metro atlanta veternarians using cbd oil for dog

CBD for Dogs

As human interest in the health benefits of CBD products grows, so does interest in the potential benefits to our fur babies. This week we’re taking a dive into the world of CBD products for dogs but as always, we want to stress that we are not veterinarians and each family should seek the advice of a trained medical expert before trying any of the products mentioned below. Additionally, there is no definitive scientific data about the efficacy of CBD in treating canine health concerns, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from dog owners around the world.

How does CBD affect dogs and what can it treat?

CBD is the shorthand name for cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis and hemp. Notably, it usually doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. Dr. Klein, the AKC’s Chief Veterinary Officer, says that usually CBD comes from hemp, rather than marijuana.

Dog owners, and some doctors, suggest that CBD can help with a range of health concerns including nausea, appetite, stress and anxiety, seizures, cancer, and cardiovascular problems. Again, while there is no scientific data to back these claims, many dog owners swear by CBD and say that it has been transformative for their fur balls. The Canine Health Foundation recently launched a study to test the efficacy of CBD in the treatment of canine epilepsy, so we’ll standby for additional scientific data to support (or refute) these claims.

What CBD products are available for dogs?

The most commonly used CBD product for dogs is CBD oil which can be administered by putting a small amount of oil just inside their gums. It can also be added to treats/food for finicky pets. There are also several varieties of chews that contain varying amounts of CBD but we highly recommend reading the packaging thoroughly before purchasing these.

What risks does CBD pose to dogs?

Because CBD as a health supplement is a relatively new phenomenon, there is no official information about the risks and hazards associated with its use. The FDA doesn’t regulate CBD and as a result, there is no official dosing information available either. That being said, as with any supplement or medication, it’s important to administer the correct amount recommended on the packaging because too much is far worse than too little. Additionally, in consultation with your vet, we recommend starting small and monitoring Fido’s reaction before you progress to larger doses.

We always recommend during thorough research and consulting your veterinarian before giving your pet medications or supplements – especially those that haven’t been rigorously studied. The American Kennel Club is a great place to begin your CBD research.

Do you give our pups CBD oil? We would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

What is CBD?:

CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the chemical compounds found in cannabis, and for pet health applications, it’s derived from hemp plants that contain less than 0.3 percent THC (so your dog won’t get stoned!) and is considered safe and nontoxic by veterinarians. CBD supplements can be ingested orally or can be applied directly to the skin with a topical salve. Right now, you can legally purchase CBD for your pet in all 50 states through veterinary clinics, pet stores and online retailers.

How can CBD help your pooch?:

Because cannabinoids offer both relaxation and pain-relieving benefits, there are many situations in which CBD therapy can be helpful. If your dog suffers from seizures, low appetite, chronic pain, cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, or neurodegenerative conditions, you may want to consider adding CBD to their treatment plan. However, they can sometimes interact with other medications, so it’s important you speak to your vet dog beforehand. Results for anxious dogs are especially compelling. If you have a Nervous Nellie who suffers from separation anxiety, fear of loud noises or fireworks, or is constantly on high alert, CBD may help to take the edge off.

Dosage Recommendations:

Depending on the delivery system you are using, dosing may vary. You might consider starting with half the suggested dose to see how your dog responds, and slowly increase as needed. General CBD dosages are as follows:

  • Dogs up to 25 lbs. – up to 1.25 mg twice per day
  • 25-50 lbs. –up to 2.5 mg twice per day
  • 50-75 lbs. – up to 3.75 mg twice per day
  • over 75 lbs. – up to 3.75 mg twice per day

If your dog is on the picky side, don’t give up hope! You may need to try several different brands until you find one that your dog finds palatable. We use CBD with our office dogs, and have found oil is the easiest to work with. You can drop it directly into their food, a treat, peanut butter, etc.

Again, it’s helpful to reach out to your vet with any questions and do some additional research to help determine of CBD might help your dog!

Shy Dogs & Dog Parks

Shy dogs have a special place in our hearts! Anyone who has ever loved a dog will tell you that they absolutely have their own personalities and funny quirks. Though their temperaments vary from pooch to pooch, shyness is a fairly common trait. It’s especially noticeable in dogs who have experienced abuse or poor socialization early in life. Rescue dogs are even more susceptible due to trauma associated with being in a noisy shelter, going from foster home to foster home and essentially a lack of stability. For a shy pup, the dog park can be an overwhelming and scary place at first. Thankfully there are ways to safely introduce Fido to the dog park to ensure that they have a life filled with fun visits and play.

Signs your dog may be timid or shy:

If your family has recently adopted a dog and you’re unsure about their temperament, body language can help give you some insight into how they feel. If your dog exhibits some or all these traits, they may need some extra TLC and training:

  • Ears are flat against his head
  • Often in a cowering posture
  • Shies away from interactions with other dogs and/or people
  • Tucks his tail between his legs
  • Panting or shaking
  • Excessive yawning (a sign of stress)
  • Skulking, pacing, hiding, or escape attempt
  • Whining or barking
  • Raised hackles
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Nipping, biting, or sneering
  • Submissive urination

Dog Park Introduction Techniques

Basic Obedience: For safety purposes, every dog should respond to basic commands before visiting a dog park. Obedience training can be your best friend’s best friend here! If a shy dog knows exactly what you’re asking/expecting, he may be less likely to panic during a stressful situation. Start at home with simple commands such as “Sit,” “Stay,” and “Come”, and be sure to use lots of positive reinforcement! Once your dog has mastered those commands indoors, try taking them outside where there are more distractions. Working closely with your dog will boost their confidence and give you peace of mind as well.

Additional Training: Sometimes a timid pup can overreact when they feel threatened or nervous. This can be something such as anxious barking, but can also be more problematic if they resort to fear-based responses such as nipping or biting. Fortunately, most reputable trainers offer classes and/or one-on-one sessions geared towards shy dogs. These classes build upon basic obedience and focus on confidence building and strengthening the dog/guardian bond.

Doggy Playdates: If your dog is timid around other dogs, consider an at home playdate before introducing him to the dog park. The best BFF candidate is a calm and gentle dog who is confident around both people and pets. Not only is this a big step in socialization, but your dog will learn appropriate behavior just by being around a laid-back canine. If you don’t have any dogs like this in your life, ask a local dog trainer! Many of them would love to bring a “canine mentor” to a training session or allow your dog to test out a day at doggy daycare where they can learn those same skills in a managed environment.

