Brain Games” for your pooches:

· FIND THE TOY or TREAT - Fill a basket with toys, placing the dog’s favorite at the bottom where they’ll have to search for it and dig it out…OR…place a treat under a towel or beneath the dog’s bed so they’ll have to dig it out. This simulates the nose and brain to search and hunt for the item or treat. Snuffle mats are good for this too.

· HIDE AND SEEK - Put your dog in a SIT and STAY command, then walk into another room while hiding behind a door or piece of furniture, then call your dog’s name and have them search for you. If they don’t have a strong STAY command, alternatively you can toss a treat away from you for your dog to find and then run into another room and hide and call them. This also helps build in the COME/RECALL behavior.

· SPIN - is a command that teaches your dog to go round in circles and this is especially good for high energy party animal dogs. It is also a functional command for dogs with dirty or wet feet. Spin performed on top of a towel helps clean off their feet. Place a high value treat in front of the dog’s nose and move it around to the side of the dog’s body in a slow and exaggerated movement. They will follow the lure with their head and nose and then the body should follow to complete the circle. Some dogs favor one direction over another so try both and see which they prefer. Maybe your pup can do both!


You could also pick up a few High IQ Occupiers such as interactive puzzle games, snuffle mats, licky mats, and Busy Buddy’s Twist n’ Treat or Tug-a-Jug. Indoor tunnels, hula hoops and small agility courses can be fun for pups AND humans if you’ve got the space!

Genetics, early socialization, and environment all impact and shape a dog’s playstyle. Certain breeds are more inclined toward running, jumping and chasing while others may love to dig and chew…so don’t be afraid to get innovative and have fun exploring your pup’s talents based on their natural instincts…so play on :)

In addition to indoor play training, don’t forget to turn cold-weather walks into innovative ‘command training’ opportunities. Instead of just grabbing that leash and harness and shuffling out the door, pick up your energy and make it fun! Bring your dog’s favorite treats along and let class begin. Here are some tips and tricks for turning humdrum into a fun walk!!

On a training walk, any pause is a moment for practice. The elevator is the ideal opportunity to work on LOOK, SIT and STAY. If you’re still building self-control in your dog, step on their leash with enough room for them to comfortably complete the commands but not enough to jump on fellow occupants.

Another way to occupy your time in the elevator is to do Doggy Push-ups, alternating the SIT and DOWN commands repeatedly. This is very useful for the high energy pooch that lives on the 34th floor. Impress your neighbors by showing them that your dog works out AND is well-behaved while doing it!

Using moments of downtime to engage your dog’s focus helps to engage their brain positively…and where there’s positive engagement, there’s no room for negative energy.

If your dog is a worker bee, why not view the city or town as their personal parkour course? That park bench isn’t just a place to sit, it’s a platform to teach ON and OFF commands and to GO UNDER, making this a full exercise routine.

If your dog isn’t much of a worker, you can implement the Red light, Green Light game. Walking fast, (green light). Then STOP abruptly (red light). See if they stop alongside you. This is an exhilarating game to make the act of simply moving forward more exciting, and it teaches your dog to be in sync with you.

Use the LET’S GO command to cue your dog to begin walking alongside you. Take care of the potty business, then the work can begin.

When you stop, say STOP. Pooch should stop with you and look at you. If they don’t, use your LOOK AT ME command to get your pup’s focus. They will eventually learn to stop and look at you automatically when you stop.

Halted at a red light? There’s another opportunity for practice. While you wait for the light to change, use that time to work on your SIT and WAIT command. Then say OK to release.

Every part of your outing is an opportunity to engage with your dog further building your bond. The more fun you make the training process for your dog, the easier it is to reduce challenges and find mutual respect. What I like to call “Cooperation Training.”

This is especially useful once you have passed the training benchmarks and want your dog to continue learning. Play training also reduces stress, fear and aggression in both people and dogs.

As a Dog Trainer, my goal is to build a bond between you and your dog with fun and innovative ways that are aligned and designed for both ends of the leash.



There’s no question, a divorce can negatively affect a person’s behavior because of all the unwanted stress and anxiety dissolving a marriage can bring. Here’s another piece of information to chew on; the tension, non-stop bickering with a spouse, and switching one’s daily surroundings can also be damaging to your dog.

