Monday, December 27, 2010


Many of you may have gained a new family member this holiday season. A puppy? A rescue dog? Congratulations! You’ve received the best gift of all -- a four-legged companion to enrich your life for years to come. Now is the time to make sure you both get started on the right paw.

Set up an area that is comfortable and secure to be your dog’s room. A small space is the best because dogs are den animals and they feel safe there. Many people teach their dogs to use a crate. Schedule specific times for feeding, exercising, elimination and training. This will set up good habits for housebreaking and the time spent with your dog will begin to develop your bond with each other.

Start your new dog’s training the minute he comes into your house. Why? Although dogs are amazingly adaptable, they don’t speak English and they don’t think like humans. A dog does NOT know that peeing on the Christmas tree is bad. He does NOT know that eating turkey out of the trash is forbidden. He has to LEARN these things -- you must TEACH him how to live with a human pack. Building good habits in the beginning is much easier than trying to break bad habits that have formed over time. A professional dog trainer is an invaluable resource to give you the skills you need to teach your dog to successfully adapt to his new home and family.

Housebreaking, the chewing phase, adolescence, socialization, basic manners -- the list seems overwhelming. A good trainer can break these down into manageable lessons for you and your dog. The best trainers use a combination of private consultations, one-on-one lessons, group classes and even training while boarding to tailor a learning program to suit your needs. Positive reinforcement is the most humane and effective method of training being taught today. Look for a trainer who is experienced and continues to update her learning with seminars and continuing education. Check with your vet, local boarding kennels and owners of well-mannered dogs in your neighborhood to see who they recommend. Interview prospective trainers and observe one of their classes to make sure it’s a comfortable fit.

It’s never too early to begin a training program and never too late to learn additional skills. Give your new companion a jump start toward becoming a wonderful, lifelong companion. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

Stay N Play Pet Ranch has training programs beginning the second week in January! Check out our training options and schedules here!

Monday, December 20, 2010


In the wake of a recent recall of pet food, we're reminded of the importance of premium pet food. The products have been recalled due to the possible presence of aflatoxin, a toxic by-product from the growth of the fungus Aspergillus flavus on corn and other crops. While premium pet foods do contain carbohydrates, they avoid corn, wheat and soy — the most common components of food allergies in pets. The following article details what a good pet food should and not include.

by Charlotte Biggs, CKO, Founder/Owner, Stay N Play Pet Ranch

One easy way any pet owner can influence the quality of life and longevity of their pet is by providing the highest quality of food possible. There are many premium pet foods available today because pet owners have an increased awareness of the affect of nutrition on their pets’ lives. Food quality makes a direct difference to your pet’s health. Feeding a premium diet results in fewer allergies, skin conditions and ear infections, less inflammatory bowel disease, better muscling and muscle tone, stronger bones, shinier coats, more energy and better temperaments. Better nutrition helps keep the immune system functioning normally, puts less stress on a pet’s organs and contributes to improved health over the long term. Pets feel better overall and are happier.

Your pet’s liver and kidneys work very hard, every day, to remove toxins from the bloodstream and eliminate them from the body. Pet foods that contain chemicals, preservatives, dyes and other non-digestible, non-supportive ingredients force these organs to unnecessarily work harder. At the same time, the body may be operating in a malnourished state because this same food is full of by-products and/or fillers that do not contribute to optimum nourishment. When a body is not healthy and functioning normally, the mind is distracted and the spirit of your pet can be compromised because it just doesn’t feel as well as it should or could.

Higher quality foods contain meat or meat meal as their first listed (most abundant) ingredient. There is also a source of carbohydrates, but minimal grains. They do NOT contain by-products, fillers, chemical preservatives, dyes or artificial flavors. They also avoid corn, wheat and soy—the most common components of food allergies in pets. The very best premium foods contain human-grade ingredients, all natural Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and probiotics. Meat based diets are more palatable to your pet because meat tastes good naturally. Inferior foods use sugar and artificial flavoring to increase their palatability.

Your pet receives better nutrition from premium pet foods because of better digestibility. Digestibilty means that every bite of food contains nutrients that the body can easily absorb and use and less filler that has no nutritional benefit and is excreted as waste (stool). This is especially important when talking about protein. Digestible proteins are meat and meat meal. Cereal grains also contain digestible protein, but dogs and cats are carnivores and their digestive systems are geared toward meat. Thus corn, wheat and soy are LESS digestible for your pet. Indigestible proteins are commonly known as by-products and can be anything from cow hooves to chicken feathers.

A highly digestible and palatable pet food requires less volume per feeding and generates less waste. A pet fed a premium food is healthier which results in lower veterinary costs and increased longevity. This offsets the higher price of premium foods. By reading labels and feeding the highest quality pet food you can afford, you can make your pets lives better and longer.

