Category Archives for Elmhurst

How Much Does a Dog Walker Cost in Elmhurst

Amy Mishima's Happy Dog Owner Blog

How Much Does A Dog Walker Cost In Elmhurst?

So you’re thinking about hiring a dog walker.  I’m sure your mind is flooded with questions to research and ask the plethora of dog walking companies in your area.  One of first questions you're probably thinking of concerns dog walking rates and prices.

The price of a dog walker can depend on several factors including duration of the walk, individual vs. group walks, how many dogs you have, and extra or special service requests. 

Mind you, those are just some of the factors you'll want to consider and just typing those out made my head spin. 

The average price for a 30-minute dog walk is between $15 to $25.  For our own Elmhurst dog walking services, we charge $19.95 for a 30-minute visit.  Our price is solely determined by the duration of the visit.

You’ll find that many dog walking companies will not have one set dog walking fee.  The most common theme I’m noticing between dog walking rates is the varying prices based on the time of day.  It’s typically cheapest to have your dog walked between 11am and 1pm, as the price will go up for earlier or later visits.   

Not only does time make a difference, but also the day of the week can change the cost as well.  Weekend dog walks can easily be an extra $5 or $10 on top of the normal, weekday walk.

And to further complicate things, some companies provide discounts for the number of walks you schedule each week.  So if you schedule more than three walks, you’ll save a couple dollars.   Great, who isn’t happy saving a few bucks?  But wrapping my head around all the different dog walking prices based on so many different variables is too confusing. 

I’d rather spend my efforts interviewing the potential walker or company to determine if they are trustworthy, reliable, and get along well with my dog (and me, since I’m the one who will be communicating often with that company). 

At the end of the day, I don’t think cost should be the main factor to consider when choosing a dog walker.  So long as the rates seem reasonable to you for the quality of service provided to you and your pooch, that’s what counts.

Cold Weather Tips For Dogs

Amy Mishima's Happy Dog Owner Blog

Cold Weather Tips For Dogs

It’s almost depressing when 33 degrees feels comfortable and no longer cold, but I suppose that’s what happens when we’ve been surviving a record breaking snowy and cold winter here in the Elmhurst, IL area. 

It may be the end of January, but like any Midwesterner, I know Mother Nature has no plans to heat things up anytime soon.  Here are some cold weather tips to keep your pooch safe and happy the next few wintery months. 

  • No dog should be left outside unsupervised.  This tip is relevant year round (due to things like the summer heat, the threat of coyotes, etc...) and winter is no exception.  Just because your dog has a fur coat doesn’t mean they can withstand frigid temps.
  • Protect their feet.  Dog booties not only provide a source of entertainment (ever see a dog try to walk in them for the first time?); but they provide better grip on the ice, protection against dangerous objects, and warmth.  If your pet won’t stand for wearing booties, be sure to always wash off their paws with a warm wet towel to remove any ice balls or chemicals that may have accumulated between their toes.  Their paw pads are tough, but salt and ice melts can cause them to sting and even crack.
  • Old dogs, small dogs, and dogs with little fur should wear sweaters or jackets to protect against the cold.  While this may seem frivolous, it is a necessity for many dogs.  This extra layer will keep them dry, safe, and much more comfortable in severely cold weather.
  • Keep them away from Antifreeze – this is highly, highly toxic.  It only takes a few licks for this to be deadly.
  • As harmless as it may seem, do NOT let them eat snow!   Not only can the snow be hiding dangerous objects that you don’t want them to ingest, but eating too much snow can also cause hypothermia or an upset stomach.
  • This may go without saying, but stay away from frozen ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.
  • Never leave your dog in a car unattended.  We all know the threat of hot cars for our pets, but cold cars can pose just as significant a risk.  Cars rapidly cool down in cold weather and become like a refrigerator which can cause your dog to freeze to death.  

Exercise is important year round for our dogs.  Don’t hibernate just because it’s cold outside.  Keep these cold weather tips in mind and pay attention to the signs your dog is giving you.

If you don’t want to bear the cold, Dogs Love Running! Is here to help.  We offer year-round dogs walking, dog running, and pet sitting for Elmhurst, Downers Grove, and other nearby Chicago suburbs.

How Cold is Too Cold to Walk the Dog

Amy Mishima's Happy Dog Owner Blog

Keeping up with the theme of cold weather tips for walking dogs, I thought I’d answer the question that I’ve been asked at least 20 times in the last couple weeks:

  •  How cold is too cold to walk my dog?

Unfortunately, there isn’t one perfect answer for this.  I don’t 100% buy the whole “if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog” theory.  And no matter how cold you feel, your dog still needs exercise during the winter.

After talking to a few veterinarians in Elmhurst and Lombard, I’ve come to a few generalized guidelines.

