Category: Pet tip of the Week

Travel Season – How to Care For Your Pets!

The holiday season is fast approaching! Between the pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie, and roast Christmas goose there are lots of opportunities for travel. Traveling with your family doesn’t always mean traveling with your pet. What do you do when you have to be away though? This separation can be hard on you, but even harder on your pet since they don’t understand. Here are some of our top options for pet care while your celebrating!

Pet Options For Holiday Travel

  • Find a friend! – If you can’t be with your pet and have to go away overnight, finding a good friend or family member who your pet is familiar with to check on them. Having someone your pet loves visit, care for their needs, and spend a little play time with them is ideal. Your friend can’t make it every day? See if your pet can stay with them!
  • Take them with you! – If you can travel easily with your pet, why not? They can love road trips too! Map out a route with lots of pet friendly stops. Just make sure that the family or friends your traveling to are okay hosting your furry friend too! Check out these tips from Meeow Cat on how to travel with your cat!
  • Get a Pet Sitter! – Pet Sitters are great in lieu of a family member or friend! They will visit your pet, make sure they have food & water, administer medication, take them for walks, and sometimes, so much more! Our Pet Sitting services also include House Sitting! We’ll clean out the litter box and pick-up your dry cleaning too!
  • Find a Pet Boarder – This should be your last option. Even great boarding services still place your pet in an unfamiliar atmosphere with strangers and other pets. They can be exposed to illnesses and develop anxiety. They are also frequently more expensive that a pet sitting service.

photo credit: Viv Lynch Falling Leaves via photopin (license)

5 Great Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Senior Dog

By guest blogger Alexandra Seagal

When many families decide to bring a new dog into their home, they often think of a puppy first. But there is an equally good option found in rescues and shelters all over the country and who is deserving of a loving, forever home.

Senior dogs (dogs over the age of 7) offer so many benefits to potential adopters, yet many people wrongly conclude that older dogs in shelters are there because they are problem dogs. On the contrary, many adult dogs in shelters are there through no fault of their own, but due to a change in the previous owner’s attitude, allergies, or lifestyle changes.

So if you’re thinking of adopting a dog, consider our…

5 Great Reasons to Adopt a Senior

1. Senior dogs already know where to “go”.

Housetraining a puppy takes a significant amount of time, patience, and consistency, and you are bound to deal with accidents and damaged carpets along the way. Those wake-up calls in the early morning hours to race your puppy outside aren’t exactly a thrill either.

Senior dogs are already trained to eliminate outside, so you don’t have to start from square one with them. You can save a lot of time and money replacing furniture and rugs by adopting an older dog.

2. You’ll know about a senior dog’s behavioral and medical history.

Puppies are full of surprises, including being more rambunctious than planned and growing bigger than expected. That often leaves both owner and puppy frustrated at their circumstances.

With older dogs, you will be able to effectively choose a dog who fits with your lifestyle and living conditions. A senior dog’s size, personality, temperament, and activity level are already established; there is no need to guess about the dog at all. Additionally, knowing the dog’s medical background will allow you understand what you’re getting into when you adopt him.

3. Older dogs are already trained but are also willing and able to learn new things.

Training a puppy can involve large chunks of time and practice, not to mention fees associated with any training classes you might enroll your pup in and money spent on dog crates. Puppies are adorable, but puppies pulling on leashes, jumping up on people, not holding a stay command, or not socializing correctly with other dogs are not.

Senior dogs are a ready-made package as they will already know basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “heel.” You can avoid all the work that it takes to train a puppy by adopting an older dog who knows what he’s being asked to do.

This doesn’t mean that seniors are old dogs who can’t learn new tricks; in fact, they are better at learning new commands than puppies. Adult dogs can focus much better on the task at hand, something that puppies struggle to accomplish. Additional training for a senior dog is not only fun for you as an owner, but it also keeps your older canine mentally sharp and agile.

4. Seniors are ready to give you all of their love.

No matter what painful background experiences they’ve had — neglect, abuse, homelessness — dogs are all about living in the moment. They are excellent at forgiving and forgetting.

Whatever they have encountered in their past, whatever emotional or physical scars they carry, they are more than ready to let you into their hearts. All senior dogs want is love, kindness, a good home, and good food, and they will love you forever in return.

