Tag: pet sitting

Heroic Cats – Small in Stature, Big in Deed

Dogs are well known for their heroic behavior. Their valor is sung by everyday pet owners all the way to those on the battlefield! Cats on the other hand have an established reputation for being self-consumed and having little genuine interest in anything beyond getting fed and petted. It turns out though that while cats may not have the strength to drag someone to safety, they do some pretty heroic things too! Cats are very attune to medical emergencies and on multiple occasions have alerted their owners to internal threats that they themselves didn’t know where occurring! Take a look at our list of five kitties due some recognition!

Heroic Cats to the Rescue!

  • Schnautize and the Gas Leak – A Montana couple fast asleep, were awakened by Schnautzie’s persistent paw tapping on their sleeping faces. Once awake they became aware of the sound of gas hissing! Upon evacuating the home and calling the fire department they were told their basement had been filling with gas from a leak while they slept! One spark from their furnace igniting would have sent the house to pieces!
  • Pudding and the Diabetic – Pudding was a shelter kitty who hadn’t even been in her new home for 24 hours when the woman who adopted her began to fall into a diabetic coma while asleep. Pudding, sensing something was wrong, tried to keep her new owner awake. When that failed she ran to the woman’s son’s room, waking and alerting him to action.
  • Leo and the Burglar – A robber breaking into a home one night encountered a cat named Leo. Leo was so upset by the burglars presence he began yowling and making such a racket that the surprised crook abandoned his pursuit.
  • Baby and the Fire – A grey tabby named Baby sprung into action when a fire broke out in his owners apartment and their fire alarm failed to notify them. Baby awoke the couple in time to get to safety, saving the couple and their unborn baby!
  • Masha and the Baby in the Box – An infant who had been left on a street in a box in Russia owes his life to a passing cat named Masha. Masha hopped in the box with the baby and laid on top of him to keep him from freezing. Not only did she keep him warm, she yowled at passerby’s to attract attention until the baby was discovered and taken into care.

Cats might be small in stature but their gestures and efforts are certainly heroic. Do you have a story about you cat alerting you to danger? Share it with us!

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)

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)

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)

Autumn Awareness – Beware of New Dangers

Summer may still be with us, but in two weeks the Autumn Equinox will be here! The crisp tinge in the air has a way of putting everyone in “prep mode” for winter. Hopefully, you’ve already secured your pets winter home (if not, check out our helpful blog here). As you’re prepping your own property against the coming cold,  keep these new hazards in mind!

Autumn Saftey Awareness

  • Antifreeze – Getting your vehicle ready for cold weather is an important step. Be sure to keep your pet out of the garage or area where your vehicle is kept. Antifreeze is deadly and irresistibly delicious to your pet. Store extra antifreeze out of your pets range, hose off any spills, and make sure there are no leaks.
  • Fall Decor – As wreaths and miniature pumpkins debut across the country, ensure you aren’t introducing any new choking or tangle hazards. Be cautious with potpourri and other scent items too!
  • Mouse Poison – As Autumn approaches, those little buggers love to try building snug little nests in our homes, basements, attics, and garages. If you put out any type of poison be certain it is not where your pet can get to it. Stay mindful of it too. It’s easy to forget that you put it out and then move something a month or two later, allowing your pet access.
  • Medication – With Autumn comes the cold & flu season. Keep cough medicines, antibiotics, inhalers, and all other related items are far out of your pet’s reach at all times. Many people are prone to leaving these items on the bedside table or bathroom counter – easy spots for a playful pet to access!
  • Heaters – If you use space heaters anywhere in your home, keep the cords safely tucked away! Be sure your pet can’t get burned if they get too close too. Do you have a fireplace? Make sure you have a screen to prevent your pet from approaching it!

Adopt A Cat Month Is Here!

Adopt A Cat Checklist!

June is national Adopt-A-Cat-Month! Been thinking about getting a kitty (or a new kitty) for some time? June is the month to act! Shelters are frequently packed with kittens from unexpected Spring litters in June looking for a forever home – and that home could be yours! Not sure about it though? Don’t want to make a commitment you may not be ready for? Check out our list of things you should do or prepare for BEFORE you adopt.

Make sure your house is “cat-friendly”

  • Do you already own pets? If so, do you think they will respond favorable or hostile toward a new addition?
  • If you rent, make sure that pets are allowed and pay any required deposits!
  • Make sure you’re in the habit of keeping potential hazards out of a cats reach; medication, cosmetics, household cleaners, etc.
  • Cats are climbers and jumpers! Don’t keep fragile items of value where they could be knocked over.
  • Make sure your plants aren’t poisonous and take necessary steps to keep a new kitty from making it their litter box

Have the necessary accessories

  • Litter box with litter, scoop, and a mat or cover if needed
  • Food and water dishes with age appropriate food
  • Toys! If you don’t want all your household items to become toys, make sure you supply some!
  • Scratch posts – save your furniture and invest now!
  • Ensure there is a “Kitty Space”

Designate an area in your home for your new kitty

This can be a laundry or utility area or any place where there is easy clean up and you can preferably close off to some degree. Yes, your kitty will get to roam the house, but this will allow them to get accustomed to a going to a specific area to get their needs met; bathroom, food, scratching, and such. It also allows for a safe space that a new pet can feel safe in while they adjust!