While there’s not one right answer for an exact safe outdoor temperature for your dog, here are some tips to keep in mind:
  • It’s important to know how much the wind chill lowers the feel of the actual temperature.  You should always go by the temperature with the wind chill included.
  • If it is snowing and it is especially wet snow, it can be more uncomfortable.  Body temperatures will lower much faster with any type of moisture.  You should shorten your walk time in those types of conditions.
  • Most healthy medium or large dogs can walk for 30-minutes if the temperature is above 20 degrees F.  Smaller dogs should limit the walk to 15 or 20 minutes if temps are between 20 to 32 degrees F.  If it’s below 0 degrees, no dog should be out for a walk. 

Your dog’s age, breed, and health are all major factors as well.  Remember that puppies and elder dogs are much more sensitive to the cold weather because their bodies can’t regulate their body temps well.  If it’s below freezing, these dogs should be taken outside to eliminate only.

Different breeds have better tolerance to winter weather.  While no dog should be left out in the cold alone, breeds like German Shepherds, St. Bernards, and Akitas have thick coats that help protect them from the elements.  Small dogs and short-haired dogs need a sweater or jacket for the added protection and warmth.

Any physical conditions like arthritis or hip dysplasia will only be aggravated by the cold.  Keep pets with these conditions inside where it’s warm.

The best piece of advice I can give you is to know your dog - pay attention to the signals they are giving you.  If they are shivering, standing in a hunched position, lifting their paw(s) off the ground, or giving you verbal cues (like whining or barking); bring them inside.  More serious signs are things like lethargy, weakness, or slowed breathing which are all signs of hypothermia.  Keep an eye out for frostbite as well.  The most common places this will effect is their tail, paws, and ear tips.  If they are turning pale or blue, get your dog to a veterinarian.

Bottom line, don’t let the cold weather keep your dog from getting exercise.  You may have to limit your regular walk to only 5 or 10 minutes, but make sure to get them outside even if it’s just for a little bit when the weather is appropriate.  If the weather isn’t cooperative, make sure they are getting sufficient potty breaks and find other activities indoors to keep their minds and bodies active.

Great Ideas On How To Exercise Your Dog Indoors

Amy Mishima's Happy Dog Owner Blog

Great Ideas On How To Exercise Your Dog Indoors

Dogs need their daily dose of exercise no matter what the circumstances are like outside.  And this winter has surely caused several cases of cabin fever for our furry friends. 

When we visit our dog walking and dog running clients in the winter but are forced to cut short the outside activities because of extreme temperatures, we continue the exercise inside.  Here are some of the ways we keep our dogs active indoors and you can do them, too.


1.  Play fetch.

Chances are if your dog likes to play fetch outside, they will love playing fetch inside.  This is a great activity for owners with a long hallway or staircase.  Not only is this a great workout for your dog, but it’s a good opportunity to work on basic obedience commands.  When he grabs the ball or toy and is running back to you, say “come.”  Once they return, ask them to “drop it.”  Have them “sit” before you throw the ball again.


2.  Teach them advanced tricks.

Sure, your dog might already know the basic commands, but why not have some fun with it?  Tricks like “spin”, “ back”, “bow”, or even teaching them to retrieve something for you by name (like a pair of slippers, tissue paper, or a newspaper) are all challenging and fun.  Teaching your dog new tricks isn’t only a great way keep them mentally stimulated, but it’s also a terrific bonding activity for the two of you.   


3.  Work on targeting.

Targeting is just the act of touching something.  Dogs can learn to touch with any body part, but nose is an easy starting point.  Teach your dog to touch their nose to your hand on command.  This is a great skill and can help with teaching them new tricks; or even everyday things like getting on the scale at the veterinarians office or redirecting their attention to you if they become overexcited seeing another dog during a walk. 


4.  Play Hide and Seek.

You can play this in two ways.  If your dog has a few favorite toys, try hiding them in various spots throughout the house.  Once everything is hidden, ask your dog to find each of them.  You may have to start with just one toy.  Show your dog the toy, let them get really excited about it, ask them to sit and stay, then place 10 feet away or so.  When you release them from the stay, tell them to “go find it” so they learn the command and associate it with the action.  As your dog gets more familiar with this, you can start placing the toy further and further away.


If there’s more than one person at home, everyone can play.  Everyone should grab a handful of treats.  Each of you should try hiding in different spots of the house and take turns calling your dog once you are hidden.  When they find you, give them lots of praise and reward them with treats.  Now, the next person can call your dog and you can find another hiding spot. 


5.  Invest in a treat dispensing toy….you won’t regret it!

Speaking of new toys, treat dispensing toys are an amazing tool for giving your dog a mental workout and to alleviate canine boredom.  Your dog stays busy pushing around the toy trying to get the treats inside.  The toy motivates and rewards your dog all on its own!