Charlotte co-owns and operates Stay N Play Pet Ranch, Inc., the all-natural, green, full service pet care facility that she and business partner, Betty Gale, built 12 years ago in Dripping Springs, Texas. They are dedicated to providing the best care possible for the pets who stay at their facility. With this same passion for the well-being of each individual pet, they are devoted to providing the pet’s owners with information and education on the most effective ways to keep their companion healthy and happy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The holiday season is the perfect time of year for family and friends to come together to celebrate, eat, drink, and be merry. While many of us love festooning every inch of the house with colorful lights, sparkling tinsel, and never-ending bowls of chocolate, we must always remember to make special preparations for our four-legged family members. The following tips should help make this holiday season a safe and fulfilling for everyone.

Keep those paws out of the candy dish. Although chocolate can be irresistible and even soothe the human soul, it can also make your pooch very sick. Make sure all chocolate is stored out of reach from pets.

De-stress a house full of guests.
The holidays are often filled with family and friends coming in and out of your house all day, everyday. Pets have a tendency to get very excited and stressed with the constant crowds of people. Have a room closed off where your pet can go to relax and unwind. Place blankets, food, water, and toys in the room and remember to check on your furry friend regularly.

Don’t be shocked! Hide all your extension cords. Christmas lights are one of the best indicators that the holiday season has finally arrived. However, extra cord and plugs can look like chew toys in the eyes of your pet. To play it safe, tape down or cover all the cords in and around the house to avoid shocks. Unplug all lights when you are not home.

Don’t keep the home fires burning.
Keep all candles out of reach and placed on high shelves. If you plan on lighting up the fireplace, always make sure to use a screen.

Don’t be down with tinsel town. This festive decoration can really brighten up a room, but it is not the safest for your pet. Hang your tinsel high and secure so your furry friend cannot get to it.

Bow wow book now! If you are traveling for the holidays and need to leave your pet at home, and you have not already done so, the time is nigh to hire a pet sitter or to secure boarding accommodations.

If you have not already booked your pet’s holiday stay with us, be sure to call us today at (512) 894-7387.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Who are some of the people behind Stay N Play Pet Ranch? We've just updated our About Us page with mini-bios for Charlotte, Betty, Lynn, Melody, Crystal, Jennifer, Pam and Darla. While backgrounds are diverse, a love of animals is the common thread! Check us out here!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Santa recently dropped by Stay N Play Pet Ranch for pets and pics with some good little boys and girls!

Get the flash player here:

Thursday, December 2, 2010


For more information on Canine Touch call Stay N Play Pet Ranch today (512) 894-7387. What exactly is Canine Touch? Canine Touch practitioner Donna Burrow shares its history, purpose, and effects:

The origins of Canine Touch are based on a technique developed by Jock Ruddock. Jock had been working on a bodywork technique that would help balance the body and aid natural healing. While teaching this to chiropractors, doctors, and other body workers, he was asked if it would work on horses. He worked on one horse. The horse owner called the following week and asked if he could come back. When Jock arrived there were ten people and their horses waiting for him. Jock began developing the technique for horses, thus equine touch was born. While teaching in the Czech Republic, Jock met his future wife, Ivana who is a veterinarian. They were married in 1997 and together they have created this incredible modality, equine touch, that is being taught and used all over the world and has helped so many horses.

It was in June of 2000, while teaching in the US, Ivana noticed a little Jack Russell terrier whose back was arched and had a stiff hind leg. She performed “the move” along his spine. The dog seemed to enjoy it and when he rushed to greet his owner, Ivana noticed that he was able to move much better. She began to focus on dogs, refining the moves until Canine Touch was developed.

Canine Touch is a non-diagnostic, non-invasive hands-on modality which has the capability to affect the whole animal -- mind and body. It optimizes the function of the soft tissue, balances the nervous system, and positively affects the body’s energetic system. This allows the potential for natural healing to operate at both physical and emotional levels.

One of the primary goals and an extremely important part of Canine Touch is relaxation. When the animal is relaxed, stress is decreased and the body triggers the release of significant substances and hormones that are crucial to healing. Relaxation is truly the prerequisite to healing.

Canine Touch targets the soft tissue which is often the source of problems and pain that affects the whole body negatively. When the process is applied gently over the fascia, muscles, tendons and ligaments, positive structural and functional changes take place in the soft tissue. When applied synergistically, the technique can release tight muscles, as well as, improve blood and lymphatic flow. It also allows for neuro-muscular re-education and increased awareness of the nervous system.

Canine Touch is a wonderful, holistic way to help any dog. It is not only a modality for sick or injured dogs. Canine Touch is extremely beneficial for working dogs, service and therapy dogs, athletic dogs, puppies and aged dogs. The day to day activities of dogs causes their bodies, just like humans’, to become out of balance to some degree. Canine Touch is a wonderful restorative gift to give to our beloved, four legged friends.

Melody's sweet Emmett appears to be quite content with Canine Touch.