Practice Park Activities: Teach your dog games like “Fetch” and “Hide and Seek” at home or in your backyard. This not only gives your dog a chance to learn while playing, it also trains them for activities you’ll likely engage in at the dog park. Giving treats or using a clicker can help him focus on the positive and stay out of worry-wart mode. It may sound simple but for a timid dog, just learning that they can initiate an interaction with a predictable outcome can make all the difference.

Putting it All Together: When it’s time to load your pup into the car and head to the park, start slowly. That means doing some background research first: does your local park have a shy/senior dog section? What are the slowest and busiest times (so you can plan accordingly)? Are there any reviews of the park from other park users that might be helpful? Can your dog trainer meet you there to provide an extra set of eyes? Do everything you can to set your dog up for success, but be patient! It might take a few tries, or visiting a few different parks for the stars to line up. And it’s possible that Fido just isn’t a dog park kind of dog, and that’s fine too!

Hopefully these tips will make the dog park a happier place for both you and your pup. Woof!

Bee Safe! How to Prevent and Treat Bee Stings

Bee safe! Dogs are famous for being curious and playful, which are two of the reasons we love them so much! However, these personality traits don’t mix well with bees and other poisonous insects. To a dog, what could be more fun than scampering after a low-flying bee? Unfortunately, our best friends have no clue that what they’re chasing has a stinger on its rear end that could give them a world of hurt!

A Pound of Prevention

Before you and your dog go out and play in the back yard or park, take a quick look around for hives and bee attractants. Many bees build underground nests, so scan for hives at ground level as well as in trees. Should you discover a hive, leave it to the professionals and don’t attempt to move or destroy it yourself.

Traps are a great option for nuisance bees such as Yellowjackets and Wasps: the non-toxic pheromones only attract those varieties and not our beneficial Honeybee friends. Placing a few of these near high traffic areas can make a big difference. Bees are of course attracted to flowers, so it’s a good idea to check for any activity in your garden before your four-legged friends go outside to smell the roses.

Food…who doesn’t love it? If you have your dog with you at a BBQ or picnic, burning a Citronella candle can help keep bees away (along with pesky mosquitoes!). Citronella isn’t harmful to bees, but they will avoid areas infused with its smell.

How to Treat a Bee Sting

If you notice your pooch has met the wrong end of the bee, keep a careful watch for an allergic reaction. Just like humans, some dogs are severely allergic to the venom. Symptoms to look for: difficulty and/or rapid breathing, weakness, vomiting, pale gums, diarrhea, and a large amount of swelling that extends away from the sting site. Contact an emergency vet immediately should you see any signs of an allergic reaction. If your dog is not allergic to bees, but is stung multiple times, you should also consult your vet immediately, as reactions can be more dangerous than a single sting.

Try to remove the stinger if possible; it will make your best friend more comfortable and decrease the likelihood of infection. You can treat the area with a mixture of water and baking soda, and by wrapping an ice pack with a towel and applying to the site to reduce swelling. Benadryl is a safe and effective antihistamine for bee stings. Proper dosing for dogs is 1 mg per pound. Most Benadryl comes in 25 mg tablets, which is easier to dose for larger dogs but for small dogs, try children’s Benadryl in a 12.5 mg dose (the liquid option makes it easy!).

What happens if your dog swallows a bee? Trapped in your dog’s mouth, a bee will sting anywhere. If your dog has tried to swallow it, the stinger may be at the very back of the tongue or even down the esophagus. This can be a very dangerous situation as swelling could occur and block their airway.

Long story short, keep your vet’s number handy along with Benadryl, and keep a close eye on free range pups during these warmer summer months! Bee safe out there!

Earth Day: Our Green Products and Practices

The Pacific Northwest is well known for several things: abundant rain, fantastic coffee, grunge music, wearing socks with sandals, a love of green products (Happy 4/20!) and the great outdoors. Thankfully you won’t see many of us sporting socks with open-toed footwear, but the folks here at Dog-On-It-Parks love nature and believe in going above and beyond to be eco-friendly. We are proud to have a dedicated team that recycles all our manufacturing scrap, as well as using recycled materials in our manufacturing process. Every day we choose to make products that are safer for dogs and better for the environment.

Kermit Had It All Wrong:

It IS easy being green! When selecting materials, we always consider both durability and eco-friendliness, and aluminum is a clear winner in both categories. It is corrosion and rust proof, extremely durable, lighter weight than steel (makes for easier installation!) and can be recycled an unlimited number of times. The HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic in our products is also an ecological superstar. HDPE releases no harmful fumes, doesn’t contain BPA, phthalates, heavy metals or allergens, and uses 100% post-consumer waste products. Did you know that over 115 million milk jugs are recycled each year in the making of recycled plastic and that it tales about 21 milk jugs to create just one pound of HDPE? A few examples of our products that use both materials are our Hound Hurdles and Collie Crawl.


Like the name suggests, our EcoDog line features materials you can feel good about. Made from 100% recycled content, these products help keep plastic out of our landfills. We are proud knowing that the aluminum and heavy-duty HDPE used in EcoDog were once consumer waste, and now have a new life in our dog agility components! Keeping in line with the natural theme, all the products are green with black accents and portable bases that don’t require concrete footers. These are ideal for seasonal dog parks as the components can be stored in the off season, and also for off-leash areas who want the flexibility of re-arranging their agility course.

Planet Friendly Fountains:

It may come as a surprise to learn that stainless steel is a green product! Due to its ability to be recycled, as well as producing a low carbon footprint, stainless steel is the preferred material for green building throughout the world. Dog-On-It-Parks is proud to offer fountains that are manufactured with “Green Building” friendly stainless steel, containing 75% recycled material. We have 15 water fountains to choose from including dedicated dog-only units, eco-friendly bottle fillers, ADA Accessible options and much more. Even better? They all have affordable and easy flat rate shipping across the lower 48.

