Author: Colleen Sedgwick

Bunny Rabbits – Resist the Temptation!

Easter arrives this coming Sunday and with it all those things that signal spring is truly here to stay. From daffodils and blooming trees and shrubs to pastel colors and sun bathing. Something else that’s also prominent in the springtime are baby bunny rabbits! These little balls of cuddly fur with perfect little ears make their appearance every spring – especially around Easter.

While in some places the admiration of baby bunnies, and chicks, and ducks are part of the Easter festivities, they are also encountered in the wild too. Do you or your children really know how to handle bunny rabbits though? They are A LOT more complex than they seem. We wanted to hit on a couple high points as you encounter these lovely creatures this season.

Bunny Rabbits 101

  • Don’t take one home as a pet on a whim. We can’t stress this enough. They require so much consideration and specialized care and can live up to ten years or more. If you plan on getting a bunny rabbit as a pet, it is so important you do your research. They are not a cat or dog and have very different needs.
  • Don’t let your children pick them up without adult training and supervision. If a rabbit has been handled enough that you can pick it up, you must do so in a specific way. Many bunny rabbit deaths occur from improper handling that result in broken backs.
  • NEVER pick a rabbit up by it’s ears.
  • If you find a nest in the wild, leave it alone. The babies have not been abandoned. Rabbit mothers spend most of their time away from the nest to keep from attracting predators. Leave the babies be or the mother may reject them.
  • If you find a lost baby bunny rabbit outside the nest, or your cat or dog bring one in, it’s important that you know how hard it can be for them to thrive. If it still has the little white mark on its head, it is likely still far too young to survive without its mother. If it doesn’t have the star, call your local vet to ask if there is a wild animal rehabilitation center or similar organization you can hand it over to.

This season, we really can’t stress enough how important it is that wild bunnies be left to be wild bunnies and tame bunnies are well thought out and planned for before they come home with you!

photo credit: -Porsupah- Between worlds via photopin (license)

Backyard Safety with Your Pet – The 101

How Pet Safe is Your Backyard?

Pennsylvania has always been a pet loving state, with statistics indicating that over half a million of us seek the companionship of a dog, cat, or other furry, spiny, or ‘slimy but friendly’ creature in our homes. Around 400,000 households have at least one dog vs 244,000 households with at least one kitty. Statistics also show that we love our yards; even city dwelling millennials dream of having a large home in the suburbs with a backyard lawn on which to have barbecues, socialize with friends, and play fetch with Fido.

If you are lucky enough to have a beautiful, spacious backyard, are you sure it is safe for your dog or cat? If you already know how to puppy proof your home, why not ensure the yard is just as safe?

Picking the Right Plants

Many pet owners are surprised to find out that common flowers such as azaleas, rhododendrons, many types of lily or daffodils, are toxic to cats and dogs, so much so that ingestion of just a small amount can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and sometimes, even death. If you have bought a new house and are not sure about which plants are in the yard, help from a trusted gardener will enable you to weed out potential culprits.

Fencing Fido In

Dogs have a natural digging instinct and some might try to escape to the Great Outdoors if they are bored or alone in the yard or backyard. To stop this from happening make sure your fence is sturdy and that it reaches all the way down; flexible dogs are often able to worm their way out of even the smallest gap.

Bury chicken wire deep into the soil beneath the fence or better yet, consider building a stone or paved path between the fence and the grass, so your dog has no soil to dig up when escape is on his mind.

Another unsuspected danger for dogs in the yard is a gate that is easy to open. A self-closing system will ensure your pooch can’t just slide the latch to the side and escape. If you prefer a manual latch, make sure it is too difficult for your dog to manoeuvre.

If your dog is a digger, build him a little play area in your yard by digging up soil and filling it with sand. Place his favorite toys under the sand and watch him go!

Also, ensure that your dog isn’t digging because of boredom. Make sure he is physically and mentally challenged through exercise and Kong style toys and puzzles, which will keep him interested in more useful pursuits. Walk him regularly, even if he is a yard dog, to ensure mental stimulation and exploration! Hire a pet nanny if you can’t find time regularly! 

Ticks, Fleas, Insects (and Snakes!)

