Pets Gone Healthy: Products for summer fun, safety for pets
By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Marlborough??”Summer brings outdoor activities and vacations that include the family pet, but owners need to take steps to keep pets healthy and safe.
Pets Gone Healthy, a specialty shop on the Marlborough-Northborough border, has warm-weather pet products ranging from all-natural tick repellents to floatable toys to car restraints for dogs. These summer items complement the store's year-round mission to provide natural, high-quality pet foods and pet care products.
Sandie Wheeler and her husband, Ken, opened the health food store for pets in 2005, and their golden retriever, Tori, serves as store greeter and “chief tasting officer.” They will celebrate the store's eighth anniversary with a Pet Expo, Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. that will include local pet service providers, product demonstrations, raffles and more.
Pets Gone Healthy carries all-natural flea and tick powders, tablets and sprays. “With the past two mild winters, the tick population has doubled this year, so it's almost 100 percent certain you and your dog will get ticks when you go out,” Sandie said. “It's important to check yourself and your pets for ticks every day.”
To keep pets well-hydrated, Pets Gone Healthy offers collapsible water bowls and water bottles that fold into their own attached bowl. As a hot weather treat for dogs, Sandie suggested cutting watermelon or cantaloupe into cubes that fit into an ice cube tray, then fill the tray with water and freeze. “The fruit softens the ice so it's not hard on a dog's teeth, and it's a low-calorie treat,” she said.
The store offers grooming supplies and advice on which will work best on a particular dog's coat. “When it's hot, remember to brush dogs often so their undercoat doesn's get thick and matted,” Sandie recommended.
For all pets, especially those with pink noses, Pets Gone Healthy offers a pet-safe sunscreen and a salve to protect paws that have come in contact with hot pavement.
For dog that love to play in the water, the store stocks a number of floatable toys, including a line of tough balls, bones and disks from West Paw Designs. Spiffy Dog Air Collars made of lightweight, quick-drying nylon are also perfect for the water. Doggie life jackets come in assorted sizes, with handles on the back to let owners lift the dog out of the craft easily.
Sandie urged dog owners to tether their pets in the car, whether on a long car trip or just running errands. “If you are in an accident, an untethered dog can slam into your head with incredible force,” she said.
Dogs should also be tethered to keep them from jumping out an open window or darting out when the car door is opened. The tethers are attached to a harness that goes around the dog's chest and back. The car's seat belt can fit through a loop in the harness, but Sandie also sells adjustable-length tethers just long enough to let the dog move a little to get comfortable. One end of the tether attaches to the harness and the other end to a closed seat belt.
“But the safest place for your pet in the summer is at home,” Sandie said. “When it's 85 degrees out, the inside of a car can reach 102 degrees in 10 minutes, 120 in 30 minutes, even with the windows open a bit.”
Her final plea is for dog owners to carry along eco-friendly bags for their dog's waste, even when hiking in the woods. “Leaving dog waste on the ground can spread worms and diseases to other animals, to children and to ourselves,” she said.
Pets Gone Healthy is located at 505 Boston Post Road West (Rt. 20) in Marlborough in the Twinboro Crossing Shopping Center. The store is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It's closed Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 508-485-3881 or visit the website at www.petsgonehealthy.com.
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