Camano Pet Sitters Blog

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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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Welcoming Home A New Puppy

Congratulations on your new furry bundle of joy!

But wait! Before you bring home your new puppy, you should prepare ahead of time to make the happy event even more enjoyable.

So what do you need in order to prepare for the introduction of your new puppy into your home?

1. Crate: There are several good reasons to crate train a puppy, housetraining for one as well as providing for a place for puppy to feel safe. Choose a crate that is sturdy, has plenty of ventilation, allows for the dog to stand and turn around freely (as an adult) and has a locking mechanism. Dogs are escape artist and can sometimes wiggle out or unlock the crate on their own.

2. Bed: Have a designated place for your puppy to sleep. A good bed provides insulation, support and a place for puppy to call his own. Find a bed that is cuddly and soft and most importantly, one that you can wash. Since puppies like to chew you may want to start off with some old blankets until the chewing phase is over. Place it near your bed. Since dogs are pack animals, they generally want to sleep near their parents.

3. Food bowls: Select both a food and water bowl that will be sturdy and won’t tip over. In my opinion, I’d recommend pyrex or stainless steel. Plastic bowls can crack and harbor unhealthy bacteria as well as emit nasty chemicals. Ceramic is another good alternative however some glazes may contain lead. Stainless steel bowls made in other countries can test positive for high levels of lead too, so buy those made in the USA.

4. Food: Decide on a feeding area for puppy to eat. You’ll want to find out what type of diet your puppy is currently on and buy the same food. Switching a puppy’s diet will cause upset tummies. Offer 3-4 small meals a day until 5-6 months.

5. Collars/Leash: You’ll need a collar that fits properly. As the puppy grows adjust the length and/or purchase a new collar. Starting with a 4′ leash is a nice length to allow potty activity and a bit of exploring. You’ll eventually you’ll want to choose a 6′ leash for walking and training. Whatever your choice, please do not purchase a rectractable leash. I can’t emphasize enough how much I deplore these devices. They pose a hazard to your dog, to you, to other pets and passer-byers and teaches your dog to pull. I know of owners who have received razor burns or worse yet, had a finger severed. This type of leash does nothing positive for your dog.

6. Toys: Puppies who have toys to play with are less bored. Purchase toys that entertain, like treat balls, stuffed animals, rope toys and a Kong. Use caution with plastic toys and buy toys sized appropriately for your puppy’s size. When puppy teeth begin to emerge, try this idea to sooth painful gums: soak a small washcloth, ring it out and place it in the freezer. Give to puppy to chew on.

Toy that Bounces: https://goo.gl/1uhhrt

Puzzle: https://goo.gl/jO6uSh

Rope Ball: https://goo.gl/lKFdfL

Treat Toy: https://goo.gl/L6mXca

Kong Stuffing Recipes:  http://goo.gl/BDRj7P

7. Puppy Gates: A definite must if you want to keep puppy out of certain areas that may be unsafe or where you don’t want puppy to have access to. Most people choose to keep their puppy in a laundry room or in the kitchen because accidents will happen.

8. Potty Pads: Even if you plan on crate training, potty pads can also be used around the house. Placing them in front of sliders or doors makes for easy cleanup in case of an accident. I don’t recommend placing them in the crate when alone, you may come home to a shredded pad.

9. Grooming Tools: Start early to get your puppy use to being brushed or combed. As well, handle each foot whenever you pet or play with them. It’ll come in handy at nail clipping time.

10. Locate Necessary Service Providers:

Veterinarians – Ask about common puppy ailments and new puppy shots.

Trainers – Discuss your ideas on training and corrective actions.

Groomers – Ask what exactly happens during a grooming session.

Pet Sitter / Dog Walker – Ask how they can help you with reinforcing training while you’re away or at work and dog walking…puppies need frequent breaks.

11. Puppy Safety: Finally, do a sweep of your home. Remove toxic plants and breakable items. Secure electric cords that puppy may chew on. Call us at Camano Pet Sitters to help with new puppy visits or puppy training.

 


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Why Does My Cat Vomit?

If you’ve own a cat, chances are you’ve had to clean up cat vomit. Vomit from time to time doesn’t always mean your cat is sick. It’s important to know that there are several reasons why cats throw up.

Often diet is the culprit. Frequent or abrupt diet changes can cause cats to vomit as well as food allergies. Chunks in gravy are usually harder on the cat’s stomach than pate. The gravy is carbohydrates and a cat’s diet should be primarly protein along with a high moisture content. If you are feeding your cat a good cat food diet but inexpensive treats that contain propylene glycol, FDC red #4, ethoxyquin, chemical dyes or emulsifiers, surfactants, and other stuff you can’t pronounce, you probably should toss them out.

Some people like to give their cat milk. Cats don’t have the enzymes required to break down the milk sugar in cow’s milk which also can result in vomiting.

As a rule of thumb, if your cat throws up infrequently and then seems to eat, play and poo normally, there is no reason for concern. By taking a good look at your cat’s vomit, you can tell a lot. Yes, I know you’d rather not but don’t you want to know why? The following are the most common reasons for vomiting:

Does the vomit contain undigested food? Your cat may be gorging. Did you know that a kitty’s esophagus is horizontal rather than vertical? Their stomachs become full and food backs up into the esophagus. Split your meals into smaller, more frequent meals if you have a gobbler.

