Jun 15 2014

Taking Care of Older Dogs

older-dogsMost dog owners arrive at a point where it is difficult for their dog to do the simplest tasks, like getting up a set of stairs or going for a spin around the block. As a dog owner, this is heartbreaking. The hard fact of life is that, like people, dogs age and require assistance doing otherwise routine things. Although it can be difficult seeing your best friend go through these changes, there are some things you can do to ease the transition.

How You Can Help

By making some simple changes to the way you care for your dog, you can greatly enhance their day-to-day quality of life.

Concentrate on what food you are giving your dog.

There are several considerations that are important to make when it comes to the diet of an older dog. Spending a little more money on the purchase of quality food is important, as it often helps ensure your furry friend is receiving the nutrients he or she needs. Better quality food does not equate to more food. Just like humans, being overweight takes a toll on your dog’s body frame, especially as they age. On the same token, you want to be certain your dog is not underweight, which brings us to our next point.

Maintain Fido’s Dental Health.

Try to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. This will help prevent some diseases and make sure they don’t lose teeth prematurely. Sometimes dental issues keep dogs from eating, causing them to be underweight. If you notice this happening, check their teeth to see if that’s the cause for weight loss.

Schedule regular veterinarian visits

Checkups once a year are fine for most mature dogs; however, it is your responsibility to take your dog to the vet if you notice any unusual or concerning changes. The goal? Prevention, not recovery. Listen to your instincts. If something seems wrong, it probably is.

Keep your dog active and engaged.

Exercise is crucial to the well-being of your aging dog. Just remember, though. Mental health is of equal importance.  Having toys around for your dog to play with will keep them engaged. Car rides and walks offer a great change of scenery, too. And with sensory stimulation playing a key role in your dog’s happiness, it must not be overlooked in everyday interactions.

Treat Your Dog How You Would Want to be Treated.

The simplest way to ensure your aging dog’s happiness? Treat your dog how you would want to be treated in your old age. It’s as simple as that. As man’s best friend, Fido deserves some extra T.L.C.




Apr 24 2014

The Dos & Don’ts of Dog Park Etiquette

dog-parkApril showers bring May flowersand lots of visits to the dog park, of course. As you leash up and head to your favorite dog park, be sure that you have reviewed this list of dog park dos and don’ts. You won’t regret it! By employing some basic precautions, you and Fido will have long days of fun in the sun all spring and summer long.

What to Avoid:

  • Visiting overly crowded dog parks
  • Bringing a young puppy – under 4 months of age – to the dog park
  • Providing treats & toys that could spur jealousy
  • Fraternization amongst unfixed (spade or neutered) dogs

What to Do:

  • Keep your dog’s vaccinations up-to-date – don’t forget flea and tick meds, too!
  • Bring poop bags to prevent spread of disease or any unwanted messes
  • Keep a close watch on Fido. It’s a new place with new dogs, so you will want to monitor for signs of aggression or agitation.
  • Don’t forget a back-up water supply – one for you and another for your pooch! A panting pup needs to stay hydrated, especially when it is warm outside.

Learn More

Wayside Waifs invites you and your four-legged friend to enjoy our Bark Park. Your membership fee earns you full access to our well-lit, fenced-in, off-leash dog park. It gets better! All the fees aid our adoptable pups in need of homes. And if you need some last-minute tick or flea meds, you can make a quick purchase at our Whisker’s & Wags shop, where all purchase proceeds benefit the shelter animals in their journey to find a forever home.

Shelter Hours:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm

Mar 19 2014

Fido’s Spring Checklist

spring checklist As the grass begins to turn green, snowbells blossom, and the sun sets later in the evening, you and Fido may find yourselves developing a case of spring fever. The good news? With the right precautions taken, you and your pooch will be ready to spring into warmer days with a seamless transition. Employing the tips below is easy, and you’re sure to have some fun along the way.

Spring To-dos:

Up the Exercise

When it’s cold outside, many owners and canine companions get less exercise. Not to worry, though. Although your pooch doesn’t need to get in beach-worthy shape, he or she does need to get conditioned for long days of fun in the sun. The key? Like any exercise regimen, you should ease your way into full-fledged workout mode. In no time walks around the block will turn into 5-mile trail hikes.

