Category: Health and Safety

Mental Health & Wellbeing of Pet Ownership!

The Benefits of Pets for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Our pets are often some of our best friends and very much a part of our families – in fact, 90% of owners think of their pets as family members! They offer us love and affection when we need it the most, so it’s perhaps no surprise that spending time with them can really benefit your mental health. With 1 in 4 people now experiencing mental health problems like anxiety and depression each and every year, pets can be a brilliant source of comfort and emotional support.

There are plenty of reasons why this is the case:

  • Pet owners, especially those with dogs, get on average far more exercise than those without pets. Going outside and getting exercise has been proven to elevate mental health!
  • Pets help you be more social! Whether it’s at training classes, during a trip to the vet’s or even just when walking your dog, pet-owners find they meet lots of people they already have something in common with.
  • Perhaps most importantly, pets are amazing companions and are always there when we need them. There’s nothing better than a much needed cuddle when you’re down!

If you’d like to learn more about the ways that pets can improve your mental health, take a look at this infographic created by the Animal Health Company

 

About the author Sasha Quinn is a content writer for Animal Health Company, a supplier of canine and equine health, hygiene and grooming products.

Christmas Safety Tips For You & Your Pet!

Christmas Safety Comes First During Holidays!

Holidays are a time meant for family vacations and friends getting together. Many also plan a vacation away from home. As a pet owner, there is an extra responsibility of putting your pets in safe hands before going on a family vacation. There are several pet care services that work during these holidays so that the pet owners can enjoy a nice vacation. However, it is a busy season for them and some are booked months before the holidays begin.
Before you plan to leave for a vacation, it is recommended that you take care of a few things at your home for maximum Christmas safety. You don’t want to put your pet and Pet Nanny in trouble. It is always better to have pet-friendly decorations at home, objects that are not sharp or breakable. It is better not to encourage your pets to play with decorations. Tether the tree to a strong object to avoid a fall. Check your furnace, house pipes, doors, and windows for any leaks. Do not keep any candies or chocolates that your dog can access as it can be very harmful to your pets. These tips to keep your pet safe during Christmas will hopefully help you have a safe Christmas and a wonderful vacation from Pet Nanny &  Top Dog Tips.

 

 

 

Rabbit Starter Kit – Tips For A Happy Bun!

Did you know that the rabbit population in animal shelters grows every year? Rabbits can be complicated, yet very rewarding pets if you know a few basics beforehand. Before you let that round little rump and those fuzzy paws entice you into an impulse purchase/adoption let us guide you through some of the basics of rabbit ownership!

Rabbits Aren’t Cats or Dogs

It’s important not to treat them as such. They are a very different creature and how you care for them and respect them can be vastly different. Here are a few of the key points you need to be aware of:

  • Rabbits are prey animals, unlike cats or dogs. Their instinct for survival kicks in each time they get spooked and its fairly easy to spook even a familiar rabbit.
  • It’s very important that you let them familiarize themselves with their environment in a quiet and respectful way. You can’t always be quick to scoop them up, or even approach them, if they aren’t used to regular human contact, or are shy.
  • Locate a vet that is trained specifically for rabbits. Cat and dog vets are not necessarily able to treat rabbits so be sure you have one picked out.
  • All pets have different personalities, but rabbits can vary widely. Some are laid back and up for anything, some are stand-offish, even at their best. If you’re adopting, spend time with your rabbit before you commit. Bunnies need forever homes to be truly comfortable, not temporary ones.

