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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!

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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:  http://bachflowerpets.com

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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How Often Should You Really Bathe Your Pooch?

If you’ve been searching the internet you’ll find lots of advice, to bathe or not to bathe? How frequently? Bathing helps to keep your dog’s skin and coat clean, healthy and free of parasites. Some dogs will require more frequent baths than others, depending on their coat and how quickly they get dirty.

Keep the following in mind while deciding when to give your dog a bath:

Dogs have essential oils on their coats for warmth and buoyancy. Some dogs have thicker oils than others and some create these oils faster than other dogs.

Does your dog lives indoors and sleep in your bed? Roll around in the filth and get dirty more often? Then you’ll probably want to wash your dog more frequently.

Different breeds have different needs. Some breeds with oily skin or no undercoats do best with weekly bathing such as Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Shih Tzus, Maltese, Yorkies and Afgans. Breeds with harsh-textured coats including Labs, Shelties and Collies do best with a monthly bath. Their coats repel dirt well and don’t get as dirty as a soft-coated dog. Water-repellent coats, such as Golden Retrievers & Great Pyrenees, should be bathed less often to preserve their natural oils. Breeds with thick, double coats like Samoyeds and Malamutes also do best with fewer baths however, they do need a lot of extra brushing to help rid of loose, dead hair.

Is anyone in your home allergic to dogs? According to the American Lung Association, you should bathe them as often as possible to remove the dander that accumulates on a pet’s fur.

Then there are those dogs who are prone to skin problems. Most dogs absorb allergens through their skin and weekly bathing can prevent itchiness. We’ve all heard that too many baths can dry out a dog’s skin however shampoos and conditions don’t have the harsh chemicals that they use to. Choose a gentle dog shampoo for routine bathing. Look for natural, moisturizing ingredients like shea butter, aloe and oatmeal. Steer clear of those heavily scented shampoos. By bathing weekly you’ll wash the allergens away before they get a chance to penetrate the skin. Really.

Got Fleas??? Fleas can be a horrible nuisance. Many flea shampoos contain harsh chemicals, are short-lived and irritate your dog’s sensitive skin. Did you know there’s an alternative? Vinegar. Yes, I said vinegar, it kills fleas! You don’t want to use the balsamic or the champagne kind. Just good ‘ol plain white vinegar. Use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and AVOID the sensitive area around the eyes. It’s safe to use a vinegar bath whenever you notice fleas but be warned, your dog may smell like a pickle for a couple of days! You can also add Braggs Apple Cidar Vinegar to your dog’s water or food. For every 40 lbs of weight add 1 tsp. It not only deters fleas but improves their skin and coat from the inside out.

Looking for that just right shampoo and conditioner? You may want to try High Cascade’s 4 in 1 Emu Oil concentrate dog shampoo and conditioner. It’s detergent-free and produces a soft, shiny “Show Quality” coat with every bath. Emu Oil is a natural moisturizer and pain reliever. The 4 in 1 shampoo/conditioner helps to soothe and heal irritated skin with a natural blend of cedar, citronella, patchouli and eucalypus which helps to protect your pet from fleas and ticks for up to 7 days. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Emu-Oil-Shampoo-Conditioner-Concentrate/dp/B003YHMBFI

So just how often should I bathe my dog? A good rule of thumb is that MOST dogs can handle a good scrub down once a month, a little more often during the summer months, depending on the above.