Wash The Paws

Beds of green grass are fun for pups to roll around in, but during the spring, be careful of potentially harmful chemicals, such as herbicides, that are used for the removal of  unwanted vegetation.

Flee & Protection

Rolling around in the grass is all good fun until somebody gets a bad case of fleas or ticks. The solution? Monthly flea and tick preventative medication is best practice; however, you’ll also want to give your dog a thorough comb-through if you go for a hike in a heavily wooded area. You can purchase these products at Whiskers & Wags, Wayside’s Boutique. All proceeds from sales in the store benefit the animals at the shelter!

Groom the Coat

Spring is a time for fresh starts, so be sure to send your pet for a day at the groomers, where he or she can get a fresh cut that keeps them cool and comfortable as the weather gets warmer outside. It also helps to get in the routine of brushing them at night.  This can not only help them relax but it keeps the tangles and dander to a minimum.  And, hey, it’s great quality time together. Need some more convincing? Think how cute your pooch will look with their new hairdo!

Learn More

Looking for a furry friend to take long strolls with on breezy spring evenings? Wayside Waifs of Kansas City is home to a number of adoptable dogs and cats that are looking for their forever home, so be sure to stop by the shelter today.

Shelter Hours:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm

Mar 6 2014

How to Transition Your Dog’s Food

dog foodUnlike their human counterparts, dogs do not need to eat a rainbow (yes, keep those skittles to yourself on family movie night). Although eating food with a balanced spectrum of nutrients is important, owners should aim to consistently provide a healthy meal for their canine companions. However, as dogs mature or develop food allergies or sensitivities, you may come to a point when you need to switch dog food. Don’t panic; follow these simple steps to avoid post-breakfast or dinnertime discomfort.

Know Your Addition

In just five days, you can seamlessly transition your dog’s food. It’s simple: All you have to do is know some basic calculations for you and Fido to be on your way to a healthy new start. Begin by adding 20% of the new food in with 80% of the old. From here, you will up the new food in 20% increments each day, while simultaneously lowering the old mix by 20%. Easy, right?

See the chart below for details.

  • Day 1 – 80% Original food + 20% New
  • Day 2 – 60% Original food + 40% New
  • Day 3 – 40% Original food + 60% New
  • Day 4 – 20% Original food + 80% New
  • Day 5 – 100% New

While these proportions help most dogs make an easy transition to their new food, it is not a foolproof plan. Because of this, there are some telltale signs of irritation you’ll want to watch for throughout this process.

Red Flags:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

*If your dog is exhibiting any of these signs, stop administering new food and visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.

When it comes time to change your dog’s food, be sure to employ the following steps. And remember, there is no universal solution for all dogs. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to observe your dog for any unusual diet-related behavior as you make this transition.

Adopt Today

If you are looking to adopt a dog you can call your own, Wayside Waifs of Kansas City has a number of animals in need of permanent, loving homes.

 Adoption Hours:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm


Proudly serving the Greater Kansas City community. 

Feb 25 2014

Fight the Winter Blues With Pet Exercise

snow playIt’s cold outside. Let’s face it: We are all dragging a little bit – even the dogs. As a pet owner, it is important to remember that while we are able to get outside throughout gloomy winter days, dogs often remain pent up indoors. Sofa snuggles and afternoon snoozes are great, but too much time on the dog bed can have a lot of canines feeling blue. Don’t wait for sunnier, warmer days to exercise your pooch! There are a number of great winter exercises you and your favorite companion can enjoy.

Winter Exercises for the Pooch:

Snow Angels

One of the things that makes dogs such great animals is that they still enjoy all the things we did in our youth – playing in the snow is no exception. In fact, many of these furballs relish the opportunity to run their paws through fluffy, white powder. While it’s still winter, bundle up and take your snow angel (yes, we know you call your dog “angel,” “sweets,” and other heart-melting nicknames) out for some good, old-fashioned playtime in the snow.

snow dog

Extra Training

What better way to get your pooch ready for warm park days than some additional training classes? These classes are fun for everyone, as they allow pets to socialize with their canine peers, all while learning new tricks and skill sets. After some winter classes, your furry friend will be the star of all his or her warm-weather park dates.