Rabbit Supplies

  • Cage/House – Even free-roaming (house tyrants, really) need to have an out-of-the-way bunny specific place that is off limits to you. It’s also important that you have a place you can confine them when doing house projects or when you go out. Rabbits can be dangerously curious and deceptively destructive!
  • Two Litter Boxes – Two are best, one for their cage, one for the house. You may place the litter box where you want, but rabbits frequently will pick their own location and it can be easier to just place the box in the spot they pick.
  • Bunny Litter – Wood chips are fine, but choose Aspen over Pine as pine can be unhealthy for them. Wood pellets and paper are also good choices – Cat litter is a big no-no!
  • Timothy Hay & Pellets – Rabbits should have unlimited access to this delicious hay. They should have a trough in their cage and have access to more while in their litter box. Rabbits are happiest snacking on it while doing their business. Food pellets are also necessary. Choose high quality pellets with lots of vitamins and minerals. Rabbits also love fresh greens like kale, cilantro, spinach, and, as a treat, banana!
  • Grooming supplies – A good, rabbit-specific brush is a must for the shedding season. Good nail clippers are also important.
  • Harness & leash – House bunnies love trips outside! Use a harness with their leash to better protect them and focus on leash training them in the home first, before you venture out. Make sure the space you walk them in is free from predators.
  • Food & Water Supplies – Food and water dishes must be secured. Bunnies are playful critters and anything not secured in their territory is going to get tossed about.

photo credit: Keithius morning chuck via photopin (license)

Holiday Season – Getting Through the Big Four

It’s that time of year when the celebrations seem to hit us one after another! Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years – whew!! The holiday season parties and family gatherings help to ease us into winter. As we quickly transition from one theme to the next new pet dangers are constantly popping up. A well-seasoned pet owner may know these dangers like the back of their pets paw! If you’re new to the pet game or even new to decorating or hosting holiday events in your home here are some top dangers to watch out for!

Pet Dangers for the Holiday Season

Halloween

  • Chocolate or other candy – including their wrappers which can have remnants or prove to be choking hazards.
  • Loose parts of costumes or decorations, candles in pumpkins, chewable electric cords.
  • Strangers. People unfamiliar to your pet can cause stress and fear as can high traffic. Keep pets safe, even if it means temporarily confining them to a quiet portion of your home.

Thanksgiving

  • Bones, scrapes, and sweets! Make sure guests understand your rules about sharing food with your pets and keep pets out of areas where they can access human foods easily.
  • Chrysanthemums are a popular and lovely fall decor, but also deadly poisonous to dogs.
  • Hot things in the kitchen. Creating a delicious meal means lots of hot plates, pots, pans, and liquids. Tripping over a pet at the wrong moment could lead to more than just a ruined dish. Keep your pets safe by keeping them out of the kitchen during peak cooking times.

Christmas

  • The chrysanthemums may be past their prime by now but poinsettias are just as deadly to your pets!
  • Chocolate! and all other holiday treats and sweets. Sugar is bad for pets.
  • Glass from broken Christmas lights and ornaments.
  • Wrapping paper, ribbons, tags, and bows can all prove to be choking and tangling hazards. Make sure your pets are well supervised if they like to frolic in the post-Christmas morning aftermath.

New Year’s Eve

  • Alcohol. Don’t ever give your pet alcohol or leave it where they can easily access it.
  • Confetti, ribbons, and small celebratory things can lead to digestive and intestinal issues in pets.
  • Chocolate and sweets. Yeah, we really like candies… Always keep them out of your pets reach!
  • High traffic, again, is a threat here, but doubly so if your guests are drinking. Unsteady feet don’t mix with little creatures at foot level.

Know your pet and always keep them in mind before, during, and after each holiday!

photo credit: The 3 bulldogs Hangover, hangover, hangover… via photopin

Winter Prepping Your Pet – Start Before It’s Too Late!

By mid-October we’ve already felt that wintery chill in the air a few times, and so have our pets! Don’t wait till the first sub-zero night or snowstorm to get your pet ready for the coming season. Winter may only last a quarter of the year, but it sure can feel longer if you haven’t done your winter prepping. Here are some of our top tips for both indoor and outdoor pets.

Winter Prepping Your Pet

Outdoor pets

Outdoor pets need extra care in the winter!

