Tag: pet sitter

Earth Day 2017 – Green Pet Tips for Wallet & Planet!

Happy April! Stuck inside due to April showers? Take some time to evaluate you and your pets carbon footprint. April 22nd is Earth Day – a great reminder to keep the planet in good shape for all the fuzzy (and not so fuzzy…) critters, including you! So what steps can you take in preparation for Earth Day? Find out below!

 Green Pet Tips in Honor of Earth Day

  • Spay & Neuter – Every new critter your critter produces is four more little carbon footprints! Prevent accidental litters by making sure your pet is spayed or neutered. Got that taken care of? Consider donating to a local animal shelter or charity that offers free or discounted spay & neuter clinics for shelter animals.
  • Buy Reusable – Often times it can be a bigger upfront investment, but over time reusable pet items not only help the environment, but they save you money too! Here are some often overlooked reusable options for pets:
    Replace cat litter with a Cat Genie!
    Instead of use-once puppy pads, consider switching to a washable version
    Get a pet bed with a removable cover that can be washed, or replaced
  • DIY Toys – While the toy aisle may be tempting, don’t waste your money! Most pets are happy with bags, boxes, or other household items! This awesome list from Barkpost will help you recycle your old clothes and water bottles into eco-friendly toys your pets will love! Make up several and gift them to friends for Earth Day!

Avoid Clay-based Litters – Clay-based cat litters are created by strip mining sodium bentonite out of the ground. Its acquisition leaves long-term damage to the environment. Grist.com has a great list of reviews for some of the top non-clay based cat litters out there. Find one that suits your needs and try it out!

  • Avoid Vinyl, Phthalates, and BPA – These are all potentially toxic and/or petroleum based products. Most plastics (food/water bowls) and leashes are made out of these materials. Consider investing in metal dishes and buy collars and leashes made from cotton or hemp!
  • Be A Minimalist – Every year we’re informed about the booming pet industry – 62 billion dollars in 2016. Our pets are frequently a lot lower maintenance than we make them out to be. Instead of doling out money on things they don’t need – be a minimalist. Take that money and invest it in services, training, a savings account, or pet charity!

photopin (license)photo credit: N’Grid Snif Snif via

Dental Care – The Do’s and Don’t’s For Your Pet!

While dental care may be a priority to you, sometimes our pets chompers can be overlooked. Do you need to get down on their level with a toothbrush daily? How about floss? Lots of pet owners can be a little confused or clueless when it comes to dental care for their pets. Let these do’s and don’t’s guide you along the right path!

Dental Care Do’s and Don’t’s!

  • DO talk to your vet regularly about your pet’s dental health! They will be your greatest source of information about how you should or shouldn’t care for your pet.
  • DO make sure your vet checks for broken or damaged teeth at regular check-ups. Sometimes there is no telling what our pets get up to without us and a broken (and painful) tooth may go unnoticed by pet parents.
  • DO brush your dog’s teeth!
  • DON’T use human toothpaste! Get a specially formulated toothpaste for animals.
  • DO consider teeth cleaning chew toys and treats. Just make sure they aren’t hard enough to cause tooth damage (i.e. some bones…) Never give your cat or dog something to chew on that you would find too hard for yourself. Their jaws may be stronger, but their teeth aren’t!
  • DON’T ignore bad breath. Yes, your pet’s breath may not always be minty fresh, but don’t just dismiss an unpleasant dental odor as “doggy breath” or “kitty breath”. It can be a sign of a more serious issue that can lead to kidney or heart disease if left unchecked.
  • DO feed small animals like rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters fresh timothy hay regularly. Not only does this keep their digestion on track, it also helps to wear down their ever growing teeth, which can be a real problem!
  • DO talk to your vet about periodic professional teeth cleaning – with anesthesia!
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Car Sickness & Your Dog – How You Can Help!

Some dogs hear those car keys and come running – nothing better than a trip! For those who suffer from car sickness though a ride is no treat and your interior may pay the price… To understand car sickness in dogs it’s important to understand the root cause. Just like children

To understand car sickness in dogs it’s important to understand the root cause. Just like children, young pups are more likely to experience it because the structure of the inner ear that helps us establish balance isn’t fully formed yet. As a result, many pups will outgrow it. What if it’s still a problem for your grown dog, though? Let us help!