Sensory Stimulation

Just as we require mental stimulation, dogs have keen senses that need to be challenged to stay sharp. When your dog’s nose cannot keep busy sniffing freshly cut grass or blooming flowers, a fun game of sniff-and-eat will combat the winter blues and boredom. Something as simple as an impromptu food-driven obstacle course will do the trick, keeping your dog’s mind stimulated and its belly full.

Learn More 

Are you looking for a furry friend to roll around with in the snow? Wayside Waifs of Kansas City is home to a number of adoptable dogs and cats that are looking for their forever home, so be sure to stop by the shelter today.

Adoption Center Hours:

Wednesday-Friday Noon-8pm

Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 1pm-6pm

Dec 19 2013

Grrr-eat Holiday Gifts for Your Canine Companion

holiday giftsYou made your holiday gift list, but have you checked it twice? Before you complete your holiday shopping, be sure to include something special for the four-legged friend on your gift list. Your furball has behaved all year, so be sure to reward him or her. At Wayside Waifs, we shopped around and have some grrr-eat holiday gift ideas for your canine friend.

Holiday Gifts for Your Best Friend:

Christmas PJs

As you gather around the Christmas tree and wait for Santa, be sure your pup has something snuggly to keep warm. No matter how your family is celebrating the holiday season, there are holiday PJs for everyone. Flannel, cotton, and fleece are all great materials that are sure to keep your dog warm. Hop online, or if you are up for a challenge, try making your pooch some homemade PJs. The great news? It’s in your dog’s DNA to unconditionally love whatever your create, so don’t let that stop you!


If you are looking for a simple way to dress up your mantel over the holiday season, look no further than a dog stocking. A cute holiday stocking for your furry friend can complement your decor AND act as the perfect means for spoiling your family dog. When it comes to dog stocking stuffers, the options are plentiful. Squeaky toys make great gifts, and for just $5, you can purchase several toys from Whiskers and Wags, our in-store boutique that supports dogs in our care. Bones, chew toys, and dog accessories are other great stocking stuffers. As a rule of thumb, be sure to keep your dog’s stocking out of reach. We wouldn’t want your pooch to do anything to get on Santa’s naughty list.

Professional Grooming

Whether your pooch has a mane of high-maintenance tresses or could just use a fresh bath, a date at the groomers is a real treat. A day at the salon doesn’t have to be all nail polish and primping. A nice brushing, bath, or something more are all great ways to show the love to your canine, getting your pooch off to a great start for the New Year.

Give the Gift of Volunteering

Have a pooch of your own but want to really get in the holiday spirit? There are a number of dogs at Wayside Waifs who could benefit from your volunteer work. This holiday season, something as simple as your time could brighten the life of one of our on-site animals. At Wayside Waifs, there is something for everyone. Cat and dog socialization and fostering are both ways you can make a difference in the life of our animals.

To learn how you can get involved this holiday season, call (816) 761-8151 or contact us today.

Dec 18 2013

Paw-Lick’n Holiday Pet Treats

If you are looking for some paw-lickin’ holiday treats for your family pet, there is no need to head to the pet store. It only takes a few ingredients to make some of your own tail-waggin’ holiday treats. When it comes to pets, the little things can make a difference – holiday pet treats are no exception. So, next time you and your family pet are in the kitchen, be sure to try out one of these pet-friendly holiday treats. 

DIY Holiday Pet Treats:

For the Canine…

Dog Bark

If you have ever slipped your four-legged friend a morsel of cheese or let him or her lick your peanut butter-clad hands clean, you know how much pups love their people food.  This all-in-one treat is the real deal. With cheese, peanut butter, and bacon, what’s not to love? In less than forty minutes, your pooch could be enjoying some of their very own holiday Dog Bark.

Dog Nog

Add Dog Nog to the mix for some extra holiday cheer. Good news about this seasonal recipe? Your pooch doesn’t have to be 21 in dog years to enjoy it. Dog Nog is sure to keep your pup safely hydrated and happy. This holiday treat earned brownie points for its simplicity – something every pet owner can appreciate. By the time your pooch can say ”Dog Nog,” this delicious dog elixir will be ready to drink. All you need is baby food, low-fat, organic yogurt, eggs, water, and –for good measure—a banana slice.

