Tag: pet health care

Rehoming Your Pet – Make It Easier Both of You

Rehoming your pet can be a traumatic experience for you both. It’s something no pet owner ever wants to do. We often think that nothing could make us separate from our furbaby, yet dramatic life changes can push us to our limits. Maybe you need to move? Maybe you’re no longer able to physically keep up? Maybe you need to rehome a relative’s pet after their passing? Whatever the reason we’ve put together some helpful tips for how to make rehoming easier on you both.

Rehoming Made Easier

  • Contact your local shelter. Animal shelters don’t want to take animals. They are much happier if all pets have loving homes and never have to pass through their care. As a result, many shelters offer services to help you identify resources you may need. Do you need to consult with a specialist about behavior issues? Do you need a directory for rehoming services in your area? They can help!
  • Get you pets face out there. Take quality pictures and create a sincere write up about your pets personality, preferences, and medical history. Spread the word using social media and placing flyers in places frequented by pet lovers – dog parks, stores like Petco, nice neighborhoods, vet offices. Rehoming your pet yourself as opposed to leaving them at a shelter is easier on you and your pet!
  • Be discerning. It’s okay to be picky about who you let take your pet. Interview them, ask about other pets, experience, maybe even ask for a home visit. Make sure that the person showing interest is a true animal lover and not someone looking for free animals to sell or abuse. Feel free to ask a small fee too.
  • Look for someone close. If you can find a new home for your pet nearby and foster a good relationship with the new family you might be able to visit your pet or offer services like dog walking or trips to the park so you still get to have a relationship with your pet.

photo credit: Bennilover “It’s the Little Things, like having the Wild Things to play with at the park.” via photopin (license)

Classroom Pets – What You Need to Know!

The summer has blown by and back-to-school is just around the corner! Are you a teacher or a parent? Did you have a classroom pet when you went to school? Maybe you’re a student who’d like to have one?Classroom pets offer a variety of cool and interesting ways to learn and engage students. They are also an obligation though. Let us walk you through some of the ups and downs!

What sort of animal makes a good classroom pet?

Not a dog or a cat for sure! Low maintenance animals are best. Ideally, it’s not a critter that needs to be taken home every night, is small and doesn’t cause classroom disturbance.

  • Guinea Pigs – Small, relatively quiet. They require minimal care, are generally calm and easy to handle. You will need to have a pair though to prevent boredom and loneliness.
  • Hamsters – All the same features of a guinea pig, but smaller. They do tend to be nocturnal though, so students will see less of their prime activity hours.
  • Lizards – Iguanas, bearded dragons, and the like make super low maintenance classroom pets. Their needs will vary slightly depending on the type you get but they usually require less food, interaction, and are easy to handle.
  • Rats – Nice clean pet shop rats (not the ones from the alley!) are a super smart and active classroom pet. Students can spend time building mazes and test the rat’s brain power! They are also less likely to bite than hamsters or mice.
  • Fish – Probably the lowest maintenance pet, but also likely the one with the least amount of reward. They can add a nice, calming atmosphere to the classroom though and make good study subjects for aquatic science! Also, consider hermit crabs!

Classroom Pet Pro’s

Pets in the learning space can provide exciting new ways for students to engage with their curriculum. Animals can frequently be easily incorporated into math (animal weight, food measurements), science, and even history, social studies, and literature! They also instill a sense of responsibility and respect for life in children. They can also have a great calming effect on nervous or upset students. Plus, parents might appreciate seeing how their student interacts with a classroom pet before committing to one in the home!

Classroom Pet Con’s

Most of the cons have to do with the added responsibility on the teachers part. Teachers are, ultimately, responsible for the welfare of the pet. They need to ensure students are performing daily feedings and care properly and that the pet’s living space is kept clean. They are also responsible for vet visits (though some schools may foot the bill), shots, and spaying/neutering. It’s also important for the pet to have a place to go during vacations, or even the weekends depending on the animal.  It’s also suggested that parents give their expressed permission for their child to interact with the school pet, in the case of a rogue bite or scratch.

photo credit: Ukelens Guinea Pig Photoshooting Selection via photopin (license)

Diet Changes for Your Cat – What You Need to Add!