5. You’re giving an older dog a second chance.

Older dogs deserve the chance to live out their final years in a loving home surrounded by people who care for them. A crowded, noisy, stressful shelter environment is not the right atmosphere for a senior dog. But sadly, shelters and rescues are full of older dogs, and it takes much longer for seniors to get adopted.

Some shelters are overpopulated and may not have the time to wait for a senior dog to be adopted. Too many of these old pals are euthanized in shelters, while some spend years at rescue facilities waiting for a home. By adopting a senior dog, you are saving his life, literally or figuratively, and your kindness will be repaid by your new dog every day he is with you.

Senior dogs make the best, most loyal companions, so be a hero and adopt a senior dog! His gratitude for a loving owner and a permanent home will be the foundation of a beautiful relationship between you both.

Cost of Owning A Pet – Managing Pet Expenses

How much do you spend on your pet each year? It’s not uncommon to be surprised by the number. Many pet owners underestimate the lifetime cost of these expenses. Depending on the pet variety and breed, expenses can range from $21,000 to $45,000 over a ten year period. Thats a lot of money! It’s enough that budgeting, proper care, and financial planning should be an important part of pet ownership! Need help getting your head around some things you can do to get a leg on expenses before they get on top of you?

Managing Pet Expenses

  • Invest in preventative care. When you first get your pet don’t skip out on those initial healthcare costs. If you’ve adopted your pet from a shelter, there is a good chance some of this has already been done. Ask your shelter about your new pets medical history. Have they been spayed/neutered? What about early life vaccinations and booster shots? If you’re buying from a breeder or pet shop these steps should be your first priority to starting your pet off on the right track! An unexpected litter can quickly send those pet costs skyrocketing, as can issues with heart worms, Parvo, etc.
  • Keep your pet healthy. We know that cheaper pet food seems like a great way to save a few bucks each week, but it may lead to higher vet bills later. Invest in your pets health by ensuring they are getting the key nutrients they need. Ask your vet and do your research so you’re buying the appropriate food. Don’t underestimate the benefit of keeping your pet active too! Obesity can lead to later life issues so regular walks and play sessions are great for their physical and mental health!
  • Insurance or a savings account. If you don’t feel like springing for Pet Insurance then at least start a savings account for unexpected emergencies. Be sure to contribute to it monthly. Just think of it this way – if you need it, it’s there, and if you don’t you can spend it on something else. It’s better to be prepared!
  • Budget and shop smart. Keep an eye out for sales and consider ordering your pet supplies online. Places like Petco offer a discount if you sign-up for repeat delivery. Buying in bulk can be helpful but not if your pets food or other items are going to go stale or otherwise deteriorate over time. You can also treat your pet and cut back on costs by making your own pet treats and toys! Pinterest is a great tool for all sorts of inspiration!

Got any of your own tips for how you keep pet costs down without sacrificing your pets quality of life and health? Share them with us!

 

photo credit: kdee64 Brandy (2001-2017) via photopin (license)

Pet Damage to Your Home? Learn How To Stop/Prevent It!

There is a reason why landlords require extra pet deposits! Pet damage to homes and their content is a given. It may be given but it doesn’t mean you should give up! There are lots of ways you can minimize or even prevent any real damage from occurring.  Pets are a responsibility. Part of that responsibility is properly training them for their environment and helping them channel their animal instincts in a non-destructive ways. Let’s take a look at what you can do to…