For the Feline…

Tuna Crackers

If your kitten has behaved well all year, reward Santa’s little helper with something savory and nutritious. When you are leaving a special delight by the tree for the big man on the sleigh this year, prepare some goodies for your kitty, too. These tuna crackers are comprised of canned tuna, cornmeal, flour, and water. This holiday treat is cat-friendly and easy-to-make. In fact, these holiday treats are so simple to prepare that these kitty crackers can be enjoyed year round.

Cat Cakes

holiday gifts

Cats have always had a flair for the dramatic, which makes cat cakes the purr-fect treat for your kitten. This holiday season spoil your cat by preparing a truly fancy feast. The flour and tuna-filled cat cakes are delicious holiday gifts that your family feline can enjoy for days to come. For details about this one-of-a-kind holiday treat, reference the complete recipe.

At Wayside Waifs, we remain dedicated to helping you provide your family pets with quality care.  Want to shower your pup or cat with even more holiday love?

For more holiday treats, be sure to visit Whiskers & Wags, our pet boutique that helps support the rescue animals in our care.  

Dec 21 2010

The Challenges of Raising a Puppy

My sweet boy Truman

An adorable puppy for Christmas – I can’t think of anything cuter.  But before you take home that darling little creature, there are some important things to consider. 

I write from experience.  After I got my first puppy nearly 10 years ago, I wondered if I had actually adopted a little monster cleverly disguised as a precious puppy.  I had no idea how much work raising a puppy entailed.  Truman had lots of accidents, chewed up countless pairs of my favorite shoes (and almost anything else left on the floor) and generated numerous complaints about his incessant barking from my neighbors.  I remember walking Truman around my apartment complex at three o’clock in the morning in the freezing cold, wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into!  

Make no mistake, I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world.  Truman taught me all about patience and responsibility.  And anyone who’s thinking about getting a puppy needs to have lots of both.  Just ask Alyssa Willet, the Adoptions Supervisor at Wayside Waifs. 

“When people adopt puppies, I ask them if they are ready to have a toddler in their home, because that’s what they are getting,” Willett said.  “Puppies don’t know right from wrong, they depend on you to teach them everything.  If you don’t have patience, don’t get a puppy.” 

You will also need lots of time for your puppy.  They develop most of their behavior traits during their first year of life, and you’ll need to be there every step of the way to help them grow into well-behaved, well-socialized members of society.  One of the best ways to learn the basics is by enrolling in an obedience class. 

“Even the most experienced dog owners can learn something at obedience class,” said Willett.  “And the puppies not only learn great skills, they also benefit from socializing with the other puppies in class.” 

Willett is a big proponent of crate training, because it can make housetraining a breeze.  She recommends keeping the crate in a high-traffic area of your home, possibly even your family room so the puppy can always see you and know it hasn’t been abandoned.  Willett also encourages you to keep a watchful eye on your puppy at all times, and don’t let them immediately have the run of your house.  It’s surprising just how quickly they can get into mischief. 

Even before you pick out that perfect puppy, you need to do some basic research.  A quick Google search will turn up loads valuable information about every breed of dog.  Knowing the personality traits, temperament and basic needs of your dog’s primary breed can help you determine if the dog is a good fit for your family.  

I also encourage anyone who wants a puppy to check their local shelters first.  You’ll be surprised at the wide varieties and breeds of puppies available for adoption.  If you don’t find your ideal puppy at a shelter, do your homework and find a responsible breeder who can guarantee your puppy and his parents were raised in a loving, humane environment. 

One other important thing to consider is the expense of a puppy.  One of the advantages to adopting a puppy from Wayside Waifs or your local shelter is your puppy is already spay/neutered and has already received its age appropriate vaccinations.  Still, the puppy will need booster shots every few weeks until they are five months old, so potential puppy parents need to keep vet bills in mind.  As your dog grows, you can also expect to spend more money on its food, a bigger crate and heartworm, flea & tick preventatives.  Obedience training is an additional expense.  At Wayside Waifs our professional dog trainers charge $100 for a series of six classes.     

