Tag: tips and suggestions

Shelter Animal Adoption Tips

Pet adoption is a cause near and dear to our hearts here at Pet Nanny. We like to see every critter in a warm loving home! Anything we can do to ease the adoption process and get a shelter animal in your home, we want to do!

Cindy Grant at NoLongerWild.com has compiled the ultimate treasure trove of shelter animal adoption tips! The labor of love is really impressive! Here are some of the highlights of her work, but ultimately, we suggest you head over to her site too for the full details if you have any questions or concerns!

Shelters

Did you know there are different types of animal shelters? Each different type has its own operating procedures. You may find it helpful to know what kind your local shelter is so you know what to expect before you go there! Here are the five types Cindy identifies:

  • Municipal Animal Shelters
  • Private Full Service Non-Profit Animal Shelters
  • Non-Profit Full Service With Animal Control
  • Non-Profit With Limited Space Animal Rescue Shelters
  • Animal Rescue Groups

Need help identifying good shelters from bad ones? She helps with this too! Aside from taking note of the general well-being of the animals and their living conditions she also addresses a couple important, yet not often mentioned aspects:

  • Is the staff friendly? That’s a great sign that they are happy to help a future pet parent! However, don’t be quick to get offended as they may grill you over certain aspects of your life. They’re not there to be your friend, they’re there to ensure each pet goes to a loving and capable home so they don’t see them back at the shelter!
  • Shelter pets aren’t “free”! While shelters shouldn’t demand a “donation” with adoption, they will charge you an adoption fee. This isn’t for-profit though, so don’t get the wrong idea. This fee frequently covers the cost of spaying/neutering, shots, and other preventative care your pet received under their care. It’s important that you get an itemized list of these things so you know what your pet has had, and what it still needs before you head home!

Know What Questions To Ask About Your Shelter Animal!

Shelter pets have a history and you should find out as much as you can before you adopt. Does it have any preexisting health conditions? Why is it in the shelter to begin with? What’s it’s general temperament? Important questions you need to ask! Make yourself a list – but be prepared to answer some yourself!

 

 

photo credit: M.P.N.texan Helen via photopin (license)

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 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.

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)

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)

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)

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

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!

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