What are some things we should be aware of when creating a pet nook in our home?
Orthopedic beds are kinder on the joints for the dog. It should be in a place where there aren't things that are dangerous to them. If you have a door so the pet can go outside and get exercise itself, that's ideal. Most dogs don't get exercised enough. Have a little TV or radio in there for them. Classical music calms them down and can make them less anxious. Stimulate them mentally or physically and they will be much happier and less destructive.
Are there certain things we should make sure are in our pet nook?
Fresh water, puzzle toy (you have a treat in them like Milkbones and they have to figure out how to get the treat out of it). They have all different sizes and shapes. It helps relieve boredom with dogs because the nightly walk isn't enough. I'm a big believer in crate training your dog. Have a crate in there so they can go in their den and feel safe in there. Have the bed outside the crate. They also have aromatherapy specifically for dogs and you can plug that in the room as well and put some music on. Brushing them is really important. They should be brushed daily if they have a coat. Keep them in their pet nook with a baby gate if you want. Have towels or blankets in the crate.
What should we keep away from our pet area?
Cords, household cleaning products, and plants that are dangerous for dogs. Make sure you don't have any of your prescription medicine or the dog's prescription medication out where the dogs can get them. They can and will eat an entire bottle. You want to make sure that none of that stuff is left around.
Are there ways we can use treats to incentivize our pets to behave?
The treats can be used as positive reinforcements and they can enhance the connection between you and your dog and show your dog you love them. Milkbones are good and they are a safe and healthy treat. Treats should be less than 10% of their daily diet. Dogs love routine and you can establish one where every night before bed they get a treat.
To learn more from Karen "Doc" Halligan, DVM, visit