Just remember the love of an animal is priceless, and even though raising a puppy is a challenge, it’s also highly rewarding.  Cherish all those puppy kisses, that sweet puppy breath and their hilarious antics.  Most of all enjoy building that special bond with your puppy as it grows. 

“It’s so fun to see who they become,” said Willett. 

Truman became the love of my life.  Yes, getting him through that puppy stage was a challenge, but it was worth all those ruined shoes, carpet cleaner and apologies to my neighbors.  Next month we’ll celebrate his tenth birthday and we’ll pray for many more wonderful years together.

Written by Ashlee Parker
Communications Relations Manager at Wayside Waifs

Aug 25 2009

Keep It From the Beagle

Eloise in her Beano-loving days.

Eloise in her Beano-loving days.

My beagle mix, Eloise, puts everything in her mouth. She is, after all, a dog. At age five, she concentrates on fallen food, socks, shoes, and used Kleenexes. But in her puppy days, everything was up for grabs. One day I brought home Chinese takeout and arranged it on the dining-room table next to a bottle of Beano. In an instant, Eloise took a running start, leapt onto the chair, and skated across the table, sending kung pao shrimp and fried rice flying. What was she after? The bottle of Beano. She scooped it up in her jaws, catapulted off the back end of the table, and zoomed through the family room, down the hall, and into the master bedroom. By the time I reached her, she had the childproof lid off and was chomping down a handful of pills. 

In a panic, I called Animal Poison Control. No worries, they told me; you might even end up glad she’d had a few Beanos. 

I knew pills could be trouble, and we were lucky. But lately I’ve found out about a few “harmless” kitchen foods that could prove more deadly than Beano: 

Raisins & Grapes.  Really? Yes. Too many grapes, whether in fresh or dried form, can cause renal failure in dogs. Don’t ever give them as treats, and if you suspect your dog has eaten a bunch, get him to the vet right away. 

Onions & Garlic.  Dogs lack the enzyme needed to digest these properly–they’ll cause gastrointestinal distress. 

Apple Cores/Seeds.  Only the fruit is safe–even apple leaves and stems may contain dangerous compounds. 

Macadamia Nuts. Causes gastrointestinal trouble. 

Fruit pits/seeds.  Apart from the choking hazard, the pits of plums, peaches, and cherries can cause internal health problems. 

Summertime barbecues and picnics are prime feasting time for nosy dogs. Keep all of these away from your pup, and be careful when offering your dog leftovers. Monitor guests as well and keep firm rules: No feeding from the table. Those hound-dog eyes may be mournful, but at least they’ll be around for many summers to come.

posted by Claire M. Caterer

Jun 8 2009

Taking Pets on the Road

Photo courtesy of www.petwithpetcare.com

Photo courtesy of www.petwithpetcare.com

For me, it’s the hardest part of the trip: dropping off Eloise. She arrives at the boarder’s with her usual beagle-mix exuberance, tugging on the leash, sniffing everything and everyone in sight. Then I turn her over to the attendant and she gazes after me as I walk out, her floppy ears sagging. What? You’re not staying? 

If it’s tough to leave your hound behind, take heart: Plenty of places welcome your pet with open arms. Here are some tips to get you started on your pet-friendly vacation. 

  • Reserve before you go! This is no time to be spontaneous. Pet-friendly hotels are becoming more common, but they aren’t the rule. Be sure to ask about any restrictions when you call. 
  • Check your dog’s collar, leash, and tags. They should be secure and in good repair. Consider adding an ID tag with your cell-phone number on it–the more identification, the better. 
  • Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and won’t expire while on your trip. Bring any medications, including heartworm pills and flea prevention, with you. You should also have available any documentation regarding vaccinations and special health conditions. 
  • Summer safety rules apply, particularly when in your car. Review them at the Humane Society’s site here
  • Be sure you’ve considered all the angles, including how to find pet-friendly restaurants. If you’re bringing your pooch only to leave him alone in a hotel room all day, reconsider your plans. He would probably prefer to stay in a comfy doggy hotel where he can play with canine pals. 

For fun ideas on where to vacation with your dog, check out the June issue of Midwest Living magazine. Online, you can access a searchable database of pet-friendly hotels throughout North America at petswelcome.com.

Posted by Claire M. Caterer

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