Tag: vet

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)

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)

Ear Mites 101 – Keeping Your Pet Mite Free!

Has your furry friend by doing a lot of unexplained ear scratching lately? It might be a good idea to check them out for the dreaded ear mites.

Ear mites are a highly contagious eight-legged parasite that infects the ear canal of pets. The icky creatures feed on the oils and waxes in your pet’s ear. While pets of any age can get them, they are most often seen in young animals, and more frequently in cats. If you suspect your pet has contracted an infestation, look for these tell-tale symptoms:

Symptoms of Ear Mites In Pets

  • Excessive scratching of the ears and head shaking
  • Scabs, raw patches, and scratches in or around your pets ear
  • A “coffee ground” looking debris in your pet’s ear

While a case of ear mites isn’t a huge deal, it does need to be treated promptly. If you catch it early, many times you can treat your pet at home using over-the-counter products that you swab your pet’s ears with. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to go to your vet to get a proper diagnosis though. Other more serious conditions can mimic ear mites and it’s important to rule these out first.

While ear mites themselves can be easily treated with the proper medicine, the scratching your pet does can result in serious infections that require further treatment. Severe scratching can also lead to blood vessels rupturing, something that may require surgery. Be sure not to take this condition lightly.

If your pet has contracted a case be sure to check any other pets you have who may have come into contact with them. Since ear mites are so contagious it’s likely that if one pet has them, they all do. Don’t forget to thoroughly wash all your pets bedding and clean the areas the frequent most!

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Microchipping – Frequently Asked Questions

May is National Chip Your Pet Month! Microchipping your pet can sound scary. Whether your pet is chipped or not you may have lots of questions concerning this process. We’re here to help!

How Does Microchipping Work?

A small (think rice size) microchip is inserted into under your pet’s skin. This microchip has a unique identifying code that registers once scanned. If your pet is found and turned into a shelter or other authority, they can scan this chip, obtain the number, and enter it into the national database to find out who the owner is and how to contact them. This isn’t a “pet tracker” and it won’t find your pet lost in the woods, but it will help someone who does find them get them back to you!

Why?

Did you know that the chances of being reunited with an unchipped lost pet are about 1 in 5? That’s a pretty big risk and a lot of heartache. Lost pets often end up in shelters, and with overpopulation problems, some may be euthanized. Even if you have a collar that contains up to date information about contacting you, collars can fall off, or even be removed by thieves.

How Much Can I Expect To Pay?

Usually less than $50. Sometimes animals come from shelters with microchips already implanted. If this is the case it is VERY important that you consult the shelter for assistance in updating the microchip database ensuring that you and not the previous owner are listed as the contact. Always make sure to keep this information up to date every time your address or phone number changes!

Are there side-effects?

According to the AVMA:

Since the database was started in 1996, over 4 million animals have been microchipped and only 391 adverse reactions have been reported. Of these reactions, migration of the microchip from its original implantation site is the most common problem reported. Other problems, such as failure of the microchip, hair loss, infection, swelling, and tumor formation, were reported in much lower numbers.

These are pretty low odds, but it’s always good to monitor the injection site, especially if your pet is sensitive. Also, be sure to have your vet scan it regularly during check-ups to ensure it has not migrated and is working properly.

Adopt A Shelter Pet – What Steps Do You Need To Take?

If you and your family are looking to adopt a new pet for your home, you’re likely going to start at your local pet shelter. Some people can be a bit surprised when they get to the shelter and find out that pet adoption has more steps than just choosing the pet that’s right for you and taking it home. Before you head to the shelter, be sure you know what you need to do and have before you adopt!