  • Make sure that their shelter is in good shape with a solid roof and doesn’t allow for drafts.
  • Position their shelter smartly. Keeping it closer to other structures helps to block the wind. Turn it so the entrance faces the south, instead of the north too, and make sure it gets good sunshine.
  • If you can do so safely, invest in a heated pet pad. These can really elevate your pets winter abode. As a bonus, they can also help keep your pets water from freezing.
  • Have lots of good bedding! Straw or hay are great for pets to burrow into. Grab two or three bales this fall and keep them in a dry place so you can stuff your pets house and change frequently for cleanliness.
  • Prone to really bad weather? Have a plan that includes bringing your pet inside. It’s good to note that many places have animal cruelty laws about leaving pets out in bad weather. Be prepared to create a temporary pet haven inside your home or garage. If that’s not possible, check into possibly boarding your pet for the duration of the rough weather. It’s not ideal, but it is warm and safe.
  • You’re included in winter prepping too! You will need to check on your pet, take them for walks, and spend just as much time with them. Make sure you have good boots, a coat, gloves and hat for playing fetch with some snowballs!
  • Be prepared to feed them a little more than usual. Their bodies will be using extra calories to regulate the body temperature.

Indoor pets

Winter prepping indoor pets is important too!

  • Many indoor pets still have to go outdoors from time to time. Make sure your pet is equipped enough to suit their breed. Short-haired pets may need extra warmth and it’s worth investing in a good sweater for them.
  • Many pets can also suffer from cold-feet come winter, especially if they are walking around in the ice and snow! Consider some paw booties to protect them and keep them dry. If your pet goes out bare pawed, keep it short if their feet are getting wet and be prepared to dry them off when you get back inside!
  • Many people will turn their home thermostat down when they are away or sleeping. Make sure your pet has extra bedding and is positioned in an area without drafts.
  • Just like outdoor pets, a little extra food can help!

photo credit: ShutterRunner First Snow in Chicago via photopin (license)

How To Keep Your Canine Cozy in the Cold Months

Cozy Canine in the Cold Months

Ok, so we can all agree that Rudolph is a pretty cute reindeer, but your precious pooches definitely shouldn’t be sporting the ‘red nose’ look this fall/winter. It’s just not fetching! As it gets colder, and the bathing suits go back to the closet to collect dust, special care must be taken when keeping your canine warm. So grab something pumpkin spice related, put your feet up because we’re here to show you how you can keep your pup cozy by the fire and what to look out for to keep them out of harms way.

Never…

Never ever leave your dog in the car! This one is a given, but sometimes we need a reminder that, even though we’re in a rush to get Kristen’s birthday cake at the last minute, it’s never a good idea to leave your dog in the car in the meantime. And this applies in the winter too, as the car can get very cold, very quickly, and your poor pup could be exposed to hypothermia or frostbite. Also make sure that, apart from walks, your dog is not spending too much time outside and when they are inside, make sure the house is a comfortable temperature.

Try…

Dog sweaters! This one is a little controversial, but it’s generally harmless as long as the dog is not wearing them for too long, the material is comfortable and it fits well. If you’re on a budget, then knitting your dog jumpers is a great way to save the cash and add a personal touch. This is extra fun in the holiday season and they even make great gifts! There is a whole host of options available to you online, for all budgets. So get shopping if you don’t want to end up with a chilly canine.

Do…

Check your dog’s temperature when necessary and add more protein into their diet as it gets colder. As with yourself, maintaining normal body temperature is paramount to their health and safety – if it drops below 99 degrees Fahrenheit then they are at serious risk and you must take them to the vet immediately. You can buy digital thermometers to help keep track of this (make sure they do not contain mercury) but the main thing is to keep the house at a consistent, and safe, temperature. That’s why wall mounted fireplaces tick all the boxes. They are easy to use, easy on the eyes, and safer for your dogs. This is because you can control their temperature a lot easier than you could with a traditional fire. This way, your pup isn’t at risk of overexposure to the heat, or from getting too close to a flame. So why not keep it cosy, and stylish of course, with a fireplace this winter!

Don’t hesitate to hire yourself a Pet Nanny to check in on pets during the cold months too!

Look out for…

Hypothermia and painful frostbite. After a walk, make sure to brush off any ice or water left on your canine’s coat or you run the risk of them getting ill. If your poor pup has been outside too long or the house a little too cold, then look out for the following signs and act quickly:
Anxious behavior
Non-stop shivering
Looks for warm places around the house
Seems weak
Stops moving or slows down dramatically
As long as you think of your dog’s well-being as you would your own, they’ll be happy as a pup!

Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash

Pet Tethering Rules Change in Pennsylvania

Pet tethering, or dog chaining has been a hot topic among pet owners for some time. This last August, the mayor of Pennsylvania made his feelings known, increasing rules and penalties concerning pet tethering within the state.

Tethering, or chaining refers to keeping your dog tied to a stationary object, this can include lung lines. Temporary pet tethering can be an acceptable manner of keeping your dog safe while you are away for a short period of time, or keeping your guests free from harassment. The practice is often abused though. Some dogs never get to leave the small area they are confined too, are often tangled and choked, get sores from the collar, and are left without adequate shelter. Here at Pet Nanny, we are happy to see some new laws enacted to help keep animals safe!

What Are The New Pet Tethering Laws?

  • You may not leave your dog tethered for more than nine hours within any 24-hour time frame.
  • You may not tether your pet in temperatures above 90 degrees or below 30 degrees, for more than 30 minutes.
  • The tether holding your animal must be longer than three times the length of your pet, or at least 10 feet.
  • They must have access to water and shade.
  • No tow or log chains, choke, pinch, or prong collars allowed anymore.
  • The animal may have no signs or wounds or sores.
  • The area the animal is in must be kept free from excessive waste.
Penalties for breaking any of these rules have been increased as well:
  • Neglect now can bring a sentence from 90 days in jail or a $300 fine all the way up to one year in jail or a $2,000 fine.
  • Cruelty, as a misdemeanor is up to two years in jail or a $5,000 fine. Felony charges are up to seven years in jail or a $15,000 fine.
  • Convicted persons forfeit their rights to their pets.
  • Vets and vet technicians who report animal cruelty in good faith will be shielded from lawsuits.

Long-term pet tethering isn’t an option for having an animal. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to help you keep your pet safe and happy!

photo credit: tubblesnap Still Bored via photopin (license)

Patio & Pets: Potentially Poisonous Cleaners

Cats, dogs, and other pets love to be outdoors. Having your own garden and patio can give them the freedom and space to run around, while giving you the confidence that they will remain safe. While the streets may contain potentially fatal traffic, predatory animals and poisonous plants, have you thought about the safety of your own backyard?

In 2010, the Animal Poison Control Center received over 167,000 calls pertaining to pets being exposed to toxic substances. We’ve discussed the dangers of fertilizer and toxic garden plants, but the products you use to clean your garden could also be dangerous to pets.

 What to Avoid on Your Patio

The patio is a great place to socialize and enjoy the outdoors, so it’s understandable you’ll want to keep it looking clean. However, many patio cleaners contain benzalkonium chloride. This chemical is also found in many common household disinfectants, including antibacterial cleaners used on water fountains. Benzalkonium chloride can be extremely toxic to cats, leading to severe reactions and even death.

In an analysis of cases of 245 cats being poisoned by benzalkonium chloride, 126 were poisoned through ingestion alone, while many cats were also affected through contact with the skin. Therefore it is vital you check cleaning products for this chemical. Instead, consider using more natural cleaning solutions. For example, lemon, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can be paired with a powerful pressure washer.

For decking, you may have used a varnish to protect the woodwork. However, varnish tends to be oil based which means it contains harmful solvents which can be accidentally inhaled. This is likely to irritate the intestine, causing diarrhoea. It may also cause an inflammation of the lungs leading to infection of breathing difficulties. It is essential to allow the varnish to dry completely before letting your pet near the wood decking.

 Emergency Response

Dogs and cats are curious animals, so it can be difficult to completely prevent them gaining access to harmful cleaning products. It can take over 6 hours for effects to become clear, but it is important to act quickly.

If you witness your pet coming into contact with a dangerous cleaning product, then you need to remove the product thoroughly and manually. It is not recommended that you use water. Instead use a paper towels and remember to wear protective gloves.

 During the summer, your pets will love to play in the fountain or sunbathe on the patio. It is important as a responsible owner to make sure the products you use to clean your garden and patio are pet safe. If an accident does occur, make sure you recognize the symptoms and act quickly, so that your pet can get the care and medication they need to make a full recovery.