Car Sickness in Dogs

  1. Car sickness in a grown dog can sometimes be caused by stress. Does your pet only go for a ride when you’re headed to the vet? Dogs are all about cause and effect. If everytime they get in the car it ends at the vets office they’re not going to be happy riders. If sometimes it ends at the dog park, river, or other fun destination then you’ve replaced that guaranteed stress with excitement!
  2. Help build up their tolerance! Don’t toss them in the car for the first time on a long road trip! Let them have a chance to get their “car legs” by taking quick 10 minute trips at a time to fun destinations. This helps them learn how to deal with the motion and that car rides end in fun! (see point 1)
  3. Roll that window down! …do it safely though! Be careful that it’s not so low that your pet can easily jump out. The fresh air can help alleviate symptoms of car sickness.
  4. Take them on an empty stomach. Try to time your dogs feeding schedule so that they haven’t just eaten when you go for car rides. This will help keep them from getting queasy and save you a mess!
  5. Consider bringing their crate for them to ride in. Being in a safe, familiar environment can help pets prone to nervousness. Toss in a favorite toy or two as well!

photo credit: cheesy42 366-163 Looking out the window via photopin (license)

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)

Don’t Overlook Your Pet This Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving a little over a week away, we are officially in the Holiday Season! If you’re like most people the holidays are a combination of enjoyment and stress. Unfortunately sometimes our furry friends are the ones who take the brunt of our stresses. As we travel to be with family, host parties or are away more frequently on family outings or shopping trips, our pets often get neglected and their needs can be overlooked.

  • If you’re the host – Make sure that your pets have a human-free environment set up just for them. Family gatherings and parties can be overstimulating to a social pet, and downright terrifying to the shy ones. Leaving a pet to mingle with the crowd sets them up for anxiety, being tripped over, or even getting into unhealthy foods or unsafe items. Set aside an area in a bedroom, laundry room, or master bathroom with your pets bed, food, water, and toys to give them their own quiet space away from all the hubbub.
  • If you’re travelling – Do your research before hand. Unless you’ve made plans with a trusty friend whom you can always call on to pet co-parent, plan. Since the holiday season is a popular time for travel, kennels and pet nanny’s may fill up quickly. It’s important for you to plan your pets care as far in advance as you can. Booking a pet sitter or kennel isn’t all their is too it either – you need be sure to pack things they need and leave notes about any special care. Don’t make your pets an afterthought!
  • If you’re away more often than usual – You don’t have to be travelling for your pet to get to missing you. If your social obligations are keeping you from home most of the day and evening, your pets are going to get lonely. Make time for your pet, and if you just can’t swing it, consider hiring a dog walker or pet nanny to temporarily fill your role.

We hope that you have a wonderful holiday season – and that your pets do too!

photo credit: dangaken Christmas Tree via photopin (license)

Diabetes and Your Pet – Know the Dangers!

Did you know that diabetes isn’t just a threat to humans? Thousands of pet are diagnosed every year. November is Diabetes Pet Awareness month so read on to find out about your pet’s risk factors and what to do!

Diabetes Risk Factors

Weight is likely the largest factor for both pets and humans. An overweight pet is far more likely to develop diabetes as they age than a fit pet is. A great incentive to measure your pets daily food and limit treats. Animals that eat a high carbohydrate diet are also at greater risk. Did you know that dogs don’t actually need carbohydrates? Yet most pet foods are primarily composed of corn or wheat. When buying pet food choose the option with the highest protein & fat content, and lowest carb content.

Two other genetic risk factors show that female dogs and male cats both have higher rates of diabetes than their opposites.

Symptoms of diabetes in pets

    • Weightloss
    • Vomiting and Dehydration
  • Excessive drinking & urination
  • Loss of Appetite

Pretty generic symptoms that are applicable to lots of different issues. If these are combined with any of the risk factors we already listed, be sure to ask your vet.

Living with a diabetic pet

Unfortunately once diabetes has been diagnosed, daily insulin injections become part of the routine. Your vet should be able to direct you on how to give the daily shot and store the insulin. It may be necessary for you to track your pet’s glucose levels throughout the day to help better understand when they rise and fall so you can adjust their insulin dosage accordingly. Sometimes you only need to do so until you’ve established a routine, while some pets may always need this service. Dietary changes will need to be made too. Since each animal is different your vet will need to direct you on these. Frequently you will need to feed your pet more often, but in smaller quantities.

Be sure to share your pets specialty needs with your pet nanny, pet sitter, or any other person who may care for them in your absence.

 

Struggling? See if you can find a diabetic pet support group nearby or online to help support you and your pet!

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)

Paws – Amazing Facts About Your Pet’s Paws!

Paws, what do we know about them? Aside from most pets having four of them, not much! Did you know that your pets paws are a big part of how they experience the world? Check out these awesome facts and cultivate a broader appreciation for your pets feet!