Choose a vet and budget accordingly

Finding a vet now will help you keep your kitty healthy for the long term. Costs will vary depending on the age of cat you choose to adopt. Kittens will likely need wormers, and shots. If your shelter has kittens under 12 weeks, you will need to get them spayed or neutered yourself. And don’t forget about flea and tick control if you’re going to have an indoor/outdoor cat.

Consider a finding a good pet sitter too! You will inevitably have time when you won’t be able to be there for your kitty as much as you’d like to. A pet sitter will make sure your pet is fed, the litter box is clean, and that they get some good play time in! Most importantly adopt a kitty whose personality fits you! Spend some time with each one you’re considering and choose the best fit for your lifestyle!

photo credit: Take me home via photopin (license)

Leash Training Your Dog 101

Using a leash with your dog may seem pretty intuitive. Clip it onto their collar or harness and you’re ready to go, right? Sure, that gets the job done, but did you know there are lots of tips and tricks you can use to leash train your dog? Holding it correctly to prevent injury and teaching your dog to stop pulling are two great benefits of  training!

Leash Training 101

  • The right collar. If you’re starting your leash training with a puppy, it’s pertinent to get a collar that fits. Since puppies grow, be aware that you need to check the collar sizing regularly and upgrade as needed. Check out this link for tips on measuring your dog’s collar size!
  • Learn how to hold the leash. Here is where some human training comes in. Knowing how to hold the leash properly will help you keep steady control of your pet, without risking injury to yourself. This is particularly important during the training process when your pet will be pulling and jerking the most. Proper technique, as described by Wikihow:

    “Slip your thumb through the loop at the end of the leash. If you hold your hand upwards in front of you (like you’re giving someone a high five), the leash should dangle off your thumb. Then close your hand around the loop. The rest of the leash should come out the bottom of your fist, beside your pinky finger.”

  • Start with a short range. Keeping your dog close to you can help them learn which side they should walk on and what an acceptable pace is. This also allows you more immediate, easier control during the early stages.

  • Trial and error. Now comes the training part! With a pocket full of treats head out the door! As your pet walks calmly beside you, praise them and offer a treat. If they pull or dart about erratically exercise patience and reward them when they stop this behavior and return to polite walking. If they remain walking with you, stop and reward them every so often.
  • Deal with pulling. If your dog is trying to pull you toward a goal, stop. Wait until your pet stops tugging and then slowly walk toward the object of their interest, rewarding them if they walk calmly with you. Your dog needs to understand that misbehaving will produce the opposite result of what they want. If their behavior persists, calmly walk away from their goal. Don’t ever jerk the leash, just apply enough steady pressure that they must follow you. And again with the training mantra, once he stops and begins following you at a normal pace, reward him!

Remember to always be patient and gentle with your dog. Use your stubbornness and leadership to command your pet. Dogs are smart and most pick up on leash training fast!

photo credit: Comfort via photopin (license)

Spoiled Rotten Dog: Are You Guilty?

Dogs are just like to children to many people, and like children, they can be at risk for being spoiled… “What’s the harm?”, you may ask yourself. Extra treats, lots of toys, and lax rules are just how you show your love right? The problem is, just like with children, a spoiled dog can lead to problems as they get older. They can be aggressive toward you or others who try to impose rules on them, a nuisance to neighbors or company, and difficult for veterinarians to provide proper care for. So, what are some of the common errors and signs of a spoiled dog?

Spoiled Dog Syndrome

  • Does your dog routinely ignore commands they were once prompt to obey?
    Do they sneak around to do things they know are no-no’s? (i.e stealing food, chewing on shoes, etc.) Are they rude to your company by growling or jumping up on them?
  • Make time for your pet instead of buying extra toys. Time in your company as your companion is the best “toy” you can give. Walks, trips to the park, or even a movie and a snuggle will help enhance your bond and make your pet desire your approval.
  • Alternatively, consider crate training to teach your pet how to spend time alone too. Most people can’t spoil their pets (or themselves) to the extent of being “attached at the hip” and you will be required to leave your pet alone at times. To ensure they don’t either suffer anxiety or see these as moments to partake in all the no-no’s of life, make sure they are comfortable spending time alone.
  • Don’t send mixed signals. We know puppy dog eyes are pretty hard to resist, but it’s important that you send a consistent and clear message about what’s okay and what’s not, AT ALL TIMES. This means no exceptions for being too tired to shoo them off the bed for the tenth time, or as “okay on special occasions”. A no-no is a no-no. The better your pet sees this, the less likely they should be to beg.
  • Keep treats for good behavior, but not ALL good behavior. Overfeeding your pet treats isn’t just bad for their behavior, it’s bad for their waistlines too! While treats can be a great way to help train a dog for all sorts of behaviors, they shouldn’t become a permanent reward. This doesn’t mean that you can’t treat them for coming when called, or sitting when told too, just do it less than 50% of the time.

photo credit: Fußball Bundesliga… via photopin (license)

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Pet Nanny-Pet Sitters of The Main Line, offers pet sitting, dog walking, house sitting and concierge services in Malvern, Paoli, Berwyn, Devon, Wayne, Chesterbrook, Strafford, Radnor, St.Davids, Rosemont, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, Haverford, Ardmore, Wynnewood, Gulph Mills, Conshohocken and Newtown Square.