Dogs and cats love to roll around in the grass, which means they can be bitten by insects or infested by ticks and fleas. The first priority is to keep the grass shortly mowed and clear of clutter.

Make sure your pets are protected with a pet-friendly flea and tick repellent that is free of harsh toxins such as pyrethoids, which have sadly caused too many pet deaths. Go with what your vet recommends and talk to them about natural possibilities.

Many dog and cat owners use diluted essential oils such as eucalyptus or peppermint to repel parasites, but be very careful, since some essential oils can cause harm. For instance, geranium and citrus oils can be dangerous for  cats, while some oils (such as cedar, citronella or pennyroyal) should never be used on pregnant animals.

The one oil cats seem to be okay with is neem oil, which can be added to shampoo (one teaspoon of oil per cup of pet shampoo is usually okay, according to passhealthfoods.com).

For dogs, typical solutions contain around five drops of essential oils like geranium, lemon, or lavender, with one teaspoon of carrier oil. When rubbing the oils onto your pets, avoid the eyes, nose, mouth, genitals and anal area.

Neem juice and citrus essential oils are also excellent to spray on plants to repel insects, but if you have cats, avoid anything but neem in most cases.

Beware of the Sun

Dogs can suffer from heatstroke if let out in the sun too long. Unless your backyard has tall trees that can provide plenty of shade, build your dog a wooden dog house where he can hide from the burning UV rays during peak hours of sun.

Make sure there is a fresh bowl of water out and place his house far away from his ‘potty spot’.

For most Americans, a pet is as much a member of the family as humans are. Make sure their favorite place to lounge contains no toxins that can harm their health, and keep them inside to avoid the risk of loss or injury. Finally, adapt your yard to the seasons, making sure Fido or Kitty always have a cool spot to chill out in.

Photo by The Poodle Gang on Unsplash

Cat Questions Answered! Why Does….

If you’ve got yourself a cat, chances are you’ve probably asked yourself a dozen times, “Why does my cat ____?” They can certainly be mysteries to us sometimes! Some of this seemingly quirky behavior is just due to their unique personality. Other behaviors are often universal to all cats though. If you’re looking for some answers to better understand your kitty, we’ve found an amazing resource for all things feline related! PawsomeKitty.com has just about everything you could need to know about cat care and behavior. We highly suggest you check them out! In the interim though, here are some top behaviors explained!

Why does my cat ____?

  • …suddenly become playfully aggressive? Does your cat ever latch unto your arm or leg while biting with it’s ears back and a crazy look in it’s eyes after a play session? This is a sign your kitty is over-stimulated. Some cats get overstimulated quickly. Recognize when playful nibbles and paw batting starts to escalate and then give your kitty some time to calm down.
  • …my cat scent me? Does your kitty like to rub their paws on you, or their chins? These are all signs that your cat is scenting you with the scent glands located in these regions. When your cat does this, they are often marking their territory. It may sound domineering (and maybe it is…) but they do this often because you are their “chosen human”. This means they can more easily seek you out from other humans for food or snuggles.
  • …meow loudly at night? We all love our kitty’s voice, but not when we’re trying to get some much needed shut eye. Humans and cats make great companions, but they naturally keep different hours. While cats my lay around most of the day, they frequently will become more active at night when you are trying to sleep. Meowing can often mean there is a need you have failed to meet. Since your feline will be more active at night, try to make sure they have food, water, and a clean kitty box to help minimize demands!

Photo by Vinicius de Moraes on Unsplash

Flood Tips To Protect Your Pet This Spring

While the saying is “April showers bring May flowers,” sometimes those rains get here a little sooner than expected. Melting snow and ice from winter mixed with heavy spring rains make this time of year a flood risk for most. Whether its spring rains or you live in an area effected by hurricane season, you need a flood plan for you and your pet. Every time this kind of disaster strikes shelters are filled with abandoned or lost pets. Don’t let this happen to you and your pet – have an action plan!