Facts About Pet Paws

  • The size and shape of your dog’s paw shows the type of climate they were made for. Large, wide paws are often found on breeds that come from cold climates with lots of snow. These large feet act like snowshoes!  Furthermore, water breeds like Retrievers have webbed toes!
  • Did you know that cat claws grow from the bones in their foot, not a nailbed like the human fingernail? This is why declawing is bad for cats!
  • Both dogs and cats walk on their “toes” instead of their heels like humans do
  • Some agile dog breeds have “cat-like” feet, with high arches and a narrow width. This allows them a better range of quick movements. Dobermans and Greyhounds are two breeds with “cat feet”.
  • Cats have unique fingerprints too! Cat paws have unique grooves that leave unique prints. Did you know you can use your cat’s paw to unlock your iPhone?!

  • The thick foot pads which make up the “paw” are actually made of fatty tissue deposits. This acts as an insulator allowing your pet to run around on snow or warm surfaces that would burn our sensitive feet. Please note though – while pet paws are better insulated they can still get frost bitten or burnt from hot asphalt!
  • These thick foot pads also act as cushions and shock absorbers in cats, and help keep their steps quiet while hunting!
  • People often say dogs don’t have sweat glands. Not true! Dogs have sweat glands on their noses and paws!

 

photo credit: Ifor’s baked bean paws via photopin (license)
photo credit: Mika Feet via photopin (license)

Olympics For Your Pet – Competitive Sports

The 2016 Summer Olympics held their opening ceremony last Friday. While people from all over the world gather to compete for top athlete, have you ever considered how athletic your pet is? Competitive sports aren’t limited just to the two-leggeds! Consider getting your pet (and yourself) fit while training for awesome pet Olympics!

Pet Summer Olympics

 

  • Agility Training – This is a BLAST for dogs! Agility training often consists of training your dog through obstacle courses of varying difficulty. Look around in your area to see if you can find one nearby. Jumping, tunneling, balancing are all great mental exercise too!
  • Disc Competition – Officially it’s called a “disc” – but not like the ones in the Olympics! You may know it better as a frisbee! This is a great co-op sport because it relies both on your skill and your dogs. You have to be a good thrower before you can train your dog to be a good catcher! See if there are any disc competitions in your area!
  • Tracking – Dogs are known for their noses (some breeds more so than others). Why not let your pet take full advantage of their natural gifts? Take your pet on a tracking trail! Check out this site to learn all about the benefits and events you can be a part of!
  • Dock Jumping – If you’ve ever taken your dog to the lake, you’ve probably seen this one before! The sport is exactly what it sounds like – dogs jumping off docks. With each jump the goal is to go further than the jump before. Toss toys off the dock and see how far your dog can go! A great sport for a hot day!

What about cats, you say? Take a break from the Olympics and check out The Hallmark Channels 2016 Kitten Bowl! Or this video below, showcasing some of the finest bunnies in competitive jumping!

 

photo credit: sheltie contact via photopin (license)

Millennials – The Pros and Cons of Pet Ownership

A badge once held by the baby boomers, millennials have taken the lead for most pet-loving generation! Loosely defined as those born between 1980 to 2000, millennials have given pet shelters (and the pet industry) a renewed hope after earlier reports put pet ownership rates down among the Baby Boomer generation. According to the 2015 Global Pet Expo 35.2% of millennials own pets, up a few percentage points from where baby boomers now range.

Early last year reports surfaced that many millennials while being pet lovers, may not be the best pet owners for a variety of reasons:

  • They are more likely to rent and not own, making them subject to lease agreements regarding pets and more likely to have to give up a pet due to a move.
  • 38% of millennials believe that pets can stay safely in shelters until adopted out.
  • They are more likely to be impulse buyers meaning they hit pet shops instead of shelters and frequently end up unprepared for all the duties of pet ownership.

So where do millennials excel as far as pet ownership goes?

Millennials – A Positive New Generation of Pet Owners

  • Social Media – This is a generation that has largely grown up with social media and the internet. They love networking! Shelters should be sure to have a strong presence with informative posts.
  • Social Causes – Millennials are very socially minded and they like to be a part of things that represent the world they’d like to see. From buying things for a good cause to investing in shared economies. Millennials, while they may have a reputation as impulse buyers, they are also conscious buyers and care about where their investment goes. Make sure they know they are doing good when they adopt!
  • Spending – Pet spending has increased steadily over the years and it doesn’t look set to decline anytime soon. Millenials spend more on pets (both spoiling and on medical care) than previous generations.
  • Tech -savvy – Pet owning now is easier than ever with all the great new innovations this tech-savvy generation has pioneered. Micro-chipping, tracking collars, thousands of pet apps and services all make it easier to care for your pet!

Want to know more ways this new generation is defining pet ownership, check this out!

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