Good Human!:

America’s 83 million pet dogs produce approximately 10.6 million tons of poop every year. Holy crap! Thankfully most pet owners take responsibility for picking up their dog’s waste, but depending on what kind of bag they use, they could be unknowingly harming the environment. Many dog waste bags claim to be biodegradable, but the materials within them do not fully break down as they require very specific landfill conditions. Our Good Human poop bags are made from 100% recycled content and have minimal packaging for a small carbon footprint. They are also FTC Compliant per the new Green Guidelines. You care for the environment by picking up your dog’s waste, why not use a bag that helps Mother Earth even more?

Making Pet Travel Pawesome!

Making Pet Travel Pawesome: Pet travel has gone to the dogs and pet parents couldn’t be happier! Between working service animals on flights and more families including their 4-legged friends on vacations, dogs are travelling at record rates. Travelers with service animals and pets know that the potty problem used to mean added airport stress; where will your dog relieve himself when in a time crunch to make your flight? Thankfully airports now provide terminals with accessible animal relief areas which cater to the jet setting pooch. Dog-On-It-Parks is proud to lead the pack with design services and products that make travel more comfortable for dogs and their owners. Two airports that we’ve outfitted (San Diego and Atlanta) were featured in the list of American Kennel Club’s Top 10 Most Dog Friendly Airports. We love making air travel easier for service animals and pets alike, and with just a few key items, any airport can provide a “pawsh” relief area for dogs.

The Grass is Greener: One of the most important elements in a pet relief area is quality surfacing. One popular option is our PetGrass Pods; their short, dense blades allow for easy waste removal and the antimicrobial agents built into both the yarn and backing help to prevent odors. Available in standard in 50″ x 40″ squares or custom sizes, they snug together for easy installation and maintenance and typically cost less than a standard roll-style turf installation. Pods are a wonderful choice for high traffic areas, as they can easily be swapped around to manage wear and lifted to clean underneath. The addition of a Fire Hydrant is a fun touch, and provides a place for dogs to get an update on each other’s jet setting adventures. And don’t let your pooch become parched! Providing hydration for dogs is very important, as they are more likely to become dehydrated while traveling. Our Pedestal Bottle Filler with Pet Bowl features a handy eco-friendly bottle filler as well as a pet bowl, so you don’t have to shell out top dollar for airport bottled water.

Shopping and Adventuring in Style: Dogs aren’t only living the high life at airports. Many more public spaces such as malls, restaurants and retail establishments are welcoming our furry friends and proving pet-friendly areas for play, hydration, and relief. With a treat canister, built in waste bag dispenser and water bubblers galore, our Dream Fountain is a hit among pups everywhere and will keep customers coming back again and again. Lastly, adding a few select pieces of agility equipment will also help ensure that your public space is the place for dogs to see and be seen, all while having a barking good time.

Office Dogs: Pet-Friendly Survival Tips

Truth: It’s hard to leave your best friend at home while you go to work. Saying goodbye each morning to those sad eyes can be the hardest part of the day. Thankfully, more and more companies (like us!) are pet-friendly. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself working for a company that lets your four-legged friend share your space, here are some office dog survival tips to help make life easier on you, your pooch and your coworkers.

Office dogs Otto & Gozer

Must-Have Supplies

Being with you all day will make your dog’s tail wag with happiness, but there are several key items that will keep Fido healthy and comfortable. Create a cozy spot for your pup by bringing in a dog bed or fluffy blanket – even better if they smell like home. If they have a favorite toy, make sure to have it on hand along with poop bags and a pet safe disinfectant in case an accident does happen. Accessible food and water is a must, as well as any medication they may take during the day. Toys and bully sticks (tip: go for the odor-free ones!) are a great outlet for your dog to help pass the time while you work. For nervous dogs, plugging in a hormone releasing diffuser can calm them down and make them feel more at ease. Puzzle games are particularly fun for dogs and will keep their minds engaged all day. And don’t forget the treats!

Introductions Matter

Can’t we all just get along? Unless you work in office Babylon, there’s a good chance that a few of your co-workers might rub you the wrong way – just like Jim & Dwight from The Office. The same can be said about dogs. Fluffy and Muffins may never be best friends, but if you introduce them properly, they may be able to tolerate each other. To help prevent doggy drama, it’s important that dogs meet in a neutral place so nobody gets territorial. The office parking lot or a nearby park are both good choices; take several minutes for them to check each other out, do a few sniff tests and become familiar with each other. Then, walk them back into the office together. This can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping the puppy peace.

Doggy Proof Your Office

Things that seem boring to you at work can seem like a lot of fun to dogs! It’s a good idea to hide any electrical cords they might chew on, as well as secure any toxic materials that they could get into. Items like permanent markers, pesticides, office snacks, and poisonous plants are best kept away from your furry friend.

Stay in Tune with Your Dog

Just like there is no “I” in “Team,” there is no “Pee” in “Office, so it’s important to know your dog’s bathroom schedule. Make sure that your pup has enough opportunities to relieve himself outside rather than in Barb from accounting’s office. And of course, keep lots of poop bags on hand to clean up after a potty break.

Office life agrees with some dogs, and stresses others out. You know your pooch best, so watch out for signs of agitation or stress at work. Additionally, if your dog is aggressive, excessively shy, or very excitable, the corporate world may not be right for him.

Respect Your Coworkers

Although you love your dog with a capital L, some of your coworkers may not feel the same way. Even if your pet-friendly office feels more like a zoo than not, it’s best to check and ask if anyone is allergic to dogs or doesn’t feel comfortable around them before bringing Spot in. There may be workarounds for these situations, and you’ll also know to keep him away from these particular colleagues.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram for more pet-friendly tips and tricks!

Ode to a Fire Hydrant

Have we mentioned before that we really love what we do? If not, here goes: We love dogs. We love dog parks. We love being able to help improve the quality of life for people and their pets. Seriously pinching ourselves over here. That being said, we also think dog parks are fun, so designing dog parks and pet products is pretty darn fun too. That’s why we launched our “Ode to a Fire Hydrant” poem contest last month.

We asked our customers and fans to put on their creative thinking caps, and write some prose about the relationship between a dog and a fire hydrant for a chance to win a FREE custom Fire Hydrant. We refer to a Fire Hydrant as the “office water cooler” of the dog park and were curious if there were any other analogies. Sure enough, everyone delivered!

Read on for some dog park-themed poetry…

Winning Poem from Burton Carol Management:

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue,

Residents with four legs, truly matter too.

That is why we create, an area to play,

So our furry loved ones, can enjoy the day.