Before cats became civilized and domesticated, their primary diet consisted of raw meat. Of course, you aren’t going to let your cat out to grab a bite to eat for dinner every night, so you’ll feed him/her a commercial cat food. But what kinds are the right ones that provide a balanced and nutritious diet that your fur ball will thrive on?

Well, if you understand the 5 ways to improve their diet, you can keep your kitty happy and healthy for life.

Veggies are Good

You may think that as a carnivore, a cat only needs meat to survive. The truth is that even when they were wild they always took in some veggies by eating grass or the digested vegetation in their prey’s stomach. So, giving your kittycat a few veggies is a nice little treat. Familiarize them into your cat’s diet by mixing them into their regular cat food, or if they will have them, giving bits and pieces as treats. Some veggie suggestions are broccoli, green beans, squash, and carrots, but always make sure that meat makes up the bulk of your cat’s diet. However, a few veggies added every once in a while is a good thing.

Always Serve Cooked Meat

Yes, cats ate raw meat in the wild, and they also got parasites like worms too. Meat treats are terrific for your cat, but be safe and make sure they are well cooked.

Eggs Make Great Snacks

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and B vitamins, and it doesn’t matter if they are sunny side up, over easy or hard boiled. Just make sure they are cooked, and you’ll be good to go.

Add Omega 3’s to Their Diet

Essential fatty acids, like Omega 3’s, are just as good for cats as they are for humans. Cold water fish are loaded with them, they are heart healthy and your cat’s fur will be silkier and shiny. Better still, research shows that they slow the spread of cancer, and if your cat has arthritis, they’ll reduce the inflammation.

… And Probiotics

If your cat has digestive problems, probiotics are the best thing you can do for them. Probiotic supplements are known for creating more effective and efficient digestion while strengthening a cat’s immune system too.

Follow the suggestions as illustrated, and you’ll see for yourself that a healthy diet means a healthy cat.

Thanks Feline Living for the great tips and infographic!

 

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Boating With Your Dog – Summer Safety!

Got a beautiful body of water nearby just beckoning to you for some summer boating fun?

We know that many folks with dogs love to take their pooches out to sea in the summer. With warmer weather and easier sailing, it’s not so unusual to see a furry four-footer playing the role of skipper!

However, there are plenty of safety considerations to take into account before bringing your pup on board.

The folks over at K9 of Mine have published a new Dog Safety Tips Infographic that we’re sharing here in an effort to keep four-legged crew safe and secure this sailing season. Make sure to read these tips before you set out!

 

 

Up-to-Date Food Recalls – Keeping Your Pet Safe

As pet parents, we all try our hardest to keep our fur babies safe and healthy! Sometimes that delicious food or those tasty treats aren’t so safe though… Most of us don’t have a real-time option for pet food recalls. This leaves us relying on social media or the news to find out and by then it could be too late!
Fret no more! Bookmark this page for your #1 resource for current pet food recalls courtesy of PawDiet.com.

Recalls By PawDiet.com

 What causes a food recalls?

Pet food recalls happen when the food company because aware that a batch that has left the factory may have become tainted. Sometimes they are alerted to potential issues internally, other times recalls don’t happen until the company is alerted by a concerned pet owner who has had an issue.

Sometimes these recalls occur due to contaminants – some that could be deadly. Other times because of plastic, metal, or other foreign bits could be contained in it. Sometimes it could be simply that the food was mislabeled.

 

Cookout Pet Safety For Your Summer Vacation

Most schools have let out for the year by now – that means summer is about to get into full swing! A favorite family and community pass time for ages have been the summer cookout. Lawn chairs, cool drinks, colorful dresses, and lots of grilling! Do you know how to keep your pet safe?