Prevent Pet Damage To Your Home

  • Know Your Pet – Are they a chewer? A digger? A pee’er? A scratcher? All the above? Identify what your pet’s damage of choice is. You also need to understand that many of these issues will be harder to control the younger your pet is. Be prepared for this and nip bad habits in the bud!
  • Stimulate Them – Pets get bored. Especially young ones. It’s important that you invest a lot of time in playing with them.  It’s also important that you give them toys and an environment they can entertain themselves in. If you don’t provide one, they’ll create one themselves. Chew toys, scratch posts, digging boxes – all these can help your pet burn their energy up and stay stimulated!
  • Do They Have Separation Anxiety? – Dog trainer Allison Cipolli says,”When the owner leaves, the dog goes through a stress-panic and to comfort themselves they will grab the owner’s belongings and chew, chew, chew.”To determine if that’s the problem, Cipolli recommends putting out a special treat that your dog rarely gets, then leaving the house for a few minutes before returning.”If the dog didn’t eat what they normally would while you there,” she said, “that’s usually a telltale sign that they’re going through separation anxiety.”So what can you do about pet damage caused by anxiety? Try leaving your pet for small, yet increasing, increments of time. This allows them to adjust to the seperation. She also suggests not greeting your pet when you get home if they overly excited and have behaved poorly in your absence. Doing so just rewards them for their poor behavoir. Instead ignore them until they have calmed down, then great them and give them attention. They will learn that calm and good behavoir gets the results they want.
  • The Pee Bandit – All young pets will have issues with this until you have had time to properly train them for a litter box, puppy pad, or to go outside. Until you’ve achieved this, limit their roaming and keep a close eye on them so you can catch them before the act and redirect them. If your pet is older and exhibiting this behavior it may be territorial and can often be corrected by getting them spayed/neutered.

Pet Insurance – What You Need To Know!

It’s no secret that vet bills can be costly. When deciding to get a pet many pet parents only consider the basics – spaying/neutering, shots, annual check-ups. What if your pet it injured though? Or if has special needs? Becomes elderly? All these examples can cause those vet bills to soar out of control and leave owners feeling like they are compromising the quality care a loved one needs. Enter pet insurance. We’ve dug up some of the quick facts about pet insurance to help you learn a little more about ensuring your pet’s health and keeping those medical bills at bay!

Pet Insurance 101

  • Why? – Everyone needs this. If you’re serious about your pet it’s your responsibility to be serious about their health. Even pet parent’s blessed with healthy pets run the risk of accidents (snake bite? accidental poisoning?) and the inevitability of aging. It’s the best way to protect yourself financially and make sure your pet always has the care they need!
  • How Does It Work? – Most Pet Insurance reimburses you. If you don’t feel like you can pay the upfront cost with savings, credit card, or other emergency funds, talk with your veterinarian first about payment plan options that will work with your insurance.
  • Cost? – Pet Insurance can cost anywhere from around $10/month up to $40/month. Just like with health insurance for yourself, be sure to look at how much is covered, deductibles, and if there are any add-on options you may need like dental. Check out this site for a nice comprehensive comparison between some of the leading pet insurance companies.

Be sure to ask your vet what their experiences are with insurance and if they think it would be a good idea for you and your pet!

photo credit: GregHounslow Puppy with Cast via photopin (license)

Wet Dog Smell Explained – Why & What You Can Do!

The term “wet dog smell” is so universally relatable it’s used to describe things other than a wet dog! No grooming, bath, conditioner or scented oils are powerful enough to make it go away entirely. Where does it come from? What can you do about it?

The Source of Wet Dog Smell

Dogs may be furry but their skin is very similar to ours. Underneath all that fluffiness their skin excretes oils (called sebum) that help to moisturize and protect it. When this oil builds up around the hair follicles of your dog’s fur bacteria can start to grow. This growth is spurred by the addition of water. The bacteria create the smell that we (not so fondly) refer to as “wet dog smell”.

Treatment & Prevention

That sounds a little dramatic. This isn’t a dangerous or life-threatening situation, but it is mighty unpleasant. Here are some ways you can deal with and prevent a return!

  • Humans have to wash regularly to keep sebum from building up and wash away dead skin cells. Your pup needs this service too! Regularly removing build up can be a big help! Don’t go overboard though – remember that oil serves a purpose. How often should “regular” washing occur? Try a couple times a month. You may reduce this down to once a month in the winter when skin tends to get drier.
  • Regular deep (but gentle) brushing can be helpful in between baths to loosen and remove buildup from the hair follicles. This may be more effective on short-coated pets than long ones.
  • Wash all their things regularly! Imagine if you never washed your bed sheets or clothes? You’d be pretty smelly too, no matter how many baths you took. Toss all things washable through a wash cycle every time you bathe your pet. If something’s not washable, spray it down with some white vinegar, wipe it down, and air it out in the sunshine regularly.

photo credit: carterse Dusty Loves the Water via photopin (license)

Tips Caring For A Pregnant Pet

Congratulations! It’s a boy and a girl and a boy and a girl and… If you’ve got a furry expectant mother on your hands you’re likely to see some different and new behavior. A cat’s gestation period is between 64-67 days, a dog’s is 58-68 days, and a rabbit’s is only 31 days!  You might be wondering what your role is as a standby expectant pet parent? Are there steps you can take to help your pregnant pet? You bet!