Studies have shown that dogs are not only intuitive, but your pet can also understand and sniff out your mood based on the signals you are giving off. Paws for a second and think. Your dog has a bond with everyone in your household since they are also a member of the family. If they see a shift in your mood, a difference in your body language or witness you and your spouse in a heated argument, they feel it too.

Karis Nafte is a Pet Custody Specialist, Certified Dog Behaviorist and Pet Mediator. She tells Pet Lifestyles Magazine, “Dogs react to high stress situations in different ways. They may hide from people, stay curled up in bed, not come when called, and avoid social interaction in general.”

Nafte adds, “Then there is the other side of the behavior spectrum. Where a dog might become snappy, growl at people or children, bark much more than normal, start chewing items in the house or become much more hyper or hard to manage.”

A divorce signifies change, which often includes a new living arrangement. If the two parties enter into a share custody arrangement regarding the family pet, that pet will likely be going from one residence to another on a constant basis. According to the experts, that can bring about confusion, frustration and boredom, which could result in the dog becoming disoriented, impact their normal behavior pattern, and chomp on things you don’t want them to.

Nafte notes, “Moving between homes is only sustainable for some dogs because for many dogs, such as little dogs, going to two different residences, in the long-term is not something they can cope with because of their size.”

Children thrive for consistency and following a regular routine. So do dogs. Nafte recommends owners let the pet go back and forth with the children because it benefits both the kids and the pet. For example, Nafte says, “It keeps the dog on a steady schedule plus being with the children offers solidity for the dog, which is helpful when their foundation has come undone.”

If both parents can get on one page and abide by the same rules when it comes to the family pet, Nafte tells us, “It can be both beneficial and effective.” For example, allowing the dog to sleep with the children at both homes and be with the children during homework, mealtimes, etc., so the surroundings become similar.

During the allocated pick-up and drop-off times with the children and pet, Nafte recommends the owner first take the dog for a walk and not be too over-joyed to see them. “Dogs are compulsive greeters,” Nafte continues, “They love reunions and saying hi but during the transition it also helps if you create a relaxing environment, which will allow your dog to manage stress or cope with changes that are unfolding.”

You also want to be aware of your dog’s age and breed. According to Nafte, “older dogs are more fragile and therefore the constant travelling from home to home is not a healthy choice. You also don’t want this arrangement if you have a little puppy.” Nafte continued, “because they are young and need to focus on bonding with their owners in one environment.”

Owners should also pay attention to their dog’s breed, especially if they have a guard dog because the on-going to and from+ will confuse them as to which household they should be looking after.

Other helpful tips to reduce “pet stress” include giving dogs the opportunity to use their mouth, nose, feet, and mind. Maintain your dog’s normal walking routine and consider adding a daily sniff walk, which entails going to a new walking area where your dog will want to sniff everything and check out a new place. Also, try walking slowly, use a long leash, pause anytime your dog wants to smell something, which will allow them to settle their minds by getting lost in their nose, provide good chew toys, food puzzles and other interesting things to do with their mouths, which will make the dog happy.




We have all heard the stories of amazing acts of kindness by humans during the pandemic to help their fellow citizens get through a very difficult time in our history. I mean, who wanted to be locked in their homes for days, sometimes weeks, at a time? No one. Okay, maybe a shut-in or someone who is agoraphobic, but for the most part, society did not want to be locked in their homes. One of those amazing things that we all bore witness to was the lifelong dream that shelters and rescues have…completely empty cages at their facilities.

Yes, that actually happened. The only bright spot during the COVID-19 shutdowns for many of us in the animal rescue and advocacy communities was that so many animals who would have sat at a shelter or rescue went to loving and what we thought were responsible homes. And for about two, almost three, years all we heard about was how amazing it was that so many shelters were virtually empty.

From 2020 until 2023, the news was consistently reporting on how wonderful it was to see so many animals leaving these facilities and going into human homes. In other words, animals were not being euthanized to make space for more animals. Even foster programs grew during the pandemic wherein people who had never had a dog or a cat were willing to open their home to a furrever one in need. Instagram, Facebook, X and even TikTok saw significant upticks in posts about animals entering into new homes, experiencing new adventures and the like. It was a rescuer’s dream come true.

Then the human condition reared its ugly head. The pandemic ended with the promise that so-called “work from home” programs would now be the norm. For most of us who know how businesses work, and how corporations change their minds like a dog parent goes through poop bags, we knew this was never going to replace the behaviors we all exhibited prior to COVID19’s debut.