Need some help letting your pooch burn off energy?  Call Dogs Love Running! of Elmhurst and we’ll schedule a dog walker to exercise your dog no matter what it’s like outside.  If you’d prefer the visit to remain indoors due to a certain type of weather condition, we will make sure to still provide your pooch with heart-pounding exercise and fun.  We guarantee your dog will be smiling and panting by the end of our visit. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of in Home Pet Sitting

Amy Mishima's Happy Dog Owner Blog

What are the Pros and Cons of In-Home Pet Sitting?

The last thing anyone wants on vacation is being stressed out.  But if you have a pet that you need to leave behind while you’re away, you understand that this feeling can be all too common.  While there is the equally popular option of boarding your cat or dog, this article is specifically about pet sitting.

Simply defined, pet sitting is the act of caring for pets in their own home while the owner is away.  And keep in mind that when I say pet sitting, I’m referring to a reputable pet care company, not a neighbor or friend.

Let’s start with the cons.  What are the reasons for finding another pet care alternative instead of pet sitting?

  • The pet sitter will need to enter your home while you’re away.  This may seem obvious, but it’s definitely a legitimate concern.  Be sure you choose a pet sitting company that thoroughly screens their sitters.

  • Another negative is that your pet will be alone for much of the day.  This may not be detrimental if you work since your pet is already used to that, but it could be stressful for pets that are used to having company throughout their normal day.

Now, the pros of pet sitting.

  • Your pet gets to stay within the comfort of their own home and can stick to their everyday routine of feeding, potty breaks, walks, and playtime.  As the owner of an Elmhurst pet care company, we make it top priority to keep detailed notes on every important detail of our clients’ pet’s normal day and will find a solution that allows them to stick to that regime.

  • Sitters can do the housesitting chores in addition to caring for Fido.  They can bring in the mail, water plants, turn the lights on or off, and ensure your house is maintained.

  • Pet sitting is more personal.  The visits will be done on your requested schedule.  And your pet is getting one-on-one attention and care.

  • There is less risk for them to be exposed to contagious illnesses that may be lurking in a kennel.

  • This corresponds to the first pro above, but if you have an anxious pet, it will definitely be easier for them to relax at home rather than being in a kennel where there is very rarely quiet time.  The constant barks of other dogs may make it harder for certain pets to settle down if they aren’t used to a constant level of noise.

  • As the pet parent, you won’t have the hassle of dropping off and picking up your pet from anyone or anywhere.  

Should you decide that hiring a pet sitter is the best way for your beloved pet to remain as comfortable and happy as possible while you’re away, make sure to thoroughly check into whatever pet sitting company you choose.  Go with your gut.  If you don’t feel comfortable with the sitter you’re meeting, on to the next! 

Believe me, there are plenty of pet care companies out there and it’s important to find the right one for you and your pet.  

Feeling 100% secure with the decision you make will allow you to spend your vacation stress free and as relaxed as a vacation should be.

What to do With Your Dog When Kids go Back to School

Amy Mishima's Happy Dog Owner Blog

What To Do With Your Dog When Kids Go Back To School.

Can you believe that in less than one week it’s back to school time for the kids of Elmhurst?

Back-to-school inevitably signals changes in our routines and everyone is most likely away from home for much longer periods of time. These changes can be especially hard on our family pet which can ultimately lead to depression or behavior problems.

Here are a few things you can do to help your pet's transition when the kids go back to school.

  1. Ease them into change. If there’s still time, have the entire family leave the house for increasingly longer periods so your dog is familiar with being alone. If your dog does struggle with separation anxiety at a high level, start getting the lunch boxes and book bags out throughout the day to help desensitize them to these objects that they will otherwise associate with being left alone. 
  2. Establish a routine. Dogs are creatures of habit and changes in their routine can be the biggest cause of stress. While your scheduling carpools and after-school activities, it’s important to establish Fido’s new routine. Be sure to set regular feeding, walking, and play times for them. 
  3. Increase your dog’s exercise. Many studies show that increasing your pet’s aerobic activity by only 30-minutes a day will help to eliminate separation anxiety. Just like humans, dogs are best equipped to relieve stress through physical outlets. Hiring a dog walker or dog runner to visit them midday will not only break up their day and give them a potty break, but it will allow them to burn off energy and relieve any boredom. You may even want to consider taking them to doggy daycare on days where you will be away for a prolonged period of time. 
  4. Have a variety of mentally stimulating toys to play with. Puzzle toys that encourage your dog to look for hidden treats or Kong toys with a bit of peanut butter or other fillers will entertain your dog. 
  5. Break out some tunes. It’s a common practice in dog shelters to play certain types of calming music to help the dogs relax at night. While it’s not a guarantee, I’ve found that playing classical music eases my dogs into a relaxed state. 
  6. Quality (time) over quantity. Now that schedules are full, your dog may not get as much playtime or attention as they did during summer. Make sure you make the most of the time you spend with them. Long walks, trips to the park, lounging around on the couch, fetch in the backyard – do whatever you know makes them the happiest. Chances are, getting attention from you will make them happy so be sure your setting aside time for your pooch every day.