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Tips For Enjoying Thanksgiving With Your Pet

Ummm…the smell of pumpkin pie baking fills the air throughout your home. The table is set, the turkey is resting, and the guests are arriving. Thanksgiving is that traditional time of year filled with lots of great foods, family, friends, and football fun. But for our pets, it can also be a hazardous time of year.

Here are a few simple tips to help you pet-proof your holiday and still allow Fido to be included in all the festivities:

Turkey Talk: Turkey meat in itself is a great treat option to offer your dog. However, fatty foods like the skin of the turkey an gravy are too rich for Fido’s stomach are are difficult to digest. These foods may cause your dog’s pancreas to become inflamed, resulting in pancreatitis, a very serious disease. Also, avoid giving cooked or uncooked bones as they can splinter.

Bread Dough: I’m first in line for fresh bread and rolls, they are indeed scrumptious! But don’t leave the dough rising on the counter within reach of your pet. When raw dough is ingested, the yeast continues to convert to sugar. As it expands, your pet may experience a drunken state, bloating and severe abdominal pain which may become life-threatening and require surgery.

Side Dishes: Often many side dishes contain sage, onions and garlic which are toxic to pets. Best to not offer your pet any sides as treats.

So, what can I feed Fido? We’ve got some great suggestions here for you.

For ap-pawtizers, offer a few baby carrots or sliced apple pieces with a small amount of peanut butter. Dinner can be made with a few pieces of cooked, cooled turkey meat mixed with mashed sweet potato and topped off with green beans. We recommend the following servings: small dogs should be given 3/4 cup, medium dogs may have 1- 1/2 cups and for larger breeds, they can enjoy up to 3 cups. On the dessert menu, try combining a small amount of pumpkin puree with non-fat plain yogurt. Freeze overnight or serve immediately.

A little splurge this Thanksgiving holiday is fine but don’t allow your pet to overindulge. Remember to keep an eye on your pet around table decorations and open trash containers. Avoid putting chocolates and nuts on tables within their reach, plastic wraps and foil laying around and also keep a watchful eye on those guests who may be inclined to sneaking your pet a treat.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something that he or she shouldn’t have, contact your vet, your emergency clinic or the ASPCA Poison Control hotline immediately at 888-426-4435.

We hope you have a fun, safe and Happy Thanksgiving!





Is It Safe To Leave Your Cat At Home Alone?

More than half of U.S. cat owners believe that cats can be left at home alone for several days. They often will just put down a huge bowl of food and water when they leave and don’t arrange for anyone to stop by and visit.

If you’re considering leaving home for more than a day, you’ll really want to consider hiring a pet sitter or consider a boarding facility. Most cats don’t do well with change so leaving them at home is often the better choice for them.

While most cats are independent, sophisticated, and smart, they can and do get anxious and lonely without their human companions. As a professional pet sitter, we insist on seeing your kitty, at the very least, every day for a number of reasons. Here are the top four reasons:

1) Food and Water – Leaving huge amounts of food out for your cat at one time is not the best choice. Cats can gorge on their dry food and canned food can be consumed all at once or dried out and become stale. Even self feeders don’t refill the bowls themselves, we’re constantly having to “pull” down the food.

Cats need hydration, from either their wet food or from a water source. They prefer clean, fresh water. Slim can build up in stale water, water dishes can tip or they can become full of cat hair. Fresh water should be provided daily.

2) By nature, cats are very curious and enjoy exploring. Sometimes they can get themselves into sticky situations. They can become tangled in blinds, get stuck under or behind furniture, fall and be injured, get locked behind closed doors, get their collar caught in their mouth, get a nail lodged in their scratching posts, can’t move and go without access to food or water to name a few. I think you can see where I’m going here.

3) Dirty Litter Boxes – Believe it or not, cats really do prefer clean litter boxes. Full, dirty boxes are unhealthy and unsafe and will often lead to your cat not using their box altogether or worse yet, eliminating in an alternate place if it’s not cleaned regularly. A pet sitter can also monitor what’s happening in the box, any diarrhea, bloody stools/urine or a lack of evidence in the litter box activity. Having a dirty box with mounds of soiled litter won’t go over well with kitty.