How to adopt a shelter pet

  • Talk to the people at the shelter – The people at the shelter are the ones who have spent the most time with each individual animal and know their personalities. Before you adopt talk with the people who take care of the animals about your family and lifestyle. Do you like to do outdoors activities or are you, more homebodies? Do you have small children or other pets in the house? These people can help guide you to the pets best suited to your family’s lifestyle making the bonding process a breeze for both your family and the new pet!
  • Don’t rush! – Just because you’ve decided to get a pet doesn’t mean that you have to leave with one on your first trip to a shelter. Spend time with the pets you are considering and get to know them. Some shelters will let you take dogs on a walk and spend some one-on-one or family time with the pet you are considering.
  • Bring your paperwork – Shelters like to make sure that when someone comes to adopt a pet they are doing so with the best intentions for the animal and are prepared for the commitment. Make sure to have a photo ID with you and your current address. If you’re a renter, some shelters may require that you have a copy of your lease agreement or written permission from your landlord that you are allowed to have pets. These precautions help ensure that the pet is moving into a lasting and stable environment instead of an impulse adoption that will end up on their doorstep in a week or two again.
  • Bring Money – Shelters are not a free place to adopt a pet. They have to cover the expenses associated with operating, and some shelters will spay/neuter, and vaccinate the pets when they first come in. Be sure that you are prepared for the expense required bringing your pet home.
  • Ask for your new pets medical history – While some shelters will spay/neuter or vaccinate pets, not all do. Make sure you know what medical treatment your pet has had, and what services it may need. It’s often best to plan on a vet check-up shortly after you adopt regardless of your pets known history.

Why should you adopt a pet instead of buying a new one from a breeder or pet shop? Pet shelters are often overwhelmed with abandoned pets missing their homes and a loving family. Breeders breed pets to meet demand while shelters try to find homes for already existing pets in need of love.

 

Adopt A Shelter Pet – What Steps Do You Need To Take?

If you and your family are looking to adopt a new pet for your home, you’re likely going to start at your local pet shelter. Some people can be a bit surprised when they get to the shelter and find out that pet adoption has more steps than just choosing the pet that’s right for you and taking it home. Before you head to the shelter, be sure you know what you need to do and have before you adopt!

How to adopt a shelter pet

  • Talk to the people at the shelter – The people at the shelter are the ones who have spent the most time with each individual animal and know their personalities. Before you adopt talk with the people who take care of the animals about your family and lifestyle. Do you like to do outdoors activities or are you, more homebodies? Do you have small children or other pets in the house? These people can help guide you to the pets best suited to your family’s lifestyle making the bonding process a breeze for both your family and the new pet!
  • Don’t rush! – Just because you’ve decided to get a pet doesn’t mean that you have to leave with one on your first trip to a shelter. Spend time with the pets you are considering and get to know them. Some shelters will let you take dogs on a walk and spend some one-on-one or family time with the pet you are considering.
  • Bring your paperwork – Shelters like to make sure that when someone comes to adopt a pet they are doing so with the best intentions for the animal and are prepared for the commitment. Make sure to have a photo ID with you and your current address. If you’re a renter, some shelters may require that you have a copy of your lease agreement or written permission from your landlord that you are allowed to have pets. These precautions help ensure that the pet is moving into a lasting and stable environment instead of an impulse adoption that will end up on their doorstep in a week or two again.
  • Bring Money – Shelters are not a free place to adopt a pet. They have to cover the expenses associated with operating, and some shelters will spay/neuter, and vaccinate the pets when they first come in. Be sure that you are prepared for the expense required bringing your pet home.
  • Ask for your new pets medical history – While some shelters will spay/neuter or vaccinate pets, not all do. Make sure you know what medical treatment your pet has had, and what services it may need. It’s often best to plan on a vet check-up shortly after you adopt regardless of your pets known history.

Why should you adopt a pet instead of buying a new one from a breeder or pet shop? Pet shelters are often overwhelmed with abandoned pets missing their homes and a loving family. Breeders breed pets to meet demand while shelters try to find homes for already existing pets in need of love.

 

Diseases In Pets And How To Guard Against Them!

Nobody likes catching a cold or the flu and that’s no different for your pet! Since your pet can’t talk sometimes it can be hard to know when they are under the weather. Unlike humans, most pets aren’t likely to suffer from the common cold or simple illnesses that are easily overcome by lots of rest and soup. When a pet gets sick it’s something to pay attention to. Here is a list of some common diseases in pets and how you can avoid and treat them.