Complete with fire hydrants that are red, causing people to smile

Our fenced in Bark Parks, keep pets happy for awhile.

So choose one of our properties, where our furry pets rule.

And visit one of our dog parks, which are incredibly cool!

Runner Ups:

Violets are blue,

I eat, sleep & poo!

Our dog park needs a fire hydrant,

So I can piddle too!

We’d definitely say thank YOU!

Violets are Blue

Dogs need to run

Pups need to play

Isn’t that their job?

Just to make our day!

By: Friends of Ellicott Island Bark Park

Violets are Blue

Are better than Scooby-Do’s

violets are blue

My dog chews on everything,

Especially my shoes.

She really can’t help it,

As soon as she’s smelt it,

That shoe she must have,

Good luck trying to grab.

She runs and she plays,

My shoes I must save!

She’s fast and she’s wily,

My silly girl, Riley.

***Disclaimer, this is based on the true story of our shoe snatching shelter dog.***

If you’d like a chance to win free dog park products, be sure to follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and sign up to receive our monthly newsletter!

Home for the Howlidays: Survival tips, treat recipes and more

There’s no place like home for the howlidays…until it gets crazy, that is. If you’re like us, one of your favorite things to do this time of year is throw on some warm PJ’s, settle in with a good book or movie, and pretend like your shopping expedition to the mall never happened. If we get stressed, it’s no surprise that the holiday season is stressful for our pets too. From a house full of guests, new and potentially unhealthy foods to be tempted by, and generally being a little off their game, here are some tips on keeping Fido calm and collected this Christmas.

Crate Training

A dog’s crate can be its best friend and a much needed safe haven from all the hustle and bustle. Crate training is actually quite easy if broken down into easy to manage steps (and be sure to use lots of positive reinforcement and treats!). Unlike the crates of yesteryear, there are some cool ways you can incorporate these pet-friendly spaces into your home without it screaming “crazy dog person”. The Humane Society of the United States has some helpful tips on training here, but this is the gist:

  • Keep the training short and sweet to start off. Lure Fido in by dropping some high value treats inside, give them tons of praise if he goes in and allow him to come right back out. We shouldn’t have to say this, but we will: People, do not force your dog into the crate, use it as punishment or leave them in there all day.
  • Transition to feeding meals in the crate and close the door while they eat.
  • Gradually increase the time spent in their crate and continue to give praise and biscuits. The crate is a happy place, right?

If you notice your dog getting stressed, check out some of the most common signs here, make sure their crate is in a quiet location and tuck them in. Caveat: Some dogs don’t like crates. At all. A bathroom, bedroom or some other confined, secure space can make a huge difference though. Make sure they have a cozy bed to curl up in, and some classical music can help too – there are even dog specific soundtracks on Spotify you can play.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Daily exercise – good for us and good for our pets. Studies show that having a pet helps to lower blood pressure, manage anxiety and depression, and when you add walking or running into the equation, it’s a win-win! According to PetMD, most dogs should get 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day. This of course varies by breed, age, health concerns, etc and can be anything from chasing a ball, nosework, playing with a flirt pole (our Great Dane LOVES this), or an indoor game of hide & seek – you’re looking to get the heart rate up a bit and also some mental stimulation.

For regions that see snow and ice, please keep in mind that it’s really important to protect those sweet feet. Grooming the fur in and around the pads will help prevent ice from forming which can lead to chapping and even cracking. You can make or purchase paw balm to prevent and heal those cracks, or go all out and buy a snazzy pair of booties.

We love the Freedom No-Pull Harness for our office dogs; it has the traditional loop on the back and also one on the front which is helpful when walking a dog who would prefer to be dragging you. The additional pressure (safely distributed) across the front of the chest slows them down significantly. It also features a velvety soft lining on the inside to help prevent chafing on their delicate undercarriages.

Scooby Snacks

‘Tis the season for counter surfing! Unfortunately, this is a busy time of year at emergency vet clinics. Pancreatitis from overindulging, choking from a bone, eating poisonous plants or chocolate – the holidays can be downright dangerous.

You can help keep your pet satiated with some healthy, easy-to-make treats and dog food toppers. Here are a few favorites:

And some breath fresheners after indulging in those fish treats…Frosty Breath Dog Treats

Here’s to a healthy, happy, stress-free (or at least manageable) holiday season! Woof woof!

What Trends Lead to Successful Dog Parks? Guest Blog by CADdetails

When considering a move to a new city, dog owners will often seek out the nearest dog park within their vicinity. Luckily, they may not have to look far since during the past five years, the number of dog parks in the U.S. increased 20% 1 . Even though there may be a park close by, there is one growing concern when it comes to dog parks. Owners are finding that just because they are there – it doesn’t mean they are good.

When dog parks were first introduced in city plans, they were designed to be a large open space that was fenced in and safe for owners to let their dog run around in while off-leash. The concept for a dog park was that the dog would use this space to release their energy after being confined to a small space all day. For some cities allowing a large gated area for the dogs to play in seemed like enough. For others, a large bare space didn’t seem adequate and thus began the competition to find what makes a dog park stand out from the rest.

One of the reasons why dog owners decide whether to visit a dog park is the location. Successful dog parks are typically located along a trail system where owners have a chance to not only walk with their dog but also give them a chance to play. It’s also more likely to become popular if there is parking provided since some owners may live outside the immediate vicinity or may use the park as a pit stop for their pet before or during travel.

Upon arrival at a dog park the owner must feel safe unleashing their dog. Luckily, it seems standard for most parks to offer a double gated area to ensure that owners have an area where they can enter and shut the gate behind them. They can then safely unleash their dog before opening another gate which allows them to enter the park. While the double gated area ensures the safety of the dog, many park users prefer a separate entrance and exit. This way owners bringing their rambunctious dog into the park aren’t crossing paths with those who are coaxing their dog to leave.

Regardless of whether or not the park has a separate entrance or exit, one of the deciding factors is adequate drainage. No one wants to take their dog to the park to have them become muddy or uncomfortable. This is why it is important to consider the surfacing for the park. Although grass is still the most desirable surface covering, other substitutes such as Woof Fiber (EWF), decomposed granite or synthetic turf are also acceptable as long as it suits the climate and park size.