Does the vomit contain a yellow liquid? If your cat is fed on a regular schedule, they will begin to anticipate their next meal in advance. Typically, a cat digests a meal within eight hours. Your cat may wake an hour early because he knows his meal time is approaching. Your cat’s stomach will begin releasing hydrochloric acid, gastric juices and bile, which are all needed to digest his meal. He throws up white foam and a bit of yellow bile because this acid irritates his tummy and since he has no food for the acid to digest, his body gets rid of it to avoid further irritation. Giving your cat a small treat will help until it’s meal time.

Does the vomit look like a mass of fur? This is the most frequent cause of vomiting. Cats with long hair or daily groomers need some assistance from us. Meaning, we need to brush our cats daily to help reduce the amount of hair they swallow. Loose hairs get stuck on the comblike barbs on a cat’s tongue. Cats can’t spit out that fur, so he swallows it. It’s similar to a ball of yarn, starting off small and gradually increasing in size. It doesn’t leave much room for food, so your cat will bring it up to prevent blockage.

Is there a mass of spaghetti-like worms? If you see evidence of worms in your cat’s vomit or feces, scoop them up and take them with you to your vet.

Some cats like to eat rubber bands, paper, cat toys, etc. If you suspect your cat has eaten a foreign object, get to the vet right away, this can be a life-threatening situation.

Common household toxins for cats are houseplants. Some cats like to eat houseplants, trying to compensate for a lack of certain nutrients that are available only by eating raw food. Supply your cat with kitty grass and it might help to keep him away from the houseplants. But be forewarned, eating too much cat grass can also cause vomiting.

Now, if you see a frequency of vomiting in a day, diarrhea, lethargy, blood in vomit, weight loss or a change in appetite and water intake, please see your vet immediately.


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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.)


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Homemade Pet Treat and Snack Recipes

Whether you are a picky pet parent or just like to bake, consider whipping up some healthy treats for you pets to enjoy. There are so many advantages to making pet treats at home. You’ll know exactly what your pet is eating and can offer a variety of taste as well as cater to any dietary restrictions.

No matter what type of pet you have, there’s a treat recipe just waiting for you to bake!

Grain Free Dog Treat

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup peanut butter,

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup plus 2 tbsp pumpkin

1-2 eggs or 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and form dough into a ball
  3. Place dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out to 1/4 – 1/2″ thickness
  4. Cut into squares or use a cute shaped cookie cutter and gently lift cookies and place on a lined baking sheet
  5. Using a fork, dip into hot water and pierce center of cookie gently
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are hard
  7. Let cool completely

Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 40-60 cookies depending on the size of your cookie

The awesome folks over at Pretty Fluffy have compiled 15 homemade healthy dog treat recipes that look pretty scrumptious.

If you’re not into baking, how about making jerky treats. It just so happens that my dog, Bailey, loves a good sweet potato jerky! Healthy and super simple, just use a fresh, raw sweet potato, preferably the larger ones. Wash and scrub the potato well. Slice into 1/2-2/3 inch lengthwise strips and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 225 F for 3-4 hours. Bake longer for crunchier treats. Cool and store in an airtight container.

There are even recipes for cats, Joy the Baker has a great salmon and oats recipe that will be sure to get your feline purring.

Love watching wild birds or have a pet bird? Make one of the easiest treats around. Roll a pine cone or cardboard tube in peanut butter and then roll it through some bird seed. Try adding a few pieces of dried fruit to the seed mix as well. Hang it outside or in your pets cage and watch in enjoyment.

Do you have a bunny or guinea pig? Try Katie’s Smack Snack recipe, a blend of carrots, oats, banana and parsley or kale. We think your little critter won’t be able to resist!

Who doesn’t love a cookie or a treat? I know I do…and Bailey too.

Do you have a recipe your pet loves? Share it with us!


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Only 4 More Thursday’s Till Thanksgiving!

As I sit here watching just one more beautiful October sunset, I am reminded that the holiday season is rapidly approaching. We have a few reminders for you:

  • Are you going out of town for Thanksgiving and still need pet care?
  • Will you be staying home during the holiday to spend some quality time with your furry love ones?

Let us know if you need to schedule a pet sitting visit or cancel a scheduled walk/potty break ASAP!

Our time slots are filling up so give us a shout so we can get you covered! We offer you an alternative to boarding.

Give us a call or text 360-348-6561, shoot us an email service@camanopetsitters.com or reserve online (watch your mailboxes this week for our new scheduling program information).

The Camano Pet Sitters Team


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Nominated for 2015’s Best Dog Walker!

Just the other day I was chatting with a colleague about our new scheduling program. At the end of our call, he says “Hey, congratulations on being nominated for best dog walker.”

“What! Are you serious? Where? When? How???” I was stunned, elated and at a loss of words, besides almost falling off my chair, to hear the exciting news. Someone was kind enough to nominate us in the BEST DOG WALKER category for the KING5 TV’s Best of Western Washington Evening Magazine contest.

Immediately, after hanging up, I went to their site and discovered we were in the top 20! Woot Woot!

I must admit, we are not only honored and thrilled to be nominated but to also receive your vote in support for something we love to do. I am very humbled by this experience and the truth is, I have an incredible team who has made this possible. A huge thank you to Pat, Rachel and Lacey. You all are the best! They work very hard and they love what they do.

I also want to thank each and every one of our wonderful customers. Thank you for the nomination, thank you for your votes, thank you for your continued support, thank you for allowing us to spend time with your precious love ones, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Michele

http://best.king5.com/camano-pet-sitters/biz/700933