By Samantha Roesler
To many pet owners, their fur babies are like children. They want nothing but the best doctors and professionals handling their pets. Luckily for Estero residents, there are many local pet professionals who are determined to provide top services to ensure happy and healthy pooches.
Those in Estero looking for a personalized, at-home training experience for their dogs can find Joseph De Simone, founder of Canine Command. De Simone is a graduate of the Animal Behavior College, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and is a Certified American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. He has over 20 years of experience working with other trainers to learn various training approaches.
“Each dog is an individual, and what works for one dog is not going to work a lot of times for another dog,” De Simone said. “So, with experience, you’ve seen it all and you’re able to solve much more and tougher problems.”
With De Simone’s bachelor’s degree in chemistry and minor in biology, he takes a science-based approach to his training. He believes that the owners and their pets need to be equally involved.
“I train the owner as much as I’m training the dog—in my experience, it’s always about the owners,” De Simone said. “If the owners are willing to do the exercises, do the reading and also be good leaders for their dog, then the dog will come around.”
Canine Command will educate dog owners how to control resources such as food, walks or affection and demand calm behavior for those resources from their dogs with the mentality that everything in the home is not an entitlement; it is a privilege.
De Simone took a nutrition course through the Animal Behavior College and informs owners on the importance of feeding their pets the right meals.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there and junk out on the market, especially for a puppy,” De Simone said. “They need really good nutrition if they’re going to grow up correctly.”
Dog owners wanting to book training with De Simone can make an appointment at caninecommand.net.
Punk Rock Pets
Wanting to get your pup looking spiffy for the next party? Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming is specialized in start-of-the-art grooming services and is one of the only businesses in the area that offers creative, colored grooming—if you decide you want your pup rocking a mohawk or colored shoes!
Woof Gang has its own grooming academy for the staff with continuous education opportunities for grooming specialists. Woof Gang also has a full bakery of pet treats, along with a wide selection of human–grade food including options of frozen pet food.
“Pet parents are moving away from dry food because it generally does not provide adequate moisture for a pet’s diet,” said Erica Welling, owner of Woof Gang in Estero. “Dogs and cats are naturally designed to obtain moisture from their food, making frozen pet foods an excellent choice.”
Grooming appointments are required at Woof Gang as they are sometimes booked a month out, but owners of dogs are welcome to browse the treats, food and accessories offered at any time. Visit woofgangbakery.com to learn more.
Did you know that it’s recommended for dogs to visit the dentist at least once per year? Pet Dental Center in Estero specializes in oral health for your furry friend.
“Oral issues can lead to advanced systematic diseases,” said Danielle Gingerich, Pet Dental Center practice manager. “The mouth is the pathway of the body.”
Many general practitioners will not treat pets for oral health issues, which is why visiting a dental specialty vet is recommended. Pet dental doctors do an extra four years of education to be able to perform oral treatments and surgeries. Pet Dental Center provides general cleaning and also provides oral cancer treatments, surgeries for jaw fractures and more.
Unfortunately, oral pain is the hardest type of pain to diagnose in a pet. This makes getting your pet’s mouth checked consistently all the more important, Gingerich said.
“When we talk to customers for their follow-ups, they claim their dogs are acting younger because they had no idea their mouths were bothering them,” she said. “It’s just so hard to diagnose that it has to get really severe to get the obvious signs.
Visit petdental.center to learn more about pet dental health.
Bonita Boarding and Kennel (BBK) is a great option for dog owners who are looking for a family owned and operated business that will treat any dog like their own.
BBK offers daycare for dogs that is always supervised, with an outdoor agility park, pool and an indoor air-conditioned facility. Staff members also play ball with the doggy residents and take them on walks.
Dogs that are boarding at BBK have their own private air-conditioned cabin, available for all breeds and sizes of dogs.
“Our goal is to have delighted customers, not just that they’re happy with us—that they’re delighted,” said Debi Braendle, co-owner of BBK.
BBK takes pride in being community–minded, often offering extra assistance. For example, they will pick up dogs for grooming and drop them off back home for owners who are homebound.
“We’ve adopted it as a philosophy here that if someone needs help, we will help them,” Braendle said.
To learn more about BBK’s services and mission, visit bonitaboardingkennel.com.
Grace Vet Center is a family-owned animal hospital in Estero that offers a fear-free experience for pets. Their team emphasizes the concept that your pet’s mental well-being matters.
“Instead of tucked tails, we have wagging tails,” said Dr. Laura Laxton, who opened the practice with her husband in late 2019. “We want pets to always have a happy visit.”
Giving treats to pets during vaccines is one way to ensure a less stressful time. The layout of Grace Vets is also made with the pet’s happiness in mind. With cats being treated on one side and dogs on the opposite side, nervous canines and felines will not be stressed by the presence of each other.
Laxton, who has been a veterinarian since 2015, has come to realize the importance of caring for the entire pet family.
“Helping patients was my first priority, and now it’s the whole family—it’s the people that come with the pets,” Laxton said. “I think a lot of places forget that the people are what’s most important.”
Laxton has a special interest in pet pediatrics, always willing to answer any questions about your new pup.
“If we can help ease worries, there’s no judgement,” Laxton said. “Whether you’re an inexperienced pet owner, or you have 20 dogs at home, we’re here to help everybody.”
On the other end of the pet life cycle, Grace Veterinary Center partners with a specialist from Life Pulse Therapy to offer electromagnetic therapy for pets suffering from chronic pain and mobility issues. This is a great option for animals who could be suffering from arthritis, ulcers, swelling and more.
Laxton and her team realize that when something goes wrong with your furry friend, it can be detrimental to the family’s emotional health. Grace Veterinary Center has a beautiful garden outside for families to relax, with a memorial garden of stones dedicated to beloved pets who have passed. The Comfort Room upstairs is away from the main part of the clinic to provide a calm space for tough end of life discussions.
To schedule an appointment with Grace Veterinary Center or to learn more about their services, visit gracevets.com.
More Pet Vets & Services
Providing nothing but the best for your furry best friend is how it should be, and not needing to look past Estero to find pet-loving businesses makes it as easy as ever. Here are some other note-worthy pet-centric service providers:
Florida Veterinary Referral Center and 24-Hour Emergency Hospital () — This pet hospital in Estero Park Commons has a group of emergency doctors to ensure your pet can get treatment at any point of the day or night.
Shoppes of Estero Animal Hospital () and Estero Animal Hospital () are both general veterinary offices located in the area. Both are open to new clients of all ages and are committed to providing the highest quality veterinary care to ensure optimal health.
Dipidy Dawg () and Paw-Radise Estero ()both offer locally baked treats for dogs that are sure to get “two paws up”! Dipidy Dawg, located in Corkscrew Village, also offers a pet boutique and Doggy Day Spa for the ultimate pooch pampering experience.