Even if the gate and surfacing has met approval, there are still a lot of other factors that influence an owner’s opinion of the park such as the amenities offered for the owner and their pet. While running around may be a thrilling experience for a dog, the owner’s needs should also be considered during their visit. This is typically achieved by offering areas where owners and their pets can bond such as specific agility training exercises, or entire courses to help a dog develop confidence and show off their skills.

One of the remaining and undoubtedly most influential factors that decide whether or not a dog park is successful is the way it handles waste management. Recently parks have been implementing bins that are exclusively intended for animal waste. This trend is due to the fact that dog waste currently makes up as much as 80% of the garbage found in bins and containers in city parks 2 . This is why it’s imperative for waste bins to be easily accessible, labeled and kept within an appropriate distance that encourages use but doesn’t hinder the usability of the park.

Whether your park focuses on achieving the best location, gates, equipment, or waste management practices, the one quality that makes a dog park truly successful is if it’s built with dogs in mind. Unlike children who eventually outgrow a playground, dogs may spend their entire life visiting the same park. So even though it may be difficult to continuously change it once it’s built, it’s important to ensure that it is well maintained and that it evolves just as much as the dogs that visit.

Emily Matlovich is the writer for CADdetails’ blog Design Ideas for the Built World. The blog is an extension of, the leading provider of manufacturer-specific building product information, high-quality CAD drawings, 3D models, BIM files, specifications, images, projects and related documents from over 500 of North America’s top manufacturers. All of their high quality, digital content is available for download 100% free of charge.

Featured Office Dog: Rory

Meet office dog Rory! She joined the Dog-ON-It-Parks team in June of 2011. Her humans, Sales/Marketing Manager Nora and husband Ben, saw her profile on Petfinder and being a sucker for puppy dog eyes couldn’t resist. Because Rory came from AARF, one of Seattle’s fantastic rescue organizations, there was a lengthy application process (other folks wanted her too!) as well as a home inspection, and playdate with Gus and Quincy, her Labrador doggy siblings to be.

It was thought she was a Mastiff/Malamute mix, and as it turned out thanks to the Wisdom Panel doggy DNA test, she is GSD/Malamute/Am Staff with a dash of gremlin. Not an official dog breed we know, but this girl is a big fan of mischief. Rory gets complimented all the time on her unique looks especially when she’s feeling spunky and confident in her octopus costume and goes by Superhero/Code name: Octopitty.

Now a little about Rory; she and her littermates were all rescued at about four months old. Her foster family did a wonderful job with her after she made it here to the Pacific NW. However, she did miss a lot of the early socialization that makes all the difference for a stable, confident dog. She was afraid of just about everything; shiny things like her food bowl, hardwood floors, new people – especially if they’re tall, loud noises, etc. Her humans worked with her to help boost her confidence by taking her to training classes designed specifically for shy/fearful dogs, as well as private agility classes – the group classes ended up being too loud and stressful for her.

She’s still a sensitive little gal, but all of the additional work and positive reinforcement has helped tremendously. She lets her people know when she feels overwhelmed or needs some alone time by putting herself to bed in a quiet room (which she does a lot during football season. Go Hawks!). Sensitive dogs like Rory can often benefit from a Thundershirt to help them feel more comforted and secure. We discovered that Rory’s octopus costume also does the trick!

Rory loves napping in the sunshine, chasing squirrels, going for walks where she can meet new people (high value treats are helpful here!), playing with her best friend Hamlet and particularly going for rides in the car.

Thanks for reading about Rory and when possible, support your local rescue organizations by adopting or donating. Woof!

Marcus Pfeifer: CBD Supplements for Pets

Marcus Pfeifer is the CEO of Homescape Pets, a natural hemp-derived pet supplements company based out of Colorado.

Continued after the jump.

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As the latest guest to come on the Podcast, Marcus recently joined our host TG Branfalt for a conversation about pets, pet health, and the burgeoning hemp industry. In this interview, Marcus discusses the lack of research into cannabinoid medicines for both humans and animals, shares the story of how he and his wife decided to enter the space after seeing first-hand the benefits that CBD had for their own dog, explains the company ethos and why they are patient in pushing out new product lines, and more!

Tune in via the media player below — you can also scroll further down to find a full transcript of this week’s Podcast episode!

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TG Branfalt: Hey there, I’m your host, TG Branfalt, and thank you for listening to the Podcast where we try to bring you actionable information and normalize cannabis through the stories of ganjapreneurs, activists, and industry stakeholders. Today, I’m joined by Marcus Pfeifer, he’s the CEO of Homescape Pets, which offers full-spectrum organic hemp extracts for pets. Pfeifer created the company in 2017 with his wife, Nana. How you doing this afternoon, Marcus?

Marcus Pfeifer: I’m doing great. It’s a beautiful day in Colorado.

TG Branfalt: It’s a beautiful day here in the Adirondack Mountains, too. We’re poised for some bad weather here shortly, but let’s not talk about the weather, man. Let’s talk about you. Tell me about yourself. Tell me about your background and how you ended up in the cannabis space.

Marcus Pfeifer: Yes, sir. Okay, so my wife and I got married in 2014, and she is an entrepreneur basically by upbringing. Her family kind of had been in that vein in one way or another most of their lives as well. So, she was pretty well-entrenched in that. And we decided that we did not want to work corporate-type jobs. We wanted to try to start our own business.

One thing led to another, and years down the road, we ended up starting Homescape Pets, but the background to that, the reason our interest in pet health and that sort of thing came about, when I met her, she had a little black schnauzer. And obviously, if you want in, you’ve got to be accepted by the pets and the family. So, yeah.

We started there. And the dog was a rescue from her time in Las Vegas, and she was very skittish around men and so forth, so there was a warming period for sure. But I’ll tell you, after we were together for a few years and we got married, my relationship with the dog was obviously priceless. It was very important to me because I hadn’t had a pet in my adult life.

TG Branfalt: Oh, wow.

Marcus Pfeifer: Up until her. Yeah. Little Beau. That was her name, Beau. And so, she was already old by the time I met the two ladies. She was very healthy though, to that extent. Now, a few years down the road, she started having sneezing fits and so forth. It turned out that she was having a lot of bright red blood when she was sneezing, and it really freaked us out.