Eventually we started seeing more and more people returning to their desks at the office. Granted, at first it was only for a day or two, here and there. For the most part, these folks were actually still working from home. Then productivity reports started coming in on public companies as they reported their quarterly earnings. We all know how well that worked out for them. When corporations started realizing that the costs associated with their expensive office leases were being called into question by investors, and, in some cases, regulators, they decided that “work from home” wasn’t working for their bottom line. So, the demands from companies for their staff to return for more days at the office began. And it has picked up steam ever since with new demands and missives coming on a virtual daily basis from the Fortune 500 for their workers to return to the office full time, or at least four days a week.

This is when things really started to unravel.

Those folks who adopted at the top of the pandemic began sending their pets back to wherever they were adopted from. Most cited that they felt guilty that their dog was alone several days a week because they returned to work. Others cited that they had gotten in over their heads and didn’t realize how much work a dog is. Look, I have had a very successful marketing and journalism career that has dragged me all over the planet, sometimes for weeks at a time. Yet I have always had a dog, or two. In my early career, I was still responsible for dogs and a couple of cats at my family home as well. The citation by these people who returned these pets smacks of everything that is wrong with humanity. And I find it disgusting on every single level imaginable.

I must have seen a different, and more horrifying, report every single day on intakes and return rates at shelters and rescues increasing exponentially with each passing day. And with those days, the news got more and more grim. The anger and frustration that I went through during this time was not for the faint of heart. And I can tell you it certainly didn’t help my health. How could my fellow human beings be so callous and disgraceful? These folks brought an animal into their homes. They fed them. They nurtured them. They allowed that dog or cat to sleep in their beds, coddled them when they were sick or sad, and, in many cases, even saved their human parents from depression due to loneliness during the shutdowns. What was their thank you gift? Returning to the prison they had been adopted from with no hope of seeing them again.


You have to remember, a pet is not a clutch. They aren’t a pair of shoes you no longer find fashionable. They are a life. A sentient being that has feelings just like you or me. The simple fact that tens of thousands of animals were returned to shelters and rescues over the last two years makes me so angry I cannot even begin to explain. Therefore my disdain for humanity has become significant in the last 18 months. These poor animals have no idea why they’ve been abandoned by the people or families that they thought were part of their pack.

And while these new shelter and rescue population levels are outrageous and disconcerting to say the least, my biggest fear is that we have lost years of productivity in the advocacy space. Rather than continuing the fight for animal rights, we are now back to fighting to get the most basic populations back into loving homes; a hurdle we had crossed almost a decade ago but now have to jump over again.

However, there is one bright spot on the horizon that you are going to think I am crazy (if you don’t already) for being so focused on; Best Friends Animal Society’s goal of a no-kill nation by 2025. That means we have about a year to a year and a half to make their dream become a reality. And I don’t think we can do it. I KNOW WE CAN.

Yes, when it comes to Best Friends I am incredibly biased. That is why this story is in not in another part of this issue. That is why it is in my “The Final Word” opinion-column format that has become so popular at New York Lifestyles Magazine. It is MY opinion. MY final word on matters that mean so much to me...and those I serve; our readers. And Best Friends means the world to this journalist for so many reasons. The most important being that they have always done what they said they were going to do with respect to our furrever friends. They are dedicated. They are relentless in their pursuit of that no-kill nation goal. Best Friends Animal Society, to me, is the perfect example of what humanity should be known for; compassion, love, concern and integrity.

Best Friends’ CEO, Julie Castle, was kind enough to be on the cover of our first cover of Pet Lifestyles Magazine when we re-launched last year. Yes, I have known Julie for a long time. Since then, folks from their PR department like Alina Hauptman and Erinn O’Connor have become daily email pals with a mission…to help Best Friends Animal Society reach that goal. And now you are going to join us on this journey to help Best Friends achieve their goal by volunteering, donating, adopting, fostering or just spreading the word about the need for more adoption. You can do this either through or visit your local shelter or rescue and lend a paw. Or, you can also go back to the issue with Julie on the cover and look at the rescue and shelter database that we have there. Why? Because I know our readers are some of the most loving and responsible people on Earth. And I think you’re all pawesome for it!


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