4) Sick or Injured – Without human companionship, stress and anxiety may contribute to depression and cats may stop eating all together causing liver failure. It is very common for cat’s to develop urinary tract obstructions without warning, it can become very painful, and cat’s can go downhill very quickly. They may have a fall and become injured.

We recommend hiring a sitter rather than asking a friend or family member to take over. As a professional pet sitter, we get a lot of last minute requests because someone has flaked out, leaving them in the lurch or the hobby sitter didn’t show. We consider this our job and take your pets care very seriously. Having a pet sitter visit will give the attention, stimulation and care your cat needs and will put your mind at ease.

It’s your responsibility to keep your cat safe, healthy and happy, so why take a chance on something happening?




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Simple Ways To Help Your Pet This 4th of July

It’s that time of year again: the 4th of July, when family and friends get together for the opening of crab season, BBQ’s, and booming fireworks lighting up the night sky. While it’s fun for us, it can be terrifying for our pets.

A dog’s hearing is sensitive, hearing approximately four times better than humans. A cat’s hearing is sharp and we hear less than 1/3 of what they do.

We recommend following the steps below to ensure your pet remains safe:

Stay Calm – Pets notice our body language and react accordingly.

Keep pets indoor – familiar surroundings are the best place to keep them safe. Escort dogs outside every 3-4 hours for a potty break, use a leash if needed to keep a pet from bolting. Keep a close eye on them if attending an event.

Extreme fear of sound – can cause pets to injure themselves while trying to escape or looking for a place to hide.

Be aware of: hiding, trembling, shaking, sudden urination or defecation, pacing, chewing, digging, barking, howling, and an abnormal clinging behavior.

Reduce the noise level by closing windows and doors, running a fan, playing a radio (classical music is best) or TV to help offset the loud firework noise.

Also close blinds or curtains and turn on lights throughout the house to help block the flashing light from fireworks.

Create a safe place – When pets are anxious or afraid, they’ll often retreat to a closet, a crate, or under a bed. Until the noise subsides, create a safe haven where a pet can retreat to when he/she feels threatened. Consider putting their favorite blanket in those areas to help create comfort and security. Offer kitty’s a cat bed or a blanket to burrow into. Most importantly, let them be, don’t force them to into something they don’t want.

Food Toxicity – BBQ’s can often offer tantalizing treats for pets, however, most of those foods can be toxic to our pets.

Be wary of offering hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs, and ribs which are fatty and rich foods that can wreck havoc on your pet’s stomach, perhaps causing indigestion, diarrhea and ultimately pancreatitis.

Onions, a common condiment, are toxic and can lead to fatal poisoning while discarded bones can cause obstructions.

Natural calming cures – Try a natural approach to calm a pet’s fear. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy, made from spring water and wild flowers, has been used successfully on pets who have a fear of thunder and fireworks. More information can be found here:

Thundershirt’s, similar to swaddling an infant, gives a constant pressure on a dog or cat’s torso to help reduce tension or anxiety.

Have all ID in place – Pets can easily become separated from us during an event. A gate may be left open at a bbq or they may find a way to escape during a backyard potty break. Ensure your pet wears a durable collar with up-to-date information, tags, or is microchipped.  This will help increase your chances of being reunited with your pet should he/she becomes lost.

For anyone who has lost a pet or comes across a lost pet, the following are animal shelters in our area:

Camano Animal Shelter (CASA), Camano Island, 360-387-1902

Noah, Stanwood, 360-629-7055

Everett Animal Shelter, 425-257-6000

Let’s all keep our furry loved ones safe, injury and stress-free this Independence Day!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe 4th from all of us at Camano Pet Sitters!

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In-Home Pet Sitting vs. Pet Boarding?

You need to travel out of town on business, vacation, wedding or a family reunion. What do you do with your pet? Fortunately, you have several choices for pet care, ranging from asking a neighbor, friend or family member, to hiring an hobby sitter, a professional in-home pet sitter, boarding at your local vet or using a commercial boarding or kenneling facility. When considering which method would be best for you and your pet, we’ve listed the pro’s and con’s between the two more popular options for.

Boarding at a vet or commercial facility:

Traditionally, boarding has been the most popular solution. Your pet will be fed and exercised at the facility as well as have an opportunity to socialize with other pets.