And we took her to the vet and that’s when we found out that she had developed a nasal tumor. And after doing research, we found out that it was very likely the case, and by the time its diagnosed, it’s usually well down the road and it was basically going to end up being palliative care and taking care of her was going to be a solid about three months, is what everything appeared to be, you know, her course before she passed. And it was almost three months to the day.

TG Branfalt: That’s terribly sad.

Marcus Pfeifer: Yeah, you know, I know when we talk to pet people, they’re very passionate about their pets. And going through that, I tell you what, I embarrassed myself about what a blubbering fool I was after that experience at the vet. We put her down because we didn’t want her to suffer. She was already losing mobility. She couldn’t walk.

I think the most difficult part was … You know, we obviously were very close. She was a very affectionate dog. Well, she wasn’t affectionate per say. It was just her schnauzer personality. But she spent a lot of time checking on us back and forth, all day. And the tumor started effecting her brain just by proximity, and you would reach down to pet her and she would lunge back as though you were about to strike her. It was because her perceptiveness of what was going on around her was being directly effected by the tumor. And to reach down to pet your little fur baby and have it cringe back in fear from you like you had just hit her across the nose was probably the most difficult part for me.

Well, so that prompted us to start doing a lot more research, even though she had already passed. It was just the questions about, “What could I have done differently?” And the fact was that there probably was an awful lot, you know? Feeding your pets more healthy choices, and this, that, and the other, making sure you read labels on the products that you feed them. A holistic approach to health. There’s just a lot of things to learn and it was just hard to learn it in the past tense like that. So, that was how we got into pet health, was by the loss of our pup.

TG Branfalt: I mean, people who listen to this show, and I mentioned it to you, they know I have a dog. And actually, as I’ve said, I’ve given him CBD since he was a puppy just sort of based on some of the stuff I had read. I had lost a cat pretty shortly before I got the dog, and I sort of went through the same process of, “What could I have done? What could I have done?”

And in that process, too, in a similar way, and being in this industry, I noticed a lot about the sort of possibilities of CBD and its potential value for pets. And so, I decided to give my dog a small dose of CBD when he was a tiny guy because I was like, “Homeostasis.” This is important, right? For their health.

So, at what point did you find out about CBD and its potential value?

Marcus Pfeifer: Well, honestly, we were so absolutely ignorant about health care for pets, and this, that, and the other. Obviously, we’re completely dependent on a veterinarian’s advice. And I would never discourage that, but I think that there is a certain degree of necessity that you take personal ownership, not only of your own personal health, but of pet’s health. The first introduction to that was when we took Beau to a holistic vet when we were in Atlanta.

And they were kind of … We had already got the diagnosis and we were really trying to decide what the next step was for her care. I think we had already recognized that we weren’t going to put her through all of the cancer treatment, this, that, and the other. The dog was 12 years old. I felt like … It was an absolutely heart-wrenching decision to manage that too.

But the holistic vet recommended and provided us a CBD product at that time, specifically intended for pets. And so, we were like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” And at that time, we were totally ignorant about CBD products, much less what was illegal. But it was a very … For my personal use, I am definitely familiar with cannabis. We’ll just put it lightly like that.

But nothing about CBD. I did not understand cannabinoids in any way, shape or form. So it was quite shocking for us to have the vet recommend this product. And so, we purchased it from them almost like it was a prescription. And there was no question that it was helping her. She seemed to be more … Obviously, it hard to read an animal’s reaction, but Beau was a very stoic dog. She did not demonstrate discomfort or pain very easily. And her behavior changed in that. She was more active. She seemed to be returning to what we might consider normal behavior.

But you know, it was a short road for her deterioration. She got to where her hind legs didn’t work well at all. She couldn’t stand up well. It was … I don’t want to relive that right now. But the CBD definitely seemed to help. There was little question in our mind.

TG Branfalt: I mean, all that we really have to work on … You know, we can’t talk to our pets. There’s not a lot of studies out there. All we really have to work with is, you know, anecdotal sort of stories. And I’ve tried your … What is it? Man, I’m blanking on it.

Marcus Pfeifer: The Restful Pet?

TG Branfalt: The Restful Pet. And you know, he’s a black lab. He’s a year and a half. And he does calm down when you use it in the recommended dose. And again, I’ve used CBD but it’s hard to really know when you have a healthy animal who you’re giving CBD-

TG Branfalt: You don’t know it. So, what is the question that you get asked most often by pet owners since you’ve entered the space? And is there something specific that people are seeking to treat by and large?

Marcus Pfeifer: Oh, sure. You know, so, our initial offerings, we grew our line to three products. And the purpose for those was basically three branches of things that most animal care branches into in one way or another, short of it being a serious disease state or a condition. So basically, it’s relaxation, inflammation, and mobility. And I think our customer base is kind of self-defined by who was purchasing and what they were purchasing, and their responses as far as reviews go.

And so, what it turned out to be was primarily middle-aged to senior pets. And all of our products got fantastic reviews. We already liked the idea of using hemp products, and once we did a little research into hemp seed oil, it is incredibly healthy for animals. So, we decided immediately that that was going to be a very good carrier oil for our herbals.

Now, at the time when we started our product line, the Farm Bill had not passed. And so, CBD was not really a thing we were quite ready to try to sell. We wanted to be able to see in all 50 states.

TG Branfalt: Sure.

Marcus Pfeifer: So, we had to make a choice. And so, we made a safe choice by using hemp seed oil. And so, we were like, “All right. This is going to get our toe in the door. This is factually nutritious and healthy for pets. There’s no question about that.” And then we decided that we would combine them with some herbals.

Well, we wanted to keep them as simple as possible because there’s a few factors that we learned about senior animals and animals with health conditions is that sometimes they have food sensitivities or there may be drug interaction, potentially, with herbs because herbs have an effect on the body. We can’t just look at them as, “This is just something we put in our mouth and we digest it.” Everything has an impact.

So, we wanted to make it as simple as possible for them to do an elimination diet. So, if they reacted to the hemp seed oil or one of the herbs, it was going to be an easy thing for them to notice. Like, this is effecting the pet in a negative way. I know what that is. Instead of having a bunch of ingredients in our products and making that more complicated.