Cookout Pet Threats

  • Hot grills and fire pits – Most cats and dogs know better than to sniff around too closely to something that’s on fire, but sometimes the smell of those unattended burgers can be too much for them to bear! All reason goes out the window as they decide it’s worth the risk. Make sure someone is keeping a close eye on the food at all times!
  • Hazardous foods – While most foods found at a cookout might not kill your pet, they could cause some serious stomach upset, especially if they aren’t used to such foods. Onions and avocados are two bellyachers as well as all those preservatives and salt found in chips and hot dogs. Let guests know you’d rather they not feed your pet, or better yet, keep your pets sequestered elsewhere while the bulk of the food is going around!
  • Lawn games – Sometimes cookouts include horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, or other yard sport. An over anxious pet can easily get in the way of participants injuring both them and the guests. Chewing on abandoned lawn toys can pose a choking hazard too.
  • Candles and torches – Keep your pets away from tables with candles or tiki torches to prevent a fire hazard.
  • Strange people – Pets that aren’t used to large groups can become over excited or nervous during cookouts. Especially if there are loud noises like music or fireworks involved too. If your pet is familiar with most of the guests or easily excitable leave them at home or put them inside somewhere with some water, food, and toys of their own. DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN A CAR.

photo credit: frankieleon Dogs and Cats via photopin (license)

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)

Gut Bacteria – Keeping Your Pet In Balance!

Do you know what “gut bacteria” is and how important of a role it plays in your pet’s health? Recent studies on the topic have pointed to the conclusion that maintaining a healthy level of good gut bacteria is a key factor for good overall health in both humans and their pets! So, what is gut bacteria and what does it do? What happens without it? What can you do to help your pet maintain the right levels? Let us teach you!

Bacteria? Good? Yup!

While stomach acid helps break down the foods you eat, thousands of tiny little microbes do the real work! These helpful little buggers neutralize toxins, kill off bad bacteria and yeasts that try to overgrow, and assist in vitamin absorption!

 “The gut is the largest immune organ in the body,” says Susan G. Wynn, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist in Atlanta

Low Population?

Several factors can affect your pet’s level of the good bacteria. The balance is frequently upset by consuming things they shouldn’t and/or picking up parasites from things they eat. Taking antibiotics can also upset the flora & fauna of their bellies. Be sure to talk to your vet about gut bacteria levels if your pet is prescribed an antibiotic. Some signs of an improper balance include vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation – though your pet can have moderately low levels for an extended period of time that will affect them in other ways like malnutrition, or low immunity.

Growing & Maintaining Your Pet’s Gut Bacteria

Maintaining your pet’s gut bacteria is the best option! You can do this by ensuring they aren’t eating a lot of human foods (especially processed ones!) and aren’t given the opportunity to consume things in the wild that may have parasites. If you’re laughing at the latter option there though, talk to your vet about temporarily introducing a probiotic specifically for your pet and breed. Probiotics can be given in the form of pills, powders, or a liquid that can be added to food. They work two ways – lowering the pH of the gut creating a healthier environment for good bacteria to flourish, and by replenishing said bacteria!
photo credit: ynaka29 Happy Laika on Bed at Taconic, Kimpton Hotel 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)

Prep Your Pet – Spring Into Action Now!

That time of year we’ve all been eagerly waiting for – Spring! Throw those windows up and welcome the fresh air! As we roll back into motion after winter there is so much to do. Twice as much if you’re a proud pet parent! In addition to thinking about your tan and planning summer fun, there are important steps you need to take to prep your pet for the return of warm weather!

Spring Pet Prep

  • Vaccinations – Is your pet up to date? Warm weather can bring your pet into contact with risks you need strong vaccinations against. Digging in the dirt? Contact with wildlife? Ask your vet to ensure your pets rabies, parvo, and other vaccinations are all up to date!
  • Collar with Contact Info – Lost pet numbers always rise with the temperatures. Even if your pet is microchipped make sure they have a secure collar with your contact details clearly listed on it!
  • Heartworm Prevention – Prep your pet for the incoming mosquito season before it arrives! Whether you treat with oral medication or a shot, make sure your pet stays healthy by administering their spring dose!
  • Fleas and Ticks – These buggers always make it out earlier than you expect and then before you know it, you’re fighting an infestation instead of doing simple Spring Prep! Many pet owners keep up flea and tick prevention year round, but if you’re a pet parent that lets it lapse over the winter, prep now! If you’ve got a new puppy or kitten check with your vet first to determine dosing for their size and age!

Whew! Now take them for a treat after all those shots and medicine and make sure this spring they hit a few mud puddles with you! Happy Spring!

photo credit: The_Little_GSP 0230 Happy Spring Puppy via photopin (license)

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