Flood Tips For You & Your Pet

  • Evacuation Plans – Have an evacuation plan. That means both knowing how to get out and where you are going. Ensure that the “where” is pet friendly, as are your travel accommodations. This is the best way to ensure you and your pet’s safety. Expect evacuation to move slowly and be chaotic. Don’t wait till the last minute to get to safety.
  • Watch Weather Reports – Many areas will be in a flash flood watch for several days before a flood. This usually means that the ground is already saturated and heavy rains are predicted. If you stay aware of the weather reports and know how water builds around your home, you should have a good radar about when you need to take action.
  • Have An Emergency Pet Kit – Keep an emergency bag packed for your pet. This should include things like leashes, food, water, medicine, comfort items or treats, and anything else your specific pet may require. First aid kits are always a good idea too!
  • Ask Kennels About Emergency Plans – If you’re traveling out of town and have to board your pet be sure to ask about emergency plans. Good pet borders should have reasonable plans for protecting your pets in case of a natural disaster.
  • Tag Your Pet – If you and your pet do become separated speed up your reunion by making sure they have a collar with your contact information on it. Microchips are also a great idea in case they end up in a shelter.

The best plan is to have a plan and stay aware of your conditions!

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

New Puppy Diet Tips – Feeding Them Right!

 

 

Got A New Puppy? Learn All About Feeding Your New Pet! 

One of the most exciting times in life is when a new member joins the family, be it a human or a pet. Puppies have a special place in our hearts and can send our loving instincts into overdrive, so how to make sure your new puppy gets the nutrition that’s scientifically right for them?

Firstly, it’s important to remind ourselves that human food isn’t suitable for dogs, and may even be harmful – especially for puppies. So while there are some safe foods to share with your dog, try to resist those puppy dog eyes, and don’t be tempted to feed from the table as it will only encourage bad habits and can lead to health problems.

How often?

Guidelines say that just weaned puppies can safely have puppy food they can access throughout the day left out because they are unlikely to overeat at a young age. Just make sure that wet food is replaced before it can go off – dry food tends to be OK. And please don’t forget the water! Pups can dehydrate quickly in warm temperatures, so a clean source of water is as important as nutritious food. Alternatively, consider feeding your new pet four times a day, and switch to three times a day when they reach 4 months of age.

How much?

How much to feed your dog will depend on the breed and the weight they are likely to reach as an adult – females tend to be lighter than males. Overfeeding your dog can lead to dangerous complications, as can the wrong combination of food and supplements. Best to stick to a breed specific puppy food brand, and check out some expert guidelines on feeding your new puppy. If you can monitor their weight with a reliable set of scales, this will be enormously helpful at this stage.

Growing up fast

By the time your dog turns 6 to 12 months, you can feed them twice a day and some puppies will start to switch to adult dog food. Again – check their breed, as larger breeds take longer to reach their full adult size and you’ll still wish to control your pup’s calcium intake to avoid bone problems later on. As dogs grow, you’ll want to start training them and they’ll burn off much energy through walks and exercise, but bear in mind safe levels for feeding and ensure they get dog treats that are right for their breed and age.

Emotional eating isn’t good for humans or dogs

There are plenty of ways you can show your love and praise to your dog that don’t involve food treats, which may be unsuitable or lead to weight problems. Praising your new puppy with cuddles, petting, an enthusiastic voice or simply giving them your full attention is just as effective, if not more, than stuffing them with useless calories.

Keeping those simple rules in mind should give your dog the best start in life, and help you enjoy a long and healthy bond with your beloved pet.

Travel Safety With Your Pet – Top Tips!

With March comes Spring and after Spring comes summer! All this good news means you and your pets will be out and about shaking off some cabin fever. Travel safety is second nature for you. You always buckle your seat belt and check your mirrors. If you’re traveling with your pet it’s important you check for their travel safety too!A small, low speed collision can still send your light-weight pet from the front to the rear of your vehicle (or vice versa), causing serious injury.

Pet Travel Safety

Minimize and Secure –  Objects can become dangerous projectiles in an accident. While it may be tempting to just let stuff pile up in your vehicle, this is a safety hazard. Try to minimize what you keep in the front cargo area of your vehicle. Especially heavy or sharp objects that could be dangerous if thrown. If your vehicle has an open trunk area like most SUV’s use straps to secure luggage and other items.

Get a Car Seat or Travel Crate – Yup, they exist. Smaller pets do great in little pet care seats like this one. They are padded and attach to a body harness (be sure you use a body harness and don’t attach to their collar). This keeps them from being tossed around and increases travel safety by keeping them from becoming a distraction for the driver. Travel crates for large pets are also great, but be sure they are properly secured.