Dealing with Pet Diseases

  • Dental Disease: This can be found in most pets and left untreated can cause prolonged discomfort and lasting health issues for your pet. Most dental diseases are can be identified by a foul (fouler than usual!) breath, excessive drooling and loss of appetite. If you suspect your pet of suffering from dental issues be sure to make a vet appointment. Preventative measures can and should be taken. If brushing your pet’s teeth sounds like a nightmare try investing in dental treats and toys. They can be found in most pet aisles.
  • Obesity: Obesity in pets is one of those diseases that few pet owners take seriously. While a chubby pet may be extra cuddly and cute long-term obesity can cause long-term damage. You can find your pet’s healthy weight here. Maintaining the recommended weight will keep your pet safe from liver and kidney diseases and also protect their joints. Be sure your pet gets plenty of exercise and keep the treats to a minimum!

Diseases in pets: obesity

  • Allergic Dermatitis: This is one of the many diseases that toy breeds of dog are susceptible too. If you notice your pet scratching excessively with bald patches that are red and flaky it’s a good sign your pet is suffering from allergic dermatitis. Fortunately this can often be helped by increasing your pets’ intake of protein, essential fatty-acids, and antioxidants. Always check with your vet first though to ensure there isn’t an environmental factor that needs to be removed.
  • Heart Worms: Heart worms are one of the diseases that affects dogs more than cats. If you are raising your pooch from a puppy your vet will provide preventative treatment against heart worms. If you are adopting a pet and don’t know its medical history keep an eye out for some common signs: fatigue, coughing and weightless. This is not one of the diseases that can be treated at home and requires immediate veterinary attention.
  • Ear Mites: Maybe not technically a disease, ear mites are still a common ailment of pets. Fortunately they are easy to treat and as a result usually not a threat. If your pet seems heavily pre-occupied with scratching their ears then it is likely they have mites. If it is a mild infestation simply rubbing their ears with mineral oil can do the trick. If it seems more serious you can get special drops from your vet. Be certain to keep your pets ears clean though since excess scratching can lead to infection.

Remember that regular vet check-ups are a must to keep your pet free from all types of diseases!

Cost of Pets: What Cost and Which Breeds Take the Cake?

How Much Does Your Pet Cost?

With pets in American increasingly being treated like children as opposed to animals the cost of pet ownership is soaring! Pet spending topped $56 billion dollars in 2014 and is expected to reach or exceed $60 billion in 2015. What are American’s spending such large amounts of cash on? Not vet bills like one would think. Turns out most of the spending is being put into healthier pet foods. Healthy pet food totals over a third of that yearly total. Maybe because of this investment in more quality and nutrient rich food, veterinary bills are now the second costliest part of pet ownership.

Are you a dog or cat person? do you prefer  rabbits or other small animals? If finances are an obstacle for you, then you need to choose wisely before you bring a companion home from the local pet store or shelter.

While dogs often top spending over cats and other house pets, the dog breed that seems to rack up the most in vet bills and general care, surprisingly, is the Rottweiler. Large dog breeds garner significantly higher costs than any other house pet. The Rottweiler breed is especially susceptible to many allergies as well as gastric disorders which can lead to regular vet bills, medications, and specialized care. Other expensive dogs to care for include Great Danes, English Bulldogs and Ragdolls.

While cats are generally less known for specific breeds, the famous Siamese Cat is notably more expensive than your average house cat. Siamese cats are prone to respiratory disorders as well as liver diseases. Again, hitting your wallet much harder than a small pet like a hamster or gerbil.

Overall, most specialized breeds of pets are going to be prone to medical issues unique to their variety. Make it a point to research well and know things you can do right from the start to minimize your pets need for veterinary care. Want more information about the annual cost of pets per year? Check out the ASPCA website for a breakdown!

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