Tag: pet tips

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)

Warm Days Equal Hot Cars – Don’t Leave Pets Unattended!

Warmer temperatures are on the way and as the weather starts to warm up, many pet owners start to bring their pets out while running errands. Often times pet owners think they are doing the right thing by getting their pet out of the house, but it can be extremely harmful for the pets. Pet owners need to think twice before taking their pets on car rides, because of how dangerously hot the inside of a car gets. Within minutes, the heat inside the car can reach hazardous levels – even when it’s relatively cool outside. The following infographic displays information on keeping your pet safe during the warmer weather.

If your pet can’t come in with you on your errands, it’s best to leave them at home!

Pet Safety and Rising Temperatures created by FIGO Pet Insurance

Hairball Prevention – Because No One Wants To Clean Them Up!

Don’t be caught off-guard by an unwanted hairball being coughed up around your house this shedding season! Hairballs are likely just as unpleasant for your cat to hack up as they are for you to find. Hairball prevention day is just around the corner (April 24). Do you both a favor and prevent them before they form!

Hairball Prevention 101

  • Brush, Brush, and Brush – Cats tend to do a pretty good job of grooming themselves. We don’t think much about brushing them. While they’re shedding though a good daily brushing is a must! The more of that fur you remove with a brush, the less they ingest to hack up later! Once you’ve given them a good brushing, wipe them down with a moist cloth to pick up any extra loose fur! Heck, we’ve even used a lint roller before!
  • Medicines & Supplements – If you think your cat may already have a hairball brewing, pick up an over-the-counter “medicine” to help them pass it. These medicines are often mild laxatives and can help hair pass through your cat’s system normally. Adding extra fiber to your pet’s diet, through food or supplement, is a great preventative change you can make too!
  • Add some Olive Oil – Mix a small amount of olive oil in your cat’s food! The oil helps to lubricate their digestive system naturally. Consumption of it can also make their coat shiny! This is a short-term treatment though. Feed olive oil in moderation over short periods of time.

Hairball issues can be normal while shedding, but they shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. If you cat continually suffers from issues associated with vomiting, see your vet. There may be a more serious issue at play. Left untreated and attended too hairballs can form intestinal blockages that are very dangerous for a kitty!

photo credit: vanaddie Cats, 2003 via photopin (license)

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

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)

Therapy With Your Dog? Find Out How!

Did you know that the first modern therapy dog was a Yorkshire Terrier named Smoky? An abandoned pup found in the midst of World War II, she stayed alongside her adopted owner throughout the war. She helped them accomplish incredible tasks and boosted morale with certain entertaining numbers she had learned. Therapy dogs didn’t become popular until 1976. A  nurse noticed the positive response patients had to the visiting Chaplain’s Golden Retriever. Since then, the ways that dogs (and cats!) have been proven to help people has done nothing but grow! While certain things like seeing-eye dogs are commonly thought of, here are a few more ways dogs are helping people out!

Therapy with your Dog!

  • Comfort – Never underestimate the amount of comfort your dog can provide during stressful and emotional situations. Just petting an animal lowers your blood pressure and helps people with anxiety feel calm. Dogs have begun being utilized in prison therapy programs, allowing inmates to talk about very emotional things that can lead to visible distress. The dogs are trained to approach the person and comfort them.
  • Emotional Support – College campuses across the nation have been employing therapy dogs to help students cope with tragic situations. Yale University has so much faith in the service that students can “check-out” therapy dogs as needed.
  • Bridging Communications – Therapists have found that in people who have trouble communicating or connecting, the presence of a dog can help them open up and feel more secure in social situations.
  • Increasing Confidence – Because dogs don’t judge, interacting with one can help grow children’s confidence. Children will often interact with pets like they might a human – by reading or singing to them, or even asking their “opinion” on something. These interactions have been shown to strengthen children socially and emotionally.

photo credit: rentmam1 Wir wünschen euch ein schönes Wochenende via photopin (license)

Whiskers – Your Pet’s Sixth Sense in Action!

Whiskers – just about every fuzzy creature around has them. They stick out of cheeks and snouts, hang off chins and even span out like exaggerated eyebrows. They are found in predators and prey alike, and cats even have them on the back of their front legs! What do these peculiar hairs do though and why are they so common? Here are some interesting facts about your pet’s whiskers!

All About Whiskers

  • They are much different from normal pet hair, or human hair! They are embedded much more deeply and send information about an animal’s surroundings straight to their sensory nerves. This helps animals have a clearer sense of their surroundings knowing how and when to react to them.
  • Did you know that whiskers will shed, just like fur? Don’t worry if you find one laying around. It’ll grow back!
  • Not all whiskers are straight! Some breeds of cats can curl!
  • Don’t trim them! Trimming can give an animal a distorted sense of their surrounds. Some critters, like rabbits, can’t see right in front of them and whiskers are pertinent to keep them from bumping into things!
  • They help gauge width. Ever wonder how your cat or rabbit just knows they can fit into a tight spot? Those long hairs help tell them the width of spaces without being able to see them. If the whiskers fit, the body can fit!
  • They are so sensitive, they respond to vibrations in the air!
  • The cat with the longest whiskers lives in Finland and is named “Missi”. In 2005 they were measured at 7.5 inches long!
  • Whisker Stress is a real thing! If your pet eats or drinks out of a narrow food or water dish they can develop this disorder. The constant stimulus every time they eat or drink can become uncomfortable. This may lead to your pet not eating or drinking enough, or attempting to drag their food out of their bowl before consumption.

photo credit: y_egan “Whiskers on kittens…” 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)

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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.