Photo by The Poodle Gang on Unsplash

Hot Car – A Year Round Threat to Your Pet

Don’t let the changing trees and cool fall breeze fool you. With summer winding down, many pet owners may think it’s okay to leave their pet in the car for “just a few minutes”. Did you know that the temperature in your car rises the most in the first ten minutes of being parked in the sun? “Quick trips” in somewhere will have little effect on how hot your pet becomes. Here is a quick overview of how the temperature in your car changes after being parked:

How Hot Will Your Car Get?

  • The First 10 Minutes: The temperature increases between 10-20 degrees.
  • The First 30 Minutes: The temperature is increasing by an average of over one degree per minute. A car parked in the sun on a 75 degree day will heat up to approximately 105 degrees during a 30 minutes time frame.
  • The First Hour: The temperature inside is, on average, 43 degrees hotter than it is outside.

Sure, cracking a window can help, but only so much. Studies have shown on an 85 degree day, with the windows cracked, interior temperatures still reached 102 degrees in 10 minutes! That’s mighty toasty, especially if you’ve got a fur coat on!

We know it can be hard to leave your pet at home when they give you those eyes and look dejected… Trust us though, a sad pet at home is better than a heat stressed (or worse) pet along for the ride.

 

Thanks to Fred Beans of West Chester for the helpful infographic!

3 Common Household Toxins That Can Poison Your Pet

According to the EPA, 50% of all illnesses in both pets and humans can be traced to indoor pollution and toxins. Additionally, indoor pollution is directly related to the use of home cleaners. Cleaning products are filled with tons of ingredients that include ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers, bleach and formaldehyde that can put pets and humans at risk of anemia, cancer, kidney damage, and liver disease.

No matter how clean and organized you make your home, it’s likely to always hold some sort of danger for your pets. Just like many common food items, household products can make a pet ill or even kill them. Due to their natural curiosity, animals like dogs will sniff around unfamiliar smells without being aware of the toxic chemicals around them. Since pets are smaller than humans are, they become more at risk due to the close vicinity of carpets, garage floors, and restricted spaces that may carry chemical residue. That is why it is important to keep pet owners on their toes and ensure that they make their homes safe for their pets.

Here are the top 3 common household cleaning toxins that can poison your pet.

Antifreeze

Ethylene glycol is an ingredient that can be found in liquid rust inhibitors like antifreeze. It is found in a variety of products, especially the car antifreeze. Due to the sweet smell, animals become drawn into the chemical and even end up consuming the harmful ingredient. Consumption will lead to deadly side effects, as just half a teaspoon will be enough to kill a cat. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States estimates a total of 10,000 cats and dogs die every year due to the exposure of ethylene glycol. The best pet-friendly alternative to antifreeze is to use the “low toxic” version that is made of propylene glycol. The chemical is just as effective as ethylene; however, it contains a fraction of antifreeze.

Formaldehyde

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, animal inhalation of formaldehyde was reported to increase the risk of nasal squamous cell cancer. However, despite its probable cause as a human carcinogen, it is still used in agriculture, home furnishings, construction materials, cosmetics and household cleaners. When inhaled or absorbed through the skin it is considered as highly toxic. To avoid, you can purchase doghouses that are made of solid wood and allow them to “off-gas” before introducing your pet.

Mothballs

When used properly, mothballs can be an effective method to killing moths. However, they will also pose a dangerous threat to pets when used carelessly. Inhalation of mothball vapors can lead to headaches, nausea, respiratory distress, eye irritation, and more. When ingested, mothballs can cause toxic poisoning that will lead to liver damage, seizures, respiratory failure, heart arrhythmia, and especially death.

 

Domestic pets may have a strong sense of smell and curiosity, but they do not have the proper defense against the dangers of toxins in your home. As a pet owner, why not consider placing them in animal day care or hire a pet nanny if your away to ensure your pet’s safety and health?

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that there are plenty of environmentally friendly cleaning products available on the market that are safe to use around pets and children. You can substitute toxic cleaning products with natural soaps, liquids, and powders that use biodegradable ingredients. If you are unable to locate all-natural cleaning brands, consider choosing natural cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar as just a little mixture will go a long way to cleaning your home without harming your pets.

Guest Post by Sally Writes

Photo by Jacob Curtis on Unsplash

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