During the day there is a large amount of stimulation. If your pet is use to lots happening throughout the day, they should be use to the noise and activity of a boarding facility.

If your pet has a medical issue, you can board at a veterinary facility and have the benefit of a medical staff close by.

The drawback of boarding, unless you opt for a cage free facility, is your pet will be kept in a small room or cage type kennel often sleeping on a hard surface. Since multiple animals are boarded at any given time, duties of cleaning, feeding, training, or bathing doesn’t always allow for a lot of personal one-on-one attention, especially if there is a shortage of staff. Often, pet owners assume that a staff member is on duty inside the kennel during the wee hours of the night checking in frequently on your pet. This is not the case with most facilities. Some facilities will have staff living in a home on property while some have no staff at all.

Stress is indeed the biggest problem with boarding of any sort. Pets, especially cats, are uncomfortable outside their normal environment. Pets suffering from stress and anxiety from being in a strange place, may experience diarrhea, vomiting or a reduction in their appetites. As well, there is always the risk of contracting a virus or fleas.

When it comes to pricing for boarding, rates can vary depending on the number of pets, amenities and the level of service chosen. These separate add-on fees can really up the cost.

Pet Sitting:

Hiring an in-home pet sitter is a great option for keeping your pets happy and cared for. You won’t have to burden your family, friend or neighbor with the tasks. Pet sitters offer one-on-one attention, feeding, exercising and loving care while performing light duties around your home, eliminating the “away from home” signals and discouraging potential robberies. With a reputable pet sitting service, sitters should be screened, trained, bonded and insured. With larger companies they are able to accommodate last-minute bookings, something not often possible when calling a friend or hobby sitter.

By working with a pet sitter, you won’t have to pack up all of your pet’s belonging…food, toys, blankets and bowls, pet sitters come to your home. Nor will you have the added stress of rushing home to pick up your pet before closing time or worse yet, having to pay an additional night of boarding because you’ve been delayed.

Being separated from mom and dad is hard enough. Pets that are allowed to remain in their own comfortable and familiar surroundings and are able to sleep in their favorite spot are more likely to be less stressed. Nor are they subjected to contracting any virus or fleas from being around other pets.

More than likely your pet has its routine. A pet sitter works with your routine so feeding and potty times remain on track. The personal attention that a sitter provides cannot be matched by a boarding facility. The overall length of personal care may be slightly shorter depending on the number of visits but they are focused only on your pet, not several other pets.

The disadvantage to hiring a pet sitter, whether hobby or professional, is that you don’t know the person coming into your home. Having said that, do you really know who is caring for your pet at a boarding facility? I’m guessing not. At least with a pet sitter, you can meet and interview the person in your home. Ask for references, do they seem trustworthy and reliable, and it’s a good idea to use someone that is bonded and insured.

Now that you’ve read some of the pro’s and con’s of both boarding and pet sitting, you’ve got enough information to decide which is better for you and your pet. Regardless of whether you choose a kennel or pet sitter – make sure you have provided clear instruction on what food, treats or medication (if needed) are to be given along with providing good contact information in case of an emergency.

Added Bonuses with Camano Pet Sitters’ Vacation Care:

  • No need for additional vaccinations like Bordatella to prevent kennel cough
  • You don’t need to schedule extra time to drop your pet off, rush home to pick them up before a certain hour or pay an additional night because you can’t make it there before closing time.
  • Your pet will have the same sights, smells and sounds they are accustomed to.
  • Your home will be taken care of too. We’ll bring in your mail, paper, packages , water your plants, rotate your blinds or alternate your lights, provide a security check on your home and immediately notify you of any issues, should one arrive.
  • There are no extra fees for multiple pets.
  • Dispensing of oral or topical medication is free.
  • Brushing or combing your pet is included at no additional fee.
  • We don’t charge extra for dog walks, belly rubs, cuddles or kisses.
  • We’ll send you a text and photos to keep you updated on your pet.

(While it’s no secret that I am a pet sitter and that I lean towards the pet sitting direction. I have tried my best to keep this fair by outlining the pro’s and con’s of both. Ensuring your pet is healthy, safe and free of stress should always be a priority.)