Pregnant Pet Tips

  • Lower the Litter Box – If your cat or rabbit is expecting kittens (yup, baby bunnies are called kittens too!) you might need to amend their litter box. High litter boxes can be difficult to get in and out of with a big belly! Consider getting a plastic litter box and cutting one side out of it so they can simply step in and step out. Be sure to place it on a large mat to help with clean-up!
  • Gotta Dog? More Frequent Walks – If you have a dog that you take outside to use the bathroom you may need to make these trips more frequently. Especially if you can’t adapt them to using puppy pads. To maximize your pet’s comfort, you may even need to let them out in the middle of the night too. Unless you want to clean up accidents in the morning!
  • Increased Nutrition – Just like humans, pregnant and nursing pets will have increased nutritional needs. Do your research and talk to your vet about how you may need to change your specific pets food and feeding times to meet their new needs.
  • Provide Nest Material and a Safe Spot – Ultimately your pet will choose where their babies will be born, but you can “offer suggestions” by ensuring they have a comfy out-of-the-way spot with all the things they need to nest.
  • Know Your Pets Behavior – The better you know your pet, the better you’ll be able to address their specific needs and tell when their behavior might be signaling the time is near!

Be sure to find good homes for your new critters and get them fixed as soon as you can! Puppy’s  & kittens can be fixed at about 8 weeks, and rabbits are usually around 6 months.
photo credit: Sukanto Debnath One day old Mongrel pups via photopin (license)

Organize You & Your Pet’s Life This Spring!

Somewhere along the line pet ownership got complicated. Between grooming equipment, travel items, medicine, and toys a pet-friendly home can get pretty cluttered! Don’t waste that valuable time allotted for the dog park trying to find the leash! Check out our top tips to organize your pet-friendly lifestyle this Spring!

Organize Now!

Accessorize – I know, you’re thinking “the last thing I need is more pet stuff!”, but hear me out! When it comes to grooming your pet you’ve got a brush, nail clippers, and shampoo – if you’re a bare minimalist! Maybe you have a moisturizing winter shampoo and a flea & tick summer shampoo? What about a toothbrush? Ear swabs? Conditioner/lotion? Things can add up fast. Instead of cluttering these things up in your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen, why not consider a pet grooming caddy? This handy little one below from Everything Mary is under $30 and has room enough to accommodate and organize all your pets grooming needs and more!

Health Needs? Even a healthy pet may need to take medicine from time to time, or even a vitamin. You’ve seen those day-of-the-week pill organizers? Check out this cute pet version from ForgettingthePill.com!

This keeps pills organized, is great for travel and easy to slip into a grooming caddy, first aid or emergency kit, or a medicine drawer or bag.

Have a Car Kit! Don’t waste time looking for the leash, water bowl, or any other travel accessories your pet may need – keep an extra in a travel kit for your pet! Travel kits that are kept in your vehicle are a great idea for quick trips to the dog park, road trips, or to double as an overnight bag if your and/or your pet are staying away from home. You can include a few treats, food, fresh bottled water, toy, leash, and anything else specific to your pets needs!

Consider a Toy Box! Always stepping on a squeaky toy, or even worse, a spiky toy? You put them “away” in whatever area of the home your dog “owns” yet they always get drug back out? Consider a toy box! Adorable and functional for that pet that has everything!

Paws for Thought – Caring For Your Pet’s Feet

Pet paws, with their fuzzy and sometimes thick and leathery pads seem pretty tough to us. Our pets go tromping across terrain that we need a pair of hiking boots to even consider approaching! They might be tougher than our bare feet but they still need cared for properly. Do you know what threats, remedies, and precautions you need to take to protect your pet’s paws?