But the truth is that these things work very effectively. And now that the Farm bill has passed, we’ve introduced a 300 mg CBD product. We just launched, yesterday, an advanced version of an existing product that we had that has a CBDA powder in it. So, yeah, we believe strongly that … I think you touched on something that’s very important, is the homeostasis factor that cannabinoids play in the body. And we think that the CBD products are basically a foundational product for pet health. We think that the body is going to be able to respond to a new healthier diet, some herbal products and this, that, and the other, more effectively, if the body is in balance from the beginning.

And so, that’s our approach right now. So, we highly recommend combining our products. We like to see the CBD product being combined with Restful Pet, if your animal has anxiety or-

TG Branfalt: Just too much energy.

Marcus Pfeifer: Oh, yes. Now, there is a caveat to this. We feel like a holistic approach is the best. If you have a serious problem, you need to see a vet about that. They’re going to be the one who’s going to prescribe a sedative or something to that effect, but our products in combination do a very good job of toning down the nervous anxiety responses that pets have to common everyday problems, and this starts very young. You know, just like you’re experiencing. Our dogs are young as well, so we combine those products regularly, and it works great.

You know, the beauty of it is when you use a pharmaceutical, it’s going to really have a heavy impact on the animal’s personality and behavior. While it may be safe, the veterinarian is going to give you advice on how to administer those products, the truth is that your dog or your cat is not going to be right for a while until that pharmaceutical processes itself. So, the beauty of our products is that your dog or your cat is not going to change its personality, it’s just going to take a notch off of its edge.

So, that’s really what we’re after is if you chew up only half the cushions instead of all of them, we’re probably making some progress.

TG Branfalt: You know, I mean, there’s obviously a learning curve. Your background isn’t really in this space. And so, can you tell me about the process of finding the source for the hemp and for the CBD? Has it been easy? Has it been in-state? What’s that all been like for you?

Marcus Pfeifer: Well, I would say that us living in Colorado has been a huge advantage because you can’t throw a rock without finding somebody who’s got a commercial grow, or some sort of connection to an extractor or something like that. It actually is fairly common in the metropolitan area. We live in Colorado Springs, and so, we have a pretty easy access to the Denver area and Boulder. And so, a little research doesn’t take long to help you find a place. But we’ve also been to some hemp expos, and this, that, and the other, which was also an excellent opportunity.

And you aren’t kidding, the learning curve, since I don’t have a medical background and neither does my wife … Our introduction into health … Well, pet health, was how important it is for things to be safe and clean, and that’s really been probably our primary focus. So, we haven’t had a lot of trouble finding good quality hemp producers, the growers and extractors here. That wasn’t the problem. It was basically trying to figure out which ones we wanted to work with.

And man, the backside of this is trying to understand the testing of the products. It took us a while to understand the extraction process to try to determine what would be … Is there truly an advantage? And I think the obvious choices were between ethanol extraction and CO2.

Okay, so CO2 apparently is easily, on its foundation, the cleanest process if I understand the processes correctly. But when you’re using an organic ethanol and they do all of the steps to remove the solvent from it, the products seem to be very comparable in the end. So, our focus was making sure that our products were as clean as possible, and it was demonstrable from testing.

And I think you could get into the weeds about … Well, no pun intended. You can get into the weeds about the specific strains and all the various cannabinoids that are offered in that particular strain, but that’s not our focus. We wanted to get a nice, potent extraction, and that was important. And then we wanted to be able to demonstrate that this product was clean and safe from a solvent, pesticide, and heavy-metal aspect. And that’s really what our focus was for picking those partners.

TG Branfalt: So, I talked to a lot of people in the industry, there’s not a whole lot of companies doing what you’re doing, focusing on pet health in this space. And so, I’m wondering, is there, within the sort of small industry, pet health/cannabis industry thus far any sort of consideration to looking at other cannabinoids or terpenes for that matter for pet health-related products?

Marcus Pfeifer: Oh, sure. You know, like I said, our focus is primarily just to get a good quality product, but the reality is, from a veterinary medicine perspective, there’s going to be a lot of specific interest in how terpenes, cannabinoids and flavonoids, and that sort of thing, all work together to make a very specific quality product for a given disease state or condition for a pet.

We want to stay in our lane, you know what I mean? And to that extent, veterinary medicine is behind the human medical industry in that obviously all the focus is on human beings right now. What’s safe? What’s legal? And veterinary medicine is still not in a place where they can prescribe medical cannabis.
And the understanding of it … This is probably one of the few times that there’s far more research done on how humans respond to cannabis products than it does in animals, whereas it’s always been the other way around in the past. You know, they’re testing on animals first before they introduce a product. So, that’s an interesting paradox in this case.

What we do know is that CBD and the cannabinoids, setting aside THC, are safe for companion animals. Companion animals being cats and dogs. THC requires a little bit more attention to the subject. But right now, I think all companion animals can benefit from CBD product. I really am an advocate for the … Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe this word slipped my mind. It’s actually on our website all …

The Entourage Effect, for goodness’ sake.

TG Branfalt: Yes.

Marcus Pfeifer: Yes. I think that this is going to be one of those things that, as far as holistic care and things that people can do for over the counter products, and just general well-being for their pets, the full spectrum products are hands-down going to be just the go-to, you know what I mean? Your specific questions seem to be how do the cannabinoids and their relationship with caring for specific conditions, how that plays, that’s going to be the realm of veterinary medicine, probably is going to be best served, you know? People that have a very crisp understanding of cannabinoids. But I think that the veterinary medical community has to be opened up to the study and the research to medical cannabis before any of that can even be an option.

TG Branfalt: Yeah. So, let me ask from your experience, I know that when I was living in Vermont and I had first gotten a dog, I was able to talk to the vet there about CBD. They were pretty open. There was no risk for them to talk about it.

In New York, where I live now, was a bit of a different experience. I had asked them about it and she said, “That’s not something that we can really discuss.” But she did give me sort of a wink and a nod, so she was familiar with what I was getting at. What’s been your experience with your own pets and are you able to talk about it openly with veterinarians in Colorado?

Marcus Pfeifer: Veterinarians here are … Yes, they can. It does depend from state-to-state. Just because there is a lot more open environment here, they are able to talk more openly about it, but I can be honest that they do not have formal training because it does not exist for the veterinary industry. So, it requires that individual veterinarians to be doing their own research.