Pet Seat Belts – If you’ve got a well behaved pet, consider investing in a pet seat belt. These are secured using the same seat belt hookups already installed in your vehicle and fit around your pet like a body harness. They keep your pet secured in case of accidents or sudden braking and turns.

photo credit: Hanafan Car driver via photopin (license)

Pet Litter – The Best Types for Your Pet!

If you have a cat, rabbit, or other small critter like a hamster you purchase pet litter regularly. Maybe at the time you got your pet you didn’t look into it that much. Litter is litter, right? Well, sort of. Would you love to improve the process of cleaning up after your pet? Is your litter choice healthy? Read on while we break down the types and help you improve your pets bathroom experience!

Pet Litter – The Cat Edition

Did you know that before WWII people filled their cats litter boxes with sand, dirt, or ashes? Not the cleanest options to be honest. At the time, the military was using absorbent clay to clean up oil spills in factories and a former sailor had an idea – thus pet litter was born!

Clay litter was a big improvement over sand or dirt. It didn’t stick to the cats paws and get tracked around as much. It also helped with odor control. We’ve come a long way since the technology of WWII though! Clumping cat litter was later developed allowing pet owners to simply remove the soiled clay instead of replacing it all.

Now clay pet litters even come in scented varieties. While this may be nice for us, most pets don’t care for it. Be sure to gauge your pets reaction before you stock up on it.

Other natural pet litter options include litter made from recycled paper pellets, pine pulp, and even corn cobs! Many of these options don’t combat odor the way clay does, and will have to be changed more frequently too.

Small Animal Bedding and Litter

While clay based pet litter may be the best option for cats, it’s usually the worst choice for other critters. Many small animals like hamsters or gerbils live and sleep in the same material they use for litter. Wood chips like pine or aspen are most often used for these small creatures, though a paper option like the CareFresh bedding/litter is also a popular, though more expensive choice. These creatures will often have a designated area of their cage where they do most of their bathroom business. Regardless of litter choice, it’s important to regularly refresh this area.

Paper fiber litter is an ideal choice for a rabbits litter box, as it tracks very little and absorbs well. Aspen pellets are a great choice for absorption, though some pets enjoy fluffier material. Aspen chips or fiber over the pellets can be a great combination. Avoid pine chips for rabbit litter however. Pine, when soaked in rabbit urine can create unhealthy fumes for your pet.

Whatever litter choice works best for you and your pet, be sure that you keep their bathroom area clean. Many pets won’t use poorly kept litter boxes!

photo credit: Carly & Art Eco-Bun Henrietta knows a grand way to reuse packing material via photopin (license)

Moving + Pets – Stress, The Pet Nanny Guide For Your Move!

How to Move House With Pets Without the Stress

In 2016, 11.2 percent of the American population moved to a new home. Many of these households have at least one pet. Data gathered by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation in 2012 shows that over 80 million Americans have pets. With an approximate of 40 million households moving to a new home each year against the total US population of over 323 million, it is safe to say that many households moving house have at least one dog, cat, bird, or horse. This is why professional pet sitters are called pre-move and during the move itself.

The Moving Process

A good number of homeowners also seek to move house while re-mortgaging their old property. Buy to let mortgages to family members, such as siblings and parents is increasingly becoming popular in the US. This can be due to a son or daughter still working or going to school in the area or other family members wanting to stay in the old home for other reasons.

If you are leaving your old home for a new one, and looking into buy to let mortgages, one thing is for sure – you and your pets will be very stressed out by the move. Whatever the circumstances, moving house with your pets will prove to be challenging.

Stress on Your Dogs or Cats

Moving to a new home is one of life’s most stressful events and this is true even if you are moving from an old house to a palace or when you are moving to a new state or just down the street. There will be so many things on your plate and your pets will know something’s up. After all, they’d keep seeing strangers visiting your house.

By the time that you are already inundated with things that need to get done, your pets’ meal times will vary and they won’t get the attention that you usually give them. Apart from too many strangers visiting your home, a disruption in their schedule will contribute to the stress that they are experiencing..