Caring For Your Pet’s Paws

  • Claws – Some people don’t realize how important keeping a pet’s claws trimmed is. It’s not just for your comfort or aesthetic reasons. In the wild, many animals claws will be worn down naturally by digging and making their way across rocks. In the domesticated world this natural “trimming” often doesn’t occur as often, or even at all. When trimming you have to be careful about trimming too short and cutting the “quick” in the nail. This can hurt your pet and cause bleeding. If you’re not comfortable regularly trimming your pet’s nails be sure to ask your vet at your next appointment!
  • Frostbite – Pets exposed to freezing temperatures for prolonged periods of time can experience frostbite, which is a damaging of the tissue, often leading to the tissues “death”. It can be very painful, and also very dangerous if left unrecognized and treated. Paws are a common place to see frostbite on pets since they are less insulated and in direct contact with ice, snow, or water. Check out the common symptoms and treatments here.  If you’re taking your pet out in very cold weather, keep it brief and keep their paws dry – or consider a pair of booties!
  • Burns – Summertime can make your pet at risk for burns on the bottom of their paws. Asphalt that has baked in the summer sun all day and even rocks or sand can cause damage. When taking your pet for a walk ensure they have grass, dirt, or some other alternative to hot surfaces to walk. You can also plan your walks for early morning or late evening.
  • Thorns & Cuts – Never ignore your pet if they seem to be favoring a paw either by limping, or paying extra attention to it with their tongue. Outdoor adventures, even within an urban environment can lead to cuts, splinters, or even thorns. Left unattended these can fester and become a much bigger problem for your pet.
  • In Rabbits – Rabbits, especially those who have cages with wire bottoms or hop around on smooth surfaces frequently are prone to a special paw ailment – sore hocks. Sore hocks occur on the back feet of rabbits and can be very dangerous if left untreated. They begin as bald spots on the bottom of the foot that wear away to open sores and infections. Keep a sharp eye on your bunnies hind feet to spot the symptoms!

Neosporin is a great treatment for many mild foot ailments. It is safe for use on most pets (including rabbits). Remember to regularly pay attention to your pet’s paws and see your vet regularly!

photo credit: Mic the otter spotter, going slow Pixie paws via photopin (license)

Adopting a Dog – EVERYTHING You Need To Know

There are a lot of misconceptions about adopting a dog these days… People hear of overloaded shelters and think that the volunteers will be happy to see them coming. They are happy to see you coming, but that doesn’t mean that you just walk in, grab your choice of pet and walk out. It’s important to the volunteers that pets that leave shelters are going to forever homes. They don’t want to see the same pet returned because the owner wasn’t prepared for the experience. So here are some things you need to know before you take that big step!

The Cost

Dogs cost more than a bag of food every so often. Make sure you are financially prepared for long-term pet ownership. Here are some cost you need to consider:

  • Adoption Fee
  • Vaccinations
  • Flea/Tick/Heartworm prevention
  • Grooming
  • Pet Sitting or Kennel Costs if your away
  • Food/Toys/Bed/Leash/Collar
  • Emergency Care

…before you go adopting

  • Is your lifestyle fit for a pet? Are you away most of the day? Travel a lot?
  • Is your home suited for a dog? if so, what size? If you rent, are pets allowed?
  • Are you prepared for dealing with potential barking, chewing, or bathroom accidents? Are you dedicated enough to train them, or have them trained?
  • Are you committed for the long-term?

The Adoption Process

If you’ve decided that you’re ready for that new dog you need to be familiar with the process of adopting. There is an adoption fee. Many people think if they’re going to a shelter instead of a breeder or pet shot the pet will be free. Not so. There is an adoption fee. This fee often helps the shelter cover spaying/neutering and care costs. Fee’s vary, so ask your shelter if your are concerned. Adoption paperwork will be required too and you should be prepared to answer some questions. Many shelters will inquire about these things:

  • Your income level
  • Your living situation (rent vs own, apartment, ect)
  • Your available free time daily for your pet
  • If you have a vet
  • Who will care for the pet when you travel

These questions are asked to ensure that you have thought about these things and aren’t making an impulse buy. They also give the shelter managers the ability to assess whether or not the dog is going to a good home. Shelters don’t want to just place dogs. They want to make sure these dogs are getting the homes they deserve.

This amazing infographic is your quick reference guide to pet adoption. Print it out and go over it with your family! For more information, check out this site: http://www.gapnsw.com.au/2016/09/09/ultimate-guide-dog-adoption/

photo credit: pit Bull x Siberian Husky via photopin (license)

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