There is a number of veterinarians here that are doing their own research in their own practices, and they can speak very intelligently about it, but as far as that goes it falls in the category of anecdotal because they aren’t doing a formal study. It’s disheartening once you get into it … It requires such tight … Well, I can’t say that it’s not disheartening because the research has its place, unquestionably. There has to be a lot of validation that this, that, and the other works in combination with whatever.

But at this stage, if you know that the products is safe and clean, then the anecdotal evidence seems to play a lot more significant role is being able to be … What am I trying to say here? As far as the decision-making goes for trying to administer these products, if a veterinarian has experience with it, especially personal experience, they’re going to be able to speak as intelligently about it as anyone.

Now, I believe that there was a bill in California to allow veterinarians to prescribe medical cannabis. I think it got pushed back, so it hasn’t-

TG Branfalt: It did. It did, yeah. It was actually approved by, I think, the House, and then shut down by the Senate. Is there anything in Colorado, which has the most mature market, really, of legal cannabis markets. I mean, Oregon and Washington as well. But is there any consideration that you know of legislation in Colorado to allow vets to recommend medical cannabis?

Marcus Pfeifer: I don’t, and I’ll be honest, this is one department that I’m very deficient at. I don’t keep up with legislation as well as I should. But that is a big-picture question for me, and as far as the products that we’re selling and the kind of information that we’re using for this, it affects me in a lot broader sense. We’re going to be secondary to legislation once it’s passed, because I’ll be honest, until our business matures and we’re down the road with a lot more experience and knowledge, even if it was legal now, I wouldn’t be interested in selling a product even to veterinarians that had medical cannabis in it. Like something that had more THC.

TG Branfalt: Yeah.

Marcus Pfeifer: That is strictly, in my opinion, especially for pets because their sensitivity to THC, that would be specifically the purview of veterinarians, and that dos require research. It is known, factually, that THC, especially in dogs, has a toxicity level. But there is a caveat to that. THC in itself is not toxic to dogs. It depends on the level of exposure.

TG Branfalt: Yeah.

Marcus Pfeifer: And there’s a veterinarian that wrote a book … I don’t know if I can say names and stuff like that. But there’s a veterinarian that’s based here in Colorado that is one of the preeminent researchers for veterinary study, especially to do with cannabis.

He’s got lots of information about his own research in his practice, and he speaks explicitly about the use of cannabis and how you can titrate the amount of THC used, but it needs to be under strict guidance and you need to be working with a veterinarian that has that experience. And frankly, there’s just not many out there. I mean, it’s hard to find a holistic vet, much less one that can tell you specifically about hemp products and THC.

TG Branfalt: Well, I mean, you mentioned there’s no training for veterinarians either. That’s also the case for medical students for human medicine. They don’t have training, and so, they sort of have to do it after the fact if they’re interested. Just sort of an interesting comparison, I guess. What advice would you have for other entrepreneurs who might not have a background in cannabis who end up entering the space?

Marcus Pfeifer: Man, I cannot stress enough how important it is to do your research because there is so much information out there that sometimes appears ambiguous about it. And I’ll be honest, if you’re not willing to take some risks with your business … I mean, this is inherent to the hemp industry, period. The FDA has not made its rulings specifically enough on how hemp is to be regulated, and this, that, and the other. We’re waiting on that.

Man, especially in my business with pets, we are so far from proper regulation and this, that, and the other. And I’m a believer in regulation. I believe that it definitely has its place. Over-regulation is a serious problem, but I think that when you’re talking about people’s health and so forth, there’s an absolute necessity for regulation.

So, you have to understand so much more about the hemp industry and how you can execute your business. You can’t possibly do enough research, and frankly, there’s just a lot of risk-taking you have to be willing to do because the banks are still not very cooperative with the hemp industry.

TG Branfalt: Even for pets? Are you having … Even with your business, did you have problems getting banking?

Marcus Pfeifer: Well, you know, it’s funny. I feel like in some respects, we’re kind of falling under the radar. So, I don’t want to bring a lot of attention to that. But yeah, I feel like-

TG Branfalt: That would be so sad.

Marcus Pfeifer: Oh, my gosh! You know, there are so many different things. I think at our place in our business development, we are just kind of under the radar, so we’re trying to watch closely, the industry leaders in hemp, and we’re trying to pay close attention to what they’re doing because there are some really good examples out there, the trail blazers and the cutting edge companies out there. So, anything that they do, we want to do that now. Like, we don’t want to wait for regulation, we want to be above reproach as best we possibly can. And then, sometimes it just comes down to, what can you afford?

TG Branfalt: Yeah.

Marcus Pfeifer: But we want to … There is an organization that we belong to, we’ve been watching closely, the NASC. And they are an organization that works with the FDA on regulation for pet supplements. And frankly, there isn’t much, but they’re trying to push for policy and regulation in that respect. So, whenever they give guidance, we change our labels. We want to make sure that we’re not making drug claims or disease claims, and this, that, and the other. It’s quite a mess.

You can’t possibly do enough research because, frankly, whatever you learned last week may change next week with new regulation in your state. I mean, just think about this … It’s funny, the regulation at the federal level is one thing. Every state has got their own thing going on. So, it’s kind of a mess. We’re just trying to be safe.

TG Branfalt: Yeah. We are waiting for the USDA to just release their draft regulations. So, we’re all patiently awaiting to see what those look like and if they get adopted and what that will mean, having that sort of federal green light. Pardon the pun.

So, really great to have you on, man. Where can people find out more about you, more about Homescape and your products?

Marcus Pfeifer: Yes, sir. We do sell our basic line of products on Amazon, but that’s not our focus. It’s not a place where we can provide enough information. So, we want people to go to Homescape Pets. You can find us on, and we also are … You can find us @homescapepets on Instagram and Facebook.

TG Branfalt: Thanks again, Marcus for being on the show. I’m really excited to keep using your products, quite frankly. And that’s not a shameless cheap plug. I didn’t get paid to say that. I do actually use them for my dog. It seems, to the best that I can understand his body language, to be very, very helpful for him. So, I appreciate you taking the time, man.

Marcus Pfeifer: Man, this was a priceless thing because, you know, there’s not a lot of people that know what to do with products for pets, and this, that, and the other. We want to educate. I think everybody, universally, in the hemp industry understands that’s education is critical. And we’re going to be expanding our FAQ page. We are going to be writing blog posts and stuff to help people understand better health practices. But bring in the hemp for your pets. It’s going to be very good for them.