How to Keep Your Pets at Ease Pre-Move

There are ways for you to reduce your pets’ stress pre-move.One of the most helpful is to stick to their feeding schedule.

For dog owners, it is imperative that you make time for play time because nothing stresses your furry friends more than suddenly being neglected or ignored. You can also take them out of the house whenever you can so that you and your dogs can get away from all that stress even for a bit.

How to Reduce Your Pets’ Stress Levels During the Move

Put their IDs on them and keep their favorite toys and other possessions such as their beds with them. Make sure that you call a pet nanny beforehand so that a professional can take care of your pets while you are busy. This is ideal because the nanny will get them away from the craziness when the movers start getting all of your household items out of the house.

When you are finally in your new home, make sure that you take care of your pets’ needs. Go right back to their routine and play with them even if you have lots of boxes to unpack. Their beds, toys, and other items must be taken out of the box so that they can be reunited with familiar items. It is also advisable to give your pets time to get comfortable in their new home before inviting people over.

Photo by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash

Puppy-proof Your World – Tips & Tricks

Was your new puppy a well thought out addition to your family? An incident of fate? No matter how you came to have a delightful little furry critter, what you do now that they’re home is important! Don’t set your puppy up for failure by failing to cultivate an environment they can learn and grow in. If you puppy-proof your house, you can prevent future mishaps and frustrating moments in the future. What does it mean to “puppy-proof”? Let us make offer you some great tips that will get you well on your way!

Puppy-proof Your Home!

  • Pick-up and block access to all toxic substances. Even if they aren’t in an area your puppy will frequent. It’s not unusual for these little beasts to escape or travel out of our preferred territory for them. Make sure if they do, no hazardous accidents await them!
  • Get a trashcan with a puppy proof lid. The trash may smell bad to us, but it can be super enticing for a pet. Puppy-proof your trash by adding a secure lid, or getting a sturdy one with a foot mechanism.
  • Tie up those drape cords. Don’t let your puppy get dangerously entangled in drape or blind cords. Tie these up out of reach to avoid buying new window treatments or an injured pet.
  • Keep plants out of reach. This can prevent poisoning and keeps them from digging in the pots!
  • Keep power cords out of reach. This is a must if your new puppy is a chewer (and most are). You can also make sure they have plenty of chew toys so they can get this impulse out without causing damage.
  • Ditto ^^ for shoes, throw pillows, or anything else you really care about or can be dangerous! 
  • Keep your nightstand clear. Puppy-proof your bedroom by making sure nightstands or tables they can access by jumping up on things are free from things they can break. Also make sure to keep medicines in the medicine cabinet, out of reach!
  • Keep the toilet lid down. Don’t let a bad habit start!

Got some additional tips to help puppy-proof homes? Share them with us!

photo credit: Jonathan Meddings Way too cute via photopin (license)

Dog Flu Season- What You Need To Know!

When we hear the flu season is upon us we stock up on hand sanitizer and vitamin C. Did you know that there is an equally dangerous strain of the flu that effects dogs and cats? Would you know how to detect it? Let us help you out with a little dog flu 101 to get you through the rest of this trying season!

Dog Flu 101

  • Get the shot – Even if you aren’t big on getting the flu shot for yourself, ask your vet about getting a flu shot for your pet!
  • Know the symptoms – Think your pet’s having an off day? Notice lethargy and sneezing? Check your pet’s temperature. If it’s high and pointing toward a fever call to discuss options with your vet.
  • Limit their exposure – Pet Nanny’s sure can come in handy during the dog flu season. We save you from having to board your pet and can help supplement dog park time with extra walks. Try to keep your pet around animals you know.
  • Quarantine – If you have multiple pets (this includes cats too!) and one starts to exhibit symptoms, try to keep them away from your other critters to keep it from spreading and increasing that vet bill!

Most importantly, don’t stress too much. Most likely your pet will be fine, and dog flu is not communicable to humans (and vice versa) so feel free to give them some extra love and make sure they get rest and you keep their temperature down. Once you know the steps for prevention, how to spot it, and what to do then you’ve already conquered most of the danger! Spring will be here before you know it!

photo credit: Anne Davis 773 via photopin (license)

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